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365 Days Without Soft Drinks

365 Days Without Soft Drinks

It started as a health kick on Jan 1 of last year. I didn’t set out to give up soft drinks, per se. I just wanted to lose some weight, and, let’s face it, soft drinks aren’t usually on the list of approved foods. Right?

The hard part was the first 6-8 weeks when I was changing every other part of my diet. Anytime I went out to eat, the urge to order a Coke or Pepsi was surprisingly strong. But, I really wanted to stick to my calorie goal for the day and having 3 soft drinks (one plus 2 refills) just didn’t fit.

The hardest part was anytime I went to the movies with Dad. I don’t know why, but my head links popcorn, movies, and a large Coke all in the same bucket.

Standing there at the counter and telling the guy that I want a medium popcorn and a glass of water seems absurd, like ordering a low-calorie donut. Why bother?

Once I had the initial craving part kicked, not having soft drinks was pretty easy. They were simply written out of my life. They no longer had a place.

My health kick followed its usual story arc — lose some weight, get really tired of tracking every tender loving calorie, and eventually cutting back on exercise — over the course of about 4 months. Despite my flagging resolve in all other areas, I decided to keep this one healthy habit in place only as a way to hang on to some shred of dignity.

Do I intend to continue eschewing soft drinks?

No.

I don’t want this streak to become an idol — something that starts getting more attention than it really should.

If I don’t kill this thing sometime soon, I will start seeing how far I can go with this. I am already having bad dreams of finding myself in a restaurant, asking for a Coke refill when I realize that I blew it and didn’t make it to the full year.

To me, this is a sign that it has gone far enough. I will make it through just one more day so I can say that I made it a full year with no soft drinks, and then I will put this streak to rest in favor of creating more sustainable healthy habits like better nutrition and far more exercise.

What if Your Story Stalls?

What if Your Story Stalls?

I am a long-time fan of John Eldredge and the team at Ransomed Heart ministries.  I have been following their podcast for a few years now, and I found this 2-part series that is certainly worth the time.

Not all of us get to be on Oprah.

Sometimes our messages fall flat, our business goes sideways, and our dreams just…don’t happen.

In this 2-part series, John and his team address how not to lose heart when you feel stuck.

When Your Story Stalls

Part 1 – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/john-eldredge-and-ransomed-heart-audio/id260843816?mt=2&i=1000395584464

Part 2 – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/john-eldredge-and-ransomed-heart-audio/id260843816?mt=2&i=1000397015887

 

7 Reasons Public Speakers Should Outsource Email Marketing

7 Reasons Public Speakers Should Outsource Email Marketing

If you would love to harness the power of email marketing for your speaking business, but don’t feel you have the time, there is hope!

Like other successful public speakers you want…

  • to get more speaking engagements
  • to sell more copies of your books
  • to enroll more clients in your online programs

…and you hear that other public speakers are crushing it with email marketing, but you haven’t gotten quite around to it for your speaking business.

Reasons Speakers Are NOT Yet Using Email Marketing

Here are reasons that public speakers are not using email marketing to feed a continual stream of new sales month after month.

1) You aren’t really certain how to get anyone to buy anything from you by email.

If you’ve never done anything more than the occasional newsletter, you may not have even turned your first dollar from email marketing.

Or if you get a few sales here and there, you are not certain how to do it again.

This can be maddeningly frustrating, and this is where most public speakers quit.

[callout]If you want to outsource your email marketing for just $27, click here to schedule a time  to get started.[/callout]

2) No Email List / Small List

This is far more common than you may realize.

I’ve worked with speakers who have been on the speaking trail for over 10 years yet barely have an email list of 50 people.

The good news is that this can be fixed quite easily, especially for those of you who are more senior in your speaking career.

3) Not Enough Time

You have a choice. You can either be on stage growing your brand, or you can be stuck in your office typing emails.

Being on stage wins every time!

4) Too Technical

To the uninitiated, the technical aspects of email marketing can be a little daunting.   Lists and sub-lists and html code and sequences and tagging…it can get a little overwhelming, especially if you are not using it every day.

5) Can’t come up with any good ideas

If your brain is not naturally wired for marketing (few are), you might feel you don’t have any good ideas, or that people simply won’t want to buy what you have the offer.

Outsourcing Your Email Marketing Gives You the Following Benefits

  1. It Works – Working with someone who stays up-to-date with what is working in email marketing right now.  You don’t get yesterday’s leftovers.
  2. Freedom from Tech Hassles – Someone who is technically literate and knows how to help you get the most out of your email marketing system (without your banging your head on the table in frustration).
  3. Make the Sale – Someone who understands copywriting and sales psychology can close the deal rather than let it get away.
  4. Speed to Market – Someone who can knit all the pieces together faster than you could by yourself.
  5. Focus – Delegating email marketing to a competent individual gives you the freedom to focus on what you do best.
  6. List Building – A good marketer can help you develop a very responsive list over time.
  7. Automatic Pilot – Once you figure out how to do this once, you can automate it!

Outsource Your Email Marketing in One Easy Step

Schedule a time to get started by clicking here.

How it Works

  1. We get together for our initial 30-minute phone call where I can learn about your business and what you want to promote.
  2. I create your series of 3 custom-written emails and load them into your email marketing system. If you don’t have an email marketing system, I’ll get one for you.
  3. We agree on a start date for the campaign, and hit the Send button.

How Much Does it Cost?

Only $27.  You get all this for just $27!!

Click now to get started. Schedule now. Pay later.

 

 

How to Create an Online Quiz that Will Drive Cheap Traffic

How to Create an Online Quiz that Will Drive Cheap Traffic

I think I’m in love!

I found a new way to bring a fresh pool of cold traffic to my site and, most importantly, to my Facebook Pixel.

If you have spent any time on Facebook in the last 12 months you have undoubtedly seen one of your friends share a post that says “I got Boba Fett. Who will you get?”

One click takes you to an online quiz to help you determine which Star Wars bounty hunter you are.

I did a little digging to find out one of the companies serving these quizzes is Qzzr.

Qzzr Online Quiz Examples

I knew that the viral reach of these quizzes could be significant, so I decided to see for myself just how helpful these online quizzes could be in driving traffic.

I started a free account which gives you access to everything you need to get a quiz started.

My approach at first was to take as little time as possible getting the quiz out to new users, so I did not goldplate this first version.

Here is a screen capture of my rather nondescript entry page for my quiz (check out my quiz here).

jason-owens-case-study-drive-traffic-quiz-start-page

I didn’t use any fancy background, because that would have taken extra work to put together (since remedied).

In total my quiz consisted of 5 questions.  I wanted something that people could do in less than a minute.

Facebook Ad to Drive Online Quiz Traffic

jason-owens-case-study-drive-traffic-quiz-fb-ad

My Time Investment in the Online Quiz

My total time to…

  1. Design the Quiz
  2. Create the Blog Post where the Quiz resides
  3. Create the Ad Creative for the Facebook Ad
  4. Craft the Ad

…was about 2-1/2 hours.

Did the Online Quiz Really Drive Traffic?

Yes.  All things considered I am happy with the traffic driven to my site.

Sure, the price per click was higher than I would have liked.

Sure, I didn’t get near the viral reach I would have liked.

But…people responded!

Why?

A quiz is different.

It is not a blog post, and it is not a podcast.

Here are the numbers

My Facebook ad to 3 different audiences over 24 hours netted 50 ad clicks.  I also posted a link to the survey on my FB page, and on my FB profile where the survey received additional traction.

My cost per click (or to use the new term, “Cost Per Pixel”) for the Facebook ad was $1.55.  The first day of the campaign saw CPP as low as $0.96.

As you can see below, the quiz was viewed a total of 68 times, and it received a 40% start rate.

Of the people who started, 93% completed the quiz — pretty impressive retention — validating my assertion that keeping the quiz short would help in this stage.

Of the people who completed the quiz, 4% shared it.

Quiz Engagement Funnel Results
jason-owens-case-study-drive-traffic-online-quiz

Online Quiz -Lessons Learned

1) Online Quizzes Rule!

First take away is that I now LOVE incorporating quizzes as a means of driving (and pixeling) traffic.  I will certainly do this again.

2) Silly is Better for Viral Reach 

My hunch here is that people didn’t share much because they didn’t like their result.

For example, a number of people received the result that they were like Brené Brown.  Maybe this works for you if you are a woman, but I could see some men not wanting to share this result.

If your answer were closer to “You got Purple Elephant”, perhaps this is less challenging to one’s identity, and you would be more willing to share this with your online tribe.

What I Would Do Differently Next Time

1) Better Audience Selection

I am in the process of honing and fine tuning my interest-based audiences, and I believe the lack of a well-defined audience really drove my CPP too high.  Ideally, I’d like to see my cost per pixel below $0.75.

2) Use a Cover Image for the Online Quiz

For this first version of the quiz the cover image was a field of turquoise.  Certainly does not have the  draw of a compelling image with recognizable faces.

3) Better Copywriting on My Ad

My invitation to take the quiz could be more compelling.

4) Test Different Images on Ad Creative

This time I constructed the one ad creative so that it contained both genders.  The easiest change I could make here is to create a montage of just women and a second montage of just men.  Each could be driven to their respective genders via FB ad targeting criteria.

[reminder]How about you? Have you used online quizzes as a way to drive cold traffic to your site? If so, tell us how it worked out for you.[/reminder]

 

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Which Celebrity Speaker Are You?

Which Celebrity Speaker Are You?

Time for a little fun today. Take this oh-so-non-scientific quiz to find out which celebrity speaker is most like you.

[qzzr quiz=”271321″ width=”100%” height=”auto” redirect=”true” offset=”0″]

How to Resurface After an Absence

How to Resurface After an Absence

My wife travels the public speaking circuit and usually gives 5-10 talks a year.  In the last few days of April she was on a trip with several of her public speaking colleagues.

Karen sends me a text explaining that one member of this group had accepted the head position at a non-profit, and that this lady was recruiting Karen to come to work for her.

This would certainly mean a relocation for us.

A few minutes later my wife sent me a follow up text with these exact words, “…NO NEED to worry…”

I knew from that very moment that I was in trouble.

Fast-forward 4 months.

  1. My wife accepted the new job.
  2. The five of us (three people and two dogs) are living in a hotel room 4 states away from our old home in NC.
  3. My daughter should start school next week provided we can convince the lady in the registration office that my daughter a) does exist, and b) that we really are our child’s parents.

I can truly say that this has been the busiest 4-month period of my life.

I was often very torn between my obligations to this move and the publishing schedule I know is so important to a content-driven business.

There are times when you simply can’t get to it all — my publishing had to give while I focused on our move.

[shareable cite=”Jason R Owens”]There are times when you simply can’t get to it all.[/shareable]

The Big Addition

Without a doubt the largest change I have made in my business this summer has been the addition of done-for-you services for authors and experts.

It was one of those whack-on-the-side-of-the-head moments when I realized that I understand how to put together a lot of the back office systems that deal with ads, campaigns, and other revenue-driving activities.

Not only do I understand it, I have also done all of it as part of running my own business.

So why not do it for other experts as well?

Look Forward to These Stories

As my life starts to take on a new normal I want to get back to a more routine publishing schedule.

I can’t wait to tell you about what I have learned over the summer, including:

  1. Lessons from partnering with an expert to launch a new workshop series.
  2. How a portable business, like what we experts run, is a huge bonus for our spouse’s upward mobility.
  3. A few new list-building tools that I have come across.

Thanks for your patience.

I can’t tell you how much it means that you stuck with me.

Summary

What I just did was illustrate the main points I want to share in case you have to go underground for a long absence.

  1. Explain where you have been.  Yes, many of your readers really do want to hear about the goings on in your life.  Things can’t always be all about business all the time.
  2. Share what is new.
  3. Tell people where you are headed. Give people a taste for what is on the horizon.

[reminder]If you were not able to keep a regular publication schedule, did you find that it affected your relationship with your followers?[/reminder]

1 Way to Get Your Best Performance

[youtube id=”6pHpS6Nh4gA”]

Now that you’ve set the stage (in the past 3 weeks) you are ready to take this final step to results.

This one contains sage wisdom, yet most of us are not ready for it because we have not laid the foundation we did in the last few weeks.

1 List Building Hack That is Working in Our Community Right Now

1 List Building Hack That is Working in Our Community Right Now

We all dream of  having so much organic traffic coming to our site that list building becomes effortless.

Those of us who live in the real world, however, don’t have a bajillion hits of organic traffic each week.  We’re willing to build our list any way we can.

Recently, I was talking with a member of my community, Jonathan Hill.  He and his wife, Faith, run Fortified Health Club.

Jonathan told me of an amazing success he had with a tool which is a sister product to a service many of us have heard of in this community — LeadPages.

I won’t go into detail on that now, but I do want to talk about the tool Jonathan is using: LeadDigits.

LeadDigits

LeadDigits is a premium product you can get when you choose one of the higher levels of service offered by LeadPages.

[shareable]A great way for public speakers to build a list! Completely automated.[/shareable]

Many of you have seen signs when you’re around town; “Text PIZZA to 47474 for a free slice and a drink”.

Jonathan put this very technique to use when Faith was delivering a talk at a local chiropractic clinic a few days ago.

[callout]Disclaimer: I don’t want you guys to get hung up on the audience size. What I want you to concentrate on is the conversion percentage.[/callout]

Let’s go to Jonathan now as he frames the scenario:
[guestpost]The talk was called ‘Toxic Beauty’ for a women’s event, and texting that phrase will get you a list of ingredients to always avoid in your cosmetics regime. Immediately after texting it, you will receive the list via email. — Jonathan Hill[/guestpost]

The step-by-step follows:

  1. Faith is in front of the small audience at this chiropractor’s office, and she’s talking about health and nutrition.
  2. At a few key points in the presentation, Faith simply says something to the effect of, “If you’d like more information on this, take out your phones now, and I’ll send it to you right away.”
  3. She then offers the keyword CLEARSKIN and instructs attendees to send that to 44222.
  4. While Faith is in the front of the room making the offer, Jonathan is in the back of the room watching all these results happen in real time.

What blows me away is the conversion rate they received!

Of the 14 people in attendance in this room, 12 of them used texted the CLEARSKIN keyword to get the freebie Faith had offered.

For those of you keeping score at home that’s an 86% conversion rate!

[shareable]Read about this list building technique that garnered an 86% conversion rate![/shareable]

Imagine if you started doing this very same technique and began experimenting with it during your talks!

[callout]Try it right now! Text CLEARSKIN to 44222 to check out the user experience and to get the freebie![/callout]

If I understand the integration LeadDigits correctly, you can connect it to your existing email marketing system to do the delivery of the actual freebie.

It works just as if somebody were to opt in on the opt-in page of your site. I created a similar campaign for one of my clients several months ago, and we used InfusionSoft to do the delivery.

[reminder]What list-building hacks have worked for you? What ideas have NOT worked so well? Let’s get a conversation started![/reminder]

The Nitty Gritty of Email Marketing

The Nitty Gritty of Email Marketing

Many people have asked me:

Which email marketing service should I use to get start?

Trick question.

Just pick one and go.

I’ve tried aWeber, Constant Contact, and MailChimp.  They are all good.

[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]I’ve tried aWeber, Constant Contact, and MailChimp. They’re all good.[/shareable]

Right now I’m on MailChimp and that’s only because it was free for the first 2,000 contacts in my system.

Most services have a modest monthly fee associated with them, but those fess generally won’t break the bank.

The trick is to start using any one of them.

Just get started.

Don’t get lost for the next 3 weeks analyzing the pros and cons of each service.

Have a bias for action, and not analysis.

You can always steer a moving ship later.  The point is to get the ship moving in the first place.

Should I use an email template, or should I go with plain text?

Each have their merits.

Templates look good, and often re-size to fit mobile devices.

Text makes it look like you wrote the message just for the receiver of it, so it may have a more personal feel.

If you choose to use a template, I would stay away from a multi-column versions for starters.

unnamed

Here’s why…
Formatting, looks like it requires several images, etc.  Short answer: they take too much work.

Please stay away from newsletters at all costs.

If you have a heavy retail presence, a newsletter could work for you.  But, for authors, experts, and public speakers, it feels like the newsletter format asks you to share 3 or 4 articles at once.

[shareable]Stay away from multi-column email marketing templates if you’re an author, expert, or public speaker to keep the attention on one key idea.[/shareable]

For many readers, this is complete overkill.

If you want to share multiple ideas at once, I feel you are better off with an RSS-style email which shows excerpts of articles you’ve already published on your blog.

It is hard enough for people to focus on a one-topic email let alone a newsletter template that has 4 articles all screaming for attention.

Instead, choose a simple single-column template.

unnamed (1)

The template calls for a header image, but I don’t have one. What do I do?

Forget the header image.  If you can’t fill this block in 30 seconds, it’s best to forget it.  Most email templates are just suggestions.  You can delete any block you don’t need.

[shareable]You don’t have to have a header image to capture your readers’ attention in email marketing.[/shareable]

In this case, if you don’t already have a ready-to-use image, then you don’t need this block.

Key Take Aways:

For authors, experts, and public speakers, here is my list of take-aways:

• Choose a clean, crisp template and include a small company logo if you have one.

• Boost your font to 16pt – 18pt font for the text in the body of your letter.

• Include one large image near the top of your article to make it stand out to the reader.

• Don’t choose a newsletter template if you are just getting started.  Newsletters require a lot of work, so most small teams do not end following through with it.

[reminder]Now that you have a basic idea of how to get started, what will be the first message you share with your audience?[/reminder]