Show of hands to see who has a business to market, who wants to market their blog, and who has already spent money to market their work.
What does it mean to spend money marketing your work?
Traditional ads, paid SEO, anything you do that takes your time when your time is money; Lyz tries to make sure she doesn’t spend more than 30% of her time on marketing efforts that take her away from paid work.
There’s a ceiling that you hit when you can’t do anything more yourself, and you have to spend money if you want to grow bigger. It can be scary, but acknowledge both that it’s scary and that everyone goes through it. It makes you stronger, and it makes you wise.
You only have so many hours that you can spend on everything. When you invest money in someone else doing things for you, you’re giving yourself more time to do the things that make you money and build your business. The moment you start treating yourself like a business is the moment other people start seeing you as a business. Take yourself seriously as a business. It’s a mindset.
What were some of the signs that it was time to start investing money into marketing?
Alli’s always been very scrappy. She had $27 to get started, and she bought a book about coding. She decided to make jewelry and give it away as a marketing effort. Blog commenting was really the only marketing back in 2007, and there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Not sleeping works for two days at BlogHer, but not as a long-term business strategy.
Sarah transitioned into freelancing, and she realized she was letting her Twitter and Facebook accounts go, and then it was time to enlist some help.
Marketing is about being consistent, communicating, and having a call to action.
Lyz realized she was working for companies and telling them what they were doing wrong on Twitter – and then realized she had her own issues. She needed to take the things she knew and helped companies execute, and do it for her own business. She got laid off, and she had to start her own company in order to make money. (Much like my story in starting Phenomenal Content.) If you’re here at BlogHer, you’ve already spent money on the conference to build your business.
As women, we can’t discount the fact that it’s sometimes harder to take care of ourselves, and that spills over to our companies. “I know that,” means nothing if you aren’t doing that.
What are some of the ways that you’ve marketed yourself?
Sarah did a big ad push on other blogs when she launched Sarah By the Sea, and she’s seen good ROI. She’s done Facebook Ads before, but you have to take the time to craft the right message. She recommends the book Words That Sell.
Alli bought books on marketing, read Seth Godin’s blog, and invested in relationships with people. She read other people’s blogs and befriended them, genuine friendships. She has built different companies with these friends. Networking in this space is a very real and honest place to make friends. As a personal brand, you’ll never be successful in this space if you’re a jerk in real life. We should have the same standards for ourselves that we have for the brands that we work with.
Lyz uses Facebook Ads. She pitches traditional publications and media outlets, and she writes guest posts. She asks to syndicate her owk on larger sites and her local newspaper. The best ways she’s marketed herself have actually paid her money, though, by writing for a group blog that has resulted in her face being plastered on billboards and glowy mall ads. The Internet is your community, but don’t forget your In Real Life community.
We’re all doing stuff on ourselves to be better people, writers, eaters, pinners…and we need to turn that into marketing efforts. Take what you’re doing, and start being marketing savvy about that.
How do you go about hiring an assistant, let someone else get in your brain?
Make a list of the things that you do that you either don’t like to do or take too much time. Research, phone calls, email prioritizing, etc. Look for referrals, but you could find someone using Craigslist. Having an assistant who is actually part of your target demographic can help you creatively as well as practically.
How do you know how much to spend on marketing?
Lyz spends no more than 5% of her net income on marketing. Period. Her marketing budget includes conferences, Facebook ads, and pitching media outlets. Work on her site is not in her marketing budget. “It’s like buying curtains for the office.”
The percentage can change depending on how fast you want to grow, and what your risk tolerance is. Some people spend 30% on marketing, but all of the panelists think that’s really high.
Are Facebook Ads really worth it?
Lyz says they have a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) than any of type of social media ad. Spend however much you want; you can pause Facebook Ad campaigns at any time. She’s had successful campaigns where she only spent $10.
Have you ever found something outside your budget that you’ve done anyways?
Alli laughed and said she may have almost ruined her family finances three or four times. It’s paid off in the long run, but she took some really huge risks.
Lyz said that it takes 5-7 years for a business startup to be profitable, but she doesn’t have the balls to be like Alli.
A lot of businesses fail because they run out of capital, so just be aware of how to fund things as you go. As a person and a business, you need to have multiple revenue streams.
Tags: blogging, BlogHer, conferences