Hey friends, ever heard “cash flow is king?” We’re going to be talking all about that, along with the concepts of depth and beauty as they apply to your business.
This topic is incredibly near and dear to my heart and I think it’s going to be the kind of thing that really makes a difference in your business if you listen and then go out and apply. We’re going to be covering why depth and beauty matter, we’re going to be covering some truths about organic marketing, definitely going to be covering your business’s ATM machine. Then finally, three tangible ways that you can create that cash flow ATM machine for your business at the close.
I want to give you a little backstory on depth and beauty.
Way back in the day, like over a decade ago, and yes, I am aging myself here — anyway, I wanted to take this workshop called Foundation Workshops, and it was put on by working photojournalists like Pulitzer Prize award winning photojournalists. It was geared towards wedding photographers, which is what I was doing 15 years ago.
It took me a little while to sign up for the workshop. It was expensive. It was a time commitment. I really wanted to do it, I just had to make it work for myself. The reason I wanted to do it so bad is that I had long been told my photos were beautiful. One person, the very first photographer I worked for who was a former photojournalist himself, told me that my photos had depth. No one ever said that again. And I really wanted to increase the combination of beauty and depth because so far, I had only been able to really do them separately, I was able to create beautiful photographs. And I was able to create photos with depth. But I wanted both in every instance in every way, that would have been the greatest compliment.
So I took the workshop, it really did help. I very much enjoyed things. It didn’t go exactly the way I expected at the time. But it taught me a really big lesson: that depth and beauty are always going to show up in my life. It does today, I talk on the show all the time about my favorite spin class, it’s called The Trip. They’re always beautiful. And if you haven’t heard me talk about this, I’ll give you a super brief rundown.
The spin studio is set up facing a 40 or 50 foot wide, parabolic screen curved screen; it takes three projectors to actually cover the screen. And every one of the trips, goes into a virtual reality world and some of them are based on really, really pretty locations like Greece, that’s the one I did this morning, when we were spinning. Some of them are total, like digital revolution type places, but they’re all beautiful.
That, as it turns out, is what I needed to enjoy spinning because I hated spinning before I took this class. I need to be distracted because, as it turns out, I don’t like working out. I’m okay admitting that to you guys. I need to be distracted, and The Trip is so beautiful. The prettiness distracts me into sweating buckets to the point where I walk out and I legit look like a tomato face for two or three hours afterwards.
Now, if I were to go ahead and tell you that one of my core values is beauty like aesthetical beauty, not vain beauty. You wouldn’t be surprised, right? I’ve just told you how important beauty is to me. One of my other core values is mastery. Not a surprise. Again, I wanted my photos to be beautiful and have depth. This all makes sense right? Now, why would this matter to your business? I just went on and on about a photo workshop and my spin class right?
Here’s the thing. I don’t know where you are in your business. But if you’ve heard anything in the online marketing world lately, you’ve heard about the iOS updates and how they are wreaking havoc. But if you have a business built on depth, and beauty, all the iOS updates in the world cannot affect you and cannot harm your business.
Now a pretty Facebook ad might have been converted before but it’s got to have some substance behind it to stand out today. And this might sound a little bit mean, but everyone else out there freaking out about the iOS 14 update shows exactly who had a well rounded visibility strategy in the first place and who was depending on that one trick pony, that is Facebook ads.
The truth can be harsh at times, I know. If you’re sitting here thinking, it’s cool, I don’t do Facebook ads, this doesn’t affect me. Just wait. iOS 15 is around the corner. And it’s going to be affecting email marketing. So if you have an email list, you might be seeing some changes come down the pike as well.
All of this matters because there are a few truths about organic marketing that you need to know.
If you can’t depend on Facebook ads, or email the way people used to, what else is there? I’ll tell you, there’s a solid content strategy that takes into account everything you offer, i.e. your whole value ladder. Now, you might be wondering, if you’re only getting like 20% or 30% of your email list to see your emails in the first place. Or if you’re more of an Instagram person, you’re only getting like four or five, maybe even 10% of your Instagram audience to see your posts. Why would you bother with organic contents?
There are three really good reasons to pay attention to your organic content, and therefore content strategy.
One, organic content is an authority check.
And this is a big one you guys. If you think your potential clients aren’t doing a quick check through on your social media to see if you really know what you’re talking about, even if they didn’t find you on social media, you’re wrong. We are all doing this, I promise. In fact, if you’re doing any potential collaborations, if you are networking online or in person, everybody’s checking you out on social media either before or after meeting you, because they want to know whether it is worth their time even talking to you.
Again, this is a harsh truth. But it’s true. I don’t want to sugarcoat this because if you don’t understand this, and you aren’t paying attention to it, you could be losing a lot of business. If you are ever speaking somewhere, or you’re ever doing an email or social media post, and you don’t have a specific CTA, a call to action, if you’re not promoting a launch or a specific offer, but you still want to have that CTA here’s a really good one.Go ahead and say, “Hey, come check me out on LinkedIn or Instagram, whatever you choose, if you want to see how and why this content thing works,” and then instead of content thing you would say, whatever your services, so you know, maybe you are a graphic designer, right? And you’re like, “Hey, come check me out on Instagram if you want to see exactly how great design can affect everything else in your business.” Or if you are a sales coach, you could say, “Hey, come check me out on Facebook, if you want to see how people are using my sales process to increase revenue.”
All of these matter. All of these options are great ways for an authority check just by using organic media.
Alright, so another reason you want to worry and invest in organic marketing is that it’s a really good testing ground for paid marketing.
Yes, whatever works on organic will often be your best performer on paid ads as well. So if you do want to have a Facebook ads or a Pinterest ads strategy, it behooves you to figure out what works well with your actual audience first, so you can build more of an audience like them.
Then third, it’s a really good way to show your core values, use them as a filter for your best clients.
Case in point: this post. I’ve already told you guys my core values of depth and beauty and mastery. If those are things that you do not value, if you really don’t care about the aesthetics of your business at all, you’re probably not going to opt into working with me, right? You know that I’m going to push you to do something you don’t want to do, which is another really good filter for your business.
You’ve already heard me dish out a couple harsh truths here. I’m calling them out, I’m telling you like it is. If you’re more of a hand holding-touchy feely kind of person. Again, you’re probably not going to choose to work with me because you know that you’re going to have to face some harsh truths and that’s not the way you enjoy working.
So I am doing this right here in this post, I’m using my content as a filter for my best clients. I am turning you off. But maybe I’m turning you on to my content if you are nodding your head and resonating with me.
So now that you know a little bit about the truth of organic marketing, let’s move on to the business ATM machine that I was talking about.
You do need cash flow if you want to be a business because it doesn’t work so well, without it right? Here’s the deal. Your ads might not be an ATM machine any longer, and I need to credit Julie Stoian for that quote, because she is the first one I heard say it, a lot of business owners have treated Facebook ads like an ATM machine for their business. And it doesn’t work the same way still if a lot of people are stumbling right now.
But you can still set up an actual ATM machine for your business that isn’t built on a one trick pony. What is it? It is authentic, automated marketing. Because here’s the deal, I have never taken money out of an ATM machine that I hadn’t previously deposited into said ATM machine. I mean, you know, obviously, I haven’t put every $20 bill individually into the machine. But somehow I put that money there before I took it out. I don’t know about you, I’ve just never found the magic ATM machine that gives me someone else’s money. Please, please tell me you haven’t either. That would be very sad.
But authentic, automated marketing, it is what you make of it. If you’re just slapping something on Facebook because you haven’t posted in days, then that’s kind of probably the level of results you’re getting out of your content you’re posting on social media. If, however, you’ve planned your content out to look at your full client journey that you offer, and you’re making sure that you’re not only addressing where your best client is right now and where they want to be. But you’re also kind of solidifying that dotted line between where they are and where they want to be, you’ll realize it took some actual effort.
I am not going to lie to you guys and say that I’ve never just posted something on Instagram off the cuff I totally have and not just in the far history of my life, I probably did it just a few weeks ago, it happens there are times it’s going to happen. Sometimes it’s because something’s happening in the world that needs addressing right now and it wasn’t part of your content strategy. Sometimes it’s because you forgot a post for the last half of that week.
The thing is, if you have a really good content strategy, and you have an excellent content plan, the whole slap and run thing is something that should be the exception, not the regular when it comes to the content you’re putting online. Remember, if you want to use your content to build authority, so that when someone goes and checks you out, let’s hope that they’re seeing something you put thought into rather than just a slapped up post real quick, right?
So putting that effort in right now means that you will reap the rewards, i.e. pull from the ATM, when it comes to your next offer, whether it’s a new service, a new program, launch, whatever it might be. Now, I don’t know about you, but I would like to pull from my own ATM after knowing I did things the right way.
If you’re with me, and I hope you are, here are three things that you can do today to create a cash flow ATM machine for your business.
One, and there should be no surprise by now, spend a chunk of time planning out a content strategy that takes into account your full value ladder, meaning the full client journey.
How does somebody show up to your business? If they’re at level two? How does somebody show up to business if they’re at level five or level seven? If you have offers for all of those levels, then your content strategy, your content plan needs to take into account all those letters, all of those levels, as well? Do you talk about how a beginner can work with you and up level and move themselves from that beginner status to that kind of mid tier status? Or are you only talking as most people do about just one level? Are you using sticky content? sticky content?
By the way, if you need more information on that it’s back in episode 132 titled Sticky Content. But sticky content gets your people thinking about their situation differently. It keeps you in the forefront of their heads. And it really matters. I want to read to you a testimonial from my clients Leisha. She said, “I honestly would call you a visibility coach because you help entrepreneurs get seen so they can do what they love best. I’ve heard the concept of know like and trust before, but the way you break down the content buckets in a way that aligns with that totally blew my mind.”
So first of all, thank you, Leisha kind words are always appreciated, but especially when they illustrate my point here so well, right, she’s calling me a visibility coach, I tend to call myself more of a consultant. Because I don’t do a lot of coaching, I typically just tell people what to do, again, bringer of harsh truth, right. But what she’s talking about right here, helping entrepreneurs get seen so they can do what they love best. That is what having a content strategy that takes into account your full value ladder will do for your business. Alright, that was number one.
Thing number two thing you can do to create your business’s ATM machine is learn what works organically and then take the winners to paid ads.
Now, if you don’t want to do Facebook ads, that’s cool. If you don’t want to do Pinterest ads or LinkedIn ads, that’s cool. But the concept I’m talking about here still applies. Because knowing what works organically requires measuring (which, by the way, is something I have a whole week of content on in Content Lab, which is my group coaching program that helps you create a content strategy). Measuring is what tells you what works organically. And even if you aren’t going to do paid ads, you still need to know what works so you can do more of it in the future, right?
And if you are going to do paid ads, you need to understand a few things. Social media isn’t free. Yeah, it’s free to sign up. But that’s because you are the product. I don’t know if you’ve heard that, but it’s true. Social media isn’t free for you to use because it takes your time and your time is incredibly valuable and the most precious commodity possible. But at least it gives you something in return. It tells you what your people respond to. Now, I do want to give one quick caveat. And this is something that my client Felicia who I mentioned earlier actually has experienced. If you’re in a touchy area, you’re talking about some sensitive topics, you might not get public engagement on certain topics, but don’t assume they aren’t working if they’re still driving private engagement. It means it’s an area where people resonate in your world, it means it’s a topic that’s going to drive your audience to you. So that’s the one caveat, but more or less social media is a really good litmus test to know what stuff is worth sharing again, and what stuff is worth bringing to paid media.
In my client Dawn’s testimonial, she says, “I sleep like a baby now. I went from panicking and literally losing sleep at night to understanding my prospective clients. They could see themselves and really connected with my posts and went to purchase my offer. I used that organic traffic knowledge to drop my cost to acquire a client by 75%.” Those are the kinds of results that occur when you have a really good content strategy. Because then when you do move it to paid ads, you spend far less for much better results. Alright, so we just covered the first two ways to create your business’s cash flow ATM machine.
Here is the third: engage and build relationships.
Yes, it’s going to take time and no, you can’t actually automate this, this is not part of the automated marketing in authentic automated marketing. Yes, you can outsource the beginning parts of it. But you do have to show up here, like in person. And the reason for this is that referrals are gold. And they tend to make better clients that are going to spend more with you, listen better, and make better decisions and therefore giving you better results that you can talk about later.
Now, I want to tell you a quick story that again, this is gonna date me. So like way back before like the .com burst in like 2007 or whatever, I used to get SEO telemarketer calls all the time (the horrors of having a publicly listed business number, right?). But I figured out after probably months, maybe even years of getting these that I could stop them in their tracks because one of their first questions was always “Do you want more clients?” And they did not have an answer in their scripts when I said, “No, I don’t want more clients.” They literally would stop and stumble and stutter over words. Like, “You don’t want more clients?” And I would say, “No, I don’t want clients from the internet because they never get me and they never want to pay my fees” because I was a fairly expensive photographer. And usually I got off the phone pretty quick.
Now I’m going to tell you that is a short-sighted statement. In today’s day and age SEO is great. For photographers, it wasn’t the best at the time. It really truly did not land good clients in my inbox. They always were harder to deal with, they rarely wanted to pay my fees, it just wasn’t worth it for me at the time. I know that’s not the case today. So I do want to throw that caveat out there in case any photographers are listening here, I’m not telling you not to pay attention to SEO, it doesn’t matter.
The fact that that’s a short-sighted story doesn’t matter. Because the sentiment of what I said there still holds true. Clients that find you via SEO are going to require more of a sales process to get into your world, they’re going to actually probably require more ingestion of your content to see that you really do know what you’re talking about. Referrals, on the other hand, tend to be a much shorter sales process. And they tend to spend more with you because they already trust you based on who gave them the referral. So again, that’s going to require you to have a little bit of time invested in building relationships to make those referrals.
Alright, another way that you can engage and build relationships is to use your platforms and use your content to introduce other people who help your people, which is just a fancy way of saying, You’re anyone else who serves the same kind of client you do. You can introduce them on your platforms, you can borrow each other’s audiences, as it were. This is going to really depend on you giving credit where credit is due.
I know earlier in this episode, I mentioned that the ATM machine concept is something I heard from Julie and I loved the power of that story. The thing is, you are not a guru, you have learned from others just like I have. And for you to pretend like every thought coming out of your mouth came only from your brain without being shaped and molded by other people. It’s not fair, it’s disingenuous, and people do see through that. So give credit where credit is due. Tag people on your social media posts, share other people’s posts when they have a really good idea. That is a great way to start building relationships and a really good way to engage in the process.
Now, let’s pull this out here. If I am telling you to engage, why am I spending so much time on content strategy in the first place if you could just engage and build relationships? Well, the answer is referrals are only going to get you so far. You need authority, right? Referrals are only going to get you so far, especially if you are going to a one-to-many course or group program model. You’re not going to get enough referrals to fill those programs. You need other things doing that, of which content can be a big part, you also need authority. Remember, that was the first organic truth that you need to pay attention to is that your online presence backs it up when people do find you via referral or do find you via SEO, it backs up that you really do know what you are talking about.
And then finally, I want to give another shout out to someone that I learned something from Rhonda Adair has a product called the Pot of Gold Marketing Database. She describes it as being a database of common answers. So as you are aging in your business, and you might not be there quite yet, if you’re on the newer side, but as you build more authority, you’re going to get more questions. And a lot of those questions are going to be the same as a question from last month or same as the five questions from the previous month, because a lot of people are going to be searching for your solution, right? And it saves you a huge amount of time as a service provider, or as a business running online to be able to point people back towards answers, especially if you’ve done a really great way of explaining it in the past. It builds your authority along the way. Because not only are you saying, “Oh yeah, I’ve got the answer. I actually answered that six months ago. Here’s the link to that post,” it’s going to allow you to serve more people because you’re not spending all of your time answering the same questions again and again.
You’ll see evidence of that from me often on this podcast. In fact, I did it in this episode when we were talking about sticky content earlier. I directed you back to episode 132 when I did that, which builds my authority– “Hey, I have this other thing that kind of references the subject, go listen to it if you want to dive deeper there because I can’t spend the time to cover it right now.” So I’m saving time, I’m serving more people, and I’m using a content database of answers to those common questions.
We covered a lot in this episode. I wanted to really deliver for this anniversary episode! We talked about how depth and beauty are the key to building your business’s ATM machine. Yes, your content needs to be beautiful, yes, if people hop on your LinkedIn profile and it looks like it’s a mess, they might not take you seriously. Definitely even more so true for Instagram, right? But if all you have is beauty, they’re gonna figure out really quickly that you’re missing that substance.
Having the database of common answers in your online authority, whether that’s on a podcast, a YouTube channel, a blog, and then all the social media outlets that you use to direct people to those platform content pieces. That gives you the authority and that right there is the depth that you need to really create a cash flow system for your business. Making a boatload of money today is great, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re not pulling anything in six months, you are going to be very sad. And you’re going to think back to this episode and be like, “Oh, maybe I should have built that content strategy up.” And the reality is, you can start this now, you can start slow, or you can start it fast now and having the business ATM machine that you create for yourself and then you drop and that you draw the rewards from later, it is totally within your reach. Follow the process here, and you’ll be looking pretty in six months.
Now if you need help with any aspects of this outside of the engaging and building relationships portion, I have a product for all of those. I have a DIY content system something that helps you stay consistent called the Show Up System 2.0. I have a done-with-you option called Content Lab. It’s a group coaching program that helps you build a visibility strategy using content that does serve your full value letter like we’ve been talking about today. It includes accountability, includes masterminding time, and most importantly, you actually get one-on-one access to me with a bonus in there.
And then I also have a completely done-for-you option. This is best if you want it done and you want it done right now, because in two quick meetings, I can create your entire content strategy for you, that gives you the next three to six months of content. Yes, three to six months, fully ready to go for you! All you have to do is actually show up for it. But also gives you an ability to repurpose that in the future. So you really have your core strategy done for the lifetime of your business so long as you’re offering the same things. That is my promise for you. That is my value ladder.
By the way if you didn’t notice, I just mentioned the three ways that you can work on your content strategy with me right there. So if you wanted a more meta example, I don’t know that I can actually deliver one. That is how we’re doing it here.