5 Ways ActiveCampaign Blows Other Email Marketing Systems Out of the Water!

Are you looking to start building an email list of prospects or are you unhappy with your current email marketing system?

The last month or more I’ve been working on migrating from my old all-in-one shopping cart and email marketing system, called 1ShoppingCart, to a combination of ActiveCampaign and SendOwl. That’s been my main focus, so I thought I’d talk today a bit about my experience with that. I’m really only going to talk about ActiveCampaign today but, briefly, SendOwl is one of several shopping cart systems that integrates nicely with ActiveCampaign, and includes the ability to use product upsells and has an affiliate system.

I had no intention of moving from the system I’ve been using because it’s so nice having everything under one roof, everything from email marketing, to products and upsells, to an affiliate platform. At one time, 1ShoppingCart was considered to be more of a top-of-the-line system. It’s still a great starter system in many ways and it has served me well over the years. However, it is very limited in its marketing features. Once you’ve used a system that has advanced marketing features like Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign and even ConvertKit, it’s hard to be satisfied with a system that doesn’t offer these advanced features.

I realized I could get the marketing features I wanted for a heck of a lot less per month with the combination of ActiveCampaign and SendOwl. Originally, I was going to switch to ConvertKit for email marketing because of their stellar email deliverability claims. I really liked the platform. It was very easy to use and had some great features, but it still didn’t give me the ability to do everything I was looking for and I felt too confined.

I decided to go with my gut and give ActiveCampaign a try. I am so happy with my decision. I went with the basic package and I found it to be very affordable for small and medium sized lists. With the combination of ActiveCampaign and SendOwl, which integrate nicely, I’m not only paying less per month than I was with my old system, but I’m also getting more features.

Why is it taking me so long to make the switch?

I’m doing it in my spare time, between client work and life. I have two main websites (and two old ones that will be disappearing when I have time to deal with them), but I have way too many landing pages and sales pages on these two sites, and too many autoresponder lists set up.

I didn’t want to just import my list in whole and start over. I wanted to tag everyone according to their interests, their past webinar sign ups, free gift downloads, and product purchases, which slowed me down.

So I had to set up all of the tags I wanted. I had to set up the email sequences and automations that I wanted for opt-ins and product purchases. I had to create the web forms and change them on the landing pages and opt-in boxes on my websites, and then test them.

I’m still working on updating the payment buttons on sales pages on one of my sites and connecting them to SendOwl, but I hope to have that finished by the first of next week.

Here are my 5 Reasons you should consider ActiveCampaign and why it blows the rest of the email marketing systems out of the water:

  1. It’s budget friendly. It can grow with you and your business. The basic package starts at $9 US per month, depending on the size of your email list. The higher level package includes a CRM (customer relationship manager) if you need to track and follow up with prospects and sales calls.
  2. It’s easy to design nice-looking emails and web forms with their drag and drop builders, and it’s extremely easy to add the forms to your website. If you’re using WordPress, you can use a simple short code.
  3. It has a drag and drop automation builder with so many options, including if this then that, adding and removing tags, starting and ending other automations, identifying subscribers who aren’t engaged and aren’t opening your emails so you can set up an automation to attempt to automatically re-engage them or remove them from your list, and so much more. You can keep things as simple as you want, or you can build complex automations and triggers.
  4. You can tag people for anything and, as I already said, remove the tags automatically at any time, so you can track people’s actions and interests, and target them appropriately with your marketing activities.
  5. It’s not so complicated that the average person can’t figure out how to use it. You may choose to have a virtual assistant to do things for you and take advantage of all of the features, because as a coach, speaker or consultant, playing around in technology yourself to avoid making sales calls isn’t going to make you money, but if you need to go into the system to do something or find something, it shouldn’t make you cry. There’s a reason Infusionsoft is referred to as Confusionsoft – and there have been times in the past that it has almost made me cry.

I have used most of the email marketing platforms and many all-in-one shopping cart/email marketing systems out there, and this one has turned me into a die hard fan so far. I’ve switched a couple of clients over too. I’m still learning awesome ways that their features and automations can be used to improve subscriber experience and list quality.

For anyone interested, here are the links to learn more or get a free trial (disclaimer – these are affiliate links):

ActiveCampaign
SendOwl

I would also like to invite you to schedule a Complimentary Discovery Session with me if you feel you need help with your email marketing, creating landing pages, or anything else.

5 Tips to Help You Bounce Back Quickly From a Computer Crash

A day I was dreading. My laptop died. I knew it was coming. It was running so hot for a while and the fan was so noisy. I had some warning signs near the end, but I found a way to squeeze some more life out of it and everything seemed okay again, for a while. Until one day, in the middle of doing something, all of a sudden I got the blue screen of death. I tried to reboot, and every time I rebooted and tried to do startup repair or system recovery, I got a different result or error message.

Have you ever had the pleasure of experiencing something like this? The feeling of “oh no” and panic sets in!

Thankfully, I keep all of my business files on a flash drive and in Dropbox, so they are always accessible when and where I need them. I didn’t have all of my personal files backed up, but started backing up some of my most important ones once I realized my laptop might be on its last legs. And then it crashed. I still had a lot more personal files to copy.

Now the only way I could boot into my operating system was through safe mode. Better than nothing. I went right to work in copying more files to a flash drive, which was a very slow process.

Meanwhile, I had a netbook to work on. I decided to order a replacement instead of taking my crashed laptop to get fixed. I figured this would be a better investment right now, and then I could save up and attempt to get my old one repaired (if possible) to use as a backup because it still had good speed and a ton of storage still available.

I had looked at some replacement options before, but hadn’t found what I wanted. I wanted something at least equal in memory, storage and features as my old one, and I wanted a good deal. Eventually I found exactly what I was looking for from a trusted seller on eBay. It was an open box ASUS laptop with the same amount of memory as my old one, the same kind of graphics card (but updated), i7 6th generation, more storage than my old one (including both a solid state drive and a second drive with 1TB), and all of the features on my wish list except for a DVD drive – which isn’t the end of the world.

I have to brag. I got a steal of a deal on it. It’s awesome and oh-so lightweight! It even has a backlit keyboard and an eye care setting to help prevent the LED blue light from damaging your eyes. I’m in love.

During the new laptop search process and while I was waiting for it to come, I had to make due with my netbook. Oh yay. My little netbook is great, really. It’s small (10″) and perfect for taking with me when I travel. I can use it as a laptop or a tablet. I can get done what I need to get done on the internet or with documents, etc.

However, it’s not suitable for everyday working. It can’t handle my working habits! Without looking, I think it has 2GB of RAM. That’s perfectly fine if I need to go on the internet and do something. That’s fine if I want to go on social media. It’s fine if I want to watch a video. But the problem is I usually have 3-4 browser windows open with 30-50 tabs. Then there are other programs I may have open in addition to that, including Microsoft Office documents. Forget about Photoshop or Camtasia Studio (video editing) – I wouldn’t even press my luck with those on that laptop.

Every so often this poor netbook would spontaneously quit, give me a message of running out of memory, and reboot. Sigh. I understood, but I was frustrated! This was really slowing me down. I gave up on any of my own projects. It was all I could do to keep up with client work on that thing.

But I made it through and my new laptop was worth the wait. My little netbook can go back to being my travel companion and leisure toy. Funny thing is, my old laptop is sitting right now turned on, in normal mode. One day I decided to try turning it on again. It wouldn’t let me boot into safe mode. For probably at least an hour, I kept rebooting it and trying different options, letting it try to repair startup – multiple times, letting it try to restore to earlier settings – multiple times, and then all of a sudden it started up and logged me in.

I’ve been slowly transferring some remaining and more unimportant personal files when I have time and when I think about it. The touchpad isn’t cooperating well and the keyboard doesn’t work well (so I use a USB keyboard). I’ve been scared to shut it down because I might not be able to get it booted up again, so I’ve been letting it sit there and run. I keep checking the touch temperature and it’s barely warm, but no programs are running. So the adventures of that laptop continue. One of these days I will have to shut it down and see what happens from there.

5 Tips to Help You Bounce Back Quickly
in Case of a Computer Crash:

  • Back up your computer (ideally a whole system backup to a backup drive or one of the many cloud backups such as Carbonite).
  • Back up your important files and keep them somewhere that is easily accessible by you through another computer (flash drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.). Even better, both flash drive and the cloud.
  • If you use your computer for business, be sure to have some kind of backup computer that you can use, whether yours or someone else’s – that will at least get the job done until you can get a replacement or get yours fixed.
  • Anytime after 5 years and you’re really pushing your luck, especially if you stress your computer out, like I do! Just be aware that there’s an increased chance of things going wrong and plan to budget for a replacement or repair. But really, when you think about it, after 5 years it’s probably better value to just replace it when necessary and then look to repair the old one as a backup if you need it.
  • Have a good anti-virus and firewall protection. This wasn’t a problem for me in this case, but there’s a lot of bad stuff out there. A good anti-virus and firewall is not only important for the health of your computer, but it’s crucial to help protect you from nasty viruses, spyware, and identity theft. I’ve tried numerous programs over the years and my favorite has been AVG Internet Security. I’ve had various issues with others and this one has earned my confidence. It doesn’t slow my computer down. It doesn’t suspiciously and randomly get turned off or deactivated. It has blocked and warned me about a lot of websites with malware and some harmful files, and now I wouldn’t be without it on any of my computers and devices. I’m sure there are some other great internet security programs out there, but I’m picky and this one I can personally vouch for.

What horror stories have you experienced with computer crashes or even viruses/malware? What did you do? How did you get through it? What did you learn from it?

Share your story in the comments below!

It’s the Holidays… They Won’t Buy My Services

Holidays

It’s that time of year. The holidays. The end of the year. The end of many business owners’ fourth quarter. Quickly heading toward the new year. Understandably, you would think this is when many businesses slow down and possibly stop, with the exception of retail businesses, that is. With Christmas presents bought or still to buy, it would be easy for me to think that business owners have no money or budget left for extras and projects, and no time to focus on growing their business.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, at least not for the successful business owners. That’s not to say they don’t take time off to enjoy the holidays and spend time with their families, but it seems to be a common time of year when they have been reflecting on everything they haven’t gotten done this year, and they want to get a jump on it for the start of the New Year so they can come into the New Year swinging and ready to catapult their business growth.

I have 3 tips for you as the New Year approaches:

1. Don’t stop marketing your business just because you assume people are busy and have no money in December. Not true! People are reflecting on what they haven’t done this year in their life and in their business, and they find money for the things they want. If you’re a life or wellness coach, your ideal clients are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions, how they’re going to deal with falling off their diets during the holidays, what they want to improve or change in the coming year, and they’ll need support, guidance and accountability. Provide the solution to their problems.

2. It’s not too late to add onto your fourth quarter income. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. There’s still time before the end of the year to make some sales and get some contracts signed. Get cracking! Focus on those revenue-generating activities.

3. It’s the perfect time to invest in your business. Many are strategically investing in their business at the end of the year for tax purposes so they can get better tax deductions and refunds. Talk to your accountant to see how additional fourth quarter business-related purchases can benefit you come tax time.

The same as last year, I’ve had so many coaches and consultants contact me this month about different projects they want done and systems they want set up, particularly for a landing page package for their free gift so they can grow their email list, they’re ready to set up a new product or program, or they want to get their website done so prospects can find them online. This is great, I love getting these things set up and done so they can get their marketing plan implemented and running on schedule for the first of the year.

Once your systems are in order, I also have a Boost Your Online Visibility package to help you with that once you have the basics set up, and there are also in-depth strategy and consulting sessions to clear confusion or create a marketing plan.

I am always upgrading my education and skills in the industry, so I have chosen to invest in my business, once again. I signed up for a speaker training course for virtual assistants so I can better serve clients and potential clients who speak or want to get into speaking. I hadn’t planned it ahead of time and I hadn’t specifically budgeted for it, but the opportunity came along and I knew it would benefit both me and my clients, so I jumped on it.

Do I have the time to spend on it? Not really. I’m not sitting around doing nothing this time of year, like I half expected to be, but I’ll find the time. I only just started the course, so I’ll tell you more about this early in 2017, but if you’re a speaker or want to be a speaker, I’ll be better able to help you research and find gigs, pitch you, help you create a speaker kit, help you create a contract that you can have reviewed by your lawyer, help market your speaking services, and more. Feel free to reach out in the meantime if you have any questions.

Did you complete everything you had hoped to in 2016? Are your systems set up and is your marketing plan ready for you to leap into 2017? I have opened up a few spots in my calendar for a Complimentary Discovery Session before the end of the year and after the New Year if you want to chat about systems you need set up or what kind of marketing strategy you may need created. Click HERE to schedule a time.

Sales Funnels Explained

What is a Sales Funnel?

For a coach and online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – don’t have a clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.

If you don’t understand this critical part of your business, it can means fewer sales, lower profits, and an unstable business.

sales-funnel

A Simple Sales Funnel

At its most basic level, a sales funnel consists of totally free content. A sales funnel may begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access for free and without giving their email address. This is considered to be the “top” of your funnel.

Next, you’ll have what’s called an IFO (Irresistible Free Offer) or lead magnet that requires an email address as a sort of payment in exchange for your free gift. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.

Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook, ecourse, or a trial membership.

Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your high-end offers at the bottom of your funnel.

How Your Funnel Works

If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.

Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the loyalest of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.

Your job, as a coach and business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers smoothly from the top (free offers) all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.

Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.

Sales Funnels for Coaches

Click here to register for this FREE ONLINE WORKSHOP on November 30, 2016!

What an Escape Room Taught Us About Teamwork and Business

About a month ago, when I attended my last mastermind retreat, we took a trip to an escape room. I had never heard of these before and I didn’t know anything about it until we got there. They had a number of themed rooms, and we split up into three groups.

We got locked inside of a small room (I think our theme was Inverse World) with a couple of flashlights and some light from a very dim bulb. We got very brief instructions. We read an introductory story on the wall. There were some posters on the wall, some other strange items on the wall, markings, a mirror, a lamp and a chess table hanging upside down from the ceiling, and then there were some chess pieces and a locked box. All we knew is that we had to find and solve clues to unlock the door to the next room, and altogether we had an hour to find our way out. We could only ask for three clues during that time.

inverse-world
Image from: http://www.lostcityescape.com

We had no idea where to start or what we were looking for, except that because of our theme, we couldn’t believe anything we saw or read, because it could be the opposite or backwards. We tried lots of different things. We all came up with ideas that we tossed around, discussed and tried. We struggled for a while without making any progress before we finally asked for our first clue. Then we struggled some more before we finally started to make progress.

We worked together to try to remember the different number sequences we were using, at one point standing in a line, each of us responsible for a different chess piece and number while one of our group members tried number combinations on the locked box. I think we asked for two clues in this first room.

Eventually, we got the door open and headed into the next room, where once again we were totally confused! We tried our best, but when we got stuck and just didn’t know how to proceed, we had to ask for another clue. Once we had a basic understanding of what we were supposed to be doing, it didn’t take us long to figure out the big contraption on the ceiling of the second room. That one is a bit hard to describe in a blog post. The last challenge we got stuck on and couldn’t solve, and we ran out of time. One of us had actually come up with the idea that would have solved it, but the idea was dismissed.

What do I know for sure? If I had gone in there alone, I never would have made it out of the first room and I probably would have cried! If there was no time limit, I would probably still be in there! I would have had to figure it all out myself and do it all myself. I would have become overwhelmed and stuck, unable to move forward and unable to see even the most obvious solutions that may be in front of me.

See where I’m going with this? Have you found yourself in a similar situation with your coaching business, either right now or in the past?

However, as a team, together we were stronger. We were forced to think outside of the box. We were able to lean on each other’s strengths, share different perspectives, strategize with each other, come up with different ideas to try and make progress toward our goal.

When we later discussed our fun and challenging experiences with the other two groups, we all came to the same conclusion. Together we’re stronger, and even if we didn’t get to the end result we were hoping for, it’s okay. We still made achievements to celebrate, and we learned a lot about working together as a team.

If you’re tired of trying to figure everything out on your own and doing everything yourself in your business, you may be interested in my new FREE comparison chart, “Understanding the Difference Between a VA & OBM: 5 Powerful Ways They Can Help You Grow Your Coaching Business Quickly!” Click this link to download it now

5 Ways to Be Seen as an Expert in Your Field

expertPeople prefer to buy products and services from people and brands that they know and trust, rather than from random strangers. To be seen as an expert in your field, you need to find ways to reach and educate your target audience, and create the “Know, Like and Trust Factor.”

The more often you can get in front of your target audience and demonstrate your expertise, the easier it will be to create that perception of being the “Go-To Expert” that you are.

Here are 5 ways to be seen as an expert in your field:

  1. Be Clear on Your Target Market and Your Message

You need to know who your ideal client is, right down to the tiniest detail. Are they male or female? What age group? What profession? What interests do they have? What are they struggling with? What solutions do you provide them for their struggles and what benefits do they see from working with you? Wrap this all up concisely in a 30-second (one or two sentence) elevator pitch. Be clear, be specific, and own it.  If you’re confused about what you do and who you work with, everyone else will be too.

  1. Create Amazing Content

Educate and entertain your target market by creating amazing content in the form of blog posts, short videos, teleseminars/webinars, your newsletter, and even your free gifts for listbuilding.

  1. Have a Consistent and Professional Social Media Presence

These days, pretty much everyone is using social media, including your target market. Figure out what platforms they are spending their time on and focus your attention there. Share your blog posts, your videos, tips, quotes, pictures, and the occasional promo. Attempt to engage your followers in conversation.

  1. Speaking – Make Your Voice Heard

Speaking is the fastest way to build the “Know, Like and Trust Factor” with your target market. Speaking in front of them on a stage is most effective, but you can also speak and reach them with your message through teleseminars, webinars, and interviews (podcasts, radio shows, telesummits).

  1. Testimonials

Gather testimonials from everyone you work with (even if they didn’t actually pay you). Provide them with a template as an example so you aren’t getting a generic, “She is a great coach and helped me so much.” You want them to explain specifically what they were struggling with and what results they experienced through working with you. Post the testimonials on your website, share them on social media, add them to your newsletters and sales pages.

Take every opportunity you can to get in front of your target audience and stay there, showing them the value of your expertise and services so they perceive you as the go-to expert. When they decide they are ready for help, you may be the first person who comes to mind!


VA-OBM-2a_transparentLisa MacDonald is an Online Business Manager and Techie Virtual Assistant who helps coaches, trainers and consultants with online marketing and technology so that they can have less stress, more time, and they can focus on making money.

Click here to download a FREE chart to help you “Understand the Difference Between a Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager: 5 Powerful Ways They Can Help You Grow Your Coaching Business Quickly!”

Sorry, Coaches. If You Build it, They Won’t Come!

alone_700x400

As coaches and entrepreneurs, many of you have probably heard this many times, and it’s true. If you build it, they won’t come.

You build your website. It’s awesome! You create your IFO (irresistible free offer) to build your email list, build a landing page for it and put an opt-in box on your website. You know it offers high value. You create products and add them to your website. You create your social media profiles and pages.

And then crickets. Nothing. You might get some followers on social media, but most of them are probably friends and family.

Now what? Who cares, except you?

You have a gift and talent to help people, and nobody even knows you exist.

Honestly, it takes time, patience, perseverance and consistency to become the go-to expert that potential clients flock to. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to make it happen.

How? There’s no one specific thing, although you may find that some methods work better for you and your target market than others. But generally, it’s a number of different factors and strategic activities that all send people back to your website and lure them into your sales funnel with your IFO, including the following:

  • Networking
  • Speaking events
  • Blog posts
  • Search engine optimization (your website and blog posts must be optimized for Google)
  • Social media activity
  • Advertising
  • Free teleseminars/webinars
  • Joint venture activities

So, no, if you build it and do nothing with it, they won’t come. You need to build the “Know, Like and Trust Factor” and drive the traffic to your site. You need to set up the aspects of your Client Attraction, Relationship and Sales Systems that will work together to help you reach your goals. If you want an online business with no limits and endless possibilities for growth, then sit in the driver’s seat and make it happen. Honestly, this is what separates the 6 and 7-figure coaches (and even the upper 5-figure coaches) with a successful online business from the hobby owners.

Ready to learn more?
Grab this FREE Cheat Sheet!

The Only 3 Systems You Need to Have a Successful Online Coaching Business

cheat-sheet-rep005

What Do Entrepreneurs, Pokémon Go, and Your Target Market Have in Common?

Pokémon Go

Just one or two days into all the Pokémon Go hoopla, and I was asking when the novelty would wear off because I was tired of hearing about it. I’ll be honest that it doesn’t interest me at all, even though I think I’ve finally figured out what it’s all about.

However, scrolling through my Facebook news feed, a video caught my attention. It was posted by NowThis and the caption was, “This Uber driver is taking riders on Pokémon Go expeditions.”

(Looking into it further, I found that the caption was wrong and he is not an Uber driver. I don’t know the specific details or legalities of his business.)

Pokémon Go was released and everybody went crazy over it. Tom Larkin saw a business opportunity to help people catch Pokémon. He and his guide take them to Pokémon Hotspots for $10/hour. I’m sure he could easily charge more and he probably should be, considering gas, upkeep, and his time. He said within an hour his inbox was full of requests to take people to find certain types of Pokémon and to go to Poké stops to get Poké balls.

This is genius. This is entrepreneurship and total marketing genius!

He saw the new obsession, and he saw the desire for people to travel to catch Pokémon and get Poké balls. He was open to creative ideas, thinking outside of the box. They had a need; he had a solution for that need.

Of course, he’s not the only one. Ads are popping up on Craigslist, offering Pokémon chauffeur services to dedicated players. According to Polygon.com, “One driver says they’ll pick up drivers at a requested location and drive them around the city… This particular driver is charging $30 for the first hour and $20 for every hour after that. They will not, however, do anything illegal like stop in the middle of the highway, users must wear seat belts, and they’re not speeding.”

They also state, “One driver is offering free Wi-Fi so players don’t have to burn through their data plan while hunting Pokémon. They tout themselves as an experienced delivery driver and Pokémon trainer who knows all of the best local locations and can take players to gyms they didn’t even know existed. This driver is also charging $30 an hour…”

Obviously it’s much safer to hire a chauffeur than for them to drive themselves around, causing an accident while trying to capture a Pokémon (using a phone while driving is illegal in most places), but are these Pokémon fans foolish to pay money to have someone drive them around so they can catch Pokémon and get Poké balls for a game? Well, probably, but that’s not really for us to decide. People will find money for things that they want and for things that motivate them, and it’s up to them how they decide to spend that money.

These drivers saw an opportunity arise and quickly took action. They are very clear on who their target market is, what their needs are, what solution (service) they can provide to them for that need, they knew where to find them, and they clearly marketed their services to them.

Apparently, we can learn something useful from this Pokémon Go craze after all, as well as gain inspiration.

As a coach, how can you be creative and think outside the box in your business? Are you clear on your target market, what their needs and pain points are, and how you help them or fill that need?

Do you consistently relay that clarity to your target market in your marketing – your elevator pitch, your website, your blog posts, your social media profiles/pages AND activity, your videos, your free gifts or lead magnets, your emails and newsletters, your landing pages, your sales pages, and your teleseminars and webinars?

Be clear. Be consistent with your messaging and marketing activities. Think outside the box. Look for new opportunities. Be clear. Be consistent.

Are You Slacking Off? Can Your Business Run Without You?

sorry-closed

As I write this, it’s summer. The sun is shining, the weather is warm and, if you’re like me, you just want to spend time outside doing the activities you love! You probably want to spend the summer vacationing, and rightly so. You should—BUT only if your business can run without you. Just because you’re vacationing doesn’t mean you should close down your business during that time. That’s the WORST thing you could do.

So come clean. Are you slacking off in your business right now? Why are you slacking off?! How is this beneficial to your business in the long run?

Your business finances reflect your activities of the past 60-90 days.

If you close your business down for the summer or part of the summer because you want to vacation and you assume nobody works during the summer months anyway (which is wrong), you’re going to be in for a big disappointment come fourth quarter when you look at your income totals!

How can you take the much needed and desired time off without taking a nosedive in the fourth quarter? You plan for it. You design it. Just like you schedule your coaching calls, programs, and launches around your vacation schedule, you make sure you have a team in place to keep your business running for you while you’re relaxing on the beach or camping. Depending on where you are in your business, your team could be one virtual assistant, or it could be an online business manager and several virtual assistants.

You make sure the marketing doesn’t stop.

Your team can continue to send out your newsletters and emails, they will keep your social media accounts active, they will keep promoting your products and services, they can prepare the set up and promotions for the upcoming teleseminar/webinar you may be hosting when you return (or that you may “pop in” and host during your vacation), and they can address customer service issues and questions in your absence.

If your team is smart and savvy, they can automate most of the marketing, scheduling it ahead of time, and they will be able to take off some much needed time as well.

You don’t stop marketing just because you’re vacationing. If anything, it should increase so you can ensure growth continues and you can finish the year with a strong fourth quarter, meeting or surpassing your income goals for the year.

What are you doing this summer? Have you properly prepared your business for summer vacations and a strong fourth quarter? Tell me in the comments below.


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How to Send a Video In an Email or Newsletter

I’m often asked how to attach a video to an email message or newsletter so someone can open the email and play the video, and I promised previously to address this.

Well, it’s not as simple as just uploading or attaching a video file. Email browsers don’t have the capability of actually playing videos within an email! However, you can sort of trick the reader into thinking there’s a video there so they will click on it and be taken to the video’s location.

Video Location

Where will the video’s location be? It could be any number of places: Your website, YouTube, Vimeo, AmazonS3, and any other online location, including social media sites and cloud storage.

If the video is on your website, it will likely be stored at one of the other locations listed above (most often YouTube, Vimeo or AmazonS3). NEVER upload a video directly to your website’s hosting account. Videos take up a lot of bandwidth, and some people have found themselves having to pay overage fees to the hosting company or, in some cases, having their account suspended! Always upload your video to a third party location and embed it on your website.

To choose a location to send people to when they click on the pseudo video in your email, you’ll want to consider your goals of sending the video and what you want them to do afterward. Unless your purpose is to send people to YouTube or some other social media network to comment or take action there, I always recommend embedding the video on your website instead. Why?

  • Your website is yours, has your branding, and has a more professional feel (hopefully!).
  • You have better control of the person’s attention and actions. If they are watching your video on YouTube and you ask them to go to your website to do something after watching the video, that’s an extra step and they’re not as likely to do it. They are also very likely to get distracted and start clicking on other people’s videos, forgetting all about you.
  • On your web page, you can offer a specific call to action (click the link below, opt-in below, register now, etc.). You guide them as to where you want them to go and what you want them to do.
  • Sending them to your website increases traffic to your website, which could possibly help you in search engine rankings.

Some email marketing systems do have a feature of “embedding” the video, either through an embed code or direct URL link. I don’t recommend this in most cases because you’re usually still sending them to some place like YouTube to watch the video.

Presenting the Video in the Email

So now that we have the location established, how do we go about presenting the video in the email so it looks like a video? Here’s what I like to do for myself and my clients:

  1. After I embed the video on the web page and have customized the page the way I want it, with a call to action, I take a screenshot of the still video on the page with the YouTube play button overlay on the video thumbnail. If you have already played the video, you may need to refresh your web page to see it.
  • Hit the Print Screen (PrtScn) key on your keyboard.
  • Open up the Paint program (for Windows users, you can find this by going to your Start menu, click on “All Programs,” click on “Accessories,” and then click “Paint.”
  • Click “Paste” or press the “Control” and “V” keys on your keyboard at the same time.
  • Click “Crop” and then click and drag your mouse/arrow to outline the area that you want to crop (the video image). Click “Crop” again.
  • You may want to resize before saving. Click “Resize” and choose “Pixels.” Make sure the “Maintain Aspect Ration” box is checked. Approx. 500-600px wide is a good size for most newsletters and emails.
  • Click “Alt” and “F” keys at the same time, and click “Save As.”
  • Choose JPG or PNG.
  • Give it a file name and choose a location/folder to save it to on your computer.
  1. Now you just need to upload the image to your email or newsletter as an image, the same as you would any other image, and center it.
  1. Be sure to link the image to the location you are sending people to watch the video (usually the web page you have embedded the video on). The method of doing this varies depending on your email marketing system, but often it’s by clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link.

Voila! Now you have what appears to be a video in your email, and people will have that urge to click on it to hear what you have to say.

So, it wasn’t as easy as just uploading or attaching a video file to the email, but it’s really not that hard either. Just a few extra steps to go through to get the result you’re looking for.

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