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The Importance of Listening to Your Audience Well

I recently announced over on my MoneySavingMom.com Instagram account that I’m bringing back my live Instagram morning show. This is something I used to do back when Periscope was still in existence and my audience loved it, so I thought it might be fun to bring it back on Instagram Live (IG live) and then post it on Instagram TV (IGTV).

And I had strategy in mind, too. You see, I’ve been noticing that Instagram is really rewarding people for uploading videos to IGTV. Not only are they promoting these pretty upfront and center to your current followers, they’ve also been showing these videos in the explore section of the app and pushing them out to a new audience.

I felt like this would be a way to serve my current audience and also be able to get in front of a new audience on Instagram — with very little extra effort (the only time involved would be the minute or two it takes to upload the video to IGTV).

My initial thought was that I was going to just do the morning show live on IG live and then I’d delete it and upload it to IGTV. I personally don’t watch almost any IG Lives ever and I thought they just cluttered up people’s feed. So I assumed this would be a way for me to allow people to watch them live and watch the replay without cluttering up their feed.

I told people on Instagram stories that this was my plan (as that’s what I thought would work best) and I literally said, “If you hate this idea, please let me know.”

Well, let me tell you… my audience showed up and gave their very strong (but very helpful!) opinions about this decision.

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3 Reasons You Should Still Have a Facebook Account

I recently received a question asking, “Is it still worth it to have a Facebook account for your business?”

My answer? Maybe, maybe not. I really depends on your audience, where they’re hanging out, and what kind of content you’re producing.

Unfortunately, we’ve really seen the power of Facebook decline over the past few years and I no longer see it as important as it used to be.

Once upon a time, Facebook was the driving force behind MoneySavingMom.com. But our Facebook numbers have continued to plummet with each passing year.

That being said, there are still some really great reasons to have a Facebook account for your business. Here are the top three:

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How to Easily Know What Keywords Your Blog is Ranking For

How to Easily Know What Keywords Your Blog is Ranking For

Guest post by Micah Klug from HomeFaithFamily.com

When was the last time you used your phone for directions? If you’re anything like me, I’m guessing it was pretty recently!

Let’s say you pulled up directions to your local grocery story. Did you do a search for the exact address or for the store’s name?

Most likely, you searched for the store’s name. Why? Because even though you don’t know the exact address, you know where you want to go!

The organic traffic to your blog — also known as search traffic — works very similarly to this.

When people go to Google to search for an answer to their question, they might not input your exact blogging URL, but they will search for specific keywords that end up sending them to your blog! That’s because people are searching for answers to their questions using specific keywords.

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5 Practical Ways to Market Your Direct Sales Business Through Blogging

Blogging is a great way to market your direct sales business! These practical tips are super helpful!!

Did you know that blogging and social media can be one of the best ways to market a direct sales business? In this post, I’m going to give you five strategies to grow your direct sales business through blogging and social media.

{Note: Please make sure you are allowed to have a blog and use social media with your direct sales business. Many businesses have very, very specific rules on what you can and can’t say and do online. If you know for sure blogging and social media is allowed, then continue reading! If not, please do your own research to make sure it is allowed.}

1. Focus on growing your e-mail list.

You should always, always think of your blog or online presences as a way to grow your e-mail list.

Why? When you can contact people directly through their inbox, you’ll see SO many more conversions! You can use your e-mail list in really powerful ways if you have a direct sales business or a product to sell.

In the beginning days of blogging, I rode the social media and Facebook wave and I didn’t worry about an e-mail list. This was a HUGE mistake! I was so dependent on traffic from social media that when all the algorithms changed a few years ago, my traffic tanked.

I can’t stress it enough…your e-mail list is SO important! Whatever you’re doing online, always keep in the back of your mind how it will eventually help get people on your e-mail list.

2. Show how you use your product in everyday life.

Your business will be so much more successful if you focus on helping and serving people and not just selling a product. Think of your product as something that is meeting a genuine need for your target audience.

Don’t just tell people about your product…SHOW them with your own photos! People want to be shown how something is going to change, impact, or better their life.

For example, if you’re selling essential oils, show them how you’re using essential oils to clean your kitchen, make your house smell better, feel more calm, etc. Include your own photos of how you’re using the essential oils throughout the day.

Show your audience how the product is changing your life and how it could change theirs, too.

3. Talk about the why instead of telling people to buy.

You should only be selling a product that you truly, honestly believe in — that has impacted your life in some way and you are really passionate about seeing it change others’ lives, too!

And if you really believe in the life-changing power of your product, it will pretty much sell itself. Because when you focus on the WHY, the product will speak for itself and you won’t even have to convince people to BUY.

Give them the WHY. Why do you love this product so much? How has it changed your life? How will it change others’ lives?

Tell people why it will impact/improve their life — how it will give them more energy, save them money, save them time, etc. And be sure to tell stories about how it’s changing other people’s lives, too!

When you focus on the why instead of telling people to buy, this is a win-win situation. People will have SO much more trust in you when you aren’t bombarding them to buy your product.

4. Use video as much as you possibly can.

In addition to using your own photos to show people how a product will change their life, you also want to be sure to use video as often as you can.

Blogging is great and it can be your hub, but you’ll also want to branch out and utilize social media to get people to come to your blog and eventually build your e-mail list. There is so much potential to use video on social media these days — YouTube, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Instagram TV, etc.

When you use video, you are making an extremely personal connection with your audience. So don’t be afraid of live video. Put yourself out there!

Here are a few examples of how you could use video effectively:

  • Show people your outfit ideas with LuLaRoe
  • Do a tutorial with makeup tips using Mary Kay makeup
  • Make a recipe in your kitchen using your Pampered Chef cookware
  • Talk about your favorite essential oil diffuser recipes with your doTERRA or Young Living oils

And often times you can take a little bit of time to create a video and maximize it in multiple ways!

For example, you could do an Instagram Live video and save it right after you’re done. Then you could upload that to Instagram TV, YouTube, and Facebook to have the video in multiple places! You could then do an Instagram Story that showcases 3-4 frames of what you talked about in the Instagram Live and link over to it!

{I highly recommend trying Instagram TV, because that pushes your video to people who aren’t already your followers on Instagram!}

5. Give away freebies.

People love getting things for free, and a freebie is a great way to get people on your e-mail list!

Create a freebie that will attract your ideal customer and an easy URL landing page that people can go to and sign up for it. When you’re on live video, promote it! Even if you don’t yet have the swipe-up feature on Instagram Stories, the easy URL will make it simple to tell people where to go.

(You can create landing pages with Lead Pages, Mad Mimi, Constant Contact, or Mail Chimp.)

Need some examples of freebie ideas? You could create a:

  • Free printable with seasonal makeup tips if you sell Mary Kay makeup.
  • Free printable with essential oil diffuser blends if you sell doTERRA or Young Living oils.
  • Free printable with your favorite recipes or kitchen tips if you sell Pampered Chef.
  • Free printable with capsule wardrobe ideas if you sell LuLaRoe.

Whatever it is you sell, give your audience a free download to sign up for your e-mail list.

If you’d like me to give you some step-by-step help to grow your email list, check out Build Your List 101.

In this course, I take the mystery out of building your list so you can start getting excited about growing your audience (and your income!) using simple tips and strategies that have made such a difference in our business!

Build Your List 101 is an easy-to-understand multimedia course with text and video lessons + bonus video tutorials teaching strategies to help explode new bloggers’ list growth! Find out more about it here.

What suggestions or advice do you have for someone who wants to grow their direct sales business with blogging or social media?

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Don’t Know What to Write About

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Don't Know What to Write About

Beth recently wrote in with this great question:

“Hi Crystal. I would like to get out of debt so that we can better save and maybe travel. My problem is that I’m stuck on what to write. I sit down and nothing comes to mind. How do I find what to write about? Thanks for challenging me to put this in writing. -Beth”

Beth: I want you to know that you’re not alone! I think everyone has times when they struggle with knowing what they should blog about — whether that’s just on a particular day, during a certain season, or as they start the process of setting up their blog and begin to think of planning posts to write.

Maybe you are starting a blog but you’re not sure what the topic should be, or you have your blog set up but you can’t figure out what to write about, or you’ve been blogging for a long time and you don’t love what you’re currently blogging about. Please know this: all writers have times when they struggle to figure out what to write about.

When you’re not sure what to write about, here are 10 questions to ask yourself:

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Black Friday Deals for Bloggers 2018

It’s Black Friday weekend and that means that there are some amazing deals on some fantastic products for bloggers. We’ve rounded up some of our very favorites below on products that we love and highly recommend. (Note: These are affiliate links — if you click through and make a purchase, we’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you!):

LeadPages is offering a really fantastic deal for Black Friday! You can try them out for 60 days for just $1!! We use Leadpages to quickly create marketing campaigns and sign-up pages that are so simple to put together and convert really well.

With this offer, you can get started with Leadpages for just $1 and use all the features of the Pro level account for 60 days. (By the way, with the Leadpages Pro Plan, and its 150+ flexible templates, you can create as many mobile-responsive landing pages to build your list faster and make more sales!)

Note: At the end of 60 days, you can choose to continue on with LeadPages or cancel your account. This is a great way to test LeadPages out to see if it would help you build your list and increase you income and engagement.

WP Engine – Get 35% off of your first month with WP Engine, a WordPress hosting company bringing some of the best hosting plans for WordPress sites. This is a really robust hosting services and has come highly recommended to us. Just use coupon code cyberwpe2018 during checkout to get this deal. This sale is valid through Monday, November 26, 2018.

Bluehost –I recommend using Bluehost if you are new to blogging and/or just need a robust site with great customer service. I used Bluehost for a few years when I was first blogging. I no longer use it now that my sites have a lot of traffic and we need more personalized and customized service. But Bluehost is a great fit for small to medium-sized sites.

For Black Friday weekend, they are offering an introductory offer where you can get their hosting services for $2.65/month for the Basic Plan, $4.45/month for the Plus and Choice Plus Plans, and $9.95/month for the Pro Plan. Go here to find out more.

WP Forms is offering 60% off all of their WPForms plans through November 30, 2018. This is a powerful drag-and-drop form builder that is perfect for beginners. This is great if you need/want to put robust and customized contact forms or other forms on your site. Go here to shop the WPForms Black Friday sale.

Elegant Themes – Check out Elegant Themes’ mega Black Friday event — they are giving away $500,000 in free prizes and offering their biggest discounts of the year! We use Elegant Themes’ Divi theme for our courses and LOVE it! The sale starts November 23rd and lasts for 3 days.

And don’t forget about our HUGE Black Friday sale where we’re offering 50% off all 12 of our courses!

See all the details of our 2018 Black Friday Sale here.

Psst! If you’re not signed up for our affiliate program, you can sign up here and share your affiliate links with your followers (using some of the tips I share below in this post) and make 50% commissions on any sale generated through your link!

Black Friday Sale Pricing — Our Best Prices of the Year!

Here are all of the courses included in the Black Friday sale + the price you’ll get with the coupon code:

Want to purchase more than one course? Go to this page and you can add multiple courses to your cart at one time.

Don’t forget, use coupon code BF2018 to get the 50% off pricing. This coupon code is valid through Monday, November 26, 2018.

Know of any other great deals out there for bloggers? Share with us in the comments below!

How to Make More Money This Weekend (plus a HUGE sale!)

Black Friday is in two days and this is an amazing time of year to promote some of your favorite deals and sales. It’s one of our biggest earning times of the year and I can’t stress enough how fantastic a time of year this is to share deals with your blog readers using referral or affiliate links — especially if they are deals on great Christmas gift ideas!

I’ve got 4 proven tips to help you make more money as a blogger during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, but before I share those, I wanted to let you know that our HUGE Black Friday sale is LIVE!

See all the details of our 2018 Black Friday Sale here.

Psst! If you’re not signed up for our affiliate program, you can sign up here and share your affiliate links with your followers (using some of the tips I share below in this post) and make 50% commissions on any sale generated through your link!

Black Friday Sale Pricing — Our Best Prices of the Year!

Here are all of the courses included in the Black Friday sale + the price you’ll get with the coupon code:

Want to purchase more than one course? Go to this page and you can add multiple courses to your cart at one time.

Don’t forget, use coupon code BF2018 to get the 50% off pricing. This coupon code is valid through Monday, November 26, 2018.

And now for my best tips on how to make more money this weekend…

My Top Tips for Promoting Black Friday Sales

1. Share your personal experience with a product.

Talk about how it has impacted you and why you think others should buy it. Don’t just say: Here’s a sale you should check out.

Nope, tell people exactly how this product is going to make a significant difference in their life. Don’t tell them that they should buy; convince them as to why they should buy it.

Some questions to ask yourself as you write posts/do Facebook Lives & IG stories/put together email newsletters about products:

  • What problem did this product solve for you?
  • How did this product meet a need in your life?
  • How did this product impact you in significant way?
  • How will people benefit right away from buying this product?

2. Send out an email newsletter about this product/sale.

Blog posts and social media posts can be effective, but they will never hold a candle to how an email in someone’s inbox will convert. Don’t be shy; write and send out emails to your email list. (Be sure to keep this in mind when you write your email newsletters.)

Pay special attention to your subject line — that’s what’s going to convince someone to actually open your email. And then make sure that you write an email newsletter that is both interesting but also compelling.

Maybe start by sharing a story of something personal and then tie in the product to that story. Finally, close with

telling people how the product will impact their life (bullet points can work great for this!) and why they should buy this weekend because of great sale.

Be sure to include a clear Buy Now button or Click Here to Buy Now type of live link at the bottom. Make it incredibly easy for people to take advantage of the sale!

3. Talk about the product on a Facebook Live or Instagram Story.

You guys, I know that I sound like a broken record, but live video is where it is at. It’s one of the most effective ways to convert sales — in an incredibly organic and engaging way.

Seriously, you gotta try FB Live and IG stories. I know it’s scary. I know it’s outside your comfort zone. I know that it takes practice. But it really, really works. In fact, oftentimes, live video will beat out or match the conversions we see when we send out email newsletters.

Plus, the more you do it, the easier it gets. For real. (I never, ever thought I’d fall in love with live video. But I have!)

As always, the more you can point people to your own personal experience with a product, the more you can promote the specific benefits of a product, and the more you bring your own unique voice, the more effective your promotion will be.

A few tips for live video: make sure that you are personable (use people’s names if they are leaving comments), have a simple outline, be interesting and overly enthusiastic (it translates to energy on the camera), make your call to action very clear, repeat it multiple times, and use your affiliate link in your teaser text on FB Live and in your bio on Instagram (if you don’t yet have the swipe up feature).

4. Promote the product/sale in multiple ways.

For instance, when I promote our Black Friday sale and Cyber Monday sale on my products to my audience, I will do multiple blog posts, multiple Facebook Lives, multiple Instagram stories, plus I’ll send out multiple email newsletters and post on Facebook.

I know that might seem like overkill, but remember that not everyone follows you on every platform, not everyone logs into every platform every day, and all platforms now have algorithms in place so not everyone who follows you on them sees all of your posts.

But more than that, what I’ve seen to be so true is that people need to hear about something multiple times before they will decide to actually get up and take action! 🙂

What I Am NOT Saying To Do

Now, I’m not saying that you should post the same photo five times on Facebook. That would be boring and would frustrate people.

What I AM saying is to get creative and come up with multiple ways you can promote the sale — focusing on different aspects of the product, sharing it from different angles, sharing a quote photo that you can weave in a message about the product, sharing a picture you took of the product, sharing a video where you talk about how the product has impacted you, and maybe sharing a post specifically about the sale (this is usually most effective during the last few hours of the sale).

Any time I’m planning to promote a product in earnest on my site/social media, I will sit down and brainstorm ideas for different ways I can promote it, different pictures I can use, different angles I can approach it from, different features I can focus on.

Then, I think about which platform is best for which type of promotion and then I map out a plan for promotion where I write down each idea and what day and what platform I’ll use.

This really helps me so that I’m able to promote the same sale over and over again without frustrating or boring people — and it also helps me to not fall into a creative rut.

Now it’s your turn to get out there and make some great commissions! I’m cheering for you and your success as an affiliate this weekend.

And don’t forget to go use coupon code BF2018 to get 50% off all of our courses!

P.S. Our Black Friday Sale is our best pricing of the entire year! I don’t want you to miss this opportunity to grab some great deals on blogging courses and other courses to help you be more organized, calm, and intentional in your every day life.