Toward the end of last year, I invested in some photography for the business.
Side note: I highly recommend original photography for your marketing. It makes your website and all of your marketing materials more authentic. And it’s relatively inexpensive for the return it gives.
Landen Conner Photography came highly recommended by a friend I trust.
At the end of our time together that day, after he had captured the shots I had requested, he encouraged me to do something fun. He thought it would illustrate my purpose of creating a profitable business that would let us all do more life.
Walk the talk, right?
We were at a resort/conference center. So we looked around for anything that looked like doing life.
One tiny problem. I had just finished speaking at SENPA’s SOHO event. So, I was in a business suit. Not the best attire to appear like I’m taking time off to lounge by the pool.
However, we found a frozen, indoor world of winter…with a huge slide made of ice.
My eyes immediately lit up like a kid’s at Christmas. I NEEDED to slide down that slide, suit and all.
So, I grabbed what looked like a pool float, and I marched to the top with the rest of the children. There was one dad whose little girl wouldn’t go without him. Other than that, I was the lone adult in the pack, and I had no child for cover.
When it was my turn, the teenager in charge of my safety remarked that I had chosen the child-sized inner tube, so I’d better hold on tight. (There was more than one size?!???) Then he pushed me, and I laughed all the way down…especially as I worked myself into a standing position in my heels at the bottom.
Was it useable?
Landen caught it all via photo and video.
I had a blast, but would I really use that for my business?
When I took my own advice a few weeks ago, I made myself a cup of hot chocolate, and I reflected on what worked and didn’t work in my business in 2022, financially and in marketing activities.
There were several items I and the team had created that were unused and even more that were underused.
And yet, thinking about gardening, I know that some of the best things for my garden end up chopped down and thrown into the compost heap.
I weed things out of my garden during growing season, or I cut off the excess. And instead of trashing them, I put them in a big pile. Because I know that big pile, with time, converts itself into nourishing cover and fertilizer for my garden beds come winter.
So, how do I apply that to my business?
Let’s talk about repurposing and making use of the “refuse.”
I did that in my article here. I wrote a story about something I created but didn’t use last year.
(There are other lessons there about trusting the experts like Landen, or just having fun sometimes, but for now, we’ll talk about repurposing what you haven’t used.)
In the yard farming world, this is how we prep the soil for the “rest” of winter. Use all the extra stuff you pulled out of your garden last year and put it to work.
No Effort is Ever a Waste
Did you know it’s unnatural for soil to be bare? If you think of wild forests, you’ll understand what I mean. While they get more sparse during winter, something always grows in the ground.
If you leave a garden bed untended in the winter, all kinds of weeds pop up.
The best farmers know to keep the soil healthy and weed free for planting season, it’s best to keep it busy all year long. That’s why they cover the ground with mulch or cover crops during winter. Both of these ground covers nourish the soil during the “dormant” season.
And compost makes one of the best mulches for creating a healthy environment for spring, summer and fall harvests.
That’s just another reason to love winter so much! You don’t have to work so hard. You can poke around in your discard pile from years past and find treasures you’ve already produced. Then you can put them to work for you.
Winter Action Tip # 2 – Put unused and underused content to work
1. Update and Republish older content.
Start with content that performed best. Remember in Winter Action Tip #1 you were reviewing & assessing. Take the best performing content on your list and update it.
Google LOVES when you update content on your website.
Updated content can mean a blog post from 5 years ago or any website page. Take a quick look in analytics at your most frequently visited content. If it’s 2 years old or older, update it. Give it a fresh story. Add a reference to pop-culture that’s current. Update any outdated statistics.
Here’s a great example from my website. I originally wrote our most popular blog article, “Contractions in Business Writing? And Other Marketing ‘Faux Pas” back in 2018.
Writing a new blog article takes me a few hours. Updating the contractions article? That only took 15 minutes. Huge difference.
Save time AND boost your organic traffic by updating your old stuff.
Here’s a quick video on how to republish an old article on WordPress.
2. Publicly Publish Content that Used to be Exclusive or Items you use for Internal Training
Have an online course that didn’t sell? Created internal training materials that your audience could use? Updated exclusive content? Send some of the old stuff out into the world to help people see you as the authority in your topic.
A mini-course and StoryBrand Guide Interviews from 2020 – 2021
Back in 2020, I started creating a couple of online courses. (Didn’t we all?)
One was a mini-course focused on identifying why your marketing message on your website wasn’t working…especially if you had followed the StoryBrand framework.
As part of that course, I spent time interviewing a few of my fellow StoryBrand Certified Guides. I wanted expert perspectives on the biggest mistakes they saw business owners make when implementing their marketing message on their website.
Since I was including those interviews as a bonus for purchasers of the mini-course, I didn’t want to release those interviews into the public domain. So, I made a few preview videos that could lead to the purchase of the mini-course.
Turns out, there wasn’t a ton of interest in the mini-course.
But guess what?!?!???
The time I spent creating the course was NOT a waste!
You know why?
Because putting that course together allowed me to organize our internal diagnostic checklist for why a StoryBrand message isn’t working. When people come to us saying, “oh, I tried StoryBrand, and it didn’t work,” my entire team now has a framework for figuring out what went awry. Which also allows us to put together a plan of action to get business owners the results they thought they were going to get when they first invested in the StoryBrand framework.
That means sometimes our clients have done most of the work, and we end up looking like rockstars by tweaking a thing here and there to create quick wins. Plus, the whole team knows how to do this now. The business doesn’t depend on me.
This year, we’ll be sharing that checklist with the rest of the world as a downloadable resource.
And we’ll be publishing the full StoryBrand interviews I had made with our friends.
As a matter of fact, here’s our full StoryBrand messaging interview with Alex Schauer of Schauer Co. She used the StoryBrand framework to increase sales by over 400% in just 4 months. In this full interview video she shares how they did it.
3. Use materials from old speaking gigs as lead generators on your website.
I mentioned at the end of 2022, I spoke at SENPA’s SOHO Event. At the event, I ran out of our printed handouts for working through your natural products website message.
Since the show, I’ve been asked for copies of the handout several times. As a result, we’ll be adding the handout to our website in the next month. And people in the natural products industry will be able to access the workbook after completing a form.
Reusing event materials as a lead generator is a great way to grow your email list. Plus, it gets the information in front of people in that ideal audience who weren’t able to attend the event.
4. Use content that worked well on one platform on another channel.
That high-performing blog post about contractions up there 👆? We’ll be sharing that on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube this year. All we have to do is put together a visual or two and make sure our summary fits the word count of the social platform. That gives us another week of posts in our 52 week content calendar. And we’ll only spend about 30 minutes making it happen. That includes updating the article. What a deal!
5. Look for any financial investments you made last year that you never really used.
If you’re like me, you always buy more books or online courses than you can use. Now’s the time to see if there are any templates or resources that could come in handy now.
Create a video book review for YouTube, or write a blog post about it. The key here is to continue speaking to your ideal audience. Share a few insights from the book you think they might really value. Create your content from their perspective. And use it to market what you do.
Break out the template from that online marketing course, and give it a whirl.
Those photos you had taken that have never seen the light of day? Update some marketing materials, social platforms, or pages on your website.
That message you created (ahem, with a StoryBrand guide…), it’s time to put it on your website, update your social profile, and add it to your business cards. Or get creative, but just put it to work!
(btw – THAT is the NUMBER ONE REASON a StoryBrand message doesn’t work. Sadly, you invested in it, but you never implemented it.)
If you spent money on it in 2022, did you get an ROI? If not, maybe it’s because you didn’t use it. Or maybe you only used it in one place or at one time.
How many times is too many?
I’m often asked how many times is too many times for repeating your message. There’s an old rule of 7 that’s oft quoted in the marketing arena. Until you’ve said it 7 times, you message hasn’t been heard.
There are other reports out there that suggest it’s now 24 times over 4 different channels.
The truth is, most of our clients aren’t using their message enough.
One of the easiest ways to tell if this is true is to identify the size of your ideal audience pool. And then you assess if you’ve touched all of that possible population even one time. Most of the time, we find our clients haven’t even scratched the surface here.
As an example, there are over 20,000 natural products retailers in the US. I’ve spoken with hundreds of those retailers. Hundreds!
To me, that feels like A LOT of people. In truth, that leaves tens of thousands of people in that demographic that I haven’t reached yet.
That’s true for most of our businesses. Get your message out there as often as you can and in as many ways as you can. I haven’t met a business who was overdoing this yet. That’s because usually those guys don’t need me. 😊
Easily Create Momentum for Spring and Summer
Those are just a few ideas for working less and reaping more this winter of 2023. Once you’ve done your winter assessment, you know what has worked and what hasn’t. Now, it’s time to put unused and underused assets to work for you. You don’t have to struggle. Find old things you can use this winter. The old will create momentum for spring and summer.
The work you’ve done in years before can nourish your business while you slow down and embrace this winter season.
p.s. – Sofa-gate update: the update on my living room furniture that I was promised on January 14th turned out to be that I would receive an update on my order by February 1st. Not sure I’ll hold my breath on that one. 😏 But it does make for a great open story loop, right? Stay tuned for updates in February.