In this episode, Susan Lassiter-Lyons shares the secrets to setting up a lead-generation system using email marketing that will generate leads automatically and get your prospects to know you, like you and trust you, so you can stay in front of your audience and make more money from your email list.
3 Key Points
Build a piece of pillar content, a blog post that only an expert could write.
Segment your list, so you market differently to your warm and cold leads with follow-up email sequences.
Stay in front of your audience by sending out emails every day (or more frequently than you are now)
:50 Ellen: Hi everybody and welcome to Episode 40 today my guest is Susan Lassiter-Lyons. Susan is an entrepreneur, investor, marketer and bestselling author. She’s accomplished a lot and here is just a little bit of what she’s done. She’s managed a private equity fund that delivers gains of over a million dollars to investors, an average of 12.88% return.
She advises real estate investors. The numbers are incredible; I’m not going to go through all of them, but she’s an Amazon number-one bestselling author of Getting the Money, The Simple System for Getting Private Money from your Real-Estate Deals. And most recently, she’s a founder and CEO of The Squad Agency, a marketing agency that helps online experts and coaches generate leads and close sales with her automatic audience system.
And she’s done more than $14 million in online sales since 2010 from her content-driven marketing strategy.
So, welcome to the call Susan.
[1:49] Susan: Thanks, Ellen. Great to be here.
[1:55] Ellen: Yeah, I’m happy that we connected through Suzanne Evans on a live call, and I was very impressed with just how smart you were, number one, and how well you communicated. And so, we had talked about, actually, email marketing and since you’re a bestselling author, obviously I want to talk about that, but you started out with investors, so how did that get into the Automatic Audience Marketing System?
[02:20] Susan: So, I first became an entrepreneur. I started my very first company back in 1999, and I was doing real-estate investing for myself and decided to open up a mortgage company that specialized in working exclusively with real-estate investors. And when you’re in business, as you know, you have to market yourself.
So, you know, you, you hang your sign and unfortunately, people just don’t blow your doors down. You have to put the word out. And so, I started studying everything I could to market my mortgage company and I really started like getting super excited about the online marketing strategies that I was learning about and realized very quickly the importance of building a list, an email list and meeting with that list regularly.
And so, you know, I know even like going that far back into the mortgage company, obviously, my core business was writing mortgage loans for people and raising capital and working with my investors and then loaning that money out so that they could, my investors could complete projects and so forth.
[3:32]: But every Friday it was what I called “Fun Friday” and that just meant one full day dedicated only to marketing. And so, as an entrepreneur, I’ve always been a marketer as well. I just think that the two are automatically mutually inclusive. I don’t think that you can be an entrepreneur or be in business for yourself and not be a marketer.
Ellen: Absolutely. Yeah.
[3:59] Susan: You can’t hand it off to somebody. You have to control it, you have to direct it. And I think that what I’m doing now, obviously I have two businesses: I have a financial publishing company, so I do still work with investors to teach them and train them about how to invest. But I still have my Fun Fridays, more fun days of the week. And so, I now have this marketing agency where I get to implement what we’ve learned and what works for us on the marketing side and help a lot more folks with their marketing efforts.
[4:32]: So that’s kind of how it all came to be. It sounds weird and disparate when you first…
Ellen: But, I love it. I love having entrepreneurs who are doing things that are outside the box. That’s like my favorite thing.
Susan: Yeah. And it, you know, it was kind of born organically, right?
Ellen: Yeah, yeah.
[4:49] Susan: Ends up happening is I’m marketing my own business, just kind of minding my business, and then other friends of mine and colleagues of mine kind of see what I’m doing and they’re like, “Hey, what are you doing over there? I saw that cool new marketing thing you’re doing. What’s that about? Can you do that for me?” So, I was doing this stuff already for friends of mine and one of my friends was like, look, I love you to death, but you really got to quit doing all this work for free, so please can’t I PayPal you some money. I was like, “Sure.”
Susan and Ellen (Laugh)
[5:17] Ellen: That’s a very common story by the way. You know, where people started doing it for friends or whatever with me. It was backward. I was already successful. And then, my friend would say to me, “Can you help me?”
Ellen: Oh, that’s funny. But, yeah, I was saying, one of the things I love about doing the podcast is just giving people other ideas, you know, things that they may not have thought of. Things that aren’t just the normal every day what everybody else says.
[5:42] Susan: Right. Absolutely. And the thing that I’ve learned through this entrepreneurial journey that I’ve been on for many, many years is that you are kind of a master of all trades, and you have to be. There are certain people, especially in corporate America who look at entrepreneurs and think, “Oh, you should be specializing.”
And if you’re not fully focused on the one core thing that you’re doing, then you aren’t giving your all to your business. And it’s like, well, that would be really cool if we were set up like Fortune 500 corporations, but…
Ellen: Right, with different departments. Right?
Susan: Exactly. Like, “Oh, well now it’s time for me to put on my accounting hat and today’s accounting day,” which is my least favorite day, by the way.
[6:26] Susan: The next day is time our maintenance day. Our maintenance day, and cleaning, reorganize the bookshelves on the desk and all that kind of stuff. So, it’s like you’re the janitor, you’re the marketer, you’re the bookkeeper, and then, at the end of the day, hopefully, if there’s time left over, you actually focus on the thing that you’re supposed to be doing anyway.
Ellen: Right. Or, the thing that you love doing that you don’t have much time to do, one of the two.
Ellen: Yeah. Yeah. So, tell us more about the Automatic Audience Marketing System.
[7:01] Susan: Sure. So, the Automatic Audience Marketing System is if I was going to think of another name for it, I would probably call it the Micro Funnel System. So, what is the one thing that every online entrepreneur needs? And that’s leads, right?
Susan: So, in the context or in the shoes of like an author, for example. And we can kind of play that one out. If you’ve written a book, you’re an expert in some subject matter. And so, just by virtue of you having a book, you are a content marketer. So, congratulations. If you didn’t know you were, you are. Typically, people write books because then they want to stimulate business, and spread the word, and gain reach for their programs and their services. So, for me, for example, when I wrote my book, Getting The Money, it was to attract real-estate investors to my coaching and training programs.
[7:59]: Well, putting the book out there is great, but there has to be a lead-generation effort that’s automated both on the front end and the backend in order for those leads to start coming in on an automatic way, so that you can start building your audience so that you are building that list and you actually have somebody to sell to.
So, the framework for the automatic audience is number one to create the content. And it’s all driven by what I call “a piece of pillar content”. It could be a really great blog post, it could be a podcast episode, it could be a video that you’ve done. And then, we try to figure out what is that one keyword of that key phrase that has a specific intent behind it that fits with your content. So, I’ll use an example of myself.
[8:54]: One of the very first micro funnels that I set up to build my automatic audience for my financial publishing business was we wanted to target people who were interested in learning about how to invest in royalties, royalty streams. So, I started searching for the specific best-intent keyword that I could. Not like “What is a royalty?” Because when we think of a searcher’s intent on Google, when somebody is like, what is a royalty? They’re kind of in informational mode right there. They just want to know what it is. But maybe if they’re searching for “how to invest in royalties,” well now the intent is a little bit different. And that is going to be somebody who has a need just beyond wanting to know what the subject is.
Ellen: They already know what it is.
Susan: They already know what it is and now they want to know how to implement that. That’s where I want to get them. And that’s a key component I think when people are doing like keyword research and stuff to kind of figure out ideas for writing articles and coming up with podcast episodes.
Ellen: And book titles.
[10:01] Susan: Book titles. Yeah, just not anything. You don’t really think about the searcher’s intent. I hear people saying, “Well gee, I put up a Google ad campaign or a Facebook ad campaign and you know, I had this keyword I was really pushing and nobody responded to it. It usually, when we break it down and kind of dissect it, it’s because they just got the intent wrong, right? Informational thing as opposed to a take-action thing.
[10:26] Ellen: Yeah. Or it’s the thing they’re not really interested in. That just happened to me. Like, I’m creating a funnel and I had a checklist for titles, and then, a course on writing bestseller titles, and then, I also had a course on writing a book. Well, what I found was like when I just did it to my list, when I sent it out to my list, they bought everything. But when I went to try to get other people that weren’t already on my list, they didn’t really already understand how it works. The title stuff didn’t really connect because their intent is “I want to write a book.” They’re not thinking, “I want to write a title.”
[11:09] Ellen: But I got that. It really is interesting because I also was just looking at my LinkedIn. I was going through my articles to see which ones people liked, which ones got the most engagement. And what I found really interesting was I had these two podcasts that I did, and they were sort of related in terms of what they were talking about. And one just went through the roof and the other hardly got any.
Ellen: Yeah. So, I was looking at it and going, “Okay, well what was the difference?” Like I know what the similarities were, but what was the difference? Why did this one get them and that one didn’t? And I think it was the keywords that I used. The intent was the same, but the keywords I used were not the same.
[11:55]: Susan: it’s definitely equal parts art and science when you’re…
Susan: So, the keyword-driven micro funnel is, we first pay attention to select that really great keyword, we build a piece of pillar content around it. And then, we set up a Google ad specifically for that one keyword. So, we’re not, you know, people set up campaigns and they’re targeting all of these keywords. No, one keyword or key keyword phrase that leads to the pillar content, which is usually a really great blog post about 1500 words.
And then, we have a content upgrade, which is the lead magnet or the thing that we want them to opt in for. And that’s how we build our list. And that’s the audience-builder component of the Automatic Audience Framework. So, first, we create the content, then we build the audience, and once they opt in then we make the sales.
[12:51]: So, that’s when we start with the email campaign with a specific strategy that I call “story selling”. So, when you just talked about the issue that you had where you know you put out an offer to your list and they buy everything, and then you put that same offer out to cold traffic and it’s crickets,
[13:10] Susan: That is also something that is totally taken care of with the automatic audience because your nurture campaign basically where you’re emailing your list and you’re selling in a story-based framework so that they get to know you, like you trust you. That’s how you warm up that list and how you develop that relationship with your list that’s going to allow you to take your business to the next level.
Ellen: Right, but actually shouldn’t you have two because like the ones, people who already know, like and trust me, those were sales. The ones that don’t or that are newer, it seems to me like newer subscribers would have to be in a different one.
Susan: Right. So, it’s segmented audiences for sure.
Ellen: Right, right.
[13:58] Susan: So, when somebody first stops in, and this is a big mistake that people make with email marketing is if you’re sending out, let’s say like weekly newsletters or email broadcasts or promotions is if a new subscriber just joins your list from one of these micro funnels.
And they have opted in for a specific type of information, like going back to my invest-in-royalties example, if somebody opted in, first of all, they clicked on an ad that said “Here’s how to invest in royalties,” because that’s exactly what they were searching for. And then they went to a blog post all about investing in royalties that encouraged them to opt-in for a content upgrade, which is a special report all about investing in royalties that goes deeper and they opt-in for that, now they’re expecting content about royalties.
[14:48] So if I just put them in my general email list, and I start just like talking to them like they’d been on my list forever, like the other folks, they’re going to be completely lost and confused. And that’s the last thing that you want is to confuse one of your brand-new subscribers. So, they go into that follow-up sequence, which is where it’s an automated sequence. That’s another component, right? That’s the final component of the Automatic Audience Framework where you’re communicating with them for a set amount of time just specifically about that thing.
But also, you’re giving them information about, like the broader context of what you do, what you offer, what your value is. So, that when that nurture follow-up campaign finishes, right? they are now kind of acclimated to what’s going on in your tribe and you can now start communicating with them with broadcast, right? You can put them into your regular newsletter sequence or you can put them into your other, promotional campaign sequences, but really tight with these micro funnels. And that’s why it’s so great for an audience builder because it allows you to just automatically segment your list.
[15:57] So now, like on the publishing side, for my financial business, it’s like we have a whole bunch of these micro funnels out there, building audiences for a lot of different keywords. So, we have royalty, people are interested in royalties. We have people who are interested in investing in dividend stocks, we have people who are interested in investing in revenue share deals. So, I speak to them all specifically about that specific topic for a couple of weeks or maybe even a month before I then kind of release them to the general population, as we say …and start communicating to them about everything that we do.
Ellen: So, how often do you in that month or whatever length it is, how often do you send an email?
[16:37] Susan: Well, I’m a big fan of emailing every day.
Ellen: Oh, okay.
Susan: Yep. So, if they’re in a follow-up sequence, then they get an automatic follow-up. That’s a daily follow-up. And we’re very clear when somebody ops in, it’s like “You’re opting in to get daily emails from us that are going to contain all sorts of information.” So, it should come as no surprise when they get that daily email. But I think for engagement and to kind of shorten or flatten the time from lead to sale, I think that more communication the better.
Ellen: And do you have any tips on like what to say in those emails? Like I know sometimes, I’ve been saying the same thing for fifteen years now, so sometimes maybe I forget, you know what I mean? They’re new; they don’t remember anything I said before.
[17:28] Susan: Well, repetition is great and that’s a really great point because we’re the ones that are writing these emails, and so we know when we’re repeating something.
Ellen: Yeah, we have to remember that when you’re on the receiving end of that email when you look at your opens statistics, I think maybe… I run a pretty good operation where we get decent open rates and click-through rates. But I’m never going to come to a point where I get a 100% open rate on like a broadcast to my entire list.
Susan: It’s very, very rare.
Susan: So generally, like if I can expect like a 40% open rate on my email, that means that 60% of the people have missed it. So, if I think I’m being repetitive, oftentimes I just think that that’s through my own lens because I’m the one that’s putting it out there. On the receiving end, a lot of the times, unless they’re opening every single email from you, it’s not repetitive at all. And sometimes, they need that, sometimes the reinforcement of your messaging and your values so that you can continue to stay top of mind. And that’s what daily emails do for you.
[18:38]: Ellen: What do you find? Do you find that there are people that actually read them every day? I know when I get on a list that sends them every day, there’s no way I ever read all of them.
Susan: Yeah. I’m on the same lists too, and I’m on some people’s list who mail every day, some people’s list who mail like once a month. Yeah. I’ll you that the people that I engage with more often, and buy from more often, are the people who mail more often.
Ellen: Interesting. See, I don’t.
[19:08] Susan: The people who mail less often are not top of mind. Right? So, if all of a sudden, I’ve encountered an issue in my business, like a marketing issue or something that can be solved with a tool or a course or some specific knowledge that I need to be seeking out there, I’m not going to think of the person that sent me that one email last month that I can’t even remember what it said. I’m going to look at the one that’s right in my inbox. Like, “Oh yeah, this person knows how to solve that problem. And they’re the ones that are in touch with me often”, and so I’m going to reach out and see if they have anything for me.
[19:40] Ellen: Ah, that’s interesting cause with me, I guess there are certain people that like once I hook into them, I will continue to get their emails, but I still don’t read them every day and none of them are sending them to me every day. Cause I’ve found for me the ones that send me every day, I get off their list. I had this one guy, he emailed me every day for like a year and I was like, “Oh my God, let me out of here.”
Susan: Mmm, yeah. But you know,
Ellen: But like with you and, me and Suzanne Evans, like just ended up getting on her list. I’ve known her for years but I ended up getting on her list because she was in a giveaway, and she did a webinar, and then I got on her list from that. About a month later, she offered something else. But I don’t get emails from her very often. You know, I’m in her course as you are, but I still don’t get things like every day or anything.
Ellen: I wonder if once you bought something from someone, does that make a difference how often you get them or it’s still a matter of like what your mindset is? Cause like you and I obviously approach that differently. So, it’s interesting.
[20:46]: Susan: Yeah. No, I email list every day and I’ve done it both ways. This is a position that I’ve evolved to. Back in the day, probably my number one fear was people unsubscribing, ah, according spam. And so, I’m like, “Oh God, no, don’t email every day.” Right?
Ellen: Yeah, yeah.
Susan: Every day I’m like, “Oh my God, are you kidding me?” I’m going to piss people off. They’re going to unsubscribe. There’s going to be mass chaos. And everybody’s like, “Oh no,” and all this stuff.
No, I set the expectation, when they opt-in, I’m sending you daily stuff. Right?
Ellen: Yeah, yeah.
Susan: And that’s why I think this story-selling a concept is so important.
Ellen: So, they don’t feel like you’re spamming them.
Susan: Right. If somebody is just sending a promotion after promotion after promotion,
Ellen: Ah, right.
Susan: Offer, offer, offer, offer every single day, then yeah, I’m not going to read that. I’m going to unsubscribe too; I’m not an idiot.
[21:35] Susan: You have to send content that’s valuable, right? So, if I’m sending an email, maybe the Monday email is, “Hey, you know, here’s the latest blog posts that I put up and here are the four things you’re going to learn from it.” If I’m sending a Tuesday email, “Hey guys, this week’s podcast is up. Go and check it out.”
If I’m sending a Wednesday email, it’s probably going to have a story hook where it’s, “Hey, here’s a problem that I encountered” or something that happened to me. “Here’s the aha moment in that the thing that I realized, and here’s how this might benefit you as well.” And “Oh, by the way, if you’re interested, click here and we have some extra goodies or some stuff that may help with this.”
So, it’s a combination of kind of lifestyle stuff, informative stuff. Leadership stuff, because you do need to very much set yourself up as the leader and the influencer and somebody that needs to be paid attention to, not just somebody that’s going to be selling, selling, selling, selling. Cause that is gross.
[22:41] Susan: I looked at the environment that we’re in right now. When this podcast episode is being recorded, we are in the midst of a huge amount of turmoil in the stock market, right?
Susan: The virus is wreaking havoc. Cold wars between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Some people saying that the political response to the Coronavirus is kind of wreaking havoc because of confusion.
So, the markets are in a panic, and we have just ended probably one of the longest bull markets in history, and we have now suddenly entered a bear market. And so, it’s an unfamiliar place that people find themselves in. Well, if I have set myself up as the leader and the authority in investing in my people, and in the time when they need me the most, I just go radio silent. What does that say about me?
Ellen: Yeah. No, that’s not good.
Susan: No, they want to hear from me.
Susan: In fact, I email my people every day and I get people writing back saying, we want more information. Can you give us a couple of updates every day?
Ellen: Wow, that’s great.
[23:46] Susan: So, when you have this fear or this belief about your list, it’s usually coming from one of two places. Number one, your own belief, right? Whether you’re seeing it through your own lens of what you like and what you don’t like and what you want and what you don’t want.
And then, secondarily, you’re not setting the expectation. So, if you’re getting people on your list, and you’re like, “Hey, I sent you something” maybe once a week, and then you suddenly start mailing once a day, then there’s a mismatch there, and people will get upset. But if you set the expectation right at the start of the relationship that, Hey, guess what? This is how I communicate. This is my main mode of communication.
I’m not going to hit you up on Facebook. I’m not going to text you, I’m not going to call you on the phone. I’m not going to do any of this stuff. This is how we communicate: what’s happening in the markets, tips, strategies, leadership stuff, lifestyle stuff. I’ve got something for you probably every day, and I don’t want to hold back, I want to share it with you. And if you want to interact with me on that basis and be part of the tribe, come on in. And if not, then this is not the place for you. The people that are coming in know and expect regular, consistent email communication because I have set that expectation.
Ellen: Right. So, my question is how did you make that transition when you change from one to the other?
[25:10] Susan: It was just a communication with the audience, right?
Ellen: Just saying, “From now on, we’re going to do it this way?”
Susan” Yeah. So, it started first with my customers, right? the people who have purchased from me and are already in my programs, and so, I started seeding that and saying, “Alright guys, I’m going to ramp up some stuff.” It also, for me, coincided with a change, a shift in my business where I shifted away from talking about like active real-estate investing and I shifted toward more passive income investing. So, I already had a bunch that I needed to communicate to the broader list because of the shift that was happening in the business. So, it was a nice excuse to be able to reach out to folks on a more consistent basis and kind of over-communicate with them.
And you know, I basically just said, “Look, this is the way it’s going to be going forward and I’m going to be talking to you about different stuff a lot more often. And if you’re not into that, click here and let’s part friends. If you are into that, then buckle up buttercup because I got some cool stuff for you.” Yeah, I lost some people but you know, those people were probably,
Ellen:…not your people.
Susan: They’re never going to be along for the ride.
Ellen: Right, right.
[26:24] Susan: Never going to be attracted to the new investment model that I was touting. And so, it’s fine to shed those people. I regularly go in and prune my list, and if somebody has opened an email from me in like the last 90 days, then I unsubscribed them myself. You’re gone.
Ellen: They had a little tool and Infusionsoft (Keap), and it does it automatically, you can set it up,
Susan: Put it on the list; it’s a special list if you enable that for sure.
Susan: But yeah, people get too hung up on like the size of their list and …
Ellen: Yeah, and that’s not it.
[27:01] Susan: So, when I was really rocking and rolling in real estate, my list had about a hundred-thousand names on it and I was like really obsessed with the size of the list, thinking that as long as I kept adding names and just made it bigger and bigger than the sales and the revenue were just naturally going to follow. That didn’t always happen. Right?
Susan: Now I have a list of probably about 7,000 and this is the most responsive list I think I’ve ever had in my life.
[27:32] Susan: I think it’s because it’s more intimate, it’s more focused, it’s more segmented because what we’re doing with like our Automatic Audience Builders, and we’re talking to people about topics that really matter to them and we’re talking to them a lot more often so that we do stay top of mind.
Ellen: Nice. So, how do you schedule your emails? Like when do you write them? Do you write them in batches or …
[27:53] Susan: I do. I usually, if it’s a follow-up, If somebody opting in for one of these micro funnels for our audience, automatic audience builders, then they’re already pre-written and preloaded. So, they just automatically go out in an autoresponder.
Susan: But if I’m going to be sending out my daily broadcasts, I usually, every weekend and usually like sometimes Saturday afternoon, a lot of times on Sundays, as long as it’s not football season, I’ll sit down and kind of write out ideas that I have for emails for the upcoming week and kind of set a little schedule. Like on Monday I want to talk about this thing that happened. And Tuesday I want to talk about this thing, that you know is important.
[28:39]: And so, I kind of like do a little outline and maybe just like a couple of bullets for each one. But most of the time, I don’t sit down and actually write that day’s email until that day. Like, that morning, I know what I’m going to write about and the topics that I want to cover within that, but I want to keep it fresh and I want to keep it timely,
Ellen: Right, yeah.
Susan: In the situation that I’m in right now where I need to regularly communicate what’s happening in the stock market with people. If I would’ve had this stuff batched up and ready to go, I never would have talked about, “Hey, we’re now in a bear market.”
Ellen: Right. yeah. No, that doesn’t work for your business. Yeah. Your business, it wouldn’t work that way. But there are businesses that would, I could do that most of the time and it would work.
[29:18] Susan: Yeah. The majority of businesses, especially when you know, you’re setting up these like our automatic audience, these micro funnels, this stuff is all automated. It’s all set up. It’s all designed to attract the leads, build your audience, to deliver that content and to follow up with them on in an automated way for at least a couple of weeks on the back end so that they are now part of your warm list. Then you can turn it loose, you can do whatever you want. Talk to them how you would normally talk to them: invite them to webinars, podcasts, share all of your content with them, made your offers to them, whatever.
Ellen: Well, that is great. Like I said, everybody has to do what works for them, and I love listening to how different people do it. And what I love about what you shared is just how clear your system is.
[30:11]: Susan Yeah. We’ve stripped away all of the extraneous BS and we just focus on what works. And trust me, I’ve tried everything. All the people, “Oh, the big funnels, the big 90-minute webinars, the Facebook ads,” The blah, blah, blah. Please. I shed the stuff that doesn’t work, and I kept the one system that not only has worked and continues to work for me, but has worked and continues to work for my clients. And we focus only on that specific micro-funnel Automatic Audience System. And we can get from every micro funnel that we build, like from my own list, for example, these keywords that we’re targeting, they’re not like giant search keywords, right? Because we pay attention to that intent. So, if somebody is searching like “royalties”, well it’s probably going to get about 10,000 or 20,000 searches a month.
[31:05]: So, there’s potentially a lot of traffic. And a lot of times, people are tempted to go with that, but the intent behind that search is such that you’re never going to get the clicks. So, we drilled down and when we pull out that keyword, “how to invest in royalties”, maybe that keyword only gets like 150 searches every month. But I can corner the market on about half of those searches and get them to click through.
So, just from that one, low search volume, high-intent keyword, micro funnel, I can add, a hundred to 150 new leads to my list every single month.
Ellen: I hope people write that down. What you just said because that is so valuable.
[31:50] Susan: Yeah, and then it’s duplicatable. Right? Then you for the next like keyword-driven micro funnel you want to set up, “Okay what’s the next one we want to do? What’s the next one we want to do?” Luckily, I’ve structured my businesses in such a way that we have twelve specific investment topics that we talk and teach about. So, it’s just naturally segmented to be able to attract folks who are looking for information on how to do twelve different investing styles. So, I can literally go through my business, set up twelve of these micro funnels, one for each strategy, and be building highly segmented leads lists that roll up to my larger list, and just all of a sudden then, at the end of the year, you wake up and you’re like, “Holy cow, how did I just double the size of my list?” You know, I have thousands of people this year, and it seemed effortless. It’s because it was right. We’re able to set it up, and automate it, and create your audience.
Ellen: Well, I have another question for you. So, okay, let’s say you do a blog, and then that gets them into your list, how often would you do a new blog for that same strategy?
[33:02] Susan: So, the content plan is separate. So, when I’m thinking about what I’m going to write about and the kind of content that I’m going to put out there. I usually do that whole plan at the beginning of the year. And I figure out, “Okay, from my content plan, what is the number one thing that I want these people to do in my business? What is my core offer?”
So that’s typically the vernacular that people are going to put it in. “What is my core offer?” In my financial business, our core offer is to put people into our investment club. So, it’s a subscription, right? You can join it monthly or annually. And I know that at the end of the day, that’s the thing I want everybody in.
That is my core offer. So then, I say, “Okay, knowing that this is my core offer, like how am I going to get people there?” I plan out my pillar content. I’m going to have one kick-ass, in-depth, amazing piece of content for each topic that I want to talk about. And like I said, I’ve structured my business so that we have twelve, and that great pillar content is usually the format that I like the most is a really in-depth blog post.
My pillar content posts are anywhere from like 1500 words to like 1900 words, and they’re very detailed. So, people come to it and it’s not just like, a robot wrote it or…
[34:34] Susan: …somebody randomly Googled some information and wrote this post. This is a post that only an expert could put out. And honestly, it’s an actionable post where people could actually like read this killer content and they could implement the thing if they were like, so inclined, from that pillar content then which is keyword-driven by the way. So, I look at those broader searches right before, remember when I said I’m building out these micro funnels, I’m looking for that lower search volume, intent-based keyword.
Well, what I’m planning out pillar content, I want the maximum number of eyeballs organically possible. So that’s when I would target that bigger, broader key phrase like “royalties “as opposed to “how to invest in royalties.”
Ellen: So, you want the most people to read it, but then your banking that from those, your ideal clients are going to be the ones that actually click through.
[35:30] Susan: Right. Because there are two ways that you can attract people, right? With this content, the first way is organically. So, when I’m putting it up on the blog, I want organic search-engine traffic, that’s free. So, I want to have it rank right for that specific keyword, and I want the maximum amount of reach that I can possibly get for that from an SEO basis.
But when I’m paying for it. When I’m paying for impressions
Susan: …and clicks, right? paid traffic, I can’t afford, right?
Ellen: Right, right.
[36:05] Susan: …to pay for lookie-loo who’s just going to search for “royalties” and be like, “Oh, well that’s about how to invest in royalties. That’s not what I wanted.” I want to be very super clear, hyper-targeted when I’m paying for those clicks. And that’s how we keep the budgets way, way down,
Ellen: So, I’m still trying to understand, so you just run one until it stops converting or you’re still putting out a new one every month, or I’m not to understanding…
Susan: What? the campaign or the pillar content?
Ellen: The content.
Susan: No, the pillar content we just put out once.
Susan: So, that pillar post stays. And so, the only thing that we do with that is if it needs to be updated, then we’ll update it.
[36:48]: I have like the royalty, the main pillar posts that I’m mentioning about this, I wrote that post in 2017, so it’s three years old already.
Ellen: Yeah. But have you written any others on that same issue since then or just the one?
Susan: No, I have pillar posts for every main content category that I want to attract people for. So, I do pillar posts, and then from the pillar posts, we do micro-content. So, that’s where we would put up like memes, or Instagram posts, or stories on Facebook, or smaller blog posts, that kind of take a specific topic or strategy out of that broader pillar content and break it down right, so, that we can kind of do some interlinking that way, to get us some more organic reach.
Susan: Yeah. The content itself, when we’re talking about pillar content, I have a friend of mine who calls it “redwood content”. You know that it’s there and it’s not going anywhere for a really long-rooted.
Ellen: It’s rooted. It’s rooted.
Susan: Yeah. It’s rooted.
Ellen: Well this has been really great. Do you have any final tips before we wrap it up?
[38:08] Susan: Yeah, I would say, judging from the pushback that you, yourself gave me on the emailing schedule. I know that this is a big like mind trip for people who were like, “Oh God, I can only email my list like once a month or once a week,” or something. You need to get over yourselves, everybody. More is better. Make sure that you let your list know that you’re going to be sharing more valuable content with them, and the content, you do share with them, make sure that it is valuable. Make sure that you’re honoring their time and not just wasting it by giving them something that they could easily Google.
Ellen: Yeah, right.
[38:46] Susan: Write that yourself up as the leader. You are the influencer, you’re the one leading this tribe, and they’re going to be looking to you for these cues, and you need to stay top of mind. So, I would say make sure that you’re building your list. Always be building your list and growing your list because you always want to have a larger audience to be able to talk to and sell to, and make sure that you’re communicating with that audience regularly, more often than you think.
Ellen: Awesome. I didn’t mean to push back. I’m just saying I’ve done both too, and I just know how I react.
Susan: And that’s common.
Ellen: And I’ve done both; I’ve done both too. I didn’t want to make it sound like I haven’t because I have.
Ellen: Well that’s it for today. To get the transcript, go to www.booksbusinessabundance.com/podcast and if you’re interested in becoming a number one bestseller, you can pick up a copy of the Book -Writing Blueprint, How to Create a Fast and Easy Roadmap to Success and get started. And that is also on the podcast page. And to continue the conversation, be sure to join us in the Facebook group. That too is listed on the podcast page and you can ask questions there, delve deeper into today’s topic, share comments and takeaways. So, bye-bye.
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