BTS: Behind The Scenes

  • BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Hosting the first OMGrowth LIVE EVENT



    This is a transcript of episode 43 

    I’m Lanie Lamarre, I “can’t stop, won’t stop” when it comes to Post-It Notes – they’re everywhere in every shade of every color and I even have a box for the ones I’m done with that I call my Post-It Note graveyard – but today, we’re going to go back to the future – to last fall – when I hosted my first OMGrowth Live event. This is my (kinda late) behind-the-scenes episode to review what went well, what didn’t go quite as well, and what my takeaways are for my next event. (And spoiler alert: there will be a next event!)

    I’ve hosted a couple of virtual events – or what some may refer to as a summit but I didn’t want to call it that, and I’ll get into why in a moment – but I had never done one where it was 100% on me. I had an assistant helping me – who I’m eternally grateful to and for – but the decision-making and follow-through was all up to me.

    But I did have SOME experience with co-hosting and I had Summit In A Box – which, if you’re hosting a live event, it’s a total blessing to have such a drag-and-drop type of approach to getting everything you need in place and I’ll link to some of the free resources available to get started, in case events and summits are on YOUR radar.

    I still wanted to try some “out of the box” thoughts and ideas I had for this one, though. For instance, my All-Access Pass wasn’t what you usually see offered, and neither were the presentations that my speakers were offering.

    Let’s start with the All-Access Pass.

    OMGROWTH ALL-ACCESS PASS

    Now, typically, virtual events and summits are set-up like this:

    • People sign up to attend your event for free;
    • Those people are then offered an All-Access Pass for purchase.

    The All-Access Pass usually consists of long-term access to all the speaker presentations, as well as a bundle of products that are usually paid products from your speakers.

    So when you’re signing up speakers to speak at your event, you also ask them if they would be willing to “donate” one of their paid products to sweeten the All-Access Pass.

    Why would someone give their paid products away for free, you may ask?

    The idea is the everyone – or at least most speakers – will be contributing and this makes it easier for speakers to promote the event to their audiences and make a commission on the sales made from those promotions.

    It can also act as a great “intro product” to your bigger signature product because you essentially are building warm leads – people who are picking up what you’re throwing down – when they sign up for your offer.

    Sounds good, right?

    So yeah, I didn’t do that. I didn’t ask speakers to donate one of their offers and instead, I asked that they submit a workflow to accompany their presentation and my All-Access Pass was the usual long-term access to all the speakers and presentations as well as the accompanying workflows that would make it simple to follow along and implement what they had learned at the presentation.

    THE SPEAKERS AND PRESENTATIONS

    The presentations were also not typical of what you see at events and summits: I insisted on workshop-style presentations where attendees would actually be able to implement something after they had watched the speaker. There’s a time and place for delivering information – like this podcast, for instance – but I’m not a big fan of slideshows that have all this information you’re not able to take action on.

    My priority with this event was to deliver mega-actionable workshops.

    Which is why I insisted on the workflows: I wanted attendees to be able to listen in to what their chosen expert had to say and then have that workflow in hand to hit the ground running and actually implement something they could see some results from.

    And this is also why I chose the speakers I did: I had a list of topics – actionable, implementable topics – that I wanted to cover, and then I sought out speakers who could cover them. I know cultural diversity is a major focus when choosing your speakers but for me…

    Strategic diversity was a huge priority.

    There’s an endless conga line of marketing strategies you can learn and implement, and I didn’t feel like I would be delivering the value I wanted to be putting out there by having 6 people talking about Instagram just because they had a bigger reach.

    And that’s the other big “out of the box” thing I did: I never looked at or considered what the individual’s reach was and I focused solely on subject matter and expertise, My approach in selecting speakers was “could this person deliver a unique and actionable workshop?”

    I had twenty speakers total – again, this was my first solo venture and I wanted to make sure I could handle the workload with my assistant – so I felt very good and I’m very proud of my speaker line-up.

    We had a Google Search Console case study – which P.S. if you’re going to speak at a summit, I thought the case study approach was brilliant because you can actually connect with the information – we covered some newer marketing strategies like private podcasts and chatbots, we had some refreshing takes on evergreen sequences and email funnels and tripwires that aren’t gross and salesy, we covered how to self-audit your website for high conversion copy, we went over how to develop a contingency plan for a failing launch or sales plan… and each presentation came with a workflow that warmed my nerdy little systems-loving heart,

    Now, I’m not exactly sure if it’s just MY heart that’s nerdy and systems-loving or if maybe my messaging wasn’t effective, but the workflows didn’t go over quite as well as I thought they would.

    Let’s get into the numbers, shall we?

    THE RESULTS

    The registration page for OMGrowth Live – this is the page where people can sign up to the free event – converted at 38.4%. This means out of 1000 people who visit the free sign-up page, 384 people signed up.

    This isn’t bad but it does leave a lot of room for improvement and before I host another event, I have it on my list of things to do to get my pages audited to see where those potential improvements can be made.

    As for the All-Access Pass, we converted 7.2% of the attendees into buying an All-Access Pass and only about 1/3 of those came from affiliate sales made by the speakers.

    When I say things like “look at your conversion rates for opportunities to optimize”, this is a great example because these numbers tell me everything

    A conversion rate of 7.2% for attendees to purchase the Pass isn’t bad at all, but I do believe that if I had integrated the more “traditional” strategy of getting speakers to contribute offers to the All-Access Pass would have increased that rate.

    But the affiliate sales – meaning the sales that came from speakers promoting to their audiences – was surprisingly low and I have a few theories as to why:

    1) I didn’t take audience size into consideration when selecting my speakers and as a result, some of the speakers didn’t have the reach necessary to make significant sales.

    For the record, I don’t regret this choice and I will do it again. If someone has something to say that I haven’t heard before or whose message I believe needs a megaphone, I am 100% on board with featuring them. I do think I could do a better job of balancing reach with content, though, and by doing so, I would be in a position to provide those voices with an even more impactful megaphone so balancing reach with content is definitely a lessons learned for me;

    2) My event was held in the first week of October, which means promotions happened in September… and people have their own stuff to promote in September. Whether that’s onboarding new clients (because everyone seems to need more help then) or launching their own thing, speakers were putting themselves first – and I don’t necessarily blame them – but in my speaker agreement, I would include a “think about it” clause that would ask speakers to confirm that they don’t have anything else going on during the promotional period or they’re have the space to adequately promote the event, and I also wouldn’t put the promo period in mother-loving September again.

    Another thing I won’t do again: include a chat box.

    This is the 3rd time I’ve used one and it was NOT a charm. Every time I’ve included a chat box, engagement in said-chat box was incredibly low and this time was no different. It felt all-kinds-of-draining and I don’t think it delivered any value to the experience so here’s what I’m thinking for next time:

    1) Include a help desk type pop-up that people CAN use if they need to reach someone while the event is going on; but

    2) Maybe host a “once-a-day” live panel with some of the speakers and bonus gifts for attendees as an engagement motivator.

    I’m not set on this, but it’s where my head is at for next time.

    We had a few tech issues but nothing memorable – just irritating “in the moment” type of things – but again, we were incredibly organized and had done a good job of not only planning ahead but keeping things simple.

    For instance, instead of having an individual page for each speaker, we had a page for each day on which all the speakers presentations were made available. I would definitely do that again.

    I’m glad I treated this mostly as an experiment to figure out how I wanted to do things – instead of relying on “this is the way it’s done”, I was able to prove a few things to myself that I’ll take with me moving forward – and look, this is why I insisted on calling it a “live event”.

    People have an idea of what you get in a summit, right? And I was doing things a little differently. We didn’t have presentations; we had workshops and that’s a format I’m going to continue insisting on. The All-Access Pass was different and I will definitely veer on the “traditional” side of this moving forward – I think it’s just easier for speakers to market a bunch of courses and downloads than it is to incentivize purchasing a workflow bundle. And I can definitely do a better job of balancing audience reach with content and making sure that my speakers aren’t just able to deliver a great workshop but that they’re also available to promote and that I’M delivering next-level incentives for them TO promote.

    So I don’t have it all figured out yet but I did figure a lot of things out, and I’m looking towards Spring 2022 to host the next OMGrowth Live.

    If there are marketing strategies or tutorials you want to see, there’s some contact info for you in the show notes that I encourage you to use and reach out. Likewise if you attended OMGrowth Live and you had some things you liked and maybe liked-not-so-much – I love feedback, it’s my favorite improvement tool and that’s what these behind the scenes episodes are all about: showing you what I’m doing to improve and what I’m basing those data-driven decisions on so you can more easily identify your own opportunities for improvement.

    Please rate, review and subscribe to the OMGrowth podcast because next week – well, speaking of opportunities for improvement – we’re speaking to a guest who will edu-care us as to where the opportunities are for improvement when it comes to launching.

    CONTINUE READING

  • BEHIND THE SCENES: COLLABORATING ON A BUNDLE FOR LIST-BUILDING AND ATTRACTING NEW AUDIENCES

    This is a transcript from episode 24 of the OMGrowth podcast, published on April 28, 2021

    I’m stoked to be sharing another behind-the-scenes episode today because I recently collaborated on a bundle – which was my first time doing so – and I’m sharing how it went, what my results were for this list-building and brand awareness strategy, and what I learned in the process.

    My biz pal Kate Doster (Hostess of Inbox Besties) reached out to me in late-2020 to ask if I was interested in participating in a bundle she would be hosting, and I had never done one of these before.

    WHAT IS A BUNDLE?

    For the uninitiated, in this context, a “bundle” is when a bunch of digital product sellers collaborate by bundling their paid products together for either a very low price or, in this case, for free.

    Now, why would you give your paid products away for free?

    The goal of collaborating on a bundle is two-fold:
    1) to build brand awareness; and
    2) to build your email list.
    There was also the possibly to convert to sales but we’ll get to that later because there’s actually more to how this is set up.

    HOW A BUNDLE WORKS

    The idea with a bundle is that people can sign up for all of these paid products by clicking through to a landing page where they provide their name and email address.

    These new subscribers would then be sent a list of links where they could access the products from the bundle for a limited time. This master list of subscribers, if you will, are now signed onto the bundle organizer’s email address so whoever is organizing this event gets THE biggest number of new subscribers of anyone.

    Rightfully so because the organizer has a lot to manage: the landing pages, the opt-in sequences, the collaborators, the delivery of products, the inbox management and trouble-shooting throughout the bundle, and pretty much every little detail that needs to be coordinated and accounted for.

    However, the organizer isn’t sharing the contact information for all these new subscribers. That’s actually super-illegal to do so don’t do that.

    The way it works – in a very law-abiding way! – is that once these new subscribers receive their list of products from the organizer, it’s up to them to click-through on the links and sign up for the offers that interest them.

    This means when people clicked through on my offer, they would be directed to a special sales page where they would provide me with their name and email address in exchange for being signed up to the product.

    MY BUNDLE CONTRIBUTION

    The product I had contributed to the bundle was The Dashboard Bundle. This is a course I offer and I chose it because I felt it was a good introduction to what I teach, how I teach it and getting bosses to start seeing their numbers in a way they can feel connected to and interact with.

    All contributors were asked to promote the bundle to their existing email list at least twice and on social media at least once.

    Again, the idea is to get in front of each other’s audiences, expand our brand awareness and gain new subscribers, so promoting is a necessary component of collaborating on a bundle.

    MY LIST-BUILDING RESULTS

    The promotional period was for 12 days, from Monday February 22 to Friday March 5th, and I generated 1625 subscribers during this time period. Only 162 of those were people who were already subscribed to my own email list so that means I had 1463 people who were brand new to me – huzzah!

    Consistent to how most launches perform, I had my biggest sign-ups on the first and last day, which accounted for 17% and 24% respectively or 41% of my overall sign-ups on those two days alone.

    Also consistent with how sales typically go down for me is that another 26% of my sign-ups came through on the weekend.

    Knowing your own existing audience trends and patterns is a huge factor in evaluating the success of a new promotion.

    It’s your ability to compare your expectations to your audience behaviors that gives you that clairvoyant skill to predicting your own future and performance.

    And so far, these behaviors were typical to what I’ve seen and expected.

    MY SALES CONVERSION RESULTS

    What was less typical from what I see – but I did expect these results to be different – were my conversion rates to sales.

    I mentioned earlier that there was a possibility for making sales on the bundle, even when you’re giving away your paid product: you can make sales on an add-on product (or what some people call a tripwire product) that is promoted after sign-up and you can make sales on the evergreen sales funnel (or what some may call a sales nurture sequence) that new subscribers enter when they join your email list. I had both of these in place.

    The add-on product was the ROI Calculators I promote as an add-on to all purchases made for The Dashboard Bundle. This is a $12 add-on designed to help bosses visualize the spend and profitability of investments they’re making in ads, on workshop-hosting, on summit-hosting, on their evergreen funnel, and a whole bunch of other areas you want to see what it takes to actually be profitable with.

    For organic traffic, the ROI Calculators convert at about 27%, meaning that out of 100 people who buy The Dashboard Bundle, 27 of those will also buy the add-on.

    I specify organic traffic for 2 reasons: 1) I haven’t run paid traffic to this offer yet so I’m not sure what those numbers are; and 2) my referral traffic converts much higher, which is normal because this is “social proof” traffic where someone has vouched for how great you are, and referral traffic will almost always show up with higher conversions.

    The add-on conversions for the bundle came in at just below 2% and while I felt kinda bummed, I also expected that, logically.

    After all, there’s a huge difference in the mindset of people who are signing up to pay for a product versus the people who are signing up for a product because it’s free; one is already expecting to make a payment whereas the other one has no intention on doing so.

    All-in-all, I made $360 on the sale of ROI Calculators. This was lower than what I had hoped for but it’s a nice reminder about we hope for:

    You can’t base revenue projections on “hopes”; you’re going to need to put some baseline numbers in place.

    This was my first experience with this kind of strategy, I now HAVE that baseline I can align to my expectations with the next time I participate in a promotion like this.

    Another thing I had in place to convert to sales was my evergreen funnel. This is basically a sequence of automated emails designed to promote Boss Mode Metrics, which is my signature product on seeing your business numbers and performance.

    This usually converts at about 4% and I was interested in seeing how this specific audience would respond… and I’m glad I kept my expectations low on this one because it was crickets.

    I didn’t make a single sale whereas I could typically count on making at least 65 sales from the number of leads that were brought in.

    Which goes to show you…

    Not all traffic and lead sources are created equal, and it’s good to know and keep your expectations and projections in check for each of them.

    MY NEW AUDIENCE TRENDS

    Again, I kept my expectations low on this, though, for a couple of reasons:

    1) I was targeting a cold audience whose primary motivation was to sign up for something that was free and to shift that motivation where they would open their pocketbooks would be challenging, to say the least; and
    2) I knew I wasn’t the only person whose offer they were signing up for, which means these subscribers were probably receiving as many evergreen sales funnel emails as free bundle offers they had signed up for.

    The open rates for the emails in my evergreen sequence dropped by about 12-18% during this period – so a significant drop! – and within a week of the bundle end date, 366 people had unsubscribed, which represents close to 22% of the new subscribers I had attracted. in the first place.

    Once everyone was through the automated email series, I sent out a fun, promotion-free email to my entire list – which included these new subscribers – and while my unsubscribe rates for broadcasts usually hover around 0.2-0.4% with an open rate between 25-30%, this broadcast had an unsubscribe rate of almost 0.8% and an open rate of almost 24%.

    I expected those numbers to be much different than they are. I thought my unsubscribe rate would be closer to 1.5-2%, and I thought my open rate would be closer to 20%.

    It looks like I have some engaged leads on my hands here. They may not be especially motivated to buy, but they seem to be giving me the opportunity to build a relationship with them and I’m excited about that.

    MY OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

    Overall, I would qualify this as a great experience that I would recommend and I would do again (even though I would take a different approach, which I’ll cover in the Lessons Learned section).

    The leadership shown by Kate Doster and her team, as well as the partnerships she attracted could not have been more favorable.

    And to gain 1,000 subscribers in less than 2 weeks without paying for ads is definitely a worthwhile endeavor. Especially when I know that these are subscribers from people whose audiences are similar to mine based on the other collaborators.

    That’s something else I want to draw a little attention to as well, because you may be thinking – because I thought it, too – “why would you give your paid products away for free?” but think of how much ad spend you’d be putting up to collect this number of leads.

    Sure, they’re not buying off the hop, but they are audiences I know are like mine…

    Which actually makes this a good transition into the LESSONS LEARNED I have for collaborating on a bundle:

    LESSONS LEARNED

    1) All subscribers aren’t equal.

    I wish that I had brought a little more consideration to the client journey for these specific types of subscribers because, yes, this audience was unique and really should not have been put through the same direct-to-sales path as warmer leads would.

    To do this over again, I would definitely create a different funnel that did not pitch my signature product but rather, met those subscribers at the level of commitment they were ready and able to make with me… and that wasn’t financial.

    The goal I should have had for these subscribers is to prove the value of my work and messaging – like, in dollars! – and I overlooked the fact that these people would have a lot of noise in their inbox that I had to somehow stand apart from.

    I’m not saying I know what that looks like just yet, but this definitely highlighted that I want to prioritize taking a more conscious, client-centric approach to how I’m promoting myself and my offers.

    2) All promotions aren’t equal.

    This is why I say things like “there’s no such thing as a “good” conversion rate” because not all conversions are created equal. You can be hella-specific about the conversion rate you’re speaking of – so let’s say your sales page to purchase conversion rate, meaning the people who hit your sales page and bought your product – and you can and should still expect to see significantly different rates based on HOW you’re promoting that sales page and where your traffic is coming from.

    Referral and affiliate conversions can and should be exponentially higher than rates from the cold audience you’re building with a bundle… and that’s OK!

    And 3) Collaborate wisely.

    I’ve mentioned that Kate Doster was the leadership behind this bundle and she was organized as-all-get-out with every single aspect of this promotion. The trouble-shooting was so on-point that problems were fixed before they were noticeable to me, her team was so proactive about everything that it felt easy, and the collaborators she attracted were people who fit into the audience I want to reach.

    Now, I know Kate – we chat about money and Drag Race and real estate investments on the regular – so I knew she would not only have her ish together on this but she would also have my professional best interest in mind as well.

    Her leadership, organization skills and the team she has helping her behind-the-scenes made the process incredibly smooth, and I’m grateful for that. In fact, I’ll bring her on the podcast in a future episode to discuss how she manages to be such a collaborative rock star.

    This experience was a strong reminder for me of the importance of context and meeting people where THEY are when they meet-and-greet my brand. It’s easy to say “this is what I want people to do when they land on my site/sign up for my list/buy my product” and that’s a great baseline to start with.

    But as you grow and as your reach grows, creating the space and opportunity for connecting with people where they’re meeting you has to be prioritized… but it’s not so simple because it requires of you to grow and expand on the ways you show up as well.

    “More” isn’t always “better” – the sales conversion rates for this type of promotion will prove that to you – but the intentionality you bring to “more” can certainly show up as better results for you, and I’m always excited about being given the opportunity to show up as a better boss!

    CONTINUE READING

  • BEHIND THE SCENES: IMPROVING MY PINTEREST CLICK-THROUGH

    This is a transcript of episode 22 of the OMGrowth podcast, published on April 14, 2021

    Two weeks ago, I went into the review of my Pinterest audit and what changes I was going to be making to improve those results. This week has you riding shotgun in my DeLorean because there’s actually a 2-month difference between the recordings of that episode and this one so that I could get you a likety-split passenger seat view to the impact those changes made to increasing my Pinterest traffic… and spoiler alert, but it’s going so well, it’s goofy!

    Now I’m not going to recap my audit results and recommendations again – you can read “Behind the scenes: Auditing my PINTEREST account and traffic strategy” if you want the full details – but I will say that when I wrapped up my Pinterest audit with miss Jana from Jana O Media, I told her I’d like to book a follow-up audit in a month’s time… and she wouldn’t take my money! (I know, right?)

    She reminded me that seeing results from Pinterest was a slow-and-steady process, and that I should align my expectations accordingly.

    Fine. I didn’t book a follow-up right away… but I still felt entitled to have SOME expectations because, I mean, wasn’t I just bringing life back into an account that was once a pretty successful one? That had to count for something, right?

    WHAT CHANGES I MADE

    Here’s what I actually ended up doing, based on the results and recommendations of my Pinterest account audit:

    • I went through all the pin description keyword optimization exercises I covered in episode 20; and
    • I actually skipped the new graphic creation for time being because I just wanted to get my posting schedule underway as soon as possible.

    Once I had all those pin descriptions updated, I used Tailwind to schedule one month’s worth of content in about 3 or 4 hours, tops, using the Tailwind scheduler.

    MY “RIGHT TRACK” RESULTS

    Now, I know you’re not supposed to open the lid when you’re making dumpling soup but I always open the lid… and so a week and half into scheduling, I ignored Jana’s advice (sorry Jana!) and looked at my numbers, and I’m glad I did because they confirmed I was on the right track.

    —> According to my Pinterest insights, in less than 2 weeks, my total audience was up by 286%.
    —> According to Google Analytics, the users coming to my website from Pinterest was up by 240%.

    By the way, when it comes to data and you have 2 platforms measuring 2 different things, I always recommend you consult both to get the full story. I go more in depth with this with “My FACEBOOK ANALYTICS are different from what GOOGLE ANALYTICS says. What gives?” where I talk about the difference between Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics, and it’s a similar situation here: Pinterest Insights are giving you feedback as to how people are engaging with your Pinterest account, whereas the analytics software you’re using on your website is giving you feedback as to how the traffic coming from Pinterest is engaging with your website – totally different but equally valuable stories for you to hone in on.

    OK, so I felt really good about having such a sweet spot starting line!
    And that was actually enough for me to take a hands-off-the-wheel approach for the next few weeks. I could then focus on creating those new visuals Jana recommended in “Behind the scenes: Auditing my PINTEREST account and traffic strategy”.

    This way, I would know that the changes from my first month could be attributed to my pin description changes, and then I would add these new visuals to the second month of changes.

    That “moving forward” approach I preach isn’t just about getting started; it’s also about being able to isolate which changes made what impacts to your results.

    THE FIRST MONTH

    So what were those results after one month of keyword optimization?

    —> According to Pinterest Insights, the total audience growth for my pin content was 41% and Tailwind Insights clocked my engagement rate at a new 30-day high of 26.7%, which was up almost 3% from the previous period.
    —> Meanwhile, Google Analytics was reporting that the users for my Pinterest traffic was up by almost 79% overall, while it was up by 350% on Tuesday and 600% on Sundays.

    My average session duration from Pinterest click-throughs was up almost 294%, pages visited per session were slightly up by 14.3% and my bounce rate has dropped by almost 13%.

    Not only was I able to impact my click-throughs from Pinterest, but this was traffic that was sticking around longer, engaging with more pages, and they were demonstrating more interest in my content.

    While Pinterest is a social media platform, it works the way organic and search does in the sense that people are seeking out topics or interests when your content comes up. This is a long-term strategy you typically don’t see huge gains from at the jump and Jana was right to give some fair warning to keep expectations in check.

    But again, I wasn’t starting entirely from scratch. My Pinterest account was once a huge traffic generator – it was very “I was once a beautiful woman” – where the beauty could still be captured and that’s what my changes and results were addressing.

    Now, in a normal circumstance, I would also compare my Pinterest traffic trends to my overall traffic trends but I wasn’t doing that for this period.

    The reason was that I had been collaborating on a bundle during this time – and I think I’ll do another behind-the-scenes episode on how that went soon, too – but my traffic numbers definitely was NOT business-as-usual. My overall traffic was up something like 250% during this period so it was most definitely an outlier month that wasn’t a fair comparison or vantage point for that first month’s results.

    THE SECOND MONTH

    Fast-forward to another month later – so two months into my strategy adjustments – and I added those fresh pins into the mix with new visuals that were a little less branded than what I usually posted.

    Lo and behold, some of those fresh pins were showing up in top performers. In fact, the template I saw coming up most was the one that used that #dataforcreatives hashtag that had minimal branding content. I will definitely be taking that into consideration in my next round of fresh pin creations.

    As for my overall results, my Pinterest Insights saw the total audience growth for my pin content at 23%, which is a drop from last month’s 41% but I suspect those numbers are simply stabilizing and I’ll be keeping an eye on them. I’m not getting hot about it, though, because I set yet another new 30-day high engagement rate according to my Tailwind Insights at 28.4%, which is up from last month’s 26.7% engagement rate. Despite the audience size drop, I’m actually very happy with these results.

    If I have to pick between engagement growth or audience size growth, I will always favor higher engagement.

    As for the people coming to my website from Pinterest, Google Analytics recorded my user growth over the last 2 months at 36.8%, with those same top performing days recorded last month continuing with Tuesday’s traffic up by 367% and Sunday up by 267%.

    My average session duration from Pinterest click-throughs is up a whopping 423% (which is 129% more than last month’s 294%), pages visited per session grew a touch at 15.6% (compared to last month’s 14.3%), and my bounce rate held perfectly steady with a 13% drop (compared to last month’s 13%).

    So all this is telling me that I am getting slow-and-steady traffic growth and this is highly engaged traffic, and they’re staying on my site for much longer periods of time. Basically, I’m getting in front of the right people and they are picking up what I’m throwing down!

    There also are definitely fewer click-throughs from most of my group boards – in fact, there was zero engagement from those pins! – but I think I need a little more time and data before I make any real strategic decisions as to how I’ll handle this because there was SOME activity happening there and I want to see the trend for this rather than focusing on an isolated period of time.

    In fact, boards in general are next on the list to get some TLC, as well as putting in place some kind of system that will account for Tailwind SmartLoops and Tailwind Tribes – or what is now called Communities – into my scheduling strategy.

    Which brings us to the LESSONS LEARNED portion of these behind-the-scenes episodes:

    LESSONS LEARNED

    1) Play mad scientist

    You remember when you were in school and how science class would work? You developed a hypothesis, you tested it and you evaluated the outcome. Consider your online business to be your very own science experiment because that’s the process you’re wash-rinse-repeating.

    You can follow other people’s guidelines and recommendations but until you see how it pans out – FOR YOU! – you don’t actually know whether it applies to you.

    For instance, while group boards on Pinterest are generally considered to be an outdated strategy, my results are telling me that they aren’t to be thrown out quite yet. And Jana encouraged me to do this on our initial audit call, too! She said they’re considered to be outdated but to test them and see for myself… and that’s always the approach I want to take: understand the risks and trends a specific strategy entails, but always take responsibility for my own results by playing the mad scientist and proving those hypothesis for myself.

    2) Small steps over big leaps

    It turned out to be a bit of a blessing that I didn’t have the bandwidth to do the keyword optimization work AND switch out my graphics, because it allowed me to sort of segment and isolate the results of each a little more effectively.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, when you’re improving your “search-ability”, your outcomes and results tend to be compounded on your last ones. But I still think there’s more value in taking small consistent steps towards growth and progress, than there is in trying to make massive gains through big leaps.

    It’s just a more sustainable way of being and working that I appreciate and gravitate to.

    3) Patience

    In the words of Axl Rose, “you and I could use a little patience”. I’m not much different than you are – I want to see huge gains and as soon as possible, too, please! – but I’m also in this for the long haul. I have to accept that this takes the time it takes, but I also have the responsibility to track, test and tweak. As much as Tailwind doesn’t require a bunch of maintenance outside of scheduling, this doesn’t mean I can take a hands-off-the-wheel approach to this digital marketing strategy.

    As the boss, I have to monitor the results of my efforts, I have to give my efforts the time they need to turn into results, and I have a responsibility to make adjustments to my results to make sure they’re the results that I want.

    And that’s “where I’m at” right now: I’m going to monitor the results over the next few months and build out a system for my Pinterest strategy that will keep those results coming in while also allowing me to take a step back from the actual scheduling itself.

    Because Pinterest – and really, any search in general – is a long-term strategy with long-term results, I’m reminding myself that is a strong start; but I’m also looking forward to seeing what 6 months of consistency looks like, which – of course – I will share with you because you’re my favorite peeps to share this stuff with.

    But I’ll put it out there and stand by this: in 6 months, I’m aiming to have 20-30% of my overall website traffic coming from organic Pinterest traffic, which is a significant jump from where it currently hovers around 5%. I’m staking this claim knowing that I will also be investing in ads – so paid traffic – during this time period.

    This means that the next time we talk about my results from this particular marketing strategy will be sometime in the fall, where I’ll go in-depth with what my scheduling system finally looks like, and what results I’m seeing from my Pinterest strategy.

    CONTINUE READING

  • BEHIND THE SCENES: AUDITING MY PINTEREST ACCOUNT AND TRAFFIC STRATEGY

    This transcript is from episode 20 of the OMGrowth podcast, published on March 31, 2021

    Pinterest used to account for about 50% of my overall traffic but after a rebrand and almost 2 years of taking a Jesus-take-the-wheel approach, I have plenty of room for improvement with my pinning strategy.

    Since I have a blog and podcast about improvement and I have some savvy-as-heck friends, I hired one of them to help me bring my Pinterest traffic back to life and in this behind-the-scenes episode, I’m sharing what the details and strategy are that came from my account audit.

    HIRE AN EXPERT

    My friend Jana from Jana O Media is a Pinterest expert.
    Jana is my speed, she’s my vibe, she’s low on the sugar-coating and high on the strategy. Which is why I asked her to help me audit my account and give me some actionable feedback I could use to bring those traffic numbers back up to their former glory.

    Now, that aforementioned “former glory” is exactly why I’m choosing to focus on improving my Pinterest traffic: I say this a lot, but…

    You make bigger and better gains when you focus on making your own grass greener.

    And my grass used to be green! On any given month, Pinterest would account for 40-60% of my overall traffic on any given month. That’s organic traffic that I don’t have to pay for beyond the investment of scheduling that content.

    So I’m looking at my current results – which is a very sad 3% of overall traffic coming from Pinterest and that’s on a good month – and I’m comparing it to what I know is possible for me, and it feels like this is the low-lying fruit.

    But like I said, it’s been a minute – almost 2 years, in fact – since that has been the case so I really wanted to get up-to-date on how and what I should be doing so I hired an expert who could help me see what strategies are working right now and how they could work for me.

    When you’re looking to improve an area you’re not exactly an expert in, hiring one to discuss your strategy with you – even for an hour – is, more-often-than-not, a great investment.

    Because even if you buy a course on the subject matter, having someone direct you like air traffic control for what your specific wants and needs are… that can be a huge time-saver and learning curve-shortener in the end.

    So that’s what I did – I shortened my learning curve by hiring an expert who could catch me up to speed.

    And whether you hire an expert to audit you or you DIY it, that’s the exact purpose of an audit.

    With an audit, you’re identifying leaks and problems that you now have to acknowledge and fix.

    We sometimes forget this and hope that an audit is a solution – and I include myself in the proverbial “we” – but the audit is just pointing you towards the solution; you still have to do the work to bridge that gap.

    And I DID end that call with so! much! work! to do.

    I’ll be honest, I felt very overwhelmed by how much there was to work on but I took my own advice and told myself the most valuable thing I could do was to just! get! STARTED!

    KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION WITH PINTEREST

    And the area I chose to get started with was keyword optimization for my pins because I felt like this would be good for my overall SEO as well, so that seemed efficient for me.

    Jana’s suggested approach was to:
    1) take each blog post or pin and start by identifying the keyword(s) I would want that content to be found for; then
    2) I would take that word to the Pinterest search bar and find the related words and the search trends around that keyword; and finally
    3) I would also go through the entire alphabet with that keyword – so if the keyword was “conversion rate”, I would type in “conversion rate a” and see what comes up, then do “conversion rate b” and note those results – and the goal of this is to see what other trends and language come up so I can use those in my pin descriptions.

    I’ll be honest, that last one tripped me up and the idea of going through this tedious exercise for every! single! one! of my blog posts kinda made me want to cry in the shower…

    Again, I took my own advice when it comes to improvement and overwhelm, and I took the “moving forward” approach I often recommend to others:

    So instead of doing this for alllll my content, I did it just for my podcast episodes – which are also formatted as blog posts – and I hadn’t shared those to Pinterest yet so it felt like a good focus and starting point.

    Doing something is always better than doing nothing, especially if the “something” you’re doing is strategic.

    And let’s be clear – I am being strategic with my time and effort on this one – because yes, I have a lot of content on my website that I need to optimize for keywords, but there was also my Pinterest board descriptions and titles… and I wasn’t about to dedicate who-know-how-long to one-and-done it all at once.

    And that’s OK!

    That’s what growth and improvement is: dedicating yourself to ongoing reviews with the purpose of getting ongoing results.

    So yes, I still have a lot of work to do in terms of keyword optimization of my content and Pinterest account, but my “moving forward approach” means that anything new going out IS being optimized and I’m very satisfied with that for now.

    POSTING SCHEDULE

    Another thing I’m satisfied with is my new posting schedule. Back when I was doing well with Pinterest, the “rule” was that you should be posting 80% other people’s content and 20% of yours; apparently, this has changed now and it’s more of a courtesy to post other people’s content. This certainly makes scheduling content easier when it’s mostly your own and I have more than enough content to keep that scheduler full.

    Something else I would not have known about was that group boards are kind of seen as an out-dated strategy, but one worth testing.

    So for the next month, I’ll be posting to the group boards to see if they are driving traffic, and then I’ll make a decision about whether I’ll be using them in the future or not based on those results.

    Finally, I also learned that the days of posting 50 pins a day are gone. In fact, posting that much content is a straight-up “no-no” these days, which is also good to know.

    See how discussing your specific situation and experience with an expert can feel like you’re in a results-driven express lane?

    I think of how many headaches and unnecessary errors – or even an account suspension – I was able to avoid from simply not knowing any better. Mega-helpful!

    FRESH PINS AND LESS BRANDING

    So I have a “work in progress” strategy with optimizing my keywords, and I have some clarity around my posting schedule… but there’s one more thing I’m working on: my visuals!

    Jana suggested I try integrating new pins that would have:

    • fewer words/shorter titles;
    • less “in your face” logo use/branding;
    • use an on-brand hashtag that communicates who this is for like #dataforcreatives

    I would NEVER have thought to do any of this on my own.

    I know Pinterest values what it calls “fresh pins”, meaning new images to promote URLs you’ve already shared. But everything I was going to start sharing WAS new content and it would never have dawned on me to 1) create new pin templates and 2) be kinda-sorta off-brand about it.

    Getting a fresh set of eyes on your brand can help you see things you’re blind to.

    Now, I say this a lot – but change doesn’t actually equal improvement – but you don’t know if you don’t try. You have to test these types of things and I’m excited to see what kind of results I get from these new visuals and I’ll keep you posted.

    Here are my LESSONS LEARNED and what I’ll be looking at over the next few months to see how these strategies are paying off:

    LESSONS LEARNED

    1) KEYWORD RESEARCH

    I really “got” the importance of it by going through the annual Love At First Search SEOctober challenge hosted by Meg Casebolt – which I can’t recommend enough, by the way – and I actually followed her method of keyword research to help me generate 95% my podcast topics and titles.

    It’s a pain in the booty to do – I’m not going to lie! – but it actually makes content creation so much easier, all-kinds-of efficient and I know the work I’m doing is targeted.

    Moving forward, I’m actually leaning towards dedicating an afternoon per month to overall keyword research and optimization: I’ll apply it to my new posts and I’ll use it to help me develop content that actually gets found by the people looking for it, the people I’m trying to reach.

    And I figure if I can reframe this business activity into an exercise that I look forward to – like an afternoon of favorite take-out and champers – I can shift this tedious task into something I actually look forward to doing every month.
    I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going, too!

    2) START SCHEDULING

    If I’m being honest as to why my Pinterest traffic tanked so hard… I have nobody to blame but myself, and I did two very un-boss things:

    1) I didn’t put a system in place around what I knew and could see was working; and
    2) I started outsourcing it… without my system in place.
    (Did I mention I didn’t document my system? The one that accounted for 50% of my website traffic?)

    And I outsourced this to at least 3 or 4 people – none of whose fault it is that my traffic tanked because that’s 100% on me – because I didn’t create a system, I didn’t lead, I just took a Jesus-take-the-wheel approach to something – GAH! – that was already working.

    So this lesson is hard-earned but this time, I’m going to manually schedule my Pinterest content to my Tailwind scheduler my! self! until I have a system in place that I know delivers the results I’m looking for… and THEN I’ll outsource the work to be done MY way… like, with a system and intention and accountability so this doesn’t fall through the cracks ever again.

    Because being the boss isn’t just about making smart business decisions… you have to enforce them, too, or at least put the systems in place to be able to enforce them.
    Which is easier said than done and I’m still a work-in-progress, too.

    And 3) GROWTH IS A PROCESS

    Just like I’m getting a process in place for my Pinterest strategy…
    Just like it’ll be a process to implement all the other recommendations I received from Jana…
    Just like making the types of decisions and choices that will help me fit into my bossy pants is a on-going process…

    Growth, better results and improvements are an on-going process that we all have to continuously remind ourselves we’re invested in.

    All this business improvement starts to sound a lot like “self-improvement” after a while, doesn’t it? I need to create more CEO time, I need to put accountability measures in place, I need to see and work with – not against! – my own boundaries.

    It’s like, “weren’t we just talking about improving Pinterest traffic?” and yeah, sure, we are… but the skills and decisions you and I bring to the table to make those improvements that are just as important as the strategy itself.

    Wanna know the rest of the story as to how that went?
    Check out:
    “Behind the scenes: Improving my PINTEREST click-through”

    CONTINUE READING