Deepening Our Relationships with Clients – An Invitation

Deepening Our Relationships with Clients – An Invitation
Marketing strategist Lynn Serafinn is offering free consultations to 10 special business owners who want to deepen their relationships with their clients.

Throughout most of August, I was on a journey – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

First I spent three amazing weeks in Trentino in northern Italy, the land where my father was born and where my paternal ancestors lived for many centuries (possibly millennia). I hiked through the Dolomites in the Alps. I explored ancient forests to trace the glacial source of the life-giving River Sarca. I gazed with amazement over the bleak expanse of a two-million-year-old rockslide at La Marocche. I experienced a 4.1 earthquake in the mountains around Riva. I walked through medieval villages and visited more historical and legendary sites than I can count. I saw an incredible performance of the opera Aida at the 2000-year-old Arena in Verona. I researched more deeply into our family history in Trento. I met many new cousins and, most importantly, I deepened the relationship I have with the cousins I already knew.

Lynn hiking in the Brenta Dolomites

Lynn hiking on top of the world in the Brenta Dolomites in Trentino, Italy.

When I came back to Britain, I spent a week with my daughter and her family. I took my nine-year-old grandson to the Tower of London. I taught him how to play Chopsticks on the piano. We played Battleship. We played make-believe with his cuddly toys. We took long walks through the woods and found treasures at the local market. We ate more cake and ice cream than we probably should have.

Something changes within us when we spend time away from the office and then have to return to ‘real’ life. For me, connecting with family and my heritage is especially soul-shifting. It takes me closer to who I really am and what is really important.

Coming back to work after such an experience can be a challenge, especially because we tend to ‘compartmentalise’ our professional and personal lives. We have told ourselves they are two different things. Without this distinction, we fear that our professional life will start to bleed into our personal life and we will never ‘switch off’ from work mode.

While I was away, I was well and truly ‘switched off’ from work. I was so switched off that Monday, when I came back to my desk, I found myself at odds with how to switch back on. My mind and heart were both still in that wonderful place of connection I felt with my family, when I was immersed deeply within myself and my precious relationships. I found myself wondering, ‘Why do we have to switch on and off all the time? Isn’t there a way to make my work feel more like how I felt when I was on holiday with my family?’

For many years, I have considered myself fortunate to have a business in which I can express my values and passions. But while values and passions are important, I’ve reached a point in life where I want to go deeper. Work is not just about doing and achieving; it’s about people and relationships. I want to make relationships the focal point of my actions; I want to deepen my relationships with my clients; and I want to work with clients who want to make relationships their focal point, too.

Changing the World by Putting Humanity in the Centre

The underpinning value of our team at the 7 Graces Project is to help honest, self-employed people make a better living in a people-focussed way. At the foundation of the 7 Graces philosophy are the ‘7 Key Relationships’. Of these, the relationships we have with ourselves, our business and our clients/customers are most influential in creating the character of our brand. Everything that is WRONG about business in today’s world stems from focusing on numbers instead of people. If we really want to change the world through our work, we need to start by turning that focus around and putting human beings at the centre of everything we do.

For this reason, during the month of September, I want to deliver free 45-minute consultations to 10 remarkable business owners who are interested in working closely with our 7 Graces team to deepen their relationships with their clients and customers over the next six months.

Normally, I only have time for a maximum of five free consultations each month. My usual intro sessions are only 30 minutes in length. They are not ‘advice’ sessions; rather, we talk about if and how our team can help you with your specific business and marketing needs.

But in these special 45-minute sessions, I will dedicate up to 15 minutes to answering your specific questions about marketing, business, technology, book publishing, blogging , social media – anything you feel I could help you with. I will do my very best to answer your questions (or refer you to someone else who can), even if it does not relate to a service we offer.

Who We Would Like to Invite

This offer is open to people who have not worked with us as private clients within the past two years. To make sure we are a good match for each other, we request that you only apply if you meet most of these criteria. If you’re not 100% sure whether you ‘fit’, drop us a line anyway.

Types of Businesses We Work With

  • Alternative health/therapy
  • Personal development
  • Any business owner whose ‘bigger vision’ is about making a positive social impact

About You

  • You want to enrich and grow a business you have run for at least the past two years
  • You have a strong service ethic in your business
  • You are not just in business for yourself, but for the people you serve
  • You want to deepen relationships with your clients/customers
  • You want to reach and expand your online audience
  • You are open to using social media and blogging (even if you don’t have any/much experience with it yet)
  • You are interested in developing new service products, especially those that can be delivered online, via Skype, etc.
  • You enjoy expressing yourself through writing – you don’t have to have written a book, but may be thinking about writing one (not mandatory)
  • You understand that business growth is a long-term process
  • You see working with a consultant as a business investment (not an ‘expense’)
  • You have time to work with Lynn (on calls and between calls), and are willing and able to commit to that time

How to Apply for One of Our Free September Sessions

Drop us a line via the contact form on this site: http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/contact. On that form, check the boxes that say, ‘Lynn Serafinn,’ and, ‘I’d like to discuss how you can help me/my business with marketing.’ Then, in the box that says, ‘Tell us more about why you are writing today,’ please tell us:

  1. The name and main purpose of your business
  2. How long you have been in business
  3. The three biggest problems/key issues you currently face
  4. Why you are interested in having a session with Lynn
  5. What ‘deepening relationships’ means for/to you

TIP: Please don’t just give us a link to your website and say ‘look me up’.

Please understand I only have time to offer 10 sessions in September, so I cannot guarantee that everyone who requests a session will be given a booking. Be assured that attending a consultation does not in any way obligate you to commit to working with us. However, we do ask that you only submit a request if you are seriously considering hiring us.

If you’re unfamiliar with the work we do here at the 7 Graces Project, please peruse the materials on our ‘Work With Us’ page. If you’d like to ask a question before you make your request, feel free to post it to our Facebook group at http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden, or send it to us via the contact form on this site.

I can’t wait to meet these 10 new, remarkable people! Let’s set the intention to make the world a better place by deepening our relationships with the people we serve, so our businesses become more like ‘real’ life.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
28th August 2015

Like this blog ?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller  The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

 

Posted in 7 Graces, 7 Graces Project, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Business Tips, Invitation, Lynn Serafinn, New Paradigm, Platform Building Programme, Product Development, Relationship with Audience, Relationship with Our Audience, Relationship with Our Business, Relationship with Self, Strategy Packages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TIP: How to Fix Outlook if It Doesn’t Work With Windows 10

TIP: How to Fix Outlook if It Doesn't Work With Windows 10
Ethical marketing consultant and former Microsoft Innovative Teacher of the Year, Lynn Serafinn, offers ‘calm’ and practical advice for upgrading to Windows 10.

It’s August. In Europe, that means one thing: summer holiday. Here in Britain, most people go away for at least a couple weeks during August, usually to get away from the ambiguous British summer (which, this year, was been grey, chilly and damp) so they can get to the heat of European holiday destinations like Spain, Greece or Italy. I myself just returned from three sunny weeks in northern Italy, where many businesses had closed shop for the month and residents complained about the heat on an almost hourly basis (it was about 35C / 95F every day I was there). It seems we humans are never satisfied with the weather.

While the rest of have been using August to ‘recharge our batteries’, Microsoft have been busy using the month to roll out its latest operating system, Windows 10. What is most remarkable is that Microsoft are offering this upgrade free to all legitimate users of Windows 7 and 8. If you haven’t yet upgraded, you might have noticed the little Windows notice on the lower right-hand side of your screen, prompting you to reserve your upgrade. Not all computers will be upgraded at once. For example, I have already received my upgrade for my newer PC (a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 that was using Windows 8.2) but not for my older ‘dinosaur’ (a 2010 Lenovo ThinkPad laptop operating on Windows 7).

In spite of this unprecedented free offer, I’ve seen many people on Facebook and other networks saying they are afraid to download Windows 10, lest it either a) send them into technical overwhelm or b) ‘break’ their computer completely. Hence, many people are holding off on the upgrade, preferring to see how others fare with it before they take the plunge. I have seen dozens of posts on Facebook where wary PC users are asking others about their experience with Windows 10. Here are some examples of answers I’ve seen:

  • I downloaded it and nothing works on my computer anymore.
  • I’m too afraid to try it.
  • Downloaded it and everything’s fine.
  • My speakers don’t work anymore.
  • Don’t do it!
  • Have you considered a Mac?

(Apple and PC users simply cannot resist digging at each other when given the chance!)

I’ve always considered myself to be an early adopter, especially when it comes to technology. I was an electronic musician for decades and taught music technology for eight years. Additionally, in 2005 I was awarded the ‘Microsoft UK Innovative Teacher of the Year’ (for Further Education). Thus, I figured (rightly or wrongly) that if Microsoft has been preparing for this massive upgrade all these months, it was worth giving it a shot and seeing what bugs might need to be worked out. So, when I received the notice that my upgrade was ready for my Microsoft Surface Pro 3, I upgraded immediately.

Did it work seamlessly? Almost. I like the new look and it seems to be must faster (unless I’m imagining it). I am also happy to announce that all my programmes work as they used to (Photoshop CSS, Audacity, Skype, Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.) except for ONE small thing:

Microsoft Outlook would no longer SEND email.

I could still receive email, but anytime I tried to send, the message would just get stuck in the outbox, unsent. Of course, that was going to present a major problem, so I wanted to find the solution right away.

When I researched the problem, I found that many other Windows users were experiencing the same issue. That’s usually a GOOD thing because it means there is more likely to be a known solution. And, lo and behold, I found one pretty quickly, which I’ll share with you here (in easy ‘non-geek-speak’)

What to Do if Outlook Won’t Send Emails in Windows 10

  1. CLOSE all other programmes (including Outlook).
  2. RIGHT-CLICK the Windows Start icon (in the lower LEFT side of your screen).
  3. LEFT-CLICK the option that says ‘Command Prompt (Admin)’
  4. A black box with text writing will appear. This is the ‘command prompt box’.
  5. In the command prompt box, type the following command: sfc /scannow. Don’t worry about what it means; just type it in.
  6. Hit ‘Enter’.
  7. Sit back and wait a few minutes. Your computer will now check your system files and REPAIR them automatically, if necessary.
  8. When this is finished, close the command prompt window and re-open Outlook. Send yourself a test email and see if it works.

This immediately fixed the problem for me. If it doesn’t work for you, try rebooting the computer after steps 1 – 8.

If you still have problems, you might need to check your outgoing settings. There are easy instructions at this link: http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/email/email-troubleshooting/invalid-helo-name-email

If THAT doesn’t work…well…try the Microsoft forums, telling them what you have already tried.

Speakers Problems

Except for the stray comment on Facebook about one user’s external speakers no longer working, I haven’t seen anyone else report this issue. It certainly didn’t happen to me.

In my experience as a sound engineer, most speaker issues (both PC and Mac) have to do with settings within a specific programme. For example, in the audio options of programmes like Skype or Audacity, you need to select whether you want to use the built-in speakers or external speakers. If your speakers or microphone suddenly disappear, it is most likely because your audio preferences have inadvertently changed (something that can easily occur with a software update or operating system upgrade). Before jumping to the conclusion that Windows 10 ‘broke’ your computer, check your audio settings for both your main system and individual programmes.

Another thing you could try it to go into your Device Manager and update your drivers. In some cases, you might need to delete the drivers, and allow them to reinstall completely.

Enjoy August

That’s it from me, for now. Technically, I’m still on holiday (I’m babysitting my grandson this week and will be back in the office on 24th August), and I hope you are taking time out for ‘life’ too. If you work from home, don’t put off upgrading Windows 10 until you get back to the office. If you download now (or as soon as it is available for your computer) you can use this slower season to iron out any bugs you might experience with it, so you are fully up and running when it’s ‘business as usual’ in September.

And if you’ve been thinking of working with a team of ethical marketing experts who can help you with online marketing and business development this year, have a look at our services on the ‘Work With Us’ page on this website. Then, drop us a line requesting a free 30-minute consultation to see how we might be able to help your business and/or non-fiction book project grow.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
20th August 2015

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Posted in Blog, Lynn Serafinn, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should You Start a Membership Site on Your WordPress Blog?

Money Hype - What You're Worth vs What Your Business Needs

Marketing strategist Lynn Serafinn shares the pros and cons of setting up and running a membership website, and compares two plug-ins that could do the job.

This article is adapted from ideas presented in Chapter 13 of the book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging by Lynn Serafinn (coming November 2015).

One of the most compelling applications for a WordPress blog is using it as a membership site. Many of my clients come to me curious about this, wondering how they can start one and integrate it into their business. But speaking from personal experience, membership sites are kind of like that puppy dog you got for Christmas as a kid – after the novelty wears off, you realise you have to take care of this little lifeform that has been placed in your lap. If you don’t, the results are devastating.

Back in 2009, membership sites were ‘all the rage’. Then, people started to see they weren’t the simple, flip-the-switch-and-they’ll-make-you-rich business solution they had imagined. Membership sites do NOT create instant streams of the ever-elusive ‘passive income’. Membership sites are hard work. They are hard to set up, hard to develop, hard to grow and hard to keep up!

My Spirit Authors site started out as a membership site, which I launched around the end of 2009. Fortunately, I had a good tech team who at least took that burden off my shoulders; but I very quickly realised I could not keep up with the workload of the content creation, let alone the customer care.

Then, a funny thing happened. People from the membership site started asking if they could be private clients. If I took them on, the income I would receive would be a lot more than I was making from membership fees. But it was not humanly possible to take on this bigger client load while simultaneously managing the membership site. I had to make a choice: where was I going to put my time, money and attention? So after spending a year-and-a-half on it, and investing many thousands in development, the membership site was abandoned.

A membership site is not a money-machine. The clue is in the name: membership site. It is a collection of people. You don’t just set it up, take people’s money, give them some content and walk away. They are there for an experience. They want something, and you have a duty of care to give it to them. Back when I first set up my Spirit Authors site, I attended a training session with the developers of WishList Member. The one thing they said repeatedly to our group was:

‘People COME to your site for the content, but they STAY for the community.’

If you’re not ready to put your whole self into building community through your membership site, don’t bother starting one in the first place. And if you do start one, don’t dream of trying to do it by yourself. You will need help – in tech, admin, customer/member support and marketing. You might also need help with content creation. If you have an affiliate programme, you’ll need someone to take care of that, too.

The bottom line is this: a membership site is not a product; it’s a business. As such, it doesn’t just need good content; it needs a business model, a marketing plan and a team of people who know what they need to do and how to do it. You might be the world’s greatest teacher or trainer in a particular area of expertise, but unless you have all your ducks lined up in a row to make your membership site work, it (and possibly you) will crash and burn.

That said, a membership site can be one of the most exciting ways to do business, and has tremendous potential to be a rewarding, long-term source of income that spreads your message and helps other people – and as a social entrepreneur, that’s why you went into business in the first place.

So don’t let my words of warning put you off completely. Take time to consider carefully whether a membership site could become the foundation of your business. Speak to others who have done it successfully. Spend time planning not just your content, but your long-term business plan.

While you’re envisioning all that, let’s look at two contrasting WordPress plug-ins that can be used to turn your blog into a membership site.

WishList Member

  • Function: Enables you to set up a membership site on your WordPress blog
  • How to get it: http://bit.ly/LynnWLM (my affiliate link)
  • COST: One-time fee of $197 for single site; $297 for unlimited sites (as of this writing)

I used WishList Member to build my own membership site in 2009 – 2010, and used it constantly for about two years to deliver courses on writing and book marketing to authors. I got to know it very well during that time. However, I am sure it has evolved since the last time I used it, because the developers were very pro-active about making it better and better.

WishList Member (WLM) is what I would call a ‘rigorous’ piece of software, meaning it can do a lot. But like any high-performing software, there is always a learning curve. Back in in 2009, I did a training programme with them, intending to become a certified developer for the software. After several months, while I admittedly learned a lot, I decided I didn’t want to spend my time working
as a tech for my clients when I should be helping them on marketing strategies.

However, the training gave me not only a good handle on the capabilities of the programme, but also the many different approaches to designing online membership programmes and why you might choose one over another.

Some of the key features that made WLM so rigorous included:

  • Great flexibility to create multiple membership levels
  • Ability to ‘drip-feed’ content over a specified period of time
  • Ability to ‘graduate’ members automatically from one level to another
  • Customisable navigation widgets for each membership level
  • Integration with PayPal and many other shopping carts
  • Integration with pretty much all auto-responders
  • Integration with some affiliate systems, e.g. ClickBank, 1ShoppingCart and iDev Affiliate (although, back then, I had some difficulty making iDev affiliate work properly with it)
  • Integration with Simple:Press forum software (but I have to confess, while it worked well once it was set up, it was a nightmare to configure)

To give you an example of how this worked for me, on my Spirit Authors site my intention was to have five different training modules, each with ten lessons (in actuality, I only completed two of the originally planned five, as they were the ones that generated the most interest). To make the training effective, it was important to be able space out (‘drip-feed’) the lessons one week at a time, rather than give members access to all of the content at once. This allowed participants time to complete the ‘homework’ on the training, and it kept them more motivated than if they had been given a huge amount of work to do in one go. I also wanted to coordinate this progression with their access to different levels of the forum, i.e. if they were on week 1 of the course, they could access the week 1 forum; if they were on week 2 of the course, they could access the forums for both weeks 1 and 2, and so on.

‘Drip-feeding’ lessons in this way also enabled me to build a trial period into the courses, to encourage people to give them a test drive before fully committing to them. I wanted to offer the first lesson to people for a fee of $1. After seven days, if they wanted to continue with additional lessons, they would be billed for the full amount of the course. This would be good for my customers, but it would also be good for my business: it would encourage more people to try it out, and it prevented people from joining the site, downloading all the content, and then disappearing.

This meant, just to deliver two modules of lessons, my software needed to be able to create at least twenty membership levels, which could automatically progress at set intervals. It also meant I needed to be able to hide and reveal content as members progressed through these levels, and to lock/unlock access to different areas of the forum automatically (done with ‘member roles’, which is not the same thing as membership levels). Lastly, it meant I needed a way to manage automated payment after the trial period was over, and to restrict access to the content if payment wasn’t made.

If it sounds complex…it was! In the end, I actually asked someone else on the developer’s programme to help me (she later went on to join our team, creating all the web pages for our book launch clients). However, it got done and, for the most part, it all worked. There were a few hiccups with affiliate integration and restricting access if payment wasn’t made at the end of trial period, but it was nothing we couldn’t work around with the modest number of members we had.

While it took a while to figure out how to get WLM to do all the things I wanted it to do, once it was configured (and the few hiccups aside), it was rock-solid. I also thought their training materials were excellent and their support team were extremely responsive.

I wish to stress that I have not used WLM for the past few years. I am sure they have evolved and improved, and that their integration capabilities have changed. If you check them out at the link above, you’ll be able to read more and you can also see some demo videos they have showing different features. They have a 30-day refund policy, should you want to try it out. However, I strongly recommend that you have a good idea of what you want to do with it before buying, and that you hire someone who has worked with it to help you get it configured.

eMember

  • Function: Enables you to set up a membership site on your WordPress blog
  • How to get it: Purchase at http://bit.ly/LynnWPeMember (my affiliate link)
  • COST: One-time fee of $59.95 (as of this writing) for multi-site license and unlimited free updates.
  • DISCOUNT: There is a 20% discount if you buy their eStore and eMember plug-in together (scroll down their page to see how to do this.

I have never used eMember, so I cannot speak about it from experience. However, I mention it here because I have used and been very satisfied with other products created by the same developers, Tips and Tricks HQ (such WordPress eStore and WordPress Affiliate Platform).

On the surface, eMember seems very similar in functionality to WishList Member, at a significantly lower price. Both have unlimited membership levels and enable you to set up an ‘auto upgrade’ to move from one level to another. Both can integrate with bbPress or other WordPress forum plug-ins that utilise ‘roles’ to manage access.

The primary difference in function appears to be with shopping carts, auto-responders and affiliate programmes. At present, the only auto-responders eMember works with are AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse, and the only compatible payment systems are PayPal and ClickBank (although you can expand this if you integrate it with their eStore plug-in). The only affiliate programme it works with is their own Affiliate Platform plug-in.

On that note, one of the primary advantages of eMember IS the fact that it can integrate with their other software packages, such as WordPress eStore and WordPress Affiliate Platform. In my experience, when software packages are designed by the same programmers, they tend to work more smoothly with each other than those created by different companies.

If you already have an e-commerce set-up or affiliate programme of your own, or if you use a different auto-responder system, you’ll probably need WishList Member to create a membership site. But if you’re looking to create all of these things on your site, are happy with PayPal or ClickBank, and you use one of the auto-responders eMember supports, you might look into buying all three of their products as a bundle. The lower price and the fact that they automatically give you a multi-site license are both good incentives. As I said, I cannot speak from experience about this product, but I’d be willing to give it a shot, given my satisfaction with their other products.

Exploring Other Membership Alternatives

The two plug-ins I have mentioned are by no means the be-all and end-all of membership plug-ins. There are many others you might wish to consider.

You might be interested to look at a FREE membership plug-in called Paid Memberships Pro, but according to reviews I’ve read, it does not allow you to ‘drip-feed’ your content (which I think is essential).

Apart from WishList Member and eMember, the other three most frequently mentioned premium options I have read about are Exchange from iThemes, MemberPress and Restrict Content Pro (I have not personally tested any of these). Remember that while some of the more advanced features of these plug-ins may be ‘the’ selling point for some WordPress users, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need them all. I should also advise you to read the fine print before buying, as some of these plug-ins are available only by annual subscription, not for a one-off fee.

Closing Thoughts

Setting up a membership site is going to be a big investment of your time (if not money), and you really only want to have to do it ONCE. I strongly suggest shopping around before purchasing. Read reviews and sales pages with some degree of caution, as they might not always be 100% objective. Carefully check out the screenshots, demo videos and FAQ section on their sites. Asking other people who have used these plug-ins can also be very useful, as they’re more likely to tell you what went wrong as well as what went right.

Hopefully this brief tour of the kinds of features you might be looking for will aid you in making an informed decision, and your plug-in will help you design exactly the kind of membership site you want to create. And please don’t be discouraged by what might seem like the overwhelming responsibility of it all. Like that puppy you got at Christmas, your membership site will give back to you, too.

All you need to do is care for it…and for your members.

If you’re thinking about building your blog – or you’re just interested in exploring ways to grow and market your ethical business online – I’d love to hear from you to see if and how our services can help you. Drop us a line via the contact form on this website, with a little information about your business and what kind of help you require, and I’ll be in touch with you as soon as I can.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
17 July 2015

This article was adapted from ideas presented in Chapter 13 of the book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging by Lynn Serafinn (coming November 2015). To download a free blogging template based on ideas in the book, and receive a reminder when the book comes out, go to http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/blogging-book.

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

 

Posted in Blog, Blogging, Business Tips, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, Relationship with Our Audience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Money Hype – What You’re Worth vs What Your BUSINESS Needs

Money Hype - What You're Worth vs What Your Business Needs

Marketing strategist Lynn Serafinn challenges the ‘think big’ mentality, and shows how cash flow, not big bucks, is the key to a sustainable, ethical business.

About 8 years ago when I was still working as a life coach, I seemed to be getting several UK clients who had gone to an event by a world-famous personal development celebrity of the day. You know the ones – massive arena events where people are encouraged to dream big and end up doing a fire walk in bare feet. These clients said they felt depressed and didn’t know why. They had felt so high and powerful during the event, and for several days after – like they could achieve anything. They felt confident and exhilarated. But after a few weeks (which soon turned into months), the endorphin high they had experienced during the event took a nosedive and left them feeling deflated.

These clients were suffering from what I call the ‘Adrenaline Effect’. This is when the energy of a moment triggers heightened emotions, releasing hormones like adrenaline and endorphins, which then go racing around our nervous system like lightning. It’s like being drugged (well, endorphins are drugs; the whole reason people take recreational drugs is that they trigger endorphins). And like any drug that brings you up, there’s going to be a crash afterwards.

What was frustrating for me was that many of these Adrenaline Effect clients came to me in hopes of recreating the high they had felt in the arena. In truth, there are many coaches out there who are willing to accommodate; but I’m not one of them. I felt like the best service I could give these Adrenaline Effect clients was to help them understand this ‘crash’ wasn’t a failure on their part, but the result of being sucked into the extreme ‘high’ of the moment. Some of them came to understand this, and learned to shrug (or even laugh) it off with time. These people eventually were able to look back on the experience with fondness, remembering the ‘rush’ it gave them, but without attaching too much emotional importance to it.

But others couldn’t let go of it. They had come to identify with the experience, and they wanted it back. As a result, they kept going to one personal development event after another, trying to regain that elusively short-lived high they had come to associate with a feeling of personal power. Really, it’s a kind of addiction.

There is such a thing as a ‘personal development junkie’.

Mixing Endorphins with Money Matters

Unfortunately, there are many gurus in the personal development world who rely upon this adrenaline/endorphin effect in their work. Some of these come from the body of coaches who preach that you should charge ‘what you’re worth’. Like the celebrity mentioned above, such coaches challenge the limiting beliefs of their audience, encouraging them to think big. In this case, the goal is to get clients to dare to dream of monetary figures that ‘take their breath away’. In fact, if it doesn’t take their breath away, they’re told they are still thinking within their limited mind-set. In this way, the client is encouraged to ask the Universe for more and more until it almost feels like too much.

I can understand the intention behind getting people past their limiting beliefs; it’s a valid and important aspect of coaching. The trouble is, when we pull numbers out of a hat based on how much adrenaline is pumping through our bodies at the time, there’s no business logic to back it up. I agree that many independent business owners undervalue themselves; but setting financial targets or deciding your prices for your products and services shouldn’t come as a result of heightened emotions, but from a sound and sustainable business model.

Unfortunately, I have found very few people who seem to understand how to do it. That’s why lately I’ve been working with a LOT of my clients on their pricing. And for most of them (or at least, so they tell me), it’s been a very enlightening experience.

Why Pricing Isn’t About YOU

Even if you are a one-person-band, setting your prices isn’t about YOU; it’s about your business. It’s not about what you’re worth (or even about what you want) but about what it takes to keep your business alive and well. As an entrepreneur, your goal should not be to stay alive, but to ensure your business stays alive and thrives. And one thing I’ve learned about keeping a business healthy is that it’s not as much about profit as it is about cash flow.

Cash flow is like oxygen to your company – it breathes money in and it breathes money out. If your company doesn’t get enough money, it will suffocate and go under. During those times, you might be tempted to bail it out with loans or by getting another job; but this is like being chain smoker and thinking you’ll breathe better if you carry a respirator around with you all the time. Your attempts to keep your business alive by such means are futile because you’re not addressing the cause of the ‘disease’ from which it is suffering – lack of oxygen (i.e. cash flow).

For the chain smoker, the first step to health would be to quit smoking. But this act alone will only will stop impeding the flow of oxygen into the body; it will also be necessary to increase the lung capacity so they can absorb more oxygen and thus circulate it throughout the body.

Drawing upon that analogy, we can start to understand what it takes to create a healthy business. We need to ensure that what is going OUT of our company isn’t sucking the life from it, and we need to be certain that what is coming in not only meets its operational needs, but exceeds them. This gives us ‘room to breathe’. Only when our company has this breathing room can we create, grow and evolve.

Bringing Logic Back into the Money Equation

One of the services I offer my clients is product development. Mostly, these are service products – training packages, corporate services, medical treatment packages, coaching packages, etc. A crucial part of the product development process is determining the right pricing for the product. The ‘right pricing’ must ensure that the company will be in a state of regular, positive cash flow once the products take root and start to sell.

My approach to the process is logical – not emotional. We start by looking at your outgoings, and differentiating between what is necessary and what is not. We look at all the ‘moving parts’ that comprise the operational ‘machine’ that is your business. Your website, computer, software, subscriptions, staff, admin assistance, office rental, travel, utilities, etc. are all part of that machine.

If clients have got themselves into a situation where their business has become dependent upon credit for its operations, I encourage them to make getting RID of these debts (and not creating more debt) their FIRST priory. I believe credit card culture – and the vile propaganda that our financial reliability is measurable by our credit ratings – has done more damage to our ‘developed’ society in the last 50 years than just about anything else. What I’ve seen is that, more often than not, eradicating debt is not so much a matter of making more money, but of overcoming the psychological and emotional dependency on credit. I could get on a soapbox and go on and on about this (it’s something I touched upon in the book The 7 Graces of Marketing), but for now, suffice it to say that to improve your cash flow, you have to cut up the plastic and then pay it off – all of it. Your repayments also need to be factored into your product pricing structure (but, of course, you have to make sure you actually use the incoming cash to pay the debts!).

Once we’ve looked at all your outgoings, we next have to consider how many customers/clients you anticipate being able to serve each month (I recommend being modest with this figure). Then, if we divide those total outgoings by the anticipated number of clients, we can see how much we need to charge for our services simply to pay for themselves (not even to pay us).

Only then do we look at what we want to ‘make’ – how much we want to earn for ourselves – and add this to the baseline fee we just came up with. The trap I’ve seen many small business owners fall into is that they start by setting their fees at this point, and THEN take out their expenses. This gives them a false sense of security. They think they’re making X number of dollars an hour, but in reality they’re making half that figure.

The other trap many small business owners fall into when setting prices is that they fail to look at every moment they are putting into their business. Ask yourself:

  • Are you answering emails?
  • Are you writing blogs?
  • Are you reading or writing reports for clients between meetings?
  • Are you spending time doing the bookkeeping/invoicing?

Every moment you spend on your job counts for something, and…

…you need to get PAID for it!

This is not a matter of getting over limiting beliefs. This is simply a matter of not giving your precious time away. I find it really interesting that so many service professionals I meet say they want to increase their prices to reflect ‘what they’re worth’. But their struggle with money has usually far less to do with their self-perceived worth or self-belief than it does with their neglect to create systems to ensure they are getting paid for all the ‘little’ things they do within their business.

Because these figures reflect the ‘breath’ of money in your business – breathing money in and breathing money out – they become a sustainable system. With this system, we have a foundation upon which we can create any number of service products together. Because they are priced in a sustainable way, all these products have the potential to create consistent, healthy cash flow within your business (of course, it goes without saying that success also depends upon creating the right marketing strategy for them).

One of my longest-standing clients has now created about six service packages with me over the past couple years. After we launched the first two, she told me her cash flow had doubled in the first month. Suddenly, she was ahead of her expenses and was able to plan ahead in her business. After a few months, she was able to see a significant increase in her personal income that has continued to this day.

To Serve and ‘Live Comfortably’

These days, so many financial gurus out there like to dangle the ‘carrot’ of becoming six-figure, seven-figure, eight-figure or even NINE-figure earners to attract (lure?) customers to their programs. In my observation, many of them are replicating the same old Adrenaline Effect I discussed at the top of this article. Dreaming big is great, but unless it’s backed up with sustainable business systems, your wings are likely to melt before you get anywhere near your envisioned goal.

Personally, I believe the two primary goals of any social entrepreneur / ethical business owner should be:

  1. To serve
  2. To live comfortably

Service is essential. If we are not serving, we are not ethical business owners. It’s as simple as that. Our work must be helping make the world better in some way. We must be helping people and/or planet to be happier, healthier, safer, wiser, more empowered, more peaceful or just plain better in some way.

Living comfortably is equally important. If we cannot live comfortably from our business, the business will not survive. If the business does not survive, we cannot serve. To me, ‘living comfortably’ doesn’t mean ‘rich’; it means I have enough cash flow that I don’t have to worry if business is a bit sluggish. For me, ‘comfortable’ means:

  • I always have four to six months’ worth of mortgage and taxes tucked away in my savings account long before I need to use it.
  • I have NO credit cards or loans, and am incurring no interest (except my mortgage, which I think is a forgivable exception).
  • What I see is what I get; in other words, what I pay today is for things I am buying today, not things I bought five years ago.
  • I can plan ahead, both in business and in play.
  • I am not a millionaire (or anywhere close to it!), but I always feel like I have ‘plenty’ of money.
  • I wouldn’t say I have ‘money to burn’, but when I really want something (like a trip to visit my cousins in Trentino this summer), I plan for it and get it.
  • I don’t feel ‘crowded’ in my time or finances.
  • I enjoy my work. It find it interesting, creative and satisfying.
  • I have ample time for myself and my non-business pursuits.
  • I am basically a happy person.

In other words, ‘living comfortably’ means that money works for me and not the other way around. I am a servant to my customers, but I am not a slave to my job.

That’s when being an ethical business owner becomes fun. You feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction in your work, while experiencing a delicious sense of creativity and FREEDOM – especially with regards to money.

That is also when ‘earning what you’re worth’ and ‘giving your business what it needs’ are no longer at odds with one another, but have become one and the same.

If you’d like to explore how to create a sustainable system to give your business what it needs, I invite you to check out my Product Creation & Copywriting Packages on the ‘Work with Us’ page on this site. If they spark your interest, feel free to drop me a line via the Contact Form on this site to request a free 30-minute Skype chat to discuss your needs.

Warm wishes,

Lynn Serafinn

21 May 2015

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

 

Posted in 7 Graces Project, 7 Key Relationships, Business Tips, Lynn Serafinn, Product Development, Relationship with Money, Relationship with Our Business, Strategy Packages | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Our Assumptions Might Be Driving AWAY Our Blog Readers

How Our Assumptions Might Be Driving Away Our Blog Readers

Marketing strategist and blogging mentor Lynn Serafinn challenges the belief that talking about ourselves on our blogs brings our readers closer to us.

In Chapter 6 of my upcoming book, The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging, I discuss five of the typical assumptions about blogging that I believe can be damaging to blogging success. What I mean by ‘assumptions’ in this particular context are the unconscious beliefs we might have about blogging, our readers and ourselves, which colour the way we write and influence the effect we have on our readers.

Assumptions are not the same as what some people refer to as ‘limiting beliefs’. A limiting belief is a belief we hold about ourselves that holds us back and keeps us from achieving what we want. In contrast:

An assumption is something we believe to be true about life.

‘Life’ refers to the world in general – especially other people, including our readers, clients, colleagues, etc. Our assumptions are projections of what we believe other people think, feel or do. They may hold a grain of truth, or they may be distorted by our personal, limiting beliefs. Thus, our assumptions can be informed by our limiting beliefs, but they are not the same thing.

While I’m not going to discuss here all five of the assumptions I talk about in the book, I did want to share the first of these assumptions with you, as I feel it is one of the most damaging to our rapport with our audience.

I have to confess: I have a prickly feeling on the back of my neck that my take on this particular assumption might hit a few nerves and spark reactions from some of our readers. If that’s the case, please do share your thoughts in the comments after you’ve read the article. It should make for a lively debate.

So (I say as I hold my breath), here we go….

Damaging Assumption #1: ‘People will connect with me more if I talk about myself.’

Those of you who have read my other books will know that ‘Transparency’ is one of the 7 Graces of Marketing. As I have defined it, Transparency is the practice of allowing the ‘light’ of who you are to shine through your marketing – your values, your personality, etc.

However, there is a fine line between the Grace of Transparency and using your blog (or social network) as a public confessional. These authors have allowed their blogs (and books) to become predominantly anecdotal, permeated with stories about their personal hardships with relationships, health, addictions, money, etc. I have most frequently seen this kind of writing show up on blogs in the spirituality and personal development fields. Many of these authors are operating on the assumption that if they are open and honest about their imperfections, it will break down the barrier between them and their audience and bring them closer. While, in theory, this is absolutely true, it does not necessarily mean your approach is creating the impact you desire.

For example, have you ever had a friend in the past who seemed to be perpetually caught up in one drama after another, and whenever you got together for a chat you had to sit and listen to his/her latest episode? How long did it take you to realise this person wasn’t listening to you when you were speaking? When you finally realised this, how long did it take you to stop meeting this friend for lunch or calling them on the phone because you were just too worn out by them? In much the same way, while personal anecdotes can be great teaching tools, used incorrectly they can make your audience switch off. Unless framed correctly, using too many personal anecdotes turns the spotlight away from your audience, because you’re too busy shining it on yourself. If you want to use anecdotes to connect to your audience, you need to create a clear and direct line of relevance between your story and their immediate needs and concerns. Use anecdotes as vehicles to illustrate specific and clearly defined points; otherwise, they have no place in your blog.

Let me be clear: when I say ‘to illustrate a point’, I don’t mean something along the lines of, ‘I am telling you this story to show you how great I am.’ For example, I know a woman whose blogs are almost always made up of stories about how her coaching resulted in one of her clients succeeding in x, y, z. To me, there is nothing inherently valuable in such a blog article. It’s all about the author and nothing about me, the reader. Keep putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, and ask yourself what they want from you, not what you want to get from them.

You might also believe that showing your failings and vulnerabilities to the world will make you seem more approachable and human. Again, while there is an element of truth in this, if done incorrectly, it can also come across as apologetic and needy. Thus, instead of showing your readers that you care for them, you are making them feel like they need to take care of you. That is not the relationship you want to have with them; nor is it the one they want to have with you.

At the opposite extreme, talking too much about all the obstacles you have overcome can sound sanctimonious, condescending or even desperate. When readers feel they are being preached at or spoken down to, they will switch off, click away from your blog and never return. Yes, there will be the few who will be happy to be in your ‘fan club’. But to create a successful business you don’t want fans; you want intelligent, informed, loyal customers.

Unfortunately, using a blog as a public confessional (or pulpit) can be a hard habit for many authors to break. This is where limiting beliefs play a part. If an author harbours private beliefs about him/herself such as ‘I am flawed’ and ‘People will see through me anyway’, it is likely they will unconsciously use their blog as a vehicle for their own personal emotional purging. If the author is filled with insecurities that create an overwhelming need to be liked, their articles are likely to be more for (and about) themselves than their readers.

One of the editors on our 7 Graces team commented on this topic when I was writing it. Her advice was to go through your last blog article and count how many times you used the words ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘my’ in it. Take a good look at those sections and honestly assess whether they are providing genuine value to your readers. If not, DELETE them. Looking at what remains should give you a good idea of how substantive (or not) your content actually is.

The bottom line is this: while it’s always a good thing to let your readers know the real you, it is crucial to be aware of your underlying motivations when you talk about yourself. If you are inwardly seeking some sort of personal or professional validation from your audience, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Your words will create the impression that you are trying to ‘prove yourself’ to your readers. If, however, you are able to set aside your emotional needs and craft your anecdotal content into something that delivers genuine insight, information and value to your readers, then by all means use it.

Closing Thoughts

You may or may not agree with my viewpoint on this particular assumption. Nonetheless, if you do a little self-reflection, I am sure you will be able to determine whether or not you hold this assumption yourself, and how it might be influencing the way you write.

Leaving any assumption buried in your unconscious has the potential to do great damage. It is crucial for any writer – whether blogger, journalist or book author – to bring unconscious assumptions into the conscious and recognise how we allow them to infiltrate what we write. Only then can we actively wean ourselves away from self-defeating habits we may not have realised we had, which are creating disconnection between our audience and us.

Again, I welcome your responses to my viewpoint, and look forward to your comments below.

If you’re intrigued to find out more about The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging, I invite you to request a reminder when the book comes out in late 2015 at http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/blogging-book. When you do, you will also receive a free blogging template based on ideas from the book. This is the same model we use with our own blogging clients here at the 7 Graces Project.

And, of course, if you’re interested to find out more about how we help clients build their platform through blogging, social media and product development, do take a look at our service offers on our ‘Work With US’ page, or contact us for a free 30-minute consultation via the contact form on this site.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
5 May 2015

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Posted in 7 Graces Project, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Business Tips, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, Platform Building Programme, Relationship with Our Audience, Social Media, Strategy Packages, Tweep-e-licious, Twitter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Get Rid of All Those FAKE Twitter Followers You Bought

How to Get Rid of All Those Fake Twitter Followers You Bought

Marketing Strategist Lynn Serafinn explains why buying Twitter followers is a BAD idea, how to tell if you’ve been scammed, and how to clean up your account.

UPDATE 25 May 2015:
Since I wrote this article, Twitter has changed its API access to Tweet Adder, and at the current moment TWEET ADDER IS NOT FUNCTIONING (and no sales are being taken until this issue is resolved). If you use this product, I encourage you to follow updates about this issue on their user forum at Tweet Adder Announcements. I will put an update here if I hear of any changes.

One of the things I work on with clients is online platform building. In my view, an integral part of any online platform is the seamless integration of social media and blogging. I believe giving due care and attention to these two ‘layers’ of your marketing funnel is crucial in developing an ongoing relationship with your audience, which ultimately results in generating business over the long-term.

Unfortunately, many clients who come to me for help have yet to learn how to make this dance between blogging and social media work. Many have been exposed to the philosophies of ‘old school’ Internet marketers, who encourage aggressive marketing strategies that are based upon numbers, manipulation and formulae rather than on people, conversation and relationships. Still more have become victims of marketing scams, such as promises of a guaranteed number of ‘followers’ on their list or social media accounts…for a fee, of course.

The Truth about Numbers

There are many so-called ‘marketers’ (although calling them ‘marketers’ is tantamount to believing the proverbial ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ is actually a sheep) on both Twitter and Facebook who claim they have a genuine database of people who are ready and willing to follow, like and love you. They will tell you they have all kinds of advanced algorithms and blah, blah, blah, designed to target valid leads to you. They promise you that $250 (or whatever amount) will get you, say, 1,000 new followers, and $500 will get you more.

Now, I’ve been doing book and product launches for the past 8 years and I can tell you unequivocally that there is no way on the face of the earth that you can PROMISE a fixed number of people will opt in to any offer – free or not. There are simply too many variables. Some of these include things in which I have little or no influence, such as company branding and the rapport between the client and their audience. If the client’s branding and rapport are not cohesive, consistent, qualitative and engaging, it is unlikely any kind of marketing campaign is likely to ‘inspire’ others to follow them. While I might set a target to get 5,000 new followers on my client’s social networks or mailing list, there is no way anyone can ‘guarantee’ this will happen…

…unless those followers are actually FAKE.

Anatomy of a Marketing Scam

‘But,’ you stammer, ‘I don’t understand. I paid my money and within a week I had 3,000 new Twitter followers. They look like real people. What are you talking about?!’

When we’re just starting out in business, many (if not most) of us feel helpless about ‘getting the word out’. We just don’t know where to start. How do we get people to follow us on social media? How do we get them to read our blog? How do we get business from this? It’s daunting.

Because we’re so overwhelmed, we look for solutions that can help us go from ground zero to…well…SOMETHING – but we’re not sure what that ‘something’ is. People tell us we need to get Twitter followers; but even if we know how to do that, we don’t know what we’re supposed to do with them after we’ve got them.

Unfortunately, there are many opportunistic people out there in cyberspace who prey upon unsuspecting small business owners who are caught in this vortex of ‘I don’t know’. Some of those opportunistic people run scams thinly disguised as marketing services. They set up several thousand bogus Twitter or Facebook accounts, hiding behind different proxy servers (notionally, so Twitter or Facebook don’t realise they’re fake accounts). They might have real sounding names. They might even have headshots. But make no mistake: there’s nobody there except the scammer. The scammer who sold you their ‘marketing product’ will, for a fee, make all these bogus accounts follow you on Twitter or ‘like’ your Facebook page (that is, of course, if they don’t run off with your money without even bothering to give you your fake followers).

Suddenly, you have thousands of followers. You’re starting to feel more confident about the future. You think people are really interested in you and what you are doing in your business.

The problem is, these people don’t exist.

How You Can Tell Your Followers Are Fake

I recently started working with a new client who had about 3,500 followers on Twitter. However, she was following only about 400 of them. I told her I wanted to look at this imbalance, because it’s a good idea to follow back your legitimate followers, so you can start to build rapport. So, I went into her account using Tweet Adder 4.0, which our team runs on a private server to support our clients’ Twitter accounts.

After I had a good look at her account, I said to her, ‘Can I ask you, at some point in the past, perhaps in or before 2011, did you BUY a batch of Twitter followers?’

She was surprised at my question. She said, ‘Well, I purchased a Twitter marketing package from someone at that time.’

I explained to her that this was no ‘marketing’ service, and that she had been scammed. Of course, she was upset by this news. She was also bewildered as to how I could see this in her account.

Here’s how I discovered this:

  • When I set up her Twitter account, Tweet Adder, flagged over 3,000 ‘follow backs. That meant she was not following back 3,000 people who were following her. Of course, I could already see that just by looking at her numbers, but Tweet Adder enabled me to analyse these figures to understand more about them.
  • First, I sorted these ‘follow backs’ using a filter in Tweet Adder called ‘Last Tweet Date’. In my view, there’s no point in following someone who is inactive on Twitter.
  • Then, I applied other filters to see which accounts hadn’t been active in a LONG time. I set the number of days to 300 days (> 300). I discovered that nearly all of her followers hadn’t been on Twitter since 2010 or 2011.
  • Finally, I used other filters to see how many followers these people had versus how many people they were following. I also looked at how many Tweets they had sent out. What I found was something that looked like this (I’ve smudged out the names of the Twitter accounts):

Tweet Adder Follow Back List - screenshot

This screenshot was taken TODAY. You can see that:

  • There were 601 accounts following my client who hadn’t Tweeted in about a year (these ones hadn’t Tweeted since 2010).
  • All of the accounts had only ever sent ONE Tweet.
  • All are following hundreds of people, but nobody (save a few people who didn’t know any better) is following them back
  • All of these accounts originate in non-English speaking countries. In fact, all of the clearly purchased ‘followers’ were from Asia (Indonesia, mostly) and South America. Even if they were legitimate followers, what would my client gain from following accounts she couldn’t understand?

Had I thought to take a screenshot when I first started working with her, you would see that far more than 601 accounts showed up when I first performed this search. However, we’ve slowly been getting rid of these bogus followers over the past month (I’ll show you how to do this, in a minute).

Why It’s Pointless to Retain Fake Followers

You might wonder what the big deal is. So you bought a bunch of fake followers in the past and now you’re stuck with them. ‘What’s the harm? Who cares? Let them be.’

I believe it’s important to get rid of fake followers. As a marketer, I want to KNOW what’s actually going on. I want to know what’s working and what’s not. If I THINK I have 3,500 followers, but I’m getting virtually no ‘action’ from them, something is seriously wrong.

What do I mean by ‘action’? ReTweeting/sharing my Tweets is action. Clicking on my links and visiting my blog. Talking to me. If none of my followers are doing this, either there’s something wrong with my followers or there’s something wrong with ME. Maybe my blog content is rubbish. Maybe my Tweets are confusing. Maybe I’m inconsistent in my communication. Maybe I’m writing for the wrong audience. But if I do all I can to ensure I’m not the problem and I still don’t get any action from my followers, I have to look at how and from where my followers are finding me. My analysis will be useless unless I first cull so-called followers who do nothing to serve my business.

The other reason it’s valuable to exile your fake followers is so your REAL followers (especially those thinking about connecting with you) take you seriously. If they check out your followers and see thousands of inactive (and obviously fake) accounts, what does that say about you? If, however, they see thousands of genuine Twitter users actively choosing to follow you, they get a far more positive impression about you.

Blocking Your Fake Followers

Hopefully, you’re now considering getting rid of all those fake followers you bought in the past, even if it means seeing your numbers go down. I understand it might be scary; watching your numbers decline for the sake of truth and transparency is a brave thing to do.

Now you might be wondering something else: ‘How do I MAKE people unfollow me on Twitter?’ The answer is: you use a feature on Twitter called ‘Blocking’.

When you block a Twitter account, it means they cannot follow you, message you or tag you, and you can’t follow them, etc. In other words, you cannot communicate with each other in any way on Twitter. If that sounds pretty extreme, it’s because it is. That’s why blocking really should only be used in specific circumstances, such as:

  • Porn
  • Spammers
  • Aggressive or abusive users
  • Fake accounts

Back in the screenshot of Tweet Adder above, you’ll see that next to each account in the ‘Follow Back’ menu, there are three options: Follow Back, Black List and Block.

Tweet Adder Follow Back Blacklist Block

‘Follow Back’ is obvious. If you click it, Tweet Adder will follow back that person.

‘Black List’ is less extreme than blocking, and it only relates to Tweet Adder, not Twitter. When you ‘black list’ someone, it means you CHOOSE not to follow them, but you’re ok with allowing them to follow you. I tend to use black list when someone seems like a genuine follower, but I’m not particularly interested in what they’re Tweeting about (like if they do a lot of advertising, but they’re not directly spamming me). When you put someone on your black list, Tweet Adder will not ask you to follow them back again in the future (unless you take them off the black list). However, they will still be following you, unless they decide to unfollow you of their own accord.

If, by using the filters I described earlier in this article, you have been able to identify your fake followers, you can start to ‘block’ them simply by pressing the ‘block’ button. They will cease to follow you, and you will never see or hear from them again.

CAVEAT: Don’t go blocking accounts too quickly, as Twitter will see it as ‘aggressive’ activity and you could end up getting your account suspended. It’s best to do it gradually over a period of days, weeks or even months, if you have a lot of bogus followers.

Closing Thoughts

If you’ve read my book Tweep-e-licious!, you might remember Tip #41: Don’t Be Tempted by Twitter Growth Scams. Today, I’ve given you some good reasons why NOT to get hoodwinked by them (apart from the obvious waste of money), as well as some tips on how to undo the damage if this happens to you. To me, marketing is only effective when you’re not playing in the dark. Getting rid of bogus followers helps you become more able to see what’s working and what’s not, in your social media marketing.

If you’d like to check out Tweep-e-licious!, you can find it at http://tweepelicious.com. There you can also get access to a 90-minute Twitter audio class I recorded some time ago (no purchase necessary, but you will have to sign up using your email address to get access).

AND…if you’re at a point in your ethical business where you’d like to work closely with a marketing strategist (and her team) who can help you grow an online audience of followers who GENUINELY know, love and appreciate what you do, give me a shout via the contact form on this site to set up a 30-minute Skype chat. We offer platform building services (including Twitter support), product development, copywriting, eBook development and many other valuable services for service-oriented independent business owners and non-fiction authors. You can read about our services HERE.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
21 April 2015

Transparency: In this article, I have used my affiliate link to the Tweet Adder website. I do make a small commission if people purchase the product using this link.

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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

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