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April 16, 2022

Top 5 Steps to Agile Marketing for the Successful Entrepreneur

Top 5 Steps to Agile Marketing for the Successful Entrepreneur

Top 5 Steps to Agile Marketing for the Successful Entrepreneur

Before we get started with our presentation today, we have an announcement.

Podchaser is a place where you can share your podcast. People can claim their spot on your show as a guest. We have had Elsie Escobar, Sheryl Robinson, and Jen McFarland as guests. They are members of Podchaser, and all you have to do to be a member is just go there, sign in and register. You can claim your own podcast, show yourself as a guest on any of the podcasts that you've been a guest on, and you can also rate podcasts and leave reviews. 

We're very focused on reviews in the month of April because of two things.

  1. We want to grow our audience. We want to share our podcast with the world. 
  2. When you leave a review on Podchaser, they will do something called Reviews for Good #reviewsforgood2022. For every review and every reply on Podchaser in April, they will donate 25 cents to World Central Kitchen. The World Central Kitchen chefs have gathered to help the people of Ukraine. It's a worthy cause and all you have to do to contribute is write a review. It doesn't cost you anything but a few minutes of your time. 

Find our Messages and Methods podcast and leave a review on Podchaser here: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/messages-methods-livecast-life-2001390 

We thank you for participating and we will respond to the reviews so we can get that additional money going to the World Central Kitchen.

Digital Marketing Wisdom: Read the Signs and Remain Agile

I wrote a LinkedIn newsletter about this on Monday. So we're going to be expanding on that topic.

What does it mean to be agile? If you Google it, the first definition of agile was this one that's related to process:

Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. Instead of betting everything on a “big bang” launch, an agile team delivers work in small but consumable increments. 

That can apply to industries other than project management and software development. We apply it to our own content marketing, content management, and content creation.

We like to put content out quickly, have our audience show up, and get feedback to adjust to the needs of our audience.

Back in the eighties, I did some marketing consulting work for a very small company that was based in Woodbridge, Virginia, which is south of the beltway from Washington DC. The CEO of that company had written a book on Agile Project Management and it was a big hit. They were dealing with a lot of big corporations. I got to meet some of the people from companies that they were doing business with. One of them was Johnson and Johnson in Cleveland, Ohio. I was helping them with their sales, marketing, and sales development.

It was amazing to me that I had to learn the process at a very fundamental level. I thought it was such a different look at the way project management was run because project management is usually targeted at the end result. With this agile approach, we discovered hesitancy points where you check in with a user and ask, does this satisfy your needs at this point? 

What came out of this is that the user was far more willing to accept an incomplete product that solved the customer's problems as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the end product that was identified at the beginning of the process. 

Perfection Is a Disguise for Procrastination 

Procrastination is usually an outward sign of an inner fear of failure. It's a way to say My product or service is not ready to share, it’s not good enough, (I’m not good enough), so I'm not going to do it

We have learned to prioritize agility over the perfect end result. We’re willing to accept something less than perfect. We don’t allow our fear to keep us from moving forward and you shouldn’t either.

It falls into the Pareto Principle, your product is probably ready to go at 80%. At the time it's 80% it’s ready to share with your audience or customers. Don’t waste that 20% of your time trying to make it perfect rather than getting it out to test in public. 

That's the approach that we take. We admit from the very beginning that our products aren't perfect. You can criticize them in terms of production values, for example, or you can criticize our books. You might find some consistency errors, grammatical errors, or continuity errors. It's important to us that our customers expect us to produce the best possible product. But we get the product out and don’t waste a whole bunch of time making sure the product is absolutely perfect.

We had a conversation about moving our show to the seven o'clock hour, rather than the one o'clock in the afternoon hour. That conversation was short because we’ve done this before and we know the questions to ask and answer.

Does it fit with our schedule now? As a matter of fact, in some ways, it's easier. 

What's the downside? The downside is we don't have anybody signing on at seven o'clock at night. There are four time zones that we have to deal with. I get sleepy at seven o'clock. It was minor stuff.

In terms of agility, if we feel good about the potential, we’ll do it. The only thing that we have to do is inform our audience. We're going from one o'clock in the afternoon to seven o'clock at night and see whether or not they can follow us. Then we'll get into the perfection process.

You have to be wise enough to see what's coming and to determine whether that fits with your objectives and whether you can accomplish it without doing damage to where you are right now. You're not saying to yourself, the perfect show is on Tuesdays at one o'clock or Saturdays at eight. You're not fighting that battle. You're making the decision, taking action, looking at the results, and delivering value to your prospective audience.

Go with what your intuition is telling you and then move on from there. 

There are other things that you can look at as well, like your YouTube analytics, that will tell you when people are most likely to be looking at videos on your channel. We'll do that next before we make any kind of decision. We'll make a couple of announcements so we have enough time to promote it, get some feedback and change our scheduling calendar for guests.

There are a lot of things that can happen because we are agile. It’s just the two of us and those things can happen as long as we've agreed. For instance, last week we thought, let's do a show on Saturday nights. We put the branding together during the week and on Saturday night we started another show. We have the studio space, we have the equipment, so we can do that whenever we decide that's a good idea. 

Perfection is Overrated

Because we're agile and have our foundations in place, we can put content out in the world before it's perfect. 

We want it to be good, but we don't want it to take forever. You have to find that balancing point. The place where it's good enough. One reason we do our shows live is that we don't want to spend time editing and perfecting everything. People don't care about the perfect video. People want the information, the value, and they want it now. They don't care how pretty or ugly it is as long as they get value from it. 

Doing well with blogging is not about writing one key post. It is about performing day after day and helping a few people at a time. Aaron Wall

Focus on one step at a time is the agile attitude to operating your business. Especially if it's a digital-based business. If your store is online, you have the technology necessary to be as agile as you want to add products, delete products, whatever you want to do with it. You have that flexibility. 

Back in the olden days, you had to accommodate your entire supply chain from the point at which you acquired your raw resources to the delivery to your customer. The sales process was part of that. 

Now with digital marketing and digital technologies, the sales process is the biggest part of it because you can sell 24 hours a day all around the world. The rest of the supply chain, while it is important, is not as important as what digital technology enables you to do.

Livestream Video Every Week 

We now live stream video three times a week. Shelley live streams four times a week and we can do that because we have the studio set up not only in Toby's home, but Shelley has one set up in her home. That’s how simple and inexpensive it can be.

As soon as we decide it's time to go live, we flip a couple of switches and start. We live stream video every week to stay consistent, to stay in front of our clients and our audience. Anybody can do this and that agility is an advantage. 

Because you're a solopreneur or small business owner, you can livestream video every week, maybe even every day. That gives you an advantage over corporations that can't or won't do that. They don't want to trust one person to represent their entire brand by live streaming that frequently from an in-home studio. But we get to do that.

One thing that provides the ability to be agile in terms of how you position your business and how you operate your business is the commitment to time and space. You're committed to a certain amount of time to operate a business in a digital marketing way. We know, regardless of all our other plans, we have a commitment on Wednesdays at one o'clock, Thursdays at one o'clock, and Saturdays at seven o'clock. We're going to be together in person or online presenting a live show. Occasionally there's going to be something that prevents one of us from being there, but the other one will go on with the show. That's the time component. 

The space component is we are very fortunate to each have a room that we have converted into a live streaming and production studio. This is where the books are written and published on Amazon and all our other work gets done. It's an operating studio. It's our space. When we're in this space, we feel like we're doing some work. We don't come into this space to drink our coffee or watch videos all day. We come into this space to do something productive, whether it's individually or together. 

So commit to time and space. If you have a full household and all your bedrooms and other spaces are used for the purposes that they were designed, then find a space, find a horizontal surface on which you can place a laptop computer, a light, a camera, and a headset, and you can operate your business from that space.

My backup space is a desktop with a laptop computer, and it has a headset and a light, and a camera behind it. We wanted to make sure that if the computer went down, we had an option. You can do the same thing. Make your space so that it's committed to your business.

When you're in that space, you're effectively performing the functions of the digital marketer.

We have technology finally that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people. Pierre Omidyarll

You have the opportunity to create a business through connection as a result of current technology. Everybody has the same opportunity to create anything they can imagine using that technology.

Improve Incrementally 

On Saturday, we started a new show called Headlines. We know how to put a show together, but we didn't spend a whole lot of time on that because we want to have the audience guide us in what they want to see, what they like, and what they don't like.

We tried a rudimentary show flow and topic and did a giveaway of our book. Then we see what the audience responds to, and what they like the most. We add and take away features and segments. We get feedback. That's how we create a show flow that really works for all of us. 

We didn't want to wait until we designed the perfect show flow, because that's never going to happen. You don't know that it's perfect until you test it on the audience and see their response to it. Then we can incrementally improve.

 

If you go back as far as March 2017 and look at our beginning videos, you’ll see they're more amateurish and awkward. I counted 730 videos in the past five years, 3 million views, and millions of hours of watch time. You can see where we made transitions from that beginning phase when we were doing a lot of editing and there were hours of preparation to do the show. In addition to that, we spent hours refining our equipment and process to get the show perfected to the point that it made sense to the viewer. 

What we do now is we get an idea and we can do the show. We could literally have a show within a half-hour of that idea, assuming that we had viable content for it. That's how easy it has become for us. Because we committed to doing a video every week, we practiced and improved every week, incrementally.

Five years later we can just throw a show up like we did last week. We can decide, let's start a new show. What is it going to be about? Let's put some branding together and start. We hit the go-live button, gather an audience, and see how it goes. We know that we're going to improve that show as we move along, but it's easier to improve after you've got something to work with.

I used to ask my daughter when she had to write an essay for school, what have you written so far? Painful silence. She wouldn't write anything because she was intimidated by the blank page and wanted it to come out perfect the first time. You can't edit when you write. Just get out everything that's in your head, then go back to edit. That's how content creation works.

Get out what's in your head first and then perfect it.

Start with empathy, continue with utility, improve with analysis and optimize with love. Jonathan Coleman

You've got to love what you're doing. You've got to love who you are. You got to love working with your partner. You've got to love your audience and understand them enough so that you can produce the kind of content that they find useful.

That’s the path that leads to earning 100, 1000 then 10,000 True Fans.

Discover What the Audience Responds To and Needs 

We read all the comments in our chat room and emails that people send us. We've gotten to know some people well enough that they text us and let us know what's going on with them, what they want to see more of, and what they liked about our show. Then we can respond to them in a way that is tangible by making the changes that give them what they want.

We’re able to respond to people's needs in that way, as long as it still fits in alignment with our goals. 

Whether you use email, text, voicemail, or comments, we love hearing helpful advice from the people that watch our programming. 

We’ve learned that 20% of the world will love you, and 20% of the world will hate you. There's 60% that will have a conversation with you without making any emotional judgment. Focus on the 60% and the input they provide and you’ll work your way to a profitable business.

Spending energy to understand the audience and carefully crafting a message that resonates with them means making a commitment of time and discipline to the process. Nancy Duarte

We call it time and space, but you could add discipline as a component of that time. The discipline to show up every week will lead to your success as a creator.

We have a studio and we've got time, add discipline and we can make money, too.

Get Things Done Quickly 

We can lose a client one day and find a new client the next day.

We can stop a show one day and start a new show the next day.

Somebody can call us and say, I need to start live streaming tomorrow. We can do that for them because we're agile. We have things in place that we can put together for a production client very quickly.

We like being agile and coming up with new ideas and getting them done quickly. We use a large four-foot by six-foot whiteboard in Toby’s kitchen. If one of us gets an idea, we post that on the whiteboard. The next time we're together, we go to the whiteboard and discuss it. The discussion on the whiteboard right now is our next book. Which direction are we going to head? How are we going to produce it? How are we going to publish it? 

When you've dedicated time and space to your content creation business, things happen more quickly because you're looking at it almost every day to determine what contribution you can make to the process to move it forward. Sometimes it's just getting the idea or at least crystallizing the idea so you can start taking action on it. 

Shelley received a free ticket to the CEX (Creator Economy Expo) conference in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a $975 ticket for a three-day event. It would be very difficult for her to go because of her husband’s current medical needs. Toby went to check it out and wondered if it was worth the time and expense. It's a $1,500 trip plus the time. How can I justify that for a three-day trip? I could go and shoot some videos and we could talk about the presentations. He didn't think it was enough. 

We were sitting by the whiteboard, started talking about it, and thought, what if we do the same thing that we did at the She Podcasts conference? We interviewed people during the conference and turned that into podcasts and a book.

There are two ways to produce a book from that. One is to produce a book of the interviews. Another way is to produce a book with your impressions of the 10 most important things that all these people that you interviewed had in common in terms of digital marketing. 

Our conversation ended with an opportunity to produce more content, at least some podcasts, and possibly a book. Even if we don't have interviews, we have enough content for five, six, or maybe seven shows based on the new ideas that are presented during the conference. We can reconfigure those ideas in combination with our experience of doing what we're doing.

You have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else. Albert Einstein

How can you do your content creation and content marketing better, in a unique way that makes you stand out and get it done more quickly?

Share Ideas While They’re Fresh

We publish our books on Amazon ourselves rather than going through a traditional publisher. There is information in our new book, Livecast Life, that I added the day before we published it. It is fresh. The information is only a week old because we're agile. We do it ourselves. We get it done fast.

When you create your business, and you’re putting together your workflow, think about agility. Ask yourself, how can I make myself agile so that when trends pop up or new information comes into my industry, I can immediately take advantage of that and share it with my audience? 

You can keep everything fresh and technologically advanced when you use a streamlined system as we do.

People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago. So marketers need to adapt or risk extinction. Brian Halligan

The world changed and digital marketing was impacted in a significant way. 

Read the Signs and Remain Agile 

Adjust what you were doing and your way of doing it with an eye toward marketplace trends. Take a look at what's going on in the world and see if it's a fit for you.

Everybody right now is saying, you’ve got to be on TikTok! Everybody's on TikTok! It’s not true. It isn’t helpful for everybody to be on TikTok. Look at the demographics before you make that decision. Are 18 to 29-year-olds your target audience? 

That's not our audience so TikTok is not right for us. We’ll stay on YouTube. That's where our audience is and that's where we're able to connect with people.

We didn't adjust in that way, but if we do see things that are happening that make sense for us, we could learn about it and adjust it to our audience's needs and use that in our content.

If you look up the Creator Economy Expo, look at the speakers and the topics to see the trends that are different from the trends of just two years ago and why it's now called a creator economy rather than a digital market.

Our Audience Enjoys Watching the Process

Our audience enjoys watching the process of us putting out a new show and then adjusting it as needed. What time do we show it? Do we need to add some more music, video clips, or sound effects? We ask our audience to participate to let us know how we can make it better. It's a perfecting process and the audience is an important part of that. They share their input and advice with us either through comments, in the chat, or by sending us emails and reviews and we align our show to their needs. 

Sometimes we've read people's emails during shows to acknowledge their input, allowing it to be heard by others. That way they feel ownership and loyalty to our show. Then they're more likely to continue showing up, bringing along family and friends, and buying things from us in the future. All of that comes together when we get our livestreams out quickly and we use the audience's feedback to make it better.

There is a big conversation occurring right now in the community of standup comedians about harassment or heckling. The amount of heckling those standup comedians have to endure during their shows has increased over the past years. The audience feels emboldened to tell them what they think as opposed to just sitting in the audience and listening. 

Comedians are using that input to add to their shows. Instead of allowing the interaction to divide them and the audience, they use it to bring everybody together to share a laugh.

We have a show flow that we follow and it allows for the audience's expectations that they will be acknowledged when they comment in the live chat. We anticipate their expectations and showing a viewer’s comment on the screen is an indication that you've recognized them. But saying their name and reading their comment gives them the added assurance of belonging. They’ve impacted your show. If you want them to feel ownership and loyalty, make sure you listen to them and do something with that information. Positive energy comes from that exchange.

Until it doesn't produce that kind of energy. Not everything in your pursuit of perfection is going to be a happy, easy road. Sometimes it's an indication of Tried it. Doesn't work. Go do something else. But we learn more from failures than from successes. So learn from it.

You have to stand apart by offering high-quality relevant experiences to audiences that you truly understand. Adam Audette

The Content Creator Lifestyle

The content creator lifestyle includes finding a way to give your audience what they want and doing it in a way that is agile. You can respond each week and move a little closer to perfection to provide exactly what your audience wants from you. Each week you add to your portfolio of content and you get better, bigger, and brighter, and more and more people find and recognize you. Creating content is a fun industry. 

If you want to become a content creator yourself, get our Livecast Life book on Amazon. If you'd rather watch the videos, we have a playlist on our channel called Livecast Life Training Series. Just watch all of those videos and you'll get the same content that is in the book.

You can find our book at book.livecast.life.

Sign up for our email list because we have reminders of what shows are happening and when they're happening so that you don't get left out of the loop. There's also great information in there about the content creator industry and articles that keep you notified about fresh trends coming our way. Sign up at news.agkmedia.studio.

If you have any questions or you would like to discuss your vision for your own livestream podcast, please reach out to us and set up a call at calendar.AGKmedia.studio