[how to market in a digital world] super interesting, relevant, useful, hopeful, real, honest, no-bullshit

from me: i got this question by email. “I’m xx years sober and I have been really enjoying your email marketing campaign as I build my own. May I ask who you learned marketing from?”

and i’m going to share some of my reply here, as I try to answer her questions about ‘marketing’ because i think it’s helpful to see behind-the-scenes stuff, and creates more transparency …

my reply:
Well this is kind, thank you … to be fair, the things that helps me the most are: listening to my subscribers, speaking to them not about me [no selfies, no photos of me and my dog. this isn’t about me. and i don’t have a dog]. and i talk to people individually,  not “hey guys,” but “this is for YOU …”). [I bristle when someone says “you guys need to hear this” as if email isn’t a one-on-one conversation between me and you. same with audios, they are a one-on-one communication between me and you. why do podcasters forget this?]

for me, the idea of being radically honest has helped. not in the TMI way, but in the ‘I often suck as a human’ way.

probably the biggest lessons I’ve learned are:

  • be myself
  • make it about my reader, not about me
  • offer 80% of what I do as completely free (underpromise, over-deliver) … the 20% of people who pay more than cover, and help provide for everyone else — and then everyone gets access to stuff, and I don’t have to nickel and dime for everything (which smells greedy anyway).
  • i don’t engage in any snark, ever, about anyone or anything. that means nothing about the president, or replying with anything but kindness to someone who thinks I’m a turd. the internet is a small place. shitty behaviour is eventually revealed. emails resurface.
  • the idea of not emailing someone too often really depends on who your subscribers are. Are you sending something that is actually useful? then you can email twice a day. But if you’re strictly advertising (buy my stuff), or if you’re only sharing how great you are, then no. the idea of once a week wouldn’t have been enough for me when i was first sober, but the info shared has to be super interesting, relevant, useful, hopeful, real, honest, no-bullshit.
  • Try all of it. Short audio, long audio, solo or interviews, video, video in the studio, video outside, audio in the studio, audio outside. I try all the things and then see what kind of feedback I get. People make it very clear what resonates.
  • Ask readers/subscribers for feedback but not in a needy way “what’s one thing in this article that struck you” versus “do you like this/me” I hate when people say “do you like this? do you want more of this?” It always feels like they’re saying “do you love me?”
  • You are not your reader. You may share similar personality traits or experiences, but what works for you may not work for them and vice versa. you’re doing this for them. if they want short then give them short. even if you think long is better. if they read long, then give them long, even if you’ve heard that attention spans are dwindling. the fact is, if it’s fascinating, useful, entertaining, motivation, or tells a story, people will read long form, listen to long audios, watch long videos. it’s about whether or not it’s useful for them.

That’s probably more than you wanted 🙂 I’m sure also the obvious thing I’m about to say is already clear. if we go into ANY online thing wondering how we’ll make money, then THAT focus and emphasis will SHOW to the end user. If we go into it wondering what we can share, who we will meet, what do THEY want, do I have what THEY need — then things will go better People can READ intent, between the lines, whether you think you’re saying it or not, it’s there.

boozers, especially, can smell bullshit a mile away. and fakey-fakeness. and forced positivity. and cynicism. and people who want to take their money because they’re in a dark place.

you know most of that already 🙂
thanks for asking, hugs, belle

and her reply: “That’s amazing. You are a leader in digital ‘thinking’, to me at least. I have read the best and most famous, but your email just now has blown my alcoholic sox off.”

to you: i am, in fact, a genius. but i share this because all the things are done with care. and sometimes i’ll make mistakes, but i’ll listen when told. i hear you. i hear the criticisms and i try to figure out the 5% that’s true. I hear the love and i don’t have to ‘ask’ for it.

p.s. the argument i had with my husband last week (sunday? monday?) continued all through the week, continues today, and i although I was sure I was right, it turns out I wasn’t. At all. and i’ve made a mess of things by defending my position very firmly. today, he tried to explain again and i can now see his side and I don’t look good in this at all. i’m waiting for him to be not-so-mad so that i can apologize. it’s much easier to say “you’re wrong” than to say “i fucked this up.” i’m still learning that :/



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012