Why I Won’t Defend My Pricing

I have a degree from Stanford.

I have another degree from Syracuse.

I have written well over 1 million words.

I’ve written several books – two of them best-sellers in their Amazon categories*.

I have appeared in Entrepreneur.com, SUCCESS.com, The Huffington Post, Runner’s World, the Boston Globe, the San Jose Mercury News, and hundreds more.

I took an online business from zero to six figures in 18 months back when you had to upload everything by FTP.

I have worked for some of the leading people in internet marketing (check out my testimonials page here).

I gave birth to two 8-1/2 lb. babies (each, not combined).

So no, I will not defend my #$%# pricing to you. 

If we’ve had a sourcing session (which is usually an hour on the phone – gratis – where I dig into your business and come up with some concrete ideas on how your messaging, communications, and conversion strategies can be improved upon)…

…and I’ve presented these findings to you in a concrete proposal that took me another hour to 1-1/2 hours to complete and includes more recommendations and strategy than you get in most three-month coaching sessions, let alone a COMPLIMENTARY proposal…

…and you come back to me and say:

its a lot more than i want to pay fir a fee bits of content right now…

Then move along.

I won’t lower my prices.

I won’t negotiate.

I won’t spend ONE MORE SECOND of my time explaining to you why what I do is valuable…

…Because we are obviously operating in alternate universes.

Have a nice life.

*I know, I know — having an Amazon best-seller is not that big of a deal. Someone once moved an empty book to the #1 spot. I get it. But hey – I have two Amazon best-sellers. And most people don’t. So there. 

Best Email Subject Lines of the Week

–> New #fastlain feature: “Flop or Fly.”

I get a lot of email. Like, A LOT. (Like 100+ a day.)

I delete most of it, but a few grab me. I thought it would be useful for other content/email marketers out there to create a  roundup of the top 5 winning and losing email subject lines I received this week, and why they worked or flopped. I think you’ll soon start to see a pattern — and start to review your own subject lines with a more critical eye.

First, the winners:


From… My daughter’s high school

Why it works:

  • The all-caps. I don’t recommend this as a matter of course, but in this case it worked because it’s something that I needed to know, and it really is super-important.
  • The “junior.” My daughter is a junior, so I knew immediately that this would be something that was applicable to me.
  • The word “alert.” It’s actually not a word that’s used much, and it immediately put me on high (ahem) alert. Love it. I’ll be using it myself!

How you can use this:

Look for little-used, emotional words to catch attention. And when you have a legit reason to go all caps, DO IT! (But not too often.)

#2: “Because she’s the BEST”

From: KEEP Collective (a jewelry company)

Why it works:

  • The curiosity factor. Who is the best? I wanna know — maybe it’s me!
  • The positivity. So much negativity in the world. I’m pulled to something that says “best.”

How you can use this:

Curiosity is always great for subject lines — something I try to use as much as possible without being an @$$. Stay positive, too — if it appeals to your audience.

#3: “1,300 people perished while doing this (true story)”

From: Brian Tracy

Why it works:

  • Death sells. I hate to say it, but it’s true.
  • The word “perish” adds some intrigue.
  • The “True Story” addendum really helps – it automatically creates trust (He’s telling you the truth!) and separates this from the “Fake News” trend these days.
  • The number. The only way I could improve upon this would be to make it something like, “1,362 people died doing this.”

How you can use this:

Numbers continually perform well in subject line tests — as does death. But don’t overplay your hand here. Make sure you can back up the promise you make in the subject line. Also, another example of using underemployed vocabulary. Try it!

#4: “Low Class Grade Alert”

From: My other daughter’s school.

Why it works:

Talk about hitting right at someone’s pain points! This email subject line is PERFECT. It is directed at me. It’s urgent. It hits me where it matters. ‘Nuff said.

PS Just in case you were curious – apparently a “B” is cause for a “Low grade alert” at my daughter’s middle school. Geez.

How you can use this:

Funny how both schools used that “alert” word! Give it a shot. Try using some emotional, attention-getting language — when your message warrants it.

#5: “Where can I find you?”

From: Nicole Liloia.

Why it works:

  • It’s personal. It could come from a friend.
  • It focuses on ME.
  • She’s asking a question that I’m not asked every day.

How you can use this:

Get personal. Write like you write to a friend. Ask questions (especially ones no one else is asking!)

Now, the flops:

#1: “My New Book – Special Opportunity”

(I’m not throwing anyone under the bus here, so these will remain anonymous!)

Why it flops:

Honestly, I don’t care about your book until you MAKE me care. And the “special opportunity” isn’t anywhere NEAR enough to get me to open. DELETE.

How you can avoid this: Stress the value to the reader, not the value to YOU. Be specific. Be INTERESTING.

#2: “The Real Reason Ina Garten Never Had Kids”

Why it flops:

I. Don’t. Care.

I barely know who Ina Garten is — certainly not enough to care why she did (or didn’t) have kids.

This reminds me WAY too much of the clickbait links you see online all the time. DELETE.

How you can avoid this: Know your audience. If you’re trying for pop culture click bait, pick someone people can relate to and care about.

#3: “So Intelligent and a Free Book!”

Why it flops:

I have no idea what this subject line means. There’s no connection for me between intelligence and a free book. I don’t get it. DELETE.

How you can avoid this: Make sense or at least be funny. This scores a big ZERO for me.

#4: “An Invitation to Share Your Unique Insights”

Why it flops:

Maybe they were trying for the vanity play here, but to me all it said was, “share your thoughts and opinions with us for free and we will profit from your effort.” DELETE.

How you can avoid this: People are super sophisticated and read between the lines. If you want people to take a survey or give you their opinion, just ask. Don’t make it sound like you are doing THEM a favor by LETTING them share their thoughts with you. And be prepared to pay — a freebie, a $-off coupon, something.

#5: “Will you be prepared for your next conversation about mobile?”

Why it flops:

I don’t think I’ve had ONE conversation about mobile, let alone worrying about my NEXT conversation. This is a perfect example of not asking a question unless you know the answer.

How you can avoid this: Make sure you are asking about something people CARE about and WORRY about. Otherwise you just sound silly.

The upshot: People are busy. If you don’t capture them immediately, you won’t capture them at all.

Got your own submissions? List them in the comments below!

Communicating Your Awesomeness — Where Do You Start?

So many business owners are SO AWESOME and have no idea how to communicate their awesomeness on their website and through their marketing.

The result: Their audience doesn’t realize that YOU hold the key to their problems. Or you come across like an amateur instead of like a #boss. Or you are so all over the place that people have no idea what you are or what you do!

The main mistakes marketers make that undermine their brilliant awesomeness:

Mistake #1: You water down your essence. You are scared to be “out” there in a big way, so you take it down a notch — or ten. The result? People feel kind of lukewarm about you because you present yourself as lukewarm. And as John wrote in the book of Revelation:

So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Boy, he had that right! Be hot or cold, but go one way or the other.
To use another metaphor, if you hang out in the middle of the road, you’re going to get run over.

Mistake #2: You don’t know what your message is. Your “message” is not WHAT you want the world to believe in general — like “carbs are the devil’s spawn,” “design matters,” or “you aren’t alone in this crazy parenting thing.”

Instead, it’s about YOU and your unique value or offerings as an authority, expert, coach, retailer, whatever, and how it benefits your audience/customer/client.

For instance, if you are a soccer coach your message might be: “Based on my 20 years as an exercise physiologist, I help preteens create year-round training programs that protect against injury.”

If you are an executive coach, your message might be: “As a trained improv comedian and psychologist, I offer programs with a unique blend of humor and human behavior that keep you entertained while training you to be a more effective leader.”

It’s what you do, but it’s also HOW and WHY you do it, and what makes you the ONLY one to offer what you do.

HEY! Download a free “messaging” worksheet HERE. My clients go through a multiple-step process to determine their message, as well as “proof points” to illustrate that message. It’s a more complex process, but this will get you on your way!)

Mistake #3: Your pieces don’t work together. You want all the different elements on your website — your logo, your design, your copy, your images — to work together to create a single cohesive experience (again, some people might call this branding, but I tend to avoid the word because it means different things to different people.)

Remember that visiting your website is the next best thing to meeting you in person. So whatever your clients would experience in person, you want them to experience on your site. Make that experience come through for your audience!

Mistake #4: You don’t have a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is basically the path people take from awareness through to becoming a client or customer. The farther someone gets into your funnel, the deeper their relationship and, typically, the higher the investment to work with you.

USUALLY (but not always) people need to be guided along this path – not in a hard-sell sense, but in a guided tour sense. Like, when you go to a nice hotel and the bellhop points out the ATM, the 24-hour gym, the pool, and the ice machine on the way to your room. 🙂

Even if you’re new to your business, you want a path for your audience to take. It could be from ad in local paper to website to email list to free consultation to first appointment, but you must have SOMETHING in mind. Because if YOU don’t know where you want your clients to go, they’re certainly not going to be so successful at figuring it out on their own!

Mistake #5: You have too many options on your homepage. Most websites give visitors a lot of choices — too many choices! Simplify so you are taking your visitors by the hand and leading them to the ONE action you would like them to take, whether it’s to subscribe to your list, sign up for a short e-course, or book a discovery call with you.

It’s a common marketing principle that a confused mind does nothing. It’s true. Faced with numerous choices, our default option is INACTION. So make it easy for people by showing the CLEARLY what you want them to do.

Mistake #6: You don’t build the relationship. So. Many. People. do not realize that signing up for your email list is an invitation to connect and build a relationship. They put their email address in because they WANT to hear from you. It’s like the hottie at the bar slipping you a cocktail napkin with a phone number on it.

USE IT… carefully. Once you’ve gotten the thumbs-up, build an email relationship, moving your new contact from “acquaintance” to “friend.”

Build your relationship building email sequence over 5-7 emails, and 1-3 weeks (depending on your marketing funnel) to ensure that you are (1) communicating your message effectively and (2) leading subscribers deeper and deeper into a relationship with you (and into your marketing funnel!).

Each of these stages are easier said than done. There are a lot of moving pieces that need to be aligned — which is why it’s often useful to bring in an outside expert to help sort through the noise.

But anything you can do to create this strong foundation will create a fantastic structure for all your other marketing efforts.

P.S. Want to chat about how I can do this for your  business? Step into my marketing funnel and give me a holler!

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