How to Get NOTICED When You’re First Starting Out (Transcript)
In this episode of Work Less, Earn More, I'm going to share with you what I did to get people to finally start paying attention and the huge difference this made in my business. I am going to share with you the strategies that really took me from earning no money with my business online to earning multiple six figures.
This is a transcript of Work Less, Earn More, Episode 15. Listen to the episode here.
Hey there, and welcome back to another episode. Today, we are going to be talking about how to get noticed when you are first starting out, when you are first starting to try to grow your audience online, and when you're first starting an online business.
I am so excited to talk about this topic today because first of all, what I'm going to share with you made such a big difference in my business. These are the strategies that really took me from earning no money with my business online to earning multiple six figures. I had to figure out how to get noticed. When nobody was noticing my business, I wasn't making any sales and I wasn't making any money, but when people finally started paying attention, then I was. The other reason that I'm excited to talk about this is because when I was initially doing the market research for launching this podcast, I reached out to my audience and I asked them what they would be most interested in hearing me talk about on the podcast. And this episode idea, how to get noticed when you're first starting out, was the one that you told me was what you were most interested in hearing about.
So, with that being said, let me start by telling you just a little bit of the backstory here. Basically, when I started my online business, I had an idea for it. I started creating products. I was pouring a lot of time every single week into it, on top of working another job of sorts that was paying my bills, on top of being a mom and all that, but it wasn't creating any sort of results for me. I was spending all this time every week and I wasn't making any money from my online business. And the reason for that, the reason I wasn't making any money is because people can't buy your products if they don't know they exist. Because nobody knew I existed or my business existed or my products existed, nobody was buying them.
Now, in retrospect, this seems incredibly obvious to me, but at the time when I finally realized that that was true, it was quite the revelation and I realized that I needed to shift my focus in my business.
I needed to get that visibility or else my business wasn't going to go anywhere. And to give you a complete picture of what my situation was at this point, not only had I invested a lot of time, but I had built some great automated sales funnels that could produce sales and I was wondering why they weren't working.
What I finally realized, once I had this little epiphany, was that it didn't matter how good my sales funnels were. If there wasn't any traffic flowing through my funnel, then the funnel wasn't going to produce any sort of results. Again, incredibly obvious in retrospect, but it was an epiphany for me. So it was at this point that I realized something needed to change. I didn't just need to work harder. I needed to change my strategy to get that visibility that I really needed.
In this episode I'm going to walk you through the five things that you need to do in order to get noticed online when you're first starting out. Before I get into those five things, I just wanted to let you know that if right now you happen to be listening to this podcast episode on my website, I want to let you know that there is a better way to listen to it. You can listen to this podcast on your mobile device and not just through my website, but through a podcasting app. Maybe you already have a podcasting app that you use and love, but if not, you could use Apple Podcasts if you are on an iPhone, or you could use Google Podcast or Stitcher or Spotify if you are on an Android phone. The advantage of using a podcasting app like this is that you will be able to actually subscribe to the podcast, so you will get each new episode of the podcast automatically on your device so that you won't miss any of the episodes.
If you just are listening on the website, then you're listening right now, but you might not remember to come back next week so that you can hear it the next episode. So, if you want to make sure that you don't miss any episodes, make sure you have a podcast app installed on your phone. Look up “Work less, earn more” and subscribe to the show. All right, with that being said, let's get on into these five things that you can do to get noticed online when you're first starting out.
The very first one is to make something worth paying attention to. If you want people to pay attention to you, you have to make something awesome. You have to make something that's worth their attention. Why? Well, because there is a lot of noise out there. There's a lot of competition. There's a lot of people posting on Instagram and making YouTube videos and making products that are a lot like yours.
Most likely you haven't invented something that's brand new that solves a unique problem that nothing else does. Your product might be a little better. It might be a little different. But if you really want to stand out, you need to consistently make awesome things that are worth talking about, worth sharing, worth paying attention to. These things that you make could be your products or they could be your content that you share on your website or they could be the content that you share on social media, but whatever you're making, it needs to be noteworthy.
Now, in my case, what I realized was that every single week I was making some things. Specifically, I was posting on Instagram and on Twitter and I was writing some blog posts, but it was nothing standout. Most of the content I was making was short form content on platforms where the content has a very short lifespan.
You post on Instagram and within 24 to 48 hours, everyone who is going to see your post will have seen it. And the only people who will see it after that are the people who see some of your other content and maybe go to your profile and then see that post, and it's not going to be a very large number of people. And you're probably aware that on Twitter the lifespan of a post is even shorter. It's often cited as being mere minutes.
Now the content on my blog did have a much longer life span, kind of an indefinite lifespan, but it wasn't very standout content. And the reason for that was because at the time when I was blogging every single week, so was everyone else. And by everyone else, I mean all my competition. So there was a lot of competition out there for blog posts that were honestly quite similar to the posts that I was creating.
What I realized was that if I wanted to stand out with my blog posts, I was going to have to invest an enormous amount of time into them, because I had definitely reached that point of diminishing returns. I was already investing a few hours each week into each of these blog posts and in order to make them noticeably better, and I would have had to invest several more hours into doing a lot more research or creating very detailed graphics or something like that.
What I personally changed was I started creating good quality YouTube videos, because most of my competition wasn't creating content on YouTube or if they were, it was most often very low quality content. So I started creating these good quality YouTube videos and that quickly helped me to stand out from the competition and start to really get noticed.
As you're working to do this, keep in mind that in order for your content to be noteworthy, it needs to be really good quality. It also needs to be interesting or innovative or different or unique and it needs to either be helpful or have an emotional impact. Ideally both, but as long as it is either helpful or has an emotional impact and is checking these other boxes, you'll be alright.
You also need to make sure, of course, that it's relevant to your target customer and/or audience because it needs to be notable or noteworthy to the right people. Content like this that is good quality and interesting and helpful and relevant is the sort of content that the right people will pay attention to. And it's not even going to just be content that people will pay attention to, it will be content that will be worth sharing.
You've probably heard of Ted Talks before. They built their entire brand, their entire movement, on the tagline ideas worth talking about. What's different about Ted Talks is they don't just share information. Ted Talks aren't just Wikipedia articles being spoken from the stage. They are good quality speeches about interesting or innovative or different or unique ideas that are either very helpful or else have an emotional impact and are relevant to specific groups of people, and that is what has allowed Ted Talks to really get noticed and to get millions of views around the globe.
Okay, so let's move on and talk about the second thing that you should do if you want to get noticed online, and that is to not just make good quality content, but to make it publicly. Because it doesn't matter how much of a mastermind you are, if you are making in your basement, if people don't see what you're making, then they can't pay attention to it and they certainly can't share it with people.
If you really want to get noticed, you need to make sure that you are making publicly. Now for this point, I'm specifically talking about the process of making, not telling people about your finished product, but people need to see you in process. Now the reason for this is because the process of making your product or your journey to make the product is a story, and people are much more interested in stories than they are in things.
Stories are much more interesting than products. Stories are what make people care and make committed fans. You could make an awesome product and then you could run Facebook ads or Google ads for that product and you could tell people about that product, but they're not really going to care unless they understand why you made that product, who that product is for, what the motivation behind the product was- why it was created. So, as you are working on building your business or you're trying to build your audience, don't wait until you have that awesome thing to share. Share your process as you make it.
The next thing, number three, is quite similar, but it is talking more about that finished product. The third thing you need to do is you need to tell people. If you don't tell people about what you have to offer, then it is doubtful that they will ever find out about it. We've all heard that saying “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”, but I think we also all have realized at this point that that is simply not the case. Most of the time, in order for people to discover you, you need to tell people about you, about your product, about what you're doing. In my case, when I decided to start making videos for my business, to market my business, I didn't just make those videos and then put them on my website and hope people found them. I made them and I put them on YouTube, where there is a big audience, a big community, a large platform of people who are consuming content like that.
By putting my content or my product in a very public place, I greatly increased the odds that people would discover them. That's the first part of this, simply putting your products out there, putting your content out there, making sure that it is very publicly available. And not just publicly available, but publicly obvious. My website is a public place too, anyone can go there. But by putting it in the middle of Central Park, in the middle of YouTube, it made it much more likely that people would find it. And then the second part of this would be actually telling people, like physically telling people, sending out an email to your email list.
Even if your email list is only some friends and family, only a handful of people, tell whoever you can, because especially at the beginning when you're trying to get this snowball rolling of building your audience, even a few people can make a big difference. Later on, when you have thousands of people watching every video, getting five more people to watch it isn't really going to change anything. But, when you're first starting out, going from zero, or from one to five is an exponential gain.
Now, as you're thinking about sharing what you made, whether that is content or whether that is your finished final product that you are trying to sell, I would highly recommend that you do some market research. Specifically, seek out some of your prospective customers, some people you would like to have in your audience, and you show them what you made and you see what their reaction is. You’ll see if they have a reaction, because if they don't have a reaction or if they have a negative reaction, you kind of need to go back to that first step. You need to go back to making something worth paying attention to, because when you put something right in front of someone's face and they don't respond positively and they don't have a significant response to it, then you know that it wasn't really worth paying attention to.
Now, if you just put something out on a public platform, if you just write an article on your blog or put a video on YouTube or post on Instagram and you don't get any great responses, that could just be a sign that the right people didn't even see it. If you aren't getting responses in one of those public places, don't necessarily take that as a sign that your content isn't good enough. But if you've put it right in front of the people who you really want to appreciate it and they're not appreciating it, they're not interested in it, they don't have any desire to get more of it in the future or to share it with people, that's a sign that you need to work on making it more interesting or better.
I know that reaching out to people like this and sharing your content with them directly is potentially uncomfortable, but if you really want to start to get noticed online, I would highly suggest that you do this, at least a little bit, at least until you start to get some positive reactions. And I think that when you start to get those positive reactions, you'll actually want to do this more, because those people will ask you for more. They'll say, “Wow, this article was fantastic. Can you send me your next one?” Or, “Wow, I loved this video. You should make more of them.” And when that happens, you'll get their permission for you to continue to share with them in that direct way. But if that doesn't happen, again, you need to go back and you need to work on improving what you're trying to put out there into the world.
Okay, let's move on to the fourth thing you can do to get people to notice you. This is taking a completely different tact, but it is a great strategy, and it is to collaborate. There are many different ways that you can collaborate with others online. You could interview someone on your podcast or in a video on your YouTube channel, or you could be featured as a guest on someone else's podcast or YouTube channel. You could do a collaborative giveaway on Instagram. You could do collaborative blog posts where you and another blogger both write on a similar topic and link back to each other's posts. There are so many ways that you can collaborate with other brands and businesses online.
And the reason why this will help you get noticed is because you will be reaching the audience of that other brand. The people who follow that brand will learn about you, and this gives you mass exposure. Instead of going out and one by one telling people about what you're making, instead of hoping that people happen to find you on some public platform, you are going directly to a large group of your target customers and you are being introduced to them. Now, if your brand and your audience are really small at this point, then most likely you're going to be collaborating with other people who also have small brands, and so it might not feel like it will be the most effective strategy because you can't collaborate with other people who have thousands of followers, only people who have hundreds.
But, as I mentioned before, when you're first starting out, even a few more people finding out about your brand is exponential growth and well worth the effort. Your efforts will snowball. Not only is collaborating a powerful way to reach large numbers of the right people, but it also is a great way in which to reach them. When you collaborate with another brand, it's not the same as just reaching that number of people with an ad. When you collaborate, you are getting a personal recommendation from that brand or that person that you are collaborating with. You're being introduced to their audience in a personal way. It's a lot more like word of mouth marketing than most visibility strategies are.
Think about how much more likely you are to read a book or check out a blog or buy a product if someone who you know, like and trust tells you about that product than if you just see an ad for it. If you're scrolling on the internet and you see an ad for some laundry detergent, you're probably not going to click that ad. You're probably not going to go buy that laundry detergent. But if a friend of yours tells you about this new laundry detergent that they're using that's working so well and it smells really good and it's a great price at Target, well, you're probably going to check it out the next time you're at Target. That is so much more effective than an impersonal ad.
When you collaborate with another brand, you get to do that at mass scale. That brand or influencer or business is going to share you with their audience, and their audience are people who already know, like and trust them, and so there'll be a lot more interested in you and what you have to offer than if you just got exposure through regular old advertisements.
The fifth way that you can get noticed when you're first starting out is to take the initiative. Now, this is kind of a broad tip. There's a few different ways that you can take the initiative. These are all things that are a little bit on the uncomfortable side and so people often don't do them. But when you are first starting your business, first trying to grow your brand online, first trying to grow your audience, nobody's paying attention to you and you want to start making some serious traction, these are the things that will make the most direct difference.
The first one is market research. I mentioned this earlier, but you really need to find the people who you want to reach. You need to go out to them, find them, not talk to them at first, just find them. Are they in a Facebook group? Do they listen to a certain podcast? Do they subscribe to a certain magazine? Do they all buy a certain product? Ideally, you want to find them in a place where you will be able to access them or at least observe them in some way, so it would be best if you can find some sort of community of them online.
However, you might not find a community. You might find individuals (especially if you are running any sort of B2B business, which means you're looking for other businesses as your target customers), you very well might find specific businesses that could really benefit from your product or your services, rather than find groups of them that are already congregating. Once you identify that group, you need to observe them. You need to see what they are struggling with, what they are looking for, and then, and this is the really uncomfortable part, you need to reach out to them and talk to them. You need to share with them what you're doing and see if they're interested.
This goes back to what I said before, they might not be interested. If so, you need to work on what you're doing. You need to work on making something better that is more interesting to them. Now, of course, they also might not be interested if you approach them in the wrong way, so you definitely need to make sure that you approach them in a very respectful and non-pushy way, definitely not a sales-y way at all, but just share with them what you have to offer and see how they react, if they react.
Another way that you can take the initiative is to find people who you're interested in working with and then write proposals. This could be what I was just talking about, doing market research, finding companies or people you want to work with, writing the proposal, essentially pitching them. Or, it could be finding people who have publicly posted jobs, say on a site like Freelancer or Upwork, and then responding to those job posts with your proposal.
This is obviously the much less uncomfortable way to do this. It's not always possible, depending on what you're selling or what you have to offer, what you want to share and who you want to share it with. Because, for example, if you're sharing free content, that won't really work, because people aren't really going to be putting out requests for free content.
The one final way in which you can take the initiative (once you've identified someone who you want to work with) is to reach out to them and simply ask if they're hiring. Now at first this might seem counterintuitive or like it doesn't apply to you because you're not looking for a job, you're looking for a client or you're looking for a customer. But if you reach out to them and you ask if they're hiring for a role that would relate to the way in which you can help them, then you can find out more about their needs and if they want help with those needs.
You're not pitching yourself to them as a potential employee. You're simply asking them, “Are you hiring?” And honestly, most small business owners find this question flattering. They are excited that someone is interested in working for them, because to them that means that someone heard them, someone heard their mission, their message, and is interested in being a part in what they're doing. And of course, that is exactly the case. You identified them as someone who you want to work with. There is something about what that company is doing that makes you want to have them as your customer. After you ask them if they're hiring, they might respond, “No.” Of course, in which case you're going to move on to the next person you're interested in working with. But if they tell you, “Yes,” then you can progress the discussion and start to talk with them more about their needs and how you might be able to help.
Keep in mind that if you use this strategy, it is very much- AS much- of a learning and research experience as it is an experience to directly get you a customer. There's so much you can learn from simply talking to your customers, whether you're asking them survey questions or you're sharing your content with them or you're asking them if they're hiring. You need to make sure that you are listening to them so that you can respond effectively and so that ultimately you can create things that they will be interested enough to pay attention to.
All right, so that brings me to the end of these different ways that you can get noticed when you're first starting out. Let's wrap this up by recapping what these five things were.
First of all, make something, whether that's your product or content, make something worth paying attention to.
Second, when you make, make publicly, because stories are much more interesting to people than finished products.
Third, tell people. Get out there, share what you're doing, share it publicly, share it directly.
Fourth is to collaborate so that you can reach the right people en masse.
And then fifth and finally, take the initiative and reach out to people and companies that you are interested in working with.
Now, since you chose to listen to this episode, I'm assuming it's because right now you are maybe near the beginning stages of starting your business and you are working on building your audience, getting more exposure, reaching the right customers, and if that is the case then I would love to invite you to consider joining Startup Society.
Startup Society is an online business training program that I run where I work with digital entrepreneurs to grow their online businesses. This program is specifically designed for online entrepreneurs who are in their first two years running their business and are currently under the $100,000 mark in annual profits. If that describes you and you are, as I mentioned, working on growing your exposure, growing your audience, then I would love to work with you to really execute these strategies that we talked about in today's episode. If you'd like to learn more about how to work with me inside Startup Society, then just head to gillianperkins.com and click Join Startup Society in the upper right hand corner for all the details on exactly how the program works.
All right, well that is all for this episode, but if you enjoyed this one, you'll want to tune in again next week when I interview Ashlyn Carter. Ashlyn Carter is a very talented copywriter. She writes words for businesses, words that sell, and in that upcoming episode I interview her about how you can improve your copywriting, improve the words on your website to convert more of your website traffic into customers. The reason I wanted to talk to Ashlyn about this is because as you know, this podcast is all about working less and earning more, and if you can make your website do the heavy lifting for you of converting more of your traffic into paying customers, then you can make more sales without having to work more yourself.
If that sounds interesting to you, then make sure you don't miss that next episode. You can do that by subscribing to the podcast in your favorite podcast app. And finally, if you did enjoy this episode, then make sure you let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Doing this really helps to shape future episodes of the show and also helps spread the word so that more people can discover the show. In addition, every week I like to feature a review of the podcast.
This week's featured review comes from Tomlin Campbell. Tomlin writes, “Yes, this is what I need. I love the analogy Gillian used of sharpening the ax to chop down the tree in less time. Rather than hacking at our lives, Gillian shows us how to sharpen our minds so that we can get our priorities done the right way and in the least amount of time. She practices what she preaches. I'm one of Gillian's students inside Startup Society and she enriches the lives of me and my family through her tremendously valuable programs. Sincerely, Tomlin Campbell, Entrepreneur.”
Thank you so much Tomlin, for taking the time to write that review. I really appreciate it and I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying the show and that you're getting so much out of startup society as well. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Work Less Earn More. Now here's what I want you to do next. Take a screenshot of the episode you're listening to right now and share it out on your Instagram stories. And when you do that, make sure to tag me @gillianzperkins so that I can see that you're listening.
Sharing on IG stories is going to help more people find this podcast so that they can learn how to work less, earn more, and take back their lives. And when you share, I want to add it to my stories so that you can get some exposure that way as well. And if you really love the show, head over to Apple Podcast and leave it a review to give the show a boost. Every single week, I feature a review on the podcast and I would love to give you and your business a shout out. So, if you leave a review, it will help the show, but it can also help your business as well. Okay, let's wrap this up. I'm Gillian Perkins and until next week, stay focused and take action.