Carmen Sognonvi

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Carmen Sognonvi

Fear of Success vs Fear of Failure: Which Do You Have?

Fear of Success

If you feel like you’ve reached a plateau in your business, and you can’t seem to get unstuck, it could be because you’re dealing with fear.

But fear of what, exactly?

In this video, I’m going to explain why being scared of succeeding at something can be just as harmful to your business, as being scared of failing.

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Increasing Sales By Creating Helpful Marketing: Tim Reid

Increasing Sales By Creating Helpful Marketing: Tim Reid

Can your marketing content make people feel as good as chocolate or sex? In this video, I interview a guest who believes it can.

Tim Reid is the founder and host of Australia and New Zealand’s number one business and marketing podcast – The Small Business Big Marketing Show. I was a guest on episode 163 of the show and enjoyed our conversation so much that I asked if he’d come on my channel.

Tim has built a global audience of motivated business owners in 110 countries, and is soon to be a published author. He travels the world as a speaker, introducing business owners and marketers to his highly effective Helpful Marketing approach – gaining success and increasing profits, without spending a fortune.

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Carmen: Can your marketing content make people feel as good as chocolate or even sex? In this video I interview a guest who believes that it can.
Hi, I’m Carmen Sognonvi. Keep watching to learn how to create content that will bring you customers who are pre-sold and ready to buy. By the way if you’d like to get a list of the seven tools I rely on to run all of the marketing in my business, head on over to

I’ll tell you everything from who to use for graphic design and printing and I’ll even tell you about an app that helps you track how your flyers are being distributed.
In this video I interview Tim Reid. Tim is the founder and host of Australia and New Zealand’s number one business and marketing podcast: The Small Business Marketing Show. I’m sorry, the Small Business Big Marketing Show.

Tim has built a global audience of motivated business owners in 110 countries and he’s soon to be a published author. He travels the world as a speaker introducing business owners and marketers to his highly effective, helpful marketing approach: gaining success and increasing profits without spending a fortune.
Tim believes there’s never been a better time to market your business, ever. Here’s my interview with Tim. Hi Tim, thanks for joining me today.

Tim: Hello Carmen.

Carmen: So, we are here today to talk about helpful marketing. So can you just give us an idea of what does that mean to you? What is helpful marketing?

Tim: Helpful marketing is based on a beautifully simple premise that every small business I know loves. Helpful marketing is based on the fact that you’re standing on a mountain of knowledge. You know so much about the industry which you operate, so much about the products and services that you sell, and so much about the problems that your customers and prospects have.
So helpful marketing demands that you share that knowledge openly, knowing that it will pull people towards you.

Carmen: Great, and so what are some examples of companies that you feel like are doing this right? And particularly you know, small businesses, maybe mom and pop stores that you’ve seen that really understand this concept.

Tim: Great, so what we’ll do in order to answer that maybe if I could give a step process to kind of get to then examples of businesses doing it right. So a really good first step in helpful marketing is I just reflect on what it’s like to be helpful ok and the last time you helped. So take off your business owner’s hat, take off your marketer’s hat and just think about that time when you helped and that time when you’re helpful and it feels good.

And I’ll tell you a little secret Carmen. It’s not so much a secret–being helpful releases dopamine into the bloodstream, which side of eating chocolate and having sex. So helpful marketing is a marketing strategy that tastes good and feels good at the same time. So you’ll love that.

So first get into that helpful mindset then go out and identify all the questions that you’ve ever been asked from customers and prospects. Every single question from how do we work with you to why do you cost so much? Or why do you cost so little to all the sort of how to questions around your products and services.

And then start to answer them via video, blog posts, podcasts, however whatever the media kind of resonates with you, that you feel most comfortable doing. And then simply start to answer them and each question and answer almost becomes like a blog post. You know it’s like it becomes an additional page on your website.

You should get to the point when you’ve got fifty, sixty, maybe a hundred questions and answers and you can create what I call a knowledge center on your website. So on that knowledge which is like the primary…a primary navigation button on your website, you can have all those questions and answers. And this is just an incredibly rich source of information for your customers.

So not only that but it’s like well why would you have that? Two reasons. It gives Google lots of opportunities to index your business and your rank what you want to rank well on Google.

And it’s quite powerful when a client or customer or prospect rings you or contacts you and says, asks you a question, for you to then be able to email them a link to a video or a podcast or a blog post. What’s simply a page on your website that answers that question in some detail, they’re gonna think you’re a bit of an expert. So that is like that’s the first step in to helpful marketing, answer all the questions that your clients have.

Businesses that are doing this…well I’ll give you a couple of great examples. There is a guy local to me, I’m in Melbourne Australia. And he’s got, he has a boat business where he buys and sells power boats, right.

So it’s a very transactional business and his name’s Darren. And his businesses is called St Kilda Boat Sales. And Darren went from being transactional to transformational by being helpful.
And here’s what he did. He goes down his businesses on the bay, on the on the water. And he goes down every Thursday with his tripod, his iPhone, and a $60 Lapel mic and does a weather report.

He simply says this is what’s happening out on the bay this weekend and how it’s going to affect your boating. He uploads it to YouTube, he grabs that video off YouTube and puts it on his website, he emails that link from his website to his database of email addresses. And we all should build a database as you I’m sure have shared with your audience.

And as a direct result of doing that, two things have happened. Number one is businesses increased 53 percent year on year, simply by being helpful in a pretty tough market selling a high involvement purchase, like a boat. The other thing that’s happened is and he’s done two bits of helpful marketing down.

The videos, the weather reports, and he’s written a book. And you’re gonna love the name of this book. It’s called Honey, Let’s Buy a Boat.

It’s twelve chapters, giving blokes 12 reasons to share with their wife as to why they should buy a boat. That is a really hopeful book as well. He’s been approached by the local, a local TV station and a local radio station to be the weather reporter for the upcoming summer, just gone ok.

And he took the radio job and for the four months over the summer, Darren was the weather guy on Melbourne’s biggest radio station. So that’s just a classic example of not only of taking helpful marketing to the second step which is you know, creating those videos, writing books, whatever it might be. Because what’s really interesting is that when you’re helpful, amazing things happen.

Not only will you get more inquiry but other wonderful things happened, like Darren’s now the weather guy on a radio station. You know for me, I started off creating a podcast six years ago and now I’m an in demand speaker around Australia and the world.

I did 8 countries last year and again just the result of being helpful on my podcast. I’m rambling now, over to you.

Carmen: No, that’s fantastic. Yeah, I think based on what you said you know helpful marketing, there’s a couple of well there’s a lot of side effects.
But one is, as you said it really establishes you as an expert and then that can lead to more opportunities.

Like you mentioned media opportunities you get written up, you get quoted as an expert, and that kind of ends up snowballing. I think the other effect that business owners will notice is that their customers come ready to buy, you know.
So it’s like they’ve already done all the research because you have so much information on your website.

If they’ve taken the time to look through it, instead of that conversation when they call you, instead of you having to sell them on why they should do business with you, it’s almost like yeah I’m ready to start.
Here’s my credit card. Have you found that in the businesses that you’ve worked with?

Tim: Yea, totally spot on. So for my business I get emailed every day or a phone call every other day, saying hey Timbo.
You don’t mind if I call you Timbo do you? Hey Timbo I feel as though I know you.

So that’s pretty powerful marketing and all I’ve done is consistently created a podcast. That’s my helpful marketing.
And the other thing you’re right, they look at your hopeful marketing. Whether it be in be in the form of video, podcasting, a brochure, however you’re sharing your knowledge.

And they call you and when they call you, they’re pre-sold.
So they’re calling you either to make an appointment, to find out where you are, to ask a remaining question that maybe hasn’t been answered.

But the most important thing is they’re less price-sensitive because they’ve developed…they’re familiar with you, they trust you. And they’re kind of, they’re really hoping that you’re the one for them.

Carmen: And so speaking of being price-sensitive or less price-sensitive, what do you recommend in terms of divulging information about pricing on your website? Because this is obviously one of the top questions that customers have. How much is this gonna cost me?
Do you feel like it’s better to be a completely open book?

Do you think you should reveal a little bit? Keep a little bit hidden? What kind of strategies would you recommend for people?

Tim: Yeah, gee that whole pricing question scares the pants off me Carmen. Because it’s hard, you know.
I’m no pricing expert.

There’s some pricing strategies that I’ve heard along the way that I’ve thought, that’s smart. So first of all your question is prices on the website or off the website.
I don’t know.

There’s not I don’t think there’s a straight answer to that. I think it depends on what you sell, what your competitors are doing, how comfortable you feel about it as the business owner, does it give you an advantage?

You know there’s so many kind of to’s and fro’s…pros and cons to doing it.
From a pricing point of view, there’s a couple of things that just come to mind that are in the discussion around pricing. One is I love seeing pricing plans on websites.

I kind of really, those comparisons.
You know you go to websites like a survey monkey or mailchimp. Two monkey things going on there but I know both of them have got really nice comparison charts, which show what you get for the free offer and then the you know, bronze, silver, gold offer.

And as the offers go up so does what you get.
And it’s just a really nice way of getting ahead around where the value is. And generally in those pricing charts they identify you know, the most popular.

So it kind of drives you to that one.
That’s the one they want you to buy at the very minimum. I like those.

I also I came across and it’s relevant to pricing.
I interviewed a fellow a few weeks ago who had his pricing, in fact no it was a lady. It was…she’s the biggest seller on Etsy. Alicia from Three Bird Nest.

Carmen: That was a great interview.

Tim: Yeah, wow wasn’t she passionate but she’s got this pricing model of everything was a $1.88. Everything was something eighty eight cents. Right.

And when I asked her it was because it was like it was just any regular number and it felt a little bit wholesale and it allowed her to get a little bit closer to the next dot rounding it up to the next dollar. So it was just a kind of smart pricing strategy because so often we see you know decimals of 99 or 97 and it’s like yeah that’s kinda common. So pricing’s tough, that’s the outcome of that discussion.

Carmen: Yeah and I think that one way that you can incorporate pricing into the hopeful marketing content that you’re producing is educating people like you said on why are things expensive or why are things cheap. So rather than just divulging all the pricing, you can educate the consumer on what are the different options in the marketplace and then where does your business fall in. And then what are maybe the pros and cons.

It’s kind of like you can go very high end or you can go very low end. Maybe we’re somewhere in the middle or we’re one of those extremes and then why would you do one versus the other. So that way you’re educating without giving away everything right away.

Tim: And that is the discussion. So like there’ll be listeners who were thinking but pricing for me, I can’t give somebody…particularly if you’re in a service industry. It’s like I can’t give you a particular price.

Cool, then that’s your answer but support it with reasons why. Like you know the answer to that question could be…it’s one of the most commonly asked questions. It’s how much do I cost and it’s like well I would love to be able to say X dollars but I can’t because it’s between X&Y dollars.

And here’s why. Right. And here are the factors that you have to think about.

Carmen: Yup yeah, absolutely. So if let’s talk about a specific example. Let’s say there is a bakery, local bakery.

And they feel like they want to kind of dip their toe in the water when it comes to helpful marketing.
What would you say is the first thing they should do? Should it be to compile that list of questions or what do you think? How can they get the ball rolling?

Tim: It’s an interesting question because helpful marketing, the more high involvement the purchase decision, the more effective helpful marketing becomes. Because people are searching online.
Like when you’ve got a high involvement purchase, an expensive purchase, a complicated purchase, you’ve gotta google it.

You’re gonna do your research. Helpful marketing by its very nature helps you rank well on Google.
A bakery isn’t a high involvement decision.

So you go uhhh do I really need to be there? Not so much but they can still…I still think, if you’ve got a website, you should have a blog.

So on the assumption that the bakery has a website with a menu, with its location, maybe with some testimonials, product shots, all that type of stuff. If they want that website to continually rank well for when someone does a search, a local search for office catering Brooklyn. If I was the bakery in Brooklyn, I’d want to rank…I’d want to be the one who ranks on page one.

And having a blog is going to do that. What’s a bakery’s blog talk about? Good question.
It could talk about the different types of bread rolls, that’d be boring.

But what they do so to get a blog going for any business is like a simple three-step process, which is called an editorial mission. And to get clear on your editorial mission, you simply ask three questions.
What have you got to offer? To who?

And what outcome can they expect?
And if you answer those three questions, it will provide some kind of filtering mechanism for you to decide what to blog about and what not to blog about. So if a bakery editorial mission was, thinking on the run here Carmen, tips and tricks for people in offices around Brooklyn to have a fun lunch.

You know, to have an interesting lunch. Then you can start to blog about things that the bakery does, the little packages they have and little ideas that not only you can get from the bakery but what else can you do around Brooklyn, you know.
You don’t go and eat at the bakery every day. So what other things could you do around lunch time in Brooklyn?

Carmen: Sure, yeah.

Tim: Yeah, so that was a kind of on the run the example but the point is the blog should be sort of engaging and entertaining. It doesn’t have to be completely rational and talk just about what it is that you do.
Carmen: Sure, so speaking of blogging how does helpful marketing relate to content marketing? Because that’s another buzzword that people hear a lot. So is it the same thing? Is it an approach to content marketing? How would people understand those two?
Tim: Great question. Its content marketing is the buzzword and the Internet is, that’s been the enabler. The internet has allowed us to create an infinite amount of content. Microphones, video camera, computer, away we go, you know. Therefore everyone’s creating content.
Put a filter of helpful on it and all of a sudden you’re starting to…if that’s content, then it’s now starting to narrow down to helpful content, helpful marketing. So helpful marketing is purely content that helps your customers make a more informed purchase decision in your favor, as opposed to just smashing out content.

Carmen: Great. And then what ratio would you…do you recommend to people when it comes to…let’s say they’re emailing their list? Obviously if you’re creating this helpful content, then you should be sharing it with your email list. Otherwise, they’re not gonna know it’s there.

Do you have any recommendations for what ratio of content versus promotion that people should do? Because obviously you need both.

Tim: Yeah, you do. So if we were to follow the Gary Vaynerchuk school of thought, Gary being social media expert and he has that book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook. So a jab is a gift, is a gift you know like here’s something helpful.

A right hook is buy from me that’s a three…every three gifts, you get an ask.
I think that could be a bit much but I just think helpful…here’s the thing, helpful marketing, we’re not creating art. Every bit of helpful marketing has a call to action attached to it.

So if I’m creating a video, if I’m the bakery in Brooklyn and I’m creating the video that says here’s the best three spots to get coffee in Brooklyn outside of us, then you do that video and at the end you have a super that says you know by the way we’ve got a lunchtime special on between 12 and 2 every day…every weekday.
Come and see us. There’s your call to action so I think as a ratio you can just…it can be a hundred percent helpful but every time they can be asking it.

And even if there isn’t like a really avert to ask which is like buy for me.
The fact that you’re being helpful is a good thing anyway and it’s going to register with people that I like these guys, you know. I’m gonna keep them on my shopping list.

Carmen: Great, great definitely. So what are some final thoughts that you would like to leave with our viewers, when it comes to helpful marketing. What’s one thing they should really keep in mind?

Tim: I thought you said just final thoughts generally. I was thinking donuts and toothpicks and all those things. Be helpful, like just sit with the idea of being helpful before you jump into the idea.

Be a human being, be a consumer before you’re the business owner or the marketer and think what would you like?
You know, if you were walking into your business, what would you like to see? What information would you like to help make an informed decision?

So do that.
I don’t think enough, we get so caught up in our business as the owners that we forget to be our customers. And that’s really powerful.

So do that and think about and start to feel this concept of being helpful.
After you’ve done that, then just choose a medium. It could be video if you’re comfortable staring down the barrel of a camera, it could be audio, maybe you’re a great writer.

But just start to respond to all these questions that you’re being asked.
And do one a week. Why after a year, that’s 52 questions that you’ve answered.

And put them on your website.
That’s fifty two additional pages that Google can now index and help rank you, ok. And just on that don’t think that because you’re a small business listening to this that you can’t rank well on Google because they update it, well they always update their algorithm.

But a few months ago with the pigeon update, which is what they called the update to their algorithm, they favor local businesses.
So if you are looking for a bakery in Brooklyn and someone does a search for a bakery in Brooklyn, Google really wants to deliver search result from a bakery in Brooklyn.

And that sounds really obvious but if there’s… if a bakery in Brooklyn hasn’t gone and done the work to rank well, then…and Google can’t find one , then they’ll rank one in an adjoining suburb. You know, so yeah do the hard work and enjoy it.
You know, like one of the things I love about helpful marketing is that it is fun it simply relies on the knowledge that you already have.

And my wish for anyone who embarks on any marketing of their businesses, that it becomes a hobby. That they actually really enjoy the next time it comes to marketing their business because if you enjoy it, you’ll do it more often, if it’s a hobby time becomes irrelevant and you’ll just get in to a bit of a rhythm. That’s what I do.

Carmen: Okay, absolutely. Well thank you so much Tim for, Timbo I should say, for spending time with us today.

Tim: No worries Cambo.

Carmen: That’ll be my new Twitter handle, Cambo Sognonvi. So if people want to learn more about what you do, and then also listen to your fabulous podcast, where should they go?

Tim: They can head over to small business big marketing dot com. That’s where my podcast lives. It’s called the Small Business Big Marketing Show.
And I have a forum attached to that website and for right now I think it’s 49 bucks a month.

I mean they’re every day answering people’s questions around marketing and there’s a whole lot of other motivated business owners from many different countries doing the same thing. It’s just a good community to support each other on this journey we call marketing.
So that’s where I’d head over and if you want me to come and speak in an event at a bakery in Brooklyn, I’m here. Just book me.

Carmen: Absolutely, all right thank you so much and everybody definitely check out the show because I think it’s one of the few podcast I know of that really focuses not exclusively but features a lot of local businesses, which I think is very under represented especially online.
So it’s a great show. I’ve been a past guest.

I should’ve looked up which episode number that was before we got on the call.
But I’ll put it in the show notes. And it’s definitely a great show, so definitely check it out. Alright thanks again Tim.

Tim: Thanks Carmen.

Carmen: Wasn’t that a fabulous interview? I learned so much, so here are my top five takeaways from what Tim had to say.

Number one: each week answer one question from a customer. A really easy way to get started with content marketing is to just write out a list of all the questions that customers have ever asked you. Then once a week pick one of those questions and answer it.

Each one of those answers should be either a separate blog post or separate page on your website. By the end of the year, if you’ve been doing this once a week you’ll have fifty two pages of new content on your site, which is gonna be awesome for your SEO and Google search rankings.

Number two: pick the medium that you are most comfortable with. Just because everyone and their grandma and me are doing video, don’t feel pressured to do the same. If you feel really awkward and terrible on camera but you’re an amazing writer, create text content.

That is totally fine. So pick the medium that feels most comfortable for you because that makes it much more likely that you’re actually going to stick with creating content on a consistent basis.

Number three: informed customers are readier to buy and less price-sensitive. By creating all of this helpful marketing content, you are actually educating and informing your customer. And the more educated a customer is, the more willing they will be to buy from you.

You’ll often find that customers will come to you ready to buy. They’ve already done all their research, you’ve already answered all their questions through your website and so they’re actually ready to just get started. What you’ll also find Tim pointed out is that these customers who are educated tend to be less price-sensitive.

You’ve already won them over. You don’t have to try to close the sale because they’re ready to buy and they don’t mind paying for your prices. They’re not going to haggle with you to try to get a better deal because they see the value that you bring. So who doesn’t want customers who are happy to pay your price and ready to buy right?

Number four: the higher your price, the more you need to educate your customer. In order to make a purchasing decision, your customer needs a certain amount of information. That that amount of information varies depending on the price of the product that you’re selling.

If you sell cupcakes, your customer probably doesn’t need all that much information but if you sell boats they probably need a great deal more information. So make sure that you adjust accordingly and understand the nature of the sale.

Number five: add a call to action to every piece of marketing content. This is probably my favorite one because when I was on Tim’s show he actually called me the call to action queen or something like that.
So don’t forget that when you’re creating all this marketing content, the end goal is basically to get them to buy eventually.

So don’t be afraid to include a call to action in every piece of content that you create, whether it’s a video, blog post, an audio podcast. You want to make sure that you add a relevant call to action whether that’s for them to visit that particular page on your website or to call you or to ask about a special that you’re doing. Because that makes it that much more likely that people are going to take action.

Ok, so if you found this video useful I would encourage you to sign up to get email updates from me. Just head on over to Carmen Sognonvi dot com slash newsletter and sign up there. And if you have a question you would like me to answer in a future video, just email it to me at info at Carmen Sognonvi dot com.

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Learn Graphic Design to Improve Your Marketing: Pamela Wilson

Learn Graphic Design to Improve Your Marketing: Pamela Wilson

Do you design your own marketing materials, but wish they looked more professional?

In this video, you’re going to learn some great tips and tricks to make your home-made marketing materials look high end.

I interview Pamela Wilson. She is an award-winning graphic designer and marketing consultant who has helped small businesses and large organizations create “big brands” since 1987.

In 2010, she founded Big Brand System to show small business owners how a system of strategic marketing and great design makes them look professional, cohesive and successful. She believes that your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG.

Pamela is now Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Copyblogger Media, where she helps people build a strong presence on the web.

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Why Tech Startups Destroy Entrepreneurship

Why Tech Startups Destroy Entrepreneurship

Tech start-ups are the life-blood of entrepreneurship, right?


In this video I’m going to explain how tech start-ups are destroying entrepreneurship, and why you need to think differently if you want to be successful in business.

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How to Do Sales Follow Up After an Event

Sales Follow Up

Did you collect a ton of leads at an event and you’re not sure how to follow up with them?

In this video, I explain the best way to do sales follow-up.

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