Monthly Update, September 2018

Here’s my September 2018 update of all the happenings in my business.


Full Episode Transcription:

Hello and welcome once again to the Liston.io show. I’m Liston and I want to help you build a better consulting business. If you haven’t done it yet, I’d love it if you subscribe to this podcast so that you don’t miss another episode and if you’re so inclined, tell someone about this if it’s valuable to you and if you think it would be valuable to them. Today’s episode is the second installment of monthly Mondays and what I’ll be doing is giving you an update on my business from last month.

You can go back and listen to the first episode in August to check out the last update, but the first Monday of every single month I’ll be giving you an update and that’s what this particular podcast is all about. In today’s episode, I will be giving you an update on the podcast itself. Last month, one of my big goals was to grow this podcast and I’ll tell you what’s happened. I’ll also be giving you an update on my consulting sales boot camp, which is my online learning experience. Huge news there and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I’ll also, give you an update about some other things that I have going on and what September holds. Before I get into all of that, I do want to invite you to book a Free Strategy Session with me where I promise to give you at least 2.5 useful insights. It’s an average that you could apply to your business immediately. Now, it won’t actually be 2.5 insights. It’ll be somewhere between say one and five but I do promise it will 100% be worth your time. All you have to do is go to Liston.io/strategy to set up a strategy session with me.

I also wanted to let you know that I do have a new resource available for you. Question, have you ever been working on a sale with a potential client and you just weren’t sure what to do next to move it forward? If you have, I’ve created something that might fill in the gap for you. It’s the five sales email templates that every consultant needs in their arsenal and you can go grab it now. All you have to do is head over to www.liston.io to get it. That’s www.liston.io, and if you just hit the big blue button on the homepage, you’ll be able to find it and go grab those five email templates.

As I said, today’s episode is all about updates from the month of August and I’ve got a lot to share with you, but I’ll just give you off the top of my head before I get into some of the things that I’ve scripted for today. The month of August was really about creating a ton of content. I did go hiking a couple of times, which was amazing. I love go backpacking and that was so good to do that, but it left me feeling like I was always playing catch up and I had to finish up my consulting sales boot camp, online learning experience.

There was a lot of time devoted to creating that content to producing this podcast, and I would be the first to admit that my LinkedIn growth strategy has slowed down just a bit. It’s not as aggressive as it once was. However, my Facebook group is going pretty well and I’m actually really pleased with the growth there. Now onto the scripted part. That’s the off the top of my head stuff and I’ll tell you all about everything I mentioned in detail. First up, I want to talk about this podcast.

I do have a pretty good following on LinkedIn. There are a couple of reasons I wanted to do this podcast, particularly as a consultant, as a provider of information and content, and that is LinkedIn is great for really short form content. It really sucks for longer form content. It does have an articles feature that’s designed to be a long article or blog post. However, it’s underutilized. LinkedIn doesn’t really deliver that content to people very well. It prefers shorter texts posts. It’s really become a place where super short form content wins. While there’s a place for that, what I wanted to do is create a place here in this podcast that’s longer form where you get a sense of who I am and I can share and elaborate on ideas in a much longer setting. These episodes are typically between 20 and 30 minutes, and that seems to be a really good amount of time for me to communicate a longer idea, like say this monthly update, right?

Those were the thoughts I had behind the podcast. Growing the podcast is really important to me because I see this as a great vehicle to reach more people. The one thing I should’ve mentioned is audio, I believe is going to be one of the big winning media channels and it’s going to continue to grow. The reason is you can do other things while you’re listening to audio. Now finally, with podcasts and with other forms of audio like Spotify, it’s on demand. You can choose your own adventure and you can listen while you’re doing anything else.

Okay? Enough about that. You’re probably wondering what happened. I launched this very podcast on July 5th. You’re listening, today is September 3rd. I’m recording this episode on Friday, August 31st and so this podcast is really only been around for two months and my goal for month two was to get 2000 downloads.

Now my goal for month one was a thousand downloads and I didn’t achieve that. In July I had 721 total downloads over seven episodes. In the month of August though, I am pleased to report that I far exceeded my goal. I just high fived to myself. It was almost like you were in the room with me. In the month of August, I got 2,639 downloads. That’s not all historical downloads. That doesn’t count the July downloads.

I’m really pleased with the overall progress. That’s a 267% growth in a single month. Now that doesn’t really matter. My ultimate goal for this podcast is to get to that 10,000 downloads per episode mark. I have a long way to go to get to that point. I mean a really long way to go to get to that point. However, it does feel like this is a really good trajectory.

One thing I told you about last month that I was doing to grow the podcast is I took out some ads and I bought ads with an APP called overcast. That’s an iPhone podcast delivery APP. What you can do through overcast is buy space, basically display banners within overcast where I’m advertising my podcast to other podcasts listeners. Through that I’ve gotten 417 subscribers and it’s hard to say how many of those people actually stick around after say the first episode or even two or three episodes, but I do know that I’m getting an average of say about three downloads per subscriber.

I think what that’s telling me is some people are sticking around and maybe half are sticking around and half are just leaving, which is to be expected, right? Because once they start to hear it, they can make a decision about whether or not this podcast is for them, as much as I tried to nail that in the ad copy. Surely some people may listen to this and I’m just not their flavor for whatever reason, they don’t want to stick around. But 417 subscribers, I paid about $3 and 83 cents per subscriber and it’s costs about a dollar 36 per download is another way to look at it.

I also bought advertising on a podcasting network that sells vacant advertising inventory on major podcasts. I’ve been advertising on CNN. I’ll be trying some other channels as well where they have more affluent listeners, not more affluent than CNN, but more affluent type listeners. I’ll continue to try that out and see what happens and I’m also going to try some direct response in those channels that don’t advertise the podcast but do advertise other things that I have going for instance, my five sales email templates or the new online seminar that I’ll be producing and publishing very soon. More on that in a second.

Overall, my feeling is August, 2018 went really well for the podcast and the growth of the podcast and I feel the podcast is positioned to do well and to continue to grow. Now, what’s unclear is how much viral organic growth I’m getting because I’m paying for ads. In case you’re wondering what’s up next, my plan is to continue to buy advertisement for the podcast specifically and maybe push some traffic to the podcast through Facebook.

Again, this may make me sound like strictly a marketer not a sales guy, but I think what’s important is enough people get to know me and because I’m selling a service or at least information that positions me as an authority, it’s really critical that people get exposed to me and my message and who I am and I do believe that the podcast is a great way to potentially build trust.

Now it’s not all puppies and ice cream with the podcast. I definitely have some weaknesses to shore up. I would be the first to admit that. My organic promotion that is promoting on my earned media social media channels is just totally lackluster. I haven’t put enough effort into that. I have occasionally posted in my Facebook group, it’s called consulting power up. If you’re not a member, go ahead and go over there and join. If you just look up consulting power up, you’ll find it.

I should be posting in there every time I have a new podcast. I have not been doing that, but it’s something that I need to get better about. I’m also not posting on my Facebook business page. Those are both opportunities that aren’t going to drive as much growth obviously as paying for ads, especially at the level that I’m buying ads that. I’ve spent about $2,000 so far and I plan to spend about, I don’t know, 500 to a thousand dollars a month in total in podcast focus ads, but promoting in my organic channels is something I should be doing. Another thing that I’m going to do is I have a writer who’s been great and he’s turning my podcasts into articles.

Those articles need to go up on my website, so that’ll be another channel where maybe I can get some organic traffic. Of course I can promote those articles, but more than that I can put those articles on LinkedIn and on Medium and maybe syndicate them a few other places and then link back to the podcast and entice people to at least be exposed to the podcast through those articles, but potentially also listen and obviously subscribe is my ultimate goal.

Another thing that I can do is pay more attention to search. With the help of a friend. He pointed out that I didn’t have good keyword optimization in the podcast title or the description itself and so I have updated both the title and the description. I could probably do a better job of that. What I’m finding really difficult about search optimization for the podcast is it’s just really clear what’s working and what’s not because I’m also paying for ads and I’m also promoting through these other channels including my email list and so people who are subscribed to my email list will also get notifications for the podcast.

I will continue to do paid promotion, but I’ll probably step down that investment just a little bit and see what happens in the month of September. Next up is my consulting sales boot camp. Consulting sales boot camp is an online learning experience that I launched for the very first time on July 9th to a group of seven Beta students. Everybody who bought knew that I hadn’t done it before, I hadn’t even created the content and they were there for the express reason of becoming more proficient and better at sales.

These are all consultants, service providers. I have people who are developers and management consultants and marketers, people who work at agencies, people who are selling services and expertise for a living. The whole goal of this program was to help them build a sales process, always know what to do next in that process, and ultimately have confidence in the way they sell and come to every sales call, not dreading it and not feeling like they’re potentially inferior to a client, but actually excited and looking forward to it.

Last month when I gave my update, I was about halfway through building the course content. It’s eight modules, eight weeks. Each module is say five to seven lessons and there’s about an hour of video content. There’s an assignment, there’s a group agenda. There is a quiz associated with every single module. It’s a lot of work to put the content together. Needless to say, I think I’ve put in, I’m estimating in just the content creation around a hundred hours since I guess the end of June.

What I want to share with you now are some verbatim quotes because in about week five or week six, I interviewed all of the seven Beta students in consulting sales boot camp, I’ll call it CSB from now on. I interviewed the students from CSB and here’s some of the verbatim quotes that I got. The best learning experience I’ve ever had. I actually look forward to sales calls for the first time. I’ve spent a lot of money on online courses more than this one, and it’s by far the best I’ve ever taken. I’ve wanted an intelligence system with simple tools and it’s been fantastic.

Those are four separate quotes of things that students actually said to me when I asked them how it was going. I am absolutely thrilled by the feedback and even more than that, thrilled that CSB is making such an impact on people and helping them so much. What I’ve done so far is I’ve collected constructive feedback from all of the CSB students and I’m already implementing the changes that I’ve collected. I’m going to start producing some bonus content really shortly and I’m not done.

Now that all of the content is finished, all eight weeks are done. I’ve put a notice out to a small group of VIP people that have been following me for some time and I’ve interacted with. I have at least five people auditing the course and providing feedback so that I can improve the course. There’ll be doing that over the next three weeks so that I have time to implement all of the feedback that they give me also before the next iteration of the course launches, which will be October 9th, I’m going to be opening this up again.

If you’re interested in learning more about consulting sales boot camp, all you have to do is go to liston.io/bootcamplaunch or anywhere on my website. There’ll be lots of little calls to action as I open this up and allow people like you, if you want to learn more to actually come into consulting sales boot camp, learn a little bit about it and make a decision if you want to go forward with it or not. I am just really excited about this. This is going to be the start of the transformation for my business. What this allows me to do is deliver more health to more people.

It’s also a group coaching setting and that’s been really successful. I’ve given everybody time on these group calls, enough time for them to ask me specific questions about their business, enough time for them to learn from other people in those groups and it’s been just really ultra successful. I’m totally thrilled with the whole thing. That is my update on CSB.

Other things that I have going on. I posted a video about the differences I’ve seen in reach in my Linkedin videos. If you go to consulting power up, my Facebook group, and if you’re not in it already you can just request to be added. It is free. I posted a 14-minute video in there where I run down my analysis of how Linkedin is changing their algorithm and they not favoring videos as much. The cliff notes version is comments are now worth twice as much as they were and likes are worth half as much as they were. Overall, people are getting about half the reach that they got.

That’s been a big development in terms of the reach of my content. Now that’s not to say I’m unhappy with say two or 3000 people seeing my videos. That’s still a lot of people and that’s still a lot of reach. It’s just diminishing and I think what I’m seeing overall is LinkedIn is going to start to make their video platform pay to play. You’re going to have to pay if you want people to see your videos. That said, I’m still really bullish on LinkedIn.

I’m continuing to grow my connections. I’m continuing to post content there. My network is still growing. I’m approaching 8,000 connections now. While that is on its own a vanity metric. I think what it does is it shows that I’m continuing to get more exposure and with these other assets like this podcast you’re listening to, or my email list or the Facebook group, all of it plays together to create different ways for people to get to know me, which is super valuable and to even help each other in this movement that we’re creating together.

Which leads me to the Facebook group. That has grown pretty well over the last month despite the fact that I haven’t focused on it as much as I should. I’ve done, I’d say a mediocre job at best of growing it, but I started with zero and that coincided with the launch of this podcast. In about two months I’ve gained close to a hundred members. I think once I start pushing it a little bit more, it’ll be pretty easy to see that grow. What I’m already noticing too is much more interaction in the group in a longer, deeper way than what I’m seeing on LinkedIn.

As if I didn’t have enough going on already. I’ve also engaged with someone to Redo the copy and design of my homepage in particular. That’s the first part of the focus. The reason being when I created my website, I felt like I still had a lot to figure out with my business and now that I know a lot more I wanted to engage the help of someone who does websites professionally. I have a really deep background in copywriting and obviously online marketing, but what I wanted was an outside opinion to bring an objective view of what I’m doing and how effective it is, and how clear it is because I really believe clarity is a huge part of effective marketing. I wanted that to happen. I’m really happy with the way the new design is coming.

I’ll be just updating the copy and overall layout of my website in the next week or so. I’m also looking for a designer to help me with the visual identity and branding of the Liston brands. If you know someone or you are someone who can help me with that, feel free to email me liston@liston.io. Now to the biggest thing that I’ll be working on. I’ve been working on a new sales funnel for my business and I have that all mapped out and I’m in the middle of creating content for it. The five email templates is part of that. I’m giving you a peek behind the curtain here. You can still download the five email templates and see what happens afterwards.

Basically what I want is I’m going to continue to give more and better content to people and I’m also getting rid of some of the longer form stuff that I did. For a while I gave away something called sales and 30 and it was a video course. My feeling after giving that away was it was just too much of an investment for people to make. I wanted to give something that had more immediate application and value and so that’s why I did the five sales email templates. I’ve gotten some really good feedback on that already, so I’m happy with that. What the month of September really holds is consulting sales boot camp will open next Monday. Look out for some emails about that if you’re on my email list.

I’ll also be launching a new funnel that I just talked about as I’m creating content for that, that’ll be all done along with some paid advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and podcasts. The other thing I’m doing is I’m going on a vacation. I’m really excited about that. My wife and I are going to Nashville Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina. We’re really excited to go and be away for a little while before I get back into the thick of my business.

I’m also headed to an event put on by my new Internet friend Greg Faxon or Faxon, I’m not sure if I’m saying his last name right, but he’s putting on a live event called foster your roster. It’s for coaches or people who want to become coaches and it’s all about helping them develop their coaching business. I’m never too proud to learn from someone else. Greg’s been doing this for about four years and so I’m really excited to go meet him in person, hang out with some other people who are on a similar path and maybe pick up a thing or two that I can apply it to my business.

I’m stoked about that. That’s the last weekend in September and it’s in Washington DC. If you’re interested, you can go to Greg’s website, gregfaxon.com. I’m also launching not one but two outbound campaigns for my business. I’ll update you on the progress of those next month. I’m not prepared to talk about them right now, but there’s a lot going on with those. I’m doing a lot of marketing, spending a lot of time looking to fill my funnel in the month of September and really build pipeline so that I have enough people exposed to my offer so they can make a judgment whether or not they want to talk to me or whether or not they want consulting sales boot camp even.

I’m really excited about all of those things. That is my update. I know I covered a ton of ground and I’m doing a lot of different things, but I did want to share everything that’s going on with you. This is a pretty standard month for me and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that I’m now working out six days a week and took up running also. I’m very busy, I have a lot going on, but I’m hoping that you learn something today and if you have any questions about anything I said or you want some more detail on something I mentioned today, head over to liston.io/podcast and you can ask me a question there and I will answer it right here on the air on the podcast. Thanks so much for listening. Once again, I’m Liston and I hope you have a fantastic day. Bye.