Better. Stronger. Faster.
Updated: 20 June 2021
Ideas that are working right now for gaining clients, retaining clients and pivoting — even in the time of coronavirus.
At the beginning of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the camera tracks across a cell in a mental hospital. The camera finds Sarah Connor doing chin-ups on her upended bed frame.
In 18-seconds with no dialogue, we learn that Sarah Connor has transformed herself between The Terminator and Terminator 2. She is no longer a victim; she has chosen to be someone who gets shit done in the toughest circumstances.
We have the same choices in this time of coronavirus. We could curl up, defeated by what’s being done to us. Or we could make another choice. We could use the time to get our businesses ready for the opportunities that are available even now. And we could choose to be prepared for the opportunities that will be available in the future.
Some of what Taleist is planning for the next few months is aimed at attracting new clients. However, “retention” is the word of the moment for us and probably you. That’s because there’s no one more likely to buy from you at any time than someone who has bought from you before.
It’s true that your clients will be cutting back on spending. However, spending is like breathing: you can only hold your breath for so long if you want to stay alive. If a business is alive, it’s going to be spending on something.
That something could be you. However, for the spending to be on you, it’s more important than ever to present persuasively the value of what you do. There are few times in history when it’s been more vital to be good at marketing.
You need to be smart about how you spend your marketing dollars but think like Sarah Conner, not Bridget Jones. There’s no gain in grabbing a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s and hoping your clients will still be there when this is all over. Your clients might be someone else’s clients by then.
Unless they are all in hibernation, your clients still need services. They might need something different, but they need something. And even if all your clients are in hibernation, there are businesses still operating and operating means spending. Individuals are spending, too. They’re bored and want to be entertained and stimulated. Or they see they might need new skills so they want to learn.
In the last week at Taleist, we’ve had calls for help from clients ranging from global law firms to local GPs. They’re all buying. They’re not all buying the same things they were buying before, but they’re buying and we’re delivering.
In the spirit of Sarah Connor, what follows are some of the things that we’ve recommended to clients so far. There are also some of the things that Taleist will be doing over the next few months to give our own business a health and resilience boost.
We are, as they say in the markets, bullish on webinars. Shares in Zoom, the video conferencing and webinar company, were $68 at the beginning of the year. At the time of writing, just three months later, they’re at $151. It’s not hard to see why…
Companies can’t hold face-to-face events so they need to move events online. They also need to move staff training, town halls and other meetings online.
Business owners are looking for connection, inspiration and context.
Individuals are looking for contact and mental stimulation.
Depending on your strategy for the next few months, running webinars could be golden for retention and expansion.
Massive increases in sign-up and attendance rates
Doing things by webinar is going to be the default way of doing any live training for a while. That means millions of your potential customers are downloading webinar software, getting used to going to webinars and seeing the benefits of webinars.
Your prospects are already going to have the software installed when you approach them, so that barrier has vapourised. They’re going to know how to open the software and how to log in. That’s another barrier that’s tumbled.
Getting sign-ups used to be hard. Then there was the heartbreaking leak between sign-ups and attendances. But that was back in the bad old days when people had a thousand other things to do. Now, you’re dealing with an audience locked up, bored, craving stimulation and wondering if they need to upskill for whatever is next in their lives.
We’re predicting record sign-ups and record attendance for webinars.
And we’re predicting there’s something that you can teach — or at least showcase by webinar. Even if you’ve never taught anything before. It might not lead to sales directly or immediately, but don’t ignore awareness. Now is a great time to increase reach you can leverage later.
Be flexible about webinar topics
Don’t dismiss webinars out of hand because what you do simply can’t be done online. Think of all the fitness trainers, pilates instructors and ballet teachers who would never have contemplated running classes by webinar.
What you run webinars about now doesn’t have to represent your future or make money. Your webinar game right now could just be about retention, relevance and reciprocity.
How to find webinar topics
Good webinar topics come from thinking about the context you can bring to any questions your clients might be asking:
What does the current situation mean for a business from the perspective of your area of expertise? If you’re an accountant, say, maybe you have clients who would join a webinar to understand finances (or government aid packages).
How can your business clients best prepare for the future with the domain of your expertise? If you’re a commercial cleaner, for instance, what are we going to need to do before we can return safely to our workplaces or our client’s workplaces?
What does the world look like right now for clients, and how can you be relevant to that? For instance, we’ve suggested to kitchen design clients and renovation clients that they should start hosting webinars immediately. If there were something you didn’t love about your house before you were locked indoors, you’re going to hate that thing in no time. Plus you’ve got time on your hands to come up with a plan to get rid of it — with a little expert help from a kitchen designer or a renovation expert.
Other questions you can ask yourself to mine for webinar topics include:
What do people think they know, but they’re wrong about?
What questions should people be asking but they’re not?
What can you see coming but your clients might not?
Is there a version of what you used to do in person that you can offer by webinar?
You can also think laterally. Is there a version of what you used to do that lends itself to a webinar. The person who used to set up employee workstations can’t do that for now. However, they could run a webinar on setting up a home office ergonomically.
At Taleist, we’ve started running team training by webinar on Writing With Influence. Up until now, we’ve been the ones doing the influential writing for our clients. However, writing with influence is a skill people need more than ever. Also, they don’t necessarily have the budget for an expert to write everything. So the version of what we used to do (writing persuasive copy) is teaching other people how to get action from their writing. (If you’d also be interested in learning how to write with influence, please email us.)
What new things are your clients doing?
Another seam you can mine for webinar ideas is to mentally walk through what your clients are doing in a day. What are they doing that’s new to them? Could you run webinars to help them with that?
The right tools for running webinars
Live webinars: Zoom
We are not experts on relative merits of all the tools, but Zoom webinars have never let us down. The price is right, too. Once you have a basic Zoom paid account, you can add the ability to run webinars for as little as $40/month. That’s a trivial amount to invest in retention or diversification, and you can cancel if webinars don’t take off for you.
Pre-recorded webinars: StealthSeminar
Not all webinars are live. If you’ve ever signed up for a webinar that coincidentally is starting in the next 15 minutes, the chances are it was pre-recorded. Same thing if the webinar is running five times a day for the next two weeks, including times that must be the middle of the night for the presenter.
Recording a webinar in advance is much like recording any other video. Alternatively, you can take a recording from a webinar you delivered live and use it as a pre-recorded webinar.
When you pre-record, you can:
Avoid any mistakes that might come from the pressure of doing it live.
Offer the webinar more frequently and at different times than you could if you had to be there.
To run a pre-recorded webinar, you will need a tool that can deliver pre-recorded webinars. Zoom can’t do that, so we recommend StealthSeminar.
Taleist’s guide to hosting and moderating webinars
At the urgent request of several law firms, we put together a course on how to promote, host, moderate and follow-up webinars. Although it was put together for lawyers, this course is for anyone who wants to run a webinar that delivers results. Get all the details here.
As well as retention, another word to have in mind is diversification. What you can offer today might be different from what you have been offering and what you might offer in the future. Online courses are one way that many of us can diversify today.
The market for online courses was worth $187 billion before the coronavirus crisis. In those healthy times, analysts were tipping that the demand for e-learning would be worth $325 billion by 2025. That was a prediction of compounded growth of 16.6% every year. Imagine how steeply that prediction has to be revised now that all courses are going to be online courses for months.
First, there will be an immediate surge in sales while people have no choice but to take learning online. Then there will be the long term acceleration in growth from all the learners introduced to online courses earlier than expected.
That prediction of $128 billion of growth in online learning between now and 2025 just leapt forward a few years.
Even before COVID-19, anyone getting into producing online courses was stepping into an express elevator. Now, it’s more like strapping into a rocket because the market for online learning is going into orbit.
Why shouldn’t you get your share of that?
You have something to teach. It might be to do with what you do professionally. It might be knowledge you’ve picked up in connection with a hobby. Business or personal, you don’t need to have a PhD in the subject. If you’ve read three books on a topic, you know more than 95% of the population. That qualifies you to teach.
Right now, there’s a lady in our neighbourhood Facebook group offering to teach people pasta-making via Skype. She’s not saying she’s Marcella Hazan. She’s not even someone’s nonna. But she has flour, eggs, water and more experience making pasta than the dozens of people saying “yes, please” to her kind offer.
Where to get ideas for online courses
Online courses are a more flexible and more permanent cousin of the webinar. So you should ask yourself the questions in the earlier section about webinars. Also:
What do you know more about than other people? (What are people always asking you? It doesn’t have to be something you do for work. It could be something you do for a hobby or something you used to do.)
What do people need to learn to do now?
What did we used to call people in to do for us that we might not be able to call them for now (or that we might not have the money for now)?
What do people need to learn to prepare themselves for the future? (Asking ourselves that question led to our course on writing stand-out LinkedIn profiles.)
What were people always saying they wanted to learn to do but didn’t have time for? Language app Duolingo grew 25 per cent in a single week early in the coronavirus crisis. We’ve all got time to learn Mandarin at the moment.
What are people interested in? Read the news; it’s packed with stories of how people are amusing themselves. Search “Google trends” for what search terms are shooting up. Type “how to” into Google and see what Google offers as autocomplete. Here’s what Google just suggested to us…
How to get into making a course fast
If you’ve already got a WordPress website, you could get into teaching a course online for as little as $200. That’s all it takes to buy WP Courseware, which is made by our client Fly Plugins.
WP Courseware was the first online course plugin for WordPress, which means it has thousands and thousands of development hours behind it, not to mention refinements based on feedback from 21,883 course creators.
Aside from that, you won’t find two people more committed to developing a fantastic product than Nate and Ben. And they care about your success — no sooner had we bought WP Courseware for Taleist than they emailed us The 10 Step Blueprint Behind Every Successful Course.
And if you don’t have a WordPress website ready to launch your courses, you need to meet another of our clients, Kicking Pixels, a conversion and web development agency. If you don’t have time to muck about putting up a course website yourself, Kicking Pixels can put up a starter website running WP Courseware.
With a Kicking Pixels website running WP Courseware, you could have everything you need to launch your course empire for less than AUD1,500.
Want to know more? All you have to do is contact Kicking Pixels.
Why do this through your website?
You don’t have to have a website to get an online course up and running. There are marketplaces like Udemy that will offer you the tools that you need for “free”. The catch — and it’s a big one — is that they’ll take a big bite out of any money you make. Also, the marketplace sets the rules. You could wake up one day to find something massive has changed. (In our case, Udemy doubled their commission so that their cut of a sale was twice the size of ours. And there was nothing we could do about it by that stage.)
Alternatively, you can find one of several “hosted” solutions like Kajabi. Hosted service providers run like a serviced apartment. Everything is there for you, but you don’t own any of it. You can move your stuff in for as long as you’ll pay the hefty monthly fee. So again, the provider sets the rules, and you’ll often find the tools you need require you to upgrade to an even more expensive program.
With marketplaces and hosted sites, you’ll always be the tenant, not the landlord. It doesn’t matter that you’re the one building the house. That’s why we always recommend you run your courses through your own website with a plugin like WP Courseware.
Now more than ever, you have to be seen. You need to be a constant ping on the radar of the right people. You need to remind them you’re still providing exceptional service and value.
There are two reasons for this:
Some of them will be existing or potential clients who might connect the dots and get in touch for help
Some of them will see your name, connect the dots and refer you to someone you wouldn’t otherwise have reached
Get personally visible on LinkedIn
At Taleist we adopted LinkedIn early, which was a mistake. Back then, LinkedIn was a place where you stored your CV for recruiters to find. So if you didn’t want to work for somebody else, LinkedIn was a waste of time. Because of that, we looked away and didn’t look back for a while. That’s how we missed the shift LinkedIn has made over the last three years.
LinkedIn has become much more than an archive of resumes. LinkedIn is the social network for business people. Yes, you still get some tripe, but mostly (if you follow the right people) it’s about business.
LinkedIn has become a place to shine. And it’s still free. Sort of. That’s why we’re bullish on LinkedIn as well and our investment is paying off.
Getting visible on LinkedIn (and turning that visibility into sales)
You’re dreaming if you think putting a post up on LinkedIn means anyone will see it. LinkedIn is a global bazaar of expert self-promoters. You could have 10,000 connections. It doesn’t matter. LinkedIn will show your post to only a tiny number of people if all you do is hit “post” every so often.
The LinkedIn algorithm wants to see people liking your posts and commenting on your posts. And it wants to see them doing it quickly after you publish the posts. If you can get velocity in the first 30 minutes after posting, you’ll see your post views go through the roof.
How you get the algorithm to notice you is evolving. All we can say with any chance of being current in a month is that you cannot do it on your own.
You. Cannot. Do. It. On. Your. Own.
Someone with up-to-the-minute information about what’s working
A collective of people working with you for mutual benefit
If you need to see proof of any of this, try putting up a post then check the number of views after 24 hours. It’ll be like you threw a rock into an ocean, except without the splash.
When we wanted to get more visible on LinkedIn, we started to work with our client Paul Higgins of Build Live Give. Paul knows what it takes to thrive on LinkedIn, and he has programs to get there — including turning reach into sales. He’s done it for us, and he can do it for you.
Make the most of that LinkedIn visibility
You’re not investing in visibility on LinkedIn for vanity. You want to get business, which means your primary goal is to get the people to visit your profile to learn more about what you can do for them. In a competitive market, you’ll waste your investment in getting views if you don’t have a stand out profile.
You don’t want your profile to read like the role descriptions written by someone in HR with an undergraduate degree in North Korean journalism and a masters degree in buzzwords.
There’s an art to having a stand-out LinkedIn profile. You want to strike a balance between presenting your value and sounding like you’re in love with yourself.
Taleist has a course we’ve run around the country, and we’re turning it into an online course on winning at LinkedIn. The course is about defining your personal brand and nailing your LinkedIn profile. We also pack the course with ideas for getting more visible on LinkedIn without having to spend hours a day or sounding “salesy”. Get all the details here.
Increase your business visibility by making your website work harder
If you have a website, it needs to be working for you as hard as possible. That’s always been true, but it’s especially true now. Your website needs to convert. Conversion means turning visitors to your website into people who have taken actions that you want them to take. Normally, the target action is that they buy something or contact you.
Getting the most conversions from your website has two parts.
You need the right visitors in the first place.
You need the right message to persuade those people to do what you want them to do.
Buying traffic (at a lower cost)
Buying traffic is one way to get the right visitors to your website.
Usually, buying traffic to your website means buying ads on Google or Facebook. It’s one of the fastest ways to get visitors to your website.
If you’re not already buying traffic to your website, now is an excellent time to start:
Other people are going to be frightened, stopping their ads, but that means their business will be invisible when customers are looking for suppliers. You, on the other hand, can be right there when prospects are looking. Or you can plant the idea that they should be looking.
As competition lessens, the cost of advertising goes down so you can reach more people for less — or more people for the same investment.
Perhaps you’re already buying traffic to your website. If you are, you know that Facebook and Google lure you in by making it look easy. Click a button here, enter a link there, and your campaign is live. That’s a fast way to lose money. There is a skill in buying ads on Facebook and Google. The people with that skill win.
And right now, you probably need to be getting the maximum bang for your advertising dollar, so you need that skill. That means you can either:
Pay an agency to do it for you
Learn to do it for yourself
We use an agency (email us if you want a recommendation to who we trust). However, an agency might be out of your budget right now. In that case, you want current information from a trusted source.
If you want to learn how to manage your ads yourself (without falling into the traps that Google and Facebook set for you), we recommend Teach Traffic. It’s an online program run by Ilana Wechsler, a former data analyst turned online advertising expert. Ilana’s helped us many times over the years, and her advice is always excellent.
When Google sends searchers to your site without you having to buy a Google ad, that’s earned traffic. You get that “free” traffic by persuading Google that you’re a good answer to a question searchers are asking. The art and science of persuading Google that you have good answers to questions is called search engine optimisation (SEO).
Ads work fast, like turning a key in the ignition of a supercar. Once you turn them on, vroom, you’re off and into a stream of traffic.
SEO is slow, like getting an oil tanker moving. It takes time to convince Google that you’re a good answer to searchers’ questions. But you have time now, right? Why not spend part of that time persuading Google to move you up the rankings? That way, you could be perfectly positioned when things turn around in the market.
There are many, many technical parts to persuading Google to send more people your way. However, a large part of that is down to what’s called “SEO copywriting”. As you can imagine, SEO copywriting is something we know plenty about. And we’re getting ready to share…
Get this guide as a downloadable PDF
Turning more of your website visitors into customers
Traffic (visitors) is the first part of the conversion equation. You get that traffic from ads or SEO. Once you’ve got the right people coming to your website, you need to present them with the right message. The words on your website is the second part of the conversion equation. Without persuasive copywriting, the most qualified visitors in the world will not convert.
Copywriting is Taleist’s core service. We write landing pages and websites that we calibrate to convert quality traffic. Our words get triple-digit improvements in our clients’ conversion rates, giving our clients two choices:
They can slash their advertising and still get the same number of customers.
They can maintain their advertising budget and rake in 200%, 300%, even 400% more sales from the same investment.
To get your website working harder and giving you more conversions, you might have to invest a little first. But that investment can pay off hugely, especially if new business is a priority right now.
If you want a landing page that works harder, contact us.
We also review existing landing pages. We’ll give you practical advice on what’s working and what isn’t working. You can take that advice and implement it yourself.
Learn how to write your own high-converting landing pages and websites
Not everyone can invest in a professional copywriter to write their website. So what if you could have a copywriter with a world-class track record show you how to follow his proven formula. You’ll discover step-by-step how to write websites and landing pages that deliver clicks, calls, enquiries, downloads and sales? If that sounds good, check our our landing page copywriting course.
Develop authority content
All those blog posts you’ve meant to write, videos you’ve meant to shoot. Now is the time to get a year’s worth of content written for your website in a few weeks.
Brainstorm ideas for content for blog posts:
Shoot for evergreen topics, so it doesn’t matter when exactly you release them. How-to topics are brilliant for this. So are frequently asked questions.
Think about perennial topics that fit with seasons or annual milestones. Probably start with those that won’t come up for three to six months out from now. However, even if you can’t use a topic this year, you’ll be able to use it next year if it’s perennial. What happens in, say, June every year (if not this year)? What happens when the weather gets warmer or colder or wetter (even if that might not happen this year)?
Go big and write a book
“Authority” starts with author for a reason. Write a book and you’re more than an expert, you’re an authority. And when you’re the authority in your area, the world starts beating a path to your door.
With the right structure and guidance, writing a book isn’t as daunting as you might think. Our client Kath Walters has an incredible 90-day program that will take you from blank page to finished manuscript.
If you’ve got five or more years’ experience in your area, a book could be the perfect mechanism for you to stand out.
Lots of us have thought about writing a book. Sometimes we have an idea that’s itching to be turned into a book. Maybe people have been telling you for ages that you should write a book about “that”.
It’s just that you haven’t had time…
But if there’s ever to be a time you’re going to have 90 days to commit to the project, it’s now. Give Kath those 90 days and you’ll have a book.
You don’t need to be a writer. As with online courses and webinars, you only need to know enough to add to the conversation.
These aren’t easy times for anyone, but you don’t have to pull the sheets over your head. Business as usual might be paused for a while but there’s still BANTU — business as the new usual.
There are opportunities out there, so this is no time to be invisible. You can come out of your corner fighting now. Or you use this time like Sarah Connor — to prepare so you’re stronger than ever when the opportunity is there.
Whichever approach you take there’s work to be done, and you can be doing it right now.
To paraphrase Oscar Goldman opening an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man…
“We have the technology. We have the capability… Better than before. Better…stronger…faster.”
And if we can help, we’re here.
A directory of resources for retaining, gaining and pivoting
Live webinars: Zoom
Pre-recorded webinars: StealthSeminar
Online course on hosting and moderating high-value webinars: Taleist
Courseware plugin: WP Courseware
WordPress websites: Kicking Pixels
10 Step Blueprint Behind Every Successful Course: Fly Plugins
Hosted solution: Kajabi
Expert advice on increasing visibility: Build Live Give
How to write a stand-out LinkedIn profile: Taleist
Generating traffic to your website
Best agency for you: Email us for a recommendation
Learn how to manage your own Google and Facebook ads: Teach Traffic
Increasing sales on your website
High-converting landing page copywriting course: Taleist
Landing page reviews: Taleist
Landing page copywriting: Taleist
Writing a book
90-day book coaching program: Kath Walters
More free guides from Taleist
What’s in this for us?
This guide is written to help you with ideas for additional revenue and pivots you could make in difficult times. Some of those ideas are things we can help you with, but this guide is also a way for us to shine a light on some of our clients and some of the services we love.
Kicking Pixels built our website; we’re members of Paul Higgins’s Build Live Give LinkedIn collective; we’re running courses with WP Courseware; and we’re hosting webinars with Zoom and (soon) StealthSeminar.
Some, but by no means all, of the businesses we’ve mentioned in this guide might give us something for making the introduction. Whether they do or don’t, we love sharing what’s working for us and who we’ve worked with. Hopefully, one day that will include you if it doesn’t already.
If you have any feedback on this guide, we’d love to hear from you at email@example.com.