Camille Rapacz: Good morning, George.
George Drapeau: Good morning. How are you doing?
Camille Rapacz: I'm good. And I'm excited because we're going to do something a little bit different today.
George Drapeau: Oh, we're going to play a board game.
Camille Rapacz: Ah, yeah. You wish. We're going to do my next. favorite thing, which I am committed to doing more of this year. We didn't do as much of it in the first year of the podcast as I wanted to, which was to get guest experts on the podcast to talk about business things that I know not so much about.
I'm learning. I'm learning. I want to learn from them. I want other people to learn from them. And also just fabulous people. And I love to hear people's stories of how their businesses came about.
So we have a guest today. She's somebody that I actually met and I'm in this other community of business owners.
And I met her there and she had just written a book, which I find fascinating because I always think about writing a book and yet have not. But she wrote a book and I thought, well, I should do my thing. I hadn't actually met her or anything, but I should do my thing and support her and read the book.
But I wasn't sure if it was for me, but I read it anyhow and it was great. So now we totally have to talk to her about it.
Shall we get into it and let Meg start talking?
George Drapeau: Let's do it.
Camille: Welcome to The Belief Shift. The show that explores. What you really need to know about building a successful business.
I'm your host, Camille Rapacz: business coach and consultant who spent too much of her career working in corporate business performance.
George: And I'm George Drapeau: your co-host and her brother. I'm a leader in the tech world bringing my corporate perspective, but mostly my curiosity.
Camille: Together, we're exploring beliefs about success and how to achieve it. But mostly we're bringing practical solutions so you and your business can thrive.
Camille Rapacz: / Welcome Meg. Meg Casebolt. I said that right, didn't I? That's correct. Yes. Okay. I read the, yes. Okay. Meg Casebolt, welcome to the podcast. Meg is founder of Love at First Search, which is a marketing agency that is devoted to helping online businesses get found in search results like Google and YouTube and iTunes.
And she turns those readers into lead subscribers and sales. Which I very much need, so I'm super excited about this. Mostly I just need to understand. Like, I know it exists as a thing to figure out the whole search engine thing, but, like, really knowing what to do is a whole other ball of wax. But I also feel like it's one of these things that, it's maybe not as complicated as we think it is, we just are made to feel like it's got some fancy words in it.
She's also the author of Social Slowdown, Market Your Business Without Sacrificing Your Mental Health. And when I read that title, Mental Health, I thought, that book's not really for me. I don't have any, I just don't have an issue with social media because I frankly don't even do social media.
That's why I don't have an issue. But then I read the book and I was like, Oh my gosh, there's so many great things in here. It's for me. It's actually for me, the person who really doesn't even want to use social media. So we're totally going to have to get into the book.
Camille Rapacz: But before we do that, Meg, I would love it if you would tell us about your journey to becoming a business owner and a marketing expert. Like how did you get to have this expertise and or become a business owner at all, frankly?
Meg Casebolt: Thank you for having me. My name is Meg Casebolt. My pronouns are she, her, hers, and I started this business, I mean, here's the work life balance piece of all of this running a business thing.
I started this business almost exactly 10 years ago because I got pregnant and was like, Hmm, right about this in the book where it's like, Hmm, my salary is 35, 000. Childcare is 20, 000. Why am I doing this? I think that it can be really difficult to balance all of those pieces.
And so I, you know, over the years, working in marketing and communications. A lot of my work was working with nonprofits and small businesses and so when you're working, especially at a nonprofit, you become sort of a Jack or Jill of all trades. And I wrote a grant that included a line item to get graphic design skills for myself, because that's what you do when you work for nonprofits is you sort of like patch together the resources and get really scrappy.
And so I took those graphic design skills and I started a graphic design firm where I was working with small businesses doing basically social media images, honestly and workbooks and lead magnets and websites and things like that. And I started building out more and more websites for my clients, many of whom were small businesses, and they said, well, this is a really beautiful website.
You really captured our brand. Where are the clients though? I was like, well. We didn't talk about people finding you, we just talked about building you a website. It was a little bit of like, if you build it, they will come, but like, that's not actually how the internet works. Yes. So I started researching, because again, you know, you're just scrappy, you figure things out.
I started researching, at the time I was in a mastermind with a couple dozen website designers, and I said, in one of like the hot seats, I said, how do all of you manage building the websites and learning the HTML and the CSS and the trends and the da da, you know, like, how do you actually do that? And, figure out how to make it optimized for search?
How do I make it so that these websites that I'm building for my clients show up in Google? And like, ah, we can't figure out the timing of it either. We usually just outsource it, but I don't have a good SEO partner. Hey, do you want to do that? Why, yes, I do, right? If I don't have clients who are coming to me and saying, this green is just like a little too green.
Could you just make it more green, but less green at the same time? Okay, I'm done with that. So I started partnering up with the web designers from my mastermind. And that was how I moved into search engine optimization is by doing it for other people's websites, with partners, with collaborative partners and utilizing my network of peers.
And then from there, I started getting referrals of people who I've worked with their designer, or I built their website. And then they had a friend who needed a website that needed to be optimized. And so it was very much a slow and steady referral network that built my business up.
And then somewhere along the line, a business coach said, but that won't work forever.
You need an email list and you need a million social media followers and you need to be on Instagram and you need to have a podcast and you need to have a YouTube channel and how are people going to find you? And I, as the search person, was like, oh yeah. They should be able to find me, right? I should completely abandon what was working with my referral network and go try to find new people to find me instead of leaning on what was actually functional in my business.
So I spent a lot of time building up my social media, creating the posts, designing really beautiful things back when Instagram was a photo sharing tool instead of a video sharing tool. Like, doing all the things that I should be doing and then looking at the metrics, because that's also something that I geek out on, and go, huh, what happened to all of my clients?
So the reason I wrote the book is not just You know, Oh, if you get off social media and you search tactics instead, then you'll hire me for a search. But I wanted to have a conversation, a larger conversation around, like, is social media really the best tool for every piece of your marketing?
Maybe, maybe not. But let's examine it because a lot of people are being told that that is the solution that that is how they should be marketing, including me as somebody who was having a successful referral network who knows how to do an alternative strategy of search. And still I got sucked into this vortex.
So that was sort of the impetus for the creation of the book.
Social Media Trends
Camille Rapacz: Wow. This is so amazing. This idea of the social media, like the pressure to be honest and promote your business. I felt that very heavily when I started my business just five years ago, six years ago now but it will also in our community that we're in literally was a post like what I'm seeing over and over again.
There is people are like I'm ditching my social media podcast promotion. I'm ditching my social media. This I'm going to the nine grid. This is now starting to really become more of a trend. And I was trying to understand if, is this just because of the people I'm hanging out with and that's how we want to run our businesses?
Or is this happening more broadly, or, is there still a contingent of people that are, and I'm sure this is true because their businesses rely on it because they're, it's very meta, they're marketing to people to sell, like they're making money off of the fact that they're telling you to get on social media.
Right. But what are you seeing? Like, is it really a trend or is it just these little pockets right now?
Meg Casebolt: I think it's still in the pocket phase. You're seeing it because we're in the same community of people who were, recruited or attracted to. Dr. Michelle Mazur's message, and part of that is your messaging is more important.
She doesn't specifically come out and say you don't need to be on social media, but she has a different set of values and priorities. And therefore, she's going to attract people who have a similar approach to the ways that they want to run their businesses. So I think that there are these little pocket groups, but there, I think there is also a larger trend that's happening.
As the search person, I can tell you, okay, go into Google trends, which is a free tool and type in how to quit social media or quit Facebook, and you're going to see that that trend has been increasing over the past 5 to 10 years. I think with the pandemic bringing everyone online. We all went and hoarded on social media because that was the place that became our virtual water cooler and we burned out on it because we felt like we had to be on all the time.
And that's true across the board for a greater population, but specifically for business owners who are like, Oh man, I have to go on social media to check my kids school announcements from the PTSA and I have to promote my business and I don't want to miss the latest TikTok trend because that's how I relax at night and it's like you're always getting pulled and sucked back into these notifications.
Camille Rapacz: That makes a lot of sense.
Why is Social Media a Big Biz?
George Drapeau: I agree with you that using social media for promotion is a thing, and I also agree that it's not the only thing that we should be paying attention to, but there's a reason for it.
Why do you think it's become such a huge business? Do you have a take?
Meg Casebolt: I have several takes. I think first of all, we have been told that it is free. It is oh, organic social media. Everyone's already there. Your client is already hanging out there and you don't have to pay anything to post on it.
Therefore, it is free because you're not also thinking about the opportunity costs and the economic trade offs of if I'm spending all my time on social media, then I'm not also recording a podcast or I'm not also going to a networking event. Right? So we've been told that it is free and that it's where our clients are already hanging out.
And then once we get onto those platforms, the content that we are being shown is twofold. One is people who have successfully gamed the algorithm, often gaming it five to 10 years ago, and then establishing themselves as a larger sort of thought leader within the space. And so they're able to say, well, if you just post on Instagram 18 times a day, or if you're on, I was about to say Twitter, if you're on X.
And you retweet the journalist, then you'll get followers, right? Like, they have figured it out for them based on their history on the platform, without necessarily knowing what my business model, my time limitation, my team support looks like. They are modeling the possibility of success on the platforms.
And the other content that we're being created are paid social advertisements. You get on Facebook, you get on Instagram and it's like, look at this story of me being successful. Don't you need that? And then we opt in and we join those lists and we are supporting and reinforcing the people who are paying those platforms to be able to get access to us.
So we think that that's the way that it has to be because that's what we're seeing. We're in the echo chamber.
Paid vs Free
George Drapeau: So talk about free versus pay because my experience with social media is, yeah, I see the part where people are told it's free, but if you're actually going to use it, you very soon get into paid advertisements and using social media, that's not free, but it can be effective. So talk about that.
Meg Casebolt: You said you very soon.
Some people very soon do choose to run advertising on Facebook or Meta or, you know, any of those platforms. Not everyone does. Some people still want to get organic social reach. So I don't want to make the assumption that as soon as you start promoting your business on a social media platform, you are also running advertisements.
Those are two very different strategies and some people will go run ads and have More data than the organic folks who are saying like, Oh, here's how much my cost per lead is. Here's the messaging that's working. You can get some useful data from that, but we don't always know the quality of those leads.
A lot of those leads that are coming from paid social advertising are bots or they are lookalike audiences. So they may not necessarily be the exact demographic that you're trying to reach. So even when you're running the ads, you might say, Oh man, I've got, I'm going to say 60 cents a lead, which is unheard of now.
It was totally doable five years ago, but not anymore. But how much for a marketing qualified lead? How much for somebody who will actually give you money? Probably not 60 cents a lead. And we don't know that until we put them through the funnel. So a lot of people are spending money to build up their email list to build up their audience without necessarily knowing that there's a relevance or a quality there.
And then we have the organic folks who are saying, well, if I post enough, if I follow these algorithms, if I make the reels, if I, you know, comment on other people's LinkedIn posts, if I go do all of these things, if I follow the tik tock trends, then.
I will grow my audience and my reach will go up. But the size of your audience, the number of people who see your content, there's not a direct correlation to how many of those people will engage with your content, and there's absolutely not a direct correlation between the size of your audience and the money in your bank account.
And that's a very hard line to track.
Camille Rapacz: I see a lot of small business owners that aren't looking to do the paid version because they've been sold the message that, as you said, Meg, this is a free platform, like pretty much every small business owner I've worked with, they're not interested in paying for ads.
They're just too small to think to consider that at this point. And they also realize if I'm going to do it, I need to know more about how this works in order to like, just buying an ad doesn't work. To your point, there's a whole strategy there you need to understand.
So I probably need to pay an expert to help me get an ad on Facebook, that's going to work well or on any platform. Right. So they avoid that. And then they're focused on that message that if I just put out really good content, this is free, and it's just about me being good enough at it to attract an audience.
But what I found was like, so even if you're just on Instagram, for example, you're constantly chasing the changing algorithm and there's literally paid programs out there. Keep you up to date on what the changes in the algorithm. Oh, now the algorithm favors this. Oh, now it favors that. So you're constantly tweaking what you're doing in order to just chase this algorithm.
And then it starts to become less about your good content and more about whether I'm gaming the system. And for most people that I work with, and probably that you work with, Meg, that just feels gross. Like how they're out there trying to, you know, capture eyeballs. Because you're also like, am I even capturing the right people?
Meg Casebolt: I wouldn't even say gross necessarily. I think that there's a way to do this in a way that is intentional and that is in integrity with your messaging. So when people speak to me about it, it's not like, Oh, I don't want to follow the algorithm. It's like, God, tracking the algorithm is exhausting.
Yeah, it's overwhelming. It changes frequently. I think I have something that works well and then the next week it doesn't work. It's hard to figure out what is going to land. I've even had people say like, I have gone viral. It made me zero dollars or I went viral and I don't know how I did it.
I have a team member who sells homemade crocheted like handmade, really cool things. And she's blown up on tikTok twice and been at the point where she's like, now I have to work my ass off to sell these products because I just got two months of sales in an hour, which is awesome, but she can't do it again.
She just has to kind of like test, test, test, test, test, test, explode, test, test, test, you know, like it cannot be predicted because it happened to her in December. It happened to her again in April, everything changed between December and April. Oh, wow. So I'm like, great, you know, take a little break from recording or from editing my podcast.
She got ahead. So that way she could go do this work because she went viral, but she can't predict those sales. So even when you're quote unquote successful on the social media platforms, sometimes it can be too good and it's a crap shoot every time.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, George, you and I were just talking about, you know, the idea of work being more enjoyable, more fulfilling, just being happier about the work that you do. This topic of social media marketing is the number one thing. When I start to work with a new business owner that they say they're worried about, like, I don't want to have to be on social media.
It is the most common stress point. And of course, my first answer is, well, you don't have to, you can have a successful business without it, but they're not sure that I'm telling the truth. They're still a little skeptical, like, but, but everybody's. This is just the messaging that we receive.
Like if you're going to do it, but you have to, you don't, you don't have to. Talk about that Meg in terms of, cause I think about this also in terms of I feel like there are some businesses that can do better on social media, like if you have a product, like a, you know, I have a visual thing I can Instagram versus like a business like mine that is you know, just more underneath in the background of all the things that make a business function well and are, you know, require bigger investments.
Meg Casebolt: Operations, not sexy. Search engine optimization, not sexy. Business coaching, not sexy. Legal, not sexy. Right? Like there are things that you need to run a business that are not necessarily going to correlate to sales if you're like, Building something that's beautiful and eye catching.
I mean, some businesses are info businesses and they're more educational and social media to a great extent is an entertainment tool. So businesses that are more, I don't want to even say service based, but that require a bit more knowledge in order to make a sale, it's going to be a harder barrier to entry to go from somebody discovers you to you know, to they hire you.
And if you're not getting the engagement on those discovery posts, then you're not going to get as much reach. And therefore even the discovery piece gets harder, but they're to your point. It's like, there are businesses that are better suited. For social media. If I'm, you know, I'm looking right now at my desk, and it's like, this is a tube of lipstick, I can get on social media, and I can put on the lipstick, and you can see how it works, and I can go, this is how this looks on me, and look how creamy it is, and you can sort of, like, have that visual piece.
And, People who are there for education might skip over that post, but those who are there for entertainment might go, I do need a tube of lipstick. I'm going to impulse buy that, right? It's a lower cost, it's a lower barrier to entry. Oftentimes people can buy directly from Instagram shopping and, you know, they don't even need to leave the platform in order to do that.
They just PayPal and then it's in, in my mailbox three days later. Right? So some businesses, can use that as a sales tool, as a discovery tool, and people are more willing to watch those videos because they want to be entertained. They want to find something new. They want to be, you know, be able to make those impulse decisions, whereas.
You talk to me, my minimum amount to work with me is 2, 500. You're not going to make an impulse of 2, 500 to do search engine optimization, unless you've done a little bit of knowledge building before that. So maybe the best platform for me, isn't the impulsive platform, and that's okay. I'm still on social media.
The other part of it is it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You don't have to quit cold turkey. But maybe there's a way that you can create something that has a longer shelf life or that can be a bit more self regulating. And then use social media as an extra or as a brochure versus feeling like all of your eggs have to go into that basket.
Camille Rapacz: I like that.
George Drapeau: What do you say to people who Maybe they're old school, don't believe in social media at all.
Meg Casebolt: Great.
You don't want to be there. Don't be there. There's no obligation. There's no rule book for the way that you have to run your business.
And anybody who is trying to tell you, you have to be on Facebook and you have to run ads and you have to have a group and if there were a rule book that said that, it would be sold by the people who are trying to have you give them money about how to do it appropriately.
If you don't want to create a podcast, then don't do a podcast. If you don't want to do email marketing, then, oh, well, you should probably still do email marketing. But, you know, if you're running a fundamental. Right. I mean, you don't, you don't have to you could just go by referrals.
There are people out there saying this is the way that things have to be run. But we, as a culture don't have a lot of critical thinking skills. And maybe it's okay to say like, what is going to work for me? What's going to work for my time, my brain, my audience, my offer, and if there is a marketing tactic or an operation strategy or a business model that you don't want to do, you don't have to do it.
I have a client who has 1 million Instagram followers, and they're regularly getting approached by brands who are saying, like, if I said they do, like, they teach people how to be successful artists, and they're regularly getting approached by brands and saying, like, if we send you this thing of pens, don't you want to create a post about these amazing colored pencils, and then you can send them to Amazon, and you can make money from Amazon affiliates?
So, because you have this huge audience. And my client is like, no, we want to teach people how to make more money from their services. We don't want to be an influencer brand. If we wanted to be an influencer brand, sure, we would do that, but that's not our business model. That's not what we want to do. So having that restraint and that ability to say, just because other people are being successful with this, doesn't mean that I have to also follow in those footsteps.
That's a hard decision, but it's an opportunity to explore.
How Referals & SEO Connect
Camille Rapacz: So what do you do then when you're not on social media and you're marrying together, you talked about, you know, there's the referral side and the SEO side and how do those connect together, those concepts in marketing?
Meg Casebolt: I think, you know, it doesn't have to be, everyone must be on this platform or everyone must use this strategy, but I recommend finding a strategy or two strategies that work for you.
So the two strategies that I use and that I recommend are referral marketing, you know, developing those relationships, whether that's tapping into your existing network or doing targeted outreach and trying to reach new people on more of a one to one approach. Like you reached out to me directly.
You weren't like, oh, let me go on social media and try to find podcast guests. You're like let me use this tool in this community that you and I are already in and send a DM and say hey Do you want to come on the podcast right like targeted outreach works really well. And you know that who you're reaching out to is going to be a better fit because you've already done the work.
And then to Support that or to help you be found by a larger audience Eventually you have the podcast Right? Where people can get to know you more deeply, where they, you don't have to reach out to every single person who has subscribed to your podcast individually every week and be like, Hi, I just put out a new podcast episode. Do you want to listen to this one? You have a bit more of a leveraged platform to share your messaging to explain how you do things differently, and then that can be an asset that people can share, you know, Oh, I was just on this podcast.
I talked about this. Don't you want to hear it? Right? Like you can, you can share it. People can find it later. So it can be a both and there where it doesn't have to be putting all of your eggs in any of these marketing strategies, but instead of the marketing strategy that expires in max 24 hours. Right?
Maybe you create something more long term and you tap into the people that you know that you may know better than you know the people who are following you on social media or you're cold DMing. Maybe that's not the outreach strategy for you. So coming up with an opportunity that, fits what your needs are.
Especially people who don't necessarily need to have a huge audience or who don't need to have thousands of clients. They can subsist on a dozen, a hundred, like maybe you don't need a million followers to be successful. It feels good on your ego to be like, Whoa, look how popular I am. Right. But is that what's required as a measurement of success?
Do The Math
Camille Rapacz: I think that's another big thing that gets missed for small business owners, especially is just the idea of how many people you need to connect with. And doing the math of how many people do I need in my audience in order to meet my financial goals in my business based on what's the price point of my, you know, products and services. And not a lot of businesses that are doing all of that math.
Right. Right. Or even if you do, they underestimate how hard it is to get that big audience. I remember memberships were a really, really big deal for a while. They kind of, I guess, kind of still are. But there was always this underestimation of first, what's somebody going to want to pay every month for your membership?
And then how many people do you need in order to make that work? And not recognizing how hard it is to sort of make that go and how much work goes into both growing the audience, but then maintaining the audience that you have in the membership.
There's so much complexity. And I remember, was it Seth Godin? One of these marketing, you know, dudes, as I like to call them talked about how marketing actually starts with the product or the service. And that if that's not, if you're not thinking about that first, then you don't know, like, who is my audience and what is my price point?
And how, how big do I need that? Like, answering all of these questions matters, right? Like you're saying, it matters how big I need my audience to be also influences how I then go out and market myself. Right.
Meg Casebolt: Exactly. Exactly. Understanding your business model. Are you going to create something that is very easy to deliver, but hard to sell?
Or do you want something that is more difficult to deliver, but very easy to sell? So like if you have examples, let's say that you have you, you want to make 10, 000 a month in your business. Pulling numbers out of the air here. That's not neither good nor bad number. You want to make 10, 000 a month.
You could go find one client that gives you 10, 000. And maybe you talk to three people who might be willing to give you 10, 000 and one of them says yes. So you have a 33 percent conversion rate. You had to talk to three people, that's all you need. If every month you talk to three people and one of them gives you 10, 000, then you hit your financial goals.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, oh man, have to get a calculator. George, I don't know if you want to do this. It doesn't matter. Let's say that you are like, I have a 10 product. I have a 10 tube of lipstick, and I want to make 10, 000 a month, so I need to make a thousand sales. But my conversion rate on that, I'm going to use 5%.
So only 5 percent of the people who see me are actually going to buy from me. So then you need to have, what's that like,
George Drapeau: 20, 000.
Meg Casebolt: Yeah. You need to be in front of 20, 000 people in order to make your 10, 000. If that's a one time purchase instead of a recurring purchase, you know, this is why subscription boxes, memberships, to your point, can be really powerful and very helpful because they have that monthly recurring revenue.
But if you're like, I sell a tube of lipstick and it's going to take people six months to use my tube of lipstick, and then they might forget that they have bought it from me. So every month I have to be in front of 20, 000, maybe not 20, 000 new people, because maybe this month I don't need the lipstick, but next month I'm going to a wedding and I need the lipstick, right?
And I want to show up for those people again. I have to keep... I have to keep showing up for those people. I have to keep growing my audience. And if I did have every six month renewals, then that decreases it, but people are going to cancel their renewals. And so that would be something that would be, easier to sell on an impulse buy like social media because it's only 10, 000 or 10 instead of 10, 000. I can totally do that. That's in my budget.
But you have to grow your audience. You have to keep showing up. You can't just find those three people and expect them each to buy 3, 000 of lipstick, right? So the scale of how many people you're selling to, how many of them are buying from you, how much do you need to replenish your audience on an ongoing basis?
Those are all factors in how you choose which marketing strategies you are going to. You know, implement. But there are a lot of people who are being told you have to get in front of 20, 000 people every month, but they really need to get in front of 10 because they have a different business model and they're using these strategies of, you know, build the funnel and put them through a three part video series into a seven part email sequence into a webinar.
This automate, you know, and they build out these systems that are very complicated systems. Because they think that's what you need in order to run a successful online business. And the folks who are like, I got my three people, one of them bought from me, they're not going on social media and yelling about it because they don't need to.
So we don't hear their stories. That was part of the reason I started a podcast a year ago is to say like, Okay, let's, let's have a conversation. How are you finding your clients? And I tried to seek out people who had multiple marketing strategies and multiple revenue streams so that they didn't necessarily, many of them still are on social media, but they're not reliant on it.
Camille Rapacz: There's something to hear about what used to work and then got overdone and no longer like the market has been saturated by the age old webinar model, right? It used to be all about getting a webinar going and if you could just get the webinar out and then people would see you and then they would get on a call.
As a coach, for me, you were told there's a certain way to do your actual call to make sure you close the deal on the call, which always felt gross. And there's just these old ways of doing business that you were sort of taught to do that they just don't work anymore.
Thankfully, I think either audience have gotten smarter or we've just kind of been saturated with webinar anymore. What do you think is happening now that later we're going to be like, oh, we're burned out on that? Like what trends are happening right now? Yeah, that we think like, they probably work now, but maybe later, just like the old webinar model, you know, a few years from now, we'll be like, oh, nobody's doing that anymore because we all burned out on it.
Meg Casebolt: You know, I actually don't know because I'm trying not to get too, like, I'm trying to keep my eyes on my paper as much as possible because I don't necessarily want to do the three part video series that everyone else is doing. And I think also the more time that you spend in business, the more you see the ads come through and you're like, I tried that already. It's not going to work for me. And since I've made that conscious, intentional decision to spend less time on social media, I'm not being served the ads to see what the trends are. Instead what I am trying to tell you is. I have an email list of people who have, you know, downloaded my starter kit or taken my quiz, they've been referred to me and I reach out to them probably every month or two and say like, what do you want to know what do you need to hear?
And I think that makes a big difference is to go to the people who may who are already in your audience and say, what do you want? Maybe that's the trend that that keeps on giving because if you have enough people finding you and and, you know, I've had about the same number of people on my email list for 2 or 3 years, but you're getting two or three people joining every day, and I'm having two or three people unsubscribe every day. And that's part of it, is you have to be continuously putting yourself in front of a new audience.
And so when you go to ask people, the things that they need now might not be the things that they told you a year ago, because you do have turnover, you do have churn.
So I think, you know, anyone who's saying, This static strategy is what is going to work. We're going to look back and say, like you said, like, Oh, nobody's doing memberships anymore because it was all memberships all the time for a long time. And people are like, I cannot spend 37 a month in 20 different places and still be active in all of those places.
Or time. Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: I don't have time to be in this membership, all these memberships and get all the benefits of all of these things, right? Or even just one. I think that's a common challenge that I hear people talk about is just, I don't have time to do all the things that are in this, as fabulous as this looks, right?
Meg Casebolt: Yeah. And that's what I'm hearing a lot, especially, you know, we're recording this in 2023. I have to look at a calendar. It's like September. I have no idea. You know, 2023, that's the trend that I'm hearing is a lot of people going, I cannot join another group program. I do not want another membership.
Just tell me what to do. That's my business. That might not be everyone's business, but that's my business right now. Interesting. Yeah. Customized personalized support.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, it's interesting. I think that it's a theme that I've saw in assessing my audience a little bit recently, which was, you know, I need it to save me time.
And I want the, I want personal guidance. Like the group is nice. But I actually want to be able to just talk to a person and get like my own personalized coaching or consulting experience. Because ideally, hopefully that means they're my ideal client because they're in that space. That's what I want to do.
Like, I think it's underrated how valuable it is to just get your own personal connection with somebody and support for your business. But As you were talking, the other thing you said that I wanted to call out, especially for my audience, because I talk a lot about we haven't recently, but George, you and I have talked a lot about the importance of having a solid business plan, business model, strategy for your business.
And I do hear people just going straight to the marketing and sales solution first without building those other components. And you said it, Meg, where you're like, you can't do that. You have to have a business model to build a marketing strategy on. It's part of a fuller strategy.
It's not just, and here's my marketing strategy, regardless of, and I think that's the common mistake I see people making is, I'm just going to grab this marketing strategy that it looks. Like I could do and somebody has packaged up neatly for me and I can just copy paste it into my business without thought to whether it fits their actual business model.
Do you see that happening a lot?
Meg Casebolt: Absolutely. I do, especially among new business owners. And then taking the strategies that may or may not apply to what you're doing and trying them out. So, you know, in my 10 years of business, I started as a freelancer. It was all one to one work. It was dollars per hours.
You pay me 30 an hour and I will design what you need me to, and here's how many hours it took. And that worked. And then I moved into, you know, more packaged services where I say, I will do the SEO strategy for this website for this amount of money. And it was no longer a time, but it was still one to one services. Customized support.
And then people started coming to me and saying, okay, that's cool. But I want to learn how to do this. And then I started a group program and I taught people live and I didn't have, the mechanisms for how to sell it on evergreen yet. I just, people said, can you teach me? And I said, yes, and showed up and I sold it from a Google doc.
And then people liked that. So I said, okay, I guess I'll grow the group program and sell it again. And I ran that for two years like that, two, three years. And then COVID hit and people came who had been through the group program who had learned how to do it, but who wanted a membership to help them with the support and the implementation now that they had time to actually do the work because they were stuck in their houses.
So I built a membership and ran it as a membership for a year and a half until the churn got to the point where people are, the world reopened and nobody wanted a membership anymore. So I shut down the membership and you know, I think you can have, it's the same, approximately the same offer.
I've been talking about the same things for almost a decade at this point, but the delivery method. And the way that you market it is going to change based on market trends based on the industry, you know, now, you know, we went back to a group cohort model for a while, we ran an evergreen. Now we're doing it in twice a year group.
So that way we can. Onboard and offboard people and we're not always selling. You know, we've sold it as a self paced course because people really wanted that for a while. Self paced has been off the table because nobody bought it for a year. You know, and now we're like, okay, we're only doing strategy plus support.
We're not teaching people how to do it anymore because that's what they're asking for. And I think, You know, what's the trend that's happening is people who think I figured it out and now I'm just going to keep doing whatever happened. Whatever worked five years ago, I'll just keep doing it. And if it stops working, then it's not my fault.
It's the algorithm, right? But really the, the part of the algorithm changing is we have to change with it and adjust and pivot and look at what's happening. And talk to the people who actually want to give us money and say, what do you need?
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, this really speaks to something we talk about a lot, which is the idea of that continuous improvement and continuous being a learning organization, like as a company and as a, whether you're a solopreneur or you're a big corporation, you have to be in a mode of constantly learning and adjusting your business.
Any aspect of your business. Whether it's the business model, the way that you're delivering your method, like your core expertise remains the same. But even then there, you, especially in this SEO space, I imagine are constantly having to stay up with the latest trends in technology and things that are coming out.
Now there's AI, like there's always something you're having to stay up on. So you're constantly learning too, right? So I think that's a, A really important message for no matter what size business you're in, you have to be in this constant mode of adaptation in order to be successful. And if you're not down with that, you're not going to make it like you are just going to kind of go by the wayside. You're not going to be able to keep up.
You're not going to be able to continue to provide what people are looking for. People will just get bored and stop buying from you. Right.
Meg Casebolt: I do want to say, I don't think that that's necessarily the case. I think that if you're running a business that requires you to get a lot of people finding you every month, then you might have to pivot more often because there's market saturation, people are getting burned out.
I do think that it's possible to run a repeat business, referral business, networking. I don't think that's going away. Think consumers are getting more skeptical right now than they used to be because we've all been online for the last five years and stuff. And so they're leaning more on who do I trust?
And that's harder to build. I think the sales cycle has gotten longer for pretty much everyone I've talked to this year. But that doesn't mean the services that we're providing needs to change. It's just like, figure out what works for you. Make sure that you're trusted. You can still continue to do a tried and true method if that works for you.
Sometimes the, the simplest solution is the classics. But if you're chasing trends, you're going to have to chase at a faster pace.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. I guess I'll just say when it comes to this idea of continuous learning and improvement, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a drastic change or that it's happening all the time.
But I do think as a business owner, you do have to constantly pay attention to. And the good ones are taking their tried and true method and always tweaking and improving it in some way. Like, and you know, the ones that are and the ones that aren't. The ones that aren't, it does feel a little old and tired.
Because they don't feel like they're showing up with their A game because they haven't just made some small improvement. And it might not even be obvious to you as the customer, but it's making some difference in the value that you're receiving, the experience that you're having.
And I think if you don't pay attention to that on a constant basis, you are just going to kind of become old and tired and eventually things are just going to kind of wither away. Right. So it doesn't have to be this thinking my business model or my method or all of that stuff all the time. Like even what you were describing.
I think it's an attention to is this the best that I can do? Because there's always one little bit better. And I think, I don't know, sometimes I struggle with this because I think sometimes people feel exhausted by this idea that I have to constantly be improving. And I just want to take that, I don't know, I just want to put energy into that idea instead of having it take energy out of you.
So put energy into the idea like, I get to make this whatever I want to make it. I get to decide what level of quality or improvement I'm going to put into this. And that's my choice. I don't have to do it in a way that is like stressing me out and, you know, taking energy away.
So if this sounds exhausting to people, I guess I just want to say, no, no, no, it doesn't have to be. You can do some very small improvements that make a really big difference over time. And in fact, smaller and more frequent is going to be easier to manage. But it is going to make a difference as opposed to just, I don't have the time or the energy for any of that. I think that sends you down the wrong path for what we want to do.
Meg Casebolt: I think also, in the online business space, there has been messaging around like, build it. And then funnel people through it and it will continue to spit out leads for you forever. And you never have to change it. Whereas in the local business space in brick and mortar businesses in, you know, in the more traditional business entrepreneurship model, you walk into a bookstore and they're not selling the same books this month that they sold last month that they sold last year because those things are constantly updating. New books are coming out, new sections are getting, you know, and they're looking at their data and going, oh, romance is up in February, maybe in January we'll order more romance, you know, like, they're doing this sort of iterative improvement all the time.
Our accountants and our tax professionals are always doing continuing education to figure out how the tax codes are changing, right? Like, this isn't unique to online businesses. It's just we have, we have a view of more businesses because we aren't limited to what we can see walking down Main Street. So I think that we have been, I'm going to say lied to, that this is something that you can set it and forget.
And that's just not the case in terms of any business. But some of them require more updates than others. A bookstore is going to need to order more books all the time to keep the newest inventory on stock, but I'm still going to be able to walk into the bookstore off the street from me and buy The Count of Monte Cristo because that book is awesome.
You know, like, I'm not going to be able to read The Flame and the Flower, which is the first Roman song published in 1972. They're not going to have that, right? But Count Monte Cristo from 18 whatever, they're going to have because it's a classic. So it doesn't always have to be everything churning all the time, but you do have to pay attention to what people want from you.
Yeah, absolutely. There's my romance novelist coming out right there.
Camille Rapacz: So in the last few minutes we have left Meg, I think every small business owner I know at least always has some aspect of their marketing that they're struggling with.
I was going to say what's your biggest piece of advice, but maybe a better question is what do you think we miss? What do you think we're missing when it comes to thinking about marketing overall, whether it's in SEO or some other aspect of marketing? What do we need to know that we don't know?
Meg Casebolt: I would say that, like, your input is important, too. And by that I mean there are going to be people out there telling you the best way to do things. Myself included, right? Like, I'm going to come out and say, here are some ways to optimize your website, and here are some ways to email your list, right?
Like, all of us have opinions of what we think will work for you. But, Your input as a business owner and a human is just as important as the messages that you're hearing from the so called experts. And I'm saying so called experts about myself, right?
Like, so taking some time to really think about, like, how do I want my business to feel?
What are the things that I want to be doing? Why did I start this? You know, Simon Sinek always says, start with why. Why did I start this business? Why am I doing something that I don't like doing? And like, yeah. What is already working? I think we forget that a lot. And I, when you said, like, give me a two minute origin story at the beginning, I was like, I had a really great successful referral based business, and I was told I had to change it in order to grow it into a marketing machine.
And then my leads dried up, right? Like, what is already working in your business? Maybe it's time to sit down and go like, What do I want this to feel like? What's already working, and what are the messages that I'm hearing that I need to question?
That's not to say anybody has the right solution, but like what's happening in my brain in my life? What time limitations do I have? What money limitations do I have? What resources do I have available to me? And how can I use them to make something customized to my needs that may or may not look like what everyone else's business looks like? Is that okay? Yeah.
I'm ADHD, so I've built very specific things into my delivery and into the way that my team works so that I don't have to do the repetitive tasks.
I get to hop on calls with you and then they're the ones who are like, great. They love their operations. They love their systems. And they're like, when this podcast episode gets done, here's like, okay, here's the system. We're going to put this on the website and we're going to share it out to here. And they take care of it for me because that's not what my brain needs to be doing.
Right. Right. So understanding. All of the different factors at play, not just what did somebody in a Facebook ad tell you would work?
Camille Rapacz: I like it. What about you, George? Do you have any last burning questions you want to ask Meg?
George Drapeau: Nope.
Meg Casebolt: Are you guys going to stay on after I'm done and talk about me? Got it.
Camille Rapacz: Oh, I wish I could. No. No, he has to pop to another meeting. We're not going to do the Smartless thing to you where we make you jump off and then we start talking about you. I won't do that. No, no. This, This is it.
Meg Casebolt: I am definitely the Will Arnett in this conversation, I think, so it's fine.
Camille Rapacz: Well, that was a really fast hour. We could probably have you on again to even talk more nerdy about SEO and all that other stuff. But this was very, very helpful, Meg. You actually confirmed some of my thoughts about marketing and just how I've been experiencing it as a business owner.
That's really helping me have a better understanding of how to talk about it with my clients too, but also knowing who I can have them talk to when they need more expertise. But just that idea that this is a fuller conversation than just what's my singular marketing strategy and giving people that freedom that you gave just to own that, decide what, what works for me, because no marketing strategy is going to work if you don't like it and therefore don't really do it.
That's kind of the bottom line, right?
Meg Casebolt: If you resent it, then you're going to show up in an energy of like, I hate this so much. And that's going to come across. So it's better to double down on something that feels good that you like, even if it's not the most popular option if it works for you.
Right. Yeah. So I give you permission to do less.
Camille Rapacz: I love it. Okay. Everybody do less. Do less.
All right. Thank you again so much. And thank you everybody for tuning in this week with our special guest episode. Let's see, what are the usual things we tell them? Oh, leave us a voicemail. We'd like to hear what you think and what other questions that you might have.
Maybe you have more questions about marketing and we need to have more discussions about this. So you can go to thebeliefshift.Com. You'll see a little widget where you can leave us a voicemail. Also, if you just, you know, want some of that wonderful one on one support that we talked about, I do that.
So you can book a free consultation and we can talk about what that looks like. Go to camillerapacz.com/bookacall. That'll be a link in the show notes as well.
I will also put Meg has a fabulous freebie that's an SEO starter kit. Highly recommend.
So if you want to learn more about that, I will also put her link in the show notes. It's loveatfirstsearch.com/SEO-starter-kit. That's awesome. But that link will be in the show notes. Yeah, it's pretty cool. I downloaded it because of course I had to know, but also
Meg Casebolt: pop up on the screen for you.
Camille Rapacz: need the whole, okay, perfect. Just let us research, but we'll put the link in the show notes. You should also get her book, which you can just grab on Amazon, Social Slowdown. I'll put a link for this as well in the show notes. But it's fantastic. If you're just like, I really do not want to have to do all the social media business and what else can I do? She's got it in the book. It's fabulous.
Meg Casebolt: Thank you so much. And thanks for reading it. You can go to socialslowdown. com for the podcast or socialslowdown.com/book and just go straight to the Amazon link too.
Camille Rapacz: Oh, awesome. Okay. Yes. We'll put all of those links in the show note for everybody.
So you can get all the good stuff.
Meg Casebolt: Thank you so much for the opportunity. I love this conversation.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, this is great. Woo. Went way too fast. So we'll have to do it again. Thanks everybody. We'll be back in your ears next week.
George Drapeau: Cheers everybody.
Meg Casebolt: Bye.