I often say to clients, “If Oprah calls, are you ready?”
Well, having your work go viral is pretty much an Oprah moment, and a while back it happened to me. My work had been mentioned in an article by Stephanie St. Claire called 11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business, and that article went viral.
When it happened, I was in awe at what was occurring, but simultaneously completely unprepared. Going viral was one of those, “Be careful what you wish for” moments. While I was able to capitalize on the opportunity to some degree, I missed out on a shitload of income because I wasn’t adequately prepared.
Here are seven things I wish I’d done before my webinar went viral:
1) I wish I’d been set up to track things better. I know this may be hard to believe, but I wasn’t even tracking my visitors to my site. I didn’t know how many people visited my site or where they came from. I just knew that when traffic flowed into my pipeline, I made money. If my income dropped, I simply put more people into the pipeline through Facebook ads or via promotion partners.
Once things went viral, I discovered that a couple of years before when I’d switched domains, we had forgotten to set up some of the new pages up on Google Analytics. Oops.
2) I wish I’d been prepared for massive amounts of email. The way I first figured out something had happened was that more emails than usual began landing in my inbox. I had 50, then 100, then 200 extra emails per day landing in my inbox as people replied to my autoresponder email inviting them to engage with me. And since I was the one who had invited them to do this, I felt like I had to respond.
This autoresponder series was great for finding new clients; not so great for handling 8,000 new subscribers in just a few weeks’ time.
I spent two weeks drowning in email (literally, I was spending eight hours a day just dealing with my inbox) before I faced the facts: “I need to figure out how to monetize this opportunity. NOW! I need help!” A colleague had some down time and rescued me, bless her heart. The first thing I asked her to do was manage my email, and while I still respond to every email personally that needs to be, I needed someone to liaison for me in calling prospects, apologizing for my delayed response, scheduling prospect appointments and answering the other emails.
We basically had to slow down to speed up. We closed shop for a day and strategized on what we needed to do, prioritizing everything that was happening so we could monetize the situation in the best way possible. Slowing down paid off big time.
3) I wish I’d followed my own advice and created a Procedures Manual. Instead, in the middle of trying to wrangle in the chaos that was happening, I had to take precious time out to train someone in using my CRM system and handling basic stuff. This could have been seamlessly turned over to someone if I had been prepared.
4) I wish I’d looked at my offer better and seen things from the visitor’s perspective. At the end of my pipeline, for years I had offered a free trial in my membership program. While people signed up for this in droves when things went viral, most people needed context between what they’d learned in my webinar and getting high-level marketing strategy help from me in the member calls.
The offer I made was too big a leap. It was kind of like going from kindergarten to a graduate course. That’s not to say I didn’t monetize it and there weren’t benefits. I found a lot of new clients via that offer, increased my leveraged income and created trust that paid off later.
My intuition had been telling me for almost a year to create a new product that would bridge this gap, but I didn’t listen. Your intuition is always right.
5) I wish I’d had a scalable pipeline ready. After someone opted into my email list, they were sent a free kit to help them determine their marketing archetype. Then, as I said, the next day, my autoresponder would invite them to personally engage with me. While this was great for finding one-on-one clients, it wasn’t scalable. I failed to monetize my pipeline completely because I should have been able to switch out the autoresponder series immediately to something less intimate and more product focused.
I spun into action as soon as I realized this. Within a few weeks, we had created a digital product and switched out the pipeline offer, but meanwhile, I missed out on all those buyers. I did find some wonderful new clients, though. And later when I pushed out the product, I got a fair amount of buyers for it. Most people, though, had moved on. That moment of opportunity had passed.
Over the next few months, I made significant passive income from my new offer as traffic continued to flow. So that was really great.
6) I wish I had been ready to switch gears as a leader. As a solopreneur, my business was very simple. But rapid expansion requires a different approach and a different kind of leadership. You must be able to lead a team effectively and manage multiple projects at once in a way that provides an efficient use of time, energy and resources. I stepped into this role pretty well, but it took us awhile to find a project management system that was a good fit for me.
7) I wish I’d publicized the miracle that was happening to me. Just sending out a few press releases during or after my content went viral would give me the credibility to get into the local media or business publications. While I can still use the situation to get into the media, going viral is the equivalent of “I was featured on Oprah” or “New York Times bestselling author” and most important, it is newsworthy to go viral.
I don’t want it to sound like going viral was an epic fail for me. Far from it. It directed resulted in a 25 percent increase in my business income. It also helped me see that to scale my business, I needed to license my work, which is why I created my Certified Ambassadors program. Best of all, once I got the new pipeline in place, I was able to create some very nice passive income via my new product.
Want to be ready if Oprah calls or your work goes viral? Take a look at your business – your funnel, your pipeline (as I call it), your talk. Here are some questions to help you:
1) Do you have systems set up to track the effectiveness of your pipeline or funnel properly? If you’re not techy, hire someone to set this up; it shouldn’t cost much at all.
By the way, if you don’t have a funnel or pipeline, oh my goodness, you’ll want to get this in place. Willy nilly or half-ass marketing is not gonna cut it when things start rockin’. Your pipeline is the systemized way people engage with you and you make offers. It can be online or offline. If you need help developing one, it’s what my Certified Ambassadors and I do.
2) What is your game plan if you get massive exposure for your work? Who will you hire or rely on? What will you focus on so you can maximize the opportunity?
3) Day to day, start documenting your procedures. Get everything out of your head and create step-by-step instructions for your administrative processes and the systems you use in your business, everything from how you enroll a new client to how to send out your newsletter.
4) Is your offer what people really need the most when they first become familiar with your work? (Need help with offers and pricing? I can help you with that.)
5) Is your offer scalable? And if you’re looking for one-on-one clients, do you have an alternate offer ready that you can quickly switch out if you get more traffic than you can handle with your current offer? (If you need help developing your pipelines, I can help you with that, too.)
6) Are you ready to switch gears as a leader? Do you have a Project Management system ready to go, that you’re trained in, like Basecamp or Trello? Better yet, are you ready to hire someone who can help you scale your business immediately, like a skilled assistant, project manager or customer service rep? What criteria will you use in hiring the right person? It would be worth your time to create a “help wanted” social media post with all of your qualifications so you’re prepared when the time comes.
7) Research the top ten media you’d like to see your work featured in if something newsworthy happens in your business. Start engaging with them on social media, or at the very least, create a database with their contact information. Learn what makes a good press release and how to craft a media pitch that gets you on air. Brigitte Lyons of B PR is the best resource I’ve found for helping you with all of that.
8) Has your intuition been talking to you? What’s it telling you to do? Whatever that is, don’t delay. Your intuition knows what’s coming. It’s your built-in GPS system.
With a little preparation, you’ll be ready for your big moment!
Beth A. Grant is a writer, speaker, marketing strategist and thought leader who helps you be yourself in business, in love, in life. She blogs at www.truthandconsciousness.com.
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