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Note from Glen: This is a post by Ramsay, who was recently introduced as a new member of the ViperChill team. Last month I made an extra $5,000 by jumping on the phone with a long-term email client to close a deal. And at that moment I had an important business realization: I’d forgotten something vital. And I think almost every blogger is making the same mistake that I was. You see, blogging and internet marketing can be a really tiny industry sometimes.
There are a few big players who dictate how things are done and then everyone else follows for a while. But within that narrow spectrum of teaching and following there are vital business practices being overlooked. This is not another “how to make money by following this method” kind of post. By the end of it you won’t have a new gimmick to test and obsess over.
But you might have an idea planted in your head that works for you for the rest of your business life.
And it might make you a lot of cash.
Let’s get started.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now you’ll know that my money doesn’t just come from Blog Tyrant. I actually try to get my fingers in as many pies as is
reasonably intelligently possible.
The reason for that is simple: if you put all your eggs in one basket you’ll end up getting hurt.
Believe it or not, I learned this lesson from Google when they de-indexed my one and only blog back in University. This blog was my only income – the Adsense clicks were almost 100% of what I earned. So when the blog got turned off I ended up with nothing.
Luckily that blog came back in the SERPs. Not everyone’s does. Since then I’ve tried to keep a sexy mix of affiliate income, premium content writing, blog design and consulting work to help me make a living online.
Here’s how it went down…
Prior to the phone meeting I’d been emailing a long-term client for weeks and weeks about a new project that we were hoping to get started. I had previously built a website for them and we were discussing a new blog that they were desperate to get me on board with.
The problem? It just wasn’t happening.
We’d been emailing back and forth ideas and concepts and I’d told them I was ready to move. I had content plans, product ideas and website design drafts to show them. Excitement was building but no money had changed hands and something always seemed to pop up.
And then we jumped on the phone and met up for a quick coffee.
Within 20 minutes I’d sorted out all their objections and fears and sufficiently assured them that it was time to move. The next day they paid their invoice and the website and copy writing is now all under way. By the end of the year I think they are going to have a pretty cool blog and product ready to go.
And it all happened because of a phone conversation.
After I got off the phone to my client it occurred to me that something very important had just happened.
And I realized that it is something that almost every blogger is failing to do: make face-to-face contact.
I was amazed at how quickly the issues had been overcome by simply taking the time to talk to my client in a medium where they could hear my voice and see my face.
It was fast.
It was immediate.
And, most importantly, it was very personal.
I could have kicked myself at all the wasted hours. As I sat there thinking about what had just happened I wondered how many other jobs I’d lost because I was so insistent on being a hermit that only communicates via email. And this problem applies very directly to blogging.
You see the problem with us bloggers is that we are all quite tech-savvy. Maybe it is a Gen-Y thing but given a choice between a phone call and a text message, I’d much rather send a quick SMS. And given a choice between an SMS and an email I’d rather send the email. But in a lot of ways this is a serious mistake.
Sure, it’s nice for us to stay in our pyjamas all day and talk to our clients and potential clients by email instead of meeting up for a coffee. It’s very safe and easy. Your clients might not feel like that though. Nor the people who want to collaborate with you on big new projects. Or the people who might want to buy your expensive product.
Yes we bloggers like to use email and social media to stay in touch. It’s often a lot faster and you don’t have to sit around a boardroom for two hours discussing what, 90% of the time, everyone already knew.
But sometimes you need to show your face. Sometimes people desperately need to see it.
And Skype offers us a way to “have a coffee” with clients and potential clients anywhere in the world and possibly create a whole new revenue stream.
If anyone knows about the difference between being anonymous and showing your face, it’s me. Since unveiling on ViperChill a few months ago a lot of new doors have opened up.
But I’ve also been lucky enough to grow up around some really successful businessmen and women who are constantly closing big deals and impressing their clients on the phone and in face-to-face scenarios.
Some of the simple but extremely important lessons I’ve been told by my family members include:
So why wasn’t I applying these things to my work as a blogger or copy writer?
It’s often really tempting to think that just because our services or products are online we can just use email. And in many cases that will be enough.
But what I’ve found recently is that some of the most impressive sales and business relationships have only come about because of a face to face meeting. And Skype gives us a modern version of this. Meeting in person is even better but with Skype we can create personal bonds that were hard to develop before.
So why is it that talking on Skype or meeting a person for lunch can be so much more powerful for selling a product or creating an important alliance? Well, there are a few reasons.
One of the most common questions that you guys asked on my unmasking post was about how we can speed up the whole process. So many new bloggers get upset at how long it takes to be successful. And I can’t help but wonder whether part of the missing ingredient for a lot of us is the human connection.
So let’s move on to the fun stuff.
Hopefully by now you’ll be thinking that maybe creating a face to face connection is a good idea. So what’s the best way to go about it?
Let’s take a look.
1. Do the Blog Tyrant — unmask
If you are blogging anonymously I think it might be time to consider getting your face out there.
As you might already know, I blogged anonymously for exactly 99 posts before revealing my identity. It was a huge step for me as I’d built up a lot of brand equity as the Blog Tyrant and was pretty concerned that the “buzz” on my blog would die off after I opened up.
It didn’t. Things got better.
My old friends and loyal readers became more friendly and I seem to be getting lots more personal interactions with people who visit the site. I even got asked out on a few dates!
But if you think it worked well for me, have a look at what happened when James Chartrand from Men with Pens revealed that he was a she! Remember, this was before Twitter was big.
2. Collaboration potential – arrange Skype chats with bloggers whenever possible
This is probably the most important point because by getting on Skype with bigger guys in your industry you often open up a lot of doors to new collaborations. And collaborations are the things that really grow careers.
Blog Tyrant was going really well for me but when Glen asked me to join the ViperChill team I knew that things would really take off. It’s a simple fact of business that you can get a lot more done when you team up with people who believe in and want to achieve the same things as you.
Now, the ironic thing here is that Glen and I never video Skyped before we came to our arrangement. But it did involve me opening up my “secret identity” to him and sharing lots of personal exchanges. I even emailed him pictures of my cat! (Note from Glen: This is true, as well as photos of his GF)
So the next time you get an opportunity to do it, why not drop the phrase, “Hey can you jump on Skype real quick?” You’ll be surprised how many doors open up once a person has seen your face and heard your voice.
So how do you get big bloggers on a Skype chat?
Remember, the idea here is not to “scam” your way into a phone chat with an A-lister. The idea is to develop real friendships and alliances that you actually value. There are guys like Pat Flynn, Darren Rowse and Brian Clark that I Tweet and email because I genuinely respect and like them. There are also other big bloggers that have similar influence but whom I never email.
3. Emphasize your photo and personality on your site
I can assure you this wasn’t an easy move for me – propping myself up like that makes me feel like a douche. I’d much rather stay anonymous. But at some point I realized that I had to bring myself in to my brand more. If I want blogging to be a viable long term career for me I need to get myself out there instead of just the website.
By making your photo and story accessible and prominent you can create some distinctiveness even when your content might not be that original.
Neil Patel does this really well as you can see in the shot above.
Adding his photo and story to his sidebar keeps him visible and distinctive no matter which article you click on. Once you see the face and bio a few times you feel a sense of trust and are more likely to stick around when you know it’s something he’s written.
4. Connect with readers and potential clients on Skype
These days a lot of bloggers are talking about loyalty. But something even more important than that is creating distinctiveness. You need to stand out.
Now, I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to do this (Glen: *cough*) but a lot of people have commented on how a number of big bloggers are now replying to every comment after it became well known that I was doing it on Blog Tyrant. And while I’m sure this added to a sense of community and belonging on my site, I think the main thing it did was help me stand out from the crowd.
With Skype you can take this process even further. Sure, it might take a little more time but by jumping on for a quick chat you might close a sale because the person wants to give you the business. You will be surprised at how many people will buy your product or service because they like you more than they like what you are offering.
If you are really good at what you do you can also charge for this time. People will pay for solutions – especially if they come from their favorite blogger. Don’t be afraid to take this relationship/situation to a paid level.
5. Use video whenever possible / reasonable
Videos are getting bigger and bigger every day. As far as I’m concerned, the only drawbacks with video is that people often can’t watch them at work and sometimes they take too long to digest in a world full of “scan readers”.
But if you can do it nicely and at the right moments you can make a big impression.
Someone who does this really well (is there anything he doesn’t do well though?) is Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. Let’s take a look at the video he made for his “Start Here” page where a lot of newcomers get to meet the man behind the site.
This approach is personal, warming and, above all, gets noticed. People instantly feel connected to Pat and are more open to his ideas and articles. Although it isn’t a live chat in person or on Skype it does produce a very similar affect. A lot of the time I read articles he’s written that I otherwise might not just because I really like Pat.
I wanted to finish off this article by giving you some practical tips for using Skype.
More importantly, I’d love to draw on the experience of the ViperChill crowd so if you have any of your own tips please leave a comment. Feel free to drop a link as well if you’ve written anything that might help.
The most important thing here though is to be yourself and find your own style.
Do you think you could increase your conversions, sales or relationships by adding in some more face-to-face time? Have you ever used Skype in this way? Leave a comment and let me know.