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The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

Mar 23, 2020

Today, I've got a special episode, where I'm talking about how to find success during coronavirus. Yes, it is possible if you know how to pivot your business.

These are scary times, especially as online business owners, bloggers, and entrepreneurs.

We've watched our Catch My Party traffic fall by half in one week!

But if we can solve problems for our audiences, we will be okay. I believe that in my heart. And our businesses will be stronger for it.

My advice: Be the light for your readers because we all need more light right now.

My hope is that this episode gives you a roadmap for how to look beyond the paralysis, fear, and panic that we're all feeling, and shift your focus back onto your audience so you can become a resource, guide, and helper.

And your audience will reward you for it!

How to Find Success During Coronavirus

Host 0:04
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here's your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. Wow, what a time we are living in. The word that just keeps popping up for me is "unease". I just feel like everything is off balance. But that is why I'm going live with this interview early because I want to give you more balance, especially in your online business.

I'm interviewing Matt Molen from Personalized Paths. He is my email marketing guru. What we are talking about is how to move your business in the right direction during this uncertain time, how to be there for your audience, and still build your business.

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Setting up a WordPress blog can be tricky. There's a lot of tech, there are a lot of settings or a lot of features, and we know how to do it. We know how to set you up and get you started on the right foot and be there for you with any technical help you need.

So, it's If you're ready to take your fate in your own hands, definitely let us help you.

Okay. This interview, I think you are going to really get a lot out of it. What I love about Matt is he gives actionable, practical real tips and ideas.

For those of you who need to feel inspired, this is the interview for you. I got off this call, and I just felt lightness and excitement, and a way to really be there for my audience. So without further delay, here is my interview with Matt Molen.

Matt, welcome back to the show. I am so excited to talk to you right now.

Matt Molen 2:29
Well, Jillian, thanks for having me. I know that there's a lot on people's minds right now. And, you know, you and I have been chatting a little bit.

I think there are some things that people could be doing in my area of expertise that they're not doing, and I just want to have a chance to talk about it a little bit.

Jillian Leslie 2:45
And first of all, I have to say you reached out to me yesterday and you said, "Hey, do you want to talk about how people can respond to this very uneasy time?"

And I will tell you that you gave me a feeling of solace because of the normal seat like, "Of course, I want to talk to you." Because when I talk to you things are normal, and we're talking about business.

Even just when we got on this call, hearing your voice, I said that to you. I said, "Oh, it just feels comforting." Mostly because I'm doing what I normally do.

And by talking to you, I'm not checking the news. I am not thinking about my family and all the worries of the world. So, I want to thank you for reaching out and for just giving me let's say, 45 minutes of normalcy.

Matt Molen 3:36
Well, thanks. I love that you think of it that way because that's how I've been thinking about it is that most people right now, myself included, are feeling very uneasy, very uncertain. Not just about blogging, but about life in general.

And, I'm getting all these emails. You are too. In fact, I got one in my inbox. It kind of made me laugh. It was so ridiculous. It was from a life insurance company that I don't even have a policy with.

And the message was, "Hey, this life insurance company is open." Thanks so much, guys. What a help that was. And so, I think that we're getting so much news. It's distracting. It's hard to concentrate.

And if you're a blogger in this in this environment, you're worried about your ad revenue. You're worried about your site traffic? Just the general feeling of where is this going?

Jillian Leslie 4:34
Yes. How long is this going to last?

Matt Molen 4:38
On top of that, our routines are disrupted. So that's weird. It's hard to focus. And then, I think that I've seen this other thing and I feel it too. Is this desire to reach out and help somebody somehow.

Jillian Leslie 4:50
Yes. Yes.

Matt Molen 4:52
All of that usually is leading up towards paralysis or a lack of strategy going forward. Now my area of expertise, of course, is with email marketing specifically for bloggers. I have the benefit of talking with content creators every single day about their email.

On top of that, I'm looking at email campaigns that are coming across. And I'm just going, "Man, you guys are blowing this." Because this is a situation unlike any other.

And what I thought that I would do, I know I've been on the podcast before and I shared kind of my system. Many people may actually, or not many, but some people may actually be familiar with the way that I think about things and my system.

Jillian Leslie 5:29
Yeah, and we will of course link to your previous episodes. So, definitely.

Matt Molen 5:35
Awesome. But this situation is so different that I wanted to come and share perhaps an email strategy that your listeners could think about employing for the next few weeks or months if that's how far this thing goes on. Hopefully not. But that's what I want to talk about today.

Jillian Leslie 5:56
I'd love it. Love it.

How to Think Differently About Your Business During Coronavirus

Matt Molen 5:57
Okay. So, what I want to tell everybody, first of all, is that I want them to lace up their running shoes. All right? I want them to think that they're getting ready right now mentally to get out and work.

Okay? Because so much of this is preparing your mind to take action. These are unprecedented times and it's going to require… I'm not saying unprecedented levels of work, but it's going to require a different way of thinking and a little bit of hustle to really optimize and be of the most service that we can be.

I recently did a talk on this. I was telling some of the people that were on my list that I was doing it. I got an email back from a lady that runs a Disneyland website. Her website is 100% about Disneyland. Her message to me was, "Email saved me so far."

And what I'm going to talk about today, and I'll come back to her. Her name is Jessica. I'll come back to Jessica's story at the end about what she did. But email saved her.

Think about what it must be like with her site. Disneyland closes. She's got nothing to talk about. Nobody's doing any searching. Her ad revenue has got to be tanking. They're not buying her products.

For her, she is probably staring down the barrel of an uncomfortable gun, if you will. What I want to start with though, is that I want to start with an overarching principle. This principle always works. This is the principle that I live by for marketing in general. And that is solve your reader's problem.

Solve Your Readers' Problems Now

Jillian Leslie 7:37
Love it.

Matt Molen 7:38
Solve your reader's problems. If you keep coming back to that over and over again, it's going to change the way you think about your opportunity here. So, let's talk about email in general, and what to send to your subscribers right now.

I have seen… You've probably seen this too. And I don't fault people for sending this. They're sending emails that say, "How can I help?"

Now, the spirit behind that is I want to help you. I want to know what you're going through. Here's the problem with that, though. Everybody is uncertain because this is new to all of us. Your readers, they don't know what they need.

Jillian Leslie 8:19
Exactly. You're putting the onus on somebody to tell you what they need.

Matt Molen 8:27
Exactly. And they don't know what you can do. They don't know what they need, but you as the subject matter expert, you do know to a degree, what they need within your sphere of knowledge and influence.

So the question I have for anybody listening is, "What problem can you solve in the right now? How would you provide value in this environment right now?"

I got some examples of some really positive examples that I got from some emails from people. Just today I got one from the best ideas for kids. It was a hundred plus indoor activities. There's a lot of moms with kids at home. That solves a problem.

I received one eight days ago, which I thought was almost prophetic. But it was, "Don't panic. Be prepared. Free 14-day meal plan and shopping list." That was from Favorite Family Recipes.

One of the sub-headers in there is, "A little panic planning can bring great peace of mind." And so I thought that was good. I got another one that was an activity binder for teens.

So, some people are understanding the value that they can provide to their readers. But let's talk for just a second. There are some blog categories that are really hard hit.

We've got travel. We've got fitness. We've got finance. Or just "lifestyle" in general. Who's thinking about even Easter activities right now?

Jillian Leslie 9:59
Absolutely. I think in terms of fashion, for example, the last thing I want to do is buy clothes right now. I'm in my pajamas.

Matt Molen 10:10
So, the brainstorming activity that I would do if we had people in the room here together is I would say, "Look, let's think about it for a second. Fashion blogger, travel blogger, finance, blogger, fitness, blogger, what problem can you solve for your readers right now?"

If I'm a travel blogger, and I actually do have a travel blog on the side, we need to be thinking about what's going through our readers' minds right now. Well, they're sitting on vacation plans. Maybe not right now but down the road. They don't know should they keep them.

What are refund policies like? What are cancellations like? Is now a time to actually book cheap flights in the future? Do I go look for hotel values right now?

As an aside, we have some trips planned out late in 2020. Those hotel rates have dropped. So, do you advise them on how to go change those? You see what I'm saying? There are ways that they can solve a reader's problem that is unique to this situation.

Jillian Leslie 11:11
Absolutely. I have my assistant for Catch My Party and I will tell you that our traffic has died because if you were planning that mermaid party for your daughter next month, you're not planning it now.

We have a content schedule where we have our blog posts blocked out for a couple of months, and we literally said, "Oh my God, we seem tone-deaf." If we are posting about a fun summer party, even summer, because who knows? And what we did was we step back and we said, "People are home."

Our users are typically… Our visitors or moms. How can we bring some festivity or some lightheartedness, or just something to moms? And what we thought about was… Well, a couple of things.

How to Plan A Virtual Party During Shelter at Home

One, how do you plan a virtual party? What platforms can you use to do that? What kind of games can you play online with a group of people? What if it's a group of, you know, five-year-olds versus what if it's a group of 15-year-olds?

We're right now building out a bunch of content about how would you do that. Or we give printables away for things like… We have like game night printables.

Well, guess what? You know what? Maybe for your family you could print out a couple printables and put out some games and have a game night just to break up the monotony or just have a little bit more play in this stressful time.

So it's amazing how quickly we said, "Oh, my God. Our normal content doesn't work anymore." We understand because my assistant and I are both stressed out. Like, what would we want? And that's kind of the direction that we're heading in.

Matt Molen 13:10
I love that. And you know what that tells me? This is the type of people like you who get into this business, for this reason, is to innovate. It is to create. And quite often we get into a rut, we get into our routines, and we stay in our lane.

What this is forcing you to do is look at your expertise, and twist it a little bit. Turn it on its head, and come up with the solutions to the problems using your expertise. You know how to party.

Jillian Leslie 13:40

Matt Molen 13:40
And being able to convert that into today's dynamic, wow! I could see NBC News interviewing you just because that type of content is going to be so readily available, or so readily adopted. People are going to want that. They want to have some fun for all the reasons we've been talking about.

So, that's the power though. When you figure that out, that's the power of having a robust email list. Because the traffic isn't necessarily coming to the site now. Now, we need to use our list and drive people to the site so that they can absorb it, so that they can then share it with their friends.

Why Email is More Powerful Than Ever

Jillian Leslie 14:21
Absolutely. Because for example, I don't have the time right now to be hanging on social media to be like, "Let's go to Pinterest and just kind of browse around." But if something comes into my inbox, I probably will open it.

Matt Molen 14:36
Exactly. So, if you and your team and everybody within the sound of my voice, if they write down three to five problems that they can solve for their readers in this current situation, and maybe different problems than they ever otherwise would have been.

The good news is that in most cases, you probably can leverage your existing content. You just have to twist it a little bit. Sometimes you got to make new content.

That's why I was talking about we got to lace up our running shoes, it's time to hustle. The next question that I want to address is how often should you now email these people?

One of the most common rebuttals, I guess, from people that have not adopted email is, "I don't want to annoy people." Well, yeah. You know what's annoying? It's that email from that life insurance company. You didn't ask for it.

Jillian Leslie 15:12
Good question.

I call them the tone-deaf emails. Like, how many of you have I gotten in the last week?

Matt Molen 15:39
They're not solving my problems, therefore, those are annoying. However, it's not spam if you're providing value. If you are solving your readers' problems, especially right now, they are all yours.

So, let me give you a little analogy. I used to work in the daily deals industry. In that space, as you can imagine, ecommerce Q4 was huge but especially Black Friday weekend. There are deals left and right.

We sent so many emails and people absorb the emails. They wanted the emails because they're deal seekers and they wanted to know what was hot then. Would that activity have been appropriate in a different time? No. That would not have been appropriate.

But for you Jillian with Catch My Party, and the example that you just talked about, this might be your Black Friday. You can probably serve more than you currently are.

And I say that to everybody who's listening. This might be your Black Friday. People need to hear your solutions. So, what does that mean for you? How many emails do you send per week? That's going to be up to you.

But here's a couple of things for your consideration. I have four things. Number one, do your automated emails make sense? If you've adopted the Matt Molen system, you know that I love automated emails.

My Forever Series, for instance, is a big part of what I do. But, like right now with my Disney Cruise Forever Series going, where it tells people what to expect on the private island? Does that really make a lot of sense?

Time to Pause Your Email Series

When I could take that slot, I could pause the Forever Series, pause that automation, and I could take that slot and send something that helps them right now. That's number one. Do your automated emails make sense?

Number two is to recognize that you can serve more. What I mean by serve more is you can send them more emails. More emails than you think. Heck, you could have done it before. You just didn't believe me before.

But now for sure, you can serve more than you think. What does that mean for you? It might mean an email every third day. It might mean if you're doing one email a week, it might mean two.

For some of you who have a ton of great content, it might be an email every other day. I don't know. And you might want to test and experiment with it. But if you have the spirit of service, and you're solving your readers' problems, you can do more.

Number three, we're sitting here. So much has changed at the date of this recording. So much has changed just in the last few days. It feels like it's been weeks. Things have progressed in a crazy fashion.

Plan Out Your New Emails

But I think we've settled into what the normal probably looks like, at least for the next few weeks. So, plan it out. I have a resource for you. If you want it, we'll drop it in the show notes. Jillian, if you're willing to do it.

Jillian Leslie 18:42
Of course.

Matt Molen 18:43
And all it is is a very simple calendar that shows the dates, the day of the week. And it asks you what problem can you solve for your reader? What is your reader thinking about?

So basically, you just go through that and you say, "Well, okay. If I'm at Catch My Party, I know that they're wanting to do a virtual party with friends." Well, that would be fun because the kids get stir crazy. Okay, that would be one thing.

Number two, mom wants to just make the quarantine shut up in the house. I want to make that more fun. Okay, we could do our scavenger hunts. Or, you know, we're going to have a dress-up day.

And so, we're going to take the elements from our princess parties, and we're going to add those together into, you know, 10 ideas of how you can have dress-up time at home.

There are three emails right there, and I don't even know your content. So, if you did that with your team, and plan that out, would your audience be receptive to that? Absolutely.

If you find out they aren't, well, then you just don't send them. But you've started the planning process. You've thought it through on how you can serve them.

That's number three is to plan it now. Don't wait and sit here and just go in, "Boy, I'm going to hit CNN one more time."

Number four, the last one is write the emails. You can write them advance. Write them in advance, and then you can just not send them if this thing miraculously goes away and the world changes again.

I don't think it's going to miraculously go away. I think that we've got two months of this. That's my guess. But I could be wrong and I hope I am. But what if I'm not? You could have that stuff done.

So, do your automated emails make sense? Number two, decide to send more and serve more. Number three, plan those out now with a calendar. Number four, write those.

Jillian Leslie 20:34
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I think that if you can reach people where they are… This is something I've been thinking a lot about, which is I want to touch you, Matt, where you are.

Like, let's say I'm freaking out in my brain. I don't want to touch you with that. I want to touch you with me in my highest self when I've had a moment to kind of calm down.

And even if I'm going to freak out in another minute, I want to be one half a step ahead of you. But I don't want to be five steps ahead of you.

I want to be able to touch you where you are, and point you in the direction to give you solace or to solve that problem. Does that make sense?

People Want to Be Lead

Matt Molen 23:27
Absolutely. People want to be led. They want to be helped.

Jillian Leslie 23:30
But I don't want to be the authority. Meaning, I don't want to be like, "Guys, look, you don't have to worry about this. This is going to be over in two months."

No. I want to say I'm vulnerable. I'm feeling this way. And I have a solution for you that has that worked for me. So, I'm like half a step ahead of you.

Because I'm like holding my arm. I'm like holding my hand out. Kind of like I'm a couple of steps like higher up on the stairway and I'm just going to put my hand out and gently lead you up to steps so that you can have a little bit more calm or peace or whatever. But I'm not four flights up.

Matt Molen 24:14
You don't have to solve the virus thing for them. All you have to do is help them with one little aspect of their life during that time and you achieve hero status.

Jillian Leslie 24:24
Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, it's funny. It's like I want it. I just sent an email to my list because I was feeling just so much unease and so much confusion, but I had a moment of clarity.

What I did was I took my to-do list that has been there, that's written on like a scribbled piece of paper of all the things I hope to get to. Right? And all I did was I took that piece of paper, and I took a new clean, fresh piece of paper.

I took my to-do list and I just organized it on a new piece of paper. That's it. I can't tell you the peace of mind that gave me. I wrote an email. I said, "Here's something that worked for me." This is really a very…

I have all these feelings, and I feel really vulnerable. I'm sure you do too. And, I believe in doing small things. Like laundry and cleaning out your kitchen junk drawer.

And I said, "Here's what I recommend for work. This is what I did. This worked for me and I recommend you find those small tasks that push you forward, but aren't so taxing that they're intimidating or they're overwhelming. Go do something small."

Matt Molen 25:48

Jillian Leslie 25:51
And I got the feedback of saying, "You know what? I needed this. Thank you."

Matt Molen 25:58
That's fantastic. I think that's the spirit that I want to convey here is you can do more of that than you are doing. You can do way more of that than you're doing.

And what I'm seeing… I saw it from a blogger that I greatly respect. I got an email from her today. It says, "I want to help. Fill out this survey. I really want to help."

And I'm sitting there thinking, "You know what? How you can help me is you give me some ideas. You can give me some suggestions on how to occupy my mind, or how to make more of this."

That to me is the opportunity. I know it's in your all's heads. It's just a matter of sending it to your people and sharing that with them. Don't be selfish about it and keep it to yourself.

Jillian Leslie 26:40

It's Time to Server Your Audience During Coronavirus

Matt Molen 26:41
With this dynamic comes an opportunity for you to serve more people by getting more people onto your list. I know that is counterintuitive. And maybe what I mean by that is to capture more people and convert out of the traffic that you're currently getting.

Even travel sites that are way down. Even Catch My Party if the traffic is down. The traditional way we do that is through an email hook. Printables, downloadables, checklists.

If you listen to my previous discussion on this podcast… The last time I was here we talked about the Quickstart Guide. That's still my favorite. So, I'm going to push you to do that. The question is, does your email hook solve the current problem?

Jillian Leslie 27:26
Right. Does it make sense?

Matt Molen 27:27
I have a client food blogger. And before all this was going down, we were on the normal schedule. We put together an Easter quickstart guide with an Easter pop-up and the whole thing.

Guess what? Nobody's thinking about Easter right now. So, it launched and it went. You know, we're not getting subscribers from that. Let me give you a couple of examples of things that have worked.

If you go to a favorite family recipes. They have one that is killer copycat recipes. That's their pop-up. It's the most popular, like restaurant copycat recipes that you can try at home.

We're not going to restaurants right now guys. If you still want to make the outback cheese fries or whatever, here's how you do it. And you can have some fun with that. That's blowing up for them.

There's another one, Sally's Baking Addiction. She put out a post with a whole bunch of home baking projects. These are things you could do with your kids to teach them to love baking. It went crazy.

She's like, "You know what? People love this." She converted that into her opt-in. So, the question I have for people is what is your current opt-in?

Take a look at it and put together an email hook that you can launch right now that is more appropriate for the here and now. You're going to capture more subscribers and therefore grow your list and serve more people.

Jillian Leslie 29:00
Let's say you do like a quick start guide, right? And let's say you've got four emails in your quick start guide. Guess what? You can launch it with one email, and just then quickly write the other ones.

Meaning, you don't have to sit back and go, "Oh, it's going to take me four weeks to write these four emails, or however long." Go launch it!

Matt Molen 29:25
Yeah, very true. You sound like me right now. And the other thing that I would even say normally, "I love to have something that's three to five emails long in a quickstart guide."

Heck, I'd be happy with a one page PDF. If it's more relevant, put that out there. So again, I'm adapting to what's happening right now.

I firmly believe in my other program, you know, the Quickstart Guide and the Forever Series and all these things. I'm adapting to the current situation.

Jillian Leslie 29:57
I have this philosophy that I have been preaching called B- work, which is I recommend all of my students, everybody that I talked to from my podcast to do B- work.

I'm going to say now, maybe C+ work. And what I mean by that is done is better than perfect. And because I want to reorient everybody that if… Let's say I can be of service and helpful, but my emails are not going to look pretty and I'm not going to have a great beautiful graphic or whatever.

It might have some typos. But if I can get it out there and calm people or help people or touch people, it's much better if that is B-. So, be thinking about how can I get it out there? How can I move quickly? Meet people where they are.

Matt Molen 30:52
Go fast. Break stuff.

Jillian Leslie 30:54
There you go. There you go.

Matt Molen 30:56
I like the perfect is the enemy of done. I like that.

Jillian Leslie 30:59

Matt Molen 31:01
So, let's talk about a technique or two that people could go try right now. I want people to understand, these are just ideas. They are not going to work perfect for everybody.

They may not be right for your situation. Take the idea and see if there's a plausible way to apply it to your current business. The first one that I'm going to share with you is called "swipe up to sign up".

I just got done reading an article about how much people are on social media right now. They're obviously at home. They have a little bit more time to do that.

Plus, when you're kind of in a daze that's where you default. It's a source of news. It's a source of comfort. It's a source of commiseration. Well, go to your Instagram stories.

Use the Swipe Up Feature on Instagram to Grow Followers

If you've got 10,000 people or more followers on Instagram, then you're qualified for the swipe up feature of Instagram stories. I want to tell you an example. I did this last year with Ralphie Jacobs.

Her Instagram handle is @simplyonpurpose. She is a parenting expert. She doesn't even have a blog. We created a quickstart guide that was four emails deep. It's called "Why we yell, why it doesn't work, and what to do instead?"

She started with zero subscribers. She launched a little simple landing page,.Very simple. All it was was the title of the thing and a name and address. Yes, I want it feel. That's all it was.

After two weeks, she had 20,000 subscribers. Remember, did she had 20,000 followers to begin with. So I don't do well at math. But that's approximately five billion percent, right? Conversion. That's pretty awesome.

So, she was able to take and get 20,000 subscribers in two weeks by sharing this resource. Let's go all the way back. What problem do you solve for your readers? I asked you to identify what problems were.

Then I asked you to think about what your opt-in might be. Create that opt-in and then share it. And any other opt-ins that you have. Maybe you've got printables on your site. This is a great time to share those.

Trade that printable. Trade that course. Trade that quickstart guide for an email address. So that's one. Oh, gosh, I've got another example. You guys have seen this one in action.

I hope by the time that you hear this recording that you get it because Janssen at Everyday Reading is doing this right now. So, to understand this, Everyday Reading is a website for moms who want their kids to develop a love for reading.

So, everything she does is in that vein. She created a list of her favorite online educational programs. I think she made a PDF of it. That was it. She went on to her social. This was last Friday. So, this is one week ago.

And in a week's time on her Instagram stories, and through a post on Instagram, she said, "I'll email it to you right now. Just swipe up to sign up to get this list of online educational resources."

She has a base of 40,000 Instagram followers. In the first five days, she had 1100 new subscribers. And in the two days since, she's averaged 75 new subscribers per day. Not only that. She gained 1600 new Instagram followers while she was doing that.

That was a curated list of online educational resources that she put together and then shared with them. She made life easy for them. She identified the problem that she was solving and she's having tremendous success with it. And serving while she's doing it, while she's growing her list.

So, here's a very practical piece of advice for anybody that has a large social following. Create your opt-ins or make a list of them. Get out your calendar and say, "Okay. On the 25th, I'm going to share this. On the 28th, I'm going to share this. On the first, I'm going to share that."

And just make a calendar so you don't forget your days in checking out Fox News or whatever it is. You'll have a plan to go promote your opt-in. So my question for everybody, what email hook can you share on social media right now?

Do Small, Doable Tasks Now

Jillian Leslie 35:33
What I like about what you're saying is I love the idea of having your calendar and filling it with doable things that are small enough so that you can do them and get out of your own way, and get out of the news, and get out of your own anxieties and fears because you know, you have this one task?

Matt Molen 36:01
Yeah. Even if your days, right, you know, you're feeling it yourself. Yeah, like, are you gonna do that thing,

Jillian Leslie 36:07
You know, I always recommend I use the Pomodoro Technique, which is this, I go to And it's a timer for 25 minutes. And I get my work done by saying I can do this for 25 minutes. And I find it to be incredibly powerful. And I use it when I have tasks to do that I don't want to do. And I feel like what you're saying is here, create these concrete tasks that you probably could do in about 25 minutes. And go do that because not only will it by the way, not only will this serve your audience, it will serve yourself. Yeah.

Matt Molen 36:48
You'll be moving your business forward, you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you check that off the list. Absolutely. It takes you out of the malaise that we're all kind of stuck in.

Unknown Speaker 36:57
Yes, that paralysis

Matt Molen 37:01
I, I have another idea for people that they can actually go see, this one's a little bit more of if you've got like, let's say, your this blog, this might make sense for you. And that is to create a challenge.

Create a Challenge For Your Readers

The idea behind a challenge, it's kind of, but it's an email chain is about what a reader needs to do. And so you can create an email challenge where you have, you know, say three to five emails in a row, which might include a welcome email, it might include a daily email for three to five days and each email includes a principal, teach them how to do something or why they need to do something, and then assign a task and explain how to accomplish it and then ask them to report back.

There's a really good example of this. That is, she's always doing it. I wish I knew this woman. I wish I could say I had anything to do with it. It's the simple green smoothies channel. Yes. Calm Yes, she right now has on her website, the 10-day smoothie challenge. Now I when I saw that I've seen this 50 times, but I'm sitting here at home and I am I'm eating all the comfort food, aka junk food just because I'm stressing or something I don't know.

And then she shares this thing that says 10-day smoothie challenge boosts your immune system with tasty smoothie recipes. And she's got dates on there. Like, Oh, you do it during these days. Oh, okay. I mean, right. It's a sense of community. It's a sense of, I'm taking action taking control of my life. So anyway, I don't need to spend a ton of time creating a challenge because a lot of people won't ever do that. But if that's appropriate for you, that can be an interesting way to grow your list as well and to gain community while you're doing it.

Jillian Leslie 38:39
I love that. I think that that is really, I think that especially something that is doable. Something health-related is terrific. Something that is self-care, especially for moms who are stressed out.

You could even put it to put together like a Kindness to Yourself Challenge like what One day bath, you know, the next day do a Korean face mask. I mean, whatever it is just to, you know, find a way to touch your audience and help them through this, you know, difficult time.

Matt Molen 39:16
Totally. Now, the last thing I think people are struggling with, and I'll kind of wrap up with some, this will be a rapid-fire series of ideas. These are income boosters. Some people have been really hammered with, you know, low RPMs from ads from pageviews. Or just, you know, whatever, it might have no sponsorships, what have you.

So here are just some ideas. So take these ideas if one of these hits you, then awesome. So the first one I'm going to talk about is if you make money off of ads, that means you need more pageviews and you need higher RPMs. So one tactic is

Jillian Leslie 39:53
RPM is revenue per page.

Matt Molen 39:55
Exactly. So that's how people are calculating revenue per dollar.

Jillian Leslie 40:00
In eyeballs.

Matt Molen 40:02
So the first thing would be to increase your page views is increase your email schedule, we already talked about that. But if you're solving more problems, now might be the time to bring more people back to your site, even though a visitor does not pay out as much, you can kind of solve a little bit of your issue by getting more people to the website through your email. Okay, so you can recoup some of that.

Increase the Number of Emails You Send

So by increasing your email schedule, the other thing that you could do is if you're, if your ad network tells you what your highest earning pages are, like, for instance, a Disney Cruise, usually, content about Disney Cruise usually pays more than, say, a Disney coloring page. So if I if you sent more readers to those higher RPM pages, you're going to make more so you could deliberately plan out your content around what is going to be more valuable right now.

Yes, now it's a little bit of a guessing game with what because brands are in their own unique funk right now too, but you get my point. Yeah. Another way to make money is through affiliate sales, affiliate sales. Some people do it great. Some people don't do it at all.

But if you're going to get into this, make a list of brands that you love. This is where authenticity comes into place. You just start there. One thing you can do once you have that list is you could create a roundup of your favorite resources. If you're a food blogger By the way, people love the behind the scenes of what's in your pantry. What's in your kitchen. Yeah, what knife set Do you use and all of that and especially

Jillian Leslie 41:35
How about this, you know, if people because everybody now is cooking at home, what are the top five tools you use to make homemade meals fast?

Matt Molen 41:50
Absolutely. And then take it to the next step. This is what I really like to do. This is where you can go beyond just a what feels like a little bit of a money grab within a field. The thing I think some people don't like that is create a how to series.

So, a how-to series is ... I mean, you know, Cricket has got an amazing affiliate program, they are gonna they're gonna probably their business is probably going to not die during this time because maybe we're teaching our kids how to do crafts or we're because we're not going out we use that time for crafting.

What if you did a how-to series on how to make x how to make y how to how to use your machine for this? Yeah, you probably can make more by doing that. And by the way, the reason I'm sharing all these things is you're using email to push people there to these point to these to these opportunities

Jillian leslie 42:44
And again solving their problem

Matt Molen 42:46
sSolving their problem. Oh, I just thought of one that I forgot. So if you go back to food blogging for a second, but it applies everywhere. If you're a food blogger, and you do well with Instant Pot.

Instant Pot has so many accessories that most people don't know how To use, but I bet you do. You know, accessories are fantastic. And they're probably not sold out. So that's, that's a way that you can keep your business going.

Last but not least on affiliate is why not just in your outgoing emails, just add some relevant skills and steals to the bottom of your email. I'm actually borrowing that from that phrase from Corey who runs Hey, Let's Make Stuff, because I was just looking her email earlier today.

I have to give her full credit. It feels authentic, it feels natural, but it's just deals and steals. And she's mentioning some of her favorite brands and the sales that they have going on. And it's kind of a, it's kind of a footnote. But hey, any of that that flows through is going to help her out.

Jillian Leslie 43:52
And by the way, I of course I'm getting a ton of emails from businesses, you know, like West Elm, and there's struggling. So guess what, I can get 30% or 20% off right now. So just you know, know that these businesses want sales and they are offering discounts. So letting people know, of the sales is beneficial

Matt Molen 44:17
in the days of the the 2008 financial crisis that we had. So many daily deal sites cropped up out of that. The reason I bring that up is that some people are going to say, that feels weird trying to push a product right now. what I'm telling you is that people are saving their pennies.

Yes, they still want to shop, they still want to get a good deal there's gonna be people are going to take advantage of the situation for the good and get a good deal. So if you provide that and look at it from that lens. And if you believe in these tools as well. Then you tell your friends about a one, two, absolutely. So to get over that, I guess is what I'm getting at now. This one's a little bit out there.

How to Work With Brands During the Coronavirus

So we'll see if this one's useful to people. But for those of you who are doing sponsorships, I realized that those may have dried up. So there's a couple of things that you could possibly do.

Number one, you go to some of your favorite existing sponsors, and you offer to sell email as an add on. Now, this requires you to have a list. But if you have a list of any sort, you can say, hey, look, in addition to our current contract for another 10%, I will send out x number of emails or you could go to old sponsorships that have expired and off and refresh it and not just offer an email thing but you could say, hey, let's reengage this what do you say it's tough you know, it's a this would be a good fit for the current environment.

Now of course it needs to be you but then you can offer to send that to your email list as well. And lastly on that, if it is a brand that is cash strapped, but still, they still you know, you have got a marketing manager over there. That still needs to hit some goals and his boy, they'd look like a hero.

If they did, you could this is this is, you know, thinking outside the box, you could defer payment for that brand in exchange for a better deal in the fourth quarter with them, or just pay me later, kind of deal.

Now, I know everybody's situations are a little bit different. I'm just saying that there are ways to think about this a little bit differently. And of course, if you can make up a product man, do it. You know, there's a ton of graphic designers out there that can make digital resources for you. So if you can think of an affordable digital resource that's perfect for your audience.

You could bang one of those out and use your email list to share that. And if you're an e-commerce company, you should be manufacturing reasons for people to buy from you right now. I'm getting emails from restaurants, for example, that say, yeah, we're open. But I'm like, yeah, I'm not going anywhere. Here's the difference though. I got an email from a local restaurant.

I went to the Italian restaurant and they said $35 family plan deal. And this is like, like a little bit higher-end restaurant. And it's Wednesday and Thursday only. And it's takeout only. And it includes all these amazing things. And they show pictures of it. And I'm like, Huh, I wasn't thinking about going there. But they gave me they manufactured a reason for me to buy from them right now.

Jillian Leslie 47:22
I think that's great. I think that is so great. Again, put your brand in front of people with solutions and you will break the kind of stupor that people are in right now. And in fact, I might argue that if you do it in a way that is helpful, that is heartfelt, that is humorous, whatever it is, if you can break that stupor, break that haze that we're all walking around in, you will have tremendous success because we're all in uncharted territory.

And we're all uncomfortable. And if you can find a way to give people something positive, I think it would actually be even more valuable than in the normal hubbub when we're all just kind of caught up in our lives.

Matt Molen 48:19
So, I want to come back to Jessica, I'm going to close it all out with remember, Jessica is the main blogger. So Jessica, hustled, she thought this through. Again, I don't take any credit for any of this. This is all Jessica. She inspired me. She anticipated here's what she did how email remember she said, email saved me so far.

She anticipated that Disneyland was going to close and so she wrote a blog post about it. And she wrote an email back before it even happened. The minute they announced the closure, she was the first to send it out. So she's got all those people going oh my gosh, what?

So she beat the news outlets to the punch by using her list. So she benefitted from that traffic, people coming and the brand building. So she prepared her email content. She prepared her web content ahead of time. Second, she changed her opt-in to something that was more appropriate updates about Disneyland closures. So if you go there right now, the happiest blog on earth calm in the midst of this crisis, that's what you'll see.

And so she's actually growing her list in the midst of nobody going to Disneyland. But the people who are searching and kind of landing there, she's getting she's capturing more of them. She turned off her automated welcome series that was, you know, that pitches, you know, more information about making the most of your time at the parks because it's not relevant at this moment. And she increased her frequency of her sense. All of almost all of the things that we talked about here that she did, she is living.

Jillian Leslie 49:55
Right and it seems counterintuitive because it's kind of like when you normally zig, you gotta zag. Right? And, if you catch people when they are vulnerable and you can comfort them or you can provide information or make them feel safe, they will be that much more loyal.

Matt Molen 50:19
I think that we have so much this audience, this group has a lot more to give. I think number one, we've got to pull ourselves out, we got to put our running shoes on, number two, we got to think about how we can serve our readers. Number three, we need to change a few things that we're currently doing and be prepared to change back.

Yes, it's not an all-time forever strategy I'm talking about for the right here right now. And we need but we can take action and we can, we can help many more people including ourselves in the process. Now there's a couple just to finish things off. Mainly my intention in talking with you today. Jillian, is not to sell anything. I have a free resource for people. If they want

To check it out and learn more about the quickstart guide, if they want to learn about how I write emails, and if they want to learn about this thing called the forever series, they can go to, it's free. There's three videos there. each one's about 10 minutes. It's, it's like I'm giving away a lot of a lot of stuff there. But it's awesome. And you can go put it in play right now, if you want. I,

Jillian Leslie 51:19
I just I was going to sing your praises. And I will say that you are my email guru. I learned so much from you, and you are the real deal.

Matt Molen 51:32
Well, I appreciate you saying so it's been it's a pleasure to work with you. Look, here's the thing. I do have a course, if, it's not out of place, I will put a 50% discount code on that. I don't think I've ever gotten that low before because given the circumstances, I'll give it to your readers. If any, if it happens to be the time you've got time you want to invest in email, maybe that course would be helpful to somebody out there. I'll give the code to you, Jillian. Good luck everybody.

Jillian Leslie 52:04
Okay Matt. How can people reach out to you if they have questions or want to learn more that kind of thing?

Matt Molen 52:13 is my website. My email course is called Email on autopilot. Discount code is: BLOGGERGENIUS to get 50% 0ff.

And yeah, hit me up. Anybody has a question, I'd love to hear what people do. I'd love to hear what changes do they make? Is there something that they put into play? This is a time to be creative. And I'm just throwing out ideas that popped into my head. I'm sure that there are, you know, some seriously creative folks out there that can turn this situation into a much more positive.

Jillian Leslie 52:47
Well, Matt, I have to say you I have so enjoyed this conversation. Thank you for getting me out of my stupor. You've gotten my wheels turning. You've made me excited. To figure out ways that I can serve my audience, and be proactive.

Matt Molen 53:09
I'm so glad it was helpful.

Join the MiloTree Mastermind Facebook Group Now!

Jillian Leslie 53:11
I hope this interview with Matt gave you the inspiration you need to move forward in your business and to see it in a whole new light. If you are looking for more community and want to especially in this uncertain time, be with other like-minded entrepreneurs and join me please join my Facebook group called the MiloTree Mastermind Group.

I'm in there all the time. And it's such a supportive community of like-minded bloggers and entrepreneurs, people just like you. And I feel like this is a time when we are alone isolated in our own homes, where we need to find ways to connect To feel like we are part of something bigger. So please again, head to Facebook, go Google, or Google search for the MiloTree Mastermind Group and please come join me. I would love to meet you. And I will see you here again next week. Please stay safe.