Cultivate Content Pillars Before Choosing an Email Platform

The benefits of email marketing are undeniable. Therefore, it’s no wonder countless businesses dive headfirst into building their email lists. You get a direct line to engaged readers, which offers a chance to nurture leads and the potential for huge growth. Building a loyal following requires a solid content foundation, therefore defining core pillars is where you should start.

Think of content pillars as sturdy support beams. Consequently, they hold up your email marketing house.

They’re the recurring themes and your cornerstone topics. Also, they’re your value propositions anchoring your messaging strategy. And resonate with your target audience. Choosing the right pillars is crucial as they’ll determine the direction of your content. It’s a mix of understanding what you can offer and what your audience craves. So, when you invest in laying a strong foundation – your content pillars, you’ll find them to be the compass guiding you toward email marketing success.

1. How to identify your content pillars

Know Your Audience:

    • Dive deep into their demographics and psychographics. What are their pain points, aspirations, and interests?
    • Conduct surveys and interviews. Get firsthand insights into their content preferences and challenges.
    • Analyze your competitors. Seek topics that resonate with their audience. And above all, identify potential gaps you can fill.

Define Your Value Proposition:

      • What unique expertise or perspective do you bring? What problems can you solve for your audience?
      • How will your content make their lives better, easier, or more fulfilling?

Inspiring pillar examples

Pillar 1: The Knowledge Curator

  • Become the go-to source for valuable industry insights. Share curated news, expert interviews, and actionable tips. As a result, it will position you as a trusted authority.
  • Offer in-depth guides and tutorials. When you break down complex topics into digestible chunks, you empower your audience to take action.
  • Host exclusive webinars and workshops. Provide high-value learning experiences that deepen engagement and build loyalty.

Pillar 2: The Transformation Guide

  • Map out actionable steps toward their goals. In addition, offer practical frameworks, actionable strategies, and inspiring success stories.
  • Share case studies and testimonials. Likewise, showcase examples of how your product or service has helped others achieve success.
  • Provide personalized coaching and support. Foster a community of like-minded individuals. Certainly, they can learn from each other and celebrate wins.

Pillar 3: The Entertainment Catalyst

  • Infuse your content with humor, storytelling, and personality. Make your emails a breath of fresh air, not another chore in their inbox.
  • Run interactive contests and quizzes. Gamify the learning process so it keeps your audience engaged.
  • Offer exclusive sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes insights. Build anticipation and most importantly foster a sense of belonging.

More specific examples

  1. For the productivity-obsessed: Pillars could be “Mastering Time Management.” They could also be “Conquering Email Overload.” Or, they could be “Boosting Focus and Flow.”
  2. As an aspiring entrepreneur: “Building a Thriving Business from Scratch,” “Crafting a Compelling Brand Story,” or “Scaling Your Side Hustle to Success” could be your guiding lights.
  3. For the health-conscious: You might offer pillars like “Delicious Nutritious Recipes,” “Holistic Wellness Hacks,” or “Mindful Movement for a Balanced Life.”

Remember, your content pillars should be:

  • Relevant: Aligned with your audience’s interests and needs.
  • Unique: Distinctive from your competitors and offer fresh value.
  • Sustainable: Fueling a consistent stream of engaging content.

In short, by taking time and effort to craft content pillars, you’ll attract the right audience. And build a loyal community that thrives on your unique offerings.

2. Messaging Strategy

With pillars in place, it’s time to define your messaging magic. Above all, focus on creating valuable, targeted content that aligns with your chosen content pillars. This is the voice and tone that will connect with your audience and differentiate you from the crowd.


  • Authenticity: Be genuine and relatable. Moreover, inject your personality and expertise into your content.
  • Clarity and conciseness: Communicate your message without jargon or fluff.
  • Value proposition: Articulate how your content will benefit your audience’s journey.
  • Craft compelling headlines and subject lines. These are your attention-grabbing hooks, so make them stand out.

To sum up, by injecting your unique voice and expertise, you’ll build a loyal community around your brand and achieve long-term email marketing success.

3. Choose an email service provider (ESP)

You started with putting content pillars in place, then you determined your messaging strategy. Subsequently, the next step is choosing an email service provider. Now it becomes a strategic decision. That is to say, you will know exactly which features and functionalities are needed to support your content strategy.

Look for platforms that:

  • offer audience segmentation tools
  • align with your budget

Remember, your email service provider (ESP) is the delivery system, however your content pillars are the driving force behind your email marketing success.

So, you’ve identified your content pillars – Certainly these sturdy cornerstones provide direction, ensure relevance, and fuel long-term engagement.

Firstly, you’ve explored inspiring examples and delved into specific pillars for different target audiences. Remember, your pillars should be relevant, unique, and sustainable, attracting the right audience and fostering a loyal community. However, your content pillars are not static. As your audience evolves and your understanding deepens, you’ll unearth themes that resonate with your readers. Therefore, adapt and refine them.

Secondly, it’s time to weave your messaging magic. Focus on creating valuable, targeted content that aligns with your chosen pillars. Likewise, infuse your messaging with authenticity, clarity, and a clear value proposition. To clarify, it’s not about broadcasting information; it’s about understanding your audience’s needs and delivering content that empowers and inspires them. In addition, craft captivating headlines and subject lines to grab attention.

Finally, choose an email service provider (ESP) that aligns with your strategic needs and budget. Remember, your ESP is the delivery system, while your content pillars are the driving force behind your email marketing success.

Follow the steps outlined above and nurture your content pillars, because it will help you to build a thriving email marketing strategy that resonates with your audience and fuels your business growth. Continuously gather feedback and refine your approach. Most importantly, have fun! 

Click here for 10 Must-Haves Inside Your Irresistible Lead Magnet.

laptop background with text of blog post title, defining your target audience for email marketing success

Before You Hit Send: Defining Your Target Audience for Email Marketing Success

Email marketing can be a powerful tool, but its effectiveness hinges on one crucial question: who are you talking to? In the digital age, blasting generic messages to a faceless “everyone” list simply doesn’t cut it. Additionally, to truly connect and convert, you need to understand your target audience intimately. This is where defining your target audience and creating an ideal customer profile (ICP) becomes your north star.

Why Defining Your Target Audience is so important?

Firstly, think of your target audience as the guests at your exclusive party. You wouldn’t send out generic invitations, right? You’d tailor the music, food, and conversation to their interests. Email marketing works the same way. By understanding your audience’s demographics, needs, pain points, and preferences, you can craft personalized, relevant messages that resonate and drive action.

Benefits of a Defined Target Audience:

list of benefits of a defined target audience with a mature aged woman writing notes in a journal

  • Higher open and click-through rates: Emails that speak directly to your defined audience’s interests are more likely to be opened and engaged with. Therefore, targeted emails will result in better metrics.
  • Improved conversion rates: When your message resonates, recipients are more likely to take the desired action. For example, when someone’s visiting your website, making a purchase, filling out forms or signing up for a service, you might specifically use language that they would use.
  • Stronger brand loyalty: Personalized communication builds trust. It helps to foster a connection with your audience, so that you encourage repeat business and brand advocacy.
  • Efficient use of resources: Knowing who you’re targeting allows you to focus your marketing efforts and budget on the channels and campaigns that deliver the most value.

The “How-Tos” of Defining Your Target Audience

Crafting Your Ideal Customer Profile:

  1. Demographics: Age, gender, location, income, education level, etc.
  2. Psychographics: Interests, values, lifestyle, personality traits, etc.
  3. Online behavior: Websites they visit, social media platforms they use, content they read, watch or interact with, etc.
  4. Pain points and challenges: Most importantly, what problems does your product or service solve for them?
  5. Goals and aspirations: What are they hoping to achieve?

Research Tools for Audience Insights:

  • Website analytics: Understand visitor demographics, behavior, and interests.
  • Social media analytics: Gain insights into your audience’s online discussions and preferences.
  • Customer surveys and interviews: Gather firsthand feedback and insights directly from your target audience.
  • Market research reports: Access industry data and trends relevant to your niche.

Lastly, remember, your target audience isn’t static.

As your business and the market evolve, your ICP may need to be refined. Regularly revisit your audience definition and update it based on new data and insights.

By investing time and effort into defining your target audience, you unlock the true potential of email marketing. You’ll craft messages that resonate, build meaningful relationships, so that you’ll ultimately achieve your business goals. So, before you hit send, take a step back and ask yourself: who are you talking to? The answer lies in the heart of email marketing success.

cover page of a checklist for essential elements needed to create a lead magnet

Once you’ve defined your target audience, it’ll be much easier to create your lead magnets.

Click here to get my Lead Magnet Checklist: 10 Key Ingredients for Creating Lead Magnets to Attract Email sign-ups.

Tan notebook cover on white desk with the title 3 favorite time saving digital & marketing tools

3 Favorite Time Saving Digital & Marketing Tools

I love it when I read about a new tech tool that someone raves about, but I’ve never heard of.  I immediately jot down the name, what it’s good for, and who recommended it. Sometimes if it’s so fascinating to me (I have ADHD), I’ll go right to it. And other times it gets transferred onto a list in Trello. Let’s see if these 3 Favorite Time Saving Digital & Marketing Tools make your list.

Check out more of my favorite tools.


This brings me to the first of my favorite digital & marketing tools!

#1. TRELLO (digital tool)

After five years, I’m still exploring all the features of this fabulous digital tool. It’s perfect for my needs right now. And did I mention it’s free?  At least the version I use is.

What it is.

Trello is a digital organizing tool that resembles bulletin boards. It’s also a task board. It’s a project management system. Let me explain.


You create workspaces (pages). And for each workspace, there are boards (columns). You 

assign your boards’ titles. Each board has a card underneath that you assign a task or a note, whatever you choose to do. You can drag your boards and your cards around the page. You can even copy a board to another workspace and move a card to it too. If you don’t want to start a workspace from scratch, you can search the templates that may already have the boards you want.


Trello boards can be used for flow charts, reminder lists, to-do lists, and “I need to look into that later” back burner list, that can be called up anytime.


Trello digital tool workspace and boards view

  • Name your boards whatever you wish.
  • Keep private boards.
  • Shared boards with others.
  • Color code boards and tasks.
  • Add attachments, files, and photos to cards.
  • Pretty boards and cards with photo screens.
  • Star important boards.
  • Delete boards.

The most fun I have with these boards is moving the cards around. 

Here’s an example of how I use Trello

Let’s say I have a board named for a client and I name the main board my clients name. And I have tasks to do Monday through Friday for that client. I create boards next to one another, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. And at the end, I have a board named Done.  If that Monday task doesn’t get done on Monday, I can just drag it to Tuesday. When I do complete the task, I drag that task card over to the Done board. Oh, the satisfaction of seeing that Done board fill up!


Another of my favorite digital & marketing tools!

#2. Buffer (marketing tool)

I’ve been a fan of Buffer for eight years. They have several plans from Free to Business to Pro plans.

What it is.

Buffer is a marketing tool but also a social media scheduling and content planning system.  I use it to manage my clients’ content and my own as well. Over the years, they’ve added platforms and as of this writing, they allow postings for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube shorts.  I have to say, I’m a big fan of the drag-and-drop system because I just realized my next tool also uses drag-and-drop. But let’s go over some of the cool features that I use and are really helpful.

Create Content Once

First of all, you create content once and post it on all five platforms with one click by choosing “share now”. Now, you won’t want to be sharing them all at the same time. That’s ill-advised when using social media for business purposes. But…you can.

A better option is to set up your dates and times for each platform and have the content pushed out at those designated times. More details are below on this feature.

Easy on the eyes

Visually, this publishing tool is so easy on the eyes.  It’s notBuffer digital and marketing tool interface complicated and you don’t even need a tutorial to learn how to use it. It’s that simple!

Here are some cool things you can do besides posting. You can preschedule, ok I think that’s a given. But you add a schedule that you want. Let’s use this example. I want the same post of mine to go out to Facebook on Monday, Instagram on Wednesday, LinkedIn on Friday, and Twitter on Saturday. You set up the schedule in advance just once and every time you create that piece of content and put it in the funnel, it enters a queue and is sent off on those days and times like magic, that’s right…like magic.

Want to throw a lot of content into Buffer, go ahead.  You can see all of your posts and photos when you scroll and you can change the order of the days by dragging a Monday to a Wednesday or vice versa. Want Buffer to shuffle your content, you can do that too.

Create Drafts

Not ready to schedule your posts, create drafts instead. You can edit them after saving them. And when you’re ready to share your drafts, you can schedule or send them immediately.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Go to to learn more.


Lastly, the most used of my  favorite digital & marketing tools!

#3 CONSTANT CONTACT (marketing tool)

You may be aware that I’ve been a Certified Partner with this brand. I’m approaching my 10-year anniversary soon! I’m able to offer a service to my clients that saves them both time and money while helping them grow their businesses using this resource.

What it is.

Constant Contact is an Email Service Provider (ESP) and a digital marketing tool. They have many more features than email marketing but I want to focus on that. First of all, they have a proven track record of success and helping small businesses grow for over 25 years. I like a solid company to partner with.

They have a simple drag-and-drop editor (as mentioned above) with a 3-part dashboard for creating email campaigns. Build-Images-Design. And hundreds of templates, most of which are done for you!

BUILDConstant Contact email service provider digital tool editor and email template
This area has “blocks” which are design placeholders you drag into a template for your content. Once the blocks are placed, you fill them in with content. The content I’m referring to is headlines, photos, text, buttons, social media sharing, etc.

This is your library of photos that you’ve uploaded into your account or want to upload into it and add to your emails.

This is your branding portal. It features backgrounds, borders, fonts, and buttons. You choose the colors, font types, and sizes here.

The Constant Contact software is extensive but it’s simple to use once you start using it regularly. Just like any new system you try has a learning curve. The advantage for you is that I’m a Constant Contact Certified Partner and can get you up to speed quickly, helping you with shortcuts. Even better, I can create, design and send your emails or you!

These three favorite time-saving digital and marketing tools might be just what you need if you want to be more productive, organized, and consistent with your marketing efforts.

Constant contact marketing tool logo

Try Constant Contact for 60 days free.

No credit card is required.

A Guide to Nearly Everything Email Marketing

Think of this blog post as a guide for everything email marketing. 

  • learn why email marketing is an essential business tool, 
  • how you should be using email marketing, 
  • best practices in crafting email campaigns, 
  • the different types of email campaigns, 
  • the essential components of an email, 
  • how to get your emails opened and read and 
  • checking your metrics to see what’s working and what needs improvement.


Email marketing is a communications tool with a professional look that delivers relevant content to an interested audience. It is intended to elicit an action by the reader. This is known as a CTA (call to action).  The CTA gets the reader to respond in the way of a visit to the sender’s website, or a link to a guide or white paper, a download, coupon redemption, etc.. to increase sales, production, or whatever your business goal is.

WHY USE EMAIL MARKETING? Email marketing has a high rate of ROI (return on investment) and when used properly is a very effective business tool. It will help you create and increase brand awareness, can drive new business, and trigger repeat business. Plus it has 3x the conversion rate of social media marketing. Email marketing used with social media will garner the best results for sales conversions.


Email campaigns consist of different types of messages. Newsletters, coupons, surveys, promotions, flyers, and events are all examples of email campaigns.  Depending on the CTA, this will determine the type of campaign you’ll want to create. 

  • For example, a NEWSLETTER is a long-form email with lengthy content and could simply be informational.  Many not for profits use a monthly newsletter. Because donors have a keen interest in their cause, they are more likely to read a longer message. They want to see how the organization’s mission is being carried out. Or how funds are being allocated. Their CTA might include a donation button to collect charitable funding.
  • A FLYER on the other hand is usually a short and more creative type campaign where an event is taking place or a sale is being promoted. In this case, it would act like a “notice”. The CTA would most likely be a registration button or an RSVP link.  It would also include the date, time, and location of the event.
  • A PROMOTION email will usually include an offer or coupon code in the email body.  This offer would be in the form of a button or link that might say “shop now” or “buy here” and can take the reader to a website or product purchase.
  • An EVENT email will include a registration form that is created separately but accessed when the registration link is clicked. The form should include a longer description of the event, the date, time, location, map, and event fee (if applicable). The fee can be collected directly from the form using a credit or debit card through We Pay or PayPal. You have the option also to collect payment at the door on the day of the event.


Depending on the type of business one has will determine the type of campaign they will use and also the frequency that they send them.  There are industry trends that dictate this as well.  However, nothing in marketing is set in stone.  Each business will need to use the tried and true method of testing in determining what works best for them and their audience.

In general, a not-for-profit with an informational email campaign typically includes a culmination of articles and sends as a monthly update. On the other hand, a small local business might send a bi-weekly or weekly email.  Many larger retailers send out emails more than once per week.  Restaurants can do well by sending weekly emails.  They may have weekly specials, announce a menu change, or showcase live music and want to include special offers.  With more offerings, the frequency of your message can follow suit.

Event emails are date-driven. Their frequency will differ from informational campaigns. Email calendar planning must be in place at least 6 weeks prior for successful attendance. Even further in advance if it’s an annual event with an expected attendance rate that is significantly higher. 

To make sure your readers are keeping interested and not unsubscribing from your list, you may want to send out a periodical SURVEY to gather information and reports. Content could be about what they’d like to read more about, less about, and give feedback. This is also an opportunity to get the necessary information in order to SEGMENT your email list. When considering adding a new product or service to your line, here is where you can find out the level of interest before you actually roll it out. 

Let’s get to the MAIN COMPONENTS of crafting an effective email campaign. At the least, you most certainly should include:

  • Your logo
  • A picture relating to your content
  • A CTA (call to action)
  • Signature or contact information
  • Your website link


These are the 5 steps to master the power of the inbox:

  1. Growing a healthy email list
  2. Creating great content
  3. Using and customizing a mobile-friendly template
  4. Getting your emails opened
  5. Tracking your results

(source Constant Contact)

Let’s start with growing your email list. This is where most people get stopped in their tracks. They have no idea how to grow their email list.  Here are some ideas:

OFFLINE– Keep a printable customized paper signup form and leave it at the checkout counter or check-in counter of your place of business. You can use the same form at any expo that you take part in or at an event that you organize. Another idea is to set up a fishbowl at your store. If you don’t have a storefront, collaborate with a local restaurant. Raffle a gift card from the restaurant and collect business cards in the fishbowl. You want to build a permission-based email list, so make sure you let the participants know in writing that when they enter the raffle they will also have opted in to your email list. These are some simple ideas. You can get creative with your ideas. Even without a list, you can still send out emails to most of your social media networks. Use the dedicated link that is attached to your email campaign. 

ONLINE– Start with a sign-up form on your website. Write a blog and include your sign-up link in it. Use social media signup tools. Add a signup form on your Facebook page (Constant Contact.) Include the signup link in your social media posts. Try Constant Contact’s feature, Text to Join. You choose a keyword, and an autoresponder with a default message appears once they enter a predetermined number to text to. The subscriber is then prompted to enter their email address. After it’s entered, another autoresponder will thank them and let them know that they are now subscribed to your list. You can customize your message, notify the subscriber of your email frequency and the type of content you’ll be sharing with them. It’s important to know that people aren’t always open to being added to an email list. Unless there is a good reason for them to sign up (remember the acronym WIIFM).

With this in mind, you should be willing to have an enticing incentive for your subscribers to sign up. Take some time to think about the reason someone would sign up for your emails. What one-time offer are you willing to give away? It could be a 20% discount on a first-time order or an exclusive offer that only email subscribers would be privy to. What about a download of an informational guide that only they can get access to? Make it something special. Don’t forget to let subscribers know what types of content they’ll receive and how often they should expect to hear from you.

CONTENT– What makes good content? It should be entertaining, educational, visual, informational, or promotional. Keep this ratio in mind as you create your content calendar: 50% of your content should be entertaining and informational, 30% educational, and 20% promotional. It’s the 50, 30, 20 rule. Let’s move deeper into what this means.

  1. Entertaining and informational-use your sense of humor. Don’t go too far. Add in an informational component.
  2. Educational- “Did you know?” moments. What information do you have or possess that they don’t have access to?
  3. Promotional- This is all about you- why people should use your services or buy your product…etc.

Now, for the amount of content. Keep in mind that people are time-starved and most are now reading emails on their smartphones. Less is more, shorter is better. About 20 lines of text is enough. If you must include more, then you should include a link or button to “read more”.

TEMPLATES– You’ll need to make sure you choose and use mobile-friendly templates because more than 50% of all emails are opened on a smartphone. A template that is not mobile-friendly won’t show up properly on a smaller device as it would on a desktop or laptop. The page may be cut off, the formatting could be lost, and it would be harder for the reader to understand the message.

GETTING YOUR EMAIL OPENED– There are specific rules to follow when it comes to the sender of the email. How does the subscriber know you? Is it the product you sell, your nickname, or your company name that they recognize? The best practice is to have both your first and last name and your company name. This way you are pretty much covered and people will recognize the sender. This is a major consideration because you definitely don’t want someone deleting your email before they even get the chance to see what’s in it! 

THE SUBJECT LINE– Here is the second most important item when trying to get your email opened. How do you create an open-worthy email? The first thing to know is to create the subject line after you have created your email message. The main message of your email will dictate the core idea of your campaign. Once you’ve completed the content, you’ll find it easier to craft a simple, yet catchy subject line. A rule of thumb is for the subject line to be 6-11 words. That has shown to get the best open rates.  The more generic or vague a subject line, the less interesting it is for the reader. An example of a vague subject line is ”Summer Newsletter Happenings”.As opposed to a more creative and enticing one, such as “ 3 Fun Events in July”. 

Make sure to avoid SPAMMY words or phrases like, “Act Now”, “You’ve Won” or ”Make Money” and refrain from ALL CAPS and excessive punctuation!!!! These are all no-nos in email marketing. A good way to double-check you’re not using spam-like words is to look in your own spam inbox. See what kinds of inappropriate subject lines are there and then avoid them at all costs.

ANALYTICS– Many people overlook this most important task. Checking email campaign reports. The reason this task is so important and should not be skipped as part of your overall strategy is that it’s what will guide you going forward. It will tell you what is and what is not working. Use this important information as a guide to making better decisions about better subject lines, better content, and better send times.

Which reporting should you focus on? The opens of course and even more importantly the clicks. The click is the call to action. Figure out what’s most important to you, your opens or your clicks. Make sure that you also check your bounces and remove them to make room for quality people who do want to hear from you. Adjust your strategy based on your reporting.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHARE-Any email marketing service you choose or use should include a social share button. The social share buttons allow you to send your email to a whole new audience. Everyone who is not on your email list but who you are connected to on popular social media platforms. Most notably Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. If your email service provider doesn’t offer social share, then you should include an email link that you can cut and paste into your posts. Except for Instagram, as you can only add the link in the bio section of your account).  As you’re building an email list, you can still use email marketing with success by sending the campaigns to your followers and connections.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER– A tried and true approach to the design of your campaigns is to:

  • Create a non-spammy subject line with 6-11 words
  • Craft the subject line AFTER you have entered the content
  • Make sure your subscriber knows immediately who it is from
  • Keep content short, under 20 lines of text
  • Use a “read more” button if you need to expand on your content
  • Apply your brand colors
  • Include your logo, a CTA, website, and contact info
  • Keep your CTA above the scroll line
  • Include a clickable, clear picture that relates to your content
  • Limit the number of pictures to three
  • The more links you insert, the fewer clicks you’ll get


  • Consistently grow your email list with opt-in features and never buy a list.
  • Create a content calendar – use either a holiday calendar as your guide or decide on your mailing frequency. Then create the topics in advance so you have everything ready and planned in advance. This will keep you on schedule.

So, there are a lot of things to consider when creating email marketing campaigns. But as long as you start with these tips, you will get better and better at crafting and designing. And new ideas will spur. Before you know it, you’ll be a real pro!



Want more ideas?
Download my free guide to help you get more leads on your email list.

Push Sales Without Being Pushy

By Adrian Miller, Guest Blogger
Adrian Miller Sales Training

Within reason, it’s nice to be prepared. Why not? If you’re going to a sales meeting, it’s good to know the playing field and what you’re there to do…and what you aren’t there to do. If you’re meeting a prospect and establishing a relationship, it’s good to know the marketplace, the competition, what makes your stuff better than the other seller’s stuff, and so on. All of this is good.

Yet sometimes good things turn bad. And this can happen to well-prepared sales professionals; often without their awareness. It’s kind of scary in that way. Kind of like a horror movie.

Prepared sales professionals can become so identified with their agenda, that they stop seeing the prospect as an actual person with actual power. Instead, they see their own agenda and nothing else. And this makes them one of those awful, stereotypical pushy sales types that everyone hates and refuses to do business with.

What happened here? How did things get so messed up? The keyword is preparation. Yes, be prepared. But don’t put your preparation ahead of the actual reality of your interaction with the prospect. In other words: use your preparation as a framework; not as a recipe. Use your preparation as a launching pad, not as a cage.

Sounds good “in theory”, right? Sure – but what about real life? How can you avoid becoming a pushy salesperson or, indeed, stop being one if you happen to cross that line from time to time? Easy.

Do these things:

  • Use questions

    Probe what your unique prospect wants. Build your presentation (be it formal or informal) around that response. Often, your prospect hasn’t fully developed her or his requirements or expectations. That’s fine. They don’t have to; they aren’t trying to sell their needs to you, you’re trying to sell your solution to them. So patiently and effectively find out what is of value to the prospect, and use that as the guide.


  • Practice being “high touch, low pressure.”

    In fact, you can use this as a mantra and repeat it to yourself while sitting in traffic jams, or in elevators, or in line at the bank. High touch, low pressure. Om. Ommmmmmm. “High touch” simply means that you’re interacting authentically and responsively with your prospect. You’re finding out what they need and helping them create a prediction of a solution – one that you’ll provide, of course. “Low pressure” is self-explanatory.

Build your sales effort/experience around solution. You exist, professionally, to help people solve
problems and exploit beneficial opportunities. The way you do this is through sales.

Always remember this: the solution part of what you do comes before the sales. Your prospect doesn’t see you as a sales professional; he or she sees you as a potential solution. See the world through the eyes of your prospect and you’ll never become pushy.

3 Books Aspiring Entrepreneurs Should Read

Books, especially professional development books, are my favorite to read! 

People cannot believe that I don’t enjoy reading fiction all that much.  I did as a child but I love to learn. And for me, the best way to learn is by reading real-life stories of what people before me, did to get them where they are! Everyone has their own definition of success and I’m so curious to know how they achieved it on their own terms.

I love to get book recommendations from mentors and others in my industry. Or in the business and entrepreneurial space.

Over the past two years, I’ve learned more from the following books than in the last 10. All from people I admire.

If you’re looking for a business idea or your zone of genius, want to master a strategy, or get more s&!t done, these are 3 books that will get you on track!


#1. Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo.

For those who don’t know who she is, Marie is a sought after Business Coach. She started hustling as a young 20 something and did not know what she wanted to do. She struggled to find joy after landing dream jobs that were unfulfilling. She worked as a bartender, at a fashion magazine, as a hip-hop dancer, and more. It wasn’t until a new business category in the 1990s popped up on her radar; Coach. But more specifically, a business coach.  Marie loved the idea and always enjoyed helping people. This was the start of her new career.

Decades later, Marie is at the top in her field. She’s a NY Times best-selling author with a TV show. And a digital course creator selling her version of Business School. With students in all parts of the world, she still loves helping others live a life they love!

“Everything is Figureoutable” offers inspiration, tactical advice, real-life experiences, and explains how her clients found clarity in their lives. It’s an advice book and a workbook with lessons, instructions, and journaling inside the 10 chapter book.

Everything Is Figureoutable answers the question of how? With any situation in life and business, you can figure it out. By people who have already done what you want to do or by finding people who want to help you do what you want to do. There is no stopping you! There are excuses and negative self-talk stopping you from having everything you desire.

If you’re looking to create a life you love and make the most of it, this book is for you!

#2. School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

This book is a self-help book that takes you from broke to woke! It touches on all facets of your life. From physical to spiritual and everything in-between.

It discusses principles of achievement and the intention of bettering yourself every day.  That may sound overwhelming. But this is advice from a professional athlete. Athletes must have an intense focus to achieve what we regular folk might consider overreaching. Lewis writes in a way that clarifies the steps needed to do this in its simplest form. If you’re looking to improve even one facet of yourself, he goes into great detail about what it takes.

There’s overlap for good reason. As sometimes habits cross over into different parts of a person’s life. Creating new systems and following daily habits get you to achieve greatness. It sounds simple, but we all know how hard it can be when unforeseen obstacles prevent us from being perfect. It’s ok to have a set back as long as we get right back up and acknowledge that we are human!

I love Lewis’s story of perseverance. He goes from being an all-star athlete to succumbing to an injury that has devastated him. He becomes broke and resorts to living on his brother’s couch feeling life has dealt him a bum hand. But he has an epiphany and gets back on his feet to achieve all-star status again by not giving up on his dream!

He retired from sports and is an entrepreneur. He coaches other people to achieve greatness as he did.

#3. Atomic Habits by James Clear

How to build good habits and break bad ones is very appealing, isn’t it?

This book is all about behavioral changes, not goal-setting, per se.  When you set a goal, you may not know the way to get to the endpoint. Instead of checking items off your list of goals, change your behavior to reach them. By improving a habit by 1% on a regular basis, you can change your life’s trajectory.

There’s a lot of psychology and self-awareness references from the author. It’s eye-opening. If you love to learn new ways to do things. If your current way of doing things isn’t getting you to where you want to go, put in place the ideas given in this book.  You’ll get specific instructions and you will need to make these lasting habits. It’s not a quick-fix but a long haul to making your dreams a reality. It is a lifestyle.

Soon the habits will become second nature like brushing your teeth. You need to do something again and again (how many times differs for each individual) to make a daily habit stick.  It’s hard to keep doing something when you’re not used to doing it. So you need to create reminders for yourself to make this work for you. The more automatic a behavior becomes, the less likely you are to think about it.

 The four principles in this book encompass how to make a good habit desirable, and stick.

 They are: make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying.

 Other juicy tidbits to chew on include:

 “Where you’re going is more important than where you are.”

 “Your systems to reach your goals matter more than the goals you set.”

 “It is the anticipation of a reward—not the fulfillment of it—that gets us to take action. The greater the anticipation, the greater the dopamine spike.”

 “Create a motivation ritual by doing something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit.”  

 “Human behavior follows the Law of Least Effort.”

 “We will naturally gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of work.”

 “To get a habit to stick you need to feel immediately successful—even if it’s in a small way.”

 “Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery”

James is known for touting his popular weekly email newsletter. Where he shares his 3 short ideas, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question to ponder. His email subscriber list is over 1 million.  He’s made it a good habit!

Interested in reading any or all three of these best-selling business books?  You can purchase them here.


Favorite Time-Saving Digital Tools

Don’t you love it when you read about a new tech tool that someone raves about, but you’ve yet to hear of?  I do!

I immediately jot the name down, what it’s used for, and who recommended it. Sometimes if it’s so fascinating, I’ll go right to it and other times it gets transferred onto a list in Trello.
This takes me to my first favorite time-saving digital tool!

After two years, I still don’t know or use all the features of this fabulous tool. Whatever I am using it for, it is perfect for my needs right now. And did I mention it’s free?  At least the version I use is.
What it is.
It’s a task board. It’s also many task boards. There’s the main page with the boards you create. You assign your boards’ titles. Each board has a card. You can drag your boards and your cards around the page.
Use the boards like flow charts, reminders, or to-do lists. I have an “I need to look into that later” back burner list, that I can call up anytime. You can name your boards whatever you wish. You can assign private or shared boards with someone else who uses Trello. You can color-code your boards and your tasks. You can add an attachment, a file, and photos. You can make your boards pretty with photo backgrounds from their library or you can upload your own. You can star important boards and delete boards. The most fun I have with these boards is moving the cards around by dragging and dropping them.
Here’s an example. Let’s say I have a board named for a client and I name the mainboard my client’s name. And I have tasks to do Monday through Friday for that client. I create boards next to one another (left to right). Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And at the far right end, I have a board named “Done”.  If that Monday task doesn’t get done on Monday, I cat drag it to Tuesday. When I do complete the task, I drag that task card over to the Done board.
Oh, the satisfaction of seeing that Done board fill up!

I’ve been a fan of Buffer for five years now. They have several plans from free to business to Pro plans.
What it is.
It’s a social media scheduling system. I use it to manage my clients’ content and my own as well. Over the years, they’ve added social media platforms. As of this writing, they allow postings for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  I must say, I’m a big fan of the drag and drop system because I just realized my next tool also uses drag and drop. But let’s go over some of the cool features that I use which are super helpful.
First of all, you create content once and share it to all four platforms with one click. Now you won’t want to be sharing them all at the same time. That’s a no-no when using social media for business purposes. But…you can.
This publishing tool is so easy on the eyes. It’s visually pleasing.  It’s not complicated and you don’t even need a tutorial to learn how to use it. It’s that simple!
Here are some cool things you can do besides posting. You can preschedule, ok that’s a given. But you add a posting schedule that you want. Let’s use this example. I choose a post to send to Facebook on Monday, Instagram on Wednesday, LinkedIn on Friday, and Twitter on Saturday. You set up the schedule once in advance. Each time you create a piece of content and put it in the funnel, it enters a queue. And then it sends off on the schedule you created like magic, that’s right…like magic.
Want to throw a lot of content into Buffer, go ahead.  You can see all posts and photos when you scroll. And you can change the order of the days by dragging a Monday to a Wednesday or vice versa. Want Buffer to mix up your posts after adding a lot of content to your account queue? They’ll shuffle them into a completely random order and send them out.
First of all, I’m a partner so I know a lot more about the features of Constant Contact. And I delve into them more often than the average person.
What it is.
Email marketing is my jam, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t include an email marketing service on this list. There are several reasons I love using this software.  There are so many cool things that Constant Contact does outside of email marketing. The best part is it’s all inside the dashboard so it’s easily accessible and integrated.

Let’s go through some of the features one by one.  Starting with the obvious. Their core product is email marketing.

And below that is a list of  all their services:
Email – Create professional emails to send to targeted groups of your subscribers. And get more sales! The drag and drop feature is user-friendly.
They have hundreds of customizable templates and done for you holiday templates.
A library of paid and free stock photos is available so you don’t have to go outside the platform to search.
Share your emails to social media platforms so those who aren’t already on your list can get access.
Use the Facebook sign up form to entice new subscribers onto your email list.
One more thing I’ll mention. Text To Join. You can use this feature to capture emails. It’s not texting subscribers with messages. It’s an automation tool that you set up once with a keyword of your choice. New subscribers enter the keyword you give them. They receive an automated request asking them to join your list. After they enter their email address, they get an automated thank you email. Now, they’re on your list. Cool, huh?
Automation – Send premade emails automatically. When users click, join, or buy on a trigger you create. Time saver!
Social Post – Get the word out on your social media networks. Use the built-in scheduler inside the dashboard.
Ads – Create Google ads and social ads inside the dashboard with easy setup options. Remove a lot of the guesswork. Constant Contact moves you through a flow.
Events – Find out who’s coming to your event using registration forms and payment collection. Create, promote, and manage your events.
Surveys – Create and send. Get fast feedback and use it as market research for better emails.
Landing pages – Mini websites to host forms, opt-ins, products, sales, and coupons.
Stores & Websites – Sell from your emails using e-commerce capabilities. Use their simple web builder to create your custom website.

Want to try Constant Contact 60 days for free? Sign up here.