Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit

User Generated Content and the Value of Your Website

October 04, 2022 Sasha - Business Strategist Season 1 Episode 42
Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit
User Generated Content and the Value of Your Website
Show Notes Transcript

Did you know that you can have other people create content for you for free?! You probably haven't heard of user-generated content, but it's one of the best ways to have others market your business and give you content for your website and social media.  In this episode, I'm talking to Lorraine Ball, founder of the Digital Toolbox Community, about why your website is way more valuable than your social media and how user-generated content can help you market your business through the words of others.

After spending too many years in Corporate America, Lorraine said goodbye to the bureaucracy, glass ceilings, and bad coffee and followed her passion to help small business owners succeed. Today, this successful entrepreneur, author, professional speaker, and host of a weekly marketing podcast, More than a Few Words, bring creative ideas, practical tips, and decades of real-world experience to every conversation.

As the founder of the Digital Toolbox Community, she helps business owners use internet marketing to grow. And in her spare time, she loves to travel, and take photos.

Digital Toolbox is an online marketing community for business owners.  Filled with tools, tips, training programs, and real-time discussions you will find the answers to all your digital marketing questions.

Episode Transcript

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Sasha:

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Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Thank you, this is so much fun. I I love talking about marketing. So I'm looking forward to the conversation.

Sasha:

This is awesome. I just did an episode last week about marketing mistakes to avoid. And so I think this is a really good follow up to kind of things we should be doing instead as far as marketing. So why don't you first tell us a little bit more about your business and kind of how you got into marketing and things like that.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

So I'll give you the shorter version, because the long version goes on way, way too long. And we don't have time for that. But really, and truly, I was never going to be a marketer, I was going to be an accountant, I was going to do computer programming, blah, blah, blah. And all my professors were like, you know, you're kind of wired like a marketing person. And so fortunately, once in my life, I listened to somebody else and ended up in marketing. I still lean on all of those quantitative skills. And I think that good marketing is rooted in the numbers. And so I always hold on to that, but I definitely love marketing. I've done corporate traditional marketing, I had an agency, and I started doing the training for my clients. When I sold the agency 18 months ago, I kept the training piece. And so that's where the Digital Toolbox is now and it is tools and resources for businesses mostly in the earlier stages when they're trying to figure out how all this works.

Sasha:

That's awesome. So one of the questions I want to ask you because I talked a little bit about this on my last episode is one of those mistakes I see a lot of people making is not having a website. And I personally, it's a really big pet peeve of mine. I see so many people who on their social media, it's just like a linktree with different links to certain things, but not necessarily a website. So I wanted to ask your opinion on which do you think is more valuable? Do you just need social media? Should you have a website? What? What do you think?

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

So my attitude on social media is that it's a lot like going to a singles bar. You're gonna meet a lot of nice people, you're gonna have great conversations, but the end game is to bring your date home. Home is your website. Home is your email list, where you can have a one on one conversation without the distractions of the kittens, the babies, the food, porn, you name it. So that's the first thing. The second thing is that in any other area of your life, would you completely give up control? I mean, anytime somebody says to me, you know, I'm just gonna have a Facebook page. Really? You're gonna give Mark Zuckerberg control over your business?

Sasha:

I... everything that you're saying, oh, like, yes. I because it reminds me of a couple of months ago... I don't know, my concept of time has gone out the window at this point.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Well, they did that to all of us.

Sasha:

Yeah. But when Instagram and Facebook went down, and everyone was scrambling, and they're like, how am I supposed to talk to my people? So all these emails showing up in people's inboxes? Like, no, we're still here, like, visit our website. It was as if people forgot that websites exist. And that's always my point. It's that you own your web site. Why do you want to have such a large part of your business relying on something that you have absolutely no control over?

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Absolutely. I mean, I, you know, I've done this a long time. And I remember Facebook, when they first started courting businesses, you know, it was just a social platform. And they came out with this really cool concept that you could create a Facebook landing page. And they were very cool. You actually wrote them and designed in a code called FBML. That was Facebook's own markup language. And I had clients who spent money and paid us to build these pages. And it was a nice little business for me. They were happy. And one day, Facebook changed the dimensions on all of the pages. And all of my clients were like, what the... And I remember being at a conference with somebody said this was happening, and from the back of the room, you heard me all over that auditorium. I mean, it was just not lady-like language. So then Facebook decided after we completely rebuilt all these pages, that they weren't a good idea, and they just went away. And so you had all of these businesses that had invested in this design that was completely worthless? Had they paid us instead to build custom landing pages on their website, they would have still had something of value.

Sasha:

Yeah, it's putting too much of your eggs in a single basket. When the baskets not even yours, like you have, you can't control anything about that basket. And so I appreciate that so much. And it's always interesting to me, because I do hear people who are like, Oh, you don't need a website. You can I get all my clients from Facebook, or I just get all my clients from Instagram, and DMs and things like that. And it's like, but what if that goes away? Or with Instagram? They're constantly changing the algorithm. So what if your content is not being seen? How are you supposed to get business from that? And so I appreciate so much that you're advocating for the same thing that I am. I do want to ask, though, because I think a lot of people, the conversation then goes to how do you then once you get people to your website, how do you then turn those people into potential clients of yours? And then it's the clients who are going to love you. What would you suggest for that?

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

So every page on your website should have what I call a logical next step. You should never let somebody get to the bottom of a page and go, oh, that was nice and leave. It's kind of like it and I know a lot of people won't even may not get this reference. But there used to be a thing called late night television commercials. Like if you were awake at three in the morning and you were channel surfing, you'd see these ads for a set of kitchen knives. And every time you thought they were done, they'd be like, Wait, there's more! That attitude that"and wait there's more" should be on every page of your website. And often it gets obnoxious if it's always but that next step should always be one to learn more, give us your email address. Are you curious about this download this guide. I'd say, now 10 years ago, you could say sign up for our newsletter and people actually did. Unless you give me something in the moment that I absolutely cannot live without, I ain't giving you my email address, I got too much stuff in my inbox. But if you break the code and you know... give you examples... worked with a client who had sold hardwood flooring. We gave away a free how to buy hardwood floor flooring guide. And so it was things. It wasn't a sales pitch it was information. So for any business, offer your prospects something that they're like, Oh, I could use that and trade you for an email.

Sasha:

Yeah, that's one thing that I advocate a lot for that too, because it's it's not... I don't like being salesy. I, as much as being a business owner, you have to be, I hate being salesy. But if you're giving value, then you're more likely to have someone say, Oh, I could use this. So let me sign up for their list. And then that's where you can kind of nurture that relationship even more and turn them into a client.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Absolutely. And I'll give you one other trick on that is quizzes.

Sasha:

Yeah.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Please love...

Sasha:

Yeah

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

We are a sucker for a good quiz. And if the quiz gives me value, if when I'm done, I'm going to get a little bit of information. So think about a short quiz. And the best part of a good quiz. Not only do you have their email address, but now you know something about them.

Sasha:

Yes. I love that I actually have a quiz on my website, it's for like figuring out your entrepreneur archetype. And so it tells you like, you know, how you handle business and maybe what your struggles are. And before you get the results, you have to put in your email address.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

And people once they invest the time in doing the quiz, they'll give you their email.

Sasha:

Yes, I love that advice. It's because I mean, who doesn't like finding out something in a short little quiz about themselves?

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

We can't resist it.

Sasha:

I did want to ask you too about something that not too many people I think are familiar with, but that can be helpful is the concept of user generated content. So would you be able to kind of talk a little bit about what that is, and how it benefits people.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

So USG, the way I explain it to people is a lot of times, there's an old adage that you, you want to start your business with OPM, other people's money. You want loans, you want investment, that you use that extra money to grow. That's how you expand in a way. User Generated Content is just OPC - other people's content. Now, it's not a matter of stealing content from other people. But it's a matter of asking people to tell you things. So whether you think... Reviews are the best example of user generated content, of course, you know, you ask people to give you a review. Now you've got this nice write up. You didn't write it. It's in their language. It's beautiful. But you can do contests. One of my favorite examples is and I kind of borrowed this for something I did. Jimmy Fallon will do this, he'll ask a question on Twitter, he'll get a bunch of answers. And then that night, his writers can put their feet up, because he's gonna read from Twitter, right? I put a note up on Twitter, I have a bunch of friends that are all part of a chat group. And I tagged it with the chat and I said, Hey, I'm writing a blog post about this. How would you answer the question? I ended up with five or six different good answers, put them together. And now I had a blog post. And the best part of that blog post, not only was it easy, every one of those people, I tagged them when I shared it on social media. And guess what they did?

Sasha:

They shared your content then Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, I think people don't realize that. It's almost like a word of mouth but in a more specific way. And people are more likely to want to check out your business or want to look into your business when it's coming from other people. When it's other people who are talking about it than just you and that's a great way to kind of go about getting that.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

I guess some ridiculous statistic that I don't know, 80% of people will check online reviews before they buy something and they are more likely to take the word of a complete stranger, complete stranger, if it's written in the form of a credible review. So the power of leveraging and encouraging and and not letting it just happen by accident, but actively soliciting reviews and comments and questions is really powerful.

Sasha:

I like that. Thank you so much for sharing that because again, I don't think it's a lot of a lot of people have heard of the term user generated content and don't realize like how helpful it can be. And people you can use things like this.... I'm a part of a lot of Facebook groups, and I have my own Facebook group, the Strategy for Creatives Facebook group, I will ask questions all the time in my Facebook group, or you know, what, what are business books that you're reading, or what's a problem that you're facing in your business right now. And then I use that to come up with content that I can then a share, either on a blog post or an email or an Instagram reel, or something like that. So it's also just a great way to get to know your audience and your community and give them back kind of the information that they're looking for.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Absolutely. And it can also be used to create new products. One of my favorite examples of USG is Lay's potato chips. They run a contest every year, asking people what flavor potato chip and they... southern biscuit potato chip. Who know this was a thing! But you know, you can get you can get great engagement. And at the end of the day, social media is about ego.

Sasha:

Yeah

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

We all want to be noticed. We all want people to respond positively to the things that we say. And so if you asked me a question, and I give you an answer, and you comment, you share, you reply, you use it, I am way more likely to be connected to you and to your brand. The next time you share something,

Sasha:

Yeah, I call it the like, know trust factor. That's what I call it on my show. And that's exactly it's, it's letting people feel that connection, and then they're more likely to buy from you.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Absolutely.

Sasha:

So before we wrap up, I just wanted to ask, if you had to give one quick tip marketing that someone can do in their business today, something that maybe doesn't take a long time, or that's easy to do, what would you suggest that people could do in their business?

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

I think the most important thing that you can do is to sit down and make a list of the top 10 questions you get asked on a regular basis. And then answer them. I know that sounds silly, but answer them on your website. Answer them in social media. I did a test project one time for a client, we were working on improving the SEO on his website. And one of the questions that he got asked all the time was what's the best floor to put in my kitchen? Do you know that I searched from one end of his website to the other and he had a big website, nowhere on the site did he answer the question. Because it was it was something that his sales guys were answering all the time. They never thought about answering that question in digital media.

Sasha:

It was just like too, too simple almost.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Today, that blog post that we wrote on the best flooring types for your kitchen. That blog post is 10 years old, and it still gets traffic every single week.

Sasha:

Of course, yeah. And I people don't realize that once your in business for a while, and even when you're just starting your business, you will get asked the same things over and over again. Like I know, in my business, it's I don't know what kind of systems I should have, or, you know, do I need email marketing? And you know, sometimes it's even more simple than that. And if you just answer those questions in a blog post, and then if you turn around and put it on someplace like Pinterest, which is always popping up content, then you will always have people coming to your site, because they're always searching this question. And if you're popping up as a reliable source for it, they're more likely to then go to other places in your website, which goes back to the beginning of why you need a website.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and I mean, there's so many so many great tricks to building on that whole idea of answering questions. But at the end of the day, people go to Google. I know there are other search engines, but let's face it, Google runs the internet. So they go to Google with a question. And if you've got the best answer...

Sasha:

Yep, you'll always pop up. Yep. Well, I just want to thank you so much for giving some marketing tips. I'm actually really happy because you just reiterated a lot of the things that I share on my show. So it's nice that for my audience to hear it from someone else, as well, because I, I do think marketing is so hard when you're starting your business and trying to figure out what you should be doing and what you shouldn't be doing. So I appreciate you coming on the show and just talking about that with me today. You can Lorraine, she's at at Digitaltoolbox.club. I will leave her website in the show notes for you guys. Just to kind of reiterate what it is, is she has an online marketing community for business owners and it has the digital toolbox is filled with tools, tips, training programs, real time discussions, and you'll find answers to a lot of your digital marketing questions. So I will make sure to put all of that in the show notes so you guys can check her out. But Lorraine, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Lorraine, Digital Toolbox Community:

Thank you. This was a lot of fun.

Sasha:

Thank you. Are you ready to uplevel your business? Join the five day be your own CEO challenge. All the details are available on the website at www.by-sasha.com. If you liked what you heard, make sure you rate and review. It really helps other people find the show. And of course, following subscribe on your favorite podcast platforms. Want to follow me on social? I'm on Instagram and Facebook at Strategy By Sasha. Make sure you tune in next Tuesday for more business tips. Part of the Boundless Audio Podcast Network