Welcome back to another episode of AskPat—the first of 2019!
My first guest of 2019 is Pam Farley, a blogger and author who focuses on natural products, healthy eating, and gardening—she’s got a great site called BrownThumbMama.com. Pam recently created some content that didn’t perform as well as she expected. Based on a survey, she found that most of her audience wasn’t the avatar she had thought; she attempted to pivot her content as a result. I can’t wait to kick this year off with AskPat 2.0, so let’s dive in with Pam!
Pam starts off by describing her quandary. I dig deeper to find out how Pam’s site is performing, how many people are on her email list, and how much traffic she’s getting. I present some thoughts on segmentation, and strategies and steps for implementing it in her business. Pam wraps up our call with more clarity and a game plan for the future. I can’t wait to hear how these new strategies work out for her!
The recommended resource for this episode is a book called Ask. by Ryan Levesque. Honestly, it’s almost required reading for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, do so! [Full disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
What You’ll Learn:
Learn tactics for segmenting your website traffic and better serving your audience as a result.
AskPat 1049 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to AskPat 2.0, Episode 1049. This is a podcast where I coach an entrepreneur like you. I actually coach. You get to listen in like a fly on a wall, and hopefully take home some information that’ll help you in your business too.
Also, Happy New Year to everybody! This is the first episode in 2019. I hope your year’s off to an amazing start, and I’m excited to chat today with Pam Farley, who has a business that kind of . . . It was interesting because, in this conversation I found out that her target audience, the audience that she targeted with her email, was actually not her majority audience. She went through a launch, and things didn’t go the way she thought, and we dive into that and discover some ways to be able to best take advantage of what she has built, and how to better organize her thoughts and her approach with the audiences that she has built.
Now, before we get to Pam and our coaching call together, two things. Number one, make sure you subscribe to the show if you haven’t already. Number two, I do want to give a big shout out and thank you to FreshBooks.com, an amazing piece of software and company that allows you to remove all the headaches in your business related to, in and around your finances. Whether you are somebody who bills and creates invoices or not, this is a tool that you should be using to keep track of your finances.
It’s the start of a year, let’s get on the right foot with keeping track of things so that A, you can understand what’s working and what’s not, but most of all, B, so that you can have everything you need come tax season, so you can understand how cash is flowing through your business. And if you do any invoicing, you can create an invoice in less than thirty seconds, very professional, and you’re able to get paid for the services that you offer.
If you want to check out FreshBooks for free for thirty days, complete free trial, all you have to do is go to FreshBooks.com/askpat, and just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. All right, now let’s get to the coaching call with Pam. Here she is.
Pam, thank you so much for coming on AskPat 2.0. Welcome to the show, thanks for being here.
Pam Farley: Thanks, I’m super stoked to be here.
Pat Flynn: Hey, I’m stoked too. Pam, why don’t you tell everybody who’s listening and myself what is it that you do, and how can we help you?
Pam Farley: I have a blog, BrownThumbMama.com. I am an author, and a direct seller. I am coming on—my website helps people, primarily moms, choose more safe and natural options for their families. So, getting rid of the 409 cleaner, getting rid of soda, making healthier choices in their eating and their cleaning. I have some specific questions about that niche for you today, Pat.
Pat Flynn: Great. How long have you been blogging and talking about that topic?
Pam Farley: Since 2009, and professionally since 2015. That’s when I was able to quit my office job and work on the blog full-time.
Pat Flynn: That’s so awesome. Just to reiterate the URL for everybody in case they wanted to go there, that’s BrownThumbMama.com, correct?
Pam Farley: Correct, mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: Awesome, fantastic. I think it’s a beautiful niche to be in obviously, with the trends especially, and everybody worried about safety, and just, I think it’s a perfect space to be in.
Pam Farley: Of course.
Pat Flynn: Congratulations for doing this professionally, and being able to quit your job. I think that’s amazing. I’d love to perhaps maybe at a later date, dig into that journey for you. But, I’d love to do what I can to help you out today. What are you kind of struggling with? What’s on your mind?
Pam Farley: Well my big question is about my niche. When I started Brown Thumb Mama—because a lot of the other moms at the office were asking me, “How do you make your own cleaners? How do you survive on one income?” Which we were doing at that time, during the recession.
Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.
Pam Farley: My avatar is a mom of younger kids who is of course concerned about safety, and health, and natural choices. My articles are pointed in that direction. However, I surveyed my audience maybe a year, year and a half ago, and I found out that most of them are in their 40’s and 50’s, and they’re empty nesters.
Pat Flynn: Okay.
Pam Farley: Which I was befuddled by. I pivoted a little, and I started writing articles like, “Natural Ways to Balance your Hormones,” and, “Get Better Sleep Without Taking Pills.”
Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.
Pam Farley: Those articles did not take off. I’m kind of in a quandary. Do I continue doing what I’m doing that works, imagining my avatar person being younger with kids? Or do I continue trying to reach to the people who I know are reading, but my first forays into that, those topics didn’t take off?
Pat Flynn: Awesome question, and I think this is a very common thing, to run surveys and then use that data to reflect what it is that you do. I think that was a very smart move.
Pam Farley: Mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: But we’re obviously seeing in the data, and in your results that well, perhaps that audience isn’t quite as responsive. It’s kind of interesting. It’s like you were writing for a different audience than you thought you had. What I want to get at, really quick for everybody listening, is that surveys are fantastic. You get a lot of data from that. However, it should be one of a few things that you should use for any major changes in direction or pivoting, right? I’m curious to know, how else are you communicating with your audience? Do you have any groups or other means of communicating with them?
Pam Farley: I have a weekly email newsletter, which I’m getting some good chitchat back and forth with them. I’ve started encouraging them to, “Tell me where you’re going camping this summer.”
Pat Flynn: Awesome.
Pam Farley: And, “Tell me what your favorite thing is to cook at home.” I don’t have any groups yet.
Pat Flynn: Okay. In that email list and in those communications, do you have any idea of the avatar of the people who are responding to you? Does it match your survey, or does it match the—
Pam Farley: I’ve actually taken my . . . Well, I took my email list, and I ran it through Facebook as a—I forget the exact steps that I learned somewhere. But, you run your email list through Facebook and it gives you demographics.
Pat Flynn: Yes.
Pam Farley: That was one of the ways that I found out that a lot of my . . . The people on my email list, I should say. The people on my email list seem to be older. A lot of retirees even. That list skewed much, much older.
Pat Flynn: Okay, gotcha. So a few questions here for you Pam, as I dig deeper into this. Thank you for being open about this. This is really fun, actually.
Pam Farley: Oh good.
Pat Flynn: Number one: how large is your email list at this time, if you don’t mind sharing?
Pam Farley: About 7,000 people.
Pat Flynn: 7,000, and we found out through not just the survey, but the conversations that you’re having, that this seems to be of the older demographic, the 40’s to 50’s?
Pam Farley: Yes.
Pat Flynn: Okay. Number two: how much traffic are you getting to your website currently, per month?
Pam Farley: 150,000 to 200,000 a month.
Pat Flynn: Wow. That is—first of all, that’s huge. Those numbers are huge.
Pam Farley: Really?
Pat Flynn: Congratulations, that’s so cool.
Pam Farley: Oh, cool.
Pat Flynn: How are you generating revenue? Is it through advertising, products? Give me some insight on that.
Pam Farley: Advertising. I am an affiliate for a few products that match my brand, and I also sell some printables, garden-related printables.
Pat Flynn: Awesome. This is really cool. I think it’s interesting, because a majority of your traffic has yet to come on your email list.
Pam Farley: Really?
Pat Flynn: It seems to me that, and I’m just kind of speculating here based on my experiences, that because of who you are, and your personality, I would imagine that the 40 to 50 year old demographic is really responding to you, and wants to learn more from you because you guys are . . . I’m just assuming you have a lot more than just cleaning products that you could potentially help them with.
Pam Farley: Yes.
Pat Flynn: Like you said, you’re already writing a lot of articles related to that. But a majority of the traffic maybe, like you said, are the moms who have kids at home still.
Pam Farley: Mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: It’s almost like you have two different audiences here who yes, they want the same thing, but they want it in different ways because of where they’re at in their life. How have you thought of perhaps segmenting this audience, so you know exactly who is on your list and what you could serve them with?
Pam Farley: I have sent a—I couldn’t really call it a survey, but I sent an email that said, “Hey, I’d like to learn a little bit more about you. Which one of these sentences applies to you?”
Pat Flynn: Nice.
Pam Farley: “I plan on growing the garden this year,” and that sentence clicked over to one of my blog posts about starting a garden. I had three different statements, “Which one applies to you?” Then I could track where they went based on which article they clicked. It was low tech, but it did the job.
Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.
Pam Farley: My email people are gardening, but my readers, my blog readers are kind of broken up between gardening, natural living, and essential oils. I feel like I’m all over the place. I mean, it fits my brand, but lots of different avenues.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean I think . . . You know, this is very similar to the journey that I’ve had, Pam.
Pam Farley: Mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: Where I talk about online business, but within online business there are all kinds of demographics, from teenagers all the way to baby boomers who want to support their retirement accounts, to people who like podcasting, to people who would rather write. I often struggle with this as well. What has been most helpful is to think about, how can I know exactly who is in my audience, and segment them as such?
Then, being able to, as I’m creating content, to understand okay, this article that I’m writing is for specifically this group of people. When I publish it on the blog, knowing that it’s also really, really relevant to this particular demographic, I’m going to go a little bit more aggressive with making sure that they see this article. I will send an email out to that particular segment, and I’ll leave out other segments where it wouldn’t make sense.
Pam Farley: Oh, okay.
Pat Flynn: For example, if I write an article on advanced SEO strategies, I know to not send it to people on my list who are literally just starting out, because I mean, it would be very overwhelming, and unnecessary for them to learn.
What I’m getting at is, in your email list it’s great that you’ve already learned a little bit about them. If you could somehow . . . And, there are tools that are able to allow you to do this, segment your audience such that when you write an article about, for example like you said, natural and holistic ways to balance your hormones, you can segment out those, or only send . . . you know, you could segment out those who you know on the list that are not quite at that point yet, or vise versa. You can only send it to just those people.
I love this because you’re growing. This is one of the most common growing pains as well. I started in a very niche space, and now I seem to be attracting new kinds of people. How do I continue to serve everybody when I’m growing? Segmentation would be the answer.
Pam Farley: Got it.
Pat Flynn: If you were to think ahead six months from now for example, in an ideal world, what would your production workflow be if you knew exactly who was in your audience? To me it just seems like there’s basically two. The ones that you have on your email list currently mostly, and perhaps getting more people on your email list from the other side, which is the moms at home. The way that you would do that is, when you write an article for one, you have either a lead magnet or something that relates to that particular audience. Again, in the approach of that content, knowing exactly who that’s for.
It’s okay that you have multiple audiences. It’s not okay if you are writing articles, trying to please everybody. Because, when you do that, you’re actually not giving any of them the thing that they need, right?
Pam Farley: Agreed, mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: Because you’re trying to get everybody in there. I would say . . . This is really cool, because now it seems like now you have two different audiences that you could provide for, and when you write articles you essentially just have to think of one. When you create products, you think of one. You create it, and you send emails to them, and you just think about them. Not that you’re leaving the other ones out, ’cause you also have content for them too. But, they don’t need to see those things. Yes, they’ll see it all in one spot on your blog, but in the more direct communication via email, well, they would only see the ones that would be relevant for them.
Pam Farley: Exactly. I want to work on—I think the content that I have now is a little bit more advanced.
Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.
Pam Farley: As far as the green living stuff, I have not been covering super basic things, like why you don’t want to microwave food in plastic, and why you would want to stop using saran wrap and have a plastic-free kitchen, because those are just part of my life.
Pat Flynn: Right.
Pam Farley: I need to talk about those basic things, and then I can get some of the people who are newer, you know, the busy mom who’s like, “Oh, I’m just going to throw the Kid’s Cuisine meal in the microwave.” Please, no.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, don’t do that. Next steps for you: based on our conversation, what do you think your next steps might be?
Pam Farley: Hmm. Well, I clearly need to find out a little bit more about my people. You have said that there’s software, or tools. Is that something that I can just look up on the site? On a site, on your site, do you have any tools you can recommend?
Pat Flynn: Well, I’m curious. What email service provider are you using?
Pam Farley: I’m still with MailChimp.
Pat Flynn: Okay, and MailChimp does have this capability.
Pam Farley: Oh, okay.
Pat Flynn: I recommend ConvertKit because it is a little bit easier as well. But essentially what you would do is, the next time you write an article, think about exactly who it’s for. Is it for group A or group B?
[Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]
Pam Farley: Sure.
Pat Flynn: Think about who might want to learn more from you in that particular audience, and how might you get their email. It could be, for example, a lead magnet that relates to that particular audience, that you know that if people take the next step to download that thing then you kind of can already put them in that bucket.
Pam Farley: Okay.
Pat Flynn: They would join a particular segment of your email list. When you put a form on your website, you could likely select, okay, well they’re going to go into this group.
Pam Farley: Yes, yes, I can do that.
Pat Flynn: Okay. You probably have a backlog of articles that you could also go and put forms in, that can automatically drop people into specific buckets so that you can start to, again, when you go in your email list you go, “Okay, here’s an article for this group. I’m going to send it to just them, because it really relates to them.” Or, “Here’s an article to group B, I’m going to send it to them.” Then you kind of build . . .
Pam Farley: Oh, yeah.
Pat Flynn: . . . You know what I mean? You kind of build your database. Not one giant one, but you have your group A database, and your group B database.
Pam Farley: Okay. Yep, mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: Then, what’s really cool is now when you go to group A and you go, “Hey, what are you struggling with right now?” you’re going to get all this information from the busy moms, and all the articles that you could potentially write, all the podcasts that you can create, all the products that you can create.
You can ask the exact same question to group B and get very different answers. But, now you have ways that you could serve both communities, and continue to expand and grow because what’s cool is now that you are serving two different audiences. Now, you have essentially twice as many kinds of people to bring new people into your brand, who can then self select into one or the other categories.
Pam Farley: Awesome, okay.
Pat Flynn: How does that—
Pam Farley: I have different ways that they can opt in, different teasers to bring them into my list. I’m actually working on a new lead magnet right now.
Pat Flynn: Oh, awesome.
Pam Farley: But I had not been putting—I’ve just been putting them in the subscribers bucket. I had not been segmenting. This is . . . I could end up with three lists. I could end up with gardeners as a separate list if I’m not careful.
Pat Flynn: You totally could, you totally could. What’s cool is in the future if you have this big list of even a small targeted list of gardeners, you could go to, for example, a podcaster who is a gardener podcaster and go, “Hey, I have a whole list of gardeners who would love to hear your show, or hear an interview—”
Pam Farley: Oh, neat.
Pat Flynn: “—do you want to answer these questions for my audience and I’ll send them your way?” Maybe you’d like to share some stuff about holistic living that’s on the tangent of gardening with your audience.
Pam Farley: Sure.
Pat Flynn: You can develop these relationships. Instead of asking somebody who’s like, “Hey, I talk about these three different things, I’d love to be a guest on your show.” “Well, I mean. Eh, your stuff kind of relates.” As opposed to, “I have a targeted list,” and you know exactly what the numbers are, they’re going to be a lot more excited about that. It’s just going to help you clear the cobwebs in your mind, which is kind of what you came in with.
Pam Farley: Nice.
Pat Flynn: Hopefully that sounds exciting to you.
Pam Farley: Absolutely, yeah. And a little overwhelming, because that seems like a lot of people to manage communications with.
Pat Flynn: Right. There are going to be emails that you send out that are relevant for everybody, right?
Pam Farley: Right, mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: You would send it to your whole list. But then there are also going to be articles that would be just more suited for one. The most important thing is to just try to keep it simple, because it’s very easy to, when you start segmenting your audience, to get into just a giant rabbit hole where you now have ten different segments. It’s just like, “Oh, I don’t know . . .” You know, it can get very confusing. I would just start with two, maybe three. But just two to start with. Just keep it simple. Use your existing email service provider to just drop them into different buckets as they communicate or interact with you. Then just offer value, and serve them in the best way possible, now that you know who they are and where they exist. It’s just going to make communication a lot easier.
Pam Farley: Excellent.
Pat Flynn: Cool, Pam.
Pam Farley: Super exciting. Yeah, awesome.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Well, that’s great. I mean, there’s obviously many, many more things that you could do in the future after you segment. But, I think that perhaps we can save that for a later conversation once you start to build out these little segments, and buckets essentially, in your audience. If I had a recommendation for you for a book that would help with this, if this is going to be your focus in the New Year, it would be a book called Ask. by Ryan Levesque. [Full disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Pam Farley: Oh. I have it, it’s right behind me.
Pat Flynn: Oh, no way.
Pam Farley: You can’t see it on my bookshelf.
Pat Flynn: All right. Well that would be good homework.
Pam Farley: I’m like, “Look, there it is right there!”
Pat Flynn: What’s nice about that book is he tells you right up front, like the meat of the content that you would need is at the second half of the book, and he actually gives you the page number. ‘Cause the first half is just how he came up with the formula. If you wanted to fast track to understanding what questions to ask, and how to create those buckets, second half of the book would be where to start.
Pam Farley: Understood. Okay. Well, I will get that down, and crack it open and read it.
Pat Flynn: Cool, Pam. Well hey, thank you so much for coming on. You are actually the first person to be coached here in 2019.
Pam Farley: Woo-hoo!
Pat Flynn: I hope this inspires everybody. We’ll have to check in with you later in the year and bring you back on and see how things are going. Is that okay?
Pam Farley: Yes, please. I would love that.
Pat Flynn: All right. Pam, you’re amazing. Thank you so much and keep up the good work.
Pam Farley: Thank you, appreciate it.
Pat Flynn: All right, I hope you enjoyed that call with Pam. Again, you can find her at BrownThumbMama.com. I’m excited to chat with her later this year perhaps, to see how things go after she starts organizing her list, and her content, and her, just targeting. It’s going to be awesome. The recommended resource that was mentioned in this episode, again, was the book Ask., and it was written by Ryan Levesque. It comes highly recommended. It’s almost kind of like mandatory reading for anybody doing entrepreneurship. [Full disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Thank you again for listening again in, I appreciate you. Let’s start off the year right, and let’s leave a review for the show. If you haven’t done so yet, let’s get that out of the way. You know you want to do it, if you’ve gotten value from this. Even if you haven’t, I’m always welcome for feedback and whatnot as well. Here to help, here to serve you.
Cannot wait for all that’s to come in 2019. We’ve got a lot more episodes coming your way, and of course we always bring people back. That’ll probably happy midway through the year, and also at the end of the year. Make sure you stick around, because we got a lot of stories to tell, a lot of people to coach, and a lot of entrepreneurs to serve.
Here we go. AskPat.com, if you want to fill out your application to potentially get coached just like Pam today. Lastly, just keep crushing it. Love you guys, thanks so much. Team Flynn for the win.
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