social slowdown

A podcast to help you decrease your reliance on social media & find new ways to market your business sustainably. Get new leads & clients … without needing to be constantly attached to your phone.

Ep. 48: SEOctober is Back!

SEOctober is back! Our 4th annual month-long challenge is starting on Monday, October 3rd.

BUT, it’s totally different than in previous years, so in this solo episode, I’ll share with you how this year is going to run, how it’s different from previous years,  and how it’ll hopefully work out better for you if you join this year. 

If you’re listening to this in September or October 2022, you can head over to SEOctober.com and join us for just $99 — even if you’re not there for lesson #1, we’ll catch you up to speed. 

And if you’re binging this later, that’s okay, too! Join our email list so you learn about our more time-sensitive offers moving forward. 

Read the full transcript

Meg Casebolt 0:01
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lipsync send a cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started.

Hey, y’all, it’s Meg Casebolt. I am here to let you know that SEOctober is the back our fourth annual month long challenge is starting on Monday, October 3, which is a week from this release date. And if you have done SEOctober with me in the past, I do want to let you know that both the format like the structure of the program, and also the content is completely different from previous years. So if you’re like, Oh, I already did that. This is going to be a completely totally different event than how I’ve run it in the past. So let me first share how this year is going to be structured and how it’s running. And then I’ll debrief you about like a brief history of previous year’s events and what did and didn’t work. And then I really want to take a moment to like, explain why we are making these changes, and how it’ll hopefully work out better for you if you decide that you want to join SEOctober this year. So really quickly, before I get started, you can head over to s e october.com. And you can sign up for the challenge, there’s our first call to action. This year as the October will be a paid challenge, there will not be a free version, it’ll be $99 for everyone, whether this is your first year doing Sc October, or you have done it in previous years. This year, it’ll run from Monday, October 3 through Friday, October 28. So every week, we will be releasing a free training. And then the whole week will be about that short training. So we’ll release the video on Monday, we’ll host a q&a call on Wednesday. And then on Friday, we’ll provide feedback on your homework. And I really want to set it up this way. So that way, it’s not just like, here are the theoretical videos that are talking about best practices. But the way that I want to do this this year is to make sure the participants are getting really customized support and feedback. So this year also, the other big changes that we’re making is that we’re gonna be talking not about blogging, which is what we’ve talked about the past three years. But we’re going to talk about a totally different topic, which is homepage, copywriting, and how to address SEO in your homepage. And let me explain why. So remember, last month, when I put up the podcast and send a bunch of emails where I was soliciting applications, for free website reviews, we had over 200 submissions. I’m actually like it’s been a month I’m still working through all those because I got COVID last month and I had to take a few weeks off of recording everything because I couldn’t stop coughing. But as I looked at literally hundreds of websites right in a row back to back, I realized that many of the recommendations that I’m making weren’t really about SEO, they weren’t about keywords. They weren’t about, you know, the ways that we’re structuring the pages. They were actually about copywriting. And let me give you some examples, the top three recommendations that I was making 58% of websites, I was talking about having a small, stronger value proposition 42% of the websites, I was suggesting that people have a clear call to action. And 35% of the websites that I looked at, I wanted more clarity about who their audience who those people were serving, who their audience was. The next two suggestions, the ones that I was making next often were actually SEO base 33% needed to integrate more keywords 29% I wanted them to talk more and like kind of use the their subheadings better. And then my next three most common recommendations were about web design. They weren’t about copywriting. They weren’t about SEO, they were web design things. I thought 24% of people could reorganize their page to make sure that the structure made more sense. 17% were using text on images which made them inaccessible, and also on indexable to Google and then 14% needed a clearer navigation. Now even though I the offer that I made was let me do a Have a review of your website for SEO. And while some of my advice was based on search behavior, most of my recommendations were actually focused on copywriting and web design, not specifically, SEO, because that’s the thing about marketing. None of these disciplines exist in a vacuum. None of them are silos, you can have great copy. But if your designs a mess, people won’t actually buy from you. And you can have perfect technical SEO. But if your contents garbage, Google still won’t send you traffic. All of these factors have to work together like in a synthesized symbiotic way to create a really great user experience that makes people find you trust you and actually want to work with you. And as I was doing these reviews, I don’t know there’s something about seeing the same thing showing up on repeat that helped me see a pattern to figure out how to best explain how to make these adjustments. And I started in my mind building out the system to plan and to write and design a homepage that shows up in search results that builds that trust and leads readers towards a sale. And with the timing of that happening in August and the ways that I wanted to restructure SEO October anyway, I decided that this is what we’re going to be doing this year, in SEO October. I’m taking all of my insights from these reviews, and all the other websites that I’ve looked at over the last eight years of business. And I’m boiling it down into a four part process. And we’ll do one of these steps every week for the month of October. So first we’ll understand the role of your homepage in your overall website strategy. Next, we will think about your ideal client really empathetically to identify the things, the specific phrases that your clients will be looking for in order to find you and your brand and your offer. In the third week, we’ll organize the homepage structure. So that way it will get people to understand what you do, and it’ll showcase your expertise. And then in the final week, we’ll actually go through and rewrite rewrite your website copy so that your clients can find to trust and engage with your brand. And I don’t want people to feel like they’re kind of lost. And that’s why I want to include these brainstorming q&a sessions and the homework feedback in this process. That’s why I want it to be much more small and intimate and feedback driven. Now this is totally different complete departure from previous SC October events to the extent that I thought about just throwing out se October and calling this something totally different. But what the heck, it’s a good name. So

we’ll work with it. Now let me explain sort of the the history of what we’ve done in the past and why this matters. Now. The first time that I ran it October was in 2019. And my goals for the program at that time were twofold. They were I wanted to build my list and I wanted to grow my brand awareness. I wanted to create something that was both fun and memorable. And I wanted something that people would join and they’d share. So I made this totally free event. And I gave away tons of free prizes, you know, free courses, free workbooks, and also website reviews forever. Anybody who finished every lesson, I included tier discount for my signature program that would start at the end of the month. So like if you made it through the first quarter of the trainings, then you would get a 10% discount on the larger program. And it really worked. The first year, I had over 1100 people join the free challenge, about 750 of those were brand new to me, they came in through referrals through affiliates through people who shared it on my behalf. And the format of that program was that I released a new video every day. And the free content was dripped out daily, or I offered people the option to buy instant access to the whole 24 hour video bundle for $24. And about you know 5% upgraded so it was about give or take $1,500 of those 1100 people who joined the free challenge, only 30 of them completed the whole thing. By the time the videos were taken down in mid November. So that’s like about a 3% completion rate. And the challenge even though it succeeded in my goals of you know, brand awareness and list building, it was exhausting. I hustled my ass off for the entire month I opened a free Facebook group I went live like once or twice a week, I answered everyone’s questions. And then I went into a launch at the end of that to to launch that signature program. And since the challenge was both like a lot of content to consume and a month long, it didn’t actually convert very well into the larger program because the people still hadn’t finished the free stuff by the time I said hey, and here’s the program. So I learned a lot from that experience. I tried this out Again, the following year in October 22, we use the same format of free drip content or paid instant access. But this time, I was both more organized in the way that I was putting together the content. And I had a community manager to help me answer all the questions. And it went a whole lot smoother the second time, because I wasn’t trying to like, essentially build the plane while we were flying it. But it also didn’t convert very well into my paid program, even with those streamlined effects, because it was still too much to consume in a month. And it was also 2020. And it was six months into the pandemic. And a lot of us were really tired of online learning by this point. So last year, I decided to go even bigger, I was like, Okay, I you know, people I joined, I grew my list a little bit in the second year. But what I really wanted to do in 2021, was my goal was to grow my YouTube channel and my Instagram, not my email list. I had been building YouTube content for a year, almost a year at this point. And if y’all know me, well, at this point, you know that I just sometimes like numbers, I like to try new things I like to experiment. And the experimentation was exciting to me to see if I post on YouTube and Instagram, every day, one video a day for a month. What does that do to the algorithm. So just as much as this was a way to get found by people and to share this information, I kind of also just wanted to experiment and see what would happen. So we published 30 videos in 30 days, we posted them to both YouTube and I mean, the now defunct IG TV. And then we also for our email subscribers, we send out a daily reminder email and turn the trainings into a private podcast feed. So we did have kind of a free ish upsell where people could they could watch the videos for free. But if they wanted those daily reminder emails or the podcast feed, they could do that. And then I also had a small group where if you wanted to have personalized group coaching, you could join that small group for $59. And so how did that work out? Before SEO October last year, I had about 500 subscribers on my YouTube channel and about 2100 followers on Instagram. By the end of October, after releasing videos for 30 days, I had 330 new subscribers on my YouTube channel, which is a 66% increase. And I had about 80 more people on my Instagram, which was about a 3% increase. My theory here is that YouTube really rewards people who want to learn something, that’s what they’re going for. So

it continued to show people using the algorithm, what’s the next day’s video and really tapped into that playlist. Whereas on Instagram, you know, people aren’t there to learn, they’re there to be entertained. And so when they skipped away from these, like five minute videos, Instagram was actually less likely to show them my content. So, you know, if you’re thinking about video content, that might be a factor at play, I could do a whole nother a whole nother podcast all about, you know, learning channels versus entertainment channels. But that’s a different story for a different day. But my biggest takeaway from last year, when I shifted my emphasis from personalized support in that Facebook group into the free content on my YouTube channel, was how differently the program felt. We broke out of this feeling of having a private community of people needing to be on my email list of having that ability to communicate with people. And instead, we went into making the content publicly available. So I didn’t have that feedback loop. I was still creating the content, I still but you know, I had a broader reach because anybody could watch it. But it was also shallower, I didn’t feel like I had those deep, I was establishing those deep personal connections. And both the conversion rate last year into my paid program dropped because I didn’t have those personalized, intimate conversations. And also, it just wasn’t as fulfilling for me, as an educator, I missed the conversations with the people who are working through the program. But on the other hand, it was also better for my mental health because I didn’t have to feel like I was on all the time. You know, in previous years, I’d had this Facebook group and I felt like I had to check in at least twice a day and answer all the questions and I would fall behind. And then people would tag me and be like, Well, why didn’t you answer me you answered this person. And it’s like, well, the algorithm. And the other factor from last year, which I think negatively impacted our conversion rate is that since we planned to leave the YouTube content up indefinitely, instead of taking it down in November, it was missing that sense of urgency that we’d had in previous years to encourage people to finish the full training. But on the other hand, leaving it up wasn’t a bad thing, because now that gives a chance for that content to continue to be found for the rest of the year, next year and so on and so forth. Like it doesn’t create the same shelf life, the content that I’d been restricted to in the past No, that was that little walk down memory lane was just to give you an idea of why we have made some major shifts and in the way that we think about working with our clients in the past year. And I would say that there have been two fundamental shifts that have happened over the past 123 years as we’ve had this program running. The first is number one, we want to stop giving away our time and our mental energy for free. We talked about this a lot in Episode 12, we’re still making plenty of free content, I’m not saying stop giving away free content, you’re listening to free content, right now you can listen to the podcast, you can read the blog posts, you can watch the YouTube channel, but I’m not going to coach you for free in a private group. And I also stopped giving access to myself or my team that goes along with the free content. So we really wanted to establish a precedent of you don’t get indefinite access to personalized support. Just by being part of our community, you really do need if you want the personalized feedback, you really do need to join a program or pay in some way. The other fundamental shift shift number two, is that I started changing the metrics that I wanted to use to evaluate what success would look like, you know, when my goals were build the list build the brand, I was focused on flashier numbers, like, here’s the number of subscribers I have in here and the number of followers on all these platforms. But since then, I really wanted to start focusing more on outcomes, like the people who join a program or people who go through programs, and they get tangible, measurable results from them, I would much rather give 100 People really personalized touch in a paid support system and help them get really great results, then celebrate 100,000 inactive subscribers. So that’s why we’re making a lot of these changes to the SEO October program. You know, in previous years, my goals about audience growth meant that we chose that free format, but then we weren’t able to have that supportive, nuanced conversation that kind of I prefer the kind that leads people to make meaningful results and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the program.

So this year, I’m trying to take the best parts of previous years as the October’s, and, you know, pull out the best pieces and make something even better out of that. So this year, it’s gonna be a small group environment where I can provide personalized support, and the group will be small enough that I won’t burn myself out trying to, you know, answer questions for free for everyone. And also, because we’re dropping down the scope of the challenge going from 24 trainings down to four, I’m hopeful that people won’t feel as overwhelmed and they won’t like shut down and give up, and that they’ll feel supported and how they can take these ideas and apply them to their own website copy. So if you’re listening to this in September, or October 2022, head over to s e october.com. And you can join us for just $99. Even if you’re not there on October 3 When we start we can bring you back up to speed. So if you’re you know, a week or two behind in your podcasts listening, that’s okay, come on over join us anyway, we will catch you up. And if you’re binging this later, as part of you know, you know you’re going back through the archives, that’s okay to just head over to social slowdown.com. Join our email list. And that way you can learn more about any time sensitive offers and also get updates about recent episodes and things along those lines. If you have any questions about SEOctober, you can email us at support at love at first search. And we will be back next week with interviews again, but I did want to interrupt this to tell you about this new offer that we have coming out and I’m sure if you guys ask I will absolutely give you an overview of how it went this year if you’re curious about that. So shoot us a message if that’s the case. And thank you so much for listening. If you did want to join here’s my last call to action head over to seoctober.com and you can join us for just $99 I hope to see you there. Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social slowdown.com and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown.com/review Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media Talk to you then.

Please forgive any typos as this transcript was automatically generated by otter.ai.

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Ep. 56: 7 Marketing Lessons I Learned From NaNoWriMo

Ep. 56: 7 Marketing Lessons I Learned From NaNoWriMo

I participated in the challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November for National Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo. And I met that goal of 50,000 words! I wanted to share with you how my first year of participating in NaNoWriMo went, how I...