How to turn your interests into an online business

Monster Mice episode 9: with Stephanie O’Dea

Stephanie O’Dea is a best-selling author and slow cooking expert who has been featured on Good Morning America, Rachel Ray, The Los Angeles Times, Prevention, Real Simple, The New York Post and
In this interview she explains how she turned her personal interests into a profitable online business, and how you can do it too.
Listen here:

Mary Rose Maguire reveals her deepest secrets of market research

Mary Rose Maguire (also known as “Wildfire Maguire”) is a copywriter who helps accountants gain an unfair advantage in their marketplace, build a successful business in less time, attract better clients and make more profit.

What’s her secret? Understanding your target market.

In this interview she reveals
  1. How to build a buyer persona
  2. Inexpensive ways to do market research
  3. 3 biggest mistakes most businesses make with their marketing

5 ways a business can get to know their target market


Listen Here:

How to grow your fitness business

Monster Mice Episode 7 with Charles Bram

Charles Bram is a fitness coach and owner of Fit Health USA, a gym based out of Herndon, Virginia.

In addition to helping his clients get fit, he helps gym owners and personal trainers grow their business. In this interview, Charles shares specific strategies for creating a marketing funnel to find new clients, getting those new clients in the door, and building a sense of community so people want to stay and bring their friends.

Visit his website at

Get his health and fitness tips by emailing him at [email protected].

Listen Here:


How to build an online business in your free time… Monster Mice Episode 2 with Sean Kaye

Sean Kaye had built several online businesses while maintaining his career as an IT Executive and Cloud and Data Center Consultant.

He writes a monthly newsletter that helps people with day jobs build online businesses on the side, helps small business owners increase their digital marketing skills, and helps stay at home parents create online businesses in their free time. It’s called The Casual Marketer.

In this interview he reveals his business building secrets and gives some pragmatic advice on how to move ahead faster while avoiding the pitfalls of starting a business.

Listen here:

How to create a “Perpetual Impact Platform”… Monster Mice Episode 1 with Joshua Shafran

Joshua Shafran helps authors, coaches & trainers build predictable, friction-free businesses by leveraging their own “Perpetual Impact Platforms” (PIPs) so they can experience entrepreneurial freedom (WITHOUT sacrificing integrity).

In this episode of Monster Mice, Joshua explains in detail what a Perpetual Impact Platform is and how to build one for  yourself.

Click on the links below to listen to the interview.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

If all email lists started this way, there would be peace on earth

This morning I woke up and realized that I had lost 6 pounds!
For the past few weeks I’ve been on a low carb diet (recommended to me by Charles
Bram, a fitness coach) and it is working
As I go through the diet, I find myself craving my favorite foods, and realizing that I eat a lot of carbs!

The first thing I do is take what I want to eat (like a bagel with cream cheese
and smoked salmon) and find a way to replace the carbs with something else (a bell pepper with cream cheese and smoked salmon… like in the picture).

Finding healthy ways of eating my favorite foods is fun. It feels like a game. And so I decided to compile a cookbook based off it. And I started to gather the names and email addresses of people who might want it by posting a photo on Facebook and asking people to PM me if they want the recipes.

So far, everyone who PMed me is a close friend or relative. I know that the recipes will help them lose weight. And these are people who say “I love you” on the phone, sign their cards with xoxoxox and call me Sweetheart.

Should I worry that they’ll think I’m emailing too much? No, they want to hear from me. They like me.

Should I stress over how to talk to them, and what to say? No. Because I will use simple and slightly affectionate language. This is family.

I wish everyone could experience building a list full of people who truly like/love them. For me, it makes me feel confident that I can give them what I offered day after day and they will happily open it.

All the stressful stuff you read about open rates and metrics and whatnot melts away when you realize that you are having
a relationship with your readers.


Send me an email if you would either like to get my low-carb recipes or get help with your email marketing. [email protected].


“Advertisers want eyeballs and Facebook is where they are” says Melissa Parrish of Forrester Research.

I’m sure you’ve noticed more and more video ads coming across your newsfeed. Some of them are hilarious, some grab your attention in an interesting way and some are downright boring. I had one come across my newsfeed that looked a bit interesting and I started to watch it.  Then I noticed it was 2 hours long.  Seriously, I’m not on Facebook to watch video ads, I’m there to hang with my friends.  That’s what most Facebook users are there to do.

Yet Facebook marketing is successful and advertisers know it. As of December 31, 2016, Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users.  Yes, I said BILLION.  That’s a lot of eyeballs—3.72 billion to be exact.  With this many users each month you can see why advertisers are pouring their money into Facebook ads.  It is the most popular social networking site in the world.  Do you want a share of those eyeballs on your product or service?

Video ads are becoming more popular but is video the way to go?  Absolutely. Done right, video ads can bring you more customers. According to Adobe, users that view videos are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-video viewers.

Additionally, nearly 1.5 million small and medium-sized businesses shared videos on Facebook in September of 2015.  That’s one month.  “…considering the average ad revenue per user in the US shot up 50% this year (2015), the video ad strategy is working,” says TechCrunch.

So let’s do it but let’s be smart about it.

Be Smart

What does that mean?

It means you need to focus.  What are you selling and who are you selling it to?  Do you have an eCommerce store offering a new virtual reality gadget? Are you selling a webinar for SEO training? You need to know your product and define your target audience before you even start on your video ad.  Who is your audience and how should you appeal to them.  Put yourself in their shoes and start narrowing your audience.

Creating the Video

With your product and audience in mind, you can bring in a professional videographer for a super professional video or have a little fun and record something casual on your iPhone.  The idea is to get people engaged from the get-go. Actually, the immediate goal is to get them to click through to your website or landing page. From there you are to collect their email and send them something: a free offer, a discount coupon, a report with great information such as this…You can’t expect them to buy right away. You are collecting leads.

Make it real.  Your video, whether professionally acquired or casually made, needs to have real people saying real things.  You are engaging potential clients and customers and you are earning their trust.  In other words, content is king.  Larger businesses can afford to hire a firm that can create a beautiful and engaging video.  They can help you frame the idea and create the look-and-feel that you want to portray as your business earning you potential clients.  Smaller businesses can be equally effective with a casual but well-thought-out video. Notice the video ads coming across your news feed.  Which are the ones that you want to watch?

Keep it short.  Remember, people are on Facebook because it is a social environment.  They are there for their families, friends and interests.  Most are probably annoyed by the ads coming through their newsfeed and can easily scroll past your ad.  Make their time worthwhile.  Wistia found that video length matters.  The graph below shows that the longer the video, the less people watch of it. If you can grab their attention in less than a minute and get your audience to click through to your website to collect an email or phone number then your video is successful. The relationship can begin.

Auto-play. Taking from SnapChat’s success, Facebook will introduce auto-play with sound as a default in 2018.  We may as well take that information and apply it now.  What is auto-play?  You’ll notice some videos will automatically start to play as they enter your newsfeed.  This is an option that can be selected in your ad setup.  Yet some users find this incredibly annoying and will keep their sound off.  A silent video is…well…silent.  To get around this, you can set the ad to show captions instead and you can edit the automatically created captions before the ad is viewed as these voice-to-text translators are imperfect. “Internal tests show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%,” Facebook reports. You will need to utilize cost-per-impression (CPM) bidding rather than cost-per-click (CPC) to ensure ads are on autoplay.

Video metrics—use them. Video metrics are available for all paid and organic videos uploaded to Facebook.  You can view a breakdown of who has viewed your video to know it’s impact on various members of your audience:


and even how much of the video they’ve watched:


This information is valuable to be able to tweak your audience to ensure maximum performance of your video. Is it really surprising that a video with an attractive female will elicit the most response from men? Although seemingly obvious, people sometimes forget about human nature.

Stacking up: the new data. Facebook data from as recently as March 2017 show click through rates by industry.  Wordstream has put this in a nice graphic so that you can compare how your ads are doing to the standard for your particular industry:

Follow-up emails. 2016 showed a great surge in follow-up and automated emails. Abandoned shopping carts on eCommerce sites can trigger an email from you to remind your customer of their interest in particular items.  At King Kong, we utilize this method to establish a relationship with our potential client.  By offering a free report, followed by a free consultation with a real person, we can humanize the whole experience from the get-go.  It is, after all, about establishing trust and a real relationship.

Mobile-friendly or else. As of 2016, 80% of users will see your video on an mobile device.  Is your website ready for this?  If users are clicking through to your website you need to ensure that you have implemented a mobile-friendly version. WordPress and other websites templates offer mobile-friendly options that you should definitely take advantage of.  This is a requirement, plain and simple.

Setting up your video ad.  If you have set up any type of Facebook ad campaign before, then setting up a video ad should be straightforward.

Leads are people too.  So you’ve been able to engage your audience and have successfully managed to have them click through to your website, you will want to offer them something in a clean, streamlined way while at the same time collecting their contact information. You’ve narrowed your audience already so be generous–you are earning their trust.

Bottom Line.  You should not expect a Facebook user to immediately buy a service or product on the first contact.  That’s not how it works. A relationship has to be developed and relationships are based on trust.  Who you are and how you handle the next step in this process is key.  Think about how you would like to be approached and what it would take for you to become a customer.  Trust, right?  Apply these basic human nature concepts to attracting your audience.

Let’s Get Started: Creating Your Video Ad

Watch this 90-second tutorial from Facebook.

Before you begin, be sure that your video has the minimum requirements to ensure a good user experience:







Step 1.  Select Your Objective. From your drop down menu on Facebook select Create Ad.  The following menu will appear:



Under Campaign Objective select Get Video Views.






Step 2. Select Your Audience. This is an incredibly important feature of Facebook.  No other platform has the level of detail of an audience right at your fingertips.  You can choose age, location, interests, events (birthdays, weddings, etc.), generation, gender, income level, and more! Utilize this power to target your video ad to the most appropriate audience.



Step 3.  Decide where to run your ad.  Yes, you can target your video ad to more than Facebook from within Facebook! Under Placement you can choose to reach people on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network (targeting specific Apps).  You can also choose devices for ad placement such as mobile or desktop.  No resizing or reformatting required.






Step 4. Set Your Budget. Enter a daily or lifetime budget for your video ad.  This is where you can select cost per impression (CPM) to auto-play your video as it comes across a newsfeed.


Step 5. Upload your video and add text. Finally upload your video directly to Facebook.  According to AdParlor, directly uploaded videos perform 30% better than videos from other websites.

Select News Feed (as opposed to Right Column ads) for the display option add appealing text above and below the video.  A great formula to use called AIDA uses this technique for developing your text:

Follow  the 25 character headline and 90 character body text limits, we can still use the famous copywriting formula AIDA.

(A)ttention: Draw users into the ad with an attention-grabbing headline.

(I)nterest: Get the user interested in your product by briefly describing the most important benefit of using it.

(D)esire: Create immediate desire for your product with a discount, free trial, or limited time offer.

(A)ction: End the ad with a call to action.

AIDA is a lot to fit into 115 characters. Write 5-10 ads until you’re able to fit a succinct sales pitch into the ad.

Step 6. Submit!  Facebook will review your video ad and begin displaying it to your audience.

Be sure to monitor how well your video ad is performing, tweak when necessary, and begin the relationship with your audience.


Good Luck.

Actually it’s not about luck, it’s about being smart.  Know your product, know your audience, know that you are earning trust and implement the techniques that I have suggested in this article that are based on sound data.


Seven Ways to Use a New Headshot

You just got a new professional portrait taken. Here is a list of the ways you can use that photo to market your business.
1. Put it on your website.
2. Use the photo to change the look and feel of your site. For example, you can use the photo to design a new banner for your website with your picture, logo, and contact information.
3. Make a new business card.
4. Change your profile pictures for all of your social media channels. (It’s hilarious how much attention you can get with this.)
5. Write an article or blog post about something you know and include your picture.
6. Write a personal biography about yourself. Give it a professional looking layout and print them out. Hand them out or send them out when you are corresponding with new customers/clients.
7. Reach out to your alma mater, any clubs you belong to, and other networking organizations. Tell them you would like to update your information.
If you have any more ideas for how to use a headshot, let me know in the comments.

Those were some scrumptious muffins!

My daughters and I made Apple Cupcakes with Cider Frosting last fall.

(During that time of year, I have frequent and messy baking frenzies).

We got the recipe from a little magazine that we got in the mail that was published by Smith’s… you know, the grocery store.

Rather than send another flyer full of deals and coupons they sent a magazine full of recipes, holiday decorating ideas and tips for getting through Halloween without a meltdown.

I held on to it for weeks because there were a couple of things that I wanted to try, and Gloria saw it and wanted to make EVERYTHING. So I ended up walking through the store literally using it as a grocery list.

Think about that for a second. I bought everything that they asked me to buy, without even using a coupon.

Why did that work? I don’t know.

Actually, I do know, and I’ll tell you why it worked for me (I can’t speak for others).

I don’t use coupons. When I was a kid I used to clip coupons and spend hours organizing then and then rummaging through them while standing in line at the checkout counter.

Some point along the way, I decided that that is a waste of time. First of all, it’s depressing, and makes me FEEL poor. I’ve worked too hard to claw my way a couple notches up the socioeconomic ladder to continue to do thing that make me feel poor, even if it might save money.

And, as one of my wealthiest friends says: a penny earned is a penny saved.

So. No more coupons.

Instead, I use my time to either make money, or do spiritually enriching activities like baking muffins with my daughters.

The mailer with the recipes worked perfectly because it gave me the ideas and information that I needed to be the festive baked goods slinging mom that I imagine myself to be this time of year. It made it easy for me to spend quality time with my daughters.

So I bought the ingredients and didn’t worry about the price. That’s how I roll.

If you want to advertise your products or services, and you’re tired of offering discounts, try content marketing.

Rather than sell, use content to teach your customer something that will make his or her life better.

If you have any questions about how to do that, give me a call. This is what I do! 505-515-7001.

Finally revealed-The secret desire of all “housewives”

I was frantically cleaning my house for a dinner party last weekend when the doorbell rang.


A young girl holding a can of air freshener offered to let me spray the air freshener inside and asked if she could show me something and “ask my opinion.”


I wasn’t born yesterday. It was obvious that she was was trying to sell me something.


The reason I didn’t ask her to leave was I was curious.
I sprayed the apple cinnamon air freshener, and within seconds her partner hustled an enormous vacuum cleaner box down the stairs and into my living room. She swiftly assembled it pushed it across my floor, and after one pass showed me a circular filter covered in dirt from my carpet.
I just bought a vacuum cleaner, and vacuumed my floor ten minutes ago!…  I could tell she was trying to get the hook in… and I could sense that this was going to be an expensive vacuum cleaner… I would have told her to leave, but
For years I’ve been attending AWAI’s annual Bootcamp, where listened to legendary copywriters like Bill Bonner, Drayton Bird and many others talk about copywriting. Year after year, the more experienced (mostly male) copywriters would come back to how they used to rack their brains trying to figure out what “housewives” really wanted.


Because companies were constantly trying to sell things door-to-door to housewives (These days no woman ever calls herself a housewife… but women still buy things from door-to-door salespeople).


Things like cookware, detergent that will get the ring around the collar out, and vacuum cleaners. It is the copywriter’s job to figure out what to say, what emotional buttons to push, to close the sale.

Which brings me to a mind-blowing lesson that I learned from Bill Bonner: Housewives were never interested in products. What they truly want is to be admired for having a beautiful home, envied for having their lives in order, and thought of as someone who is doing things the right way.

I know a lot of people who fit that description, even today.

People don’t want to hear about your products. People are trying to accomplish things in life. If a product will help them accomplish their goals, they will get it.
Which brings me back to the $2,500 vacuum cleaner that I didn’t want.
I didn’t want to buy a vacuum cleaner, but I wanted to admired for my clean and plush carpet. I do not want to be the loser who can’t get the chocolate milk stains out of the living room carpet when guests are on the way. I want to be the perfect hostess, and not a frazzled slob, for a change.
Which brings me to the secret and universal desire of every housewife on the planet. (Honestly, I’m surprised that Bill Bonner didn’t mention this secret desire in his speech. My only explanation for his omission is that he’s obviously not in charge of vacuuming his own house.)


What is the secret desire? Women all want someone else to vacuum living room floor for a change.


Needless to say, I said, “I would love a demonstration!” and pointed my guests to the embarrassing stains.

Sometimes it takes a long time to make a sale ….

Business owners have often told me that they don’t think anyone will read an ad if it’s long. I would argue that if someone is interested in your product or service, they will read as much as they need to before they make a decision.


If you’ve ever wondered why some ads and sales letters are so long, it’s because the writer needs to tell you about every feature and every benefit of the product before trying to ask for the sale.


The saleslady was determined to show us everything that the vacuum cleaner could do, and insisted o shampooing the entire living room floor before she told us the price. She cleaned my ceiling grates and my piano keys. We could tell that this demonstration was going to take awhile.


It took over an hour!


There is a very important reason that I allowed this to go on for as long as I did. I was bribed! The promise of having my carpet cleaned FOR FREE was an enticing bribe for me. It was enough of a bribe that I was willing to put up with an hour-long sales pitch.


Many sales letters can take a long time to read. Video sales letters have a way of sucking you in for a long time too. So why do people read those letters, and sit through those long videos, when they know they are just going to be sold something?


If you are trying to sell one of your products, and you know the sales pitch going to take a long time, find a way to include a bribe.

There are several legal ways you can bribe customers to read on. Here are three ideas.

1. Satisfy their curiosity. Use a headline that piques the reader’s curiosity, but doesn’t give all the information. For most people, it is slightly painful to be faced with an unanswered riddle, and they will read a long letter just to get the answer. An example is the headline, “What never to eat on an airplane.”


2. Offer a premium. In this case, I got a free carpet cleaning. I’ve sat through cookware demonstrations where I was offered a vacation package, have signed up for checking accounts so that I could get a free teddy bear, opened credit cards in order to score a planket (a pillow that turns into a blanket) at the airport, and bought perfume to get the free lipstick. If you haven’t tried using a premium or a giveaway, experiment with it next time you run an ad campaign.

3. Invite them into your inner circle. People love to belong to exclusive groups that allow them to have privileges that other people cannot have. Is there any way that your business can create an special club? For example, if you own a spa, can you create a monthly pampering package where members get a massage and manicure for a fee? I’ve been reading about creating memberships, and increasing profits by coming up with higher priced premium offers (rather than discounts) in Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent. According to Kennedy, your ability to raise your prices is a matter of the language that you use. He said, “When I began simply calling a subscription to my original marketing newsletter a membership in my inner circle, we saw an increase in response to solicitations and were able to inch up the price.” This concept can be applied to any business.