Almost all of the major social media platforms have added a live streaming feature, and marketers should be considering this an excellent addition to their toolbox. Given the way online users view content, video has skyrocketed to the top, and businesses and brands should be taking advantage of this.
What better way to communicate with your audience and gain their trust than by speaking directly to them. Live streaming is a perfect way to conduct interviews, go behind the scenes at an event, or even introduce and demonstrate your products. And you don’t have to invest in expensive video equipment, if you have a smartphone with a camera, then you already have the minimum tools needed to get started.
Rich: Nicole Walters is a former 6-figure corporate executive who woke up every morning feeling stuck in the life that she had built for herself. Using her corporate skills, she took to the internet and built a multi 7-figure business showing others how they can build a life they love.
As a child of immigrant parents, Nicole learned that nothing good in life comes easy. Through hard work and building great relationships, anything is possible. This mindset allowed Nicole to start with a humble blog and grow it into the successful business it is today.
Nicole has had numerous viral videos that garnished over 30 million views talking about the real-life struggles of being a mom. These videos have been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Forbes, and Disney’s news source Babble. Everyday Nicole connects with her audience on how to run an online business and live a life that brings them joy. Nicole, welcome to the show.
Nicole: Thank you Rich, that bio makes me feel fancier than I’m feeling today. So that’s awesome!
Rich: I’m sure you’re super fancy, don’t try to tell me you’re not super fancy.
Nicole: I’m a mom. Listen, I haven’t showered today, I’ve had calls, it’s what it is. I love it.
Rich: And we were just talking about the Super bowl right before we started recording and I just shaved off my playoff beard. I hadn’t shaved in over a month and I’m so happy to finally shave and shower today.
Nicole: I love the commitment from Pat’s fans. You guys are like. “We’re in it with you. We will not shave.” I love that.
Rich: I let my legs go, too, but that’s a whole other story. So what was it like waking up and feeling stuck in your life, and how did you shift into a more entrepreneurial lifestyle? What were those first tentative steps like?
Nicole: I think that a lot of people when they talk about feeling stuck they actually talk about, “Gosh, I had to go into work”, or “My boss put one more giant file on me and asked me to stay late”, and you know what, it was different for me. I was really proud of the work that I did. My parents come from humble beginnings, they were laborers, and to have a job with the corner office, and the business cards, and the first-class flights, and all those things. I mean, I had a job that was great. It really came down to the fact that I knew I wasn’t using my best skills, I wasn’t living in my god given purpose, and that was the turning point where I said I’ve got more to offer, what’s that going to look, like, I need to start doing the work.
So those first steps really came with experimenting, maximizing all those after hour timeframes, and testing products, putting up blog posts, going live, and just doing some idea validation to see what the market was willing to bare and where I could serve best.
Rich: Alright. Now you’ve grown your presence online – like we were talking about in the bio – and during that time you often talk about monetization. What does that mean to you?
Nicole: It’s funny, in my community it’s a running joke that I don’t do free, that I’m allergic to free, that free makes me itch. It’s just one of those things where I believe in monetizing wherever you can monetize. Of course, that doesn’t include charity or for children or things like that, but it means recognizing your value and your worth.
So monetizing for me is if I’m working with a brand, recognize that they’re paying me the same way they’d pay an advertiser if I’m doing something for influencing. Free also means that if I’m getting booked for a speaking engagement I’m going to take the time out to make sure that I’m billing properly and not undercharging for the services that I offer. Because what I do know is that whomever I work with I am going to deliver my very best and it’s going to see a return on that investment, so I charge.
Rich: And how do you think that other people can keep that in mind? Because I mean we live in a social media world sometimes and it seems like everything is free. So how do you talk to people about maybe billing what they’re worth or rethinking what they’re doing, what does that look like?
Nicole: Well some of it is just math, right? So I think that a lot of us have a tendency when it comes to pricing to say, well what are people willing to pay, and that is a valid question when it comes to any pricing model. But the truth of the matter is, before you get there you’ve got to start with what are your costs in order to create it. And that’s the first piece of it. Are you hiring vendors, are you outsourcing, are you pulling materials from shelves and going to your local boutique and getting that special lucky shea butter for your lucky cream? So I mean if that’s where you’re starting, well there are costs that go into it.
And then the other part that creators and business owners often forget is your labor. That’ where we devalue ourselves the most. But you know what? I remember that anytime I take 3 hours to put into my business, that’s 3 hours I’m also taking away from my family, and for my self-care, and from making sure I’m doing other things I could see as investments as well. So, I have to charge for that time also.
So, you add your cost of supplies and you add your cost of labor, and then you throw in a little margin – 30% or more – to make sure that you’re able to grow and invest and save. Well, you actually have a number that’s right on the money with what you should be charging, and that usually isn’t just whatever you think people would be willing to pay.
Rich: Now I’ve had a lot of people on this show over the years and some of our mutual friends, people like Pat Flynn and Amy Porterfield, and a lot of people who are in the digital marketing sphere give away a lot of stuff for free. Are you suggesting that’s wrong, or where does marketing end and maybe your selling begin?
Nicole: Well I think that what needs to happen is we probably need to be a little more candid about the fact that it’s never really free. It’s an exchange. They’re giving away extremely high value and beneficial products in exchange for your email address, in exchange for a relationship, and eventually it will become a monetary one.
So, when I look at what Pat does and Amy and what they do so well, is they give great high value information away on the front end for a simple exchange, for your email and permission in order to interact with you and eventually offer you something else that you may need as you start that journey with them.
So that’s what I mean by free. I think we have a tendency to get onto social media and curate these beautiful social media platforms, and we never have a call to action or send people to a place where we can then deposit money in our bank accounts. So don’t do free, keep in mind what is the end goal so I can get paid.
Rich: Is this what you mean by marketing with intention?
Nicole: Absolutely. You have to know where you’re sending people form the moment that you start interacting with them.
Rich: So, what are some of the… you have these groups that you read, what are some of the recommendations that you offer to people that might be they want to grow their list and make money but they’re not sure how to go about it? What are some of the things that you kind of point them to to make sure that they’re valuing their time and also covering all their costs?
Nicole: Absolutely. So, one of the first things that I always do is I tell people to set up a backend and make sure that you have a place to send people, build a place for them to go. So, whether that is as simple as a basic landing page where you can just collect email addresses, or something wider like a full on website where you’ve got tools and courses and various products that they can engage in. You’ve got to have a place to send people because the most important part to get people onto that list is engaging them, getting out there. People don’t know how to pay you if they can’t find you.
And what works best for me is livestreaming. It’s the hot new thing, it’s a great way to build that know, trust, and like factor that people need before they can actually commit to investing in you and investing in themselves. And just getting out there and offering that teaching live to them so that way they can come back and interact with your paid products.
Rich: So, tell me a little bit more about this live streaming and how you’re using it to kind of build this audience of yours.
Nicole: Absolutely. So, I use this method that I’ve trademarked called “The Turbo Opt-in Method”. We’ve all heard of traditional opt-ins, opt-ins are something that even if you’re not in the digital marketing space you’ve probably seen it. You’ve been on Target’s website and they’ve popped up on your screens, “sign up now for 50% coupon, enter your email”, that’s an opt-in. Everyday people use them in their online marketing businesses to collect email addresses, so they can eventually sell you something as well.
I kind of decided to bypass some of that process, because frankly I’m impatient and also because I wanted to leverage the fact that I engage with people very well over video. So the way that The Turbo Opt-in Method works is you hop on the internet, you’ve already built your backend – meaning you already have a place to send them – you already know where you’re sending them to go buy something, whether it’s a product, or course, or some other small introductory item, and you go online and you offer the value right up front. Instead of getting their email address and then offering the value in little bits and drips from emails like, “Hey, sign up here”, “Check this out”, “Do this project”, I do all that stuff up front.
You come in and you tune into one of my live broadcasts, you showed up there because you followed a hashtag, or a friend shared it, and while you’re there I tell you this is what you could do today to start building a life for your dreams tomorrow. And then when they’re done I tell them if they’d like to continue this journey and be part of this transformation, head over to nicolewalters.tv where I’ve got this variety of products for purchase. And sometimes I even offer a coupon code because they’re on live. And what happens is I immediately garner revenue from every single live broadcast I do, as well as building that trust and relationship that will continue them in that transformation journey within my business.
Rich: And when you say, “generate revenue”, you’re literally selling to them while they’re watching you.
Nicole: That’s right.
Rich: But it’s not like you’re just getting email subscriptions that may lead to sales, you’re actually closing sales while doing these live videos.
Nicole: Absolutely. Just like in the infomercials. They are popping on there and I’m saying, “Hey, we’re doing this great thing. If you’d like to take the journey, go ahead over here.” If it’s in the middle of a launch I’ll even throw in a little bit of urgency and say, “Hey there’s a bonus right now for those of you guys that sign up in the next hour. If you decide to sign up late, you’ll still have the opportunity, but you’ll miss out on this, this, and this.” And then I’ll walk them right through the purchase. I even encourage them to log into the content and then come back to the live broadcast and share what they’re seeing, so that people who haven’t made the purchase yet are excited and get that fear of missing out, but they also get the trust factor built because other people have taken the leap and they get to see their results in real time.
Rich: Now are you also teaching people – like you’ve got these classes, these courses – are you teaching them to kind of replicate some of what you’re doing? Is that part of how your business runs?
Nicole: To some extent. I mean, a lot of businesses follow the same format. I’m corporate trained, this is exactly what I used to do for Fortune 500 companies and multibillion dollar corporations in my previous life. Now I just get to do it for the everyday entrepreneur. Now I’m a really big believer in I don’t want a billion little Nicole’s running around, everyone has their own gifts to bring to the table. So, I get to show people how to leverage these strategies within their own businesses.
So even if you are a dog wash owner and you want to wash dogs live and then send people to your site to go book appointments right away, you can do that. So, you can leverage livestreaming to build your business. So, these tactics and these strategies that I share with the students actually transcend from product and service-based businesses and outside of the realm of online marketing.
Rich: So that’s interesting because that goes into my next question. It’s like these kinds of things feel great for informational products, but I definitely have worked with a number of people who are like, whether they’re stuck or not, sometimes they’re stuck because of a ceiling, there’s only so many hours in the day and they’re constantly trading hours for dollars and they’re looking for new ways of reaching and helping people, and of course creating more monetization opportunities. So, it sounds like some of these techniques could be used for a brick and more store, you just might have to rethink how you’re actually shaping your products and services.
Nicole: Absolutely. So, one of the things I love to share is if you are running a coffee shop, do a coffee break where you hop in during your lunch break and you talk about what’s happening in business that day and build a relationship that way, and tell people where you’re located and they can come in during coffee break to get the 15% discount. Or you are a baker, pop on your camera on your phone and set up a tripod while you’re making a famous dessert or you’re working on piping and decorating a cake and just talk to the audience as you’re going through that process. You’ve done it a million times and these people are seeing it for the first time. And then when you’re done tell them more about where they can find you or where they can book your services.
It isn’t always about stopping everything and creating the perfect marketing moment. Sometimes it’s about just getting real and bringing people in to a portion of your day, and that alone can build a relationship and encourage them to buy from you.
Rich: So that’s really interesting and I’m sure that there are people out there – I’m also thinking of myself – that think is my job interesting enough that other people will really want to watch me do a video on how to podcast. But who knows, maybe I should have been live streaming this entire interview.
Nicole: Oh, maybe!
Rich: If I have you on again we’ll do that for sure.
Nicole: You should.
Rich: So, you started out and you’ve got this very engaging personality. And I’m just wondering though for the people out there who might be wallflowers, you start that first video and nobody shows up, what are you doing to get those first few people, so you can really have an audience to engage?
Nicole: So that is always where people are struggling, they think it’s weird because they’re just doing it themselves. We have to look back on where marketing all started. So in the YouTube world online there wasn’t live engagement, so we’ve only started getting used to that. People would put out videos for years before they really had any traction. All it takes is one big video. So remembering to be excellent whenever you’re on air matters, especially if you’re in the live world. I’ve had 3 viral videos, and when I shot them live – they all started as live videos on Instagram Live – I probably had anywhere between 40-100 people watching and each one has garnered well over 5 million, and one of them has 20 million.
Rich: What were the topics? I’m just curious.
Nicole: Oh sure. And of course, because that’s how viral videos work, none of them were me showcasing a beautiful business with perfect hair and perfect outfit, that was never the case. Of course, they were videos where I was just waking up and running my kid out to the bus stop in the middle of my entrepreneurial workday and hopping on to just check in with my community and say, “Hey guys, just giving you a real life look at what it’s like to be a mom running a business from home.” But I’m running out to the bus stop and I’m comfortable, but I look terrible and these moms are going to wonder what’s wrong with me. And I shared that. I just went live and shared that moment and it just ended up going everywhere and going viral. And surely that wasn’t some fancy manufactured, beautiful HD broadcast with a gorgeous background.
So, I think that taking some of the heat off ourselves to curate every single marketing moment will allow you to actually step into your greatness and showcase the very thing that people are going to love about you. You’re the baker that curses while making your cakes, or the mom that stops and prays over her kids before dinner. Whatever it is that is authentically you, that’s the thing that’s going to make your audience find you, trust you and ultimately pay you.
Rich: So you mentioned that you did these on Instagram Live. Do you have a platform – is it always Instagram Live – or are you playing around with different platforms, have you seen different results on each one?
Nicole: So my tactic is actually live streaming in general, that works great for me. What I’ve been doing though is I designate each platform for that audience experience. So if I’m getting onto Facebook Live, Facebook Live has an older demographic, so it gears to people who are older who tend to have more discretionary income and also have a longer attention span and they’re willing to dive deep a little bit more, engage a little bit better. So I teach on Facebook Live, if you see me on there odds are you get something more serious, something more thought out, and something a little bit more professional.
If I’m coming out to Instagram Live and it’s a younger demographic, they tend to want snippets. I usually won’t be on there for more than 5 minutes and it really is just popping on and hanging out with people. You’re going to get still things that are in the moment, so if I’m on location at an event or speaking engagement, you might get a pop up there.
Now if I’m hopping onto a Periscope Live – which is a broadcast of Twitter – you’re going to get behind the scenes looks at my family. So that will be me with my family out at an event, or at home, or something funny that my husband’s doing, things like that.
So people know that I will be Live in different areas because that’s kind of what those demographics seem to appreciate the most. So I maximize the experience to leverage my skills with live streaming.
Rich: And these are just kind of as you spend more time on each one of these platforms and decided this is how I want to represent myself and these are the platforms because of the audience that’s there?
Nicole: Totally. And of course, some of that is based on the demographic right out of the gate. So if you’re someone who is talking about knitting and you also talk about senior care, you probably don’t want to do that on Snapchat because it may not work out so well.
Rich: I often view Facebook on my desktop – although I definitely use my phone as well – that’s easy to get someone over to a landing page. On Instagram Live and Periscope, is it easy to share links and drive people to an opt-in page? I’m assuming we’re still talking that everything is mobile.
Nicole: Sure. So one of the things you can do is if you have over 10,000 followers on Instagram – which I know is a high number for some – but if you have over 10,000 using Instagram Stories and Live, you can actually integrate a “swipe up” feature that takes you directly to the page. So it is possible to create links that people can go to.
What I’ve used from the very beginning on live streaming that works on any platform is creating a vanity URL. So I will buy something as simple as “slayyourscope.com”, which will be something easy to say, easy to spell, where people will know they can go there right now in order to find the things I’m talking about. So I have a training called The Customer Map, so if I’m on there talking about something on any of my live streaming platforms where a link isn’t readily available to click, I will tell people to go to thecustomermap.com and type that in very easily and go right there and get what they need from that landing page or check out page.
Rich: Awesome. Now getting back to the whole monetization thing, are you seeing other people who you feel are continually making mistakes? What are the mistakes that we should be avoiding as we try and get better about monetizing our time and our services, just truly when I look at it, it’s such an easy fix that it would result in either better traction, better results from your audience, or more money is getting caught up in the content. Content really matters, consistency really matters, but if you’re creating content for the sake of being a creator without having any intention behind where you’re going to send them or the experience they need, not only are you short selling yourself in terms of making money, but you’re also not serving your audience as completely as you could.
So I’ll see people who are on Instagram and they’ll have these beautifully curated pages with gorgeous flat lays and terrific lighting and you can tell they really have put a lot of creative work into providing an experience that people are engaging with and they love and they have followers. But at no point are they asking them, “Hey, if you like to learn more from this experience/or buy these items/ or learn how to build an Instagram page that looks like this, go here”, and people want that. They’re saying that in the comments, they’re engaging with you, they’re showing up for you, and part of our obligation as people who are givers – because entrepreneurs are givers – so by nature we’re in it to try to improve things and you better believe that if you want to improve things and get paid while you do that, you’ve got to have a place to send them.
So it’s worth putting in the time and investment to create a product or an experience on the back end, that as you’re doing this creative content you have a place to send people.
Rich: Awesome. This has been great. I know we’ve talked about a couple of the places that you are busy online, but where can we send people?
Nicole: I would love for people to head over to nicolewalters.tv. If you head over there you can find lots more about my courses, my opportunities, 1K in 1 Day Academy is my wildly popular course that sold out in as little as 4 minutes. This course teaches you all about how to get started monetizing, plug in the foundations with some things like setting up your LLC, setting up your DBA, getting official and knowing how to do things the right way and in the right order. So $1K in 1 Day will be opening soon, and if you head over to nicolewalters.tv or 1k1day.com, you can learn more.
Rich: Awesome. Nicole, thank you so much for sharing your expertise and your energy and you are fancy, don’t let anybody tell you differently.
Nicole: Thank you so much Rich, you’re the absolute best, I appreciate you.
Rich: Talk to you soon.
Nicole Walters understands the power of live streaming for businesses and wants to teach businesses, brands, and entrepreneurs how to make the most of this powerful tool and turn it into dollars. To learn more, check out her website and her wildly popular course on the subject.
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. He knows a thing or two about helping businesses grow by reaching their ideal customers, and to prove that, he puts on a yearly conference to inspire small businesses to achieve big success. You can also head on over to Twitter to check him out, and he just added “author” to his resume with his brand new book!