This episode is all about planning your marketing strategy as an entrepreneur.

Michelle Mazur talks about the importance of figuring out your messaging before your marketing. We talk about:

  • The importance of collaboration for your marketing strategy
  • How you can do less, but BETTER and more efficiently – so you can do more of the things you love
  • It’s not just about the strategy – it’s also about the metrics!
  • The Expert Up Club

Read the full transcript

Michelle Mazur  0:00  
What I know to be true is that if you want effective marketing, you have to have a message. We don’t talk enough about the importance of having a marketing message that leads people to your work.

Meg Casebolt  0:17  
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. I’m your host, Meg Casebolt. And I have a new book coming out called Social slowdown. It’s taking all of the 80 plus interviews that we’ve done so far in this podcast series, and turned it into something that’s a little bit more easily digestible. It will be available on July 27 2023. And it’ll only be $4 on Kindle and $9. On paperback. So I would love, love, love, if you could support the podcast by going on Amazon and buying the book. If you preorder it, I would especially appreciate that because that would help us get to a best seller status. Even if you don’t read it. That’s okay. So if you want to get your copy of the social slowdown book, head on over to social and get that today. And now let’s get back to the podcast, which is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip sync, send cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7 Let’s get started.

So welcome back to the social slowdown podcast.

Michelle Mazur  1:33  
Thank you so much for having me back. Meg, I’m excited for this. As always,

Meg Casebolt  1:39  
as all I mean, like we talk often enough that it’s not. It’s not like how have you been? It’s like okay, have you been last week? But I invited you on specifically to this episode, because since the last time you came on, you have launched a community and I wanted to talk about the positioning of the community, the the structure of it and the way that you marketed it both on social media and mostly off social media and how you sold it that way. So without further ado, please tell us about the expert club and where this idea came from.

Michelle Mazur  2:17  
Yeah, the expert up club really arose surprisingly out of my work from duped cast I do with Maggie Patterson, because what is

Meg Casebolt  2:28  
for those who don’t know duped let’s kind of explain Oh, yeah. Of duped I don’t want to make that assumption.

Michelle Mazur  2:35  
Oh, yeah. So duped is a consumer advocacy podcast that talks about the online shenanigans manipulation, cult like tactics to really help us all be savvy or consumers. So we are headed into our fifth season of duped right now where we’re going to talk about things like the grift of audience growth is coming up we’re gonna do a deep dive into NLP. So it’s a season coming up for season five of do when two

Meg Casebolt  3:08  
copywriters feel a depressed about what is happening in the copywriting and online marketing industry? How do they come out? They just go okay, let’s make a persuasive argument against all of these manipulative tactics.

Michelle Mazur  3:22  
Exactly, exactly. So it’s our way of, you know, hopefully making the industry a little bit better, or at least making the people who listen like better consumers so that when they see the BS, they can spot it and slow down their buying decision. And then maybe not buy I always feel like our biggest wins for duped is when somebody DMS essence like, Oh, I was gonna buy this thing. And then I just I listened to your podcast, and I decided not to and I’m like, yes.

Meg Casebolt  3:54  
So what I’m hearing is the decrease industry conversion rate and therefore the recession as a whole is falling on your shoulders.

Michelle Mazur  4:04  
Okay, I think that is over estimating the impact that duped has and the outlines.

Meg Casebolt  4:12  
That is the kind of claim that you are trying to prevent people from making

Michelle Mazur  4:19  
yes, we want you to be savvy consumers, but you know, if it’s the right thing for you still buy,

Meg Casebolt  4:26  
you can you can be a critical thinker and still make those decisions on your own. So I’m sorry, to you. The the club that you have created, the online community that you’ve created is an outgrowth of the conversations happening in the Duke podcast and yeah, interfaces.

Michelle Mazur  4:43  
Yeah, because the the mission of the expert up club is to help experts get known and hired for their work, because what I see in the online business space is we have a lot of these people who are just one step. Head of their clients are there 20 minutes smarter than their clients where they have that 10% edge of knowledge. And I always think with a 10% edge, there is like 90% of what you don’t know that is coming for you and your client. And that’s really how people get duped. They’re hiring people who have literally just done it for themselves, or they read a book and they’re repurposing another program they were in, and they’re like, I’ve got this formula. And as long as you follow the formula, you will have success, like I had success. And then people don’t get results, because they have a different personality, their business model is different. There’s like so many different variables. And for me, if we can get experts known for their work, if they’re seen as the go to to solve a particular problem, less people will be getting duped. And that is the bigger mission of the club. And what this means for business owners is that in order for experts to be able to be known, and hired for their work, they have to be able to talk about it. So this is messaging in a very compelling and persuasive way, and lead people to their sales process. And then they have to have a marketing strategy that works for them. So they have to know how they want to show up. That might be social media, it might not be you, as you talked about in the show, we have lots of options on how to market, but then figuring out, okay, let’s figure out what the marketing strategy is. And then do marketing experiments to test the messaging and see how it works to see what actually works for your business. And then do it within this amazing community of experts, who are also smart and also giving and are very into collaborating with other good quality people. So that is the mission of the club, I hope that it can change the industry fundamentally. But for the experts that are in it, I really want them to be be the first to be hired, instead of hearing like, Oh, I wish I would have known about you three years ago.

Meg Casebolt  7:24  
Yeah, before I invested in that person who wasted all of my money and made me feel jaded about the industry and made me want to burn things down to the ground. Yes. So the expert up club, came out of those conversations, but how did you make the decision about we’re going to talk about messaging, we’re going to do these marketing experiments, we’re gonna have this community like those, to me are the kind of the three pillars of the club, if I recall correctly, because you hired me to do the SEO strategy for the launch?

Michelle Mazur  7:54  
Yes, I did.

Meg Casebolt  7:57  
So you and I have talked extensively about what are the what are the inputs? What are the OnRamps that people can have in order to start any of the three pillars? But how did you choose those as you know, messaging marketing community as the three things that people needed to kind of grow their business using this? Yeah.

Michelle Mazur  8:17  
So the messaging piece was obviously easy. I’ve been doing messaging for a million years now in the online space, it feels like but like the three word rebellion and doing client decision journeys. And I what I know to be true is that if you want effective marketing, you have to have a message. Like, we don’t talk enough about the importance of having a marketing message that leads people to your work. People are just like, what marketing tactic should I use? Should I be on Instagram? Should I be on threads? You know, like, should I be doing social media? And it’s like, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh, like back it up? Let’s figure out what you need to say. First, so that when you decide on your marketing strategy, you have something to say? And you can you actually know what type of content to put out there, instead of thinking like, Oh, I just need to post and then wondering why it’s not getting new clients or growing your audience or whatever. Your goal is so

Meg Casebolt  9:17  
pretty, and I do stories every day.

Michelle Mazur  9:21  
Yeah. Why aren’t you buying

Meg Casebolt  9:22  
from me, Michelle?

Michelle Mazur  9:25  
I know. And it’s like you’re doing these random stories about random things that are very tangentially related to your business. It’s not strategic enough. So that messaging is like core and foundational so we create the what I call the minimum viable meaningful marketing message within the club. And then you can apply that messaging to whatever your marketing strategy is create your marketing plan, and the marketing piece came out of a workshop that I ran. I started during the pandemic called Marketing uprising. And I was like, Oh, this could live inside a community type environment where we can do this marketing planning quarterly together and create these marketing experiments. So that’s where the marketing piece came up. So we have messaging marketing. And then the collaboration is, I think something we don’t talk about enough in the online space, is some of the biggest web celebs out there, got their start, because they collaborated with others. And there’s this example from I think James Wedmore, was interviewing Amy Porterfield on his podcast, and they were talking about how they got their start at the same time. And it was because Lewis Howes helped promote them, he helped create the course he told them, like, what they should be doing. And then he exposed them to his huge audience. So they were able to grow an audience of very quickly, and, like, create these huge businesses because of collaboration. And most of the time, when we’re taught audience growth, it’s like, you know, post on Instagram five times a day and do reals and do this.

Meg Casebolt  11:15  
And it used to be especially when, when James and Amy were coming up, a lot of it was also the messaging was go run Facebook ads to grow your audience.

Michelle Mazur  11:23  
Yes, run Facebook ads, it’s the cheapest way to grow your audience. That’s not true anymore. But really, what gave them a leg up? Is the fact that they were partnered with somebody who had a huge audience. And so my thought was like, Well, how can I get experts who share the same values in a group together, to find collaboration to build relationships in the group? Because I never wanted it to be a transactional space where it was like, Hey, can I email your list? Like I’ve been in communities like that before where you know, you get on a connection call? They’re like, how big is your list? And you’re like, Screw you, I don’t even know you.

Meg Casebolt  12:06  
And also, how big is your list? It does not show me what your open rates are gonna be your click through rates, your engagement rates, like how big is your list? Is a vanity metric? Not Yes. An engagement metric?

Michelle Mazur  12:16  
Yes, exactly, exactly. So it was just, so I was like, alright, so if I can find people and curate this group, they can build relationships and find collaborators, that’s going to serve us all. And it’s going to help us achieve the goal of getting our work out there being seen being known and eventually being hired.

Meg Casebolt  12:40  
Absolutely. I’ll say from, from my personal experience, anecdotally, you know, I emailed my list on I don’t know, some random Tuesday, couple 1000 people, and said, Hey, I’m writing a book, do you want to help me promote it? And then you saw that email and posted it in your community of a couple dozen people. And I got the same number of podcast offers, from my email list of a couple 1000 people as I did from your post in your community? Yep. Because exactly, if you get the right people who have the same values, and who value this collaboration that you’re talking about, and who have already created the platforms that you can then leverage for each other. And already, some of them have reached out and said, you know, hey, I’d love to feature you in my email list. And also, can I come on your podcast to talk about this? Right? Like, it’s, it’s supportive, and it’s, but it’s not transactional, but it’s reciprocal. Like there’s a difference between transactional and reciprocal.

Michelle Mazur  13:44  
Yes, yes. Well, it’s like I because people are building relationships, and they genuinely want to support and help you. So when I saw that your book launch was coming, I was like, oh, yeah, well, part of my job is being a good community leader, is promoting the people who are in the community. So posting it to, you know, all of the members and celebrating this accomplishment because launching a book is a pretty big freakin deal. It just, it’s such a natural thing. And it’s so fun for me, because like, I love seeing how people are like, I pre ordered your book, or I’m happy to share it to my email list or come on my podcast. I was like, That’s exactly why I created this community.

Meg Casebolt  14:28  
And I think I want to I want to take that and bring it back to the messaging, which is when you have developed this community where these values are shared, and where collaboration is important, and pit people recognize how this can help not just grow our own businesses, but grow other people’s businesses, and in doing so raise our profiles and all all the authority pieces of that. How did you articulate that in your messaging in order to get people who share this approach into the space and how do you repel the people who are going to be more transactional.

Michelle Mazur  15:04  
Yes, I feel like number one expert does a heavy lift for the values of the group. So we do in the group have for in the community, we have five core values. And I really believe that the difference between a community and any other type of group program is that you have values, you have a mission, and you have a vision that everybody shares and agrees to and buys into. And some of those values actually do repel people. So things like one of the core values is, it’s a long term strategy that we’re playing the long game in this community success does not happen overnight, we didn’t earn our expertise overnight. Like, we have to like show up consistently, for years sometimes before things start taking off. So that’s going to repel the people looking for a quick fix. The other value I feel, also repels people is the courage to try. So this community is very much about celebrating failure, and what doesn’t work as much as celebrating what does. So we have a community event called failed it where people show up, show up and talk about something that flopped in their business, and tell us what they learned about it. And I feel like, you know, for all of our talk about like, oh, it’s all about this six figure success, it is so refreshing to have these real conversations about failure and what we learned and then what we tried differently next time because it does not I don’t ever see this happen in online community. So it’s all about let’s celebrate your wins. And I’m like, Yeah, let’s celebrate what you tried and didn’t work, because that is equally as valuable. So I feel like those three things together like repelled people, because if they’re looking for a quick win, if they’re not really an expert, and if they’re afraid of failure, they’re not going to want to be part of this group.

Meg Casebolt  17:09  
Yeah. And I think a big part of failure is trying new things. And because the the marketing experiments and the way that you talk about them as experiments, not as a given is also a big part of it, you know, like, and one of the things that I talk about, both on this podcast and is pretty substantial. And the book is that idea of like the sunk cost of your marketing where you try something. And because you’ve been doing it for a long time you feel like you can’t walk away, or you can’t change or you can’t, like you can’t even adjust your strategy, because what if it gets worse? But a lot of us who are saying what if it gets worse? Or what if it goes away, don’t have the metrics, backing it up to say, here’s what my benchmark is. So you could say, you know, oh, well, I’ve been posting on LinkedIn every day. But I don’t. And what if I go back to three days a week? How do I even know if that’s going to impact my lead generation? What am I actually tracking? To know if I change something if I if I double or if I have something not even walking away? But like if I, if I were to double down on this and do more of it? How would I know that it’s working? And how, what is my time period? During which I’m going to test this out? And when will I reevaluate? And that’s one of the things that I love anything. You told me that you did this through Tara McMillan’s program, right, where it’s like, we are going to do this thing for three months, we are going to try this out for three months. Yeah. And that’s sort of the approach that you take with the quarterly planning. Yeah. So

Michelle Mazur  18:37  
like, Tara’s book, What Works was really great for creating like the experiment debriefs because she has this beautiful, like, Project debriefs section that actually works for, like, debriefing the project. But yeah, part of it was this idea of like, most people I talked to, I was like, how, how do you know if your marketing is working? And they’re like, What do you mean? I’m like, okay, so you’re posting on Instagram? How do you know if that’s actually working for you? And they’re like, Ma, I don’t. So I’m like, Okay, this needs to change. And like my backgrounds in academia, like, I have a research minds, I’m like, Okay, let’s, let’s create a hypothesis, like I have been testing a LinkedIn hypothesis. So can LinkedIn lead to EML growth, which could lead to clients or members of the expert app club, it is a three month I think I’m gonna make extend it to a six month because I don’t feel like I have enough data yet. And also, because

Meg Casebolt  19:37  
you have two conversions happening there. One is LinkedIn to email. One is email to well to club. Yes.

Michelle Mazur  19:42  
Yes, exactly. So

Meg Casebolt  19:46  
that might need a longer window to be able to debrief.

Michelle Mazur  19:50  
Yes. And I’m like, Alright, so what I’m going to commit to doing to testing this hypothesis, well, I’m going to post three times a week, I’m going to interact with at least five I have accounts every Monday through Friday. And then what’s and what my calls to action need to be to the email list, right? So pretty clear what I need to do. And then I just check in like, Is my following growing? Am I getting subscribers from LinkedIn? And so just kind of checking in on those numbers like monthly to see if I’m headed in the right direction. And it’s it’s very methodical, but at the end, you can think about things like, Alright, did I say, did I do what I was going to say? Did I do what I promised I would do? Did I take these actions? Right away? Wait, I didn’t. So maybe I actually need to commit to doing this proper? Because I’m not right now. Yeah, so I feel like as long as we can have some kind of methodical way of finding out what works, it’s gonna make our marketing, I think it makes our marketing like 10 times easier and twice as effective.

Meg Casebolt  20:59  
And it makes it easier to say, Wow, that didn’t work. Here’s my failure. Let me identify it. Let me recognize it. Let me celebrate it. And then let me shake my hands and go, I probably shouldn’t make that noise on a podcast. Sorry, everyone. Isn’t wipe your hands of it, shake it off, you know, Taylor Swift it and then try something else and give yourself permission to do less to try something new to not. And just because somebody said, Oh, it’s going to work. If you email your list three times a week, well go look at the numbers. What are your open rates? What’s your unsubscribe rate? Did you see? Have you seen more people convert? Have you seen a higher click through rate? Which of your emails are they opening? I think that there’s a lot of doing and not a lot of evaluating that happens.

Michelle Mazur  21:49  
Yeah. And then we get caught in this sunk cost fallacy of like, oh, my gosh, I mean, I faced this with Instagram, when Instagram went heavily into reels like I didn’t want to do reels. That’s not my jam. Like I’m not I don’t even like consuming short form video unless it’s up cats.

Meg Casebolt  22:05  
I can’t I can’t watch reels. I can’t watch tick tock like my brain just, it cannot. The only tick tock I’ve watched in the past months is somebody who walked into the house and there was a buffalo. They’re like sitting. My husband showed it to me. He found it on Reddit and he walked in and it was on the unexpected subreddit. I know, I have new feelings about Reddit too. But it’s on the unexpected subreddit. And the guy’s like, come on, boom, boom. And he like walks the buffalo out of his house, that if I watch anything about marketing, because I just I like, I don’t think you can. I don’t think you could have a meaningful conversation based on 60 seconds of input. And it just doesn’t appeal to me to watch especially the flashy or trendy or soundbite things I it, my brain just shuts down. It can’t take it. So yeah, I feel you on this. And when Instagram went more into video, even before, even before reels, IG TV stories, it just moved too quickly for me, and I don’t know, you would think with the ADHD that I would be able to pick up on the speed of it. But I just didn’t want to consume that speed. I didn’t want to always have to have my audio on I didn’t want to always have to be reading you know, it just Yeah, Instagram. Instagram lost me when they went to stories, believe it or not. Oh, okay. I like I liked. I liked the up and down scroll, not the left and right scroll.

Michelle Mazur  23:31  
That makes sense. I get it, I get it.

Meg Casebolt  23:36  
Especially static images. It doesn’t take me that long to look at an image. So I felt like I was just clicking, clicking swiping. So unlike wasn’t actually looking at anything. I couldn’t hold my attention. Yeah. Anyway, makes sense. That’s just me. But yeah, I think you know, when when Instagram changed its algorithm, you were able to say no short form video isn’t for me. So even though I’ve built this following on this platform, even though I feel like I have a strategy that works, it might not continue to work. And I think that there’s this tendency, human nature to say, but it did work. Can’t I get it to work again? Or what did I do wrong?

Michelle Mazur  24:14  
Yeah, and sometimes it has nothing to do with you. I mean, it might have to do with like, the preferences that you how you want to create or your own personal strengths. But it’s not a personal failing to be like, hey, this was a good ride while it lasted. And I need to find something that actually works for me and my business because I think the other thing we often overlook is, so many of us are juggling, marketing, sales and client delivery. Like, oh, we can’t do a crap ton of marketing. We can’t afford to do marketing. That doesn’t work. So how can you do less but better To her, and become way more efficient with your marketing so that you can actually do the things you love, like client delivery or live your life.

Meg Casebolt  25:09  
Right? So that way you don’t have to be tethered to your phone or your desktop to be responding to things to be creating all the time. It’s so frustrating. So how do you when you’re teaching, you know, not the messaging so much, but this marketing experimentation? How do you help people determine what it is that they should be trying? What are what are your prompts?

Michelle Mazur  25:32  
Yeah, so I think the first thing is to think about what goal you have. So like, Are you looking to grow your audience? Versus Are you looking for your email to better convert to sales conversations? So got tying back to like that business, overarching business question of like, you know, like, if you’re in a season of like, like, for the expert app club, like, I need to grow my audience. So I am running experiments specifically for that. And then it’s looking at the marketing strategy. And let’s say, you’re doing SEO for growing your audience being discovered driving traffic to your website, then it’s like, alright, so I have this SEO strategy, what is the goal of that? And then writing a hypothesis or research question like, does SEO actually lead to subscribers to my website? Or does SEO like this post actually lead to people checking out my services page, or whatever that goal is, and then being like, Alright, so this means I need to, like, create this post, optimize this post. So understanding those actions you need to take and then doing the thing.

Meg Casebolt  26:47  
What you haven’t actually implement the strategy.

Michelle Mazur  26:51  
Strategy, it is wild, but also determining, like thinking about like, what are the metrics I need to measure in order to see if this is working, right. So like, if you want to see if your SEO is actually working, you have to see if people are coming to the page or not like you have to like go into your analytics and look at those things.

Meg Casebolt  27:13  
That like the hardest thing I have to get people to do I have to get them to think about their clients. And then I have to get them to go look at what’s working.

Michelle Mazur  27:21  
I know, I know, like getting into Hartselle. Well, and I realize that people have this weirdness around numbers, like somehow, if the numbers don’t say what you want them to say it’s this personal failing. And I’m like, the numbers are neutral. Like they are just telling you a direction, like they have nothing to do with you. And everything to do with what’s working or what’s not. And so then you can adjust when you’re when you start looking at them. But getting people over that fear of like, I kind of look at the numbers, or even like when we do voice of customer research in the club. They’re like, but But what if my Pete one of my clients don’t want to talk to me, I’m like, they hired you. They loved you. They had a great experience, why wouldn’t they want to talk to you and help you with this?

Meg Casebolt  28:11  
I’m like, a lot of us is like, what if what if the people on my email list don’t like this, and then they unsubscribe and it’s like, then they weren’t gonna give you money anyway. But it can feel, especially I think especially those of us socialized as women, it can feel like a moral failing, or like, the people don’t like me versus people don’t like my language versus people aren’t interested in my service or product for you know, like, there’s so much that could or they just are overwhelmed by the number of emails that are in their inbox. And right now isn’t the time but you’re still gonna, they might come back in two years, two months, five years, 10 years. You don’t know what’s happening in their lives. And there has to be like a level of empathy to these are real humans, not just numbers in an analytics dashboard.

Michelle Mazur  28:55  
Yes, yes. And it’s always funny. Like, for the X for the last launch of the expert app club, I did an open house, which is, like, it’s so important right now, especially with the shaky economy and trust being at such a low to actually like, show people what they get. So I hosted this open house to really show people like, Hey, this is what’s inside of the club. These are the forums, I had some of the members there. And it was so funny to me because I was going through like the numbers, and there was one woman who stayed for the entire open house. And then once I sent out the replay email she unsubscribed. Like that is so weird, but good for her for knowing like that this wasn’t for her.

Meg Casebolt  29:42  
Yeah, or maybe, maybe she unsubscribed and then re subscribed with a different email address because she decided that she wanted you to be prioritized in a different inbox like we

Michelle Mazur  29:51  
never know. Oh, good point is happening. I feel

Meg Casebolt  29:55  
like regularly I get people who are like I already unsubscribed from this or like I bought this product and now you’re, you’re pitching it to me. And I’m like, cuz you email you sign up for my email list with three different email accounts. I cannot know that when I’m doing the segmentation and tagging, you know, like, it’s, it’s not always on us as the creators, like the user experience, and their behavior cannot always be even when, you know, you see someone show up at a live event, and they stay through the whole thing. And then they unsubscribe, maybe it’s because they’re like, great, I got all the information that I needed from that free event. Cool, you know, like, it’s not always a personal failing.

Michelle Mazur  30:33  
Now, it’s not, it’s not, it’s just like, Oh, that’s interesting.

Meg Casebolt  30:38  
It’s all data. It’s all data and data is neutral. The conclusions that you draw can be emotional, but the data points themselves are neutral.

Michelle Mazur  30:47  
Neutral. Yes, exactly. Exactly.

Meg Casebolt  30:51  
And do not have anything to do with your value as a human being.

Michelle Mazur  30:55  
No, thank you not.

Meg Casebolt  30:58  
It feels like, it feels like I’m being placating. And I recognize that. But also, like, I’m saying it for a reason. Because everything can be drawn back to emotions. And in your messaging, in your research in like, there’s always going to be a bias, there’s always going to be some sort of emotional component anytime people are trying to persuade you to do something. I’m recognizing that, you know,

Michelle Mazur  31:22  
yeah, well, and also in sales, because I think like when I was first marketing, the expert up club, like the founding members launch, I sent over 70 personal invitations, like two people that I thought would be awesome founding members. And when I was the first one, I was the first one. I know, you were the first one to join. I was like, Oh, this might be a thing. This is so awesome. Well, no,

Meg Casebolt  31:49  
I was the first one because you hired me to come up with the SEO strategy. And then we finished the SEO strategy call and I went, so when can I join? Because I think those types of sales conversations and those types of conversions are so underrated. Oh, yeah. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve hired, because they have reached out to me and said, Do you know anybody who fits this criteria? Criteria? And I’ve just raised my hand and been like, Yep, you’re looking at, you know, it doesn’t have to be a hard sell. It can be who can you introduce me to? And it’s like, I can introduce you to this guy with two thumbs up. But anyway, I interrupted you to brag on myself. But you said, you know, I said it. You said about 70 personal requests and customized requests of, you know, I think you’d be a good fit for this. Because not a canned email, not a broadcast email, but human to human connection.

Michelle Mazur  32:46  
Yeah, and I mean, I mean, I definitely did get Pete like, I did like the traditional launch to my email list. And that did get us some new members. But the personal outreach, and me talking individually to people was the biggest success. And I don’t think we do that enough. In our marketing,

Meg Casebolt  33:05  
I’m gonna bet that your email is converted at like two to 4%. And your personal outreach converted at like 20 to 40%. Yes,

Michelle Mazur  33:13  
yes. And you know, it’s hard to hear no, especially like, when you’re excited about something, and you think this person would be a good fit. And it’s, you know, it’s like, Oh, this isn’t the right time for me, or whatever they say. But it’s like, Oh, okay. But noes are expected. And I really feel like I got all of the right people in the founding member launch that kind of helped me lay the foundation of the expert app club. So I have my

Meg Casebolt  33:42  
mind too, because I think this is important, where it wasn’t just you had an idea and you want I’m going to reach out to these 70 people, and I’m going to send these five emails and I’m going to have a club ready. Like in order to identify who those perfect 70 People were you had months and months of work going into that?

Michelle Mazur  33:58  
Yeah, like I originally had the idea of for this the expert up club in like three years ago, and then I just still wasn’t ready for it. And I actually hired a Community Consultant. So if you have a job and like, I started working with her in September of 2022, and spent the entire fall through January and February, creating the framework of the club, like thinking about the values thinking about the member journey, thinking about like, what are the outcomes that they can expect, like thinking about like the kind of environment I want to create thinking about the values that community guidelines like there’s so many things to think about, like when you’re doing when you’re getting a community off the ground? So I spent like, what that almost six months just creating it and then making decisions about like, okay, where Do I want to host this community like what platform is the best for me and for them, and also thinking about how this community is going to fit into my own life? Because for me, this is a way for me also to reduce one on one work. Because I’m getting older, and one on one work is very creatively taxing. So how can I do less of it? So I there were a lot of considerations before I even decided to reach out to 70 people. And what I see is like, I had a conversation with a client the other day, she’s like, I really liked this community thing. I think I’m going to do something similar. And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, because you have to understand what you’re getting into, and how intentionally you have to create the space and the experience if you actually want this to work.

Meg Casebolt  35:51  
Yeah, I think a lot of people will just say like, I will start up a free Facebook group and have this sort of like, if you build it, they will come goal. Mm hmm. Not Field of Dreams, y’all like, no, James Earl Jones not going to show up and guide people into your community it has. And there are so many memberships, online communities, group coaching programs out there that people have slapshot together and said like, Well, my coach said that in order to stop doing one on one work, I need some sort of leveraged offer. And people have been burned in those communities, and you get less trustworthy of what things are. So in order to start to develop something that has value that people are going to invest in, especially for a year commitment, which I think is what you expect, right? Or is it quarterly? No, it’s

Michelle Mazur  36:43  
a year commitment, with quarterly payments,

Meg Casebolt  36:45  
but a year commitment. Like you have to figure out how to set yourself apart and give people a preview of what that looks like. Yeah, I have to be so clear on the vision is what it is.

Michelle Mazur  36:57  
Yes, yeah. And we spend a lot of time just creating what the vision is of the club and why it should exist. And I really feel like we created something that was completely different and not on the market. Because it’s not a group program. It has group program like features. And it’s not just like, oh, a membership, I’m slapping together, and it has membership like features. And it’s just not a community all by itself. It’s this interesting amalgamation of all of those things that create the expert up club. But if I like if I would have just slapped this together, it would not be as successful as it currently is.

Meg Casebolt  37:46  
Yeah, I don’t have anything else to say about it. I feel like just being able to think, intentionally and plan ahead and hold a vision is something that people aren’t necessarily thinking about when they’re thinking about their program structure, their marketing. And I wanted to use this sort of as a case study of not just like, Oh, you don’t we didn’t talk about is you posted about it on LinkedIn, but didn’t really spend a lot of time promoting it on social right. I should probably bring it back to the whole premise of the pot. This is my messaging.

Michelle Mazur  38:19  
Like, honestly, now that I’ve been through two launches, I think I’m I promoted the open house on LinkedIn and didn’t have like a great uptake. Because I, you know, I’m only like two months into the LinkedIn experiment anyway. But yeah, social media wasn’t a huge component of this. I think it could be like, I think LinkedIn is a place where experts do hang out the number of people in the expert up club who are on LinkedIn is amazing. To me, it’s one of the reasons why we’re going to have an expert session on LinkedIn is not taught by me, because I’m not an expert. That will be by Andrea Jones, who we’ve had on the podcast several times. Yes, Andrea, she will be talking to us about LinkedIn. And I’m just like, oh, okay, I don’t need to post here. But for the next upcoming launch, I’m gonna do the same strategy. Like I’m going to revisit the list of who I think would make great members, I think I’m gonna go from some stretch members, because there are some people who I think should be in the community because it would benefit them not from a marketing or messaging standpoint, but from a collaboration standpoint, that they should be in there because I think people one of the misnomers that I’m trying to get around is like, Oh, well, this is for like, more beginning businesses. And I’m like, No, our average time in business is like seven years. We have people who’ve been in business for 18 years in the community. This is not for newbies.

Meg Casebolt  39:51  
Yeah. And I think part of the reason that you know that is because it’s an application only and people have to be accepted. This isn’t something you just join. This is something that you apply and you have to evaluate what matters to you and make a compelling case for yourself. I mean, I didn’t skip the application, here’s my money. But we’ve just worked together so long that I can pull off. When you go back and forth hiring the same people in the same group, you sort of know their expertise.

Michelle Mazur  40:24  
Yeah. But like I understood who you are, and what you would bring into the group and how you would operate. And I thought, yeah, like, values wise and ideal community member, you are definitely that person.

Meg Casebolt  40:35  
And for me, as a community member, I think also something to be discussed in your marketing is I thought to myself, I know how much this is going to cost. If I can sell one person into a strategy session, it will pay for itself, right? Like, knowing that you can get in front of people in an intimate environment, knowing that you can be in a curated space. And that’s not to say like I am the SEO person in there, you can absolutely bring in more SEO people and tag all of us, we will have an SEO question because we’ll all have different ways of explaining similar ideas, maybe even different advice, and that’s valuable. But that recognition of if you can get into a small group of ideal people who are willing to invest that can be even more valuable and have a higher return on investment than having a huge audience of people who don’t value what you do, or who don’t have the financial capacity to invest in you. Like it’s it’s a I don’t want to say like stratosphere is the word that’s coming to mind. But like, you have a certain level of expertise that values others.

Michelle Mazur  41:45  
Yes. Yeah, yes. And I think what’s lovely, and I don’t see a lot of what happens in the group, like I was on a q&a call with everyone. And one of the members was like, oh, yeah, I hired so and so to help me with this. And I’m like, oh, cool, sweet. I’m glad I made that connection. For you. So business is happening in there. And I’m not even aware of it. Because it’s not my job to be aware of it. Like,

Meg Casebolt  42:14  
I think Tara Newman’s community has something very similar that happens in there to where, yeah, they’re all hiring each other not in like a, you know, a transactional way, but in a collaborative way. And the recognition of this person can help me and I trust them versus, you know, we’re just exchanging the same money back and forth.

Michelle Mazur  42:34  
Exactly, exactly. And I, and it’s just lovely to see that happening and see the collaborations happening. And all I’m doing sometimes is just tagging people in. And business happens. And I think that’s kind of the cool thing about a community and I will be keeping that community like intentionally small, it’s not like right now, I think we have 3334 members, but I plan to grow it to about 100, but cap it at 100 people, because it’s important for me that well, by that point in time, I’ll probably also have a community manager manager to help me manage all of this. But right now I know everyone, like, Yeah, I know, everyone in the group. I know what they do. I know if how I could refer them like, and that’s kind of a cool thing as a community leader to have that level of relationship, which is why people should get in things when you see like founding member launches. Yeah. Because it’s such a great opportunity to be on the ground floor of something like that.

Meg Casebolt  43:37  
100%. So you’re opening the doors again in September?

Michelle Mazur  43:42  
Yes, I’ll have another open house for the expert up club. It’s I think it’s September 25. At 10am. Pacific, if you go to Dr. Michelle house, you can sign up, I’ll take you through everything that the club is about, you’ll get to mix and mingle with some of our members. And yeah, it’s it’s a good time. It’s a good time, even if you don’t join,

Meg Casebolt  44:05  
just come hang out, meet some really cool new people. All right, Michelle, anything else that that you’re excited about lately that you want to talk about?

Michelle Mazur  44:13  
I think the community is what I am most excited about these days. I’m excited to have something that is. I mean, it really plays to my strengths of connection and teaching. And although I love one on one work, I do hope to retire from it or scale back from it very dramatically in the near future. So I can just solely focus on creating a great community for love the expert app club members.

Meg Casebolt  44:44  
Love that. Thank you for sharing the vision with us. And if y’all are interested, go check out Dr. Michelle And Michelle, I’m sure I’ll see you very soon. Yes. Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown pod Kevin, if you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social 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 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

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planning your marketing strategy with michelle mazur