Have you ever started a project – either in business or in your personal life – and had it not go as smoothly as you expected? Maybe no one signed up? Or you were met with disinterest? Were you tempted to quit? Or did you keep at it until you were successful?
I’ve faced this challenge recently in regards to my Blog Commenting Tribe. I know I’ve mentioned the Tribe to you before, but I haven’t shared the story behind it. I nearly gave it up before it even got off the ground.
I didn’t create the idea for the Blog Commenting Tribe; I was a participant in another group and decided to start my own Tribe so I could bring the support I found to other women loggers.
It was such a great idea that I expected everyone that I approached to want to participate.
I was wrong.
The first people that I asked were all women that I knew personally who wrote blogs and were struggling to get comments.
Not one of them said yes.
So I asked some women who I’m Facebook friends with but whom I don’t know personally.
I got a few Yeses but I was bummed: this process was much slower than I imagined it would be. I started second guessing myself: “Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea… “ “Maybe people didn’t need this kind of support… “ “Maybe I should just give it up.” (Sound familiar?)
I was still wrestling with these questions when I was presented with an opportunity to connect with people outside of my current circle of influence:
When you follow me on Twitter, you’ll receive a direct message which contains an invitation to promote your blog on my website. If you follow the link, you’ll land on a blog post where you can leave a comment and include a link to your website (if you haven’t promoted your website there, you should do so today).
After starting the Tribe, I made a change to my Twitter strategy and was actively seeking out people to follow who appeared to be my target audience. This turned out to be an important decision as it changed the type of people I was connecting with on Twitter.
When you follow someone on Twitter, you’ll likely prompt them to follow you in return. My new followers received my direct message and they starting taking advantage of my offer and posted comments.
It was these people – the ones who posted on my “promote your blog here” page – who turned out to be perfect for my Tribe: they were (generally) women bloggers actively promoting their blogs and since they were women whom I’d followed originally, they were in my target market.
When I started approaching these women about joining my Blog Commenting Tribe, my success rate jumped to 80%, meaning that of 10 loggers I contact, 8 will sign up for the Tribe.
But signing up bloggers to the Tribe isn’t the only measure of success that I’ve received from sticking to this project: inviting bloggers to join my Tribe has also netted me two speaking engagements and a new client!
If I had given up at the first sign of difficulty, my business wouldn’t be flourishing right now. Stepping up and growing through my fears brought me into contact with some pretty amazing people, people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
But how do you know if you should stick with a project or quit? It can be tempted to throw in the towel when the going is difficult, but sometimes success is one small change away.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help uncover what you should change in order to increase your chance for success:
What is the message my attitude is conveying?
Your attitude affects your success as much, or more so, than any other single element. Are you being pushy? Or too timid? Are you attached to the outcome? Do you give people room to make the decision that is right for them? After someone says No, how do you feel? If you are truly unattached, their answer won’t affect how you feel inside or your attitude.
Can people see the value in what I am are offering?
When we create marketing for our own products, we often get stuck focusing on the process we use, rather than the benefit our solution provides. Imagine you are going to your favorite hairdresser, and instead of talking to you about how you want your hair to make you feel, or how you want to care for it, she talked to you about her scissors. Yet, this is often how we write our marketing, by talking about our scissors. Make sure your marketing speaks to what your clients are looking for – a great cut that makes them feel wonderful – not about the technique (or tool) that you use to accomplish it.
Am I speaking to the right audience?
Sometimes, it isn’t the project or offer that is off, it’s who you are offering it to. The difference between the correct audience and the wrong audience might be obvious, or it might be subtle. What characteristics do the people who do say Yes have in common? What characteristics differ between the Yes people and the No people? Figure out what the Yes people have in common, then find more people like them. In order to grow my Blog Tribe, I had to find bloggers who were currently taking action to grow their blog readership and then find a way to reach them. Once I did that, my Tribe took off.
If you are launching a new project or offer and aren’t seeing the results you want, don’t give up; instead, use these guidelines to fine tune what you are doing. You may discover success is right around the corner.