Episode 283: The 5 Biggest Mistakes Business Owners Make with Lead Gen with Marion Wagner

February 21, 2024


In today’s episode of the podcast, I’m chatting with Growth Strategist Marion Wagner about effective lead generation strategies for service providers. As a creative business owner, you’ve probably heard all sorts of advice around lead gen, but what are strategies actually worth implementing and which ones just won’t cut for you? In today’s episode, Marion is peeling back the curtain on lead gen tactics that aren’t worth your time, and she shares what to do instead to reach your ideal clients!

If this kind of topic is just what you’re looking for, then be sure to tune into the full episode above!


  • Authentic Engagement: In today’s episode, Marion emphasizes the power of authentic engagement by sharing her journey from blogger to Growth Strategist and Lead Generation Expert. She also shares an engagement tip that creates the opportunity for meaningful interactions to build genuine connections.
  • Mistakes to Avoid:
    • Follow-Unfollow Game: Marion warns against this outdated tactic of using follow loops or giveaways. This is so 2015 anyway, right?
    • Cold DM Approach: Sending unsolicited direct messages to people who don’t follow you is deemed a high-effort, low-quality lead generation strategy.
    • Buying Followers: The outdated practice of purchasing followers is discouraged, as it yields inactive and disinterested accounts.
    • Paying for Ads Without a Proven Offer: Marion advises against investing in ads until you a proven, well-received offer to share. This ensures you’re able to use your resources more wisely and see bigger positive outcomes as a result!
    • Focus on Follower Count Over Relationships: Marion challenges the misconception that the once-coveted 10K follower count is worth it. She instead encourages building relationships by being authentic, sharing stories, and adding value. The emphasis is on quality rather than quantity, especially for those aiming for their first consistent five-figure months.
  • Looking Ahead to 2024: Marion anticipates the continued importance of relationships in the online space. She advises focusing on building connections, vulnerability, and storytelling to resonate with the audience. In fact, Marion’s upcoming book, “Small Audience Big Income,” dives even deeper into this theme!


Marion’s Website

Marion’s Freebie: High Converting Lead Magnet Ideas

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Please note this transcript has been auto generated and may contain typos.

Bonnie (00:07):
Hi, friend, and welcome to the Brand Strategy Podcast, a show created to equip you with the inspiration, encouragement, and clarity you need to build a brand of your dreams. I’m your host, Bonnie Bakhtiari, brand designer, strategist, and founder of the Illume Retreat. From sustainable Strategy to heartfelt Encouragement. Each episode is designed to equip you with the tools you need to chase after your dreams, because you deserve a brand that empowers you to do what you love, connects with your dream clients, and offers a deep sense of fulfillment along the way. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on this journey, won’t you

Bonnie (00:46):
Friends, welcome back to the Brand Strategy podcast, where today we are talking about the five biggest mistakes that business owners make when it comes to lead generation with the amazing Marion Wagner. If you have not come across Marion before, she is an income growth strategist for online service-based entrepreneurs. And over, you know, the years in her career, she’s specialized in helping online entrepreneurs like you and me create six figure game plans without needing a really massive following on social media. Uh, you might have come across her podcast, the get out of your head and Grow your Online business podcast, and she lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, her two children, and her two high maintenance, but equally important dogs, and as the parent to two equally rambunctious, but lovable dogs. I can really relate to that last part, . But Marion, thanks so much for joining me today.

Marion (01:45):
Oh, I’m so happy to be here. Thanks, Bonnie.

Bonnie (01:48):
I am so curious to hear a little bit more about, you know, kind of your journey and how you started focusing on income growth and how that was something that, you know, really allowed you to help the incredible people you work with. So if you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear a little bit more about who you are and what you do and this incredible business that you’ve built.

Marion (02:11):
Uh, thank you. Yes, I will. I’ll give the cliff notes here. . So I started my first online business 14 years ago, which is just mind blowing. I’m definitely an og I feel like in the online space. But my first business was a blog, um, and I started a style blog, which is hilarious because I have no business doing a style blog . But I decided I was a school psychologist working full-time, and I needed a side project. And after I posted for four to five times, back then you had to post four to five times a week. And I just fell in love with it and I thought, you know what? This is something that I could actually really do. And so I read everything I could, and I, I studied people who were successful and I did all the things for over a year and a half, and I probably probably had about five people that followed my blog .

Marion (03:02):
And I remember thinking like, ah, what am I, what am I doing wrong here? And I was driving home from work one day, and I had what in the psychology field we call a lightning bolt moment, which is maybe if you’re listening, you can think of a time in your life where you had this wave of clarity, like a ocean wave just crash over you and you realize, oh my gosh, I know exactly what I need to do. Or oftentimes you, it might be like a relationship where you’re like, I’m gonna leave this relationship. It’s not long, it’s no longer the right one. But I had that moment of clarity with my business, and I realized I needed to burn the whole thing and just stop trying to emulate and take inspiration from others and actually look within and create the blog that, that I would want to read.

Marion (03:48):
And that re represents me. So I changed everything completely, and I developed my own strategies, and I went from maybe, you know, four or five readers to over a quarter million page views a month and got PR representation and started working with brands like Wayfair, Maybelline, um, just huge names. And I took those same strategies and approach to my second online business, which I grew that one to over six figures within nine months, just following the same game plan. Then I started coaching others on how to do it. And I personally was fascinated with the income side because to me, income is what separates a hobby from a business, and it provides so much freedom. And for me, I was a single mom, um, with my, with my business, and it gave me the ability to be home with my son. And I feel like it’s overcomplicated how to build an income online because it’s profitable to overcomplicate things for some people. Um, but it’s really in my mind, a pretty straightforward process, and anyone can build an income online, I believe.

Bonnie (05:00):
That’s amazing. And I love hearing kind of that trajectory that you’ve been on over the last, you know, 14 years, which is incredible.

Marion (05:08):
I know, I’m old .

Bonnie (05:09):
I know. That’s amazing. I can kind of relate. I haven’t been in business quite as long, but 12 years over here. So, you know, like having the experience of over a decade of seeing how the industry has changed, seeing how the online, you know, marketing space has changed and even the way that, like we engage with blog content, it’s really cool to see all different changes. So anyway, hearing more about how you got started, I can see kind of the, the common threads woven between every business starting with a blog, moving to your second business. Like, it’s so interesting to me that you basically created this framework that you tested out for yourself, that you did over and over again and saw, Hey, this actually works for me and this is creating the results that I want. And then it’s kind of like you then saw, oh, I could just, to me, this is simple. I could just teach other people to do this. And that’s where you kind of are today, right?

Marion (06:07):
Yes. I I think that it’s a beautiful mix. It’s almost like a recipe. The ingredients have to include psychology, in my opinion. When you’re, when you’re trying to build a business from scratch online, you have to have this, this mindset. Especially now with social media. Back 14 years ago, social media wasn’t what it is today. Mm-Hmm. . And I think starting a business today, social media is both a blessing and a curse because it requires a lot of you, but it has so many opportunities for, for growth and, um, production. But so my approach really with clients is psychology and tactical strategies. Um, and together, when those two things exist together, it’s, it’s fire. It’s awesome. .

Bonnie (06:55):
Mm. I love that. Well, today, you know, we’re talking specifically about lead generation and, um, some approaches that online business owners and service-based businesses can be taking. And I’m curious to kind of hear, um, you know, when you were growing your own businesses over the years and as you were focused on lead generation for your blog Mm-Hmm, , um, have you found that some of the things you’re doing today and some of the things that you’re teaching today are pretty, uh, steadfast to some of the strategies you used way back when?

Marion (07:32):
Yes. Oh my gosh. I was actually just talking with a, a mentor of mine yesterday about this and how one of the strategies I used to grow my blog early on was I took even, I was working full-time and I had a lot of my plate, but my non-negotiable was to comment thoughtfully and meaningfully on 10 different blogs that were, that had the same audience that I wanted to, um, connect with. Mm-Hmm. . And so every day, no matter what, 10 blogs, and I did that without fail for a long time and grew so many great relationships, like some, I still have to this day with bloggers that now have like millions of followers. But back then we were all just kind of figuring it out. And today, I think that same approach is a brilliant one that anyone can do. It’s free and as long as you’re just adding meaningful content, not like the whole like cute, you know, nice post emoji, but like being me, being human and being thoughtful and adding value, and that I think is still a great strategy that is relevant to this day.

Bonnie (08:39):
Hmm. I love that. So to clarify is, would you recommend, you know, engaging with blogs or social media accounts or maybe a mix of kind of all of the above?

Marion (08:51):
Oh, yeah. I think now people don’t really comment on blogs the same way. Blogs are so different now. I would think for, for Instagram example, it’s so easy to say, I’m gonna go comment on 10 Instagram accounts of people that I look up to that share the same related audience as me. And it’s not about, it’s not about trying to poach their audience. That’s not what you’re doing. You’re actually adding value to their content and, and sharing love. That’s it. You’re just sharing inspiration, love and positive energy and being human, like I said.

Bonnie (09:24):
Mm-Hmm, , that’s so fantastic. Out of curiosity, knowing that this is an area where you’re showing up every day and you’re supporting your clients when it comes to their own lead gen strategies, are there any like mistakes or missteps or actions that you’re seeing business owners and service providers making when it comes to lead gen that you’re like, you know what, let’s take a minute and let’s kinda set the record straight here.

Marion (09:50):
Oh my gosh, yes. . Yeah, absolutely. And I will say lead gen itself is just like a fancy term for, we’re just talking about creating a connection with one or a handful or more of your ideal clients, like getting their eyeballs onto your business in front of your message, right? So sometimes the idea of lead gen can feel, um, a little bit like overwhelming or intimidating. And I just wanna encourage anyone listening right now, if you’re like, I need to focus on lead gen, it’s okay. It’s totally doable. But yes, there are five i, I call ’em like the five biggie mistakes that I see. And let me also say, I have made several of these mistakes myself. So should I just dive right in? Yeah,

Bonnie (10:37):
Let’s go for it.

Marion (10:38):
Okay. . So the first one, um, I have made this mistake, and that is, you’ll see on social media, in different social platforms, people doing follow loops or giveaways. Mm-hmm. . And back in the day, gosh, giveaways were big. And at the time I thought this is a really great idea because it’s, you know, shared abundance and you’re sharing audiences. But what people found and why you don’t see them as often anymore, but you still, people still do them, is that people are only interested in the prize, right? So they either unfollow within the next week, month, three months, or they become ghost followers, which is going to very much hurt you with the algorithm and just with your, your numbers.

Bonnie (11:32):
I so find that so interesting because I’m over here like nodding along because I remember back in the day, you know, like seeing those loop giveaways, I’m pretty sure that I participated in a few on Instagram, and you always would see, you know, as soon as you get involved with that, you see that follower account go up, but then like a week after it ends, you start to see that number go right back down. And to be sure, you know, giveaways or, or, you know, uh, like profile collaborations between, you know, like, like-minded individuals have brought me over the years a handful of really fantastic, really engaged people who, you know, I feel like we, we can connect online, but I, I completely hear where you’re coming from of, you know, giveaways, those kinds of, um, quick wins aren’t necessarily in alignment with an approach that will give you a long term community of people who are there for you and your brand and the experience that you provide.

Marion (12:35):
Yeah. And I think there is, I should say this there, when you do it very small, like maybe it’s only two or three of you and you do something like this and you are very much aligned and you have the same audience and you add value in different ways that are related, then that’s a great way to do a giveaway, honestly. Mm-Hmm. . But it’s, when you see like follow these 20 people and comment below, that’s, that’s when it gets very, you’re just, you’re basically adding a lot of, again, ghost followers and people that aren’t going to get to know you and like you and trust you, and they’re not gonna care. So that’s not

Bonnie (13:13):
Good. Right. I get that. What other mistakes are you seeing people make?

Marion (13:17):
Okay, so the second one is one I haven’t done, but this is, we all have experienced it every day is the cold DM approach for people who don’t even follow you. And this is one, I still see people trying to go after that kind of that large kind of spray and pray approach where I’ll just DM a hundred people and if I get one person, then that’s worth it. But the cold DM approach is not my favorite. That’s a very high effort way to get a very low quality lead.

Bonnie (13:57):
Hmm. Absolutely. I, um, in, in my experience, and this is even something that I’ve, um, shared with others in the past, is if you are using dms as a way to build connection with people, that that initial concept of building connection is the key. Yes. It’s not about DMing someone and being like, Hey, you know, hire me or book a call with me, or, you know, whatever. It’s about like connecting and like engaging with each other on that common human level where we’re talking about, you know, uh, if like, for example, Marion, if like you and I were connecting in the dms, I would absolutely be like, oh, I love your dogs. I have dogs too. Let’s, you know, let’s talk about that. Like it’s, it’s looking for something that is a shared interest or it’s a common value. And then using that as kind of a jumping off point to get to know each other better. And if the conversation flows and if the connection feels aligned, then you can start to explore ways that you could mutually support one another or work together. But opening up as I’m someone who, like, I get those cold DM messages so frequently, um, but they are never enticing me to actually connect with that person and get to know them because they, by just going straight for the hard sell and the dms, they’re already showing me that they don’t care about me in that way.

Marion (15:22):
Yes. And I think having been in this space for 12 years, the new absolutely know this, that people in general have become much more skeptical in the online space. What worked seven, eight years ago does not work anymore. Um, people just, they’re a little bit more guarded and you have to add more information, education, inspiration, entertainment to your brand qualities in order to, for people to, um, pay attention and to look, look at your message and say like, oh my gosh, I have this need and I really think that Bonnie can help me. I’m going to lean in more and have a conversation with her. Hmm.

Bonnie (16:05):

Marion (16:06):
Which brings me to the, the third one. Yeah. Which I’m so glad this is going away, at least I hope it is, is the follow unfollow game. Um, which used to be a huge, I wanna say, was it six years ago, , I’m trying all the years run together six years ago where people just figured out lead. They just thought lead gen equals more numbers in my audience. And that no longer works PR firms and companies. Now, if you’re looking for, um, strategic partnerships, they don’t necessarily look at the number of your audience, the audience size. They look at your, your conversions, your, um, how many people are actually following along, how many people are actually engaging with you. Mm-Hmm. and caring. So the micro influencers with very small audiences, but those audiences that are engaged, that’s more valuable than some of these audiences that are huge. And you think, oh my gosh, they have so many leads and yet they don’t because they either got ’em follow, unfollow, or they did those loops, or they did other things that people just, they don’t know how they got there. .

Bonnie (17:18):
Yeah, absolutely. And I, I love how in recent years we’ve started to see the rise of micro accounts because it is, it, I think it, it, it’s still a numbers game in the sense of, yes, your engagement rates are still a part of the equation, but you don’t need to be so fixated on like the magical 10 K followers. You don’t need to be so fixated on, uh, you know, like getting as many people following you as possible. If you have quality content that is reaching your ideal client, it’s, it’s so freeing to think about it as, uh, you know, like opportunities for connection and, you know, kind of relationship building versus just getting like thousands and thousands of strangers on the internet to follow you.

Marion (18:06):
Yes. And I think that’s another thing that’s in line with, so I have a, I have a book coming out in spring of this year that’s called Small Audience Big Income. And it’s really about looking at your audience for quality versus quantity for size. And especially if you’re newer in the online space and you’re just working toward those first consistent 10, 12, 15 K months, you really don’t need a humongous audience to reach those benchmarks. And I think we overestimate the size of an audience that we need. Um, and so that’s actually reassuring for a lot of my clients when they first come in. They think they need to be an influencer and have Yeah, like you said, 10 K followers or something big. And I’m just saying, no, that’s something that you generate along the way, but it’s not the goal.

Bonnie (18:57):
Mm-Hmm, . Yeah, absolutely. Well, wondering kind of how, how to approach this in a way where you are, um, kind of giving yourself the permission to break up with, you know, pursuing, like, becoming a big account. Is there kind of a, um, a a piece of advice or encouragement that you like to share with your, um, with your own clients when it comes to like remembering that like small, having a small account, having a small following isn’t necessarily a bad thing?

Marion (19:29):
Yeah, I think really we’re entering into this, what I, I wouldn’t, I wanna say it’s a beautiful stage. It’s a beautiful season where relationships matter more than anything. And instead of focusing on growing your follower account, which that’s one metric that it does matter. I’m not saying having a large audience is a bad thing. It’s a great thing, but not every audience is created equal. And you wanna make sure that you’re growing it with the right people. So always just focus on building relationships with your followers. But you can do that through vulnerability, through telling stories, through asking them questions, asking them have they experienced this before? Asking their advice on things which, what they, what they think about a certain topic. Um, and that’s, I think really the direction that people are growing their audiences in a very organic feel. Good way right now. It is just by being themselves and actually caring about the people who, you know, decide to join them.

Bonnie (20:27):
Mm-Hmm. . And what I think is really smart about that approach is, well, first of all, it’s, it’s genuine. So it’s, it’s easier to maintain because it feels, it, it’s real and it feels natural or more natural. Um, but I also think that that’s an approach that you can utilize in social media, but also you could take a similar approach with your email marketing and infusing more storytelling and more personality and more of that, you know, kind of relational component into emails that you’re sending to people on your list or, you know, conversations that you’re having with people anywhere online. And, and that’s just kind of a, an ethos essentially that we can embrace and it changes the way that we show up for the better, I think.

Marion (21:12):
Absolutely. I mean, as you were talking, I was thinking that’s one of the biggest changes I made on in my blog that made the biggest difference back in the day, is I started a Friday series on the blog called Moments of the Week, where I just shared my top two, three funny moments of being a school psychologist on the blog and then , they were always funny stories. And people, like most style bloggers weren’t, they just, I, I just have like a quirky sense of humor and I was just saying, okay, I’m just gonna be myself. And so I shared that and it just blew up. And I think that was so freeing because it was fun for me ’cause I was being myself, it doesn’t feel like work. And when you just kind of let go of expectations or, you know, you probably see this with branding all the time, Bonnie, like people, if they come to you with inspiration for a design, it may, it may work for the person that they, they see like, oh, I love their branding. I love those colors. I love this logo and this, this vibe. But maybe it really doesn’t fit them exactly. But they, sometimes we confuse emulation with success and really it’s just tapping into what, what we stand for and what, what, what, what we are about, not what other someone else is.

Bonnie (22:34):
Absolutely. And I definitely see that in, in branding and I, I always encourage my clients or my potential clients, you know, there’s so much more potential in crafting a brand that is, is honest to your brand and your brand values, even if that doesn’t necessarily look like what you’re seeing your competitors do. You know, there’s a lot to be said for having a brand that stands out and it’s so much more sustainable to be building a brand that stands out, um, from a, a place where it’s aligning with your unique values and your personality and that kind of persona that you wanna share through your business versus trying to copy what someone else is doing because that may work really great for them, but if it doesn’t feel honest and genuine and authentic, then it is gonna be really tough to keep that up over the years. Mm-Hmm,

Marion (23:29):
. Yeah. So

Bonnie (23:32):
I, I know we kind of went on a little tangent there. I think we were on mistake number four,

Marion (23:37):
Maybe. Yes. . So number four is, and I’m sure no one listening has, has done this, and it is just no one does this anymore, I hope, buying followers, um, oh, right. No, . , yeah. Oh my.

Bonnie (23:52):
We don’t, we don’t want that for anybody. .

Marion (23:54):
No. Yeah, they’ll never comment, never engage. It’s no, I hope, I think that’s pretty much going in the past, but number five is one that I see a lot and I have made this mistake Absolutely is paying for ads when you don’t have a proven offer. So Facebook, Instagram ads, like Google ads, those are, those are great opportunities, but it’s an easy way to flush a lot of money if you don’t have a, an offer that’s already selling like hotcakes. Like people just, they want it, it’s resonating with your ideal client. Um, what people think oftentimes is they create Facebook ads and then they create an offer that they think will work. But it’s not, it’s not proven. It’s not tested and you don’t wanna pay to test it.

Bonnie (24:41):
No. That gets expensive so fast.

Marion (24:44):
. Yes.

Bonnie (24:45):
Um, I completely agree with that. And, and you know, in my experience, um, Facebook ads can look like a really shiny, or even just social media ads in general can look like a really shiny solution. And there are some experts out there that are sharing advice of, Hey, you should create this like really low cost offer and, you know, like, throw some ad spend behind it and get it up there and you’re gonna make a bunch of money this way. But where that strategy doesn’t work for me is how do you know that the ad spend you throw behind that is actually going to deliver any kind of return if you’ve never sold that organically to your audience? And I think that, you know, social ads can be a really powerful tool to scale, to kind of like turn up the volume on an offer that you already know is working. But when we’re using it to test brand new offers for like the very first time, I, that’s just not, I don’t, I don’t love that. I don’t think it’s a great use of resources for folks.

Marion (25:54):
No, and it’s like you said, it’s very tempting. ’cause when you do get it right, when it has that magic miracle moment and you’re like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, this is working, it’s clicking. Um, , it’s very few and far between, between, and it’s just, you wanna make sure you have a proven offer first and then explore ads, but Mm-hmm, .

Bonnie (26:15):
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Out of curiosity, with these mistakes that you’ve seen people make and you’re, you know, sharing because you’re encouraging people to do something different, um, are there any sort of strategies related to this when it comes to lead generation that you’re anticipating for 2024 or, uh, are there any new approaches that as business owners we should be considering?

Marion (26:42):
Yeah, so I think, and you mentioned this earlier actually, was just, this is something free that anyone can do, and it’s smart collaboration. And this is, this is my specialty, is I love teaching people how to create what I call small lead gen events. So small lead gen events are very, they’re like boutique sized. Um, I see people that host the large summits, and I think that’s amazing. If you have that in you, then you go girl, but , for some of us, it’s like, okay, that does not sound energy giving or doesn’t bring me joy. I wanna do something on a smaller scale. Um, you can absolutely do this even if you’re, if you’re newer to the scene and you basically just wanna pick five to seven partners who, again, they, their audience that they have are, is comprised of the people that you would consider your audience.

Marion (27:42):
So maybe, but you have to be doing something a little bit different than them. So the partners that you can’t both be, um, you know, social media managers, one of you can be a social media manager, the other one can be a business coach, and that a Pinterest, uh, expert, but you all serve the same audience and it’s just doing a smart collaborative event. And you don’t need to spend any money. You don’t need to spend hours and hours on social media. Um, and you can add a lot of value and share your unique perspectives and get in front of people and you’ll resonate with the right people.

Bonnie (28:19):
I love that. So basically just like finding people who there is overlap in your audiences and getting everybody together for, you know, like, you know, maybe a 45 minute, maybe an hour long conversation on Zoom where everyone, you know, all the hosts are sharing about it. They’re bringing a couple folks who are attending and that kind of compounds. And so you have kind of this cozy room full of people and you’re talking about something related to your areas of expertise. And in theory, your ideal clients are sitting in that, in that zoom room and they’re, you know, getting exposure to you and your work, right?

Marion (29:06):
Yeah. That’s, there’s, there’s several ways to do it. That’s one, there’s also, if you wanna do an email series where you feature each expert in a very given, um, like if you have the outcome is new, like 2024, um, brand makeover, then you could feature three other people, four other partners and do a email series that’s dripped out. Or you could do a limited, uh, podcast series or you could do a YouTube video interview series or a, a town hall type format. Like, there’s all different ways to do it, but like you said, it’s, it’s really about everyone brings their audience to the table. And it’s a lot of energy, a lot of positivity, everyone. I mean, I think about all the ones I’ve hosted, and I received so many emails from people saying that was like, you should charged for that. That was amazing . And I like for my clients, they always add at least 200 leads to their email list. And for six weeks of collaborative fun work to add 200 ideal leads, and let’s say you convert 10 of them into paying clients, that’s, that’s well worth it. And that’s, that’s fun. That’s fun. Lead Jen.

Bonnie (30:23):
That is fun. I love that. And I, I love how you were sharing all the different ways that that can look, because to me, that feels so accessible for people who are low energy or who are not comfortable on video. You know, like doing something like a podcast or doing something like, you know, an email series. Mm-Hmm, . It’s just so, it’s so cool to see how we can adapt these, um, ideas in ways that fit with, you know, your interests and who you are and how you wanna show up. Because not everyone, I, I say, you know, my idea is Zoom because I’ve been, you know, doing like live classes for what feels like thousands of years now, . And so, you know, that’s where my mind goes. But it’s so cool to see all the different ways that we can adapt that too. So thanks for diving into that and sharing those ideas.

Marion (31:14):
Oh, yeah, I could totally nerd out about , nerd out about that stuff. .

Bonnie (31:19):
Well, what, what I like about this approach is it is relational and it is about value. It’s not right. It doesn’t sound like these are events where we’re showing up and we’re doing like a hard sell, right? No, it’s not like a webinar.

Marion (31:32):
No, I don’t, I don’t recommend selling in the event itself. I rec actually recommend having each, um, expert partner do, um, a freebie or a giveaway, something that they usually charge maybe 27 or $47 for. Give it away for free, just as more of like this abundant, if you want, I guess it comes down to this, A mentor of mine says this all the time. If you want people to believe that you can help them, then help them. And when you create an event like this, you’re adding so much value and helping people. And sometimes that’s all they need is, okay, I can do this and I want, you know, Bonnie to be my right hand person to help me take this next step.

Bonnie (32:21):
Hmm. I, I just love this so much because there’s so much potential to really show up and shine and share who you are and what you do and how you can help people and it doesn’t have to come. I, you know, I think that you kind of mentioned something along these lines earlier. You know, we’re at this point where I think collectively we’re so tired of the hard sell. We’re so skeptical because everybody’s got an offer that feels too good to be true. Mm-Hmm. . And so we go into a lot of our interactions with other business owners or with service providers kind of a little more wary. And so when you’re invited into an event like this where it’s free, it’s fun, it’s rooted in abundance, it’s rooted in a genuine desire to, um, leave people better than when they first joined. I think that, you know, how could, how could anything not good come from that? It just seems like it’s, it’s, you know, rooted in such, um, you know, authenticity that it, it is a great way to connect with people.

Marion (33:27):
Yeah. I I also think it’s cool to see what happens within the 90 day window following an event like that, because I do teach that you do have an offer on the backend. You don’t have it as a part of the event, but you, you offer it on the backend with your email series, and then what happens, some people will join right away. Like that’s just gonna happen. And then you keep nurturing them. And just, again, adding education, inspiration, entertainment, sharing your stories, your, your vibe with them. And over the next 90 days, it’s like a dripped, it’s like a dripped lead, um, conversion, really. And then if you do this event every quarter, it’s kind of this well-oiled machine where you’re just pumping the well. And, um, it, it works for a lot of solopreneurs.

Bonnie (34:22):
Mm mm-Hmm. . That’s awesome. And so, you know, I know that one of the things that you really encourage your students and your clients is that they don’t necessarily need to have a large following on social media. So is kind of that, that component of, if we’re doing this quarterly, the key to not exhausting your audience is you’re bringing in these additional guest experts and you know, they’re sharing their audience, right?

Marion (34:50):
Yep. And then the partners, will you all share one another on social media? So you will grow your social media, um, following Absolutely when you do collaborative events and with the right people. And my focus, though, is always on growing your email list. Um, because I, mm-Hmm. I feel like your email list is just, ugh, it is the most valuable thing in your business if you do it right. And so focus on that, and then your social media will grow as you, as you show up and you collaborate and you give value.

Bonnie (35:25):
Obviously I could just sit here all day and like nerd out over

Marion (35:29):
These strategies

Bonnie (35:30):
With you. Um, but I am so grateful that you have walked us through this and that you’re sharing, you know, this really brilliant way to show up that might feel more fun, more free, you know, more, um, inspiring for 2024 and for, you know, the coming quarter. Um, but I always love asking for every person who comes on what final takeaway do you want those who are tuning in today to remember when it comes to, uh, you know, growing their business, utilizing lead gen in a way that feels, um, that feels strategic and fun?

Marion (36:13):
I think honestly, I, I feel like streamlining what you’re doing is just simply you’re simplifying the steps to rinse and repeat them. And you wanna start where it feels like you can do this. Maybe you have young kids like I do, and you have a full plate and you feel stretched already, but you know that if you don’t have any leads coming in, you don’t have energy in your business. So it’s very important to prioritize lead gen. So maybe just start with booking yourself on a few podcasts, um, speaking like in the right mastermind groups, reach out to people and ask if they need a guest expert present in their Facebook groups for free. Um, or start with a very small lead gen event. Maybe you only wanna find two or three partners, but these are all things that you can take action on today. They don’t cost anything, and you can build friendships and relationships along the way. So it’s kind of like this win-win win.

Bonnie (37:09):
I love that. Who doesn’t love a, a win win win situation? , Marion, I know that those who are tuning in today are going to want to get to know you a little bit more and, you know, potentially learn more about how they could work with you. So where can people find you online?

Marion (37:25):
Yeah, so my website is small audience big income.com, and then my Instagram is Marion Wagner coaching. It will be small audience, big income, um, on Instagram here soon, depending on when this is released. But that’s me building my hybrid brand right now, so.

Bonnie (37:46):
Well, and congratulations on the upcoming launch of your book. That is such an accomplishment, and I am so excited to see how that continues to help people. Oh,

Marion (37:55):
Thank you so much.

Bonnie (37:56):
You’re welcome. Now, um, speaking of great things, I also wanted to mention that you were so generously sharing a freebie for those who are tuning in today. It is your, um, high converting lead magnet ideas. So can you share a little bit about what that asset is and who it’s for?

Marion (38:18):
Yeah, so I feel like it’s, it’s always fun to give your audience something that’s free and that really helps them. And oftentimes I think just coming up with that idea can feel a little overwhelming. So this is divided into different niches and specialties, and I’m sure that you’ll find something there that you’re like, oh, this is, this is a good idea and you can make it your own.

Bonnie (38:41):
Gosh, what a fantastic gift to give people, because just the, the mental burden of trying to come up with what your lead magnet is going to be, what your freebie is gonna be, right. You know that, gosh, there’s so many options out there. And so having you break it down and categorize it that way, it makes it so much easier to find something that you can just experiment with and test it out and see how it does for you.

Marion (39:06):
Amazing. Yep.

Bonnie (39:07):
Awesome. Well, Marion, thank you so much for joining me, for sharing your expertise with us in this way. It’s been such a blast to get to chat with you and have you on the show.

Marion (39:18):
Well, thank you so much, Bonnie,

Bonnie (39:20):
And for those who’ve been tuning in today, thank you again. It is always such an honor to have you tuning in. I hope that today’s episode gave you a handful of ideas that you are excited to test out when it comes to your own legion and your service-based business. But as always, I’m cheering you on from Waco.

Bonnie (39:41):
Thank you so much for joining me today. Friends, before you go, I would be so grateful to receive your feedback on the Brand Strategy podcast. If you enjoyed this episode or the podcast in general has helped you grow your brand, I’d really appreciate it if you left us a review in iTunes. Your positive reviews enable the brand strategy podcast to continue to grow and reach like-minded creatives just like you. Thank you for all your support and encouragement as together we pursue building brands with purpose and intention. Until next time, I’m cheering you on from Waco.

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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