042: Missionaries, Mentors, Masterminds, Mediums, and Marketing w/ Alison Reeves
Today’s episode brings us the story of Alison Reeves, a business and mindset coach. We learn how she grew through mentors and mastermind courses to offer her coaching services today. She also gives plenty of tips and marketing tools you can use today to help improve your reach and marketing strategy!
Key Points + Topics
- [1:30] – Alison Reeves, though technically born in New Jersey, calls herself a Houstonian. She went to school as a child in Houston and was very involved in her church. She originally wanted to become a missionary who specialized in linguistics. When it came to college, that meant she could get a degree in just about anything. So, she found the most affordable degree in the area and went to a local Bible Study College and got a degree in leadership. Ultimately, she did not go into the missionary field, but her schooling has certainly helped in her life and career.
- [4:32] According to Alison, a mentor is someone who can both show you the way AND help you find your own way. She learned through mentors and mentoring others that “forcing” a path on someone is usually unsuccessful. She would have a client come to her for coaching, and she would make a snap decision about the most profitable thing they could do. She would then put a lot of pressure on them to do that thing, which works until it doesn’t. If you push someone to do something, even if it is successful, if it’s not aligned with their true self, it can lead to stress, burnout, and their nervous system becoming misaligned.
- [6:00] Through her career, Alison has learned (the hard way, perhaps) that not all mentoring is good. Some of it can be quite toxic. She once partook in an 8-week coaching program that cost $9,800. It DID help her make money in the short term. Ultimately, the things that worked well in the beginning are what became broken later. She noticed, in the online mentor space in particular, that people have so much reach that they become addicted to the results. Alison admits she became almost addicted to mastermind courses. The pressure from those programs brought her results in her business. But she now knows that high-pressure sales tactics can turn toxic quickly. Thankfully, she believes that the industry is becoming more transparent and open about pricing, results, and the programs themselves.
- [9:20] Part of the problem is that the only way to keep seeing success is to keep spending money on these courses. Alison wound up in a bit of a financial hole that was painful for her to realize. She’d lost some of her “stick-to-it-iveness” by jumping from one person’s strategy to another and NOT relying on her own judgment. She’d begun to trust other people more than herself. Ultimately, it became unsustainable. She had to find a new way, and she did: working on her mindset and nervous system and learning to trust herself again.
- [12:20] One of Alison’s most impactful mentors happens to also be a Psychic Medium and a life coach. She helped teach Alison that her brand should be HER. After one phone call with her, Alison signed up for a 4-week course and has been working with her ever since. Her goal is always to return home to oneself. Alison had never stayed with a coach so long before, and she’s seen similar results in her clients. They’re staying with her for longer.
- [15:10] “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Alison truly believes teaching someone is better than just giving them the answers. In the book The Coaching Habit, you learn if you just feed people the answers, they’ll never learn how to find answers for themselves. In a management role, this leads to staff that is very disempowered and management that is very busy, constantly answering questions. Jay Steinberg, in a previous episode of The Digital Marketing Mentor, noted that many of his successes in helping his employees grow were NOT by giving the right answers but by asking the right questions.
- [16:34] Coach vs. Mentor. To Alison, they’re one and the same. She likes the word mentor (for a woo-woo reason) because it has more emotion within it. However, ‘coaching’ and ‘consulting’ are two specific roles and services she offers to her clients. It’s really important in any title to overcommunicate what is happening and the expectations.
- [19:12] Alison originally started consulting mostly real estate agents in marketing in 2017. Then, once her personal blog started gaining visibility, most of her clients were women solo-prenuers. Now, after her mindset shift and stepping away from constant masterminds, most of her case studies and testimonies on her site relate to mindset work. She even got a somatic coach certification in 2022; that’s body-based mindset work. The thing that tends to first bring clients to her is the desire to make more money in their business. As they work together, mindset tends to trickle in.
- [24:25] Content marketing IS Alison’s marketing. Right now, it presents itself as blogging. In 2020-2021, about 80% of her website traffic came from Facebook. In 2022, without much effort, SEO/organic search was her main traffic source. So, now she’s focusing more on her SEO strategy and email marketing. Finally, she’s started doing a lot of collaborations and using that as a chief marketing tactic.
- [26:35] Alison does not appreciate the mercurial nature of social media, one’s reach there, and the ever-changing, impossible-to-please algorithms. So, while she does repurpose content on social media platforms, she really only cares about a couple of sites. For her, LinkedIn is “extra,” as she’s learned that her engagement there, despite premium content, is hot garbage. Further, those who do engage with her posts on LinkedIn are not the ones coming to her as clients. There are certain ways to “hack” engagement, depending on the platform. Her tips are:
- Creating authentic conversations – either in DMs or comments, etc.
- Proactively making new connections
- Commenting on others’ posts
- Creating collaborations
- Leveraging your email list
- [32:00] Audience Borrowing – the #1 strategy Alison finds her clients are missing out on. Generally, most aren’t doing it, and the few that are who haven’t seen success are not doing it strategically with a true focus. She recommends collaborating with someone who is complimentary to your offerings, not competitive. She loves to use it to grow an email list. Some of her favorite audience borrowing routes are:
- Podcasting – having guests and being a guest
- Guest blogging
- Bundles and summits
- Shoutouts on Social Media
- Email Swapping
- [35:28] The naysayers who believe the podcast market is oversaturated have no effect on Alison. She loves podcasting. Her podcast is “Mind Your Marketing.” She is always recommending people focus on long-form, evergreen content AND a short-term win in their marketing. It’s like hunting (short-term gains) and gardening (long-term results). Podcasting is like gardening. The content is out there forever, and it can go viral at any point.
Guest + Episode Links
Danny Gavin Host – 00:05
Hello everyone, I’m Danny Gavin, founder of Optige, marketing Professor and the Host – of the Digital Marketing Mentor. I am really excited to introduce our special guest today, Alison Reeves, who’s the CEO of Alison Reeves Co. Blogging since 2011 and business coaching since 2017, Alisonson Reeves helps entrepreneurs scale their income by combining business coaching, aligned marketing and mindset restoration. Her business is to help people make more money, but her mission is to help people love their lives. Today, we’re going to be talking about mentorship, content marketing, a little bit about podcasting and audience borrowing and social media. How are you doing, Alison?
Alison Reeves Guest – 01:03
I’m good, I have to say. It is so wonderful to see you.
Danny Gavin Host – 01:06
Yeah, you know what ‘s amazing – In your life you meet lots of different people and I think we’ve only met in person once, but I feel like we’ve spoken a lot in general, I think, throughout the past 10 years. Sometimes you make a special connection and I think that we’ve had that in the past and it’s just really nice to have you and to speak again.
Alison Reeves Guest – 01:27
Danny Gavin Host – 01:28
All right, so let’s jump right in. Let’s talk about your background, where you went to school and what you studied.
Alison Reeves Guest – 01:33
So I am from Houston. I moved from New Jersey originally but I consider myself a Houstonian and I went to school here in Houston. I was looking for at the time I was really involved in my church, wanted to be a missionary that specialized in linguistics and in order to get into that master’s I had to have a degree from anywhere in anything. So I looked for the most affordable accredited degree I could find, which was at a Bible College off of the Southwest Freeway called the College of Biblical Studies. So that’s why I went to school and I got a degree Bachelors in Arts, in Leadership, from there, which indirectly kind of ended up launching my career, because I figured out that I didn’t want to be a missionary but I was working for three vice presidents and stumbled into marketing and got promoted. So it all kind of still worked out to figure out my career, just not the way that I thought.
Danny Gavin Host – 02:28
And College of Biblical Studies. That is not Houston Baptist University. That’s a separate college, totally separate, totally different.
Alison Reeves Guest – 02:35
Danny Gavin Host – 02:36
Cool. I believe I’ve seen signs for it, but I don’t know if I noticed it that much. Obviously going to get that bachelor’s. It was really just a stepping stool to get into the next situation. But were there any experiences inside and outside the classroom that you feel like when you look back were impactful to where you are today?
Alison Reeves Guest – 02:52
Oh yeah, I had one professor. I was a really good student and I was also really good at doing the minimum amount of work. So I never really felt like I was a great student because I felt like I was kind of hacking the least effort for better or worse. But I had one professor tell me that I was a really good writer. And in high school too, I never took any advanced classes. My grades were good, but it was always like doing the minimum to get the maximum. My sister was in all these advanced classes and went above and beyond, so it never occurred to me that I was a good writer and that instilled so much confidence in me and really had an impact on a lot of what I do today. I think all the time like I’m a good writer and I do a lot of writing, so it’s helpful to have a little bit of confidence there.
Danny Gavin Host – 03:41
But yeah, yeah, and I think that’s just so important, right, like you go through high school so many years, but, like, what you remember is the key that changed, like opened up the world of writing for you was a compliment at college. It’s just, it’s so powerful. I mean it’s sad that you didn’t get maybe get that earlier on, but the fact that you got that and that was the motivation, I think that’s really cool.
Alison Reeves Guest – 04:03
I don’t think I gave myself the opportunity to receive that early on. I was just kind of focused on getting through, and so what a relevant comment for this podcast too. Just the impact of, like, a good word from someone that you respect.
Danny Gavin Host – 04:18
And I think sometimes people are so busy we forget to give those compliments, and so we have to be very present in our relationships. So I think this is a great lesson. Let’s move into mentorship. Alison, how would you define a mentor?
Alison Reeves Guest – 04:35
I would define a mentor as someone who can both show you the way but also help you find your way.
Danny Gavin Host – 04:43
And do you want to elaborate that a bit?
Alison Reeves Guest – 04:44
No, yeah, I think this will come out too in some of the other conversations you and I were alluding to earlier is like I think a lot of the mentors or like the way that I used to mentor in business coaching especially it was like somebody came to me. I would form an opinion as fast as I could on what I thought the most profitable thing would be for them to do, like as soon as possible, and then I would just put a lot of pressure on them to do that thing and put a lot of pressure on them through high prices, fast timelines, and that worked until it didn’t. Because what happens when you push somebody into something, even if it ends up being successful, if it’s not aligned, then they can get overwhelmed, they can burn out, their nervous system can literally get dysregulated. And so I had a turning point in my own life where it led to a change, not just in how I was coaching people but the kind of coaching I sought out.
And it’s a lot more sustainable to teach someone. It’s kind of like teaching someone how to fish. Versus what is that saying? Give a man a well, whatever they’re saying is you guys know the saying, but when you help somebody learn how to lead themselves, they have much more sustainable results than like putting a lot of pressure on someone. So where there is urgency, there’s often not sustainability.
Danny Gavin Host – 06:04
So let’s go down that path a little bit of, like you said, you had some mentors or coaches that weren’t so great, maybe a little bit toxic, and I think a lot of people, especially in the business world, on LinkedIn and social media, they’re seeing these mentors or coaches who charge a lot of money, share a lot of reviews and it’s very I don’t know if the word’s addictive, but it’s very mesmerizing. So let’s unpack that a little bit, because I’m sure we all see that. What do you think is wrong with that? What did maybe you appreciate at the beginning, but then saw there’s something not right here.
Alison Reeves Guest – 06:41
So one of the most impactful coaching relationships I had was a really big investment, and it was a really big investment. It was $9,800 in 2019. And it was an eight-week program and I not only did it at ROI, but then I was doing pretty consistent 10K months after that and then eventually was growing beyond that, and so some of the things that worked in that were the things that ended up being a problem later on. So there’s a short timeline, a big price point, so I felt like a lot of pressure to make the thing work and then I made it work and so I learned a lot about mindset and self-belief in that coaching program, which is the thing that I was missing, that I didn’t know before. I always thought mindset work was kind of baloney. I’m like, just show me the strategies so I can do the thing, and. But that was really impactful. I’m like the belief that I could do it helped lead me to finally be able to do the thing.
What I think gets toxic is like so a lot of people were learning from them and a lot of people copied that strategy. But in the online mentorship space specifically, like I never encountered this when I was like going to in-person masterminds only. Like before I got really involved in the online world, but I think in the online world because people have the potential to have so much reach and you have access to so much more there’s just like this weird culture that was created where not only do people get addicted to the results, but people can also get addicted to like. What happened for me was I almost became what I would call addicted to masterminds because that feeling of pressure that got me results. I thought that that was like the way to do things forever. So I kind of went into this like spiral of like spending more and more and more to make the same amount. Like I was making more in my business but I wasn’t taking home anymore.
And like there’s two things that happen. One is like a toxic sales culture. That’s like high pressure, no guarantees like which I think no guarantees is normal in coaching, but if you’re going to have high pressure sales tactic, you can put people in a risky situation. But there’s also this like pyramid thing that happens in the online coaching space every now and then too, where, like this person’s teaching this person and this person’s teaching this person, this person, your goal is almost to kind of like move up to the most expensive person. I think that’s happening less now. There’s more transparency, like people are having these conversations about a lack of transparency in the online coaching world, where some people are spiritual mentors who are promoting themselves as business more mentors and there’s nothing specific that they’re teaching, or I just said like 10,000 things. I’m going to pause there and let you see where you want to go from there.
Danny Gavin Host – 09:19
No, it’s amazing. It’s like yeah, it sparked a lot in my head. I think it sounds like a drug. It’s kind of like you got addicted to this system and it’s like the only way that I can continue doing it is if I keep paying money to be part of these groups. That’s kind of scary. It’s kind of like you’re at a point where the only way I can continue is if I spend. Like that’s a difficult spot to be in.
Alison Reeves Guest – 09:43
Yeah, it got me and it definitely got me in a hole and it was painful. And then the getting out of that, or learning, you know, I think I would have kept, and part of this is like overly relying on strategy. So I tried a strategy that worked and when I wanted to make more it was almost like I would have banned in that strategy to move on. So that was another problem, was kind of losing some of my stick-to-itiveness by hopping from mentor to mentor. But then the process of unlearning, that was painful and then the process of learning to lead myself was also empowering but also painful.
It was like, oh, because I think part of the addiction I call it addiction to the mastermind, who is almost trusting other people more than myself for the answer, I think I would have stayed in that cycle if I didn’t hit a wall where it’s like it worked until it didn’t, like investing big with a tight timeline to put a lot of pressure on yourself works until it doesn’t, and then that you know one mastermind didn’t work out and then we’re like maybe the next one will, and then two of those in a row is a lot to not work out. So I think I would have stayed in that cycle if I didn’t get to a place financially where it was like we literally cannot sustain this anymore and I had to ask okay, this is obviously not the way. So I’ve got to learn a new way, and the new way was working on my mindset and my nervous system again, which is a big conversation and then learning to lead myself.
Danny Gavin Host – 11:05
And being in that like world, do you feel like a lot of people go through it? Like have you spoken to people who kind of go through the same thing?
Alison Reeves Guest – 11:13
Yeah, and actually another colleague of mine who we started growing right around the same time. We have a lot of overlap in our audiences. My name is Faith Mariah. She’s wonderful, but we’ve had conversations where she didn’t get into the same cycle that I did, but she I think she’s pretty public about having joined a mastermind that she got some value from, but then also, when she finished, she had to do a lot of unlearning of, and I think it’s probably similar to what I’m talking about, where there are some mentors who teach a toxic it’s a toxic mindset culture.
I don’t even know how to describe it where yeah, it’s not realistic, it’s not aligned, it doesn’t help people tune into themselves. And that’s what I think good mentorship is is like you have to learn how to lead yourself and figure out what’s right for you, because the bottom line is that at the end of the day, it all works for someone. So if you don’t give the thing a long enough chance to work, it will never work. And that’s when people don’t know how to trust themselves or make decisions for themselves. Then again, like you never have a sustainable business because you’re always trying to find somebody else with the answer.
Danny Gavin Host – 12:19
So I think it’s a good time to segue into the mentor who had the most impact on you. So, where I believe less strategy but more spirituality, let’s talk about them.
Alison Reeves Guest – 12:29
Yeah. So kind of at the end of the cycle where I realized I needed to change what I was doing. I’m like I don’t know what the answer is, but the answer is not the thing I’ve been doing, which is like tons and tons and tons of strategy. So the coach that made the biggest impact for me she’s actually a psychic medium, but she’s also a life coach and I was really attracted to. I got like a clarity reading for her, which I’d never done any kind of reading quite like that. But the biggest insight from that reading was like I’ve got to learn to lean into what I want, Like my brand should be me, and not like a piece of this person, a piece of this person, a piece of this person. And so I worked with her, for I did one call with her and then I did. She has a mentorship called Spirit Lead Life, which I did. It was a four week mentorship on just like tuning back into yourself, and that was in June of 2022.
And I’ve been working with her ever since then and it’s just what made that so powerful was that she could answer questions for me and support me emotionally and with strategy, but her main goal always is just just returning home to myself, and I think that’s also why I’ve been with her for so long, Like I never stayed with someone for so long cause I’d kind of get tired of one thing or one energy and then just want to move on to the next thing, where this is all.
This is just a deepening of my relationship with myself, over and over and over again. And then I’m seeing that with my clients too, where, like, the way that I teach my clients is different, where I don’t want to feed them the answer right away. And I’m also seeing that, because of the relationship, like the way that I help them has changed and our relationship has changed. The way that I coach them in their business has changed. They’re staying on with me a lot longer, Like I used to never have renewals in 2021 and before. It’s like people pay a lot of money to work with me and then they might make a lot of money, but then it’s like their nervous system is regulated, they have to take a long break, Whereas now I see people renewing more often, just a totally different. The sustainability of doing things a different way is pretty huge.
Danny Gavin Host – 14:28
I love the idea of being a guide to help someone truly find themselves, and not like it’s not about you know the coach or the mentor, but it’s about the person you’re speaking to and really it’s like shining a light on those areas and guiding them and it just makes so much sense. But obviously you kind of sometimes, to get to that point, you have to go through other things and realize like this was good, but, like you said, like it might be good for a little bit, but if it’s not sustainable, then how can one, you know, ethically push that? You know?
Alison Reeves Guest – 15:00
I think it’s really relevant, like that type of mentorship is really relevant, not just in like what I’m talking about, which is like online business consulting, but also in the workplace. There’s a book called the Coaching Habit. Have you read of that book or heard of it? It is a very short read, like you’ll probably read in a couple of hours, but the whole idea was kind of written more for management than coaches. But it’s like if you just feed people the answer which, as coaches, a lot of us know the answer if you only ever feed people the answer, they will never learn how to find the answer. And so in a management role, your staff can be really disempowered, but also you can just be really busy with no end in sight ever If you empower them. So instead of giving them the answer, asking them a question, they will increasingly learn how to lead themselves and it will be less effort for you, better results for them. But that also really impacted the way that I coach people is helping them, like teaching them to think.
Danny Gavin Host – 15:58
Yeah, we had Jay Steinfeld, who was the founder of blindscom, eventually was sold out to Home Depot and I think one of his biggest successes where he always speaks about the people around him it wasn’t just him, but I think the way that he was able to tap into the talent was because he was never telling them what to do. It was all about asking them the right questions and leading them to find the answer on their own, and he was able to take that and build a $500 million business, if not more. You know what’s interesting, Alison, technically you’re a coach, but I feel or not feel, but I hear that you’re using the word mentor, coach very similarly. Do you feel like there’s a difference or is it the same, at least from your perspective?
Alison Reeves Guest – 16:47
From my perspective I don’t distinguish, but I’ll say that, like it doesn’t matter to me, I like the word mentor.
I feel like mentor has more like emotion in it, more like I’m holding you, so it’s a woo-woo reason. That’s why I like the word mentor. But then, from a practical perspective, I feel like it’s important. With clients, I’ve learned to communicate, what coaching and mentorship or consulting especially. So what I didn’t realize until maybe even just like six or eight months ago, is that there is a difference in what you deliver as a coach versus a consultant, and a lot of people don’t really know the difference, but the few that do. It’s a pretty important difference where, in your relationship with your own mentors and coaches and consultants, or as the mentor or coach or consultant, it’s really important to over-communicate what is happening in the container. There’s basic contracts which are like I’m not a therapist, but then there’s the more nitty gritty which is like I’m not doing the work for you, or I’m doing this part of the work for you and being as black and white, clear cut as you can on what’s provided. So but what do you do? You think there’s a difference in coaching and mentor?
Danny Gavin Host – 17:59
You know, throughout the podcast we’ve had different perspectives. I think there’s no right or wrong answer. You know, sometimes I look at mentorship as not necessarily something that you pay for, and it’s more in a relationship not related to payment. However, in your case, where people are paying you as a coach, I think mentor makes sense because the style of coaching that you’re giving is more mentorship. It’s more about, you know, like caring and holding, like you said. So it’s like that woof factor. So I don’t think it’s. I don’t think it’s there’s one way or another. It’s just interesting to see the different perspectives and I think we need to take a little bit from all. There’s no right or wrong.
Alison Reeves Guest – 18:45
Yeah, yeah, I agree. There’s no right or wrong, and on the client-facing side, you just have to be super freaking clear.
Danny Gavin Host – 18:52
Yeah, like in any agency relationship, it’s all about the scope, right? It’s very clear what I’m going to do, what I’m not going to do, no matter what I call it, because things can have lots of packaging, pretty gift wrapping on top of it, but you got to be very clear of what’s inside and that’s it. So now, talking about how you mentor, let’s talk a little bit about how you mentor clients and what you do.
Alison Reeves Guest – 19:17
I started marketing consulting in 2017, mostly to real estate agents, and then, when my personal blog started taking off, most of my clients were like women’s solo entrepreneurs and so love that niche and have been doing that. In 2019, after that mastermind, I joined, where the mindset was super impactful. I just started incorporating that into everything that I did. I would say most of my case studies on my results page are people who mentioned the mindset work specifically, and so I’ve gotten more and more into that as it’s become more important for me, as I’ve seen it with my clients, so much so that in 2022, I got what’s called a somatic coaching certification, which is like body-based mindset work basically it’s like the shortest way to describe it where we’re like we’re doing the mindset work, but we’re also trying to leverage the body and the nervous system to make it stick, and so when I work with clients, usually what attracts them to me initially is I want to make more money or I want to do this thing in my business, and then the reason why they stay or the reason why they get results. Often mindset trickles into it, and I would say I do have some clients who we don’t end up talking about mindset work, or I call it wealth wounds. So I have a quiz on identifying your core wealth wound, which is basically just money, mindset issues, but I would say probably 80% of my clients.
We wind and weave back and forth between really traditional business strategy, online business strategy specifically, and then we’ve got a block or a pattern here that we need to figure out. So we’ve had this goal for a while and you’re either not taking action or you’re feeling a lot of insecurity about it. You’re so anxious that you can’t do anything. So then we’ll weave into the mindset and then we’ll go back into the strategy and with all of that, it’s very question-based.
So I’ve also found a big change in my coaching, and I don’t know if this is because of my own work or because this is just what’s happening in the world, but I find that, especially in the last year, like I felt like in 2020 and 2021, people just wanted to like get in and get out, like I want results as soon as possible, I don’t mind spending a lot of money, whereas now I feel like people really don’t want to be in a rush and that could be me projecting Like I’m not in a hurry anymore, so maybe I’m attracting people who are not in a hurry, but I’m like I want so now. I used to do like a lot of weekly packages and lots of messaging in between, and now most of my clients are. We’re never meeting more than three times a month. We’re often meeting twice a month. There’s not as much that happens in between calls. It’s all about like long-term sustainability.
I feel like that patient’s piece has been really helpful. But yeah so, asking questions, helping people to self-lead and incorporating the mindset those are really important parts of my work.
Danny Gavin Host – 22:06
I imagine that sometimes people when they hire a coach, they’re expecting magic to happen without putting in the hard work. Do you ever, Will you ever, fire someone? Because it’s kind of like they just don’t actually do what you guys decide upon doing and it’s like what’s the point? Does that ever happen?
Alison Reeves Guest – 22:26
I’ve never fired anyone, but I’ve had people who were unhappy where I could see that it was tied to the action, and I’m also very explicit about what I think someone’s potential is to ROI, and also I have outliers. I have people where I’m like that would be hard for you to ROI than they do, like someone who went viral with a $27 offer, like that was a huge. She’s my biggest success story. Her results are unrealistic and they’re at the bottom of the page. I’m like don’t, this is amazing and it’s obviously possible. I’m not going to tell you that you can repeat this, because she doesn’t even know how it happened. We just went viral, put advertising behind it and she did $200,000 in a month.
Danny Gavin Host – 23:04
Wow, we weren’t going to talk about numbers, but I’m glad you told me that number.
Alison Reeves Guest – 23:08
Oh yeah, this anonymous guy didn’t find out my numbers. I’m just joking.
Danny Gavin Host – 23:13
So do you think that that person who was scared to tell you that are expectations is it just? Do you think people are embarrassed sometimes Like, oh, here’s my coach, I don’t really want to tell them.
Alison Reeves Guest – 23:22
I think it is embarrassment, I think it’s hard to speak up or like speak up and be really explicit about Like. I think some of these people and I think part of me is projecting here on like when I go through this part of what I teach is looking at like resentments and so, like when I was doing this work for myself, I’m like looking at past people I’ve worked with past bosses I’ve had like what are those resentments? And in hindsight for me there was so much Like I was the common denominator and so looking at like what was my part in that. I think people are embarrassed, but I know for me it’s also like not wanting to be overly needy or like dismissing my feelings in a situation to think that like well, I’m just the only one, so I’ve just got to try to make it work and figure it out.
Danny Gavin Host – 24:12
But I think the key is naturally, the more transparent you are with your coach, the more you’re open, the more they can help you. If you hide anything, it’s going to be difficult for them to help you get to the point that you really need or want to get to. So, segueing into content, because we just talk about content creators, so, as an SEO enthusiast myself, in digital marketing we’ve been promoting the idea of content is king for a while now. It’s the sort of marketing skill that seems to be consistently to yield results, regardless of how it is utilized. Whether you’re involved with organic strategies, social media, boosted by advertising, how do you utilize content marketing for your business?
Alison Reeves Guest – 24:47
I mean, content marketing is the way that I market. So I just the way that Like. Content marketing for me today is blogging. So, like when I was looking at my numbers in 2020 and 2021, almost like 80% of my traffic was from Facebook. Part of that was because of paid ads and part of that is because I was kind of going all in on my Facebook group. But in 2022, without a lot of effort, suddenly SEO was my first source of traffic and email list, which I was kind of shook by because I was very half-assed about my SEO strategy on my website.
So this year I’ve been focusing on that, which is obvious content marketing, focusing on social. I put a lot less energy into it now that I used to, because it does it can be a little draining. And I’m going all in on email marketing, which is also that content usually is repurposed from social media. And then the other thing I do is I was changing the strategy. Now.
For the last 10 months or 11 months, I was running free workshops every month, so that was a really good anchor for my content strategy. So when I was looking at what is my minimum viable to make sure that I’m growing consistently, it was like choosing a workshop topic, promoting it via email, repurposing the email for social and then putting out a couple of blog posts that were related. And then the other thing I’ve been doing a lot, which I think this is content marketing is I realized that the second source of my email list growth in my traffic was through collaborations. So, rather than just Facebook, it was through, specifically, bundles and summits, and so as a branch of content marketing for me is figuring out where I can participate in collaborations and then also starting to create collaborations. So it’s like content marketing on steroids, I guess, like putting together a bunch of people.
Danny Gavin Host – 26:36
So I’m struggling right now, specifically this past week, posting these really good posts, I think, on LinkedIn and getting nothing. And I know Alison, in the past I’ve seen really good posts from you, like beautiful pictures, wonderful thoughts and the reactions that you get on. Some of those weren’t really high on LinkedIn and maybe what I like, like, like Danny.
Alison Reeves Guest – 27:01
I thought they’re consistently low on LinkedIn.
Danny Gavin Host – 27:03
Yeah, so it’s interesting because so that’s what I’m saying it’s interesting that you’re moving away from social, but that’s something in particular that I know about you, like just being on LinkedIn and seeing like, wow, this is like she’s doing everything that technically is right, but for some reason she’s not getting that. Why am I even bringing about this? It’s not to, like, you know, poke a wound, but it’s more like I’m sure there’s so many people who feel that way. We’re like we put all this effort, especially on LinkedIn, and sometimes it just doesn’t come out Like you know. How does that make you feel? How did you kind of like feel good about like, moving away from that?
Alison Reeves Guest – 27:37
just to give some practical advice Even though I’m I frequently repurpose content across platforms, but I usually only care about a couple and I think that’s been really helpful for like. To me, linkedin is like extra credit. I actually just met with my therapist before this, who I was talking about audience borrowing and how I was excited about this thing that I did. He was like, oh yeah, I could. I actually like full disclosure, cause, you know, therapists and clients aren’t, like you know, chilling on the internet, but he but apparently somebody in his network, shared something of mine, so we must have a common connection. He saw my content and I was like I actually loved that, cause it was such a good reminder Like my LinkedIn engagement. I’ve got clients who are like super worried about theirs and I’m like girl, let me just show you how low mine is. Like my biggest speaking engagement today was somebody who found me on LinkedIn and asked me to speak in front of a group of 80 people and they found me on LinkedIn and my LinkedIn is like I’ve got a ton of connections that my engagement is hot garbage and I.
But for me, what I care about is like one or two platforms. So in 2022, I was putting a lot of attention, energy into Instagram, and that’s part of why I’ve attracted my energy so much from social, because when I looked at my numbers for 2022, I was like that is like the lowest traffic source email list. I mean it was just. I was like Instagram, you betrayed me for all my effort that I put in. So I think it’s really helpful to know that a lot of your buyers too, like a lot of the people that buy from me, are not the people that are reacting to the posts. The people who are reacting to the posts, the people who I love with all my heart because they see me, but a lot of them haven’t bought from me and will never buy from me. They’re just wonderful people who love my free content.
Danny Gavin Host – 29:20
So it’s important to remember that, even if you don’t get a bunch of reactions, people are still seeing it and you’re still implanting on them. So yeah, I think that’s a really good and important thing to remember. It’s hard Like that’s the real, like the downside of social right. It’s kind of like it is another drug, where it’s like you know you post something and you wish like a bunch of people and but it’s not. Then you know you forget about it or you just forget about it. You could still be touching and reaching people, even if they don’t actually react.
Alison Reeves Guest – 29:48
Yeah, consistency beats skill every time. And I’m like I’ve had people tell me like I love that you this one person in particular who’s been following me forever he’s like I love that you always show up, like there’s a bunch of people there, even if there’s nobody there. And I’m like, yeah, because I don’t care about the initial thing. It’s all about, like, there’s all these things that happen after that piece of content goes out, or like that can be repurposed. So, like, nobody shows up to my live. Sometimes I don’t even promote when I’m going live, but it’s all about like, what you learned doing it, who’s going to see it later?
And then, as far as engagement, there are ways to kind of hack engagement. So if, if, like, you’re going all in on LinkedIn, it’s like your main thing, the only thing you’re doing, then it’s worth putting your energy into. There are ways to kind of curate more engagement. Generally speaking, I don’t know if it’s worth it, but I do have hacks for most platforms on like. If you want your engagement to be higher, there’s like tips you can use.
Danny Gavin Host – 30:42
Do you want to share maybe one or two for LinkedIn?
Alison Reeves Guest – 30:44
Yeah, and I guess they’re. They’re similar for a lot of them. So Facebook, linkedin and Instagram, the ways to help your engagement are creating conversations. So if you can have DM conversations that are authentic, don’t don’t do what you’re getting on LinkedIn Like do you want a hundred book deployments every day?
Yeah, get a million of those you know nobody wants those, nobody wants a hundred deployments a day, but starting genuine conversations it helps, like especially on Facebook. I found it helps my organic reach a lot, which I don’t use that strategy anymore Proactively making new connections, commenting on other people’s posts and then Host – ing collaborations. All those things will help with engagement and if you have one platform that you’re like really invested in pushing people to that platform from your email list. So, for example, if I want to grow YouTube, then like pushing people to the newest videos, that I do. But you can do the same thing on LinkedIn. Even just I had a client who will email his email list a post, a link to just the individual posts, to try to get more reactions on it.
Danny Gavin Host – 31:44
That’s smart, instead of sending them, let’s say, to the video, but to send them to the post, but I think. But the cool part here, Alison, is that you can actually do this outside of social media and like you, like you were in 2022, which is I’m so glad to hear.
Alison Reeves Guest – 31:58
Danny Gavin Host – 31:59
So is there anything you find many of your new clients are missing out on in the world of content marketing? Is there maybe a common theme or thread?
Alison Reeves Guest – 32:05
Audience borrowing. So, like with a lot of my clients who are doing everything else right but they want to grow their email list faster, I think audience borrowing is a big missed opportunity. If they are doing audience borrowing and they wonder why it’s not working, it’s usually because they don’t have a focus of like. How am I using this?
Danny Gavin Host – 32:21
So, Alison, let’s define audience borrowing for those people who don’t know what it is.
Alison Reeves Guest – 32:25
So audience borrowing for me is collaborating with someone who is complimentary but not competitive, where you can help each other grow on your preferred platform.
Danny Gavin Host – 32:34
How can you use audience borrowing to your advantage?
Alison Reeves Guest – 32:36
My favorite way to use it is to try to grow your email list. It depends on what your primary platform is, but I would say like there’s lots of different ways you can leverage audience borrowing. So podcasting, hello good example. But then like making sure that when I’m on the podcast, I’m like giving Danny a link to my lead magnet or whatever I want the audience to know about. Guess blogging, which I feel like everybody has heard about, but I feel like it’s a little bit harder to do these days. Bundles and summits, shout outs, and another really underutilized example of audience borrowing is just email swapping. So find someone who’s a similar size to you and then trade lead magnets. Like I feel like that’s so underutilized that I have to explain it to people. But in order to get more sales with the same offers you have now, you’ve got to get in front of more people and you can either wait for the algorithm, run paint ads or find people to audience borrow with.
Danny Gavin Host – 33:31
You take your list, you advertise their offer, and then they take their list and they advertise your offer and it’s like a win-win situation.
Alison Reeves Guest – 33:39
Danny Gavin Host – 33:40
And do you think in general, are people open to that?
Alison Reeves Guest – 33:42
They are. I find that it takes a lot of explaining, which is why I created a $9 course on it so that more people can learn about it. Aliceravesco, slash everything, which has everything that I have and that’s near the top. But yeah, once I explain it, you just have to, and there’s scripts in that course on like how to ask people to do the thing, so you don’t have to. Otherwise it can get really complicated and convoluted, because you can also do audience borrowing where, like, I’ll send my email list your lead magnet, but maybe your email list is like really tiny but you have a huge Instagram following, so, like, I’ll send my email list your lead magnet and you’ll do a shout out on Instagram for mine, for example.
Danny Gavin Host – 34:17
How do you feel ethics plays into audience borrowing? Obviously like it’s kind of like taking what people. People opted into. You didn’t necessarily opt into someone else.
Alison Reeves Guest – 34:27
Well, you want people to self-select.
Danny Gavin Host – 34:29
Alison Reeves Guest – 34:30
So I’m not gonna like if you and I were gonna do a trade, I would not give you my email address, my email list. I would email my list a link to your opt-in and they can decide if they want it or not. And then everything else from there is just normal disclosure, like you’re gonna be put on my newsletter list. This is how many emails I send out.
Danny Gavin Host – 34:49
Do you ever find that your audience gets annoyed when you’re pushing other people’s offers?
Alison Reeves Guest – 34:53
They haven’t yet, but I’ll keep you updated. I just did this huge bundle where I was promoting 20 other people’s offers and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback that people were really grateful that it was organized and it had access to new resources and they’re good. I think part of the ethics of that too is vetting the people to at least to some degree.
Danny Gavin Host – 35:12
I can’t control the quality of everybody’s business, but True, but I’m sure, knowing you, Alison, you’re gonna choose people to promote that you feel comfortable. You’re not gonna sell yourself out.
Alison Reeves Guest – 35:21
I try to. I try my best.
Danny Gavin Host – 35:23
We’re all human, but you know, If we’re hitting that 90, 95%, I think that’s really good. Let’s talk about podcasting a bit. I know that you have a podcast, the Mind your Marketing podcast, and we have a podcast obviously. How do you think podcasts play into content marketing and digital marketing in general?
Alison Reeves Guest – 35:39
I think podcasts can be. They’re one of like. So in general, I think people need to focus on some kind of long form, evergreen type of content for content marketing and then some kind of like short term win, so like, if you can balance those two, like it’s almost like the hunting versus the gardening of marketing, where, like, hunting is for the short term, gardening is for the long term, so you don’t have to hunt quite as much. And podcasting, to me, is one of those gardening platforms where the content is out there forever. It can grow unexpectedly a year from now, whereas, like I mean, that can happen with short form content as well.
But yeah, to me it’s very similar to blogging in that regard and it’s also really easy to repurpose podcasts into other types of content. I think, unlike blogging, there’s a little more trust built in a platform where people can learn your personality. I think that’s what podcasting does. And the other great thing about podcasting, as opposed to a long form content like blogging, is that if you’re interviewing people, there’s inherently audience barring built in If you’re good at educating your guest or being your guest.
Danny Gavin Host – 36:48
Yeah, my worst thing is when I have a guest and I really think that they’re gonna be promoting the episode and they don’t. It really hurts.
Alison Reeves Guest – 36:55
Yeah, yeah, I’m very explicit. I’m still kind of figuring out. So I launched my podcast last year and it was growing. But I was just tired of I wasn’t totally enjoying the interviews. And then it took a couple. I had two interviews in a row which didn’t get posted, so I’m not identifying anybody, but where I felt like the person was definitely on just to promote themselves and so the conversation was sticky. I almost didn’t feel like I could even be a part of the conversation with the Guest – s. So I’ve been trying to play with like a format that feels more fun. I’m still kind of experimenting with what that looks like.
Danny Gavin Host – 37:30
Yeah, I think number one it’s gotta be someone that you enjoy talking with. I get tons of emails of like pitches. Oh well, you know this person, he’s an expert and he’s you know. Hopefully I will never have to use those people, but for me it’s always been like people around my network, people that I know you wanna enjoy actually going and having that conversation. If you’re gonna be dreading it, it’s gonna be impossible to sustain.
Alison Reeves Guest – 37:52
Danny Gavin Host – 37:53
So clearly we don’t believe it. But some people will say that the podcast market is over full or saturated. How do you respond to someone with that mindset?
Alison Reeves Guest – 38:02
I think it’s hard for any market to get over saturated, like I’m trying to think of. People have said that blogging is over-saturated. People have said that it’s like too late to go viral on TikTok or. But there’s just opportunity. You can carve out your space and like anything. If you don’t quit, you won’t fail. You just have to keep going until you figure out your thing. I don’t think podcasting is over saturated at all. I still kind of feel like people are still kind of getting into it for the first time and listening and finding what they want. I think there’s a ton of opportunity.
Danny Gavin Host – 38:32
Yeah, I agree. So most, not all of your podcast Guest – s are women. How do you think that particular element of our identity’s gender, gender expression plays into podcasting and marketing in general?
Alison Reeves Guest – 38:42
Yeah, yeah, I’m thinking so.
For me it’s like I don’t think I say and I say in very few places that I like target women, but obviously I attract mostly women.
I do have male clients I’ve got two people two men and a mastermind out of six people but for the most part my audience is largely women. I think I’ve only had one male podcast Guest – and this story that I make up about that, although I haven’t thought a lot about it is that it’s because I have like a heart centered approach and kind of a feely approach to a lot of the way that I talk about things and I think women are more naturally attracted to an inclined to connect with that. Yeah, and I’m also curious if, like, the places where I’m finding Guest – s are mostly women I mean my email list, I’m sure if I looked at the stats it would be like 90, 95% women and that’s probably just who I naturally attract, because I’m a little woo-woo and very feminine in how I talk about things. So I think the men that find me and connect with me are like the men who also have a heart centered approach or they’re like drawn to that, and that’s consistently true among the men that I work with.
Danny Gavin Host – 39:44
Yeah, they’re gonna have to appreciate that aspect of you in order to sign up, but I feel like a lot of men do. Just some are scared to admit to it. So segue into sort of our lightning round. But it’s gonna be a little bit different today. So, for people who don’t know, Alison is a musician. She was part of a church band for many years and now she is doing performances out of church in more mainstream venues. Yeah, let’s talk about what are the top three things you like about music performing.
Alison Reeves Guest – 40:14
I feel like the first thing that comes to mind is how music is such a universal language. So I went to Kenya in 2004 and I’ve been to Mexico a bunch of times and I felt like when we were singing music and playing music together, it just felt like we didn’t have to worry about language at all, like we were just connecting on that. And, similarly, like my favorite thing about music is just playing with other people. Like I like playing by myself in my office, but playing with someone and like singing together, like playing our instruments together and just connecting with people in that way, like creating art together organically, is like my favorite thing in the world. And then the other thing I love about music for me is just expression. It feels like one of the most spiritual things that I do is enjoy and appreciate music in any way, whether that’s singing something I love, writing something from my heart, or even just dancing and movement. Like music I just feel like as the music makes me feel more connected than anything else in the world.
Danny Gavin Host – 41:13
You just, I guess, awoke a memory in my head in the middle of COVID. So we actually spoke about Clubhouse, the social media platform. It kind of doesn’t exist anymore, but it was very big during COVID. But I remember, like Thursday nights, there was this group it was like it was called like the campfire group and people would take turns getting on stage and singing or playing music and I just, I don’t know, just the mentioning of like the spirituality and awakening just kind of like reminded me Like, ooh, there were some good Thursday nights during 2020 where, like, people were bonding over this, you know, audio app and music, and I even had a couple chances to play and sing and, yeah, it’s so powerful it is. Music is truly a gift and, you know, the more we can surround ourselves with it, I think the better.
Alison Reeves Guest – 42:01
Yeah, well, that’s a cool memory.
Danny Gavin Host – 42:03
Before we wrap up, what would you say Alison is your next big project.
Alison Reeves Guest – 42:07
Next big project, I am launching a new offer called the Art of Attraction, so it’ll have a course, but it’s also a mentorship and it’s like the lowest cost coaching I’ve ever done, because I’m kind of moving into a new niche. And then in October I’m organizing a collaborative course. So I’m organizing up to 30 people, maybe more, to create a course together that we will all co-launch and it will all be all about mindset and energetics for entrepreneurs. I’m really excited about that.
Danny Gavin Host – 42:37
So Alison, where can listeners learn more about you and your business?
Alison Reeves Guest – 42:40
AlisonRavesco, my social media is linked there. I created a page where everything is linked. I just got tired of like having to depend on launches all the time, and so I’m really excited about that page. It’s AlisonRavesco slash everything, where you can find all my free offers and paid offers, organized by topics.
Danny Gavin Host – 42:58
Well, Alison, this was such a great conversation, so deep and, like you know, sometimes I do these and I like the time like takes a little bit longer, but here it’s like what We’ve already spoken this long Like, and I could speak even longer, so I’m glad it was one of these types of episodes. But yeah, thank you so much for being a Guest – on the Digital Marketing Mentor and thank you, listeners, for tuning into the Digital Marketing Mentor. We’ll talk to you next time.
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