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Interview with Johnnie Mazzocco – Transcription
Kate Hi, I’m Kate Barrett, the founder of Shine A Light Media and the Email Marketing Academy, and welcome to the next in our series of interviews with everyone from entrepreneurs to fellow email marketing experts where we will be finding out how they use email in their business to give you inspiration in your own work.
Our guest today is Johnnie Mazzocco is a fantastic entrepreneur involved in writing, film and teaching, but I will let her explain a little bit more about that. Johnnie, welcome, thank you so much for being with us today.
Johnnie Thank you for having me Kate. My company’s name is Dark Moon Lilith LLC and it’s the umbrella for all my creative work at the moment and I have a few different ventures that I am working on under that umbrella. I have always wanted to work for myself for as long as I can remember and for a number of reasons that has taken me a long time to finally start making that happen.
So just a little background, I had been a college writing professor for years and then enrolments dropped the summer of 2013, and that’s the summer that I turned 55 and my teaching was cut dramatically and so I took it as a sign, as an opportunity to finally create the life I want. I finally started to focus on the work that matters to me most and everything that I do centres around narrative and storytelling so whether it’s my own fiction or films, like I currently have a feature film called Found Objects in post-production, I write fiction, or whether it’s helping other people tell their stories as I do in my writing through the body workshops and then I am also an editor, so I am doing a number of different things right now.
Kate Wow, it sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate, but a very creative lady and lots going on there. That’s fantastic. So you’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, you’ve got this creative side with the story telling and a feature film which sounds absolutely thrilling, that sounds fantastic, that’s brilliant. In terms of this business then, what marketing channels are you using to drive people through either for awareness of what you’re doing or to sell you products.
Johnnie I am currently on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Google Plus. I think at the moment Facebook is probably getting me the most attention. Although I am in such a beginning stage with some of the things that I am doing that I’m really just experimenting right now and I am also fairly certain I could be utilising some those other mediums a little better than I am. As I said I am in this very experimental phase but I would say right now Facebook is definitely the one that is working the best.
Kate Fantastic. Are you integrating email marketing with that and giving that a little test as well? What are you up to there?
Johnnie Yes I am, I do use email marketing. I use it in a variety of ways and one thing I am focusing on right now is actually building my list. I’m everyday, everyday learning something new and definitely try to tie that in with all my social media.
Kate Brilliant, so how do you tie that in with your social media? Do you use the social media to drive traffic back to your website, or do you link your email directly with your social media channels? How are you integrating those two?
Johnnie A variety of ways. Say I send out an email to my list, and then I share that email on my social media sites, so that’s one way I do it. I also give people the option in my emails to like, follow, connect on my social media sites.
Kate Integration back and forth between the two channels and I think that’s a really interesting point there, it’s not about just using social media to drive people to sign up to your email list, it’s also about using the email list to drive people back to the information on your social media. So that’s a really good example there. Fantastic, so how do you learn about new marketing techniques that you can use or new ways that you can use email or social media or just new channels? Are there any specific blogs or people that you go to particularly for that?
Johnnie I’m in a few different online learning communities, specifically for entrepreneurs and so everything I am learning right now is through them and I learn a lot about marketing techniques that way. In particular, one that I’m in is called Online Edge Academy. I lean a lot from them. I am also in one for professional bloggers because I have a couple of blogs that I am trying to build up and raise awareness around and it’s called Tribe Learn and so I learn a lot through that, just about basically how to market my blogs really. Those are the two primary ones for me.
Kate Fantastic, I think that’s really interesting. I think learning new techniques and keeping up to date with changes is really important particularly with social media, and having quite a heavy focus on social media in your business it’s important to keep up to date with those changes, particularly with Facebook, we know that that’s always changing, what it’s doing, and how you work with people on the site, so that’s really interesting. Just going back to, you’ve told us that your building your list, and obviously you’re using social media to do that, which is fantastic. What are you doing once you have built your list? Once somebody gets on to your list, how are you using email marketing in your business?
Johnnie Let’s see, I usually do at least a monthly newsletter in which I give updates on new developments, things I’m working on. I also use it to ask for help with different projects, for instance when I was fundraising for my film I used email marketing for that and I recently used email to send a survey to my followers because I’ll be segmenting my email list soon because I’m diversifying some, and I wanted to make sure I’m sending people only what they want so I sent a survey. I would say those are the three primary ways I have used it so far.
Kate That’s brilliant, and that’s great to hear that you’ve sent out a survey. You’re not just assuming what people want from you, or what they want to hear from you, you’re actually asking them which is really key, so that’s great to hear that you’ve done that and in terms of segmentation as well, breaking people down into smaller chunks within your main list of people who are similar to each other, who have similar interests or similar traits. A basic example for our listeners out there is if somebody is male or female. If that’s something you collect and know about your subscribers that’s something you can segment them into those two separate lists so that you can really talk to them personally because in that example men and women would have different images that would attract them or different wording. I think that’s really important to focus on as well. In terms of your segmentation, have you got that planned out yet, or what is your process in terms of taking in that information from the survey and generating those segments from it. Have you done that already? Is that something that is in process at the moment?
Johnnie Yes, it’s in process right now. I did this survey recently and actually, this is a little bit of a digression but its connected, I recently hired a virtual assistant.
Kate Brilliant, something that a lot of entrepreneurs need to do, we can’t do everything ourselves so it’s great to hear that you’ve hired someone to help you.
Johnnie Yes, and that’s one of the things I am going to have her help me with, because what I found is I can spend so much time learning how to do something and then doing it and then with all the little glitches I run into, I lose a lot of time doing the work that I really care about and I’m best at and so that is something I am going to get her help with, segmenting the list. It hasn’t been done yet but will be soon.
Kate How will you do that? Did you think about that before you wrote the survey in terms of generating specific questions for segments that you already had in your head that you were thinking about? How have you gone about this, because I think it’s really interesting for our listeners to hear in real life how somebody has done this, from scratch using a survey, I think it’s really interesting.
Johnnie What I did in the last survey, and I am planning to do another one soon, but in this last one I just I took all the little branches of my business and created a survey around those and asked people, I sort of broke them down, I had a section on my writing through the body workshops, and basically just asked them, do you want to receive emails about this? Do you want to receive about my film? Do you want to receive emails about, you know, and I listed each thing and so first I did this broad brush stroke approach to find out specifically what they want to know about, and then in my next one I am going to ask specifically about each one of those. So for instance, the people that are interested in my writing through the body workshops, I am going to ask them about specific regarding their writing, the things they struggle with, the things that they do that work for them, that kind of thing so that I can learn to tailor the emails for that specific group more effectively I guess.
Kate That is an absolutely fantastic strategy, find out which areas of the business they are interested in, then drill down individually on each of those areas for the people who showed an interest in each one and asked them specific questions so you can tailor the content. Absolutely spot on, the best practice way to do it. That’s absolutely brilliant Johnnie and I would be really interested to hear how that goes as you progress through it and get those results and start to get those segments together, because that’s really interesting. That’s fantastic.
Johnnie Thank you.
Kate So which email service provider, which ESP, are you using to get all of these segments put into, to put in your list, create those segments from the information that you’re collecting and then send out those emails? Is there a system that you’ve chosen and that you’re using at the moment?
Johnnie I currently use Mail Chimp.
Kate Brilliant, ok so why did you choose Mail Chimp? I know a lot of people who use it, I personally think it’s a great system. The functionality for the budget that it costs you is fantastic, but a lot of people are split with it. Some people love it, some people hate it. What made you choose it, and what do you like or dislike about the system?
Johnnie Well I chose it because at the time, as you said, the cost, I can use it for free, and right now I am building my list so it’s very affordable for me because once I get over a certain number it begins to cost, but for now it’s free, so that was really important for me as a fledgling entrepreneur, was the cost effectiveness of it. The only other one I knew about at the time was Constant Contact and, nothing against it, but Mail Chimp just seemed a little bit more savvy, current, up to date.
Kate Absolutely. It’s really a personal choice in terms of how you like the system. The features are very similar between them and there is obviously limited functionality at that lower level and as entrepreneurs we need to get started with email marketing and do it in the most cost effective way and Mail Chimp is fantastic for that. Like you say, up to 2000 contacts it’s absolutely free, and as you go slightly over that there are slight charges, but its very cost effective which makes it a very accessible system for entrepreneurs. That’s really interesting to hear that you’re using it, and that you like it and that you found it a little bit more accessible when comparing it to Constant Contact.
Johnnie A couple of other things I like about it are I feel like I can with ease create these professional looking emails with their templates, I find them really easy to work with and I really have to say something about their support staff. Every time I have needed help with something they are right on top of it, they are always friendly and my problem always gets resolved right away so that’s one reason that I haven’t really looked to venture beyond Mail Chimp is just because their support staff is so awesome.
Kate Absolutely, and once you go on to a paid plan the functionality increases as well and that’s where you start to get the triggered emails so you can create those sales funnel after somebody signs up, so there’s definitely benefits of going down that route as well and paying the small monthly fee to get that additional functionality. That’s really great to hear that you like the system and you’ve had some good experience with the Mail Chimp Support so that’s fantastic.
So, what’s your biggest email marketing challenge at the moment then? Is it building your list, is it getting those triggered emails, the sales funnel set up? What’s your biggest challenge?
Johnnie I would say both of those right now, I am really trying to figure out what to offer people as an opt in gift. That was a bit of a challenge for me. I figured that out finally, and right now I am in the process of setting things up so that I can start to create that funnel which hopefully that will help me build my list. I have created again, specifically for writing through the body a new Facebook page so people can click on that, get the opt in gift. So that’s really the biggest challenge for me right now, is getting all of that in sync so that its working well and running smoothly so I can build a list.
Kate Fantastic. So you’re using an opt in offer, that’s really interesting and I think the key here is testing those opt in offers as well. Creating that first one, getting it running, getting some statistics behind you to be able to compare it to and then try perhaps a slightly different offer. I mean, what is it that you are offering as that incentive to sign up at the moment?
Johnnie For Writing Through The Body my opt in is a checklist “Ten ways to banish writers block”.
Kate That sounds like something I need! I’m going to go and sign up on your website and get that, I definitely need that. I think that’s something that we all suffer from, from time to time, is sitting staring at a blank piece of paper. That sounds like a great checklist, that brilliant!
Ok, so in terms of your business at the moment, have you got anything that you’re launching that you’ like to tell our listeners about, is there anything big happening in your business right now, and how’s email marketing going to help you reach your future goals or help you to launch your next big product?
Johnnie As I mentioned before I am in the process of getting the word out about my Writing Through the Body workshops and products and I am going through all the steps with the opt in, as I said, and getting that set up. Creating the sequence of follow up emails, that’s the next step for me to stay connected with people, once they do opt in. I am working on building my, this is a little bit of an aside from that, but my editing clientele, I am also working on that. Those are the two main focuses for me, is getting Writing Through the Body out there so people are aware of what it is and what it can do for them, and also my own editing services. My goal in doing all of this is to hopefully create the income that I want so that I can focus on my own writing, which has kind of taken a backseat for now, but that’s ok, because I am very excited about Writing Through the Body. I think I’m really on to something with this process that I’ve created so I’m very excited about that.
Kate Brilliant, can you give us a little bit of a teaser into what it is, a little sneak peek?
Johnnie Sure. I actually just did a free webinar on this, but it’s a process that helps either would be writers, people who want to write but haven’t done in yet or writers who are experiencing some kind of block. It’s a process that uses the seven main chakras of the body. So I teach people about what each chakra does, and there are meditations involved and so for instance if we do a seven week workshop each week we focus on a chakra of the body and I do this both for memoirs, creative non-fiction writers as well as fiction writers and it’s just a process that takes people either deeply into the skin of their characters if they’re writing fiction or very deep into their own subconscious so that they can start to peel back the layers of things. I think that’s one of the things that keeps people from writing, is there is a lot of fear around it. I have tried this process out, I have given several workshops and the feedback I’m getting is that it’s a very safe way for people to take that plunge. So yeah, that’s basically it in a nutshell, and I’m super excited about it.
Kate That sounds really, really exciting and you mentioned back at the beginning that you did a free webinar recently about it. How did that go for you and did you use the email sign up to get those webinar sign ups, did you connect those two together?
Johnnie I used, let’s see, what did I, oh I used Facebook, the Facebook page I created. I put an event on Facebook and that’s how I got people interested in that webinar.
Kate Brilliant, so was it a Google Hangout so people didn’t have to register for it or was it through a system like Go To Webinar for example, where people register and give you their email address and opt in at the same time. Which way did you go with that?
Johnnie I went through the latter, I ended up using, which one did I use, Free Conference Call. It was online and I recorded it so I still have it and I plan to use it, I’m not quite sure yet , but as another tool probably to get people to opt in.
Kate Absolutely, and running webinars in themselves is a fantastic way to get people on to your list and opted in and to give them that value as well. That’s really interesting to hear that you’ve done that and I know it’s a big step for a lot of entrepreneurs running their first webinar. Well done, I haven’t done my first yet, but it will be coming in the next few weeks, so I will keep you updated.
Johnnie It was nerve-racking, but now that it’s done, it’s like Ok, I’ve done that, I know what to do now, and the next one will be a lot easier
Kate Stepped outside of your comfort zone and conquered your fears.
Fantastic. Just to round off the interview, I always ask the interviews this – Which business people do you admire and why? So, we’ve talked about learning from the Online Edge Academy, and that we know is run by Melanie Duncan, are there any other business people you admire?
Johnnie Yes, well in addition to Melanie and Devin Duncan with Online Edge Academy, and I just want to say about them before I talk about the others, I think Melanie and Devin are really a class act. They really know what they are doing and their products are just helping me beyond even my wildest dreams. So definitely them.
Kate That’s great to hear. I met them a few weeks ago, and I can tell you in person they’re just as lovely. They’re a really a brilliant couple.
Johnnie I just think they’re fabulous. So I’m also involved in, I mentioned this briefly, it’s called Tribe Learn Professional Blogging with Joel Brown and that caters specifically to bloggers, and again, he really knows what he’s doing, he’s a fabulous person, super organised just so very helpful, and in addition to all of his knowledge he does as interview with a professional blogger who is basically making a lot of money as a blogger. I’m learning a ton from that.
I also, I have several, I admire Vishen Likhiani and he is the owner of Mind Valley and the creator of Awesomeness Fest which I’ll be attending in November in Puerto Vallarta. What I love about him is he has just the right balance between the spiritual and the business side of things and he’s somebody I watch a lot and I strive to emulate him. I am involved an online learning community created by him called Consciousness Engineering. It’s about how to think outside the box and just deconstruct the ways that we think that may be holding us back from progress in our business.
Others that I watch, I love Lori Greiner and Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank. I just really admire them as business women and entrepreneurs and I think they are both brilliant and savvy and I learn a lot just from watching them.
Lastly, someone that I consider a mentor that I studied is Martha Stewart. I have read her book “Ten Essentials for Achieving Success” and I have listened to the audio version of that book as well. I just admire her for the way that she bounced back several years ago when she hit a really rough spot. I admire the empire that she has built and I have learned so much from, her just about how to take a big idea and spin off several smaller ideas, products or services to keep people engaged and coming. Right now those are the business people that I admire.
Kate Brilliant, I think those are some great suggestions, and a couple of people in there that I haven’t heard of so I’m definitely going to go and look them up, so thank you very much for that. Johnnie, thank you so much for being my guest today. I think it’s been really insightful as to what you’re doing in your business now and what you’re working towards and I will definitely be keeping up with you and finding out how you get on. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Johnnie Thank you for having me, it’s been really fun.