You know when people say you must be willing to lose everything to gain everything? Melissa Simonson’s story is a testament to that – when once in her life she found herself pregnant, out of work, divorced, with bills piling up, and no income to support herself and her baby. But instead of giving up, she went out of her comfort zone and got herself a job – cleaning houses just to get by. That’s when she discovered the value of FREE marketing, especially when she used Craigslist to market her services. And the rest is history…

Now, Melissa Simonson is a staunch advocate of free marketing, as one of the key members of Empowery – A non-profit eCommerce cooperative that provides a platform for eCommerce sellers to share knowledge, network, and all kinds of vital information to help each other’s businesses succeed. Melissa shares her amazing story, tells us all about Empowery, and leaves us with valuable tips on how to market our products and services at very little to zero cost. Watch the Seller Round Table episode with host, Amy Wees, below:

Melissa’s Lessons in Life, Marketing, and More

Experience truly is the best teacher – and the only way to learn is by being open to everything that life has to teach you. It wasn’t easy for Melissa – to have to leave corporate life through no fault of her own, start a business, exhaust all options, and explore unconventional solutions. But through all these, she got to know herself at a deeper level and came to discover her passion in marketing. In this episode, Melissa and Amy exchange insights that will be valuable to anyone willing to listen, including:

  • The element of psychology and the study of human behavior in marketing
  • The value of paying more attention to solutions instead of problems
  • The mission of Empowery in creating a valuable learning space for eCom business owners
  • The abundance of free marketing platforms in the age of social media
  • The importance of the follow-up when closing a sale

Start At Zero

The word zero can sometimes conjure feelings of failure, hopelessness, and emptiness. But throughout the video, you’ll hear Melissa repeat the phrase ‘Start at Zero‘ multiple times – and along with it, a message of hope, perseverance, and courage that she subscribed to through all these years. And suddenly, failure becomes opportunity, hopelessness fades, and emptiness becomes a blank slate that permits an infinite number of possibilities where we can all begin again.

Start at zero. What does this mean? It means that having zero – nothing – is not, and should not, be a barrier to your life goals and dreams. It means starting small works – especially in business – and that you don’t have to have millions in your bank account for capital funding. Don’t get us wrong – this is not to devalue money. The reality is that your business is only as good as your cash flow. But starting with zero is not a bad idea – with grit and an open mind, zero will grow.

That said, where do we begin? Melissa swears by an honest intention to serve and solve customers’ problems. The truth is, no one likes being sold to. So approaching your customer with a salesperson’s pushy, sometimes annoying, sometimes condescending behavior is not the way to close a sale. Always approach a customer with value first – how will your product or your service add value to your customers’ lives? People can always read intention, sincerity, and honesty – and these values will return to you a thousandfold.

The next question is – where do you find these customers who want value? Luckily, the digital age has managed to make the rest of the world reachable at the click of a button. So, here are some FREE marketing platforms that Melissa mentioned in her interview:

  • Facebook groups
  • Linkedin
  • Craigslist
  • Empowery – Melissa’s brother Steve co-founded this eCommerce cooperative where sellers feel they are in a safe space that provides value to their businesses
  • Clubhouse – another social media platform where you can listen and learn from influential people in ‘rooms‘ where specific topics are discussed

Next, once you have understood your business’s value to your customer, and once you’ve discovered how to reach them online – the question now is: what? What are some effective, FREE (or low-cost) ways to create value for your brand and your product in your customers’ lives? Here are some of Melissa’s examples:

  • Create conversations in Facebook groups – not about your product, but about the topic or the problem that your product or service can solve
  • Create valuable and downloadable content (lead magnets) that will truly help your customer – and help build your email list at the same time
  • Continue to deliver value and follow-up through email

On a final note, we’d like to share a bit of trivia. Do you know what form of marketing/advertising is considered the most effective across the board? Is it broadcast media – TV, radio, print? Or maybe digital media – YouTube, Facebook, Tiktok, etc.?

None of the above. About 65% of professional marketers agree that the most effective marketing is WORD OF MOUTH. That’s when your customer – with no direct intention of marketing your product for their own gain – serves as the channel through which your product is advertised. It’s when your product or service advertises itself – because of its value – because of how it changed people’s lives dramatically. And do you know what the most wonderful thing about that is? Word of mouth is FREE. 

But it starts with silence. It starts at zero. And that’s where you come in.



Amy Wees: Hey, everyone, welcome to The Seller Roundtable. We are here. It’s just Amy here today. Andy had some stuff come up. So he will be here next week. And we’ll miss him dearly.

Normally, he starts this announcement. We’re on episode number 98. And we’re here today with the incredible – she needs no introduction – Miss Melissa Simonson. Welcome, Melissa.

Melissa Simonson: Thank you so much, Amy. I’m so excited to be here. I’m very, very excited to be on your podcast. Yay!

Amy: I know. I was just asking, Melissa, before we hit the record button. I was like, Why haven’t you been on my podcast? You’ve had to have been on my podcast before. And she hasn’t. So it’s awesome that we have her here on The Seller Roundtable. Well, welcome, Melissa, and why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about you and your story? So how did you get started in E commerce?

Melissa: Well, I’ve told this story, like, from a bunch of different angles. So and I feel like it’s, because each time I talk about me, I want it to be like, interesting. I don’t want people to just have to hear the same old story. So I think that if I’m being the most accurate, then it would be accurate to say that Steve, my oldest brother got me into Ecommerce. And he actually had his first shopping cart sale online in 1988. And when I was 15, I worked for his company, he had like 30 employees. He had an online flooring store, and also so many other things online. And this is back when Amazon came courting online stores and said, hey, you should sell stuff on our platform, too. We could sell more than books. Like way back in the day. And at that time, we had to have like a whole basement full of programmers. It was like, you know, managing the website, you can just pop up a Shopify store and in an afternoon and call it a day, you had to have some serious money and investment and all kinds of stuff and your website and your listings and stuff. And I had to know HTML, so that I could change the product.

Amy: Oh, my gosh, I can’t even admit like, I love the visual builders of today, don’t you? I mean, they make it so much easier to use. So you learned HTML is basically you got started helping your brother Steve, which most of us have heard of Steve, he’s a great guy and has a ton of experience. And then what happened?

Melissa: Yeah, I was a teenager. And so I would work for him in the summers. And then, I think when I was 18, I carried on so I was working remotely. And so I did that for a while. ButI had a few opportunities presentat that time that I couldn’t say no to. So I moved on and away from Ecommerce a little bit and had normal jobs for a little while. I was married at 18. Very young. And then, I just kind of did normal stuff. And then, after being married for many years, and then the birth of my second son, actually, the birth of my first one, we got really behind on bills. So, fast forwarding now. Seven, eight years, I think before I had my first son after being married and we got really behind the bills and I had been laid off because when I found out I was pregnant, that’s when they laid off my entire department.

So then, I realized this is gonna be really tricky to get hired. I’d never had trouble getting hired before. I felt like I did fairly well in interviews.

I applied for jobs I felt overqualified for and skilled at but in this case, I could not get anyone to hire because they knew I’d be taking leave within a few weeks of getting hired. And that was really tough because I felt like I was leaving my fate in other people’s hands. And I did not like that feeling – it was just the worst. And I wanted to be in control of my own fate. And, you know, I had made a promise to my son when he was born. I did this for both of my boys, but at the time, I just had the one. And I promised him on his first day of living, that I would make sure he always had everything he needed. And I would teach him to work for everything he wanted. And I felt like I was failing him right then because I couldn’t get hired. I couldn’t pay for stuff. I was worried about rent, and then our power gets shut off. And that moment for me was like, I’m done waiting for other people to help me with it. I’m done trying to wait for someone to rescue me out of this., I couldn’t rely on my partner at the time to help out with that.

And so I just stopped waiting. And I put an ad on Craigslist for a cleaning business. And I got a call that day, and I went and cleaned a house that day, and I came home with like 150 bucks or something like that, used that to buy more products, put up more free ads, because free marketing is best.

I’m not a big fan of paying for marketing, if I can help it. So yeah. And that turned into a business that I ran for about five years. Supported me and my family and got a nice home and things like that. And, and then it was sort of through that transition of getting a divorce and some other things in my personal life started to spill over into my business. And that’s a really tricky situation, you know?

Amy: Yeah, it’s hard to keep those things separate enough to run a business. Yeah. And it’s funny, because Amazing At Home became this. We just use the domain name, right, because they own the domain name. But it actually became really real, because so many of us start our businesses at home, at home comes along with our children and our urges and all the things that go along with it. And even if you have an office, if you’re a business owner, you’re working and you’re working from home, wherever you are, right, like, so it’s a personal thing to own a business, and I can definitely understand that.

Melissa: Yeah really separate, you pour your heart and soul into something. And so when you know, your personal life is, you know, out of balance.There’s no way for that to not spill over. Or at least I haven’t discovered. And I thought it was fine. By the way, let’s be clear on this, I was fine.

I just didn’t realize it was actually funny. My mom said to me one day, she asked me a question about something. And I just waved it away. I was like, I can’t worry about that right now think about that tomorrow. And she was like, Who are you? And where’s my daughter, because that has never been the way I approach anything. It’s always like, let’s do it now. Because then I won’t have to worry about it later. And that’s just how I like to operate. But \ every little thing at that time was too much. And so. So that’s when I kind of was going through some stuff, and I stepped away from my business. Got a regular job. I am not a fan of that. And as it turns out, I am not a good employee anymore. Places on time, I don’t like being stuck in one seat. I might not move for nine or 10 hours from my computer. But if I have to be there, that’s huge.

Amy: Yes. Right. Yes, I am absolutely with you. There was a point when I and all of us reach a point and we leave our jobs and we go into business. And at this point, you had already left your job and started your own business, sort of go back to that. But I remember distinctly like, I was driving in my car one day, and I just realized that I had reached a point of oh my gosh, I can never go back working again for someone else. Like I’m past that point now. And so you were you were already there, huh?

Melissa: Yeah. Oh, I was so there. And I didn’t even know I was just like, you know, I was again in the interview. I was like, this is gonna be great because I have experience as you know, an owner of a business. I know what it means to like invest in in your business and really take care of your customers and stuff like that. And knowing that gives me an advantage here because I know what is at stake for you guys. And a typical employee doesn’t know that but I was like, also though, I don’t want to sit here for eight hours. So that’s gonna be a problem.

And so anyway, that didn’t work out as well as I was hoping. But I did learn something about myself. And now I know the kinds of jobs that I’ve excelled at. And the the flexibility that I need and stuff like that I had never, for the entire life of my kids had a job where someone else was the boss until that moment. And so that was not being able to, to pause what I’m doing, run over to the daycare or something like that, and bring their show and tell. Whatever it is, I would have always been able to do that. And it was so awful to to leave it in someone else’s hands, like, whether I could run home and grab something or whatever, like that. Lack of freedom is no deal for me.

Amy: Yeah, and I think it also influences how we treat our own team. Because, for me, everybody who works on my team, I tried to be really flexible with them, of course, there needs to be flexibility on both sides, because they’re working for a business that is constantly changing, constantly growing all the time, they’re doing new things. And they’ve got to be flexible, but I think that’s also a really good lesson for us business owners. Imagine if you had to go back and work a job now, like, What kind of boss would you want to be? What kind of boss would you want to have? And so I try to always be super flexible, I let my folks work from home a couple days a week, if they want to, and as long as we got everything on track, and there’s that level of trust, it’s like, why not? I want them to be happy here and to want to continue to help me grow. Believe in that mission. And so I think that’s something that all of us business owners can learn about hiring. Well, and I think it’s good for management, but it’s not so good, just human level.

Melissa: To know you can be really bad at something and like, have eyes on you watching you fail and flail and just do terribly. And you can buy into that. Or you can look elsewhere for your strengths, because it’s obviously not there, you can have someone who’s very, very talented, and I consider myself talented in a few different respects. Not all things still, but in a few different things. But if I had just bought into other people’s opinions of me or something like that, and instead of turning to a strength and leaving that weakness behind, that would have really crippled me for a while. That would have been hard to move past. And I probably easily could have accepted some other position, and just call myself a failure and just, be mediocre, you know, and that would have been such a shame.

Amy: So, yeah, I love that. So you decide you’re not a very good employee. And then what happens?

Melissa: After a while, so I started doing some things to get some streams of income. So I was working for myself, again, I was doing freelancing, I was doing some remote work stuff, even transcriptions, like all kinds of stuff I could do from my house. And I have that flexibility back.

Melissa: And then Steve contacted me about Empowery. So at this time, it was just an idea. There was no firm plan or even a specific date of release, or announcement or anything like that. It was an idea they had kicked around at Steve’s mastermind. And they said, this would be better if we could put this on a larger scale. And if we could have a world full of entrepreneurs that are connected instead of just one mastermind, so that all the masterminds come together, all of the entrepreneurs come together. And then we have one voice for all. And it was such a beautiful idea.

He contacted me to see if I was available, if I would be interested. And I loved it, I was down from the moment he talked to me about it. I was very excited, because it’s such a beautiful thing to add to the world. And it is also something I realized that I needed, through that job experience, I need to believe in what I’m doing. I need to be passionate about it because I can’t just do work and be fine. I need to live. Work is such a huge part of your life, especially as an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do. Or you’re just hating a huge chunk of your life. So that was a really big deal to me. And so now, being able to, consult my time, so it’s still my business. I’m still able to be flexible. But working for Empowery for the majority of it is I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Amy: Love that. The beautiful thing about Empowery for those of you who have never heard of Empowery you can go to their website and check it out. But it’s basically a meeting of many different entrepreneurs in the Ecommerce space, and they have vetted services and everything. And it’s a non-profit, right. So you can get involved for very little and no money in some cases, and they do lots of events. And you know, it’s a really great thing. So definitely check that out.

So, you know, obviously, there’s, it’s good in this space to know that there’s people that you can trust, because in all spaces, it’s good to know that there’s people you can trust. There’s always whenever there’s money to be made, there’s also people willing to take your money and set you up on a bad path. So it’s awesome to have trusted services like Empowery. very good.

So let’s talk about marketing. So tell us a little bit like you were talking about free marketing. So what do you see, as people trying to get started selling online, whether it’s Amazon, whether it’s eBay, whether it’s, what do you see as… I think marketing is one of the biggest struggles that people have, right? Because they’ll list their products.

And so what do you see as the core foundation for marketing, if people are wanting to get started selling online, they’re wanting to get get moving with a product based business, whether they’re selling their products or someone else’s products? What do you see as kind of the core struggle and thing that people should learn to kind of their foundation that they should have?

Melissa: I think, I think that this is one of the biggest areas where reading is like, your best friend, because there’s a ton of books out there on marketing. There’s some that are spectacular, and I feel like the ones that are the best that speak to me and that I think are on point, they have an element of psychology to them, you know, of human behavior. And that’s so key. Like, there’s one book, I don’t even know that it’s meant to be for marketing. It’s called The Power of Habit. I talked about this book all the time because I can’t get over how good it is.

Amy: I’m waiting to read it after you mentioned that. And I thought it was really great. Yeah.

Melissa: And then there’s another one, it’s called contagious. It’s about why things catch on, what makes something go viral. So I think, I think that the first thing that people need to examine, when they’re looking at how to market, whether it’s a product, whether it’s their service, whether they’re a life coach, it’s, you know, I need to think about this differently. And part of that is, and I’m going to forget the name of this, there’s a concept where you, whatever it is, whatever your limit is, you tend to spend that much of it. So you have this much time, you’ll tend to spend that much time doing something, if it’s, you have this much of a budget for money wise, you know, for your marketing or whatever, you’ll tend to spend that much money. It’s Parkinson’s theory or something like that, I can’t remember I’m sorry, I think about later, Parkinson’s Law or something like that.

But anyway, it essentially means you are going to take as much as you are allotting for yourself. So I usually just say zero, what can I do with zero? And I do all of those things. And that is it accomplishes quite a bit.

It helps also that Empowery is nonprofit. And so we don’t have a ton of overhead to work with anyway. And in the beginning, especially it was being funded solely by Steve and the co-founder, that’s how Empowery was surviving was just money was being fed in and this is why this has not happened yet. This is why a coop like this has not taken place yet. Because it’s very expensive for the founders, and it takes a while to get where it’s supporting itself.

So anyway, with this being a nonprofit, I just assumed I had little or no budget. And so I started to pay attention to the kinds of things that were working, when we were going to events. And we’re networking and we’re talking with people, all of a sudden now in power, it was becoming a little bit more known. And when one time I forgot to send like a notification or an email to members and so I did a quick Facebook Live. Hey, guys just wanted to let you know, this is on Monday. It’s now Friday. Sorry, I didn’t give you more notice blah, blah, blah. But what happened was this live did better than like 95% of all my other posts I’ve ever done. So I was like, Oh, geez. And I was very scared of like, speaking in public and recording videos and all that stuff. It was terrifying to me. And it took me a while to actually get to where I could do that. Well, my earlier videos are not great.

Amy: Yeah, Andy always talks about how when he was super uncomfortable with being live, he did a challenge where he forced himself to go live every day for 30 days. And even if you’re just going online for five minutes to talk about something, and I think that’s so key, especially our audience is mostly private label, some wholesale sellers. We do have some retail arbitragers as well. But I think that’s so key no matter what you’re selling, whether it’s a product or service.

Start with zero, like Melissa said, you don’t have to spend money on Facebook ads. You’re already on Facebook. Yeah, go find your people.

Melissa: I think the core foundation is you know, like, I love what Grant Cardone says, Fine. I’m gonna go find my buyer, where’s my buyer, right, who has my money? And it’s already groups and stuff like that on Facebook that have your target audience, get in those groups, talk about people, they want to talk to you, they want to know what you know.

I think the scary thing is that people, they don’t want to be salesy, right, we’ve all grown up to like kind of be afraid of, we don’t like the salesperson, we don’t want to deal with the salesperson, you know, our parents didn’t want to deal with the salesperson. So I think that’s the thing that scares people the most is that, you know, they don’t want to be that salesy person. But if you just go into it truly wanting to connect with an audience, and truly wanting someone’s feedback about your product or, or your service, I think that if you go into it with the attitude of value first, you’re always gonna get value in return, right from the customer.

So I think that I love what you said about just starting with zero, think about all the places that you could go online and do that top of funnel marketing or you can just tell people about it. Like when you said we had no budget for Empower eat, but we wanted to tell people about it without being salesy or whatever, right. Just kind of, Hey, get out there. And then you record this one video, and you get all these views and so much more traction, and you’re like, Okay, well, that’s working. Yeah, I think that’s like the formula do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, it couldn’t, it couldn’t be more simple, you know? Yep.

Amy: So you double down on what works? Yeah, it’s the same thing with Amazon PPC, right. If we don’t optimize it, if we just let that one keyword run away with all of our budget, well, then we’re gonna be disappointed, and we’re gonna go, that cost too much money, and it didn’t work. But if we discover those little keywords that are converting for us, and we put our money there, and we take the money away from this stuff that’s not working. Suddenly, we’ve optimized our ads, we’ve gotten in front of the right people, and we’re making more sales profitably. So I’d love that start with zero. Okay, got it.

And, and what about, and then double down on what’s working? What are some of your favorite free forms of marketing?

Melissa: I mean, right now, it’s got to be clubhouse. I mean, that’s one of my favorite things. It’s nice to connect with people. You know, it’s been such a desert of conversation this last year. And so to be able to just have a group of people that you have missed, for at least a year, that you could just jump into conversation with, and talk shop, like, that’s a beautiful gift alone, just by itself. But, you know, if you’re being intentional, like we talked about on the wizards of ECOM podcast together, if you’re being intentional, and you are actually coming in with a system to tracking leads. It makes it sound salesy and stuff, but really what I’m doing is I’m interacting with people while I’m on there, and I’m following up with them to see if they could use more help. If there’s anything else they need, if they got their question answered fully, that’s just being nice and kind, giving of my time and also trying to get something for the club in return as a new member, so we can continue to help entrepreneurs, and increase the network that we have created so that we can have a louder voice. More leverage.

And the key is really in the follow up, right? It really is in the follow up. It’s like having somebody who visits your website, and then you follow them with a Facebook ad after that, and they see you everywhere, because you’ve done that. Or you get an email from someone or somebody’s listening to you on clubhouse, and you follow up with them via Instagram message and say, Hey, so great having you in our room. It was awesome to meet you. Is there anything else I can help you with? You’re giving them value and they might have something that they need help with. And if they don’t well then that’s okay.

Amy: The art is in the follow up. And you did that. So I love that. So for those people who aren’t aware of what clubhouse is, this is something that’s kind of new. It’s like a new kind of social media platform where it’s only available on iPhone right now, which is kind of frustrating for our Android users. I’m an Android user, you guys, just so you know, here’s my Samsung Note 20 that I use. So I actually my little hack for clubhouses, I put it on my iPad. And that worked just fine. But what it is, is, it’s like you’re walking down a hallway in a college, all these interesting conversations are going on in these rooms. And you can go into any of those rooms and sit in the back of the room. And if you want to, you can see you don’t have to unmute your mic or anything like that. In fact, you won’t even get the opportunity to unmute your mic, unless you’re on stage as we call on stage in Clubhouse. So you would raise your hand, there’s a little raise your hand icon and you can raise your hand and you can talk. So for those of you who are shy and are wanting to get your product or service out there, and you’re wanting to get into Facebook Lives and stuff like that, Clubhouse is a great way to practice. Because you can get in some of these rooms. It can be super intimidating, but just raise your hand. Pop a little button, and you’re not on video. Yes, just voice so you don’t have to worry about looking weird or fumbling or stumbling or whatever, you can just talk. So Clubhouse is a really great way to build an audience.

Now, Melissa, if I had a product, let’s say that I’m selling cat toys. Or let’s let’s go with something in the kitchen, let’s say I’m selling a new French press coffee maker. Okay, what is a way that I could use clubhouse to sell it or make a name for my brand.

Melissa: So I mean, I think very similar to other platforms that people are used to, if you’re on Facebook, you go into Facebook groups, if you’re on clubhouse, go into the places where your target audiences. Also, by the way, just quickly, I’m sure that you are a huge fan of these guys to Amy, but PickFu is where you should start to know who your target customer is because even for Brees made the mistake of not targeting their correct customer and almost went out of business before they even took off. So make sure you know who your right customer is, and the kinds of language that they respond well to. And then you know, make sure that you’re doing that. So same thing, you can go into groups, you can create groups that you know that they would want to jump into.

Amy: And you can you know, for example, you could have a coffee lovers talk. And you could talk, you could start a coffee lovers chat, you could start a coffee lovers Facebook group, you could start any kind of you know where you’re talking with other coffee lovers. And you’re getting into all these different like, oh man French roast, what I love is the French press with French roast, because it just brings up the flavor. And this is this other thing that I do, right? And you’re talking with all these other people. And then you can say you know a little bit about me when you’re introducing yourself to the people who say, I actually have a brand of coffee products, and you can talk about it and say, you know, I’ve been a coffee lover for so long, which is another reason why it’s important to sell something that you believe in, like Melissa said earlier, right? It’s important to do something that you believe in, because if I’m selling dog toys, and I did never had a dog and I don’t care about dogs, it’s gonna be really hard for me to connect with an audience, right? You can always hire a sales team to do that. But nobody’s gonna sell your products better than you. Yeah, so you could start a room. Alright, I like that idea. What else were you?

Amy: Yeah, well, and even another way to think about this, too, is what if you had a room that was not focused on coffee. So let’s say you have like an email list and you tell your email list, hey, we’re going to be doing a regular clubhouse room, whatever. And an email list, by the way, is another really great tool for marketing. If people are not using that you should absolutely be building lists. But you could let them know that this is a place where we meet and we talk about X, Y, or Z and it could be any number of topics that you think would speak to your audience, but you could call the room like morning coffee with soy and soy. And you could have a range of topics and then say What are you drinking today? I’m drinking this I use my this product is actually my product. I use my French press, whatever. And it doesn’t have to be focused on your product for the people who are not a huge fan of being salesy. There’s so many ways of doing it that don’t feel pushy. It’s about giving people solutions they want so if you’re talking to the people who like that kind of thing, and you give them a solution that’s better than others. That’s something they thank you for not something they say oh it was just such a salesy room, you know, reminds me of how Gary Vee I just found out that Gary Vee sells mine, I had no idea. I’m following him for his personal brand for the other things that he talks about. So it’s really great that, you know, we can connect with other human beings. And it doesn’t always our brand could be something that we do. And it can be our personal brand. And we can grow that. And you know, it really helps. So you mentioned email lists. Yeah. Melissa, talk about the basics of an email list. Because I think, you know, email is still very, very good. But as far as it goes, like, email, to me is the best for your warm audience, right? Like, for that audience, it gets to know you. So how do we we get we’re a brand new brand, we are launching our first product, we have 00 emails on a list, how can we build an email list from scratch. So you need something like a lead magnet, you need something that speaks to your audience, something that they would want to receive something that you’re giving away for free. So a really good idea is if you create a room and you get your target audience in a room and clubhouse, have a landing page or something like that, where you can send them to, and they’ll jump on there, they’ll opt in for whatever it is that you’re giving away for free, you know, an ebook or something that’s tangibly awesome, that they actually want, you know.

And it might be like, I don’t even know, like, there’s some people who will sign up for, you know, the, the word of the day club or something like that. So they get like random words from the dictionary. And it’s, it’s silly, but it’s fun. And so there’s all kinds of stuff that you can do. You put a landing page in there, so that you can easily say, well, you’re on clubhouse, go to blah, blah, blah, slash this. And, and I’ll give you this for free. And then they go to this, they’ve opted in, you should be using Clickfunnels or Karcher or something like that, I prefer Karcher because the functionality is spectacular. That’s what we use for empowering. And then that captures your leads, and you have an entire list now and you can tag them. So that particular room or something like that, that you created, you might have a particular tag for that. So when you’re emailing them, you can make it personal and say you were in my room today, I’m so glad you joined us, you know, blah, blah, blah, and, and you know where they came from, you know why they were there, and you know what to target them for. And when you do a different opt in, or a different lead magnet, you can make it applicable to that, too. So you could do that.

Amy: I love that. And if you’re not on clubhouse, you could do that same thing with LinkedIn, you could go live on LinkedIn and say, Hey, you could start doing YouTube, you could do a Facebook Live, you could do any kind of and you don’t even need to do a live, although lives are really, really effective. As Melissa mentioned, like, sure one live, it’s so much better than anything else. And so you know, it’s people really, they like to see a face, they like to be able to connect with you. So anywhere you go, you can have a lead. And I think the hardest thing for people is coming up with lead magnet ideas. I know that that is, you know, I’ve had so many coaching calls about that, like, ah, what should I offer? Are people gonna like this ebook, you know, and a lot of times we get so many of these offers, you know, we get so many of these lead magnets, one that I liked the other day that I saw in Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs group that I signed up for, she got my email, she posted this said, Hey, I grew my business to, you know, six figures. And I use it by just posting in Facebook groups that allow me to post for free. And allow me to promote myself, would you like my list of leads? And yep, sure enough and tapping to be a Facebook group that you can post in but so she gave out a list of like, I think it was like 30 different Facebook groups that you can post in and she included the information for each one. And then also, she had an upsell there. So she was selling, how her Facebook posts that she used over the years that worked best for her. And so she had an upsell on there. And I’m sure she makes a lot of sales from that. So not only are you getting warmed up for her email list, because she gave you something so valuable for free, but also you’re also considering like, man, you look at that, that the list of Facebook groups that she gave you, and it’s pretty in depth and it’s pretty awesome. And you’re like, wow, okay, you know, so you can always put together something like that. But I think that’s something people struggle with. And do you have any advice for people in terms of coming up with a good lead magnet?

Melissa: Yeah, that’s tough. I mean, it’s tough. And the reason why it’s so tough for people is because there’s no one Listen, yeah, even on a podcast or something like this. We can’t say do this and it’ll work for you. It depends on your audience. It depends on the type of business depends on what you’re selling. So and it also depends on what you know.

Right, if you’re giving away something for free, and it better be valuable, what do you know that other people want to know? Because generally, it’s information that people will sign up for. It’s not usually.

I mean, I guess you could send them something for free. But that’s economical. What I love doing two is thinking of the equivalent of something that I have given up my email for. So we were just talking about this lead magnet that this girl did, where she gave a list of Facebook groups, you can promote it. And then I thought I was just thinking, while you were talking, I thought, how could I send that to my audience of cat lovers? What do I know? Okay, I make a list of that might be valuable to them. I know a bunch of Amazon sellers, and where they post their products for free.

I know where all the deals are, I can say, here’s a list of my top favorite deal sites where you can get pet products for next to nothing, I can give that list out and people would probably give up their email for it. So if you can think of something valuable that you’ve gotten, and you’ve been willing to give up your email for you, and then you just know what you know, because you have to mark it for your own business, you can kind of flip that around, and and come up with a really great lead magnet. Yeah, well, and the other thing is, what are things that you spend your time on?

That you need to know, like you spent the time researching, because that’s valuable to other people too. So just like you were saying, maybe one of the things is, let’s say, you know, people like to get coupons, and they like to, they’ll sign up for emails and stuff like that to get notifications about, you know, big, you know, sales and stuff like that. So, I know that there’s a lot of people who do this on TikTok, they have followings. Because, you know, they go and they research this stuff, because they want to know what is on sale, they want to know, you know what the coupons are. And so they already are doing this work, and then they’re getting an audience and a following, because then they’re recording that information. They’re sending it out to the world. And so then here’s another thing you could do. Let’s say you don’t do the research, you don’t do your own coupon things. You just you just go to these people tick tock, well, you have a list of the people you follow for this type of information, you could give that away, make sure you’re following this list of people because then you have the most accurate information. Very quick, very simple, something you’re already doing, but something other people would love to have access to. That’s a quick, easy way for an opt in. It doesn’t have to be so hard. You know, that’s very little work. Very, very little work. About one, but that’s something I would sign up for following all these people.

Amy: I love it. Yeah, I think it’s it’s, it sometimes can seem hard, because we don’t want to put ourselves out there, right? We don’t we get nervous, we don’t want to disappoint people. And when it comes to marketing, it’s you know, you can’t be afraid of the nose, right? You have to be able to take a couple of noes. But you also also have to believe in yourself and believe in your products. Because if you have if you believe in the products that you’re selling, and you know that they’re great products, there’s nothing wrong with telling people about them. Right, they’re going to make their life better. So you know, get behind it and just start getting out there. Start with zero like Melissa brought up today. Start with just those free platforms just start getting the word out. That’s so awesome. So what would you say Melissa is one of the biggest barriers to people doing just that to just starting or just getting out there. Putting this out?

Melissa: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s fair, I think people get into, you know, everyone says, analysis paralysis. But I think when you break that down, what it really means is, you believe that if you refer to now, if you read enough books, if you do enough studying, then it won’t seem as scary. It won’t be as hard. But that will not change that portion of it will not change until you’ve actually done it. Just like Andy did, you know, every single day going live for 30 days, until it wasn’t scary anymore. And he didn’t have to hype himself up. I will tell you when I was first speaking in public and stuff like this, I had to get a prescription for like, blood pressure medication, they give it into like tiny, tiny doses for public speaking to like, get your heart rate down.

Like my heartbeat on my chest. I can’t remember words right now. I gotta get on this stage. So I had to actually like, do that. So I don’t need that anymore. And it’s because I’ve done it enough. I’ve done it enough, but it’s not scary. I know that I don’t have to know everything. If I go on a stage and somebody asks me something and I don’t know. That’s not terrifying anymore. It’s something I’m excited to learn and then to share with them and follow up later.

Amy: Yeah, that’s so good. That’s such great advice. So we have reached the part on our show where we like to ask, and you’ve already given it a good book. But we’d love to ask, what are your favorite books and podcasts? What are you reading? What are you listening to that motivates you and helps you in your business and your life?

Melissa: Um, oh, jeez, I mean, there’s a ton of books I could recommend. I have, I think 190 business books in my Audible account, right. Like, and then, when I really love a book, I get the hard copy as well as the audio. So for like, negotiation, I like getting to yes, and I also like, never split the difference. Those are very, very, very good books. Yeah. For marketing, I like contagious by Jonah Berger, why things catch on, like our habit? By Jonah Duhigg or something? Do you hate Charles Duhig I could go on and on I, I have also, Simon Sinek book leaders eat last. And start with why start with Y is probably one of my favorite. It’s business related. It talks about, you know, big businesses that started you know, with a mission with a purpose that was beyond like, I want to do this thing, or I have this concept or idea it, it’s more than that. It has to be more than that to you. So if you haven’t sat down and figured out your why that is key, because there’s something visceral, elemental, I think in the way that you function when you know your why it changes everything. And it makes it so that it’s okay, like if work spills over. It’s okay, like all of a sudden you’ve got the answer. That’s what it feels like when you know your wife. Yeah, I completely agree, you know, because if your y isn’t strong enough, you’re just going to procrastinate, or you’re going to quit quitting will be easy if you don’t have a strong why. And so that’s like, fundamental to getting started and you know, really reaching your deep why it’s so important. It has to be more than just I want to make money. Because it’s you know, you can then you’re gonna make money and you’re gonna buy a car or something fancy and you’re gonna be like, Okay, well, what next, you know. So you really want to reach that deep. Why?

Amy: So start with why that sounds like a good book. I haven’t read that yet. But love it. Okay, well, very good. Well, finally, tell everyone how they can get in contact with you. How can they connect? How can they get on board with empowering.

Melissa: So I’m easy enough, you can go to and click the Join button that has information about what we do, why we do it, how it benefits you and you know has a button there so you can get started. If you go to empower You can get in touch with me or the entire Empowery team, whoever gets that first will respond. And if it’s me, you’re looking for it then I would be happy to meet with you and set something up.

Amy: Yes. Well, I thank you. I always have fun talking to you. I think that it’s awesome. And and you know, Melissa also I can’t talk today apparently. I think we’re both struggling with that today. Melissa also runs she has an empowering club on clubhouse so you guys can join each week. I know tonight at 6pm Central, there’ll be on there and then Melissa and I also have a clubhouse collaboration Facebook group. So if you guys in the E commerce community are wanting to get involved on clubhouse wanting to know what events were running when and or your hosting events or your participating events, you can always look for that you can look for the clubhouse collaboration Facebook group and and join us in there and we’d be happy to have you at any of the events so much fun. And thank you Melissa for being here and thanks everyone for listening and we will see you next time on the seller roundtable.

Melissa: Awesome. Thank you so much, Amy. It was such a pleasure.

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