Whether you’re starting a new business or trying to understand the Facebook Subscription Messenger updates, we bring you Messenger experts to share tips and insights to help you grow and navigate through the tools.
Conversations 2019 is where top Messenger Marketing experts come together to discuss how they work through Facebook changes and how they took their business from zero to millions. Their ideas and stories are inspiring and can help all strategically think outside the box.
With that, this week on Meet the Speakers, Christina Rowe, Founder of Stand Out Media and the brains behind the Facebook group Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs, shares her lessons learned from starting her business and how she’s helped many female entrepreneurs launch theirs. During her interview, she provides tips you can apply to your business strategy as well as how you can use your Messenger bot to take your business to the next level.
How and why did you start Stand Out Media?
Christina Rowe: I fell into this whole online marketing space by accident. I used to own a hair and nail salon, believe it or not, in New Jersey. And then I went through a very nasty divorce, which inspired me to write a book called Seven Secrets to Successful Divorce.
I decided to self-publish it, and that’s when I decided, it was 2006, to go into online marketing to publish this book. And what winded up happening was other authors and speakers started asking me to help them with their books and with their online marketing.
So, I’ve been doing this since 2006, back in the day when we used to create the squeeze page with FrontPage if anybody knows what that was. It doesn’t exist anymore, there wasn’t Click Funnels. There weren’t all these fancy web designer things back then. So, I’ve been around a long time and seen a lot of things change through the years. And that’s how I actually started Stand Out Media Group. And I started getting involved with helping other women, which lead to doing events for women with Women Helping Women. And this started about 2009 in South Florida. We used to bring a lot of well-known speakers, like Les Brown and a lot of different big names to the stage, and we would have big conferences with 400 women. And I did that for numerous years. I did luncheons and networking events. And then we started moving more toward the virtual space and doing virtual events.
And then the group Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs started in 2016 with under 1,000 members, and we’re currently just about 223,000. At 223,000 female entrepreneurs from around the globe. So, it’s just so exciting to be able to be in front of all these women and get to know them and us all just in our own little world. You know, you can be anywhere in the world and be able to get support. So, it’s been wonderful.
How were you able to go from 1,000 to over 200,000 Facebook group members?
CR: So we did start back in about 2008-2009 with Women Helping Women Mastermind at the time. And that was mostly in person in South Florida, so we had several thousand women in South Florida. But as things evolved we wanted to, I wanted to reach out to more women that were not local to Florida. That’s where the need came in to have a community, Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs that we could go global and be able to have women from everywhere. We have a lot… not only do we have the main group, we have, oh gosh, I’ve lost count of how many local groups we have in different countries. We have the UK, we’re everywhere, every state, across, not every single state, but a lot of states. And we’re in different countries across the world, Europe. So, it just expanded so much because there is such a need for that, for women to be able to support each other in business and share their tools and resources, and questions that they have in a safe space where they can connect with like-minded female entrepreneurs.
Can you give us one trick that you learned through the process of growing the group, especially with Messenger Marketing?
CR: I think the one thing I would say is to moderate your group and make sure that even though it is more work you need to put your posts in the queue to be approved. If you just let everybody post, you’re going to get a lot of spam and then nobody is going to want to be in your group. But also, having set days of the week, like Mondays we have shared your business tips. Tuesdays we have to share your free gift offers. Wednesdays, share your business page. Today’s Thursday, we share our businesses. Fridays, Instagram, and Pinterest. Everybody’s allowed to comment under a designated post.
So, how I’ll use ManyChat with this often is, I will send out a message to remind them. So I’m going to do that actually today. Today’s Thursday so if you forget to share your business this is your opportunity to post your business. And we can get such great open rates as opposed to email marketing. You know 70% or more people are opening it, then they’ll direct back to the group, share their business and we’ll get tons of interaction. So, it really helps to get a lot of engagement on your post by using chatbots and using ManyChat in conjunction with your posts.
What’s one of the most helpful business tips that you’ve seen from that group?
CR: I think the best tip is to build relationships on social media. And instead of, and too many people are still doing this, they’re still trying to write about their business and trying to sell in a post and it doesn’t work. They have to build relationships with other members and get to know them and business will flow naturally to you. You know, just that hit-and-run advertisement on social media doesn’t work anymore. So, I think that would be the best tip would be to stop doing that. Don’t spam.
Build relationships first and then you’ll get the business and not that hit-and-run, here’s you know, buy this 9.99 special. We don’t approve those anyway. That’s a big problem I still see, you know old school type of people not understanding that that doesn’t work today in this day and age of social media, whether on Facebook or any social platform. People don’t like it. And they don’t like, speaking of Messenger, people do not like to be cold messaged, like from your personal messenger. This is a huge problem we have in our group, and I’m sure many groups, is that people think, «Oh wow, somebody’s liked my post out of a comment, and now I’m going to go message them with a pitch to join my company or my team or sell my product.» That’s a big no-no. That’s against our rules, and it is a personal Messenger, you’re not using your business page. You’re personally messaging somebody you don’t know and you’re trying to cold sell them. So, I do not agree with that at all for messaging. That’s another major tip. Do not do that.
How do you tell your women in the group how to start a conversation through Messenger?
CR: Well, I think it could be a great effective tool, through Messenger to, again, build a relationship. So, if you’re genuine and you say you have a conversation on a post, in a group and then you continue it off on Messenger and you’re interested in the other person. Let them tell you about them instead of you trying to have the agenda to sell to them. See how you could serve them. You know, maybe what you do is you go through Messenger, then you become friends on Facebook and then look to see what they’re doing on Facebook. Go to their business page. Give it a like. Go over to there, you know when you see them post something, like it and leave a comment. Maybe share their business page or write a review. All those things go a long way. For you giving first and then they’re going to say, «Wow, that’s really, you know, a genuine person, let me see what she’s doing.» Instead of feeling threatened that you’re coming at them with cold calling and cold marketing.
What prompted you to have that group and why do you think it grew to such a huge proportion?
CR: I think what drove me to serve women entrepreneurs has to go back to going through a horrendous divorce. And I have four kids and at the time they were young, and my ex-husband, he decided he didn’t want to pay me child support, which he winded up eventually having to because he went for a month in jail, but that’s a whole other story. And realizing how vulnerable women are in this situation, especially once you have children. There are daycare costs involved.
If you’re on your own and you’re trying to support, even if you’re trying to work and you’re an entrepreneur, you need support from other women. You need to know that you can do it. It’s very difficult whether you’re married or not to get the support. You know, I think that’s what motivated me. I wanted to help other women be successful in business so that they could support their kids, so that they can learn the tips and tools they needed to, because, you know, nowadays most families need two incomes anyway to start a business.
You know, so many women in our group are saying, «I want to start aside, I’m not happy with the side hustle, I’m not happy with my job. I’m working all these hours, I’m not making any money. I want to be an entrepreneur.» So, having the group, and that’s what I think makes this so successful, is that the women are there to support each other. So, we get people who write, «Today I’m feeling really defeated and I want to quit, and I don’t know, I can’t take it anymore,» and then everybody comes and supports that person. Or they’ll be like, «What is the best… They’ll say what is the best chatbot to use?» We just had a question about ManyChat. Is ManyChat something I should use? Or funnels. What is a funnel or how do I use it or what’s the best calendar app to use? So, we get a lot of technical questions as well as a lot of emotional support questions. People who are feeling, just struggling because it’s really hard, whether you’re married, whether you’re not. Whether you have children, whether you don’t. Entrepreneurship is not easy so you need a place to go to vent and to get support and to get the help you need. And that’s what I think the success of the group is. That the members are there for each other to give them that type of support.
What would you tell someone who’s just starting out?
CR: When I first started out, as I said, I wrote the book and then I took an online marketing course. And for some reason I was convinced that in three months I was going to be a millionaire, you know and I could sit in my pajamas on the computer. I still fall into this. Now, this is what, 2006, we’re in 2019, people are still believing, new entrepreneurs are believing the hype that… the laptop lifestyle, you heard it right. You’re going to sit on the beach, the four hour work week. You’re going to drink your cocktails by the pool and you’re going to make millions of dollars.
I’m going to tell you right now, this is not going to happen. It is hard work. I’m going to be completely honest with you, it takes hours and hours. I mean, when I first started out my kids, they were going to soccer and dance and this and that. It’s like I had to work around their schedules. So, when they came home from school, from 4 O’Clock on, I couldn’t do anything. So, then I would start work a lot of times at 11 O’Clock at night when they were asleep until six in the morning, I would be on the computer. And so I had to put in the hours, the sweat, the time. Educating myself and taking courses and learning from other people who’d already been there. The skills I needed and following through on those, not just doing two videos and saying, «Oh that didn’t work for me,» which so many people do.
New entrepreneurs have that shiny object syndrome. They’ll buy this course, that course. «Oh, that didn’t work,» because they want instant results and there are no instant results. It takes hard work. That’s really the secret. For anybody starting out, if you want to have your own business you’re going to be working weekends. You’re going to be working nights. Eventually, when you get your systems in place you could have the four-hour workweek, but that’s not going to happen when you just start. So, I think that’s something that people really need to understand. And I fell into that when I first started. I was like, «Oh yeah, this is going to be easy,» but it isn’t.
What are the common pitfalls and what helped set you on this more concrete path towards entrepreneurial independence?
CR: I think for me it was putting systems in place and actually educating myself through investing in myself and actually studying and taking courses from very well known marketers who’ve already had that success, back in the day. I mean Frank Kern comes to mind when I did his mass control. I don’t know if you know who he is, but I learned the skill of copywriting which is probably the most valuable skill for my business to this day was that course. Because that course was several thousand dollars but it taught me how to write great copy.
So, really one of the most crucial skills. And then all the different courses for online marketing that I took to learn actually how to build funnels and how to build myself if I had the knowledge of it where I could then outsource it because I knew what a sales page was and what a funnel system was and an auto-responder and email marketing. And then moving on, now that we have chats, chatbots. But knowing this stuff and then being able to outsource after, but I see… The biggest mistake I see people making is they’re all over the place and overwhelmed and they don’t have a system in place. So, they can have a great product but as soon as you hit their website they’ve got that old fashioned brochure website. Which we say now websites are really dead, the old fashioned websites, because you know confused mind never buys, and that was probably one of the greatest things I’ve always remembered all these years. You know, one link, one action.
So, people who are nowadays who don’t have a sales page, you don’t have a lead magnet, you don’t have the traditional way to take a customer through from beginning to end. Even you guys set that up in ManyChat, you can actually set that whole thing up in ManyChat now, which is amazing. You can have the gross tools, you can have your landing page. You can do this all through chat as well and it is an amazing tool to have to grow your business. And I think that, don’t worry about spending thousands of dollars on that big brochure website that’s not going to make you money. Invest in funnel systems. Whether it’s through chatbots, and your website, probably both. I would say do both.
Want to hear more from Christina Rowe? See her at Conversations 2019!
Can you please share how Stand Out Media started and evolved?
CR: Stand Out Media Group started because I wanted to, actually at the time I was helping not only doing events, but I was also working with clients one on one to help them with their social media presence, online marketing, PR, all the things that I’ve learned that I wanted to help them as well to grow their businesses.
I’ve now since the kind of stepped away from personal coaching because with the group now, I have memberships, different membership programs and I do a lot of training, so I don’t do really personal coaching anymore. But I created that to give that opportunity to be able to work with people, other entrepreneurs, to help them so that they can avoid the pitfalls and have a system in place and be able to implement what I’ve learned through many years of trial and error and get on track without being overwhelmed and confused and get that system in place.
But it’s a big pitfall because of so many people again, they will… They’ll create something then they see that shiny object of like, «Oh, well boy, this guy is saying this, let me jump over to that court,» and then they don’t stay on track. So, I would say my biggest piece of advice would be, just make sure you have great copy, great graphics, because you know if you ever go to a site and it looks like it’s from 1995 people aren’t going to buy. And whether you put this on, you know it’s not that difficult. As I said, you can create this whole sequence outright in ManyChat, which is amazing. You know you have the tools right there, you know. You can do that and use those, and actually, have it through that system as well as do it through a website, using click funnels or even MailChimp, which is free. So there’s a lot of resources available.
Now, the copy is probably the most. I mean it’s been proven actually. People have put out a website, that was like an ugly website just with copy. You know the white background, black letters that sold millions of dollars because the copy was so good. So that just proves to you it’s the copy. You know, the copy is what is going to make it, and your branding, I mean with the graphics. Don’t go cheap on your branding too, because your branding across social media, the background images you’re using and you’re headers and everything. Make sure that’s professional because you can tell when somebody is doing it yourself, and they don’t have the skill. So, that’s going to hurt your brand as well. So I would say the copy and having the funnel systems in place and the branding would be the three most important things.
Can you please elaborate on your funnel? What tactics do you have in place?
CR: I have several business pages, so I’ve set up the bots on all the pages. So, I have different lists from my pages. Like, I have one that’s Christina Row for me. I have Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs, and I have a couple of other pages. So I’m able to build those up. But I think a good trick that I use is for onboarding new members. I think when you have a group and you use… When you welcome them in the welcome, you know welcome new members, putting a link to your gross tool, to your landing page with your group rules and what you expect from the group is a great way to be able to onboard them. I also so that with email. So, I give a welcome email, because out of the three questions on Facebook groups, one of them I ask them, would you like to have free training? Would you like to be notified when we’re doing classes for free and local groups, so when they give that email the first email welcoming them they get also leads them back to the mini chat chatbot, saying read the rules here and there’s a video with the rules. And this way they get into the system for the bots and they’re able to get notified like I said, when we’re doing specials. We can actually engage them.
There are so many things that you can do engaging, even with putting on a post, saying «Say yes» and then sending them information through the bot. You know there are all different interesting things that you can do within ManyChat that we’ll talk about more at the conference, get into more detail about because there’s some really high level, really, stuff that the engagement, people love to do that. They love to comment, «Yes, give me that, give me something for free» and then you can put them through the sequence where you’re actually, the bot is talking to them and they can answer questions. Yes, no or I don’t want that, yes I do. So it’s extremely effective at that and also too for people managing customer service. Because one of the things I set up is do you agree to the group rules and they have to say yes, and then if you have any questions and I divert them to email me. So it helps cut down a lot of that customer service questions as well.
I think using both email and Messenger is so important and it’s interesting because some people will say when you ask the three question, «No, I’m fine. I don’t want to give my email, just notify me here on Facebook.» So, that’s where the opportunity is if there is a growing number of people who don’t want email. And this is where ManyChat is so crucial to have both. That’s why you have higher open rates with chatbots, but you need to implement chatbots in addition. You can’t just have one over the other, you need both is what I think.
Is it easy to add potential clients to ManyChat?
Well, you know they have to, like anything, like an opt-in. They have to opt-in and click on the link. And how I do that is, and it will be easy if you have certain ways to do it.
Like say you’re giving a free training out or you’re doing a series of training, like for example, we had done, we brought in another person who was teaching Instagram so we’re able to use the chatbot to say, would you like.. so and so’s going live on Thursday at 8 O’clock to teach about how to grow your Instagram, do you want to be notified? And we use a chatbot for that. Yes, yes, and we put that into a post and then they had to go to the landing page. So, they had to sign up in essence. Sign up to be notified. So now we can send you, when the time comes, in half an hour beforehand, go over to the chatbot.
So you want people… obviously you can’t just add them, like adding somebody to a group, but you can entice them to sign up and get notified and give them a lot of freebies is a great way to get them to opt-in to your chatbot by using the growth tools and creating those landing pages through ManyChat, just like you would do with a lead magnet or landing page with a website. So you know you have those little mini pages that you can utilize to get people to opt in to add them.
I get excited about so many tools. I love, I’m like a real geek and one of the things I share is daily get it done in 5 minutes videos in my two private memberships. So, I’m always looking at new tools and besides the chatbots, which I think is huge, and I’m very excited is to start putting more of these to use. I’m using that tool within the chatbot that they automatically will get the bot when they say yes on the page, that’s really cool.
What’s your favorite tool or integration?
But there’s, gosh, I’m trying to think of one tool that is standing out. Well, we were talking about it earlier and I’ll just kind of mention it. We were talking about re-broadcasting live video because live video is huge. So one of the things we were talking about, and this a tool that I’m really excited about would be using, rebroadcasting pre-recorded video. And I do this all the time. So you can use livereacting.com or restream.io and you can actually record your video whenever you want and then run it as a Facebook Live, or on YouTube and even the restream does LinkedIn too. So you can blast out your videos and they’ll run as live, and you’re not really live.
So, a couple of benefits to this would be you could be in the chat, you know people are asking questions when you’re Live and you can’t pay attention because you’re speaking, well now you can be there while you’re video is running and be interacting, so that helps. And also too, a lot of people are nervous to go live, so you can practice and make it perfect and then send it out. There’s a lot of uses for it. So I think that technology is really exciting as well, to be able to re-broadcast video as Live.
I could go on for hours but we’re limited on time. However, I’ll be discussing more at Conversations 2019!
It’s going to be amazing because you’re going to be on the cutting edge of technology by learning about chatbots and ManyChat. This is where it’s at. This is the future so if you’re interested in getting a leg up, ahead of the competition, grab your tickets!
About Our Facebook Live Meet the Speakers Series
Each week Molly Mahoney hosts a LIVE interview with one of our Conversations 2019 speakers to give you the opportunity to meet them and learn their secrets to successful messenger marketing. It’s a way to ask questions that you might not be able to ask at the conference and discover more about what will be discussed at Conversations 2019.
Here are the details.
When: Thursday, 9 am PDT.
- Go to our Facebook page: ManyChat
- Click on the Live announcement
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We’ll see you LIVE! #Conversations2019
Learn more about our other Conversations 2019 Speakers:
- Randi Zuckerberg
- Neil Patel
- Manuel Suarez
- Mackensie Liberman
- Jason Swenk
- Philippe LeCoutre & David Sambor