Want to Learn How I Do Digital Marketing?

I love marketing, particularly digital marketing.

We built a great business on organic digital marketing using two essential tools: SEO content and email marketing.

In 2008, I launched iThemes and spent the next 11 years focused on publishing great content and pushing that out to our prospects and customers for our key marketing activities, which, frankly, many in our industry ignored.

The formula was so simple I think I need to make it into rocket science …

  • Focus on email marketing as the core marketing engine, specifically growing your email lists every day.
  • Put epic content behind your email subscription, things like ebooks, videos, or a free course, to grow those.
  • Create regular “free” content your prospects want, optimizing it to be found by the search engines.
  • Then send emails with that great to your existing customers and prospects.
  • Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse and repeat.

I know this works because I could have point you to a graph of our sales days over a decade and say …  see those peaks …. that’s when we sent an email to our prospects and customers.

But about five years ago, we started falling behind with SEO content. So I pinged my good friend and SEO expert, Rebecca Gill, to help us keep up and grow. She taught us her rock-solid, white hat process to do so and we started seeing the graph tick back up again.

As I exited my company last year, and Rebecca became a free agent again last summer, we started talking about how to help others in this system … particularly getting help and support to keep up and stay ahead … and most importantly offering a path to follow for their digital marketing.

That became a great partnership called Digital Marketing Kitchen.

Today I’m pumped to announce we’ve launched our inaugural premiere course aka the 8-Course Meal on SEO, content and email marketing sharing all of our processes and approaches. It’s the foundation and the essentials for how we do digital marketing, including Rebecca’s process.

Here are the main components of that course, which includes 43 lessons in total:

  1. Clarify You and Your Audience
  2. Define Your Digital Marketing Strategy
  3. Set Your SEO Strategy
  4. Create Killer Content
  5. Optimize Your Content for SEO
  6. Build Your Email List
  7. Create Emails That Convert
  8. Reporting and Monitoring

To add even more value … you also get my recipe for using content and emphasizing community in a course called Transform Lives with Content and Community. It’s about building not just a brand, but a community. And it’s a deep dive on my philosophy, a way of life, a mindset, an approach of doing business that breaks the traditional mold of business as usual.

We’ve also got Rebecca’s Quick Bite mini courses which are 12 additional trainings on everything from using Google Search Console to Mailchimp and more.

Then each month we’re doing live virtual events to help you get out of quick sand through our Office Hours, where you can ask questions live with us (the first one is this Wednesday!) … and live virtual Training … the first one on March 11 is titled 15 Steps to Launch and Rank Your Website in Six Months where Rebecca will walk us an actual case study showing you what she did, why she did, and provide actual traffic results.

We’re offering a special launch discount through March 20, 2020 of $50 off.

Click here to join the Digital Marketing Kitchen and use KITCHENOPEN by March 20 to redeem your discount.

I hope you’ll join us in the Kitchen to take the next steps in your digital marketing journey!

Business Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs, Do You Have an Exit Plan? Get One Here

Early in my business someone asked me at a conference, “Do you have an exit plan?”

In my incredulousness, I answered quickly:

“No. I spent my whole career trying to find the perfect gig and I have it now. Why would I want that to ever end?!”

But fast forward to January 2018, and it did end.

For numerous reasons, I exited that decades-old business.

And today about two years after the acquisition of our company, and one year after I left, I’ve have an amended approach to business and starting again. 

I believe you should build a business for purpose AND profit. But I’ve added another: for the inevitable exit.

My partner and long-time friend Jeff Meziere (who had his own exit a couple years before me) have put together a one-day intensive to help prepare entrepreneur for their own inevitable exits.

It’s called Exit Exercise Bootcamp and it’ll be Feb. 27, 2020 in Oklahoma City.

Even if you’re not close to an exit event … this bootcamp is for you.

We believe the simple exercise of preparing for the inevitable exit is an investment in building a healthy, profitable company for the entrepreneur.

It’s an exercise of investing in your future that pays off today in a better company for you, your team and your customers.

I’d love for you to join us for an intimate small group of entrepreneurs as Jeff and I lead a discussion filled with lessons learned and takeaways.

When you leave, you’ll have a prioritized list of action items to increase the value of your company AND the health of it no matter when you plan to exit it.

As always if you have any questions, please let me know! And go check out the details of the Exit Exercise Bootcamp here.



My New Adventure Helping Web Entrepreneurs and Pros at Post Status

A couple months ago, my friend Brian Krogsgard approach me about partnering with him at Post Status, the community of WordPress professionals he’s built and fostered for 5 years now (next week the Post Status Club anniversary).

We just announced publicly that I’m joining the Post Status team. You can read Brian’s thoughts too, but wanted to share more of mine here as well.

I’ve long admired what Brian has built and supported it throughout the years. Investing my time and energy into this project (one of five I have going currently) resonates and aligns with me in several important ways, making it what many have so far said “a natural fit” for me and PS:

  • I love community and have missed being a part of building, leading and supporting one like PS.
  • I’m a former newspaper journalist and Brian’s insight, analysis and perspective has always been something I look forward to, and now will have the opportunity to add my own contributions.
  • I love entrepreneurs (they are my people) and many in the community are entrepreneurs.
  • I love technology and being around smart people that think and act with purpose, passion and vision … that’s exactly the PS community.
  • The Hired Project that Brian shared a couple months ago. I love helping people thinking about and building their careers and this project is TOP of my list for things to help at PS.

As I type this, Brian is on a flight to Oklahoma City (my home base) for a couple days of dreaming and planning on what comes next for our community. I can’t wait and will have more to share very soon.

In the meantime, if you do WordPress for a living, go check out the Post Status Club and join me in this new adventure.


Work Transitions and Emerging From the Fog

I really really love work.

I find immense purpose and focus in my work.

I told Lindsey a couple of years ago not to expect me to ever retire in the traditional sense of the word.

I’m not advocating or saying I’m a workaholic, but that I just love working and having projects that give me a sense of purpose and moving forward and impacting people’s lives.

I love employing my strengths and experiences into the world and seeing my work make a difference.

Over the past year, it’s been a struggle through the dense fog for the most extended period of my life related to work.

Having gone through an extended period of being lost, it’s given me a pause to evaluate and update the notion that My Work is My Hobby. I’m not sure that it’s the healthiest way forward for me. For now, I’m seeking a hobby outside of work and first place is Exercise, which I’ll likely write about later.

But as I embark in the new year and a new decade ahead with great clarity and energy because of the projects I’m involved in that really gelled and came to fruition late in 2019 (some I can’t talk about publicly yet).

I love being involved in multiple projects as I’ve always been a plate spinner, even at iThemes. But I know not all will work out in the long term and I like to diversify my entrepreneurial projects and think of them as experiments in my lab.

Additionally, in all of these projects I have partners, something I set out intentionally to do. Most entrepreneurs I know wouldn’t even consider partners. But I know I am so much better with collaborators. And all of the projects I’m involved in will be better for the diverse creative perspectives and experiences, along with the conflict and tension that comes with it.

Here are the three projects I can talk about (and I’ll be sharing the others very soon) …

  • Digital Marketing Kitchen my friend and partner Rebecca Gill and I are putting the finishing touches on a course that preaches our system of digital marketing for launch in February. The goal is to help you make progress in your digital marketing. In the meantime you should signup for her free SEO Bootcamp coming in a couple of weeks.
  • Exit Exercise my friend and partner Jeff Meziere and I have both been through business exits in vastly different types of businesses. We’ve been working the last couple of weeks in deep work getting a checklist to see if your business is ready for an exit. We think it’s an ideal exercise to improve your business for you, the entrepreneur, but get a plan and actions in place for the future.
  • Leader.Team Huddles helping leaders learn and grow, together. I facilitate 7-person small groups of peer leaders. We talk about successes in the last 30 days and challenges in the next 30 days. We meet once a month for 90 minutes. It’s some of the most fulfilling work I do each month and excited for my five groups all meeting next week.
  • UPDATE: Post Status Partner I’m stoked to be able to announce I’m joining my friend Brian Krogsgard as a partner at Post Status, a great community that supports web entrepreneurs and professionals.

I’ll be sharing the other two in the coming weeks and super excited to share that news.

But in the meantime, I’m just so thankful for the clarity, energy and focus that these projects have given me. To feel engaged and energized. To see more clearly how I connect in the world.

And more importantly … I’m thankful to my partners for these projects … and my most important partner, Lindsey, for loving, supporting and walking with me through the fog.


Book Reviews Business Books

My Favorite Book Reads of 2019

Learn how to read strategically and get my top 100 business books list here

I went through my Amazon book purchases and here are the books that made the most impact on my life and business. By the way, these are great gift ideas too!

Become a Better Leader 3-Pack

I put these together because I kept writing “must read for any leader” on all three.

OK, that rounds out the best of the best books I read in 2019. Most of these I go back to frequently.

The Book I Would Buy ANY Young Person for Christmas

I was talking to my second cousin over the Thanksgiving break. He’s 18 and going into college next year. He’s got big dreams, big thoughts. And I love it. We need that from the next generation!

The book I told him to read is: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis.

I joke that it ruined my summer a couple of years ago but in such a good way.

And I believe in it so much that I bought it for my cousin.

So if you have a young big thinker …. rock their world with a great book like this.

By the way …. if you want ideas for another book, make a comment below and tell me some details about who you’re trying to buy for and I’ll try to help out!