Wondering how live video can help?
To explore how to sell and generate leads with live video, I interview Nicole Walters.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.
Nicole and I will explore how you can use live video to build a following and generate leads. Nicole has figured it out, and we’re going to talk a little bit about her story, how she’s doing it, and bring you lots of tips today.
Nicole shares her formula for hosting a live video that provides valuable content.
You’ll also learn how a live product launch can boost sales.
Share your feedback, read the show notes, and get the links mentioned in this episode below.
Scroll to the end of the article for links to important resources mentioned in this episode.
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Leads and Sales With Live Video
Nicole’s journey toward entrepreneurship started with a blog she created in 2011. At first, her blog documented her process of cutting off all her hair and growing it back without chemicals. From there, she continued blogging every day about hair and beauty.
When Nicole started her blog, it was a side project. She was an executive working a 9-to-5 corporate job. She loved showing up in the office every day, working with people, and doing work that she loved.
As Nicole applied what she’d learned in corporate America to her blog, her blog business began to thrive, and she built a decent following. However, Nicole began to realize that although blogs were popular, she did really well on video. The problem was that she lacked the video editing skills to compete on YouTube.
Nicole says her YouTube videos were disasters because they went nonstop for 15 minutes without any editing. However, her competitors, who were also in the blogging space, had the editing expertise to produce Steven Spielberg–like flicks. Their videos were so good, she wouldn’t have been surprised to see pyrotechnics.
When Nicole decided to leave her corporate job and pursue blogging full-time, live video was really starting to pick up. Her first platform was Periscope, and during her live videos, she documented her preparations to quit her job and transition to full-time blogging, and her plan to consult with businesses on the side.
When the day finally came for Nicole to quit, she went live to say, “Guys, today is the day. I’m going to quit. I’ll be back.” But when people asked her to keep them on the line, she did. She quit her job live, online, in front of 10,000 people.
That choice was scary because she didn’t know what her boss would say or how the process would go. Because she had such a large live audience, she was receiving messages like rapid fire. Over the course of that entire day, more than 150,000 people watched the video. But in the moment, Nicole forgot all about her phone. Her mind was racing from the knowledge she was quitting her job.
Fortunately, the whole thing went well. Later, people told Nicole the video was inspiring or they were scared for her. People also told her she was making a bad decision and burning a bridge. But Nicole had no plans to return to her full-time job. She was going headfirst into entrepreneurship.
As she shared how scary her transition to full-time blogging was, live streaming became her thing. On Periscope, people call her ScOprah because she spends all her time there.
Today, Nicole still loves live video, but now she uses it more intentionally. She has a signature format. Also, she doesn’t follow a multi-step model for moving people into her funnel. Instead, she builds a relationship with her audience by sharing videos about both business and her family. These live-streamed videos are her primary method of lead generation.
Listen to the show to hear Nicole share more about the day she quit her job.
Why Nicole Chose Live Video
Today, Nicole uses different live video platforms depending on the type of content she’s sharing. On Instagram, she uses live video and stories to share family and down-to-earth personal content. Her Facebook live videos cover strategic business topics.
Nicole doesn’t believe one platform or method is better than another. More important than the platform you choose is consistency and letting your personality come through.
For example, Nicole thinks her personality as a “functional hot mess” is entertaining. People find her personality relatable and authentic, so sharing her entrepreneurial journey and her content via live streaming makes sense for her. Nothing is more real than a mom sharing how she scaled her business to seven figures while her six-year-old streaks behind her screaming, “Naked baby!”
Because Nicole shares her life and work in this way, people feel like she’s not only smart, but she also understands them so they’re willing to work with her. She doesn’t think there’s another way to convey these qualities better than live streaming.
When these real-life moments or mistakes happen, live streaming is forgiving. People expect you to make mistakes. You don’t have the same pressure to appear polished and produce carefully edited content. When you spill an entire jar of sauce on your dress, that’s just a funny and relatable real-life moment. You can’t get that anywhere else.
Live-streamed video is also easier to produce than edited video for YouTube. If Nicole is in the moment at an event, live streaming allows her to bring her entire audience into the room with her.
Listen to the show to hear what the newly released Social Media Marketing Industry Report says about marketers using live video.
Nicole’s Live Video Strategy
At first, Nicole used live video to build her email list. When she first launched $1K in 1 Day Academy, which is her signature course that explains how to build a business based on corporate strategies, she had a list of about 1,500 people.
She created this list and kept building it via the exposure she received from live streaming. When she went live, she shared business-related content about topics like how to pitch for a sale, improve audience conversions, or set up an affiliate system as a passive income stream. At the end of the live video, she asked viewers wanting more content like her live video to visit a landing page.
That page sent viewers directly to a small informational product that cost anywhere from $25 to $97. Nicole told viewers that with the resources available on the landing page, they could get additional information, worksheets, and more to help them execute a whole system for their business. At a certain point, every broadcast Nicole did brought in anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.
In the beginning, Nicole was still going live via Periscope, but she also downloaded the Periscope videos and posted them to her Facebook page. She wanted to see how the videos converted and how her Facebook audience responded to raw, live content. When Nicole saw her videos were doing well on Facebook, she started going live there as well.
In live videos, Nicole is careful not to oversell. Nicole thinks overselling is one of the biggest mistakes marketers often make. Although nothing is wrong with intent to sell and a call to action for your products, people want to get to know you first. That’s Sales 101. Live streaming allows Nicole to build that relationship quickly.
Nicole’s live video is about 60% relationship-building and 40% sales. For the relationship-building content, Nicole might share a kid’s birthday party, an awkward mom moment, or a tough entrepreneurial day.
For instance, Nicole recently shared a live video about parting ways with an employee. She talked about how dealing with the transition was hard because she wants to share her journey in an authentic way. She didn’t sell anything or point viewers to a specific link. She simply said people who want to know more can join her email list.
Nicole’s content balance helps build the relationship so the sales content converts really well.
Nicole’s live video isn’t fancy, but she does mix spontaneous videos with more formal ones. Most of the time, she goes live from her phone. She might be in her kitchen using a little tripod, or at an event or venue. When she’s teaching via live video in her communities or on her Facebook page, she might have a background and use the webcam on her desktop computer.
The video itself is vertical because about 86% of Nicole’s audience watches her video on mobile.
Listen to the show to hear more about Nicole’s experiences as a fledgling entrepreneur.
How Nicole Presents Content via Live Video
Nicole says that her process can work for a variety of people. You don’t need to have a certain personality. Many people worry that they’re not extroverted enough to go live, but a little planning can make live video work for them. Part of that planning is having a format for starting your live video. Nicole starts all her broadcasts with an introduction, a welcome, and a request to share the video.
Video Opener: For the introduction, Nicole always introduces herself with her name, her website, and a brief sentence about who she is and what her video is about. Part of this is habit. As an example, when Nicole answers the phone, she’ll say, “Hello, it’s Nicole Walters speaking.”
The content of her introduction also has practical benefits. First, not everyone will know who you are, especially if someone watches after another person shares the video. Second, the introduction works well on the replay. Also, if the video goes viral, gets edited, or ends up stripped and reposted to another platform, viewers will still hear a basic introduction at the beginning of the video.
To welcome people to the broadcast, Nicole says, “I’m so glad that you’re here,” and explains what viewers are going to learn. She also acknowledges people as they join the live video, especially people who are regular clients or people in her community. She might ask a personal question based on her knowledge of the viewer, like “How’s your son?” to build relationships.
Then Nicole always encourages viewers to share her content because shares are the easiest way for the post to gain traction, both with other people and the algorithm. If you ask people to share, they’ll do it.
The whole opener is about 30 to 45 seconds. After about 1 minute and 30 seconds, she repeats her opener for anyone who starts watching the live stream a little later.
I ask Nicole to share a mock opener to illustrate how she pulls all this content together. Here’s what Nicole shares:
“Hi, my name is Nicole Walters. Thank you so much for watching. If this is your very first time tuning in to one of my live broadcasts, I’m going to tell you a little about myself. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, and I love to help people build businesses that they love. If you want to learn more about me, head to NicoleWalters.tv.
“Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of a call to action in every single one of your broadcasts. Share this content, because good friends share their content. And make sure that you keep it on your main home page so if you want to watch it later, it’ll be right front and center on your Facebook. Now, let’s dive in.”
Instructional Content: In the next part of a live video, Nicole introduces the topic she’s teaching and why it’s important. She might say the topic is calls to action, which are important because they convert prospects into customers.
Also, to encourage viewers to be involved and highlight the educational aspect of her video, Nicole says, “Grab your pen and paper, because geniuses take notes.”
For each topic, Nicole covers three key points and then provides an action item for putting the information she shared into practice. When Nicole is teaching, she carefully prepares the content for each point. She might also plan how the video content will be connected to an impending launch or new product.
If Nicole will be launching a product like $1K in 1 Day Academy, she might talk about how to determine whether entrepreneurship is right for you or about three ways she overcame fear of entrepreneurship so she could jump in and start building her business. Both of those topics are inherently valuable but also lead this audience into the upcoming launch.
Although Nicole is well prepared for her live video, she doesn’t prepare in a way that requires her to read from a piece of paper. That approach would be impersonal and boring. Instead, she has a cheat sheet of bullet points. For a topic like calls to action, her cheat sheet might have the following points:
- What is a call to action? Ask about the definition first.
- How is a call to action used? Give an example of a call to action.
- Do’s and don’ts for an effective call to action.
- Action item.
Under one of her main bullet points, Nicole might also include second-level bullet points such as a reminder to tell the story about her very first call to action. When Nicole is teaching, stories are a way to avoid a dry, stuffy presentation.
Also, when Nicole uses an industry term or jargon, she takes time to define it. If she uses a term like working capital, she explains that “it’s the extra money after everything’s been paid off that sits in your bank and allows your business to grow.” She doesn’t want viewers to feel like they tuned into a fancy-pants broadcast that they can’t keep up with.
Nicole tries to present this information in about 30 minutes. On Facebook, this length works well because, unlike other live-streaming platforms, the longer your live video lasts, the wider your audience grows. On Periscope and Instagram Stories, people usually drop off if your content is too long.
Nicole spends about 5 to 8 minutes covering each item on her bulleted list. Engagement takes up the rest of the time because part of live video is talking to people.
To engage, Nicole might say, “A call to action is so awkward. Am I right? Give me a hand emoji if you’re one of those people.” She waits a few seconds to account for short delays in live streaming, and people start to share their emojis. Then Nicole might say, “See, I’m not the only one. Now how many of you are afraid to actually ask for things? I want you to know that this is real.”
Call to Action: The last part of Nicole’s live-streaming format is the call to action, which Nicole refers to as “the turbo opt-in method” because she doesn’t follow the traditional opt-in process. The traditional process is a longer funnel that includes building a relationship via an email list and eventually introducing a product.
The turbo opt-in is much faster than building a relationship via email. Whereas the email approach takes about 1 month, a turbo opt-in is real time. In fact, Nicole sends live-stream viewers directly to the sale.
With the live video, Nicole delivers the content that’s essentially like a free product or lead magnet. So at the end of her live video, she sends them to a page where they can pay to receive additional knowledge.
Nicole might say, “If you love this and want to dive in and get the details you need, then head over to NicoleWalters.tv. If you click the center of the page, you’ll find the product, Fierce Clarity, that will help walk you through everything we’re doing here on a much deeper level. If you get it now, I’ll be right here if you have questions. But come back and tell me you grabbed it.”
When people return to the live broadcast to say they bought the product, they generate excitement and furor that prompts other people to buy it, too. With this turbo opt-in method, Nicole made $53,000 with the very first $1K in 1 Day Academy launch.
When Nicole isn’t working on a launch and doesn’t have a product to sell, then her bare minimum call to action is asking viewers to sign up for her email list.
Listen to the show to hear how I applied what I learned about extemporaneous speaking in graduate school to my podcast interviews and live video.
How to Prepare for a Turbo Opt-In
To get started with a turbo opt-in, you need to know what product you’re going to sell. The best way to do that is to start serving your audience and learning about what they’re looking for.
To illustrate, Nicole developed $1K in 1 Day Academy after she realized people didn’t know some corporate basics about how to grow their businesses. After Nicole built her product, she started teaching topics related to that product. For example, in her live video, she’d ask how many people know what an LLC is or understand a profit-and-loss statement.
After walking viewers through the topic so they were better informed, she would tease her product by saying, “If you feel like you need more of these strategies in your business, I’ve got you covered. I’ll have something super-special for you at the end of this week. Make sure you’re tuning in so you don’t miss out. To be the first to know, head over to NicoleWalters.tv; add yourself to my Rich Friends list.”
For the entire week, Nicole teases this product and sends people to her list for this segmented, targeted product. She often uses specific vanity domains, like 1k1day.com instead of NicoleWalters.tv, so making a purchase isn’t complicated.
On the day before the cart opens, she says, “Hey guys, make sure everybody tunes in tomorrow at three o’clock. We’re going to open up $1K in 1 Day Academy for new students. This is your shot.”
On launch day, while Nicole is teaching the content of her live video, she builds interest by hinting that the launch is coming by saying, “There’s something really big at the end. Keep taking your notes, but you want to make sure that you don’t miss this.” These hints also help ensure she doesn’t lose people. The approach is almost like an infomercial.
At the end of the video, to launch the product, Nicole says, “This is your opportunity. If you sign up now, I’ll give you access to our exclusive Facebook group. As long as I’m live, if you sign up, you’ll get access to this experience. So just like we’re working one-to-one right now, this experience exists behind the curtain on Facebook. So register, come back, and let me know.”
While Nicole waits for people to sign up, she answers questions about the product. People might ask what the course will teach them. Nicole also talks about the product experience. For $1K in 1 Day Academy, she’ll say, “When you start the course, you have immediate access to prework. You can jump right in, get started, and watch the first video. This video’s transformative.”
Nicole also explains how the sign-up process works by saying, “All you have to do is go to the page, type in your name, pull out your favorite payment form, and then enter that information. Then go to your inbox for an email.” She basically walks viewers through the entire experience.
With this approach, Nicole finds people clamor to buy her product. The very first time, with no list, Nicole sold out of her $1K in 1 Day Academy course in about 45 minutes to a live audience on Periscope. The traffic actually crashed her payment processor.
I ask how the turbo opt-in applies to people who aren’t in the midst of a launch. Nicole says you can use this method with an existing product. Hopefully, that product deepens buyers’ relationship with and trust in you, so they’ll want to buy more products. If you don’t have any products for sale, you can send viewers to your email list and promote the value of your list.
Your email sequence then needs to deepen and continue the relationship while you’re offline. For instance, when Nicole isn’t launching a product or directly selling anything, she asks people to join her list and explains that she’ll send an email immediately that gets you up to speed on the jargon and topics she covers. This sequence has five or six emails that familiarize people with her community.
Nicole will explain the value her list offers, but she sees the content of the live video as the main incentive to join. She doesn’t offer an ebook or other free product as an incentive to join because her teaching in the live video is like giving her audience that content already. When your audience finds the teaching valuable and helpful, they’ll want to sign up for your list.
If Nicole uses the turbo opt-in for her list, she doesn’t ask people to come back and say whether they signed up for the list because this action isn’t as exciting as a product launch. Instead, while people sign up for her list, she talks about specific valuable things she shares with her email subscribers. Then she ends the video by thanking people who signed up.
Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about how the turbo opt-in works.
How to Launch a Product With Live Video
Nicole’s overall formula for launching a product takes about 30 days. About 30 days before the launch, Nicole shifts her content mix from 60% relationship-building and 40% business and sales content to about 80% business and sales and 20% relationship-building.
You start hearing a lot more about her business, where she’s going, what she’s doing, success stories, highs, lows, and so on. This content is more high-level than it is geared toward the product. At this point, Nicole is always sending people to her list.
About 2 weeks before the launch, Nicole opens a vanity domain, like 1k1day.com or MyFierceClarity.com, and sends people there. She talks about the product and interviews friends or students. Although she normally goes live about once per week, at this point, she goes live twice per week: once with videos about her story and being an entrepreneur and again with an interview.
For the interview, she’ll say, “Hey, I’m just popping on and talking to a couple of my students and my friends, and I’m bringing them on for us to chat.” Then they share live testimonials and success stories while keeping the tone casual.
About 1 week from the launch, Nicole goes live every day. She usually teaches a series. To illustrate, for 5 days, she’ll teach the five steps to pitching a client flawlessly. For the last day, she’ll offer the ultimate email template to encourage people to tune in all 5 days. She’ll also offer a free workbook via the vanity domain, and people need to share an email to get the workbook.
Nicole usually presents this series in the evening, from about 7 to 8 PM Eastern time. Her audience does best after the kids have gone to bed.
For the launch-day turbo opt-in that follows the series, Nicole says, “Now’s your chance. You’ve already learned the pieces. You have the steps. Let’s pull it all together. Let’s sign up for $1K in 1 Day Academy.” She can also launch to her list, which is now targeted and segmented.
Nicole does her whole live video launch sequence organically. The Facebook ad spend for her entire business is less than $2,000 per year.
Listen to the show to hear about the live video content Nicole shares with her audience in the morning.
Discovery of the Week
Snapseed is an amazing photo editing tool for mobile devices.
With Snapseed, you can not only make basic edits (like cropping, rotating, and adjusting white balance), but also enhance photos with sophisticated tools and effects. With the HDR (high dynamic range) tool, you can make your photo brighter or darker while keeping the full, wide range of colors. The face-enhancement feature adds focus to the eyes and smoothes the skin.
With the face posing tool, you can even correct the pose of a face in a portrait. To use this tool, open a photo from your phone in Snapseed, and the face-posing tool instructs you to touch, hold, and move the face. The face in the photo follows the movement of your finger, so you can change the direction where someone is looking. In the resulting photo, you can’t tell the photo was edited.
You’ll also find lens blurs, a bokeh effect (which blurs the background and keeps the foreground in focus), and healing tools. It’s like Photoshop in an easy-to-use app.
Listen to the show to learn more about Snapseed and let us know how this app works for you.
Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:
- Learn more about Nicole on her website.
- Follow Nicole and watch live videos on her Facebook page.
- Find a sample cheat sheet Nicole uses to prepare for a live broadcast.
- Watch Nicole’s live videos on Periscope.
- See Nicole’s live video and stories on Instagram.
- Check out $1K in 1 Day Academy and Fierce Clarity.
- Edit photos with Snapseed on your iOS or Android device.
- Watch our weekly Social Media Marketing Talk Show on Fridays at 10 AM Pacific on Crowdcast or tune in on Facebook Live.
- Download the 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on generating leads and sales with live video? Please share your comments below.