Guest Speaker: NJ Rongner
NJ Rongner is a business strategist who helps female entrepreneurs clear the clutter and get laser focused on what matters most. Known by her signature phrase “I can’t sign off on that,” she’s not afraid to tell her clients when they’re going in the wrong direction. NJ is the founder of Working Christian Mom where she provides encouragement and support to women who love their family, love their job and love their faith. You can find out more about her podcast and services by visiting the Working Christian Mom website.
Maria: Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to our Creative Marketing interview strategies that have been running all summer long. First I should introduce myself, Maria Dismondy. I am the founder of Cardinal Rule Press, it is a children’s (book) publishing company and I have been running this series over the last 8 weeks interviewing different experts in creative marketing because I truly believe that in order to sell products, sell services, you have to be creative with your marketing. It cannot come off as salesy, it has to be authentic, and so we have all these wonderful interviews. You can go back each week to see what we have learned about so far.
Today I have a special guest, very special to me because NJ and I worked together. This is NJ Rongner and she is the founder of Working Christian Moms that has been extremely successful and she has had some really cool things happening in the last 6 months that we’re going to talk about. NJ, tell us about yourself and your company.
NJ: Hello, thank you so much for having me. My name is NJ Rongner and I am the founder of Working Christian Mom which is meant for working moms out there … about what it has been like for me over the last 6 months because I’ve had some really good success. So, I had the idea for the Working Christian Mom about 18 months ago. I think that when you can do that you have people who will buy what you’re selling. So that is my first step, is to buy when you’re out there looking for it if you don’t have a place to buy it to. So that is my first success tip to all of you today.
The second thing is that you’re selling, you really want to partner up with somebody who can help you. I knew that I wanted to strategically pair up with people who would help me along in my journey.
To give you a little bit of background that I was going to is who in my network that I can tap that has the same mind, loves this product, who has a share of my market that is going to help me launch my product.
Maria: I just want to say this is really important because often times…
NJ: … I’ve been asking them, ‘Hey can you help me with this? This is what I have happening, can I use your platform to help my platform grow and we can grow together. So, that is what I started with and my good friend Kelsie…
Maria: I want to go back to one thing that cut out that you were saying is the importance of partnering with someone who is in front of the same target market as you. For example, I would not reach out to someone who is targeting senior citizens because they’re selling ‘hearing aids’, it would not make sense to me and it wouldn’t be worth my while. I don’t care if this company has a million, gajillion, gazillion followers, it’s still not going to be in my best interests. That part cut out with you and I want to reiterate the importance that you’ve found someone that had a similar audience as you.
NJ: Yes, so they had a similar audience, the market share of the cash money comes from the same person but we sell completely different things. It wasn’t a competition, the person was not a competitor but the dollar was from the same person at the end. For example, you are a children’s book author so a person that you might pair up with could be somebody who has a very successful ETC(?) shop that sells pre-school clothing because you still have the end client. At the end of the dollar, the client is the same but the way that you’ll get that dollar from that dollar from that from that person is different. It’s a different vehicle.
So, what I did is I found a friend to pair up with and we decided to partner together to launch a giveaway. If you’re going to launch, to giveaway, you don’t the social media following, you want the email address. So I got into the head of my end-person and I thought, what does this person really want? What are the things that they would give their email address for the chance of getting? And I came up with about $200 worth of product that my client avatar considers a splurge and some of these products are seasonal products that sell out so I made sure to grab them before they sold out but I waited until after they had sold out to launch my giveaway.
Maria: But not only were they worth $200 but they’re even worth more because of the scarcity so you were a commodity.
NJ: Yes, they were a hot commodity and so I went back with my friend and I said, ‘listen, I have paid for all these products. All that I need is for you to help communicate that I have this giveaway going on. You can be a co-sponsor of the giveaway and get all the email addresses, at the end, I paid for the product, that’s the exchange. Because I was borrowing her platform basically, she has a larger list, she has a larger following, and I’m borrowing her platform so that was the exchange.
Maria: What tool did you use to run the giveaway.
NJ: I use the tool from Sumo so I use the SumoMe giveaway tool that collects email addresses. That’s the first entry point is the email address and it integrates with your WordPress website and it’s very easy to use.
So, we launched this giveaway and it was a smashing, smashing, smashing success. And we launched it we had 728 entrants and the cost per lead was, I think I ended up around 51 cents a lead and the conversion rate, the retainer rate of those 728 people that brought into my email list, I retained 651.
So, it goes to show that if you partner up with the same who has the same buyer at the end, that buyer is willing to stick around with you even if you weren’t their first love.
Maria: Very successful promotion giveaway. Are you thinking of doing another one?
NJ: I am always thinking of doing them. It is just a matter of making sure that if I do another one that it is compliant with the way that the leads are and I think that it is, but it was so successful that I’ve even considered charging a small fee for the other people to be a part of it because they would also get the leads, I don’t know, maybe.
Maria: Fantastic, and I should tell the audience that right now, I’m actually running a contest on Instagram and I have partnered up with an education influencer who’s helping me to run the program and basically what she’s doing is she’s introducing me to her network. She’s bringing them to my Instagram, we’re giving away books, we’re giving away some of her products which are lessons plans to go with my books. It’s running across five days and so far day one was fantastic, and I will make a point, it’s not that we’re trying to get whole bunch of likes just to get likes. I am literally getting likes on Instagram to build relationships with these educators. So, I will eventually bring those educators into my private Facebook group or I will bring them over to my e-mail lists. So, I know that ‘them’ in this space of Instagram is not enough that I need to bring them even deeper into my business. That’s just a little side note but want to continue on with NJ because she has even more to tell you about because… was it a couple of months ago, you launched a podcast and there’ve only been 11 episodes. When did the actual first episode launched, I feel like it was March?
NJ: Late April I think. I launched my podcast… all of the stuff about the giveaways is leading up to a podcast launch. I knew that I was going to launch a podcast but again just like I said in the beginning when I was sort of rambling and talking all on my own and we are trying to figure out if we were, it was just going to be 30 minutes of the NJ show or not. If the only thing that you can take away today is this, it’s that you cannot expect to sell anything
Maria: Which is amazing. For those of you who don’t know numbers in podcasts, that’s a lot of numbers. NJ did not think of creating this podcast and then she just started it. She had strategy and she had an actual campaign behind it. She first built a Facebook group for Working Christian Moms along with… you had a website at the same time but you built the Facebook community and you have the promotion and you took them on the journey. It wasn’t like you just started it overnight, that’s important for people to know.
NJ: 100%, I have to build the people first. If you build it they will come, if you build it they will come. I knew that this was missing from the world because I was looking for it and I couldn’t find it so I built it myself.
The community is not all just about me. It is about us together as Working Christian Moms. There are a lot of topics and lots of discussions where I am not even a part of it. It’s bringing people around a central idea or central theme and that your product is an accessory to that theme or idea. For example, if you are somebody who’s really passionate about soccer and you sell soccer supplies, a good Facebook community for you to build might be about how to support high performing athletes, and so within that group they might be conversations about meals, about travel, about team building, about all these other stuff and you will get business but your group isn’t based on selling.
Maria: I love that. I think that’s really, really important because you’re giving. Something that we’ve heard over and over again in these interviews is that marketing is about providing valuable information and content to your community, to your avatar, to your target market so that they can come to know, like and trust you. We keep hearing this over and over again. Like you said, if build it they will come and something else that you said that was so, so spot on was you were looking for something that wasn’t there and you created it.
And I’ve heard a really, really cool tip. I don’t know where I heard it from because I listen to so many books on tape and podcasts, but I heard a tip that as a writer, if you really want to write a good book, start going on Amazon and it could be about a product too, maybe you want to create a product, circling on Amazon and typing in keywords, finding similar products but read the negative reviews and see what is missing and then fill that void so that you can give people what they want. I thought that was really helpful.
NJ: If you’re a writer, that’s a really, really great strategy. I think that anytime that you can take what’s missing that somebody else has produced and use it to inspire something that you’re going to produce, I think that it’s almost always successful. In may case, there wasn’t anybody who was talking to Working Christian Moms, like part of the reason why the group grew so fast is because the group is named Working Christian Mom. So if you look in Facebook, Facebook is a search engine and people everyday were searching for Working Christian Mom and the group grew because I didn’t name it something cute. The group grew because I named it what it is and who it’s for.
Maria: And in the book industry, it’s really important to have a subtitle because, for example, my son and I read a book last night and it was called ‘I walk with Catherine’ I believe. Are they going in a walk? What is this book about? But the subtitle is ‘How one act of kindness can do so much’ something along those lines. So you know that’s a book about kindness, so, a subtitle is really important and like you said, you didn’t go off fancy-schmancy. You hit it home on the title, so that’s a key.
I did asked you before, we have done, I said, ‘NJ, you have been very successful with Working Christian Moms and a lot of marketing is not black and white. There’s a lot of gray and you can’t always tell, is this a good return on my investment, is this marketing strategy working, am I doing the right thing?’ if you could pick one marketing strategy that you believed worked, I think you’re going to tell me that ‘you create a community’ but I just want to double check if there is a strategy that you believe you would not be here today, Working Christian Mom wouldn’t be successful, growing where it’s at without that strategy.
NJ: 100% for me, the number one thing is that I had to build the community because I wanted this marketing to be grassroots. I don’t have a huge ads budget. I’m not financially able to run $5000 worth of ads targeted to working moms who go to church, I’m just not. This was a grassroots thing for me and I think that the grassroots method really, really, really works.
Maria: I am an example of this grassroots methods as well but you have to put the time in it.
NJ: You have to put the time in but the other part of it is, if you put the time in, sometimes in social media especially and in marketing, we get it all twisted and we think followers, and we think of subscribers, and we think of likes. What we have to remember really and truly is behind every one of those followers, likes or subscribers, is literally a person. It is a person who has struggles, who has loves, who has triumphs, who has failures, who has guilt, who has shame, who has joy, who has love and that’s a real person who is receiving what you are putting out into the world and for me, I want to know all of those people because people are buying products, it’s not a follower, it’s a person.
Maria: And it’s the authenticity, the connection and it’s something that I think is missing in social media so if you can tap into it, I think people really gravitate towards that.
NJ: Really and truly. I love a woman, her name is Nicole Walters and you can follow her on Instagram @napnatural and she’s somebody who really reiterated this to me and she said ‘if your e-mail list only is a hundred and you sell a $97 product to a hundred people, that is like almost a $10000 watch.’
Maria: There you go, right there. It’s not the number, it’s the quality, it’s not the quantity. So, NJ what would you say is next. I mean, you’re on a roll, what’s next?
NJ: What’s next is just more of the same in terms of serving my clients and working with my Working Christian Moms and doing my podcasts. I am really excited that this fall I’m going to be launching Masterminds for Christian Business Owners. Again, that’s something else that nobody else in the market is really doing. If you are a believer and I know that not everybody who’s catching this is, but if you’re somebody who has faith of any kind, if it’s Judaism or Buddhism or Mormonism or Christianity, whatever, then you know that your faith informs your life in different ways than if you’re a person who’s not of faith, and so I want to have a space for people of my faith and get together and talk about their business challenges and their business wins and what’s next in their business through the lines of our faith.
Maria: That’s beautiful. So that’s what’s next. Mastermind, I love it. So if you’re tuning in right now, you need to hit rewind and hear it from the beginning because this is a fantastic interview. You’re going to get tips and really good creative marketing strategies from NJ. You’re will hear all about how she built her community and what she’s up to, what is next.
And again, for anyone tuning in, this is not just for writers. This is not just for working moms, these tips can be really put into different industries. You have to think outside of the box and that’s something that as NJ and I were together, we’re always talking about how can you take something and think outside of the box because it really just helps open the lens and it helps to open your field to more people when you can think outside of the box and you’re not so narrow minded about focusing on one thing. You just open it up and I love that you did that. You’re weren’t like ‘I’m going to do this podcast, this is the only thing on my radar’, you open-end it up and you were like, I’m going to do a promotion, a giveaway, I’m going to do a private Facebook group, I’m going to do a newsletter list, I’m going to do the podcast. These are all things that I’m working towards, not just the one.
I will put a link in the comments below. Where’s the best place for people to find you?
NJ: The best place to find me, one of two places, you can find me at WorkingChristianMom.com or you can find me on Facebook in my community and that’s just Working Christian Mom so you can use the search bar and you’ll find the group and we’ll love to have you.
Maria: Fantastic. Thanks again NJ.
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My name is Maria Dismondy. I am a children’s book author who also founded the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press.
Finding ways to market my messages is a passion of mine. I want to help you gain greater recognition of your brand, to generate new readers and improve your sales. Why? Because I love to GIVE and CONNECT and I truly believe we are all in this together!
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