387 Donna Gunter: Chatbots & Authenticity

Women Innovating Networking Growing Scaling – that’s WINGS … I’m Melinda Wittstock, my mission is to help women take flight to soar to the success of our dreams in business and in life– and create and grow businesses in alignment with our passion and purpose.

On this special Mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about how to stand out from the crowd by marketing yourself with authenticity – especially how to do that when using automated systems and new tech like messenger bots.  A good way is to become an open and vocal advocate for your clients online. Plus how to overcome the challenges many women have in learning how to ask for help and find points of leverage in our businesses.

Here with us today to provide her insights and inspiration is …

Donna Gunter.

Donna is a three-time Amazon best-selling author who helps entrepreneurs and professionals stop the client chase by leveraging their knowledge to gain authority status in their industry. She then dramatically amplifies their message to convert the new audience into high-paying customers leveraging the best of technology to create personalized solutions. She works to build powerful personal brands and grow their businesses through speaking, publishing and publicity.

Donna Gunter is here in just a moment…

And first …

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And now to the inspiring Donna Gunter.

Donna is the Amazon #1 best-selling author of Brand Yourself as the Trusted Local Celebrity and Biz Smart Quick Guide: 10 Strategies to Online Visibility for More Traffic, Clicks and Profit!. She helps entrepreneurs, consultants, speakers, coaches and professionals stop the client chase by leveraging their knowledge to gain authority status in their industry. She then dramatically amplifies their message and shows them how to convert the new audience into high-paying customers. Using her proven Become Business Famous signature seven-step system, she works together with her clients to build powerful personal brands and grow their businesses through speaking, publishing and publicity. Donna is host of Main Street Mavericks Radio and a writer for Business Innovators Magazine.

Melinda Wittstock: Donna, welcome to Wings.

Donna Gunter: Well thanks, Melinda. I'm happy to be here.

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I love to start these soaring mentoring Minisodes by asking you what's inspiring you currently.

Donna Gunter: Well Melinda, I'm a tech geek so I'm really loving some new tech that I'm playing with around Facebook Messenger and Facebook Chat, as a matter of fact. It's provided a really cool way for me to be able to get in contact with my target market and my clients in a really personal way, yet it's automated but it doesn't necessarily come across as automated. That's what's inspiring me now is figuring out more and more ways I can integrate that into my business.

Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that's fantastic. I love to geek out on all things technical. It's amazing the pace of technology and how fast it's changing. Of course as marketers in all that infobesity out there trying to figure out how to find signal. The noise is hard. What's one of the advantages of using, just while we're on the topic of tech. What's the advantage of using a messenger bot, say?

Donna Gunter: Well, one of the ways is to be able to have one-on-one conversations with prospects. You can set up some automated answers to things. If you've got it set up correctly, and you have kind of a sequence of events laid out, you really create this one-on-one conversation without actually having to be there for all the one-on-one conversations. I know that sounds kind of icky in a way, you know, you're trying to be personal without actually being personal.

Donna Gunter:But it does help extend your reach because I'm a solo business owner. I do have some folks helping me, but I'm the only full-time person in my business and I can't be everywhere at once. I've got client work that I'm doing, I've got prospecting that I'm doing. Having that ability to kind of clone myself and be able to respond to requests from website visitors or other requests, other types of things I set up, Facebook ads, etc is monumentally helpful to help expand my business.

Melinda Wittstock: Really, it's so true. Everybody in entrepreneurship and solopreneurship or whatever has challenges, right? I always like to destigmatize those. What are some of yours?

Donna Gunter: Well, you know, the one I just mentioned about not being able to be everywhere at once. As a solo business owner you wear multiple hats. You're the marketer, you're the President, you're the Tech Support person, you're the Secretary, you're the Financier handling all the financial issues. One of my biggest frustrations is being able to handle all those responsibilities. Even though I've been doing this for 20 years. It's come easier over time. It's not always a crapshoot. It's not always just flawless the way that I would like it to work. Always trying to figure out how to balance all of that. Trying to figure out what to let go of, what to delegate, when to bring somebody on is frustrating because there doesn't always seem to be a clear but pathway for that to happen.

Donna Gunter: While there are lots of books out there on entrepreneurship, I'm not sure that there is one really that fits every single person's business model or every single person's problems that they're having in their business. You've got to try a lot of different types of solutions until you find one that works exactly for you. Unfortunately, you know, that's a time consuming process sometimes. If you try something and it fails. Try something else and it fails. The thing to keep in mind, though, is not to let that failure totally block you. Keep trying until you find something that will work for you. Because it's out there, it's just a matter of going through the solutions until you find one that's specifically wonderfully working for you.

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I think this is really true. It's iterative, right? With entrepreneurship. Everything is kind of a hypothesis until it's proven whether it's product market fit or whether you're inventing something or whatever. I find that one of the things that women sometimes fail to do early enough is ask for help. Do you find it easy to ask for help or not so much?

Donna Gunter: Oh, I am the world's worst at asking for help. Both in my business life and my personal life. I guess that comes with being a first born child. I've always been very goal oriented. I've always accomplished a lot in my life and in my business and I've done most of that on my own. Getting to the point of acknowledging that I need help, which I reached quite a while ago, but getting to that point was kind of traumatic because I wasn't accustomed to doing that. It was I guess a hit to my ego a little bit. The notion that I could not handle it all and carry it all on my own back and the fact that if I was going to remain sane, I needed to get out there and figure out how to distribute what I was doing because I was sinking pretty quickly.

Melinda Wittstock: Right. Yeah, it's so true. Well, this is a great segue into talking about advice for women in business. What are some of the things that you've learned along the way that you wish you could have told your younger self?

Donna Gunter: Well, the first thing, it's not necessarily something I would have told my younger self. It's something I did by default, is always remain authentic to who you are. Not try to be a poser, not try to adopt somebody else's way of doing things because that will fizzle out really quickly. I think people see through the veneer and see through anything that's false. One thing that I've always been complimented on is that people seem to get who I am throughout whatever I'm doing. Whether I'm writing articles, whether I'm creating short videos, whether I'm doing webinars. You know, the feedback that I'd get from say my email, newsletter subscribers when I would go to live conferences is, “Oh my gosh, Donna, you know, you're just the same as you are in your newsletters. There's no difference in hearing you talk in your newsletter, so to speak, and hearing you speak in person. That's just wonderful.”

Donna Gunter: That was a great acknowledgement to me that I had finally found after, you know, again, trial and error finally found that voice that was true and authentic to myself. I had tried on some others based on other people's advice and didn't find that they fit well. Finding my own true voice, it took a little while to do that. Especially around writing issues. I do a lot of writing and had always felt hemmed in by my writing in that I was writing for somebody else. I was writing for an employer, I was writing for a school project and until I decided to write as I speak, which took me a while to become comfortable with, I guess I should say, I didn't find that much success in my business. But the authenticity when I found my own voice started to shine through and that's when I started to attract people and my perfect client to me when I really [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:08:41"] that authenticity.

Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. I think that's so true. What are some other pieces of advice?

Donna Gunter: Another one is that the best way that you can market yourself is becoming an educator and an advocate for your clients. I discovered this completely by accident in my own marketing journey. I come from a background in higher education administration and we do a lot of sharing there among collegially among the people in the University as well as between professionals in different Universities. I worked in College University Housing. This whole notion of sharing information and teaching what you know was something that was ingrained to me just naturally as well as by the fact that I had been in those type of jobs.

Donna Gunter: What I discovered was that the best way to market myself was to share what I knew. People, again, were attracted to that. I discovered that completely by accident because I thought I was giving information out that everybody knew. I was really surprised when I went to a meeting and asked for one thing, I was asking for subscribers to a newsletter. It was an eWomen network meeting and you sit at a table of eight and people go around and ask for what they want. If you're interested you pass your business card forward. This was several years ago. I said that I was looking for subscribers to my email newsletter. I got everyone's card at the table. Not necessarily because they wanted to be subscribers to the newsletter, but they wanted to know how to create an email newsletter. I was like wow, doesn't everybody know how to do that?

Donna Gunter: I then wrote several how to articles that I sent to them, published them. You can see them published on my blog about how to create an email newsletter. The bell kind of went off at that point and I said wow, Donna, you should really be talking more about these kind of how to things because apparently not everybody knows how to do this. You seem to be really unique in that respect. This was at the, I guess around 2003, 4, 5 in that time and people want to know this information. I really just accidentally stumbled upon this notion of being an educator and advocate and really marketing myself by teaching what I knew.

Melinda Wittstock: This is interesting: we always have something to teach based on where we are in our lives. There's always someone just like a little bit behind us. Sometimes if we get too far ahead and we're trying to teach something that we've already internalized or it's already intuitive to us, it's harder to teach. That's really, really great advice.

Melinda Wittstock: Donna, you are all things kind of marketing and Facebook. Tell me a little bit about the clients you work with and how people can find you and work with you.

Donna Gunter: Well, I recently changed my client base in the last year or so just because I wanted the challenge of working with a different kind of client. I'm working now primarily with local business owners. Those who have brick and mortar businesses. This has been a big change from working with people who have global businesses, virtual businesses like coaches, consultants, speakers. I wanted, I really realized that the local business owner was not as Internet marketing savvy as a lot of people who have the virtual businesses. This whole notion of even really simple stuff like creating an email newsletter or having a Facebook page was a little bit foreign to them because they were fairly accustomed to doing business in a very traditional way. It was telephone book ads, it was taking out ads on billboards, it was just word of mouth marketing. The whole digital marketing realm was really foreign to them.

Donna Gunter: I'm having fun working with them to bring them into the digital age, one, and secondarily, helping them with a marketing piece that they never really visioned themselves doing. That's creating their own lead magnet book. They create a very specific one problem, one solution book that sets them aside from their competition or apart from their competition. Because, you know, if you're a dentist doing [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:13:09"] say the other 15 dentists who might be hitting that same town won't have a book about teeth whitening. Being able to leverage the credibility and experience that you get from being a book author has been working wonders with this local business owner group.

Melinda Wittstock: Donna, how can people find you and work with you?

Donna Gunter: The best way is to go to my website at BizSmartmedia.com.

Melinda Wittstock: Great. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.

Donna Gunter: Thank you. I love being here.

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