Finding Your Story and Marketing Your Business

Theresa PantanellaHello, everybody, welcome to Hello Hump Day.  I hope you are halfway to your weekly goal at this point of your week. Today we are delighted to be chatting with Dr. Theresa Pantonella. I’m going to go ahead and read her bio for the people here who don’t know her.

Theresa takes the mystery out of Facebook and Instagram advertising. She has spent over 20 years developing her intuitive marketing skills as a business owner. I love that words intuitive marketing skills. In the last five years, she has combined that know-how with Facebook and website analytics expertise to create surprising results for her clients. Thought leaders, coaches, and small business owners hire her to get new customers from Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Her track record has decreased their cost per lead by 33% and increased their return on investment by 201%. That’s an incredible number. How on earth do you do that?

Theresa: Thank you so much for having me, Dotty; I appreciate it, and thanks, everybody, for being here. There are so many things you could be doing on a Wednesday. We’re here to empower you to get you through the week and blast through that weekly goal.

Dotty: Yes, and like all the others on Hello Hump Day, we will find out the journey you took, Theresa, to get to where you are. So can you share a bit of how you got your start?

Theresa: I’d be happy to. As everybody just heard, the result was getting clients a return on investment increase by 201%. That whole journey started about nine years ago. I knew marketing was where my heart was. I wanted to focus 1,000% on it. Also, videos were excellent to me, so I learned video editing. It’s a prolonged and painful process.

Dotty: And it’s hiring it out to somebody like you, right?

Theresa: It was so funny because once I got to know some folks in the video production community, they all wanted to hire me for the editing, and that’s the most tedious part. The most creative interest to me is the storytelling – putting that whole storyboard together; what is the video’s message, the music, the images? I would create these videos and then give them to people who had no idea what to do with their website or get people to see them. So I learned how to build the websites and spent 18 months in a mastermind focused on search engine optimization.

We learn that stuff inside out backward forwards around my gosh; I built a gazillion websites, I still have websites out there running from that day and age. And they’re still generating leads.

Dotty: That’s awesome.

Theresa: Crazy, right? And, of course, I learned how to put the video in there. Now, I got so good at it in this mastermind that the two guys running the mastermind said, “Hey Teresa, would you mind kind of like hanging out and teaching the ladies in the group?” I said, “Okay, I can do that.” So once a week, I was teaching the ladies.

Dotty: Okay, so it’s before Zoom and all of that?

Theresa: Before Zoom. You know, I think we had Slack. We had our Slack channel that exchanged things back and forth. We had our weekly conference calls.

Dotty: Yeah, so you were on the phone.

Theresa: Yeah, we were all on the phone, and we would have these documents in front of us, learning the SEO and the different steps. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization for any of our listeners. I don’t want to lose you there.

Dotty: It can be highly technical.

Theresa: One of the ladies was good with social media.

Dotty: At this point, social media was just getting a foot in the space, right? It wasn’t, like common knowledge like it is now, right?

Theresa: Well, it was out there, but it wasn’t part of the search engine optimization mastermind because there was so much in there already. The two guys that put it together were brilliant not to include in-depth training. So although I knew it existed and knew how to use it for SEO purposes, that was it. I wanted to learn more about how to use social media. So I started taking lessons from this one gal—she kind of coached me on it all. The conversation over months drifted into the ads. It was this advertising thing. She’s like, “Oh, it’s not hard.” And she showed me a couple of easy things, and I was like, “Oh, this is cool.” I was fascinated with how you could pick your audience. I was fascinated with how you could have these different messages going out with the images. Then Facebook would tell you which image people liked more or which statement got more response.

Dotty: You can learn a lot from Facebook.

Theresa: I got my teeth, blew through hundreds of dollars, spent thousands on training, and started getting curious about the big wigs in the industry. Now, here’s the hilarious part. I’ve gone from the leader for the ladies and the SEO mastermind group to now I’ve joined this mastermind for Facebook advertising, and they’re talking a language, which might as well have been Russian. I had no idea what they were saying at the time. I would listen to the videos over and over and over again, and like they make it look so easy.

Dotty: So now you know what business owners with no idea how to do this feel like. I mean, if you felt that way.

Theresa: I did. I would ask questions, run my ad campaigns, and get lukewarm results. They would tell me what I needed to do…you need to know your audience more. I’m like, “Huh.” That’s the part of Facebook ads that took me back into my marketing. When you are marketing, even when it’s paid advertising, it knows your audience, but knowing them beyond demographics, like male-female age, what kind of job.

Dotty: Knowing their interests.

Theresa: Exactly. What is their day-to-day life? Why would my product or service make a difference for them? That was where I needed to drill in tighter on the messaging. Because the ads have got that headline component. Facebook did a study. The image or the video is what stops people from scrolling. The second thing they do is look at the headline. The third thing they do is read the message and copy the text on the ad. That’s when they decide whether or not to click on the ad, or explore it more, or take action, like signing up for a webinar or downloading your lead magnet, or signing up for your $2,000 course.

Dotty: Whatever the ad is advertising.

Theresa: Exactly. So until I started to drill down on that and understand it better, that’s when the ad costs came down. Yeah.

Dotty: I can see that your ad spending wasn’t getting wasted on people who weren’t interested in whatever you were advertising.

Theresa: Bingo.

Dotty: That’s the secret to all advertising.

Theresa: It is, and you’ve got to warm up your audience. You know, sometimes they’re just not aware of their problem, let alone the solution that you’re trying to sell them in the first place—so having that whole chain of events like the storyboard and the video, having that entire chain of events that keeps you in front of your potential customer and has the correct timing for when they’re ready to purchase from you. They may not be aware, and you might need to educate them.

Maybe you need some two-minute videos or some long 30 minute videos where you’re being interviewed, and you’re talking about your expertise. It’s an example or demonstration of your product or service. That’d be great for anybody like a coach or hypnotist.

Millennials do great. That whole customer journey of getting people to understand that you have a solution for them. Then they want to buy from you because they know like and trust you by now. That’s the other significant factor in knowing your audience. They have to like you also.

Dotty: So I’m going to back up just a little bit. Okay. So you started this adventure nine years ago?

Theresa: Yes.

Dotty: I’m curious. Was this the first self-employed thing that you did? Or was there a backstory to how you got to be where you are today?

Theresa: Here’s the backstory. I grew up in an Italian family, a fourth-generation entrepreneur. Those big Italian family dinners on Sunday night; dad and grandpa were down there at the end of the table, talking shop and business. My grandfather had built the only shoe repair chain across America.

Speed craft shoe service. My father was in the engraving and watch repair business and had 20 retail locations throughout the Eastern United States. I was down there, just like a sponge. Grandpa used always to say, “Whatever you do, be in business for yourself. It’s the only way to get ahead.” When I went to college, he said, “Learn how to think no matter what you do. I don’t care what’s what you’re studying, learn how to think.”

Dotty: Learn how to think and be in business for yourself. Those are two good pieces of advice.

Theresa: Yes. I graduated from Ohio State University with my bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy. Being a person of excellence, I pursued my doctoral degree. That’s why they call me Dr. Theresa.

Now, with grandfather’s good advice, I was my agent as soon as I figured it out. I grew my business and had other therapists working for me. Marketing was what I was good at. I was good at building relationships. I live by the motto; The Buck Stops Here. No matter what happened, I always took responsibility for my business.

After 24 years, I’m doing what I’m passionate about Marketing.

Dotty: So how did you decide to go from having an occupational therapy practice – a brick-and-mortar business – to being an online advertising maven?

Theresa: You know, it’s kind of funny. During the past year, we’ve all had those moments – at least I know I have – where I sat back on the couch and went, “Okay, am I doing what I want to do?” When I was practicing in the healthcare world, I had a lot of those moments. Friends of mine have left for Thailand, and I couldn’t go.

Dotty: Yes, you were tied to your business.

Theresa: Yes. There were different circumstances where I did my best to build up the business, so I could go away to conferences or take some time off during the holidays and things like that, but I was always tied to the company. So in the back of my head, I always pictured something different. I wasn’t quite sure what that was. When I realized it was marketing, it was like, “Well, how can I do this? And not be tied down with a brick and mortar?”

Dotty: So, did you sell your practice?

Theresa: Well, more or less, it was not sellable. At the time, I didn’t build it to sell it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that lesson from grandpa. If you want to sell, you need to start from day one. I did not do that. So for me, the computer was a foreign thing to me, but the videos made sense. You know, I always played around with the camcorder at events or family gatherings. That was the sort of thing I knew I could do. So, if you’re looking at shifting something majorly, look at what you like doing in your life. I have a business colleague, and she was a nurse, and she went into sell – I call them tchotchkes – things like pens with the company name on them.

Dotty: Promotional stuff.

Theresa: That’s it. So she went from a nurse into the promotional stuff because she wasn’t happy. She wanted to be satisfied. I can’t emphasize for all of our listeners: If you’re not satisfied, really take the time to sit down and figure it out. You know, it’s exciting to me that people like the leaders in our world and the icons in their industries – they take time off, they know where they’re going and who they are because they have a passion for that.

Dotty: They have it mapped out.

Theresa: Exactly, but the reason it’s mapped out is they took the time to do it. There’s a saying – I believe it’s Jim Roans- that if you don’t design your own life, someone will create it for you, and what they have planned for you is not a lot.

Dotty: And it’s not what you have planned for yourself. Right?

Theresa: Right.

Dotty: That is so true. Because if you don’t take control, it’s like you just get caught up in where everybody else is going and what they’re doing and, you kind of lose what you initially started.

Theresa: Yeah. I can’t tell you what an excellent compass it is to have your goals written out where you can look at them every single day. I have mine charted out on my bathroom wall on a spreadsheet, and it’s quarterly. Those quarterly goals are tied to my annual plan. Then I have a notebook that I keep next to my bed with my one-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year goals. I read through that once a week, so I make sure I’m still going in the right direction. Because if I’m not doing everything I need to do every week to get to that one-year goal, I’m never going to make the three-year, five-year, ten-year goals.

Dotty: This is true.

Theresa: This is why you get results when you have goal-oriented behavior. You’re happy because you’re where you want to be, and you’re able to help and serve others simultaneously because you’re in a place of contentment.

Dotty: If you’re not, then you can change your goals.

Theresa: Absolutely.

Dotty: When I first started my business, I’ve learned that I knew the whole goal thing, but they were always just in my head, right? So that’s when I’ve actually written them down for the first time in 15 years, or however long it’s been, and it works better that way.

Theresa: It does. It works a lot better that way. You know, you can look at them.

Dotty: You know when you’ve reached them.

Theresa: Exactly. There’s such immense pleasure in checking off that goal, whether it be the end of the day, the end of the week, or the end of the year.

Dotty: I have chunked mine down to the week now.

Theresa: Good! Now we’re getting down to the last weekend of the year. I get a little intense because I want to make sure I make those goals. I have this driven spirit in me that doesn’t give up.

Dotty: I was just looking at my monthly goals thinking, “I have to do this by tomorrow.” The rest of the month. I’m gone. I’m going camping.

Theresa: I love it. I’m glad it’s cool enough for you to go camping. I’m in Florida. We can’t go camping this time of year. It would be hot and uncomfortable.

Dotty: It is just starting to get warm enough here to go.

Theresa: That’s a significant difference, and it’s good for you to get away because that does reignite the mind, and reengages the inner wisdom that exists in all of us, and allows you to kind of sit back and take a breather.

Dotty: So, I keyed in on the words intuitive marketing skills in your introduction. How did you know what your intuition was?

Theresa: That’s a great question. Marketing for me seems to come naturally. I’ve been in marketing classes, where I just kind of scratched my head. I was like, ” What?” and the teacher would be going on and on, and people didn’t get what he was saying, and it was like, I get that, you know, and this is how it works. There’s something in me that just puts it all together naturally. It’s engaging with the audience; there’s a different approach to online advertising. I’ve gone to the books and read the books, and I’ll always be a student because if you stop learning, you’re done.

Dotty: Well, and in this industry, things change.

Theresa: Exactly, but I also need to know how to craft my message. This is the instinct or intuition that I’m building on now, and somehow some of these things just make sense to me. In terms of, and it goes beyond the simple things like if you have a salmon farm, you’re not going to put it in Florida, you’re going to put it in northwest America, right?

Dotty: Sure.

Theresa: Let me see if I can give you a good example. I’ve worked with many events and got them either sold on with ticket sales online, or I have supported events locally as a volunteer before this past year. For me, when they were explaining to me how they were, how people were coming in the door, I would say, “Well, did you do x? Or y?” You know, what do you think of them? When it comes to online marketing for an event, it seems that the best thing you can do is paste it everywhere. That seems kind of natural to me.

I’ve worked with so many people – the event organizers, and they’re like, “No, no, we don’t have to do that. It’s not necessary to have, you know, an Eventbrite posting, a Facebook event, a website, a meetup.” I’m like, “Yes, it is. You want to be everywhere.”

Dotty: I guess it depends on if they want to fill it up or not?

Theresa: Well, it’s kind of interesting because they’ll pull back.

Dotty: It’s like they’ll get scared.

Theresa: Yeah, or they say, “Well, it’s not necessary,” and I’m like, “Yes, it is.” Intuitive things like looking at what pictures will work, creating a video, and going with that message. I was having a great conversation with a copywriter yesterday, and he was telling me how surprised he is that people don’t do more education in their advertising. It really should be part of the whole story – leading people to buy your product.

Dotty: That’s where I wanted to go. I got an email from you this morning talking about the story. I wanted to ask you how does a person who is not a storyteller – you know, 99% of all of us – how do we include stories in our marketing? For me, it’s tough.

Theresa: That’s a great question. I’m a certified master of storytelling from the Master Storyteller Academy.

Dotty: Wow, I didn’t know that.

Theresa: Yeah. That’s what my pin is for. You see, my big, bold, beautiful pin? It’s priceless. The story is based on three things we all have in our lives: Transitions, defining moments, and challenges. When you tell your story, get one of those and just start writing. What happened next? What did you do first? And then what happened? And then what happened? And then what happened? The story should be about why you do what you do. Everyone needs a report that shows their passion. The story that tells people, “I’m more than just your product or service.” The depth of the story. It should be completed within three minutes. You should be able to tell the story in three minutes.

Dotty: So we’re talking short stories.

Theresa: Now, here’s the thing. We’re not doing elevator pitches too much these days.

Dotty: Not unless you’re in the elevator by yourself.

Theresa: Right? Yeah, you get a place to practice. You put your story on your website and then have a video of you telling your story. Use that video as part of your social media strategy. The other place to use your account is when you’re in these extensive networking, zoom rooms, and you give an introduction. Sharpen up that story into 90 seconds.

Dotty: People will remember you.

Theresa: Yes. I’m currently in a copywriting group, and their signature way of introducing yourself is, “I’m a doctoral-level occupational therapist turned to Copywrite.” So from that, the story is, “I’m a doctoral-level occupational therapist as my background, and now I’m doing copywriting.”

Dotty: That brings curiosity to me.

Theresa: Now, in an email, let’s say someone’s just opted into your lead magnet. Now they have this information, of course. You want to make sure that they received it. You want to make sure that they’ve allowed your email address. Then you want to have a follow-up email. Let them know who you are. That’s the perfect place to put your story. They just got something from you through a computer. There’s no human contact. If you tell them your story, now, you’ve humanized your gift that’s been given to them. With the story, a bond is created, and people start to relate to you. Like me, with my background in occupational therapy, people are like, “Oh, you were in healthcare,” and it’s made it very easy for me to work with other healthcare professionals like dentists, or with doctorate-level pharmacists, or with functional medicine doctors. Unless I tell my story, it closes that path down, and it throttles down the opportunity. So by opening up and telling your story, you’re opening up possibilities as a publicist that has done an excellent job with this in terms of keeping yourself open to all of your past organizations. Let them know where you’re at what you’re doing. Keep telling your story to them.

Dotty: I’ve always said burn no bridges.

Theresa: Exactly. If you went back to your high school alma mater, if you went back to any kind of college organization you are a member of, you went back to your first women’s group and told them your story. They’d be like, “Wow,” and it takes three minutes or less.

Dotty: Did you have anything you wanted to offer the group at all?

Theresa: Yes, I’d be happy to. I have an ultimate landing page blueprint that has been very helpful to many people. I’d be glad to give you the link for that. It’s a free blueprint. It’s about 11 pages long and goes through various points and issues that you should have on your landing page and places you should avoid having those minor hiccups if your landing page is not working for you. A landing page is the same thing as your website. So feel free to take that blueprint and look at some of the pages on your website. They’ll put you into an email sequence that will include different examples of different types of landing pages. You’ll get more information on my storytelling class that’s coming up as well.

Dotty: Yay. A storytelling class. I think I’m interested in that one. Thank you, everybody, for joining us, and we will see you next Wednesday with Dr. Tiana. And thank you, Dr. Theresa, for all of the words of wisdom that you have shared with the group. Everybody, have a great week. Bye Bye now.