Announcing Shift! Food

Hello friends,

I have big news, I’m testing out doing more food work and less marketing work. Makes sense right?

As you may know, over the past 3 years I’ve needed to cut gluten, dairy, and refined sugar completely out of my diet.

When I first needed to shift my food habits and systems, it felt very limiting and lonely, even with great supports. It was difficult to feed myself well on a busy schedule, go to community events, visit friends and family, and be out and about without tons of pre-planning.

Now my food life is richer than ever before, and I want to share the kitchen hacks (principles and processes) I have learned for planning, prep, food ordering, pantry stocking, spicing, kitchen organization, and scheduling/flow.

I’ll be sharing these hacks in a series of public presentations, events, and personal coaching: these will be inspiring, joyful experiences based on a mindset of sharing, celebration, experimentation; they’ll be a time to experiment, share, and have fun together with yummy food. A few of the many meals on over the past three years.

Here are a few of the events I will be running with the help of amazing collaborators:

  • Buckwheat Bonanza: Savoury & sweet breads, crepes, Belgian waffles without gluten or flour

  • Hacking your Pantry: What to stock, how to store, and where to get it affordably (bulk buying, spices, how to avoid spending too much at the grocery store etc.)

  • Healthy and Delicious Meals for Busy People: planning and pre-prepping meals

  • Spicing Hacks: 36 World Cuisines in 2hrs

  • Great snacks: Quick Energy Balls -a process that always works

  • Great Tasting and Nutrition Packed Smoothies
  • Systems for Cooking with Local Foods year round (5 meals from same ingredients)

  • Various food workshops on cooking without dairy, wheat, or sugar

Interested in learning more about workshops? I invite you to join my email community hereWhen you join the community, you’ll also get my Quick Guide to Making Sauerkraut/Fermented Veggies, a recipe for 2 Ingredient Coconut Yogurt, and Sandor Katz’ Republic of Fermentation Film Series (one of the most gorgeous food film series I’ve seen…exactly how I travel).

I’m looking to learn more about what people need for supports in this area. In exchange for asking you a few questions about cooking habits and needs (confidentially of course), I’m offering a FREE 15 minute consultation. Please find a time in my calendar that works best for you here.

Warmly,

Duncan

P.S. Please share with friends you think would love this. Thank you for reading this far 🙂

How to Make Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt

How to Make Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt

I don’t buy coconut yogurt, because I haven’t found one yet in Nova Scotia that isn’t full of thickeners or other ingredients that I don’t want to eat. I’ve made this 100% coconut yogurt recipe twice now and it’s worked quite well. It’s by far the easiest “how to make coconut yogurt recipe” I’ve found yet. It uses Cultured Coconut milk kefir from my friend Linda Peers. I started using this product because I know Linda and because Dr Ashley Margeson recommended it as an alternative to some probiotics I was taking. Fun fact: Cultured Coconut has been tested at labs at Guelph University and contains 300+ billion CFU and 50+ strains of probiotic bacteria and yeast!

Yogurt disclaimer: If you don’t consume lots of fermented foods, coconut kefir, or other probiotics regularly, start with eating only a few tablespoons of this yogurt and see how you feel after 1 hour or so.

Easy Coconut Yogurt Recipe

This recipe is from Nirvana Nutrition based in Moncton, New Brunswick, from this Cultured Coconut Instagram post. I’ve made several additions in the instructions.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of The Cultured Coconut kefir
  • 1000 ml of boxed coconut milk (Real Thai brand which is 100% additive-free/no BPA issues associated with canned coconut milk)

Instructions:

  • Blend coconut milk until smooth and pour into a large glass jar.
  • Stir the coconut milk kefir into the coconut milk.
  • Cover the glass jar with cheese cloth/coffee filter and let ferment for 12-30 hours at room temperature. Like most bacterial processes, I’ve found that the warmer the temperature, the faster it ferments. I suggest that you taste it at 12 hours then every 5 hours after that. If you don’t want it to taste any more  “sour,” it’s time to put it in the fridge.
  • Stir and store in fridge to thicken for another 12-30 hours until desired consistency. It will thicken up quite a bit in the fridge.
  • If it is bubbly on the tongue, this does not mean it’s bad. This means that it fermented quickly and it has good probiotic content. It may also mean that it is more sour. If you don’t like it as is, give it to someone who likes it more sour and fermented or blend it with other sweeter things (smoothies, porridge, vegetable curry etc.)

I’m new to making this. How did yours turnout? Do you have any tips? Please leave a comment below.

 

Content Marketing Template – from Google Sheets to Airtable

Here’s why I switched from Google Sheets to Airtable for organizing marketing content.

What do you think? Are you going to give Airtable [Affiliate] a try or are you already using it? What do you use it for?

Our content marketing template is currently in beta and only used by some of our clients. Airtable has many awesome template options, ours is a heavily edited version of their “Content Marketing Management” template. If you want access to my template when it gets released publicly, you can get on the waiting list here.

3 Time Saving Tips Instagram

These are three things that are working for me to grow my Instagram @debata account and save time. I’ve gained 50 new followers in January when I was actively doing the things mentioned below. Recently I’ve slowed down on Instagram because I’m working on keeping up with the flood of client work, a great problem to have.

  1. Hashtag – Hashtags are how people discover your content on Instagram. I’ve been using 30 hashtags per post that influencers in the good and local food marketing space use. These hashtags have between 25k and 200k images associated with them. I have these hashtags saved in Evernote so that it’s easy to copy and paste them into the comment section below a post or into the post content itself. I immediately noticed I was getting followers from people I didn’t know when I started doing this. Look at other influencers in your market to find the relevant hashtags!
  2. Be clear about your marketing goals. This may not seem like a “time saving tip”, but it is! Who’s the audience you need to see your content? What is the purpose of your Instagram channel? (For example, mine is to grow my email list community).  Simply put, make it clear what you do, what value you offer, and why someone should visit your landing page in your bio (ideally, give them a gift!). It’s a waste of time not to do this as it’s the first thing people look at when they discover your content.
  3. Reposting highly engaging content with the hashtags. Look at influential people that are marketing to your target community/market then repost these posts with the hashtags they use.

Bonus round: I’ve just started requesting Shoutout for Shoutouts (S4S).

Step 1: Find 10 accounts that have similar following as engagement

Step 2: Message people through direct message or contact info in their bio and let them know that you’re interested in s4s.

What’s working for you on Instagram? Comment below! 

Why Telling People What to Do Doesn’t Work

Why Telling People What to Do Doesn’t Work

Telling your community or customers what to do doesn’t work. I’ve seen people try this over and over again in community and business. Traditional conferences are the worst for this, where some sort of expert spews a bunch of facts and tells the audience what to do.

 

Two things happen when you tell a conference audience what to do:

  1. The audience who does know the person, like the person, trust the person, or already agree with the facts will listen and agree.
  2. The audience who doesn’t like the person, trust the person, or agree with the content will not listen and not agree.
The two groups will debate the facts about this after the conference and nothing will change. Facts don’t change minds and telling people what to do doesn’t work. There’s oodles psychological research on this. Telling people what to do is what dictators, and politicians, and bully’s do, it’s called oppression. It may work short term, but eventually people will revolt.

Here’s an example of why telling people what to do doesn’t work:

My good friend Emily Legrand, an outdoor play consultant, often suggests imagining adult behavior as an expression of the inner child.
Let’s experiment with this.

Ever try telling a fiesty toddler what to do? Does it work? Of course not!

So what do people typically do with a toddler instead of telling them what to do?
  1. Ask them leading questions
  2. Inspire them with a story
  3. Lead by example and do something else that will compel the toddler to join
  4. You invite them to join in something else
  5. Incentivize them (not ideal)

Disclaimer: I’m not a parent yet, nor am I recommending these options, these are what I observe that works.

These toddler strategies work for someone who already trusts you. What if you tried telling a toddler who didn’t know you what to do? Would they listen? Not likely! They’d likely do something else, have a tantrum, cry, or run away.

Building a customer base or community is no different. Telling people what to do is the least effective way to persuade people to change their behaviour.

Why Your Website Might Be Leaving Money on the Table

Why Your Website Might Be Leaving Money on the Table

As a followup to “How to Build Trust and Grow Sales in 2017,” here’s a helpful infographic that Bluewire Media created, based on consumer research, that explains various ways to help customers get to know your enterprise, trust it, and buy from it in 2017.

Content Marketing Sales Funnel

As you can see, this content marketing funnel infographic shows how a website visitor moves from gathering information about your offerings (products, services, experiences) to becoming your customer. Since 98% of website visitors are not ready to buy, it’s critical to have content for them to get to know you and like you.

Know: 75% of your website visitors are looking for information

In other words, 75% of customers that visit your website are not ready to buy and only looking for information. The question is: what can you give your website visitors that is no risk or a low risk for them? What kind of no risk offers ( no registration required to get blog articles, Youtube videos, interviews, audio files) or low risk offers ( email registration or social media registration to get e-books, templates, reports, guides etc.) can you create easily and well? Now, you may think creating such content will take too much time or be too costly, but consider this: If your business spends $300 on a print or radio ad just to make someone aware of your business, isn’t it worth $300 of your time (or some other professional’s) to create content for a potential customer who has already made it to your website? Who do you think is more likely to sign up for your email newsletter or buy? The person listening to the radio on their way to work or someone who is actively searching for something and comes to your website? Regularly putting informative and useful no risk and low risk offers on your website is critical if you don’t want to lose out on the 75% of visitors that come to your website. Plus, regularly posting content on your website is a necessity for people to find your business when they search in Google (A.K.A Search Engine Optimization).

Like: 23% of website visitors are comparing

In my last blog post about building trust and growing sales, I wrote about the importance of social proof. For my clients, demonstrating social proof means uploading customer testimonials with their photos, sharing photos on social media of where the food comes from, doing demos or presentations, sending email newsletters, collecting endorsements (for example reviews on Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor, Yelp, or from food critics, etc.). This kind of social proof is very important to have on your website for website visitors that are comparing your businesses with others. This will give you a “leg up” because many business underestimate the value of social proof and skip it altogether. An easy way to add social proof to your website is to copy an endorsement from Tripadvisor, Facebook etc or a quote from a media review. It’s even better if the social proof comes with a photo or video of the endorser. Without social proof, website visitors who could be customers, have no reason to like your business and or trust it. As hundreds of studies and experts have reported, customers have to trust a business before they buy from it.

Trust: Only 2% of website visitors trust your business and are ready to buy

It needs to be easy for customers to contact you to buy from you, but this is often not the part of the funnel where businesses are leaving money on the table. However, I will make a few quick comments on this for different business types:

  • If you’re a brick and mortar business, your phone number needs to be on every page of your website and it needs to be clickable from a mobile phone. Ever try to copy text from a website page on a mobile device? It’s a nightmare. When I was doing wine tourism marketing, research showed that over 50% of website visitors were just looking for the address of the business. Long story short, make it easy to find your address on the website or you will lose business
  • If you’re an online product based business, it needs to be easy to buy from you. There must be a link to products from every piece of your “Know” and “Like” content, as you can’t expect customers to take in your content and then go searching for a product on your website. This seems obvious, but you’d surprised how many businesses don’t link directly to their product pages from their content. There are so many tricks and tips for optimizing online based product and service based businesses, see the blog conversion link below  for a video series on this topic.
  • If you’re a service based business, the service page should include how your service addresses the“pain” or “gain” that you are addressing for your customers (for example, “how this lead generation program helps build an effective automated system for sales and lead generation”- from Scott Oldford’s Lead Craft), then content explaining how it works (video, text whatever works best for you), list of benefits with icons, social proof (testimonials, client logos, media logos), additional benefits included (for example, also included “free growth hacking guide for increasing Instagram followers.”) Pro-tip: have a guarantee of some kind for your customers to show confidence in your service. For example, “30 day money back guarantee.”

If website conversion is what your business needs, I recommend checking out Derek Halpern’s series of website reviews on “increasing blog conversion” https://socialtriggers.com/increase-blog-conversions-video Choose one that applies to your business type.

More on Building Trust and Growing Sales in 2017 here

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How to build trust and grow sales in 2017

How to build trust and grow sales in 2017

People who like you will listen to you, people who trust you will buy from you. – Zig Zigler

People buy from who they know, like, and trust.

From working with over  50 growing food businesses in the past 5 years, I know that the fastest growing enterprises invest more time in deepening relationships, aka, getting customers to like and trust them. Once their customers like and and trust them, buying and advocating for their business comes naturally.

I’ve seen too many companies focus on “getting their name out there,” but neglecting to ensure that they are liked and trusted. While it is important to be known as a business, it is even more important to be liked and trusted. Being liked and trusted as a business is what generates Word of Mouth (WOM).  All successful entrepreneurs know that Word Of Mouth and Referrals are a big part of building a thriving business. Word of Mouth (WOM) is critical for all businesses, and even more critical for businesses with low advertising budgets (start-ups, small food business etc.)

Awareness is ONLY the first step to getting sales

For my customers, getting known often includes activities like advertising an event or sale, sending a press release, sharing info about their business on social media, guest blog posts, brochures etc.  These activities are very important, but by themselves they are not enough to get customers to buy from you. Their focus is often only awareness about what product, service or experience the business offers.

In order for your potential customers to like you, trust you and buy from you, customers need to see that and why other people are happy with your offering (product, service, etc.) or immediately get some sort of educational value that is useful to them now and demonstrates your company is good at what it does.

What can you do that will help people like and trust your business?

Show social proof 

Testimonials, good reviews, positive news articles, awards, partners and suppliers. In practice, for my clients this often means having these elements on their website or sharing them on social media. When sharing on social media, it’s generally best to share social proof with a tone of gratefulness and appreciation. Modesty trumps boastfulness, unless you have a brand like Donald Trump’s.

Lead through Education

Millions of searches are done every day and sharing knowledge is one of the easiest, low cost ways to get known, be liked, and build trust. What do your customers ask you about? Make a list of their questions and answer them in whatever format makes the most sense for your team’s skills. If you have writers, get them blogging. If you have people who are good at talking, do live videos and send them out on whatever social media channel your community is on. By creating and publishing valuable content through your business, your customers will grow to like and trust you very quickly.

Build a Community

Once a customer has seen the social proof and benefited from your businesses’ educational gifts, they are primed to join your community. The next step is to answer this question: how do potential customers opt-in to your business community? Is it an email list with exclusive benefits or content? Is it a Facebook group? Facebook bots? Snapchat? This is different for every business, but it is imperative for all businesses to have an easy way to regularly communicate directly with potential and existing customers. While growing your social media community (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) as a business is a good idea, these channels are becoming very “cluttered” and it has become more difficult to ensure potential customers see your message without paying for advertisement. I don’t have a blog post up yet about how to choose the best way to directly market to and grow your business community, but the first 3 businesses who send me a note about this will get a free consultation about the least expensive way to build their communities.

Try this: take 5 minutes now and look at your marketing (website, online marketing channels etc) to see where you can improve on your social proof or create more value through educational content

For every business, there is room to improve on showing social proof, sharing knowledge,  and building a community. Start by looking at your businesses’ website and social media channels. Are you demonstrating social proof? Are you sharing knowledge? How are you directly communicating with potential customers and existing customers?

Questions? Thoughts Ideas? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below.

If you found this useful, join my email community to get the next articles in this series.

5 Second Rule Brain Hack that Has Changed My Life

Recently I watched this 5 Second Rule podcast interview of  Mel Robbins and it’s rapidly increased my productivity by reducing procrastination and overthinking in the last few days. It’s also helped me to understand how we’re all wired neurologically to do these things, but how we can beat them.
Memorable Moments for Me

Confidence isn’t a personality trait, it’s a learned habit.

The 5-4-3-2-1 blast off metaphor

What resonated with you? Please leave a comment below.

How to listen with unselfish understanding

How to listen with unselfish understanding

I love Brain Pickings, it’s such a “breath of fresh air” on Sunday mornings. Recently I’ve delved into learning about participatory group processes as means to make better decisions with collaborators and make better decisions for our local food and health system. Today Brain Picking’s nailed it with an article on “listening.”

One of the key principles of good participatory decision making is to gather all the wisdom in the room. This requires  hearing all the voices in the room and striving for a deeper understanding of each other’s thoughts. Only by doing this can we “unlock” the potential for innovation. I knew this intuitively, but I was finding it difficult to put into words until recently.

I’m very grateful for to my facilitator partner Anne Stieger for encouraging me to read participatory decision making books and for inviting me help host an Art of Hosting Training in the Valley.

Anway, here’s the part that I think is most useful from Maria Popova’s Brainpicking’s  Erich Fromm’s 6 Rules of Listening: The Great Humanistic Philosopher and Psychologist on the Art of Unselfish Understanding article this morning:

Listening, Fromm argues, is “is an art like the understanding of poetry” and, like any art, has its own rules and norms. Drawing on his half-century practice as a therapist, Fromm offers six such guidelines for mastering the art of unselfish understanding:

  1. The basic rule for practicing this art is the complete concentration of the listener.
  2. Nothing of importance must be on his mind, he must be optimally free from anxiety as well as from greed.
  3. He must possess a freely-working imagination which is sufficiently concrete to be expressed in words.
  4. He must be endowed with a capacity for empathy with another person and strong enough to feel the experience of the other as if it were his own.
  5. The condition for such empathy is a crucial facet of the capacity for love. To understand another means to love him — not in the erotic sense but in the sense of reaching out to him and of overcoming the fear of losing oneself.
  6. Understanding and loving are inseparable. If they are separate, it is a cerebral process and the door to essential understanding remains closed.

I’m curious to hear from you, what strategies do you use for better listening every day?