How to Uncover Your Optimum Selling Strategy – Part 2

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ossIn How to Uncover Your Optimum Selling Strategy Part 1, I explained how I was looking for a way to get the Bright Ideas Agency generating positive cash flow in the shortest period of time possible by using what Michael Masterson calls an Optimum Selling Strategy (OSS) in his book, Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat.

Today, I’m going to continue where I left off by taking a deeper dive into the second of four questions that you (and I) must answer in order to discover our own OSS.

What Product Do You Sell Them?

Most people who start a business do so because they have an idea for a product or service. Sadly, this is not always the best way to get going – unless you’re just lucky enough to nail it right out of the gate.

Personally, I’m never that lucky! Which is why I recorded the video below a few years ago.

The reason that having only one product in mind when you launch isn’t a very good idea is because you are basically putting all your eggs in one basket, and unless you already know your market/industry extremely well, that is quite a large risk to take.

To avoid this, savvy entrepreneurs remain flexible about the details of their product. If version one doesn’t work, another version can be waiting in the wings.

How to Determine the Ideal Startup Product

Here are five simple steps to creating a product that is virtually guaranteed to succeed:

  1. Find out what products are currently hot in your market
  2. Determine if your product idea fits that trend
  3. If it does, you’re set, if not, go to next step
  4. Come up with me-too versions of several hot products
  5. Improve them in some way by adding features or benefits lacking in the originals

Let’s go into more detail on these steps.

How to Discover the Hot Products in Any Market

Figure out what's hot! Image credit:  123rf.com

Figure out what’s hot!
Image credit: 123rf.com

In Part 1 of this post, I suggested you go study the competition to see where they were advertising? Well, now you want to pay attention to what they are trying to sell with all those ads.

When you do this, you are going to see trends, and the trend you are looking for is the product type that is most commonly advertised. That is the hot product.

When studying the hot products in your market, it’s also very important to pay attention to the trend for these products because there is the chance that they are near the end of their trend. To do this, first, start off with Google Trends and take note of whether the search volume for related keywords is still on the rise. If it is, you’re probably in good shape.

Another method you can use is to talk to some people in the industry, as they are going to be far more in tune with what is going on within their industry that you are ever will…unless of course, you are already an industry insider.

Once you have identified the top three to five products in your space, you should spend some time studying them. Identify their features and benefits. Compare them. Attempt to figure out which features are most desirable. Make a list of any deficiencies that you see. Write all this down and then review it.

Once you’ve done all this, and you have an idea of what your product might look like, it is a good idea to start sharing it with friends and/or colleagues so that you can ask them for input on how you could improve it. If you don’t have a draft description of your product yet, just share the products you are researching and ask the same questions. If you and the people you are showing it to are excited, that is a good indication that you have something to take it to market.

How Much to Charge?

By now, you should know where your customers are and have a pretty good idea for a product that will sell. (Remember, you are NOT reinventing the wheel here…you are just improving on a kind of wheel that is already selling!)

All you need to do now is to figure out how much to sell it for.

Much like my previous advice on generating a product, with pricing, I’d suggest you stick pretty closely to what others are doing. If you can afford to be less expensive, that could be a good thing; however, keep in mind that building a business whose only differentiator is price can be a double edged sword. Good, because it generates business. Bad, because your price-conscious buyers may leave you in a heartbeat if they find a better deal somewhere else.

Optimal Selling Price

In Ready, Fire, Aim; Michael gives a pricing example from his newsletter business. He said that, through testing, he determined that $39/year is the optimal price for his newsletter. Selling for less eroded profits and selling for more killed conversions. Based on this, if I was launching a newsletter, I’d charge $39/year.

The optimum price isn't always the lowest one.Image credit:  123rf.com

The optimum price isn’t always the lowest one.
Image credit: 123rf.com

Earlier, I warned of trying too low a price. However, there is one exception to that, and that’s when you have a back end funnel filled with higher value, higher priced products.

For example, the last information product I launched was a course for marketing consultants on how to generate more leads. Because I wanted to sell a high volume of products, I priced it on a dime sale starting at $7 with the price rising to as high as about $10. Then, in my back end funnel, I offered two upsells. The first was at $49 and the second was at $97. Of those who purchased the initial product, 26% of buyers took the first upsell and 10% of buyers took second upsell.

As a result of taking this approach, we sold 1,450 front end units, 377 of upsell #1 and 148 of upsell #2. Overall, even though I never made a dime on the front end sale, the product’s overall profits were very good and since then, I’ve been able to generate even more revenue from the customers that bought the original product. Obviously, I’m not the first one to try a strategy like this – and, as I said before, sticking to what is already working for your product/market will likely lead to desirable results.

How Will You Convince Them to Buy?

If you’ve done a good job with defining your OSS up to this point, generating sales will not be overly challenging. With that said, they key is to generate as many sales as possible, and to do that, you are going to need to ensure that you do an extremely effective job of getting your sales message across to your buyer. This is done with sales copy.

Sales copy can have a huge impact on sales. Done correctly, sales copy can easily double your overall sales.

If you have never written sales copy before, study the sales pages and emails of other successful sellers in your space. Pay particular attention to the structure of their sales copy, as opposed to just their words.

As you might guess, an overview of how to write sales copy is well outside the scope of this post, so rather than attempt to do that, I’d suggest you grab a copy of Michael’s book and study the chapter devoted to sales copy. In addition, you may also want to spend some time on CopyBlogger.com as there are a plethora of tips and advice to be found.

For the basic nuts and bolts of writing effective sales copy, I’ll offer up four concepts (from Michael’s book) that you must know:

1. You must understand the difference between wants and needs
2. You must understand the difference between features and benefits
3. You must understand how to establish a unique selling proposition (USP) for you product
4. You must understand how to sell the USP

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Digital Marketing Strategy: Sean Malarkey on How to Employ Smart Online Marketing to Create a Money Pillow

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On this episode of the BrightIdeas podcast, we’re joined by Sean Malarkey, creator of a digital publishing and marketing company, and author of the blog and podcast The Money Pillow. Sean relies heavily on his team to help him run his digital publishing company so that he has plenty of time left to do important things such as surf daily from his home in Santa Barbara.

Do you think that his business might suffer without him spending much time running it each day? Not true. The company continues to return year over year growth of around 30%, and is set to gross approximately $2 million this year.

In other words, Sean has a great business that prospers without requiring much of his presence. You could almost say, it works while he sleeps! And yes, that’s what he was going for in this business, and also the concept he talks about with his guests on The Money Pillow podcast.

In this interview, you’ll hear Sean and I talk about:

  • (2:00) How his team helps him out
  • (4:00) An overview of his audience
  • (5:45) The Money Pillow
  • (12:20) His podcast launch
  • (17:00) An explanation of how he’s going to extract the Golden Nuggets from his past episodes
  • (20:30) How to monetize a podcast
  • (25:50) How he’s promoting his podcast
  • (29:00) How to decide if you should have a show
  • (31:00) How he finds his guests
  • (36:17) What his team looks like
  • (44:30) How he’s building his team
  • (49:20) Team-building advice
  • (1:00:00) An overview of the publishing company, and how he launched it
  • (1:08:00) How they are generating traffic and sales

Resources Mentioned

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More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

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Transcript

Trent: Hey there, bright idea hunters. It’s Trent Dyrsmid here. I am
the host of the Bright Ideas Podcast, and this is the podcast
for really whip-smart entrepreneurs who want to know how to use
online marketing and marketing automation to massively boost
their business.On the show with me today is a guy who is definitely a whip-
smart entrepreneur. His name is Sean Malarkey. He’s the guy
behind the Money Pillow, which is a new podcast. He’s also got a
book for it. The Money Pillow is definitely not Sean’s first
rodeo. He actually runs a very successful online digital
publishing business that works with content experts, and takes
their knowledge, and makes it available to business owners like
yourself who want to get better in a specific area of their
business.Now, I am super stoked to have Sean on the show because he is
doing some really cool things with the Money Pillow podcasts and
the guests that he’s unearthing. In particular, we’re going to
talk about how he launched the podcast and made it so incredibly
successful so very quickly. With that said, please join me in
welcoming Sean to the show. Hey, Sean. Welcome to the show.

Sean: Thanks for having me, man. It’s an honor to be here.

Trent: Absolutely. It’s an honor to have you on here. For the folks
who have not had the privilege of speaking with you off the air
for the last 45 minutes, maybe you would be so kind as to
introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you’re
doing.

Sean: Sure. My name is Sean Malarkey and GQ just voted me one of the
top 50 most handsome men in the world. No, I’m just kidding. I
have a really boring story, I guess. I don’t where to even
begin, but what I do now is I have a publishing company and a
marketing company. We publish and market digital trainings, so
we find experts that are good with particular things, and we
have them create the content, and then we take that content,
package it up in a pretty UI/UX, and then we push it out to our
audience, and market it, and sell it. We’ve got a handful of
people that we publish. Then we also have a marketing side where
we have our own audience that we market these products to, and
other ones as well.

It’s an all-in marketing or digital publishing business that
I’ve had now, I guess, Trent, for just past four years. I think,
this year, we should cross just over $2 million in sales, and
we’ve been growing at about 30% year over year pretty
consistently.

Trent: That’s not a bad little business to have that you can run from
anywhere in the world and spend quite a bit of time surfing
every day.

Sean: Yeah. It’s funny. I used to live in Columbus, Ohio, and a year
ago we moved out to California, and prior to moving out here,
the move was going to cost me $50,000 to $60,000, I think, in
total, all things considered. I just thought, “I’m going to
hustle, work hard, earn some extra money.” In about 75 days I
worked really hard in the business and did that, but what
happened was I had to rely on my team in ways that I never had
to do a lot of the things that I was doing on a daily basis.

When I got out here, I was busy unpacking and just getting
settled, and doing this, and doing that, and my team would say,
“Well, why don’t you let me do this for you? Why don’t you let
me do that for you?” I was holding them up on the tasks that I
always do. I would say, “Oh, yeah. You did do that once or twice
in the last month. Go ahead and then, when you’re done, let me
know and I’ll review it.”

What I ended up finding within like a month of being here was
that 95% of the things that I was doing on a day to day basis in
my business, I had basically by default trained somebody on my
team how to do during that phase of hustle. I just started
delegating more and more to them and letting them take ownership
more and more. For a good eight months, I just worked about an
hour a day, and some days I didn’t even work at all. Many days I
didn’t work at all, and then some days I’d work for three or
four hours, and then just crushed it. I realized after being out
here and being surrounded by…

Trent: Opulence.

Sean: Opulence is a great word, yes. That I kind of wanted a little
bit more out of life, and wanted to kind of also create more
freedom. For me, money represents freedom, and I wanted more
freedom. I really enjoyed having the ability to do what I want
when I want, and wanted to kind of indulge myself in the finer
things in life, a little bit finer than what I have now, so I
got back to work back in May. I’ve been working about eight to
ten hours a day since then.

One of the big things that got, Trent, is I’ve got a really good
audience, and I feel like I’ve got several different businesses
that I really want to launch and kind of capitalize on that
audience before that audience ages, if you will, and their
attention goes somewhere else. I know I have this window of time
that I really have to sit down and hustle if I want to take
advantage of the opportunity, or later I’m going to have to work
much harder to achieve the same results.

Trent: There are a lot of things, dear audience, that I want to cover
for you guys in this episode with Sean. Just so that you know
what’s coming, because I know that everybody’s time is at a
premium and you’re listening to this going, “What am I going to
get out of this?” Sean has launched a podcast recently called
The Money Pillow, which has been going very well. He’s getting a
ton of downloads, and he’s doing some really interesting things
to promote it. We’re going to talk about that a bunch.

I also want to talk a bit more about the outsourcing. You
referenced your team a lot, Sean, in what you just said, and I
think a lot of people, self included, would love to be able to
have a team that can do more for them, but the stumbling block,
especially for people who don’t yet have a surplus of cash flow,
is how I pay for that. How do I actually make that happen? I
want to come back to talk about that, so I’m going to put that
on my list.

Then, if we have time, for the end, I’d like to actually come
back to your publishing business because it is such a compelling
model that I think anyone who is a reasonably bright internet
marketer… Sorry. I want to erase that. Online marketer. I hate
the term internet marketer because it suggests that you’re
selling snake oil and getting rich quick, and I don’t believe in
any of that crap.

Sean: It has a stigma attached to it, huh?

Trent: It does, so let’s talk about an online marketer, or maybe we
should coin a new term. Let’s call it New Age Marketer. That’s
not going to stick.

Sean: New Media Marketer.

Trent: I like that. That’s much better. New Media Marketer.

Sean: It’s good, isn’t it?

Trent: It is. It doesn’t have any of that negative connotation.

Sean: You heard it here first, folks.

Trent: Absolutely. On the Bright Ideas Podcast. I’m making notes and
then we’re going to talk about the publishing business. I think
that is more than enough conversation to talk us well past the
deadline that I’m sure we both have for this. With all that
said, that’s what you’re going to get in this episode, so stay
tuned because here we go. Sean, what is The Money Pillow, first
of all? People need to know what that is.

Sean: It’s a concept, I guess. It started for me, in my brain, many
years ago, but essentially, it’s just a concept of creating a
great business that prospers without you having to be present at
the time.

I had this idea when I was 18 years old. I worked at a
skateboard shop, and the owner lived in Hawaii and came twice a
year. He drew a salary of $10,000 a month, had an AmEx card that
my managers were always making payments on, and this guy, for
years, would just kind of come and go a couple times a year.
Sometimes he wouldn’t even show up. I just thought, “Man, this
guy is living the dream. He built it, got a couple of post-
college guys to manage it, and he’s gone.” I was really, at an
early age, kind of fascinated by that.

Then I started a real estate company several years ago. Left
that to kind of pursue the business I’m in now and get a little
bit more freedom. Along the way, I’ve just met so many amazing
entrepreneurs who just have these businesses. With the
technology and the way the world is today, it’s a whole lot
easier to build a business with automation and tools and things
that, 10 years ago, it wasn’t possible. Five years ago it wasn’t
possible.

With The Money Pillow, it’s a book that I’m actually going to
write. Starting back in December 2012 I started interviewing a
lot of people that had these kinds of businesses. In fact, the
first interview I did was with Melanie and Devin Duncan. They
own a company called Custom Greek Threads. They live in New York
City. The business is in San Diego. I think they have close to
30 employees. It’s probably 40 by now. They’re growing. They’ve
not been in their office in over a year. Devin, by himself,
manages that company in four to five hours a month in work, and
the company has grown year over year at like 25% to 30%. I think
this year they’ll do $2.5 to $3 million in revenue.

Anyway, I’ve just met all these amazing entrepreneurs and it’s
not people in the new media marketing space, for the most part.
It’s all over the place. People that manufacture products,
people that have services, people that… I interviewed somebody
that has a chain of spas that she lives in Colorado, and her
spas are in Portland. Another guy who had a software company.
You just name it. The business models. Anything you can think of
people have applied The Money Pillow principle to so that
they’re able to kind of live life on their terms, and their
business runs and makes money while they do what they want.

Trent: That’s a nice way to live.

Sean: Yeah, it really is.

Trent: I think, especially for the younger generation who haven’t
grown up with the… I’m going to use the term “brainwashing.”
I’m sure someone will be upset by this, but go to college, get a
good job, work there for a long time mentality. I think that’s
just not part of the psyche of a lot of the younger generation.
I think this opportunity that’s there for us as a result of the
internet, and tools, and automation is absolutely wonderful.

Sean: Yeah. I think, in fact, that mentality is probably a minority.
I don’t know, but it would be interesting to see some high
school exit studies. How many of them feel like their careers
are going to be based on what they learn in college or how many
of them are just going kind of to appease their parents. It’s
definitely a different world that we live in.

Trent: It is indeed. The Money Pillow podcast, you’ve had a lot of
success fairly quickly. Do you want to talk about the results
first so people can know what we’re talking about?

Sean: Sure. These aren’t typical…

Trent: The results that you are about to hear are not typical.

Sean: Just throw a disclaimer out there. That’s so dumb. No,
literally, I launched it back in July. I launched it in, I’m
thinking, late June and then iTunes screwed up my feed. It was
saying the interviews were an hour and a half long. They were
actually only 30 minutes, and all these weird things were
happening. Descriptions weren’t showing, so we ended up having
to delete the feed and resubmit it. I can’t even remember when
that was. I think it was mid-July.

I launched it, and it was generating a couple hundred downloads
a day. I just told some friends, basically, about it on
Facebook, which I’ve got a fairly large Facebook audience, so
that helped a lot, but I have a lot of other assets I didn’t
really tap into. Told some friends about it on Facebook. It was
generating 200, 300, 400 downloads a day. Probably about 250 to
300, somewhere in there.

Then once I kind of felt like I had enough episodes in there…
I launched, I think, with six episodes, and once I got to the 10
episode mark, I decided it was a good time to email my list. I
emailed my list, and that jumped it up, that day, to like 2,100
downloads that day. From that point on, it pretty much has
stayed over 1,000 downloads. I think it was July 11 that I
launched, and we are what? August 19 today, or the 18?

Trent: Nineteenth.

Sean: August 19. I think I’m at 38,000 downloads now with probably
30,000 of those coming in August. Actually, I can tell you.
Thirty-seven thousand five hundred, with 26,878 in August. I had
some good fortune along the way. Stitcher featured me on their
front page, and just some random interesting things happening,
but it’s been growing really well. I feel like I hit number two
in business which was a big boost that day. Introduced me to a
lot of people who had no idea who I was, and created a lot of
new fans.

My goal is to get it to, by the end of September, 100,000
downloads a month, or 3,000 a day. I think I can hit that. It’s
just a matter of figuring this whole game out. For me, I was
doing all these interviews already for the book, and I had this
content. With my marketing business, I brought somebody on who
was a podcasting expert because I thought it was a cool idea.
She had a great presentation, and a good product, so I brought
her on. As I was listening to her thing I was like, “Man, this
is stupid. I’ve got all this content I can repurpose, and with
doing so, I can build an audience for the book that’s focused
exactly on the topic of the book.” Again, I thought I’ll just
give the podcast the same exact name of the book, and blah,
blah, blah. That’s what I did, and that’s what I’m doing.

My hope is that by doing this, I can build a really large
audience that’s interested in the topic. You’ll see, going
forward, I’m going to start structuring the content. Instead of
just doing interviews, now I’m going to start bringing in a lot
of content that will be featured in the book. I’m going to be
taking the past 15 interviews, and I’m going to be doing
highlight moments where the most important, or most valuable
lessons that people need to learn, or more than I think have
been shared so far when it comes to running an automated or
hands-off business, I’ll be highlighting those and talking some
theoretical talk behind what the person shared. Kind of
structuring it a little bit better and prepping the audience for
the book. My hope with doing that is that it will result in a
big push on the book, and I hope to hit the bestseller list when
it launches.

Trent: That’s a good idea that you just mentioned, and it’s something
that I’ve thought of doing because I’m like 65 or 70 episodes
deep now, and there’s so much good stuff in that. When you do
like you and I do, and you have really top-notch entrepreneurs
on your show, there’s what I call golden nuggets. There’s a
bunch of them in every interview. I’ve forgotten more of those
golden nuggets than probably anybody, and I’ve been on every
show. I’ve heard every one of my shows, and I’m still not using
everything that I should have learned. I’ve been thinking about
doing the same thing you have.

How are you going to do that? Are you going to have a person on
your team sort of sit down and listen to them all, or did you
make really incredible show notes? How are you going to go back
through? I guess you probably don’t have 70 episodes yet, but
you’re what? At 16, 17, something like that. Can you talk a
little bit about the process of how you’re going to unearth
those gems, and then how you’re going to repurpose that?

Sean: Yeah. I’m sitting here chuckling because I can’t wait to tell
you. It’s not that I’m lazy, I’m just really busy and I don’t
have time to go back and listen to all of them, and I did not
take good notes. There are key moments for me that I really
remember.

For example, I interviewed this one guy and he talked about a
product idea that he had, but in order to sell this product, he
had to manufacture it. In order to manufacture it, there was a
large investment into manufacturing. Not large, but $2,000,
$3,000, or $4,000 into getting his first batch of products to
sell. The way he decided to test this to see if this was even
going to be a good idea was he spent three, four hours, or paid
somebody to build a simple little sales page and then ran Google
Ads to that sales page. When people clicked the Buy Now button,
people went to a page that just said, “We’re sorry. This product
is actually not available right now. We’ll let you know when it
is.” All he was doing was trying to measure if this was a
successful business. Does that make sense?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: There are like three or four moments that really stand out like
that for me, but I need more than three or four. Yesterday I
just emailed my email list. It’s a small email list, but what
I’ve built from the website that’s coming there, and just said,
“What was your biggest aha moment?” It said, “I’m putting
together…” I literally am getting responses. I got one after
we started talking.

The email said, and this is all totally true and transparent,
“Yesterday I was at the beach hanging out with some friends. One
of them brought up how you’ve been listening to my podcast. We
started talking about different episodes. He began telling me a
few aha moments that he had while he was listening, things he
could implement into his business right away, and this got me
thinking maybe I should do a highlight episode.” I told, in the
email, the story of Daniel, and his little manufacturing
validation test. I said, “My question to you is what has been
your biggest aha moment? Reply back and let me know, and I will
also give you credit in that episode.”

I thought this was kind of a way to get my audience involved and
do some work for me, and then I can give them credit on the
episode, so 2,000 or 3,000 people will hear me say, “This next
part came from Trent. Trent replied back to the email and said
his biggest aha moment was this. Here you go.” That’s how I did
it. I’ve gotten about 40 emails. Now I have to decipher which
ones to actually feature and use.

Trent: That was a very good idea. That will be what we call one of the
golden nuggets of this episode.

Sean: There you go.

Trent: From yours truly. I have to say that word good and clear,
golden nuggets, so that when it gets transcribed and a person on
my team is searching for golden nuggets in episodes to do our
compilation post, they’ll find it.

Sean: There you go.

Trent: All right. I want to take a quick sidebar because some people
who are listening to this, there may be many, don’t really
understand the business model of a podcast. There are a number
of reasons why you could do it. In your case, you’re doing it,
it sounds like, to promote your book, maybe build your audience.
Some people do it because they want to get advertiser income,
and then other people do it because they want to build
authority. I’m interested in your take. If there’s either
nuances that I’ve missed, details that I’ve missed, or what have
you, but what is the business model of the podcast?

Sean: You just hit on, really, all the big ones. They’re all
possible, and they’re all totally achievable. I know people that
have hit all those things. For me, I honestly, Trent, didn’t
realize you could monetize it. It was just a way for me… I was
going to monetize this, but not directly. When I say monetize, a
lot of people earn good revenue from show sponsors, and once you
get to 2,000 or 4,000 downloads per episode, it’s pretty easy to
start earning a decent living from sponsors. That’s a lot of
eyeballs, or ears if you will, that these sponsors will get
depending on what you’re talking about. There are probably
people that have products or services that want people to hear
that. I had no idea you could do that.

It was just literally for me just to build an audience for the
book, which I knew I could monetize in the sense that if I could
go to a publisher… When you get a book published, most of the
time you get an advance or often you’ll get an advance. I’ve got
a fairly large social reach. I’ve got a big email list, and I’ve
got a business that sells $100 products and up, so all that
stuff has a lot of value to the publisher. I may be able to
generate $50,000 to $200,000 in advance, $300,000 with good
agents, somewhere in there. I have no idea. This is just what
agents are telling me that I’ve interviewed and talked to.

I thought to myself, “Well, if I had the number one or number
two podcast out there with the exact name and content that’s
going to be in the book, and I build a big audience, I could
show lots of downloads, and subscribers, and build an email list
off that, that would probably be worth as much as everything
else I just mentioned that I have as an asset to the publisher.”
With that said, I thought I could probably double my advance.

For me, getting a big advance represents the fact that the
publisher… Not only will it be great money, it will be cool to
put a big check in the bank, but the publisher will really put
their weight behind the book to make sure they see a return on
their money, which means prominent placement in all the book
shelves in all the airports, and all the book stores that still
remain, and any other kind of marketing you can think of.
They’re going to throw their weight behind it because they want
it to generate a return on their investment.

Which then means it makes it, in my opinion, that much easier to
get to the New York Times bestseller list, which means it makes
it easier to sell more books, and at the end of the day, I
really feel like this topic is going to change people’s lives in
a major way and have a huge impact. It’s something that’s kind
of a personal project for me that I really kind of want to leave
my mark on the world, and this is one way, I think, that I’ll do
that.

Trent: Now, do you thing that you’re actually going to make really
good money from the book, or is the book a means to yet another
end?

Sean: I don’t know. Originally, it was a means to an end. I’ve got an
iPhone app that I’m working on and I thought, “I need about
$100,000 to get this app complete, and if I can get my book, get
an advance, I can get that covered.” I’m fairly confident I can
get $50,000 to $100,000 worth of current asset that I’ve got in
the book topic, and in a number of things. Then, I just started
seeing the potential in this.

I’m not in a hurry to write the book. I’m in a hurry to get the
podcast to find 10,000 downloads an episode because then, at
that point, I will then approach the publishers about signing a
deal. I got the iPhone app part figured out, so I’m not as
motivated by that, but I don’t know.

Trent, it’s one of those things that could totally flop or it
could be the next big book that leads into a whole other line of
things.

Trent: That’s the interesting thing about succeeding in public, or
even demonstrating your expertise in public, by way of a book, a
blog, or a podcast, is the people that you don’t even know exist
know you exist, and some of them will come to you with
opportunities as a result of the exposure you create for
yourself.

Sean: Absolutely. Who knows, man? It could be a total failure, and
hell, I may never even get it done. If the iPhone app gets
completed before the book thing and that takes off, great. Or if
my business takes… You never know, but it will get done at
some point, I’m sure. I feel fairly confident I can get it to
bestseller status. If not, I’ll just have to put my tail between
my legs and walk away from it.

Trent: I have several chapters of my book done, and they’ve been
collecting dust for a while.

Sean: Yeah, I hear you.

Trent: It’s tough to stay focused.

Sean: It’s amazing, too, when somebody gives you a big check of money
and how motivating that can be.

Trent: Well, yeah. Suddenly then you’ve got skin in the game and
you’re also being held accountable times 10.

Back to my first bullet point, then, of this interview is
talking about the podcast. Now, I know that you’ve done some
pretty interesting things to promote it, so not everybody has a
big list. Not everybody has the social reach, so that’s all
great and good for you. For the folks that don’t have that, but
they do have a desire, and anyone can interview people just like
you and I do, so I don’t think that you have to be a rocket
scientist to do that. You just have to have the desire to do it,
but promoting it. You’re doing some cool stuff on Facebook, so
do you want to talk a little bit about what you’re doing there?

Sean: Yeah. I wanted to know that this podcast had kind of reached
every corner of the earth, and I noticed one day that the first
time I looked at the stats, I saw that I had hit like 88 or 95
of the world’s 195 countries. I just thought, “Man, that would
be kind of cool to say that somebody in every country in the
world is listening to my podcast.” I just started running ads. I
just started targeting every country that I hadn’t gotten
downloads from, and that’s been a big boost in subscriptions and
likes on Facebook, on the page.

In just two weeks, I think it’s… Not organically because I’ve
been paying for the traffic, but for 50 bucks a day, I have
gotten… Well, I can just tell you. I’m looking at it right
now. I’ve spent $600 and have 1,227 fans right now, and it’s
probably sent over 3,000 clicks to iTunes, which I don’t know
how many of those become subscribers and download. It’s a
nominal cost. I think I’m paying, on average, including the
United States, I do marketing to the United States, Canada,
U.K., and Australia, which are the big markets for me, including
those and with all the other countries I’m marketing to, I’m
probably at 10 to 15 cents a click right now. I think that’s
been a big push to it.

Then, also, just leveraging my personal network on Facebook has
been really big as well. I haven’t done this yet. I have this
game plan. We talked about it earlier, that we don’t have to get
into now, but as soon as I am ready to kind of just go all out,
I will then go back and ask everybody that I’ve interviewed to
share it. I’m also connected to a lot of influencers over the
last few years. I’ve been earning a lot of reciprocity, or I
hope that I have, by constantly promoting and sharing their
stuff.

I will then, when I’m ready, I want to make an all-out assault
on Dave Ramsey and that number one spot in business. It’s going
to be very coordinated, and I’m going to be bringing in every
weapon that I’ve got, but I’ll be reaching out to all the
influencers, I’ll crank up the ads that day, I’ll email my list,
and basically just abuse all my friends in social media and real
life, and ask them to help with that mission, and we’ll see what
happens.

Trent: This is kind of a piggyback on my question about the business
model. I have a lot of people in my audience who are marketing
consultants, run a marketing agency, or a small business of some
kind, that it may not have occurred to them that they should
have a podcast. Do you think they should?

Sean: I guess it just depends. For me, it’s so easy to generate this
kind of content. I can do two episodes or three episodes a week
in a couple hours a week. Trent, this conversation we’re having
is not like work, if you will. It’s not like traditional work?
For me, this is educational for me to do podcasts. When I
interview these people and they’re sharing with me how they
built their entire business, and their exact model, and what led
to this major increase here, and this and that, I’m getting like
a free education from somebody who has been there and done that,
and at the same time, I’m taking that content and using it for
the podcast.

For me, it’s easy, so if you have the time, and the energy, and
access, or have places you can find people to interview, to
feature, if you want to do interviews, I would say absolutely. I
don’t see any reason why not.

I think iTunes features just about every new podcast that comes
out in new and noteworthy. You got there. I got there. That just
exposes you to an audience that you don’t have currently. I
think with a simple game plan, you can do it, and build a good
audience. I think the audience always equates to value, so
there’s nothing wrong with building an audience. You’re
basically just building your own personal value further, so I
would say yeah. I don’t see any reason why not.

Trent: It really doesn’t take a whole lot of time to do these
interviews, folks. If you think that there’s like a ton of prep
work… I’m going to go on record here. Sean, do you know how
much prep I did for this interview? Zero.

Sean: I can tell from your questions, zero. No, I’m kidding.

Trent: Normally, I do actually put about a half hour into prep, but as
I mentioned to you off-air, my wife and I are moving at the end
of this week up to Boise, and I’ve had no time. I am so far
behind between packing boxes…

Sean: You don’t even need to. That’s the thing, though. We chatted
for 10, 15 minutes. You probably had everything you needed to
know, and we got rolling, and here we are. It’s not difficult.

Trent: Yeah, I agree. Where do you find your guests?

Sean: That’s a good question. A couple of different places, but I’m
in a couple entrepreneur groups on Facebook that are private
groups, so originally I reached out to those guys. I offered
just to interview any of them because everybody in that group is
an entrepreneur. There are 200 guys I’m in this group with, and
everybody in there is an entrepreneur. Most of them have mid-six
figure to mid-seven figure businesses, and some even eight- and
nine-figure businesses. I got about a dozen interviews out of
those guys.

Then that led here, and there, and there, and then I reached
back out to everybody and said, “Hey, I’m looking for new
guests. If you know, great.” Then I have another friend who runs
a big female entrepreneur association. I had her reach out and
got about 10 different females to interview from that.

I just went to where they hung out, and relied on some friends,
or relied on the audience, I guess, just to help me kind of
source that. For me, it’s pretty easy. I can probably just go to
Inc., Fast Company, or Forbes. I haven’t done this yet because I
haven’t needed to, but I could just dig through their issues
online or in print, and find great people. People’s success
stories are…

Trent: Everywhere.

Sean: Exactly.

Trent: There are not too many people who are successful who don’t want
to talk about it.

Sean: Exactly. These guests, people are always like, “I can’t believe
they revealed this information to you,” and this and that. I’m
going through it, I guess, myself right now, and no one ever
takes the time to care how you got to where you got. When you
take an interest in somebody, you want to know their story. It’s
just unbelievable to me the amount that they vomit out.

Trent: It is the best free education going. A case in point about how
easy it is to get guests. Had you heard of me before I sent you
a tweet?

Sean: No, I hadn’t.

Trent: There you go. I got 140 characters to get Sean on the show, and
I suckered him into it.

Sean: You did a good job. It’s been interesting. I’ve been so behind
the scenes for so long that since I started this podcast, I’ve
been getting three or four a week, and I just thought well,
screw it. I’m just going to use that time to make some new
friends and spread the word a little bit further.

Trent: Absolutely.

Sean: Anybody listening could probably shoot me a message. You have
three listeners that will probably jump on to it.

Trent: All right. Did you talk about geotargeting in the Facebook
thing we just talked about?

Sean: Yeah.

Trent: You did? All right, so we talked about monetizing it, we talked
about how you promoted it to your list. Here’s my show prep for
you. Is there anything that I missed with respect to how you
promoted your podcast to get to where you’re at?

Sean: Probably. There’s probably stuff I’ve forgotten. Can I point
people to that post I wrote?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: Is that lame to do with your audience, or your show?

Trent: No. Hijack away, man.

Sean: I just wrote a post where I sat down one night and I knew it
would get my friends interested, and my community more
interested in it, so I wrote a post where I just revealed
everything. If you go to TheMoneyPillow.com it’s there. I think
I’m going to continue doing that. I would recommend Trent, or
even listeners, doing the same. People are really excited about
the transparency and love it, and as long as this thing
continues to succeed, I’ll do it.

Trent: Yeah, I think it’s a great idea, and it’s something that I
think I’ve mentioned in past episodes. My wife, she’s an
entrepreneur as well, and we’ve decided to start the Bright
Ideas Agency, and she’s going to run it, not me. I’m kind of in
the advisory capacity. We’re going to have an online dialogue,
it’s going to be on the blog, and we’re going to write about
stuff that we’re doing to get customers, and stuff we’re doing
to use marketing automation, and all sorts of stuff. I think
that people love to have the ability to look over someone’s
shoulder who has either had the courage to forge ahead and do
something they haven’t done yet, or maybe do something that
they’ve already done. Doing it again, but for the person looking
over their shoulder, it’s a huge value to be able to do that.

Sean: Huge. Yeah, I’ve gotten so much good feedback. Then what ended
up happening, too, is I got a lot of really important
podcasters, like Libsyn, the hosting company, and a couple other
people just shared that blog post, which drove a bunch of new
traffic. Well, not a bunch, but probably 500 to 1,000 hits to my
site. Not that much. Probably 300 to 500, but I got a bunch of
email and comments that I had never seen before, so I’m going to
keep it going. I’m going to keep just being transparent and
sharing that stuff. Like I said, as long as it’s successful. If
it starts failing, I don’t want to admit that I’ve failed.

Trent: That is the double-edged sword of all that transparency.

Sean: I’m kidding. I will, and I’ll probably have all kinds of great
excuses as to why it happened.

Trent: Oh, of course. My computer broke down. My dog ate my homework,
and stuff like that, yeah. Off the podcast. On to what I talked
about in the beginning. I promised that I would ask you about
the team. Of course, I’m very selfishly interested in this as
well. I have a team, but I want to know what does your team look
like? How many people are on it? Are they full time? Are they
all overseas contractors? Can you walk us through it?

Sean: How it looks now, and it was completely different six months
ago, or not completely, but for the most part… Forever, I had
a virtual team. When I lived in Columbus, for a couple of years
we had an office with people and then we moved to virtual, so
for two years I ran it with a team out of Kentucky of six that
did everything from graphics to copywriting to shopping cart
integrations. They did everything you can think of. Literally
everything, and there wasn’t anything they didn’t know. If they
didn’t know it, they’d learn it, and they were really good.

Trent: Were these full-time people, or were they independent
contractors?

Sean: Everybody I have is independent contractors. Now I have some
employees, but at that point everybody I had was independent
contractors. I had a team of six in Kentucky who did a lot of
stuff, and I’d say out of that six, two worked for me pretty
much full time and four were part time. What I mean by that is
one guy did graphics for 10 to 15 hours a week. Somebody else
did transcription and audio/video stuff for another 10 or 15
hours, etc.

I have a part-time person who has been with me pretty much since
day one. My very first employee, or contractor, and she is in
New York. She does all of our customer support and a lot of kind
of general admin and assistant-type stuff. I have a bookkeeper
that lives in Iowa, and she’s the bookkeeper, but also just does
all of our finances, manages everything.

Trent: I’m sorry. Is she looking for clients? I need a bookkeeper.

Sean: Do you? I might be able to refer you.

Trent: Please do.

Sean: I’d be happy to.

Trent: Thank you.

Sean: We’ll talk off-air about that, but yeah, I would be happy to.
She does everything for me, and then also does a bunch of other
stuff within the business as well. General kind of assistant or
admin stuff as well. Then, outside of that, probably a dozen
contractors that I call on multiple times a year for different
projects. That was it.

Then recently, as I started to get busy again at the end of May,
I got kind of frustrated with some delays that were going on
between customer support, or design, or this or that. The other
thing was I’m in California now and after 2:00 pm, I couldn’t
contact my team on the East Coast, in Kentucky, or in Eastern
Standard Times. That was really frustrating because I would surf
until 11:00 and then get out of the water, have some lunch, and
then I’d have about an hour where I could communicate with them.
An hour or two after I got to work I couldn’t call them anymore,
so I was like this sucks.

Then I started noticing some things. I think I was delegating
too much to them and things were starting to fall by the wayside
here and there. Ninety percent of it got done, and got done
brilliantly, but there was this 10% here or there that just
bothered me. I would be the one clogging the chain, and then
they were so busy they wouldn’t follow up with me on it. They’d
send me an email about something, and I’d never respond. I’d
looked at it and then forgot to mark it as unread, and I had
forgotten about it. A month later I’d be like, “Hey, whatever
happened to this or that?” and they’d be like, “Oh, well we
emailed you and you never responded.” I’m like, “In the past you
would follow up the next day, or the next day, and the next day.
‘Hey, what’s up?'” and they got so busy you stopped doing it.

I got kind of frustrated and said, “I’m going to hire a local
team and I’m going to put a giant white board on the wall where
I can write all these things down and hold them accountable.”
That’s essentially what I did. It’s worked out brilliantly
because, having the same people… I haven’t had this in so
long, where people are in the same room. The customer service
person can complain to the tech guy about a technical issue and
in 10 minutes he can fix something that’s been a frustration for
two years for our customer support staff. It’s been great having
some synergy with the same people in the room.

I think I’ve cut that portion of the employment cost in half,
and I’m probably getting twice the production out of them. I’ve
got people that are more… Literally, the developer and the IT
guy I have are probably five times as skilled as anybody I’ve
ever worked with.

Trent: Oh, that’s nice. Can I give you an idea that I discovered a few
years ago for, I call it, my task management dashboard?

Sean: Sure.

Trent: Everyone I explain this to freaks out, so I’m going to share it
with you because hopefully it will be useful to you. I have a
Google doc I’ve had for years, so it’s shared. Obviously anyone
who is working for me anywhere in the world… I do this for my
wife as well because she runs the business with me. Things fall
through the crack in email. It’s hopeless. It’s color coded, so
every column is…

Like for me, I have episodes. All my shows. Each show is one
column, and then, in the rows on the left are all of the tasks
involved with pre-production, post-production, promotion, blah,
blah, blah, that we have to do over and over with each episode.
Then, it’s divided into whose section, so I’m like the top two
rows, which is like “record episode,” and then my wife has some
stuff, and then our overseas VA has some stuff.

It’s all color coded. Blue square means “hey, there’s a new
thing you’ve got to do.” Yellow means it’s in progress. Red
means there’s a problem, and green means it’s done. Any person
who has access to that visual dashboard can instantly see the
status of kind of everything because the colors really stand
out.

Sean: Wow. That is pretty trippy. You have that in a Google doc, you
said?

Trent: Yeah. Just put it in a Google doc and then what you can do is
get your people to subscribe for updates, so my VA, every time I
do anything, Google doc sends her an email saying something
changed. All she has to do is log on and look for more blue
squares for her because that means more new tasks. Then, I can
see how burdened she is or isn’t by the number of blue squares
relative to the number of green squares, which are tasks that
are done.

If there’s a problem, she changes it to red and puts in the
comments of the cell whatever the issue is, and then I can go
and solve it and change it back to blue or yellow again.

Sean: Did you say it has… Like when you change the doc, it sends an
email notification automatically?

Trent: Yeah, it does. It’s just a built-in notification system that
Google offers.

Sean: Is that something you have to select?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: We have a bunch of docs that we share, and I never get any
notifications.

Trent: It’s called “subscribe to changes.”

Sean: Oh, is that in there? Very cool. Yeah, that’s pretty smart. I
like that. It’s very sharp.

Trent: Yeah, because a white board is only good if you’re in the room,
right? This is kind of my digital task management dashboard.

Sean: Exactly, yeah. I love it. You know what you ought to do? You
ought to share that doc with your listeners, or share a dummy
doc.

Trent: I have.

Sean: Oh, you have?

Trent: I will do it again in the show notes for this episode, so if
you’re listening to this… What is the URL for this show going
to be? Give me half a second here, and I’ll tell you what number
it is. It’s going to be BrightIdeas.co slash something, and I’ve
just got to see what number I’m on. I’ll put it at the end of
the show as well, but just in case you’re listening right now,
which you are. Nothing like babbling while you’re interviewing.
I’m going to make this one number 71, so BrightIdeas.co/71, and
that will take you directly to the post. In that, I will put a
link to a screenshot of what I’ve just described.

Sean: Awesome.

Trent: I’ve got to make a note to myself. Link’s mentioned, so…

Sean: Yeah, that’s really smart. I did not know about that subscribe
to changes deal, and I can see how that could be powerful.

Trent: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. When the email goes out, it doesn’t say
what the changes are, it just says something… Or does it? I
can’t remember because I barely ever look at it because I’m not
the one receiving the emails. I’m the one that’s making the
changes that cause the emails to go out.

Sean: Got it.

Trent: The great thing is, do you know how much that costs to do?
Nothing. Thanks, Google.

Sean: Yeah, I love Google docs. Absolutely love it.

Trent: Back to the team. Where do you find the people that work for
you? Are you doing what everyone else does? You go and put a job
description, and you’re like super descriptive in what you want,
and you put it on oDesk, or Freelancer, or wherever, or are you
doing something that’s different than that?

Sean: For the virtual people, I just literally relied on referrals
for people that I had, friends that I had in the business
industry. Actually, the guy that ended up eventually creating
the team that I hired was somebody I’d met in a forum somewhere,
and he was just answering really smart responses to everything,
questions that I had, and other people. Then at one point, he
offered some services, and I hired him. He ended up becoming a
mentor for many years. I think I outgrew him as a mentor. That’s
the wrong choice of words, but I got to a level where that
portion wasn’t as valuable, but he always was just a sound guy,
and good advice.

Anyway, I found him through that forum. Everybody else was
mainly through referrals from friends. I would reach out and
say, “Hey, do you know somebody who can do this or that?” and
they’d refer them.

For the local people that I hired, I ran ads on Craigslist and
had a bitch of a time, excuse my language if there are kids
around, had a hard time getting people to even respond to my ad.
Santa Barbara has about a couple hundred thousand people in the
greater area, and when I ran the ad for a customer service
person, I had 50 responses in two days, and I had to take it
down. It was overwhelming. When I started running developer, and
IT, just specific niche job types of ads, I was getting two or
three responses a month. It started making me really nervous.

Then one day I went to run another ad because I’d gotten three
responses in a month, and none of them panned out. I went to the
section that I was going to be running the ad in, and I looked
at it, and I noticed all the ads looked exactly the same, so in
other words, they were like “web developer for tech company,” or
“front-end developer for whatever,” and blah, blah, blah.

I was like, “God, this is a good opportunity,” so I wrote an ad,
and the subject line of the ad was “Do You Build Great Shit?” In
parentheses, I put “WordPress, PHP, HTML, JAVA, etc.,” or
something like that, so that they knew when they saw “do you
build blah, blah, blah,” the stuff that was in parentheses was
the coding languages that they know.

The ad basically just said something along the lines of if you
build great shit, we want you. I think in my ad copy I wrote, “I
can write this whole long description of what we want, but
basically, we need you to be proficient in WordPress, this, and
that, and the other. We’re a four-year-old company. We do seven
figures in revenue. We’ve had a virtual staff forever. We’re
looking to hire on a local team. This is not a nine-to-five job.
We really are just focused on results. You can come and go as
you want as long as you’re getting the job done and keeping us
happy. If you want to work for a fun, cool company, and build
some great stuff together, hit reply.” That got 30 responses, I
think, in a week.

Trent: Nice.

Sean: Yeah, and I found the most amazing guy from that. What ended up
being the funniest thing, Trent, was I already actually knew
him. He was a good friend of mine’s brother, so I didn’t know
that. When he responded, I’m like, “Oh, my God, I know this
guy,” but he saw the ad and didn’t realize it was me posting it.

Trent: What kind of money are you paying for local talent to do
technical work like that?

Sean: He does development work, so he’s $5,000 a month. He’s worth
every penny. A lot of the activities I put him on generate
revenue, and he’s already done a couple things that are
generating more than his salary on autopilot basis by fixing
things and creating some good stuff.

Trent: Very nice. What advice would you give to somebody… I know
there are lots of people that are listening to this show that
are what I call a solo entrepreneur. They go get a client, then
they get immersed in fulfillment of the services that they’re
going to deliver to that client, then they get bogged down in
the bookkeeping because you’ve got to have bookkeeping, and
then, then, then, and then the job’s done, and they’re like,
“Oh, crap, I need another client,” and the cycle starts all over
again. Not a good hamster wheel to be on.

The reason they’re on it, it’s not like they’ve never heard of
this idea of outsourcing or building a team. I think, if I had
to guess, because I used to be that guy like over a decade ago
when I started my first business, you’re limited by this either
perceived or reality of constrained cash flow. “Oh, I can’t
afford it” is generally what the objection is. What advice would
you give to that person? Let’s just say that they’re generating,
I don’t know, $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 a year in billings for
their one-person shop.

Sean: What advice would I give them based on…

Trent: To build a team, yeah.

Sean: Yeah. There are three options, if you will. Number one, you can
keep doing what you’re doing and just hustle your ass off.
Sometimes it’s what you have to do because that’s the only way
you know out, and if that’s all you can do, that’s all you can
do. You can generally make that work. It’s just a pain in the
ass, and then there’s an opportunity cost from all the time and
energy that you’re spending on that, and then all the mental
energy that you’re expending on that as opposed to revenue-
generating tasks.

Two is you can hire somebody cheap. When I first started, I ran
an ad. It’s a long story, but the person I ended up hiring, I
said, “I can’t pay you what you’re worth. I know you’re worth
more. I just don’t make enough now to pay you. If you’re willing
to come on now and work for less, I’ll take care of you later.”
She said, “I like you a lot, and I’d love to work for you even
it’s for less than what I’m worth. That’s fine.”

The reality is she still works for me to this day, four years
later, and she made my life so much easier so that I could start
focusing on growth and growth-producing tasks as opposed to
those kinds of tasks. To this day, she’s still with me, and she
probably makes three times what she’s worth now. I don’t mind
paying her because she’s incredibly loyal. I can call her at
midnight if I have a crisis. She’ll answer the phone and she’ll
help me out. I don’t do that, but she’s just an amazing person.
I overpay her now, but for years, I underpaid her, so I have no
issue with that.

People that are loyal, I don’t mind taking care of them. It’s
not that I overpay her. She works for what she earns, but I
could probably get somebody for half of what I pay her to do the
same work, but I don’t because she’s been incredibly loyal to me
and made some sacrifices to work for me early on, so I view it
as a good exchange.

Trent: Just in the interest of transparency because I’ve been a CEO
and had a staff and so forth, too, so for the folks to
understand this, it’s not that Sean’s super-duper altruistic.
It’s also there’s a massive pain to changing from someone who is
really good at what they do, and you have a relationship with,
and you know that when you assign them something it gets done to
trying to find someone who can do most of the stuff, and they
can do it, I can pay them half, blah, blah, blah. It sucks.

Sean: You never know what you’re going to get, too. You hire somebody
new and six months later they’re gone, and you have to do the
whole cycle over again, so there is a huge pain.

For me, this type of position that she does is fairly simple
stuff. I could, without much pain, replace her, but I never
would because she was so loyal to me early on, and amazing. My
thing now is I probably need to dedicate some time into getting
her to do some other things outside of what she’s doing because
she’s making more than she should, but in the meantime, I don’t
mind paying her what she gets for that reason.

That was the first two. You can do it yourself. You can pay
somebody. Offer to pay them cheap, and you’d be surprised, if
people like you, that they’ll do it.

The third thing is you can get somebody to do it for free. There
are interns that can do it. Interns are good, but you have that
pain point of losing them after a certain period of time, but if
the tasks are not that challenging, you can have an intern do
it. Or, some sort of trade or exchange with somebody else.

Right now, for example, I have somebody that is like begging me
to do coaching with them, and I just don’t like doing consulting
or coaching-type work because I feel like I’m obligated and
blah, blah, blah, but she’s been a great customer. She’s been a
good friend in social media, and all this stuff.

I said, “Look, I’ll give you a 20-minute call on me. I’ve
appreciated all your support over the years, but that’s really
all I’ve got.” We start talking, she shared with me her whole
story, and it kind of pulled on some heartstrings. She had some
hardships. I realized I was in a position to kind of help her,
and I think I really, truly can change her life with some of the
direction that I’ll give her on what to do with her business
now.

I said, “I do need somebody to work on TheMoneyPillow.com and
format all this… The website right now, in its form, sucks. It
could be a whole lot better because I don’t have the time and
energy, and I haven’t found somebody to hire to do that, but if
you want to do it, I’ll do it, and I’ll give you a half hour
coaching a month, and we can talk here and there, back and
forth.” She’s just like, “I’d love to.” She’s doing it for me
for free and I’m giving her some value and exchanging some
advice or knowledge with her.

What I told her was, too, I said, “If you want to do this for
free, I’ll be happy to coach you and then, after 60 or 90 days,
if the podcasts are generating revenue, and you want to continue
to do it, I’ll be happy to pay you X amount of dollars to
continue doing it, but I won’t be coaching you at that point. I
don’t want to coach you beyond that point regardless.” She’s
just like, “Awesome. I’d love to do it as long as this isn’t
anything crazy, I’d love to do it, and get paid to do it in the
future,” so I’ll probably start paying her. She’s doing an
amazing job, and she’s going above and beyond, in the first few
days of working on it, beyond my expectations.

Those kind of exchanges work really well, and they work well for
me. I don’t want to throw $1,000 to $1,500 a month at somebody
to publish the podcasts and do all this stuff on there. I’m not
doing all the video editing, and the audio editing, and all that
stuff now. I’m not taking the blog content and really filling it
out to the level it should be, so she’s willing to do it for
free, and I’m going to give her a half hour a month of my time,
probably an hour in total, I would assume, which is no big deal
because I like helping people. I just hate feeling obligated to
do it.

Trent: Is she doing the post-production editing and the video editing
for you?

Sean: No, I’ve got somebody else doing that. A guy that kind of owes
me some favors, if you will, so he’s been doing that for awhile,
and he’s happy to do it. We’ll end up working on some projects
in the future together, and he knows that, so he’s doing that.
What I’m going to do is the first 30 days she’s doing all of the
on-the-page content, and the second 30 days I’m going to have
him teach her how to do the actual audio and video editing.

Trent: That’s a fantastic idea. If there’s anybody listening to this
episode right now, I am looking for someone to do my post-
production and some of the website work as well. If you are
interested in being coached by me, get a hold of me.
Trent@BrightIdeas.co and we’ll make a similar trade.

Sean: Awesome.

Trent: All right.

Sean: Somebody should respond to that, man, because to be able to
work directly with you has a huge value. The person that’s doing
this stuff for me now, I asked her today how it was going, and
she said she’s loving it. She said she never anticipated
enjoying the work, and for her, listening to all the interviews,
and going through all the content has been extremely educational
and fun for her, so she’s just like, “I’m actually loving it.”

Trent: No kidding. That’s kind of another good point. Just the mere
fact that you would have to listen to all the episodes is like
an advanced marketing degree through your ear buds.

Sean: It is, right?

Trent: It’s not like it’s all my great ideas. I’ve had some pretty
darn smart entrepreneurs on this show who are killing it, and
I’m good at getting them to explain step by step exactly what
they’re doing to get that result. Maybe I should take my own
advice and just listen to more of my own episodes.

It’s funny. I actually did re-listen to one of my own episodes.
As people who listen to my show regularly know, we’re launching
this agency for my wife, and I had interviewed a couple people
who are really doing well with their agencies, so I went and re-
listened to my own interviews. I was there the first time
around, but you can’t take as good notes when you’re the host of
the show as you can when you’re just sitting in a chair with
your ear buds.

Sean: Yeah, it’s a different experience listening to it after you’ve
done it, isn’t it?

Trent: Yeah, it is, very much so. Out of my own episode, I did this
one with Graig Presti, I think I got a solid page of notes of
action items that were built into our launch plan, and it was
really good.

Sean: That’s awesome. Yeah, I do the same. I go back and listen to
every episode mainly just because I want the extra download to
my numbers.

Trent: I don’t believe you.

Sean: Yeah, I’m kidding. I find it educational, man. I do. There’s
always stuff when we do the interviews. For example, you’re
interviewing me and there’s probably been a moment or two where
you kind of drift off in La-La Land in your head because you’re
thinking about something I said, so it’s been a lot like
watching a movie twice, or reading a book a second time for me
to go back and listen to it. I’ve heard things that I must have
just unconsciously just blacked out in thought.

Trent: Yeah, that’s true, because a lot of times when you’re talking,
I’m either writing something down, I should video this one day
so people can see what I’m doing, or I’m looking at the next
question, or I’m thinking about where I want to take the
interview. Sometimes I’m going, “Holy crap, what’s the next
question I’m supposed to ask? I don’t have one written down.”

Sean: The other thing is, too, I’ve noticed a lot of things that have
helped me improve my podcast, Trent, and it’s like geez, dude,
just shut up and let your guest talk. It’s just like when I hear
myself, I’m like, “All right. Next time I’m not going to do
that.”

Trent: Yeah. I am guilty of that, absolutely. I think I’m getting
better. Hopefully some people who are listening to this show are
laughing their butts off now because they’re like, “Yeah, Trent,
you’re on drugs. You’re not getting any better.”

Sean: Oh, that’s great.

Trent: With that said, another question coming your way. How are you
doing for time, by the way?

Sean: I’m good.

Trent: I had mentioned at the beginning of this episode I wanted to
cover three broad topics. The first one was how you launched
your podcast and got so much traction. The second one was
talking about the team. Then, I want to talk more about this
publishing business that you run because I’m super interested in
that business. It’s something that I probably could, or maybe
even should, be doing as well.

Take two minutes and just kind of give us the quick overview of
what the business is, and then I’ve got my first couple of
questions kind of tucked away in my mind that I want to ask you,
but I want people to have context for what those questions are.

Sean: Sure. I have an online, or digital, publishing company, and we
take digital trainings and sell them. I don’t do any of the
content myself. There’s a little bit here and there I do, but
I’m not like the face or the name or anything behind it. What I
focus on is just finding other experts who are really good with
a certain topic or niche, but don’t have the audience that we
have, so we then take them, publish them, take their content,
package it up in a sexy package, and then sell it. They bring
the content, we bring everything they need. Our deals are they
have to be available for some promotional-type stuff here and
there. That, provide the content, and provide updates to the
content should things change, and then we handle all the rest.

Trent: It’s digital publishing promotion at its finest.

Sean: Exactly. It’s pretty much the same as a book publishing company
publishing somebody’s content just from a book perspective.

Trent: Only probably more profitable.

Sean: You got it.

Trent: Let’s go back to the very beginning when this business had not
done its first dollar of revenue. I didn’t know you back then,
so correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m assuming that nobody
knew who you were. What did you do before this? I guess I should
ask that question.

Sean: I had owned a real estate company. I had a brokerage, an
investment firm. That company, I was in charge of all the
marketing, and managed all the agents as well.

Trent: By chance, was your very first product of this digital
publishing company a real estate training product?

Sean: No, but when I sold that business I thought that’s what I would
do. Just as a little side project, I started blogging about
Twitter. This was in 2008, and I got a website. It’s now defunct
and you won’t find it, but it was MyTwitterExperiment.com.

I just wrote every day for 30 minutes. I’d spend 20 to 30
minutes writing a blog post about things I’d learned that day
with Twitter. I was really into Twitter, so I just though,
“Well, I’ll just write about Twitter, and do this for a couple
of months, and just see what happens. It will be fun, and it
will get my creative juices flowing,” so that’s literally what I
did.

By the end of 30 days, it like really picked up. It was getting
tons of re-tweets on each post. People all of a sudden started
seeing me as an authority. I was getting over 1,000 visits a day
within a month to that website.

Trent: That’s crazy.

Sean: It is crazy, but if you think about it, I was on Twitter
building a huge audience on Twitter, and then writing about
Twitter and how I was building a huge audience on Twitter. It
really was just something that was really easy for them to
share, and at the time, nobody was doing it. Now, everything has
changed, and it’s not as easy as it was back then.

Anyway, that’s what I did and I just took off, so I thought,
“Wow, I should probably create a opt-in so that people can join
a mailing list.” I knew, with real estate, we had a big annual
list of people that were interested in buying or selling
properties. I knew kind of the value in that, so I thought,
“Well, I know there are some different products I can market
that I’ve been touting on the blog and earn affiliate
commissions.” That’s what I started doing, collecting an email
list, was getting an insane amount of opt-ins every day.

By month three, I think I started monetizing it. My first
attempts at monetizing were just sending out offers to products
and services that I used. They could be software, they could be
all different kinds of things, and I was getting, I think, the
first month or two like $1,000 or $2,000, so three months in I
was earning $1,000 to$2,000 a month by sending out a few emails
a month, and then putting a few in the auto-responders.

Then, I wrote a book on Twitter, about 120-page book, started
selling that, and by month three to six, I was probably earning
$3,000 to $4,000 a month in book sales and affiliate promotions,
and it was going up by a hair every month.

Then I met a business partner that I had at the time, Lewis
Howes. I don’t know if you know him, but he was doing the same
thing with LinkedIn. I said, “Dude, my audience can really use
what you’ve got, and your audience can use what I’ve got. We
should partner up and do some stuff,” and we did. That was kind
of the beginning of everything.

Trent: His course was the first product that your publishing company
brought to market?

Sean: Well, we were business partners for a long time and originally
we created some trainings together, and then we did the LinkedIn
training because it was just this simple little training. We
were selling mainly higher-end products like $500 to $1,000, and
sometimes $2,000.

Trent: People were paying $2,000 to get a LinkedIn course?

Sean: No, it was like a six-week live training, and a bunch of other
things, so they were paying that. They were getting consulting,
and some done-for-you-type stuff, and this, and a lot of stuff,
actually, for the money. We had a whole segment of our audience
that couldn’t afford all that, so we said let’s create this $100
LinkedIn training and we started selling that.

As soon as we did that, I realized there was some really good
revenue coming in from that, and I said, “We should publish one
on YouTube.” I had used YouTube a lot with my real estate
business and had tremendous success with it. I was getting,
literally, like five buyer leads a day from YouTube. If you’re a
realtor listening to this, you’re going to probably think I’m
full of shit, but our videos averaged about 5,000 views a video
because we did some pretty smart stuff with SEO for real estate.
It was really easy to get a property video up to the front of
Google at the time. Anyway, so it just crushed it.

I came up with an idea late one night, and I talked to my
business partner about it at the time. He was just like, “Maybe
we should find somebody else to produce it who is really kind of
an active expert in the field. Let them do all the content and
we’ll just focus on selling it.” I’m like, “Yeah, that’s a good
call.” We both knew James Wedmore. We reached out to him. He was
really receptive and open to do it, so that was our next
product.

As soon as we inked that deal, I said, “Well, why don’t we do
Facebook as well if we’re going to do this and that?” We reached
out to Amy Porterfield that same week and got a commitment from
her to do FB Influence. That was how it all really began.

It was just this funny thing where we created this $100 product
and we did a product launch behind it and anticipated the sales
kind of dying down, and they ended up generating $300 to $400 a
day in revenue. I just thought, “Wow, if we had 10 to 20 legs,
different products generating this kind of revenue, that could
be great.” That was kind of the beginning of it.

Trent: I’m going to guess you’re probably familiar with
EarlyToRise.com?

Sean: Did you say Early To Rise?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: Yeah.

Trent: They’re doing $20 million a year in information products from
what I have heard. Obviously I’ve never seen their books. Would
you say that your model is similar? Exactly the same?

Sean: Yeah, it’s similar. We’re not doing that kind of revenue.

Trent: Where I’m going with this is they obviously…

Sean: Oh, this is Craig Valentine, yeah. Here are two things. This
space is fitness. If they’re doing $20 million in revenue,
they’re probably keeping about a million of that. This is a
ClickBank product. I’m just kind of giving you some insight. I
would rather have my business at one-tenth of the revenue and
probably similar profits.

Their business model, they have to give away the majority of
their profit. Actually, I shouldn’t be saying any of this. Never
mind. I won’t even go there. It’s just a high revenue, low
margin business. Craig’s a genius and he’s got this thing fully
automated, I think, for the most part.

Anyway, nothing bad to say about those guys. I don’t mean it
like that, but it’s just I chose to grow my business in a
different way. For me, I would rather have a smaller business
where I get to keep the majority of it versus… I have a friend
that has a company with 1,500 employees. Literally, he started
nine years ago, and now has 1,500 employees, and the revenue
they do is astronomical, but his salary, I think, is close to $2
million a year, and I think I can get there with 10 employees.

Trent: Yeah, I wouldn’t want 1,500.

Sean: Can you imagine?

Trent: Can I imagine…

Sean: Managing 1,500 people?

Trent: Well, no, because you’d manage five people that would manage
1,500 people, would be my guess.

Sean: Yeah, but, you still have… Anyway, go ahead. Sorry to derail
that.

Trent: You damn hijacker, you. The reason I brought ETR up was because
my understanding from the interview that I listened to with CEO,
they’re driving paid traffic into the funnel and they convert it
profitably. I was using that as a segue to ask how are you
driving traffic to your various legs on this e-publishing
company? For you, it’s not one site. It’s a whole bunch of
different sites for the different products. How many products is
interesting to me, and you can throw that number out if you want
to, but what I’m really interested in is have you managed to use
paid media to evergreen the funnel profitably?

Sean: I don’t know if this was while we were on the air or off the
air, but remember when we talked, I was telling you how I was
just sitting in the water waiting for waves and thinking how I
had a lot of holes in my business? That’s one of them. The paid
traffic. We don’t do any paid traffic. All of our sales, and I’m
just looking right now to see if there’s any truth in what I’m
about to say, we do about, outside of promotional periods and
everything, probably in the ball park of $3,000 to $4,000 a day
in revenue, all from referral, word of mouth, repeat customers,
affiliate traffic, you name it. It just comes from everything,
so paid traffic is a big opportunity for us.

One of the problems we have with doing paid traffic is we’ve
never sold our products as this will make you rich. That’s the
kind of stuff that sells really well, and converts really well,
but we didn’t want to go that route. We’re not trying to make
anybody rich. We’re just trying to educate you. It’s a challenge
to pay for traffic and get it to convert when you’re not making
all these great and grand promises that send people over the
edge to buy.

That’s the deal. We are now getting into that, and we’ve done a
lot of paid stuff in the past, but we never stuck with anything
for one reason or another. That is a big focus for me.

In May, we started implementing… I needed to work on upsells
and a funnel after people purchased, offering them additional
things should they need it. We’ve got that dialed in at about 90
days that the revenues on the front-end sale are up about 80%.
If somebody pays me $100, the average customer is now paying
$180 within two weeks of buying our products.

Trent: That’s good.

Sean: Yeah, so I wanted to work on that prior to spending money, so
that if I now have to spend $150 to earn $100 back on day one, I
know that by day 14, I’ll generate $180 in theory. It could be
more, it could be less, because the traffic’s a little bit
different, but that’s the idea.

Trent: You’re working on it?

Sean: We just now, literally like the last couple weeks, started
running some small samples, but that, to me, is a way that I can
increase our revenues that we’re not currently doing.

Trent: Are you using Infusionsoft on the backend of your business, or
businesses?

Sean: Yeah, Infusionsoft is one of the tools we use. We use that and
then, also, we do a lot of stuff with ClickBank.

Trent: You’re not using the Infusionsoft shopping cart. You use
ClickBank for payment processing and affiliate?

Sean: We do. With the paid stuff, we’re using Infusion, and with a
lot of our in-house stuff we use Infusion, but probably 60% of
our business goes through ClickBank.

Trent: Not that I’m any ClickBank expert at all, but it seems to me
like their business has also gone through a huge change in the
last 12 to 18 months.

Sean: In what fashion?

Trent: A lot less biz-opp, IM products.

Sean: Oh, yeah. They’re kind of moving away from that, which is good
because there are a lot of great products on there, and they
have a certain stigma attached with it. I couldn’t care less
what else is on there. Ninety percent of my customers have no
idea what ClickBank even is.

For me, it just makes my life easy because I don’t have to worry
about tracking sales, paying affiliates, issuing W9s, collecting
W9s, running reports, blah, blah, blah. All I do is just get a
check, and they handle everything for me. I don’t have to worry
about taxes. I don’t have to worry about European VAT taxes. I
don’t have to worry about state taxes. I don’t have to worry
about all these random things that often in Infusion is not
automated or set up for you. If you are successful, you could
have a government agency knocking on your door saying you owe us
a lot of money and you’re going to jail for not paying your
taxes. I love ClickBank for just that alone.

Trent: That’s a good point. We’re going to nerd out here just for a
moment, but Infusionsoft users will be able to appreciate this.
When you’re using Infusionsoft shopping cart and a purchase
happens that’s a goal in a campaign, you can trigger all sorts
of events off the satisfaction of a goal. Can you plug into the
API at ClickBank to be able to accomplish more or less the same
thing? Do you know?

Sean: Yeah, you can. The only thing we literally use Infusionsoft
anymore for is the shopping cart purposes. We have shifted to
our own email software that’s housed on our servers. There’s a
whole long technical story to get into, but essentially our
emails were going into spam. When your emails get over a certain
size, they start getting looked at differently by Gmail, and
Hotmail, and all that stuff. If you’re not getting 50% open
rates, often times a lot of your email will end up in spam.

Again, it’s really technical. I don’t want to get into it, but
we have our own servers now, so we have the APIs from Infusion
and ClickBank tied into our servers so that when a purchase
happens, it goes into an auto-responder within our own email
provider on our servers.

Trent: You said you still are using Infusionsoft’s shopping cart?

Sean: To process stuff, and we’ll probably change that shortly
because it’s way too costly to be using just for a shopping
cart.

Trent: Yeah. I’m confused because ClickBank is the shopping cart, so
are you…

Sean: There are two reasons for that. ClickBank, at the end of the
day, if I’m selling something with myself, on $100 product, I
see about $88 of it, or on a $97 product, I see $88. With
Infusionsoft, on our merchant fees, on a $97 product, I’ll see
about $94. It gets deposited into my bank account two days
later. With ClickBank, I think we have it set up to be deposited
every two weeks. Sometimes if you’re spending $3,000, $5,000 or
$10,000 a day, it’s nice to have that right back so you can plow
it back into it and not have to wait two weeks.

Trent: Absolutely. Again, I’m just trying to understand. You’re using
Infusionsoft shopping cart to sell your own products…

Sean: Yeah, when we’re driving the sales.

Trent: When affiliates are driving the sales, then… Got it. Light
bulb just went off.

Sean: There are certain circumstances where if we have an affiliate
that will do 100, 200, 300 sales, we’ll run that through our
cart and then we pay the affiliate immediately. They love it
because they get paid right away. These are our friends, so it’s
just like hey, we don’t want to run it through here and lose 5%.
All of that ongoing business, or that daily business, the
referral and all that stuff, that’s all run through ClickBank.

Trent: Do you have someone on your team that’s tasked with reaching
out to promotional partners on a regular basis, affiliates, and
saying, “Hey, let’s do a webinar, let’s do a promotion, let’s do
this, that, and the other thing”?

Sean: We don’t. A lot of guys I know do. We just don’t have that. For
me, that’s not our business model. We do some product launches
here and there, but that’s an easy thing for me to communicate.
I just call people I know that will promote it to their friends,
and then send emails out to… I think we have close to 10,000
affiliates, so we’ll just shoot an email out to those affiliates
and say, “Hey, we have this coming up. Here are some details
about it. Get involved if you want.”

Trent: All right, my friend, we have been an hour and 15, and I’ve
got, in nine minutes, another call I’ve got to get on, so I just
ran out of time. Actually, if you include our off-air talk,
we’ve been talking for two hours straight.

Sean: Oh, my gosh, yeah. I’ve got to get to work. I’ve got an
interview this morning for my podcast. I’ve really not done much
today.

Trent: Well, you contributed a whole bunch onto the Bright Ideas
podcast.

Sean: It was an honor to be on again.

Trent: Yeah, dude, it was a lot of fun. I thank you very much for all
the chit-chat. We’ve just got a couple quick things we’ll cover
off-air once I hit the stop button here, so don’t hang up right
away. Thank you very much. If anyone wants to get a hold of you,
what is the best way to do that?

Sean: I’m on Twitter, so that’s @SeanMalarkey. You can go to the blog
if you want to leave a comment there or anything, I see all
that. On Facebook, I’m kind of at my friend max. If you want to
add me there, I’d be happy to have you, and I’ll remove somebody
that I don’t really know or don’t see active. Just shoot me a
message if you would even if it goes to the other box. I’m
getting in the habit of checking that now because a lot of
people have been reaching out, so that’s very cool. Any which
way you want. Just Google me, you’ll find me.

Trent: Well, I sent you a Facebook friend request way at the beginning
of this, so you better add me, man.

Sean: All right, I will. I think I have to remove one person, but
it’s not too difficult.

Trent: That’s going to be a wrap for this episode with Sean. Thank you
so much for being on the show.

Sean: Again, thanks for having me, man. It was a real honor.

Trent: All right, to get the show notes for today’s episode, head over
to BrightIdeas.co/71. Now, if you really enjoyed this episode,
I’ve got to ask you a little favor. Love it if you would go over
to BrightIdeas.co/love. When you do, you will find a pre-
populated tweet. Would love it if you would share that with your
followers. Even more than that, would love it if you would take
a moment to go over to iTunes and give the show a five star
rating. The more five star ratings we get, the better iTunes
ranks us. The better our ranking, the more people get to listen
to the show, and the more Bright Ideas from proven entrepreneurs
just like Sean we get to spread out in the community.

Thank you so much. That’s it for this episode. I am your host,
Trent Dyrsmid, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one.
Take care and have a wonderful day.

About Sean Malarkey

Sean_Malarkey_04Sean is the president of Inspired Marketing, a web based Internet Marketing Education company that helps clients achieve their goals online through digital trainings on all things Social Marketing & Online Marketing.

Sean is passionate about marketing and helping individuals better understand how to market themselves online using social media.

Sean is also the host of The Money Pillow, a blog and podcast dedicated to making money while you sleep (and play).

Join the Conversation

One of the things that I love most about hosting my podcast is participating in the conversations they provoke. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this: Question: What part of your business are you struggling with most? Please share your answer by clicking one of the social icons at the top or bottom of this post.

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

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How to Uncover Your Optimum Selling Strategy – Part 1

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oss

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When launching a company or a product, my goal is always to get the maximum traction possible in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes, I get better results than others, and because of that, I’m always on the lookout for methods that appear to be more effective than what I’m currently using.

It was with this desire in mind, that I started to read a book called Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat by Michael Masterson, and while I’ve not yet finished this wonderful book, I have already picked up some really fantastic ideas, the first of which is what Michael calls The Optimum Selling Strategy.

Introduction to The Optimum Selling Strategy

Michael believes that for every business at any given time, there is one best way to acquire new customers, and that this best way is the way the meets the company’s greatest current need. For a startup, the greatest need is almost always – or should be – generating positive cash flow.

Put simply, startups need to find the most effective way to generate positive cash flow NOW.

You need to prioritize your cash flow. (image source: www.123rf.com)

You need to prioritize your cash flow.
(image source: www.123rf.com)

The mistake that most entrepreneurs make when they are first starting out is that they are so totally jazzed with their product or service (their baby), that they don’t give adequate considering to feeding their baby – with cash flow. Oddly, this same thing can even happen to more experienced entrepreneurs like me! We often assume that one method of selling can be just as good as another.

According to Michael, we’re dead wrong.

How we sell our lead product – the specific decisions we make about presenting and pricing it – has a huge impact on whether or not we’ll be successful. If you find yourself thinking that your product is so totally awesome that it will sell itself, you’re in for a rude awakening, I can assure you.

Figuring out my OSS for the Bright Ideas Agency is something that I’m working on right now; and was my motivation for writing this post. I always think through things better when I write, so why not share my thoughts, ideas, and insights with you? Hopefully, some of you will add your own ideas down in the comments, and we’ll all benefit as a result.

How to Discover Your Optimum Selling Strategy

When you get this right, you are taking a huge step in the right direction. It will make everything else that much easier. Problems will be less of a hassle, obstacles will be easier to overcome, and objectives will be less difficult to attain. Why? Simple…customer acquisition will no longer be your biggest and most expensive problem. Woot!

There’s another benefit to knowing your OSS that you should be aware of, and that is this: when you truly understand the basics of how to sell to your marketplace, you will never fall victim to anyone else’s half-baked marketing strategies and idiotic sales programs. And, even when you hand over the reigns to your marketing and sales functions to someone else, you will be able to confidently lead them in the right direction as your company grows.

The Four Secrets of the OSS

When you are first starting out, there are plenty of tactics that you could employ to attract customers. Direct mail, PPC advertising, Email marketing, SEO, Blogging, Youtube, and Podcast, Radio, etc…

ossquote1As you are not likely an expert in all of these areas, you are going to very likely end up talking to people who are, and as a result, each of the experts you talk to is going to make a compelling case for why their particular method or medium is the best one for you to use.

To determine the optimum selling strategy for your business, you need to answer four questions that will have a significant impact and how quickly you generate positive cash flow – if at all!

Here are the four questions:

  • Where are you going to find your customers?
  • What product will you sell to them?
  • How much will you charge for it?
  • How will you convince them to buy it?

Answering these four questions is critical to discovering your OSS. To help you (and me) do that, let’s dive a little deeper into each one.

Where Are Your Customers?

Where do your customers spend time? Image credit:  123rf.com

Where do your customers spend time?
Image credit: 123rf.com

As I’m an online marketer, I tend to think about this in terms of where do they hang out online? Which blogs, forums, and communities do they enjoy? I also am starting to ask myself which magazines and trade journals they read because, most often, these companies will also maintain an email list. This is important because using “sponsored emails” is a going to be a part of my outreach strategy (which I will explain in future posts).

The trick here is that the answers may not be as easy as you’d think.

To give you an example of what I mean, I’m going to summarize the example that was used in Ready, Fire, Aim: let’s say you want to sell a new kind of golf ball. Where could you find your customers? The follow places might all work to reach them:

  • In the golf pro shop waiting in line to pay for stuff, so an ad near the cash register might work.
  • Advertising on the back page of a golf magazine might also work
  • A TV commercial that is run during tournaments might also work
  • Renting lists with names and addresses of amateur golfers might also work

As you can see, there are plenty of places where your customers could be reached, so what should you (and I) do?

The Best Strategy for Startups

Here’s my best advice for the lowest risk strategy: do what everyone else is doing. Why? Because if everyone else is doing it, it must work, right? Now, I’m not saying that you should do what everyone else is doing forever. There will be plenty of time to innovate and experiment later on, but for now, you need cash flow and want to avoid risk.

Finding the Best Locations

So, how do you locate the best places to find customers? Simple. Just pay attention to where your competition is advertising. Then, talk to people who are already selling to the same set of customers. Ask for the names of the people who are in charge of marketing and tell them you are a marketing student eager to learn what they do (this is true!) and ask for a 15 minute “informational interview”. Or, even better, ask them to be a guest on your podcast! (Why do you think I interview so many successful people on mine?)

Every industry also has its own trade association and these associations can be data gold mines. Contact them and tell them your plans for marketing your product. They will want to help you – just keep in mind that their advice will be a bit biased.

The goal with all this is to assemble a master list of media placements – a map of where all the marketing activity for your industry is happening. This map will reveal where your competitors advertise, how often they do it, and how much they are spending.

Short on cash? Not to worry! Doing research like this doesn’t cost anything more than your time.

When it comes to marketing, nothing is more important that where you buy your media. This is because it really doesn’t matter how well your sales copy is written if you are pitching the wrong audience. For example, if my ad offered 75% off Luis Vuitton bags, but I sent the offer to lumberjacks, I’m not likely to sell much, am I? Whereas, if my sales copy is just average, but I target my exact customers (and do it well), I’m going to see a LOT more sales come in the door.

What Product Do You Sell Them First?

We’ll discuss this in detail in the next post in this series, so stay tuned…or better yet, become a subscriber and you’ll never miss a thing!

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Get Traction With Your Audience with Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com

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andrew-warner-founder-mixergy

Are you having trouble keeping your customers and website visitors interested in your site?

Do you want to learn a content creation model that answers the questions of your site visitors and target customers?

To learn how to quickly turn your one time website visitors into your followers, I interview Andrew Warner.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

Turning One-time Visitors into Loyal Followers and Customers with Interviews

An Easy Content Creation System to Land Followers and Leads

People always want some form of content to satisfy their needs and curiosity about a particular topic. It is through the content that you provide that your audience engages your site, your products and your services.  It is content that turns your one-time visitors into loyal followers.

Content is key to loyal customers.Image source: 123rf.com

Content is key to loyal customers.
Image source: 123rf.com

Listen to the show to discover how Andrew approaches content creation for small business owners.

Andrew’s Top Email Registration Strategy

In order to have people see your content again and again, it’s super helpful if they give you their contact information so you can reach out to them. Andrew gets more than 100 new subscribers to his mailing list every day. He does this with one simple strategy.

Listen to the show to learn what this powerful strategy is and incorporate it in your site today.

Head Game: It Changes Everything

Sometimes, setbacks are going to challenge your business. There are times when they are minor and are easily manageable, then there are times when they are “end of the world” big.

Listen as Andrew describes how he manages the setbacks that he has experienced in the course of his business.

About Andrew

andrew-warner-founder-mixergyAndrew Warner is  only in his 20s, but he already has a big success under his belt – a $30 million internet business with his younger brother. He started out with online greeting cards and is now focusing on interviewing successful entrepreneurs on his Mixergy.com website.

He created Mixergy to help ambitious people who love business as much as he does.

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Hi, I’m Trent Dyrsmid, Founder of Dyrand Systems and BrightIdeas.co… Ask Me Anything

TrentCaricature

dyrand-bio-collage

I’ve spent the last 14 years of my life as an entrepreneur trying to create companies that help other businesses succeed. My first company was Dyrand Systems and it was recognized as a PROFIT 100 fastest growing company in Canada for two years in a row. My second company is BrightIdeas.co which provides software and training products for marketing agencies and consultants. My third company is….you guessed it…a marketing agency that will also run under the Bright Ideas brand.

Although I have failed plenty of times (you can hear some of my mistakes with Dyrand in this Mixergy interview), I’ve been fortunate enough to learn something from every one of my failures. For that reason, I want to do something different today, in which I want to share with you what I’ve learned over the years.

However, instead of listing out what I’ve learned, I want to make it as relevant to your business as possible so that it helps you succeed (thanks to Neil Patel for this idea).

The way I’m going to do this is to use a simple question and answer format. All you have to do is leave a comment with a question and I will answer it. The question can be about anything you like; a problem with your business, a technology question, or whatever you like.

And finally, don’t worry about holding back. You can ask me anything you like, no matter how foolish it may sound, as I plan to respond to each and every question.

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Drive Traffic to Your Site Using Nuclear Fuel with Mike Stelzner of the Social Media Examiner

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MichaelStelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder of Social Media Examiner, author of the books Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition and Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged, the popular Social Media Marketing Industry Report, and the man behind large summits, such as the Social Media Success Summit.  He is also host of the Social Media Marketing podcast show.

Listen to the Audio

Join the Conversation

One of the things that I love most about hosting my podcast is participating in the conversations they provoke. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this: Question: What part of your business are you struggling with most? Please share your answer by clicking one of the social icons at the top or bottom of this post.

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

Subscribe to the Bright Ideas Podcast

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How to Cash In on the Digital Marketing Gold Rush and Build a Seven Figure Online Business That Lasts

launch-marketing-agency

As many of our subscribers already know, Bright Ideas is on the verge of launching our own marketing agency. As we have been making this fact known to our tribe, all sorts of questions have been coming in, and rather than addressing those questions via individual email replies, I thought it would make more sense to create a series of posts that would chronicle our journey from startup through to success.

Ed Note: If you are brand new to Bright Ideas, please know in advance that what you are about to read is not theory. The author of this post has already built and sold a $2 million per year business.

Who is This Post For?

If you are either looking for a viable online business to start, or you’ve already started your marketing agency/consulting business and want more success, this is a post that I believe you will find immensely valuable because I’ll share numerous insights. These are things that will not be obvious to entrepreneurs who’ve not yet been through the entire cycle of starting a company from scratch, building it up to millions in revenue and then selling it for over a million dollars.

As you might guess, having already gone through this full cycle of a business, I have been fortunate enough to experience a great deal of things (good and bad) that have afforded me with many valuable insights that I wish I would have had access to prior to starting my first business.

It’s my hope that by reading this post, you will begin to think about some of the “big picture” things that will ultimately play a very large role in how successful you ultimately become.

How to Pick a Business with Big Potential

When it comes to picking a business to be in, there are a number of factors that I always consider. For those who like bulleted lists, here they are (in no particular order):

caption

If you want to build a rocket company, you need to consider a few critical factors

  • Will my business provide real value to actual customers?
  • Is there a positive trend in the need for the products and services I plan to sell?
  • How much start up capital will I need?
  • Is there a compelling financial model?
  • Does my product or service help customers to make money?
  • Am I passionate about it?
  • Do I have (or have access to) the skills and credibility needed?
  • Can I run it from anywhere there is an Internet connection?
  • Can I outsource and automate large portions of the work?
  • How big can I scale it?
  • Will someone want to buy it from me at some point?
  • How will it affect my lifestyle?

Often, when I see new entrepreneurs looking to start a business, particularly an online business, I don’t see them asking any of these questions. Instead, the only question they are asking themselves is “how fast can I make a buck?” And, even worse, “how can I do it without actually doing any work?”

As you might guess, looking only at how quick you can make a buck is not nearly enough due diligence on whether or not a given business idea is worth pursuing, and forging ahead without asking some or all of those questions will more than likely cause you to either fail miserably, or start a business that generates little in the way of profit and/or doesn’t end up living long!

Now that you’ve seen which questions I ask myself, let’s dig a littler deeper into each one of them.

Will My Business Provide Real Value to Actual Customers?

If you want to build a sustainable business than has enough economic horsepower to make you wealthy, it is critical that you choose a business that provides real value to your customers. If you don’t, how on earth do you expect your business to last?

It won’t.

To build a sustainable business, you must add real value to your customers

To build a sustainable business, you must add real value to your customers

For experienced entrepreneurs, the answer to this question was obvious; however, for new entrepreneurs, I want to emphasize how important this is.

For example, almost every day, I see someone launching a product that, more or less, says something that sounds like, “take advantage of this Google/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Youtube traffic loophole and you will make big money fast!”

Really? If the loophole is so good, why tell anyone about it? Most often, these business opportunities are complete BS.

And if they aren’t BS, how long will it be until the loophole is closed and you’re out of business?

My point is this: chasing loopholes may make you a couple of bucks in the short term, however, it’s not a strategy that you can hope to use to build a real business that has the economic staying power needed to make you wealthy. (Admission of guilt: yes, I’ve tried the loophole route, made some decent money, and then saw it all collapse after Google changed their algorithm. Shame on me.)

By providing real value to real customers, you won’t need Google/Facebook/Youtube, etc…. because your customers will keep buying from you and they will tell their friends/colleagues about you and your company will continue to grow.

This is exactly what happened with my last 7-figure company and this is also what will happen with the marketing agency that we are launching now.

Is There a Positive Trend In The Need For The Products and Services I Plan To Sell?

As with the first question, this one seems obvious, right? Well, oddly enough, it wasn’t something I thought too much about prior to starting my last business because I didn’t have enough experience to know that it was something I needed to think about.

Back then, I knew I could sell IT support services to small businesses for a long time; however, I didn’t give any thought to what might be happening in the industry as a result of changes in technology – primarily because I wasn’t yet very familiar with the technology or the industry.

Fortunately for me, I (unknowingly) picked a business that had a very bright future thanks to recent and ongoing changes in technology.

retainer-fee-income

Thanks to these changes, very shortly after I started my last company, we were able to start delivering our services over the web and began doing more preventative maintenance in exchange for a monthly retainer fee instead of doing reactive “fix it” work for just an hourly fee.

This was a game changer!

Had the technology in my industry not changed, the change in the business model would not have happened and the Managed Service Provider (MSP) industry would not have taken off like it did.

I cannot emphasize enough how much of a positive impact this had on my company…and it’s the reason I was able to sell it for over a million bucks. When you have an ongoing recurring revenue stream for your company, it’s worth substantially more than if you don’t because buyers are willing to pay a premium price for the predictable cash flow that retainer fee income provides.

Here’s another reason why it is so important to understand the trend: when a new business model emerges (which in my case was the MSP business model) in an existing industry, all sorts of scrappy entrepreneurs (like me) will go chase after it. Then, over time, some of the larger companies (who are slow to move at first) will see that there is an opportunity to go buy up all these little companies (this is called a roll-up strategy by those in the financial world) and then take these companies (now one larger company) and sell it for a big profit to an even larger company.  When this happens, the little guys (like me) get to sell for big profits.

That is where I was and it is definitely where you want to be!

Now that you understand that concept, let’s apply it to the marketing agency space.

In the last few years, online marketing has gained a lot of traction; however, the vast majority of small businesses in your town are still pretty clueless about how to do it well. This means opportunity for you.

now-is-the-timeAgencies, for the most part, have been somewhat slow to transition their businesses to digital marketing for a number of reasons; the biggest of which is this: they are fearful that doing so will cannibalize their current revenue stream. Prior to digital marketing, agencies earned their money from branding & strategy consulting, print, direct mail and a variety of other offline services. They have also been building websites; however, for the most part, they’ve stopped short of a vast array of other digital marketing services that are easy to offer to small business customers. (Obviously, early adopters exists, however, many/most are just now catching on)

Now is the time to take advantage of this very positive trend, and providing marketing services to small businesses, in my opinion, is the way to do it.

How Much Start Up Capital Will I Need?

Unless you are sitting on a pile of cash or have access to a pool of angel investors ready to fund your venture, start up costs are a critical factor. Thankfully, starting a marketing agency can be done for next to nothing.

If you’d like to hear me interview two entrepreneurs who’ve done it, check out my interviews with Sam Ovens and Graig Presti. Both reported that they were able to achieve seven figures in their first year.

the-reason-an-agencyThe reason an agency costs so little to start is that you really don’t need that much “stuff” to get going.

Sam Ovens had a one-page website and an email account – he didn’t even have a business card. What he did possess was enough knowledge about how to find outsourcers to do the work, as well as enough determination to go out and get clients.

To get clients, he just started telling everyone in his personal/social network that he was looking for clients; and then once he got a few, they referred him to more. This was exactly how I got my very first client with my last company, so I can promise you that it actually works!

Is There a Compelling Financial Model?

As I said before, having retainer fee income is a compelling financial model. So is being able to sell downloadable products (software or information) via your website 24×7. A marketing agency can easily do both – especially if you focus on just one niche.

If you plan to bill only by the hour, that is not a compelling financial model.

Billing is not the only aspect of the financial model that you must pay attention to. In fact, what I’m about to discuss next is arguably even more important.

caption here

Done correctly, a marketing agency has a very compelling financial model

If you are going to build a profitable and sustainable business, you need a business where the cost of customer acquisition is less than the lifetime value of that customer. Without this, profit will be impossible.

With a marketing agency, there are many low cost ways to attract customers, which is one of the reasons I believe it’s a good business to be in.

Direct mail isn’t very expensive, email is even less, and networking in your community costs little more than your time. For a budget-constrained startup, this is all good news.

Even better is the fact that, so long as you continue to deliver value, the lifetime value of your customer is likely to be substantially higher than your cost of customer acquisition.

For example, if you send 100 pieces of direct mail at a cost of $1 each, and you get just one customer, you’ve spent $100 to acquire that customer. If your customer has a lifetime value of say, $10,000, you are going to be in very good shape, and you will be able to afford to spend a substantial amount on direct mail to acquire more customers.

This is just one example of using direct mail as a “marketing system” that can be repeated over and over to cause meaningful growth.

However, if your product is sold for $47 and you don’t have any additional products to sell, the math just doesn’t work in your favor. Keep this in mind when choosing a business to be in, especially if you hope to acquire customers by something other than your own personal labor – which you’ll have to do if you want meaningful growth.

With a marketing agency, you will be able to keep on delivering marketing services for years to come, so it passes this test with flying colors!

Does My Product Or Service Help My Customers To Make Money?

Back when I sold IT support services, I learned a valuable lesson that I carry with me to this day.

Here it is: it is substantially easier to sell people things that will help them to make money, than it is to sell things which, while necessary, are only viewed as an expense that must be paid. (IT support was one such expense)

The best part about running an agency is that you are selling marketing services that are going to help your client attract more customers and earn more from each customer.

The value of this cannot be understated!

When you are having a conversation with a business owner about helping them to increase their profits, they are going to be all ears, I can assure you. (Assuming of course that they believe YOU can help them to achieve this.)

Am I Passionate About It?

My company was ranked as a PROFIT 100 company in 2007 and 2008

My company was ranked as a PROFIT 100 company in 2007 and 2008

In my case, I am absolutely nuts for digital marketing and marketing automation. Why? Because, had I known about all this stuff back when I was running my last company, it would have grown a lot faster than it did. True, we were were already growing pretty fast (ranked as one of Canada’s PROFIT 100 fastest growing companies for two years in a row), but the manual effort required to cause that growth to occur was exhausting, not to mention extremely expensive (headcount).

It’s true that there are people making money in a niche they aren’t passionate about (I was definitely not passionate about IT support), however, speaking from personal experience, running a business that you aren’t passionate about it not nearly as much fun as one that you are.

Don’t make the same mistake as I did. If you aren’t passionate about marketing, starting a marketing agency probably isn’t a very good idea.

Do I Possess The Skills and Credibility Needed?

If you are regular reader of the Bright Ideas blog, I’m going to suggest to you that you already know substantially more about online marketing than 95% of small business owners. Want proof? Call up 10 of them and ask if they’ve ever heard of WordPress. I’ll bet they haven’t. If they have, ask them if they know what an auto-responder is. Again, most will not.

For folks like you and I, this is really basic stuff!

You are likely already more than qualified to offer marketing services. However, if you are brand new to this, and have a passion for it, let me offer up two ideas.

1. You will learn fast by doing. Within a month or two, I knew plenty about IT support and could have very intelligent conversations with my customers.

2. You can outsource virtually everything (that is my plan and if you join my mastermind group, you can have access to my team) to a competent provider who can be hired as a sub-contractor on an as-needed basis (this is how Sam Ovens did it)

As for credibility, that is what blogging and client references are for.

These are testimonials from some of Bright Ideas' past customers

These are testimonials from some of Bright Ideas’ past customers

If you are just starting out, sit down and write 10 blog posts about marketing. Not sure what to write about? Just think about the questions that your would-be customers might ask and then blog about the answer. It’s not rocket science, I can assure you, and it’ll take you just a few days of your time.

Then, when a prospective customer comes to your blog, they will read some or all of these 10 posts and conclude that you are more than qualified to work with. Pick a single niche to go after, and your content will be even more powerful.

Guess how much I knew about IT support when I started my last company?

Not a damn thing, yet I built a $2 million/year business 🙂

Can I Run My Business From Anywhere?

For me, this is a huge factor in my decision to proceed or not. Case and point, as I’m writing this, I live in San Diego, CA. San Diego is gorgeous, but it is an extremely expensive place to live.

To lower our housing costs, my wife and I have decided to relocate to Boise, Idaho. There houses are only a fraction of what they cost here and we were able to buy a house that would have cost north of $900,000 for less than half that amount.

Will moving impact our business? Not one bit, because ours is a location independent business. (Actually, it will probably help because when/if we do hire full-time staff, they will cost less in Boise than they would in San Diego.)

Does that mean that we’ll never get face to face with a client? Not necessarily.

In our case, we are pursuing what I’ve called a “rich niche” (explained later) and because of this, our clients can afford to fly to see us for the initial consultation. Now, I realize that having a new client fly to you might sound crazy, however, if you position yourself correctly, and the benefits to your client are significant enough, they will do it. How do I know? Because I’ve been the client in the past and I’ve been the guy on the plane.

Getting this kind of traction is all about perception of value and the niche you choose. Obviously, if you are just trying to sell $500 websites, there is no need for a client to fly to you. In fact, there is no need for a face to face meeting at all. Skype or GotoMeeting will do just fine.

Can I Outsource Or Automate Large Portions Of The Work?

Automated marketing is the key to success.

Outsourcing and Automation are the keys to success.

Outsourcing is key to growth.

Now, go and read that sentence again.

Most solo-preneurs remain a solo-act because they don’t outsource. They want to do everything themselves (exhausting!) and they (mistakenly) believe that they are the only ones with the skills needed.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Sam was selling projects for $10,000 that he paid an outsourcer $200 to deliver. Now that is the kind of profit margin that you can use to build real wealth!

My point is this: in choosing to launch a marketing agency, you will be able to outsource or automate a great deal of the marketing and service delivery. Read on and I’ll give you an overview of our plan further down in this post.

How Big Can I Scale It?

Some people say that service business don’t scale (grow) very well. While that can be true, it doesn’t have to be true. It really depends on how you choose to deliver your services.

If you are hiring full-time employees and doing everything custom for each client, that will definitely be harder to scale. This is how most people do it because they don’t bother to pick a single niche and then create a portfolio of products/services for that niche.

if-you-do-pickIf you do pick just one niche, you can easily create a menu of pre-made products and services for that niche, and when you do do, scaling your business gets a whole lot easier.

Let me give you an example. In our case, we’ll focus on dentists, and because of this, we’ll be able to create marketing campaigns for each problem that a dentist is looking to solve. These campaigns will address things like: new patient attraction, stimulate referrals, re-activating inactive patients, selling Invisalign or any number of other high margin dental services.

Will we have to create these campaigns from scratch each time? Heck no.

Will I have to be the one actually recreating the campaign in Infusionsoft for each new client? Definitely not!

We’ll create training videos and our overseas VA team will do all the legwork.

Hopefully you can see that, when structured correctly, a service business can grow like crazy. The key is to outsource and have management controls in place to ensure high quality work is being delivered.

Will Someone Want To Buy It From Me At Some Point?

Unless you want to run your business until the day you die, one day you are going to want to sell it. This is called an “exit strategy”

Unless you want to run your business until the day you die, one day you are going to want to sell it. This is called an “exit strategy”.

Before I start any business, one of the very first things I think about it how I’m going to exit the business. When I started my last company, I didn’t really think about this a whole lot, at least not to the degree that I do now. Back then, I knew that if I had a profitable business selling to other small businesses, that someone would want to buy it at some point.

Luckily for me, the trend in IT support was very good and as a result, I was able to have a very successful exit from my company.

I see the very same opportunity in the marketing services space right now and that is one of the reasons why we are entering the space.

When thinking about your exit strategy some of the things you should be considering are:

  • Are there larger companies in my industry doing what I am planning to do that might want to buy my company one day?
  • Is the trend in my industry positive (discussed earlier)
  • Do I anticipate having other owners or managers that could one day buy me out?

How Will It Affect My Lifestyle?

Having been fortunate enough to have already sold a company and from there build a reasonably solid financial foundation, for me, the effects on my lifestyle of any new business venture are something that I consider with great care.

Many new entrepreneurs (mistakenly) think that there is a great deal of freedom being your own boss.

The truth often turns out to be that they end up having the “freedom” to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Obviously, every person that reads this post has their own unique set of circumstances, values, and desires, so that I cannot possibly provide you with the “right” answer as to what you want for your lifestyle. I will say that this is a very real issue and one that is worthy of your careful consideration.

Why Start an Agency?

So why start an agency? Well, in my case, a marketing agency fits the criteria that I’ve laid out.  For the skim readers, here’s a summary of what we’ve discussed above:

  • The startup costs will be measured in hundreds of dollars, not thousands.
  • There is a very positive trend in the industry, supported by advances in technology
  • Delivering marketing services provides real value to customers
  • Delivering ongoing services allows me to charge my clients a retainer fee, thereby making my business more profitable and more valuable to future buyers
  • Marketing services help customers increase profits, so, as long as they see me as credible and qualified, they will want to buy from me
  • I have a huge passion for marketing, so running my agency and seeing my clients succeed will be a lot of fun!
  • I definitely have the skills and credibility, so client attraction won’t be that difficult
  • I can run it from anywhere I want, so I can enjoy geographic freedom
  • Much of my client attraction will be automated and service delivery will be outsourced, giving me high levels of freedom and profits
  • I can definitely grow this into another 7 figure business if I desire to do so. Given the profit margins, mid-six figures might be enough to support my lifestyle
  • With retainer fee income, profits, and a book of clients, this is a business that will definitely be attractive to another buyer should I ever wish to sell it
  • Because of all of the above, this business is a fit with my lifestyle

How and Why We Chose Our Target Market

The importance of targeting a profitable market cannot be understated.

The importance of targeting a profitable market cannot be understated.

I’d like to be able to say that we chose our target market out of sheer brilliance.

Sadly, that would be a lie 🙂

The truth is that my love of marketing automation and Infusionsoft led me to interviewing a dentist who was extremely successful. That conversation, in turn, led me to the entrepreneur who actually handles all the day to day operations of this dentist’s marketing.

After a few phone calls and a trip to Washington DC, I discovered that selling marketing services to dentists was very lucrative, if done correctly. (I do want to point out that he and I wrote out another 10+ niches that met this same “rich niche” criteria so don’t worry if you don’t want to sell to dentists. There are plenty of other niches!)

Having agreed on how we’d work together, I now have in place everything I need to begin selling to dentists with all the credibility in the world. If you want in on this, make sure you join my mastermind group and you’ll have access to everything that I am using to attract clients and deliver services.

The bottom line about niche selection is this: pick a profitable niche that sells high-ticket items, because companies in this niche will have much larger budgets to hire marketing agencies to work with them!

Our Plan for Attracting Qualified Leads

Now, just in case you can’t afford to participate in the Bright Ideas mastermind (I haven’t determined the cost yet, but it won’t be priced like a typical course on Internet Marketing), I do want to share with you some additional details on the area that most agencies (ironically) struggle with most: client attraction.

To attract customers, we plan to make extensive use of marketing automation and outsourcing. Here’s how it will work.

Step 1: Pick a profitable niche (discussed earlier)

Step 2: Have virtual assistant reach out to prospects exactly as I teach in my Best Buyer Formula using the MobiLead Magnet plugin. In addition, we’ll also be sending direct (lumpy) mail to prospects. The direct mail will direct them to a landing page that will offer them either a free report or the chance to register for a webinar. We’ll be split testing the landing page to see which offer converts better. (Mastermind members will get all our “stuff” as well as split testing results.)

Having a well thought out marketing plan is critical!

Having a well thought out marketing plan is critical!

Once the prospects register, the webinar will be automated. This is how Graig Presti does it. It’s also the method I’ve been using with some of my other products. The follow up to the webinar will also be automated. (Mastermind members will be able to use our webinar with their own branding.)

The key to this approach to prospecting is to put enough prospects into your funnel to ensure that the most motivated ones actually reach out to you. These are the ones who are most likely to fly to your town for their initial consultation, which, by the way, is a one-day session for $4,750. This does NOT work unless you target a rich niche. (Mastermind members will be able to have our expert in DC meet with your clients and close them for you if you wish.)

As I’m writing this, we are very close to signing our first client using this very method. He called me, we did a 20 minute phone call and now I’m waiting for him to send payment and book himself into my calendar for the initial consultation. (It’s not already booked because I’m not available until September and August is crazy busy for him as well.)

Remember how I talked about the importance of blogging to establish credibility? We didn’t reach out to this prospect. He found us as a result of my blog and podcast. By the time he contacted us, he had consumed so much content that he was already pretty sure he wanted to hire us. That is the power of content marketing. If you aren’t blogging or podcasting, you are losing out.

That’s it. Hardly rocket science, but, as I’m sure you can imagine, the details of our direct mail, our landing pages, our webinar, what we say on the phone, and available references are incredibly important. As a member of our Mastermind, you’ll get it all.

What’s Next?

If this sounds like a business that you’d like to be in, then I’d suggest you get started right now. There is a mountain of opportunity and all you have to do is go chase after it. Not sure where to start? How about writing those ten blog posts? How about doing some local networking? How about sending out a few hundred postcards to a finite list you can easily buy from any list broker?

For those who want to take the shortest path to success, I would strongly recommend you get on the waiting list for our upcoming Mastermind. You’ll be glad you did!

[xyz-ihs snippet=”mastermindfoot”]

Digital Marketing Strategy: How Graig Presti Grew His Local Marketing Agency to 7 Figures In His First Year

graig presti FC

Do you think you could start with nothing and build a 7 figure local marketing agency in your first year? If you follow Graig Presti’s advice, you sure can.

Graig Presti started his local marketing consulting business and did something different than most: he chose to offer his services only to dentists…and by doing so, he grew top line revenue to 7 figures in year one…and has increased it to $3.5 Million in year 3. When you consider that most local marketing consultants really struggle to attract clients, Graig’s accomplishments are nothing short of amazing.

In this interview, you’ll hear Graig and I talk about:

  • (2:17) Introductions
  • (3:47) The results he’s getting (automating all sales)
  • (7:47) Why he picked dentists
  • (12:17) How he generates leads, and his sales funnel
  • (14:47) How he builds a list; using sponsored email, direct mail, LinkedIn, and JV partners
  • (17:47) The lead magnet he uses: Google Review Cheat Sheets
  • (19:27) How leads are nurtured
  • (22:17) How he’s using webinars
  • (30:57) How he converts webinar attendees to customers
  • (32:37) An overview of his product offerings
  • (41:17) The downside of continuity
  • (43:37) Where his customers are located
  • (45:17) How he leverages the telephone
  • (52:17) How to get others to send email sponsoring you
  • (57:17) How he’s using direct mail
  • (58:17) How he uses postcards with personalized landing pages
  • (1:04:17) How he’s running ads on LinkedIn
  • (1:08:17) How long it took him to get his ad spend back
  • (1:11:57) How long it took him to get his first client
  • (1:18:27) The benefits of a Mastermind

Links

Additional Resources

Graig gets great results using simple text like this.

Graig gets great results using simple text like this.

There's nothing complex about this formula.

There’s nothing complex about this formula.

 

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

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Transcript

Trent: Hey there, bright idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas podcast.
I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast for marketing
agencies and entrepreneurs who want to discover how to use content
marketing and marketing automation to massively boost their business.On the show with me today is an entrepreneur by the name of Graig Presti.
He’s the founder of localsearchfordentists.com and you are in for a real
treat in this interview because I ask Greg a truckload of questions and I
drilled down for detail on all of them. He’s going to explain to you how he
built his local marketing company that serves dentists.He did a million dollars in his first year. Three years in, he’s doing
almost $4 million a year. His profit margins are off the charts. He’s got
hundreds of customers, and he has automated virtually the entire sales
process. I shouldn’t say “virtually the entire” — he’s automated the
entire sales process and so attracting new clients for him is not a
challenge. When you listen to this interview, you’re going to hear exactly
what he does. There are gold nuggets galore in this interview.Before we get to that, I very quickly want to tell you about the Conversion
Tactics Toolkit at brightideas.co. I do a much better job than the average
website at converting my site visitors into subscribers and then those
subscribers get converted within my marketing funnel into customers. In the
Conversion Tactics Toolkit, which is a four-part video series, I’m going to
open up the kimono. I’m going to show you exactly how I do it all. It’s all
free. All you’ve got to do is go to brightideas.co, enter your e-mail
address, and you’ll get your first video right away.So with all of that said, please join me in welcoming Graig to the show.
Hey, Graig, welcome to the show. Thanks for making the time.Graig Presti: Hey, Trent, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Trent: No problem. So for the folks who don’t know who you are yet, please,
real quickly, who are you and what do you do?

Graig: Well, my name’s Graig Presti and I’m the CEO and founder of a
company called “Local Search For Dentists”. Basically what we do is we help
dental practices all over the world, really, we have clients all the way
from the United Kingdom to here in the United States leverage the Internet
and start to get more patients, more phone calls, and more bottom-line net
profits. The way that we do that is through a lot of Internet tactics and
so on and so forth, but we’ve really had some good success with being able
to do that and I’ve grown the business quite quickly in the last two to
three years.

Trent: Terrific. So, for the folks — I know that I’m like this whenever
I’m listening to a podcast, I always do this and I hope you don’t mind —
let’s talk about the results that you’re getting now and then I want to go
backwards and have you explain to everyone all the strategies and tactics
you’re using to get those results. So can you talk a little bit — if
you’re willing to, of course — about number of customers and maybe top-
line revenue that your firm is generating?

Graig: Sure, and if you hear someone blowing in the background, they’re
doing the landscaping right now at the office, so I apologize for that in
advance. I didn’t know that they would be coming today.

Really, the key way that I built my business so fast was the fact that I
was able to automate all of my marketing and all of my sales to occur all
the time, seamlessly without me, so we were able to therefore have a
minimal staff because everything we were doing was completely automated. We
use InfusionSoft to automate our marketing. I’ve tried a bunch of different
other things but, for me, the InfusionSoft, like I was telling you earlier,
basically I’ve used it since its inception and there really is no other
software out there that you can sync up direct mail, sales funnels, e-mail
marketing, SMS marketing, and then syncing up automated webinars.

There’s really no other system out there that allows you to do that. You’d
have to have 1,000 microworkers doing what you need them to do, so without
out it, we wouldn’t have had half the growth that we’ve had.

Trent: So how big’s the company now?

Graig: In terms of employees or . . .?

Trent: Revenue. Give a range.

Graig: Revenue? Well, we went in our first year, we went from $0 to $1
million in revenue in 12 months and this year we’re going to do over $3.5
million dollars in just under three years.

Trent: That’s not a bad business, my friend.

Graig: No, and it’s a very good business and the reality is we’ve become
very profitable because of what I’ve said, where, we’ve automated
everything. We don’t have huge overhead. We don’t need 50 employees. We
only need a small team and as long as the little engine is running in the
background, we’re good to go.

Trent: So let’s talk a little bit about that. I don’t normally ask this but
you alluded to it: you’re very profitable. Do you mind sharing what the
profit percent is?

Graig: Yeah, I don’t mind. It obviously ranges from product to product but,
in general, our company’s going to run around a 40% profit margin.

Trent: Wow, that is phenomenal. All right, and how many employees —
because I know when I ran my old service business, and I didn’t know
anything about automation back then — I needed about one employee for
every $100,000 of annual revenue. So how many full-time employees do you
have?

Graig: Well, to your question — let me back you up. Your little formula
that you used applies to your business a little bit, but you can really
scale ours a little bit more because we’re Internet-based, so it really
comes down to utilizing a system and then putting clients into that system
so then you don’t get out of that system. So we can basically crank out
more work with less people.

Right now we have, I’d say — I like to break it up between operations,
which is fulfillment, and sales and marketing. So on the operations side,
we have about 12 people. Some of them are outsourcers, some of them are
internal employees doing the fulfillment inside of things.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: Then on the sales and marketing side of things, you have really four
people, including myself, because I do handle the marketing. I don’t write
the copy, but I handle sort of the campaign-building and things like that,
so about four. The reason we only really needed three to four people on the
sales and marketing side is because we’re so systematic with our marketing
that I’ve figured out how much I need to spend to acquire a client, what’s
my most profitable activity, and all I do is I just put leads into that
system. I don’t try to get fancy and that’s really all we’ve done.

Trent: All right, and we’re going to talk about that. Before we get into
that — because I know that a lot of people that are in my tribe that are
going to listen to this interview, they are either looking to start a
business, and I do everything I can to encourage them to start what I call
a “real business”, which is one like yours that has customers, as opposed
to some goofy fly-by-night, get-rich-quick thing that you see all over the
Internet, which I don’t believe in those.

Then the other portion of my tribe is marketing consultants–or the next
biggest portion, I should say, is marketing consultants who, by and large,
are one-person shops and I don’t think too many of them are getting rich
and they’re all looking for ways to get more customers. In one of my
courses called the “Best Buyer Formula”, one of the very first things I
talk about is pick a profitable niche, so do you want to talk a little bit
about why you picked dentists versus all the other niches you could’ve
picked?

Graig: Right, right. It’s a good question. I get asked that at every dinner
party I go to because that just sounds so crazy to people, like, “Why
wouldn’t you just try to conquer the world?”

Trent: Why not just be everything for everyone?

Graig: Why wouldn’t you just do everyone? It’s hard to explain that to
someone who might not think the way that I think and the way that you think
and so on and so forth. It’s a very logical thing why I chose dentists.
Well, I use this in any time I look at going after it for any niche, is
there’s like three to four criteria.

Let’s just take dentists for example. One, their customer transaction size
is high, so their average customer value is going to be anywhere between
$1,000 and $3,000. That allows them to spend more money on consultative
services, i.e., Internet marketing, right? So now a service that costs $500
a month or $2,000 a month, if it gets him patients, is pretty palatable
because they know they only need a few to make money.

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: So it lowers price resistance naturally. Now, on the flipside of
that, if I was to go after, say, the chiropractic niche or plumbers or
roofers, well, the transaction size is a lot less and a lot less frequent,
so they’re not going to be able to essentially afford expensive services,
okay?

Then the second step with dentists is they have a lot of problems with
marketing and a lot of problems with technology, so they essentially need
outsourcers to do the work. They’re not going to do it internally mostly.
They need someone who’s an expert to do it. Then, on the flipside of that
is you need someone who has, essentially, the need for marketing. They’re
not a referral-based business. Dentists have to market externally. They’re
not like an M.D. who gets patients from insurance. I think it’s only like
20% of people get dental insurance. They need to go out and get new
customers and new patients so they need marketing, so it was very, very
specific as to why I chose dentistry — because they have the transaction
size to support the cost, they have the problems and need the marketing to
sustain their business, therefore they need a company like mine.

Trent: Absolutely, couldn’t agree more. Okay, so now let’s roll up our
sleeves here and talk. Let’s start at the very beginning of the funnel
because nothing happens until you have a lead. It’s hard to make a sale if
you don’t have a lead.

Graig: Right on.

Trent: Please talk about InfusionSoft and automation as much as you like
because that’s the big thing that I’m trying to get people to understand,
is you shouldn’t be doing this stuff manually and obviously you’re not, so
please give as much detail as you’d like.

Graig: Sure. Yeah, I mean, just as a disclaimer, anyone who is trying to
half-ass it and not 100% automate their marketing and using something cheap
like iContact or AWeber, you really need to change that mindset because if
you really want to increase your income, you need to just bite the bullet,
go over and do something that automates everything. That’s just a
disclaimer. That’s not a sales pitch, that’s just the truth because I’ve
messed around with all of those things before.

But back to your original question, okay? For me, it’s a very simple Dan
Kennedy-style lead generation: put them through a simple sequence that
makes them more able to purchase and buy, right? Then there’s pre-
qualification steps in between there. We’ll do the typical lead source,
drive them to a landing page or squeeze page offering them a free report or
some sort of free content for an opt-in and then the opt-in takes them to a
low-end product office for $97. Then after they buy the $97 thing, we’re
trying to up-sell them into the big, multiple-of-thousand-dollar thing.

So that’s the lifecycle of our client. Now, not everybody’s going to take
that cycle, but anyone who doesn’t essentially take the $97 low-end offer,
they get put into a drip sequence that’s automated and then they get
marketed to constantly after that, both offline and online.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: Until they buy or die.

Trent: Pretty much just like my funnel.

Graig: So someone listening is probably going like, “That’s it?” Honestly,
I coach other people on how to become local marketers like myself and we
spend a day together and I map out this funnel for them — and obviously I
go into greater detail — they’re just blown away at how simple it is, yet
how effective it is.

All that, by the way, Trent, operates on its own. I don’t sit here pushing
a button 270 times a day. It just happens because of InfusionSoft and that
allows me to do that. Then one of the other cool things that I do is in
between those sequences and so on and so forth, is I can automate webinars
with Stealth Seminar to work with InfusionSoft, so I can literally use live
events to sell my services automatically, which is pretty cool.

Trent: Absolutely. Okay, so let’s go right back to the leads. How are you,
first of all, getting your list? Are you buying a list? Are you having a VA
going around and do Google searches and make a spreadsheet for you? Because
you’ve got to identify your targets and you’ve got to build a finite list.

Graig: Right, right. I have a very specific criteria and pet peeve of mine
that where all I do is I find the lead sources and then I let my marketing
copy drive the opt-ins and drive the leads because I don’t want to deal
with folks who are not really interested in the topic that I’m talking
about, okay? I don’t want to just buy a list of dentists and then just
bombard them with push marketing. I want people who are actually going to
be interested in my services, who that copy speaks to them, right? So
they’re like, “Well, I need to have that.”

The way that I do it is I have, just like a lot of my things is I don’t
like using just one lead source, so I use some sponsored e-mail blasts that
are through other dental companies. I do direct mail, where I’ll use
postcards and so on and so forth to drive them to a landing page. I’ll use
online traffic via LinkedIn and paid ads and I drive all those people to
one single lead source, so I’m getting a myriad.

I also have JV partners and so on and so forth but I’m not one to go out
and just buy a list or have a VA scrape anything or use any software
because I don’t want crap leads, right? I want people who are actually
raising their hand like, “Oh, you know what? I have that problem, I need to
get that free report.”

Trent: Now, are you using tracking links, Google Analytics tracking links
so that when you look at the traffic that’s going to this one squeeze —
because, I mean, you said you’re using one squeeze page regardless of where
you’re getting the lead from.

Graig: Well, when I say “one squeeze page,” I mean one templated copy
squeeze page. I have that copy myriad of times over tracking each lead
source, so what I’m doing is I’m not only tracking the lead source using
Infusion — which you know you can do, you can set it that way — and then
each lead source has their individual landing page. It looks the same but
it’s a different tracking mechanism, so I don’t really use Google for that;
I use InfusionSoft for that because they have their own dynamic page, so I
know for certain what’s going on there.

Trent: Okay, so these folks are coming from these variety of ways —
sponsored mail, direct mail, LinkedIn and so forth — they’re coming to the
squeeze page. What’s the offer on the squeeze page? And these are
prospective dental clients for you, I just want to be clear. I want to make
sure people know we’re not talking about your dentists and getting them
patients; we’re talking about how you’re getting clients.

Graig: Correct, correct, but the thing is that I need to focus on that. In
order for me to offer solutions to their problems, I need to understand
that they need phone calls, they need patients in order for my services to
speak to that problem, right? So, for me, one of my biggest lead source
magnets, if you will — because I’ve done a few, more than one — but my
best one has been my Google Review cheat sheets, which essentially is a
templated way for dental practices to get more Google patient reviews, five-
star Google patient reviews.

Essentially that’s what I’m giving them that template for free so they can
go out and start to get good patient reviews instantly on Google, and that
seems to be quite the little hot button for folks right now. Then that gets
them going into my sequence.

Trent: Okay. I’m just jotting notes here. Sorry, audience, I wish I could
write faster but I’ve got to have good show notes for you guys. Okay, so
that’s your number one lead magnet? Do you use anything else for a lead
magnet or is that pretty much . . .?

Graig: I have three to four free reports and so on and so forth. I have a
couple videos, stuff where I just put content out and then I have my
copywriter write it up and I’ll use that just to sort of shake it up. But
my bread and butter is what I just told you.

Trent: Okay. Let’s talk about the sequence that happens because when you
use InfusionSoft, they fill out this form and you’re applying some tags,
which is just a means of categorizing people and causing things to happen.
Walk us through the sequence so that we understand what is happening to
those leads, so we understand how they’re being nurtured.

Graig: Okay, so after someone opts-in, right, they give their name and e-
mail to get, we’ll say, the Google Review thing, okay, they are then sent a
follow-up e-mail automatically, providing the content that I said I would
give them. That’s important for people to understand that. You can’t just
give away crap. You do have to provide them with some really good stuff in
that follow-up e-mail because that, essentially, is your first introduction
to them, right? They need to trust you at that point and not think you’re
full of it.

So while that’s being sent, they’re also being flipped to an up-sell page
which sells them a $97 product.

Trent: Which is what?

Graig: Which is what?

Trent: Yeah, what is that?

Graig: It’s basically the ability to essentially look at what they’re doing
right now with their marketing and kind of give them a diagnostic on where
they’re failing and where they’re not failing.

Trent: Is this a loss leader for you? I mean, do you actually have some
manual delivery in fulfilling what they’re buying for $97?

Graig: Yeah, it is a manual thing but that’s on purpose.

Trent: Okay, and is it a VA that’s doing it or are you interacting with
them?

Graig: Nope, that’s actually my sales consultants will fulfill on that.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: Because it’s part of the sales mechanism, so it’s important that
they communicate the results to them in a proper way.

Trent: So what do you call that product or that report?

Graig: We call that like a “Dental Marketing Game Plan” is what we’ll call
it.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: And it’s okay that’s manual, by the way, because 50% of the people
that buy that $97 product buy the big one.

Trent: Yeah, which we’ll get to.

Graig: Sure.

Trent: Okay, so nurture sequence: deliver the content, deliver the up-sell
of $97 — or rather offer the up-sell — and what percentage of the people
who come at the top of the funnel buy the $97 product?

Graig: Well, it really depends on the lead source, right? Because sometimes
the house list is going to convert better than a cold list, so about 25% of
the people take the up-sell. But even though they don’t take the up-sell
doesn’t mean we just stop and give up, right? Because the majority aren’t
going to buy anything, right?

Trent: Right.

Graig: So then they go into, really, just a four-step sequence of
delivering over five days more content — give them an invite to a webinar
in there, give them a video that they can watch, all sort of breeding
content, breeding trust with me, right?

Trent: And is it you on the video and your voice on the webinar?

Graig: Oh, yeah.

Trent: Because you’re trying to get them familiar with you.

Graig: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, it’s me. It’s me all the way around, yeah. It’s
more so they can identify with me because here’s the thing: in this day and
age, man, e-mail marketing is just going to get tougher and tougher and
it’s really getting hard now. So without being recognized in the inbox and
being recognized as the go-to person and the authority, man, it’s hard to
sell.

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: It’s hard to sell.

Trent: It’s why I do podcasts and probably the same reason you do them.

Graig: Right, right, right, and so what we do, one of the other things too
is once people are on my list, right — so those are people that opt-in,
they’re on my list, right? So I’ve dripped content to them, they know me,
they hopefully trust me — not everybody’s going to trust me, some people
are just going to ignore it but that’s okay; you actually want that in some
folks — is every month we’re doing a promotional webinar driven to promote
sales. All we’re doing is re-inventing the copy around very similar topics
so that they seem new and then we go out and we sell more stuff every
month, doing it that way, so we’re actually holding virtual events one time
a month.

Trent: And are those one-time-per-month virtual events actually live or are
they recorded?

Graig: Of course not. Sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not. I would
say most of the time, most of the time they are evergreened most of the
time.

Trent: Yeah, and some people are like, “Oh, you’re fooling people.” But
you’re not because I think most people know, but it doesn’t matter. I read
a study and it was like 86% of people that attended webinars actually
preferred the recording because that way they can watch it on their on
time.

Graig: You want to know the real answer to that question?

Trent: Sure. Yeah, please.

Graig: The real answer to that question is that most people surveyed in
this country actually think infomercials are live television.

Trent: No way.

Graig: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. That’s a hard, proven thing, stat. I’m not
making that up and the reality of that situation is that you should never
feel bad for automating and evergreening everything because some people are
just always going to believe it’s live even if you tell them it’s recorded.

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: So there’s a reason infomercials convert like crazy is because of
that.

Trent: Is that a dog?

Graig: It is my dogs.

Trent: No worries. I like live action on my podcasts. Okay, so, again, I
want to make sure that everyone understands this: they opt-in, they get the
content, they’re all going to see the $97 up-sell, if they don’t buy the up-
sell, they’re going to go into a five-day nurturing sequence of more
content, and then they’re going to get dripped on and then probably going
to see an offer once a month to attend your live event, correct?

Graig: That is correct. They will get sort of driven to opt-in for a live
event once a month, yeah.

Trent: Okay, and the content on the webinar, can you talk about that?

Graig: I can’t. Now, I’m going to disclaimer this: I don’t just have one
webinar. I don’t just sell one thing, right? The webinar content’s going to
depend on what I’m promoting that month and maybe it’s a launch, maybe it’s
not a launch. It just depends on what I feel is going to work that month
from a CEO perspective I want to know what do I think is going to make us
the most amount of revenue this month, so sometimes it’s a long-term
strategy, sometimes it’s just what we do every month.

So what was your question again? I’m sorry.

Trent: Just the content of the webinar, so I’m assuming . . .

Graig: Oh, yeah. The content of the webinar — and this may fly in the face
of what a lot of people say, but it works — yes, I focus on content of the
situation, so whether it’s dental marketing or some sort of dental
marketing, Internet dental marketing, whatever it is, yes, I focus on
content, but I’ve shifted the paradigm where the old way of doing it used
to be, “Oh, just give them amazing, amazing stuff that they can do for like
80% of the webinar and then 20% can be the pitch.”

I did that for a while and it did do well, but then I decided, since
everybody’s doing it, why don’t I just do the opposite of that? I’m just
going to try to sell from the get-go. Sure, I talked about content and what
you should be doing and I did put them through sort of a problem and
agitation and then solving that problem, but I just flat-out made it a
video sales letter, which I don’t know if your audience will know what a
video sales letter is. Do you want me to explain what that is?

Trent: Yeah, go ahead, please.

Graig: Okay, a video sales letter — and I’m sure everyone has probably
seen one before, they just maybe don’t know what that name is — a video
sales letter is basically a PowerPoint slideshow on video of just written
word and someone speaking to that written word in black-and-white. It’s not
a fancy Keynote presentation, it’s not a fancy PowerPoint presentation with
these crazy images. It’s just spoken word to written word is what it is and
they’re just essentially reading it.

The idea behind that is to keep the person engaged and they actually read
along with you as you’re speaking so they’re soaking up that information
more. I decided just apply that to all my webinars and everything’s going
to be a video sales letter now. Even if it’s a webinar, I’m just going to
make it that type of style and, man, I tell you, my conversions went up 20%
by just doing that and that’s how I launch everything now. Everything.

So my webinars really are a video a sales letter. I kind of scrapped the
content and I know that sounds crazy, but . . .

Trent: Just so that me and everyone else understands this, everyone of your
webinars is black text on a white background and your voice is reading
exactly what’s on the screen.

Graig: You got it.

Trent: I love it. All right.

Graig: All my friends, by the way, all my buddies who are entrepreneurs and
Internet marketers and all this stuff, they think I’m crazy.

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: They’re like, “You’re the only one I know that does all that crazy
stuff and that’s how you launch everything?” I’m like, “That’s why it
works.”

Trent: Yeah, sometimes simple is best, man.

Graig: Because think about it this way: if you’re in consulting — so like
you said a lot of your people are consultants and maybe coaches and
marketers and so on and so forth — everybody does a free demo, a free
webinar, a free evaluation. Everyone does that in some fashion or form. I
mean, I even see e-mails these days — that’s how I know it’s getting bad
out there for people — is they’re bribing people to get on their webinars
and do taped demos, like giving them Starbucks gift cards and $25 Visa
check cards. I’m like, that tells me that they don’t know what to do, other
than bribe their prospects to absorb their crap content.

So doing it my way, that’s why it works so well, because everyone’s doing
these demos and webinars and real soft stuff.

Trent: It’s a way of definitely separating the folks that are seriously
interested and likely to take action from the folks that are kicking tires.

Graig: Sure, sure.

Trent: Okay, so I’m at the point now in your funnel where I’ve seen one of
your webinars. What’s an offer look like? What’s the call to action on the
webinar?

Graig: Well, the call to action is buy because here’s this great package
with these great bonuses that I’m offering to the first 10 people, and if
you’re not one of the 10, then that’s okay but you’re just going to miss
out on this great opportunity, so go hit the button below this video, go to
the order page and we’ll talk to you.

Trent: So give me an example of something that you’ve sold via this method
recently, like was it a $1,000, was it a $5,000 deal?

Graig: Well, I’ve always done more expensive products. In my world, I would
deem them expensive, medium to expensive. I’ve never been the cheap person.
I’ve never been the low-end $100 guy, but just recently we did come up with
a low-end offer, which was a press release product where we offered a very
inexpensive, it was $200 to set it up and it’s a $97 a month subscription
and we’re offering some press release marketing for that and that’s the
least expensive thing I’ve ever offered.

But it did quite well. We sold 30 in a night.

Trent: Well, that’s good. That’s three grand a month in continuity for you
right there from one webinar.

Graig: By the way, the goal of having that lower-end sort of nugget is not
to really make any money off of it. It’s okay, the money part of it is
okay, it absorbs some of the cost, but I really want to get those folks
into my other programs, so now I have someone who’s actually paying us, we
can prove results, and now we can really show them how we can even really
ramp it up for them.

Trent: Let’s talk about your products for a minute. Let’s get out of the
marketing funnel for a second. Don’t worry, audience, we’ll come back to
this. But I want to talk about what are you offering to do for people?

Graig: We have “the big three” is what I call them, so we have our big
three products. Now, we don’t do any sort of a la carte stuff. We don’t do,
“Oh, you can pick a Twitter account and we’ll create a Twitter account,”
“Oh, pick a Google account and we’ll create a Google account.” We don’t
really operate like that. It’s really just a one-thing-or-not. You can’t
pick-and-choose what you want type of deal.

Our first product is really our local SEO product, which is basically
helping dental practices get ranked in the cities that they serve via
Google, via Bing, via Yahoo!, utilizing a bunch of things within that.

Trent: And what do you charge for that?

Graig: That one is $2,500 to set it up and $500 a month continuity after 30
days and it is a 12-month contract.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: The second one that we have is Google AdWords management. If people
don’t know what Google AdWords is, it’s basically managing, creating, and
monitoring dental marketing ads for our clients on Google and their various
ad networks, so that way they can get more phone calls, more traffic, and
that’s $699 a month and that includes your budget on Google and your
administration fees. There’s no hidden costs or anything. It’s $699 a month
and that’s a four-month agreement.

Trent: Now I want to clarify something. Does that include the cost of the
ads or that’s just . . .?

Graig: Oh, yeah, that’s everything.

Trent: So they spend $700 a month and you’re going to spend some portion of
that $700 on the actual ads and the rest is kind of your profit margin.

Graig: Correct, and the reason that I structure it that was is because it’s
advantageous for us as the company to run their campaign at 100% premium
efficiency because we don’t want to waste any of the ad budget because we
want to keep them at the top and we want to make money, so they look at us
like the good guy, not the bad guy.

Now, the way most companies price their pay-per-click campaign is they’ll
say, “Okay, well, it’s $1,000 budget minimum and we take 30% of that.” So
if you want to do $2,000, they take 30%. Whatever it is, they take 30%.
Problem is the customer always looks at you like the bad guy, so now
they’ve got to pay Google one thing and then they’ve got to pay your pain-
in-the-butt another thing and if it doesn’t work, they get mad at you no
matter — they don’t get mad at Google, they get mad at you.

So I looked at it as let’s just get a bunch of ads going and we’re just
going to crank down on this, make sure we know our keywords, and that way
our client’s going to get the most out of their campaigns. Because some
months and some days we don’t get any money on our PPC, but that’s okay
because we know our clients are doing better and we know we’ll make that up
at some point.

Trent: So out of $700, how much is left for you, typically, for profit?

Graig: It depends on the city and the area and the client, but that product
really does quite well. That’ll run at a 40% margin.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: Sometimes more.

Trent: And how about the next product?

Graig: Then the next one is our reputation management product that I don’t
actually call it “reputation management” — most people would know
“reputation management” on this podcast — I call it “revenue protection
program” because reputation management implies that you have a reputation
problem and, at that point, now you’re being reactive. I like people to
protect their revenue sources

That means even if you don’t have a reputation problem — say you have no
bad reviews. Let’s just say you’re squeaky clean. Well, the problem is that
you’re not putting your best foot forward because 9 out of 10 patients are
Googling you before they call your practice. So if you’re disorganized and
have nothing done professionally and no review sites on page one and your
Google reviews are slim to none, they’re not going to trust you.

But if you have press releases from FOX News, CNN, third-party media sites,
video on YouTube of your best patients talking about how you’re the best
dentist they ever went to, you’re going to close more cases and you’re
going to have more revenue in your practice. In the event, somewhere down
the line when you get a bad review — not if, but when you get a bad
review, which is bound to happen — you’re protected because you just spent
this amount of time letting us market your practice so that way you’re
almost indestructible on the web.

So if they go to Ripoff Report or Pissed Consumer, you don’t really have to
worry about it because, number one, we’re on it, but on the second part,
you’re protected because you have all this great PR as opposed to none.

Trent: So I want to ask a question about this then. Essentially what this
boils down to is you’re building up so much positive PR that when someone
leaves a negative review, it’s not going to rise to the top because, as a
percentage of the overall reviews, their negative review is negligible. Is
that correct?

Graig: Right, that’s correct and they may never see it.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: For example, I did have a dentist in Louisville who had a patient go
onto — and he was a client of my other services, actually — but he had a
patient go onto Pissed Consumer and say that Dr. Larry gave him a metal
mouth. Talk about a bad review, right? “Gave me a metal mouth.” Well, every
time you Googled his name or his practice, it was like the third spot on
Google in big, bold letters saying this poor dentist gave this guy a metal
mouth.

He was like, “I’ll hear about this all the time! Patients are saying, ‘Do
you know this guy said this? Do you know this?'” He didn’t know what to do,
so we essentially plugged him into our revenue protection program and that
Pissed Consumer site is on like page 15 of Google, never to be seen again.

Trent: So you just produce so much good stuff that ended up being newer
and, because of press releases and so forth, ranked better than the bad
stuff and literally just it pushed down, made it go away.

Graig: Yeah. Yeah, we nuked it. Yeah, it got nuked.

Trent: What are your customers paying you for this service?

Graig: That one is $1,000 to set up everything and $497 a month not only to
maintain the rankings of that content — which, by the way, you can’t just
do it one time and think it’s going to stay up forever. You do have to do
some Internet stuff to do it and make it stick. So we do that for the
months after that and then we monitor the reputation and so on and so forth
after that for $497 a month.

Trent: And what are you doing to monitor it? Are you just using Google
Alerts or is there a special tool that you use?

Graig: We have some proprietary software we use. I mean, obviously, we do
have Google Alerts because they’re quick and nice, but we do have some
reporting tools that we use.

Trent: Okay. So is there anything else in your product portfolio or is that
it?

Graig: That’s pretty much it. I have one program that is basically specific
to implant dentistry. Are you familiar with dental implants? Do you know
what they are?

Trent: Help me out.

Graig: Okay, basically dental implants are a way for people with dentures
and missing teeth to get permanent teeth.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: So this is going to sound awful, but what they do is they drill a
metal post into your jaw and then they put a crown on it and you basically
have stronger than real teeth, so you can go out and eat a steak and smile
and you’re going to have these until you die. Here’s the good news: you’re
going to be happier and your wife’s going to love your new smile, but
they’re $1,000 to $1,500 per tooth.

Trent: Per tooth, yeah. Isn’t this what people call . . .?

Graig: The benefit to that is that every new patient to a dental implant
dentist is worth more, so I decided to come up with an Internet marketing
program that gets more implant patients coming to practices.

Trent: Okay. What do you call that?

Graig: I just call that “Local Search Dental Implant Marketing Program”.

Trent: Okay, and what do you charge for that?

Graig: That one is, we’re charging, I believe, $3,000 to set it up and $697
a month.

Trent: Okay. What percentage of your top-line revenue is recurring?

Graig: What percentage of my top-line revenue is recurring?

Trent: Yeah, because every product you’ve described to me has some kind of
monthly fee, which is what we want.

Graig: Yeah, no, you may have duped me. I have to pull up Infusion — I
actually don’t know that number. You want to know why I don’t know that
number — and this is actually a very good lesson for everyone listening —
because I was part of a business that declined because of its gluttony with
continuity. Continuity is phenomenal. I don’t sell anything without it. I
never will ever.

It’s the best thing in the world, don’t get me wrong, but here’s the
problem: continuity in subscription fees can make you gluttonous. They can
make you forget about the fact that you still need to retain and sell
stuff. So what happens is once a business sort of starts to lean and only
lean on its subscription income, it will die.

Trent: Because you get lazy and stop looking for new customers.

Graig: Correct. For example, this is actually a good lesson for your folks
because just recently we had a bit of a bad stretch. We had some retention
issues with our clients, not because of performance on our part. I think it
just happened to be we weren’t doing the right things to maintain some
customers. We plugged some holes, but here’s what started happening was we
started not retaining and adding new customers and all we did was live off
our continuity.

Well, you have a few customers leaving every single month, before you know
it, you just lost 20% of your revenue, so I don’t know that number but the
reason I don’t is because I know that I have the continuity. I focus only
on new sales and retention and the rest will take care of itself.

Trent: Because if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Graig: Right, so if I know we need to hit 10 new customers a month and we
hit that above, I know that we’re where we need to be. If we do three to
four, I know we’re screwed because we’re basically going to be living off
of continuity and that just drives me nuts.

The last business I was a part of, that’s how the business died. I had a
company that was doing $15 million a year that went down to barely doing a
million because it lived off its continuity.

Trent: Wow. How many of your customers live or work within driving distance
of you?

Graig: Four.

Trent: Out of how many.

Graig: Out of 400.

Trent: That’s what I wanted you to say. I want people to understand that
this is a business that doesn’t matter what town you live in.

Graig: No. No, no. That’s a minimalistic type of attitude because even the
people that I coach and consult on how to be local marketers have been
conditioned and predetermined to think that they can only sell local
businesses in their particular city and geography and the reality is that
is going to be your death.

Trent: So your sales process begins with online marketing, you make
extensive use of automated webinars, and the sales are, I’m going to guess,
either closed by someone clicking the “buy” button or are they ever closed
by one of your sales reps being on the phone and making the final sale?

Graig: Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Trent: But they’re not doing it in-person, they’re not getting in their car
and going . . .

Graig: No, no dog-and-pony shows.

Trent: They’re just calling, they’re following-up with someone who is a
lead that has opted-in to your system, correct?

Graig: Correct.

Trent: So there ain’t no cold-calling happening in your shop.

Graig: Oh, no. We have never — and I’m proud to say this — ever, ever
cold-called anyone.

Trent: But yet the phone, very, very powerful tool.

Graig: Yeah. I mean, honestly, I think people who don’t master the art of
selling on the phone and using language and scripting that works is really
doing themselves a disservice because the old-school way of doing it is
somewhat how like the pharmaceutical sales rep does it, and I’m not saying
selling pharmaceuticals is comparative to what we’re doing but think about
it: they have a territory, that’s their territory, they go and they get in
their car and they drive to their offices and they do a dog-and-pony show
and they’re giving away stuff and they’re doing this and they’re doing
that.

Phone sales is a great leverage, a leveraging point to very good marketing.
It should not be the other way around. Your sales should not be your
marketing because companies that are sales-driven and have a little bit of
marketing, they’re always going to be limited and may never be around
forever, but a company that is focused on marketing that has a sales team,
you always do well. Always, always.

Trent: It’s so much easier to hire people, it’s so much easier to train
people, it’s so much easier to retain people when they don’t have to make
cold calls.

Graig: It is. You know what’s funny? I have to tell this story real quick
because this is one, this is a funny story. My aunt is in sales, right? And
she just started doing this job where she works for a very prominent and
well-respected reputation management company in the auto dealer space.
They’re a very large, big, dumb company and they’ve got a lot of money to
burn, clearly.

So I was at her house the other day — we actually took her kids out to go
to Lasertron or whatever, laser tag — and she needed to work from the
house and she needed quiet so she could cold call. I asked her after we
came back, I’m like, “So tell me about how you’re selling these things.”
Which is basically it’s a reputation management sort of portal product for
auto dealers, not a very complicated sale. She’s like, “Well, I have to
make 40 to 50 dials a day.”

Trent: Ugh.

Graig: I’m like, “So where are you getting your leads from?” I’m like, “Are
they giving you opt-ins and you’re calling opt-ins? Where are they coming
from?” She’s like, “We just have directory sites that we just dial.” I’m
like, “So you’re cold-calling?” She’s like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “Ugh, what?”
She goes, “What I don’t understand is, I’m having trouble getting to four
sales a month for a $300 product for an auto dealer.”

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: She tells me — this is the kicker, Trent — she tells me that, in
the Chicago area, they just hired three more sales reps to do what she’s
doing, just dial. I’m like, “Okay, here’s a very philosophical difference
between businesses. There’s a difference between a sales-driven culture and
a marketing-driven culture. Very distinct things, very distinct things.”

A sales-driven culture like that company, they’re using their sales force
like lead gen. They’re saying, “We’re paying this person $15 an hour. We
want them to dial so they can get working leads and that’s just how it is.”
That’s the sales-driven culture. “And hopefully we get lucky and they pop a
sale.”

As opposed to a marketing-driven culture like what we have in my business,
where we wouldn’t even pick up the phone unless the prospect raised their
hands because what they want is what we are giving away, so therefore,
we’re not wasting man-hours, marketing material, energy, money on people
and things. They’re wasting it.

Trent: Plus, no one likes making those calls and nobody likes getting those
calls.

Graig: No. No, and you want to know the funny part about you saying that is
she told me, “I called on a guy who I got him on the phone, I actually got
through the gatekeeper and I got him on the phone” — because, remember,
these are big businesses, they’ve got a gatekeeper, meaning they’ve got
multiple receptionists — so she got the guy on the phone and she says, “I
want to get you on one of our webinars,” and he goes, “Ugh, seriously?
Another webinar? I’ve had five phone calls today of people asking me to get
on webinars, demos, more demos.”

I’m like, “Well, you’d better hope you’ve got a hearty appetite because
you’re going to get 100 more of those every, single time you call because
that’s exactly what’s going to happen.” You just look at that compared to
what we talked about today where people are only getting on my webinars
when they either pay my company, like fork over $100 or $300 or whatever,
or they’ve raised their hand and said, “Hey, I love what you’re saying. I
would like to learn more.” No problem, but you have to get on this webinar
first. They’re going to sign up for the webinar and not complain.

Trent: Can you give the URL of one of your landing pages? I’d love to look
at it.

Graig: Let me check and give you a good one here. Let me pull one up. Ask
me another question and I’ll pull one up.

Trent: All right. Well, now I’ve got to think of another question to ask.
Oh, yeah, while you’re pulling up, let’s talk about your podcast because I
know that you’ve got one.

Graig: Yeah.

Trent: How’s that working out for you?

Graig: It’s good, it’s good. Okay, here, I found one for you.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: Go to localsearchfordentists.com/googlereviews.

Trent: All one word, no hyphens or anything like that?

Graig: Yeah, all one word.

Trent: Okay. Folks, if you’re listening to this . . .

Graig: There’s going to be audio on that, by the way, if you want to shut
that off.

Trent: Yeah. For the folks that are listening to this while you’re driving,
don’t worry, I’ll put this in the show notes, this link, so you’ll be able
to get to it and at the end of this episodes I’ll give you the link to the
Bright Ideas, where on the blog you’ve got to go to get to this interview,
so fear not. Don’t be trying to take notes while you’re driving.

Graig: Yeah, that landing page I just gave you is really good for cold
traffic, meaning a lot of paid media and such. It’s pretty good.

Trent: Now, is this any particular plug-in that you used to make this
landing page or is this just somebody did HTML?

Graig: No, we made that one, we made that one. We made that one in-house.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: But I know this is a template of something. One of my buddies told
me, “Oh, yeah, that’s a whatever page,” and I went, “Well, I saw it, I
liked it, we just made it.”

Trent: Yeah. What’s the conversion rate on this page?

Graig: This one has a 50% opt-in on cold traffic.

Trent: Very nice. Okay.

Graig: I only use this one on — and when I say cold traffic, meaning not a
house list. I only use this one on paid media.

Trent: Okay, so you’re spending money on, say, LinkedIn ads, for example,
and you’re driving them to this page.

Graig: Sure, sure, sure. Yeah, that’s right.

Trent: All right, I want to go back, actually, to the top of the funnel
because I don’t know that I got enough detail. So, sponsored e-mail — we
didn’t dive into that all, so if it’s okay, I’d like to go back and just
talk a little bit more about that particular one and some of the others. So
if someone wants to market to dentists — like you’re doing — how do they
go about finding — first of all, explain what sponsored e-mail is. I’m
sure everyone gets it, but in case a few people don’t, explain what it is
and then explain how you find people to buy it from.

Graig: Right. Okay, so I’m going to be a little private on this answer,
okay, for an obvious reason because lead sources are like gold. That’s my
money, so I will tell you how to find them, essentially, but I will not
tell you where and who, okay?

Trent: Sure, all right.

Graig: So how about that?

Trent: That’s fine.

Graig: Sponsored e-mail blasts — and this is something no one does in any
sort of business, and not necessarily dentistry, and this is what I teach a
lot of the people that I coach on how to be local marketers is there are
people out there who have herds or subscription or magazine companies or
whatever it is, educational companies, that have e-mail lists of people
that open their crap and read it. They have maybe never thought that they
can monetize the e-mails that they send out.

Essentially what a sponsored e-mail blast is, let’s take eye doctors, for
example. Say you want to target LASIK surgeons with marketing consulting or
something like that. Let’s just take them for example. You can go and find
publications, whether it’s continuing education, Eye Doctor Magazine, any
sort of print, maybe there’s blogs, forums, where these guys and gals hang
out and get their information from. You can use this cool little thing
called Google to figure it out, where those things.

Some may have media kits where they do offer sponsored email blasts, you
just didn’t know about it. It’s, say, $1,000. Now, in exchange for that
$1,000, they will send pre-approved e-mail content out to their list from
you with basically an offer: “Here’s my free report, here’s my Google cheat
sheet.” Then you get to keep the leads, you pay them the $1,000. Done deal.

Now, here’s a cool way to do it, is sometimes these media companies never,
ever think to monetize their e-mail list like that. They sell print space,
they sell banner ads, but they never think that by clicking a button they
can make $1,000. And you’ll keep coming back for more if it works, so what
I tell my people is find a community of people in the niche that you want
to go after, find the key-holder to the e-mail list. If they don’t offer a
media kit or something like that, tell them you’ll pay them $1,000 to send
one e-mail out and if it goes well, you’ll give them $1,500 an e-mail and
buy four more of them. That is a way to get someone to mail for you
essentially, sponsor you in a way and I’ve done it a myriad of times
myself.

Sometimes they’ll say no. Sometimes they’ll say, “Oh, we don’t want to do
that.” Sometimes they’re just not into it but, honestly, I know some of the
biggest names in the business in certain niches who, from a publication
standpoint, from a media standpoint, love the e-mail sponsored blasts and
they’re open to doing it.

Trent: Okay, and where does that rank in-between, let’s say, direct mail —
which we’ll talk about next — LinkedIn — which we’ll talk a little bit
after that — and sponsored e-mail? Are they roughly equal? Is sponsored e-
mail the best one?

Graig: Sponsored e-mail is the fastest way to cash.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: That’s the fastest way to build your list. It’s the fastest way to
make money but the problem is it saturates quickly, so it comes down to
really knowing your numbers when it comes to that. In the beginning, you’re
going to be like, “Oh, this is amazing! I got 100 leads from one e-mail.”
Well, in three months, six months, that might be 30 people, that might be
10. Who knows? So you need to have back-up. So that leads my lead source is
the e-mail blast but I also do a lot of direct mail. I do a lot of cheap
postcards and then I’d say just after that LinkedIn and other paid traffic,
not just LinkedIn but other outside traffic.

Trent: Yeah. Let’s talk about direct mail.

Graig: Sure.

Trent: So are you doing only postcards or do you do three-dimensional?

Graig: No. For lead gen, yes, and the only reason I have is because I’ve
been able to make money doing it, so I just know if I send these postcards
out, I’m going to get traffic, I’m going to get opt-ins and then we’re just
going to push them through. So right now, I do do other direct mail but
mostly I’m using postcards to drive traffic.

The other thing that I’m doing that nobody does is I use postcards to drive
webinar sign-ups.

Trent: So the postcards are either sending to a landing page like the one
you shared with me, this Google Reviews one, yeah?

Graig: Yeah.

Trent: Or a webinar opt-in page.

Graig: Correct. I also use what’s called a PURL postcard. Do you know what
a PURL postcard is?

Trent: No, I don’t, I don’t.

Graig: You don’t? Okay.

Trent: No.

Graig: They’ve been around for a while and they’re pretty cool. So PURL
stands for “personalized URL”.

Trent: Oh, okay.

Graig: So what that basically does is you print a postcard and it’ll say,
“Hey, Trent, look at this cool new thing on how to get 10 to 15 more
clients a month without lifting a finger. I made this brand-new website
just for you. Check it out: abc.com/trent.”

You’re like, “Wow, this person like made their own individual website for
me. Cool.” So you go to the computer and you type in “abc.com/trent.” You
go the landing page, and it says at the top, “Hey, Trent, thanks for coming
to this webpage” and then inside the web form is pre-populated with your
name and e-mail already and you’re like, “Wow, this is super-customized.”

Conversions go up exponentially because of it because people actually think
you made a real, live individual website for them — but you didn’t. All
you did is all it is is a list uploaded to your server that talks to some
code and the code, when they type in their name, pops it into the fields
and you’re done, so it’s really one webpage with a list. That’s all it is.

Trent: Now, is there a service that you subscribe to get these PURL
postcards?

Graig: No, but there are and they all suck. So I’ve tried to do that before
where I thought I could crank them out quicker, and they’ve all been very,
very terrible, so what I decided to do is I just have a mailing company
that prints the postcards and then the developer uploads the list and then
I just go.

But here’s the good news: once the list is uploaded to your server, you can
just keep adding to it. It’s not like it has to be replaced. So once that
mailing list is uploaded, you could have 100,000 names on there and still
only mail to a 1,000 and it’ll still work.

Trent: So the URL on the postcard is abc.com/trent and it doesn’t matter if
you had 47 Trents on your list because they all come to the page that says,
“Hey, Trent,” because . . .

Graig: We usually do first name, last name.

Trent: Oh, you do? Okay, so everyone’s getting an individual page, so
you’ve got one landing page, your developer wrote a little bit of script,
queries the database, pulls the first name and populates it.

Graig: Yup.

Trent: And makes the URL the same thing.

Graig: Yup, and I would imagine if anyone listening is an InfusionSoft
user, if you go under the Community page, there will be people on there
that can build PURL pages for you.

Trent: Absolutely. What are you spending per-piece for one of these
postcards?

Graig: Oh, geez, I think it’s — what is postage? $0.45 right now or
something like that?

Trent: I have no idea, something like that.

Graig: I think postcards probably run me around $0.65 in total, so the
postage is more than the stuff on the card.

Trent: So it’s about a buck by the time you’re all done.

Graig: No, it’s less than a dollar. No, it’s $0.65 cents.

Trent: Oh, including the postage.

Graig: Like I just mailed a letter — I call it the “granny letter”, one
piece of paper, handwritten, everything for $0.85 cents apiece.

Trent: And is it actually handwritten? I used to hire people off
Craigslist.

Graig: Uh-huh, not fun. Handwritten.

Trent: I’d just hire people off Craigslist and they’d come over to my house
and pick all the things up and they’d go home and watch TV and write them
all.

Graig: Are you being serious?

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: Oh, dude, there are mailing houses that could do that for you for
$0.85 cents.

Trent: This was years ago before I knew about any of this stuff.

Graig: Oh, okay. No, you’d be surprised, you’d be surprised with that
stuff. It’s pretty reasonable. The reason I like the PURL postcard is
because it’s personalized so people really get engaged with it and it’s
really inexpensive.

Trent: Any chance you’d send me a screenshot of one of these postcards that
I could include in the post?

Graig: Yeah, I can do it but I’m going to blur stuff out.

Trent: That’s fine.

Graig: Okay.

Trent: Is the message on the postcard pretty much the same message as on
the landing page that it’s driving them to?

Graig: Pretty close because, obviously, from being of Direct Response 101,
you do need congruency.

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: But you still never want to get away from the fact that you need to
get the click. You need to get the click and you need to get the traffic,
so don’t be too revealing in your message upfront. Give them enough to not
satisfy their appetite so that when they get to the landing page, they’re
like, “Ah, makes sense but it didn’t say it all on the copy.” Because
that’s what a lot of people do, they forget that they need to get that
click, so they give away way too much on the front end when just give away
your stuff later because you don’t want to satisfy their appetite by just
writing a bunch of great copy and them being like, “Oh, that was pretty
good, thanks. Well, see you later.”

Trent: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. Okay, and then let’s finish this off on
LinkedIn. Just talk very briefly about how you’re using LinkedIn.

Graig: Okay. Like no one else. Because everybody goes on there to solicit
and profile and go into groups and network and all that. Isn’t that what
most people use it for?

Trent: Probably, yeah.

Graig: Yeah, yeah, right. I don’t even go on there and do anything other
than run my ads. That’s it.

Trent: Okay.

Graig: Because one thing people need to understand about LinkedIn versus
Facebook — which I’m not saying don’t do Facebook, I’m saying do a lot of
things that make you money but let’s just talk about LinkedIn for a minute
— is it lets you specifically with, by the way, 100% accuracy, sort by
profession. So if you want to go after Fortune 500 CEOs, you can do that.
If you want to go after eye doctors, you can do that. Pinpoint that,
exactly that, so it really enables you to go by profession and that’s
really good for us sort of marketers and consultants because we really can
segment out the people that we want to go after.

I don’t use it for any of the social networking. I don’t network at all,
actually, and that’s not because I’m antisocial; that’s because I don’t
make money when I network and that’s actually good. We don’t use it for
that, we just use it for traffic, that’s it. Ads and traffic.

Trent: And ads are driving to like the Google Reviews landing page?

Graig: Yeah, sure, or various landing pages, yeah. Yeah.

Trent: In the ads, is it like Facebook, you can include a little image?
I’ve actually never advertised on LinkedIn yet.

Graig: Yeah, it’s actually the set-up for LinkedIn ads is simpler than
Facebook but it is an image and copy. They restrict you a little bit more
with the number of characters, but they also let you get away with a little
bit more than Facebook, so it’s kind of a give-and-take.

Trent: And what kind of images are you doing? Pretty girls with smiles?

Graig: Pretty girls, pretty girls.

Trent: Really? Seriously?

Graig: Oh, yeah, of course. That’s pretty much it. Pretty girls most of the
time.

Trent: And these pretty girls are dressed in business attire, I’m assuming?

Graig: No, sometimes bikinis.

Trent: You’re pulling my leg, right?

Graig: Nope.

Trent: And LinkedIn lets you do that?

Graig: Yup.

Trent: Because Facebook is ridiculously anal about that.

Graig: Yeah, they’re a little tougher. They’re loosening up a little bit
but, yeah, LinkedIn, they’ll let me — I’d probably embarrass you if you
saw some of the pictures I got away with on LinkedIn but they work, man.
But I’m going to say this, though, with a disclaimer, is the business that
I’m in happens to be very male-dominated. I think about 80% or higher are
males in dentistry. So, if you’re going after the holistic niche or, yeah,
females in it, still use pretty girls but don’t put them in bikinis. But I
still need to get people’s attention. I use pretty girls on all of my — I
even put them on my postcards.

Trent: Yeah, I still think you’re pulling my leg about the bikinis.

Graig: No, no, I’m not, I’m serious.

Trent: That’s awesome.

Graig: I’m not ashamed. I try to push it, because I know that if you’re
online and you’re looking at ads, you’re looking at thousands a day, so I
know that I’ve got to make that thing jump out at you.

Trent: Yup. I went to a workshop where the guy did a lot of paid ads.

Graig: Sure.

Trent: He even went so far — pretty girls were his images — that he would
split test how big their eyes were.

Graig: Oh, that’s funny.

Trent: He would split test which direction they were looking, whether it
was looking at the camera or away from the camera. It was insane, but this
guy’s running an eight- or nine-figure-a -year business. I can’t remember.

Graig: Yeah, no, I have friends like that, too, and they’ve tested cleavage
versus no cleavage, stuff like that, and cleavage got more clicks. That’s
very true but, to his defense, it probably depends on his market. Like I
said, mine happens to be a male-dominated industry where bikinis and
lingerie probably get clicks, but in other businesses it may not
essentially work.

Trent: So when you first started, you had to spend some money on LinkedIn
ads, sponsored e-mail, direct mail. How long did it take you to get that
money back?

Graig: Well, I ROI’ed out pretty quickly. I’d say it depends on the lead
source, though, but I didn’t do them all at one time. I had my lead sources
and I was like, “Okay, we’ll do this one, see how it goes.” This is
actually a good lesson. I don’t know the exact number of days, but I know
that I made money on it. Because here’s what a lot of people do when it
comes to marketing: they do a lead source campaign. In the lead source
campaign, they get a bunch of leads and they say, “Okay, well, we’ve got
100 leads, so I’m not going to do any more marketing until we make money
off that one campaign.”

Trent: They’re wrong.

Graig: They’re like, “Okay, so waiting, still waiting.” Whereas what if
that lead source just sucked? Or what if that lead source needed six months
to be nurtured before it converted? Maybe that’s just the way those people
are. So now you’ve done no marketing for six months because you’re still
“testing” this lead source, right? You’ve sat on your ass and made no
money, whereas when I did it — and I’m not saying this is the only way to
do it but it’s definitely a smarter way to do it — is I ran the campaign,
I got, say, 100 leads.

I knew I had the leads. I knew that they were going to be in Infusionsoft.
I knew that I could market to them forever. I knew I was going to give them
good content. So what I did was I waited until some more cash came in, just
a little bit of cash, and then I did another lead source campaign and then
I stacked them like that. Now I have 300 leads that I’m able to monetize
versus a six-month gap of just marketing to one particular customer and I
was able to build my list, my herd, right, because I just need more people.

Sometimes it’s just pure numbers. Sometimes 100 people in your niche just
isn’t going to cut it to get a customer. Maybe you need 300 people to get a
customer. So a lot of people do that one-and-done marketing, that one-shot,
“Oh, I’m going to do one direct mail campaign,” “Oh, I’m going to do one
thing” — and then they sit and they wait. Sometimes you waiting may cost
you your business.

Trent: Yep, because cash flow is king.

Graig: Right, right. The thing is that, especially when you start a
business, you don’t really know the life cycle of your customer. You don’t
know it might take seven months to close someone, so you’ve kind of got to
get your marketing in order and just stagger it and go out six months and
then look at it and say, “Okay, on average it took us four months to get a
client. Now we know that,” as before you may not have known that.

Trent: How long did it take you to get your first client?

Graig: A week.

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: A week, but you know why was because I knew the basics of what it
was going to take to get a client. What I mean by that is in the first week
of being in business, I hosted a live teleseminar where I got 50 dentists
on and I sold my first product.

Trent: How’d you get those 50?

Graig: Various lead sources opting-in to a landing page. The life lesson
there is I didn’t focus on anything but just selling them on the one thing.
I needed eyeballs and I needed ears and I had a product. I just needed them
to listen to it and I put them on a telecall and I think I sold five in
that one night.

Trent: So the machine began.

Graig: Then the matrix started, that’s right.

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: But how many people do you know spend the first two weeks of
business making up a website and business cards and a logo?

Trent: Yeah.

Graig: I had an e-mail address. I didn’t even have a website and I made
thousands in a day.

Trent: I interviewed a guy by the name of Sam Ovens yesterday and he has a
marketing consulting business and he put up a one-page website. He didn’t
have a business card, he didn’t have a business plan, he didn’t know what
he was going to sell and he didn’t know who he was going to sell it to. He
just started to reach out to everyone he knew and he said, “Hey, I’m pretty
knowledgeable about online marketing and I’m looking for clients to help.”

Graig: Yep.

Trent: And one, two, three, four, five, six, seven clients later, he
started figuring out what they really wanted, who he should really be
selling to, and what he should really be selling and he figured out that
his sweet spot was selling to high-ticket B2B companies for the same
reasons that you explained at the very beginning of this interview, was
because their customer value was between $50,000 and $100,000.

Check this out — he would go to one of these companies and say, “I can
make your website produce more qualified leads for you.” “Okay.” And he
would tweak — so these people wouldn’t even have an opt-in form.

Graig: Right.

Trent: So he’d fix the headline, fix the sales copy, put on in opt-in form,
basic autoresponder, and charge $10,000.

Graig: Yup.

Trent: But these customers are like, “Well, if I could get one more
customer per year, that’s $50,000 and I only have to pay this guy $10,000.
Yeah, sign me up.”

Graig: I have a lot of friends that do exactly what he does and it’s very
true. It’s very true and that’s just the basics of it. I mean, Trent, I
still to this day, we’re talking three-and-a-half years later, I still
don’t have a business card.

Trent: If you’re not going networking, then what in the hell do you need
one for?

Graig: Oh, yeah, that’s a whole other hour podcast right there but, yeah,
no, and that’s exactly it and that’s the thing is a lot of people don’t
understand is I still do deals. So a lot of people associate networking
with deals, getting deals done. I still do deals all the time. It’s made me
a lot of money, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t do them where I go and I
peddle around my business card at stupid conferences.

What I did is I elevated myself to a certain stature that allowed people to
be attracted to me, not the other way around, so now all I have to do is
ask. So if I want one of my friends to send an e-mail out for me, they’re
my friends now because of the respect that they have for me, not because I
handed them and peddled them business cards at conferences and they just
say, “Yeah, I’ll send it out for you.” Because I’ve elevated that stature,
as opposed to saying, “Hey, call me, let’s get something together.”

Trent: And, folks in the audience, if you’re listening to this and going,
“Yeah, I’d like to elevate my stature,” I have three words for you: start a
podcast.

Graig: Start a podcast. That’s true. It’s very true. Write a book. Get
featured in press releases.

Trent: Blog.

Graig: Actually, you know what? Can I do a shameless plug and it’s not for
me, it’s for one of my friends who does a really good job with this, a
really good job?

Trent: Yeah. Please do.

Graig: If you want to be the authority in your particular arena or you just
want to be able to hang your hat on more notoriety — because nobody argues
with an expert, no one argues with Dr. Oz or Suze Orman about financial
stuff, even though they’re average in their profession. You would think
they’re phenomenal.

If you utilize my friend Brian Horn, he’s got a website, I think it’s
horndogsearch.com or something like that or beonpageone.com. You just
Google “Brian Horn SEO” and he will help you. He has done a phenomenal job
with helping his clients in all sorts of businesses from dentists to
Fortune 500 CEOs on how to get featured in local media, Wall Street
Journal, and syndicate you all over the dang place so, that way, you can
put all of those labels on your authority badge. You’re “as seen on CBS,
FOX News, CBS Sports,” whatever you’re in. He does a phenomenal job with it
and that’s an easy way to become an authority where you can garner more
respect from not only your peers, but your clients and customers and
prospects. So that’s a shameless plug for Brian but he’s good at it.

Trent: I was going to ask you about that because I noticed you had “ABC,
NBC, CBS, FOX, blah blah blah,” Brian Horn, did you work with him to be
able to do that?

Graig: I did and Brian’s a really good friend of mine. He’s in my
MasterMind group with me, and he’s phenomenal at it. He’s phenomenal at it.
Yeah, I was even in Newsweek Magazine as a featured person and, by the way,
guys, you can pay to be in all that stuff. It’s not special. I mean, it’s
special to the outside world, but it’s not that hard.

Trent: So you mentioned a word near and dear to my heart: MasterMind group.
For folks, if you’re listening, Bright Ideas is about to launch a
MasterMind group for people that want to learn how to build a local
marketing agency to serve dentists. Why, Graig, do you think MasterMind
groups are so valuable?

Graig: Well, I mean, it’s the whole adage of the power of the MasterMind. I
mean, the simplest way to explain it is many brains is better than one. So
you’re automatically multiplying what can be done in a room. For example,
if Trent and I sat down in a room together and I told him my biggest
problems and biggest ideas, he may just look at me and say, “Well, here’s
what I would do and what I’ve done.” But what if you had seven Trents in
that room? It’s the ultimate multiplier.

Anyone who’s not part of a MasterMind, you should just be in one. I don’t
care, be in at least just one. Most successful people are in more than one,
but be in just at least one and that’s really it because when I go to
MasterMind and I’m like, “Okay, here’s what I’m seeing,” not only can they
help me, but when I say, “I’m doing this that’s working,” I have 8 to 10
other eyeballs in the room helping me out with that, versus just one.
Versus just a coach. It’s not just a coach, it’s a room of experts.

Trent: What do you pay to be in yours?

Graig: The one that I’m in is actually sort of, it’s like Fight Club.

Trent: Yeah?

Graig: So we don’t even tell people where we meet. We call each other,
we’re the “SEO Mafia” is what we say, so I can’t tell you that or they’ll
kill me. They won’t kill me literally but we don’t talk about it. But in
all honesty, I think paying around anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 a year
for a MasterMind is not a bad investment.

Trent: Yeah, because you’re around other people who can afford to pay
$20,000 to $25,000 a year.

Graig: Yeah, and the other thing is don’t just join a MasterMind group of
average people, right? You want to be in a room with seven- or eight-figure-
earners. So if you were to be in Joe Posh’s $25,000 group or something like
that, you know you’re going into that room and there’s going to be other
millionaires in that room. That’s a good place to be.

Trent: Yeah, absolutely.

Graig: It’s a real good place to be.

Trent: I guess I’d better raise the price of my MasterMind.

Graig: Double it, double it.

Trent: Actually, as of this recording, I have not decided yet how much I’m
going to charge. I’m off to Washington D.C. the tail-end of this week,
actually, to do a meeting which will be instrumental to my figuring out
what the pricing will be and what will be included.

Graig: Nice.

Trent: So details to come, folks.

Graig: Nice.

Trent: All right, Graig, let’s wrap this up. We’ve done a long one here,
but, man, this has been super-awesome and thank you for that.

Graig: Yeah, I know we went over but I think everybody’s going to get a
good idea of things. If people are looking to get more information like on
me and so on and so forth, not necessarily me itself but sort of how I look
at marketing, is if you go to 7figurelocalmarketer.com — that’s where
you’re going to be able to get my free report on how I’ve really built my
business. The dentist stuff is good to talk about but that’s where all your
people are going to want to go.

Trent: Okay, I’ll make sure that I link to that from the show notes, as
well.

Graig: Yeah, yeah. That’s where they’ll want to be.

Trent: And do you have an affiliate link for whatever that is?

Graig: I can set one up for you, Trent. That’s not a problem.

Trent: Okay, cool. All right, so unless there’s anything else, Graig, that
you want to add to this.

Graig: No, this was good, this was fun.

Trent: Yeah, thank you very much for making the time. I hope that people
who are listening to this were both educated and inspired by your story as
I was and thanks for being on the show.

Graig: No problem.

Trent: Okay, to get the show notes for today’s episode, go to
brightideas.co/70. And while you’re in front of your computer, I’d love it
if you would take a minute and go to brightideas.co/love. If you’ve enjoyed
this episode, there will be a pre-populated tweet that you can click and,
as well, there’s a link to the iTunes store where you can go and leave
feedback for the show and for this episode. If you would take a moment and
do that, it would make a huge difference because it helps the show to get
more awareness and more people can listen to it and we can help more
entrepreneurs to massively boost their business.

Thanks very much for tuning in. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and I look
forward to seeing you in the next episode. Take care, have a wonderful day.

Announcer: Thanks very much for listening to the Bright Ideas podcast.
Check us out on the web at brightideas.co.

About Graig Presti

graigGraig Presti, founder and CEO of LocalSearchForDentists.com, is a foremost advertising authority who operates with dental practices all around the planet, assisting them to leverage the internet so they can generate more telephone calls, reach more new patients, and bring in more revenue. His strategies begin to work immediately and continue to work month after month.

Presti specializes in helping dental practices dominate their nearby location by using confirmed regional Internet dental advertising strategies to help them dominate the top rated regional research engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Presti uses easy to understand stories to help his clients comprehend how they can improve their internet presence. He is a repeated featured speaker at dental conferences and other venues.

Presti has mastered the art of bringing a flood of new patients into dental offices, and has undoubtedly established himself as a top specialist in his field. His considerable accomplishments, and his industry contributions, led him to be showcased as a Newsweek Magazine Champion of Health, Wealth and Success.

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Infusionsoft Tutorial: How to Automate Abandoned Shopping Cart Recovery

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The average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is a whopping 67.75%. Here’s one way to fix it.

bi-ultimate-marketing-automation-guide67.75% is a massive abandonment rate. Just think about how much that translates into in terms of lost profits. Next, add to that the amount of lost profits that result from your not having the opportunity to generate upsells and repeat sales to the (potential) customer that abandoned the cart in the first place.

Abandoned shopping carts is a huge problem for every online retailer. Thankfully, with some smart automation, you can reduce the number of carts that don’t complete checkout.

Thanks to Infusionsoft, recovering abandoned shopping carts need not be as manual or inconsistent a process as you might think.

How to Automate Shopping Cart Recovery

In the video below, I’m going to show how exactly how this can be done using Infusionsoft.

Helpful Hints

  • Ensure that you apply a tag every time a subscriber clicks a link to a sales page
  • Put all these types of tags into a category called Pre-Sales so don’t miss any of them
  • Regularly look at your campaign stats so that you can see which emails are sending the most traffic to your sales pages and then review the copy in these emails
  • Manually follow up with people that have abandoned carts if your automated follow up didn’t work. Get them on the phone and ask them why they abandoned the cart. Don’t try to re-sell them. Just ask why they abandoned in the first place so you look for trends that you can fix.

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