Digital Marketing Strategy: Robert Rose on How the Content Marketing Institute Uses Email Marketing to Land Consulting Clients

ROBERT ROSE 4IN X 6IN X 300DPI X FC

This podcast is a real treat. Robert Rose is the second guest I’ve had from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), which is virtually an institution of knowledge on content marketing. Robert is CMI’s Chief Strategist there, and I definitely learned some new strategies taht I’m looking forward to sharing with you!

CMI’s stated goal is to advance the practice of content marketing, and one of the ways they do this is by training their consulting clients.

Robert walks us through the process they use to turn a brand new lead into a paying client, including details of their funnel and what they do if a prospect doesn’t buy.

He also shares some strategies that can significantly inflate the reach of your content as he walks us through how and when to use press releases for posts, and how to cross post influencers’ content.

That’s not all. When you listen to this interview, you’ll hear Robert and I talk about:

  • (2:45) Introductions
  • (4:45) An overview of how they are attracting consulting clients
  • (10:00) An overview of how they track where their leads come from
  • (11:55) What happens if their consulting leads don’t buy
  • (17:45) An overview of how to structure an agency funnel
  • (20:30) The different types of registration forms and how to use them
  • (22:45) An overview of the BrightIdeas funnel, and how it could be improved
  • (29:45) How a secondary call to action mid-funnel can improve the buyer journey
  • (31:45) Traffic or conversion, which is easier to increase?
  • (35:15) How to attract other writers
  • (38:45) How to engage a new contributing writer
  • (40:45) How & why to do a press release for a new post

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

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

About Robert Rose

Robert-headshot-2011-color-medium-300x240Robert is the Chief Strategist for the Content Marketing Institute, and Senior Contributing Analyst for Digital Clarity Group.

Robert is the author of the book Managing Content Marketing, which spent two weeks as a top ten marketing book on Amazon.com.  As a recognized expert in content marketing strategy, digital media and the social Web, Robert innovates creative and technical strategies for a wide variety of clientele.  He’s helped large companies such as 3M, ADP, AT&T, KPMG, Staples, PTC and Petco tell their story more effectively through the Web. He’s worked to help develop digital marketing efforts for entertainment and media brands such as Dwight Yoakam, Nickelodeon and NBC. And, he’s helped marketers at smaller organizations such as East Harlem Tutorial Program, Coburn Ventures and Hippo to amplify their story through Content Marketing and Social Web Strategies.

He is a featured writer for the online magazines iMedia Connection, Fierce Content Management and CMSWire and also a featured author in the book “Enterprise 2.0 How Technology, E-Commerce and Web 2.0 Are Transforming Business Virtually.

An early Internet pioneer, Robert has more than 15 years of experience, and a track record of helping brands and businesses develop successful Web and content marketing strategies.

Join the Conversation

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Digital Marketing Strategy: Andrew Dymski on How He Launched a Successful Marketing Agency Right out of College (part 2)

ANDREW DYMSKI 4IN X 6IN X 300DPI X FC

If you want proof that you don’t need decades of experience and a huge Rolodex full of clients in order to start a marketing agency, look no further. Andrew and his colleagues at Guavabox launched an agency right out of college, and by all measures are on track to have a tremendously successful business.

Guavabox does an impressive job of generating content marketing. And, more than almost anyone I’ve spoken with, they not only understand the importance of list segmentation, but they provide an overview of how they’ve segmented their list, and how this segmentation has helped them identify their hottest prospects, and appropriately nurture and convert their leads into paying clients.

In addition, Andrew explains the thinking behind, and validation of, their business model, sharing insights helpful to any startup. There was so much goodness in this interview that I had to break it into two parts.

If you missed Part 1, you’ll want to check it out to hear Andrew and I talk about:

  • (3:30) Introductions
  • (5:50) Why the old model of web design doesn’t scale
  • (8:30) An overview of financial results
  • (10:00) His business philosophy and how it played a critical role in their launch
  • (13:30) How they validated their business model
  • (16:30) How taking on a new client went wrong
  • (21:00) How they picked their niche
  • (25:30) How they are generating leads
  • (27:30) How blogging plays a role in lead generation
  • (29:30) How they developed their personas
  • (35:30) An overview of outbound marketing

.. And be sure to check out Part 2 below, where we discuss:

  • (3:00) An overview of various nurturing campaigns
  • (7:00) An overview of how they’re using personas to segment their list
  • (13:00) An overview of when and how they decide to follow up with each lead
  • (16:30) An overview of how they are changing their business model to a retainer fee model
  • (21:00) An overview of their retainer plans
  • (12:40) How they report results (traffic & leads) and what they’re planning for the month ahead
  • (25:00) How they manage client expectations
  • (28:00) How they are producing blog content
  • (31:00) How they are using contractors
  • (33:00) An overview of how they are in track with their goals

Resources Mentioned

Inbound Marketing 101 Ebook
Zerys.com
ClearBloggingSolutions.com
Guavabox.com
Best Buyer 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

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

Transcript

Trent: Hey there bright idea hunters, welcome to the Bright Ideas
Podcast. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast
for marketing agencies, marketing consultants and entrepreneurs
who want to discover how to use content marketing and marketing
automation to massively boost their business without massively
boosting the amount of hours that they have to work every single
week.On the show with me today is Andrew Dymski, and this is part two of a
two part series that Andrew and I did. If you missed the first
part, you can get to it by going to BrightIdeas.co/74, and in
this episode we’re going to continue the discussion that we had,
where he is explaining to us how he is building, very
successfully I might add, his marketing agency GuavaBox.In this second part we’re going to be talking about the very creative
and intelligent ways that he is nurturing and converting his
leads to customers. We’re also going to be talking about how he
know when to follow up with and who to follow up with out of all
the leads that are coming into his funnel.We’re going to talk about an overview into how they’re changing their
business from a fee based business, rather like a fee per
project based business to a retainer fee income based business
and how that’s having a wonderfully positive effect on your cash
flow as you might imagine, and we’re also going to talk about
how he reports to his clients all the good stuff that they’re
doing for them so that those clients have a high level of
motivation to keep on paying that retainer on an ongoing basis,
to produce that long term client relationship of course that we
all want and need to make our businesses grow.So before we get to that just wanted to very quickly talk to you
about a Bright Ideas product, if you are at all struggling when
it comes to business to business lead generation, that’s an area
where I have extensive experience and I’ve created a product
called the Best Buyer Formula.You can get to the sales page at BrightIdeas.co/BBF, and in that
video based course, it’s delivered in a membership site, that
you’re going to see just a treasure trove of content that
explains to you exactly how I built my last business and how I’m
building this one in terms of lead generation. Like with all my
products I stand behind it with a 100% money back guarantee, so
if you get access and you think that it’s not for you no
worries, just send an email to my team and we will give you a
refund, no questions asked.So with all that said, thank you so much for tuning in and please
join me in welcoming Andrew back for part two.All right Andrew welcome back for part two of this interview with
Bright Ideas and yourself, for your firm GuavaBox which is an
inbound marketing agency. If you missed part one folks you can
get at it by going to BrightIdeas.co/74, and in part one we
talked a whole lot about how Andrew and his two cofounders
launched his business, how they picked their niche, how they
launched with what we call the minimum viable product, how
they’re generating their leads, there’s a whole bunch of really
good stuff in there in that half hour interview, and now we’re
going to pick up right where we left off.

So you mentioned that you’re getting leads, a lot of leads from your
blog. You also mentioned from referrals and some other things. I
don’t imagine that everyone is ready to buy right away.

Andrew: Sure.

Trent: So what’re you doing to nurture and convert? And if you like
you can also talk about how you’re doing this for your
customers, because I imagine it’s not terribly different than
how you’re doing it for yourself.

Andrew: No it’s not. Again just following the same line that we
prescribe for our clients is we’re HubSpot partners and we use
their workflow tool to kind of lay out lead nurturing sequences.
And the way that HubSpot is built if anyone isn’t familiar with
their product, but it’s a marketing database first so you, as
leads come in they kind of fill into this marketing database and
then it kind of watches their behavior and tracks the different
content that they’ve looked at the content that they’ve
downloaded, emails that they’ve clicked on and clicked through,
all these different data points to help create a smart marketing
system.

So we can go in and set different life cycle stages within the
software, so if someone downloads a what to expect in a
partnership with GuavaBox eBook, we’re going to respond probably
with an email right away, just introducing ourselves, a more
personal touch. But if someone downloads Inbound Marketing 101,
kind of a higher level offer, based on some of the form fields
they will be entered into, just a lead nurturing sequence, just
an email drip sequence basically, like you could set up through
MailChimp or any other email tool you may use. So we use the
nurturing to kind of follow up with people and keep our finger
on the pulse of what they’re clicking through, what’s
interesting them, so that’s how we nurture right now.

Trent: Okay so let me make sure, I want to feed that back and make
sure that I understand and we’ll go to the website here. So
someone on your sidebar, it says subscribe to the GuavaBox blog,
when an email address goes into there, what happens? Are they
just getting blog updates from that point forward, because
that’s its own follow-up sequence correct?

Andrew: Correct. So there, when someone subscribes from our blog we’re
only going to send them blog articles, so that’s a really top of
the funnel lead in our system, so from a follow-up standpoint
there whenever you get a new blog post from us you’re going to
have an opportunity to download an eBook from us, right now it’s
Inbound Marketing 101, kind of a brief overview of what
Inbound’s all about, and gives them more detail.

So if they’re reading our blog, they’re probably going to be
interested in Inbound 101, and that’s kind of the generic first
offer that we offer people who come to the site. And then if
someone downloads say Inbound 101, now they’re kind of a
marketing qualified lead in our funnel and they’re going to get
a different sequence of responses from us, and again it’s based
on those personas. We’ve got a best describes me field in our
form.

And it’s a CEO is looking to increase sales, a marketing manager
who’s looking for a boost, other marketing agencies so depending
on what that field result is right there, they’re going to get
entered into a different lead nurturing sequence and that’s how
our system’s built right now.

Trent: Okay, so this is the offer that I see at the bottom of . . .
I’m assuming it’s every blog post, that green box with a red
button, get started with the free guide correct?

Andrew: Well the offer’s going to change a little bit depending on what
the blog post topic is, so if we’re writing about personas it’s
going to be kind of a buyer persona guide that we have down
there, we cycle between three and four top of the funnel offers
at the bottom of our blog post.

Trent: Okay, and so when your segment, because segmentation’s
unbelievably important, your segmenting by number of employees
and this field called best describes me, so speak to that again
if you would. So let’s say that I choose marketing manager who
needs a boost versus CEO slash owner who needs sales, how is the
experience in your funnel going to be different for me as a
result of one or the other of those choices?

Andrew: Okay, let’s think back to our personas again, if we’ve got
cutting edge Chris, Chris is the CEO of a company, it’s a
pretty, it’s a young and growing company that’s looking to
expand, they’re looking for a new source of leads that’s going
to help throttle their growth and a company that we can scale
with as well. So what kind of information is he looking for?

He wants to know return on investment, he wants to know what kind of
leads he can expect, far more metric driven, straight to the
point kind of stuff, so our content to Chris is usually shorter
than our content would be to the marketing manager. In the
marketing manager we share more tactical information, because
they could be attempting to do inbound on their own right now,
maybe they’re a HubSpot customer, [Marketo] or they’re just
trying to use WordPress by themselves, whatever it is. So
they’re going to be interested in more like how are you driving
leads to our website, whereas the CEO just wants to know are you
driving leads to my website and what kind of return am I going
to see from the money that I’m giving you. So that’s how we use
personas to kind of break up the type of message that we
communicate to our leads.

Trent: Now that’s pretty smart by the way, so bravo to you for that.

Andrew: Thank you.

Trent: Now the content that you’re delivering, is it, are you
basically just writing short emails that then direct them back
to specific posts which would be relevant to the persona that
they selected, or is all of the content delivered in an email so
they don’t have to click through?

Andrew: No we’re typically, we have some emails that are just within
the email, but we’re primarily linking people back to landing
pages, providing them another opportunity to convert on our
website. Another powerful that HubSpot gives you is progressive
profiling in their forms, essentially what that is, is if
somebody has downloaded an offer from your website and they’ve
entered their first name, last name, email address, their
company name and their company URL. We don’t need to ask what
their company name and company URL are again.

If we want to keep the number of fields shorter, we’re going to ask
them a different set of questions. So it’s, their database looks
at we can build out ten questions and if three of them are
already answered they just kind of bump the next three up so
then we might get employee number, or the biggest marketing
struggle, questions like that that help us to get more
information and identify their pain point more clearly through
the automation process.

So we want to take them from the email to a landing page and
sometimes we’ll send them back to a website but the primary goal
is to get them to a landing page to offer them another piece of
content that can help them solve whatever problem they’re
facing.

Trent: Can you give me an example of one of those landing pages? Let’s
say have you got one that you could rattle off for the CEO-owner
persona.

Andrew: Yeah. Well we don’t structure the landing pages. They’re going
to be structured pretty much the same, in the way that we lay it
out. But the email copy is what we vary based on the persona.

Trent: Okay.

Andrew: So an email, we want to get say a CEO to click through, we
might only have three or four sentences, break it up into like
three paragraph breaks with only a couple sentences on there,
and then that is going to get them to click through and then,
I’ll pull up one of our pages, one of our landing pages right
now and kind of walk you through how we use personas to
construct that.

So if someone just goes to GuavaBox.com, and you can go down to the
bottom, in free marketing resources section and click on all
online marketing sources, here’s just a collection of all the
eBooks. Everyone’s just welcome to download as many as they
want, I hope they can help you out.

Trent: Right. I’ll make sure if you’re driving in your car right now
don’t worry about writing any of this down, all you’ve got to do
is come to the post which for this part two episode will be at
BrightIdeas.co/75, and I’ll put links to all this stuff.

Andrew: So when we build a landing page, we understand the personas are
going to read things differently, so in our like H1 tag we want
a straight to the points text that a CEO is going to relate
with. So he’s just breezing through, so in our Inbound Marketing
101 landing page, which is like I said our top of the funnel
offer, the H1 tag is reach new customers with inbound marketing.
That’s going to relate to a marketer but it’s also going to
relate to a CEO because at the end of the day that’s what they
want their marketing to deliver, is new customers.

And then when you drill down into the H2 copy it says learn how an
inbound marketing game plan can bring all marketing efforts into
focus and grow your business. So that helps more of the
analytical thinker, helps them understand more precisely what
this eBook’s going to help them deliver, and then you go down.
And we’ve got bullet points that break down specific tactics
that the marketer’s going to want to understand on how this
value’s going to be delivered.

Trent: This is a lot of content to produce, all these eBooks. Were you
able to take generic eBooks that HubSpot produced and then just
put your branding on them?

Andrew: We have, some of them, their partner program is Out of Sight,
and I recommend every marketing agency at least look into it
because the support that they provide to you is outstanding
beyond just learning their software, they give you offers that
you can convert and co-brand with them. So I’d say about half of
our offers are cobranded offers, and then we have original
offers that we have just created out of problems that have seen
arise.

Trent: Interesting. What does it cost you a month to have HubSpot?

Andrew: We are on the professional package so it’s $600 a month, for
us. Obviously that’s a number that’s going to scare away or just
chase away smaller agencies, but we were able to pace up towards
it. And then once you begin to get clients who are using
HubSpot, they have basically an affiliate referral program where
you get 20 percent back from any package that you’re able to
sell. So if you’re able to sell, you’re able to basically get
your portal for free after not too long.

Trent: Yeah, okay. All right so when people are downloading these
various . . . you’ve got all these offers that are in your
funnel, and then I would imagine that you’re doing some type of
like, where I’m going with this is how do you know when to
follow up with who?

Andrew: Great question. When you’re getting started and leads are just
flowing into your system, you don’t really have time for the
lead nurturing sequence to go all the way through. You know if a
company downloads Inbound 101 and we click over to their website
and every day we’re going through the leads that have converted,
and so we see their website we see their in our niche or they’re
a company that we wouldn’t mind working with then we’re just
going to give them a call. You know reach out or send them an
email, say, “Hey, this is Andrew from GuavaBox. I notice that
you were on our website yesterday and downloaded Inbound
Marketing 101. Just wanted to follow up and see if you had any
other questions or if there’s anything I can help you out with.”
And you know that gets a conversation started.

Sometimes people deny that they’ve ever been there. They say, oh I
don’t know what you’re talking about or . . . it’s crazy. But
other times you’ve got people who are really open to having a
conversation with you and that can kind of move the sales
process along just by reaching out. And that’s why we’re in the
inbound marketing is because there is that connection, you can
understand what pages they’ve looked at, you can look at the
type of offer that they’ve downloaded and that from a sales side
that gives you an insight into the kind of problem that they’re
facing. So then as a salesperson you can really offer some
legitimate value to their business, you’re not just interrupting
them with a cold call.

Trent: Absolutely. So I noticed that you do ask for, especially for
your lead magnets that are further in the funnel, you do ask for
phone number and URL.

Andrew: Yeah.

Trent: Have you split tested at all to see the effect on your
conversion rate by asking for those two extra pieces, because I
see that you make it mandatory?

Andrew: Yeah we do, because at the end of the day if someone’s not
willing to give me their company name or their phone number,
it’s not really a lead that I’m ready to follow up with at that
point. So we have like a 30 percent conversion rate, average on
our landing pages, and that’s bringing a good amount of leads
right now that we’re comfortable with. And so if someone’s at
the point where they’re ready to put in their phone number,
that’s great you know and if they’re not at that point yet,
that’s not a lead that we want in our funnel right now.

Trent: But let’s be clear for the people that are listening, people
can get into the top of your funnel with just first name last
name and email.

Andrew: Exactly.

Trent: So they’re only seeing these deeper offers if they are either
reading the emails that you’re already sending to them, or by
their own effort are coming back to your blog and then clicking
the calls to action at the beginning of a blog post, and then
“opting in” again to get this lead magnet that is deeper into
your funnel. So it’s not as though you’re not getting the lead
at all, you just want, and it’s very smart. You’re basically
saying I don’t want to actually talk to this person until
they’ve provided me with more than their name and email but
you’ve already got their name and email.

Andrew: Correct. And I’m going to communicate with them with the
information that they give me, so essentially they give us
permission to market to them through email but not phone, and
we’re just going to market to them through email, until they’re
ready.

Trent: Smart, smart, smart. All right. So very, very early, I think it
was in part one of the interview or it might have even been
before we hit the record button, you talked about how you’re
transitioning the services that you’re offering from you know
just web design to, I want you to describe what it’s going to.

Andrew: Sure. So we started out, again it was a yes-man business where,
“Can you guys do website design?” Yeah. Can you understand
twitter? Yeah. Can you do YouTube videos? Yeah. We did viewer
production, kind of the whole gamut of isolated online marketing
activities. And then as we continued to learn and grow we found
out that none of these activities really drive ROI until they
can be connected together into a system that makes sense, and
that’s going to drive new business in a smart way.

So we wanted to shift to a retainer model business, and that’s kind
of where we started exploring different partnerships and we
ended up going with HubSpot because they provided the best
support, the best technology to help us facilitate that
transition.

So essentially what it is, is we were just a website design agency,
we would do basic WordPress web design, we would do Twitter
strategies, Facebook strategies where we would just write up
basically smart stuff like, just, not smart just whatever you’d
find, like best practices that sort of thing, and apply them to
the client and deliver those sources to them in a way that would
help them kind of do their own marketing.

We would tweet for some clients, we would post on Facebook for some
clients, we would do Facebook design, Twitter design, YouTube
background design, all that kind of stuff, but now the shift
into inbound marketing is really . . . it starts with the
philosophy and it’s no longer a project based system but now
you’re trying to sign up with customers for six month to twelve
month retainer relationships.

So now you’re really aligning yourself as a partner instead of just a
repairman or you know a painter basically who’s coming in and
painting one room and leaving. We want to work alongside with a
company to help on kind of the 50,000 foot level, establish the
growth goals, the revenue goals, get on the same page and figure
out where they’re trying to grow their company, where
opportunities are, and then create a marketing strategy that
helps them get there, and then deliver that strategy over the
twelve month relationship. So that’s kind of what the model
looks like, and then…

Trent: Go ahead.

Andrew: So that’s the model and tactically, where sometimes it is a
website redesign, sometimes it’s just putting a HubSpot portal
on a sub-domain of a client’s website and just starting to blog
and create landing pages and create emails and stuff like that,
it can kind of, we haven’t completely lost our website design
roots yet and that’s been a good skill to have when you
augmented into a retainer relationship.

Trent: Okay so I’m on your retainer pricing page and I see fast,
faster and fastest which I love so much better than bronze,
silver and gold. One is 3000 a month, one is 5000 a month and
one is 10,000 a month. When did you start offering retainer?

Andrew: We started offering retainer just over a year ago. And it took
. . . it’s a learning curve for us and it’s a selling curve as
well because it’s a lot easier for someone to sign up for a one
time $2000 website than it is for someone to sign up for 10,000
a month to work with a company that they don’t really know yet.

And so when you’re just getting started in a new line of business,
it’s basically restarting the business for us because we had to
prove a different line of value to clients, and we really
started just by doing it to ourselves and being like we can show
people our blog at least and show them what it looks like.

And so essentially the pricing model is built off of, we want to
direct it more and more towards value delivered, right now it’s
very activity driven, we don’t think that’s, that’s kind of the
next stage of where we want to go is more value driven, to focus
again on the growth that that CEO really cares about at the end
of the day. So again get it up and get it out but our pricing
model is something that we’re continuing to modify and push
forward as we grow.

Trent: I remember when I had my technology services company I went
through the same transition that you did, at the time in the
industry the common way to bill was per hour to go and do
technology projects, and I realized that that wasn’t ever going
to build me a company that I could sell for any meaningful
amount of money, because there’s no ongoing, recurring revenue
and so we switched and it was painful in the beginning.

We didn’t know exactly how to price things and selling it was a lot
harder but years down the road when we had $80,000 a month
coming in the front door on the first day of every month that
made life a whole lot easier and ultimately why I was able to
sell it for the amount that I did, which was a good amount for
sure. So I applaud you for doing this, because it’s going to
absolutely make your life so much better down the road. How’s it
going so far, have you sold any retainer stuff yet?

Andrew: We have. We have three clients up and running on our retainer
model, which is awesome.

Trent: Is that on which level? Fast, faster or fastest?

Andrew: That is fast and faster.

Trent: So you got eleven grand a month coming in the beginning of
every month.

Andrew: Yeah. It’s transformed our business.

Trent: I bet.

Andrew: And it’s exhilarating too because the clients that we have
we’re delivering results for and so they’re happy. And when you
deal with a bigger ticket client, one who can afford that kind
of price tag per month, they’re going to be less nit picky about
the little things, they’re going to trust you more because I
don’t know when you charge more for something people seem to
think you’ve got your act together more than when you charge
less.

Trent: Absolutely.

Andrew: So they’re going to trust you more, and everything’s seems to
flow smoother once the prices start to go up.

Trent: So how do you, because people get excited in the beginning and
sure, yeah they sign up, but then you’ve got to keep them,
you’ve got to retain those clients. How are you reporting to
your client the value that you’re delivering for fast, the fast
level or any of the levels for that matter? What specifically
are you sending to them?

Andrew: Touch points is huge, having a point of contact that you can
get in touch with on a regular basis that makes time for you,
and setting that expectation up front is something that we’re
going to continue to do a better job of. But at the end of each
month we get together and we look at traffic and we look at
leads, we outline what we’re going to do in the next month,
based on the strategy that we put together at the beginning.

We’ve got to start everything with an inbound marketing game plan
that outlines based on the terms that they want to be known for
and the keywords that they want to rank for and stuff like that.
We put together a blog strategy, and then as we go and we see
what works and what doesn’t work very well we kind of tweak that
along the way.

And obviously we haven’t run someone, we haven’t had a twelve month
client yet so we’re still tweaking those game plans as we go and
they’re getting smarter with every month. But essentially we
review traffic and we review leads, because we’re not a sales
augmenter, we’re a lead augmenter and so at the end of the day
it’s our client’s responsibility to close those sales, so we can
deliver higher quality leads than they used to get, and those
leads just get more and more qualified as time goes, and we
understand their business better and understand the way that
visitors act on their website.

But visitor traffic and traffic to lead ratios are big for us,
looking at individual landing pages to get visitor to lead
conversion ratio, and optimizing calls to action and stuff like
that to try to improve click through rates, we kind of hit on
all of those different areas, all of those key metrics and key
performance indicators.

Trent: Now I would imagine that each of the three people that you have
on retainer now probably weren’t doing much in terms of digital
before they engaged with you. Is that correct?

Andrew: Wide, wide gamut. One client didn’t even have a website up, the
other one was spending like 5K a month in PPC, and just not
seeing any quality results from that spend.

Trent: I’m guessing that’s the guy that signed up for the faster
level?

Andrew: Yeah, I mean they already, they understand the value, and
they’re online and they just know that they need help, and
that’s a good place for us to start.

Trent: Okay, so for the folks that didn’t even have a website and here
you are showing them traffic and you’re showing them leads and
you’re showing them all this stuff. What’s their reaction when
they see that relative to the three grand they’re paying you?

Andrew: It depends, and it leans back on that expectation that you set
up front and this is another part that we keep rolling with and
saying we’ve got to do a better job of that next time is just
outlining what they should expect. Because sometimes it’s like
well I’m not getting any calls just yet like what’s going on,
well we’ve only been working for two and a half months, we
started from zero, we need time because we do everything
organically, right now we don’t have any paid elements of our
offerings, not against PPC or Facebook ads or anything like
that, just it’s not part of our offerings right now.

So just setting, well having honest conversations because again if
we’re going to be marketing partners and work with you over the
next 12 months we need to be able to be transparent and honest
with each other and just be able to communicate authentically
essentially.

Trent: Setting expectations is such a valid point because if somebody
were to hire you as an employee to be their marketing person, no
one would expect that within a month of hiring you that you had
radically transformed their website and traffic and leads and
blah, blah, blah. And yet, obviously enough, some people that
hire a marketing agency expect that within 30 days, they’re
going to be just cranking.

Andrew: Exactly.

Trent: Why do you suppose that is and how do you manage that? What
conversation do you have at the beginning to make sure that you
don’t end up in that hole?

Andrew: We like to set the vision that it’s going to be four to six
months before you start seeing any real results from this. So I
mean from the beginning of our sales process, we’re linking back
to the growth goals, where the company wants to be in 12 months,
what dreams are associated with those goals, why do you want to
get to that point, what happens if you don’t get to that point.
And so then when we start delivering with a client we can lean
back on those numbers, and really it begins to point more and
more towards an organizational change and setting mutual back
and forth expectations at the beginning.

That’s part of our contract to is here is here’s what we’re going to
be delivering to you as a marketing partner and here’s what you
need to deliver to us, because it’s a two-way relationship. If
you want to make real change and grow as a business, that’s not
going to happen over night and you’re going to need to change
the status quo, that’s going to need to be altered and we need
to know do you have enough skin in the game here to make a
strategy like this work.

Trent: Yeah, if they’re not going to change what they’re doing and
they’re just going to sit back arms crossed and say okay magic
boy do your stuff, that’s probably not going to work.

Andrew: No, it’s not and that’s the type of client you get when you
just do one off projects. But if you want to shift to a retainer
model, that’s the kind of client that you need to be comfortable
enough in yourself and in your business model to say you know
what, I can refer you to a couple people who might be able to
help you out but I don’t think we’re the best fit right now.

Trent: Yes indeed. And when you’re doing your inbound marketing
yourself and these people are coming to you and they’re raising
their hand by downloading various reports that’s going to
obviously make converting that sale a whole lot easier.

Andrew: Exactly because the expectation there, I mean it’s a small
expectation set but still they’re the one coming to you for the
information and so inbound marketing at the end of the day
positions companies and agencies as thought leaders and the way
you structure your sales process following that can even lean in
more on that fact and position you instead of a sales person as
more of an adviser into their growth model.

Trent: How are you doing in terms of blogging for your clients?

Andrew: So we batch all of the titles based on keywords, and then we
work with our clients to get kind of the guts to most of those
blog posts, whether that’s bullet points or we’re going to start
experimenting with just audio recordings, so having them like
record a quick clip on their iPhone or something like that,
talking about a subject that we want to write a blog post about,
and then we send those out to different contract writers that we
work with.

And then they take the content, they do some research, and then they
tweak it into like a 400, 500 word blog post, and then we send
that to the client, get the review, and when they give the okay
it gets scheduled to get posted on their blog.

Trent: Okay. So how many clients, so right now I guess you’re
producing blog content on an ongoing basis for your three
retainer clients, yes?

Andrew: Correct.

Trent: Okay. The system that you’re using to manage the producing, the
blog content and the editorial calendar and getting it approved
and pushing it out to the clients blog, I mean is that kind of
spreadsheets and email right now?

Andrew: Right now that is we use [Podeo] internally, it’s an awesome
free platform where you can kind of spin up your own custom work
spaces, and structure your workflow the way you want to. That’s
gone pretty well for us, from the client side it’s just email.
We’ve experimented with Basecamp, but haven’t stuck wit that as
a long term solution. We’re actually working on our own custom
software solution right now that would facilitate client
communication and contractor communication.

Trent: Well at the risk of plugging my own products, I am a cofounder
in a software company and we have an app that is going to solve
that exact problem so I’m happy to show that to you after we
record if you like.

Andrew: I would love to see that Trent.

Trent: Are you using any curation for your clients?

Andrew: Not at the moment, we’ve looked at a couple options, but
haven’t really integrated it well into our strategy yet. That’s
a topic I need to circle back with [Gray and Brennan] and figure
out if that is going to add some value. I think it adds a lot
even for ourselves. We’re kind of the guinea pig for our
marketing strategies and so we tried it out on GuavaBox first
and if we see results then we send it out towards the clients.

Trent: Yeah. Okay, well we’ll cover that when we go off air here. All
right, services offered, service, oh contractors. Can you just
give an overview of the type of contractors that you’re using?

Andrew: Yeah, we’ve done a couple different models and you know there’s
websites out there where you can kind of submit to a pool of
authors and then they can bid on your work or submit trials,
that takes a lot of time to manage that but sometimes it’s a
good way to start. At the end of the day, you need to pick a way
that you can establish a relationship with a writer that you can
trust and so sometimes Elance is a good way to do that.

We’ve done some writing, more like design work through Elance than we
have actual contract writers but that’s been a good source for
us. Relationships, networking, one of our best content writers
is just someone who went to college with us and who freelances
on the side, so don’t throw that model out. But Zerys is a good
platform.

Trent: Zerys? How do you spell that?

Andrew: Z-E-R-Y-S I believe. You can just Google them and they’ve got a
good pool of writers on there. Content Launch is another one
that we have tried out and has had some good results, and
ClearBloggingSolutions.com is another one that we’ve used with
success.

Trent: Okay. Well my pen just ran out in the middle a name.

Andrew: Perfect timing.

Trent: Luckily, luckily I have another one in the drawer.

Andrew: That’s good.

Trent: Hang on I’ve got to, there we go. Don’t you love this audience
from the hosts, holds up the show because his pen runs out of
ink? Okay, so you got a couple of resources which I will include
in the show notes, clearbloggingsolutions.com, Zerys.com.

All right, I think it’s time. What have we missed? What do you think
for the intended listener here is someone who is you six months
ago, who got a start at an agency and then you know want to make
a success of themselves, what have we missed? What would you
talk about for that person?

Andrew: You’ve got to set goals. You’ve got to know where you want to
go. Because if you’re just running on a treadmill, I mean
starting a business is hard work, that’s why so many people
quit. But if you want to start an agency and you want to go
somewhere and you want to add value, set some goals for your
self, set goals each day, each week.

We set like 12 week goals at GuavaBox on how we want to perform
across finance, marketing, sales, operations, and we strategize
those metrics and we try to hold each other accountable for that
and we’re a small agency so it’s easy to let each other off the
hook. But again if you want to grow and you want to scale a
business to the point where you want to sell it, you’ve got to
kind of pick a spot on the horizon and start running towards it
in a way that you can measure against yourself.

Trent: I’ve got a resource that I want to throw up as well, it’s one
that I was reading this morning, it’s one of Jim Collins’ early
books, it’s called Beyond Entrepreneurship or Beyond
Entrepreneur or something like that, chapter two. So folks if
you want to grab yourself that book, it talks a lot about a
specific strategy for laying out, and you’ve heard this before
this is not new but it’s incredibly important, your mission
vision, your core values and your beliefs.

And I’m not going to hijack this interview with why talking about
that is important but if you read chapter two you will figure it
out and it’s something that I’m doing in my businesses, because
especially when it comes to attracting the kind of customer that
you want to deal with and attracting the kind of employee that
you want to work with, if you don’t have this stuff defined,
you’re going to end up with culture problems down the road.

Andrew: So true.

Trent: And so I’ll leave it at that. All right, I think this has been
a really terrific interview and we divided it into two parts so
a half hour each. I hope everyone enjoys it. Again, if you guys
who listen to my podcasts regularly think dividing it into two
sucked, definitely let me know, as I cannot exist without your
feedback. But like I say in my effort to attract new listeners I
thought smaller, more bite sized chunked pieces of content would
be less intimidating for them to download.

know that when I look at a video and I see that it’s an hour long I
go, “Ugh, I don’t know if I want to watch that whole thing.” But
if I see something that’s shorter than an hour I’m more inclined
to give it a go and that was the thinking in dividing this
episode into two parts.

So Andrew, thank you very much. For those folks who want to get a
hold of you the best just rattle off one if you would please,
what is the best way to do that?

Andrew: Best way to get a hold of me is on my email that is
Andrew@guavabox.com.

Trent: All right, terrific. Andrew thank you so much for being on the
show. It has been an absolute pleasure this has been I think a
terrific interview that I look forward to publishing.

Andrew: Thank you so much Trent for the opportunity and for all the
work you’re doing, doing great stuff, inspiring entrepreneurs
and hats off to you.

Trent: Well thank you very much, I appreciate that. All right to get
to the show notes for today’s episode go to Brightideas.co/75.
If you really enjoyed this episode, I want to ask you a little
favor please go to Brightideas.co/love and there you’ll find a
pre-populated tweet which you can send on out to your followers,
as well and even more importantly there’s a link that can take
you to the iTunes store so that you can leave a five star rating
for this particular episode. It really means a lot to me when
you guys do that because it really helps this show to gain a lot
more exposure and the more people that hear it the more people
that we can help.

So that’s it for this episode, I am your host Trent Dyrsmid and we’ll
see you in another episode soon.

About Andrew Dymski

AndrewDymskiAndrew is the a co-founder of GuavaBox, a web design and inbound marketing agency. Guavabox helps clients in the industrial space reach new customers through inbound marketing.

You can email Andrew at andrew@guavabox.com or connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Digital Marketing Strategy: Andrew Dymski on How He Launched a Successful Marketing Agency Right out of College (part 1)

ANDREW DYMSKI 4IN X 6IN X 300DPI X FC

If you want proof that you don’t need decades of experience and a huge Rolodex full of clients in order to start a marketing agency, look no further. Andrew and his colleagues at Guavabox launched an agency right out of college, and by all measures are on track to have a tremendously successful business.

Guavabox does an impressive job of generating content marketing. And, more than almost anyone I’ve spoken with, they not only understand the importance of list segmentation, but they provide an overview of how they’ve segmented their list, and how this segmentation has helped them identify their hottest prospects, and appropriately nurture and convert their leads into paying clients.

In addition, Andrew explains the thinking behind, and validation of, their business model, sharing insights helpful to any startup. There was so much goodness in this interview that I had to break it into two parts.

When you listen to Part 1, you’ll hear Andrew and I talk about:

  • (3:30) Introductions
  • (5:50) Why the old model of web design doesn’t scale
  • (8:30) An overview of financial results
  • (10:00) His business philosophy and how it played a critical role in their launch
  • (13:30) How they validated their business model
  • (16:30) How taking on a new client went wrong
  • (21:00) How they picked their niche
  • (25:30) How they are generating leads
  • (27:30) How blogging plays a role in lead generation
  • (29:30) How they developed their personas
  • (35:30) An overview of outbound marketing

.. And be sure to check out Part 2 to hear:

  • (3:00) An overview of various nurturing campaigns
  • (7:00) An overview of how they’re using personas to segment their list
  • (13:00) An overview of when and how they decide to follow up with each lead
  • (16:30) An overview of how they are changing their business model to a retainer fee model
  • (21:00) An overview of their retainer plans
  • (12:40) How they report results (traffic & leads) and what they’re planning for the month ahead
  • (25:00) How they manage client expectations
  • (28:00) How they are producing blog content
  • (31:00) How they are using contractors
  • (33:00) An overview of how they are in track with their goals

Resources Mentioned

Inbound Marketing 101 Ebook
Zerys.com
ClearBloggingSolutions.com
Guavabox.com
Best Buyer 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.

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Transcript

Trent: Hey there, Bright Ideas hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
podcast.

I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast
for marketing agencies, marketing consultants, and entrepreneurs
who want to discover how to use content marketing and marketing
automation to massively boost their business without massively
boosting the number of hours that they have to work every single
week.

And the way that we do that is we bring on whip-smart
entrepreneurs to share with you the tactics and the strategies
that are working so very well for them, and that is exactly what
we’re going to do in this episode today.

On the show with me today is a fellow by the name of Andrew
Dymski. He is one of three co-founders of a new marketing agency
called GuavaBox, and they are doing some really impressive
things which we’re going to get into in this two-part podcast.

So in Part Number One, which you are now listening to, we are
going to be talking about how they launched the company, how
they picked their niche, and there’s some real key takeaways in
how and why they picked this specific niche that they did. We’re
going to talk about how developing a minimum viable product fit
into their business model and how it made figuring out what they
should sell and who they should sell it to so much easier than
it would have been if they had gone the traditional route of
building their portfolio of services and then trying to figure
out how to sell it.

We’re also going to talk about how they validated that business
model very, very early on so that they didn’t waste a whole
bunch of time going down with the wrong product for the wrong
customer in the wrong direction, and losing all that time and
losing all of that money.And we’re also going to talk about how they are generating
leads, and specifically, how they’re using, very successfully, I
might add, content marketing to drive more leads to their site.And then in Part Two, we are going to talk about what they’re going to do with those leads to convert them into customers. But
tune into Podcast Episode Two, and we’ll talk more about that.So before we welcome Andrew to the show, I just want to tell you
very quickly about a Bright Ideas product.

It’s called the Best Buyer Formula, and you can get it at brightideas.co/bbf, and it
is the lead generation formula that I used and use. I built my
last company with it, which was a company that got up to just
shy of $2 million a year in sales, which I ultimately sold for
over $1 million, and it’s also the very same formula that I am
using to build the Bright Ideas Agency, which we focus on
dentists with that agency. So if you are struggling with lead
generation and are looking for solutions, go check out the Best
Buyer Formula. And of course, like all my products, there is a
100%, no questions asked, money back guarantee. So if you don’t
like it, you can easily get all your money back.So with that said, please join me in welcoming Andrew to the
show. Andrew, welcome to the show.Andrew: Hey Trent, glad to be here.

Trent: It’s a treat to have you on. I’m super excited to get you to
tell the story of how you’re building your company, because just
based upon what we talked about before I hit the record button,
yours is a story that’s really going to resonate with the new
entrepreneurs who are just in the very early stages of building
their agency and are maybe under $100,000 or just over $100,000
in revenue, somewhere in that range, and maybe even the folks
that are doing larger ones, because I think that you’re going to
have some pretty interesting ideas and stories to share.

So before we get to all of that, please just take a moment, a
minute or so, and tell us who you are, and just a little bit
about your company.

Andrew: Sure. I am Andrew Dymski. I am a co-founder of GuavaBox. We are
an inbound marketing agency. We help companies, particularly in
the B2B space, industrial manufacturers, create a high-quality
lead generation machine through their website that helps them
scale their business in a way that they hadn’t been able to
before. We started out as a traditional web design shop. It
didn’t take us long inside that model to notice that it wasn’t a
model that could scale very well. So, over about the past year,
we’ve been putting the pieces in place to transition ourselves
from a one-off project work based company into more of a
specialist marketing services delivering firm that we feel like
can scale beyond just myself and my two partners.

Trent: So, I want to get you to talk about your financial results in
just a second, but before we go there, you hit on something that
a lot of new entrepreneurs don’t foresee – and I experience this
in my own business – and that issue of scale. You said that the
web design business isn’t going to scale very well. Can you
expand a little bit on what you meant by that, because that’s
causing a major shift in how you’re running your business,
correct?

Andrew: It definitely is, and if you just look at the way the sales
process has to work, when you want to close someone as a web
design client, there’s an extended sales process there and
you’re going up against a ton of competition where it’s really a
race to the bottom. Unless you have a relationship established
upfront with the prospective client or partner, at the end of
the day, it’s going to be a price war.

And we looked around and we said, you know, we’re spending all
of this time selling. We spend four weeks, eight weeks putting
the website together, and then it’s have a nice day, and walk
down the road. We do website hosting and we manage all of that
stuff, so that’s kind of a source of recurring revenue. But when
we started this business in college, we looked at it and said,
okay, we want to start families and kind of grow this business.
We can’t predict our income beyond two months out max. And so we
kind of walked back to the drawing board and said what do our
customers need and what services would we like to be able to
supply to them but we can’t because we’re constrained by this,
you know, put up a website?

We wanted to be able to showcase return on investment to these
clients, but if all you can do is just build a website and put
it out there, but then not control the content that gets pushed
through that system that you spent all this time selling and
building, then at the end of the day, you can’t show a return on
investment because the system is not in place. So we saw that,
and we knew that there has to be a model that we can build off
around this pain point.

Trent: And did you think about, in your shift from a non-scalable
business to a more scalable one, did enterprise value or an exit
strategy factor into that thinking?

Andrew: Definitely. No clear picture at the end of the day on where we
want as an exit philosophy, but from the start point, the three
of us are friends, and an idea that we had is we want to be able
to build a business that hinges off of the lifestyle that we
want. And so we looked at the lifestyle we wanted, and we said
we don’t want to be building WordPress websites and scheduling
tweets for the rest of our life, so how can we structure this
thing in a way that will facilitate a more hands-off approach
down the line so we’re free to spend time with our family, to
travel, to volunteer on sports teams, those sorts of things. So
it definitely played in.

Trent: So would you classify your business as a lifestyle
business?

Andrew: No, I would not right now, not in the sense that you can travel
the world and do this thing at the same time. But I see the
processes that we’re starting to put in place to get the agency
to the point where we could sell it if we wanted to if we wanted
to pursue the more hands-off lifestyle. It’s definitely a
location-neutral business, and for the first two years of our
existence, we operated location-neutral, three different states,
using a lot of GoToMeeting and Google apps. But no, I wouldn’t
say it’s kind of a lifestyle based business.

Trent: Okay. Alright, for the folks that don’t yet know how much
revenue you’re doing, how big you are, because I want to make
sure that the right people are listening to this interview
because we’re already a couple of minutes in, how much revenue
are you doing per year right now, and how many people are on the
payroll?

Andrew: Sure. On our team right now is just the three co-founders, so
it’s myself, Gray MacKensie, and Brandon Jones, and we are on
track to do about $150,000 – $160,000 this year.

Trent: And how many years have you been in business?

Andrew: This will be the end of year three.

Trent: Now, was this a full-time venture in years one and two, or were
you guys juggling college and doing this at the same time?

Andrew: So, when we started, we had two seniors and one sophomore, and
right after Gray and I graduated, Gray jumped in full time. I
went and worked at a PR firm for about nine months, and Brandon
was still in school obviously. So it wasn’t until this past May
when Brandon graduated from college and then I jumped on board
probably a year-and-a-half ago. So we’re only running full power
since May, with all three of us going full time.

Trent: Since May of 2013?

Andrew: Correct.

Trent: Okay. In my research on you, you talked about having a specific
business philosophy, and I want you to expand a little bit on
that because I think it played a role in how you started your
company.

Andrew: Yeah, it definitely did, and it started in college. Gray and
myself, we were on the same freshman hall, and so we were good
friends kind of from our freshman year all the way through. We
were on the lacrosse team together, we joined the same
fraternity, and that’s how we met Brandon as well. He was two
years behind us, but same fraternity and on the lacrosse team
together.

So Gray and I had decided from our freshman year that we have to
find a way to do business together. He was a business management
major and I was a marketing management major at Grove City
College, and we had a good friendship and we just wanted to find
a way to work together. So senior year rolls around, Brandon,
Gray, and I were all on the Officer board for our lacrosse team.
It was a club sport at Grove City, and we were all very
passionate about it. We had built up a machine really that we
launched the team’s first website. We put together the first
successful social media campaigns, email campaigns to reach out
to folks, and got connected with media and everything. It was
really successful, and we said, well, we enjoyed doing this on
the team, we’re graduating now, can we find a way to turn this
into a business?

We kind of put our heads together and we started the business in
the spring of our senior year in the dorm room after classes,
after homework, after lacrosse practice. We’d huddle around a
card table and kind of sketch out the idea.

But it started with the relationships first. You know, you hear
all the time don’t do business with friends, but really, the
friendship is what has saved this business through the dark
times and the ups and downs. We’re not really sure what the
model is going to look like. We’re not really sure where the
revenue is going to come from. We’ve leaned on that friendship
first and we kind of put a line in the sand and said this
friendship is going to get our business through and it’s not
going to tear it apart. And we’ve been blessed to come through
that with our relationship even stronger than it was when we
started.

Trent: An MVP is also a part of your launch philosophy or your
business philosophy, is it not?

Andrew: Can you break that down a little bit more?

Trent: Minimum Viable Product.

Andrew: Yes. So, we could build websites. I understood Twitter and
Facebook and what it took to build a following there. So we
said, great, we can kind of take this out and see if anyone
wants to hire us with this. And so we worked our connections and
found a website project first, and then a Twitter strategy
project after that, and so little by little, we build it up. We
figured out how you build a website, how do you charge for it
when you’re still learning how to build stuff on WordPress and
you’re still learning how to get your hosting account set up and
stuff like that.

But we didn’t build a business plan. We just got together. We
knew we wanted to be in business together, and we found the
minimal viable product that we could offer to people that would
still have value. And those were friends at the beginning, so
they knew where we were in our development stage. We were honest
with them and said, hey, we’re just getting this business going.
Can we build a website for you for $500? Is that something that
you would be interested in? And one or two of those, you pick
them up and they have friends, and that’s how we got started.

Trent: And so when you first launched, I’m assuming you didn’t have
the beautiful website that you have now. You didn’t have all of
the fancy stuff. You just decided, hey, we’re just going to go
and talk to people and say we’re looking for work, this is what
we know how to do. Are you interested?

Andrew: Exactly, yeah. Leaning on the friends and family, and the
fools, I guess, is the third piece. But yeah, that’s how we got
started.

Trent: I dwell on it because it’s an important point. I get a lot of
emails from people, and I’m thinking of one person in particular
right now, and I won’t mention this person’s name to protect the
innocent, but they’re overly caught up in getting ready to be
ready. There’s an expression that I did not originate, it’s
called ‘Version One is better than Version None’. And it’s so
incredibly important, because you don’t – and I want you to
speak to this, but you didn’t really know what it was that you
were going to do or who you were going to do it for until you
started to do it, right?

Andrew: Exactly. You know, they say that success sits just on the other
side of failure. You’ve got to go through failure a lot until
you get to that success point. And so we just decided to plunge
in and say let’s see how this goes. And it’s hard at times
because you’re still trying to figure it out as the clients are
demanding things, and as a young company, inevitably you want to
make everybody happy. So that’s caused some setbacks for us
along the way, but also some really valuable learning
experiences.

So you can’t sit around and wait to build what you think is a
perfect business model because you might get out in the market
and realize that nobody wants what you think is perfect. And so
at the end of the day, the best way to value your time is say,
hey, here’s an idea. Let’s go see if someone will buy it, and
that’s how we kind of build up.

Trent: And I want to reference another entrepreneur that I interviewed
here for the folks that are listening, because Sam Ovens was a
really, really good example of also starting a business, and his
business is crazy successful now. You can get to his interview
at brightideas.co/69. And he really didn’t have a clue what he
was going to do in the beginning, but he went out and instead of
building something and then trying to sell it, he went out and
talked to customers and said, what problem are you having? He
talked to enough of them to identify a commonality in that
problem, and then created a very basic solution and showed it to
them, and his business literally took off.

So, I bring this up when I ask these questions because if you’re
one of those folks out there who are spending time getting ready
to be ready, I would encourage you to start shooting, see who
falls down, and go over and look at what’s available for you as
far as feedback and information.

Andrew: That’s great advice.

Trent: All right. So, let’s talk about – you mentioned you made some
mistakes. I think that’s another thing where people, they are
unnecessarily paralyzed by their fear of making mistakes. But if
you talk to any experienced entrepreneur, they’re all going to
tell you that mistakes are a natural part of the going forward
process. So I’m sure you made some. I think we talked about
something, it was an old-school newspaper company – and I want
to pre-frame this by saying that the lesson I’m hoping people
get from this is that saying yes to everybody all the time isn’t
necessarily the best strategy. Can you tell us, Andrew, a little
bit about what happened?

Andrew: Sure. This was shortly after graduation, we had a really good
friend who worked at an old-school newspaper company, it was
like a weekly mailer, and they were looking for a way to get
this mailer online. I was like, well, this is going to be a
really good opportunity. I think it’s something that we can add
value in. So I was kind of the point of contact here. I mean, I
can build a WordPress website, but when it comes to kind of the
technical back-end of setting stuff up and integrations and all
of that, I have to check to my buddy Gray. He’s the genius
behind the machine.

So, the problem started – I was kind of the project manager and
the salesman, promising things to the client because we’re a
young business, and this is a big company, and I would love to
sign this contract. I think it would be good for us. So I’m out
there promising things and setting their expectations really
high, and it was kind of doomed to fail from the beginning
because their level of technical understanding wasn’t very high
at that point, and they were kind of asking for features and
wanted things to happen with little disruption on their end on
how they produce this paper and wanted to get it online, and I
was saying, oh, yeah, yeah, we can get that, that’s no problem
at all.

Trent: So you were selling flying toasters?

Andrew: Exactly, because I just wanted to make them happy. I wanted to
get the deal signed. Even after the deal was signed, for some
reason I wanted to just keep them happy. I think that’s great to
want happy clients, but sometimes a happy client is a client
that you need to say no to or a client that you need to reset
the focus, because I was promising yes, and then I turned around
to Gray and said, hey, can we do this? And we were living on the
opposite sides of the state at this point, and so there was
conflict within our company because of the way I was handling
this as a project manager.

We grew through that in a tremendous way, thanks to just honesty
and transparency, and again, that friendship we were able to
lean back on, and get us through this tough project. And it was
a great stepping stone because it kind of elevated the level of
client that we worked with but also helped us learn how to
manage a bigger team on the client side. So it’s not really a
small business owner anymore, you’re dealing with a whole crew
inside a company and you have to manage expectations across kind
of a whole organization. The biggest lesson we learned was don’t
overpromise and make sure that you’re lined up with your team
before you go out and start promising what they can do.

Trent: Absolutely. And do you think that you – you mentioned before we
started to record that you’re going through a shift in your
business model. We might talk about that now, but we’ll probably
cover it more later, but do you think that that shift to more of
a retainer model is going to help you avoid selling flying
toasters in the future?

Andrew: I do, because we’re an inbound marketing agency, and there’s a
specific methodology that we want clients to follow. And
obviously, it’s going to be a little bit custom for everybody,
but when you break it down to activity, it’s creating blog
posts, and it’s writing emails, and it’s creating awesome
content offers, and so there’s a more defined process to what
we’re trying to tackle now.

I think in the beginning, people had a problem or they had low
budgets and high ideas or big dreams, and they wanted to be able
to have all these shiny features on their website, and now we’re
able to sit back and say, you know what, that’s really not a
priority right now. You want to be able to structure your post
like this, or you need to include these kinds of conversion
points in your website. We kind of lean back on that methodology
a little bit harder than we did at the beginning when it was
just like, what do you want? We can go make it happen.

Trent: And we’re going to talk more about that, but I think what you
just communicated as well that I want to emphasize is you would
not have been able to figure out that you needed to deliver your
services in this way if you were getting ready to be ready.
Like, interacting with customers and falling down and getting
skid marks on you is what enabled you to define, hey, here’s a
better way that we need to deliver our services so we don’t sell
flying toasters.

Andrew: Exactly. It’s like sports. You can game plan all day long, but
until you get out on the field and you run a play, you can’t
look at the tape and diagnose something that hasn’t happened
yet. You’ve got to get out there and break the huddle and go
make a play and then make your adjustments on the fly. Keep it
lean.

Trent: So, in the beginning, you talked about you have targeted a
specific niche, B2B industrial manufacturers. Now, picking a
niche is something that in my course, the Best Buyer Formula, I
spend quite a bit of time really trying to drive that point
home. At Bright Ideas, we actually have our own agency and it
focuses on dentists because there’s very specific reasons for
that. What are the reasons that you decided, and how did you get
there to focus on industrial manufacturers in the B2B space?

Andrew: The journey, it was kind of happenstance, again, just by going
out, relationships started there from a website design
perspective, from video production. We had some really good
relationships with some industrial manufacturers, and so we just
kind of stumbled into it. We’re in western Pennsylvania right
now, so this is old steel country, and Marcellus Shale is really
making a big impact on the economy out here. There’s a lot of
folks inside the manufacturing industry, fabrication shops,
machining organizations, those sorts of things, who are trying
to get their toe into that pool.

We really recognized an opportunity where we looked at, okay,
we’ve had some success with these kinds of folks, and it’s
really low-hanging fruit in a way because not a lot of
industrial manufacturing companies have an awesome online
presence. There are some that are doing a good job, but most of
them, even who are present, let’s say they have a blog or
they’re on Twitter or they’re doing some YouTube tutorials,
consistency is really a problem. And so that’s part of our value
proposition is we are a marketing partner, so we’ll come
alongside even if you’ve got a couple of marketing people within
your organization, we augment that. We don’t compete with them.
So we can help provide that consistency in there.

We identified the market and said, we need to find a focused
approach, because there’s only three of us, and so as we craft
content, as we work on our positioning statements and refine our
sales process, it’s going to be more valuable for us to be able
to showcase success stories to companies who are similar to the
people we’re talking to on the phone so they can relate to them.
We’re still young guys, and so when we get on the phone with
people or we’re talking to them on a GoToMeeting or something
like that, there’s still a large amount of credibility that
needs to be built based on our age. And so that’s something that
we learned early on too is how can we find ways to position
ourselves as experts, and focusing on a niche is a way that we
see to really help that out along the way.

Trent: Now, was this niche, do you think that it is – like, one of the
things that I talk about in my blog posts and in my products is
pick a profitable niche, because when you do, if you pick a
niche that has – like Sam, for example, in his interview with
me, when he launched his agency, he focused on B2B as well, high-
ticket items, and the reason was is because he could charge so
much more to do the same amount of work because an individual
customer to his client was worth $50,000 to $100,000. Did that
factor into your decision process as well?

Andrew: Absolutely. I think it’s really surfaced after looking back and
saying, wow, if we can work with companies who, if they make a
sale, it’s a $50,000 sale, and they’re signing a $50,000
contract with us for the year, we can deliver ROI way faster
than if they’re selling a $40 widget. So let’s go after the
companies that make manly stuff at a big ticket price, because
that’s a niche that we think we can thrive in. So that
definitely guided the decision.

Trent: All right. So, audience, here’s what’s coming up. We are going
to talk next about how Andrew and his team are generating leads,
and then when we come back in Part Two of this particular
podcast, I’m trying something new here. I’m going to break my
podcast up into half-hour podcasts instead of hour long or hour-
and-fifteen long podcasts to see if it is more popular with the
audience. So if you have an opinion on that, please make sure
that you leave it in the comments that will be down on the
bottom of this post.

But in Part Two, we’re going to talk about how they’re nurturing
and converting their leads into customers. We’re going to talk
about services that they’re offering and how they’re delivering
those services, and how scale fits into that, and how they’re
billing, and how they’re shifting from one-time projects to
retainer fees, and how they’re delivering their services. So
there’s a lot of really good stuff coming in the second half.

But before we get to that, a lot of people really struggle with
lead generation, so I would love it, Andrew, if you would go
into as much detail as you would like on how you guys are
generating leads.

Andrew: Sure. You’ve got to walk the walk. We are a marketing company
that encourages people to create awesome content on their
website and offer that value to their prospective buyers, and so
we’re trying to walk that walk and create regular blog posts on
our site that are targeted to our geography, that are targeted
more and more towards our niche industries. So we do get a good
number of leads through our website right now. I mean, you can’t
ignore referrals, so if you have a customer right now, if you
have a group of customers that you’re able to showcase success
for, don’t be afraid to ask them, do you know anyone else who
could use this? Some of our greatest clients have come from
other clients, and so it’s kind of an old-school, offline way,
but, I mean, it’s tried-and-true, and it works. So, go to
referrals…

Trent: Let’s talk a little bit about the blogging that you’re doing,
because referrals are going to become part of – I mean, there’s
things that you can do to stimulate getting more referrals, and
if you have specific strategies to share, please make a little
note to yourself and we’ll come back to that in a minute. But in
the beginning, when you don’t have any clients, it’s tough to
get referrals, so I am really interested on the strategies
and/or tactics that you decided to do with your blogging. And
you could even talk about what you’re getting your customers to
do, because like you said, you have to walk your talk. So how
are you making blogging work for you?

Andrew: Again, the industry, it kind of starts with that persona first.
We have four buyer personas right now that we try to base all of
our content off of and to speak to them, and then from our
marketing strategy, lean into our sales process as well to
figure out what kind of questions are these people are asking,
because a second-generation owner of a manufacturing company is
going to have a very different set of questions than say an
inside sales manager or a director of a sales team.

So we try to outline what kind of questions each of these people
are asking, because content, if you want it to be guided and if
you want it to be closed loop in a way to unite with the rest of
your strategy, it needs to start with the customer in mind at
the end of the day. You want to put yourself in their shoes. And
so we’ve invested a ton of time in looking at our current
customers and what has gone well, and what kind of personalities
and positions we want to stay away from, and we’ve constructed
those buyer personas. So that kind of guides our blogging
strategy.

So then we take a look at the persona and then we do keyword
research off of that and figure out what kind of keywords we
want to target, what kind of keywords we want to rank for.
Obviously, we want to be found when someone Google’s ‘inbound
marketing agency’. That’s really big for us, and so we spend a
lot of time optimizing and creating valuable content around that
keyword.

As an example, in a pretty competitive market, when you’re a
marketer trying to create an online blog, some people even
advise you don’t even worry about marketing for yourself online
because it’s so competitive, but I would shy away from that.
Again, lean into the industry. This is definitely an area where
we’re trying to grow into, but be the source for marketing
information for whatever niche you’re targeting. For us, it’s
industrial manufacturers, and even that is a wide swath. There’s
a ton of different companies that can fall into that. So
continue to break down your niche, and the more focused you can
become, the more personalized the content, the higher the
conversion rate is going to be and the greater the value that
you’re going to deliver is going to be.

Trent: So, how did you develop these four personas? I think that is an
area where people will get stuck as well.

Andrew: Yeah, as a buyer persona, you just want to just develop an
idealistic picture of a potential client. And so we looked at
the clients that we had, and there’s obviously clients that, you
know, we want to work with more people like this. This is how we
want to scale our business. These people are responsive, they
don’t sweat the small stuff, they give us the freedom to make
decisions. They’re also there when we need to ask them
questions. So those are the kinds of people we want to work
with.

Then there’s – we call them Bob the Builder. He is an owner of
his own company. He’s kind of grown it up from absolutely
nothing. He knows that he needs to be online and have a
presence, but he doesn’t really want to invest anything into it.
He just wants to pay someone to get the website up, and that’s
it. So that Bob the Builder persona is someone we worked with a
lot when the company got started, but not the kind of person we
want to continue with. So if we get a referral or if someone
contacts us and says, okay, we’ve got a Bob on the phone right
now, that’s the kind of lead we want to pass up. We still
explore it, but have that persona in your mind to say this is
not the type of client that we can scale with, and have the
courage to say no in that situation.

Trent: And are there tools or resources that you use that help you to
develop your personas, or did you simply get the whiteboard out
and look back at the people that you had spoken with or had done
business with and sort of describe as best you could the persona
that you thought represented that person?

Andrew: Both, really. We’re HubSpot certified partners, so they create
amazing content, and one of the pieces they have is a buyer
persona template. It has a great starting point to go out there
and help you. It asks the right questions to get you thinking
about that person on a more personal level. They’ve got a
PowerPoint download that you can get on their website. We also
have an e-book on GuavaBox.com that you can go and get that has
a similar template in mind to help you build up personas like
this.

But really, it starts with trying to put yourself at their desk.
What kind of pictures do they have sitting on the table? What do
they do on the weekends? What kind of music do they listen to?
So it’s not really like what’s their job title or how much they
make a year. Those things are important, but you really want to
ask questions that can put you inside their shoes as best as
possible.

Trent: And the reason for that is because you want to make sure that
you use words and phrases and content that they will relate and
respond to?

Andrew: Exactly. So some of our clients in the manufacturing space,
they’re selling to maintenance managers who are on the floor all
day in the shop and they might have just a high school diploma,
but they’re also selling to engineers who are drawing blueprints
for a new power plant. So those two personas are buying the same
product, but they’re asking incredibly different questions.

So from a client delivery standpoint, it helps us out a ton as
we’re trying to learn a new industry and learn a new set of
terms and stuff like that. Get those buyer personas cranked out
right away. Ask your clients, what does a typical buyer look
like for you, or if you could describe three typical buyers that
you sell to or that you’d like to scale your business towards,
what do they look like? What kinds of questions are they asking?
What do they do on the weekends? What kind of pains or questions
are they asking, those sorts of things. That really helps us
create content geared towards the people they’re trying to sell
to.

Trent: And when you talked earlier on about creating content that
answers questions, obviously, you know Marcus Sheridan. He’s
been on my show, it’s brightideas.co/27, and he kind of became
quasi-famous as a result of river pools and spas because he
decided to create a lot of blog content that answered the pre-
sales questions of people who are considering getting a pool. Is
that an approach that you took?

Andrew: Definitely. Marcus did an awesome job with that business of not
being afraid to address with confidence questions people have.
You know, what’s fiberglass versus concrete, those kinds of
questions for pools. The same sort of thing approaching your
marketing, approaching your client’s marketing, what are
questions that everybody is asking that no one is answering.

And that can be – maybe you take at the beginning of a campaign,
just take a half day and call, or have your clients get in touch
with 25 or 50 of their customers and figure out what kind of
questions were you looking for, what kind of questions you
continue to have. Do a little bit of market research on the fly
almost, but just reach out and figure out, maybe it’s surveys or
something like that. Just get a finger on the pulse of the
customers that have already converted with you and figure out
what kind of questions or pains that they have. If you client
has a sales team, always talk to them and figure out what kind
of questions are people coming to you with? What question do you
answer ten times a day that you wish you could just hit copy,
paste, and send a reply back to, because that’s an instant blog
post right there. There’s no shortage of content out there, you
just need to be able to ask the right questions to the right
people.

Trent: Now, I’m going to finish up Part One here with two more
questions. The second one is going to be are you doing any
outbound marketing, but the first one, I noticed you mentioned –
you said you were a HubSpot partner. Your blog is on WordPress,
and I know that HubSpot encourages people to use their blogging
platform as opposed to an independently hosted WordPress site.
Can you briefly speak to why you’re using WordPress?

Andrew: We redesigned our website probably six months ago, and HubSpot
had not spun out their new COS, which, if anyone is unfamiliar
with that, it’s a Content Optimization System that they have,
and historically, their CMS wasn’t very user-friendly. WordPress
is obviously incredibly user-friendly, and it’s open source, and
there’s an awesome source of plug-ins and stuff like that. So we
went with the WordPress theme because we had more flexibility on
the design side. We could spin out the design much faster than
we could with HubSpot, and we also knew that the COS was coming
down the line, and so to redesign on their CMS and then have to
redo it six or eight months later, it wasn’t something that we
were really excited about.

Our next design is probably going to be on that COS on HubSpot
because it is pretty powerful. They encourage it, but at the end
of the day, as long as you’re creating content, it doesn’t
matter.

Trent: Okay. Last question then for the first part of the interview,
outbound marketing. Are you guys making cold calls, are you
doing direct mail, are you doing any paid advertising? What
other things are you doing to generate inquiries?

Andrew: I think cold calls would be the closest to outbound that we
get. We don’t do a ton of cold calling. We like to do it just to
continue to hone our positioning statements and stuff like that,
and if an opportunity comes through, that’s great. But we really
haven’t had a lot of success with it, so it’s not something that
we’re going to lean into if we haven’t had a lot of success.

We like to think kind of creatively around the marketing,
obviously, and how can we add value with content through maybe
traditional off-line methods. So even if we do a press release
or – we’ve got some partners, like, we’re in a technology
incubator right now, we moved into this office space at the end
of May, and they’ve got a press release that goes out in a print
newsletter to the community here, and so we created a content
piece that was kind of about what GuavaBox is, but wrote it like
inbound marketers in a way that could help a potential business
owner who might read it, understand the value of inbound
marketing and the potential that’s out there and the lead
machine that they could create, those sorts of things. So, just
applying inbound methodology through outbound channels is as
close as we get. We try to remain pure.

Trent: And it’s not just trying to remain pure, like there’s something
uncool about outbound marketing, but with respect to cold calls,
they just don’t work as well. People don’t like making them, and
people don’t really like receiving them, so I think why would
you do that?

All right. So that wraps up the Part One of this interview. I
tried to keep it to about a half-hour. I went over by just a
couple of minutes. So as I mentioned, in Part Two, we’re going
to dive deeper into how we’re nurturing and converting leads,
what services are being offered, how they’re being delivered,
how leads generate in retainer’s fees, and probably a whole
bunch of extra things that I’ll ask as a result of the answers
that Andrew gives us. So we will see you in Part Two.

So that wraps up Part One of this interview with Andrew. You can
get the show notes at brightideas.co/74. Now, if you really
enjoyed this podcast, I would absolutely love it if you would
take a moment to go to brightideas.co/love, and when you get
there, you’ll find a pre-populated tweet that you can send out,
as well you’ll find a link to go to take you to the iTunes store
so that you can leave some feedback for the show. And if you
would be kind enough to go give a five-star rating, I can’t tell
you how much I would appreciate your taking a moment or two to
do that, because it really does make a huge difference to the
show.

So that’s it for this episode. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and
I look forward to seeing you in another episode, and for sure in
Part Two.

About Andrew Dymski

AndrewDymskiAndrew is the a co-founder of GuavaBox, a web design and inbound marketing agency. Guavabox helps clients in the industrial space reach new customers through inbound marketing.

You can email Andrew at andrew@guavabox.com or connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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How I Produce My Podcast

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Since starting my podcast some 190-plus episodes ago, my business has benefited immensely from the exposure that having a podcast in the iTunes store has offered. Each month the volume of downloads increases significantly, and as a result, both traffic to my blog and new subscribers to my list continue to grow.

More importantly, having a podcast gives my readers a way to consume my content while they are on the fly…which I suspect is most often during their commute.

Over the time that I’ve been producing the show, I have received some helpful tips, and a lot of very positive feedback. Needless to say, I’m extremely grateful for both.

I’m also extremely grateful for what I’ve learned from the guests on my show; many of whom had never heard of me prior to receiving an email from me asking if they’d like to be on the show.

Much to my surprise, one of the greatest benefits of being a podcaster is the networking I get to do with other smart folks who, otherwise, probably wouldn’t have sat on the phone for an hour giving me free advice!

Have you ever wondered how to make a podcast? Well, wonder no more, because in today’s post, I’m going to address a question that I seem to be getting asked a lot lately: how do I produce my podcast?

Check Out the SlideShare Version of This Post

Podcast Equipment

Setting up a podcast is pretty easy to do when you first start.

When I started out, I was using only a $25 Logitech microphone and Skype. My show didn’t sound great, but it was better than not having a show at all.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the podcast was going to become an increasingly important part of my business, so I invested in it accordingly.

Here is a list of the equipment that I use now (links below are affiliate links):

Total cost of Podcast equipment: about $800

How to Record a Podcast

In addition to the hardware, there are also a few software apps & services that are a part of my production:

  • Levelator – used to make my and my caller’s voice the same volume in case I screw it up while recording
  • ID3 Editor to tag the .mp3 file with the right image and name, etc…before uploading to my S3 account
  • GarageBand (Mac) to handle post production editing (which is minimal)
  • Bluebrry Powerpress WordPress plugin to ensure it’s uploaded to iTunes as well as displayed on my blog
  • Amazon S3 to host the .mp3 files (do NOT try to use your web server)
  • Skype for the calls themselves
  • Call Recorder for Skype as a second method of recording in case my primary method fails (Speaking from experience, nothing is worse than asking a guest to repeat 10 minutes of conversation because your recording failed)

Most of the software is either free or costs less then $20. The cost to host your files on S3 is negligible and Bluebrry charges $5 a month if you want access to your stats, which isn’t a must, but I sure like seeing all that growth in downloads!

Actually recording the show is the easy part. I record to both Skype Call Recorder and the Roland MP3 Recorder just in case one of the recording systems fails. Believe it or not, this has happened to me, and nothing sucks more than having to ask your guest to repeat what they said for the last xx minutes. Lame.

Editing in Post Production

To save time, I like to keep my editing to a bare minimum, and generally do the show “in one take”.

Next, I import main file into GarageBand. I also import the intro that I paid a guy to make for me (it cost $100), along with my own intro to the episode itself, which I actually record right after the interview is over, while the main points of the interview are still fresh in my mind. And finally, I make sure that I have also imported the outtro into GarageBand.

Check out the video below to see what it all looks like prior to exporting it from GarageBand.

Once you have completed your editing, you are going to be left with a single .mp3 file.

To get this file ready for publication, you still need to:

  1. Balance the levels
  2. Tag it with the appropriate meta data
  3. Upload it to your media host (I use Amazon S3)

Thankfully, there is an online service that makes this really easy to do! It’s called Auphonic and in the video below, I’ll show you how to use it.

How to Connect Your Mixing Board

Trying to figure out how to connect the Behringer 1202 Mixing Board was a little bit tricky, so I thought I would share this photo with you.

The basic idea here is that you need to get all the sound into the board, and then output it to the Roland MP3 Recorder.

So, for your mic, it goes directly into the board. For your guest’s voice, which is coming from Skype, it needs to come out of the computer and into the board.

Now you have both voices coming into the board, with each one going to a separate channel. The board will then mix the voices and output it to the Roland MP3 recorder.

Voila, mixed sound that sounds far better than it otherwise would.

How to Upload a Podcast to iTunes

Once my podcast has been uploaded to Auphonic, I simply use the Bluebrry podcasting plugin to publish the episode to my blog.

Once you have installed the plugin, you will need to go to the settings page to configure a few items; the first of which is getting your podcast setup in iTunes. To do that, you must first get your feed approved.

Once you click the hyperlink in the image above, the iTunes app will start and you will be taken to the screen below:

Once you submit your feed, approval will take a few days. Once approved, you will get the URL that I have highlight in red in the next image. You need to paste this URL, along with the other items I’ve highlighted into the iTunes tab of the Bluebrry Powerpress settings. Most of the settings on the other tabs can be left at their default values.

And finally, once all this is done, if you go to the actual post that you are editing and scroll down, you will see a box like the one below where you will paste the URL of your actual episode:

That’s it, you’re done 🙂

If you’d like more information on producing a podcast, check out my interview with Podcast Answer Man Cliff Ravenscraft.

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A First Look At My New Book (and why I’m writing it)

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In today’s post, I want to share with you some details about a book (my first) that I’m working on. The book is going to contain step-by-step guidance on how to use content marketing and marketing automation to attract new clients.

If you are a small business owner, marketing consultant, or run a small agency and you are struggling to attract new clients, I’m writing this book for you.

In it, you will find proven strategies and tactics for client attraction.

Some of the ideas will come from my own experience, some will come from the experiences of the many successful entrepreneurs that have been on my show. Regardless of the source of the idea, I promise you this: these ideas will all have been field tested! No theories here.

Before I share more information about the book, I’d like to share with you an experience I had the other day while speaking to a room of about 70 or 80 small business owners.

As I gave my talk and asked the audience question after question, I realized that there are still a massive number of entrepreneurs who don’t yet know what content marketing is, and, even worse, they have absolutely no idea of what is possible with marketing automation software like Infusionsoft (this is what I use and that is my affiliate link).

So, with my pre-amble in place, here we go…

Outbound is Dead

16805997_sBack in 2001 when I started my last company, I used a lot of cold calls to grow the business. I grew my business almost exclusively from cold calling. It was what I knew, and initially it worked. However, over time, the effectiveness of these cold calls slowed and then stopped. In fact, in 2007, in an effort to expand the business, I spent 67 hours cold calling.

I didn’t get a single client from it.

I stopped cold calling at that point, and focused on other forms of marketing. Now, I spend the vast majority of my time focused on learning, testing, and improving upon the latest marketing strategies. As the host of the Bright Ideas podcast, I have been fortunate to have interviewed over 80 incredibly successful entrepreneurs, all of whom are making extensive use of online marketing, content marketing and marketing automation. Because of the time I spend in my own work and in talking with other marketing experts, I sometimes assume that most other business owners have the same mindset.

Then there are times when it becomes clear that I could not be more wrong.

Most Small Business Owners Are Still in the Dark When It Comes to Marketing

Recently I was asked to speak to a group of about 70 or 80 small business owners near my home in Bosie, Idaho.

When I first sat at a table for lunch I didn’t introduce myself as the speaker. Instead I simply asked people questions about their businesses, about marketing and about the things that they were doing to attract clients. Most of the people that I spoke to were solo-preneurs or owned very small businesses with just a handful of employees.

Much to my surprise, the way that most of these people were using to land new clients was similar to what I did when I  built my last business well over a decade ago. They were making cold calls, sending boring direct mail, and calling their existing clients to hit them up for referrals.

Suffice to say, I was kinda stunned as I thought people had abandoned ineffective tactics like this quite some time ago.

After about 20 minutes of these one on one conversations, the host of the event formally introduced the session, and called me up on stage to give my talk. I briefly introduced myself and then asked the audience a series of questions.

Here’s What They are Doing Wrong

First, I asked those who were making cold calls to find new clients to raise their hands. Approximately half the room did so.

13516771_sNext, I asked those who were using direct mail to identify themselves by raising their hands. This time about one third of the people raised their hands.

Next, I asked people to raise their hand if they received cold calls on regular basis. Three quarters of the room raised their hands.

I followed up by asking how many were receiving direct mail, and about one quarter of the room raised their hands.

Then, I asked how many people actually enjoyed receiving cold calls or receiving direct mail.

No one raised their hand.

I concluded my round of questions by asking the people who were making the cold calls and sending the direct mail to raise their hand if they were getting measurable results.

No one raised their hand.

In other words, we had a room full of people who were making cold calls, almost none of whom were getting any results whatsoever, and the same room was full of the same people who are receiving cold calls and they all found it very annoying and intrusive.

Holy cow!

This is How People Shop Today

Over the next hour, I spent a great deal of time helping the audience to think about how people shop in today’s economy. Since everyone is a consumer, I simply explored what they did prior to making a purchase.

Most were very quick to realize that the vast majority of people use the internet extensively to perform research and to gather information prior to making a purchase. In other words, they used online content to help make their purchase decisions.

It didn’t take my audience very long to realize that content marketing was something that could work very well for each of their businesses. What they didn’t understand was how to actually implement content marketing in their own businesses and so I spent a great deal of time walking them through the step-by-step actions that they would need to take to become content marketers.

By the time I got to the end of the portion of my presentation devoted to content marketing I stopped and I asked that if the presentation had ended there, if they would have found it worthwhile.

Every hand in the room went up.

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A Live Marketing Automation Tutorial

I then shared that I had spent approximately three hours that morning setting up a very short marketing campaign using some of the latest marketing automation tools. I explained that these tools do not require an understanding of how to write code, or any other special technical skills.

Instead, all that was needed is a desire to learn, and to not be afraid to experiment.

At this point I asked my audience to pull their cell phones out of their pockets and to text the word ‘Trent’ to 585858. (go ahead and do it now so you can experience what they did)

Within about a minute of sending the text each person then received a text message back from me containing a link. When they clicked the link, they went to a landing page where they could opt in to be an insider and get early access to the book that I’m about half way through writing (yes, I actually plan to finish and publish it this time!)

Once they entered their name and email address into that opt in form, they were redirected to a page with the video of me thanking them for signing up and explaining to them what I wanted to them do next.

While they were watching it, I explained that I had created automation that would take further action if they watched at least 75% of the video. This extra automation caused them to receive another email, but I told them that I could have programmed it to send me a text message, or put a task in my task list, or send an email to me or pretty much anything else that I liked.

(at this point, most of the people in the audience looked pretty amazed that this was even possible to do)

Tracking Video Engagement

Around this time, anyone who had watched 75% of the video received the next email. I asked them what they thought would happen if they were able to be notified when a prospect of theirs watched most of one of their videos.

Did they think they would do better than a cold call if they were to call the prospect right at that instant?

Virtually every hand in the room went up.

Following my talk, there was time left for Q&A. To say that I was bombarded with questions would be an understatement. I did my best to share what I know about content marketing and marketing automation in the limited time that I had. Of course, there was a lot more that I could have shared if I had had more time, including the nitty gritty details of what it takes to implement these strategies effectively into your business.

After the talk was over, a member of the audience asked me if I had a book that covered all this stuff. She said that if I did, at least half the people in the room would have bought it.

Say no more.

The Book That I’m Writing Will Help You

I have been thinking about writing a book for a while now. In fact, about half of it is already written.

Seeing that there is still a huge opportunity to provide substantial value to small business owners who aren’t yet aware of the benefits of content marketing and marketing automation, I have decided to charge full steam ahead and finish my book as fast as I can.

If you’d like to learn more about the book, have an opportunity to get sneak peaks and have your opinions heard (as well as get a discount on it when it’s released), then just head over and get on the early bird list right now.

Trust me when I say, you will be glad you did 🙂

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Derek Coburn on How He Built an Engaged Tribe of Raving Fans (and Paying Clients)

Derek Coburn 4in x 6in x 300dpi x FC

Do you wish there were some way to generate twice as much revenue in your business without doing twice as much work?

Derek Coburn felt the same way with his wealth management firm. He realized that in order to significantly increase his revenue, he was going to have to either work a lot more hours, or find a different way of working.

Luckily for Derek, he was able to specialize and differentiate himself from other financial advisers, which significantly increased his client retention, as well as the amount his clients valued him. In Derek’s case, this value came from what he calls “The Ultimate Tie Breaker” – he was able to differentiate himself by sending clients referrals. There’s nothing a business owner loves more than more business, right? Derek was so good at making those connections that he made a whole second business of it (cadre).

Luckily for you, Derek has shared his story with us. He includes details on cadre, which he co-founded with his wife Melanie. They call cadre an “un-networking” group, and have had great success by helping their group members help each other.

When you listen to this interview, you’ll hear Derek and I talk about:

  • (03:25) Introductions
  • (06:00) How he built his financial firm
  • (08:30) An explanation of his first networking group
  • (10:30) How to add extra value to his clients by referring them clients
  • (13:30) How he expanded the conversation with his clients, to talk about more than financial planning
  • (16:00) How he used surveys to reach out and ask how to provide extra value
  • (17:15) How he created the time to launch his second business, cadre
  • (23:30) Going from idea to reality with cadre
  • (26:40) How he used a webinar to launch the concept
  • (31:00) How he got existing members to refer more
  • (36:00) How his business model has evolved to justify $3000 upfront to join
  • (41:00) How he ran a launch meeting
  • (46:00) His plans for the future of cadre
  • (48:30) An introduction to his book
  • (50:00) The Boise launch plan
  • (1:03:00) An overview of how to be more useful to your clients

Resources Mentioned

cadre
The Thank You Economy
Care.com
Informly’s podcast
Amy Porterfield’s podcast
Human Business Works – Chris Brogan
Youtility – Jay Baer
School of Greatness – Lewis Howes

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

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

Transcript

Trent: Hey there Bright Ideas hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
Podcast. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid. This is the podcast for
marketing agencies, marketing consultants and entrepreneurs who
want to discover how to use content marketing and marketing
automation to massively boost their business without having to
massively boost the number of hours they work every week.We do this by bringing on experts who share with us the story of what
made them so successful and this episode is no different. We are
going to be joined by a fellow by the name of Derek Coburn who
is a partner in a very successful financial advisory firm and
has about 15 employees and he has been doing that for quite a
while.But, more recently he’s also the author of a book and founder of
another company. The book is called “Why Networking is Not
Working” and as you might guess from the title it’s about
obviously why networking is failing and Cadre, his new business,
is predominately a DC based community of remarkable
professionals. Their members are the cream of the crop in their
industries and more interested in sharing resources than
gathering leads.So, in this interview Derek is going to share with us exactly how he
realized there was a need for this service and then how he
launched it and some of the ah-has he had along the way and
ultimately he is going to share with us his story on how he’s
making it a very successful company.But, before we get to that I want to tell you briefly about a Bright
Ideas product. If you are a marketing agency or a marketing
consultant and you are struggling with lead generation you will
want to check out my MobiLead Magnet. M-O-B-I Lead Magnet
.That’s at mobilead.com. It’s a WordPress plugin and will allow
you to build landing pages very quickly that display how bad
someone’s non-mobile friendly website looks on an iPhone and it
also shows them how good it could look if they had a mobilized
site. The idea is to use this landing page to capture their
interest and get your foot in the door to have a marketing
conversation.So, please join me in welcoming Derek to the show. Hey Derek welcome
to the show.Derek: Hey Trent thanks for having me.Trent: No, problem, man. I am jacked about this interview. We have got
a lot of really cool stuff that I want to talk about. Just
before Derek and I got on the air we were talking about how he
took himself from one business to two businesses and he’s got
two kids and he’s writing a book and he’s got a lot of really
cool stuff going on. I really want, because I know there is a
large percentage of my audience that still has a job and they’re
trying to make a transition and they’ve got a part time business
and they want that business to become more fulltime. Derek has
already gone down that trail and done it successfully. So, we
are going to get him to talk all about it.So, Derek thanks so much for coming on. Maybe just real quickly,
introduce yourself. Tell us who you are and what you are doing
to get through to all of the results that you’ve got.Derek: Thanks so much, Trent. So, I’m Derek Coburn. I own a wealth
management business with two other guys. We have been running
that for about 15 years now. We have 15 employees. Right now, I
spend about 20 to 25 percent of my time in that business, but
it’s hyper-focused on a segment of clients that I really enjoy
working with that are a great fit for me.I also co-founded what we call an “unnetworking” community in DC. I
co-founded this with my wife Melanie. It’s called Cadre. We have
right now about 105 CEOs, business owners, mediapreneurs if you
will that we bring together through offline events of different
types, facilitating connections online through our private
member community and about 90 percent complete with a book that
should be coming out in the next couple of months called
“Networking is Not Working.”Trent: And you have two kids.Derek: And I have two kids. My three year old started pre-school today
for the first time. So, I’m pretty excited for him. Time’s
flying by, but I try to make time for obviously those two and my
wife as well.Trent: Absolutely. So, for the folks, this interview is probably going
to be useful for a whole bunch of people but the ones that I
really want to speak to because I know I have a large following
in my community of folks as I mentioned earlier that still
either have a business and wanting to start another one for
whatever reason or they have a job and they want to start a
business of their own again for whatever reason. The reasons
aren’t terribly important for your and I discussion. The point
is, the desire is there and they’re trying to make that
transition.So, let’s go back to the point, so, you had a wealth management
business that you built up and was successful. Cadre did not yet
exist. How did it get created? Where was the motivation? I think
you were doing financially pretty well with the financial
advisory business, so something was tugging at your heart
strings.Derek: Yeah, so it really occurred to me back in 2008 that I had built
up a pretty good client base via cold calling and some referrals
from existing clients. I was focusing my growth strategy in
terms of meeting new clients by attending networking events.
Towards the end of 2008 that was the very beginning of what
would end up becoming the biggest sort of one of the worst
financial markets, if not the worst, financial markets since the
Great Depression.

The wealth management business, at least for me, is a recurring
revenue model, which is good. In fact, we use that same model
for Cadre. What it means is that if we are not providing good
value and a high level of service for our clients they can take
their money and go somewhere else.

So, obviously at that time there was a lot of additional hand holding
that was needed. We had to spend more time with our clients and
we wanted to really. We wanted to make sure that they had their
money and we were making the recommendations and providing the
advice that was in line with what they felt comfortable with.

So, what I realized was I was running out of time in my day. For a
variety of reasons I had to rethink really everything that I was
doing. What I realized, the average financial advisor has close
to about 400 clients. At that point, I had about 100 to 120 or
so.

The nice thing is cold calling and growing your business when you’re
first starting off, it’s great. You will almost work with
anybody. But, once you get a taste of what a really great client
relationship looks like, that’s sort of when you don’t want to
cold call anymore. That’s where you want to try to focus if you
can on only adding new clients who are going to be aligned with
you and are on the same page as what you are providing them.

Essentially, what I did was I said, I don’t want to be this guy
that’s working 70, 80, 90 hours a week with 300 clients that are
sort of all over the place. I began to really focus on quality
at that point. I slowed my growth and I realized that going to
these larger networking events was not a great use of my time.

And I ended up a way that I could fill both services or both
activities if you will in terms of providing great value for my
existing clients while also meeting new people that would be
ideal clients for me was I formed my own networking group of
about 20 or 25 people. This was not Cadre, but it was an event
where I brought together some of my great clients, some of their
top advisors and some other professionals that I had handpicked
and I was facilitating getting connections and adding value in
ways above and beyond the core service that my clients were
expecting of me.

Trent: Okay, and so was there some kind of a structure you had? What
did you tell these first 20 people when you said hey, I want to
start this networking group?

Derek: I had this big ah-ha moment for me. It’s what changed
everything. A client of mine, who I’ll call him a landscaper,
called me up. He was one of my best clients and he said, “Derek
I got a call from one of my really great clients and their
brother-in-law does what you do and they asked me if I would do
them a favor of meeting with their brother-in-law. I told them
that I really had a great relationship with you. I was happy. I
wasn’t looking to make any changes, but it was one of those
things where they were a great client and they said no
obligation whatsoever you would just be doing us a favor if you
just took the meeting.”

So, he told me about it ahead of time which was great. He called me
up the day after he had a meeting with this gentleman. He said,
“I got to tell you what happened, Derek. 45 minutes into the
meeting which was a pitch which is pretty consistent with the
way a lot of folks in the financial services industry would
approach a first meeting. He got to the end and the conclusion
that he drew was if I had my money invested with him instead of
with you, Derek, for the past couple of years I would have
earned an extra 2 to 3 percent a year in my portfolio.”

My client responded and said, “here’s something else that you might
want to take into consideration. Derek has referred me to
clients, to my business, over that time that have resulted in
over 2 million dollars of revenue for my business. If we were to
look at the big picture, Derek,” which I did not do by the way,
but “Derek could have lost half the money in my portfolio my net
perspective would have still been better off working with Derek
than working with you.”

He was laughing. He was saying that I had nothing to say. It made me
realize I am doing this without a lot of intention for a lot of
my clients right now. I’m focusing on their business and how I
can add value for them above and beyond what they expect of me.
What if I just started really focusing on it and building out a
process and trying to identify clients who in addition to
providing great value and a great service in terms of investment
planning, financial planning, what have you, that they have
businesses that I understand and I get and I might be able to
affect their business by identifying clients and being an
extension of their business development or marketing department.

Trent: Seems like a very good idea.

Derek: So, I call that the ultimate tie-breaker. If you think about
it, it’s also a great thing to be able to say from a marketing
perspective as long as you can back it up. So, I wasn’t going
around saying this to everybody, but most professionals, most
entrepreneurs, probably a lot of folks in your audience, they
probably feel like one of the best things that could happen to
them in their business is to get a great referral for a great
client.

I think that just to take that a step further and say gee, probably
the best thing that could happen for my clients, right now,
would be for them to get a great referral and if I am the one
that’s providing them that great referral you are going to have
a client for life and you are going to have somebody that’s
motivated to help you and somebody that’s going to be interested
in finding ways to help you succeed either through introductions
or additional business for them.

Trent: So, when you got nose to the grindstone with your financial
business. I think you described it that you were working pretty
hard. Was it a decision at this moment in time that you were
going to start referring clients to your clients or had you been
doing that all along with your 120 clients?

Derek: I certainly wasn’t doing it for all 120. I was doing it for the
ones where there was maybe a more obvious way to do it. But,
what I did was identify clients that I had yet to do this for.
That I felt like I might be able to help. I sat down with them.
I interviewed them. I got more information from them and shared
with them this additional role that I was going to be serving in
terms of the value and the deliverable that I was going to be
bringing to the table.

Trent: Was Cadre born out of your desire to do this, because I do want
to shift to that. But if it’s not I want to talk about how you,
I guess for lack of a better term, structured it? How did you
actually refer? Did you have a process that you used or a habit
or whatever to refer your clients? Obviously, they are going to
love you for that. That’s a no brainer. But, I want to know how
you actually made it happen.

Derek: Once again, for anyone that’s in a transaction business, when I
say transaction I mean you sell something one time and you are
never going to sell something to them again, I don’t think
that’s very many people, but because even if you sell something
to somebody now, there’s a pretty good chance you have another
service, another product 6 months, 12 months from now you could
potentially reach out to them in terms of an ideal client.

Really, for me, it was all about expanding the conversations that I
was having. What else is going on in your life? What else is
going on in your business? I think in any industry if you are
somebody that can help your client solve other problems they are
having. Whether you can provide the end benefit if you will or
not, then you are going to become important to them. Once you
start showing that with an individual one time, two times, then
you have these individuals that are reaching out to you.

My clients started calling me every time they had to make a decision
about anything. I’ve referred a great car salesman, probably 20
or 25 opportunities over the past few years. Anywhere from
larger purchases for companies all the way down to baby
photographers.

It takes a little bit of time, but if you just focus on what else can
I do for my existing clients and the important people to me in
my network, then you are going to find yourself in a position to
do this and to start adding value for them and then they are
going to start coming to you more often and referring people to
you, etc.

Trent: So, let me just make sure I understand this. Let’s say for
simplicity of this, you have two clients. One of them sells
mattresses. I brought that up because I bought a king size
mattress on line before we started this episode and the other
one needs a mattress and you find out there’s one of your
clients that needs a mattress and you know there’s one of your
clients that sells mattresses, so you say to your client that
needs the mattress, “Hey, I’ve got a really great source, a
client that sells mattresses, you should call him.” Is that
essentially what you are doing?

Derek: That’s fairly straight forward and that definitely happens, but
if you think about it a lot of us wait until we have something
to sell or it’s just an annual check in with our clients and its
always about how they are doing in relation to what we can do to
help them.

So, if you start reaching out to your clients, I know you’re big on
surveys. I’m big on surveys, getting information. Finding out
what else is going on in their business. They will appreciate
the fact that you are reaching out to learn about how you can
help whether you can help them or not. They will still hold you
in really high regard for doing that.

But over time as you build out your network you are going to be in
the position where you can start helping them and you are going
to be the go to person when they have really any sort of
business decision or personal decision for that matter that they
are going to reach out to.

Trent: So, the reaching out to wasn’t necessarily always on with one
on one phone calls. The surveys are a very time effective way of
telling your client that you are thinking about broadening the
conversation.

Derek: Yep.

Trent: Okay, cool. I’m just making a quick note here, all right. So,
at what point did you decide hey, I want to start Cadre?

Derek: All right, so we started Cadre back in 2011. My smaller
networking group was going really well, but the thing about the
wealth management business is it’s highly regulated. Compliance
departments are really on you about everything. Because of the
handful of individuals in my industry that like to try to take
advantage of people and take advantage of the system, they sort
of ruin it for everybody else.

Trent: Yeah.

Derek: I had the editor from the Washington Business Journal reach out
to me to offer the opportunity to write a weekly column for them
in the form of a blog. They were calling it a column, but it was
a blog. I went back to my broker dealer and just like 99 percent
of financial advisors out there right now, that just aren’t
completely independent, they said no chance.

The reason is pretty ridiculous. The reason is we can approve the
initial article, but we cannot approve or monitor the comments
in the blog. If somebody leaves a comment and says hey for me
and my situation how would you handle this and then I answer
them specifically, they are worried a year from now someone else
is going to search, find it, and think that answer applies to
them and make a terrible decision. So, that’s how ridiculous it
was.

I had been reading a lot of great books. The Seth Godin’s all of his
books. “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan. I saw this other way.
Gary Vaynerchuk wrote his last book, “The Thank You Economy”. He
said, “if you are in legal or finance you better really love
what you do, because those are the two industries, that you are
really not going to be able to take advantage of all of the
other opportunities from a marketing, word of mouth, etc.
standpoint that other businesses can take advantage of in terms
of one line awareness in marketing.”

That’s when I said you know what I have way too much information and
I see all the great ways that I can be growing my brand, finding
clients, and I’m not going to be able to do this if I just have
the wealth management business. But, I like the business and I
like my clients so I’m going to figure out a way to start
another business. That’s sort of what happened at the very
beginning that had me thinking, okay, I want to do something
different.

Trent: I think a huge, let’s compare your wealth management business
to, I don’t know if this will be a fair comparison, but we’ll
try it, to “your job.” I’m trying to make it so that the people
who have a job can relate to where we are going to take this
conversation in the next few minutes. How is that you’ve freed
up time in bread and butter number one so that you had the time
and mental energy to start bread and butter number two?

Derek: So, the answer that I give you might not directly benefit those
with a job, but for me I had some good revenues coming in at the
time with the wealth management business and because I also had
two other partners, we were able to pool our resources together
and hire people that were really good at a variety of things.

So, it’s really been a while since I’ve sat down and rolled up my
sleeves and really taken a technical look at my client’s
portfolios. I do that at a high level but we have really smart,
awesome people covering a variety of topics, a variety of areas
that we counsel clients on, in place.

For me, I wrote a 300-page systems manual for that business. I got
very specific about who would be doing certain things and I
wanted to set up my financial advisor business so that it was
similar to going to the doctor, right. Where when you go to the
doctors you doctor doesn’t check you in and say fill out this
form and I’m going to take care of you. Your doctor has other
people in place that are perfectly capable of doing all those
things so the doctor can focus on the high level really
important health issues and really the reason why you are there.

I do think clearly, through virtual assistants, I figure out to this
day what am I doing right now either personally or
professionally that I can pay someone else to do? For example,
through a website called Care.com, which I think is a national
website, I found a housekeeper. She works 10 to 15 hours a week
for us. She comes in. She takes our dry cleaning. She picks
after the kids. She cooks for us one night a week. Really, just
takes care of all of these things that I would have to do if she
wasn’t doing them. We pay her $15 an hour.

I think that for a lot of us, especially if there is another
business, another idea that you have or that your listeners
have, take a look at it. If this works and we can start
generating money from this what am I doing with my time right
now that I can find someone else to do and pay them so that I
have that time freed up and I’m going to make more money to
justify the difference in that cost.

Trent: Makes perfect sense. You need to have your time make more than
$15 an hour which is not terribly difficult to do, especially if
you are selling something to a business person.

Derek: Absolutely.

Trent: So, for the folks we used the term Cadre and I know we
introduced it at the beginning of the show, but I want to make
sure people understand what we are talking about. Briefly
describe what Cadre is and then I want to walk through the idea
on a napkin to the 100 plus paying members that you have now.

Derek: Sure. You had mentioned, I think it was one of your recent
interviews, I think it was with Andrew Warner, you had a comment
that said, “just build what you want to be a part of that does
not currently exist.” Even though things were going well in the
wealth management business and with my smaller networking group,
which didn’t have a name by the way. I planned round table
lunches. I hosted wine tastings. I did some things on line. We
can expand this and there’s not really anything out there where
I know I can go into a room or to an event and I can be around
people that all have the same intentions that I have when it
comes to developing relationships.

Not trying to push their own agenda, not trying to sell me something
or get their business card into my pocket as quickly as possible
but people who were successful who had a really great business
and had a pay it forward approach and I can take the time to get
to know you and help you and knowing you are going to do the
same thing for me.

I reached out to a handful of individuals that were in my current
networking group, and I said I want to do what we are doing now
but I want to do it on a larger scale and I need your help. I’m
not sure it’s going to work or not because it sounds like
rainbows and unicorns. It sounds like this happy place where you
can walk in and everyone there is going to be on the same page
as you. They are going to have a good business. They are going
to be interested in learning more about ways they can help you
and your business.

I didn’t want them to recommend other folks from their network and
have them pay us unless I really felt like it was going to work.
I was skeptical. I felt like they are going to invite people and
maybe 50 percent of them are going to still try to take
advantage of the situation and try to sell everybody else on how
great they are.

We just did round table lunches at the beginning. That initial group
with the help of these individuals, we had about 60, 70, 80
people on a webinar where I introduced the idea. We said for the
next two months you can go to one lunch a month. You will have
five or six to choose from each month. Based on your
availability we are going to assign you and put you together
with other individuals who are participating. You are going to
have 5, 6, 7 minutes to share your story. What a good
opportunity for you looks like. What your ideal client looks
like and then you are going to have the opportunity to hear that
same information from 8, 9, 10 other people.

We did this for the first two months. We didn’t charge anybody
anything. We asked everybody who’s in and we had about 80
percent commit to remaining a member.

Trent: I don’t know if this sounds or not, but did you let them take
it home and try it and make sure they like it and if you want to
keep going then pay.

Derek: Yep. It was still a very low risk situation for us because it
was giving us an opportunity to meet 50, 60, 70 individuals that
we previously didn’t know. Even if it didn’t work we decided not
to move forward with it we were going to expand our network and
meet some pretty great people in the process.

Trent: Absolutely, you were. There is not a lot of downside to
reaching out to successful business people. Let’s talk briefly
about the webinar. How did you get people on it and what was the
core message that you shared?

Derek: The way we got people on it is something that I still do to
this day that works better than just about anything else.
Whenever I have anything that I want my network to help me out
with, to share, to promote. So now we are doing larger events
with best-selling authors. I’ll say here’s a link to share on
Twitter. Here’s a link to share on Facebook or LinkedIn or other
places.

But, if I actually type out an email that is verbatim, in most cases
they don’t make any changes to it. If I type out an email that
looks like it is coming from them and they can copy and paste
that into an email I am allowing people that are willing to help
me I’m making it incredibly easy for them to do this because I
am doing all the work. I think a lot of times we say you have a
referral for me, that’s great, or you have somebody you want to
introduce me to or a business you want to introduce me to, and
we sit around and wait for it.

What I realized is we have and I have probably 30 or 40 different
types of emails like this saved as templates that if I do the
work ahead of time and I’m making it really easy for you to do
it then you are much more likely to do it assuming that’ I’ve
done enough on my end to warrant me doing a favor for you.

Trent: Yes, if I like you and you send me an email and say, Trent, cut
and paste this and send it and I think you are a good guy
chances are pretty high that I’m going to do it.

Derek: You still might do it otherwise but it’s still work on your end
and you have to make the time for it and it may or may not
happen. I equipped these individuals that I was asking them for
help. I gave them the email and made it easy for them to send
along. The other great thing about this strategy whether it’s an
introduction, referral or whether it’s come to my webinar, you
are framing it on your terms. You are able to specify the action
or the next step that you want them to take.

A lot of times, if I hadn’t done that I would have gotten many emails
that said meet my friend Derek; they are putting together a
networking group that I think you would like. You should reach
out to them then what are they going to say? They are going to
say, “Oh that sounds interesting. Let’s get on a call or let’s
have lunch sometime.” I certainly did not have time to meet 75
people for lunch to tell them about my idea. The way that the
introduction was made was if you want to learn more then sign up
for one of these webinars and that’s how you can learn more
about it.

Trent: Do you remember what the wording of the email template was that
you gave to these people.

Derek: I have it somewhere. I can probably share it with you if you
want to include it.

Trent: Yeah, send a copy to me and I will include it in the shows.

Derek: I will give you another example if you think it will be
helpful.

Trent: Sure. Please, go ahead.

Derek: When we started expanding Cadre and we went from 70 to 100 we
had been asking our members were loving it, what we had put in
place. They were getting a tremendous amount of value. They
wanted to help. They wanted to make some introductions. We were
asking people they were saying they wanted to do it for a lot of
the reasons I just described. We were getting some but not a
lot.

In August 2011 or 2012, it was in August is all I know because I
documented this. We created an email for them to share to invite
prospective members to learn more about Cadre by coming to one
of our events and learning more there and the results was we
ended up having 60 interested individuals, 60 referrals that
came to learn more about Cadre. About half of them ended up
joining. What I always like to say is that all of my members
they didn’t like me more in August than they liked me in June or
July. I just made it incredibly easy for them to help me in
doing something that they were willing to do.

Trent: Absolutely. If I remember correctly, months ago when you and I
talked about this, you had mentioned to me back then some type
of incentive for the early adopters to become a paying member of
Cadre. You have gone through your two months. You are saying to
your members this needs to be commercially viable in order for
it to keep going, therefore there is going to be this cost. If
you get on board now, it’s this. If you get on board later, it’s
this. Am I remembering this correctly and if so can you explain
what the inside looked like?

Derek: Absolutely, so everyone at the end of that two month period,
everyone that had participated, the offer that we gave them was
to be what we called a charter member. Charter members were
going to pay $249 a month and then as soon as this two week
period was over on accepting Charter members, and any new
members after that would be paying double that $499 a month.
It’s something that we’ve never changed.

Once again, it worked for two months, but let’s create some incentive
for these individuals that started with us from the beginning.
And it also created some sort of incentive for them to go off
and say hey I’ve been coming to this for two months now and it’s
great and you should think about joining also. So, they were
able to bring some other individuals to the table at that lower
price point, if you will. Now in fact we’ve evolved where we
were just $500 a month, then we were $1000 up front and $500 a
month, now we’re $3,000 up front and $500 a month, month to
month.

Trent: Wow. We are going to get to that in a minute. I want to make
sure I understand the charter business part of it. So, after the
two months how many people were going to lunches? You could
chose, you could go to how many lunches per month could you go
to during this free period?

Derek: One.

Trent: How many lunches were happening per month? The lunches were
only 8 to 10 people each right?

Derek: Yep. Including those first two months going through the end of
the first year, we hosted 79 lunches. There were anywhere from 7
to 11 lunches per month that we were scheduling and we were
giving all of our members the opportunity to say these five
would work for me and then we would try to slot them to a lunch
where they could meet people and try to keep the repeats at a
minimum.

Trent: You had a lot of logistical legwork to make sure you had the
right people at the lunches, seated at the right tables. Did you
guys actually show up to the lunches or did you just have the
people say hey I need to be at the whatever restaurant at
whatever date at whatever time and 10 of them would show up and
just chat at each other.

Derek: We were at every single one.

Trent: Yeah, because you need structure.

Derek: Sure.

Trent: Okay. At that point in time 79 lunches in the first two months.

Derek: No, no, no. Not in the first two months. That was for the first
year.

Trent: Okay.

Derek: That was for the first nine months. Let’s call it six lunches a
month for those first two months.

Trent: Okay, so six lunches per month. Where I’m trying to go with
this is how many people converted from free to pay. I think you
said about 80 percent, right?

Derek: It was about 80 percent.

Trent: So, then you got some cash flow on which to now continue to
grow this business. Over time you have ratcheted up the price
for new people. The guy or gal that’s joining today, they are
going to fork out three grand up front which is not a small
amount of money and then $500 a month. What are they getting for
that?

Derek: The model has changed significantly since we started off. Our
intention was never to have larger events at all. We are now
doing larger events. We built out a pretty robust private member
only community online. It’s not another Facebook. It’s not
another LinkedIn. There’s a lot of other stuff that’s in play
right now, than when we first initially set it up. Quite simply,
$3,000 is a lot of money to some people and it’s just the right
amount for others.

Trent: Yep.

Derek: Before we got up to $3,000 we very strategically were charging
$499 a month without a long term contract. Part of what we were
selling was engagement and fit. We wanted to make sure that
everyone that was participating, what I was selling to everyone
else was you are going to meet other people like you that are
going to be engaged, that are going to be interested to help you
and to provide value for you. And if they are not or they don’t
feel like it’s a good fit for them or a good use of their time,
we want them to be able to leave and we wanted the ability to be
able to ask them to leave if they weren’t. So, there are other
organizations that charge an annual fee upfront. It may be 6
grand or 10 grand or 20 grand and I think what happens a lot of
times if it’s not a good fit or their not the right type of
member well you have to let them play out their contract.

Trent: Yeah.

Derek: We wanted people to just drop out if they didn’t think it was a
great fit. In 2012, I started conversations with 25 people,
proactive conversations, ranging from you’re no longer a member
to hey what’s going on. If you are not able to start attending
or getting back in touch with people no harm no foul but it’s
not going to be a great fit. 25 people and the majority of them
were at the $499 rate. We basically said goodbye to $150,000 of
annual revenue for the sake of maintaining culture and making
sure that what we were selling was actually true.

Trent: Absolutely.

Derek: Along those lines I think pretty consistently the goal is that
for anybody that looks at $500 a month and says okay this is
something I can do, I think the main thing we are selling at
this point is access to a phenomenal network of experts of
individuals. Some of them have been on your show before. Our
roster from top to bottom is phenomenal. I think there are a lot
of successful entrepreneurs and successful business owners that
would pay $500 just to be in a room without all of the rift
raft. Just to know they’re not spending their time going places
where they are not being pitched, they’re not being sold, or
their not meeting anyone that’s not relevant to their business
or their clients.

Trent: I couldn’t agree more. I’ll make this comment for the folks
that haven’t attended a lot of these networking events. Back
when I started my company I attended a ton of the banker board
of trade events. There are no CEOs going. It’s all the business
development guys and gals who are looking for new clients. If
you are a CEO and you are looking for other CEOs where you can
have CEO level conversations about business challenges, going to
the local board of trade isn’t the place to be.

Derek: I would also say to if you are a business development person or
you are in sales the CEOs in the companies you are selling to
probably aren’t the decision makers and probably not the ones
you are wanting to meet either. The quality of any networking
activity I think is it’s all based on are you surrounding
yourself with people that are in a similar situation to you in
terms of the market they serve and do they take the same
approach that you take when it comes to developing relationships
and strategically working together with other professionals.

Trent: I want to skip back a minute. I realized there was a question
that I skipped past without asking.

Derek: Sure.

Trent: When you were doing these lunches and it’s back in the first
two months when it was free you said you attended all of them
Obviously you’ve got to make the right, there’s a message you
needed to communicate. How did you do that? What did you say at
these lunches so that the people realized hey this is something
I want to be a part of?

Derek: I think that the main thing we were guarded against at that
time was that we wanted to make sure that we had the right
people and I would say that I mentioned 80 percent earlier in
terms of what we converted. Ten of the remaining 20 percent or
50 percent of the remaining 20 percent we didn’t even extend the
invitation to. Because they were either following up with
everybody in a salesy way or they weren’t showing up to the
lunches.

It was really about quality and really about hey I have this other
business that I’m running and I’m not talking about I’ve never
positioned myself as a financial advisor inside of Cadre because
I never wanted anyone to think that my reasons were for doing it
were a back door way to get additional clients to that business.
In fact, there are other financial advisors in Cadre that are my
“competitor” in my other world.

I wanted to be very clear that I was doing this because I was
passionate and I enjoyed helping people and I felt something
like this was missing in the marketplace. One of the basic
things I communicated was we want to encourage and we want to
embrace the idea of our members hiring each other and working
together, but we also don’t want it to be a pitch fest and we
are not going to be a leads exchange group.

So, what does that mean? That means anyone that you meet at any of
our functions you cannot follow up with them and say great
meeting you at the lunch. Can we meet again next week so I can
tell you more about how awesome I am? It has to be, I was really
intrigued by your story and think you are somebody that I can
help or that I can see us collaborating on some different things
together so let’s see if we can jump on the phone and come up
with a way to expand on that relationship.

Clearly, if somebody did not have a good story or they weren’t
connected or it was never going to work for them that’s where
that whole they could drop out whenever they want thing comes
into play. If somebody just says I’m a CPA and if you know
anybody that needs a CPA, they would be a great client for me
and you can refer them to me and that would be great. Well,
that’s different than the CPA that says I like to work with
business owners that have revenues between $500,000 and $5
million that are going through X, Y, and Z and they are painting
that picture and they are describing in more detail what an
ideal opportunity looks like. They are going to get a lot more
mileage than one that doesn’t do that.

Trent: Yeah, that’s true. That’s really being clear who your customer
is and that’s something that everybody should be doing because
that makes it easier to get customers because when you find them
they are going to get so much more out of what you are saying.

Derek: The message then and the message today is that we are one of
the only professional organizations that I know of that is
vetting for intention and quality in addition to some of the
more tangible metrics. There are a lot of organizations out
there that are similar to ours, not really a competitor but they
are similar and it’s hey do you make X amount of money per year?
Do you have a certain role? Do you have a certain number of
employees?

I think that our price point automatically gets us to the right
people because clearly if somebody has a business where they are
making a certain amount of money that $500 would be 10 or 20
percent of their revenues they are not going to do it. We don’t
have to say you have to be doing this or you have to be doing
that. But, we are the only ones that aggressively vetting for do
you believe in word of mouth marketing? Are you in a position
where you can add value for other people because you are
informational with your clients and within your network? Are you
somebody that’s willing to do that knowing that you are going to
be around others that are going to be doing that for you?

Trent: Feverishly writing notes again. Wish I could write faster. Let
me keep the questions rolling. So Cadre started off from what I
understand as a very localized business because you needed to be
able to come and attend these lunches. You live in DC so I’m
guessing in the beginning it was only in DC?

Derek: Still is.

Trent: Still is?

Derek: Yep.

Trent: Do you have growth plans or do you plan to scale it nationally?
Where are you going from here?

Derek: I think we’re finally to the point now that we are feeling like
we are going to be able to do that and that’s the next move.
We’ve decided a while ago, if we wanted to loosen up on our
ideals or our culture of who we are looking for we could have
150 to 250 members at this point. Mark [has shared] and you’ve
had on this show before as a member of Cadre. He talks about
assignment selling a lot, which is this idea of you want to
really aggressively tell people that are not a good fit for your
business or for in my case for Cadre you want to let them know
on a website you want to let them figure that out.

Between the website and a phone call with me I’d say 70 percent of
the people, I’m making that up, but I bet 3 out of every 4
people that are interested in learning more either go to the
website or have a conversation with me end up not being a good
fit. So, getting DC to like 200 members was never a big goal but
what we’ve been doing with DC is we’ve been through heavily
surveying our members and having conversations with our members.

We actually closed off entry for any new members for a period of
about six months and we just reopened that about a month ago
because we were so focused on evolving our model and sort of
taking that next step. You can almost look like what we’re doing
in DC right now that’s how we’re establishing our product and
really honing on who is our ideal member? Who is going to really
benefit the most from this and how do we communicate with them?
How do we find the message that we want to deliver them? We are
basically using DC and continuing to evolve DC to help us get it
exactly right for when we want to take it to other markets
across the country.

Trent: You are writing a book. Does the book also play a role in that
or what’s the purpose behind the book and please do name the
book for us?

Derek: The book “Networking is Not Working,” where I’m stressing the
not part. It’s everything that happened. A lot of what I shared
earlier, what took place in my wealth management business. It
will mention Cadre very briefly just to establish some
additional credibility. Okay, if you are growing your business
and you are attending networking events, there’s probably a more
efficient way to do that. Here’s what I did in my wealth
management practice where I freed up the time. Because you had
asked this earlier too, a big part of the way I freed up my time
to do this is I stopped attending networking events two times a
week.

Trent: Yeah.

Derek: I stopped playing golf one or two times a week which was 5 or 6
hours of time each time I did that. That’s really where I was
focused and wanted to share in the book or the process I used to
build out this 25 person group that I had and the ways that I
was integrating the value that I was delivering to my clients
with my networking efforts to meet more of the right types of
individuals for my practice.

Trent: So, let’s use me as a guinea pig for an example. I’m going to
get super selfish here. Tomorrow my wife and I pack up the
moving truck and we move from San Diego to Boise, Idaho. I
basically know nobody in town. What should I do? I really would
love to build good, deep, meaningful relationships in the
business community. Many of whom will never buy anything from
me, but that’s just fine because I want I want to have those
relationships anyway.

Derek: Good for you.

Trent: I love the idea of having a Cadre of my own, but let me not
taint your answer. What should I do my first 30 days in town?

Derek: Well, I still feel like that spending time online is a great
way. I don’t have to convince you or your audience this is a
great way to meet people. I think Twitter is the greatest, large
networking event that anyone can participate in or “attend”
because you get to see who’s on there, what they’re talking
about. You’re not interrupting conversations that are not
relevant to you. You can see who shares your interests, who
shares your passions, and use that as a way to meet them. You
already know that so I won’t spend a lot of time saying okay go
to Twitter and meet people that way.

The larger networking events, honestly I mean I’m not going to tell
you to go to a Chamber of Commerce event, not that there’s
anything wrong with them. There will be other people there that
would be good for you to meet, but there’s probably going to be
a lot of people there that are going to waste your time and are
not going to be a good way for you to spend a couple of hours
talking to them or a variety of them, if you will.

I think it’s something that you have to have a long term approach to
this but anytime you can go to a larger event where’s there’s
something else there, there’s additional ways to “win” if you
will, that’s what I’ve always looked for. It’s not like I don’t
go to larger networking events anymore, but if I do go I am
going to attend the ones who have speakers, who have material
that I am interested in learning more about. That way if I don’t
meet anybody, if I don’t get any quality connections out of
that, out of attending it, then hopefully I learned something.
Then I can say it was a good use of my time because I got some
great ideas. Do you have any clients there now?

Trent: No.

Derek: If you do get some clients, if you do get some individuals that
might be prospective clients or just good people to talk to,
start asking them which events are you going to or I found this
event. Then they can bring somebody else along, or you can bring
somebody else along and it’s a way for you to expand your
network where even if this event ends up being a total stinker,
then you are spending additional time with somebody that you
already had a relationship with and you are able to get to know
the person that they brought along and they are able to get to
know the person that you brought along.

Trent: So, let me tell you what I was thinking as far as a plan and
you can tell me what you think.

Derek: Let’s do it.

Trent: They have a vibrant technology sector in Boise, much to my
pleasant surprise. I was planning on finding who the CEOs are of
the fastest growing companies reaching out to them all asking
them to be on my show. Of course, then having lunch with them
and then having a conversation of who else in town I should
meet. What events should I go to? What groups should I
participate in and just letting the garden grow from there.

Derek: Clearly, I wasn’t sure if, because you are in a very unique
spot, so you have this great podcast and it’s a great way for
you to add value so you absolutely should take that approach. I
think if I were you I would say look, I’m new to town and I have
this podcast. You want to have a conversation with them first
and you have some pretty aside from me you have some pretty
amazing guests on your show on a regular basis, so you want to
be somewhat selective on who you have on and who you are having
these conversations with, but the types of people you want to
meet it’s going to peak their interest and make them want to
learn more about you and give you the opportunity to learn more
about them.

Trent: You are right. It’s true. Having a podcast makes an unknown
door very easy and it’s one of the reasons why I encourage my
listeners to start a podcast because it is the most powerful
networking tool I have ever discovered. You can literally tweet
people in 140 characters or less and they’ll come on your show.
I’ve done that over and over again. You say I have all these
fabulous past guests. That’s how I got a lot of them. I just
sent them a tweet. Either they are doing it for selfish reasons
because they want to get exposure, which is fine. If they have
value to add, I don’t mind giving them the exposure.

But, there’s also a lot of them out there that simply just much like
yourself have a good message and want to share it if for no
other reason other than to help other entrepreneurs succeed. I
think that’s a common trait among successful entrepreneurs. They
really want to give back. They know when they were young and
getting started other people played a huge role in helping them
become successful. So it becomes a huge part of the DNA.

So, if you are not yet doing a podcast out their audience I really
encourage you. It’s not a hard thing to do at all. The equipment
costs, you can do it for under $100. It doesn’t sound quite as
good as this but you can spend under $100 to get a really nice
microphone.

Derek: Okay, something I’m thinking about man I feel like you are
talking to me as well.

Trent: You should be, Derek. You certainly have the voice for it. It’s
not that hard. It’s like anything. It’s uncomfortable the first
time that you try it and then you get better. Then you get an
email like I got the other day. I got to tell this. Some guy
wrote me and he told me I’m so incredibly boring that he wants
to chew his arm off when he listens to me drone on. I hope that
he is listening to this. The only reason he listens to my show
is because I have such incredibly interesting guests.

Derek: That’s awesome.

Trent: Normally I get emails that are the opposite of that they have
a lot of really nice things to say about the show, but that one
was the first.

Derek: I completely disagree. I like your personality and I like the
show a lot. I’m trying to think where I heard this. Maybe it was
a podcast with Seth Godin a couple of weeks ago. He said anybody
that gives you one star on Amazon or one star on iTunes they are
never going to buy your products or be a customer of yours or do
anything with you. He’s actually gotten to the point where he
doesn’t even read them anymore because it’s so
counterproductive.

It’s great that you are laughing about it. I’m sure that it’s a lot
easier to laugh at something like that when you are getting as
many great notes and all the great feedback that you are getting
from everyone else it complete dwarfs that number.

Trent: That is the truth and also when you decide to become a blogger
and a podcaster you in essence become something of a public
figure in your own little world. There’s always going to be
people out there that don’t like your stuff and some will have a
mission to tell you that they don’t like your stuff. It hurt in
the beginning. You don’t like hearing that. You get to the point
where you look at it, I actually called my wife, I was laughing
so hard, and I said you’ve got to come read this. This is
probably the best one ever.

Now, in his defense I don’t think he’s a bad guy. He’s probably
listening to this, so I don’t want him to think I’m hating on
him or anything because he actually, the next episode he
suggested that I stand up. So the next episode I stood up to see
if I could make my voice any more exciting. When I introduced
this show I made sure I put more inflection into my voice than I
normally did. I turned down the bass a little bit on my mixing
board, because I thought maybe I was making my voice sound a
little too much like that. So, I kind of messed around with
things a bit. It’s not like I didn’t pay attention to what he
said and he didn’t write it in a malicious way. I wasn’t
insulted. It was taken as constructive feedback but at the same
time it was pretty damn funny.

Derek: It was nice that you took his advice you were able to do that.
I am often told that my super hero trait is that I’m the guy who
will tell you that your baby is ugly. I don’t think I would tell
anybody that their baby is ugly but people come to me
specifically to shoot down an idea or strategy or something that
they are doing. When your feedback is positive and its good
those people tend to like the fact that you are doing it. It’s
like when Simon Cowell on American Idol tells you that you are
really good, it carries so much more weight than when Paula
Abdul tells you that you’re good.

But then the problem is that when you start telling people what they
don’t want to hear, then they don’t like it as much. I am trying
to get better at massaging how I am providing feedback or
criticism to those individuals without taking away from the
charm of being the guy that will tell you that I think what you
have stinks.

Trent: Absolutely. Let’s wrap this up. There’s going to be a link in
this show. Derek it might be helpful for you as well. I’ve
written how I’ve podcast in the past. My guide to podcasting,
but a past podcast guest of mine by the name of Dan Norris, this
guy is a content creation machine. I’m going to put a link to
his guide to podcasting because it’s better than mine. It goes
into so much more detail than I did. I would encourage anyone
who is listening to this that wants to have a podcast to go and
check that out.

Also, in the show notes that invitation from you Derek, so please do
make a note to send us that. The email template on how you got
the people to come to the webinar to get your Cadre off the
ground, so to speak. Before we wrap up I’d like to ask you two
more questions. One is, are there any other podcasts that you’ve
listened to and would recommend?

Derek: I assume you want me to answer that one first.

Trent: Yeah, go ahead.

Derek: Without being completely obvious let me think here. I listen to
several but I am trying to think of who I can recommend that
might not, I think Amy Porterfield has a new podcast that is
really good, that I get a lot out of. I would also say Rich
Brooks has started one recently on marketing agents. Do you know
Rich?

Trent: No, I don’t. If you would like to make an introduction that
would be wonderful.

Derek: Sure thing. I have a lot in my rotation. Entrepreneur on Fire,
I love Smart Passive Income, I love. The Human Business Way
from Chris Brogan. All of them are great. There are about 15 or
so I can keep going if you want but those are a few for you.

Trent: Okay. I’ll include links to all of those. So, sorry the Human
Business Way?

Derek: The Human Business Way is a podcast that Chris Brogan does.

Trent: Okay, all right I’ll link to all of those.

Derek: I like Lewis Howes a lot, School of Greatness.

Trent: Okay. I’ll put that one down, School of Greatness. Then let’s
finish up with one book recommendation.

Derek: One book recommendation. I got to tell you it’s fairly new and
so it’s unlikely anyone has recommended it yet but Jay Baer new
book “Youtility”. Have you read it?

Trent: I have not.

Derek: Have you heard of it?

Trent: I have.

Derek: Youtility spelled Y-O-Utility. The basic premise is that so
many of us in business spend so much of our time trying to be
mind blowingly awesome. Over the top special. What Jay suggests
which I completely agree with is that we could probably get a
lot more mileage on focusing on how we can just be more useful.

I gave an example of that I think with the ultimate tie breaker where
I could have stayed awake for an extra two or three hours a
night and focused all my time, energy, and effort on how to
create a financial plan that was .001 percent better than it
already was or I could spend that time learning my clients
businesses and figuring out ways I can add value for them above
and beyond what I do.

So, the premise in the book is a lot of great suggestions for whether
it be apps. Whether it be events. It just a lot of great ideas
for ways that you can be useful and add value for your clients
and prospective clients.

The other sort of angle is that you Youtility is about creating
marketing that people want and there’s this huge competition and
you’re competing against friends and parents and spouses and
everyone else. Your email, Facebook and all those people are
already interesting to your ideal target audience. If your
emails or your newsfeed updates are going to remain relevant or
get opened by your community, then what you are sharing has to
be as relevant as what they are sharing.

I think obviously with the changes recently made by Gmail and
Facebook we already all know that they are not showing your
updates to 85 percent of your fans anyways. Just really figuring
out how can I remain relevant and useful and really help the
people that I want to reach so when I do have something I want
to sell they are much more likely to open it and be interested
in it.

Trent: Very good advice. And, finally if people would like to learn
more about Cadre what is your link to that?

Derek: Cadre is C-A-D-R-E-D-C.COM. CadreDC is also my Twitter handle.
I am going to be shifting especially as we look to expanding and
grow Cadre. I am going to be shifting my platform over to my
name dotcom, derekcoburn.com. That should be up in about a
month. I am going to start blogging. For people that go there
and give me their email address. It may come eventually, Trent,
after listening to all the benefits of your show. I don’t have
Infusionsoft set up right now. I am not going to be sending out
any sort of immediate emails. It’s just give me your email
address and I’ll let you know when the book is coming out
because I am going to have it available for free for 48 hours on
Amazon.

Trent: Cool. All right I want to thank you very much, Derek, for
coming on my show. Hopefully no one had to chew their arm off
because I was too boring.

Derek: Or because I was too boring either.

Trent: I’ve done over 100 of these things. I think we did a good job.
I don’t think we have to lose any sleep that anybody is going to
lose any arms today. Let’s wrap it up. Thank you so much for
being on the show and I want to keep in touch with you.

Derek: Great, man. Same here. Thanks’ for the opportunity, Trent.

Trent: Take care. To get to the show notes for this episode all you
need to do is go to brightideas.co/73. If you really enjoyed
this episode I would love it if you would head over to
brightideas.co/love where you will find a pre-populated tweet
and also you will find a link to the iTunes store. That’s
probably even more important than the Tweet. If you would take a
moment to go and leave a five star rating in the iTunes store I
cannot tell you how much I would appreciate your taking a moment
to do that. It helps the show get more exposure.

That’s it for this episode. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid. Thank you
very much for being a listener. If you have not yet visited my
blog you can get to it at brightideas.co. I look forward to
seeing you there. Make sure you become a subscriber so you never
miss another episode. I look forward to seeing you in another
episode soon. Take care.

About Derek Coburn

DerekCDerek is the Co-founder and CEO of cadre, an un-networking community for successful professionals in Washington, DC, a partner with Washington Financial Group (a wealth management firm) and author of the soon-to-be-released book, Networking Is NOT Working.

Derek is married to Melanie (the other co-founder of cadre) and has two boys and a pitbull mix.

You can reach out to Derek via Twitter (https://twitter.com/cadredc) or visit his website at www.derekcoburn.com.

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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Digital Marketing Strategy: Meny Hoffman on How He Built a Highly Profitable Marketing & Business Service Agency

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MENY 4in X 6in X 300dpi X FC

If you want to learn marketing from someone who knows his stuff, you could do worse than to talk with Meny Hoffman, CEO of Ptex Group, a growing marketing agency with 27 employees.

Unlike many marketing agencies that haven’t reached the size of Ptex Group, Meny’s company has multiple divisions. Ptex supports their clients with everything from strategic planning and branding; to specific design, print and web development work. They even have an in-house call center that can answer phones on behalf of their clients.

Another unique offering from Ptex Group is their “Let’s Talk Buisness” conference, a one day live event that sold out of seats at 650 attendees.

There are a lot more goodies in this interview. When you listen, you’ll hear Meny and I talk about:

  • An overview of his lead generation strategy
  • How to generate leads beyond referrals
  • The details of the compensation plan for his sales reps
  • An overview of a marketing funnel, and why it’s so important to focus on the human touch
  • An overview of a ‘Project Awarded’ campaign
  • Why he has a call center division
  • An overview of their business conference, including how they generated sponsorship revenue

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

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

About Meny Hoffman

11774510-meny-hoffmanMeny Hoffman is the CEO of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. A longtime entrepreneur, he specializes in creating strategic marketing solutions and business-boosting tactics to help small businesses achieve higher levels of success.

To learn more, follow Meny Hoffman on Twitter or email him at meny.hoffman@ptexgroup.com.

 

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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Digital Marketing Strategy: How Janette Gleason Used Infusionsoft to Triple Revenue and Cut Her Marketing Budget by 90%

,
gleason-featured

Would you like to discover how to triple your sales, cut your marketing spending by 90% and work fewer hours – all at the same time?

Of course you would!

To discover how to one entrepreneur has done exactly that, I interview Janette Gleason in this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast.

When you listen to this interview, you will hear Janette and I discuss:

  • how they nearly went out of business before finally getting their marketing systems on track
  • what they changed with their marketing
  • how automation using Infusionsoft plays a large role
  • her 12 stage sales pipeline
  • and so much more…

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.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

Transcript

Trent
Dyrsmid: Hi there, and thank you so much for joining me for this
episode of the Bright Ideas podcast. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this
is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to learn how to
use marketing automation and sales automation tactics to massively boost
their business.On the show with me today is a woman by the name of Janette Gleason, and
her and her husband own a small tax and accounting firm. Now, a couple of
years ago they were spending about $15,000.00 a month on marketing, and
they nearly went bankrupt. Then, thanks to deploying a new piece of
software, called Infusionsoft, which has helped them greatly with their
marketing, not only were they able to cut that marketing budget by 90%, but
they were able to triple their revenue in the process, work less and get
more dinners at home together.If you’re a small business owner, and you’re struggling with marketing, and
you’re looking for some inspiration as well as some specific tactics and
tools you can use to massively boost your business, this is an episode that
you do not want to miss.Please join me in welcoming Janette to the show.Janette, thank you so much for coming on to do this interview with me and
talk about how you are using Infusionsoft to make your business so much
more successful. I really appreciate you making the time to be on the show
with me.Janette
Gleason: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.Trent: For the audience who doesn’t know who you are, let’s
first of all give you an opportunity to just talk real quickly about what
your business is, and then we’re going to talk at length about how using
Infusionsoft has really helped you move the business forward.Janette: Okay. My husband and I own a financial planning firm in
Surprise, Arizona, and we our target clients are retirees, people who are
50 and older, and we do their financial planning, retirement planning,
income planning, and we also offer tax preparation services.Trent: Okay. In your space, in your area, is there a lot of
competition?Janette: Oh, yes.Trent: Plenty.Janette: My husband’s name is Joe, and we joke how we’re kind of like
the Starbuck’s. There’s a financial planner on every corner.Trent: If you had to guess, how well do you think your firm is
doing relative to that all the other “Starbuck’s” that are on the block?
Are you guys in the middle?Janette: Yes, I think we’re doing really well. We’ve really worked very
hard on building a good reputation. Always treating our clients with
respect and always doing what’s best for them and not what’s going to
always make us the most money, but what’s best for them and their
retirement. I think that reputation has served us well, and we get a lot of
referrals, and we stand out from the crowd that way.Trent: Okay, so you’re doing better than average?Janette: Yes.Trent: All right. You started using, and by the way I’ve gone
outside, and I don’t know if you can hear it or not, because if you can I
might have to reschedule this, but there’s a leaf blower and the
landscapers going right now, and for me it’s noisy as heck. Can you hear it
on your end?Janette: No, I can’t.Trent: All right, so that means none of the audience can hear it
either, so we’ll keep going.[laughter]Janette: Okay.Trent: You started using Infusionsoft in 2008. When we talked
before we went on the air, the first two years you weren’t exactly using it
“properly”.Janette: No, we weren’t.Trent: I want you to talk a little bit about that, because maybe
there are some people listening to this who are using Infusionsoft, and
they might be using it like you were using it before.Janette: Okay, yes. When we first got Infusionsoft, we were using it
basically as a glorified Roll-A-Dex; a place just to keep all the
information about our prospects and clients. We were using it for the
calendar feature and also as an email blast machine. Anytime we had a
holiday greeting or an event coming up, we would just send that email out
and the same email to everybody on our list. We thought our message was so
important that everybody wanted to hear everything that we had to say.Trent: Okay, and so for the people who don’t know what
Infusionsoft is, maybe you could just very quickly explain what it is,
because we both use it, and we both love it . . .Janette: Right.Trent: . . . but before I heard of it, you know, I didn’t know
what it was.Janette: Yes, well it’s the all-in-one sales and marketing software for
small businesses. To me there are three feature modules of Infusionsoft.
It’s the CRM module . . .Trent: What’s that? What does CRM stand for?

Janette: CRM stands for client relationship management.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: It’s a place for us to just keep information data about our
prospects and our clients. We know their names, addresses, email address,
phone numbers and notes anytime anybody comes in. We have records of their
appointments, all the emails that we’ve sent to them, and so it’s a place
for us to just keep a history of our interactions with our prospects and
clients.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: The second part of Infusionsoft is the marketing module, and
it’s not just email marketing. We don’t only have the ability to send
emails. We can do voice broadcasts and we can send letters, so we can use
it as a multimedia marketing tool.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: Then the third part of Infusionsoft is e-commerce. Typically
for the typical Infusionsoft user, the e-commerce is more for an internet
markets, or somebody who has a product to sell; a book or a widget, what
have you. We’ve actually adapted that module to be able to, one, collect
invoices and collect payments for the tax preparation that we do, but also
to track the commissions that my husband makes.

The clients don’t pay him directly for his financial services, the
financial institutions do, so we’ve been able to use it to track the return
on our investment on the marketing that we’re doing, and see the lifetime
value of our clients and see which marketing methods are working and which
aren’t.

Trent: Ah, that’s very, very important.

Janette: That’s it in a nutshell.

Trent: All right, so in 2008 you were using a Ferrari to take
the trash to the curb, we’ll say.

Janette: Exactly.

Trent: Then in 2011 you became one of Infusionsoft’s Ultimate
Marketer of the Year and 2011 finalists.

Janette: Yes.

Trent: There’s kind of a big gap between not having a clue what
this thing will do to really, really killing it, which is one of the
reasons, the primary reason, why I asked you to be a guest on my show.
Let’s start going through, well actually, let’s kind of get to the
conclusion. Now that you’re using it really well, how important is it in
the growth of your business? How tightly round into that marketing, lead
attraction, client acquisition . . .

Janette: Right, it’s the hub of everything we do. I tell people that I
don’t know how our business would survive without Infusionsoft at this
point. We’ve been able to centralize everything in our marketing, our
office procedures and systems, the sale process, our billing, everything is
in Infusionsoft.

It’s really an integral part of our business, and we were really struggling
a few years ago and didn’t know from day to day whether or not our doors
were going to stay open. We had Infusionsoft at the time. This was the time
we weren’t really using it correctly, and when the bills would come in,
we’d have our bills, and say, “What are we going to pay? We have this much
money,” and Infusionsoft was always number one on our list, because we knew
without it we would be done, and we’d have to close up shop.

Trent: Okay, wait a minute, I want to go back. In 2008, I don’t
know if you’re comfortable discussing revenue numbers that your firm does,
if not we can go about this a different way. Do you want to talk about
specific numbers at all, or should we just talk about percentage change?

Janette: Well, with the seminar marketing, I can tell you the marketing
cost was astronomical for us.

Trent: Yes.

Janette: We were spending $15,000.00 a month on direct mail, on hosting
these workshops, and in the beginning of 2008 we actually had two months in
a row where we were spending this amount of money having to use the line of
credit on our home and using credit cards to pay for this, because everyone
says marketing always pays.

Trent: Yes.

Janette: We kept doing this. We were kind of that one-trick pony that
used that one form of marketing, and for two months in a row it failed us.
That got us thinking that we need to market in a different way, and we need
to find software and companies that can support us in marketing in a
different way and give us different ideas.

In that year it was really tough, but it actually ended up being our best
year. We started doing some basic email marketing, and this was even before
Infusionsoft, and had the best summer that we ever had.
Then, in 2009, the economy tanked, and things went really south for us. We
just couldn’t afford paying lots and lots on marketing anymore. We went
from bringing in maybe $400,000 of revenue, down, cut in half.

Trent: Wow.

Janette: My husband’s commissions were cut in half. Our marketing
dollars were still increasing. Our rent for our office was increasing. The
cost of living goes up, but what we were bringing in was going down.

Trent: Okay, so that’s a pretty tough time. My very first
career, as I may have mentioned to you, was in your space, so I do
understand your business well, and $200,000 gross commissions coming in is
not enough to pay anywhere to all the bills.

Janette: No.

Trent: You were bordering on going out of business. You were
probably losing money at that point in time would be my guess.

Janette: Yes, we worked for free for a couple years. For nothing.

Trent: Yes.

[laughter]

Trent: What you’re saying is because you learned how to use
Infusionsoft – hello person in the background.

[laughter]

Janette: That’s Joe on his way to the office.

Trent: Okay. You learned how to use Infusionsoft, and now you’re
doing, and again I know what the number is, and you can say it if you want
to say it or not, but it’s a lot bigger than the $200,000 number.

Janette: Yes, definitely. In the high six-figures and really, onwards
and upwards.

Trent: Yes. All right, so hopefully for the listeners, if you’re
wondering at this point, “Why am I listening to this interview?” that’s why
I ask those questions, because I want people to understand that you’ve had
a profound change in your business as a result of your marketing practices.
I don’t imagine you’re doing those, well, I know you’re not because you
told me before, $15,000.00 a month seminars.

Janette: Yes. No.

Trent: You’re not doing those things anymore. Are you still
spending $15,000 a month? Now, your revenue obviously is a lot higher so
I’m sure you can afford to . . .

Janette: Right. No, the range we spend on marketing per month is
between $500.00 and maybe $2,000 a month on marketing.

Trent: Wow.

Janette: Advertising, sending out direct mail pieces. We’re much
happier with that.

Trent: That’s phenomenal.

Janette: Yes, a lot less stress.

Trent: From $15,000 down to $,1500, let’s call it, on average,
and yet your revenue is over three times what it used to be.

Janette: Yes.

Trent: Now, the economy, the markets, the stock markets, have
gone up and things are a little better, and I’m sure that doesn’t hurt your
cause, but still, I was in that business long enough to know that even if
the market is going up it doesn’t mean all these people are suddenly
running to your door, saying here take my money. It just doesn’t work that
way.

Janette: Right. No, and right now they’re very gun shy because people
are really frozen right now with wanting to make financial changes.

Trent: I’ll bet.

Janette: We really have to focus on that trust-based marketing and get
people to trust us. Again, that’s where our reputation comes in, and the
type of marketing that we’re doing is more educational for our existing
database and our new prospects.

Trent: Okay. All right, here’s what’s coming up next in this
interview. We are going to talk about Janette’s sales funnel, we’ll call
it, the ‘life cycle of a lead’, and we’re going to talk about, as much as
time permits, what she’s doing to stimulate referrals.

Without me yapping too much, let’s just dive right into that. Let’s talk
about the life cycle of a lead. Describe what you do who don’t know who you
are or have somehow interacted with you to becoming a client, what happens
first?

Janette: Okay. When somebody shows interest in working with us . . . do
you want me to get even before that?

Trent: Yes, because I’m going well how do they even know you
exist?

Janette: Right. Our lead attraction really comes from this tax base,
this base of tax clients we’ve built.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: Last year we did taxes for over 800 people, couples, in the
area. During that time, which used to be a lost leader for us, we used to
charge $49.00 per tax return as a way to get people in. Two years ago we
nearly doubled the price of our tax preparation, and now we’re up to $99.00
for the base price. Some extra schedules are additional fees.

In that process, when they come in, we have them filling out
questionnaires, doing some intakes, and we’re getting lots of information
about them. We legally can’t get it from their tax return. They have to
give that. We can’t use their tax return as a way to market ethically.

By giving them intake questionnaires and doing surveys after tax season,
we’re able to gather a lot of data from them. They give it to us
voluntarily, and we’re asking things about them, such as what worries you?
What concerns you about your retirement? Are you worried about outliving
your assets? Are you worried about paying for long-term care expenses in
the future? By asking these questions we’re finding out those
psychographics, what makes people purchase and what we should be focusing
on for our marketing.

A lot of people are concerned in retirement about having enough income that
will last them throughout their retirement and being able to leave a legacy
to their loved ones. A lot of our marketing, then, focuses on that
information.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: We get them in as a lead for the tax preparation. We’re able
to capture their information, get to know them better through, again, those
surveys and questionnaires and just our interactions with them. After that
we do a lot of educating. When tax season is over and their taxes are
completed, we send out a whole sequence of emails that talk about tax
planning for their retirement.

From those emails we have links to articles and just educating them in the
same time about what we do, the services we provide and how we can help
them. When they are ready, when they’ve raised their hand that they would
like to come in and meet with Joe for that initial consultation, we put
them into our sales pipeline, which is over 10 stages long. We’ve really
thought about, what are the steps that the ideal person will go through as
they meet with Joe?

First they come in for an initial consultation, then the next stage, and we
have all this in Infusionsoft, we use the opportunity module to keep track
of this. After we have a new opportunity, our job then is to call and
schedule that initial consultation. During that initial consultation, we’re
gathering lots of information about them and getting that information into
Infusionsoft.

Then, after that appointment, my husband does his research and planning and
puts together that financial plan for them in his recommendations. Then
after that we get them to come back in for what we call a second
appointment, or a recommendations meeting, where he presents a plan to
them. After that, they give us a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, or the “I need
to think about it.”

We have tracks for people who say no, we have a track for people who say
yes, I’ll go ahead with this plan, and we also the a track for people who
are the “I need to think about it” we like to call them, the ‘undecided’s’.

Trent: What are the percentages when someone comes in for that
second presentation to receive the plan, what percent say ‘yes’, what
percent say ‘no’ and what percent say ‘I want to think it over’?

Janette: We have a really high percentage that say “yes”. I don’t know
the exact numbers. Joe, my husband, could tell you that better, but I would
say the people who come in and have gone through this process, we probably
have more than 50% chance, perhaps more than 75% chance of them becoming
our client. Those undecideds happen may 3. . .

Trent: A 5%?

Janette: Yes. Some people just say, “No, this is not for me,” and we
always give them that we want to make sure this is a good fit, that you’re
a good fit for us as a client and we’re a good fit for you as your
financial planner, but we have a whole sequence of not only emails, but
cards that we send.

We use send-out cards, and we’ve integrated that with Infusionsoft to be
able to send them a card with a little bag of maybe coffee grounds, and we
can say, “We know you want to think it over. Here, brew a cup of coffee,
and we’ll be here when you’re ready.”

Trent: Okay.

Janette: Then we continue on with educational emails and being in touch
with them that way.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: Go one.

Trent: I want to back up a little bit. This life cycle is, you
get a tax lead, they answer these questionnaires, you learn about them,
they start receiving emails, there’s a 10-step pipeline, they have an
initial consultation.

Joe does the research, they have a second meeting where the information is
presenting, and a large portion of the people say yes and become clients.
Let’s back up a little bit.

Where does Infusionsoft, and maybe you can describe how Infusionsoft is
used throughout the steps we just described.

Janette: Okay.

Trent: I want people to understand. It’s one thing to do all
this stuff, but it’s a totally different discussion to do it efficiently in
such a way that people don’t fall through the cracks and your labor costs
aren’t going through the roof because there are too many hands touching too
many things, and it’s all manual, and it’s not cohesive.

Janette: Right. Well, the cornerstone of Infusionsoft that helps us
with what we call our pipeline is the opportunity module. It’s the sales
pipeline, and you can identify the sales stages in a linear way. We know
that people can maybe jump over a stage, and they don’t have to always go
into each and every stage. Then we put all this on our dashboard.

When we log into Infusionsoft, we can see our dashboard, and we know these
three people are new opportunities. We need to get on the phone and call
them today. Then we can move them manually, but then all the automation
happens once we move them.

Trent: You move them manually by just changing a tag?

Janette: There’s a way to view the opportunities, and we can look at it
with the inline editor. There’s a way to hover over the stage so we can see
the person’s name, their phone number, what stage they’re in, and there’s a
little pencil that appears when you hover over it.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: You just hover over, it pulls up a drop-down menu, and we just
move them to the next stage, hit save, and then all the magic happens. All
the sequences we’ve built behind that happen behind the scenes.

Trent: Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about that magic, because I
know this is one of the areas where, for me, because my business is all on
line. I’m so fascinated because based upon the links people click, I can
alter the path they go down through the sales funnel. Let’s talk a little
bit about that for you. What happens in this magic?

Janette: When somebody goes into a stage, and we’ve built all this in
with the new campaign builder.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: We have all the stages going as our goal method. When you pick
a goal, you have to choose the goal method, and the goal method that we
choose is the opportunity stage movement.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: When I built this in Infusionsoft, that’s the goal method
maybe that we’re going into the research and planning stage. Then what
happens is we apply a note template to their record, and that’s one of the
first steps in this sequence. We tag them so we know that they’re in this
stage, and then we can maybe send them an email saying, “Thank you for
coming to meet with us.”

Or, have it come from Joe saying, “I’m really glad you were able to share
your retirement goals with me. I’m going to be working hard on putting
together a plan for you, and we’ll be in touch to schedule your next
appointment.” That’s kind of the magic in that particular stage that would
happen.

Trent: This is all, and I just want to make sure people
understand, it’s not like you’re sitting down and typing out this email.
You created it one time, but all this stuff happens on auto-pilot.

Janette: Yes. We created it once.

Trent: When you move them from one stage to the next, everything
else you just described after that, it just happens. Correct?

Janette: Exactly.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: We create it once, and then, exactly, it just happens behind
the scenes.

Trent: Correct, correct, so it’s a very consistent process is
what I’m really trying to drive towards. I think what a lot of, I know I
struggled with in my early years as an entrepreneur, is we’re so busy
chopping down trees, we don’t take time to come up with a plan to
effectively chop down trees.

Janette: Exactly.

Trent: Systems to chop down trees with the least amount of labor
because you’re just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop.

Janette: Right.

Trent: I’m hoping that people are getting from hearing this
interview an understanding that Infusionsoft can help them become so much
more efficient and turn the onboarding of a client, or the conversion of a
prospect to a client, into a very, very consistent process.

Janette: Right. Everybody who comes in or is indicating interest to
meet with Joe, everybody goes through the same steps and the same process.
It’s systematized, and that helps our office stay efficient and allows us
to really communicate in a very professional way to our customers. Then we
have less people falling through the cracks.

Before we had this system, people would say, you know in Arizona in the
summer it gets really hot – so a lot of our retirees, they leave. They go
north, they go back home, and they’re out of here. They might say in May,
“You know we’re interested, but we’re going back home, and we’ll be back in
November. Give us a call then.”

Maybe write it on a little post-it note and put it up, and it gets lost. We
would forget about that person. By the time they came back, we saw them the
next year to get their taxes done, and they had rolled that money with
somebody else. That really was an eye opening to us. We had a case where
somebody rolled $1 million with another firm.

Trent: Ooooh.

Janette: That lost revenue hurt. We could have really used that money
at that time. We used to get mad at those people and say, “Well why did you
do that?” and, “You’ve got the nerve to come back?”

Trent: It’s not their fault.

Janette: Yes, then we said, “It’s our fault. We weren’t keeping top-of-
mind awareness”, and we needed to figure out a way to do that.

Trent: Yes.

Janette: Now with this system, those people are falling through the
cracks anymore.

Trent: Okay. How’re we doing for time? We’re doing pretty good.
Let’s now shift into, because obviously we don’t have enough time on this
call to go into absolutely granulated details of ‘here’s how you do this
and do that and do the other thing’.

There’s an army of Infusionsoft consultants out there that will help people
do that. Infusionsoft has truckloads of training videos and a great support
team that will help you to figure all that stuff out.

Janette: Yes, they do.

Trent: That’s not the purpose of this interview. Let’s now talk
about when someone becomes a client, and I know from experience that when
you get a client, you don’t get all their money at the get-go. They have
money all over the place.

Janette: No.

Trent: You have a lot of selling left to do to collect all that
money? You may never get it all, but of course it’s the goal.

Janette: Right.

Trent: How are you guys using Infusionsoft to make sure a client
remains a client, clients refer other clients and clients bring you all
their money? Those are three very important steps, so let’s talk about
those.

Janette: Yes. That’s really one of the most important things to us,
rolling out the red carpet to our new clients. Letting them know they’re
important to us, we value them, we know them by name, we know about their
interests, their families, and we’re able to use that using Infusionsoft.

One of the first things we do when they become a client, actually even
before that, the whole rollover, or the bringing the money over to our firm
has even completed, we welcome them as a client because this processing
stage can sometimes take six weeks to two months.

Trent: Weeks.

Janette: We’ve had it where people have changed their mind during that
time. It’s taking too long. Once that paperwork is done and we submit it,
we welcome them to our family of clients. We send them a gift. We send them
a card with a box of brownies.

We begin giving them our monthly newsletter that’s tailored for just our
clients. They really feel as part of our family. We do annual events. Last
January we held a Gold Rush Party. We started offering precious metals as
part of one of the services that we provide. We thought we’d blow this out
and let everybody know that we’re doing this by having a party.

We call it our ‘Gold Rush’, and we had everybody come out to a local
restaurant. We had line dancing instructors there. We had a good time. Joe
just gave a brief introduction and speech about what the changes are, and
all our clients were able to bring their friends. We asked them and said,
“We’d like for you to come to this event. The cost of admission is to bring
a friend with you.”

Trent: Perfect.

Janette: We had over 100 people come and half of them were brand new
leads for us, and we were able to get many of their friends to become
clients as well. We used Infusionsoft to send out emails and invitations to
track who had registered for the event and then a follow-up afterwards as
well to our clients and communicate differently to their guests that came
as well.

Trent: Fantastic. Do you happen to know of the 50 guests how
many have become clients?

Janette: I don’t know off the top of my head. I know we got one very
large client out of that event that more than paid for it. She actually
came back this week and is ready to invest more money with our firm.

Trent: Terrific.

Janette: Yes. You know, making it fun. Financial planning is not always
something you can tell your friends about.

Trent: Yes.

Janette: People are a little skittish about doing that. Being able to
make it fun, and offer coffee talk, come on over, we’re having an open
house. Bring your friends, and let’s just make this a fun and
nonthreatening way to get together and meet them.

Trent: I really want to keep tying in how Infusionsoft helps you
to streamline all this, is that a point you can speak to? Is there a bit
more detail you can give on what you just talked about and how Infusionsoft
supported that?

Janette: Definitely just keeping in communication and being able to
invite people to these events. Once that event is over, we can email them.
Sometimes at our events we have a sheet of paper that our guests can fill
out.

Trent: Yes.

Janette: What are you interested in? They can check boxes. Based off
what they check, we follow-up with them in a different way.

Trent: Okay.

Janette: If they’re interested in tax preparation, well then we tag
them and we know next year we’re going to market to them when it’s time to
schedule our tax appointments. If they’d like to come in and meet with Joe
for a financial planning appointment, we can apply a note template and get
that ball moving, get them in as a new opportunity right into our sales
pipeline.

Trent: Okay, you said a phrase there that I know what you meant,
when you say you tag someone, I just want people to know what that is.
Infusionsoft at its heart is a database, and these tags are like sticking a
sticky note to someone to say, “This person is interested in blue, and this
person is interested in red, and this person is interested in red and
blue.”

Janette: Exactly.

Trent: Infusionsoft’s automation oftentimes is very, very
tightly related to these tags, so when tags are applied, Infusionsoft can
then fire off a sequence of emails or actions or any number of things. I
just wanted people to understand that the tagging is not just like sticking
some little paper note on their file or typing something in.

Janette: This feature helps give our database, it helps it to live and
breathe. We can say, “Okay, I want to find somebody who’s this age, who has
this much in assets, who’s worried about this”, and I can pull up a list.

It might not be 1,000 people, but maybe it’s only 50, but I want to target
those 50 people and spend my marketing dollars on them because they’re much
more likely to respond to those marketing pieces we’re sending to them.
It’s laser focused.

Trent: That is a perfect segue into what I put a star beside in
list segmentation. At the beginning in 2008 you said you were using
Infusionsoft as an email broadcaster because you thought everybody would be
interested in everything you were saying, which is not the case.

Janette: Right. No people were opting out and we’d get spam complaints.

Trent: Correct.

Janette: When you spend all this money to build up a database, the last
thing you want them to do is opt out.

Trent: Correct. With Infusionsoft you can actually send them an
email, and it drives them to a form, and it says tell me what you’re
interested in, and they can fill in the little checkmarks and the dots, or
whatever, hit submit, and then Infusionsoft will apply those tags. You can
really allow your customers to self segment themselves.

Janette: Definitely.

Trent: The more information you collect, and I know that
Germaine Gregs with “Hear and Play” is the czar of tagging . . .

Janette: Yes.

Trent: My point is, the more tagging that you do, and I think he
uses like 9,000 tags or some ridiculous number like that, the more you can
laser target your list.

Janette: Yes.

Trent: I hope the people understand that if your message is
extremely relevant to your audience because you’re able to target so well,
what does that do for your conversion rate?

Janette: Oh, it goes through the roof.

Trent: Absolutely.

Janette: During the past year or so, we’ve really been collecting a lot
of data about our tax clients. Now we know, again, who has maybe more than
$250,000 in investible assets and who needs social security planning. Who’s
worried about social security? Now, when we have an idea to do a marketing
campaign of direct mail or email, a combination of the two, we’re able to
select just those people and send it just to them.

They’re not getting something in the mail, “Oh, why are they sending me
this about social security? It doesn’t apply to me.” It definitely speaks
to them, and we’ve been doing some lumpy mail and creative marketing
pieces, and it’s been a lot of fun, and our database has really been
responding well to that. That’s because we’ve been able to collect that
information, tag them, and segment our database. [phone rings] Sorry about
that.

Trent: That’s okay. Let’s go back to before you go so good at
using Infusionsoft, and I kind of think I know what the answer to this is,
how much easier is your business to run now than it used to be and how much
less stressful is your business now than it used to be?

Janette: Oh, a lot less stress, and we’ve systematized so much that in
the years prior, during tax season, I never saw my husband. I never got to
see him. He was working. He got to the office before I even woke up, and
came home super late at night.

This last year we were able to have dinner together as a family most
nights. There might have been a night or two he had to stay late. One day
he came home, towards the beginning of tax season, and he said, “You know,
we’ve really got this systematized so much that I had some time in my
office today where I was looking around thinking, I don’t have anything to
do!”

[laughter]

Janette: That, to me, was so gratifying. He’s less stressed and I work
from home, so I’m not there in the craziness of tax season, but to be able
to have him come home and have those family dinners and not lose him for
four months out of the year has tremendously increased our happiness as a
family. Words can’t even express that.

Trent: Yes. I’m just kind of choking up as I’m hearing that
right now.

Janette: Yes.

Trent: I don’t know what better testament, and I know this is
sounding like a huge Infusionsoft commercial, but I’m a passionate user of
it. It’s a monstrous part of my business, as it obviously is for yours. As
business people we’re always like how can I grow my business and make more
money.

I don’t know that so often that “it’s making us happier”, and “we’re
getting more dinners together” finds its way into the discussion, but I’m
sure glad that you brought that up.

I’m sure there are some people listening to this, and I know I’m in that
camp, that we think that’s pretty darn important stuff.

Janette: Yes, definitely. The reason we wanted to be small business
owners was for freedom.

Trent: Yes.

Janette: For lifestyle, and then you get in the thick of it, and it
consumes you. You can’t go away for the weekend. You can’t go away for a
week because everything would fall apart. Now, having systems in place, we
know everything is still running even though we’re not there, and we’re
still nurturing our leads even though we’re not there on the phone with
them and having to remember all of these things. Sleeping better at night
and having more fun is definitely a big plus.

Trent: Absolutely. Did you guys ever read the book “E Myth” by
George Gerber?

Janette: Yes.

Trent: Is that kind of what got all this started for you?

Janette: Yes, more so for my husband than for me. I went to college,
and I became a teacher, so I was an elementary school teacher, and that was
my mindset. You get up, you work hard, and it was very stressful for me
once we started having a family that I couldn’t handle everything. I
couldn’t be a teacher and a good mom and a good wife. I gave up my career
while we had little ones.

Now being an entrepreneur allows me to still be mom, but also be able to
have my career and support my husband in his small business. My husband was
really good and showing me there’s a different way. He read the “E Myth”
book a long time ago.

Trent: Okay. For those of you who haven’t read it, if you’re an
entrepreneur listening to this, and you’re chopping down trees all day long
every day . . .

Janette: A couple of weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of getting
to meet Michael Gerber at an event. He was the keynote speaker, and I
presented on a panel that day. I got to meet him and sit next to him, and
that was such a treat for me.

Trent: Yes, I’ll bet. I think I called him George, didn’t I? My
apologies.

Janette: I think so. Yes, Michael.

[laughter]

Trent: It’s a long time ago that I read it, but it had a
profound impact on me, as well, when I was running my last technology
company. I was ‘Hammered Home’, systems operation manuals, documented
procedures, and it really does set you free. I’ll just finish on this.

If you’re running a business, and you’re busy doing all this stuff
yourself, and you think I don’t have time to create that, I would encourage
you to go ahead and get his book and read it, and he may change your
opinion.

Janette: It changes everything.

Trent: It does. Okay, we’ll wrap it up here Janette. Thank you
so much for making some time. . .

Janette: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

Trent: . . . to share what’s working for you in your business.
For those of you who are Bright Ideas members who are listening to this,
whether you’re a premium member or not, thank you very much for being a
member. Without you I don’t have a business.

For those of you who are premium members, plenty more master classes are
coming your way so. Thanks very much everybody. We’ll talk to you again
soon.

All right, if you want to get the show notes for today’s episode, all you
need to do is go to brightideas.co/11. The other thing I wanted to mention
to you is if you go to brightideas.co/massivetraffic, you’re going to get
access to my Massive Traffic Toolkit.

What’s that all about? All the smartest traffic generation experts that
I’ve interviewed here on Bright Ideas have contributed to the Massive
Traffic Toolkit. The really great thing about this tool kit is all the
strategies that they have proven to work are easy to replicate, and you
don’t have to be some SEO ninja guru to do it.

To get free access to that, just head over to
brightideas.co/massivetraffic.

I want to finish off and ask you a small favor. If you would go to iTunes
and give the show a five-star rating and leave some feedback, that would be
a really huge favor. It helps get the show out in front of more eyeballs,
and the more people that become aware of it the more people we can help
here at Bright Ideas.

Thanks very much for tuning into this episode. I’m your host, Trent
Dyrsmid, and we’ll see you in the next episode.

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

How to Use Infusionsoft to Create a Laser Targeted Marketing Campaign that Cuts Down Marketing Costs by 90% while Tripling Revenue

An old adage that most entrepreneurs adhere to states that “Marketing always pays.” This is an oversimplification of how things really are. When entrepreneurs don’t know how to market their businesses, products and services efficiently, they tend to waste a lot of time, energy and financial resources that don’t quite increase revenue. Watch the episode to hear Janette talk about how she and her husband Joe cut their marketing budget down by a whopping 90% while tripling their revenue, all with the help of Infusionsoft.

Of course, there are always going to be some pitfalls. Janette and Joe experienced many during their first couple of years in business as they worked for free just to make ends meet. In 2008, they were already using Infusionsoft but they were not using it properly, to say the least. Janette recalls that in the beginning, they were using Infusionsoft as a glorified Rolodex. Janette took it upon herself to discover and take advantages of the many features of the software, and it was only three years later that she became a finalist of the Infusionsoft Ultimate Marketer Award. That’s a pretty impressive achievement.

Learn what Janette’s secret is and how she used the features and the capabilities of Infusionsoft to pull this off.

With the use of the automated systems that they have developed for their marketing processes, Janette and Joe brought their company to new heights. Back in 2008, they really didn’t know if they were going to stay in business long. The price of their old direct marketing strategy was already about $15,000 and growing but their revenue was shrinking. And, Joe’s commission had already been cut in half. This was about the time that they decided

Automated systems helped slash Janette's marketing budget.Image source: 123rf.com

Automated systems helped slash Janette’s marketing budget.
Image source: 123rf.com

that they needed to do things differently. They discovered email marketing and the full potential of Infusionsoft to solve their marketing dilemma.

With the automated system in place, they were able to slash their marketing costs from a staggering $15,000 to a very manageable $1,500. During the process, they not only cut down their marketing spending, they also tripled their revenue.

Janette describes her strategy in detail, and it’s clearly something that can be replicated by others.

Listen to this interview to learn how you too can cut down on marketing time and money.

Janette and Joe’s company, the Gleason Tax Advisory Group, now enjoys very healthy revenues from $200,000 up to the high 6 figure range.  Janette credits their strategically targeted marketing. Listen to the show to discover her formula for an efficient and targeted marketing campaign.

She also reveals the life cycle of a lead within their financial consulting firm. She details how their firm treats their clients to build trust. Trust is the real key to success in this business, and the success of their business is proof that they are well trusted and even beloved by their clientele. Learn the little things that they do to add something special to their marketing campaign.

Listen to the show to discover how Janette and Joe get new clients and how they keep them loyal over time.

Janette details how they created the process that systematized all of their marketing. This system runs in autopilot, nurturing leads and communicating with clients on a consistent basis. This allows their company to stay in touch with leads and opportunities that would otherwise fall

Unique marketing, like coffee and brownies, made Janette and Joe memorable to their customers. Image source: 123rf.com

Unique marketing, like coffee and brownies, made Janette and Joe memorable to their customers. Image source: 123rf.com

through the cracks. If you are having a hard time keeping in touch with your leads, you’ll want to hear all the goods on creating a targeted, personal marketing system with far less time and effort.

Your clientele need to be treated well in order for them to want to continue to give you business. The Gleasons have perfected this with their uniquely effective marketing and referral methods. A box of brownies, a packet of ground coffee and a referral dinner party are all things that the Gleasons have incorporated in their marketing campaign, to excellent effect.

Listen as Janette explains how they managed to incorporate these clever and highly effective marketing strategies to boost their relationships with current clients and generate new clients in the process.

Janette's targeted marketing is key to her success. Image source: 123rf.com

Janette’s targeted marketing is key to her success.
Image source: 123rf.com

Classifying and segmenting your clientele is a crucial step to creating the best targeted marketing that will work wonders for your business. Before you can tag and segment your customers, you first need to solicit information from them. Listen as Janette describes her own method of collecting freely-given information from her clients. She then explains the tagging and segmenting procedures that help create a laser-targeted marketing campaign. In the end, Janette is clear that their products and services that are offered to the right people.

If you want to learn more about target marketing to your current clients, you’ll want to hear Janette’s experiences.

About Janette Gleason

Janette went to Augustana College and majored in Elementary Education and Spanish. She received the Sam’s Club “Teacher of the Year Award” and taught education professionals how to use technology in their classrooms. Janette stepped back from her teaching career to raise her children and to help her husband build his financial planning and tax preparation firm, where she is Janette-Gleason-236x300currently the Director of Marketing.

Janette had the honor of being a finalist in Infusionsoft’s Ultimate Marketer Contest 2011. Janette continues to share her success story by speaking at various events such as Infusionsoft’s Success Course, training events/webinars for service professionals, and national marketing conferences.

Before their new marketing system with Infusionsoft, Janette rarely saw her family because she and her husband Joe were just too busy with work. In her free time, she loves to scrapbook, sew, travel with her Joe, and spend time with their three young children.

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