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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  • Jim

    Thanks for great interview.

    Trent, a quick question for you: what other niches would you recommend to target? I mean small businesses like dentists because I think they are easier to close than B2B. I want to choose a niche where there’s no need to meet face to face etc, so I can put right systems into work and create a lifestyle business.

    Thanks!

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Jim,

      I don’t think the niche you pick will affect whether or not you need to meet face to face. So long as you still to niches that are already spending a lot on marketing (because they can afford to), then I think you’ll be just fine.

      Thanks for asking!
      Trent

  • Jim

    Thanks for your reply. So what small businesses like to spend a lot on online marketing from your experience? I’ve always thought that chiropractors are great to target, but after listening to your interview with Graig Presti I’m not so sure about it anymore.

    One more quick question: do you think these small businesses care where my company located is? I live in Europe and wondered if marketing to businesses in the United States is reasonable (as I wrote previously, I aim to build a location independent business).

    Thanks!

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Jim,

      Good questions! I’ve already written a post on how and why to pick a niche, so rather than cover that again, please check out the post. The very short answer to your question is this: focus on niches that ALREADY spend a lot on marketing. That way, you don’t have to educate them on why they should spend money…you only need to convince them that spending it with you will give them a higher return on their investment.

      As for location; that will be on a case by case basis. Some will care and some won’t. Focus on the latter.

      Thanks for being a reader!

      Trent

  • Nick

    Hey Trent,

    on your question you want to split podcasts please don’t i love the way you set it up now, just 1 hour+ of awesome content in 1 place dont split it in more chunks this way i also know if i read/listen to the right one.

    Please keep it up the way you set it up at the moment.

    P.S. Hey Jim, i also live in europe which country specific are you in?, personally i think if you have your credibility and client base covered you can do it location independant dont market 1 country over if you are still testing your business or MVP.

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Nick,

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

      Trent

  • Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @d3593b53978c2aec7b2a9c30883ecd1e:disqus I am okay with your interviews staying the same instead of split in two or more parts. I just listen to the entire podcast in a stretch!