Streamlining a Marketing Strategy Through Marketing Automation



Marketers are always searching for new ways to achieve better campaign results and deliver better ROI for their efforts. The business evolves on a near daily basis, which can make it difficult for marketing teams to reach these goals. Luckily there is something that marketers can use to help their programs run a little smoother while at the same time collecting valuable customer intelligence.

Marketing automation is strategy and software that allows marketers to find and nurture contacts with personalized content streams. This customized content helps to convert visitors into leads and leads into paying customers.

A company can use marketing automation software for all parts of the marketing funnel, not just at the purchasing stage. Leads should be nurtured at every stage, including post-purchase as customer retention and loyalty is crucial in growing a business.

Without marketing automation the process of following up with individual customers and offering an exceptional experience can seem almost impossible, especially for large businesses with vast customer bases. Research from The Annuitas Group found that there is a 451% growth in qualified leads for companies that take advantage of marketing automation software.

With numbers like those, it can be very tempting to make the switch to automation. Here are a few ways to achieve a successful and efficient strategy through marketing automation.

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The Third Call: The Right Way to Deliver a Strategy Presentation



Having a website that consistently generate leads for you is critical.

So is having a deliberate sales process that ensures you don’t blow it with any of the qualified leads your inbound marketing campaign has generated for you.

As the host of a popular podcast, I have had the opportunity to interview hundreds of other CEOs, and, much to my surprise, not very many of them reported having a really well-defined sales process in place.

Perhaps this was because many of them run smaller (under $10M in rev) companies, or perhaps it’s because they just haven’t thought about it.

In today’s post, I’m going to share with you the third installment in our 3-step sales process: how to deliver a strategy presentation (and avoid writing proposals).

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Pedal to the Metal: 5 Effective Ways to Boost Your Data-Driven Marketing Efforts

data driven marketing strategy

data driven marketing strategy

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Numbers don’t lie.” You could have great engagement with your social networks’ followers, but at the end of the day, small talk doesn’t usually do too much for your ROI.

In order to improve brand awareness, drive clicks, and increase conversions, businesses need to implement several steps into their data-driven marketing strategy, as well as strategically utilize data to maximize their revenue, and ultimately, their profit.

Set The Right Goals for Success

According to the 4th Annual Staples National Small Business survey, more than 80% of the 300 small business owners surveyed claimed that they do not keep a record of their business goals.

Every business owner, regardless of where they are in the business cycle of life, must have goals in place in order to continue moving forward, as well as maintain the success of that business. While goal setting itself can help a business look at the big picture, it’s also important to make sure that you’re setting the right goals to achieve that big-picture success.

You might want to set expectations lower and then over deliver rather than set them too high and underdeliver. Your sales team will be more likely to hit their goal since the pressure is lower. They may even exceed their goals if you incentivize them to do so, via commissions or bonuses.

It will also be a victory for your public relations team because exceeding your targets is good news, and customers love good news and it is a sign that your company is a strong performer.

Every department in your business should take part in determining what these goals are so that there is input from as many angles as possible, so include them in the meetings that involve the data and how you will use it in your marketing campaign(s).

data driven marketing graphs

Cut The Data Fat

data driven marketingInformation bombards us on a daily basis both at work and outside of work—it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, especially at work when one has to be a very competent multitasker. Although you should collect all relevant data to the task at hand, you should really focus on key data that will drive your marketing and sales efforts—the data that will produce actual results.

Some data that will produce results include the number of units sold and revenue. In addition, one should also take the average of those numbers. If you expect to sell 1 million units a year at a revenue of $1 million, for example, it averages to 83,333.33 units a month at $83,333.33, so it also helps with the first step: to set short-term goals, as well as long-term ones.

What numbers you should focus on will depend on the nature of your business—a retailer should especially focus on averages since the numbers are skewed at certain times of the year. Certain holidays throughout different times of the year tend to have different numbers as things are often on sale during special occasions.

Understand Customer Engagement and Behavior

While it can be difficult to make your customers feel a connection between them and your business, it’s important to remember that customers really love it when businesses can relate to them and their needs, situations, and lifestyles. Understanding customers’ purchasing habits will not only endear you to those customers, but attract new ones as well through word of mouth and having a positive experience with your business. That is why you need to understand and engage your customers as much as possible when collecting your data.

Although you may have the numbers, and your business can understand them, not all customers will understand the data in the same way that your business does. Businesses need to share their results clearly, making it easy for customers to understand why your products and services are something they should buy. If you convey these ideas in a clear and concise manner to your customers, they will keep coming back for more.

Use Data Visualization To Facilitate Discovery

For many, a spreadsheet of collected data just looks like numbers, with no clear picture as to what these numbers mean. Most people want to visualize how these numbers work. Creating charts and graphs can help make your collected data easier to understand to those who aren’t crunching the numbers.

If you see that your marketing efforts are leading towards higher sales at a certain time of year and that it is consistent over time, look for a time in the chart or graph where sales are a bit lower and research ways on how to improve sales during those time periods so that you can have a more consistent stream of revenue throughout the year.

Explore the Unknown

Analyzing data is an extremely important aspect of the marketing process. Exploring the unknown is a very daunting task, but when your team comes together to analyze data, it can yield great results for your business and attract more customers to buy your products and services.

Are there other overlooked ways to boost your data-driven marketing? Feel free to leave your thoughts below!

Hilary SmithHilary Smith is an online business writer with experience in media marketing and business communications. In addition to discussing the importance of data analysis in marketing, her writing also also covers social media strategies, entrepreneurship, and business communications technology.



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How (and why) to Define a Targeted Audience for Your Marketing Campaign


targeted audience

The very first step in your content marketing plan should be to pick your target audience. You’d think this would be common sense; however, skipping this step is actually an extremely common mistake.

The reason it’s such a common mistake is that marketers fear that by really focusing their message on just one audience, they will “lose out” on the hundreds/thousands/millions of other potential customers that aren’t a part of that audience.

The truth is that the benefits of targeting one niche actually outweigh the negatives.

In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through the process that you should follow to select a niche, as well as give you some examples of success.

How Knowing Your Target Audience Affects Content Strategy

Why Should You Pick a Target Market?

The reason that picking a target audience is so important comes down to this: the benefits of doing so far outweigh any downside that you can ever think of.


The Hedgehog Strategy

In the book, Good to Great, by Jim Collins, Jim conducted an extensive study on what makes great companies – as opposed to just good ones – and in the book he talks about something he calls the Hedgehog Strategy.

The point of the strategy is this: you need to find a market that you can totally dominate.

Do you think you could be the #1 marketing agency/consultant/SEO firm for everybody in the entire world? Not likely! There is simply too much competition for you to have any hope of achieving that.

Instead, as Jim points out in his book, great companies are extremely selective about who they are targeting, thereby significantly increasing the odds that they can achieve the #1 position in the mind of their audience.

I agree with Jim Collins and I think that a really killer inbound marketing strategy has to start with picking a very specific audience to create content for. If you have a different opinion, please share it down below in the comments.

How to Define a Targeted Audience

Defining your audience is not as hard as you might think. In the next few paragraphs I’m going to walk you through some ideas and strategies that you can use.

First, let’s use Apple as an example, and look at how they are using the Hedgehog strategy.

Do you think that the people who work at Apple are deeply passionate about creating amazing products?


So, with that in mind, do you think it would make sense that a suitable audience for Apple would be a group of people who believe what Apple believes? Again, I think the answer is yes.

For example, I’m a loyal Apple customer. I own an iMac, a Macbook Pro, an Apple TV, an iPhone, and an iPod mini.


Because I believe that ease of use and a killer design is more important than a bunch of technical details that I don’t care about – and I’m willing to pay more for it.

define a target market

Alienware Hardware Display Page, Notably Different Than The Clean Apple Look

If you go to Apple’s website, you will see that all their messaging is for people just like me. The technical details are there, but they aren’t front and center like they would be with a company like Alienware.

Unlike Apple, Alienware makes PCs for gamers, and these folks are deeply concerned with technical specs and performance. While I’m sure Alienware’s customers enjoy a pretty looking computer, I’m equally sure that aesthetics have very little to do with their buying decision. Theirs is all about performance.

Do you think Alienware cares one bit about regular PC users that don’t play video games? Nope.

Do you think Apple cares one bit about highly price conscious buyers? Nope.

Both of these companies are successful because they know exactly who their customer is and they direct their entire marketing effort to reaching more of them.

Now that we covered why having your target market clearly defined, let’s talk about how to learn more about them, as well as to establish two way communication.

Researching and Connecting With Your Target Market

When it comes to researching and connecting with your target audience, there are several strategies that I suggest you use. They include:

  • Talk to them

Conduct research on:

  • Twitter
  • Discussion Forums
  • LinkedIn Groups
  • Surveys
  • Magazines
  • Facebook

For Twitter, forums, and social networks, make sure that when you first start out that you spend the bulk of your time answering questions for other people. When you do this, the other people in the community are going to become interested in who you are, and when they do that, they will naturally think, “Hey, Dave is a cool guy. I wonder what else Dave has done?” Once you have established yourself as a knowledgeable person, the participants in these communities are going to come and check out your site.

So, with that said, lets have a look at some ways to use each resource.

Primary Research: Talk to Your Customers

If your organization already has a large customer base and you are looking to gain insights into how to attract more of your best customers, there is a very specific, unscripted process that will work well.

The goal here is to understand their psychographics (why they buy) more than their demographics (who they are).

This is a process that I first learned when I interviewed Adele Revella of Buyer Persona Institute. Adele has been doing this type of work for over 25 years and really knows her stuff.

During our interview, she gave me a high level overview of the process that she uses.

First, the person asking the questions cannot be involved in the company’s normal sales process. If they are, the customers aren’t likely to be as candid as they might otherwise be, and if that is the case, you aren’t going to gain the insights needed.

Step 1: Make a list of the customers & prospects who evaluated your firm, as well as your competition

You will want to interview people that chose your firm, as well as those that didn’t.

Step 2: Have a member of your team reach out to each one of them to have a conversation

The key, says Adele, is to not tell your customers that you are doing market research. Instead, you simply want to talk to them about the story of their decision to buy.

To do this, start off with the following question: Dave, take me back to the day when you first decided to look for a new [type of product] and tell me what happened?

According to Adele, it is absolutely critical that you start the ‘meat’ of the conversation with this question. You aren’t looking for random facts (like can be collected with a survey). Instead, you are looking for the story of their decision to make a purchase.

As you listen to them, you want to get them to expand on the story by asking all sorts of follow on questions.

For example, you might ask:

  • How did you come up with a list of potential suppliers?
  • Once you have this list, how did you narrow the list down?
  • Were there things on their websites that affected your decision?
  • If so, what types of things?
  • How else did you research and evaluate each company?
  • Did other people’s opinions factor in?
  • Who were these people?
  • What types of questions did you ask them?
  • Who else in your own company did you collaborate with?
  • What kind of input did they have?
  • Why was it helpful?

As you might guess, there are a LOT of questions that you are going to ask and this is only just a sample. They key is to always focus on the story…as well as asking why they made each mini-decision along the way to the major decision.

If you’d like to dive deeper into how to develop your buyer personas, check out Adele’s blog.

Primary Research: Talk to Your Prospects

If you don’t yet have a large customer base, without a doubt, talking to the people who are in your target market will give you the most insight, when compared to the other strategies below.

In my case, I regularly reach out to people with an invitation to talk to be about being a guest on my podcast. If you don’t have a podcast, tell them you want to talk to them about some research you are doing for an article or ebook that you are writing.

By being a reporter, as opposed to a salesperson, you will find that it is much easier to get your calls and emails returned.

When my prospect accepts my invitation to connect, I start off the conversation by asking them about their business and they results they have achieved. I do this because I am genuinely interested in finding out if they would be a good person to have as a guest on the podcast.

As you might expect, the longer we talk, they more rapport that is built, and when that happens, I can now very easily finished up my pre-interview by asking them some of the following questions:

  • Who would you really like to hear interviewed? (tells me who their influencers are)
  • What blog(s) do you regularly read?
  • Who do you follow on Twitter?
  • What social networks do you spend time on?
  • What magazines do you read?
  • What conferences do you attend?

These are just a few of the questions that I suggest you use. I’m sure you can think of many more.

In addition to these questions, you should also invite your contacts to invest 5 minutes to complete a more detailed survey. The goal of the survey should be to gain additional insights into:

  • Budget levels and/or spending patterns
  • Consumption trends
  • Preferred suppliers
  • Problems they are looking to solve
  • Which conferences/blogs/podcasts/magazines they rely on most

To host the survey, I suggest you use Survey Monkey.

The goal of my conversations is to gain an understanding of:

  • What are the top issues/problems they are looking to solve?
  • What language do they use to describe these problems?
  • Who influenced any decisions they made about choosing a solution provider(s)?

What to Do With This Data

Secondary Research

Once you have completed this primary research, I suggest you take some time to visit the websites that were commonly mentioned as being popular with your target market.

When looking at these sites, you are looking for data on:

  • What are the top posts?
  • What kinds of language is used?
  • What kinds of offers are made?
  • Who is commenting on their content?

Find the Most Popular Posts

To find the top posts, just look for the ones that are shared the most on social media. Posts with a lot of comments are also a strong indication of what is popular.

To help you analyze a site’s posts, I suggest you use Quicksprout’s free tool because it will save you heaps of time.

When you run the report, make sure to click the ‘social media analysis’ tab so you can see which pages were the most popular.



When I first learned of Twitter, I thought it was a huge waste of time. Now that I’m starting to figure out how to use it, I have actually become a pretty big fan.

When it comes to finding your target audience, as well as connecting with them, Twitter is pretty amazing.

define a target market

The Top Twitter Page For PC Gamers

For example, let’s suppose that you wanted to find and connect with hardcore gamers. How could you use Twitter to do that?

Well, you could first begin by looking for “best gaming PC” on Google. When I performed that search, that is how I found out about Alienware.

Next, I pulled up Alienware’s profile on Twitter and noticed that they had 62,672 followers while following only 130 people.

This tells me that Alienware is an influential brand in this space, and, because they don’t follow very many others, I also know that their 62,000 followers are legit. (whenever you see a Twitter profile that has a lot of followers, it can often be the result of their following a lot of others, just to get them to follow back)

The next thing I will want to know about Alienware is how much social authority they have.

Social Authority is ultimately a measure of influential activity. As such, it highlights content that is successful on Twitter. When you find users with high Social Authority, you’re finding great marketing strategies to analyze and mimic. And we think that this will help you be more successful with Twitter. – @peterbray

To discover how much social authority someone has, I’ve been using SEOmoz’s tool, FollowerWonk. This is a powerful tool that makes discovering influential Twitter accounts extremely easy.

As you can see below, Alienware is the most influential Twitter account for the phrase “pc gaming”. When I sorted by the Social Authority column, Alienware’s score of 61 put them on top.

Social Authority, in its simplest definition, is based upon re-tweets. If your tweets get lots of retweets, you have a high social authority. If you want more details on the science behind this, just read the entire post.


Followerwonk for PC gaming tweets

So now that we know Alienware has a high social authority and plenty of followers, the next move is to start connecting with the people that follow Alienware so that you can learn more about them.

To do that, I used FollowerWonk to find people that are interested in Alienware and then I sorted them by social authority. As you can see below, there are two users who actually have more social authority than Alienware. These are definitely people that you want to connect with because they can help you to really understand your audience (by speaking with them), as well as to help you to connect with your audience (by retweeting your tweets).

As you can see below, when I mouse over Anthony Wheeler, his total engagement is 56%. This is a good person to know if you want to learn more about hard core PC gamers, as well as to have the potential to get your content in front of many of them.

Followerwonk Alienware example

Another Example of Followerwonk Capabilities

Even if you don’t have FollowerWonk, Twitter is a total goldmine because it gives you the ability to search the Twitter stream. You can search by topic, by hash tag (#PCGamer) or by user. As soon as you do, you are going to find endless ways to better understand what your target audience is interested in.

Discussion Forums

For virtually every topic you can think of, there is at least one discussion forum. Finding them is easy. Just go to Google and do a search.

define a target market

Discussion Forums Give You An Idea of Customer Engagement

When you participate in a discussion forum, you are going to see first hand what your target audience is interested in, what keeps them awake at night, and what they believe.

LinkedIn Groups

If your company sells to other businesses, I would strongly encourage that you check out LinkedIn Groups as they are very popular among the B2B crowd.

As you can see below, for the phrase, “marketing automation” there are 209 groups; the first of which is called Marketing Automation Experts. This group has 4,218 members, 142 discussions this month, and is considered to be very active.

Do you think that if you were to join this group that you could learn more about people who are interested in this topic? Do you think you could connect with a few of them? Do you think you could position yourself as an expert (assuming you are) within this community? Do you think that if you did, some of them would want to know more about you?

define a target market


Each time I’ve started a new blog, I’m quick to incorporate surveys into my auto-responder sequence. I do this because I want to quickly find out who is reading my blog and what they are interested in. The more I learn about my audience, the better chance I will have of creating content that they will enthusiastically share with their respective followers.

For example, because I ask every new subscriber to complete a welcome survey, I have know that 15.9% of my audience are marketing agency owners, 41% are small business owners and 34% are solo-preneurs.

define a target market

Surveys Give You An Analysis of Your Customers, It Might Be Different Than You Imagined

I also know that lead generation is the #1 challenge faced by my audience, hence why I do so many interviews to address that topic.


Once you have access to this type of information about your audience, you are now in a position to either create more content for the audience you have, so you can expand that audience, or, if the majority of your readers aren’t the exact audience you intended to have, you can now publish more content that will be of interest to your intended audience, as well as to share that content on the social networks where your audience hangs out (which we discovered by using Twitter to ask them directly).

Side Note: Check out this post on How To Know What To Write About.


If you don’t yet know that much about the demographics of your targeted audience, and you don’t yet have a following, don’t despair. There is another way to very easily get the demographic profile for virtually any marketing that you could possibly be interested in.

There isn’t a magazine around that isn’t staffed by a crack team of researchers, all of whom have invested countless hours in market research. You can bet they know exactly who their customer is and exactly what that customer wants to buy.

They know this because they need this information to pass along to their prospective advertisers.

Don’t have the funds for a research team that big? No problem. Just piggy back on the magazines.

For example, when I googled “Field and Stream Media Kit” I was taken right to this page. Once there, all I did was click on the demographics link to learn more about this audience. With just a few clicks of the mouse, I now know the median age, percentage that are college grads, percentage that are employed, percentage that served in the military, etc…

define a target market

Even Magazines Have Online Options


Let’s suppose that I wanted to know how many people in my local area and into hunting and fishing. How could I find that out? With Facebook, this is actually pretty easy to do. It won’t be 100% perfect, but it will be close enough to help you assess if your size of a certain targeted market is large enough.

To do this, just pretend as though you are going to create a paid ad on Facebook. You don’t have to actually publish the ad, but you do want access to the data that going through the ad creation process will give you.

As you can see below, when I did a search for people that lived in San Diego, aged 37 to 57 (I chose this because of the median age from the Field and Stream media kit), who are interested in hunting and fishing, I see that there are 11,120 people. If that number is too small, or too big, you can easily just make changes to your search criteria, and from those changes, you are likely to make some valuable distinctions.

For example, if I change the gender from men only to men and women, the 11,120 increases to 16,840. So, for this topic, I now know that the ratio of men to women is roughly 3:2. For this particular example, the answer was rather obvious beforehand, but that probably won’t be the case in many other niches you could be looking at.

define a target market

Facebook Analytics Usually Offers Interests and Engagement With Brands

I’m sure there are more tools than this, and if you have some good ones to suggest, please be sure and share your thoughts down in the comments below.

Common Mistakes

For companies with an established customer base, the most common mistake is assuming that you understand the psychographics of your best customers. Having a very strong understanding of your company and it’s products is by no means a guarantee that you really understand why your best customers bought.

If you are a younger company, by far the most common and most expensive mistake is trying to be everything to everyone. If you are going to get traction with your target market, you need that market, at least initially, to be as focused as possible so that the content you produce is highly relevant.

If you try to be everything to everyone, you will end up being nothing to no one.

Another common mistake is not taking the time to listen to your audience to really find out what they want (not the same as ‘why’ they buy). Surveys are a terrific way to do this, and if you do, be sure to ask questions that are both multiple choice as well as open-ended, because, while harder to analyze in aggregate, it’s those open-ended questions that can provide you with some really valuable insights.

No point in creating content that doesn’t draw your target audience’s attention. –Natalie Sisson

It’s also worth mentioning that one of the goals of your initial marketing campaign to your newly defined audience should be to further test and validate your chosen niche.

Let’s Recap

A marketing plan that doesn’t begin with a thorough understanding of the needs, wants, and desires of a very specifically designed target market isn’t really a marketing plan at all. Instead, it’s more of a hope and a prayer, and when it comes to business, hope is not a strategy.

Getting clear on who your target audience is has never been easier. Start by investing time in one-to-one conversations. After you have done that, use Twitter, discussion forums, LinkedIn Groups, Surveys, Magazine media kits, and Facebook to gain additional insights.

Not making use of these free resources will significantly reduce the effectiveness of anything that you try, and, even worse, could spell the end of your company before you ever have a chance to really get going.

Put the time into identifying your targeted audience and you will have taken a step that so many small business owners don’t put nearly enough focus on, and you will be in far better shape as a result.

Hey, thanks for the info. Now what?

If you need any help with content creation, we have tons of free resources to get you over the hump. Please subscribe to this blog to ensure that you never miss an article.

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Why Content Marketing is Key in 2014

why content marketing is key in 2014

content marketing


People attempt to predict it every day.

From football bets to market shares, we like to think that we can know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t claim to be able to see the future, but I have been in the business for awhile, and I have some ideas on how the landscape is changing for Content Marketing.

I think anyone who is in the business of selling (which should be everyone) should have some idea of how content strategy can help grow their business.

Before I make my predictions, I want to touch on a few key points of conversation. For those of you unfamiliar with content marketing, I feel it is important to explain what is changing, and why. This will give context to my projections.

  • Why Traditional Marketing is Losing Out
  • What Makes People Like Content Marketing
  • Things to Avoid When Creating Content
  • Ways to Make Quality Content
  • Future Predictions
  • What That Means For Your Company’s Future

Why People Are Leaving Traditional Marketing Behind

Imagine the stereotypical salesman type. Smart clothes, overly excited smile, a firm handshake and an unrelenting devotion to his product. Sound familiar?

Fact: He Doesn't Own That Same Car

Fun Fact: He Doesn’t Own That Same Car

It’s a persisting image, and buyers are quick to point these people out when they see them. The fact of the matter is, people hate feeling sold to, and traditional marketing often has this feel to it.

While traditional marketing is still a powerful player in the advertising world, the general public is getting better at identifying these prompts and blocking them out.

Not only that, there are companies literally selling tools to block your messages – for example, through DVR, Ad Block, or caller ID. 

So how does this all come back to “content marketing”? Content marketing has become mandatory because consumers have shifted the buying process.

In a previous article on how to start a content marketing strategy, I explain how nearly 60% of the buying process is done before the customer even contacts a vendor. Even more telling, 64% of customers research a company and their product online before they make a first purchase, meaning your initial contact with a customer probably happened before you knew they even existed.

All in all, there is a shift in the possession of knowledge. There is less and less a need for a well informed sales staff, and more need for a way for self-informed customers to find your product.

So what if the information these customers want isn’t on your site? These people are looking for information from various sources to solve a problem, and if you don’t provide them with useful information they will look elsewhere.

If you don’t answer their questions someone else will. It’s that simple.

This is one reason that in an study from Allurent, they found a lack of information was the reason that 67% of customers did not buy.

This is why providing helpful information for your customers (content marketing) is one of the most important pieces of your inbound marketing strategy.

So Why Are People Drawn To Content Marketing?

B2B Content Marketing Spending

Provided by Refined Practice

Since customers are educating themselves on products and services, it’s critical to help them find the answers they are looking for.

Being helpful is the foundation of a proper content strategy. In the words of Jay Baer, author and content strategist, you should “help not hype”.

The idea is pretty simple.

Think about the last time you needed something and researched it online. What did you do?

You checked searched on Google for ratings, you looked at customer reviews (Amazon), you searched for competitors.

You used that content to make a decision and the site with the best content, the one that answered your questions best, probably won your vote. It’s the same when customers come looking for your product.

This is just how people buy today.

In the old days, advertisers tried to interrupt people from what they were interested in. Today, marketers need to become what people are interested in, and providing genuinely helpful information (content) is the way to do this.

The Problems Companies Have With Creating Content

First and foremost, quantity does not equal quality.

It’s one thing to put out posts and share to social media, it’s another entirely to start seeing a positive ROI from that content creation.

The beauty of a quality content marketing campaign is it can generate revenue for your company. I have proof of that, but it took many months and strategy adjustments in order for me to show a return.

It’s easy to see why some companies can get discouraged.

Neil Patel has some great examples of ways companies have been creating bad content. He brings up some great points, and I’ll summarize a few below.

1. Writing in a Vacuum.

Neil calls out companies who rely solely on the marketing department for content creation. His point is companies expect the marketers to do all the writing and content creation, and then when they need to create things for topics they don’t understand, are left out to dry.

So with that in mind:

What good is the content you create without the ability to satisfy readers? What good is it if it doesn’t answer their questions fully?  Yes, quality content takes time and costs money, but if you’re providing low-quality content… well, what’s the point?

2. Winning the Audience Over

Russel Crowe Knows the Art of Crowd Pleasing

Russell Crowe Knows the Art of Crowd Pleasing

At the end of the day you need subscribers, conversions, whatever you created your blog for. In short:

  • Have A Goal
  • Make A Strategy
  • Stay Focused

You are putting time and energy (and probably money) into this program and expect it to provide results.

It will undoubtedly take time to see those results, so in the meantime you need to stay focused on your goal and use your content creation strategically to support you in that goal.

So what can you do to win over the audience?

Be helpful. Be authentic. Include comment sections and reply consistently to feedback. Create contests and give away free material to loyal subscribers. Ask your leads or customers about experiences they have had and to share them with you.

Coke does a great job of this without really pushing their product.

Look at the way  customer happiness is alluded to throughout the page. Notice the prompts and hashtag suggestions, none of which explicitly refer to Coca-Cola.

Coke has consumers generating content for them – and Coke gains brand awareness and trust in the process. You don’t have to do what Coke has done, but you do want to consider how your marketing efforts can be more customer-focused.

3. Lack of (Correct) Sharing

It should be clear to you that content promotion is every bit as important as content creation, if not more so. What you want to consider is whether you’re using the right social media.

What is the “right” social media exactly? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I know what has provided the biggest return for Bright Ideas so far, but that is constantly evolving.

I do know that promotion and content syndication on StumbleUpon has had almost no impact on my subscriber list, but Peep Laja had nearly 10,000 referral traffic from the site. So where does that leave us?

The right plan depends on your company. Again, Neil Patel has another great resource on social media sites for blogging.

As you get started, know that almost all sites benefit from using the following:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • LinkedIn

Otherwise, test and see what works and what doesn’t. It’s always a changing environment. Share what experiences have worked for you in the comments section below. I love to hear other people’s experience what’s working or not. Which brings me to my last point:

4. Not Measuring Your Results

All of these suggestions would be useless if you couldn’t tell whether or not they are working. A proper content strategy adjusts as you go. Find out where people are coming from and how they heard of your site.

For example:

  • Google Analytics provides some basic metrics for your to track where people are coming from and what media they used to find you.
  • Hootsuite is a social sharing tool we use to see what is being shared and where. It’s great way to gain insight on what people are saying about your blog or website after they visit.
  • Marketing Automation is a way for your company to track how your leads are behaving. You can then customize their experience by offering them relevant offers and products and by making points of what they do in your site. Infusionsoft is a powerful tool we use to monitor and automate our inbound marketing. If you need a way to manage your lead generation, please feel free to contact us.

The right analysis can provide ideas on how to grow your traffic and how to allocate your resources more effectively. Just throwing your content up and never stopping to see what sticks is not a sound strategy.

How You Can Create Quality Content

Creating great content starts with deciding who you are creating it for.

Next, you need to learn about their wants, needs, and desires. Once you understand your buyer persona, you are now ready to begin creating content for them.

Once you know what to write about, it’s time to get started.

When creating this content, be sure to reference other thought leaders. Mention them in your post. Link to them. Make them look good. In today’s world, this is one of the best ways to build a professional network – and when you help them, they will return the favor.

Future Projections

Ah, at last…

While I do not have much of a crystal ball,  I do have a couple of educated guesses on the changing landscape. In a nutshell: All signs are pointing up.

b2b content marketing

As you can see, the graph provided by KiSSmetrics shows 76% of Business to Business companies utilize blogging as part of their content marketing strategy and 87% use more than one content marketing technique.

Clearly there is a demand for these mediums and many companies are taking note.

As I mentioned earlier, a big reason for this is a shift in the buying process. People don’t like to be sold – but they do like to be informed.

I don’t see this trend reversing itself anytime soon. In fact, I see it accelerating.

As an example, consider Red Bull. The energy drink company has gone from promoting its product to becoming a full-fledged publisher. That’s crazy. Red Bull has been so good at creating content to drive interest in their brand that they have committed to massive undertakings in content creation.

They are creating amazing thrill-seeker videos and material which sometimes never even mentions the product they sell.

That's 36 Million People Who Could Potentially Know Your Brand

That’s 36 Million People Who Could Potentially Know Your Brand

Just take a look at the page Red Bull created for their space jump event. Red Bull could have plastered their log all over the video. Instead, they only put it in the places you’d expect. Judging from the 36 million views this video got, people didn’t mind the branding one bit.

Needless to say, it’s a promotional gold mine.

Some viral campaigns are informative, some are funny, some are thought provoking, but the point is they all do a great job of increasing awareness and promoting a product it for its benefits (tangible or otherwise).

I’m not suggesting you should buy a lucky rabbit’s foot and plan to make a viral video, I’m just noting the changes and the expectations customers have of companies.

Not everyone has the marketing budget to fund a space jump.

So what does the future look like for regular companies? Not everyone will have a huge viral success, but everyone can create content that the market will WANT to consume.

Here are some additional content marketing predictions from Jayson DeMers at Forbes, Shafqat Islam at Mashable, and Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing Institute:

  • Content Will Be Its Own Department and Have a CO at Most Major Companies- This idea is pretty universal throughout all the prediction articles. Content is becoming such an integral part of inbound marketing campaigns that most companies – especially medium to large-sized – will employ full-time staff to keep up with demand. This should promote better content and push competitors in all industries to do the same.
  • Marketing ROI Will Be More Monitored Than Ever Before- With the more resources spent on content creation, companies will shift from having a “just get it done” attitude towards Social Media and Content Marketing, to a more conversion rate measured system. This shift will likely see the rise of more and more SaaS start-ups designed to monitor content marketing effectiveness.
  • Better Content Management Systems Will Arise- With the likely creation of content marketing effectiveness software, we will probably see a better system for the management of content creation (interestingly enough, my own SaaS falls into this category). Expect to see platforms which allow users to limit log-ins, monitor multiple forms of content simultaneously, and have a much cleaner way of distributing their information.
  • Mobile Content Strategies Will Determine Successful Campaigns- In May 2013, 56% of adults reported owning a smartphone. That number is only increasing. If companies plan on staying relevant to their consumer base, they will provide content which is mobile compatible at nearly all levels.
  • Google+ Will Grow With The Increase in B2B Companies Using It- Google has not quite seen the adoption rates people expected with the introduction of their new social media platform, but with the amount of businesses using the service and its importance to Google Site Rankings and Authorship, people expect to see growth in this new media.
  • RedBull Will Create A Netflix Original Series- Ok, maybe not. But it sounds good, doesn’t it?

By the way, Joe Pulizzi provided great insights in his Bright Ideas interview as well.

Lessons Learned

If you’ve come this far, you should walk away from this with a clear understanding of why Content Marketing is important and how it can help your company.

This is what you should take away from this:

  • Traditional Marketing is Intrusive, so Customers are Blocking it Out
  • People Like Content Marketing Because it Gives Them a Choice
  • Companies Write Bad Content Often – Don’t Be One Of Them
  • Writing Good Content Means Research
  • The Future Is Bright for Content Marketing

Be proactive, not reactive. Learn more from people who do content marketing well. I never stop looking for ideas and Influencers who can shift my perception.

Additional Resources

Don’t Be Shy

I want to hear about YOUR experiences. This is the whole reason I write this blog, to share with you and find out how you use or don’t use my advice. I’m a sucker for personal success stories. Nothing confirms my content is worth a damn quite like people telling me how it affected them.

From my own experience, and from talking with others who do a great job of it, I have collected tons of proven content marketing strategies. If you’re looking for a detailed analysis on how to nail down your content marketing in the year ahead, you’ll want to grab a copy of this handbook.

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How To Use Reddit To Grow Your Business: A Digital Marketing Strategy to Make This Popular Site Work for You

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Amber Schultz started posting content to Reddit and saw an increase of nearly 1,500 new visitors to her blog in 10 hours. Chris Morrison added a media analysis of Game of Thrones to the site and saw that 62% of his new traffic was from Reddit alone. This is a powerful online community and could drastically change the number of new people who visit your website.

Here are my ideas on how using a social media site like Reddit can help facilitate growth in your business.

“A social media site?” you ask. “I already use social media sites for my business” you say. “How is this any different?” you might wonder. Don’t worry, I’ll get to that.

I suppose the best way to begin is to explain what Reddit actually is.

Reddit For The Uninitiated

If you have a few minutes, check out this funny and informative video explaining what Reddit is.

The site itself is actually a conglomerate of many sites and ideas called “subreddits”. Essentially, a person gets interested in a particular topic and wants to find discussions on it, so they browse the site. Want to discuss the absence of Oscars on Leonardo DiCaprio’s nightstand? Head on over to “/r/movies” and throw in a post. Need to keep up-to-date on world events? Click “/r/worldnews” and learn about everything from the rising unemployment numbers in Spain to relief-funding efforts for typhoon affected countries.

I think you are starting to get the idea. You can find just about anything on Reddit… including a subreddit devoted entirely to pictures of Joesph-Gordon Levitt’s head on giraffes.

And you thought I was joking

and you thought I was joking

Here are some numbers on Reddit traffic:

*12,000 subreddits with at least 100 followers
*15M unique pageviews per month
*8,000 page subscriptions per day

This is a huge number of people with a wide array of ideas and needs, from all over the world.

So What’s So Good About It?

Perhaps the most important feature is the selectivity of the impressions you gain.

This site automatically segments your market and connects you with like-minded individuals. This isn’t the shock-and-awe blitzkrieg that you might see from billboard or TV ads, looking to get the attention of any onlooker. This is a targeted social media presence, a completely different offering than Facebook or Twitter.

This site is also insanely interactive. Users are always submitting ideas and engaging in detailed discussions about their topics of choice. This allows you to discuss ideas and strategies, get a general public opinion on your idea, and see other peoples efforts and what it took to get to where they are.

Click to Tweet:   How To Use Reddit To Grow Your Business

What You Should Check Out

Now to get started.

Sign-up is free, solicits no emails or spam, and is completely anonymous (if you choose to be). Just register and begin submitting links or reading material by other users.

But what should you check out?

There are already a great number subreddits to choose from. Try checking out /r/business to get macro-level analysis on current market trends and landscapes.

Head on over to /r/entrepreneur to see what over 66,000 new business owners are already excited about.

Want to get a more specific experience? See what other options the site offers. Starting a new brewery and need ideas on how to sell to taps in your market? Subscribe to /r/craftbeer and speak with other enthusiasts. Whatever you choose, you make your own experience.

Here are suggestions on subreddits to get familiar with:

  • /r/business – An overall community perspective on the business landscape
  • /r/entrepreneur – A community of self-starters discussing ideas on their projectsreddit
  • /r/startups – Primarily focused on start-up companies and is full of suggestions and questions
  • /r/smallbusiness – Small business owners and enthusiasts
  • /r/growmybusiness – Small business focused, tools for developing leads

And a list of popular subreddits you can utilize (and are fun to read):

  • /r/todayilearned – Fact sharing subreddit, post trends or analyses here to generate buzz on your research
  • /r/iama – (Ask Me Anything) this is a great subreddit for information as well as a chance to talk with the community about what you are doing in your business.
  • /r/askreddit – Post a question and see how the community feels about it

The former list are not necessarily business focused, but you can utilize their hive-mind thinking to gather feedback and suggestions (after a few visits, you’ll know why I chose to use the term “hive-mind”).

Kick Starter Campaigns

Perhaps the most significant tangible  effect a crowd sourcing site like Reddit offers is the ability to generate funds.

You probably have heard of Kickstarter, an online market for a large number of users to submit funds to the development of a new business. It’s a great tool for up-and-coming businesses to generate missing funds to get their ideas on track.

Reddit can be a supplementary tool for businesses looking to get off the ground. Used with loans, local business grants, and other avenues, this can be a great way to finalize the financials on your project.

Jasco Games, a board game company looking to finalize their project, raised over $400,000 for their Kick Starter through a combination of social media buzz and investor activity. Much of that influence came from the Reddit community themselves.

The benefit of Reddit is that it can generate buzz for your idea and allow users to discuss the merits of your endeavor. It’s one thing to get a dollar from a random stranger, it’s another to get a dollar and a suggestion.

/r/kickstarter allows users to discuss their opinions on the submissions, to support the efforts towards their particular choice, and to offer feedback on the ideas themselves. Many people post their favorite campaigns as a way to generate more interest. If you’re already utilizing crowdfunding, having an extra forum to generate interest is invaluable.

Touch Point

Start-ups aren’t the only ones who can benefit from an enhanced social media presence. Reddit is another opportunity for people to connect with your company.

Social Media has taken on a sort of necessity for businesses. The absence of a social media presence draws a red flag for users. Connectivity is validation.

As I mentioned earlier, people have used Reddit to gather more interest in their blogs or podcasts, and in effect, more interest in their companies. Amy Schultz, blogger for MythBustingMommy, posts to parenting subreddits and has gotten the interest of thousands of new parents. If you have something to offer the community, they will give you their attention.

But let me be clear: Reddit is not a “golden ticket” to lead generation. The forums on Reddit can be difficult to make headway in, not everything is seen by the people who want to see it, and you may not get completely positive feedback. Matthew Schmoldt makes a good point of this in his blog on SocialMedia Today.

The main take-away is that this is another opportunity to create a touch point for potential clients from a site that has a number of people already congregating and interested in specific topics. Your job is to engage that audience.

Tips For Successful Posting

While Reddit can be a powerful tool to generate interest in your brand, it can be just as powerful at blocking you if you are not careful. Spamming is not permitted and redditpoststhe moderators are quite good at identifying spam and restricting your access if you do things they consider spammy. Here are some guidelines to follow to prevent that from happening:

  • Choose a catchy title-  This should go without saying, but you are limited to a small band of text to hook in readers. If you wouldn’t click it, they won’t click it.

  • Post to the proper subreddit- As discussed earlier, finding the right platform is as important as finding the right words. Choose from the suggestions above or go searching and find your own niche.
  • Post material other than your own- Posting from the same URL repeatedly draws red flags. This is an information sharing site, not necessarily an advertising site. Share posts from other blogs you find interesting, facts you would like to share, the works. The wider the variety, the more interest you gain for your future posts.
  • Do a little bit of everything- When you do want to share your stuff to the world, put some work into it. These are people you’re talking to, and if a person would think you are submitting boring information, Reddit will also. Make podcasts, do a funny blog, share infographics on interesting market trends, just make sure it is engaging. Really sell it. Make comments on similar threads, do an Ask Me Anything and answer questions from strangers.
  • LEARN- Don’t go in with a blind eye. See what has been done and what the community responds to. Chances are, you might pick up a thing or two in the process.

Matt Silverman makes some strong points in the success of your points as well, so don’t forget to read through his guidelines.

You can also advertise straight to the site. You can buy spots that are displayed throughout the whole site or direct them to specific subreddits. The sheer volume of  traffic makes Reddit an appealing opportunity if you just need clicks and are willing to pay for them.

Common Mistakes, and Tips to Make Reddit Work Better For You

Reddit is like any other interactive online medium: it requires work.

Just like Twitter feeds and Facebook updates, you have to keep working on engaging customers. If you want your content to be viewed and reviewed, you have to submit it.

Be careful to follow the rules and requirements. Each subreddit has its own set of rules, and all are against spamming. If you fail to adhere the site will bury you, and they are remarkably good at stopping what they deem spam.

Understand what this site offers most is education. Reddit is first and foremost an information sharing site, so use it as such.

The security of anonymity leads to detailed and open interactions. Discussions between users are one true benefit of the site.

The collective experience of like-minded individuals is an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs. Reddit is another way of getting to that information… as long as you can sort through the cat pictures.

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What Results Can I Expect From Content Marketing?



I have yet to meet an entrepreneur whose business doesn’t need any more customers, and with all the talk these days about content marketing, more companies than ever have begun to embrace this highly effective form of marketing as a means of customer attraction.

If you are considering embracing content marketing (plus some marketing automation) in your business and you are wondering what to expect in terms of results, this post is for you.

Managing Expectations

The very first thing you need to understand about content marketing is this: results do not happen over night. Identifying your target audience’s needs, wants, and desires takes time. Creating content takes time. Accumulating social proof and traffic take time.

In other words, success with content marketing takes time.

While overnight success isn’t something you should expect, one thing you can expect – once the momentum begins to kick in – is this: high quality content produces traffic and leads for a very long time!

Should you decide to embrace content marketing, here’s just a few of the things that you should be aware of:

  1. Content marketing requires resources (your time and/or someone else’s)
  2. Content marketing requires expertise and new habits
  3. Meaningful results are unlikely in the first 3-5 months
  4. Sustained activity will produce steady long-term growth

Want proof that it works? Check out these 50 brands using content marketing.

Additional Resources:

Still not convinced? Here are some more statistics:

  • 93% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing
  • 42% of B2B marketers rate their content marketing efforts as effective
  • Only 44% of B2B Marketers have a documented content strategy
  • 73% of B2B Marketers have someone in charge of content marketing strategy

(Content Marketing Institute / Marketing Profs Study)

 We Walk Our Talk

Over the last 18 months, Bright Ideas has become a very successful business as a result of the steady increase in traffic to our website. As you can see below, traffic has, more or less, steadily increased since day one. As you might also expect, the volume of leads, customers, and revenue has also steadily increased.


Did it happen over night? No, it didn’t. Our success was the result of a sustained investment in content creation, and so long as we continue to produce content that is of value to our audience, it’s quite reasonable to expect that our traffic & revenue will also continue to increase.

Do we spend any money on advertising? Not really. We do spend a bit here and there to drive traffic to landing pages we want to test, but that is about it.

Do we engage in direct mail and employ a sales force? No, we don’t.

Instead, we invest heavily in content creation, and so should you.

Click to Tweet: What Results Can I Expect From Content Marketing?

How to Get Started With Content Marketing

Hopefully by now, you have realized that success with content marketing takes time and it requires a plan that is built on proven strategies.

If you are looking for just such a plan, we can help.

Step One: The Marketing Assessment

The first step in working with us is to have us produce a marketing assessment for you. The purpose of the marketing assessment is to do a deep dive on your company’s current marketing assets & strategies so that we can produce a report that you can use as a 12 month game plan to help you achieve your business goals.

Here’s a summary of some of the items that we typically review during an assessment:

  1. Your website
  2. Your social media presence
  3. Your lead capture system(s)
  4. Your CRM system
  5. A basic competitive analysis
  6. Your buyer persona(s)
  7. Your typical customer’s Purchase Lifeycle
  8. Your marketing funnel
  9. Your customer’s change drivers
  10. Your customer’s change inhibitors

Step Two: Develop a Game Plan

A Solid Game Plan Leads to a Solid Execution

A Solid Game Plan Leads to a Solid Execution

Once the assessment is completed, the next step is to create a game plan to get you started with content marketing.

Here’s a summary of some of the recommendations that we typically address in a marketing game plan:

  1. Analysis of top 25 keywords
  2. Marketing tools to use
  3. Website improvements
  4. Social media improvements
  5. A 90 day blogging strategy
  6. A blogging checklist
  7. Marketing funnel development
  8. Video marketing strategy
  9. Premium content development
  10. Premium content checklist

Marketing assessments, once completed, will allow us to give you a solid game plan for your first 12 months. Marketing assessments (including the game plan) start at $1,500 and up, depending on the level of complexity and research required.

Should you wish to retain us for execution of the game plan, we are available to do so for a monthly retainer. However, should you wish to execute the game plan on your own, it will be sufficiently detailed to allow you to do just that.

Get Started Today!

Ready to get started? Schedule a complimentary 15 minute consultation now, or visit our consulting division’s website and download one of our free reports.

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


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  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.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a comment in the comment section below
  • Share this episode on Twitter or Facebook

To help out the show:

  • Leave a review on iTunes. It's your best way to say thank you to our team.
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Digital Marketing Strategy: Andrew Dymski on How He Launched a Successful Marketing Agency Right out of College (part 2)


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
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!


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, 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, 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, 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

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

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

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

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, 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, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 is another one that we’ve used with

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,,

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

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
If you really enjoyed this episode, I want to ask you a little
favor please go to 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 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)


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
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!


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

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

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, 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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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 that you can go and get that has
a similar template in mind to help you build up personas like

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

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

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, 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

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

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 Now, if you really
enjoyed this podcast, I would absolutely love it if you would
take a moment to go to, 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
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do that, because it really does make a huge difference to the

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 or connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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