Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Build a Hybrid Agency of the Future with Paul Roetzer

Are you a solopreneur looking to grow your agency into a more sustainable business but aren’t sure of the best path to take?

Do you run a marketing agency that is billing primarily via the hourly model and would instead like to generate more retainer income?

Would you like to hear from an agency CEO that has built a 7 figure agency that generates 90% of its revenue from retainers?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Paul Roetzer, founder of PR2020, Marketing Agency Insider and The Marketing Score and during Paul and I’s conversation, you are going to hear us talk about:

  • his book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint
  • the major shift that he sees taking place and how to position your firm to be ahead of the competition
  • the activities you should be focused on that generate more leads (and how most people screw this up)
  • how to generate more income from retainers
  • the services pricing model that Paul is using very successfully to differentiate his firm
  • how he’s recently closed a round of investment to fund expansion
  • how to know which activities to focus on to improve your firm’s profitability
  • retention programs and how to structure them
  • the software tools he uses to run his business
  • his new software app, The Marketing Score
  • and so much more.

If you run an agency, this is an interview that you can’t afford to miss.

More About This Episode

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

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

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Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there Bright Idea Hunters, welcome to the Bright Ideas
Podcast. I am your host, Trent Dysrmid, and this is the podcast for
business owners and marketers who want to better learn on-line marketing
and sales automation tactics to massively boost their business. And the way
that we do that, is we bring experts onto the show to share their
experience, their ideas and their thoughts with you, and today we are going
to be doing that again. My guest is Paul, and I should have asked you how
to pronounce your last name, but I’m going to take a stab at it. Roetzer?Paul: No worries, yes, that’s close enough. It’s Roetzer, but Roetzer is
the most common pronunciation I hear, so we’ll go with it.Trent: All right, so Paul is the founder of a firm called PR 20/20 and
he is also the founder of something called The Marketing Agency Blueprint.
So, if you run a marketing agency, this is an interview that you absolutely
want to stay glued to. So Paul, thank you very much for coming on the show
with me. It’s a pleasure, I’m really looking forward to our conversation.Paul: I appreciate you having me, I’m looking forward to it as well.Trent: So for the folks in the audience who don’t necessarily know who
you are just yet, maybe you could just take a few minutes and talk a little
bit about who you are and your agency, and then we are going to dive really
kind of deeply into this Blueprint thing that I referred to earlier.

Paul: Sure. I started PR 20/20 in 2005. It was started as a PR marketing
agency, but I came from a traditional PR agency background. So what had
happened, in my five plus, almost six years at that agency, I started to
really critically assess the traditional agency model, and I asked a lot of
‘why’ questions and there weren’t always very good answers. So, why do we
use Bill Blowers? Why do we offer these services and not those? Why don’t
we track what we are doing in different ways? There was never really good
responses, and in essence, what was happening is our agency at that time
was being run like many traditional agencies, on models that had been
around for decades in some cases.

So, in 2004, I started just really questioning it, and I had this
idea, I actually typed a paper called PR 20/20, and it was going to be a
new vision for the PR industry, kind of a new direction to go for agencies.
I typed up what some people called a Jerry McGuire moment, that little one
page manifesto of things have to change. I didn’t have answers yet, but I
just felt things needed to change. And about a year and a half later, I
basically just spent nights and weekends playing around with it, and at
some point in October, 2004, we started a business for my wife as a fine
artist, and I realized that even though I was in the industry, I had no
idea how to get a web site made for her, how to get a brochure made for
her, affordably. She couldn’t afford our agency that I was at, and there
really weren’t services designed to help people like her. Then, my parents
own cookie franchises, Cookies by Design franchises. And same thing, I was
thinking, ‘Man, I’ve been in this industry for four or five years, and I
can’t help my parents’.

So, I tried to start building an agency model that could be more
efficient and affordable for the mass market of small business and that led
me to move towards a model of standardized services and set pricing, very
much a la carte, kind of a retail mix, where you could almost like buy it
off the shelf. You could see exactly what each thing cost, and that’s the
model I designed and in July 2005, I finished a business plan for it and
presented it to my boss at the time and he was interested in it, but our
timing and our goals were just different. So, that fall in November of ’05,
I got $25,000 in debt financing and I left, and I started the agency. I
decided on a Wednesday that I was leaving, and that Sunday I got the
$25,000, put it in the bank, and the next Wednesday I handed in my
resignation and walked.

So that was the start of PR 20/20. I had the idea, I had a general
service guide in place that had 105 services in 19 categories, but I didn’t
have a website, I didn’t have anything. So, we started it from there and
then just kind of started building. So we’ve always done things
differently, I guess, and looked at things more as what’s possible versus
what’s been done and never really got too caught up in what everyone else
did, and tried to kind of find our own way. It was more pulling from best
practices of other industries versus. the marketing industry, which as a
whole had not been very innovative up to that point.

Trent: I love it. Bravo man! That’s not entirely dissimilar to my
story either, which probably my audience has heard many times, so I won’t
go into it again.

Paul: Yes, that’s cool.

Trent: Before we get into the Marketing Agency Blueprint, I want to
ask you about that first month. You’ve got $25,000 in debt financing and
then Monday comes. What did you do on Monday? How did you get your first

Paul: It was the greatest feeling in life, was to walk away and have that
freedom. So, I’ve never looked back. To me, as soon as I started it, it was
just full steam ahead. I was living and breathing it. Staying up late,
waking up early, you’re just driven by everything you are doing. So for me,
I couldn’t work out of home. My wife was an artist and stayed at home, well
she was working as a manager at a pottery studio at that time, but she was
home quite a bit, and I couldn’t work in a home office. So, I spent a lot
of time at Panera. Free wi-fi, free coffee refills, it was like all I
needed in those days. So, I just went to Panera, and I just sat there and
the first two months was really finding a web partner to build the site and
finishing the service and pricing guide that was going to be the foundation
of the brand. That’s really what I did. The $25,000 was meant to give me
the flexibility to go probably six months without having income, so I could
still pay my healthcare benefits and pay myself to cover my bills, but I
was 27, my wife and I didn’t have many expenses. We didn’t have kids, so I
had a lot of freedom in terms of I didn’t need much money to get by.

The first client ended up being a barter deal. It was with a local
organization, Northern Isle PJ was actually the first client. We bartered
golf outings for services to get started, and then a couple of my past
clients, that I was not targeting. I didn’t have a non-compete, but I
didn’t want to take any clients with me, just because I felt it was better
to do it that way. A couple of people came calling by January, like two
months in, and what actually happened was word got out that I had started
it and that it was a very different alternative. So people that had
traditional agencies actually started calling me and saying, ‘Can you tell
me about how your model works? I think we’d maybe like to get rid of our
traditional agency and work with you.’ So, people just found us through
kind of my existing network and it ended up evolving pretty quickly away
from the small business model, because larger enterprises were the ones
that came calling.

Trent: Did the pricing model that you have, which I love by the way,
and that was one of the things that I did with my tech firm, I killed the
hourly thing and put it all a la carte and put the pricing on the website,
and I think it was a huge differentiator. Did you do that right from the
beginning, or was that something that came later?

Paul: Yeah, right from the beginning. It was actually more transparent than
it is today. Because today, so much of what we do is bundled into monthly
service packages, and at that time there was a lot of a la carte, a lot
more project work being done. Now we don’t do as much project based work.
But, the original one was literally a service and pricing, kind of like a
menu, and you could go through and look at brand marketing, public
relations, mail market, whatever it was, and you could click through and
look at exact services, and then there were three tiers of pricing for
every service. In total, there was like 105 services, so what, 315
different services and pricing. It was absurd. I spent like 600 hours
building that spread sheet and then turning it into something on-line. It
was called ‘the 20/20 standard’ was the original service guide. Today,
there are still pieces, like remnants of that within the site, but for the
most part we have moved more towards kind of a software as a service type
of model. Like what you would see where there are there are three pricing
levels, and you get different features based on that.

Trent: So, for the folks who are listening to this, if you are already
chomping at the bit to go look at this, its, right?

Paul: Yeah. And that pricing model is actually about to be completely
revolutionized, that’s probably a heavy word, it’s going to be dramatically
changed in the near future to completely eliminate word count and hours,
which I’ve always wanted to get rid of but I hadn’t figured out way yet,
and I think we’ve finally figured out a way.

Trent: I want to talk a bit about that, because I think this is an
important point. Because I know that when I was in the tech space, everyone
was really, really concerned about billable hours and they were very
frightened of going to a fixed fee retainer per month, because they were
worried, ‘Well what happens if I’m only charging them $2,000 a month and
then we use more than say, for easy math, 20 hours, then I’m not getting as
much.’ Do you look at your portfolio of clients that are paying you a
retainer fee kind of like a portfolio of stocks, in that some of them are
very profitable in a given month because you didn’t end up having to do
much, and then others, maybe not quite as profitable because in that
particular month you end up having to do more, but on balance, it ends up
being a very attractive yield, for lack of a better term, on your
portfolio. That’s the way I looked at it and I’m just curious if you see it
any different way than that.

Paul: Yeah, no, I agree 100%. Even when we were all primarily project
based, we still look at things as loss leaders, so we had projects within
the portfolio that we looked at as, like a strategic marketing plan, let’s
say. We may charge $5,000 but end up spending 125 hours on it, so in a
billable hour model, you are eating a ton of time. In our model, it was a
fixed price. They were paying for an output that they valued at $5,000, but
that plan was designed to get them in the door. So, when we look at our
portfolio today and our client base, you are definitely looking at – we
monitor efficiency rate – so how efficiently we turn one hour of service
into X dollars of revenue, but the client doesn’t pay that hourly fee. We
are just trying to hit that revenue target number, and so you have some
clients that are going to naturally be more efficient, and some that won’t
be as efficient and therefore as profitable. An example would be like a
client that just comes on in a highly technical B2B space. So, let’s say we
are learning about machines or computer automation or whatever it is. It’s
a very technical industry that require talking to engineers and learning
scientific details about what they do, you are going to invest more time up
front learning that account.

Then, the idea becomes the longer you retain it, the more economies
of scale you develop, and in theory, accounts should become more profitable
the longer they stay. Which is why so much of what we do is around
retention, growth of our existing accounts versus spending all of our time
trying to find new accounts. Because the ones that stick around longer
should be more profitable. So, we do look at the portfolio and kind of
grade out our clients based on a number of factors, profitability being one
of them.

Trent: That’s a very similar methodology to what a past guest of mine
by the name of Mike Michalowicz, and I swear I must plug this guy’s book in
every interview I do, so Mike, if you are listening, I hope you are
laughing. But, his book is called The Pumpkin Plan, and if you haven’t read
it, it’s a really, really good read, and it’s really about focusing on the
best and most profitable clients and figuring out how to replicate those
clients, and getting rid of all the other ones that are actually taking
away from your profit margin. All right, so I want to talk about your
Marketing Agency Blueprint. Before I do that, just for folks who don’t know
you, how big is your agency now? How many employes and how much revenue are
you doing?

Paul: We have twelve, and we’ll probably do between $1 million and $2
million this year in revenue.

Trent: You are obviously more familiar with the marketing agency space
than I am, is that average size? Bigger than average? Smaller than average?

Paul: People have differing opinions. It’s probably a small to mid-sized
firm, depending on who you talk to, which publication you look at. I’m a
big one on-, growth for growth’s sake doesn’t interest me, and I think a
lot of people get caught up in that. We’ve spent most of our time trying to
scale growth back. So, we’ve actually purposely stayed to the size we are
vs. doubling growth. There was a five year stretch where we grew like 500
and some percent, it was like a four or five year stretch, and we were
literally growing at 100% rate and it wasn’t manageable, because we didn’t
have the infrastructure. And that’s so much what The Marketing Industry
Blueprint book is about.

It’s not necessarily about how do you dramatically accelerate growth
and keep the pedal to the metal, it’s more about building a solid
infrastructure for a company that can sustain growth and become more
profitable than the average firm. So, I’m far more interested in building a
model that has higher profit margins and has greater efficiency, then I am
size of employee count and revenue count. I don’t really set goals on those
two areas, I guess.

Trent: Well, at the end of the day, it’s your private company, you
don’t have anyone to report to, profit is more important than revenue. If
you’re making $10 million in revenue and no profit, you just have stress in
your life and a lot of moving parts to manage, whereas if you could do $1
million in revenue with $500,000 in profit, life would be pretty good.

Paul: That’s okay.

Trent: So, let’s shift and talk, and I want to use your firm as much
as an example as you can, but feel free to use other examples to illustrate
the points that we are going to talk about in The Marketing Agency
Blueprint. So, I think I know why you created it. Well, it doesn’t matter
my opinion. Why did you create it?

Paul: The back story to the book is in 2007, so when we were about two
years old, I came across a company called HubSpot, which makes inbound
marketing software, all inbound marking software, so people, if they aren’t
familiar with HubSpot, they have $100 million in venture capital funding.
It started in 2006 by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, and they’ve grown
to about 400 or 450 employees now, and they just expanded into Europe and
are going to hire another couple hundred this year. So, it’s a very fast
growing software company.

In 2007, we connected with them and we actually signed up for their
software as a customer of theirs. So, we were going to start implementing
their software which enables like blogging and search engine optimization
and content management, and now today e-mail marketing and complete sales
funnel, lead nurturing, loyalty building, and everything you need to do. We
started using it mainly, actually, to train our staff because they had
awesome methodology and great eduction. So, we were using it to adapt our
personnel and teach them how to become evolved professionals, what we term
in the book ‘hybrid professionals’.

Then, in early 2008, we actually started seeing this market
opportunity to bundle our services, because we already had the pricing
model to do it, with their software. So, in the early going of their
growth, when they were just a few hundred customers, there weren’t agencies
they were working with that helped their clients get more value out of the
software. So we were the first to do that. So, they actually started
referring opportunities to us of customers that wanted their software, but
didn’t want to do the work themselves, or couldn’t do the work themselves.
So that’s when our growth really started accelerating, you know the 100%
plus growth per year. Then, about a year and a half later, they actually
put a strategy behind building of our program, and they have since created
a program kind of around that original model we developed with them.
They’ve built it to about 800 or 900 certified firms worldwide, and a large
portion of their revenue and growth now comes from agencies.

So, what happened is, was as we were growing, we had agencies all
around the world copying our model. Literally, scraping content from our
website, leaving links back to our product pages on their sites. It was
absurd. So, here we were, like the first few years of the agency I tried to
stay under the radar and I didn’t really want people knowing what we were
doing and didn’t want people kind of judging or copying, I just wanted to
create it and see where it went. So, we spent a couple of years with people
just copying everything. It was kind of a weird time. HubSpot kept pushing,
like ‘Why don’t you get out front and talk and educate other people’, and I
thought, ‘All I’m going to do is teach competitors how to do what we are
doing. Why would I do that?’

Then fast forward to December, 2010, and I got a message from someone
on Twitter, a direct message, that said she was building her countries
inbound marketing agency because of this, and this was someone in Romania.
So I woke up to that. That was a message on my phone when I rolled out of
bed at like 6:00 AM, and I thought, that’s really interesting. So, on the
ride in that day, I actually decided, screw it. We’re going to share
everything we’ve learned in hopes of advancing the industry and agency
ecosystem, and if we do that enough and create enough value, there will be
benefits for us down the road, but my basic premise was there are tens of
thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people wanting to build
agencies or that have agencies already, maybe solo shops, maybe a few
people, but those people had no aspirations of what we intend to do.

The type of firm we want to build, the scope we want to build it to,
these are people that want to make a living, probably stay one to five
people, maybe ten, and they just want to do good things and help business
grow. So, I felt we had been through enough that we could accelerate their
ability to do that. We could share what we had learned, the pains we had
gone through, the lessons we found out along the way, and hopefully fast
forward their growth or their development as an agency a year or two maybe
in the process. So, that’s what I decided. I got to the office that day, it
was like December 10, 2010. I e-mailed my friend at HubSpot who ran the VAR
program and said, ‘Here’s what I am ready to do, would you guys be behind
this? Will you help us spread this?’ He said, ‘Absolutely’.

So, that was December and then that March of 2011, I was at South by
Southwest and David Meerman Scott, who is a friend of mine, had me come to
the Wiley party with them, and introduced me to his editor that night, and
from there, about a month later, 30 days later, the editor from Wiley and I
created The Marketing Agency Blueprint title and I signed the deal, and
three months later the book was done. I had 90 days to write it, and so I
wrote it and it came out in December, 2011. That was really it. It wasn’t
something I set out to do, I never had set this career goal of I’ve got to
have a book by the age of 34, it just sort of happened. And it’s been
wonderful. It’s gratifying to hear the stories from people who have
realized what we set out to do, which was help them develop their
businesses, and the book was very much about not who we were, but what we
thought was possible for agencies. There are definitely lessons learned,
and we do tell the inside story behind the growth of PR 20/20, but it’s not
a book about PR 20/20.

Trent: So has The Marketing Agency Blueprint now become a revenue
generating entity for you? Or is this…

Paul: Well, we launched to coincide with the
book, because we don’t offer consulting and services to other agencies, so
like mentoring and coaching, we get a lot of requests for that. We don’t
offer that, but we do have webinars, paid webinars, and we’ve done two
series. We did The Blueprint series in February of last year which was like
a $500 per person thing. We have had 80 or 90 agencies take that. Then, in
October of 2012, we did a Client Services series, which we created a
hypothetical B2B company, and then did a seven part webinar series on a
year-in-the-life of that company and ran the whole hypotheticals of how
would you build the campaigns, how would you create the score cards? So,
we’ve had probably 50 or 60 agencies go through that, and that’s like $695
is the rate for that. So, we leverage the book to do on-line education,
which has been a very profitable piece of the business the last year.

Trent: And do those courses still sell kind of on a passive basis?
People are just showing up every now and again and buying them, or does it
require active promotion on your part?

Paul: They are available on demand. They are promoted through the Marketing
Agency Insider site, which we do invest a lot of resources and continue to
build that community. So, people do naturally find it through there. We
passively promote it through other agency properties, and mainly through
like social networks and e-mail marketing with our other properties. When I
say other properties, I mean PR 20/20 and then we just launched a software
called Marketing Score in December of last year, so it’s connected through
that, so it’s passively promoted through those. Then, we are in talks right
now to launch a full blown agency academy.

The Client Services series was a test. It was a test that validated
an idea of how to do on-line learning differently, so now we are in the
process of figuring out how heavily we want to invest in that. Again, going
back to the revenue question, we’ve spent the last 18 months building
foundations to take a leap forward. A leap forward for us, and hopefully a
leap forward for the industry, and some things are publicly known, many
things aren’t, and so rather than me spending my time trying to grow,
incrementally, the service side of our business, I’ve been building things
behind the scenes to take those leaps, I guess.

Trent: Terrific. In one of the promo videos I watched in my research-,
I want to shift gears now and talk about some tactics that the agency
owners, there’s people listening to this who are that one-man solo

Paul: Yes. Lots of them.

Trent: …or maybe they are a three person agency. There are lots and
lots of those people, and they all struggle with ‘How do I get more
customers, how do I get more leads?’ I know HubSpot did a survey, #1 pain
point for agencies was unpredictable revenue, so they are wondering how can
I get more retainer clients, and these are all areas where you have
demonstrated expertise. So, I want to talk about them. You mentioned
something about ten rules in a video that I watched. Can you talk a little
bit about what those ten rules are? Kind of describe what they are as
opposed to going through all ten of them, because people can go and find
those rules and listen to them.

Paul: The premise behind the book was ten rules for building a modern
marketing agency, like a tech-savvy hybrid agency. So, each chapter is one
of the rules. When it comes to what you are talking about, bringing in that
new business, even at the early stages of a single person, because that is
one of the most common questions we get is, how do you get that first
client? How do you get that first retainer account? How do you build that
stability and how do I know when it is time to hire the first employee?
There are far more people out there trying to answer those questions then
there are trying to figure out how to go from 25 to 50 employees. They have
different problems.

Most people are in that smaller size and trying to figure out how to
take those next steps. I think one of the big take aways from the book,
which is kind of universal through all ten rules, is to differentiate by
doing. There is really no way to bring in the new business without proving
you have the ability to do it for yourself first. It’s a backwards way of
thinking, because historically agencies have dealt with themselves last.
The agency web site is never, according to them, up to their brand
standards, or what the quality they do for clients. They don’t do anything
besides send out press releases or file the win awards for their work. It’s
really pretty pathetic how the industry has marketed itself historically.
The change that has happened, and the way inbound marketing works, is level
the playing field. It doesn’t take massive amounts of budget or time to be
exceptional at marketing yourself.

Our feeling has always been, because our growth, we’ve never gone
looking for new business. We don’t do sales. We don’t have any outbound
sales. Our sales people are consultants. Everything we’ve grown through is
organic. People have come to us through referral or through our website.
We’ve grown by publishing e-books, doing webinars, having a blog, building
strong personal brands for our employees who are active on social networks,
being out in the community, being out through organizations. We’ve just
done the stuff we teach our clients how to do.

So if it ever comes to a question of, well can you guys do this, and
especially in those early days when you don’t have the client roster to
refer to, then you can say, ‘Well look at what we’ve done with our agency’.
Our site went from 500 visitors a month to 1,400 to 5,000, and we built our
blog from three subscribers to 300 in the last year. You can prove you have
the ability to do it by doing it for yourself. To me, it’s just hard work
and it’s not a quick fix, and everybody wants a quick fix, but that’s the
answer. You just have to do it. So many people just don’t want to, or just
can’t. They can’t commit the energy needed to make it happen.

Trent: I couldn’t agree more. So many people are looking for that
quick fix. I don’t know if you heard the interview, but I had a fellow on
recently, Marcus Sheridan.

Paul: Marcus is awesome. He’s a friend of mine.

Trent: Yes, he is awesome, I’m sure you know him. The sales lion. His
pool business. There was nothing complicated about what he did. He just
said, ‘I’m getting killed here because of the economy’s down turn, I lead
more leads. So, what’s every question that someone could ever ask before
they would want to buy a pool, and I’m going to create answers to all of
those questions on my blog.’ And he shared with me some of the results that
he got. Phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.

Paul: It’s a brilliantly simple approach that anybody can do. The space has
gotten noisy since he did that, in terms of there are a lot of people
following that approach now, and he’s going all around the world speaking
about the approach, so it’s also a quality play now. So not only do you
have to have the strategy, but you have to actually be committed to doing
it in a very quality way, and that’s what Marcus has always done. Again, he
differentiates by doing. He is out there working his ass off, and he is
still blogging and he’s still out there doing the speaking circuit, and he
just worked harder than everybody else. You’ve got to love it.

Trent: Funny how that works, huh? Okay, so your advice then, to the
one person…I talked to a guy, maybe a month ago now, he was doing about
$150,000 a year in revenue, doing it all himself. Everything. Killing
himself doing it, had no time whatsoever. How does that guy make the
transition from being the one-man show to a real entrepreneur, when he’s
got some staff working for him. Because there are lots of levers he could
pull, right? Like he could pull the hiring lever, he could pull the ‘I want
to get more customers because I think I need more revenue before I hire’
lever, or I could spend all my time blogging and stop going to all
these…what does he do? What advice would you give?

Paul: To me, it’s a unique answer in each situation. And it’s mainly
because, like chapter ten of the book is titled Pursue Purpose. I think
that’s what it is, I have to double check. But, the whole idea is, the
question you need to ask is what is the goal of building this? Like why am
I building a firm? For me early on, I had every intention from day one of
building a firm of lasting significance. I wanted to build something I was
going to spend my career in, and that was going to create opportunities for
other people. I wanted to develop talent, I wanted to hire and retain them,
and I wanted to build something that had an impact.

When you ask these questions, they have to be within the context of
why are you doing it. So, if someone at that one person phase just wants to
make $150,000 a year and not have to report to anybody, your growth path is
going to be very different than if you want to build a 50 or 100 person
firm that lasts for 50 years. So for me, I’ve been doing this seven years
now, every day I make a conscious decision to forego personal wealth in
favor of building the firm. Because personal wealth isn’t what is driving
me right now. I’m certainly building equity in what we are doing, but I
could care less how much I am making right now. I pay my bills and I put
some money away. But my employees are developing and they are building
their wealth, and to me, that’s more important right now.

I think once you answer that question, why am I doing it? Then you
need to figure out, well what steps make the most steps to take then. So,
if you’re okay with making $50,000 a year, whatever you can afford to pay
yourself and you can sacrifice the other money you’d like to be making, you
can use that to hire that first employee who can work in the business and
you can now go to work on the vision and the growth and the business
development and putting infrastructure in place and building career paths
for the employees.

It just depends on what that next step is. For me, I’ve always put
funding in place to enable me to not make rash decisions or irrational
decisions. I think desperation is the worst thing that can happen to a
business owner or a business executive, so I’ve always made every effort to
have a funding runway there so I was never making those desperate
decisions. That has enabled me to hire sometimes at need, sometimes before
need, when the right person is there, you make that hire, because you know
that person is instrumental to get you where you want to go. If you know
where you are trying to get to, then should I hire a sales person? Should I
hire an account executive? Should I hire whomever that next person is? It
becomes easier to make that decision in the context of why you are growing
the company.

Trent: So, let’s say, we’ll give a mock answer, that the person we are
talking about wants to get to, say, the size a firm that you built
currently. They may not have aspirations to go beyond that, but they want
to get to like, you know, ten people, couple million dollars a year in
revenue, they are at one person now. Should they hire someone so they can
get some of that creative off their plate? So they can spend more time
producing blog content to drive more leads, or…what?

Paul: From an agency perspective, that’s probably the most important
question. Because what I have seen historically is a lot of people start
marketing agencies because they are very good marketers. They can excel at
doing the work, that’s naturally what they want to be doing. The reality
is, if you are going to start hiring people and build a business, you have
to be a better business person than you do a marketer. Unless you have a
partner who is going to run the business. The best advice I can give is,
get out of the way as quickly as possible on the service side of your
business, because someone needs to set the vision, grow the company,
recruit and retain the talent, and that someone needs to be the leader of
the company. In most cases, that is going to be the entrepreneur who
started it.

You are doing the company and clients a disservice if you are
spending 140 hours a month of your time doing client work. When that 140
hours could be going towards building the vision and the culture behind the
company. The hard part for people to accept is that there are a lot of
people who can replace you on the service side. It’s a very hard thing to
replace vision of a CEO or a founder, and so you have to understand where
your value lies and be willing to get out of the way on the other stuff.

Trent: In people that you talk to, do you think that’s one of the
biggest struggles they have, making that mental shift that they need to
stop working in the business and spend more of their time working on it?

Paul: Yes. I don’t think it’s always for the same reason, though. I think
there are a lot of people who would gladly get out of the way and start
working on the business itself, but they don’t know how or they don’t have
the money in place to hire that first person. They don’t know who to hire.
It goes back to many of us, many people who start agencies aren’t trained
to be business owners. You don’t go to school for it. So I don’t know that
it’s always that they’re not willing to get out of the way, they don’t know
how, I guess would be it.

Trent: Let’s say that they are thinking, yeah, the money. I don’t have
the money. I can’t afford this. You got a $25,000, I’m assuming it was an
SBA loan, or something like that?

Paul: Friends and family.

Trent: Friends and family, okay.

Paul: That was the first loan. Then there were many other ones.

Trent: Many other ones, I know exactly what that is like. I was
$400,000 in debt at one point. $400,000, and if it all failed, I had no
assets to sell to pay off. I was done. But that’s a whole…

Paul: Good for you, man.

Trent: Yeah.

Paul: It’s the dirty truth behind building a business. People don’t want to
tell you. It wasn’t a long time ago I was close to pushing the button and
liquidating all my retirement assets to fund the growth of the company
myself. I was probably 12 hours away from pushing the button, but you’re
willing to. I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. I didn’t want to do it,
but you do. And that’s if you believe in what you are building, you are
willing to do it.

Trent: And that’s exactly what happened to me. I completely and
totally ran out of money. Here’s a phrase that maybe you will want to use,
when I gave talks and people used to ask me, what do you need to do to be
successful? I used to say, ‘Well, you need to embrace economic pressure,
which is another fancy way of saying bury yourself so far in debt that you
have no option but to continue moving forward.’ It can be pretty scary, and
at the time I did not have a wife or children to look after, so it was only
my rear end that was on the line. If I had the other responsibilities, I
probably would have taken a different approach. Now I’ve side-lined us.
Where was I? Yes, getting the money. Do you think that it’s a legitimate
excuse to stay at one, ‘Oh, I don’t know where to find the money’, or do
you think it’s just an excuse and that people can figure it out if they are
really motivated to.

Paul: That’s a tough one. I don’t want to assume that everyone has access
to capital. I think in today’s market it is easier to access than people
think because there is a lot of money on the sidelines right now. So, if
you think about just the friends and family network, before you even get to
the angel investor network and other options, there are a lot of wealthy
individuals who have significant amounts of money sitting there gaining
less than a percent of interest a year. If you can offer convertible note
options, there are a lot of different financial vehicles you can look at to
get access to money that can give individual investors a far greater return
than what they are getting in the market, or not in the market. I would
say, if you believe in what you are doing and you believe you can create
tremendous value through it, I wouldn’t be shy about talking with people,
because they are looking for opportunities.

Now banks are a different story. Banks serve a very important role in
our economy. Funding small business growth in my opinion is not one of them
at this stage in the economy. You need money to get money is pretty much
what it comes down to. So, there are certainly wonderful programs, probably
through the SBA and I think Goldman-Sachs probably does some. There are
people trying to do programs to fund small business growth, but I would say
you are fooling yourself if you think you can fund your growth strictly
through borrowing from banks. It’s a very tricky thing to go through right

We’ve tried everything. We’ve had equity lines on homes, we’ve taken
out term loans, we’ve borrowed from friends and family, and we recently,
actually private equity funding and raised a significant round of funding
for our growth, but that’s not the way to go for many companies, but for us
it was finally a good time to do it.

Trent: Yeah, it’s not even an option for very many companies, as a
matter of fact.

Paul: No.

Trent: Paul, there is a noise outside my office. Somebody is making
too much noise. Can I ask you hold on one second? I’m going to be right

Paul: Yeah, go for it.

Trent: So, raising private equity is not something that’s an option
for a whole lot of people, especially running a service business, where you
don’t necessarily have intellectual properties, but I do want to find out
how you manage to get some institutional money.

Paul: The general rule, if you look at the simplest way of evaluating a
company and every expert you read has wildly different ways of determining
valuations, but a simple one would be a multiple of revenue. So, let’s just
say that traditionally a marketing agency, a service company, may be able
to get one, up to three times revenue, if it’s a really great company. So,
if you are a $1 million company, you may be able to get $1-3 million in
terms of valuation of your company.

Then, when you start playing into the software world, it expands.
I’ve looked at a number of software service companies, and the publicly
traded companies would be roughly in the 5-6 time multiple of revenue, and
then you have some that are dramatically higher than that. So in essence,
to raise the valuation, you have to have much higher potential, or you have
to have some crazy model that brings in dramatically high net profit
margins. So, if you are making 20%, 25%, 30% margins, then you can probably
raise some pretty decent money, but you probably also don’t need the money
if you are making 20% or 30% net margins.

So for us, the agency evolved. When I wrote the book, a lot of what
we talked about in there was theoretical. It was where we thought the
agency world could go, and what appeared to be possible, and since then,
we’ve kind of brought some of that to life. We’ve moved into the on-line
education world, which obviously has significantly higher profit margins
than services.

Trent: Sorry Paul, the internet slowed down for a minute there. You
said you moved into the on-line something world. We missed that word.

Paul: The on-line education. Like, the marketing agency insider stuff we
were talking about, where you can make money while you are sleeping. People
can buy on demand licenses to stuff that you create once, and then you can
monetize almost infinitely. We first moved in that direction and we added
that layer to the business, which has some pretty sizable potential. Then
in May of last year we started building software for the first time and we
released Marketing Score in December of 2012. It’s a free assessment tool
right now, but there is absolutely a product road-map behind it, that has
significant revenue potential, so when you start looking at, we have the
service business which does well, could be more profitable, but again so
much of this is by design because I’m more focused on building long term
than short term returns.

So, you have a service module, you have an education module, you have
a software model, and then there are a few other revenue streams as well
and now all of a sudden you can build a company that has a far greater
valuation because it has far greater potential for returns, so once we had
that story to tell, we luckily have a network of individuals that have the
ability to make investments, and we had some people that for a couple of
years had expressed interest in investing and I was never comfortable
giving up the equity that would have been necessary because our valuation
would have been too low, and once we had a different story, we had the
ability to reach a different valuation that I was far more comfortable
with. So, we could raise the amount of money we needed without having to
give up a great amount of equity in the company. Again, it’s kind of that
option like you had said, you go $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 in debt, or
at some point, if you can raise the money through investment rather than
through debt, you can balance your books a lot better and life looks a
little rosier.

We took money, I didn’t take anything off the table, and I don’t
think I’ve every publicly shared that we took money, so this is kind of the
first time I’m even talking about it, but we did put all of it into the
business. It’s all going to fuel growth that most of which people aren’t
seeing the fruits of yet. It’s stuff we are working on behind the scenes.

Trent: How much did you raise?

Paul: I won’t get into that.

Trent: Okay.

Paul: It was a significant amount for a company of our size, and it was
from an angel investor, I can say that.

Trent: Last question on this fundraising. The angel investor, did they
bring, I call it smart money. When they bring more than the check, did they
bring contacts, or some other asset, intellectual asset to the table?

Paul: Yes. For me, that was essential. We had a list of like 10-12 people
that we were going to approach, and the first person on the list is the one
who invested.

Trent: Well, that’s nice.

Paul: Yeah, it took an hour. So, it was a good use of an hour. A couple of
hours to build the deck, but an hour to land the investment. I think
anybody who is looking at that, whether it’s business partners or silent
partners through investments, whatever it may be, even an advisory board,
they always have to add something. Money, again I don’t want to sound trite
or trivializing this for people who don’t necessarily know where to go for
money. Raising the money is the easy part. There is money out there if you
know the right people and if you have the right story. You need the right
money from the right person. Otherwise, it’s kind of like growth for
growth’s sake. Just building revenue means nothing if you’re not doing it
for the right reasons and if you don’t have an end goal in mind. I feel
that raising money is very much the same way. It needs to come from the
right people.

Trent: So to put that in perspective for the listeners, Uncle Dave,
who knows nothing about your business, is willing to invest a chunk at a
higher valuation, which would be more favorable for you, and then Super
Smart Phil, who has connections and expertise and other intellectual assets
is also willing to invest the same amount of money, but he’s going to do it
at maybe half the valuation of Uncle Dave, which money are you going to

Paul: If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, in essence, it’s what
entrepreneurs on that show have to balance. It’s, okay, if I’m getting an
offer of $1 million from each of these three people, and they are all
asking for around basically the same percentage of the company, whose money
is worth more to me because they are adding either expertise or retail
distribution, network, whatever it may be. You can’t look at just the
dollars as the way to value an investment.

Trent: Yeah, absolutely not. Because there is so much that a shrewd,
connected investor can bring to the table, because now they are your
partner. They want to do everything in their power to help you succeed,
because it’s a self interest for them. That’s how they are going to get the
biggest bang for their buck.

All right. I got a little down a rabbit hole there. We are going to
go back. We talked a little bit about lead generation. I don’t know if
we’ve covered that in enough detail yet. I want, if we can get some bullet
points on what you think that solo printer, who wants to get to three or
five or ten people, just rattle off the activities. What do you think are
the top five activities that they should be doing on a day-to-day or week-
to-week basis?

Paul: It starts with, figure out the best way to package and present your
expertise. If that can come across, I think the obvious ones and the most
affordable ones are, things like podcasts, blogging, webinars, white
papers, e-books. It almost always comes back to content. What content can
you create that demonstrates a unique expertise and shows your personality?
Because so many people, professionals in the marketing area in particular,
are starting to sound the same, and they are starting to offer very similar

So, you want to be able to establish a connection. There is a great
study that Google did for the zero moment of truth program, and they have a
website for it and everything, and they showed that in 2010, the average
consumer would look at 5.7 and I can never get the decimal point right, say
it’s 5.7 sources of information before making a buying decision. The next
year, 12 months later, it was like 10.8. So, in essence over a 12 month
period, the amount of information that people would look at before making a
buying decision, and this applies in the business world as well, doubled.
In other words, they are consuming far more information.

Well, that information is being found in blog posts, e-books, white
papers, webinars, case studies, and podcasts, so you need to be considering
the fact that your buyers or your prospective buyers, these leads you want
to bring in, are looking for information. Like Marcus Sheridan said in his
talk, ‘What questions are they asking?’ Answer questions. And the more
value you can create, the more questions you can answer through your
content, the greater chance you have of getting them into your marketing
funnel at the lead stage, and from there it is all about nurturing and the
sales process.

Trent: For anyone who is listening, who maybe hasn’t gone down this
content creation road, and you’re thinking, well what would I create? All
you’ve got to do is think about the questions.

Paul: Yup.

Trent: As soon as you have 50 questions that your potential customer
can ask, you have 50 topics that you can write about, that you can
interview other people about, that you can create e-books and webinars
about, you will have more ideas than you have time to create the content, I
promise you that.

Paul: And I know you’ve interviewed Joe Polizzi as well. Joe is with the
Content Marketing Institute, and so if you’re new to the content game and
you kind of want to learn what is going on, go to Content Marketing
Institute’s website, attend Content Marketing World, there are a lot of
professionals who have succeeded at doing this who are very open about
telling you how they have done it. I would say use those resources.

Trent: I don’t think it’s rocket science, it just takes work. That’s

Paul: Yup.

Trent: Okay. Let’s talk about generating retainer revenue. Because if
you are going to build your firm, as I’m sure you are well aware, and I
definitely was, retainers are where it’s at, because it’s less stressful,
the revenue is more predictable, so that’s great. But your company is also
worth a lot more money, so that when you want to raise money or sell it or
take a partner or whatever, you are in a much, much better position of
negotiation because you’ve got that predictable revenue.

How do you think, the one man shop that we keep talking about,
probably doing a lot of web design, maybe some press releases, maybe some
social stuff. What should they be doing in terms of services to generate
recurring revenue, and then how do they get that shift happening in their
head and how do they communicate it to clients, so they can get the client
to say, ‘Yes, I will take a retainer.’

Paul: The main premise behind the book is teaching people how to be a
hybrid agency, because I think that’s really what you have to be to make it
work. For us, the most important metric, and I would argue for any service
firm, as you are saying, is the recurring revenue number. What is the
number we know we are going to hit, every month, month over month, and we
want that number always growing, and we want it to be as large a percentage
of our total revenue as possible, because it’s predictable. So, you have to
know how you are going to get there. Often times, if you are just doing web
work or graphic design work, or just writing content, it’s very hard to
build service packages around siloed projects or siloed services.

So, the premise in the book is you have to look at becoming an
integrated firm. You have to consider the fact that CMOs are looking for
integrated services. There have been studies showing that the importance of
integrated services is dramatically increasing, and yet studies show that
71% of CMOs have no idea where to turn for integrated services from firms.
They don’t know what firm is going to provide those. So, CMOs are trying to
simplify the matrix of agencies they work with. You know, an e-book needs
to have a landing page on a website. Ideally, you want to AB test that
landing page, so you are going to have a graphic design component, you are
going to have a copywriting component, you’re going to have a web
component, just to publish the e-book. Then, you want to spread it through
social media channels, you want to have a e-mail lead nurturing campaign
that is automated for people that download it, you want to automatically
segment the people that download it by company size, by industry, by
whether they are a marketer or agency, whatever it may be. All of these
things go into running a campaign. Then, on the back end you need to
monitor the analytics and look at download rates and look at the click-
through rates on the follow-up e-mail nurturing campaigns. That’s what
marketing is today. You can’t create an e-book and then hand it off to
someone else and hope they build a social strategy, and then hope the ad
team does something with it. It doesn’t work.

So, the first step is really to understand where the marketing
industry is going and has gone, and then figure out how you can actually
take your services, fit them into that model, it may require that you build
some partnerships or some expertise you don’t have, and then from there you
actually need to model your plans and pricing in that style. In our case,
when someone comes to our website, it is pretty obvious that we have
service packages, and those service packages are a monthly, recurring
program. Well, that’s the first step. Because now the expectation when
someone reaches out to us, is that we primarily run ongoing programs,
retainers if you want to call them those. So, it’s in part of structuring
of your business model and a part of positioning, which requires really
thinking critically about your plans and pricing.

Trent: In your service business, what percentage of total revenue
comes from retainer?

Paul: Ours is probably about 90% at this point.

Trent: 90. That’s nice.

Paul: It’s almost exclusively that now.

Trent: For the folks that aren’t there yet, I can promise you this,
and I know that Paul will nod in agreement, when you come in on the first
day of every month and you’re not back at 0, and you’re going, ‘Oh man, how
am I going to crack my nut this month?’ instead, in my case, it was about
$78,500 hit my bank account on the first day of every month. And that was
pretty much my overhead for the month.

Paul: It’s beautiful.

Trent: Yeah. It allows you to sit back and be a bit more strategic.
You talked about creating a runway for yourself so you didn’t have to make
decisions under duress. There is no way I ever could have sold my business
for what I did if I didn’t have that recurring revenue, so I’m a huge
evangelist, and that’s why every opportunity I get, when I have someone
like you, Paul, who has demonstrated that this can be done. That I really
want to jump all over it for a bit. Because it’s the game changer. It is.

Paul: And one of the thing we preach a lot about, and I’ve done a number of
talks on, you can’t get so caught up in getting to that number, so let’s
say your break even is $78,000, for us, for a couple of years, that was our
goal, was to get the recurring revenue to the break even point. Everything
else over that was gravy. But once you get there, things happen, clients
leave for all kinds of reasons that are completely out of your control.
Mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, you name it, we’ve had clients
leave for it. We fired our biggest client last year, and then two days
later a Fortune 500 company closed the division that we were working for
and doing phenomenal things for.

So overnight, our two largest accounts are basically gone. As an
agency, you have to prepare for those contingencies, and that’s why I say
it’s so much more important as an agency to have retention programs in
place, to know that once you get them through the sales funnel and they are
now a customer, the real work begins then. Getting them through that point
takes a science and an art, but keeping them is where the money is really
made and the profits are made.

Trent: Can you talk a bit more about retention programs then?

Paul: There’s obvious things like customer service that come into play.
But, for us, everything comes down to performance. So we’ve again, lost
clients for everything you could possibly imagine, and what my directive
internally has been is that I don’t do the client service work. I spend
probably less than five hours a month on client services. My feeling was,
if I get a call from a client out of the blue, and they say, ‘Hey, we’re
thinking of leaving, what value are you guys bringing right now for the
$10,000 a month we pay you?’ or whatever it is. I could log into their
scorecard, we build custom scorecards for clients, and in three seconds, I
could spit out, well, in the last three months your lead conversion rate if
up 3%, lead volume is up 34% over the previous three month average, your
customer conversion rate is this, and we’ve helped reduce your return rate
by 2%.

Trent: End of phone call.

Paul: Yeah, ‘If you want to leave, I understand. If there is anything else
I can do for you, let me know.’ I will accept that there are ways that you
lose clients that are out of your control, but I want to control as many
variables as possible, and the best one I know how is to actually deliver
valuable performance to them, and to be very transparent in showing them.

Trent: Are you using HubSpot’s tools to produce the numbers that you
just rattled off, or is that something that you have built that plugs into
HubSpot. How does that work?

Paul: We use a blend of HubSpot and Google Analytics for pretty much every
client, and then our custom scorecards are actually built in Google Drive.

Trent: So, using their form builder, something like that?

Paul: We actually just built spreadsheets and then we can run pivot tables
on those if we want. I guess we probably haven’t shared it publicly. We
shared the template as part of the Client Services Series we did, so we
made all our templates for everything we do. We do monthly scorecards and
monthly game plans, and then we actually provide a deck each month that we
build in Keynote that highlights the active campaigns, how those campaigns
are performing, what’s coming up next month, how the analytics from the
previous month have actually affected the strategy moving forward, so we
try to run kind of agile, real-time programs based on performance. And if
something didn’t work, we are the first ones to tell the client, ‘This
didn’t work and here’s why. We even AB tested it and it didn’t work in
either case, so this is what we are going to do next month.’ The more
transparent we are, I think the more credibility and trust you have with a

Trent: Yes, absolutely. So, you say you are building a deck each month
for them to basically convey, ‘Here’s what we’ve done for you lately?’

Paul: Right. Knowing that many of our client contacts forward things on to
the C-Sweep if we are not working with the C-Sweep themselves, like a
marketing manager, marketing director, so we have spreadsheets and we have
beautiful Google Analytics reports and all those things, but most clients
don’t want to spend time on that. So, we try to condense it to like 8-10
slides that they could easily forward on to their bosses. Again, hopefully
everyone understands the value we are bringing and the other stages, the
effort you are putting in, that you know those are designed to contribute
to some measurable outcome.

Trent: How big is your average client?

Paul: Probably like $6,000-7,000 a month right now, I would say.

Trent: Okay, that’s not the answer I was looking for, but that’s a
good one.

Paul: You mean the size?

Trent: Yeah.

Paul: It’s all over the place. Some of our larger accounts are actually
small businesses, so people like doing $10 million or less that are
spending $7,000-8,000 a month probably. Then, you have Fortune 500
companies where we may work with a division of a multibillion dollar
company, but we’re not like agency of record for Fortune 500s with million
dollar budgets. You could average it, but the average would mean nothing.
It’s kind of all across the board. I actually just had this conversation
last week, trying to define the prototype customer, and it’s a hard thing
to come up with.

Trent: They have pre-signed checks they keep in the right hand drawer
of their desk and they hand them to you when you walk in the door.

Paul: Those are good ones.

Trent: All right. We have been an hour. I could go all day. I want to
show you the software interface when we get off-line. So, last three
questions. These ones are quick and easy. What are you most excited about
for 2013?

Paul: Marketing Score. We’re building software, and it’s if anyone is curious, but it’s only the beginning.
There are some really cool things that we are working on that we have
alluded to, like we talked about origins of a marketing intelligence
engine, I wrote a blog post for that, and it’s basically what we think is
possible and we are moving in that direction rather than waiting for the
industry to get there. We’re just kind of going in that direction
ourselves. I’m very excited about the potential of what we can build.

Trent: Nice looking landing page, by the way. Very 2013.

What book are you reading right now, or books, that you are enjoying.

Paul: Well, I’m reading Mastery by Robert Green right now. Robert Green is
actually one of my favorite authors. His writing style takes a little
getting used to because it’s a little long winded at times with his.

Trent: You think?

Paul: Yeah. His examples.

Trent: My God.

Paul: But you can learn to actually read past those, so I actually skip…

Trent: Thank you.

Paul: …the story in each chapter and I get to…

Trent: Thank you. I read his book, Mastery, and I’m going, okay sample
#17 of the same point, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip. It got to the
point where I would just kind of skim to the end of the chapter where he
would give more or less summary.

Paul: Yup. That’s the way I read it. He wrote one with 50 Cent called The
50th Law, and they would start each chapter with a story about 50 Cent’s
life. You can skip it. You don’t need the 50 Cent part. Just skip to what
the application is. Every book he’s done is like that. I’m reading that. I
just finished ‘Automate This’, which is phenomenal. And if you walk about
what I was alluding to earlier, about where we are going as an agency and
where I think the industry is going, that gives a great prelude to it. So,
if you look at what happened on the stock market on Wall Street and what’s
happening in the healthcare world and you sit back and ponder about how
that could affect marketing, that’s kind of the direction we are going.

Trent: Okay. And…my last question, oh yeah, how can people get hold
of you?

Paul: Well, they can visit the website, obviously, The
Marketing Score site is, and they can e-mail me, if they would like.

Trent: Paul, really enjoyed this interview.

Paul: Thanks so much.

Trent: I feel like we have so much in common, so many similar beliefs
about how to run a business. I wish when I was running mine, I would have
known about information marketing and I would have had the epiphany to
think, you know, ‘Hey, maybe there’s a lot of people who would like to know
what I am doing, and I could have created a whole other business.’

Paul: There’s still time.

Trent: Wasn’t even on my radar screen. Well, that’s kind of what
Bright Ideas is all about.

Paul: Yeah, you’re doing it now.

Trent: Yeah, yeah, I pretty much am. All right, my friend, well thank
you so much for making the time to be on the show. You can come back any
time you want. I probably will bring you back in the not too distant
future. Because I’ve got another sort of series of discussions that are not
so much about building a firm, but they’re actually about the creative and
the tactics. So, you’ll probably be on my list of people for that.

Paul: I’ll show you something we are working on then.

Trent: Cool! All right, thanks for being on the show.

Paul: Thank you, Trent.

Trent: If you’d like to get access to the show notes for this episode,
go to and if you run a marketing agency and you’d like
to find out what your peers are up to and what’s working in the industry,
get access to the Bright Ideas 2013 marketing agency industry report by
going to As well, if you are looking for traffic
generation strategies for you or your client’s websites, go to and enter your e-mail address, and when you
do, you will be given free access to the Massive Traffic tool kit, which is
a compilation of all the best traffic generation ideas that have been
shared with me by many of the guests here on Bright Ideas.

That’s it for this episode. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and if you
enjoyed this episode, please do me a favor and head on over to iTunes.
There is a link at the bottom of the post that will take you there, and
leave the show a 5-star rating along with some comments in the form of
feedback. Every time you do, it helps the show get more exposure on iTunes
and therefore we can help get more entrepreneurs exposed to more bright
ideas to help them massively boost their business. Thank you so much for
turning in to this episode. We will see you again in another one soon. Take

Recording: Thanks very much for listening to the Bright Ideas Podcast.
Check us out on the web at

About Paul Roetzer

Paulcrop-smallPaul Roetzer is founder and CEO of PR 20/20. He started the agency in November 2005 after seven years at a traditional PR firm, with a vision to evolve the PR industry. He is the author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint, and is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

Paul also frequently speaks at local and national venues on the topics of inbound marketing, content marketing, public relations, social media and marketing agency management.

Links Mentioned


How to Self Publish, Maximize Sales, and Dramatically Boost Your Social Media Following with Guy Kawasaki

Have you ever thought of writing a book? Doing so can lead to valuable brand awareness and speaking engagements.

Would you like to hear first hand from the author of 12 books, the exact step-by-step process you need to follow to get it right?

Would you like to learn the top guerrilla marketing tactics you should be using to maximize sales for your book?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Guy Kawasaki, the author of 12 books, a technology evangelist, and well known social media personality with over 4,000,000 followers.

During Guy and I’s discussion, you are going to hear us talk about:

  • his book APE and why he wrote it
  • the challenges that non-fiction writers face when it comes to self publishing
  • the top guerrilla marketing strategies that you must use to maximize sales for your book
  • how to use curation to dramatically boost your social media following
  • how curation and SEO fit together
  • how to use Twitter to become known to experts in your niche
  • why Google+ might be a better platform for you than Facebook
  • and so much more…

Check out Guy and I’s interview now. You’ll be glad you did!

More About This Episode

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

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

Watch Now


Download and Listen Later


Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Guy Kawasaki

GuyKawasakiGuy Kawasaki is the co-founder of, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web, and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki is the author of ten books including Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream and The Macintosh Way. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Links Mentioned


Digital Marketing Strategy: The Top 3 Proven Strategies for Growing an Agency with Tony Mikes

Are you part of a small agency team with a burning desire to create a larger agency?

Do you wonder about the best strategy to grow your firm?

Would you like to hear from a veteran who’s owned agencies as well as consulted for over 700 others?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by industry veteran Tony Mikes, founder of Second Wind, a firm dedicated to helping your company be a better agency.

In today’s thoughtful discussion, you are going to hear Tony and I talk about:

  • His 3 Step plan for growth
  • A process for how to make your agency more interesting (so you’ll get more business)
  • The importance of systems and how to know which ones to focus on
  • How to develop a Management by Objective (MBO) plan to guide your agency in the future
  • The biggest challenge faced by small agencies and how to address it
  • The top 2 services that agencies should be offering to their clients on retainer
  • A blogging strategy that will virtually guarantee your prospects see you in a favorable light
  • The top 3 trends Tony sees for agencies in 2013
  • And so much more…

More About This Episode

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

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

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Tony Mikes

tonymikesSecond Wind’s chief guru and managing director Anthony P. Mikes is a former advertising executive who spent twenty-five years managing and owning advertising agencies and graphic design studios. Mr. Mikes came to recognize the value of shared information as it relates to successfully managing an advertising agency. Second Wind (Mr. Mikes’ second life in advertising) was the result.

Eighteen years later, Second Wind continues to help its members succeed and grow by sharing its collective industry wisdom.

Mr. Mikes conducts agency management workshops, serves as a management consultant to individual agencies, and has addressed many advertising associations and trade organizations. He is also a contributing writer to numerous industry trade publications.

Mr. Mikes shares his industry know-how monthly in The Second Wind Newsletter, an overview of the advertising and design industry from the smaller agency principal’s viewpoint. You can read the compiled wisdom of Mr. Mikes in The Small Agency Survival Manual, LifeBlood: A 365-Days-A-Year New Business Plan for Small Agencies and The Account Service Bible.


Digital Marketing Strategy: Mark Cuban Wants You to Call Him

If you have a business problem to solve, wouldn’t you like to talk to another entrepreneur who’s already solved the same problem?

For example, if you’re considering raising capital, wouldn’t it be a huge benefit to talk to other CEOs that have already done it?

What about if you are building a SaaS company. Wouldn’t you like to talk to other SaaS CEOs or CTOs? Of course you would!

In today’s episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by serial entrepreneur Dan Martell, Founder and CEO of, a rapidly growing community of experts who are all willing to take your call to dispense business advice…and yes, you can even call Mark Cuban.

Dan and I had a really interesting conversation and when you listen, you are going to hear us talk about:

  • the two companies he has already built and sold
  • how he got the idea for
  • the first step that he took to discover if there was a market for his idea
  • some of the big mistakes that he made early on
  • how he overcame some of these major challenges
  • advice for other entrepreneurs on dealing with major setbacks
  • how to find and get introductions to the right investors for your company
  • the pros and cons of taking investor money
  • what Dan did when Facebook sent him an email that essentially put his prior company out of business
  • and so much more…

I thoroughly enjoyed my talk with Dan and you will, too!

More About This Episode

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

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

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Dan Martell

dan_martellDan is a Canadian entrepreneur living in San Francisco. He’s the CEO/Founder of Clarity. Previously he co-founded Flowtown (Acquired ’11) and Spheric Technologies (Acquired ’08), and he’s a mentor @ 500Startup & GrowLabs. Dan is an angel investor in 15 other companies. Find his full bio here.




How to Build a Million Dollar Advertising Agency with Brandon Borso

Would you like to be your own boss and work from home?

Would you like to run a million dollar company?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Brandon Borso, founder of Muscle Marketing Co, a billboard advertising company that sells advertising space to public companies.

In Brandon and I’s conversation, you are going to hear us talk about:

  • how his dad tried to talk him out of launching his own company
  • how he came up with the idea
  • how he landed his first client on the first call, and then spent his first 6 months failing miserably
  • how he made a massive shift in his prospecting that resulted in 95% of the people he contacted getting back to him
  • how he finds the contact information of the decision makers he needs to talk to
  • the steps that he’s taken to hit $1M in total revenue
  • and so much more…

More About This Episode

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

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

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Brandon Borso

profile_pictureIn 2008, Brandon Borso started Muscle Marketing as an a way to allow advertisers access to a specific audience, using a specific form of out of home advertising. Over the past 5 years his agency has expanded, giving small regional restaurants and Fortune 500 companies alike the ability to demographically target their core customers and speak to them where they live, work and play. Optimistic as to where the OOH industry is headed, integrating social and mobile with more traditional formats, Brandon looks forward to the future of advertising and plans to be part of it as he pursues a patent for a new OOH media format.



Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Launch a Podcast and Get 100,000 Downloads a Month with John Dumas

Have you ever thought about launching your own podcast but aren’t sure where to start?

Would you like to build a reputation as a thought leader in your niche?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by John Dumas of and in this interview you are going to hear John and I discuss:

  • why he started his show
  • his monetization plan
  • what he did to achieve 100,000 downloads a month so fast
  • how he got his explainer video produced
  • how he finds and recruits his guests
  • how he hosts his show
  • how he creates feeder podcasts to massively boost his exposure in the iTunes store
  • which parts of his business he outsources
  • his favorite tool for getting options from video
  • which tools he uses to record and edit his show
  • and so much more..

More About This Episode

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

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

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there, Bright Idea Hunters, welcome to the Bright Ideas
podcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast for business
owners and entrepreneurs who want to know how to use online marketing and
sales automation tactics to massively boost their business. And to make
that happen, I bring interesting, smart, experienced guests on the show.
And on the show with me today is a fellow by the name of John, and I hope I
pronounce this correctly, is is Dumas?John: Dumas.Trent: Dumas, Dumas. All right.John: Right. I want to make sure you got it.Trent: John is the guy behind Entrepreneur on Fire, and he is also an
ex-serviceman, so maybe he’ll tell us a little bit more about that when I
hand it over to him here in a second, so John, welcome to the show.

John: Thanks, Trent, excited to be here.

Trent: So for folks who don’t know who you are yet, maybe you can tell
us a little bit who are you and what you do, what’s all this Entrepreneur
on Fire thing all about.

John: Sure, I’ll give you the quick background. Do you want me to go who I
am, or just Entrepreneur on Fire?

Trent: Oh no, no, no, who you are first.

John: So grew up in Southern Maine for the first 18 years of my life, then
I went to Providence College on an ROTC scholarship, where I spent four
years as a cadet and student. Then I graduated 2002 at 22, and was
immediately commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army, where I
spent the next four years as an active duty officer. Highlighted by a 13
month tour of duty in Iraq as an armor platoon leader, which means I was in
charge of four tanks and sixteen men, in Fallujah, Ar Ramadi, in Habbaniyah
[sounds like 2:03]. And in 2006, my active duty component was over, so I
entered the Reserves, and spent the next four years, a bunch of that time I
was traveling in Guatemala, India, and Nepal.

Then I started to get serious, and I started law school, but that
wasn’t exactly for me, so I jumped ship after one semester and got into
finance, corporate finance with John Hancock in Boston, which was great for
a couple years. Then I moved into an internet startup company in New York
City, which was a very good experience for about six months, until that

So then I decided to take off for the Gold Coast out in California,
San Diego specifically, where I spent a couple years out there as a
residential real estate guy, and then I moved back to Maine, almost two
years ago now, to take a job as a commercial broker with a local firm here
in Maine. So it’s my first return back to Maine after being gone for 13
years after I graduated high school, so it’s kind of a cool homecoming. And
I spent a year as a commercial real estate broker, but then just in June of
2012, I’ve really kind of had my own entrepreneurial aha moment. I was
driving around, realizing there was a niche that needed to be filled, so I
turned in my paperwork in June of that year, and started Entrepreneur on

Trent: Very cool. So I get, the reason that I wanted to have you on
this show is, I get a lot of people that e-mail me to say, you know, like,
‘I want to start my own show? How do I start my own show? What’s involved?
I like this interview model.’ and I thought, rather than explain myself,
I’d bring somebody else on who is doing the same thing as me. So we’re
going to get down and dirty, and I’m going to ask all the tough questions,
because I know there is a whole bunch of people who want answers to, you
know, ‘Is this a viable business? Can you make any money doing this, and
how do you set it up, and how do you get it going?’ So first off, are you
making any money yet?

John: Making some money, it’s not enough to retire early, but there is a
pretty steady stream of income coming in through different areas, such as
affiliate, and different sponsorships I’ve been setting up.

Trent: Okay.

John: So you definitely can make money in this, but not something that you
can just turn on on day one.

Trent: Correct. It does not happen overnight. So anyone who thinks you
can start your own podcast to make money in your first month, probably not.
I mean, you might make some money, of course, but probably not the most
realistic goal. You really need to have kind of a longer term view and a
longer term strategy, and I’m happy to share what mine is, but I’m curious
as to what yours is. Before we talk about, you know, how you create the
episodes and all that stuff. What is your monetization plan? Because you
don’t do this without a monetization plan.

John: You don’t. One reason why I really believe I was able to jump on the
scene with Entrepreneur on Fire, and so quickly gain such a large audience
and a large following is for a number of reasons, but one of those being
that there is a niche that needs to be filled. That niche was, Entrepreneur
on Fire is the only daily podcast that interviews today’s most inspiring
successful entrepreneurs. I knew that there was a lot of people out there
like myself, who are driving to work, who are exercising daily, that who
just really love and enjoy a fresh podcast, waiting for them every morning
when they woke up, so Entrepreneur on Fire was officially launched on
September of 2012, I had 40 episodes backlogged to make sure I was ready
for it. Since then it’s grown to garnering over 100,000 downloads every
single month in over 100 countries, and one reason I believe I was able to
jump into that niche so quickly is getting some monetization aspect of this
is that there’s no real clear path for a podcast to monetize.

It comes from with what you do with that podcast, which is grow an
audience, and actually today an Entrepreneur on Fire, MJ DeMarco of the
Fastlane Millionaire, his interview on my show went live, and his quote
that I really took, back when I interviewed him a couple months ago, it
really adds one of the major driving visions of Entrepreneur on Fire, is
that if you want to make millions, you need to inspire millions. And
literally if you look at my tagline on iTunes or Stitcher Radio for
Entrepreneur on Fire, right at the bottom my tagline is, Inspiring
Millions, because that is the goal of Entrepreneur on Fire, is to inspire
millions, and then everything else as far as monetization, I know, will
fall into place from that. And one reason for me, I was very fortunate with
some of my past business successes, I didn’t need to monetize Entrepreneur
on Fire from day one, and I haven’t really tried to do that. I’ve really
just been trying to build the highest quality, best podcast possible,
knowing that my audience, and the growth of it, will lead to bigger and
better things.

Trent: Very true, very true. So 100,000 a month within a couple of
months, that’s an awful lot of downloads. Was there anything particular
that you, aside from creating really great content that people love to
hear, and aside from producing an episode every single day, we’re going to
talk more about the behind the scene mechanics of that in a bit. Is there
anything else that you did that you think contributed to such a high volume
of downloads in a relatively short period of time?

John: I really subscribe to Michael Hyatt’s philosophy in his book that
came out recently called Platform, and so I really focused back in June
when I was starting. I just wasn’t going to start recording episodes and
then launching them, I really wanted to make sure I had my platform in
place. So I made sure that all of my social media was squared away, my
website was squared away, everything was ready, so that once Entrepreneur
on Fire went live as a podcast, people saw that it just wasn’t an interview
show, but it was an actual viable business, it really had all the blocks

And I actually have three full-time virtual assistants who help run
Entrepreneur on Fire, each of them are working 40 hours a week in different
capacities, one is my social media manager, another girl does all my admin
and designs, and another girl literally works 40 hours a week doing all the
transcribing of the podcast. So I really built this entire platform, so
that once people saw what Entrepreneur on Fire was all about, and they saw
that my pledge was to come with a daily podcast, and they saw the backing
platform behind it, they trusted that. And they began to know like and
trust me and my brand that I was building, and that just keeps them coming
back on a daily basis, which really keeps those download numbers steady and
a snowball effect, as more and more people are learning about it every
single day.

Trent: Now do you give a particular call to action in each one of your
episodes, do you think that causes any type of viralocity, you ask people
to go to the iTunes store and give the show a rating, there must, because I
know I have a certain call to action, and anyone who listens to my show
knows what it is, I don’t need to explain it here again, it will be at the
end, just listen.

John: I have called to actions in every intro and every outro. I have
changed throughout my show. I now have, as of today, 94 episodes have gone
live, and again, that goes up by one every single day, literally, I’ve done
over 150, in total now, that are in the, quote/unquote, queue, and I do
change up my call to actions, because I really have different messages that
I want to get across to my audience as my business grows, and as I develop
different products or different services.

So I’m always changing my intros and outros, but they always do have
that call to action, and a consistent one definitely is a rating and review
in iTtunes, or a favorite and a like in Stitcher, and because of that,
Entrepreneur on Fire has over 200 five star rating in iTunes, which is an
incredibly high number for such a young podcast, especially if you compare
it to some other podcasts that’s been out for years, that haven’t focused
on that, and therefore don’t have nearly as many.

Trent: So you mentioned Stitcher, and I have to confess, this is the
first I have ever heard of Stitcher . . .

John: What?

Trent: . . . so why don’t you tell us what that is, yeah?

John: Stitcher Radio is the savior for all podcasters. They are taking
podcasting to the next level on every single level. I just got back from
New Media Expo by Blogworld in Las Vegas, where I was asked to speak on the
podcasting track, on the state of podcasting, and about Entrepreneur on
Fire specifically. But one area that I did focus on, and they were there
representing themselves, was Stitcher Radio, who have, if you go to
Stitcher, I think it’s, or maybe, they have
. . .


John: . . ., like the best app of 2012, and all they do are
stream podcasts. You don’t need to download, it’s just streaming, but their
sole focus is on podcast, and the podcasting state in general, and the most
exciting thing they’d done, Trent, they’ve actually inked deals with Ford,
with BMW, with Chevrolet. Stitcher Radio is going into the dashboard of
these cars in 2013, so just like SiriusXM Radio, you can just turn to that
dial, you can do this thing now with Stitch Radio and go to Entrepreneur on
Fire, and go to Bright Ideas, and have that streaming in your car radio, no
longer porting your little iPod to your car, tuning your FM station, or
plugging into your outlet.

Trent: Very cool, you can bet I will be signing up for Stitcher very

John: They’re amazing.

Trent: Now to upload to Stitcher, like I use a plugin Blueberry that
automatically, just as soon as I publish a post containing an audiofile,
puts it up to iTunes for me, it’s very painless. Is there a similar plugin
to upload your stuff to Stitcher?

John: You give them your RSS feed, the same one that you have, and it’s

Trent: Nice, okay, easy as pie.

John: Yep.

Trent: All right. So let’s talk a little bit about some more of the
nuts and bolts, some things that I want to know the answers to. So you have
a pretty decent explainer video on your site, and for people who don’t know
what an explainer video is, go to, and you’ll find
the explainer video. It basically explains what the show is all about. I
like your explainer video, where did you get that done?

John: Thank you. I worked very hard on that, because back in June of 2012,
just when I was starting, I was at the prior New Media Expo, which was in
New York City, and there was a speech by Jason Van Houten about coming up
with your avatar, your target audience, who do you really want to be
speaking to with your business, with your brand. So I came back from that
and say, you know, I really want to build who I think I’m speaking to as
Entrepreneur on Fire, as a founder and host, of this podcast. So I went out
and I found a company, and they’re called that’s the name of
the website, and Priscilla, specifically, became my point of contact, and
we developed a script with complete visuals, voice overs, music, it
explained exactly who Entrepreneur on Fire was speaking to, and for me it
was this guy who I call ‘Jimmy’. And Jimmy was a guy that woke up in the
morning, who’s about to drive to work, he hated to drive because the radio
was horrible with Miley Cyrus and talk radio, he just couldn’t figure it
out, there are so many commercials. But then he found Entrepreneur on Fire,
and his commute to work and his daily exercise regimen just took a turn for
the better, because now he is consuming this passionate, motivational,
inspirational content, and it showed kind of his journey, after he found
Entrepreneur on Fire, climbing the mountain of success, and then driving
off into the sunset of inspiration, so to speak, so it was a really fun
video to make. It’s 60 seconds long, and it really helped me nail down who
I wanted to speak to. It was a lot of fun doing it, and I think it’s a big
help for people that kind of land on my site, not really knowing why they
did or what Entrepreneur on Fire really is all about, in 60 seconds it
really sums it up quite well.

Trent: And how much did you have to spend to get it made?

John: It was $3,500.

Trent: Okay. Now I imagine you probably get analytics on the drop-off
rate of that video, and I’m curious because I use a self-recorded, you
know, me in front of the camera video, and I don’t, one of the questions I
don’t have the answer to, because I look at my drop-off rate, and, you
know, it kind of goes down and then tapers off like most every other video
I’ve ever produced, and what I can’t figure out, because I get most of my
opt-ins from the home page, is A, does the video suck so badly that people
don’t want to watch it? or B, or is it so good they’re opting in before
it’s over? So with your . . .

John: You know, it’s probably the prior, but I can tell you what, have you
ever heard of LeadPlayer?

Trent: LeadPlayer? I’ve heard of it, I’ve never used it.

John: So my buddy Clay Collins developed LeadPlayer, which is incredible,
so you can use LeadPlayer on your website, and above, whenever you find
that drop-off rate starting, right before that drop-off rate, you can have
a pop opt-in box, and that will increase your conversions hundreds and
hundreds of percent.

Trent: Does that only work with You-tube videos, or does that work
with any video?

John: So it works with, I’m pretty sure it works with any video, but how it
works is it’s actually a widget on WordPress, as you download into your
Wordpress, and then it streams through YouTube on your site, and you can
customize everything about when that pop in, when that pop up, coming up,
etc, whatever, and what it says, and I think that they do integrate with
Vimeo and some others, I’m not positive, but YouTube for sure.

Trent: Yeah, well, it’s easy enough to change the video place holder
and put a YouTube video instead of my [inaudible 16:26].

John: Well, you should have it on YouTube anyways, because that’s the place
that, you know, people can just, can be searching for Trent, or for Bright
Ideas, and they come across that video, that should be available on YouTube
as well.

Trent: Yeah. Now I notice that you don’t do audio, or at least that I
was able to find, you only do, sorry, you don’t do video of your interviews
like I do, you only do audio, is there a reason for that, production cost?

John: Well, the reason for that really right now is because the focus of
Entrepreneur on Fire is just to produce a daily audio podcast for that
avatar, for that person who is driving to work, or just running along the
boardwalk, or walking their dog. However, I know the power of video, it is
something I absolutely want to integrate into Entrepreneur on Fire, and I’m
still like putting together the pieces, and giving my assistants more
[inaudible 17:16], or if I have the time to be able to set something like
this up, so you are definitely going to be seeing video become a major part
of Entrepreneur on Fire in the future.

Trent: Okay. All right. What’s next on my list, how do you find your

John: That is a very consistent question that I get, because especially
doing a daily podcast, I have people saying, ‘John, you are going to get
burnt out, you are going to run out of guests, you are going to burn out
your audience members’ and I kept getting this over and over again, and
none of this has come to fruition for a number of reasons. For one, when
people like look at me as doing a daily podcast, I literally do, it’s a
very taxing day, and I work really hard, and I’m very exhausted by the end
of it, but I do 8 to 10 interviews every single Monday, and that’s it. I do
nothing else the rest of the week when it comes to recording and editing my
podcast. So yes, it’s one very painful and long day, but I have Tuesday
through Friday, Saturday and Sunday if I’m working on the weekends, to do
all the other aspects of my business, and to rest and to recuperate, so
there’s been anything but burnout on my end.

And as far as finding guests, I literally have such a long list of
guests that I still want to reach out to, in the thousands, literally,
every time I get my Entrepreneur, Inc., or Fast Company Magazine, I’m
overwhelmed by the amount of people that I want to have on my show, every
time I watch Shark Tank, I get multiple e-mails every single day from
entrepreneurs themselves, or from PR firms, promoting their entrepreneur or
their client to be on Entrepreneur on Fire, just because, again, they’re
reaching an incredibly massive audience over, now as of, literally the last
couple of weeks, Entrepreneur on Fire has been downloaded at over 5,000
downloads every single day. So we’re more like a 120,000 clip for the
course of a month, again, in a hundred countries.

So I’m just getting inundated with people reaching out to me, and
just me seeing people out there in the universe, there’s an endless supply,
I just gave a ton of resources that I do currently use on another really
great one that I don’t utilize, because I just don’t YouTube, but I know
it’s there if I ever need to for whatever reason, it’s called Haro, H-A-R-
O, .com, Help a Reporter Out. And that is, I know Trent you said you don’t
what a, that is will be just the listeners that may not, you can literally
post a query. Like a month ago, I launched another podcast called The Great
Business Experiment. Kickstarter, where I interview ten successful
Kickstarter campaigners, and we talked about their kickstart in campaigns,
and what made it successful, and the failures that they had, and what they
would do differently if they could. And it was so easy for me to find these
10 people, they ran Successful Kickstarter Campaigns after I came up with
the idea for The Great Business Experiment Kickstarter, because I just
hosted this query on Haro that said, ‘This is what I’m doing, this is what
I’m looking for, I would love to hear from you.’ And I got 30 e-mails
within an hour of all great candidates, of which I cut it down to ten,
reached out to them, scheduled ten interviews for one day, recorded all ten
interviews, had the podcast up and live two days later, and it ran for,
well it’s now on its sixth or seventh week as a podcast, still number one
in the iTtunes new and noteworthy section, just getting a ton of downloads
and getting a lot of exposure to my brand, and to Entrepreneur on Fire as
well, which is my feeder podcast. So there’s a plethora of ways to get
quality people for any industry, so that’s a great hint for listeners that
are looking for gardeners, or scuba divers, or cat lovers.

Trent: Yeah, in the entrepreneur space, just think about how many
companies are being started every year. You could do ten interviews a day
and never run out of people, it is endless. I am so far behind in the
number of interviews that I’ve recorded versus the number I need to
publish. It’s not a problem, trust me, finding guests is not a difficult
thing to do.

John: But it’s everybody’s biggest fear when they start.

Trent: Yeah. So you mentioned this other podcast, are you planning on
continuing to produce episodes for both of these podcasts on an ongoing

John: No. So Entrepreneur on Fire will continue to be a daily podcast, the
Great Business Experiment Kickstarter was just a series of ten podcasts
that I’ve released, that’s now number one in the iTunes New and Noteworthy
section, which is by far the best real estate in the entire iTunes podcast
store. So that podcast will run for eight weeks, it will remain in that
unbelievable real estate at the top of iTunes New and Noteworthy, where my
intro says, ‘If you like this series of podcasts, absolutely check out
Entrepreneur on Fire, which is my daily show.’ At the end of those eight
weeks, I’m going to come out with another Great Business Experiment, which
is going to be The Dark Side of Groupon, where I’ve interviewed ten
companies that have horrible Groupon experiences, some of which lost their
companies because of it, and then that will run for eight weeks. And again,
eight weeks trend is the time frame that I use, because that’s the longest
you can be in iTunes New and Noteworthy, then you drop off into the abyss
of the thousands and thousands of podcasts that are there, so you can
really take advantage of the eight weeks you launch your podcast, to have
this incredible real estate, boom, people first log into iTunes, there’s
your podcast, and for me, I’m using it as a way for people to get great
content, but also find out about Entrepreneur on Fire.

Trent: Now I got into the New and Noteworthy section with Bright
Ideas, I honestly don’t have a clue what I did to get there. Do you have a
specific, repeatable strategy, because I’d love to hear it.

John: So it’s not difficult at all to get into the iTunes New and
Noteworthy. They allow the top 100 new podcasts, which means for iTunes
less than eight months from the published date, are considered new and
noteworthy, and they publish, or they promote the top 100 for those eight
weeks. There are really, really few podcasts that come out on a daily
basis, and especially there are really few, very serious podcasts that come
out on a very consistent basis, so it’s extremely easy to, A, get into the
New and Noteworthy, and then B, once you get there, you are literally in
the best real estate of the iTunes store. So people are searching, going to
the iTunes store to organically look for content, and they’re finding you,
and they’re subscribing, and that’s just kind of continuing the snowball

So the way to do it, is when you launch your podcast, you want to
launch with a minimum of three podcasts on day one. If you’re going to do a
weekly show, you need to launch with three podcasts, and then explain in
the intro, that you will be coming out with a weekly podcast every Friday,
every Tuesday, whenever it is. But right now you have three to begin, and
then form this point forth, this is going to be your consistency. And then
you need to reach out to everybody to your list, to your friends, to your
family, in the intro of these podcasts, and say, listen, I really need you
guys to take a second and to rate and review this specific podcast, because
the iTunes algorithm is number of downloads, ratings, and reviews, and
subscribers. So when you have three podcasts, someone is much more likely
to, ‘subscribe’, because they’re going to see three, than if they’re just
seeing one, they’re just going to press the play button and listen to that
one, and not become a subscriber. And then there’s also a math equation in
there. If you have a hundred downloaders in the first week of one podcast,
that’s one hundred. But if you have three up there, everybody presses the
‘download all’, just because there’s a button right there, makes it simple,
you’re going to have 300 downloads, and then you’re going to organically
move up in the rankings because of that, with your ratings and reviews,
helping you out as well, and people are going to find you, and your
snowball effect is going to continue to bring you up to the front, and
that’s exactly the methodology I used for the Great Business Experiment,

Trent: So you’re, it sounds like then you’re planning on every eight
weeks to launch another podcast, just to get this piece of real estate to
use it as a feeder podcast for your main show.

John: Absolutely.

Trent: And when you do that, because you need an RSS feed, do you just
do like a new domain and a basic WordPress install as a place to give you a
feed, and you don’t really build out the site because you’re not thinking
people are going to go there, or how much of that periphery do you work on?

John: I use, L-I-B-S-Y-N .com, which is short for short for
Liberated Syndication, as my media host. I host all of my media there for
Entrepreneur on Fire, and for The Great Business Experiment, Kickstarter. I
only copy the download link from Libsyn and post it in Blueberry, the
PowerPress, of my widgets, so I don’t host anything on, it’s all hosted through Libsyn. So when I published
a new podcast, I just start a new RSS feed, a new podcast within the Libsyn
community, and then publish that RSS feed to iTunes, to Stitcher Radio, so
it’s all within Libsyn, it has nothing to do with my website.

Trent: Okay, so the blueberry plugin has really nothing to do with
starting these extra episodes, or the new show, it’s just all within the
confines of Libsyn. Libsyn gives you the RSS feed, and then you publish to
Stitcher and iTunes.

John: Absolutely.

Trent: Saves a lot of work, you don’t have to build a site, you don’t
have to register another domain, branding, logos, all that other stuff.

John: Exactly.

Trent: Well there it is, there’s Trent’s golden nugget right there,
love getting the golden nugget in the show, that is. Fantastic, thank you
for that.

All right, I want to ask you now, so which gets more traffic at this
point, your website or your podcast in terms of downloads in iTunes?

John: So Entrepreneur on Fire is getting between 4,000 to 5,000 downloads
every single day, just from the iTunes Store. Stitcher Radio has their own
set of statistics, which you’ll find very interesting, Trent, because
they’re extremely specific. You can see the average time per listen, what
percentage people are dropping off at, the percentage of people that
actually start and finish pod, they have incredible statistics at Stitcher
Radio. And Entrepreneur on Fire is a really good way to look at exactly
what just a podcast can do for a website, because I have nothing else.
Entrepreneur on Fire is just the headquarters for my podcast, Entrepreneur
on Fire, and my website right now is getting about 600 unique visitors
every single day to it, and that’s solely being driven from Entrepreneur on
Fire, the podcasts.

Trent: Yeah, that’s kind of what I thought, because my downloads are
far, far, far higher in iTunes than they are on the website themselves. All
right, so do you find then that you’re having success in converting, like
how big is your list, your subscriber list so far? Because that’s a key
part of monetization. If you don’t have a list, it’s really difficult to

John: That needs to be everybody’s first step, is when they’re building a
platform, they have right, front, and center, there call to action on their
website, is a great giveaway, or a great reason for somebody to subscribe
to their e-mail list. Entrepreneurs on Fire had a very average one for
about the first three months of my site, just when I got back from New
Media Expo, I was collaborating with some people out there like Pat Flim,
Jaime Tardy of Eventual Millionaires, some other people in that area, and
they gave me a great idea to publish an ebook of the top ten insights from
the top ten Entrepreneur on Fire interviewees. So I created this ebook that
features Barbara Corcoran, Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, Chris Grogan, Seth
Goden, Gary Vaynerchuk, people who I’ve had on my show, who have given
great insights to Fire Nation, and I’ve condensed it into ebook, and now
right at the front center of my website, you see that, one of the first
things you see is join Fire Nation and receive my ebook. And so, before
that, I was getting pretty much between 15 to 25 e-mail subscribers every
single day, which was great, because I did have a good giveaway. But since
I’ve done that, and really mean a great giveaway, I’m getting over 30 e-
mail subscribers, and sometimes it’s into the forties and fifties every
single day, which has grown my e-mail subscriber list in just over three
and a half months, to about 1,200 plus subscribers.

Trent: Nice, very nice. All right, now you also have, we’re kind of
going back to monetization here, because these are all just questions that
I want answers to. You’ve got this coaching button, anybody buying those
coaching packages off you?

John: Yep, so again, when I started Entrepreneur on Fire, it was all about
focusing on building a leverage-able scalable business in a brand,
Entrepreneur on Fire, that was going to reach millions of people. So I’m
not in the business of trading time for dollars, that’s never been
something I’ve wanted to do, and because of my past successes in business,
it’s not something I have to do currently. So I accepted four people to be
coached by myself, and just actually this past January, one spot opened up,
which is why I reopened that coaching slot, but it’s actually already been
filled, so I need to close it back down now. So I have four people who I do
mentor on an ongoing monthly basis, so that is one way that I’m really kind
of engaging with my target audience, and really learning, from my aspect,
exactly what their pains and struggles are, so I can continue to provide
products and services for Fire Nation as a whole. But yeah, coaching is not
a focus, it’s not an area that I’m going into anymore than I already am in,
and just been enjoyable interacting, you know, one on one basis, on a
limited level, where the Fire Nation dance.

Trent: And what type of people are these people who are signing up for
coaching? Are they people who aspire to have a show, or are they business
owners that are looking to gain insight into growing an existing business?

John: Three of the people are looking to produce their own podcasts, I’m
giving them a lot of assistance there. One person is not really
specifically looking for a podcast anytime soon, but they’re going to be
having a blog and things along those lines, and they don’t currently have a
business, but they’re looking to become an entrepreneur, and to start their
first business.

Trent: Okay. So let’s go and talk about your virtual assistants, and
your post production process, because I’m curious as to how yours may be
similar or different than mine. Mine, I’ll explain very quickly, it’s
pretty darn easy. I use GoToMeeting, which we’re in right now, HDFaces,
which is, I think, about a hundred bucks a month for this piece of
software. I record the screen with ScreenFlow, I have a pre-roll and a post-
roll that I got off of Fiverr, so as soon as I’m done the episodes,
ScreenFlow saves the media file, I drop in my pre-roll and my post-roll as
soon as I’m done the interview, I do my little call to action, and I can
literally have the, and so then I save it all, I peel out the Mp3, that
goes into garage brand, because I put a different pre-roll and post-roll
for my audio file than I do for my video file, because video is visual,
audio is obviously for your ears, and I can have all of that stuff done
completely two versions, video and audio, edited and ready for upload in
about 20 minutes. And I was going to have a VA do that, but because I’m on
a Mac platform, most VA overseas don’t use Macs, which was going to
introduce a whole layer of extra complexity. Because they all a .mov file,
and ScreenFlow, you would have to actually export it, and then upload it to
Dropbox, and then they could down . . . by the time I’ve messed around with
all that, it was just quicker to edit it myself. How’s it different for
you, or how is it similar for you?

John: So what I use is Adobe Audition in Skype. So every single Monday
morning, my interview start a 8:00 a.m., and I have between 8:00 to 10:00,
running every 75 minutes. So somebody will call in, or I will call somebody
via Skype, I’m going to have Adobe Audition, which is the recording
software that I use, up and ready to receive. I have my little pre-chat
intro, and then I literally hit the record button, and then we’re talking
for the next 25 to 35 minutes, recording directly into Adobe Audition,
through Skype, and then when it’s done I’m hitting the stop button, and
then I’m actually just exporting that, as what’s called an SESX file, it’s
a session file, and I’m saving that for the future, because again, I’m
actually at a two month buffer right now, so I’m not immediately converting

Then at the end of that Monday, I do have these eight to ten
interviews that are complete, and I do personally go back, because at this
point, I’m just very conscious of releasing only the highest quality audio
and the best possible show that I can, so I do go back, and if there is any
talking over each other, I record on a separate tracks so I can take that
out, any excessive ums and ahs, or background noise, I can silence out, and
I make it a really tight, clean, audio version of it, save it once again as
a final SESX file, and then I just store it Dropbox for when I get to that
point, a week or two out, for when that show is going to go live. Then I
take it back out, whatever my intro and outro was going to be at that time,
whatever call to actions I’ve decided that I want to use at that specific
date, I will implement, convert it into an Mp3, upload it with the artwork
and all these show notes, and the titles, etc, to Libsyn, and schedule its
release. And so right now I have the next ten episodes are scheduled to be
released on Libsyn at 3:00 a.m. every single morning, so I can literally go
to Tahiti for ten days and come back, and each one of those ten episodes
will automatically release, corresponding with Entrepreneur on Fire where I
have show notes up every page, going be published at 3:00 a.m. the exact
same time. So as soon as that podcast is released from Libsyn to go live to
Stitcher and iTunes, and Zune Radio, which is Microsoft, my blog is also
being released and going live on my website.

Trent: And you have to schedule Libsyn, and you have to schedule your
post in WordPress, the two don’t, one does not talk to the other, there is
no sync there, is there?

John: No, they do not talk to each other.

Trent: Okay. It’s interesting that you delay the, it’s a good idea,
actually, that you delay the final editing, so you know what the call to
action is going to be, because you have that buffer, and that’s a good idea
for me, because I’ve been putting them in the can right away, as soon as
I’m done, because I use a fairly standard call to action at the end, and it
doesn’t allow me the flexibility to know what I might want to talk about
at, closer to when that episode is going to publish, so I might have to
switch up my strategy a little bit.

Now with Adobe Audition, that piece of software runs on Mac or PC?

John: Yes.

Trent: Okay, so that helps with the, if you want to outsource, most
outsourcers using PCs, so you wouldn’t have the issue that I have in using
ScreenFlow. There was one other question I wanted to ask you, and now it’s
slipped away into oblivion, so hopefully it will pop back into my mind a
little later on. Oh yeah, when you replay, I mean, you got eight episodes
that you’re doing on a Monday, and you’re going to listen to them all again
to remove ums and ahs? For folks that are only listening to the audio
version of this, and you didn’t see the image of John basically just held
his fingers to his head like a pistol, and more or less metaphorically said
he’s crazy, which I agree. You’re out of your mind, man, that’s way too
much work.

John: I am, although I will have to be honest on one point, is that I
really am a big believer in keeping it as natural and the conversation
flowing as possible. So my Entrepreneur on Fire audio podcasts typically
run about 25% of me talking, and 75% of my guest talking, on average. It
differs, some’s 80/20, some’s 70/30, what have you. I pretty much just keep
whatever my guest is saying, completely normal. Most of my guests are very
well-spoken, they know what they’re doing. What I’m mostly doing is going
through my audio because for one, it really improves me as an interviewer
and as a speaker, to hear myself speak, and to see the little ums, ahs,
ands, so’s that I’m really saying, and these maybe repetitive words like
awesome, or wicked, cool, because I’m from Maine, you know, things along
those lines that, you know, things that just really crop up again, and
again, so that improves my self-speaking, and it’s only about 25% of that
30 minute audio. And another thing that I really just do is sometimes you
ask questions, and I tell my interviewees take as long as they want to
think of an answer, so it’s normally not that long, maybe it’s five, six
seconds. That kind of sounds like a lot of dead air when you’re listening
to it in the car, so I can just very quickly, it’s called a ripple delete,
it just zips those right together so it almost seems like a seamless
answer. So I would say each time I do an interview, and I’m editing that
interview, it probably takes me 20 minutes to do a complete edit, which is
still a significant amount of time, when you’re realizing that I’m doing
eight of these in one day. But it’s not like I’m sitting there listening to
the entire interview, I’m really skipping over those big chunks, of when my
guests are giving these long, great answers, I’m not listening to that at

Trent: You’re the only one that I have talked to in our space that
does that. I don’t think Jaime does that, I know Andrew over at Mixergy, I
know he doesn’t do that, because I’ve been on the show, and he’s like
super, super minimal on what he does, they don’t even put links to their
website’s guest on the actual post, sorry, yeah.

John: Most people are very proud about the fact that they don’t edit, and I
am very proud of the fact that I produce the highest quality podcast on a
daily basis that I can possible do.

Trent: Yeah. Well, good on you, because we all got to have our
differentiators, right?

John: Yeah.

Trent: All right. So last three questions. What are you most excited
about for 2013?

John: Podcasting. Like I said, I went to New Media Expo in June as a, well,
as an attendee, I guess is the best word, and attended all the podcasting
tracks in New York City, and it was good, but there wasn’t really that much
excitement, and I was fortunate enough to be to attend New Media Expo in
Las Vegas this past January of 2013 as a speaker. I don’t know, if you
wave, if you wanted me to . . .

Trent: No, no, there’s a fly flying around my mouth, and I’m trying to
swat the damn thing away.

John: In the podcasting track, see I would have edited that out, incredibly
smoothly, in my podcast, but it’s a kind of a cute little thing (?)

Trent: I won’t bother. I won’t bother.

John: And the podcasting tracks were packed. There were hundreds of people
at my speech, as a new podcaster, whereas is I was going with some of the
bigger podcasters six moths prior, and there was 22 people in the room, so
there is this certain buzz that’s going on about podcasting, people are
just realizing the reach, the accessibility, the passion, the targeted
content, on demands, smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, they’re really seeing,
that both audio and video podcasting are just reaching an incredible amount
of people. I mean, a show, which is why I’m really excited to get into
video later on this year, is because now people can literally be looking
down at their smartphone on a train, and there’s great Wi-Fi, so they can
be streaming this video, without, you know, having to rely on 3G or 4G,
which probably would be a little choppy. It’s just really exciting where
that’s going, and the expanse that is happening. People are finding out for
the first time ever about podcasting every single day, and they’re falling
in love.

Trent: Yeah, yeah, I agree, I love it, I have no end of fun doing
these shows. I absolutely love having interesting guests on, having these
conversations, and they’re so easy to record and share, I think it’s a
wonderful medium. And now I’ll tell you, in my business life, never ever,
ever ever, did I think I’d be a talk show host.

John: Right, yeah, me neither. I mean, now, I had no experience.

Trent: No, definitely not. What books, or book, are you reading right

John: So I just interviewed Robert Greene, who wrote the books 48 Laws of
Power, and his most recent release is Mastery. I was an American Studies
Major in college, I love history, and this guy goes back and talks about
the most historical figures . . .

Trent: Does he ever.

John: . . . of our world, I’m talking, you know, the Napoleons, the
Edisons, the Benjamin Franklins, you name it, it gives you a different
angle on these people’s lives that you can’t get in biographies or from
history books, and pulls out incredible life and business lessons. I love
his writing, he’s the most in-depth serious writer, I think, of our
generation in a lot of ways, and I can’t get enough of him. I love him.

Trent: I was stunned at what a dick Ben Franklin was. He, nobody liked
that guy, at least not initially.

John: He was just too serious, in like a real quick story, that Robert
tells that Benjamin Franklin went over to London to work in a press, and
they always had this beer fund, because they would take five beer …

Trent: Yeah, that’s what I was referring to.

John: And Ben’s like, ‘I’m not going to pay, I don’t drink, I’m not going
to pay my meager salary for you guys to drink and waste your time, let’s
get some work done.’ And all of a sudden he started seeing all these errors
coming up in his work that he’d already proofed, and he realized a valuable
lesson in life, you need to just accept certain things and become, and join
the herd in certain areas, otherwise you’re going to be sabotaged.

Trent: Yeah, yeah, and that’s, it was an interesting read for sure.
For people that want to get in touch with you, what is the easiest and best
way to do it, Twitter, e-mail, or your website, which one?

John: is definitely my headquarters, that’s where
everything happens, all of my podcasts are aired there, all my social media
platforms are easily linked to there. I know the word entrepreneur is very
difficult to spell, so I actually also own the domain, which
will get you to my website, that’s a nice little short way of doing it. But
yeah, you can go there, check out the podcasts. You can go to iTunes and
just type in entrepreneur on fire, and you can subscribe to the podcast
right there, everything is very accessible, and I have everything linked up
on Entrepreneur on Fire for the home base, so that’s the first place I’d
say to go. And my e-mail is I love getting e-
mails, so go ahead.

Trent: There you go. Well all right, John, thank you so much for being
on the show. I learned some really good things, got to go get myself a
Stitcher account, maybe delay my editing a little bit so I can put in some
more time-sensitive calls to action. And I’m not using Libsyn, but I’m
going to check that out, because the New and Noteworthy, right, if
definitely, when I got new and noteworthy, my downloads really, really took
off . . .

John: Oh yeah.

Trent: . . . and continued to do so, though I don’t think I’m in New
and Noteworthy anymore, maybe I am, I haven’t actually checked.

John: Because you produce good content that people stuck with.

Trent: Yeah, and then that’s another thing too, by the way, if you’re
listening to this, and you’re thinking of starting a show, people will
write you if you do a good show, people will write you all the time to
thank you for doing these shows. I guess they perceive that this must be a
great deal of work, and I guess the dirty little secret is it’s really not
that hard, I actually find it much easier to produce content this way than
I do to sit out and write a blog post, I think for me that’s a lot of work.
So if you’re thinking about doing it, go for it. It’s a lot of fun, you’re
going to meet a lot of interesting people, it’s the best networking tool on
the planet, as I’m sure you know. I mean, we get to have one one one
conversations with all these thought leaders that charge insane amounts of
money for their time, and they do it for us for free, because it gives them
exposure as well, and I think that’s, another one of the reasons why I
think it’s such a fantastic medium to use in your business.

John: I’m having Suze Orman on my show.

Trent: How did you make that happen?

John: I will give you the e-mail of her POC.

Trent: Cool, because I’d like to have her on too.

John: And for your listeners, Trent, they should know that you are going to
be a guest on Entrepreneur on Fire, and we get to hear your journey as an
entrepreneur, your failures, your aha moment, what you’re excited about
right now, your vision for the future, and of course, I’m going to put you
through the lightning round wringer of five, incredible questions that are
going to produce nuggets of invaluable information.

Trent: I will say this, if you want to hear about my failures, you’re
going to need longer than 35 minutes. So you’re going to have to take your

John: Oh, love it.

Trent: All right, thanks so much for being on the show, John. It’s
been a pleasure.

John: Thank you Trent, it’s been great.

Trent: To get access to the show notes for today’s episode, head over
to Another URL that you’ll want to check out is traffic, enter your e-mail address and you’ll be
given free access to the massive traffic toolbox, which is a compilation of
all of the best traffic generation ideas that have been shared with me, by
my guests here on Bright Ideas. If you’re a marketing agency owner, and you
want to get access to the 2013 Marketing Agency Industry Report, head over
to report, that’s 2013 report.

So I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, that wraps up another episode of the
podcast. If you really enjoyed today’s podcast, please head over to the
iTunes store and leave a five star rating, and as well as some comments and
feedback. Every time you do that, it helps the show to get more exposure,
and the more people that become aware of the Bright Ideas podcast, the more
entrepreneurs that we can help to massively boost their business. Thanks
very much for tuning in, I’ll see you in a future episode. Take care.

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

About John Dumas

JohnDumasHeadshotJohn Lee Dumas is the Founder and Host of EntrepreneurOnFire, a daily podcast that interviews today’s most inspiring and successful Entrepreneurs. EntrepreneurOnFire tells the journey of the spotlighted guest, sharing their early failures, AHA! moments, and insight into what is working for them now and why. Every show ends with a 5-question “Lightning Round” that pulls priceless nuggets of information from these incredibly successful Entrepreneurs.



Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Become the Recognized Thought Leader in Your Niche with John Hall

How large of an impact do you think it would have on your business if your content was published on the influential outlets in your industry?

Would you like to become a thought leader like this, but aren’t sure exactly how to make it happen?

Would you like to achieve this position within 6 months?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by John Hall, founder of Digital Talent Agents, a company that hit 7 figures in revenue within its first year of business by helping companies, consultants, and other experts to achieve thought leadership in their space.

During our conversation, you are going to hear John and I talk about:

  • The value of thought leadership and why so many fail to achieve it
  • His 6 step plan for achieving thought leadership in your niche
  • how his firm can help you get there sooner
  • How he built his company
  • How they landed their first 10 clients
  • The most successful strategies they are using to attract clients now (almost 10% of the Inc 500 are clients)
  • How to begin building relationships with leading publications
  • Some of the biggest mistakes that he made building his company
  • how they price their services
  • The iPhone app he’s using to find topical things to read
  • And so much more…

More About This Episode

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

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

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About John Hall

johnHallPicJohn Hall is the founder and CEO of Digital Talent Agents. He is a graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia and lives in Columbia, Missouri.






The Outline for My Book

Earlier this week I interviewed Guy Kawasaki and during the taping of the interview (which, thanks so a software glitch has to be totally re-done!), I asked him for advice on writing my book.

As Guy has written 12 of them, I figured he’d be a fountain of knowledge on the topic (which he was) and after reading one chapter of his latest book, APE (affiliate link), I decided that before I get too far into writing my book, that I would post the outline of my book here on Bright Ideas so that I could get feedback from my audience on whether or not my outline was solid, or in need of improvement.

bookoutlineSo with that in mind, I humbly share the first draft of my book’s outline (along with what Guy calls the book’s elevator pitch) with the hopes of your feedback.

Also, as my book doesn’t yet have a title, I would love to hear your suggestions. Just put your ideas down in the comments and if I pick yours, you will get a free copy of the book as well as a free hour of consulting with me to talk about whatever business issues you like.

My Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is meant to be used when pitching publishers, and while (at this point) I don’t intend to pitch any publishers (I plan to self-publish), I wrote my elevator pitch solely with the intent of clearly defining why, and for who, I was writing this book.

Why am I writing this book?

  • To help small businesses get more leads and customers
  • To help small businesses to automate more of their lead nurturing and sales processes
  • To help me book speaking engagements

Who am I writing this book for?

  • Small business owners will buy my training materials and/or use my affiliate links
  • Companies that can pay me $10K for a day-long workshop

What action do I want them to take?

  • Join my list
  • Buy my products
  • Hire me to consult

What Problems am I Helping them Solve?

  • Not enough website traffic
  • Conversions are too low
  • Too many manual processes in the sales funnel
  • Sales aren’t growing quickly enough
  • Customer retention is too low
  • Not enough referrals

Book Outline

Part One – Inbound Marketing

  • How buying has changed
    • The Power of free information
    • The informed buyer
    • Social proof
  • Is Your website a marketing automation machine?
    • Its not about you (define your avatar)
    • The importance of blogging
    • Give away your best stuff
    • Become the wiki for your industry
    • Help your visitors solve their problems first
    • WordPress
  • Content marketing
    • How to know what to write
    • How to create remarkable content
    • Blogging
    • Nuclear fuel
    • Podcasting
    • Video
    • Curation

Part Two – Traffic

  • Traffic Generation
    • Google
      • The Power of the long tail
      • Authorship
    • Social Media
      • Engagement and listening
      • Community
      • Facebook
      • Google+
      • Twitter
      • LinkedIn
    • Networking with other bloggers
    • Kindle
    • Contests and Promotions
    • Paid traffic
      • Google
      • Facebook

Part Three – Conversion

  • Conversion
    • Lead magnets
    • Landing pages
    • Split testing
    • Measuring results
  • List Building
    • The value of a list
    • Software Tools
  • Sales funnels
    • Nurturing
    • Self segmentation
    • Software tools for automation

Part Four – Keeping Tabs On Your Market

  • Watching the Competition
    • RSS and alerts
    • Social profiles
  • Why Do This Now?

 What Do You Think?

Is this a book that you would want to read? Have you got any ideas for a title? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Build a $100M Company with Jeremy Ostermiller

Do you own a company that is growing really fast?

Have you ever thought about bringing investors into your company?

Have you considered outsourcing your development to an overseas company?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Jeremy Ostermiller, founder and CEO of Altitude Digital Partners; a company that just recently secured a $5M investment to accelerate its already very impressive level of growth.

During this interview, you are going to hear Jeremy and I talk about:

  • how he got the idea for his firm
  • the tactics he used to build out his publisher network
  • how he found all the advertisers that would want to publish on his network
  • the formula he uses for his sales forecasts (and what most people do wrong)
  • how he recruits sales reps (and how much they can make)
  • how he began his search for a company to invest in his
  • the steps involved in the selection of his investor
  • the benefits of having a professional investor in your company
  • how they found credible firms to help develop their software
  • how they structured a contract with those firms to minimize risk
  • which third-party tools they are using for sales and operations
  • and so much more

If you run a fast growing company, or you aspire to, you are going to absolutely love all the golden nuggets you will learn in this interview.

More About This Episode

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

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

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Jeremy Ostermiller

jeremyA recognized digital advertising entrepreneur, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Altitude Digital, Jeremy Ostermiller oversees the company’s worldwide sales and operations departments. With just $500, in the midst of one of toughest economic periods since the great depression, Jeremy founded the online display and video advertising company. His background and expertise includes marketing, interactive advertising and promotions. Altitude Digital is now generating more than $11M in revenue, was named one of ColoradoBiz Top 250 Private Companies, and was recently recognized as No.54 on the Inc.500|5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the country. In Colorado, Altitude Digital received top ranks listing at No.1.