How to Use Marketing Automation to Immediately Boost Your Lifetime Customer Value



Ever since Dan Faggella realized the potential of marketing automation, he hasn’t looked back. Dan and I discuss the many benefits of marketing automation, including the low-hanging fruit: the very quickly-realized increase in Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of marketing automation as well, which is why I why have used and recommended Infusionsoft for years. These days, I use HubSpot as well as Infusionsoft (I explain why I use both in the interview below; if you want a more detailed analysis check out my HubSpot vs Infusionsoft post). This is a must-listen if you’ve been thinking of implementing marketing automation in your business, or if you are already using it and want to see a bigger ROI.

Listen now and you’ll hear Dan and I talk about:

  • (03:15) Introduction
  • (04:06) How did you get into business with science of skill?
  • (08:15) Describe how you implemented marketing automation in your business
  • (12:05) How did you first discover marketing automation?
  • (14:15) What were some of your most valuable insights?
  • (17:15) How did you collect data from your users activity?
  • (23:15) Where is the low hanging fruit for marketing automation?
  • (27:05) What is the big red button problem?
  • (31:15) How are you collecting website data?
  • (36:15) What is wrong with collecting only name and email on initial opt in?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

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

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

Listen Now

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About Daniel Faggella

Daniel Faggella is a recognized email marketing expert, entrepreneur, and speaker. Dan started his first business in his undergraduate years, and began with his second business while attending the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Master of Applied Positive Psychology program. His expertise lies in targeted marketing strategies and exceptional attention to maximizing the ROI from email.

Dan sold his first business at age 25 and moved from Rhode Island to Boston. Dan’s passion lies in helping startup and existing businesses use marketing automation technology to drastically increase their customer lifetime value (CLV) and drive business metrics that matter.

Dan’s expertise has been recognized not only by the many companies he’s helped directly, but by major media sites such as Direct Marketing News. He has been interviewed on popular shows such as, Entrepreneur’s Journey, and many others. He also speaks around the country on successful marketing strategy and business, including the eMarketing Association’s national conference, Bryant University, the Cambridge Innovation Center, and more.

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How I am Using HubSpot AND Infusionsoft to Run Groove Digital Marketing

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Ever since I announced that I chose to use HubSpot for my agency, I have been inundated with tweets, comments, and emails asking me why I “switched” from Infusionsoft to HubSpot and in today’s post, I want to set the record straight.

I Have Not “Switched” From Infusionsoft to HubSpot

The reality is that there is very little overlap between these two platforms.

In fact, pretty much the only area of overlap is that they both can do marketing automation…which is practical terms is this: the ability to create automated follow up sequences.

The differences between the two apps are stark.

Things I use HubSpot for:

  • Planning, organizing, and executing my content marketing campaigns
  • Landing Pages
  • Calls-to-action
  • Marketing automation for prospects
  • Detailed content marketing analytics

Things I use Infusionsoft for:

  • Sales opportunity management
  • Task management
  • Online payment processing
  • CRM
  • Marketing automation for clients and “sales qualified” prospects (they have gone through the bottom of my funnel and are now ready for one-on-one conversations)

Why Use Both?

While Infusionsoft is much stronger in terms of marketing automation (see the video below for examples), the reality is that for lead capture and nurturing, HubSpot is plenty good enough AND the analytics from HubSpot are absolutely incredible. On the other hand, if I want to improve conversions in my funnel, Infusionsoft’s analytics are virtually non-existent.

For example, with HubSpot I can very easily see:

  • Cumulative traffic
  • Leads captured
  • Landing page views & conversion rate
  • Call-to-action views and conversion rate
  • Emails delivered, opened and clicked (Infusionsoft does this only for broadcasts)
  • Interaction with every piece of content, landing page, etc… on the contact level (in other words, what did John look at, opt into, open, etc…)

To see me explain this and show some specific examples, please watch the video below.

Hopefully this clarifies how wonderfully these two incredible applications work together.

Questions? Please leave them in the comments below.

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Ontraport vs. Infusionsoft: Which Marketing Software is Right For Your Business

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Ontraport vs. Infusionsoft_0

 Ontraport vs. Infusionsoft_0

“I’m switching from Ontraport to Infusionsoft.”

This is what I heard from one of my subscribers a few weeks ago – three weeks in and he was so frustrated with the functionality constraints, he decided the lower startup costs weren’t worth the hassle, even after he had migrated most of his business into Ontraport (formally Office AutoPilot). The same day I heard from him, another one of our subscribers brought a very similar complaint to us via Facebook. The complaints were pouring in!

So, I decided to write this comparison.

With the great CRM system, the loads of 3rd party support, and the amazing Campaign Builder, Infusionsoft was an easy choice for us, but not everyone has the same needs. Here we’ll take a look at the different features each software provides. Specifically, we’ll analyze the following components:

  • Pricing & Setup
  • Training & Initiation
  • Features
  • Marketing & Automation
  • Other

Pricing & Setup

Each program has its own unique approach to software set-up. Infusionsoft is consultant-based and detailed, while Ontraport is more self-servicing and intuitive. Here are the prices and expectations for each:



$199-379/month,  ~$2000 Kickstart fee


While the initial startup costs can seem daunting to small business owners, Infusionsoft feels that due to the customizable nature of the software, the startup Kickstart training is necessary. The packages follow a structure which includes:

  • One-on-one consulting and implementation help in the first 30 days
  • A custom implementation guide to follow for the next 60 days
  • Analysis of your business’ needs and challenges
  • Help implementing the features that will make the biggest impact
  • Data import and dashboard configuration assistance
infusionsoft kickstart

Taken from Kickstart Page

There are two packages you can choose from once you begin your Kickstart program:

  1. Marketing Blueprint- Ideal for newer businesses looking to create and implement a marketing strategy for their lead generation and nurturing. This program will help create a framework to utilize in the future.
  2. Automate and Scale- Focused more on businesses looking to scale their efforts and make the business processes self-sustaining and automated. This program is designed to help businesses create internal processes to help sustain growth and scale their operations with the business.

The benefits of the Kickstart program go beyond the training and support for the actual software. With the right strategy and self-reflection, business owners can use this support to write personalized goals and campaign strategies, which is a powerful step in lead generation.


Ontraport Prices

Taken From Pricing Page




As opposed to Infusionsoft, you can order Ontraport online and move through the setup process fairly quickly. There is a much shorter lead-to-customer cycle, which is a nice touch and can be less intimidating.

As you can see, the monthly fees are higher but there is no startup fee. There is a free 2 hour implementation session which connects you with a dedicated “Hero” who is in charge of your account. The session includes:

  • Immediate Ontraport training with a dedicated Implementation Specialist
  • Get started building automated processes tailored to your business
  • Gain a deep understanding of Ontraport’s features and functionality
  • Get your sales and marketing automated right away
  • A unique head start in mastering Ontraport that’s tailored to your business

While the stated deliverables are a little overlapping repetitive, the main point is a service professional will contact you and help set up the program while tailoring the session to your business model.

The difference between Ontraport’s Pro and Team options is pretty negligible as far as I can tell, the main difference being the number of program users and email contacts. The number of emails does not change, which is odd considering the extra $300 a month fees.

Training & Initiation


Approx. Set-up Time: 4-8 Weeks

The length of set-up time is partly due to the Kickstart training regimen provided by the company (which takes place over 30 days), and partly because the software is so dynamic. While it the time period may seem long, remember that you will be building and implementing your software throughout the actual process. You will be in contact with a dedicated consultant and can utilize the program while it is being created.

After the Kickstart, you should be well prepared to operate the software, as well as automate many of the processes to run your business. That being said, this is not a quick fix solution. This is a long term strategy which takes time to develop and understand. For this to work you need to allocate some time for reorganizing your business.


The other training advantage I believe Infusionsoft has is their large user community. There are large forums with people actively searching and posting ideas on how to use the software effectively and other strategies they have seen succeed and fail. This is something Ontraport, being a relatively newer and self-learning software, does not yet possess.

Along with an active community, Infusionsoft also hosts events and seminars for their users to learn more about the program and upcoming changes. These include:

  • Infusionsoft University– Based at locations across the country, these classes offer hands-on training, Q&A sessions, mastermind groups, and other events.
  • Virtual Academy– Online training course
  • Mastermind Webinars– Weekly webinars focused on marketing strategies and automation
  • ICON–  Annual seminar for users to learn from business experts and thought leaders

Along with live phone support, Infusionsoft also features 24/7 chat support, which is vital because if you’re a small business owner like myself, you know your business is always a 24/7 effort.


Approx. Set-up Time: 1-4 weeks

This is one of the nice features about Ontraport. There set-up is much simpler. Most of the functions are relatively easy to understand after an initial training. As with Infusionsoft, you have one point of contact during the transition to help you customize your set-up.

The actual time frame depends on your level of experience with marketing software and willingness to learn, but is undoubtedly shorter than the time Infusionsoft takes to master because it is a less involved system.

This process can take longer if you are migrating from other platforms to a centralized system, but if you are unsure or time-restrained, you can hire a concierge to migrate the systems and help with other learning hurdles.

Ontraport Support

A Small Staff and Window of Support Makes Me a Little Nervous

Ontraport offers live chat and service calls for customers, but support hours are limited to 6AM-9PM PST on weekdays and 9AM-9PM PST weekends.

The personalization the “Heroes” offer is nice, but it is also a weakness, as only 12 support staff members are available. This is restraining for businesses located outside of the West Coast or in other parts of the world.

Non-Threatening Feel

I like the friendly feel of the entire interface. If you watch the videos and visit the page it is clean and non-intimidating. If you’re a small business owner looking to make a big money decision, you’ll value that level of approachability.


Let’s break down the different perks and features included in each software.



The CRM is the real backbone of both of these software packages. Here are the rates provided by Infusionsoft:

I normally suggest ignoring the Essentials package and moving straight to the Deluxe(s) and Complete packages. The usefulness of the sales component is reason enough to pick up the larger packages. If you don’t have an inventory or product, you will have less need for Infusionsoft in the first place.

Tagging and Lead Scoring

This is an incredibly easy and powerful tool within Infusionsoft, and with the rising importance of tag management in online marketing, I believe it’s a must for any good CRM software.

You can utilize tags for any number of actions users take on your site and automate what procedures to take when these actions happen.

Infusionsoft Tagging

Searching for Tagged Contacts in Infusionsoft’s CRM

As you can see, data can be sorted by tagged details applied to each contact. This is information you can gather based on opt-in forms, random surveys, user actions, or during the check out portion of your sales process. This allows you to search for relevant information depending on the needs of your campaign.

Notice the tag section below. We utilize hundreds of tags. No joke. We tag everything from clicking a certain link, to attending a webinar, to watching a certain percentage of a video, and so much more.

These tags allow you to monitor your customer’s behavior throughout their experience with your site and give you the opportunity to make informed decisions on how to respond to their actions.

Infusionsoft Lead Scoring

Identifying Hot Leads Automatically

Infusionsoft also offers a quality lead scoring system which you can automate to update when a contact has completed certain actions or purchased certain items. This can be incredibly useful for sales teams looking to optimize their time as it helps to quickly identify quality leads without doing manual searching and decision-making.

This is the key to automation – a powerful CRM system which integrates with a reliable automation system. The tagging and organizational aspects allows you to make more precise and meaningful automation decisions.

Clean Data and Company Identification

While this may seem trite, the value of these features on Infusionsoft should not be understated. With the amount of data coming in, it is important to capture unique contacts.

Infusionsoft allows you to delete repeat information and keep a concise and accurate customer base. With Ontraport, this can be time-consuming.

Infusionsoft B2B

Adding One Tab Can Be So Important

Infusionsoft also allows you to categorize companies independently from customer contacts. If you are running a B2B service or even just have elements of B2B work, this feature is critical. This is also missing in Ontraport’s CRM system.

Sales Pipeline

Infusionsoft Sales Pipeline

Informative Video On The Various Actions In The Sales Pipeline Feature

The Deluxe Sales and Complete versions of Infusionsoft allow you to make complex and powerful sales pipeline adjustments. Use this tool to structure task assignment for sales teams, assign leads to users, update product lists for possible customers, and more. This is a feature especially important for companies with devoted sales teams and a list of products the sales team is working with.

This feature is just plain not available in Ontraport.



Ontraport offers a decent quality CRM system that is useful and intuitive. There is the normal functionality and sorting, but it is much more limited in scope than Infusionsoft.

But this does not mean Ontraport is a bad system.

Ontraport CRM

A Peek Into Ontraport’s CRM

It contains all the necessary components, is clean and efficient, and can handle most CRM needs. There is also a tagging and lead scoring system which can be automated and utilized to act on high involvement actions. The tagging and lead scoring isn’t as advanced as Infusionsoft’s, and doesn’t easily tie into the automation feature (read on for more details about the Marketing Automation differences between the two systems).

These are great features, but they fail to keep up with the sales heavy focus of Infusionsoft. This includes the 150 Custom Fields that Ontraport provides compared to the 100 custom fields per record type that Infusionsoft has. That being said, there are aspects of Ontraport that go above and beyond what Infusionsoft does.

Facebook Integration

If you have a Facebook site or advertising and move a prospect through this channel, Ontraport has a great integration system to capture those leads. This comes standard and creates the lead profile upon user entry. Infusionsoft has a great plug-in called GroSocial which is very similar, but there is an additional fee per month.

Membership Sites

Ontraport offers a free and easy membership site plugin for WordPress users. This is especially useful for information marketing because it allows paying subscribers access to certain content depending on membership level. Infusionsoft offers CustomerHub, but it is also an additional plug-in with an additional fee.

Ontraport offers pretty seamless plugins for WordPress users including order forms, landing page creation, and membership sites. Infusionsoft offers the same.

The difference here is the ability to add-on as your business grows.

Ontraport is limited in its capabilities and does not have a strong plug-in marketplace. Infusionsoft allows you to add nearly any business function you need as you grow your business. This allows for a vastly more personal software system throughout the life of your business.

Marketing & Automation


Webpage Builder

Infusionsoft Webpage Builder

Infusionsoft’s Webpage Builder

In the Campaign Builder function of Infusionsoft there is a drag-and-drop feature for creating things such as landing pages. There are templates available that can cater to most customers. With a little bit of training, the process is relatively simple and intuitive.

The function does lack in terms of creativity and manipulation. You can completely customize your pages, but it does take a little more time and understanding of the software.

Email Templates

Infusionsoft Email Template

Infusionsoft’s Email Templates

Email templates are one of the nicer aspects of Infusionsoft’s marketing system. The formatting is very simple and extremely clean, but there are additional functions and personalization available.

For instance, you can insert personalized information in an email, include a download link to an online product, or tag a contact based on a specific link they click in your email.

You can easily direct your emails to specific users, and the integrated anti-spam system helps your emails avoid your contact’s spam folder.

Despite this, there is no real split-testing function in Infusionsoft. You can manipulate the emails to send to specific users (as in cloning the email and selecting A-M and N-Z for example) but it is cumbersome.

THE Campaign Builder

Ok, here it is. The best feature of any small company marketing software – the marketing automation component.

In Infusionsoft, it’s called the Campaign Builder.

Infusionsoft Campaign Builder

Best Campaign Planning Software I’ve Seen

It’s just so damn beautiful.

This feature allows you to conceptually create a system of actions to take place throughout different campaigns. It can trigger automated responses depending on where your contact came from and what they are searching for.


It’s also very simple to use and makes the process of visualizing the customer buying process on your site much easier.

I really can’t get enough of this piece of software. This is the kind of thing that would normally be reserved for large company software programs worth thousands. This is far and away the best automation tool I’ve seen – not just in comparison to Ontraport, but to any small-to-mid-sized software on the market.

Here are some videos on how the system works and how easy it is to create campaigns.


Webpage Builder and PURLs

Ontraport’s webpage builder is more customizable and looks cleaner. This also applies to Ontraport’s web order forms, post cards, and landing pages. They emphasize the personal touch in their product. These Ontraport-created pages can also be hosted on your own site, which makes it easier to have full control over the sales process.

Ontraport also has a great PURL system. If you are unfamiliar, PURLs are sites that customers land on which has personalized features that can say things like “Hey Brian” or “It’s been 3 days since your last visit, here’s what you missed”. You see this on larger sites like Amazon and it really adds a great marketing angle. These are only available through a 3rd party with Infusionsoft.

Ontraport If-Then System

Ontraport Tagging System

If-Then Systems

Ontraport offers a campaign system which is intuitive and in a language that most users can understand. Select a user action, then a condition (like if the customer is a subscriber), and then a follow up action to be taken.

You can really get down to the specifics with this system and it is a breeze to set-up and utilize. This is a very useful tool in the steps towards profitable automation.

While the system works well and is in the same vein as the Campaign Builder, it can’t even hold a torch to the amount of customization you can achieve with Infusionsoft’s system.

Ontraport Split-Testing

 Split-Testing in Ontraport


This is possibly the most useful integration feature of the marketing automation tool-set. The Split-Testing option allows you to create up to 4 different emails (A/B/C/D) and send them out based on certain parameters or on random assortment.

This can be integral to your marketing efforts as you measure and report the different response rates you are getting from your campaigns, and is a powerful testing function which isn’t as easy in Infusionsoft.

These emails are also sent from your own IP address and have a time zone identifier for your international customers (Infusionsoft was adjusting that last time I checked).

Other Features


To be fair, Infusionsoft is really the only one of the two with any real E-Commerce functionality. There is seamless and powerful integration between E-Commerce, CRM, and the Campaign Builder.

If you have a sales team or a product listing, Infusionsoft has a clear advantage because Ontraport just doesn’t have a E-Commerce system in place other than 3rd party plugins.

Shopping Cart

Infusionsoft Shopping Cart

A Multi-Item Shopping Cart Comes Standard

As you can see, Infusionsoft has a multiple-item shopping cart, and action buttons for the different stages of the buying process. You can tag people who have purchased items and redirect sales efforts based on those new conditions. This can also be used in collaboration with your Campaign Builder, making a seamless buyer process to monitor.

Affiliate Center

Infusionsoft offers a hosted affiliate center which is much easier to initiate than Ontraport’s self-hosted option. The system is set up and ready for you, so all you have to do is configure it. Ontraport has this feature but you must create your own site through the WordPress plugin, much more time consuming.

3rd Party Plug-Ins

This is one of the defining features of Infusionsoft. There are a fantastic list of developers catering to niches in your business efforts. If you need a new function in your system, you can often simply find someone who provides it.

Despite the additional costs, I’m going to say this is a big plus for Infusionsoft. Ontraport just does not possess the sheer number and functionality of 3rd party developers as Infusionsoft does. You can add so much personalization and utility to your process, whereas Ontraport users are essentially stuck with the options provided.


Postcards and Email

Ontraport allows you to create and send personalized post-cards to customers with at no extra cost (there is a limit on amount sent). This may not be overly important to your business but it is a nice touch which can really add to your customer’s trust in you.

Ontraport also allows a much larger email lists and amounts of emails to send. You can add additional email contacts to your contract with Infusionsoft, but it is an additional fee.

Ontraport Tracking

Tracking Features on Ontraport

Analtyics and Tracking

Tracking is made pretty simple with Ontraport’s system. It allows you to see with data and charts what things your customers are doing on your site – which pages they visit, which links they click, and more.

This is especially useful with Ontraport’s email split testing and PURL functions, which can give you fast and easy reporting on your campaign reactions.

While Infusionsoft does offer data analysis tools, you will likely want to create your own analytic reports. They do offer some standard functions but for more detailed reporting you have to create your own formulas. This allows for more customization, but to be honest, it can be difficult to know what you want the data to do and, probably more so, what data is worth looking into.

The analytics reporting feature included in Ontraport is a little more easy to read and conceptualize, especially with the graphs and other tools.

I use a 3rd party data analysis tool on Infusionsoft, and regardless, I do recommend you have multiple measuring systems in place, but it is nice to have one already established.

The Breakdown

ontraport vs. infusionsoft


Ontraport vs. Infusionsoft. I know it seems lopsided, but the fact is Infusionsoft is a larger company with more capabilities. Ontraport has some great features as well but for many users the functionality may not be enough.

Ontraport is newer and is continually learning from their progress. It’s great. I love what they’re doing and they have a good program, but they are competing with a better, more established, even cheaper alternative. It just doesn’t stack up right now.

Infusionsoft has more features that focus on more solidified business practices, which is why they’ve been growing so rapidly for years. In fact, they received $54 million in venture capital funding in 2013, and they’re only expected to continue to flourish.

Their focus on CRM, Sales, and Campaign Planning are the reasons Infusionsoft holds such a solid presence in the marketing software marketplace.

I would continue to recommend Infusionsoft for most business structures, especially ones that possess a strong sales angle and a physical product. For information marketing, solo-ventures, and consulting, I can see where Ontraport can provide some great tools. The problem is scalability, where Ontraport is limited to its basic functions, while Infusionsoft grows with the user as their business grows and changes.

But my opinion isn’t the only one worth listening to – what are some of your experiences with these two pieces of software? What are some key selling points? What do you like or dislike? We love to hear your ideas on the analyses we do here.

Additional Resources

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How Content Marketing Has Forever Changed How to Attract Clients and How You Can Take Advantage of This Shift

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Are you struggling to attract clients? Have you heard about Content Marketing, but aren’t yet sure what it is, or how to implement it? Would you like to be able to stop spending money chasing prospects and asking them to do business with you?

Read more

How Content Marketing and Marketing Automation Led to a $5,000 Retainer Client


Retainer ClientIf you are thinking about embracing content marketing to help grow your business, I hope that what I’m about to share with you will motivate you to begin immediately.

At 9am one morning last week, I hosted an online meeting with a prospective client in need of the type of help that we offer via our consulting company, Groove Digital Marketing. There were three people on the call from the prospect’s company: the owner, their copywriter, and their marketing/technology pro.

At 11:45, the call was finished, and without the need of a proposal, the owner said, “At this point, I cannot see why we will not be proceeding with you.” Two hours later, they’d made their first payment of $5,000 and we had a deal.

How Did This Happen?

Now that you know the outcome, I want to give you the back story. My hope is that when you see what happened, you will realize how powerful content marketing and marketing automation can be.

On November 5th, Brian (their technology/marketing guy) somehow found as a part of his search for a solution to their marketing and operational challenges.

When he found my site, he decided that the free offer I make on the home page was valuable enough to become a subscriber.

ct-airThe “lead magnet” I offer on the home page is access to my Conversion Tactics 4 part video training series. (If you would like to see the videos in this series, just go my home page and enter your details.)

This offer is the #1 way that I use to fill the top of my marketing funnel. Once in the funnel, subscribers are sent video #1 on day one, video #2 on day two, etc…

In Brian’s case, he watched video #2 on November the 8th and video #3 on November 9th. He watched 100% of video #1 and #2 and just 75% of video #3. I know this because I am able to track how much of my videos that each subscriber watches. In fact, the emails a subscriber receives from me actually differ, depending on how much of the videos they watch.

After watching 75% of video #3 Brian, who was unknown to me at the time, emailed me to ask if we could arrange a time to chat. I replied with a “yes” an asked him to book a time via my online calendar.

Houston, We Have Contact

Brian and I’s first call happened on November 18th and during that call, he gave me an overview of their business. He also took time to describe the problems and challenges that they wanted to overcome. Upon hearing these challenges, I knew that I could probably make a huge impact on their business over a period of time, and asked Brian to arrange another call for he and I, as well as the owner of the company.

Brian concluded by saying that his boss was a “very tough sell”, so I suggested that he have his boss listen to a few of the podcast interviews I’d done with other entrepreneurs whose businesses were more automated than Brian’s.

Houston, We Have Touchdown

LiftoffThe call with Brian’s boss (Paul) was a very long call and I spent most of the time asking questions. One of the challenges with conversations like this is that, with so much to talk about, the conversation can “wander around” for quite some time – and not necessarily lead to the desired outcome.

To avoid this, I decided to use a Lifecycle Marketing self assessment as a framework for the discussion. By using this framework, we were able to have a productive conversation about each area of their business. More importantly, I was able to learn a lot about Paul’s needs, wants, and desires in a very short period of time.

I was also able to learn a fair amount about Paul’s values and quickly realized that he was very passionate about his product and wanted to give his customers the best possible experience.

It probably took me a solid hour or so of questions before I ever got to the point of making any suggestions. In fact, after asking Paul to rate himself on each of the steps of Lifecycle Marketing, I would ask if he believed a change needed to be made or not. The goal of the self assessment and “is that really important to you?” questions was to figure out what Paul was most motivated to fix first.

Getting the Deal

Many inexperienced salespeople think that “closing” requires all sorts of fancy techniques and magical statements.

The truth is exactly the opposite.

The “close” is the logical conclusion to the consultative approach to selling – which is a fancy way of saying, to sell, you must ask questions – and lots of them.

HandshakeThe more questions I asked Paul, the more he began to trust what I had to say – and as time went by, enough trust was eventually built up for Paul to decide that we were the right fit for what he needed – so he made the decision to move forward.

Key Take Aways

Regardless of what you sell, there are always people looking for your product or service. The key is to let them find YOU. This is the primary goal of content marketing.

For over a year, I have been dutifully creating and publishing content that would help my target market to solve their problems. Had I not been publishing and promoting my content, Brian would have never found my website.

Once Brian did find my site, if I wasn’t capturing leads with a free offer (called a Lead Magnet), it would have been impossible for Brian to become a subscriber, and had he not become a subscriber, he would have never been exposed to the three videos he watched prior to reaching out to contact me.

Video is extremely powerful on the web. By using it, I was able to give Brian a first hand look at my personality and communication style. Had he not been exposed to these videos, I doubt that his motivation to reach out and ask for my assistance would have been nearly as high.

Marketing automation also played a huge role because Brian didn’t watch video #2 or #3 when I first sent him the links. He, like everyone else on the planet, was probably too busy on the day that these first emails arrived, so it wasn’t until he received a few reminders that he actually took the time to watch them. Had I not created the reminders in my funnel, it’s unlikely that I would have a new client today.

Want to Get Results Like This?

There is a very specific process to achieving success with content marketing and marketing automation and in today’s post, I have given you a glimpse of the results that can be achieved when you get the formula right.

If you have not yet implemented content marketing or marketing automation, I strongly encourage you to start today. To help you do that, I have written a book called the Digital Marketing Handbook: The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Putting Client Attraction on Autopilot that will be available for sale on December 10. If you get on the early bird list today, you will be notified the day the book is released and you will be given a coupon code to get 25% off the price. Go and register now!

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The Biggest Mistake I Made in 2013



Earlier this morning, I was on the phone with a friend (and former podcast guest) of mine by the name of Casey Graham. Casey and I had scheduled a call to talk about how we might help each other to promote some of our products, and while we did make a plan to do that, the most surprising part of the call was some of the advice that Casey gave me after he asked me how things were going.

The Value of Being Transparent

Rather than give Casey a fluffy answer and tell him that everything was going smashingly well, I decided to be fully transparent and share with Casey some of the frustrations that I have been dealing with in my business. Being the helpful guy that he is, when he heard me express that I was frustrated he immediately asked me to explain to him what some of the challenges were, and why I was so frustrated.

I told Casey that I’ve spent the last year publishing interviews with dozens of successful entrepreneurs as well as creating the very best content that I could. I thought that by doing so I would attract an audience made up of entrepreneurs who were already in business and looking for advice on how to get to the next level.

20304379_sMy plan was to use my automated marketing funnel to nurture these prospects, build trust, and ultimately convert them into customers for my information products and my mastermind group. To me, this seemed like a much better business than consulting, because my revenue wasn’t tied to how many hours I worked.

While I have definitely sold quite a number of my information products and my mastermind group has 10 very happy members, the volume of revenue generated from the sales has fallen well short of my expectations.

Casey asked me if I have reached out and had a conversation with each and every one of the people who bought my information products.

I told him that I had not.

I went on to add that one-on-one conversations didn’t scale very well and weren’t really a part of my business model. That is why I put so much effort into content marketing combined with marketing automation.

The Best Advice I Received in 2013

When he told the next was the very best advice I’ve received in 2013 – and the hilarious part is that just two days ago I had recorded a half hour long video to give this exact advice to my own tribe. Apparently the teacher needs to drink his own Kool-Aid!

kool-aid-1Casey told me that when a business is young (like his and mine), by far the best way to grow fast is to reach out and talk to every single customer. He told me that this is exactly what he had been doing over the last couple of months to launch his new business, Business Rocket.

Back in August of last year, he decided to launch this new business and set a goal to do $100,000 in revenue in the first 6 months. At the time of our conversation today, he was 80% the way there.

To kick the business off, he told me that he sold a relatively low-priced product to 54 people via a webinar and then he reached out to every single one of those people got them on the phone and asked him how he could provide additional help.

These conversations, he said, have helped him to really understand the challenges that his customers face – and, on quite a number of occasions these conversations, which he did not charge for, resulted in his customers asking for paid consulting. As a result, in less than six months, he has generated over $80,000 in revenue for his new business.

Had Casey not taken the time to reach out to each of the customers who bought his $297 product, there is no way that the $80,000 in consulting revenue would have happened. Moreover, he would not have been able to gain such a thorough understanding of exactly the problems and challenges that were keeping these people awake at night.

My Big Mistake

When I sold my last company I received quite a lot of money and as a result my sense of urgency to generate new cash flow was quite low.

Ironically, this is a very dangerous place to be.

In my case, because I have this high level of comfort, I did not engage in the one on one conversations that I used to build my last business into a $2 million company. Instead, I simply created content and use marketing automation to sell my products.

By taking this automated approach too early in the life of my business, I have cost myself dearly.

15763114_sBecause I have not been reaching out and having one-on-one conversations with my customers, I have not given them the opportunity to get additional help from me by hiring me to consult with them. If I had, I’m pretty sure that the revenue from this consulting work would have easily produced tens of thousands of dollars in additional revenue – plus, as I spent my time talking one-on-one with all of my customers I would have also learned a great deal more about the problems and challenges that they face – and this is valuable information that I could then use to improve my existing products and/or launch new ones.

Don’t Automate Too Soon

The mistake that I have made is to automate too much, too soon.

Thanks to my conversation with Casey, I intend to immediately correct this problem and starting today, I plan to personally reach out to every single one of my new customers (as well as many of my existing customers) to ask them to hop on the phone with me (for free) so that I can help them to make the most of the product, answer questions, and offer advice.

When I do these calls, I have no doubt that some of the people I talked to will end up wanting to hire me for additional consulting/coaching or to become a part of my mastermind group.

Even if I don’t generate any immediate revenue, I’m confident that the goodwill I create by offering this free advice to my customers will also result in a fair number of positive mentions on social networks, which in turn will very likely drive more traffic to my site, more leads, and more sales.

Can I Help You?

If you have already bought a product of mine and would like to get on the phone with me, please get in touch. If you haven’t yet bought a product and have questions about marketing, blogging, marketing automation, lead generation, etc…, please leave your question in the comments below and you will get an answer directly from yours truly.

To your success!


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Digital Marketing Strategy: Jermaine Griggs on How He Used Marketing Automation to Build a 7 Figure Online Business

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Jermaine Griggs, 30, is a minister, musician, entrepreneur, and public speaker. Having grown up in the inner city of Long Beach with just his mom and sister, he always envisioned life on the other side of the tracks. At 16, he started Hear and Play Music, an instructional music company specializing in teaching piano by ear. With only $70, he bought the domain name and launched the company that would not only change his life but hundreds of thousands of musicians around the world through his books, DVDs, and online training courses.

Today, what started as a high school hobby has gone on to produce 8 figures in revenue since inception. More than two million aspiring musicians download his online lessons every year and over 301,700 loyal students receive his regular newsletters.

While in college studying Law & Criminology at the University of California, Irvine, Jermaine relied heavily on automated follow-up and marketing processes to run his business while he made good on a promise to his family to graduate school. What resulted was a unique automation strategy and philosophy that he follows religiously til’ this day.

As a result of his success and uncanny ability to mesmerize audiences, Jermaine started attracting the attention of the business world. He’s been featured on Msn, Yahoo, Kiplinger, D&B, Aetna’s Innovators, Msnbc, and more. In 2011, he was awarded Infusionsoft’s “Ultimate Marketer of the Year” and teaches entrepreneurs how to repeat his success by working smarter and not harder. He recently launched in 2012 as a place to share his marketing automation philosophies and strategies.

Having seen his company grow from a few hundred dollars a month into a multimillion dollar business without venture capital or loans, he now shares his inspiring story with young people and entrepreneurs all over the country. He’s been a mentor in organizations like Operation Jump Start, NAACP / ACT-SO, NCCJ, and speaks to school districts, churches, and youth groups regularly.

Listen to the Audio

Our Chat Today

  • What happens when a user opts into the funnel
  • An overview of how he uses negative tags
  • An overview of how he tracks how long people stay on a page
  • An overview of how he evergreens a product launch
  • How to do a broadcast to increase profits
  • How to ensure people aren’t receiving more than one email in a day
  • An overview of how he’s driving traffic
  • An overview of is custom dashboard and leadsources
  • An overview of how he’s using upsells
  • His advice on whether to focus on traffic or conversion

Additional Resources Mentioned

Thanks for Listening!

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  • Leave a comment in the comment section below
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How to Test the Viability of a Niche Marketing Without Wasting Valuable Time and Resources


Once you’ve chosen your niche, I suggest you test that niche in the way that I’m about to describe before fully committing to it.

The reason for this is that I often see people putting a great deal of time and effort to building a complete website for their chosen niche before ever running any tests. As you might guess, pursuing the wrong niche can turn out to be a massive waste of time and resources.

To avoid what could be weeks or months of wasted time building the site, creating blog posts, and in promoting those posts, you can greatly minimize the risk of picking the wrong niche by putting up a few landing pages and then driving traffic to them.

In my book on marketing automation, I cover in detail how to create landing pages and lead magnets. What I will be covering in today’s post is quick and easy way to drive traffic to these landing pages so that in a very short period of time you can determine, with a high degree of certainty, if a given niche is worth pursuing.

Two Ways to Generate Immediate Traffic

There are two ways that I commonly use to drive traffic to a landing page in the shortest possible amount of time. While neither method is free, the cost of testing a niche using the method that I’m about to outline pales in comparison to the cost of putting weeks and/or months into pursuing the wrong niche.

Use Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC can be a great way to test your niche. (image source:

PPC can be a great way to test your niche.
(image source:

Depending upon the niche you’re going after, you’ll want to try Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn paid advertising to drive traffic to your landing page. If your business is B2B, I would suggest that you use LinkedIn because you can target your ads very specifically.

If your business is B2C, I suggest you use Facebook for exactly the same reasons.

As a last resort you may also want to try Google Adwords; however I suspect you’ll find the costs are excessive when compared to either Facebook or LinkedIn; especially given the fact that you cannot target your audience nearly as well with Google as you can with the social platforms I just mentioned.

When using a PPC campaign to drive traffic to a landing page, you need to be aware that there are several variables that you’re going to need to test before you can determine if the experiment was a success or not.

Test Several Variables

The first variable that you want to test is the image in the headline of your ad. I would suggest that for the first part of this test you keep your headline consistent and use anywhere from 10 to 20 different images. Once you have identified the top performing image that I would suggest you test different variations of the headline.

After you are getting a satisfactory click through on your ads, you’re going to need to look at the conversion rate of your landing page. I cover how to split test the landing page in detail in my marketing automation book.

Direct Mail

Some niches will be easier to reach with direct mail than with PPC advertising. For these niches, I suggest you use three-dimensional direct-mail, otherwise known as lumpy mail.

Old fashioned mail is another great way to test a niche.. provided you use it the right way! (image source:

Old fashioned mail is another great way to test a niche.. provided you use it the right way!
(image source:

The reason that 3D mail works so much better than conventional mail is that the recipient of your direct mail will be pretty curious as to what is inside the envelope and, as such, the likelihood that they are going to open your envelope is substantially higher.

The costs of sending out 3D mail will, of course, be higher than the costs of sending out conventional mail or postcards; however, I believe that the increased response rate will be more than worth it. (And yes, you could actually split test this, too!)

When choosing a 3D object to including your mailing, I suggest that you find something that closely relates to the captivating headline you put at the top of the letter you are going to include in the mailing (you should also split test your headlines over time).

The more creative you are, the better your results are going to be, so be sure and put sufficient time and effort into coming up with

ideas for what you’re going to send before you reach into your wallet.

There are numerous suppliers from which to choose (Google the term “3d mail” or “lumpy mail”). The one that I am currently using is

In our case, the call to action in the letter is just the same as it would be with the PPC ad, and that is the landing page URL – which we personalize to the recipient.

How to Maximize Landing Page Conversions

To maximize conversions, we’ve built landing pages that are customized to each individual. On these landing pages we display a video was specifically created for the intended recipient. As we are attempting to test this niche’s appetite to outsource their marketing to our marketing agency, the video shows 3 to 4 minute review of their website. In the videos we identify the 5 to 7 critical factors that are wrong with their site, and share how each factor is costing them money.

As with all the marketing that I do, this strategy relies heavily on some ninja marketing automation tactics to increase its effectiveness. To be able to replicate what I’m about to explain you’re going to need to use Infusionsoft, and

Wistia is the company that I use to host the video, which I embed on the landing page. Producing the video takes less than five minutes. All I do is have a look at their site, make a list of the deficiencies, and then record the screen share where I introduce myself and explain what these deficiencies are and their negative impact.

This video is then exported to a dropbox folder, and, thanks to, it is automatically uploaded to the appropriate folder in Wistia. I then use to set up video tracking so that I can apply the tag in Infusionsoft if my prospect watches more than 75% of the video. (I chose 75% but you can pick any percentage you like.)

In each case, we have done our best to obtain a working email address for the prospect. The way that we do this is to go to their contact page and then view the source code to find an email address (search for “mailto:” and if an address is available in the code, you’ll find it). This is the email address that we use in their contact record within Infusionsoft as well as in the URL of the landing page. To mask what is now an ugly landing page URL, we simply create a “pretty link” (easy to type) that includes their name. To do this, you’ll need the Pretty Link plugin for WordPress.

Using Automation to Track Video Engagement

By taking this approach, when a prospect receives our lumpy mail and then visits the landing page that we have specified, if they watch more than 75% of the video we receive a notification from Infusionsoft.

The goal of the landing page is to get them to opt in and download our lead magnet – which is highly relevant to the niche. When they download the lead magnet, we will have captured their preferred email address and then an automated follow-up campaign begins in Infusionsoft.

The reason the video tracking is helpful is because if they do not opt in, we are still able to tell if our prospect visited the landing page and watched at least 75% (or whatever we specify) of the video.

If, over time, we see the videos are being watched and we are not capturing leads, we’ll know that our direct mail is effective at getting them to visit the landing page, however, the landing page is not effective at getting them to give us their contact details.


There are unlimited niches out there, but not all are good targets - pick wisely! (image source:

There are unlimited niches out there, but not all are good targets – pick wisely!
(image source:

As I hope you can now see, testing a niche using either of the methods that I have outlined above will give you immediate feedback on whether this is a niche that you can get traction with – and, best of all you will not have had to build an entire website.

It’s not enough to believe that a niche needs your help, or that they can afford to pay you for it. If you cannot acquire a customer at a cost that is less than your average customer value, you will not be in business long!

Moreover, if you really want to grow, you are going to need a system for attracting customers on a regular basis, as opposed to just getting one every now and again via personal relationships. Niche testing will tell you if this is likely to be possible.

If you succeed in getting traction using this test, then it is a good idea to dive in, build a site and begin creating and promoting your content on an ongoing basis as I describe how to do in my new book.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outbound is Dead

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

I didn’t get a single client from it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s What They are Doing Wrong

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

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

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

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

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

No one raised their hand.

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

No one raised their hand.

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

Holy cow!

This is How People Shop Today

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

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

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

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

Every hand in the room went up.


A Live Marketing Automation Tutorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracking Video Engagement

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

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

Virtually every hand in the room went up.

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

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

Say no more.

The Book That I’m Writing Will Help You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More About This Episode

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

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

Listen Now

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About Meny Hoffman

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

To learn more, follow Meny Hoffman on Twitter or email him at


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