Brad Martineau 4 in x 6 in x 300 dpi x FC(1)

How to Capture More Leads, Target Them More Effectively, and Sell More Products

Do you ever feel like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done?

Do you feel like you have a crystal clear picture of exactly what success looks like for your business?

Would you like to hear from another small business owner who is successfully making the transition from owner/operator to just owner?

If you are looking for actionable tactics and strategies that you can use to spend more time working “on” your business, as opposed to “in” it, you are going to love listening in on the discussion that we have in this interview.

My guest on the show today is Brad Martineau, founder of Sixth Division – a leading source of coaching, training, and done for you services for Infusionsoft users.

When you listen to this interview, you are going to hear Brad and I talk about:

  • (9:35) Brad’s biggest challenge
  • (12:52) How to transition from Solopreneur to Entrepreneur
  • (18:05) The story of Pardot & what anyone building a business can learn from their strategies
  • (20:05) How to define what success means to you
  • (23:35) How plusthis helps capture more leads, target them more effectively, and sell more products
  • (27:15) How Iron Tribe (a past brightideas guest) uses plusthis with great success
  • (30:05) How to customize thank you pages
  • (30:10) How Laura Roeder (another past BrightIdeas guest) uses plusthis
  • (35:05) What transactional text messaging is and how you can use it to offer a speedy response to your customers
  • (40:05) How to use expiring promotions to offer time-limited discounts
  • (48:05) How to use a Cycler Tool to determine the order in which you deliver content
  • (55:00) Lightning Round

I learned a great deal in this interview, and strongly encourage that you go check it out now.

Links 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.

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Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Dyrsmid: Hey there, Bright Idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
podcast. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast for marketing
agencies and entrepreneurs who want to discover how to use content
marketing and marketing automation to massively boost their business. My
guest on the show today is Brad Martineau, founder of Sixth Division, a
leading source of coaching, training and done-for-you services for
Infusionsoft users. They’re also the founder of a company called PlusThis
which we’re going to talk about in some detail in the interview.I met Brad while attending Infusion Con 13 and I learned of his new
venture which I just mentioned, PlusThis. They were a battle of the apps
finalist. They do some really cool stuff that integrates with Infusionsoft
and that’s why I wanted to give Brad an opportunity and talk about it.Before we get to that we’re going to talk about my technology tool
tip of the week. That is something called ‘Buffer App’. I use Buffer App to
very easily schedule up a bunch of social sharing. whether I want to put it
on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. When I’m reading my RSS feed each morning
and I see stuff that I want to share with my particular audience if you
just hit the tweet button it’s all going to go out automatically right away
and I don’t necessarily want stuff to go that quickly. I like to stagger it
out. Buffer App, which is a free tool to use, you can get it at is a super easy way to stagger your distribution and choose
which of your social networks you want to share that traffic on.Lastly I want to make mention of an upcoming webinar that I have.
It’s called the Seven Secrets of Success for Small Businesses. If you want
to attend that webinar you’re going to learn all about something called
‘life cycle marketing’ which is a seven step process that I absolutely
promise you will have a massive impact on your business once you understand
and then embrace these seven steps in the business. If you are not yet a
subscriber and you want to get notified of that webinar just go to
BrightIdeas dot C-O, enter your details and you’ll definitely get emails
from me making you aware of the next webinar date.With all of that said please join me in welcoming Brad to the show.Hey, Brad. Welcome to the show.Brad
Martineau: Thanks. Glad to be here.

Trent: You recently have come out with this new tool, I’ve just
started to use it really early on and that’s why I wanted to have you on
the episode to have you talk a little bit about the tool and how you’re
using it to build your business and how your clients are using it to build
their business. It’s called PlusThis, it was a battle of the apps finalist
at Infusion Con 2013. That’s how I learned about it and I want to talk
about that but before we dive into that for people who don’t know who Brad
Martineau is or what you’re doing maybe just take a quick moment and
introduce yourself.

Brad: Yeah sure. Obviously, my name is Brad Martineau. Funny how I feel
compelled to say that even though you’ve said that several times. But
that’s my name in case anyone missed it the first time around. I’m a co-
founder at Sixth Division which is a company that provides marketing
services and coaching primarily right now our target market is people who
use Infusionsoft but we see ourselves at some point expanding to work with
the small business population at large.

My background very quickly. I was the sixth employee at Infusionsoft.
I believe it was back in 2004 was when I started so I was the entire
support team and then we hired a support team and I moved into
implementation. I was specifically just helping people implement the
software and I ended up in product management which is a fancy way of
saying that for about five and a half to six years I got to work on the
front lines with customers to figure out how they were using Infusionsoft
and quite frankly other tools in their business to run their business,
being able to see what worked, what doesn’t work. My job was to work with
our developers and our executive team to create a product development
pipeline and build features that were powerful and also made sense to

I believe I had the best job that you can possibly have. Being able
to work with end users and customers and then being able to work hand in
hand with the developers. I had my fingerprints over pretty much every
feature that was developed the time that I was there. It was really fun to
see what technology could do and understand, at a level deeper than
probably any business owner ever cares to know and I don’t know that I
really care to still know that, but it was really good to get that deep
dive of, ‘This is what’s possible with technology,’ and have that blended
with, ‘Here’s what people are doing in the real world to build their

I did that for five and half to six years and I got to a point where
the stars aligned, planets aligned got to a point where it made sense for
me to branch off. I was going to solve all the problems in the world and
then reality hit, there was a learning curve like I think everybody goes
through of building and running and growing a business is a little bit
different in theory than it is in practice so there’s a little bit of a
learning curve but after a while I connected with Dave Lee who’s my
business partner. He also worked at Infusionsoft. We worked together for
about six years. He had subsequently left as well. We decided there’s a
need for a practical, down-to-earth yet elite team and service provider to
really help people grasp this concept of marketing automation and really,
as opposed to the tail wagging the dog, put the business owner and make
them be the dog that actually wags the tail. A lot of people get in and
jump on this train ride that is Infusionsoft and they’re holding on for
dear life. We want to put them back in control and really help them
leverage the power that Infusionsoft can bring their business.

That’s the short summary. I was at Infusionsoft and now we’ve got a
company over here where we help people unleash the full power of
Infusionsoft on their business. We’re having a blast, having a good time.
PlusThis was spun off…I don’t know if you follow 37 Signals but they
wrote a book early on and talked about by product and how some of their
products were created because it was just something they needed when they
were initially being a consulting company or building and designing
websites. PlusThis is the exact same thing. It was a, we were working with
clients… and maybe you’re going to ask where PlusThis came from so it’s
going to dovetail into that but we worked with a lot of clients and we
realised very, very quickly that there were almost zero implementations
that we could do, and do the way that we wanted to to really unlock
Infusionsoft without requiring a little bit of custom development. That’s
not to say you can’t make it work. It’s just to say that the way we wanted
to build it we needed some additional tools that weren’t available. We
started contracting a developer to build these little scripts that we
wrote, and we would install it on our customer’s web server and they could
do really cool things. We realized we were building the same things over
and over again.

I had had this idea when I left Infusionsoft to build a library of
scripts so we could put everything in one spot and once we realized we were
actually building the same scripts over and over again and the fact that
business owners don’t want to think about FTP or API or web servers or any
of that, most of them, so we wanted to build something so easy… we like
to joke around the office it had to be so easy that even Clate Mask could
use it, who’s the CEO of Infusionsoft. We set out to build this library of
features, that’s what PlusThis is and we ended up becoming a finalist in
Battle of the Apps. It’s debatable as to who should have won that contest
but we’ll let it go. That’s where we are now. We provide services and then
we have this software tool that we’re continuing to develop and add on to
and again, everything we focus on right now is helping the small business
get more out of Infusionsoft and really leverage the power that’s there
whether it be through services or through software.

Drysmid: For some of the folks who haven’t heard of Sixth Division where
are you located and how many people are coming to work there every day?

Brad: We’re in Chandler, Arizona so we’re ten minutes door to door from
Infusionsoft. Straight down the freeway from Infusionsoft. We have some
employees who are remote and who travel in to do services. We’ve got one in
Ohio, one in San Diego and then there are seven of us that work in the
office. So nine total plus a couple of contractors that do some pretty
regular work for us.

Drysmid: You’ve built a very nice small business. The reason I ask that
question is there are a lot of people listening to this who are a
solopreneur or maybe even a two person or a three person shop. I remember
when I was a solopreneur and I got to two and then I got to three. When I
was at three I was thinking, ‘Man, how do I get to six?’ When I was at six
I was thinking, ‘How do I get to ten? How do I get to twelve?’ I want to
make sure people understand that you’re a small business owner just like
they are and you have the same challenges in attracting new clients and
making sure profits arrive and systematizing and so forth to grow your
business just like they do.

Brad: Just one point on that. Our biggest challenge…and I don’t say
challenge like ‘we don’t know what to do’. It’s the next obstacle. But our
obstacle right now is creating systems and getting everything in place to
where my business partner and I can spend our time building the business
and not doing the work. There’s an interesting gap that you have to get
across, if you had asked me even nine months ago I don’t know that I would
have told you that within the next six to nine months that I would
literally be in a position where I would be building the business and not
doing the work. And quite frankly I don’t know that I would have told you
that I wanted to. I think that probably six months or so ago I wanted to
build a team because we needed more people to provide services but I was
excited about being involved in the work because it was my baby.

The thought process of how we go about doing what we do, a lot of
that was coming from me. My business partner’s more the marketing and the
sales side. The only reason I bring this up is because for the person who’s
sitting at three or even at six, depending on the type of business and
there’s variations, and all different types of business, but there’s a very
strong pull to want to hold tightly to the thing that you do, whether it be
providing a service or you’re building something. Whatever the case may be
there’s a very tight pull, almost magnetic, that you want to keep a grasp
on what it is that your company does. Really for the company to grow I’ve
had to come to realize and to learn that I have to get people that can do
that and empower them to do that because there is so much work that needs
to be done to establish a systematized business and then to create a
marketing plan to continue to bring in the leads. There’s a full time job,
if not multiple full time jobs, just to build a business and it’s what the
business owner should be doing. If there’s anybody listening that’s
struggling with that that’s something I definitely struggled with. There’s
definitely a mental shift that has to take place to go from ‘I’m going to
be doing this work, I’m going to be doing it,’ to get to the point where,
‘I could actually go hire people. If I could find the right people, I could
put the right people in place to be able to get myself to where I’m
building the business and not doing the work.’ But it takes a bit of a
shift of a mind set.

Drysmid: I’m glad you brought that up and I’m going to go down that
rabbit hole for a little bit before we shift and talk about PlusThis
because I think it’s a really importantly rabbit hole. The first thing is,
you talked about something and as you were saying I thought about this. You
can have growth or you can have control. I think that’s part of that big
mind shift. I’m interested in your opinion. Did you feel you had to give up
control to get to growth?

Brad: Absolutely. Infusionsoft offers this thing called ‘Elite Forum’. It’s
Clate and Scott teaching their methodology. Dave, my business partner, and
I were involved in that when we were at Infusionsoft. He made a really
interesting comment the last time I was there which was just a different
way – I’d never thought about it this way. He said, ‘Entrepreneurship is an
exercise in learning to let go.’ If that’s not the truest statement in the
world I’m not sure what is.

I believe 100% that in order for you to be able to grow, and not just
grow revenues, but to grow the business however it needs to grow you’ve got
to have the mentality of finding good people that you can empower to go do
the job. I’ll frame that and this is a critical point. You have to know
what you want out of your business first. There are a lot of people that
want a solopreneur shop and that’s what they want. They want the lifestyle,
they want to run everything and that’s great. What I would say is, know
what you want and then create a plan to get there. If you want the
solopreneur bit then don’t let other people convince you that you should be
hiring to grow. Because if you just want the solopreneur gig then make that
work and completely control your schedule.

What you do is, this is my formula. You start by saying, ‘What do I
want out of my business?’ Whether it’s solopreneur or build the business,
whatever it is create a plan that says, ‘This is what my life will look
like as a result of me building this business.’ For some people it’s going
to be solopreneur. For us, we know how big we want to get. We don’t want
100 coaches in our services business. That’s not what we’re trying to do.
That’s not what we want to build. Infusionsoft on the other hand, they want
the whole built-to-last approach.

I’m not going to sit here and even pretend to try and judge and say
which one is right because it depends on the business owner but the key is
to know what you’re trying to build and then once you know that, then the
next step is to create a business plan that allows you to get there. Once
you define your ideal lifestyle you should end up with a dollar amount and
‘This is what the profit needs to be so I can live this way and this is
what my schedule’s going to be.’ Once you have that defined now you can
create a business plan that says, ‘These are the products and or services
I’m going to offer and this is their price point and I need to be able to
sell X number of each one.’

I don’t want to take this too far down the rabbit hole but for anyone
that is chewing on that create-the-menu business plan I would read a book
by Michael Masterson called ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ where he talks about your
first job is to sell your first product profitably. If you’re not at the
point where you’re into profitability and cranking with the product and
you’ve got five I’d cut four of them out and I’d focus on one. And I would
focus on your most expensive one because it gives you the most profit.
There’s a whole conversation there but first, identify your ideal lifestyle
and how many hours you want to be working and how much money do you want to
be making. Then you want to create a business plan. A business plan is
literally as simple as ‘These are my products and services. This is what I
charge for them. This is my margin. Here are my fixed expenses.’ You just
come up with an equation that will tell you exactly how many units you need
to sell. Once you decide on that you move to the next step which is go
create your marketing plan of how you’re going to get those clients.

I see a lot of people that every time they run into a roadblock they
go back and assume they have to change their business plan, their products,
their services or their pricing. I say, ‘No. Decide on that and move onto
your marketing and get better at marketing. Don’t blow up your business
every month because you don’t hit the numbers you want. Figure out how to
market the right product.’ That’s the formula that works for me. And that’s
what I’ve learned. Identify what you want your ideal lifestyle to look
like, come up with a business plan. What are you going to sell, how many
and at what price point and then go create a marketing plan to make that
happen. Then your energies and effort should be in the marketing plan and
making sure you’re driving that forward.

That forces you to have to let go of everything else because your job
is to then get those units to build the business to match whatever it is
you want your lifestyle to look like but you’ve got to let go of everything
else. You can’t be answering the phone when somebody calls in. You’re never
going to build the business to where you want it to be. Somebody else needs
to do that and you need to find someone you trust to do that. You may not
be able to take all the sales calls. I don’t do any sales calls and I
hardly do any implementation anymore on the services side and it’s a little
bit difficult for me at times. It’s hard to let go of that. But yes, I
agree 100% with your statement. we can either grow or I can have complete
control over everything. I’d rather grow and get to the point where we want
to build our business to because it makes everybody’s life better.

Drysmid: It does. Plus if you’re the solopreneur there’s never anything
that you can sell, you’re never building any equity. Nobody wants to buy a
business that is 100% dependent upon you. If you’re trying to build some
lasting value for yourself and your family and have the opportunity to
transition to retirement or real estate investments or whatever it is you
want to do when you don’t want to do this anymore you cannot be a
soloprenuer and make that happen.

Brad: Yeah, I’ll take thirty seconds. A really quick story to illustrate
that. I met a guy about six or seven years ago at a [inaudible 00:18:01]
Association conference named David Cummings. He’s the guy that founded
ParDot, the email marketing solution for bigger businesses. I don’t know
how many businesses he has but, very interesting, his model as the business
owner is he starts a business and the first thing he does is go out and
finds a president or a CEO to run the business. He builds everything around
systems so literally, he just sold ParDot to, I don’t remember who it was.
Exact Target or Vertical Response or somebody. He sold it. Because none of
the businesses depended on him…normally when you sell it’s going to be
cash less stock and then you’ve got to stay around for a year. He signed,
it was a 95% cash deal, he signed and and then he walked out, literally,
walked out the door the next day, in fact it was that day, and never went
back. Never had to do anything with it. There’s a lot of power and leverage
in having a business that can just run and crank and just go, all by itself
and you’re driving the business so that if somebody else wanted to buy it
they could just drive the business but the systems are already in place.

Trent: Just for my show notes, what was his name again?

Brad: David Cummings. For anyone who wants to follow he’s got an excellent
blog. He blogs everyday and it literally takes you two minutes to read it
and they’re amazing insights, short, bullet pointed stuff, but really,
really good insights. He’s a really good entrepreneur, great mind to

Trent: What’s his blog?

Brad: That’s a great question. I think it’s 10,000 Hours of
Entrepreneurship. If you just search for David Cummings it’ll come up.

Trent: I’ll make sure I include it the show notes. At the end of the
episode I’ll announce the link for how to get to show notes. Before we move
off this topic I wanted to offer up a book as well that I just finished
reading. In Canada there’s a company called 1-800-GOT-JUNK. They’re not in
Canada, they’re worldwide now. They’re one of the more phenomenal growth
stories of at least my hometown. Their COO for years, who has left them
now, I don’t remember his name, but his book is called Double Double.
Especially being a COO, he’s a real numbers guy and he talked a lot in
Double Double about pretty much, Brad, what you said.
Figure out what the outcome is that you want and then reverse engineer. His
name is Cameron Herold. Reverse everything you need to do to get there and
then figure out what your key performance indicators are and your job is to
watch those very closely on a weekly, daily, monthly basis to make sure
you’re hitting them. In his book he chapter by chapter breaks down how to
do all this. If it’s growth you want this is probably a book you’re going
to enjoy.

Brad: I don’t think it can be overstated, the importance of ‘decide what
you want and reverse engineer how to get there’. I think there are way too
many people who wake up every day and they go into an office and they feel
comfortable they spent eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve hours in an office
and they go home but they have absolutely zero bearing on whether or not
they are closer or further away from their goal. Usually I see the problem
is people haven’t started by defining what their goal is. They have no idea
what success looks like. And if I can throw out one last little bit on this
and then we can be done with it. It’s not easy to figure that out. I think
some people get into it and they try and write it down and they feel dumb
because they feel it should be easy to figure out. It’s not. It is a pain
in the freaking butt to figure out and really identify what you want.

It takes a lot of thought because you have to balance everything in
your life. If you’ve got kids you’ve got to balance out how it’s going to
work with your family, how much time do you want to spend versus how much
time do you want to spend in the business? I Ultimately it just comes down
to making a decision. It’s not easy. It’s a simple process but it does take
time and it is hard because you’ve got a lot of stuff to balance and
because you’ve never thought about it before.

If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner and you don’t have a
clear number, meaning dollar amount/time amount, that you’re working
towards, then there’s a certain part of you that is just wasting time every
day when you wake up and go to work. You’ve got to know. If you’re trying
to lose weight it’s easy. You know exactly how much weight you’re trying to
lose and then you work towards that every single day. Same thing in
business. what are you trying to make happen in the business and what are
you working towards? You’ve got to decide that. It pains my soul every time
I talk to someone that doesn’t know. ‘What are you doing then? How do you
know if you’re being successful or not if you have no idea what your goal

Trent: It’s like going for a drive and not knowing where you
destination is. Or just driving around. At the beginning of Cameron’s book,
that’s what he devotes his first three chapters to. In fact, chapter one is
called Vision/Painted Picture and it’s preparing for fast growth. Very
good. I’m sure you would love it.

That was a cool rabbit hole, I’m glad we went down it and I’m quite
sure we served the audience by doing so.

Now I want to talk about PlusThis. Infusionsoft as you know and I
know and anyone who’s listening to this already knows is an amazingly
powerful tool so much so that people who don’t use it really don’t even
get. They don’t comprehend. I get emails from people every week saying,
‘Could you spend a little bit of time with me showing me why you’re so
excited about Infusionsoft?’ I do a little Skype and screen share and show
them how much of my stuff I’ve automated and usually their jaw is just
hanging open. ‘I had no idea. I thought it was an email program.’ Which
couldn’t be further from the truth.

You build this thing called ‘PlusThis’ which integrates very smoothly
with Infusionsoft because there are all these little problems that you want
to solve that are not necessarily super easy to solve with Infusionsoft.
We’re going to give some specific examples of that in about ten seconds and
how solutions to those problems can benefit the business. Let’s talk about
a couple of the features that you guys have developed early on in PlusThis.
Let’s start off with Stealth Video Tracking. What is it and why should
someone use it?

Brad: Perfect, let me just start. All of these we go through, our approach
to PlusThis. Let me just give the backdrop for that, all those will make
more sense. The end result of using Infusionsoft in our business is we want
to make more money. We can make more money by converting more people. We
can convert more people by getting the right message to the right person.
That requires us to know a couple of things. One, we need to know a heck of
a lot of information about the prospects and customers in our database so
we know if they’re the right person to send a particular message to.

We want to provide tools in PlusThis that allow us to capture and
store more information about our prospects and customers. What are they
doing, who are they? Then we want to build tools that allow us to send more
relevant and more targeted messaging that will lead to increased
conversion. The big picture backdrop is, capture more information so we
can be more targeting and convert more sales and make more money. That’s
the idea.

Stealth Video Tracking. The generic use of this is if you’re using
YouTube, Wistia is a video provider, or Vimeo, anyone of those three, we
can help you track how long people watch any of the videos you use in your
marketing. Probably the two most famous examples of this are Jermaine
Griggs. I’ve got a whole interview with him but but Jermaine Griggs. His
entire model is set up, he’s got four videos that he gives to his new leads
to start his opt in piece. And what he does is, he uses his videos to build
relationships with his customers. Also, on each video, next to each video
he’s got a little mini survey that allows him to capture additional
information. So what he does is, he sends people to go watch his videos. If
they don’t watch them I believe he sends them up to three or four
reminders to try and get them to go back and watch the video. If they watch
the video a couple of things happen. One, he knows they’re engaged in the
content so he knows they’re better likely to get an offer and actually buy
something. Two, he’s able to make jokes in his videos and start to build a
relationship with these people and three, he’s got a higher likelihood that
people will fill out the survey and give him even more information about
who they are and what they’re interested in.

So with the video tracking feature what you are able to do is track
of whether people have watched your videos or not and then you can adjust
your marketing based on that. So, for him, if somebody watches his first
video right away then the next video gets ‘unlocked’ the next day. If they
don’t watch it, then what happens is they get a reminder the next day to
watch video one and they’ll continue to get reminders up to three
reminders. At the end of three he’s like, ‘Fine, if you don’t watch video
one I’m going to try to get you to watch video two’. But because he knows
whether they’ve watched the video or not he’s able to then adjust his
marketing to make sure he’s preparing all his prospects the right way. On
the front end marketing side that’s one way you can use it. If he had a
sales team that was picking up the phone and calling, he doesn’t, but if he
did then they would be able to, when they opened up a contact record, would
be able to look at the contact record and as they’re talking to someone
they would know what that person has watched and what they haven’t watched.

Another example is Iron Track Fitness, they were the Ultimate
Marketer winners in 2012. Jermaine won in 2011. They’re selling franchises
now. They’re a gym out in Alabama but they’ve started franchising and
they’re at like 40 locations or something. Now what they do is, on the
franchise side of it, when they’re selling new franchises, they have their
entire education and basically franchise, onboarding process built into a
membership center and that’s all video based. They have a ton of training
that’s all video based and they take people through classes. What they do
is they use the video tracking feature to track whether or not somebody has
completed a course or not, whether they’re watching the videos. The people
that manage how their new franchisees are moving through the process can go
in and they have a simple little dashboard that tells them whether the
person is watching the videos or not. If they’re not they can pick up the
phone and be like, ‘Hey, look. You really need to watch this video because
it’s going to affect your franchise in this way, this way, and this way.’
It allows them to have better customer service for their franchises.

Whether it’s on the marketing side or whether you have an info
product and you want to be aware of whether people are watching or not. If
you’ve got an info product or a course and somebody’s not watching, that
person is going to be at risk to cancel or request a refund so it’ll let
you highlight who those people are. You can pick up the phone and call
them. On the flip side if it’s any of your marketing content, people that
are watching all your videos are at a higher likelihood that they are going
to be willing to buy. They are more interested. Those are the people you
want to call first or engage with first.

Again, it’s about giving you more information so you can either
change your conversation you’re having in person or automatically adjust
the conversation you’re having through emails or whatever other follow up
you’re doing.

Trent: For the folks who are maybe are not yet using Infusionsoft I
want to make sure there’s no details that are missed here. All of this
stuff happens on auto-pilot. When someone watches a video to a certain
point, which you define, you can then apply a tag within Infusionsoft and
when a tag gets applied you can trigger in the campaign builder all sorts
of actions whether they be phone calls or additional emails or what have
you. When Brad says ‘Germaine adjusts what he does’ it’s not as though he’s
sitting at his desk doing different stuff.

Brad: Quite the opposite actually. I think he literally works an hour a
week on that business that’s cranking out. Because he has it dialled in.
It’s totally 100% automated. All you do is build it once and then it runs
every time like clockwork.

Trent: If you’re interested in hearing more about Forrest Walden I did
interview him. You can get to that interview by going to BrightIdeas dot C-
O slash 3. It was a fascinating interview. Jermaine is actually going to be
on the show soon so if you want to catch that interview make sure you
become a subscriber and you’ll get a notification.

Let’s talk about customized thank-you pages. What’s the big deal
about those?

Brad: Stealth Video Tracking is more about capturing more data so that we
can start to tailor our message. customized thank-you Pages is a tool that
allows you to actually display customized messaging. When you get into
Infusionsoft it’s relatively easy, like you just described, to have
Infusionsoft automatically branch your messaging where if they watch the
video send them this series of emails and if they haven’t continue to send
them this series of emails. You can do all that inside Infusionsoft with
your emails or your voice broadcast or letters. You can have it branch in
terms of what you send out of Infusionsoft to your prospects or customers.
What Infusionsoft doesn’t have the capability to do is let you control the
message that you display immediately after somebody buys a product or fills
out a web form and opts into your website. Or fills out a survey that you
sent them if they opted in previously.

A really good example of this is: Laura Roder is a client of ours.
She teaches people about social media, she talks about Facebook and she
talks about Twitter and she talks about LinkedIn and Google Plus and
there’s a whole bunch of different social media tools. When somebody comes
to her website and they opt in, she’s going to want to ask them ‘What are
you most interested in?’ or ‘What are you having the most problems with?’
It only makes sense that if somebody checks off the box and says, ‘Hey,
Facebook is my biggest challenge right now,’ then it only makes sense that
the next page that shows up would be a page that talks about Facebook as
opposed to having one page. Imagine 100 people filling out this form and
let’s just say they were spread evenly across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
and Google Plus. You have two options. option number one is on the thank
you page you give a generic message that talks about all four of those. Or
you get tailored and based on their biggest problem you take Facebook
people to Facebook, you take Twitter people to Twitter, you take LinkedIn
people to LinkedIn and then you take Google Plus people to Google Plus. The
more you can keep your message 100% on target the higher your conversions
will be.

She’s excited because she’s able to use it increase her profit per
lead because as people are coming in, based on what she knows about them,
she’s able to deliver a very targeted thank you page after somebody fills
out the form. Now, the email messages will most definitely be targeted
because that’s handled inside Infusionsoft but the follow up marketing
starts on the thank you page of a web form. Most people don’t think of
that. I’ll see a lot of people that put up a web form to capture a lead and
all they’ll put on the thank you page is ‘thank you’. Really? They’re at
the peak of their interest. They’re most interested right when they opt in
or right when they fill out the form and the very first message they see is
the thank you page and a lot of people just throw up a generic ‘thank you’.
It’s like ‘No.’ That’s where you either continue to conversation or that’s
where you start selling something.

Another thing Laura will do and several of our other clients is let’s
just say somebody fills out a form to request a new report Seven, whatever.
Seven Secrets of whatever it is. On the thank you page they want to up sell
a particular product, say Product A. If somebody’s already bought Product A
you don’t want to offer them an up sell at a discounted price especially if
they bought at full price. customized thank-you pages also let you
comfortably and confidently put pages out there and allows you to take
anyone that’s already bought that particular product you basically branch
them to a page that is about something else. Maybe it’s an additional piece
of content or Product B. Try to sell them that product. So, customized
thank-you pages let you start creating a completely tailored message not in
your first email but actually on the thank you page when they’re looking
at it right there. You have 100% open rate on that page. Everybody sees it.

Trent: For anyone who would like to hear the interview with Laura
Roder I’ve done that, it’s at She has done a phenomenal
job of transitioning from what used to be just a web design, solopreneur
business, so this kind of dovetails into what Brad and I were talking about
earlier, into a team and a seven figure business with a very healthy profit
margin that she runs from her laptop on the road. Again,
if you’d like to hear more about Laura’s story.

Brad: So much so that when we worked with her, which was last year she was
about ten minutes late. She was like, ‘Sorry I’m late. On Monday we decided
to move.’ She was engaged and they are moving to London in the span of a
week and a half. This was inspiring to me that she had her business set up
this way. In the span of a week and a half she decided to move to London,
sold everything in her house, moved to London and it didn’t disrupt
anything in her business. It was really impressive. Anyway, really
interesting story.

Trent: That’s one of the reasons why so many of us are enamoured with
online businesses because it does give you that flexibility. Where are we
time wise? Okay, we’re still good.

Let’s talk about transactional text messaging. Again, what’s the big
deal? Why should I care about this stuff?

Brad: Text messaging. We have a ton of clients that use it for reminders
for webinars, to get people onto webinars. We have a lot of clients that
set up appointments. The way that they sell and the way that we sell set up
appointments to meet with someone and it’s a consultation and then we sell
out of the consultation.

We’ve got a guy, I forget where he is, anyway, Clint Barr. He runs a
fitness business and his whole model is people opt in for free information
and then he drives them to come into the office, sit down and have a
consultation. When you get into the gym world and into the MMA world and
all those they have insanely high close rates, 85% to 90% of the people who
get to an appointment will close. And it’s because, before you walk into a
gym you usually have a pretty good idea whether you’re going to buy or not
so their thing is getting people to come in for the appointments. We set up
a follow up sequence where we would do some email remainders and also a
text message reminder to get the person to come in because text message has
a much higher read rate than email. He was saying that before we
implemented that he would usually have six or seven no shows a month and he
got it down to one no show a month.

If you look at that and it’s like, ‘Well, those numbers aren’t
massive,’ but when you consider he’s setting maybe 20 to 25 appointments a
month. That’s 20% to 25% of the people that are coming in, that are
scheduling appointments don’t show up, and then he gets five more people
to show up, well five more people to show up at an 80% close rate means
he’s adding four new clients. You factor that over the life of the client
because they’re signing up for a three, six or twelve month contract then
all of a sudden it’s a little bit bigger deal. When you multiply those
numbers across any other business with larger margins or higher ticket
items it’s definitely worth it. Small hinges swing big doors. This is a
small hinge that could potentially swing a very large door.

The other potentially slightly different and, I think, maybe more
interesting use of text messaging that he has just recently implemented, in
his business, and I think this is true in a lot of businesses, he’s found
that speed of response is huge. When somebody opts in or somebody requests
an appointment the amount of time that passes between the time they’ve
filled out a form and he gets them on the phone to have a conversation has
a lot to do with whether or not that person’s going to convert. What he did
was he set up his system to where the transactional text message, he gets
one sent to him every time somebody opts in or requests an appointment.
There are some points where the clock starts ticking and whenever that
happens he has a text message go to him. I think he actually has changed it
to go to the assistant that actually makes the calls so the text message
comes in, ‘Heads up. Brad Martineau just filled out the form requesting an
appointment. Here’s the phone number.’ He clicks on the phone number and
can call it right then and literally be connected to the person within a
minute if they pick up. It allows him to cut down on his time of response.

Another interesting idea or use case for text messaging is not to
send it to prospects or customers but to send it to myself as the business
owner or a key employee or potentially even partners. There are a lot of
different ways you can use that once you start to realize, ‘Wait a minute.
I don’t have to send this to the prospect. I can send it to anybody I want
if I have their information.’

Trent: Excuse me, I have a frog in my throat today. I actually built
that feature into my…I have a plug in that generates leads for marketing
consultants and marketing agencies. If you want to check it out go to Mobi,
M-O-B-I, LeadMagnet dot com. I have that feature that built into the plug
in where when someone fills out the form on the landing page if I’m the
vendor, the guy who wants to get the customer, it lights up my phone and
says, ‘Bob just filled out the form two seconds ago.’ On my Smartphone I
just tap the phone number that came in and you can instantly be on the
phone with Bob and say, ‘Bob, I notice you just filled out my form.’ That’s
the moment you want to talk to somebody because they emotionally have made
a purchase decision and you don’t want to lose out on that opportunity.

Brad: Exactly, exactly.

Trent: All right. I’ll try my best to keep the frog out of my throat.
I guess I talked too much over the Memorial Day weekend so apologies to
everybody for me coughing. In Robert Cialdini’s book, I think I pronounced
that properly, on… gosh now I’ve forgotten the title. But it was,
scarcely, where I’m going with this, feebly I might add…

Brad: ‘Influence’ right?

Trent: Yes, ‘Influence’ is the importance of scarcity in marketing.
It’s hardwired into us to be more inclined to act when there’s the
possibility of losing out on something. That transitions us into this thing
called ‘expiring promotions’. What are they, why should I care about them
and how does PlusThis help me make them go?

Brad: Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you’re creating an offer of any kind, one,
your offer needs to be irresistible and amazing in and of itself. In
addition to that, any time I’m creating an offer, and this is whether it’s
an offer on a landing page, an offer for somebody to buy something or
whether I’m presenting something from stage, it doesn’t even matter in
which medium I’m delivering the offer, I’m always considering how do I…
the way s that I make the offer really great are, one, you’ve got to have a
good offer to start. Two, some type of a discount that’s available for a
limited amount of time. I’ll usually throw in bonuses for the first certain
number of people, because the idea of scarcity is so real you’ve got to
make sure you include some element of ‘I need to act now so I can get
this, this, this and this.’ The idea of creating an environment where when
somebody comes into buy…when I was at Infusionsoft the VP of Sales used a
term I’d never heard before and I really liked it. He called it a ‘forcing
function’. He said, ‘You’ve got to have a forcing function. You have to
have something that pushes the person to buy. They can’t just sit around
and say ‘Oh, that’s a cool offer but I know it’ll be there forever. I’ll
buy later.’ It needs to be something that causes the person to sit up in
their chair and say, ‘Wait a minute. I need to consider this right now
because if I don’t right now I’m going to miss out on something.’ That’s
the idea behind expiring promotions. With PlusThis it’s not a single
feature, you use a couple of features together to pull off expiring
promotions but the idea is that when somebody comes and they opt in, they
get you some free piece of information and at some point in the cycle
what’s going to happen is, you need to say, ‘By the way, I have this
product you can buy, product A and I’m going to give you a discount if you
buy it within the next seven days or within the next fourteen days.’ You
get to choose what your cycle is.

One of our clients, Sean Greely runs Net Profit Explosion, he helps
fitness businesses build their businesses up. He uses this concept where
when people opt in he’s trying to get them onto a consultation. Normally
they charge for their consultations. So his offer is that within the first
30 days you can get a free consultation instead of having to pay for it if
you jump. The key elements of creating an expiring promotion are you have
to know when the promotion ends and with it expiring you want it to be
evergreen which means it can work for anybody. We’ll take Sean’s example.
You’re doing a 30 day promotional window. If Jim comes and opts in today
then in 30 days from now his offer needs to expire and I need to be able to
talk to him about his offer expiring in 30 days from today. What’s today?
May, whatever. Anyway, today.

If John comes and opts in next week I need his promotion to expire in
a week and 30 days. It’s got to be built where no matter when somebody
comes into my system I can create this promotion that expires based on when
they’re coming in and on their timetable. What you do is, we have a feature
that allows you to calculate a date, it’s called What’s the Date, but
calculate a date in the future.

So what you would do is you would say, ‘The first thing I want to do
when somebody comes into my system is I need to calculate when does their
promotion expire.’ If it’s a 30 days window we have a feature where you
say, take today’s date, add 30 days and it will create that date and store
it for you inside Infusionsoft. Then we use another feature that’s called
Humanize the Dates, because they’re storing it as a funky computer date. We
want to convert it so it’s readable like a human would read it so that we
can merge it into emails. As soon as somebody opts in PlusThis says, ‘I
know today is May 1 and this guy’s offer needs to expire on June 1.’ So
what it will do is, it will calculate June 1 and then convert it into a
human date so I can put it in an email and say, ‘Thanks for coming and
opting in. I’ve got an offer for you. You can buy this product at half off
plus I’ll throw in this bonus, this bonus and this bonus and you’ve got to
buy before June 1.’

Then I can schedule all of my follow up emails leading up to that
expiration date but it’s specific to each contact so, again, if somebody
comes in on May 1 their expiration date is June 1. If somebody comes in on
May 15 their expiration date is June 15. For every single person that comes
in there is an automatic built in sense of urgency and scarcity because
they’ve only got a certain amount of time to take advantage of that
particular offer. So what it does is, it allows you to create that scarcity
and increase sales and you don’t have to do anything with it. Just like we
talked about with Jermaine’s system before, it’s autopilot. The thing just
runs. Every time they come in you’re cranking out your expiring promotion.
That’s the idea. We have a lot of clients that have used that all over the
board with a lot of great success.

Trent: I want to jump into that one a little deeper because I’m
thinking how I could implement that with my own. I have my info products
which are products within Infusionsoft and then I use an order form. I’m
very familiar with promotional codes and so forth that you could give a
discount. How does your expiring promotions tie into that? How does it
actually work? Would I have to create more than one order form? Do I have
more than one promotional code? Within that 30 day window let’s say, I
wanted, just hypothetically speaking, If you buy in the first week I’m
going to give you 50% off, if you buy before week two the discount goes
down to 25% off and if you wait till the very end it’s only 10% off.

Brad: The most sure-fire way to do this is with either the new order form
or the shopping cart where you can pass promo codes through the link into
the order form or into the shopping cart. And then what you do, here’s the
deal. This is where it gets tricky, right? You’re going to send an email
in week one that says, ‘If you buy within the first week you’re going to
get 50% off,’ they still have that email even when they get into week two.
They can click on the link from that email so it can’t be embedded in that
link that they get a 50% discount because they can go back to it and click
later. The third feature that you use is actually the customized thank-you
page feature. So what you do is you go in and you create a customized thank-
you page that will route to, let’s say you have three different offers.
50%, 25% and full price. You’ll create a customized thank-you page that
says if they have a tag that says I should give them 50% off I’m going to
send them to the 50% off link which adds the same product into the cart but
it includes a 50% off promo code.

If they have a tag that says they should get 25% off we’ll forward
them on to a link that says add the same product but give them a 25% off.
If they have a tag that says no discount then just add to product to the
cart like normal. And then what happens out of PlusThis, is PlusThis gives
you a URL and you plug that into all of your links across any one of the
emails. It doesn’t matter which email it goes in and then throughout your
sequence you’re going to apply and remove tags that control which promotion
they get.

As soon as they opt in this person gets a 50% off promo. That runs
for a week and at the end of that week we take that tag off and we put on
the ‘this person gets a 25% promo’. End of the next week we take off 25%
and put they don’t get any discount. What happens is no matter what email
they get throughout that calendar time frame, those emails will all point
to the PlusThis customized thank-you page URL so when they click on it,
whether they click on it during the first, second or third week, they’ll go
to PlusThis. PlusThis is going to check which promotion or discount they
should get and it will then pass them along to the appropriate URL and
because you’re passing the promo code through the URL when they get to the
shopping cart all they’ll see is your generic shopping cart URL at the top
and they’ll have no idea that a promo code was entered so they have no way
to spoof it unless somehow they figure out what that promo code is.

Trent: Slick. Excuse me, the frogs are back. That is a fantastic tool.

The last one is the ‘Cycler Tool’. I don’t even know what that is
because I haven’t used it yet. Why do I care about that?

Brad: You can do this without PlusThis if you’re really bored and like to
build a bunch of stuff out of Infusionsoft, which I’ve found most people
would rather make money. I think the first time I built this was for Laura
Roder, again she talks about social media concepts. When I opt in I might
say, ‘Facebook is my biggest problem but I’m also interested in learning
about Twitter and LinkedIn. I don’t care about Google Plus.’ Any time you
are marketing to prospects that have a wide variety of interests across
different topics you immediately come across this dilemma of ‘Okay, how am
I going to keep track of what people want and then how am I going to choose
what to send them and in what order?’ So you can get into Infusionsoft.
With her we built something called a ‘Cycler’. Think of it as a wheel
basically. When somebody opts in the first thing we want to try and pitch
them on is Facebook. If I know they’re interested in Facebook and Twitter I
want to try to pitch them on Facebook first.

If I know they’re interested in Twitter and LinkedIn I’m going to try
Twitter first. She’s got four kinds of messages in her library of content.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. When she goes to decide what
she needs to send to somebody first she needs to know what the person is
interested and then second, know if she’s already sent something. Once she
knows those two things, then she needs to have a priority of how she would
normally send things, if somebody was interested in everything what order
would she send all of her content in. So what this tool does, is it allows
you to go into PlusThis and say, ‘My library of content is broken up across
these four topics.’ And I’ll stick with Laura as a specific example.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. ‘If somebody’s interested in
all four I want to market to them, first I want to talk to them about
Facebook. If that doesn’t work I’ll talk about Twitter, if that doesn’t
work or even if it does, then I’ll talk about LinkedIn and then I’ll talk
about Google Plus.’ You go into PlusThis and you set those four up as
pieces of content that you have that you want to send out. You create a tag
for whether the person is interested in each one of those and then you have
a tag that says ‘start this content’, meaning either send this email or
start this entire sequence.

We also set this up for Casey Graham and the Rocket Company. They
were the 2013 Ultimate Marketers. They just came out and we built a similar
thing for them. Where, when somebody opts in, lets say somebody comes in
and says, ‘I’m interested in Facebook and I’m interested in LinkedIn,’
instead of choosing a sequence to start we just run an ACTP post to
PlusThis. PlusThis, say Okay, let me go check and see what this person,
it’ll basically say ‘Number one is Facebook. Let me go see if this person
has a Facebook tag that says they’re interested. If they do then I’m going
to go check and see if I’ve already sent them the Facebook content. If I
haven’t I’m going to start the Facebook content and I’m going to stop.
PlusThis doesn’t do anything else, it starts the Facebook sequence. Once
the Facebook sequence is done, then what I can do is I can run that same
ACTP post again and it will come back to PlusThis. Are they interested in
Facebook? Yes. Have I already sent the content to them? Yes. Okay, let me
move to the next one. Are they interested in Twitter? No, I don’t have a
tag for that. Okay I’m going to move to the next one. Are they interested
in LinkedIn? Yes. Have I sent it before? No. Okay, let me send the LinkedIn
content. It allows you to take this library of content and it allows you to
organize it any way that you want and you plug it into PlusThis and you can

For example, this may be a more specific example. you have a whole
bunch of interviews to talk about whole bunch of different stuff. Let’s say
you went through all your interviews, you’ve got at least 44. Because I’m
counting your numbers as you go up. As you look at all the interviews you
could categorize them and say, ‘This is a marketing interview. This is a
business building interview. This is a leadership interview. This is a
technology interview.’ You could label them all that way. Then what you do
is you say, I’m going to have people opt in and I want to know what they’re
interested in. I’m going to give them options. ‘I’m interested in marketing
and I’m interested in technology. I don’t really care about leadership and
business building.’

Instead of you building out this really intricate fancy campaign
inside Infusionsoft you go into PlusThis and you say, ‘Hey look. I’ve got
interviews for every interview you create a new entry in this cycler tool.
For all the interviews that are marked ‘marketing’ you’ll set it and say,
‘Hey if they’ve got the marketing tag I want to send this interview. Then
you have a tag that will kick off that interview and actually send it. Then
when you’re building out your ongoing [inaudible 00:52:44] you’re deciding
what email or what interview you want to release this week, instead of
putting an email in you put in an ACTP post that goes to PlusThis and says,
‘Hey, go grab the next interview that this person’s interested in that I
haven’t yet sent.’ It will automatically kick if off. It allows you to, you
basically put this library of content up and let PlusThis decide, based on
how you build it, PlusThis decides what to send and who it should be sent
to based on what they’e told you they’re interested in.

So as you add new interviews you might have a really hot interview on
marketing and you want to be sure that’s the next interview anybody gets
who’s interested in marketing. You go into PlusThis and add it to the top
of the Cycler and next time that ACTP post runs to PlusThis, no matter how
far down the list of interviews somebody is the next time it comes back
it’ll take that one first and say ‘Hey, are they interested? Yes, because
they said they were interested in marketing’. Second, ‘have I sent it? No.
It’s a brand new interview.’ And that will go out next to everybody who’s
interested in marketing.

Trent: That is very cool.

Brad: So anyway, what you get to do is, you build the logic of what kind of
content you’re going to produce and then all you have to do is just fill
the library. PlusThis will keep track of who should get what based on what
they’re already received and based on what they’re interested in. It
greatly reduces the complexity of, have I already sent this to somebody? It
allows you to leverage your content better too because you can just create
a library and you don’t have to think through who I should send what to.
PlusThis does it automatically.

Trent: Yeah that’s very cool.

Brad: That one’s a little harder to visualize so I apologize to everybody
on the call, once you see it it’s a little bit easier. It’s extremely
powerful in being able to cycle through different offers and promotions and
stuff like that.

Trent: Okay. Regarding the number of interviews it’s actually much
more than 44. If you want to listen to Casey Graham you can go to I think we’re up around 70 or so, they’re not all up.
Two a week. I’m cranking them out. All right, so that pretty much sums up
all I wanted to cover.

We just dumped a ton of marketing automation madness on the audience
and I took feverish notes and I will mention like I say at the very end of
this episode what the URL will be to get to these show notes. Actually I
can tell you now. It’s going to be So there you go Brad
you’re number 65.

Brad: Sweet.

Trent: We’ll wrap up with the lightning round. Brad, what are you most
excited about for 2013.

Brad: I am most excited because 2013 is the year I’m going to go from being
an owner-operator to an owner and it will be two businesses. We’re starting
to treat PlusThis as a totally separate business from our services. We’ve
got some other software ideas that are bubbling but I’m excited because
this will be the year where we get our systems in place, we’ve got a killer
team in place that’s cranking and it will allow me to leverage my strengths
in way better ways than I ever could realize before. I’m stoked because I’m
starting to feel the freedom. It’s not the I went through the ‘Oh I’m
excited because I’ve freedom I can go do whatever I want. And then I
realized you know what, it’s not like-, I’m 33, I’m not at the point where
I’m trying to not work for a year. What I want to do is I want to have is a
manageable schedule and make cool stuff happen and starting to get to the
point of tasting the way that we’re going to be able to make really cool
stuff happen is by me not being involved in delivering all of the work, but
actually having the freedom to be able to apply a strategic vision to our
business. And we’ve got two really good product offerings that I think
we’re just scratching the surface of what we can do on both sides. I’m
excited because I’m right at that threshold of being able to get over the
humps, so to speak. And I feel like over the next couple of years we’re
going to be able to explode both PlusThis and the services side and I’ve
got a couple of other software things that that will hopefully be coming
out relatively soon.

Trent: Very cool. Make sure you let me know and if they fit with the
audience that I’ve got, which I’m sure they will, I’ll be happy to have you

Brad: Perfect.

Trent: What is your favorite business book?

Brad: That is a tough question. I saw this when you sent the question over
before when you at least you were nice enough to warn me that you were
going to ask that. It depends, is my answer. It depends on what area of
business, like, business is not like simple things. So there’s a bunch of
different aspects to it.

Trent: Absolutely.

Brad: So I’ll just rattle off a couple that I really, really, really like.
One of them is ‘Ready, Fire Aim’ by Michael Masterson. I jokingly refer to
that as one of my bibles for building my business. It is such a practical
down to earth and logical approach to growing a business and so, there’s a
quick summary and he gives four phases that every business goes through. I
have read the overview of all four and I actually have only read the first
section and a half because that’s all that applies to my business and I had
enough stuff to go run and work with. So, love that one.

I love Verne Harnish, ‘Mastering The Rockefeller Habits’ it’s a great
read. Pretty simple read too but a great read to start to wrap your brain
around metrics and how to track them. The only caution that I would throw
out is depending on where your business is that book may… read it as a
student, not as a follower. Meaning read it to take ideas and then realize
that all the stuff he talks about may not be critical depending on where
your business is, but it’s a great frame of reference. Like, ‘Yes, I need
to be doing metrics. I need to be having reporting in place.’ So that’s a
great book.

Let me think what other like.

Trent: Well lets stop with two.

Brad: Okay, we’ll stop with two.

Trent: Two is good.

Brad: Oh, I got one more. Sorry, one more. This one I think is
awesome. For pricing and sales. It’s ‘No BS Pricing Strategy’ by Dan
Kennedy. Amazing, amazing book to help you understand how to price and how
to sell. Great book. So those three, money.

Trent: Okay. And for people that want to get hold of you, what is the
one easiest way for them to do that?

Brad: Go to We do a similar interview approach. We’ve
done a bunch of video interviews with marketers, Jermaine Griggs is one of
them. You can go there, and opt in for the interviews and get access to a
bunch of content there and then.

If you are an Infusionsoft user and are interested in anything else
we have to offer you’ll be prompted to schedule a consultation but as you
go through that process… so on the services side,
that’s the best place to find out anything about what we’re doing and then on the software side. But that’s pretty much where we are.
That’s where all of our stuff is at.

Trent: All right my friend. Thank you so much for making some time to
come on the show. I really enjoyed this interview and I’m sure the audience
did as well.

Brad: Thanks for having me.

Trent: You’re welcome to come back any time you like.

Brad: All right. Awesome.

Trent: All right. To get to the show notes from today’s episode go to When you’re there you’ll see all the links that we’ve
talked about today plus some other valuable information you can use to
ignite more growth in your business.

If you’re listening to this on you mobile phone while you’re driving
or doing whatever, just send a text – rather, just text TRENT to 585858 and
I’m going to give you access to the massive traffic toolbox, which is a
compilation of all the very best traffic generation strategies that have
been shared with me by my many proven experts that have been guests here on
the show.

As well, you’ll also be able to get a list of all my favorite
episodes that I’ve published thus far on the blog.

And finally, if you really enjoyed this episode, please head over to where you’ll be able to give or rather find the link to
leave us a rating in the iTunes store and I would really appreciate it if
you would take a moment to do that, because it helps the show to build its
audience and the more audience members we have, of course the more people
we can help to massively boost their business.

So that’s it for this episode. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid and I
look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Take care and have a wonderful day.

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

About Brad Martineau

bradmug2-copyBrad Martineau, Co-Founder of Sixth Division, serves the small business community as the leading provider of coaching and software tools that help entrepreneurs tap into the power of marketing automation.  He’s consulted thousands of successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and top marketers around the world.  He loves teaching and helping people understand difficult concepts.  Nothing drives him nuts more than seeing someone NOT do something because they don’t know how.

Back in the day, he was the sixth employee at Infusionsoft, and spent over six years leading the product development efforts as a key member of the Infusionsoft leadership team.  He had a blast and learned a ton doing this, all while getting to rub shoulders with many very highly successful entrepreneurs.

Brad is married with five kids, loves playing basketball, is addicted to fitted hats, and is pretty into the whole entrepreneur thing.

Aaron Aders 4 in x 6 in x 300 dpi x FC

Digital Marketing Strategy: The Story of How Digital Relevance Grew by 3,596% in 3 Years

If you heard about a marketing agency that had increased revenue by 3,596.8% over a 3 year period, do you think that would be a firm you’d want to learn from?

Are you looking for ways to get more attention for your firm (or your clients) from the media?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are in luck!

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, my guest is Aaron Aders, co-founder and Market Research Director of Digital Relevance (formerly Slingshot SEO) which was named the fastest growing private company in Central Indiana with a 3 year growth rate of 3596.8%!

When you listen to this fascinating and informative interview, you are going to hear Aaron and I talk about:

  • (00:00) the service that his firm offers that is in such huge demand
  • (3:00) how they launched their company without any outside funding
  • (4:00) a very ingenious referral strategy that played a pivotal role in their very early days
  • (5:50) how they produced an industry report that literally catapulted them into the spotlight and brought them to the attention of their target market
  • (11:00) how they got their next report, a blog optimization guide, covered by Inc magazine
  • (16:00) an overview of their Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 content production plans that is used to underpin all the media attention they receive
  • (20:00) how they produce their own blog content, how Google authorship plays a role, and how to get credit (from Google) to their writing team
  • (24:00) how they nurture their leads to become qualified prospects that the sales team should talk to
  • (28:00) an explanation of the specific process that a lead goes through in their funnels to become qualified

I learned a great deal in this interview, and strongly encourage that you go check it out now.


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

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there bright idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
Broadcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the
broadcast for marketing agencies and entrepreneurs who want to
discover how to use content marketing and marketing automation
to massively boost their business.On the show with me today is Aaron Aders, co-founder and Market
Research Director of Digital Relevance formerly known as
Slingshot SEO, which was named one of the fastest growing
private companies in central Indiana with a three year growth
rate of, check this, 3596.8%. You are absolutely going to love
this interview with Aaron. Before we get to that I want to go
over my tool tip and I’ve got a special announcement webinar
coming up.So the tool tip for this episode is something called the Fancier
Author Box by ThematoSoup and it’s a free WordPress plug in that
you can download and in this interview you are going to learn
why this is so important. But to basically to boil it down to a
nutshell this allows you to make sure that the author of each
blog post is properly credited in the eyes of Google for the
purposes of Google Authorship, which is an increasingly
important component to SEO, so it allows you to insure that each
writer is properly credited and that will help your SEO efforts.
So you can just Google it Fancier Author Box of course it there
will be a link in and show notes as well.And so the webinar coming up is the webinar on lifecycle marketing
and if this topic you’re not going familiar with I strongly
encourage you to become a subscriber to Bright Ideas just go to and you will receive notifications of the next
webinar coming up as this has been proven to be a very popular
webinar for folks who to want better learn how to use this
concept called lifecycle marketing to make customer traction oh,
so much easier.So with all of that said, please join me in welcoming Aaron to the
show. Aaron, welcome to the show.Aaron: Hey, thanks for having me here, I really appreciate the
opportunity.Trent: No problem at all. I appreciate you making the time to come and
share with the Bright Ideas audience what’s working for your
firm. So for the folks who don’t yet know who you are or much
really about your business can you just briefly introduce
yourself and your company in your own words?

Aaron: Yeah, no problem, Trent. My name is Aaron Aders and I’m co-
founder of Digital Relevance Inc. and what we do is mostly earn
media online so usually what that means is we work with
companies to create valuable content that target marketing will
find value in and do a visual PR effort to get that out to the
industry influential websites and things of that nature. So the
result from that is a mix of leads and search engines traffic
and the results of those links and the content and a email list
growth, a lot of digital marketing return that really have the
biggest ROI and SEO and such a media and such, so that is
Digital Relevance and I’m one of the co-founders.

Trent: Cool. So we might dive into that a little bit more in a few
minutes, but before we do I just want to kind of give our
readers our listeners as of why I invited you on the show. I was
traveling around the Internet as I always do and I don’t even
remember where off the top of my head now that we discovered you
but what stood out was your growth rate over the past three
years. You grew at 3596.8% over three years. That is a
whopping amount of growth.

You want to know kind of…where were you three years ago in terms of
how big the company was and where are you now and what in the
heck did you do to cause so much growth to happen?

Aaron: Well it was an interesting ride for sure along our growth
there. We took an interesting position beginning that we wanted
to bootstrap this thing and grow organically because I think
that is just a real natural way to grow through. I guess client
referrals and on the back of your work rather some fundraising
effort that just goes out and hires a lot of sales people; not
that that’s bad. It can get a lot of traction from new ideas but
it just wasn’t the idea that we wanted to go by because I
believe being in services is a little bit different then if you
had a product or something like that, it makes sense to a
fundraising for.

So as a service writer . . . well first of all, when we started this
company, I was 26 years old and we didn’t really have a whole
lot of funding between us or anything else, but we did have a
list of people that were interested in our services. So kind of
as when we were starting off a bit of our strategy was, “Okay,
let’s get these clients on board, let’s do great by them,” and
we took some of the first contracts to kind of, not quite a loss
but just about. I mean we were eating beans at the time to give
you an idea there.

When we took this contract we said we’re going to do this for you at
somewhat of a discounted rate and basically all we ask is that
when we make you successful, not if, but when, you tell three
other people about us and we’ll make that pitch at the contract
of signing and hold it back. We never really had anyone turn
that down but it was very effective in growing us. Because we
did hold people to telling other business owners about our
company so that kind of word of mouth marketing was really how
we grew our business in the beginning. The 3,000% growth rate,
that was past. I think you were referring to the Inc. 500

Trent: Probably.

Aaron: I think you have to . . . you can’t say anything to them until
they make over a $100,000 but still, at that point we really had
a pretty small market, inbound marketing team but it was mostly
by word of mouth. We didn’t stop taking projects at losses was
obviously, and grew that way but it was really through clients’
success and really being adamant that when we make you
successful we expect that. When you do right by people and do a
good job for them and especially in marketing, I think that’s
something people like to brag about.

We got our start in SEO and having rankings being number one or
number two or whatever for a certain keywords that people like
to brag about that as well, so I think that also helped us.

Trent: Yeah. No question. So let’s go back then to, because it seems
to me that the growth has really been the byproduct of this,
what you said at the very beginning of the interview, you create
valuable content, combine it with PR campaigns and that ends up
helping the SEO or helping the ranking of your clients for a
given keyword set of keywords.

So if I’m to understand what you’ve explained so far it’s the result
of your work, combined with that referral strategy that caused
all the growth as opposed to doing a lot of webinars or doing a
lot of lead magnets or doing other things, am I correct or is
growth coming from two places?

Aaron: Well, as we scaled when we got larger we had beef up our
marketing department and our marketing efforts just to keep up
that growth rate because doubling every year gets twice as hard
every year as we scale. So we did have to pick up, but again
all of the marketing that we do–I should say the marketing that
we do for our clients–which is webinars, white papers and
research guides.

In fact, probably the most successful marketing campaign that we ever
did was a click through rate study that we released in 2011 and
so that was really significant because unless you are a search
engine or a digital marketing company doing the SEO campaign for
a ton of clients, you really don’t have the data to show real in-
depth and informative click through rates on certain keywords.
So that’s essentially was what it was. The PR study was looking
at top ten results, how much percentage of clicks the number one
position get versus the number two through ten.

So since we had such a large client base of SEO customers, we had the
data to have a very significant sample set and now there was
something in that we put together pretty quickly. We were
already tracking the data, we already had it in there, but we
created this what we call a contribution. A contribution is
something that . . . our target market finds valuable and our
target market is essentially marketing directors, VPs of
marketing. This was something that was very important to them–
understanding click through rates so they can plan their

So when we developed that and we went to market with it, that was
talking to, in our case, Search Engine Land and Search Engine
Journal. Websites like that, these industry, influential, what
Google refers to at hilltops, so these authority basis
essentially. So we went there, they loved it, and they were
in fact fighting over the first rights to release it and we
ended up releasing it on Search Engine Land and then released on
guest articles on a lot of other places that were still willing
to take that even though they didn’t get the first release.

But if you have a contribution that valuable, then you’re going to
see those links and the placements come very naturally but you
have to combine the contribution which is obviously putting
upfront effort to create something quality, very targeted, and
then combine that with an earned media strategy and that is the
effective, again, also targeted outreach. So all of that has to
be in sync and speaking to the same audience.

And if you can put all those pieces together then that’s essentially
what we do at Digital Relevance and that’s what I do. I’m kind
of the digital relevance at Digital Relevance here on a day to
day basis so it’s a really fun job and a great way to grow your

Trent: So this report that you’re speaking of is this called the Tale
of Two Studies: Establishing Google and Bing Click Through

Aaron: Yeah, you were able to find that pretty quickly. I mean that
study was so effective and driving leads to us, driving links.
We instantly started ranking for everything around click through
rates, but it kind of raised the ship on all fronts because we
suddenly became the center of authority and kind of helped out
on our own right because of so many links from other hilltops in
our industry. That was so powerful and it really kicked off the
discovery of . . . well, earned media and contribution that is
just a way that you have to of SEO and optimizing for search
going forward.

Trent: It’s interesting that you mentioned so much success with this
and I want to make a shout out to a past guest of mine in a past
episode because what you’re describing is what Mike Stelzner of
Social Media Examiner calls Nuclear Fuel in his book, “Launch”.
And I did an interview with Mike. It’s If any
of the audience would like to go and check it out and we go into
a lot of detail on producing what is called or what Mike calls
Nuclear Fuel and your report absolutely falls into that

It’s something that attracts a ton of attention to your firm or your
brand and gets a lot of coverage and ends up on a whole bunch of
links that’s coming into you and that’s exactly what you’ve been

So now, I see on your site you’ve done a couple of other reports.
There’s an enterprise blog post optimization guide and a
Facebook graph search cheat sheet. Did either of those reports
have the impact for you that the click through rate report did?

Aaron: Yeah. Like I said, the click through rate report was definitely
the biggest but those were also very impactful. For example the
blog optimization guide; that was huge. I released in on’s website and that just trickled down to so many
different . . . but that’s what you get out of a big media

So if you create something of value for a target audience and you
market it effectively to these outlets and you get these
placements, then you just get this trickle down effect of all
these links coming across from people that just syndicate that
content just straight up. That happens from public libraries,
public institutions, private companies all in your industry and
you get requests get a placement in even magazines and print
publication. This guy has been in both and we’ve gotten
requests for both.

And you can just look . . . one of the easiest way to check that is
select maybe a paragraph of text there and throw in a Google
search and you can see how many people straight syndicate that
and you’re looking at hundreds if not thousands of links
everything time you do that. So yeah, the impact of these things
is really big and that’s what we’re seeing in most of the
releases that we’ve done.

Trent: So a couple questions come to mind, first you said you released
it to Inc. Magazine. Can you describe specifically what you mean
by that?

Aaron: Yes, a digital PR effort, the earned media part is probably the
biggest piece in terms of guarantying that you that you get a
lot of links out of that. It’s pitching to an outlet that is an
authoritative industry hilltop that has a lot of your target
audience members reading that publication so whenever this is
placed there, not only get the search engine rankings, you also
get a ton of leads coming in that download that piece; that
value added piece.

That PR digital effort is pitching to them and trying to first get
that first release to somebody and also marketing articles to
the other ones that might not have gotten first release. But if
the piece is valuable enough, then you’re not going to get . . .
it makes the outreach effort a lot easier, let’s say that. Again
those two strategies, the contribution and the earned media, you
really got to be firing on both sides and they’re going to make
each other most successful.

Trent: Okay, so when you reached out to Inc., it’s not like you paid
them. This wasn’t a media buy. You just said, hey, we’ve
produced what we think is a phenomenally valuable piece of
content and we’re going to give you first dips on putting it in
your magazine, mentioning it, linking it, whatever if you deem
it as valuable as we believe it to be. Do I understand this

Aaron: Exactly and in doing so we call that climbing the hilltop. And
when climbing hilltops, it’s kind of a future proof way to build
links because it’s done natural. Now we also tell people that
you can’t buy a ticket to the hilltop. If purchasing the links,
first of all, Inc. and any serious publishing wouldn’t even
consider it but some websites do and that’s a practice some,
well, quite a few, people take in trying to get a guest article
posted. They’ll say, hey, I’ll give you $50 to post this on your
blog. It might be middle of the pack domain, authority website
and Google’s attacking that.

[Mad cats] came out last week and said they’re looking specifically
at in shutting down these networks and so as a result whenever
these companies get penalized using that are using tactic they
have to go in an disavow that link. Being from Indiana, I always
have basketball references so pardon me here. It’s kind of like
using a strategy as like taking the ball down the court and
every shot clock ends in a violation. It’s not worth doing at
all. You’ve got to take the other route. Just create something
of value and then you don’t have to pay for it.

I mean consider the effort of those hundreds and sometimes thousands
of links an Inc. article will place out. How long would it take
you to make that manually, to pitch that many companies and what
would you have to pay them? I mean you can’t pitch. It’s really
the best way to scale, link building. It’s a good contribution
and their immediate combination.

Trent: No kidding. So how often are you producing, and Mike Stelzner
is calling this primary fuel, blog posts versus these bigger
reports because obviously it’s a lot more work to produce the
report, the click through rate report, or the blog post
optimization report. So in addition to those reports, actually,
before I move off, how many per year of six months, or how often
are you trying to produce a new report?

Aaron: So we have tier one, two, and three levels of content, so tier
one would be like an e-book, something of that nature, that blog
put out an optimization guide, would probably be considered tier
one. Maybe tier two [good] as a guide. Tier two would be like
cheat sheets, guides, things of that nature, and then tier three
would be just really great guest articles that say you have an
awesome idea to pitch to an industry public publication in just
a really nice well thought, well researched article.

And so we try and do one tier per quarter and then multiple tier two
and tier threes depending on our cycle of editing schedule and
things like that so that’s kind of a good thing to shoot for.
But it’s really not, especially for enterprise clients, it’s not
like it takes a ton of work to create these in some cases
because even in tier one content pieces.

Because there are so many enterprises in the back of their desk
somewhere or maybe sometimes behind a payroll or maybe somewhere
buried on my website they’ve got these false leading pieces and
guides already and sometimes you can just take that and put it
through a more consumable downloadable format, in an e-book or
something like that and then we dress it a little bit.

But a lot of times these companies have tier one content but they
just don’t know it or don’t know how to promote it so that’s a
really great situation coming into. We get a client takes
thought leadership seriously and is creating this somewhere and
we get our PM on it and fast track it. Like I did with the
[CPR] study, I think we spent maybe two guys and less than two
weeks. I know that because we already had the data and we just
crunched the data and wrote maybe a couple thousand words around
it and that was it.

Trent: For the folks that are listening to his if you’re wondering,
I’m browsing Aaron’s site as I’m going the interview and you can
get free reports from him on all this stuff. How to be the
Topic of Your Industry with Earned Media and there’s a download
for that. How to Write Insanely Popular Blog Posts, there’s a
download for that. So I would really encourage you to go to . .
. it looks like it’s Is that correct, Aaron?

Aaron: Yeah, our website is You can check the Resources
section and we’ve got . . . it’s all over the map. How to Pass
the Google Analytics IQ Test. That’ll teach you there,
Beginner’s Guide of Google Analytics. Yes, so many ways that we
try to help our target market. Again it’s VP marketing,
directors of marketing do their jobs better and then whenever it
comes around to making decision around digital PR and SEO and
things like that we’re top of mind.

Trent: You know what’s really doing horrible interviews like this for
me is I realize how much more homework I have to do as a result
of talking to you.

Aaron: Well, it’s all there for free.

Trent: All right, so my question that I never got to was, how often do
you blog? And I didn’t mean like you described tier one, two,
three which looks like it’s all content that’s going on other
people’s properties, and then you have your own blog and it
looks like it’s pretty darn active. Two posts in the 20th, one
in the 17th, one in the 16th, two in the 16th. How many people .
. . I mean are you taking guest posts from other people or do
you just have enough people on your team that you guys are able
to crank out this much content?

Aaron: Yes, we have staff of about 80 people here in Indianapolis and
so a lot of these blog contributors, they are all staff. I know
that we have maybe one or two guest posts here and there from
people outside of our company and we do accept guest posts of
their own topic and valuable, just like any other publisher.

But we try to foster blogging for our company within our organization
and I think that’s an important point I’d like to make,
especially with Google Authorship coming. Or it is here and
it’s coming, it’s probably going to be a big part of ranking out
algorithm here soon, but it’s kind of going to . . . [employees
able to] promote themselves, right. So these employees that are
blogging on our website that’s more coverage for their name and
gives them more credit under their Google Authorship profiles.

We want to promote that because it will help us in the end, and even
if they do move on in some point to another organization and
keep doing the same thing, then their [confidence] our website
just only becomes more valuable, so really it’s in the best
interest of the employee and the employer to encourage this
thought leadership and again it helps them and probably even
more than it helps us.

Trent: And how are you ensuring that for example in the case of Rachel
Brown, I see she has two posts. How are you ensuring that the
content that she has authored that is published on your blog is
in Google’s eyes through the authorship of whatever word you’d
like to use is “credited” to Rachel? Is there a plug in or how
does that happen?

Aaron: Yeah, great question, so if you click on that post and you
scroll down to the bottom there is a plug in and it links to
their biography on the site that links to their Twitter account,
Google+. You can see their latest posts so that plug in, I
don’t remember the name of it. I know we run WordPress. I think
it was called Fanciest Author Box. So it will connect your
Google+. Anything that connects your Google+ [inaudible 24:47]
there’s ways of doing it by hand but pay the $5 or $10, maybe
it’s even free. It’s just one click if you’re using WordPress
and you’ve got a connection.

Trent: Okay, Fanciest, and if you’re listening to this I will be at
the end of this interview I’ll describe a link on how you can
get to the show notes for this episode and anything we’ve talked
about like this will be in the show notes. And you’ll be able
to follow those links to get to it.

Fancy, yeah, something called Fancier Author Box by ThematoSoup. So
we’ll check that out and make sure that’s the right one and if
not, I’ll trade some emails with you here and we’ll make sure we
get the right one.

All right, so I now you have to keep this just a half hour so I think
we have about seven minutes left. So obviously you guys are
doing a killer job in terms of getting attention which is a
first phase of lifecycle marketing of course attracting
interest. Phrase two is capturing leads so lots of people are
coming to your site because of all the exposure and these links
and this is helping your ranking and they’re entering their
contact info to get whatever free report which you have many
that they are interested in.

But the next phase is nurturing because just because they download
from a report doesn’t mean that they are ready to become a
customer. So what are some of the things that you do with
you’re a HubSpot partner, yes?

Aaron: Yeah, we use HubSpot. We are a HubSpot [founder].

Trent: So it doesn’t matter for what we’re going to talk about next,
whether you use HubSpot or Infusionsoft or whatever marketing
optimization tool. It wouldn’t matter because you can accomplish
this in all of them. But what are some of the things that you
do to segment and nurture your list of prospects so that your
sales team focuses on the people they should be focusing on?

Aaron: Well, I think, like you said, a lot of marketing automation
software out there could handle quite a bit. I do think HubSpot
does offer definitely some functionalities that others don’t.
But essentially what you want to do is from the very first
gathering their information on a questionnaire form, you want to
understand what questions, and you can get this data from your
service sales people is get prospect questions basically that
can give them an idea if this is someone we want to target and
as a prospect. So it might be a company size, it might be
revenue levels, or numbers of employees, or things of that
nature. Maybe it’s a more in-depth question, but working these
questions into your form that people have to download, fill out
the download your content can help.

Now lengthening that form too long is going to have diminishing
returns with people getting annoyed filling out giant survey but
if you can keep it to a few questions that’s pretty good
practice, and then probably even better information comes
through the software as you start to funnel users through your
marketing automation workflows. So that’ll gives you an idea,
when you send them more resources and more messaging: are they
opening, are they downloading, are they coming back to your
site, what are they looking at when they come back to your site?
Are they filling out the content form?

A good marketing automation software will have all this information
within the portal and ad leads scores as different interactions
happens so you don’t really have to . . . you can set up these
workflows and say they come in through, in our case a blog
optimization guide. We have a specific workflow just for that
because these people are interested in the writing and
authorship and things like that. So people who work through that
funnel and say you have a prospect and say we’re interested in
and they’ve opened up every analysis and downloaded everything
we sent them and they’ve kind of upped their lead score so now
they know more about our company.

At that point, depending on the content that they read, it might be a
time for outreach someone from business development. Now it’s
not that you can send them ten things about your company and
okay once they’ve read ten, then their qualified. You have to be
very tactical with the content that you send them. You’re
starting off at the very top of the funnel when they first find
you and then you work your way down the funnel. So top of the
funnel stuff might be educating them, then about some market or
industry techniques things like that. And the middle of the
funnel might be educating them about those specifics techniques
that your company provides, and maybe it talks about some
comparisons and things like that.

At the bottom of the funnel directly here’s what we do, here’s some
more data, and if you have somebody, a prospect that works
through all that content and downloads it all, then they’re
clearly interested in you, they have been educated on your
company and then outreaching them at that point is not only a
waste of your sale’s guys time but it’s going to be high
prospect, high percentage they are going to close in the end.

Trent: Absolutely, which makes the sales person job easier, lowers
your cost to your customer acquisition, eliminates the need to
waste tons of cold calling and there’s all sorts of benefits. I
think that it’s reasonably likely that lots of people listening
to this don’t necessarily know what auto marketing automation
is. So I want to feedback on what you just described so I can
make sure folks who aren’t terribly familiar with it really get
a handle on what it is because it’s extremely powerful concept
to embrace and then implement in your business.

So what’s of folks have websites and you can go put in your email
address and you get whatever it is they are offering. But it
sounds to me, Aaron, like what you’re doing of course is you
have not just one lead magnet, but you have many lead magnets
and the follow-up campaigns, which are these sequence of emails
that path down the funnel as it were is going to tailored
obviously to each one of those lead magnets. Am I understanding
this correctly?

Aaron: Exactly.

Trent: Okay. And then at some point down each . . . let’s say if you
have ten lead magnets. Ten different reports, for example, you
would have ten different early stage educational and nurturing
funnels, and then at some point you’re probably have what I call
a catch all product and company specific thick funnel that these
people would eventually make their way into that says “this is
what we do and you can kind of buy our stuff.” Is that correct?
Because I’m thinking of a scale of about how many, of how
manageable that you can make this.

Aaron: Yeah, we have a workflows for every piece that we send out and
all of them in and learning a lot more about our company and
that specific offering that they might have been interested in
more than maybe a different offering we have or different
offering, or different perspective on our offering. Our goal is
to get them to, as what we call, go through the bottom of the
funnel so really what that means is someone again has gone from
leaning about your expertise in the market, to learning about
your company and your offering.

So it doesn’t matter. Like when you sent it to a salesperson and if
you’re like a giant company and you have all these products that
you sell, you obviously want to send people from certain
workflows to the sales guys that handle those. We essentially
sell one thing and that’s the contributions in earned media, so
it’s pretty easy for us because we can export our [inaudible
32:54] through leads and see which workload they are in and get
an idea of what interest drove them to our company and in just
use those as conversation starters and to see if there’s any
interest there. So they all lead to the same thing which is a
high lead score on the bottom of the funnel [website].

Trent: Okay. There’s so much more I could ask you and that I want to
ask you. Excuse me, let make that stop ringing, but you told me
a half hour is all you have, so sadly I’m going to have to cut
this episode off here. I do really want to thank you, Aaron,
for coming and being on the show. Like I say, I’m kind of mad at
your now because I need to read a lot of lead magnets and see
how much better I can do at some of this stuff. For the folks
that are listening who want to get a hold of you, what would be
the easiest way for them to do that?

Aaron: Well, pretty easy: That’s my email address
and you can go to and see a lot of the guides and
research reports and things of that nature. I think it’s very
helpful for anyone that’s interested in learning more and even
implementing some of these strategies on their team, or their
marketing tam in their company, trying to earn more natural
search engine traffic and leads and social media mentions and
all the great things that earn media contribution provided.

Trent: Absolutely and that’s by the way that’s Aaron with two A’s,

Aaron: Yeah. A-A-R-O-N at

Trent: Okay, Aaron, again, thanks you so very much for making the time
to be on the show. It’s been a pleasure to have you on and look
forward to having you back.

Aaron: Yeah, thanks a lot, Trent. It was great fun and I’ll be back
any time.

Trent: Okay, take care.

Aaron: Take care, bye-bye.

Trent: All right, to get to the show notes for today’s episode go to When you’re there you’ll see all the links
that we’ve talked about today, plus some other valuable
information that you can use to ignite more growth in your
business. If you’re listening to this on your mobile while
you’re driving or doing whatever, just sent a text to, rather
just text Trent to 585858 and I’m going to give you access to
Massive Traffic Toolbox, which is compilation of all the very
best traffic generation strategies that have been shared with me
by my many proven experts and guests here on the show. As well
you’ll be able to get a list of all my favorite episodes that
I’ve published thus far on the blog.

And finally, if you really enjoyed this episode please head over to where we’ll you’ll be able to find a link to
leave us a rating in the iTunes store and I would really
appreciate it if you’d take a moment to do that because it helps
the show to build its audience. And the more audience members
we have, of course, the more people that we can help to
massively boost their business.

So that’s it for this episode. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid and I look
forward to seeing you in the next episode. Take care and have a
wonderful day.

Announcer: Thanks very much for listening to the Bright Ideas Broadcast.
Check us out on the Web at

About Aaron Aders

AaronAdersAaron is co-founder of digitalrelevance™, a national leader in inbound marketing, planning and execution. Building on more than a decade of Internet marketing experience, Aaron steers the strategic vision behind digitalrelevance™ marketing strategy, research and collateral. Aaron also maintains a weekly tech column at and has contributed content to various national publications including, Businessweek, Money Magazine, and SmartData Collective – where he also serves on the board of advisors.

Casey Graham 4 in x 6 in x 300 dpi x FC

Digital Marketing Strategy: How Casey Graham Reached 5,000 customers and $2 Million in Sales in Just 3 Years

3 years ago, Casey Graham was at rock bottom. He was $80,000 in debt, he’d just missed out on a major family event (because he was on the road making sales calls), and things at home weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders.

For many early-stage entrepreneurs, this is an all too familiar story.

Fast forward 3 years, and Casey’s company has become extremely successful, all thanks to a major realization he made on a trip home from overseas (when we was missing out on that important family event).

While on the plane, Casey realize that the way he was delivering his product was wrong, he sales strategy was wrong, and if he was going to ever realize his dreams of owning a successful business, he was doing to need to do a number of things differently.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Casey Graham, founder of The Rocket Company, and also the winner of Infusionsoft’s 2013 Ultimate Marketer award. Having made some pretty big changes to his business 3 years ago, Casey now generates over $2 million a year (with very high profit margins), is completely debt free, and is having more fun than ever!

When you listen to this interview, here are some of the things that you are going to hear Casey and I talk about:

  • How entering his company in the Infusionsoft Ultimate Marketing Finals really helped his team to get ultra focused
  • (10:52) The story of how Casey fired himself from his last job to start his own business (and how awful it turned out)
  • (19:12) How his very first email broadcast from Infusionsoft earned him a few thousand dollars (something that he’d NEVER done before)
  • (20:12) Casey’s traffic generation strategy, and specifically, how Twitter played a pivotal role in growing his list from 832 to over 47,000 in just 3 years
  • (25:12) How Casey sets up automated nurturing campaigns in Infusionsoft
  • (28:16) How Casey warms up his new leads in a very special warm up sequence, which is then followed by a webinar sequence that results in the vast majority of their product sales
  • (32:42) How webinars play a crucial role in Casey’s sales funnel and how he structures them to produce maximum conversions
  • (34:00) How he presents an offer in his webinar so that more sales result
  • (37:30) How Casey generates substantial additional revenue via up-sells and cross-sells
  • (38:30) The 3 types of up-sells that Casey uses and how to replicate what he’s doing in your own business
  • (47:12) How Casey is building “relationship capital” with his customers with specific examples
  • (52:00) How the success of all of this has massively changed Casey’s life
  • (55:10) What he is most excited about for 2013, his favorite business book, and how to reach him
..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.

Listen Now

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 marketing agencies and entrepreneurs who want to discover
how to use content marketing and marketing automation to
massively boost their business.On the show today is Casey Graham, founder of The Rocket Company. I
first learned of Casey when I was at Infusionsoft’s annual
conference. His company one the annual 2013 Infusionsoft
Ultimate Marketer of the Year award. To do that, he had to beat
out some pretty impressive competition. You’re in for a real
treat with this interview.In the interview, we’re going to talk about how Casey, a couple years
ago, was essentially broke, driving around in a little red
pickup truck, and really trying to make his business a success.
Fast forward three years later – He’s got a mailing list of
47,000 people, he’s doing over $2 million a year, he and his
family are completely debt free, he’s got a wonderful team of
people helping the company continue to grow. He’s actually now
removing himself from all operational roles so he can focus more
on strategy. Like I said, this is going to be a very fantastic
interview.Before we get to that, a couple of special announcements – My tool
tip of the week is a brand new tool called PlusThis. You can
get there, if you’d like to use our affiliate link, by going to PlusThis is essentially a library of
add on tools for Infusionsoft users. One of the tools there,
for example, is the integration with GoToMeeting. One of the
things, if you’re doing webinars with GoToMeeting, wouldn’t it
be valuable for you to know who attended and who didn’t attend?
You can get that information from GoToMeeting, but you have to
manually export it from GoToMeeting and then import it to
Infusionsoft, and that creates duplicates, labor, and
inefficiencies. That is one of the many things PlusThis can
help you automate.The other announcement I wanted to make is that our next webinar on
life cycle marketing – If you haven’t yet seen one of these
webinars, they’re a huge hit because it really goes into detail.
I show what I do, and what guests on my show have done to
increase the pace at which they are attracting new customers,
which obviously makes our companies more profitable, which
allows us to invest in further growth. If you want to get
registered for one of those, just go to, join up
on the mailing list, and you’ll receive a notification of the
next time I’ve got that webinar running.Please join me in welcoming Casey to the show.Hey Casey, welcome to the show.Casey: Thanks for having me on, I appreciate it.Trent: No problem at all. First off, congratulations on your
recognition as one of the Ultimate Marketer finalists this year
for Infusionsoft, that’s quite an accomplishment to say the
least.Casey: Thank you. I’d never heard about it until a year ago, and then
we went to InfusionCon a year ago, and we saw them on stage and
decided to apply for it this year. Somehow we were able to make
it through the rigorous interview process and the cuts and all
that and be a part of all that. It was awesome. We learned a
bunch from the other guys that were finalists as well, and are
actually continuing to learn from them. I would highly
recommend being a part of the Infusionsoft Ultimate Marketer
process, just from the relationships that you build.Trent: Yeah, no kidding. Both Dustin and Andy have been on the show
as well.Casey: That’s awesome, you’re getting it done.Trent: I try to make it my effort to get all of the Ultimate Marketers
on the show now. I think you’re being a little too humble here,
you didn’t just make the grade, if I remember correctly, you
won.Casey: Our team won. Me and Michael, and The Rocket Company won the
award. It was awesome to win, and to be a part of that. I
don’t know we won, the other guys were so awesome. Dustin and
the other guys, BlueChip, they were doing so much. It was cool.
Like I said, the process – I don’t know if everybody who
listens to this in an Infusionsoft user or not, but people that
Infusionsoft should be a part of the Ultimate Marketer process,
because it helps you think through your processes, since you
have to present them to people. What it did internally for us
was great. The award was awesome, but what it did internally
was solidify a lot things that needed solidifying. I really
appreciate you giving us a shout out for that.Trent: For the folks who don’t know who you are, and I normally start
my interviews with this, but I kind of skipped it, a little bit
on purpose because I wanted to send you that congratulations.
People don’t necessarily know who you are or what The Rocket
Company is. I want you to introduce yourself in just a moment.

For the folks that are listening, the big why on why you want to
listen to interview, and I think Casey is probably going to get
into it, is he was driving around in his little red truck trying
to find customers, and was not having a real good time at it,
and I’m going to let him tell that story, and then here he is,
some amount of time later, I don’t remember if it’s a year or
two later, he’s the Infusionsoft Ultimate Marketer of the Year,
and his business has absolutely blown up, in a good way, as a
result of that. We want to get all of those things out in this
interview, and I think we’re going to do a real good job with

With that said, Casey, thanks for being on the show. Please take a
moment and tell us just a little bit about what your company is
and does, and who you are.

Casey: The Rocket Company is an online learning for pastors and church
leaders. Church leaders get caught a bunch of things in college
or seminary – It’s kind of like us, even as entrepreneurs, you
can go to business school, but then there’s all of this stuff.
People that are actually listening to podcasts now, they’re
going, “That’s great, I learned that in business school, but
what is it really?”

That’s what The Rocket Company for churches, go, “That’s great, you
learned all that stuff, and you learned some theology, you
learned something in school. There is real stuff you have to do
as a pastor, like preach better sermons, and raise money, and
deal with volunteers. The Rocket Company provides online
training, learning and coaching for pastors in that way. It’s a
totally online model, except for some live events that we do.
It’s all digital, it’s all online, and it reaches all across the
world now. We have about 5,000 customers that are connected to
The Rocket Company, and that’s the niche which Rocket Company

Very simply, why we do it is that we believe in the church and we are
trying to help the church be successful. We’re tired of pastors
preaching boring sermons, we’re tired of cheesy TV pastors
trying to raise money on TV and doing it the wrong way and
turning people off, and we’re tired of volunteers burning out in
churches because there aren’t enough. We’re creating solutions
and coaching in those areas, that’s what we currently do.

Trent: If I was to really shorten that into a super simple
explanation, you help churches become more effective at the
business side of being a church.

Casey: Yes, and no. Yes, I think that’s right in a lot of ways, but
there’s a heavy relational slant on it. It’s not just business
as usual, we help them develop the interpersonal skills to be
able to pull off raising money, volunteering, preaching, and all
that stuff. Yes, you’re right. It’s where the rubber meets the
road. Simply, when people ask us what we do – We help the
church succeed. That’s what we do, and we feel like these are
the areas that make the most impact right now.

Trent: The reason I said that is that I think that probably few, if
any of the listeners right now, are involved in the church
business. I don’t want them to click the stop button, thinking,
“Oh, this is for churches, it wouldn’t be for me,” because that
couldn’t be further from the truth as they’ll learn, as they
keep on listening to this.

Casey: Well, we’re a business that serves churches, so you should
listen because we’re [inaudible 08:55]. 86% of churches are
broke or behind budget this year. The clientele we’re serving
do not have a lot of money, and the other reason, the clientele
we’re serving don’t get a financial benefit from using our
services. If they’re giving [inaudible 09:14] to the church,
they don’t get a percentage of it, they’re not a salesperson,
their salary stays the same.

It’s all on goodwill, so it’s much harder to sell to somebody. If
somebody is buying a product and you’re increasing their income
or business revenue, they’ll keep buying from you because they
get a personal benefit. For us, it’s the complete opposite.
We’ve still been able to find success even with having niche and
as 86% of them are broke or behind budget.

Trent: How much success are you guys having? How much revenue are you
guys doing a year?

Casey: We are over two million last year, for 2012. In 2013, we’re
projected to be 2.4, 2.5.

Trent: That’s a pretty nice growth rate.

Casey: Actually, this year will probably be the slowest one on
purpose. We grew about 832% over the last three years. We went
from about $212,000 in revenue to over two million in three
years. We need to catch our breath, hire the right people, get
the right people, get the systems in place, that kind of thing,
because we just grew [inaudible 10:18] and we’re trying to
organize now.

Trent: I’m so glad you mentioned that, because that’s the story I
really wanted to dig into. Let’s go back to the red truck,
let’s go back to pre-Infusionsoft. Tell us a little about what
your life and your business was like, and how you got into this,
because you had a real struggle. I want people to understand
that anybody can go from a real struggle to where you’re at now.

Casey: Here’s the deal – I was on staff at a church. At 27 years old,
I fired myself from being the CFO of a church, and I hired
myself as the CEO of a startup company, that I was going to go
out and help churches. I had no plan, no strategy, I’d never
started a business before. Here’s what I had – A wife that
wanted to stay home with a one year old baby, that is the
hardest work you can do, but unfortunately, she doesn’t get a
paycheck for staying home. That was that, and then we have
$36,000 saved up in the bank. I said, “We’re going to go after
this, I’ve got $36,000, and I think churches need to have money
for ministry. They need to learn how to raise money better.
I’m going to go out and do it.”

We started, and we did the good old fashioned Casey driving around,
in my 1998 Red Ranger Ford pickup truck that I got as a junior
in high school, and literally going into churches and walking up
to secretaries or assistants, and say, “Hey, I want to talk to
your pastor about our services.” Just doing the old fashioned
cold calling.

Also, cold calling anybody. In fact, I would drive by churches and
see the phone number on the side, and call it. It was cold
calling, driving around doing that. I did that for about two
years, and the strategy was so amazing that second year in,
here’s what the results were – I missed dad’s night at my
daughter’s school. People listening to this may or may not have
kids, or are maybe single or whatever, but the point is this.

I started a business, not only to help people but to create autonomy
where I could be at dad’s nights, and I was missing them. I was
missing family dinners, I was traveling around the southeast to
try to get deals. We ended up being $80,000 in debt in the
business. I had a business partnership I got into. I ended up
the worst, the bottom of the barrel when it comes business is, I
had to lay off three people at one time – Not because of
anything that they did, but I just thought business was all
about sales and growth, and I wasn’t managing the back end of
the business, and it just got away from me honestly. I had to
tell the ladies – I set them down and said, “Hey, in two weeks
we’re not going to have enough money to pay you, so I’m going to
have to let you go.”

Being at the rock bottom, at that point, I literally went around the
world. I went to the Philippines. Only a dumb entrepreneur
would do this, and I said I was going to go to the Philippines
to outsource, we did some outsourcing for churches, and decided
to outsource the outsourcing to try to save money. While I was
there, literally, I can’t get all the story, but a guy climbed
through my window, it was a totally random act of violence, he
came in literally with a knife, bloody, trying to kill me,
randomly. I ended up running down 13 flights of stairs with an
armed guard in the middle of the Philippines with a machine gun,
looking up at this guy hanging off the side of a building on the
13th floor getting in there to kill me. I know this is the
craziest story you’ve ever heard.

Trent: It is a little unusual.

Casey: Here’s the point – I got so low that I was traveling around the
world trying to save a business $80,000 in debt, with a bad
business partnership, and I was rock bottom. I said, “You know
what, something’s got to change.”

In that moment, at being at the bottom, and literally being around
the world and flying back is when I started the process of
realizing the problem’s not the market, the problem’s not the
economy, the problem is not anything – The problem is me. The
way were doing it wasn’t working, and we needed some changes.
That’s what happened in the first two years of our business.

That was probably too many details, but that’s the real story of
where this thing came from.

Trent: I wish we could have got those last two sentences out to the
entire planet, because you said something there that was so
incredibly profound, that entrepreneurs say, but that few others
do – The problem wasn’t the economy or the world, or this or
that or the other thing, the problem was you. That is something
I find is unanimous in entrepreneurs, we are never the victim.
Our success and failures are always our own. As soon as you can
adopt that mindset, in my opinion, you set yourself free,
because then you’re in control and you can choose to change the
outcome, which you did, and we’re going to tell that story.

I do want to offer up one other idea. You mentioned at the beginning
of this, that you were doing it the good old fashioned way, and
then you went on to tell how you were prospecting. It may have
been old fashioned my friend, but I don’t think it was good.

Casey: That’s funny. That’s true, it was terrible.

Trent: There was nothing good about making about making cold calls,
missing your daughter’s event, and being around the world, there
was nothing good about that.

Casey: [inaudible 16:03] everybody I met said this was how to do it –
You go to leads groups, and you pass business cards out, and
this how you do it, it was the old fashioned way to try to do
this deal, and we live in a different time. I just had to learn
the hard way. That’s what the story was.

Trent: You and me both. I have often said to people in conversations,
and maybe even on my show here, that I never get it right the
first time. I always duff it the first time, and then I get it
figured out the second time around.

Let’s get into your discovery of Infusionsoft, when was that?

Casey: That was at that point, right after that trip around the world,
about three years ago, middle of 2010 – I was searching online
and I saw a donate redirect on a website I was on, and it said
Infusionsoft, and I was curious what it was, so I Googled it and
went to their website. I was low with no money, no team, I was
worn out and they’re making these promises on their website like
– Infusionsoft is like having 25 people sell for you while you
sleep. It’s automated, and all this stuff.

I thought, yeah, whatever, but it was worth me putting in my e-mail
address for the demo. I got an e-mail back late at night, and I
thought man, these people are on top of it, they work all hours
of the night. I’d never heard of an auto responder before. They
sent me e-mails, and finally got me on the phone and sold me on
Infusionsoft, and I put money where my mouth was and did things
differently. That’s how we found it.

A big transition happened though – When I used what was called the
Infusionsoft Success Coach, there was Brandon Steinwig, he got
on the phone with me, and said, “Thanks for getting in on the
call today. When are you going to send your first broadcast?”

I said, “What’s a broadcast?”

He said, “Well, that’s why you bought Infusionsoft, right?”

I said, “Well, I bought it because of all these promises.”

He said, “Let me tell you what Infusionsoft actually does. Do you
have an e-mail address?”

I said, “We have 832 e-mail address.”

“Do you have anything you can sell online?”

“I’ve got $80,000 and a red truck if someone wants it.”

He helped me understand that you can sell something online, and that
people would buy stuff that we had done, it was just sitting
around my office. I was like, “I’ve got this old seminar I did,
we just recorded it because there was a machine there, so I
recorded the three hour seminar I did for church leaders.”

He said, “All right, let’s put this on a website, let’s send an e-
mail out to them. I’ll help you write the e-mail and get things

Within a couple of days, we put it up there and I sent the e-mail out
to the 832 people I’ve never e-mailed before. I said, “Hey, I
just want you to know, I’ve been driving around doing all this
high-end consulting, here’s a $99 product you can buy right

Within the first couple of days, we sold a few thousand dollars
worth. I was like, “You have got to be kidding me. I have been
doing all this stuff, driving around, missing dad’s nights,
trying to make money, and I just sent out one e-mail and made a
few thousand dollars?”

That was the point when everything started to change, it was an aha
moment for me.

Trent: In three years you go from guy in the truck, no money, to guy
with a $2 million plus business which has a very healthy profit
margin. I hope people who are listening to this get inspired
and fired up, and think man, if this guy can go from broke,
selling to churches that have no money to this wonderfully
successful business, maybe there’s something about this whole
marketing automation stuff that I could use in my own business.
The answer of course is “Yes there is.”

Let’s try to dive into more details, and let’s talk. It all starts
with lead generation, can you tell us about the process that
you’re using for attracting and capturing leads for your

Casey: Yep. Our attraction strategy is very simple. After going
through hell and back, we said, “We can’t do everything, but we
can do something.”

When we learned about attracting traffic to our website, we said,
“Here’s what we’re going to do – Number one, we’re going to have
blog.” Everybody on this call can have a blog, and everybody
can write three times a week. If you say you don’t have enough
time to write a blog three times a week, that isn’t true, unless
you’re incapacitated and almost dying in a hospital.

Every single person can do that and add value to people who could be
their potential customers. That’s the outpost through which all
of our stuff happens. We put stuff on the blog.

Our strategy to attracting traffic is that we know where pastors are,
unlike business people, because a bunch of business people
aren’t on Twitter. Most pastors, when you speak at a
conference, say how many guys are on Twitter, 80%–I don’t know
the exact number–but it would be 8 out of 10 people would raise
their hand. That’s where pastors are, so what we said is we’re
going to dominate one thing. I know there’s Google+, I know
there’s pay per click, I know there’s SEO, I know there’s
Facebook, I know there’s all these other things, but we’re going
to dominate one thing and what we know how to dominate is

I’m on Twitter, our teen is on Twitter, we know Twitter, we know
pastors on Twitter, so that’s what we decided to do. We put all
our eggs in the Twitter basket, and so here’s what we’ve done –
We went out and found celebrity pastors that we can either buy
their time, you can rent anybody’s time, and we get them on an
online event, and we have them tweet out the links to our
landing pages. Part of them being a part of it is that they’ll
promote it, and that drives a tremendous amount of traffic to
our website.

In the last three years, with the Twitter strategy of getting famous
people to tweet to us, and for us using Twitter to generate blog
content, we’ve grown our list from 832 contacts to about 47,000
contacts in a three-year time period. That’s what we did.
That’s it, and that’s all we did. We know there’s other things
we should do, and we’re going to do those in the future, but to
start out and be simple and dominate, that’s where we started.

Trent: Man, that is impressive. 832 to 47,000, wow. I think anybody
could do this in a business, they could find out who the
celebrities are in their space or niche, contact those folks,
because they’re all looking – Did you have to pay them, or did
they come on because they wanted the exposure?

Casey: Most wanted to just help people. Most wanted that, but we paid
them anyway. What I found is that you had to pay some, it’s
just the way it is. The point was, people hear that and go,
“Oh, I don’t have anybody. I’m in the salon business, there
aren’t any salon celebrities.” Yes, there are. There are
absolutely places you can go where there are salon people that
other salon people learning from and listening to.

People say, “I’m in a retail location, what is there to do in a
retail location?”

Well, that’s why smart companies have Justin Bieber as a celebrity
that drives people to their retail locations, because they’re
renting a celebrity at the top end of their of funnel. It
associates them with that person, and that is a lead driver, a
lead attraction, a lead magnet that they can pull people in.
Every single niche has people that people listen to. If you can
align yourself and go as hard as you can to reach those people,
don’t quit because the first one tell you no, you can get
aligned with those people and they’ll help you significantly.

Trent: That’s a very good idea. I want to give a quick shout out to a
resource on this topic of defining your nice, if you got to and on the navigation bar, you’ll see the life
cycle marketing guide, scroll down through the links, and that
links to a whole bunch of articles, but in the attract interest
category or section, you’ll find an article on how and why to
define your target market. There’s a whole bunch of details
there for you.

Let’s move on. Your strategy worked exceedingly well, your list grew
like mad. Here’s the thing – Just because they’re on your list
doesn’t mean they’re whipping their credit card out and willing
to buy your stuff, right?

Casey: Totally different.

Trent: Correct. So, what happens between getting them on the list,
and getting them buying stuff. There’s something that happens
between those two things, what is that?

Casey: What we found is that–I hate to say this, I probably shouldn’t
say this but I’ll say it anyway. It’s a great way to [inaudible
24:55]. Most people try to treat this like sex on a first date.
They get somebody on their list, and then they try to close to
the deal. It’s like, come on. People do that to me all the
time. I get on a list and they’re trying to close the deal with
me. If that’s how you do real life, I’m sorry, but if you
understand that a healthy relationship is built over time and
built on trust.

Between attracting traffic and converting the sale there’s a whole
thing we call building relationships on the list so what we try
to do is build the relationship. Here’s a couple things that
have worked. I’m giving everybody practical things that you can
do. I like everybody to know that I’ve had a red truck. The
reason why, is that the only thing you remember from my
introduction speech is that I had a red truck. It’s a red

I like people to know I have a family when they come onto our list.
When we’re e-mailing our list, and we’re sending stuff out, I’m
not only introducing them to stuff that can help them, I’m also
introducing them to my family. The reason why, is that we’ve
found people trust people and have an affinity for them if
they’ve seen their family, and they see they have kids, and what
they look like. Do they look like weirdos? Are they normal
looking? Can I relate with these people? That kind of thing.
The red truck story, like a story of struggle, here’s where
we’ve been, here’s how long we’ve been doing this, that sort of

The third thing we like to send is connecting us with famous people
in our niche so that we gain credibility. If we’re sending out
e-mails or doing videos and people see you and they associate
you with the leaders. That builds credibility. Inside of that,
we’re building a healthy, what we call like a dating
relationship via e-mail, via video, and warming people up. We
don’t send people directly into a sale unless they ask for it,
if they ask for it or click on a link to buy something, they can
go buy something. For most people, we do what’s called a warm-
up sequence. We are warming them for the point in which we feel
like we can move in to take action and create a purchase, so
that’s what we do.

Trent: Let’s dive into that a little bit. Let’s say I come to your
site, and I get one of your lead magnets, I fill out the form
and give you my name and e-mail address, hit the submit button,
the first e-mail, is it going to give me just what I asked for,
“Here’s the free report,” or whatever it was? Is there going to
be anything else in that first e-mail?

Casey: The first e-mail, we’re just giving them what they ask for, but
we’re also tell them there’s more coming.

Trent: What comes next? When do you introduce the truck, the family,
and the celebrities?

Casey: That’s a great question, and it depends on where they came
from. We have a very complex business now. I’m going to start
where it was really simple. We used to do 10 emails over 30
days as our warm-up sequence. The point of those e-mails was
those different things: likeability, trust and credibility. If
say something about the red truck, it’s, “Hey, I used to drive
around the Southeast in a red truck, and here’s what I learned
about that and learned from pastors.” Then we do something very

Again, the whole thing’s not about the red truck, it’s just a mention
in a what we call a by the way moment. We’re mixing those in
throughout the 10 over 30 days, and that’s how, when we first
started, when we were selling just one program and it was a very
simple operation, that’s how we did it and we mixed a little bit
of personality in with a lot a bit of helpful content. It was
about 20% personality, 80% helpful content.

Trent: Okay, excellent. Yep, go ahead.

Brian: Key in that, we would put in the PS, “Oh, by the way, we know
you downloaded this report on church giving, we have a cool
coaching program called Giving Rocket, and you can click here
and you can go check out all of that kind of stuff.” Again, it
was there. If somebody wanted to go get it, they could. During
that first 30 days, we’re building the relationship and
nurturing them and getting them to know us and us to know them.

I’ll tell you a trick – One of the best e-mails we ever do,
especially when you’re small, and you’re trying to get off the
ground or try to grow in Internet business, just do an e-mail
that says, “Would you please reply and let me know?” [inaudible

Just ask them a question and the question and the question of what we
found out is a question about either their personal life. I
would send one with a picture of my family in it, and say, hey,
tell me about their family. I’d love to get to know you and who
you have in your family. Again, I ask them to divulge some
information to me, and I divulge some to them, when it’s a two
way street and a conversation starts, those people end up being
low hanging fruit that will buy just about anything from you.

Trent: I do something almost like that now, and you’ve given me an
idea how to improve. Anyone who’s on my list will know that in
one of my first e-mails, I say what they’re struggling with the
most, and I ask them to reply because I want to get a
conversation going with these people, and it does work. Not
everyone replies of course, but the ones that do become your . .

Casey: No, but the people that are opening and reading and engaging
do, and those people, man, those are some of the best people.
Some of them are weirdos, but a lot of them are great people.

Trent: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. If you don’t have an e-mail
in your warm-up sequence that says reply, you might want to
consider doing that.

I’d love to dive deeper into what you’re doing with your advanced
strategy, but I’m going to keep on keeping on here, because
we’re going to run out of time, and there’s still some other
categories of life cycle marketing I want to talk about.

Before I move on, you’ve got the 30 day warm-up sequence. What
happens the end of those 30 days?

Casey: We transition them to a webinar sequence after that. A webinar
is where we sell the most, and so after 30 days we put them into
our webinar sequence. It’s built for over a two-week period to
get them on a webinar, and to get them to hear helpful content.
About 80% help, and there’s 20% sales. Sales is woven
throughout the webinar, and that’s where we get the most sales.

What we found is that when we consistently did webinars like that,
every single month per niche topic we have, that’s where the
huge growth came from, was consistently doing new content
webinars. They got everybody on the nurture list, after they go
warmed up to us, then we got them on the nurture sequence, which
is where we’d move people to listen, buy, and hopefully become a

If they don’t become a customer, they still get helpful content, but
they’ll be invited to the webinar that happens next month. If
they come to that one, we’ll come to different topics to reach
different types of people, so that’s how that works.

Trent: In you webinars, you mentioned you weave in 20% sales
opportunities. Do you make an offer at the end of the webinar
that says, “Hey, if you want more you can go this page and you
can click this buy button and get this thing.”

Casey: Our webinars are very simple in structure. Most of them around
about 45 minutes long, and the beginning of the webinar we
always do success stories. After I introduce myself and success
stories, we tell them that’s why we have Giving Rocket. You’re
going to see a button below as I talk throughout the rest of the
webinar, and you can just click that button, and by the way, you
can click it if you want to right now and see everything that’s
listed for this webinar offer, and my voice will keep playing
because it’ll open in another tab. That’s right within the
first five minutes.

We come back as we’re doing helpful content, so we’ll say that when
it comes to fundraising, here’s something they could do. And
that’s why we did it with Giving Rocket. With Giving Rocket, not
only do we tell you what to do, we’re going to do it for you.
It’s done for you, fundraising resources. If you click the
button below, you’ll see all the stuff you get da-da-da. That’s
what’s called a by the way pitch.

Then, at about the 70% mark of the way through, we turn it and we do
about a ten minute full on explanation of what Giving Rocket is,
why we have this Rocket, how it can help them, special offers
and bonuses if they do it within the next 48 hours, click the
button below, that kind of thing. Then go back to helpful
content at the end. We found that putting it about 3/4 of the
way thorough, with pitching the by the way moment as you lead up
has worked very well for us.

We have a page, and on the page it has one button, and the button is
always below they video, and they can click it, and there’s a
special offer per webinar. That’s how we sell.

Trent: Are these webinars live, or live simulation?

Casey: No. We got away from live webinars a long time ago. I am not
a fan of live webinars. If you want to do a live webinar,
that’s great for you. I don’t like doing them for many reasons.
Ours are prerecorded and pre-done in advance, and that’s how we
do all of them. [inaudible 35:00]

Trent: I would imagine, in you particular niche, these folks have
probably never even heard of a webinar simulation, and I know
that you’re not saying these things are live, but do you say
they’re recorded, or do you just not say?

Casey: We don’t say either. We say we’re going to have a webinar at
this time, and that you can sign up and show up. Here’s what we
do: On the webinar, I’ll say, “Guys, tweet us right now at the
Rocket Co., we’ve got our teams, they’re waiting right now.”

They’re interacting with The Rocket Company on the webinar, not Casey
Graham who’s doing the webinar, or Michael Lukaszewski, my
partner who’s doing the webinar. They’re interacting with the
company, not us as a right to interaction. We still get
interaction, but it’s with the company. We always have somebody
scheduled to be available during those times do all of our
social media interaction during the webinar.

Trent: Brilliant. What software tool are you using for the recorded

Casey: I have no idea. I know that the video is on Vimeo, but I don’t
know what the technology piece is. I’m not the technology guy,
so I have no idea for that. I just record the things and send
them to our team, and they do all the technology. I’m sorry, I
hate it that I don’t know that.

Trent: That’s okay. One of the ones that is very popular, it’s by a
guy named Geoff Ronning, it’s called Stealth Seminar. It’s been
around a long time, a lot of people use it, I’ve used it in the
past. There’s another one I’m not as much of a fan of us,
because I tried it and it sucked initially, but apparently it
works quite well now, it’s called Evergreen Business Solutions,
I think what its name is.

There’s more and more of these webinar recording software platforms
that are available, so if you just Google around you’ll find all
sorts. If you type the word review after whatever name, then
you’re looking for, you’ll find people reviewing those products.
Be mindful, when you’re reading those reviews, most people are
an affiliate with that particular software platform, so read
between the lines and make sure it’s as objective as a review as

Casey: That’s good, good words.

Trent: Now we’ve got some conversions happening, we’ve captured leads
in this discussion so far, we’ve nurtured them, we have
converted them with recorded webinars – Which is brilliant by
the way, because you can put it all on autopilot. Once they buy
something, they probably might by some other stuff. In other
words, would you like fries with that?

Could you talk about what you’re doing to upsell, cross sell, and
generate repeat business?

Casey: Yes. The upsell that we’re working very hard on, which has
worked very well, is something we’re really excited about is, we
sell on CustomerHub. CustomerHub was bought by Infusionsoft.
We use it deliver all of our content.

Let me tell you why we use it deliver all of our content – It’s that,
and I didn’t know this until recently, that’s why we implemented
all of this, this is what we’re currently doing. You can one
click upsells inside of CustomerHub. People that are in there
consuming content of module one of your program, how to be a
better real estate agent or whatever, you can have a little
video on the side or inside CustomerHub, that says click this
button and you can get this da-da-da for free, because you’re
watching module one and we’re going to give you a special offer.

They go to a secondary page in CustomerHub, and it’s a one click
purchase. It says, add this to my account or I agree with this,
or whatever. It’s just one click, and it goes on their credit
card, which is on file. That has been huge, because we’ve taken
all the go get your credit card back out to customers, and we
can just create banners on the side.

Does that make sense? I know I’m beating inside the weeds here, but
one click purchase inside of CustomerHub, and if it’s not
CustomerHub, you need a solution that creates a one click
solution for repeat buyers. It’s the PayPal effect.

What I mean is that people ask me to give money all the time, but
they’re little project fundraiser things they’re going to do.
Anytime there is a PayPal button, I will click the PayPal, and I
can just enter the amount and be done with it. I don’t have to
get my credit out and all that kind of stuff. That’s how your
customers feel.

Don’t make them get their credit card out again, that works really
well. That’s number one of selling inside, it’s where your
customers are consuming content. If you’re not giving them
places to consume content, I would rethink that. I would give
them a portal or a place to consume content that also has
natural upsell opportunity in the same area. That’s just my two
cents, that’s not how we started, that’s where we are now.
That’s number one.

Number two is what we’ve done as well is the good old fashioned build
the sequence out in advance. If somebody buys core coaching
project – Let’s just keep using Giving Rocket, to help increase
church giving – We just go ahead a write a three day sale into
that sequence that happens automated whenever they get to day
78, 79, and 80, whatever those days are, and those e-mails just

It’s a three day sale for everybody in that sequence, and it’s on a
product that is related to the core coaching program of Giving
Rocket. That is the fries that come with it. It can come two
months in, we have some six months in, some 12 months in, that
kind of thing. That works really well. That’s just scheduling
e-mails in advance for people who have currently bought

The third thing we do is we upsell [them the] store. At the point of
purchase, if you’re buying this, we’ll give you 50% off this
systems bundle or whatever, because you’re buying this product.
Hit add this now, and they can just click inside the
Infusionsoft checkout and add it, and we have a lot of people
who do that. It surprises me. A lot of people, and I don’t
know the percentage, click on that and take that offer. Those
are three ways we upsell.

Trent: All right. So I want to dive in those a little bit. Let’s start
at the back, and then we’ll go backwards. The way you just
described on the Infusionsoft order form, you can very easily
put an upsell on there, is that what you’re talking about?

Casey: Not the order form, but in the store. You can’t upsell on the
order form unless there’s something we don’t know about.

Trent: You can.

Casey: You can?

Trent: You can. I do.

Casey: I need a blog post or something, I would love to do that.

Trent: I’ll just send you an example on one of my order forms, and
you’ll see. I put a little video in. My videos are hosted with
Wistia, which is a sponsor of Infusionsoft, a shout out to them,
thank you for that. It says, “Hey, here’s another thing that’s
complementary with what you just bought, if you want to add it
to your order, click the button right below.” They click the
button, it adjusts the total, and they check out.

Casey: That’s great. We want to learn from that. Ours is done in the
store, if they buy a store product, the e-commerce thing
Infusionsoft provides.

Trent: I haven’t messed with the store yet, I’ll make sure I do that.
Maybe your way is better than mine, but I’ll make sure to share
a link with you.

Casey: That’s awesome.

Trent: I’ll also put it in the show notes, this episode, so if you’re
listening to this and you want to see what the heck I’m talking
about, there will be a link in the show notes. I’ll give it to
you at the end of the show, in the post production there will be
a link to that.

One other question I wanted to ask on point number two was – You said
you built the sequence out in advance. Are you, for Giving
Rocket, dripping the content over time?

Casey: Yes.

Trent: Can you talk about little bit?

Casey: It’s 12 module program. They get one module per month. They
can unlock all the modules by paying an upfront fee with a
discount, but we still drip the content out over time. The
reason we do that is that… This is where we’re different from
a lot of Internet marketers that just want the payment and all
that stuff. We found that there is a significant amount of
customers, that if they get all the content at once, they never
do anything with it.

Trent: Yeah, it’s too much.

Casey: What we’re trying to do is to continue to market them to watch
a video, not all the videos. Even if they buy up front, we
still drip out, “Hey, did you know in module two, you can watch
all this.”

We give them benefits to pull out and that kind of thing. They’re
busy, just like us – How many times have we bought a book or a
seminar, or something. With great intentions, you listen to the
first thing and then you don’t ever do anything else with it.
It’s because they didn’t continue to sell to you after the
purchase. We keep continually selling. Go to the content now.
There’s another reason we do this as well. Guess when they go
to the CustomerHub, and they watch a video inside CustomerHub,
guess what they’re seeing on the side?

Trent: An upsell.

Casey: Getting them to consume the content again and again we found
works well for us in all the programs we sell.

Trent: Do you have an e-mail sequence that is reminding them to go
back, saying that there’s more and more content?

Casey: Yes. It drips out. There’s two e-mails a month. One says,
there’s module one, it’s available. Here’s what’s you’re going
to learn, blah, blah, blah. In the second one, we do some kind
of piece that’s helpful. For example, something like a written
version of something helpful. We also do two other e-mails a
month to our customers that we can put in our sequence that are
sales e-mails that are upsells, “Hey, you’re in Giving Rocket
month 2, but did you know that we have something called
Volunteer Rocket, and if you click this link you can just add it
on with one click, and it’s only another $49 per month, and it’s
50% for the next… whatever.” I’m making that up, 90 hours,
whatever the deal is.

You can build that stuff in, build the upselling into your e-mail
sequencing of delivering your content. Most Internet marketers,
actually none I’ve bought stuff from do that.

Trent: Brilliant. Giving Rocket is a monthly pay for 12 months,

Casey: Yup. $99 a month for 12 months.

Trent: If they want to unlock it, get it all now, what is the discount

Casey: $997. They save about $200, basically two months for free.

Trent: Very good stuff man. You’re giving me lots of what I call
golden nuggets, so love getting those.

How are we doing for time? We’re at 44 minutes. I’ve a got a few
more questions in what I call the lightning round, and I want to
ask you how you’ve changed your life from the red truck to
today. Before I get to that, is there anything I haven’t asked
you, Casey, that you think has been a huge aha for you that you
want to share?

Casey: Here’s the number one I think would say creates the
competitive advantage. If somebody comes to your McDonald’s and
plops down a Burger King, what’s the difference? If somebody
comes and does your exact business, what’s the difference?

Here’s the number one difference is that we spend an inordinate
amount of time and money building relational capital with our
customers. We don’t Infusionsoft the whole customer life cycle
marketing, to me, it’s 50% of it. The other 50% is that it’s a
care software, it’s building – We are caring for our customers
in unique ways using Infusionsoft. We are reaching out to them
and deeply caring about what’s going into their lives, who they
are, who their family is, that stuff isn’t tactics, it’s core to

For anybody in the info business, or anybody that’s trying to sell
something online, or whatever you’re doing, whoever is listening
to this, I would say that your differentiator is not your
marketing, it’s not your product, but it’s the relational
capital you have with your customers. I would build in as much
capital as possible to love, care for, take care of them and
deliver a tremendous – you can sell an average product with
great customer care, and people will love you. A good enough

Everybody tries to have the best product, but they suck at taking
care of people. Take care of people, period. We have great
customer care, great response times, great service, all that
stuff, and that’s where we put our eggs for long term. It’s not
in being a better marketer. We love being the better marketer,
but what we believe is the best is taking care of people and
treating them right.

I know everybody will agree with that, but here’s my question: If I
looked at your business budget, how much are you spending in
customer care? How much are you spending in proactive customer
care? How much are you sending direct mail to them that’s not
asking for a sell, but thanking them? How much time and money
do you spend on referral partners, thanking them for referring,
not just asking for more referrals, and really building that
side of it out? That’s where the gold is.

You see I get real passionate when I talk about that, because most
Internet market people you learn from are just about getting
paid, and getting some money out of people, and selling. Or I
live on the beach, or I’m a guy that’s just on the mountain
somewhere and I just live in my mansion and I have all these
customers that pay me millions of dollars. Well, that’s great,
but we care more about our customers than anything else so
that’s what we spend time doing. Sorry for the long answer, but
that’s my heart.

Trent: That’s okay. Can you give us an example of exactly what you’re
just explained?

Casey: Every customer that buys from us, we send a personal,
handwritten thank you note every time they buy something. When
was the last time you or anybody listening to this has bought
something off an Internet marketing website and gotten a
handwritten thank you note from somebody on the team, that’s
personalized to you and what you bought? It’s rare.

Trent: Let’s go with… never.

Casey: That’s one that everybody listening can do. What people do is
they send that crap on Twitter. They’ll go “I got a thank you
note for The Rocket Company, I just bought a $79 product, and
they sent this.” Here’s the other thing – we ship a box.

In the box, we’re The Rocket Company, so we send a bunch of finger
rockets. They’re things you shoot across the room, and they’re
awesome. We send a coffee mug and a Rocket Company t-shirt
that’s actually a cool, nice looking t-shirt that’s not a piece
of crap. We send that out and tweet that stuff, they put it on
their Facebook pages, and they say, “The Rocket Company is over
the top when it comes to customer service, I just bought this
$99 product, and they sent all this stuff to me.” That’s
practical stuff we do.

The other thing I’d say we do is, we hired Call Ruby. Have you ever
heard of Call Ruby?

Trent: No.

Casey: It’s an outsourcing company that we use that answers our
telephones for us all the time. Nobody knows it’s Call Ruby,
it’s just an answering service. When anybody calls our phone
number, we always have somebody who picks up and answers the
phone, they get routed – They may go to voicemail ultimately, or
they may go to whatever, but when they call, somebody answers.
That’s a $250 a month investment we make, and it is a huge
investment because nobody ever says that they can’t get in
touch with The Rocket Company – They won’t e-mail me back, or
answer the phones, that sort of thing. Those are practical
things we do.

Trent: These finger rockets, the coffee mug and the t-shirt, you don’t
tell them in advance they’re going to get that stuff, do you?
It’s not on the sales page, you didn’t like say hey, if you buy
this, you’re going to get a t-shirt? No.

Casey: No. It’s surprise and delight.

Trent: How has all this good stuff changed your life from the days
back of the red truck?

Casey: We went from $80,000 in debt and then I had about $200,000 in
personal debt from a mortgage. About $300,000 in total, to now
our family is debt free and business is debt free. From a
personal standpoint, we’re all out of debt. That’s huge for us,
and the reason is not so people can go, oh great, you’re out of
debt, because nobody cares if I’m out of debt.

What is cool is now that we can make better decisions, because I’m
not making business decisions on I wish I could get out of debt.
It’s allowed us to then go we can invest more money here, we
can put more money there because we’re really caring about the
business not just about trying to make a rich owner. That’s

The second thing is from a time off perspective. Obviously, driving
around in a red truck doesn’t promote much time off. You know
what, if I’m your listener – People hate when people talk about
how good their life is, but honestly, selling online and selling
recurring income online – I took four weeks off last week and
went to Belize and went on a Disney cruise, and went to the
mountains with my family for some rest and relaxation. I wasn’t
worried one bit about what was happening because I know that we
have automated processes that work. We have a great team of
people of that are helping people step off. From a time off
perspective, it’s been huge.

The other thing is that we’ve been able to help so many more people
by Casey waking up and realizing that I was the problem, and
that I couldn’t do it one at a time, this is not working, and
being willing to say that I’m going to struggle as a business
owner and I’m the problem. There’s two problems and I’m the
problem and I’m the issue. From that point of saying that it
wasn’t anyone else’s fault but mine, and saying that we’re going
to create this has allowed us to reach so many more people.

Now we have 5000 people we’re serving. I couldn’t serve five
effectively when I was driving around doing it the old way.
We’re able to accomplish our mission, and that’s where the
personal satisfaction comes. It’s not that we created an upsell
opportunity, that doesn’t make me satisfied. What makes me
satisfied is when we get the success stories back in from some
guy in Australia who says “I’ve bought you product, and here’s
what’s happening in my church,” and we get a success story
unsolicited that comes back.

We get, I think the last count was 109 success stories in the last
100 days of people, unsolicited who just come in and say, “This
is working, thank you for what you do.” That’s really the pay
off and the reward, so that’s how my life has changed.

Trent: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. All right, lightning round – Three
questions and then we’re done. What are you most excited about
Casey for what remains of 2013?

Casey: I’m most excited about getting out of all the operational roles
from Rocket Company, and I’m focusing on creating the exact same
thing we did in the church space, I’m doing in the business
space. We’re creating a place for people listening to this, for
you, for anybody who wants to create content for the life cycle
marketing thing, for any piece of it, for attracting traffic,
for building relationship, to converting the sales in webinars,
and we’re creating a high end opportunity for them to come in,
and for me and my team to be content creators and do it for them
in two days by the time they walk out of the room.

We’re excited about doing that content creation machine which is
awesome. We found that that’s a huge thing. I can create a
webinar in fours hours and have people on it in 24, some people
think that’s hard to do. It’s so easy, so we’re just going to do
it for people who need to create content that will be part of
life cycle marketing. I’m super excited about that. That’s
probably the thing I’m most excited about right now.

Trent: What’s your favorite business book?

Casey: My favorite business book is “The Advantage” by Patrick

Trent: “The Advantage”, okay. Lastly, for anyone who wants to get in
touch with you Casey, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Casey: It’s Casey

Trent: Okay. All right, man. Thank you so much for being on the show.
It’s been a fantastic interview. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I
learned some things and I hope the audience has as well. In
just a few moments, when Casey and I sign off, I will announce
on how you can get the show notes. If you have questions for me
or Casey, just go to the bottom of the post where this will all
be help, and just leave your comments there and we’ll be sure to
leave you an answer.

Thanks very much, Casey.

Casey: Thank you.

Trent: To get the show notes for today’s episode, go to When you’re there, you’ll see all the links
we’ve talking about today, plus some valuable information you
can use to ignite more growth in your business.

If you’re listening to this on your mobile phone while you’re driving
or doing whatever, just send text “Trent” to 585858 and I’m
going to give you access to the Massive Traffic Toolbox, which
is a compilation of all the very best traffic generation
strategies that have been shared with me by my many proven
experts that have been guests here on the show. As well, you’ll
also be able to get a list of all my favorite episodes that I’ve
published thus far on the blog.

And finally, if you really enjoyed this episode, please go over to, where you’ll be able to find a link to
leave us a rating in the iTunes store. I’d really appreciate it
if you’d take a moment to do that, because it helps the show
build its audience, and of course the more audience members we
have, the more we can help to massively boost their business.

That’s it for this episode, I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid, and I look
forward to seeing you in the next episode. Take care, and have
a wonderful day.

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

About Casey Graham

caseygrahamIn 2008, Casey Graham started The Rocket Company out of a passion to reach church leaders worldwide – to train, speak, coach, consult – all to help the church. With barely any money in the bank, a stay-at-home wife and a one year old daughter, he set out on a dream which almost failed a few times. Five years later, The Rocket Company is reaching thousands of church leaders and expanding its service offerings. In 2013, they won Infusionsoft’s Ultimate Marketer of the Year award and are now helping other business leaders grow their businesses. Casey lives in Atlanta with his wife and kids.

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Maximize Conversions with Content Marketing

Building a successful marketing blog is no easy task because there is a LOT of competition. Building a software company that sells software for a monthly fee is even harder.

Have success with on or both of these endeavors and you are on your way to one heck of an exciting entrepreneurial adventure!

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Dan Norris, founder of Informly provides actionable data to help content marketers engage their audience and create content that grows their business.

When you listen to this interview, you are going to hear Dan and I talk about the following:

  • Why he started and where traditional analytics apps fall short for content marketers
  • How he hired coders to build his app (5:30)
  • A sidebar plugin he’s building that will display your best converting posts (7:30)
  • How he’s attracting customers (9:00)
  • His top 4 tips for building a highly successful blog (15:00)
  • Why conversions are more important than traffic (17:30)
  • How to maximize conversions from your blog (18:10)
  • His biggest screw up and what you should do to avoid repeating this huge mistake (26:05)
  • Why surveys aren’t a good tool for validating your product (31:05)
..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.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Dan Norris

current_bio_pic_DanNDan Norris is the founder of Informly and helps bloggers and content marketers create content that engages their target audience and drives leads. You can download his free ebook with his top 12 tips here.

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Digital Marketing Strategy: Fueling Ad Agency New Business with Michael Gass

Do you run a marketing agency and want more new business?

Are you getting frustrated with outbound prospecting strategies that just aren’t working like they used to?

mike-gass-caricatureWould you like to create an inbound marketing system that provided you with a steady flow of new qualified leads?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are going to love the step by step new business development strategy that my guest and I talk about in interview.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Michael Gass, the man behind Fuel Lines, a blog that has been ranked among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world by Ad Age’s Power 150.

When you listen to this interview, you are going to hear Michael and I talk about:

  • the #1 mistake that 99% of agencies make when it comes to new business
  • why they make this mistake and a risk free way to avoid it
  • several examples of how Michael’s clients used his advice to land new accounts they otherwise never would have
  • how Michael has used his own advice to build his own firm (and he’s never made a single cold call to do it)
  • how social media plays a role in Michael’s strategy
  • the 5 steps that you need to take to get started
  • Michael’s favorite tool for building a large, targeted Twitter following in just 60 days
  • Michael’s favorite tool for scheduling his social media activities
  • how much time per day you should spending on social media
  • the specific activities you should be using social media for
  • how to effectively network online, so you can run your business from anywhere in the world you like

And so much more…

Be sure to check out many more of Michael’s Twitter strategies in his generous guest post.

More About This Episode

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

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

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Dyrsmid: Hey there, bright idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
Podcast. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast for
business owners and marketers who want to better learn how to learn online
marketing and sales automation tactics to massively boost their business
and the way that we do that is we bring expert guests onto the show to
share with us precisely what is working for them in their businesses.And my guest today is a fellow by the name of Michael Gass. He is an
international new business consultant to advertising, digital media, and PR
agencies and since 2007, he has led in the use of social media and content
marketing strategies to make agency new business easier. He’s the founder
of Fuel Lines, which has been rated among the top 100 marketing blogs in
the world according to Ad Agencies Power 150.Michael, thank you so much for making some time to come here and be a
guest on the Bright Ideas Podcast.Michael
Gass: I’m glad to, Trent.Trent: So, for the folks have not yet heard of you, I’m sure you’ve
probably got a little bit better of an introduction than what I just
rattled off, so maybe you could just tell us a little bit about who you are
and what it is that you do.Michael: I’ve been in business development my entire advertising career
and I had the bright idea of starting my own consultancy, but little did I
know that I was doing it on the verge of a great recession. Most agencies
that I worked with, there was a commonality of problems. They had a very
difficult time with positioning. Positioning, in my opinion is the
foundation of your business and they never used the tools that they
recommended their clients to use. It was almost as if promoting their
agency, they lost their marketing line [sounds like 02:10] and I had
always preached that they needed to have an identifiable target in a narrow
niche so that they could stand out among the competition.

So when I started my consultancy, I put into practice what I’d been
preaching and so if you look at my website, Fuel Lines, it’s very specific
for ‘ad agency and business development.’

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: And so when I started my consultancy, I had three kids in
college, my wife works for a large law firm as a comptroller, so she’s a
bean counter and my entrepreneurial spirit just didn’t mesh well with my
wife’s, so I was under a bit of pressure to generate new business quickly
but I had a few problems. My entire advertising career had only been spent
in two markets: Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama and outside
of that two-state area, those two markets, I really didn’t have much
awareness and so I was going to have to be able to build that quickly.

Then, I also live in a suburb of Birmingham, which, it’s called
Alabaster, Alabama, and I could only imagine that being on my business card
and how difficult it would be to build new business for myself with clients
like in New York and San Francisco and other more creative markets, but I
jumped into social media. I went back as if I were in grad school and put
in the nights and the weekends and there was really no mentor for me, but I
had a clear objective, a very clear target.

And I think it was my fourth client was on the west coast, in Costa
Mesa, California and I really saw the potential of social media, so I just
dedicated myself to it. Most agencies didn’t get into social media until
2010 and then when they jumped in, they literally jumped in, there was no
strategy, there was no plan, there was no target audience. The same
problems that they had offline, they continued to bring that with them
online and instead of really seeing the potential of social media, being
able to take their networking and referral for new business to a whole new
arena, most continue to be plagued with problems of generating any kind of
new business success.

Trent: So would it be fair to say that the success of your consultancy
is the byproduct of employing the strategies that you’re attempting to
teach your clients to implement?

Michael: It is, because I always put into practice and I refine it. I’ve
been able to do this one-on-one with about 135-plus agencies, not only in
the United States but also in the UK. I’ve been to London to work with
client groups there. I’m going to Hong Kong in September, just did
workshops across Canada back in the fall, but I’ve put into practice and
refined this system that agencies then can implement and get up to speed
pretty quickly.

Trent: So when did you start Fuel Lines?

Michael: Right at the end of 2007.

Trent: Okay.

Michael: And I think I’d written 50 blog posts and never gotten a
comment back and was wondering if anybody was even reading it. When I got
my first comment, I wanted to frame the thing, almost like your first
dollar bill.

Trent: Yeah.

Michael: And I continued to write and then I started using a number of
the other social media platforms to help propagate the material and also to
build a community. I have now probably on two Twitter accounts, Michael
Gass and Fuel Lines, over 104,000 Twitter followers, which generates more
traffic to my site than probably any other tool.

My site’s highly-optimized for search engine optimization. I was very
pragmatic with my SEO strategy that I felt like no matter what Google did
to the algorithms, they remain true to one purpose and that’s to help
people find what they’re looking for. So almost in every blog post that I
write, I had ad agency new business incorporated in the post title. That
identified the content with the audience and so the traffic that I generate
is just highly-targeted traffic and then the overall theme for my blog, you
know, is just naturally optimized for search, so I rank in that first
position with ‘ad agency new business’ in Google Search and I tend to
dominate the first three to four pages in Google Search.

And then my newsletter goes out to about 33,000 ad agency
professionals. I use Google+ I incorporate Facebook. It’s a blend of both
personal and professional, but it’s the place that people really get to
know me well. And usually, I’m a new business hunter from way back, so I
wasn’t afraid of cold calling. It didn’t really tie my stomach in knots or
anything like that, but social media’s so efficient that I don’t have to
chase new business nor does a client that’s properly positioned.

You’re positioned in a way to be strategically found with such an
appeal and certain calls to action that it creates that engagement with a
prospective client audience and the fuel for it, the beauty of it, the fuel
for all of it is ‘what enriches me professionally?’ And it’s my own
customized continuing education program.

Trent: So, help me to understand, there’s some things here that I want
to get straight so that the listeners really understand why this is going
to be such an important interview for them to listen to. You mentioned to
me in our pre-show discussion that there is a really big mistake that
virtually every agency you’ve ever run across makes. Then there’s a cascade
of errors that happen after that mistake. Can you talk about that first big
mistake that they’re making?

Michael: I think one of the biggest mistakes is that they’re trying to
lead with brick-and-mortar and they’re also trying to use social media for
promoting their credentials, capabilities, and case studies. All of those
things should reside on the website and the website is their on line
brochure. Most agencies that I work with, they’re in a perpetual state of
redesigning their website. It’s like they can’t quite ever get there. If
they’d just let it be that online brochure, what I prefer to do in social
media is lead with, like the agency principals, the owners of the agency
and create a presence to a very narrow niche audience, much narrower than
they’ve ever dreamed possible, and that we fish away from the boat. In
other words, we don’t incorporate the blog site into the branding of the

It allows us to have room to breathe and grow and to keep a much more
narrowed focus and it doesn’t create any complications. Most agencies, they
show their diversity as a form of strength but, to prospective clients,
it’s a weakness.

Trent: Yeah.

Michael: Because that’s the way all of them look, but when you create
this blog, you can create something very specific and very targeted. I’ve
got an agency in Louisville, Kentucky, as an example, they’ve had a long-
standing client Kroger they wanted to leverage their expertise in working
with them for such a long period of time, but they had to do it in a
similar category without, you know, hurting the relationship that they had
with Kroger and they also wanted to grow their creative because they placed
a lot of media on behalf of Kroger but a lot of the creative work had
fallen to other agencies.

So we created a blog around the two agency principals, Scott Kuhn,
who was the CEO, and Dave Carter, who’s a partner and also a creative
director, and we call it ‘’ and it’s all about creating
great grand openings, so it leveraged a good portion of their expertise to
multi-unit retailers.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: The blog lives off-site and then it features the both of them
and sets them apart as these new store-starting gurus. That allows them to
work with clients even that have an agency of record but they want this
particular expertise.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: And then, you know, we do connect back to the agency, but the
agency is more in the background. We want them to connect with Scott and
Dave first and they can actually go in even as consultants as a part of
their service line.

And, again, they can do that even if a client has an agency of
record. Many of those clients are really accustomed to hiring a consultant
to come in, and then it gets them out there, we can build awareness around
that blog very quickly. People want to work with other people that they
know, trust and like, so the media is all about people and Scott and Dave
won’t to appeal to everybody, but those that they have created an appeal
for, it’s a very strong appeal.

Trent: So, the big mistake, if I’m understanding this correctly, is
that agencies do not pick a specific, they don’t pick a narrow-enough niche
and the reason that they don’t do that is they’re scared that they’re going
to lose out, if they focus too much on, say, being the expert store-
starter, they’re going to lose out on the people that would want other
things that didn’t have to do with being a store-starter.

So you’re saying you can leave your agency or one approach is you can
leave your agency website, your ‘online brochure,’ to be the place where
you display all your case studies and it’s not so much focused on what
niche and then you go and start a separate property for the niche that you
really, really, really want to gain a lot of traction in. Am I
understanding that correctly?

Michael: Yes, that’s exactly it.

Trent: Is it–

Michael: And to give you an example, the very first client that I worked
with, an agency here in Birmingham called Holland + Holland, this is a very
typical agency. We’re sitting around the room and I’m asking how they’re
different from all the other agencies in town and they tell me, you know,
they have great creative. I tell them ‘Great creative is not a point of
differentiation; it’s an expectation.’ Then it’s like ‘Well, we’re
strategic,’ as if nobody else in Birmingham, no other agency is strategic.

And then it’s like ‘Well, we’re fun to work with, we’ve got great
chemistry.’ And I said, ‘So, I’m a company in the Midwest, I’m going to fly
over hundreds of other agencies that look and sound just like you? That
just doesn’t make sense.’ So we narrowed it down to the point that
Stephanie Holland, who was the president, also served as creative director
and I asked the question ‘How many other female creative directors are
there in Birmingham?’ And, at that time, there weren’t any.

So we started looking at that and doing a little bit of research and
we were amazed to discover that 97% of all creative directors in the
country are male and only 3% female. That was our ‘Ah-ha’ moment.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: But we also learned that 85% of all brand purchases are made
primarily by women. We learned that they brought more product from Home
Depot and Lowe’s than did men. They bought more consumer electronics from
places like Radio Shack than men. Women bought more NBA and NFL apparel
than men did. Women bought more hamburgers than men.

And our education was that the women is the purchasing agent
primarily for the family. No, the problem we had, we were going to use this
in a positioning and Stephanie was very nervous about it because, through
her 25 years, she worked mostly with male advertisers and she did not like
working with women. And so we had a problem with how we were going to do
this without hurting our particular target group that she had success with
in the past, and utilize this positioning in a way that would be beneficial
and remain true to who she was.

So we came up with a blog and it’s called She-conomy, and you’ll
notice when you go to the URL that the target group is very specific:
it’s ‘A guy’s guide to marketing to women,’ so those male advertisers, and
Stephanie was in very early on. This agency had never been in a national
pitch in their 25-year history. We couldn’t even get the Birmingham News to
do a write-up on their anniversary.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: It was like, ‘That’s really like no news’, but Stephanie’s been
written up by ‘Forbes’ twice, she’s been mentioned in the ‘Wall Street
Journal’, she’s been interviewed by NPR radio. She called me not too long
ago with some success after she’d been in three national pitches and the
positioning really put them on the map. You’d go to the website, there
wasn’t any hint on this narrowed positioning, but the blog site lived off-

When they wanted to look under the hood and see if their perception
matched up with Stephanie’s expertise, they’d then go to the website. But
when she called me back in January of last year, she said ‘You’ll never
guess where I am.’ And then she said ‘I’m in California. I’ve just been
hired as a consultant to work with Porsche.’

These are things that had never happened to that agency before. That
narrowed positioning helped put them on the map. Now, if she were to do the
same thing today, she’d be kind of late to the game, so it would be her
expertise in marketing to women maybe for high-end real estate or some
other niche. But she was in very early and now she’s willing to incorporate
a lot of what she learned and much more confident to be able to incorporate
that into the branding of the agency as a whole, even to the point of
renaming the agency ‘The She-conomy Agency.’

Trent: So why bother putting the blog off-site? I mean, it seems to me
like almost semantics whether it’s at or whether it’s at,
what is their URL, What’s the difference?

Michael: Well, agencies have a number of common problems. The narrowed
niche is one, so they’re afraid to be as narrow as they need to be by
incorporating it on the website, that they’re always in this perpetual
state of redesign. You can’t get anything done.

It’s like one of my early clients, it took them three months to
design the blog header. That’s typical. Agencies tend to over-create and
so, two, when a prospective client comes to the website, they’re so
accustomed to all the BS that comes from agencies.

I was talking to a client, someone on the client-side just last week
and they were telling me how many calls they get from agencies in a week
and almost all of the conversation in those calls are focused on the agency
rather than on them the client.

Trent: Really? Wow.

Michael: And so agencies have to learn you lead with benefits and the
conversation is totally changed. It’s not about you anymore, it’s all about
the prospective client. So when we create that blog, I mean, it is all
about the prospect and it’s creating valued content that helps them with
their challenges, that provides information that they need. The blog
becomes a repository of information and, you know, they keep coming back.

The website, you know, I try to keep the IT department and the
creatives out of this project when we first launch it, because they are
usually the ones that will slow the whole process down.

Trent: Now I get it, yeah.

Michael: And so we’ll create a freebie site, a site
initially and what I do is get them to write 30 posts in 30 days.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: And we’re over here concentrating on the content, they’re
learning to write for web in an inverted pyramid style where the most
important information’s at the top, where they’re not talking about being,
you know, having won best of show at this year’s ADDYs. They’re really
creating valuable content and, in the meantime, the blog becomes then that
continuing education program to kind of keep them focused and get them to
where they need to be.

I assimilate information so much quicker when I’m writing and I can
articulate it much better. So my blog then becomes kind of my own
personalized university and I even get graded. I can go to the analytics
and review posts that I’ve written to see if it really was appealing or not
and my audience tells me what they’re interested in.

So this does so many things for agencies to make new business easier,
but if you’re trying to incorporate the website, I mean, from the get-go,
you’re going to get slowed down and agencies are so much, you know, they
tend to procrastinate. That’s why I do these 30 posts in 30 days and, to
give them that challenge, when we finish with the 30th post, they then have
their own personalized system for creating content.

Trent: Mm hmm. All right, let me cover off what we’ve gone through
here so far. So, your strategy starts with, first of all, picking a
narrowly-defined niche as opposed to being a generalist. So that you have
some way of truly differentiating yourself and then you’re saying ‘Okay, go
create an off-site blog so that your IT department and your creative
department don’t slow down the process,’ Put the personality and the
knowledge and the expertise of your founders of your agency on the blog,
and talk specifically about the issues that affect the client. Do not
promote, promote, promote; instead, educate, educate, educate. Have I
summarized what we’ve talked about so far?

Michael: Yes, exactly.

Trent: All right. What next? So now I’ve got this blog, I’ve got 30
blog posts on it. I don’t imagine I’m drowning in traffic at this point in
time and I don’t imagine–

Michael: No, and, actually, we’re not wanting traffic to come to the
site while the writing is going on and developing that base of content.
I’ve found that if we get these 30 posts up, then we have enough posts
there, the new audience isn’t going to know there’s only 30 posts there or
300, so the blog has an appearance of age to it.

Trent: Right.

Michael: We’ve got this statement so that once we get that 30th post, we
get a more realistic writing schedule up of one to two posts per week. In
the meantime, we’ve built up their Twitter following using an tool like
Tweet Adder which I can use to find, say, other agencies that are in this
same niche who have the same audience.

If they’ve got a Twitter account and they’re targeted, I could follow
everybody my competition follows and everybody that follows them. We can
usually build up a following of anywhere from 500 to 1,000 new followers
per month by creating this database and initiating those followings and 20%
to 30% of those we initiate a following to will follow back.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: And that then is going to be one of the ways that we’re going
to jump-start traffic to the site. We also create an e-mail newsletter
that’s made up from the blog post and usually three or four posts per
newsletter, sending it out every other week, and we’ve created this
database of e-mail addresses that will also help jump-start the traffic to
the site, and then it’s highly-optimized as we repurpose content.

I’ve had posts in circulation that I write in such an evergreen way
that are still relevant, that I’ve got a media schedule for Twitter almost
like you’d have a media schedule for print and I can look at the analytics
and pull certain posts out that aren’t trending very well any longer or
revise those.

But I tend to post, repurposed content from my site around the clock,
seven days a week, almost 24 hours a day, but in addition to that, the
other sources that I’m finding, conversations that I have, and the personal
status in my Twitter account that makes it, you know, very robust.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: Because it will jump-start traffic to the site, it will also
enhances search engine optimization and it will help to propel that blog
and its content in Google Search much, much faster. I actually have some
agencies that are SEO agencies that I work with and have carried them
through the same process.

We try to get everything done in that first 30 days. The next 30
days, we start jump-starting the traffic and then helping with the
engagement. As they learn many of these principles, they haven’t really
been using their social media platforms for new business and have a network
and a lot of the ones that I’m training, they’re Baby Boomers and feel like
they’ve kind of been left on the bench, but I tell them it’s real easy. All
you have to do is bring the way you network off-line online. That same
capability that you’ve developed in networking at events, at chamber
meetings is exactly how you would network online.

Trent: So in this next 60 days, then, it sounds like you’ve got people
really heavily focused on using Twitter, because you haven’t talked about
anything else yet, to continually tweet or link back to the content that is
on their site and then would be responsive to the interactions they get
from other humans on Twitter. Am I understanding that correctly?

Michael: Yes, but not just Twitter, also LinkedIn and Facebook and, you
know, but these are their personal accounts. These are not their agency
accounts that are using the agency logo that you don’t know who in the
world you’re talking to. This is that agency principal, their Facebook

When your mother wants to friend you on Facebook, you can’t turn mom
down. My mom’s 73 and I thought, you know, ‘This is going to mess up
everything’ because I thought in the beginning I would just keep everything
focused strictly for business. What I’ve found over time is to show the
personal side really makes that emotional connection and, over these six
years, I have yet to make a single cold call for any piece of new business,
for any speaking engagement, for any workshop that I’ve been enlisted to
do. And prospective clients, when they call me, they talk to me like they
know me because they do.

Trent: Absolutely they do.

Michael: And so I’m not going through the dating process. Usually when
they call, they want to know how much is the initial engagement and then
when we get started, so it’s like in business development you’ve died and
gone to heaven. The prospect actually engages when they’re ready and you’re
not wasting time chasing business and because you’re pricing that initial
meeting, it eliminates those that just want to meet with you to glean from
your thinking without ever paying you a dime.

Trent: Mm hmm. It’s so profound and something that I really want, and
that’s one of the reasons that I’m interviewing you and people like you. I
want new agencies, small agencies, independent consultants to understand is
all those questions that people ask before they hire you, you don’t need
to answer those one-on-one. By blogging and creating videos or doing
podcasts or putting your knowledge online so that people, your target
market, can come to consume it on their time, their dime, their schedule.
When they reach out to you, you’re right, they’re already sold, they
already know you’re an expert and the beauty is that you can automate the
vast majority of that, if you’re good with sales funnels and you use things
like Infusionsoft and so forth, you can really do a good job with

But that’ll probably be a topic for another discussion because I
don’t want to hijack this interview with my thoughts on marketing
automation funnels.

So when you did this for yourself, how long did it take you before
you got your first client?

Michael: It was just a matter of months because I was that disciplined
and focused and I had a narrow focus in the very beginning. I saw a listing
from the AAAA of the business development personnel that were out there and
it was like ‘How do I break into this group and how do I propel myself to
the top of this group and really build awareness?’ When I was in that, I
think, fourth client meeting in Costa Mesa, California, I was thinking
‘What would it have taken me to do this using the traditional methods?’

And so from the get-go, I’ve never sent out any direct mail, nothing
like that. I don’t use those interruptive-type tactics. I’ve learned to
create helpful information and, you know, it’s like when I speak to groups,
agencies know that I understand their culture. They educate me, and then I
know kind of where to zero in because they educate me. I mean, it’s the
best focus group you could possibly have and when you really think you
understand what’s appealing, a lot of times I found that I had no clue
until I really got into this and then this is just kind of a, you know, we
use ‘integrated’ a lot, but this is really a complete integrated program
that feeds me as well as feeds my clients.

And I guess it’s my curiosity. If I don’t understand something, to
me, that’s a blog post and I’m going to do the research and it’s going to
help me stay focused and I’m looking at like how to use Google+, say, for
ad agency new business and I’m thinking like that constantly and then as I
have success and I’m able to share in more detail the specific tactics to
use and because every platform’s different, you would not post with the
same frequency, say, on Facebook that you would with Twitter, you’d turn
your audience completely off. But if you’ve got a fairly large Twitter
following, and some hate this but it’s true. It’s like a broadcast channel
and it’s about reaching frequency and if I maintain a consistency like with
my post titles and somebody’s seen a post that I’ve published before that
they’ve read, they just skip over it, it’s no big deal, but a lot of times
they’re going to see content out there that they’ve never seen before.

And in the early days, you know, if you posted–I was told that if
you posted something once, you couldn’t post it twice, like in Twitter, and
I thought ‘How stupid is that? If I post this at 11 o’clock on Thursday,
how many in my audience has actually seen that post or would see that

Trent: Very few, and that’s why it’s okay to post again.

Michael: And, you know, but I have to continue to create new content, as
well, and things change and the model changes, but this provides me a
system that I change with it so I’m not caught flat-footed or behind and I
think I’m fully engaged with most of the tools that are out there. And if
it’s something that I see that’s trending higher like Pinterest, you know,
I started a Pinterest board very early on because agencies, they were very
inquisitive of me about what other agencies looked like. They’d love to do
what I do and visit all these other agency offices.

So I thought ‘Well, I’ll create a Pinterest board’ and so when I
would do these workshops and things, I would take pictures and then others
started sharing and it’s become a global thing to where I’ve had agencies
as far away as Spain that have had a photographer to take pictures just to
post things on that board. But I saw like in my reading, and I use an RSS
Reader, which is probably the best time management tip that I could leave
the audience, it focuses in my reading all in one location, but I can also
see as I’m looking through literally thousands of articles, studies and
post the things that tend to be trending.

So when I saw Pinterest being mentioned more often, that became a
post and then I started looking ‘Well, how then can we utilize Pinterest
for new business?’ I’ve got one agency now, they’ve actually created their
website using Pinterest, which I thought was a very cool idea because it
provides them a way to showcase their work and do that almost in real-time.

Trent: Yeah.

Michael: When most agencies, you know, it’s hard to get them to get
their work up and to keep their website fresh with new things that they’ve

Trent: So, with social media, you can speak to your audience and you
can speak with your audience and what I mean by that, ‘speaking to’ is when
you’re putting a link to some of your content that is maybe on your blog or
in some other place; ‘speaking with’ is when you’re actually having a chat,
conversation back-and-forth with a specific individual who may be in your
following or may have just come to your social media presence for the first

Do you have any rules of thumb for how much time, first of all, an
agency principal or anyone who’s in charge of new business at an agency
should spend on social media per day and then, of that time, how much time
should they focus on speaking to versus speaking with their audience?

Michael: The way I developed this program was to whittle it down to an
hour or an hour-and-a-half per day.

Trent: Okay.

Michael: because most agency principals were telling me that ‘I have
people lined up to my door when I come into the office. I cannot put
anything else on my plate.’ And I fully understood, but they have to be
convinced of the benefits of social media to rearrange their schedule. But
even in that rearrangement, there’s the real world of agency life. And so I
would tell them ‘this is the hour or hour-and-a-half that you need to spend
every day to keep you, professionally, where you need to be.’

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: And so the engagement part is really pretty easy. Because we
have so many tools that we can talk to a number of people almost
simultaneously and it looks like I live online, but I preach and teach that
we ought to develop our new business program that allows us to have a life
outside of advertising, and be able to spend quality time with friends and
family. I’m a big believer in that, so there are times that I unplug and
I’m not as engaged. But it’s very easy for me to come in and pick up where
I left off without any problems without spending an undue amount of time.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: And then there are other ways that I can connect with larger
groups and be more efficient with my time, such as in the webinars or these
podcasts, and continue to provide real value. I reserve time. There’s a
number of people that I help that have called on me that I knew they
weren’t a prospect but, you know, you almost have to have a pastoral spirit
of being willing to help everybody in such a way. I mean, it’s kind of
paying it forward and then it pays you back.

Trent: Mm hmm. Are you familiar with Infusionsoft? Do you use it?

Michael: I don’t.

Trent: You don’t? Okay, what you’re talking about, I just really need
to address this point because this value or this idea of time is so
precious to all of us. I really just want to take a little tangent here
because I’m such a massive advocate of making sure that you use tools, in
this case, I’m going to speak about Infusionsoft, which I use, to really
save some time and maybe, Michael, this’ll be something you’re interested
in trying for yourself.

At Bright Ideas, you know, like most everyone with a website, I want
to collect an e-mail address. And so I offer a variety of different things
as an incentive for someone to give me an e-mail address, but the real
beauty of some of the tools like Infusionsoft, and I think this one does it
better than the others, which is why I use it, is you’re really able to
nurture your prospective customers and you can do it all on auto-pilot and
you can do it in such a way because you don’t want to talk to everybody the
same way. Not everyone who gives you an e-mail address is going to be
interested in the same things, has the same buying criteria, has the same
timeframe for buying.

And when you set up a really well-designed nurturing funnel in, like
I say, some marketing automation software, be it Infusionsoft or something
else, you can really let those people raise their hand all on their own,
and when I say ‘raise their hand,’ I mean metaphorically speaking, so that
your software, so that the experience they have going through your
nurturing funnel is almost completely unique to them based upon the forms
that they fill out and the links that they click and the pieces of content
that they consume and so forth.

So, again, I don’t want to go on for too long, but if you feel as
though you’d love to be able to put a level of automation into that pre-
sales, into that nurturing, I really encourage that you start to go and
take a study of marketing automation tools and, in particular, go and have
a look at Infusionsoft. Because I just came back from a conference over the
weekend and their success stories were just amazing, absolutely amazing.

Michael: And, you know, a thing with most agencies, like with my
practice, I can only handle so many clients, so it’s not like I need a mass
group and of course I’m not selling software, so it’s totally different as
to how that engagement operates and I’m giving attention to those
prospective clients.

And the same is true of many agencies. A lot of agencies I work with,
they need four or five good, qualified pieces of new business per year and
if it’s much beyond that, they wouldn’t really be able to handle it, but
this gives you a way to really work with those qualified candidates on a
more personal basis, to get them where they need to be and develop that
relationship, which I think is just very [inaudible 43:50] and there’s ways
to do that.

I know that Copyblogger and others, they got a good system of, like
with your additional landing pages and specific offers that carry those
prospective clients deeper into the engagement, with them, they have a lot
of that automated and I think all of that is excellent and great. I use
automated tools such as HootSuite Pro that allows me to maintain a good
engagement not only for me, but I can also help with my new clients to kind
of get their accounts where they need to be and to help them to grow but,
again, I can have so many conversations going on simultaneously that it
helps and [inaudible 44:47] social hub [sounds like 44:48] which helps
repurpose content back, through the TweetAdder program that I mentioned and
a number of tools that are out there that, you know, make the time
management in particular…

Trent: A lot easier.

Michael: …so much less than you’d think you’d need to spend. In the
beginning, I think they have to be educated and they have to have a sense
of how these various platforms operate and it’s hard to do that just with
theory alone, you’ve got to do it by engaging. Once they really understand
them, then they can utilize other tools that would simplify that engagement

Trent: All right, so let me summarize where I think we’ve come from
and where we’re at and then you can ask and let me know if I’m missing
anything. So, step number one is you really need to pick a very specific
niche, something that is narrow enough that you can really and truly have
some differentiating factors so that people are going to have a compelling
reason to want to choose you.

The next thing to do to gain traction is create an off-site blog and
then write 30 posts in 30 days and then start to use the social media
platforms that are out there to draw attention to the content that you’ve
created, as well as to engage the people that are coming to consume that

Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about yet that you feel
we should before we wrap up?

Michael: Well, to simplify it further, the outline that I use in the
positioning discussion with most agencies is just kind of looking backwards
and seeing how it works so well to facilitate a discussion to get that blog
where it needed to be. I would say start at They can always
export that information to a design site. You know, once creative have done
what they needed to do, but it’s a five-minute process, but let it live on, follow this outline to facilitate your own discussions, and
the first is identifying kind of that target audience.

You have to have it as clearly defined as if you went to a list
broker and you’ve given them the parameters to come up with a list. And if
you have a hard time articulating it to a list broker, you’re not clear
enough yet. So identify the target audience. The second is that descriptor
statement, it’s the subtitle of the blog. Which you only have so many
seconds to let somebody know that this is something for them and it needs
to be not very creative but very plain. Like ‘A Guy’s Guide to Marketing to
Women,’ ‘Fueling Ad Agency New Business’, something that’s specific which
states the purpose that connects the blog to the particular target group
and then something creative and clever for the title, that hopefully you
can also purchase the URL that would tie-in.

Then, the key words, these aren’t necessarily the most popular terms
but the ones that you can realistically put into every post title that
would identify, you know, the content and the audience. It could be even a
made-up word. We’re working with an agency in Toronto that came up with
‘Mosh-pit marketing,’ which is how to grow brands through music, so not
something that people might necessarily be searching for, but a term that
they could own like Cause branding [sounds like 48:44] was, maybe five or
six years ago that now they have conferences and there’s a lot of material
around cause branding that wasn’t even a definable term five or six years

But the key words in every post title. Then, come up with 12 to 14
categories and these are navigation categories for the reader to be able to
navigate the content, but it also guides the writing and it needs to be as
plain as like ‘Advertising marketing,’ ‘Social media marketing,’ ‘Public
relations’ ‘Media,’ ‘Point-of-purchase’. whatever is then specific to your
target group. But if you kind of do that with that outline and facilitate
that discussion, not get hung-up anywhere, it’s like, you can’t move an 18-
wheeler sitting still, but if you can get it to move just a mile or two an
hour, you can move the thing and that’s what I tell them in this. You can
always go back and make revisions, but you want to keep progressing.

Most of the time in that outline, I’ve been very surprised that
almost everybody nails it because they kind of know where they need to be,
They’ve just been afraid to step out and do it. Once they create this, say
if it didn’t work at all, they’ve not risked anything and they don’t
necessarily have to link from the website to the blog, as they’ve done from
the blog to the website.

Trent: Mm hmm.

Michael: So it really does eliminate a lot of risk and allows you to go
in and to have some success. I think agency principals, when they’ve had
success with a positioning, then they’re more adapted and ready to drive
that stake into the ground and declare this is who we are, and this is who
our best prospects are.

Trent: Terrific. Well, Michael, I want to thank you very much, oh, I’m
sorry wait a minute. I’ve got my lightning round questions to do, three
real quick questions and then we will wrap-up. What are you most excited
about for 2013?

Michael: The opportunities internationally. You know, from Alabaster,
Alabama to Hong Kong this year, it just amazes me at how far our reach can
be and I’m just now, I think, seeing more and more of that. And it’s so
exciting when you go to these other groups in completely other cultures and
you work with agencies and they’ve got the same problems and so that’s
really exciting for me, is the international community and I’m able to
converse with people as if they were next door to me here in Alabaster.

Trent: Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. What about your favorite
business book?

Michael: The one that was most helpful to me very early on was Tim
Williams’ book ‘Take a Stand for Your Brand’ and it got me thinking in a
completely different light and I just conducted a webinar for Tim just last
week and he’s been my mentor and it’s been very cool to be able to now work
with him. But on agency branding, that’s kind of like the Bible and if an
agency principal has not read the book, I would encourage them to do so.

Trent: Okay, and the easiest way for people to get in touch with you?
Just give one way, if you could, what is that one way?

Michael: If they can just remember, that’ll get them to
my blog site and then that has all the content, information, and ways to
connect with me on the various social media platforms and whatever is their
preferred platform of engagement and I’d be glad to follow-up with them.

Trent: All right, Michael, thank you so much for making time to come
here on the Bright Ideas Podcast and share your ideas on how ad agencies
should be building new business.

Michael: Trent, you just do such a great job with the interviews and I
think I’m always nervous when I’m on your end, but you’re always just so
cool and collected and you do such a great job and I appreciate you and the
resources that you provide.

Trent: Well, thank you very much for the kind words. It’s a lot of fun
to do and when I get feedback like what you’ve just given me, it just
motivates me to keep on doing more of it.

All right, to get the show notes from this episode, go to and when you do, I’ll include all the links we’ve talked
about plus some other valuable resources to help you grow your business.

And if you’re listening to this on the fly, please text ‘TRENT’ to
585858 and I will give you some very special information, as well, so that
you don’t have to wait till you get back to your computer to access
everything that you need.

All right, thanks very much and I’ll see you in the next episode.

About Michael Gass

mike-gass-caricatureMichael Gass is an international new business consultant to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. Since 2007 he has led in the use of social media and content marketing strategies to make agency new business EASIER.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines, which has been rated among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world, according to Ad Age’s Power 150.  You can reach Michael at


Digital Marketing Strategy: Viveka von Rosen on How to Ignite Your Content Marketing with LinkedIn

As the host of Bright Ideas, I get to interview a lot of very successful people and every time I do I have one goal: to totally knock your socks off. I want the interview to be so good that you just can’t help but tell everyone you know about it.

Today’s interview with Viveka von Rosen on how to ignite your content marketing with LinkedIn is one such interview. It was so full of golden nuggets that I had to take two full pages of notes!

When you listen to this interview, you are going to learn:

  • how to prospect without EVER making another cold call again
  • how to develop a killer LinkedIn strategy so that it doesn’t turn into yet “another” social network that just sucks up your time
  • the #1 mistake to avoid when building your network (make this mistake and you can never recover from it)
  • 2 killer LinkedIn hacks that will allow you to connect with whoever you want without having a premium account
  • what I was doing wrong with my profile and how I fixed it
  • how to become a master with groups so that you exponentially increase your reach
  • how to find the keywords that you should be targeting, and then what to do (and what NOT to do) with them
  • how to create a ninja boolean search to find just the right prospects for your products
  • how to leverage LinkedIn signals to keep a watchful eye on what people are saying about you and your competition
  • how to ensure that your profile is configured for maximum benefit
  • and so much more!!

LinkedIn is a powerful business tool that you can use to make valuable connections for yourself and your company. Do not skip 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.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Viveka von Rosen

VivekavonRosenViveka von Rosen started using LinkedIn in 2006 when she saw a presentation on the opportunities of Business Networking with LinkedIn. Having doubled her own business with F2F networking, she saw the immense potential of a business online networking site.

Viveka is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert” and speaks to business owners, corporations, Legal Firms and associations on the benefits of marketing with social media, and in particular LinkedIn.

Author of  “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour A Day” for John Wiley & Sons, she is also a regular source on LinkedIn for prestigious news outlets such as, and The Miami Herald.  She is the host of the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter: #LinkedInChat (Recently quoted by Mashable as one of the top 10 business blogs) and co-moderator of LinkedStrategies, the largest LinkedIn strategy group on LinkedIn.


Digital Marketing Strategy: Maximize Your Content Marketing ROI with Stephen Woessner

Are you looking for ways to increase the return on your content marketing investment?

Would you like to discover actionable tactics that you can immediately put into use in your business?

Stephen Woessner has helped thousands of clients over the course of 20 years, and he’s collected enough data to be able to confidently predict ROI so that his clients can achieve the maximum impact from their online marketing activities.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, Stephen is going to share exactly what to pay attention to so that you too can predict (and maximize) your own marketing ROI. In our discussion, you will hear us talk about:

  • the #1 mistake that most businesses make when creating their content marketing plan
  • the best online marketing activities to use for immediate profit (if you’re not doing these, you should be)
  • the importance of measuring baselines and how to do it
  • which metrics you need to be paying attention to and why
  • how to create customer anticipation
  • how his clients are using social media to give a huge boost to their marketing results
  • his favorite business book
  • 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.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there, bright idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
Podcast. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast for
business owners and marketers who want to understand how to use online
marketing and sales automation to massively boost their business. And in
this very episode, we are going to talk with my guest about how he’s
helping his clients to massively, and I mean massively, boost their
business, guaranteed no less. So I’ve got to get lots of answers to those
questions because in the . . . I think this is going to be a really
interesting interview. So my guest is Stephen, and I didn’t ask you how to
pronounce your last name so I’m sure I’m going to butcher it, but I’m going
to take a guess. Woessner?Stephen: It’s Woessner.Trent: Woessner, all right. And Stephen is the founder and president
of a company by the name of Predictive ROI, and he is also the author of
two top books in the digital marketing space. So Stephen, or rather Steve .
. . by the way, do you prefer Steve or Stephen? I think we had our first
bandwidth glitch. Did you prefer Steve or Stephen?Stephen: Either’s fine, it doesn’t matter.

Trent: Okay, so Steve, welcome to the show and hopefully we won’t have
any more bandwidth glitches like that. All right, so just tell us a little
bit about who you are and what do you do? Because I don’t imagine too many
of my audience is familiar with you or possibly even your company.

Stephen: Okay. Well, so for the last 20 years, really since the advent
of commercial Internet, I’ve been collecting tens of thousands of data
points that have given me the ability to identify what I call the seven
money drainers, and those are the things that literally cause websites to
leak serious money every day. And what we do is we teach business owners
how to fix them, and how to fix them immediately, and then how to apply
what I call the eight money-making opportunities. And those are the things
that really drive profits online by 200 to 500% or more in 12 months or

And then as you mentioned in the introduction, we take it even further by
then guaranteeing to our personal consultant clients that they’re going to
deliver or receive X for return on investment, and typically it’s 200 to
300% although we’re working on some engagements where believe it or not
it’s about 1,300% return on investment. And if we don’t deliver that, we
pay the entire fee at the end of 12 months.

So before starting Predictive, I really came out of the private sector. I
have about 15 years of private sector experience. This is my fifth business
that I’ve owned, and then I spent six years in academia. So when I get to
share stuff with new clients and people like you, it’s coming from the
perspective of both private sector and academia. So all of my steps and
processes, the patent pending that we have, it’s all based on good quality
academic research as well as private sector data which makes it rock solid

Trent: Terrific. So we actually have two really interesting stories
that I want to dive into in our time. One of them is the building of your
company, which I think we’ll cover second, and first just these . . . you
mentioned the seven money drainers, and then you also in our chat before we
went on air talked about eight money-making opportunities which I’m
assuming is kind of like the way you fix these seven problems, but maybe
I’m jumbling things up. In any case, so let’s dive into that first. You
mentioned that you find these seven areas where websites are leaking money.
Everybody listening to this episode has a website. I’m sure many of those
people are generating revenue from their website and would like to know how
they can stop it from, in your words, leaking money. So let’s dive right
into those seven if we can.

Stephen: Okay, sure. Well the first one is what I call the lack of
baselines and smart predict . . .

. The SMART stands for
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive. And I’m sure
that you’ve seen this or witnessed this happen many, many times whether
it’s digital marketing or just working with an entrepreneur offline is that
typically a business-owner entrepreneur says I just want more. I just want
more sales, right? I just want more leads, or I want more something.

And so the SMART framework gives us the ability to create very specific
goals and objectives right up front so we know exactly what it is we’re
trying to accomplish and what holes need to be fixed because we know what
our metrics are. So typically, we take some of these unique visitors and
we’ll increase that by 100% or more. That’s the very first predictive we
put in place. So it’s an increase of unique visitors by at least 100% in 12
months or less. And then that first predictive really ends up being the
lynchpin for all of the others, which is bounce rate, typically we’re
looking for a predictive of bringing a bounce rate down from 50 to 60% down
to 30% or less. And consequently, that’s also money drainer number three,
more specifically, about bounce rate.

And then we’re looking to increase leads by at least 100% or more, and
typically it’s by 200% or more. And then the same thing with revenues. So
typically when you ask a business-owner entrepreneur how much did you do
last year in the form of leads or sales or inquiries or traffic? Unless
they’re tracking that data through Google Analytics, sometimes they don’t
know. In fact, the vast majority of the time they don’t know how to capture
that data easily out of Google Analytics, so we can help them. But that’s
why it’s the first money drainer, because they’re not really sure what the
missed opportunity is until you put those measurements in place.

Trent: Okay, so that’s just the first one?

Stephen: It is.

Trent: Then let’s go on to number two. What comes next?

Stephen: So number two is the lack of distinction. And so we work with
clients on this exercise that we call XYZ and we ask a business-owner
executive to answer these three simple questions. So we do X for Y so they
can Z. In fact, we were just kicking off an engagement this morning and
working through that exercise this morning. And the reason why that XYZ is
so important is because . . . and where we feature, we feature it in the
upper left-hand corner typically of a homepage or content page so that
people are insured to see it. Only about 10% of all visitors will actually
scroll below the fold on any content page. You can take that right out of
in-page analytics to Google Analytics.

So we answer those three questions. We do X for Y so they can Z. And then
your audience, self-selects, raise their hand and say yes, that’s for me
and their bounce rate goes down dramatically when that is defined properly.

Trent: Can you give me an example of that? Because I’m still . . .
maybe I’m a bit slow. I’m still not quite clear on the practical
implementation of that.

Stephen: Okay. So let’s say the XYZ for Predictive; we’ll make it a real
tangible example. So we do digital marketing, applying our patent-pending
predictive ROI method, so that’s the X. We do X for Y. And so the Y would
be for companies of a million to 30 million dollars a year in revenue. So
that’s the Y; that’s the customer profile. And then for Z, or so they can
Z, the result outcome, that’s Z . . . so they can increase revenue online
by 200 to 500% or more in 12 months or less, guarantee, or it’s 100% free.
So that’s our XYZ.

Trent: So it’s kind of like an elevator pitch, is it not? It’s the
problem you’re solving, who you’re solving it for and the benefit.

Stephen: Yeah, but it’s putting it in the context of the recipient,
right? The prospective customer and client. Absolutely.

Trent: Okay. So how is that . . . when you talk about fixing that
money drainer, that number two, is that a process that you go through a
client where you say hey, you don’t have X, Y and Z well-define so we need
to get that verbiage or those images or whatever content can phase that
network; we need to do a better job of getting it on the website?

Stephen: Exactly. And so the way you’re saying it right there, it makes
it sound really simple doesn’t it? Because it is. It is not that difficult
of an exercise to go through; it’s actually quite simple to do. But I
suspect that if you go to some of the entrepreneurs that you’ve interviewed
or people within your sphere of influence and take a look at their
websites, it is very easy to have an ambiguous message. And unfortunately,
when you have an even slightly ambiguous message and the result outcome is
not clear, what ends up happening is we experience bounce rate. And then
that leads to the number three money drain.

Trent: Which would be?

Stephen: Which would be?

Trent: Yeah, which would be what? Your turn.

Stephen: The number three money drainer is high bounce rate.

Trent: Okay.

Stephen: So for example, the typical, un-optimized website will have a
bounce rate of between 50 to 60%. So to say that another way, for those
listeners who aren’t quite sure what bounce rate is, so when somebody comes
to any content page within your website, whether that’s a homepage,
article, doesn’t matter. Public service page, doesn’t matter. When they
come to that page and they look at it, for whatever reason they puke in a
bucket; they just didn’t like it. And they immediately leave without making
just one single click? Then the site has passed.

So typically a small business site, small business owners with a website,
their bounce rate is going to be between 50 and 60% if they haven’t done
anything to dramatically bring that down. So to say that another way, we’re
spending all this time on social media and marketing and advertising to
bring all this traffic in, and 60% of them leave without making one single

Stephen: So the way that we fix bounce rate, there are really three
things we do to fix bounce rate. And the first one is the XYZ, and defining
XYZ. So when people come, they self-select and they know they’re in the
right place. It’s not ambiguous; they know what the result outcome is. It’s
very simple. They’re going to dig a little bit deeper and the bounce rate
goes down. Just by putting the bounce rate onto the homepage, we’ve been
able to reduce bounce rate by 10 to 20% in like two days.

Trent: Sorry, by putting what onto the homepage? Because you said
bounce rate.

Stephen: Yeah, by putting the XYZ message on the homepage we’ve been
able to reduce bounce rate by 10 to 20% in just two days.

Trent: Okay.

Stephen: And the second way to reduce bounce rate, so that’s the first
way . . . the second way is to reduce visual clutter or eliminate visual
clutter. And what I mean by that is when you go to a website and there’s 15
different types of either graphics or photos or copy blocks or offers or
sign up for this or download that? I just did a two-day intensive with a
client in New York and we looked at their homepage with their team and
there literally were 15 different things on the homepage.

Unfortunately what happens is, and in fact the Harvard Business Review did
a great story on this in their March 2013 issue, and that was that when you
give more choice, you unfortunately have no action. So we reduce the visual
clutter by removing 15 things and go down to three. Again, it’s very simple
but it has powerful impact. And then lastly, to reduce bounce rate, it’s to
have a very clear call to action like a 1-2-3 step process. Again, these
are things that business owners can absolutely fix on their own, which is
why we teach them, and because they’re not hard you can absolutely do it on
your own if you know what levers to pull and knobs to turn.

Trent: Yeah, what you’re describing right now is exactly what I have
been going through on my own site for the past month. I tested a different
landing page than what is there currently. So what is there currently is
essentially a squeeze page. There’s one call-to-action. It’s join,
subscribe or in faint letters you can click your way through to the blog
without subscribing, and it has a couple benefit statements below. And when
that one was my homepage, the bounce . . . the bounce rate I’m looking at
right now is overall to my site, but the vast majority of traffic goes to
my homepage. It was 62.78%. Then I switched that page temporarily to what
is now the blog page, which is, and my bounce rate went
up to 74.74% and my opt-in rate plummeted as a result of that change which
is why I switched it back. And just in speaking with you, I can see I don’t
think I’ve XYZ’ed my homepage very well. I think there’s probably a fair
amount of room for improvement there.

So when you see, and I’m diverting from the seven but it’s my show and I’m
allowed to do that . . . when you see a properly-optimized opt-in page such
as my home page, what conversion rate would you . . . have you seen? Not
your guess. What conversion rate are you seeing with your clients as an
achievable benchmark?

Stephen: Okay. And so typically, well, a couple things to that. So first
thing, your typical conversion rate of unique visitors is between 2 and 4%.
You know, the global standard, right? And my guess is you’re doing at least
that. But the litmus test we like to use is if it’s less than 2%, there’s
likely a content problem. If it’s more than 4% then you’re doing above the
global standard and that’s great. So now how do we optimize that further?
But when that traffic is coming from social media, we’ve seen that
conversion rate be as high as 22%. That’s a 780% increase because of the
like and trust factor; the relationship that’s in place.

Trent: Yeah, that’s not surprising.

Stephen: Right. So my guess is, what’s your conversion right now? I
would imagine it’s above four.

Trent: Two.

Stephen: Two? Okay. So you’re obviously on the bottom side of the
acceptable range, so I think that just adds validity to your theory that
you were surmising a couple minutes ago about the XYZ issue and so forth.
So yeah, there’s a content issue there for sure.

Trent: Which you can bet I will be working on as a result of this
conversation. All right, let me not divert too much down the rabbit hole.
Let’s go on to point number four.

Stephen: Okay. So point number four or money drainer number four is SEO
done poorly. And specifically what I mean by that is the biggest misstep in
my opinion, with respect to SEO, is poor keyword selection right from the
very beginning. And so we put this process into place for selecting what we
call predictive keywords. Kind of like Gordon Gecko said back in the movie
Wall Street, I bet on sure things? It’s kind of like that with keywords.
Now it might seem fundamental. Yeah, I can go to the Google AdWords tool
and I can type in entrepreneur toolbox and I’ll get a list of things and
that type of stuff. But that’s not deep enough for us.

So here’s what we do. We use a tool called That website is
owned by a friend of mine, his name is Aaron Wall. He happens to be one of
the foremost SEO trainers in the world. Just as a disclaimer, I have
absolutely no financial affiliation with Aaron. I just think he has a
rocking, awesome tool and we use it every day.

So you can go to You can create a free account and then you
can begin using what he calls the keyword suggestion tool. What I really
like about it is it provides you with data that’s even more precise than
even Google’s AdWords tool. So you can type in any keyword that you could
possibly think of, and it will tell you the number of times every single
day that somebody searches on the keyword in Google.

Now in and of itself, that may not be completely revolutionary. But then we
take that data, which we call the Google Daily Estimate, we take that and
combine it with something else. So once we know that the keyword is used
every single day and is relevant to our business, then we go into Google
and we do an exact match search for that keyword. We put it into quotes.
And as long as that keyword has at least a million or less competing pages,
then following steps 4 through 14 in my SEO book we can get a top 10
ranking on Google in 30 days or less for that keyword.

Trent: When did you write your SEO book?

Stephen: August of 2009.

Trent: So the SEO landscape has changed. I used to get lots of sites
ranked on the first page for long-tail keywords without too much difficult
because I was an opportunistic link builder we’ll say. And that doesn’t

Stephen: Is that code for link farm?

Trent: I have no idea what you’re talking about. That does not work
anymore. So how is it? Because I’ve been around SEO for a few years now.
I’ve built, I don’t know, just shy of 100 sites and I’ve ranked a lot of
them on page one. And the big thing that I had a big bone of contention
with, so I’m calling you out on it here because I want you to explain it to
me, is the number of competing sites is in my opinion irrelevant. It’s the
strength of the top ten, because those are the only ones I care about. So
whether there’s 500 competing sites or 500,000 competing sites, if I can’t
beat any of the top ten, the number of competing sites doesn’t matter. And
you just said as long as it’s less than a million competing sites when you
put your phrase in quotes . . . why? Why is that still true in your

Stephen: Okay, well a couple of things. First of all, so I was just out
in Southern California doing a speech and presentation to a group on
Saturday. And some of those people who were engaged in let’s say the
financial planning industry or investments, okay? And so one of the
keywords that we looked at first was financial planning. Okay, I searched
on almost

or unless you’re . . .

Trent: Steve? Sorry to interrupt you, but the bandwidth froze for
about four or five seconds and we missed what you said so I want you to
repeat it if you would please.

Stephen: Okay, sure. So the initial keyword that we started looking at
was financial planning.

Trent: Competitive keyword, I’m sure.

Stephen: Right. It’s searched on 800 times a day and on the services,
like wow, that’s great. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a top ten ranking
for that keyword? And I can’t remember exactly how many competing pages
were listed for that keyword, so it fell out from the competitiveness
standpoint. But also like you just said, the top ten sites that are ranked
for that are going to be really strong sites. It’s going to be large
investment banks; it’s going to be financial planners; it’s going to be
just large companies. So the hope of a small business owner getting on that
first page of results is likely nil.

However, there are a number of adjacent keywords related to financial
planning like financial planning for retirement. Now it’s obviously a
little bit longer tail. It’s searched on 64 or so times per day, and
there’s only 70 or so thousand competing pages. So I think that you’re
right in obviously measuring the strength of the top ten pages, or excuse
me, top ten sites. But what we like to do is we like to look for niche
keywords that are still very relevant to the customer’s business or
client’s business that still provide an influx of traffic. And then we
expand the digital footprint of the site dramatically. We go from ten pages
to maybe 100 pages or more of really great content spread out over many
different keywords. Traffic goes up, leads go up, revenue doubles and lots
of happiness comes as a result. What we don’t do is we don’t try to spend
all of our time to try to get a ranking for a keyword that’s impossible,
because that’s just not a good use of resources.

Trent: Okay, so let me feed that back and make sure that I got it,
because that’s pretty much what I understood. What you more or less just
said is focus on the long tail, build a lot of content and don’t target one
word, target 100 words that are all long-tail so the traffic in aggregate
from those 100 words will be meaningful.

Stephen: Great. You said it much better than I did.

Trent: Okay.

Stephen: You did. That sounds very good. I’ve got to steal that from

Trent: By all means. I’ll trade it to you for a consulting session,
how’s that? [Laughs]

Stephen: Fair enough.

Trent: I’m having fun here so far. Thanks for being on the show. Okay,
number cinco, number five.

Stephen: Okay. So number five is not knowing your customer.

Trent: Oh, I wrote a 2,000 word blog post on this yesterday.

Stephen: Did you seriously?

Trent: I did. I haven’t published it yet. It’s going to be published I
think probably before this interview is published, but yeah. Huge, huge

Stephen: Totally huge. Yeah, and so I take this actually from Darren
Hardy who’s a good friend of mine from Success Magazine. He’s the one that
actually taught this to me, and I love this so much we worked it into our
process. So we create what we call or he calls the client avatar. Now
again, it sounds simple right? And it’s not a persona. It’s a real person.
In Predictive, we call her Sally. And so Sally had read lots of books;
Sally’s ambitious; Sally is tired of losing money and missed opportunity
and doesn’t know who to believe anymore because she’s been sold a bill of
goods so many different times.

And Sally has literally looked at me and said I need you to deliver on your
promises and that you can do what you actually say that you can do. And so
that’s, within Predictive ROI, that’s our client avatar. So anything that
we put out, whether that be an article or my next book or teaching a class
or whatever, we’re speaking to Sally or her counterpart Harriet.

Trent: And in my case they are Adam and Melissa. They’re on my about
page; you can read all about them. So how does one go about identifying
their Sally? Do they just pick and use their intuition and then say I know
that there’s . . . well I’m not going to answer the question. How does
someone pick their Sally?

Stephen: No, I think you’re on the right path because you obviously have
some experience with this. And so it’s being able to take the group of best
customers and really understanding what their hopes and dreams and fears
and challenges are from an emotional perspective. It’s not necessarily
about widgets and result outcomes. I mean that’s XYZ. It’s more about what
keeps them up at night, that very possible expression. And Darren likes to
say, and I think this is pretty good, it’s like you need to lay in their
bed at night to really understand what is causing them heartache at night
and how your solution could truly be a solution. How you can connect

So much of us are trying to throw out the features, advantages and benefits
and hope that something sticks on the wall, when the reality is people do
business with the people that they like, and they feel that they get them.
Does Trent really understand me? And if we can speak that language, we can
be really successful. I’ve literally in new client presentations, have
given them on a slide what the Predictive ROI avatar is, who Sally is, and
have literally had people on the phone say that’s me. How did you nail
that? So that’s not only the benefit of defining it, but then how to use it
by blatantly putting that out there and letting the prospect self-select
and say that’s me.

Trent: Well how do you do that? I’ve got them on my about page because
I want people to read it and come and say yeah, I’m Adam or I’m Melissa, so
this place is for me. But is that too simple? Is there a better way to do

Stephen: No, I mean I’m trying to think that that’s one . . . that’s a
fantastic way to do it. And then when I’m writing articles or I’m writing
blog posts, I’m literally writing it to Sally. Not to this massive
universe; I’m writing it to her. Or when I’m writing the book that I’m
working on right now, it’s to Harry and Sally. Or when I’m out delivering a
presentation to a new client, I’m speaking to Sally. I’m looking at Harry
and Sally right now. And so it isn’t anything more complicated than that;
it’s a shift from features and advantages and benefits. That comes later.
It’s really speaking emotionally to connect.

Trent: So I’m just going to quickly read to you how I’ve define Adam,
and I’m interested in your feedback. So agency owner Adam runs a marketing
agency with fewer than 25 employees. Adam is busy managing human resources,
marketing, sales operations and the finance for his company and has little
time left for executing new ideas. His biggest challenge is that cash flow
is not predictable enough because he does not have enough retainer clients.
His top priority is lead generation and new client acquisition. Is that
enough? Have I clearly, for my own purpose and my audience, have I defined
Adam enough? Or is that too vague?

Stephen: Yes and no. So really, what’s keeping Adam up at night? The
fact that if he loses an account, he has to let Steve go or he has to let
Becky go? He feels like we’re really ill-equipped in being able to handle
digital, and that scares me to death that there’s these missed
opportunities and I feel like we’re not educated? I don’t want to look like
an idiot in front of my competitors? How come they’re outranking us? That
makes me nervous when I go to a cocktail party or a chamber event or some
sort of industry thing, and I know that I’m behind. It makes me fearful
that there’s all these missed opportunities where if a client asks me a
question, that I feel like I’m not prepared.

So if you are the resource that can help Adam be more prepared, that’s
awesome. That then solves what’s making him nervous at night. That then
gives him confidence that when he’s out in the industry, that he truly is
an expert because maybe he questions whether he’s truly an expert or not.
So I think that you’ve got the surface there, but I think you can peel the
onion even deeper to really cut to the core of what’s bothering Adam.

Trent: And how do you think I should do that? Do you think I should do
a survey, or do you think I should just send an email out to the people who
interact most with me, because I use InfusionSoft and I can see who clicks
what link and how often they click and all that business, and just say hey,
give me a call and talk to them?

Stephen: Personally, I don’t know that you need to. I think you have it
all up here already based on your years of experience and doing it. So I
don’t know that it . . . and here’s the thing. In all the years that I’ve
done surveys, statistical analysis, hundreds of focus groups, the reality
is unless you’re really maybe eyeball-to-eyeball with somebody and somebody
gives you an answer and you say now why was that important to you, Trent?
And they think about it for a second, then they give it to you again; it’s
a little bit deeper. You can say that’s interesting, I haven’t heard that
variation before. Now why is that important to you? And then they give you
something else. Oh my gosh, that is awesome. Why was that important to you?
You have to ask that question three times before you get to the meat and
potatoes of it. You can’t do that in a survey.

Trent: Yeah, so that’s where the phone calls and the one-on-one
interaction can be really beneficial.

Stephen: Yeah, and my guess is that if you really think about those pain
points that Adam was feeling and how you can deliver a solution to that, I
think you already have it. It’s just maybe being able to think about it in
a slightly different way. But I think you’re already there.

Trent: Okay.

Stephen: Most business owners don’t need more data.

Trent: Yeah, you’re right. I’ve been doing . . . I’ve been a business
owner for 14 years now. My business was very, very similar to that of a
marketing agency so I like to think I understand what keeps them . . .
because it’s what used to keep me awake at night, which is predominately
how do I get more leads and how do I get more customers?

Stephen: Yeah, I think . . . so what we’re talking about here, I think,
is kind of a very common thing for business owners is that we tend to de-
value or maybe mis-value the beautiful things that we do every single day,
and the really awesome value you deliver every single day. You obviously
have it. I don’t think you need more data; it’s just maybe being able to
tweak the story a little bit. But you obviously have the experience. I mean
that’s very, very clear.

Trent: Okay, let’s move to number six.

Stephen: Institution speak.

Trent: Jargon, my favorite thing.

Stephen: Yeah, exactly. And isn’t it really easy to kind of fall into
either institution speak, trying to make ourselves seem bigger than we
actually are because we think that that is somehow more attractive? And so
instead of talking about I or we, we end up using big, corporatey buzzwordy
terms? And the reality is that Trent is the man, right? The business owner,
he or she, is the man. They are the brand. So it’s time to really embrace
that, to be forward-facing with that, and realizing that people do business
with people; humans like humans; so let’s be human and let’s be that person
out in front and then great things happen. Leads go up, revenue goes up,
bounce rate goes down, lots of great things happen.

Trent: Makes perfect sense. All right, and the final money drainer,
unlucky number seven. [Laughs]

Stephen: That’s awesome. It’s really the ambiguous call-to-action. And
so what I mean by that is haven’t you ever been to a website, I know that I
have, and you want to give them money? You want to give them your
information. You want to convert and you just can’t. You can’t figure out
how to give them your MasterCard. It’s ambiguous. And so having an
ambiguous call-to-action is a huge money drainer when customers can’t
figure out what next step they’re supposed to take. You need to make it
simple. On the surface that sounds simple, but having a very clear 1-2-3 is
a real great way to solve that.

Trent: Okay, so obviously we have just skimmed, and I emphasize the
word skimmed, the surface of these even money drainers. And we’re going to
talk about some more stuff yet; I want to get to these eight money making
opportunities. But for people who want to know more about the seven money
drainers, do you talk about this in great detail in one of your books?

Stephen: In the one that I’m writing now, yes.

Trent: Okay. So they can’t get that yet. Are you pre-releasing any of
that content on your blog? Is there a report people can get?

Stephen: Actually on my blog right now, I’ve just released I think a
pretty in depth actual instructions and so forth on money drainer number
two. Actually, it was a combination. I did a blog post on money drainer
number two and three. So if they go to my blog, they’ll be able to get that
and follow the steps. I mean there’s nothing hidden there; it’s all right
there in a very clear way.

Trent: Okay. And what about this morning, actually, before I recorded
this, I was spending quite a bit of time in analytics trying to get better
at what I’m looking at and really figure out what the key metrics I should
be focusing on are. Have you got any written material on this? Number one
was lack of baselines. Do you have any documentation that is currently
accessible on that?

Stephen: I was just at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando in one of their board
rooms shooting a training video actually specifically on money drainer
number one. It hasn’t been released yet. And the reason I did that in video
is there’s a whiteboard there and I sketched it all out and I create
several different examples. And really to make it nice and tangible and
crisp. But anyway, we haven’t released that yet but I would think in the
next several weeks we’d have that done.

Trent: Okay. All right, let’s try and make sure that you give me a
link to that because this interview won’t be live for a number of weeks
anyway, so the two will probably time well. So before we move on, and I’m
assuming because I’ve seen you look down at your monitor when we were
talking about my own site, that you’ve probably got it up in front of you.
Just based upon the experience that you’ve had, what would you tell me
would be wrong in the context of these seven money drainers? And you don’t
have to go over all of them; just pick one. The biggest glaring error that
you see?

Stephen: For your site?

Trent: Yeah, for

Stephen: Actually, I wasn’t looking at that. Hang on a second. Bright
Ideas . . .

Trent: So if you’re listening to this in the audience, I would
encourage you to punch up my site so you can listen along with us as we
pick apart all my mistakes.

Stephen: Would you stop it? I’ve been in the business for 14 years . . .
sorry about that.

Trent: No problem.

Stephen: Okay, so I’m looking at the homepage and you’re asking me to
critique the homepage?

Trent: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve only got a 2% conversion out of that so it’s
not as good as it could be, and maybe it’s the X, Y, Zed issue, or X, Y, Z.
There’s my Canadian in me, saying Zed.

Stephen: When you’re saying conversion, I just want to make sure I’m on
the same thought path as you. Are you talking subscribers where you’re
asking people to give you first name and email?

Trent: Yes.

Stephen: Okay. All right, and so actually that fits in really well with
our second money maker which is build your list. And so you’re obviously
trying to get a list here, and build numbers of subscribers which is really
cool. First of all, it looks like you’ve got a good, responsive design
there; nicely done. I can still see . . .

Trent: Yeah, I had it custom-built for me.

Stephen: Yeah, it looks good. All right, so here’s what I would suggest
is to put it in a place what we consider or what we call value exchange,
something that’s screaming cool. Okay, so like right there, the headline,
learn from the brightest entrepreneurs. Learn what?

Trent: Yep.

Stephen: Okay, so learn what? If you want to succeed in business, the
best thing you can do is surround yourself with other smart entrepreneurs.
Why? At Bright Ideas, we make it easy, how? For you to do exactly that.
What? Just fill out the form below. It gives you free access; free access
to what? And what is the value proposition? So what is the result outcome
by me giving you my private information, what am I getting in exchange
that’s going to help me build my business?

My guess is you can probably articulate that in a really rock solid,
awesome way; it’s just not right here is all. So when that value exchange
is put in such a way that the person looks at that and says oh my gosh, I
need to connect with Trent because of this? We see that conversion rate go
up to 6 to 13%. And typically it’s in the form of something screaming cool
like a book or several free chapters or maybe it’s Trent’s exclusive
insights that have never been seen before or my five interviews with top
executives or these rocking cool business donors that I don’t share with
anybody else, but you can opt in here to get it. Something like that, you
will see your conversion rate go up to 6 to 13%.

Trent: Here’s the funny thing is I actually, and I’m laughing at
myself as I think about this, I have what’s called the Massive Traffic
Toolkit which is a combination of really effective traffic generation
strategies that have been shared with me by the guests here on Bright
Ideas. And once you get past the page you’re looking at, the Massive
Traffic Toolkit is the lead magnet that’s used all over the site. Yet on
the splash page I don’t mention the damn thing.

Stephen: [Laughs]

Trent: What an idiot.

Stephen: Well, okay.

Trent: I hope people listening to this are laughing right now.

Stephen: Okay, so the reality is it takes time. It’s easy to forget some
of the specialness and awesomeness that we each do every single day, and
you were asking me before the interview hey, you’re the social media
expert. Why in the world do you have 358 followers on Twitter? It doesn’t
make any sense. Why? Because I haven’t applied some of my own stuff, which
is almost ridiculous to say, but it’s also easy to do, getting caught up in
running other aspects of our business. So okay, you know how to fix it;
it’s just a matter of doing it.

Trent: Yep, very true. All right, I will be working on that. Let us
continue along then into the eight money makers, and if we have time
because I know we’re almost even closing in on an hour already. Can you
keep going?

Stephen: I can, yeah. I can. Yeah, for a little bit longer, yeah.

Trent: All right, because people can come back to this. If they can’t
listen to it all in one session, that’s what the pause button’s for. All
right, money maker numero uno, rob banks?

Stephen: Okay, rob banks?

Trent: You know why bank robbers rob banks?

Stephen: Because there’s money there?

Trent: Because that’s where the money is.

Stephen: Yeah, so money maker number one, create your own Ponzi Scheme.

Trent: Wow.

Stephen: No, so money maker number one is something we call harmonize
the offer with the need. And there again I’ve adopted something from Darren
Hardy that he likes to call the White Knight Strategy. So money maker
number one is the white knight. And so it goes something like this. It
takes the XYZ. It blends it with the client avatar and serves it up to make
Trent the white knight solution to all of those pain points that Adam is
feeling. For example, this is what we say at Predictive. Since the advent
of commercial Internet, I’ve collected tens of thousands of data points
that have given me the ability to identify what I call the seven money
drainers. And these are the things that literally cause a website to leak
serious money every day. I can show you how to fix them, and how to fix
them immediately. And then I can show you how to apply what I call the
eight money making opportunities, and these are the things that drive
profits online by 200 to 500% or more in 12 months or less.

And then here’s the kicker, I can even show you how to predict your
financial return on investment before you even begin. So more visitors,
more leads, more sales. And if we don’t deliver the return on investment we
promised, it’s 100% free, guaranteed. So that white knight strategy
delivers our XYZ and it serves it up in a format that Sally is really going
to like because she has been abused before, treated poorly in engagements
before, false promises, under delivering, all of those things. It’s like
you can do all of that and you’re willing to guarantee it? We are. You’re
willing to put that in writing? Yes.

Trent: Where do you communicate that particular piece of information?
Is it going to be in a video of you that pops up? Is it written on the
homepage? Where does it go?

Stephen: Okay, so the way that I deliver the white knight is typically
during presentations, you know, speeches, presentations, training, where
I’m live. It’s typically not in written form. And then we use snippets of
it within articles that I write as we’re working on the next book and that
kind of stuff. It’s in our proposals. It’s actually right in the executive
summary of our proposals. And it’s in the introduction to all our training
videos, like when I was down in Florida recently, last week that I
mentioned, I shot these three training videos. And so I start off by saying
hi everyone, this is Stephen Woessner, founder of Predictive ROI. And in
case this is the first video you’re watching for me, here’s a brief
introduction. Then I go into white knight.

And at the end it’s like this is rock solid, awesome stuff. I’m going to
step into a boardroom here at the Ritz Carlton and I’m going to teach you
all about money drainer number two. And then I deliver ten minutes of
awesomeness with money drainer number two. There’s nothing left on the
table. It’s all give, give, give. There’s no smoke and mirrors or I’m
hiding stuff or anything like that. I’m giving the whole thing and I hope
it serves you well. And so then that establishes trust because I truly want
people to take that stuff and use it. This isn’t some sort of underhanded
marketing scheme; I want people to benefit from it. And I think that that
establishes trust and being genuine, and really sticks with the white

Trent: Okay, so number two on the money makers is what?

Stephen: Number two, going back to your homepage, it’s what we call
build the list. The reality is the most valuable asset in any business is
the list. It’s not employees; it’s not product; it’s not inventory; it’s
not capital, equipment, buildings. Because all that stuff could burn down
and all your employees could walk out and you could completely reinvent the
business if you have to. You certainly wouldn’t want to, clearly. But if
you had to, there was a time when it was just you anyway. So if you had to
rebuild it again, you could.

But I’ll tell you what, if all your customers walked out one day, that
would suck really bad. So the most valuable asset in any business is the
customer list. So what can we do like immediately to build the list
rapidly? And so we put these value exchanges into place. And I didn’t look
to see how your site is coded. Is that a WordPress site?

Trent: It is, yes.

Stephen: And so we do a lot of dev work in WordPress. It’s escaping me
right now, I can email it to you later, but there’s a very inexpensive
WordPress plug-in. I think it’s like WP Email Capture I think. Don’t quote
me on that, but I’m almost positive that’s what it is. I think it’s free to
maybe being a couple dollars. And we take that WordPress plug-in, and that
creates a popover. Not a popup; not an annoying pop under; not all these
goofy windows that when somebody wants to leave your site, we harass them;
none of that stuff. But we put up a good quality popover which is
essentially a layer between the homepage and the viewer, and then we give
them this screaming cool offer. You know, the very best insights from Trent
that nobody’s ever heard before, just for you. Or my exclusive audio series
or whatever. Something that delivers huge value. And then what happens when
we put that in place to any visitor, whether it’s homepage or one of your
articles or whatever, between 6 and 13% of all visitors will opt in and do

Trent: I’ve got one of those now. I use a plug-in called Pippity which
is I think $47 and I’m a big fan. The controls are phenomenal. You can put
in . . . so you can have, so the way I’ve got it for example, on anything
other than the homepage, on your visit there’s a fade-in, just what you’ve
described. It makes an offer. Then on your second, if you click X on that
one and you keep reading, as you scroll down I have another strip that
comes up from the bottom when you get to the bottom of the post that has
another message on it. That’s the Pippity plug-in; it works really well. It
doesn’t take any rocket science to put in all the features and
configurations and so forth. So I’m a big fan of that, but I’ll tell you
I’m not getting 6 to 12% conversion so my XYZ is obviously not as well-
defined yet as it needs to be.

Stephen: Yeah, that sounds like it.

Trent: Okay, number three.

Stephen: Number three, and I’m looking at my notes which is why you may
see my eyes shifting, is nurture relationships and increasing sales. So
once somebody opts in and you use InfusionSoft, we’re big fans of Instant
Customer. Are you familiar with Instant Customer?

Trent: No, I’ve never heard of that one before.

Stephen: It’s really great. Now again, just as a disclaimer for you and
your audience, I have absolutely no financial affiliation with Mike
Kennings who created Instant Customer. But my opinion, it’s rock solid
awesome because the downside with InfusionSoft, and maybe you’ve
experienced this, is a couple times a year, the entire thing goes down
because a lot of spammers use InfusionSoft. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with
InfusionSoft about that issue, and they’ve admitted that sometimes they get

In fact, a very good friend of mine actually just forced a refund from
InfusionSoft because of their deliverability issues. Not good. So if you
haven’t experienced any problems, that’s great, but lots of other people
have with InfusionSoft. So with that said, what I really, really like about
Instant Customer are two main things. So when somebody signs up or they opt
in, on value exchange, they immediately go into Instant Customer. And then
Instant Customer sets up the automated sequence.

So we deliver then three or four more value-based emails that come as a
result of downloading the first book. So that in and of itself is not
necessarily rocket science. But the content that we put into those emails
is, because again, we’re using Client Avatar; we’re using White Knight; and
so we’re putting out an offer and additional value that is in the right
language and context. Then what we typically do is we lead somebody into
what we call the no like and trust funnel. I take that from John Jantsch
from Duct Tape Marketing. I thought he hit the nail right on the head when
he said that.

So the no like and trust funnel, so we’re delivering these emails, moving
them through the no like and trust. Then at the bottom we’re inviting them
to an exclusive webinar just for the people who downloaded the book or
whatever. We’re giving them an exclusive webinar. We then deliver 60
minutes of awesomeness, really great stuff, not holding anything back. And
then at the end we give them an opportunity to either buy something, become
a lead, talk to a salesperson, convert on this membership opportunity,
whatever it might be. And then huge conversion rates go up.

For example, one of our clients had a relatively small list, about 2,000 or
so people. She had been using that list for years. I mean it was the
epitome of list burnout, okay? And was not getting any conversions off the
list. And I’m not trying to be overly dramatic; that was just the reality.
So we put this system in place that we nurture and developed sales over
time. We put a value exchange in place on that company’s website. We put an
instant customer funnel in place that led to a webinar, actually two
webinars. She did an incredible job of creating that campfire effect during
the webinar where people felt really, really good about the content she

Trent: Are these live? Sorry to interrupt, but are these live webinars
or can they be recorded and put on autopilot?

Stephen: It was a live webinar because then we dealt with live Q&A. Then
at the end we did two things where we said for the next 48 hours, you have
access to this offer and after that it goes to the full distribution list.
So we sent out that email to all the webinar attendees, or registrants,
excuse me. Then we did that twice in four weeks and we generated $110,000
in revenue in four weeks off of presumably a dead list.

Trent: What was the offer?

Stephen: She is in . . . she’s in the financial industry, and so she is
selling a very high-end mentoring type sort of coaching program if you
will, actually like a licensing program. It’s about five grand a year. It’s
a premium-type price, so it’s not like it’s a $69.95 type offer. It’s a
relatively big-ticket item for somebody in that space. And again, these are
people who had known about her for years, or her business I should say for
years. She’s not a one man band; she’s across the country. And knew about
this company for years. So she had credibility in the marketplace, but the
offer just wasn’t right. And she is an expert. We just tweaked the message
and great things happened.

Trent: Yeah, no kidding, 110,000 of them. All right, I am . . . I do
want to ask a question about Instant Customer, because I am a pretty big
fan of InfusionSoft but I have not, out of sheer laziness more than
anything else, checked what the sender score on my server is. And for those
of you who are listening, if you don’t know anything about email
deliverability, your sender score is a number between 0 and 100 that the
ISPs use to determine how much of the email you send will get into the
inbox of the recipient. It was a shocker to me before I knew anything about
this stuff that just because you send out 5,000 emails doesn’t mean they’re
all going to get to the inbox. As a matter of fact, if your sender score is
low enough, less than half of them will get to the inbox.

So as a customer of Instant Customer, a couple questions. One, do they give
you . . . can you get the sender score on the IP address of the server
that’s sending the email? Do you have to ask or do they easily make that
available for you?

Stephen: That is a great question, Trent, and I have never asked for it
and so that’s something I will have to ask them because I’m not sure.

Trent: Okay. Number two, what I particularly like about InfusionSoft,
and I’ve looked at other systems and they’ve not been able to match this
yet, is the campaign vendor. So you need to segment your list. If you want
maximum conversions, you can’t treat everybody the same because they’re at
different points; they have different priorities. They’re at different
points in the buying cycle. So you need some way to let the behavior of
your list segment the list for you. I call it behavioral segmentation. I’m
sure I didn’t coin the team, and if I did, lucky me. But the point of it is
that InfusionSoft allows me to build a campaign on their campaign canvas
and it’s all drag-and-drop. It’s really easy to do once you have the logic
in your head of what you want to do. Implementing it is very easy.

And then based upon what links people click in your various emails . . . so
instead of having a single path through your funnel, so email number one,
number two, number three, number four in series? You can actually, to use
an electronics term, you can have things happen in parallel. So you can
have multiple paths through your funnel, and the path that a given prospect
goes down will be determined by the links that they click and the
subsequent tags, which is just a method of categorizing people that get
applied within InfusionSoft. I think that’s really badass. Does Instant
Customer allow you to do something similar, or is it more like an AWeber
where you just send them in and they get email one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven? I mean with AWeber you can make them join other lists, but it’s
kind of clunky and it’s a pain in the ass to do. How does Instant Customer
deal with that?

Stephen: You know, it’s a little bit of a hybrid between those two. But
I will tell you the learning curve, at least for us, on Instant Customer
was a bit significant because one of the cool things, I agree, with
InfusionSoft is it’s visual. I mean it looks almost like a schematic.

Trent: Yeah, it does.

Stephen: Drag-and-drop, that’s kind of cool. And Instant Customer is not
that way. So it’s a little bit of a learning curve for us, and so I have
not found it to be very intuitive. Now with that said, to be able to go
into different campaigns based on behavior and so forth, yes they give you
that option. But my guess is it’s not going to be as sophisticated as what
you’re used to with InfusionSoft.

Trent: So what’s the big reason you like Instant Customer so much?

Stephen: Oh, okay. So the second piece to that is aside from setting up
these auto-responders which are cool, the other thing I really like is, and
I’m pretty sure InfusionSoft cannot match this, is let’s say Trent is out
giving a speech someplace and there’s 1,000 people in the room. You’re out
there, you’re delivering great content, and you see people just rapidly
taking notes and trying to catch everything you’re saying, right? All this
great stuff. You’re like hey, hang on a second. We’ve got 60 minutes
together. I want you to stay here, listen to what it is I’m saying instead
of frantically trying to write it all down. In fact, just text me your name
and email address to the number you see here on the screen and I’ll
instantly send you the PowerPoint so you have it.

You’ll end up scraping probably 70 to 80% of the emails of the people who
are in that room because they want to get that PowerPoint they’re trying to
copy down, then they instantly go into a funnel. Or we all have smart
phones, and if you have an iPhone, Instant Customer has a great app where
if somebody comes up to you, instead of exchanging business cards, they get
your card, you take it, you shoot it with your phone and it instantly goes
and sends them a PDF or whatever sort of deliverable. So we like those
kinds of things.

Trent: I interviewed the founder of . . . his name’s Chris Branson, of
a company called Call Loop. And I’m pretty sure . . . I know he integrates
with InfusionSoft, and I’m pretty sure he does what you just described. But
again, we’re kind of getting off track. If people want to investigate that,
they can do it on their own or send me an email or what have you, or send
you an email. All right, so we’re at three of eight. We need to get through
. . . I want to finish this list of eight. So what is number four? Number
three was nurture relationships which obviously is done with whatever
software platform you choose to use. But number four, what happens there?

Stephen: Okay, so number four is what I call no friction lead

Trent: Okay.

Stephen: And so what I mean by that is taking sort of the essence of
what you have on the homepage, right now on the, and just
tweaking that by putting again the value exchange next to that form. So
people know the financial value or result outcome or whatever it is by
giving you their first name and email address, so it’s very, very clear. If
I give you this, I’m going to get that. So it’s the balance of the
give/take relationship.

Because don’t you hate it when you go to a website, and yours doesn’t do
this, but don’t you hate it when you go to a website and they ask you like
27 different things? It’s almost like they want your DNA sample in order to
sign up for a newsletter. It’s like what are you doing? Why are you asking
for all of that stuff? So no friction lead generation is where we combine
value exchange, where we’re giving something, in exchange for first
name/last name and email address. And that’s the only thing we’re asking

So this is pretty close, what’s on the homepage now. And by going through
that XYZ we were talking about before, I think even if you just did that
you’d see your conversion rate go up. Substantially, probably.

Trent: I will be running experiments on that and I will actually be
blogging about the results of those experiments. So if you are listening to
this and would like to participate in that as a voyeur, make sure you go to and join the email list because I will be sharing those
experiments with my subscribers. And by the way, just another tip too on
this opt-in form with no friction, what I and others do is on the first . .
. because the more forms, the more fields you have for someone to complete,
the higher the abandonment rate of the page. So why ask them everything at
once? Why not just get the email address and when they submit, when they
click submit, take them to another page that says hey, why don’t you tell
me more about yourself? What’s your last name? What do you do for a living?
What are you interested in? What keeps you awake at night?

Because they’ve already then made their small purchase, their psychological
purchase decision and you have their email. Whether they choose to fill out
the second form or not, you have now the opportunity to ask them as many
times as you’d like in the future by giving them value exchanges to get
more information, to learn more about them. But that first one, that’s why
I only ever ask for first name and email because I can get all the other
stuff. I can work at getting the other stuff later, but if I don’t get the
email, I’m done. I can’t do anything.

Stephen: Right.

Trent: Okay, how about number five?

Stephen: Creating anticipation. And this is where we do what’s called
seeding and opening loops.

Trent: Yep.

Stephen: And so within those value-based emails we’re sending out,
again, we say things like there’s nothing to sell here or you just
downloaded those seven tips and here comes number eight. Actually, there’s
47 steps in our entire process. We can’t go through all of those right now,
but here’s number eight, ten minutes of awesomeness. Then you deliver on
your promise of giving them ten minutes of awesomeness on the sales pitch.
And then a few days later we come back with hey, if you like number eight,
here’s number nine. This is number nine of 47. So we’re seeding and opening
loops, the fact that there’s 47 total tips. And then we’re delivering on
that promise. We’re giving eight, we’re giving nine and so forth.

And so at the end of those training videos that I just produced in Florida,
I talk about the event that we’re having in January down there, January 14
at the Ritz Carlton. We’re inviting 350 high-performing business owners and
executives to come. I talk about the result outcomes that they’re going to
be able to get. They’re going to hear from people like Darren Harvey and
Avanosh Kashik and Phillip Magoffin from Marketing Experiments and Mech
Labs; from me; from Don Yaeger; from some really amazing people who are
going to help them build their business. And then I also say that
registration’s not open yet. It won’t be for several more months, so
there’s no sales pitch here. But I do want you to know that when
registration opens, there are only 350 seats available so good fortune’s
going to go to those who act quickly. More details on that later. I hope
this ten minute video serves you well and farewell. So what I’ve just done
is seeded an open loop that at some point they’re going to get something
about the event, so they’re more aware of it. It creates anticipation.

Trent: Did you ever used to watch the TV show Lost?

Stephen: No. I mean I know of the show but didn’t see it, no.

Trent: Lost . . . open loops is a screenwriter’s concept as I’m sure
you’re well aware that is as old as dirt, and Lost was brilliant, brilliant
with open loops. I never missed an episode of Lost because invariably what
they and every other TV show does is at the very end of the episode, they
open a new loop that you’re dying to know how that . . . because we all
want closure. We’re human beings; we’re just wired to have closure. We all
want to know how it’s going to turn out, so we tune in next week.

And they even go so far as to open mini loops before commercials. I don’t
think it’s as effective now because people skip . . . who watches live TV
anymore? We just skip past all the commercials. But back in the day, I
think that it was probably more effective. And they would create that level
of curiosity so you would hang around for the end of the commercial so you
figure out what’s going to happen.

Stephen: Right. It’s a masterful thing.

Trent: It is indeed. All right, numero six. What do we have there?

Stephen: Social media done right which is a bit ironic because of how
you were beating me up before we started our call.

Trent: Yeah, I was beating you up wasn’t I?

Stephen: [Laughs] That’s okay, I deserve it. It’s fine.

Trent: You know, I love being candid so I’m going to say . . . because
I was referred to you by another, by Nancy who I enjoyed interviewing
immensely. When she referred you I just automatically said hey, do you want
to be on my show? And then some weeks later when I was actually preparing
for the interview and I’m looking at your website which you said needs a
big upgrade, and then I’m looking at this guy’s written a book on social
media and he’s got no social media following. I didn’t know you were the
founder of Predictive ROI. I thought wow, this guy’s an academic with a
book about social media and he’s got no social media following; what the
hell am I going to interview him about?

And I was nearly going to cancel, but I didn’t because I thought well,
Nancy was kind enough to refer him. And I enjoyed . . . so there must be
something I’m not seeing, and I need to talk to him to figure out what it
is. And now I’m glad I went ahead with the interview.

Stephen: Well, I’m glad that you did too because I’ve enjoyed the
conversation immensely. So social media done right, we’ve talked before
about how conversion rate changes when they come from . . . visitors come
from Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, whatever, because of that relationship.
That no like and trust funnel, again, as John mentions in Duct Tape
Marketing. And so specifically there’s a recipe that we use that’s actually
right out of my book, right out of the data. In fact, the data from my book
was actually published, like the foundational data, was actually published
in the journal of e-business and so it’s both peer reviewed scholarly
research, but then I’ve also made it private sector applicable.

And so that conversion rate changes. Here’s the recipe. You want to post at
least two times a day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon. Not any
more than that. Monday through Friday, two times a day, once in the
morning, once in the afternoon. And then you want to make . . . so you and
I being business owners, and we represent the brand, right? New demand. So
we want to do what I call six life and profession related posts to every
one product or service related post.

So Trent talks about new articles that he’s written, new interviews that
he’s done, birthday parties, vacations, kids, all this other type of stuff.
So we really get to understand who Trent is as a person. I want to see
Christmas morning at your house. I want to see kids opening birthday
presents. I want to see family over. I want to see you out catching fish,
or whatever it is you like to do. I want to see those things because then
that makes you a very tangible person.

But also, or in addition to that, I want to know when you were just
speaking at some event. I want to know if you did a keynote. I want to know
the latest article that you did or the research or these blogs that you’re
talking about or these studies that you’re going to do, the experiments.
That is awesome. That adds to your value. So I want to see six of those to
every one time you invite me to come to a webinar or to a . . . something
that’s product or service related, buy this thing, download X or whatever.
Six to one. So on Monday, you’ll be

, on Tuesday, two life and
profession related posts. On Wednesday, same thing. And on Thursday morning
it’s attend this or buy that or whatever. Six to one.

Trent: Let me jump in with a question and comment. Now is this . . .
when you say two posts, is this on your Facebook wall or is this Twitter?
Because I do a lot more on Twitter, and Twitter is my largest source of

Stephen: Yeah, and so actually I do . . . within the book, two posts a
day across all channels. So with Twitter, I think Twitter is phenomenal,
especially if somebody has something that’s time sensitive. If you’re
promoting something with the element of time, Twitter’s fantastic. In doing
things correctly, I mean Twitter should be at least 10% of your traffic,
maybe more. How much traffic, a percentage basis, does Twitter represent
for you?

Trent: Less than . . . just shy, probably about 8%.

Stephen: Okay.

Trent: It’s just of my social referrals from any and all social
networks, Twitter is twice the second source which is Reddit. I should say
this is over just the last 30 days; I’m not looking at a window currently
any longer than that. And I think the reason for that is when I do
interviews with people, the day that it publishes, I contact my guests and
ask them to tweet it out and many of my guests have very large followings
so I think that’s why.

Stephen: That makes sense.

Trent: I don’t think it’s that I’m any Twitter genius.

Stephen: And how many Twitter followers do you have?

Trent: Me? Oh man, I don’t even know. I can tell you real quick. I
don’t even think I have a thousand; I think it’s in the hundreds. I will
tell you in just a second here, as soon as I get logged into Twitter. I
have 1,252 followers, not that I’ve ever put any particular great effort
into it to be honest with you.

Stephen: Well, it sounds like you’re using Twitter in a very strategic
way, asking your guests to tweet that out on your behalf. That’s coming
back to traffic to your site. That makes sense. Again, that’s time-
sensitive right? You just did something. There’s the element of time;
that’s great. Mark Cuban, he’s an investor in a pizza chain down in New
Orleans called Make It Pizza. And every day, they attribute 15% of their
sales to Twitter. Again, it’s an element of time. And so that makes a lot
of sense. Where are we going to get lunch today? I don’t know, I just got
this tweet from Make It Pizza so let’s go there. So that’s where Twitter, I
think, in my opinion, really, really fits well. But for people to just be
tweeting 18 to 20 times a day about every little thing that’s going on in
their life, from a business perspective I don’t think there’s a lot of

The whole point, in my opinion, of social media is to do these two times a
day, move on with life. You’re running your business. You can do social
media by following these steps in like 10 to 15 minutes a day. I’m a huge
advocate for 10 minutes a day. Not sitting in Hoop Suite all day long
because I’ve got other things to do.

Trent: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. Okay, number . . . I’ve got so many pages
of notes I’ve got to turn it over. Number seven, two to go.

Stephen: Okay, so number seven and number eight really run parallel with
one another. And that’s how do we increase conversion rate by 200 to 400%
or more? So number seven is we’re big fans of retargeting. I really like
the company called Ad Roll. Google’s rolling out and doing a very good job
of remarketing as well within Google Analytics. I like the Ad Roll product;
I think it’s great.

Trent: Ad Roll or Admiral?

Stephen: No, Ad Roll. So you can find them at And so their
gift in life is retargeting, so for those of your listeners who are not
quite sure what that is, somebody comes to and then Ad Roll
sets a cookie so next time I’m out at like the Wall Street Journal or any
place that accepts Google Ads, then I see an ad for Trent and I see an ad
for Trent’s latest webinar or latest book or latest whatever. And then what
happens is conversion rate goes up by 6x to 8x because I already have some
level of relationship with Trent. So the conversion rate goes up

Trent: This is assuming Trent is an advertiser with Google AdSense. If
you’re not buying any paid ads, retargeting’s not going to do you any good.

Stephen: Oh no, no, no. If you’re doing a placement through Ad Roll,
completely different from AdSense. Completely different.

Trent: Sorry, I used the wrong term. I need to be buying ads from Ad
Roll or whatever retargeting platform I’m using for retargeting to work is
the point I was trying to get at.

Stephen: Yes.

Trent: So using Ad Roll, that’s my one-stop shop or that is a one-stop
shop for buying traffic and having retargeting happen. You know, the first
time I purchased an engagement ring for my fiance a couple months ago, and
I got it from Blue Nile, I’ll tell you I was seeing Blue Nile ads on every
website I went to. And I’m thinking what the hell is going on here?

Stephen: [Laughs] We’ve got a live one here.

Trent: Yeah, because I’d put the ring in the shopping cart and it sat
in the shopping cart of Blue Nile for I don’t know, two or three weeks or
something like that while I pondered whether I had made the right choice. I
was just getting hammered with Blue Nile ads everyday after that.

Stephen: That’s right, it’s a full quarter press on Trent.

Trent: Pretty much. All right, so retargeting helps conversions a
whole bunch.

Stephen: Indeed. And then lastly we’re big fans of A/B testing, and so
what we use is . . . the tool is Visual Website Optimizer. You can find it
at Again, no financial affiliation with VWO; it
just happens to be, in my opinion, the easiest A/B testing tool that’s out
there. I can literally create an experiment, a B variation for a content
page, I can literally create that in about ten minutes, launch the test,
increase conversion rate by 200% or more in ten minutes.

Trent: I’m actually doing . . . I use Optimizely myself. So if you’re
listening to this, check them both out. The interface . . . the demo videos
seem very, very similar. I think, if I remember correctly which is why I
chose it, I think Optimizely is a little bit less expensive. Maybe it’s not
as good as Visual Website Optimizer; I haven’t used it. But I will say
creating the B version, again, super, super, super simple to do. And you
should always be testing. Always, always, always, always because how are
you supposed to . . . that’s the great thing about online marketing is you
can test everything. But you shouldn’t test everything all at once because
then you won’t know.

Stephen: Indeed.

Trent: All right. All right, so I still have more questions. I wanted
to talk to you about the building of your business, but I have kept you on
this podcast now for an hour and a half so I think maybe we should wind it

Stephen: Wow, it has been an hour and a half. Holy cow, that went really

Trent: I think you may be the longest podcast on record with Bright
Ideas, and the ironic part is I didn’t even want to do this with you.

Stephen: [Laughs]

Trent: I was thinking to myself how do I get out of this without
getting egg on my face? And I’m glad that I didn’t cancel.

Stephen: I think that makes me feel special.

Trent: It should. I was sitting in front of my monitor last night at
11:30 and I had the draft of the I’m going to not have you on my show
email, and I couldn’t click the send button because I thought Nancy who I
really enjoyed interviewing, I thought she’s a smart woman. She didn’t
introduce me to some goofball; there’s got to be a reason why she told me
I’ve got to interview this guy. So with full credit to Nancy, and Nancy I
hope you’re listening, that this interview happened. It’s been terrific; I
really enjoyed it.

Stephen: Thank you. And I’ve really enjoyed it as well, so thanks for
having me on. Good conversation. It’s been fantastic, so thank you for

Trent: Yeah, and I want to have you back because I’ve got so many
things I want to talk to you about. I might even want to see if you want to
team up with me on what I call a master class, but we’ll talk about that
here when we get off the air. Before I finish, I always like to ask just a
couple quick questions at the end. What are you most excited about, Steve,
for 2013?

Stephen: Wow, I think it’s really . . . a couple things. But I think it
really sort of involves around this event that we’re doing. And take like
the promotional stuff out of it for just a second, but one of the things
that I have built into Predictive is this message of empowerment and
education probably comes from my academia background, that I truly,
sincerely, genuinely want people to be able to learn this stuff and be able
to teach that. So I wasn’t trying to hold anything back today. There was no
hold barred. You could ask me anything you want whatsoever. And that’s the
way we approach it with clients. That’s the way we approach it when I teach
a class or seminar. And that’s what I really, really love.

So as that builds up to our event, it’s such an awesome opportunity, and
also responsibility, to be able to teach 350 business owners and
entrepreneurs. That’s going to be a really exciting two and a half days.
I’m so looking forward to that.

Trent: Yeah, I’ll bet. Favorite book that you have read in the last
six months? Business book.

Stephen: Business book? Let’s see. Well, I’ve read several that are
really good. But the one that I’ve read most recently that I thought rocked
was the I think now third edition, maybe even more than that, John
Jantsch’s recent version or latest edition I should say of Duct Tape
Marketing. I think he crushed it. It’s a phenomenal revision. I think it’s
really, really good. I highly suggest it for anybody. And then also the
book with John Wooden and Don Yaeger. So Don Yaeger wrote the book with
John Wooden about the Game Plan for Life. It’s a phenomenal book on
mentoring, and I’m studying it right now. In fact, I think I’ve . . . here
it is.

Trent: Wait a minute, isn’t Game Plan for Life . . . because Coach Joe
Gibbs has also a book called Game Plan for Life.

Stephen: Yeah, so this book was actually written by John Wooden and a
good friend of mine, Don Yaeger. It is phenomenal, and I’m using it right
now as I’m developing the new employees and training them. It’s really
taught me amazing weapons on how to be a better leader, about mentoring.
It’s phenomenal.

Trent: Okay. The confusion is that one of the books by Joe Gibbs is
called Game Plan for Life, and the one you’re talking about is A Game Plan
for Life. I don’t know what publisher genius allowed that to happen, but
anyway. Okay, so A Game Plan for Life. And how can people get a hold of
you? Do you want to give up your email address or your post office box or
website? Whatever you want to give.

Stephen: Sure, they can go to And my email address,
my direct email address, is just So they’re welcome
to contact me there.

Trent: Okay, and your company website, which I’m assuming . . . it’s
being rebuilt now, but by the time this goes live it’s probably going to be
back online. It’s right?

Stephen: It is.

Trent: All right, thank you so much for being on the show. It’s been a
blast. I’ve learned plenty. I have homework to do now, darn you, and I hope
the listeners also have got a lot out of this. You will be able to ask
questions, listeners, so if you hear, as soon as I wind up the recording,
I’ll do the little outro that I always do and tell you how to get to the
blog post for this and if you have questions for Stephen or myself, make
use of the comments to do that. So thanks very much, Stephen.

Stephen: Thanks very much for the time.

Trent: All right, to get to the show notes for today’s episode, go to If you run a marketing agency and you want to get access
to the 2013 Marketing Agency Industry Report, go to And finally, if you’re looking for some traffic
generation strategies that actually work, go to and enter your email address. You’ll be given
access to the Massive Traffic Toolkit which is a compilation of many of the
very best traffic generation ideas that have been shared with me by my
guests here on Bright Ideas. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid. Thank you so
much for tuning in to this episode. I had a blast. I hope you had just as
much fun listening to it and you got a lot out of it. And if you did,
please do me a favor. Down at the bottom of the blog post, there’ll be a
link that’ll take you to the iTunes store where you can leave some feedback
for this episode. I would love it if you would leave five stars and your
comments, because every time you do that it helps the show to get more
exposure, more entrepreneurs become aware of Bright Ideas, and the more
entrepreneurs that we can help to massively boost their business with all
the bright ideas that are shared by the guests here on the show. Thanks so
much for tuning in; we will see you on the next episode. Bye-bye.

About Stephen Woessner

StephenWFor nearly two decades, Stephen Woessner has been in the trenches consulting with hundreds of clients and teaching them how to leverage digital marketing tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and e-mail to expand into new markets, introduce new products, decrease costs, and increase revenue. Woessner is a digital marketing authority, bestselling author, speaker, and educator.

Woessner is also an entrepreneur and has made costly mistakes along the way. He built one of his previous companies up to a valuation of $10 million and enjoyed significant success as a result of digital marketing leadership. However, he also lost millions when the dot com bubble imploded. This expensive lesson taught Woessner the valuable principle of always measuring the return on investment (ROI) before any action is taken.

Learn more about Stephen at


How to Become the Zappos of Your Niche with Stan Phelps

Are you familiar with They have become one of the fastest growing companies in the world as a result of doing one thing better than their competition.

Do you know what that one thing is? It’s a core decision that affects virtually every decision the company makes.

In today’s episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Stan Phelps, an agency owner, author and speaker who has studied Zappos (as well as another 1000 companies) to determine what amounts to 12 critical things that a company can do to differentiate themselves from the competition by “giving something extra” to their clients.

In today’s interview, you are going to hear Stan and I discuss:

  • Why you need to understand the concept of Marketing Lagniappe
  • How Lagniappe is used by Zappos and many other market leaders
  • How to avoid commoditization in your industry
  • How to crowd source a large research project
  • How he’s leveraging speaking opportunities to build his business
  • What Zappos is doing to create a highly engaged and fulfilled workforce
  • Some ideas for how I could use Lagniappe here at Bright Ideas
  • 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 Stan Phelps

stan-phelpsStan is the Founder / CMO of 9 INCH marketing, an organization that inspires leaders to think differently about marketing. Challenging them to value customer experience as a competitive differentiator and the importance of employee engagement in building a strong corporate culture. Stan helps brands explore new opportunities, showing them how to be more successful in tomorrow’s changing world. Stan works with clients to create experiences that are memorable, meaningful and on-brand. 9 INCH is driven by client objectives and inspired by bold vision. The result: programs that win big.


Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Succeed with SEO and Inbound Marketing with Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin is the CEO of SEO software company; SEOmoz. He co-authored the Art of SEO from O’Reilly Media, co-founded, and was named on PSBJ’s 40 Under 40 List and BusinessWeek’s 30 Best Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30. Rand is an addict of all things content & social on the web, from his multiple blogs to TwitterGoogle+Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare and even a bit of Pinterest. In his minuscule spare time, Rand enjoys the company of his amazing wife, whose serendipitous travel blog chronicles their journeys.

Listen to the Audio

Our Chat Today

  • how SEO has actually gotten easier, if you know what to do
  • how a marketing agency (or any small business) should begin their inbound marketing campaign
  • how to develop a lean SEO model and get it validated before you ever create any content
  • how curation should play a role in your content creation
  • the right way to curate so that Google and users will love you
  • an example of a bi-weekly curation done by SEOmoz that is hugely successful
  • how to think about SEO today so that you are in the lead in 5 years
  • the keys to on-page optimization
  • how to create unique value
  • how Rand spends his time
  • and so much more!

Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy with Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute

Content marketing is all the rage these days, but have you given thought to developing a strategy for your content?

Do you know how to create content that your audience will find valuable enough to share?

Do you know how to measure what is working with your content marketing?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute – a leading source for research, webinars, and white papers on the science of effective content marketing.

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

  • How to develop a content marketing strategy
  • How to create content your audience will find valuable
  • How to measure what is working
  • What a Chief Listening Officer is and why you need one
  • How to set up listening outposts so you can hear what your audience is saying about your brand
  • Joe’s 5 step framework for developing effective content
  • How curation can play a role in your content
  • How he built Content Marketing Institute into the leader that it is today
  • How he first started to monetize the site when it was just 6 months old
  • His annual conference
  • 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:


Dyrsmid: Hey there, Bright Idea Hunters, welcome to the Bright Ideas
Podcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid. This is the podcast for business
owners and marketers who want to better understand how to use online
marketing and sales automation tactics to massively boost their business.
The way that we help you do that is we bring experts onto the show to share
with you their knowledge and what is working for them and that’s exactly
what we’re going to do here again today. I am very, very pleased to welcome
the poster boy for content marketing. The self appointed poster boy for
content marketing. The founder of The Content Marketing Institute, Joe
Pulizzi. I think I said that correctly.Joe
Pulizzi: That is right Trent. You got it.Trent: Alright Joe. Welcome to the show. It’s a real pleasure to have
you.Joe: Good to be here. Thanks for having me.Trent: All right. So I am sure there are a couple people in my
audience who may not have heard of you and may not have heard of the
Content Marketing Institute, so I just want to start it off with a little
bit about you and your background and why should they care about The
Content Marketing Institute?Joe: Sure. Content marketing is a new term to most but it’s an old term
for me. I’ve been kicking it around since about the year 2000, 2001. It’s a
whole idea that businesses today, to attract and retain customers, they
need to create valuable, compelling, and relevant content, similar to what
media companies have been doing for years. So that’s kind of what we do at
The Content Marketing Institute. We really preach that form of training and
education, mostly for Fortune 1000 companies. We have the largest event on
content marketing called Content Marketing World. It’s held every September
in Cleveland. We have a magazine called Chief Content Officer and like I
said, we do consulting for big brands that have lots of content and are
often confused about how to distribute that content for sales success.

Trent: Seems like a question a lot of people might be asking
themselves these days. So CMI, when you started it, was actually not even
named CMI. It was back in 2007 and I think in 2011, you sort of re-branded
and went in this, I don’t know if you would call it a new direction, but
I’ll let you answer. Why did you make that change?

Joe: The old name was called Junta 42 and we were actually an online
matching service where if a brand was looking for content, they needed to
create lots of content in whatever form it was, we would match them up with
agencies that could serve those needs. It was sort of like the
for content marketing if you will. It was very successful. Over three years
we had over 1,000 matches and lots of happy customers but as an
entrepreneur, it wasn’t the great financial business model and made the
pivot in late 2009, early 2010, rebranded everything as Content Marketing
Institute. Then thankfully things just took off and the event was a real
big success in 2011 and the magazine and it just went forward from that
stand point. It all was at that same time where a lot of these bigger
brands were waking up and saying, ‘Oh my gosh. Get social media?’ But it
was about what goes into that social media and a lot of brands were
honestly confused about how to do that because they were talking a lot
about themselves and not talking about things that their customers cared

Trent: Joe, do you have anything running on your computer that could
be consuming band-width? Any browsers open? Skype? Anything like that?

Joe: Yeah.

Trent: Can you turn all that stuff off?

Joe: Yup, yup. One second.

Trent: No problem.

Joe: Can you cut this out?

Trent: No. I don’t bother. I mean I can. But I don’t.

Joe: All right. Go ahead. I’m shutting things down as we speak.

Trent: All right. No problem. I mean if the pause is really long, I’d
chop it out. That’s extra work man. I’m trying to make this quality content
in the minimal amount of effort.

Joe: I’m with you man. All right. Here we go. Okay. There’s one down.
There’s two down. So hopefully that is a little bit better.

Trent: It is. So in this interview, I want to talk about two things.
First and foremost, I want to talk about content and content marketing and
all of the things so that the people who are listening to this can take
action after listening to this interview. There is also going to be some
people, I’m going to put myself in both camps actually, who are going to
want to know how did you build The Content Marketing Institute? How did you
make that successful? Because you’re an entrepreneur and I’m an
entrepreneur and there are lots of entrepreneurs listening to this. So
we’re going to get to that kind of in the second half. So, I guess the
first thing, so let’s say I’m a brand or whoever and I’m thinking, well
okay content marketing. I’m hearing this all the time and SEOs seem to be
getting a little bit pooh poohed these days. Where do I start? I guess I’ve
got to think of a strategy or something, right?

Joe: The biggest problem, Trent, every business out there is creating lots
of content. We did a research study, Content Marketing Institute with
marketing profs and basically year over year you find that 90% of companies
are doing content marketing. The problem is they’re not doing it very well
and they’ve got content all over the place. There are no goals behind it.
They have wishy-washy goals and what we’ve found is more than 90% of those
companies don’t actually have a content strategy which by the way scares
the crap out of me. Because you have a lot of companies out there, just
creating things with no real idea of what it’s supposed to do for the
business, which is scary.

But it also makes a lot of sense because at the end, I mean, Jay Baer
was the author of the Now Revolution, a good friend of mine. He says this
all the time and I love that he says it. All businesses today are actually
two businesses. You’re in the business that you’re in and you’re in the
publishing business. Well nobody told us that we were going to be in the
publishing business. It just happened because all those technology barriers
are gone. Consumer behavior has changed. Google has changed for that matter
and now what we know is we better create valuable, helpful content that
people share to, that link to, or you’re not going to be found. So it’s
really as simple as that.

I think if you look at, at least from the brands that we talked to,
they have three major goals when they come and talk to us. They say, ‘Joe,
I want to get found in Google. I’ve got to get found in search, ‘or ‘Joe,
I’ve got to drive online leads,’ or ‘Joe, how do I make social media work
for my business?’ I say, ‘Let’s take a step back and let’s figure out if
you have anything important to say to your target audience.’ Because we
have lots of stuff that we talk about, regarding to our products and
services. We don’t necessarily have that type of information in what I call
story form. Is it really helpful? Does it really position us as experts as
maybe the leading experts in our niche? So when our customers are ready to
buy, they buy from us. And how are we going to measure that in the first

So I guess my recommendation is always take a step back and ask the
question: Why? Why do you have a Facebook account? Why are you on Twitter?
Why are you on Linked In? Why do you have a blog? Why do you do that
newsletter? Because most of the time when we talk to big billion dollar
companies, they don’t even have an answer for that. Ask anybody why they
are on Facebook and you’ll get a million answers and none of them will be a
really good answer for growing a business.

Trent: Yeah, that’s an important one. ‘We’re doing it because
everybody else is doing it. Isn’t that a good enough reason?’

Joe: ‘Joe, we had to have one.’ I said, ‘No you don’t. You don’t have to
have a blog. You don’t have to be on Facebook.’ Figure out why you’re on
those channels and I think you’ll think differently about the content that
you create. If you think about it, you customers, they don’t care about
you. They don’t care about your products. They don’t care about your
services. They care about themselves. So you have to create information
that helps them to care about you so you can win their hearts and win their
minds and you do that with the type of content that media companies have
been creating for years.

Trent: Okay, so you get your ‘why’ figured out. This is obviously the
foundation of your strategy. But what do you do after that?

Joe: Well once you have your ‘why’ and once you understand who your target
audience is, so really who is it? And for most businesses it’s multiple
people. But let’s just simplify it here. So yeah, exactly. So, let’s say
you are a small business. Let’s not think about it in the Petco, AT&T,
Verizon terms of big enterprise. Let’s just say that you are a million
dollar, couple million dollar business. You’ve got a couple employees.
Things are going along well. You probably have three or four buyers of that
product. Could be CEO level. Could be VP of Operations level. Could be
marketing. I don’t know. Depends on what you’re selling, right? Or let’s
say you’re a HVAC company. Maybe your core buyer is the mom, which it is.
It actually is if you are an HVAC company. Figure out who that core buyer
is because in a lot of cases you’re not going to have time to set up
separate content strategies. So let’s simplify it. Who is that main buyer?
Who is that reader if you will? And then hopefully get that whole why
figured out. I call it a ‘content marketing mission statement’. Then once
you figure that out, then you can look at what your channel strategy will
be. When I say channel strategy, that’s the blog, the Facebook, the
newsletter, those types of things.

Most companies start out with the channel. What we can do is we can
start off with the why to the who and then we can look at that channel and
figure out, okay, what are we going to put in these channels and what’s the
behavior that we want to see? Ask that question before you create that
content. I just talked to somebody today that has a blog. I said, ‘Why are
you doing the blog?’

‘Well, we wanted to have something to put out in social media.’ I
said, ‘Well how do you measure performance?’

‘Well, we’re not quite sure. We look at the referrals back to the
website.’ I said, ‘Figure out what the call to action is.’ Is it an email?
Maybe it’s an email subscription. Maybe it’s so you can own that database
which I think is, by the way, a great thing.

Trent: That’s for sure. That’s why I do this.

Joe: Exactly right. We can get into a whole conversation, Trent, about how
email is not dead, even though most people think it is. I think it’s the
most valuable connection we can make. More valuable than Facebook fan or
Twitter follower or anything like that. So I guess just simplify it. Really
think about how you can do good with your content. To who are you going to
create that content for?

What channels should you choose and less is more, mind you. You might
not need a Pinterest strategy folks. You might not need to be on Instagram
right now. Figure out what things you can do really well, the kind of
content you can be the best in the world at. At the end of the day, how are
you going to measure that performance and in a lot of cases for small
businesses, it’s actually having somebody sign up to get more information
from you so you can create that direct connection to them.

Trent: I like how you talked about the channel thing being more is
less. I think that one of the things that might make this overwhelming,
because I know what it’s like to be the small business owner of a two
million dollar business because I was that guy before this guy and you
don’t have any resources. You don’t have any time. You’re just like running
on this treadmill every day and some slick consultant says, ‘You need to
have yourself a content marketing strategy and get a Pinterest and a
LinkedIn, and a this and a that and a that, and a that, and a that.’ And he
rattles off six social networks and you’re going, ‘No. When am I going to
do that? When am I going to do that?’ So if you had to pick one outside of
your blog, because I think the blog is the most important. Do you have a
different opinion that differs than that?

Joe: No. No. I mean if you’re talking from a small business, I would look
at the blog as your magnet. That’s who you’re going to bring everything
into and then you have your social media outpost that you can use to bring
people into that blog.

Trent: Yeah. So I know what you mean. But I want to make sure my
listeners do. Please explain the difference between your ‘magnet’ and an
‘outpost’, because they have kind of different jobs don’t they?

Joe: Actually, they do. And I would start at it from this point. I talked
to, this is a couple months ago, but I remember it really well. It’s an
HVAC company and we were talking about, should they start a blog and why it
would make sense for them and they said, ‘No, we’re going to put all of our
content we put on Facebook and we link everything to Facebook and that’s
how we’re going to do our content strategy.’ I said, ‘That’s one way to do
it. That’s fine.’ But I just made the point to them. I said, ‘You do
realize that Facebook owns that content. All the links that go to that,
Facebook gets all the link authority with that Google would deem to that.
You’re actually helping Facebook a lot. All the people that like you on
your Facebook business page, that’s owned by Facebook too. So at the end of
the day, Facebook could just shut that down and you don’t own any of those
connections.’ I said, ‘Why would you give Facebook all that power?’

So it doesn’t have to be a blog. Trent, a blog is just a tool, right?
In some cases, it’s just a website, but it’s something that you own and
it’s something that you can easily publish content from. That’s the
simplest way to look at it. So why I like a blog is the fact that that’s
where your really great content can be and then let’s think of Facebook as
an outpost. Let’s say you create a really interesting, helpful piece of
content on your blog. Then what would an outpost be? Then you might share
that post on Twitter, to those people that follow you or those people that
follow certain hash tags, that can come back to your blog, or you could
share the image from your blog post on Facebook. Because Facebook is very
visual, and you might have a little, couple sentences about what is in that
helpful blog post and then that would link back to your Facebook page.

So that’s where, maybe to think about it is, yeah I think ‘magnet’ is
the best way to look at it because if you own that and everything else is
almost like you’re syndicating the content out so that people can then find
you. At the end of the day you’re at a place, your blog, where you can
actually do something about that person on your site and that could be, in
my case, for a small business, it would be ‘Sign up for more great
information.’ so that I can continue this conversation.

Trent: I did an interview last week with Marcus Sheridan. Are you
familiar with him?

Joe: I love Marcus. Absolutely.

Trent: Smart guy. And his comment was, ‘I realize that comments,’ on
his blog, ‘was not a business model.’ And I love that because it really
drove home the point of having the mailing list. I mean you can get all
this comment love on your blog. And he also said to me, it was either in
the interview or off camera, not a one of the people who ever hired him as
to come in as the sales line consultant, were one of the people that
commented. I found that exceptionally interesting.

Joe: Well here’s the dirty little secret. And this is my take and I would
probably agree with Marcus on this. I think engagement online is highly
overrated. Everybody talks about ‘Oh we’ve got to have engagement and oh,
we’re not having comments on our blogs.’ My former company that I owned and
sold a year ago was called Social Track. It was a blogging service for
small businesses. Most of our audience were HVAC repair men and installers.
I talked to a lot of them. They are like, ‘Joe, you’re helping us with all
these blogs and we’re not getting comments.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but you’re
getting people to sign up to get more information from you. You’re getting
people to actually call your phone number and you’re getting sales. Do you
really care if you get comments?’ No, you don’t care. They just feel like
they should get comments.
I think it’s great if you can get that kind of engagement on
commenting but I would agree with Marcus. I mean in a lot of cases that may
be a different buyer altogether. It could be somebody that is looking for
their own influence or strategy. A lot of people, if you’re answering their
questions, they may just go, get that detail, want that detail and need to
contact you or sign up for more information via email. So, I would really
look at the comment as a ‘user indicator’, I call it. It’s something that
could show performance but in most cases, I don’t think it tells much about
if somebody is going to buy or not.

Trent: No, I don’t think so either. My previous blog used to get a lot
of comments. Bright Ideas is growing faster than that blog. I get more
iTunes downloads than that blog. I get more people writing me an email to
rave about it but get almost no comments on Bright Ideas itself. I’m to the
point now where I’m like, ‘Well I don’t really care because it doesn’t seem
to matter because the other metrics are the ones that I’m more interested
in.’ And my list growth is faster than it used to be with the other one as

Joe: There you go. Right there, right? Everybody should listen to that
again where you just say list growth. For a small business, list growth,
that is your own media channel and that is the one that you should look
over all the other stuff, the Facebook likes, the followers, all that
stuff. It’s the list growth is number one.

Trent: All right, so there are people who are listening to this.
They’ve got a small business. They are doing a couple million bucks or half
a million bucks. They are not blogging yet and they are going ‘Okay, okay.
I’m interested so far but I don’t know what to write about.’ What do they

Joe: Talk to your customers. Well first of all, I find that very hard to
believe. And by the way, we get it all the time. Oh, I don’t have enough
content. I don’t have a good story. Think of it this way. We’re not telling
a story like once upon a time telling a story. We’re telling a story like
‘what are my customer’s pain points?’ What keeps them up at night and I
guarantee you have the answers to those questions. I’m sure you heard from
Marcus. I mean Marcus is king of writing down the questions of his
customers and frankly if you just talk to a couple of your customers and
write down their questions or talk to customer service or talk to your
employees and think about all the questions that you get, all the time,
related to your business, you would have more content ideas that you could
possibly handle. Most people just don’t do that, so I think we think of
‘Oh, I can’t talk about that product anymore.’

You’re right. You’ve got enough of that kind of content. You’ve got
tons of product content, tons of services content. Focus on what’s really
keeping your customers up at night, what really their pain points are, and
that’s the type of content we want to focus on. So if you don’t know, if
you honestly don’t know, talk to your customers. If you want to take a step
two, talk to your employees.

Trent: Yeah, I knew that was the answer you were going to give. I
loved how Marcus made it so incredibly simple. What are all the questions
that people have before they buy something? Okay, we’re going to create
content to answer every one of those questions and now his pool business
has a ton of leads coming in all the time. There is another kind of cool
little idea and I don’t remember who I got this from so I can’t attribute
this to the person, but it was pay attention to the other blogs in your
niche and see which articles are getting the most comments and the most
shares and the most tweets, and those are the topics that people care about
and then research and write your own version to express your opinion on
that topic.

Joe: That’s a great way to put it. We’ve used, I’ve used Google alerts
forever. If you’re tracking certain key words. Let me take it back to HVAC.
You might track air conditioning in your area and see what people are
talking about air conditioning, heating, global warming, those types of
topics. There are things that in the news. Let’s say the SAG Awards were on
last night. You’ve got the Oscars coming up. You could do things like that
but related to your business. Top lists are amazing. You can curate other
top blogs out there. So let’s say some of your even competitors have some
amazing content out there. You could do a roundup of different articles.
Believe it or not those types of things work and I think it’s all about
thinking about what is your content marketing mission.

Here’s a good one for small businesses. What’s INC magazines mission?
If you read INC magazine, you know that they are targeting small businesses
and entrepreneurs with very, very helpful pieces of content in different
forms, in order for small businesses to be more profitable. That is their
editorial mission. That is their content marketing mission. That’s what you
as a company need to get, where if you’re thinking about your customer,
what is that over-arching statement that is really going to help them take
the next step, as it relates to your business or your industry.

I think if you just wrote that down, that can be your guiding
principle for all of the other content that you create. Then you’ll say,
‘Well that piece of content that we want to create or that employee
suggested doesn’t fit because it doesn’t fit within our mission.’ At least
you have an overriding vision statement, so you know what steps you need to
take and not get confused and say ‘Oh we’re going to talk about this over
here.’ ‘No we’re not. It doesn’t fit in our mission.’

Trent: In other words, if you were to think about what is the top or
maybe top two or three problems that our prospective customers are trying
to solve? That’s the stuff they care about most. Like, for example, in the
marketing agency space I know that their top two problems are unpredictable
revenue and not enough leads. So, every interview that I do with marketing
agencies, I ask them always about those two things. What are you doing to
generate recurring revenue and what are you doing to cause growth to occur?
So if you keep those two things in mind, it’s awfully easy to keep yourself
focused. And there’s always more, especially if you’re reading other
people’s stuff, there’s always more ideas to be shared and share.

Joe: Well you bring up the marketing agency and I’ve worked with marketing
agencies for a long, long time and from a content marketing perspective I
can tell you the number one failure is the fact that it’s the lack of
focus. When they create content it is all over the place. And when I mean
all over the place, it’s all over the place industry wide because they’ll
say ‘Oh, we cover healthcare. We cover financial. We do manufacturing. We
do everything.’

‘No you don’t.’ Of course, you dabble in everything. But wouldn’t it
be more profitable to really focus on a core area? It’s the same thing for
content marketing and that’s why they’re not successful because they talk
about everything. The smaller you can get from a content niche stand point
the better and the more successful you would be. But most of us like to go
wide. ‘Oh we’re going to cover pet supplies.’

‘You are? Well isn’t the experts at pet supplies like Pet Smart and
Pet Co., they sort of have a corner on that market. Let’s figure out where
you can really be an expert’. And I would say I’m going to talk about pet
supplies for elderly Americans in Southeast Florida who like to travel in a
RV. And I’m talking that’s how specific we want to get.

That’s our buyer because then you’re just talking to that buyer and
then that’s where the opportunity is. So if you’re a small business, I
would really get niche and really take seriously the question where can you
be the leading expert in the world? When I started Junta 42 now Content
Marketing Institute, content marketing, I mean that was a whole new thing.
Nobody used that term at all and I said, ‘Yeah we can be the experts in
content marketing in the world if we focus on this’. If I was starting the
business today, I wouldn’t choose content marketing. Too broad.

Trent: Yeah. Sound strategy. So, one of the things I don’t think I did
very well when I was running my tech company that we talked about off air
was really honing in on who my specific customer was. And now I do so much
it’s even defined on my about page on Bright Ideas. There are basically two
people that I create content for. What are some tips that you would give to
someone who has not yet been through the process to define their avatar
because we’re all scared that we’ll get so focused but that we might lose
sales with these people over here. That what it used to be for me. I didn’t
want to get too focused because I thought then the other people won’t call
me but that’s kind of a dumb way to think about it.

Joe: Yup. And that’s how most people do because they’ll say well we don’t
want to do anything because if we focus on this audience we might lose
someone else and those people will still call. That’s not the issue.
Because I don’t know how you’re getting those anyways. They are coming in
through referrals, other ways, whatever. They will still come in. Focus on
where the bills get paid. Where, basically, and I would also say if you’re
a small business or an entrepreneur where your passion’s at? I mean that’s
really where we want to focus on. If you haven’t done it before, I like
looking at the very simple, like if you were thinking about an 8 1/2 x 11
sheet of paper. Get a picture of this person in your head. Who is that?
That’s Jeremy. Jeremy is an IT director. Jeremy goes out for coffee in the
morning. Jeremy’s got a girlfriend. Jeremy uses a smartphone 20% of the
time. Really, get a good feel for Jeremy and that’s who we’re writing to.
Why is it so important? Because it’s not going to be you just writing. You
might not even write the content of your small business or marketing agency
owner or whatever. You have other people writing that. What happens is
whoever is telling that story, they don’t have that buyer in front of them
and how are they supposed to tell a story if they don’t know who they are
writing to and that’s why when you outsource content, you’re usually not
happy with it because you’ve never told them exactly who you’re writing to.
Give them the canvas so they can actually paint the picture.

Trent: How do you know, Joe, that Jeremy is the right guy? Because
that was one of the things that I thought. How do you figure that out?

Joe: I think you do it, at first, by hypothesis. You know the business,
right? You’ve done your research. You’ve talked to your customers. I mean
if you have customers, prospects, you talk to them. If you put any kind of
a business planning document together, you know who you’re targeting right?
Here it is. I’ve done the surveys. I’ve done all the stuff that you know to
do. Then the best way to do it is you start creating content, you will get
feedback. When we talk about what the structure is of a content marketing
department, there is a role in there called the Chief Listening Officer.
That is often done by a social media manager in most companies. When
content goes out, two things can happen. You can get a piece of feedback
and you do something immediately with that feedback. ‘Oh, it’s got to go to
customer service. It’s got to go to product marketing. That’s got to go to
sales.’ That’s great, right? Your content is getting a reaction. You’re
going to send that out. You also might say, ‘Oh that has to go back to the
person that’s leading our content strategy because we need to adapt the
content strategy because of that feedback.’

I’ll give you an example. When we started Chief Content Officer
magazine and the kind of content we produced on Content Marketing, it was almost the identical target. But what we learned was
that the people that were enjoying the magazine were more strategic. These
were higher level people. These were directors. These were VPs. The people
who were enjoying our content online were the doers, the marketers, the
social media managers, the content managers, corporate journalists,
corporate editors, those types of people. Two very, very different people
but we had it all kind of meshed in one when we started. That was about
nine months of feedback that we took to get to that level. So I think you
start with your best guess. Don’t worry about it. You’re going to make
mistakes. Get that feedback and you’ll quickly learn, if you’re listening,
which you should be. Jim McDermott, a mentor of mine for many years. He
always said, ‘You want to set up listening posts as a good journalist
wherever you can. Set up listening posts for your current employees, for
customers out there, so that you can get a feel for what’s going on in the
marketplace so you can create better content.’

Trent: And can social media outposts be these listening posts or is
there something better?

Joe: Social media is obviously the easiest one to go after. If you’re not
listening on, let’s say, Twitter for sure, I mean just about every type of
person out there, at least to some extent, is on Twitter. So you can go out
and listen on Twitter. Listen on the hashtags. For B2B LinkedIn is
fantastic. You’ve got other places like Cora. If you don’t know any of
those then just use Google alerts. Set up your free Gmail account. Listen
using Google alerts but honestly, Trent, I love talking to people. I love
the good old fashioned, I call it the reader call and I’ve been publishing
for a long time. You actually call a reader and you talk to them. What do
they think of the magazine? What do you think of online? What are you
getting out of it? What are you not? We take all that together. Surveys are
fantastic as well. I mean online surveying tools are pretty much free now.
Use those as well.

Trent: Yeah, Survey Monkey, if you’ve never done that before is a
terrific one and it’s free to use. Alright. I think the only part of the
content, before I shift gears to talk about how you made CMI so successful
is the whole measurement aspects. You know, you’re doing this stuff and
you’ve got Google analytics and you’ve got Facebook insights but it’s kind
of all over the place. If someone, if they don’t know what to look for,
what are the things they should look for and how should they measure it?

Joe: I think the first thing is you’ve got to make sure you figure out
what your goal is because there is no one measurement. How do I measure
social media? I would say, ‘Well why are you on social media? What are you
doing?’ So, let’s say if your goal was, ‘Oh we want to retain our
customers’, well those measurement metrics are much different if you wanted
to create top of the funnel activity. So if it’s top of the funnel activity
that you’re after, I think what we already talked about was actually
getting people, things like where are we landing on our top search engine
keywords. Like, for example at CMI, we have a running list, a changing
list, of 50 keyword variations. I know where we are at in those at all
times. I know where our competitions at and I know where we are trending.
So that’s one way to measure it so we know how we’re bringing people in.

Social media shares are a very important one. Number one is List
Scrub. We track it every day. We want to see how we’re trending. Where are
they coming from? Which posts are getting more people to sign up and which
posts aren’t? Which contributors are doing better and which ones aren’t?
For my small business what we’ve looked at is we can track revenue much
more effectively once we have them in the database so that’s why the email
is critically important. Let’s say you’re going to do something more
traditionally, I mean this is online marketing we’re talking about.

But if you’re talking about retention, you might look at a newsletter
or a magazine going to customers. Well in that case, you’re going to show
measurement, you do an AB test. Hold some back. What’s somebody spending
that getting the newsletter versus somebody that is not getting the
newsletter? Those types of things. That’s bringing back year and years of,
you know, the AB tests and publishing with those types of things. I would
just first figure out what are you doing and then figure out what your
return on objective. I cannot stand ROI, to say return on investment. In
content marketing, what does that mean? I want to know what your return on
objective is. What are you trying to do and then we’ll figure out the
social metrics, the sharing metrics, the lead gen metrics or the sales
metrics that you can put against that objective.

Trent: I want to ask you one mildly technical question. This is for my
own selfish interest but I’m pretty sure other people will want to know the
answer. You said, which posts are causing the most opt in? So, you have got
an opt in box on your side bar which I am assuming is the same piece of
code no matter what post I’m looking at. Then down towards the bottom of
the post, you have another opt in box which, how I would do that, is I
would have used a plug in to put the same piece of code at the bottom of
every post so I wouldn’t necessarily know which post was the one that was
causing the most opt-ins to occur. How are you guys doing this so you’re
getting that data?

Joe: You can do it through Google analytics and setting up and I’m not the
Google analytics person so bear with me, but what is it called? Setting up
a funnel? Set up a funnel in there so you can track by posts, which ones
get conversions.

Trent: Do you have to do that for every single post? Do you have to
make a new funnel in analytics or is there a way to have that [inaudible

Joe: I actually don’t know. I need to check on that. I don’t know how
we’re doing it. I can tell you that what I do know is I can tell how many
people sign up on the bottom versus the side versus here’s the number one
thing and I don’t know if you’ve been to your site a couple times and
you’ve seen a pop up?

If you’ve seen that pop-up that’s Ippity. Ippity is integrated within
Wordpress and that actually, our dirty little secret is, I cannot stand pop-
ups as a user. But I love them as the publisher because more than 50% of
our sign-ups come directly through that pop up.

Trent: Mine is even higher. I think I’m at 63% it is, by far.

Joe: It’s the dirty little secret of the business that we’re in that we
all cannot stand pop-ups, but they work.

Trent: Yeah, I’m able to track which location, the number, the
percentage, all that but if you can talk to your person after and wouldn’t
mind emailing me how to do that in analytics?

Joe: I will check on that, absolutely.

Trent: If it’s something I can republish on the post for the
listeners, I will do that as well.

Joe: Fantastic.

Trent: All right. I want to shift gears now and talk about the
building of the Content management or rather Marketing Institute. So, it
says you’ve got over 30,000 people on your list and you re-branded in late

Joe: ’10. May of 2010.

Trent: So May of 2010, so you’re two and a half years with this brand
name? Yeah?

Joe: Correct.

Trent: So, let’s kind of go back to your first six months. What kinds
of results did you get? Like how big did your list get within your first
six months and then what were some of the activities that you were using to
get traction?

Joe: The difference between what we were doing before and when we launched
the Content Marketing Institute is it’s a multi-author blog. So what we do
is we find contributors from the outside and every day, this is new, I have
the Saturday post. I used to have my own blog on a different platform. But
every Saturday is my blog but the other six days are contributors and there
is a very specific reason why we did that. Because we had our network. I
had my network. Employees had their networks but we wanted to reach our
contributors’ networks. So influencers in the industry because we wanted to
reach out as far as we could and get people talking about us and content
marketing and sharing our stuff that wasn’t being shared.

You have to do that through, I like it, but you don’t have to, but
the best way to do that in my opinion is through an influencer strategy and
we use these contributors. So what we do is we sign them up. We say ‘Hey,
would you like to contribute on our blog? Here’s our blog guidelines.’ They
submit the content. We have an editor on staff that edits that piece of
content like crazy because we want that contributor to look like a rock
star and then when that piece of content comes out, they do look like a
rock star. It’s fantastic. And you know what those people do? They share it
with their network. We don’t have anything attached to that network right
now but they get our content. They come back to our site. We can convert
them. They can come back the more they see Content Marketing Institute is
doing great things.

We’ve added over 150 contributors. So let’s say over the first six
months we had 30, 40 contributors. We knew really quickly that this was
going to work well because at the time I think our traffic. We just look at
traffic numbers. I think we were doing about maybe 15,000 to 20,000 unique
visitors every month. And now, I think the last time I checked, we were
over 150,000. That happened in a very short period of time just because of
the fact that we were getting that kind of reach that we weren’t normally
getting and that’s also because of the linking then. We got such
credibility with Google really fast because of all the inbound links that
we got. I love the model of the multi-author blog. I think that more
organizations should use it. I think if you’re a small business listening
to this, you should really take it and because of the fact that you’re
saying ‘Hey, we want to share as much great content about the industry as
possible and we’d like to share it on this platform’. It can really work
for a lot of companies.’

Trent: So when you were at that point and you didn’t have a big
following and you didn’t have a lot of traffic and you’re going out there
to these people and you’re saying hey, why don’t you write for free for my
blog because it’s going to benefit. What did that conversation look like?
Because I’m right there right now. I would love to have a lot of
contributors. If you’re listening to this and you want to contribute, get
in touch.

Joe: This didn’t just start when CMI launched. This started when I
launched the company in 2007. So before the rebrand. Basically, I call it
giving content gifts. So we would use the tools like Google alerts, like
Twitter, to find out well who are those influencers? The best question to
ask is where are my customers hanging out when they are not on my site?
Make a list of those. Those could be media companies. Could be bloggers.
Could be other influencers. Could be competitors. Make a list of those. And
then what you do is that becomes part of your content distribution
strategy, and I’ll give you an example.

So let’s take Twitter. Most people, for the most part, they share
their own content. Some things that are interesting but a lot of their
content is self serving. ‘Hey, we’re doing this, we’re doing that. We’re
great.’ What we did on Twitter and what I did specifically is I would take
that influencer list and you could start with 10 to 15 and I would
consistently share their content that was relevant to my audience, but I
would share their content. And you do this for months without doing
anything. Or most people go wrong when they go and say, ‘Hey would you
contribute to my blog or podcast?’ They don’t know you from Adam. What you
want to do is you want to keep sharing their stuff because when you go to
them in a month or two months, they are going to know you and they will say
yes because you’ve been sharing their content and they love you for it.
There is not anybody out there that would say ‘Stop sharing my stuff’.
Everybody gets the game. They know it. They love it. So you need to build
that rapport with them.

My good friend Andrew Davis who wrote a book called Brandscaping, he
coined this whole idea called ‘Social Media 411’. The whole idea is of
every six social media posts, one is your promotional post about your
product and service. So get that out of the way even though nobody will
probably read it. One is your piece of educational content or helpful
content on your site. And then four, that’s helpful content that you’re
sharing from other influencers. You’re letting them know you’re tagging
them on Twitter. Tagging them on Facebook so they know and that’s how
you’re building your network. We’ve done that and now we probably get about
four or five people that want to contribute a day. We can’t even handle all
the contributors. This has happened over a three year period. But I just
call it giving content gifts. The more you give, the more you will get, I
promise you it will work that way.

Trent: Please feel free to refer those people to my way.

Joe: I would be happy to Trent.

Trent: Okay. Thank you. All right, so you started to use this multi-
author model. You started to get traction quickly. Are you monetizing yet
in your first six months? Or are you just building?

Joe: When did we monetize? Yes. We did. We have a unique model that I
probably stole somewhere called The Benefactor Model. We called it Content
Marketing Institute. We wanted to be like an industry organization around
the concept of content marketing. Went to some companies that I already had
relationships with and sold the concept of what the institute was all about
and we had three or four companies basically fund us from the start about
this concept. If you scroll down to the bottom of Content Marketing, you’ll see ten benefactors there. I sold it as ‘Limited to
ten and you’d need to sign up now for X amount of money’. and right away,
actually before we launched the site we had already had money behind it. So
that’s a very good way to do it, if you can get it. Let’s say you can’t. So
basically that was our monetization to start with. It didn’t seriously. Go

Trent: I wanted to ask what did that conversation look like? What was
in it for them? What did you say to them? What did you charge them?

Joe: Shared the vision with what we were trying to do. I could only use
the traffic that we had from the previous site. I said ‘Here is what the
vision is. This is going to be the leading educational platform, so a lot
of smoke and mirrors.’ Did the best we could. But what I promised them was
that they would have first right of refusal forever on that spot. I would
always limit it to ten. And that they would receive 10% of the inventory of
our, basically, square banner on the right side and on every page of the
site they would have a logo and link.

Trent: Okay, so….

Joe: In addition, if they wanted to, and we would have to go through
approval process but we would also let them blog once a month about
something that would interest our customers but it would have to be
approved by editorial. That was the program. That was the benefactor

Trent: I see them down all along the bottom. Curada. Brand Point. PR
Newswire, etc. You mentioned that they get some other real estate as well?

Joe: There’s the banner on the right side. There are two things that will
go there. There could be a house ad or there could be one of our banners
from our benefactors. If there’s a square on the right side.

Trent: Right now I’m seeing, towards the top, so they attend our
upcoming event Content Marketing World Sydney. That’s a house ad I’m

Joe: That’s a house ad. That’s a house ad.

Trent: In that space is where you’ll rotate through your other guy.
Your benefactors?

Joe: If you hit refresh a couple times and you should see that go to a
couple different, you’ll see a couple pop up from our benefactors.

Trent: The banner that’s to the left of that, the bigger one, is that
a paid? Do you just sell that to whomever? Or how does that one get filled?

Joe: That, technically, is always our own inventory that we’re selling.
That could be our white papers. They actually go to sponsored material that
could be our events, that could be our research projects.

Trent: And so these ten benefactors were people that kind of knew you
and had done business with you before? It wasn’t like you were making cold
connections to try and sell these people on this vision.

Joe: The first one. So let’s put it in perspective. The first couple I
knew. Then once we had some traction where I’d be able to sell, we sold all
of them in about six to eight months. I think all of them were sold. And
the longest time that there has been one of those available was about a
half an hour. We’ve got a waiting list for people to sign up for them.

Trent: What do people have to pay to be one of these ten?

Joe: It’s $25,000 a year to do that.

Trent: A year. Well that definitely helps.

Joe: What’s great about those is it’s reasonable, which is wonderful.
That’s a foot in the door to a lot of the other things that we do. So if
you look at those sponsors on there you will notice that a lot of those
sponsors are our sponsors for Content Marketing World. They advertise in
our magazine. But what happened first was that benefactor.

Trent: Okay. All right, so you started to monetize with them very
early on. What was next? An event? More content? Keep walking me through.

Joe: When we made the decision, when I said basically this old model is
not working. All entrepreneurs listening to this, the pivot happened,
right? And I said, ‘That’s it. We’re going to go this direction’ and I made
the decision that I’m going to give 100%. We’re going to go all in and I
said well, if we’re going to be the leading resource for content marketing,
we’ve got to have the leading event. We’ve got to have the leading
magazine. So at that same time, when
launched, three months later, September we had already committed. We said
Content Marketing World 2011 is going to happen. So we announced it a year
in advance that we were going to do an event.

To be honest with you, the original plan was to get 100 or 150 people
there and we were blessed to have 650 show up. And we knew we were on to
something at that point. The same thing with the magazine. At first when we
launched the magazine in January of ’11, had to do the same thing with the
benefactor. We pre-sold. ‘Hey, it’s going to go to 20,000. It’s going to be
great. Yada yada.’ I had to call in a few favors here and there for people
to advertise. But, it worked out well from that standpoint. The magazine
came along in January. That was all the build up to the event which
happened in September of ’11. Then ever since then it’s been rolling. We’ve
been adding all kinds of wonderful things and then last year’s event got
over 1,000 people.

Trent: That’s fantastic. When you re-branded from and I don’t
remember, Junta 42?

Joe: Yeah, that’s okay. Junta 42. Nobody could remember it anyways. That’s
one of those things where you think. Here’s a little piece of advice for
people on this call. If you think you’re going to come up with the coolest
web 2.0 name. You know what? Sometimes boring is better. Honestly, Content
Marketing Institute, to me, is so boring but you know what? People don’t
have to ask what you do anymore. People know exactly what they do. At least
they get a good ball park idea when you say Content Marketing Institute.
Education and training around content marketing. Yes. Junta 42, I spent
more time explaining what we did and you know. You live and learn.

Trent: So you had a staff helping you right from the get-go? Because
you had built this other company and had people on board. Was there ever a
time when it was just you behind CMI?

Joe: If you’re familiar with Penton Media? Penton Media is the largest,
independent business media company in North America. I ran the custom media
division there. I left in March of 2007. I was open for business in April
of 2007 and it was just me. It was just me for quite a long time. Probably
about a year and then my wife came on board. We’re a complete 100% virtual
company. About ten full time people all over the world and we use about 30
or so additional contractors. But for the most part it was me just to

Trent: I love the virtual model. I anticipate that I will have staff
with the software company I’m a co-founder of and even Bright Ideas as it
grows but I don’t want to have offices again.

Joe: Well why would you? Unless you actually have customers that have to
see you, like have to go see you every day. There is no reason. By the way,
ego got to me because I actually looked at office space. I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m
going into business for myself. I’ve got to find an office space.’ No you
don’t. You don’t have to. And the other thing is you don’t have to hire
people full time either. That’s a whole other thing. There’s a ton of
people out there that love the 30 hour flex time. They want to have some
things to do on the side. They already have benefits maybe through a spouse
or whatever and they are willing to work whenever you need them to work and
it has worked fantastic for us and we love the model.

Trent: How do you find all those people? Are you using the Freelancer
and Odesks of the world? Are they coming to you now?

Joe: Some of the people were people that I’ve worked with in the past. So,
a lot of people that I worked with at Penton that I knew. But our content
director, I had met her, I didn’t even meet her. I knew of her on Twitter
because I saw what she was sharing on Twitter. Took me to a couple of her
blog posts and then basically sent her an email, talked to her on the
phone. She was like our first major content hire and I didn’t meet her
until nine months after we hired her.

Trent: Wow. Nice.

Joe: For our industry, like if you’re a marketing agency, I look at their
social media platforms and I look at their blogging and that’s what we kind
of stick to. It’s a really good indicator of what they do.

Trent: Yeah, absolutely. Sadly, I am running into a time constraint
now. Which totally sucks because I want to keep going. So I am probably
going to be inviting you back again in the not too terribly distant future.
It has been absolutely a pleasure to have you on. I look forward to meeting
you in person at one point in the not too distant future because you know
I’m going to be at your next CMI event.

Joe: That would be great. Trent, it’s been a pleasure. If you ever need
anything let me know. I love talking about this stuff.

Trent: Yeah, no problem. Last question. If people want to get a hold
of you, what is the easiest way to do that?

Joe: Content Marketing for the business, for
me. I’m @JuntaJoe on Twitter and Content Marketing World is September in

Trent: Alright. Terrific. Joe, thank you so much for making some time
to be on the show and look forward to having you back.

Joe: Thanks Trent.

Trent: To get access to the show notes for today’s episode, head over
to And if you run a marketing agency and you’d like to
get access to the 2013 Bright Ideas Marketing Agency Industry Report, head
over to And finally if you’re looking for some
really smart traffic generations strategies head over to and enter your email address and you’ll be
given free access to the Bright Ideas massive traffic tool kit, which is a
compilation of all the very best traffic generation ideas that have been
shared with me by the guests on Bright Ideas. I’m Trent Dyrsmid, I’m your
host and this wraps up this episode.

If you enjoyed it, please head over to iTunes and leave a five star
rating along with your feedback comments. Thank you so much. We’ll see you
in another episode of the Bright Ideas podcast soon. Take care.

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

About Joe Pulizzi


Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. Joe is first and foremost a content marketing evangelist, and founded the Content Marketing Institute (a division of Z Squared Media, a 2012 Inc 500 Company), which includes the largest in-person content marketing event, Content Marketing World, as well as Chief Content Officer magazine, the leading magazine for content marketers. Joe is also co-author of  Get Content Get Customers (McGraw-Hill), recognized as THE handbook for content marketing, as well as Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand.

Awarded “Custom Media Innovator of the Year” by American Business Media, Voted Who’s Who in Media Business by BtoB Magazine, Folio: 40, and recognized as the Most Influential Content Strategist via Lavacon,  Joe travels around North America and Europe  talking to marketers and business owners about how they are indeed publishers, and what they need to do about it.

Joe writes one of the most popular content marketing blogs in the world and is overly passionate about the color orange.

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