Tag Archive for: Content Marketing

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.

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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

brightideas.co/plusthis. 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 brightideas.co, 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

brightideas.co 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

  1. 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

  1. 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 C-A-S-E-Y@ultimatemarketers.com.

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

brightideas.co/62. 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

brightideas.co/love, 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 brightideas.co.

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 Inform.ly. 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 Inform.ly 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 ‘TheStorestarters.com’ 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 She-conomy.com or whether it’s at,

what is their URL, HBadvertising.com/blog? 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 WordPress.com 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

  1. 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 WordPress.com. 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

WordPress.com, 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 MichaelGass.com, 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

brightideas.co/50 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 michael@michaelgass.com

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 Mashable.com, TheSocialMediaExaminer.com 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 BrightIdeas.co/blog, 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 SEOBook.com. 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 SEOBook.com. 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 BrightIdeas.co.

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 BrightIdeas.co, 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

BrightIdeas.co 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

  1. 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 AdRoll.com. 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 BrightIdeas.co 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 VisualWebsiteOptimizer.com. 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 StephenWoessner.com. And my email address,

my direct email address, is just sw@stephenwoessner.com. 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 PredictiveROI.com 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

BrightIDeas.co/45. If you run a marketing agency and you want to get access

to the 2013 Marketing Agency Industry Report, go to

BrightIDeas.co/2013Report. And finally, if you’re looking for some traffic

generation strategies that actually work, go to

BrightIdeas.co/MassiveTraffic 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 stephenwoessner.com.