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Digital Marketing Strategy: Chris Handy on How He Built a $400K 2-person Agency in 24 months

If you’re a marketing agency owner who’s struggling to get traction, how would you like to hear from an agency owner who was very successful early along? Chris Handy built a $400,000 two-person agency in just 24 months, and he has generously agreed to share what worked with the BrightIdeas audience. (For more agency Bright Ideas, check out our other posts that are especially relevant to marketing agencies.)

Chris has excellent strategies for lead generation, LinkedIn and other social promotion, lead nurturing and more. In addition to the ThinkHandy digital marketing strategy, Chris shares ideas on how to select a profitable niche.

Listen now and you’ll also hear Chris and I talk about:

  • (5:00) Introductions
  • (8:50) His background with eBay
  • (12:30) How his exposure to process has molded his thinking
  • (14:50) Overview of #1 lead generation
  • (15:30) Overview of how he’s using LinkedIn
  • (19:50) Overview of how they are blogging for leads
  • (24:20) Criteria for selecting a profitable niche
  • (26:30) Overview of lead nurturing
  • (31:00) Overview of retained income and how assessments lead to it
  • (40:00) Overview of how they systematize the deliverables
  • (43:30) How they are using client interviews to create blog posts
  • (45:00) Overview of deliverables given for retainer
  • (51:00) Overview of social promotion strategy
  • (56:00) Advice on how to get started at content marketing
  • (58:20) His biggest mistake and lessons learned

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

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

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

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Transcript

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

Podcast. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast

for marketing agencies, marketing consultants and entrepreneurs

who want to discover how to use content marketing and marketing

automation to massively boost their business without massively

boosting the number of hours that you have to work every week.

As a matter of fact, the goal is to help you reduce the number

of hours you have to work every week. The way that we do that is

we bring proven experts onto the show to share with us what’s

working for them. When I say a proven expert I don’t mean a guru

or a theorist, I mean someone who’s actually using this stuff in

their business and they’re getting significant results by doing

so.My guest on the show today is a guy by the name of Chris Handy,

and he is the Founder of a marketing agency by the name of

ThinkHandy.com. He and his wife are actually the two people that

are behind that agency. He launched that in the beginning of

2011 and here we are just not even two years later he’s at

$20,000 a month in recurring revenue from retainer business.

They’re on track to do $400,000 in revenue this year and as you

can imagine with no overhead and only he and his wife as being

the two key employees that also translates into a very

profitable business venture.In this interview I get Chris to share all sorts of stuff with

us in great detail. For example, I want him to, or get him,

rather, to explain how he’s using LinkedIn to generate leads and

he does something that’s very unique and interesting. It’s

different than what I do and I’ll go so far as to say it’s

smarter and better than what I am doing so of course I need to

adjust my action as a result. You’re going to hear that at

roughly the seven to nine-minute mark and then after that we

start talking about his criteria for selecting which niches that

he pursues and that is a real key part of his business strategy

is choosing those niches correctly because as he points out not

all niches are created equal. Some are going to be a whole lot

more profitable for you than others.Then we walk through his four-step process for taking a lead

that goes through the funnel and requests an assessment then

there’s four steps that he does to convert them to a client and

it was very interesting as he shared the details on that because

the one thing that he doesn’t do is he doesn’t ever go and meet

them face to face. The really wonderful thing about this is no

matter what town you’re in or where you live you can get clients

that are anywhere if you listen to this interview and you

replicate the process that Chris explains.His background involved a lot of work with process improvement

and process automation and that really shines through in the

systems that he’s using to run his agency. We talk about that as

well. When a client says yes, how efficient you are or aren’t in

delivering the work that you’ve promised to them is going to

make all the difference between whether you build an agency with

lots of revenue and no profit or you build an agency with lots

of revenue and lots of profit. You really need to get good at

this whole systematizing and process management and in this

interview Chris shares a whole lot about that.Finally, towards the end of the interview he shares one of the

biggest mistakes that he made early on and the lessons that he

learned as a result of that. Do make sure that you stay tuned to

the very end and check that out.We’re going to welcome Chris to the show in just a second, but

before we get to that I want to very briefly tell you about a

new book that I’m working on and how you can get an advance look

at it, some free chapters and a discount when it comes out if

you go to BrightIdeas.co/book all of the information will be

there and this is going to be a book that covers extensively

everything that I’ve ever learned plus everything I’ve learned

from all the guests that have been on the show about two really

important topics, content marketing and marketing automation.Why are those topics so important? Because in this day and age

that’s the magic sauce that gets you all the business and all

the clients and the growth and the profits. I didn’t really have

a name for the book yet but if you go to BrightIdeas.co/book

you’ll see there a landing page that I created and you’ll be

able to opt in and get all the things that the landing page

says. With that said, please join me in welcoming Chris to the

show. Hey Chris. Welcome to the show.Chris: Thank you, Trent. Great to be here.Trent: It is a thrill to have you on. Just from what we were talking

about before we hit the record button we have a very good

interview coming your way so for the listeners who have not

heard of you please take a moment, introduce yourself, who you

are and what you do.Chris: Sure. My name is Chris Handy. I’m in Fort Worth, Texas, and I

operate a company called Think Handy and we’ve really decided

against putting anything as a definer on the end of that name

because we were kind of in marketing sales and operations and

we’re a consultancy in helping people streamline those and get

more out of their marketing dollars, but also integrating sales

and service into that.Trent: In the last, so you started this firm at the beginning of 2000,

and we’re going to get into your background and everything in a

minute, but I want people to know the results that you’ve

achieved in a pretty short period of time. You started in the

beginning of 2011, correct?Chris: Yes.Trent: Here we are, 2013 now. Middle, I guess fall and in the last, so

you started off from zero. Nothing. Right?Chris: Started off from zero. I took a few freelance web design

projects in 2010 and really proof of concept is, we were just

trying to see if we could get clients and found out that we

could so in 2011 went ahead and took the plunge and got started

and it was a slow ramp up. We’ve grown quite a bit in revenue

and in recurring revenue specifically so this year we are on

track to do about, hopefully about 400,000 by the end of the

year.Trent: In the last six months you said, off air you said you’d done

200.Chris: That’s correct.Trent: That’s pretty good. Your recurring revenue is at how much per

month now?Chris: We’re at about $20,000 in retainer relationships for each

month.Trent: That’s pretty fantastic. It makes, when you run a lean business

like you do with virtually no overhead, then 20,000 a month

coming in on the first day of every month makes for not a whole

lot of stress of, ‘Hey, where’s our next meal coming from.’Chris: It’s definitely improved our quality of life a little bit. Not

having to worry but we’re investing a lot back into the business

and in our marketing. Really we’ve spent a lot of time figuring

out where we go. We can obviously grow now so which way do we

grow? That’s very important to me. I want to make sure that when

we do make that next hire, who’s it going to be? What’s that

role going to be for and how can we make the most of our future?Trent: I have a lot of people who listen to my show based upon the

emails and so forth that I get that are solopreneurs. A lot of

marketing consultants, [freelance] web designers and I think I

speak for the when I say they all want to grow up. They want to

get, they want to make their firms bigger. They want to get more

recurring revenue. They want to be able to hire some more

employees and they want to use some more resources. They want to

grow like every other entrepreneur on the planet.I really want to make this episode for them so let’s, I want, I

really want to walk through kind of how you made that transition

from that first freelance client and I know there’s a lot of

people who listen to my show as well who maybe aren’t even in

business yet and you talked earlier how you kind of did a little

project with some freelance work to see if you could even get

clients. I want to talk about that.Before we get into both of those things I want you to tell a

little bit about your background because you have this rather

unusual background, this eBay consignment thing. You want to

talk a little bit about that so we have context?Chris: Sure. A lot of people bring up the 40 year old virgin when I

bring that up because you’ve seen that movie. The girl that

Steve Carell was going after, she managed an eBay store and what

an eBay store is is where you walk in and you hand the item to

the person at the counter and say, ‘I’d like to see this on

eBay.’ What they do is they take the item back and list it on

eBay or another online sales channel and basically sell it on

consignment so they’re going to take a commission and give you

the rest. Email you a link to the auction so you can see

everything that’s going. I was in that business which was

definitely interesting and that business has kind of, that whole

industry’s changed a lot in the last few years obviously.Started off in a small shop and then was recruited to the big

boys of the eBay consignment world, and I found myself managing

a distribution center that we routed trucks and went out and

picked up items from different people’s homes. We had five

stores in the Dallas Fort Worth area, that’s where we’re located

so all over the Metroplex. It’s a really large area so we had a

lot of ground to cover.I found myself routing all these trucks, managing the creative

team. Working on marketing these items. Actually getting them

listed onto eBay, working with software, working with people.

Managing a lot of people, customer service. Really just

everything that you could possibly think of with that business.

I was the operations director but that just included all these

different things. I learned a lot from the upper management

there. A lot of the people that were in management there were

former executives at Radio Shack and they had some great

processes. That was one of the things I really picked up during

that, what I called boot camp for sales and marketing and

operations.I was taught there that you don’t have to manage people as long

as you can manage the process and that was the most important

thing that I learned. We would create detailed process books for

everything. Now when I say everything I mean this is what you

say when you answer the phone. Scripts are easy to identify but

we encourage people to riff on those, obviously but also this is

what happens when an item comes in. Let’s say we get an item

from a person who wants us to sell something for them. This is

exactly where it goes, this is the process here, here, here.All the steps are detailed on an online document that everyone

can see. What we found was if ever there was a situation where

the, where something went wrong, rather than saying, ‘How, why

did you mess up or how did this happen,’ you simply say, ‘Well

did you follow the process?’ Either yes or no. If they did

follow the process, well, then you change the process. You don’t

have to do anything with the person because it’s not their

problem. That if they follow the, or if they didn’t follow the

process then it becomes a situation where, ‘Hey, here’s our

process book.’ You point to the book and you don’t have to

really do any disciplining of any kind. It’s just letting the

process manage the business for you so manage your team.Trent: Now being a guy that runs a marketing agency, how did all that

exposure to the importance of processes, how has that influenced

how you’re building and running your business, right, the way

from, and we’re going to go into detail on all these things but

just kind of at the high level right the way from lead

generation all the way to delivering your service. How has that

influenced you?Chris: Well it’s kept me, kept my eye on the prize of duplicating

myself and making sure that I don’t have to be the one pushing

all the buttons and following all these processes. If I work to

build these processes as we grow our agency then it won’t be

very difficult at all to manage people and every agency owner

wants to grow. Every agency owner wants to have a team of X

number of people. We have our own growth goals and I want to

make sure that we’re ready when we get there and that we have

detailed processes in place.We use a lot of online tools to get there so you have to kind of

come up with a process before you build the tool. That’s been

really important in our marketing process and then everything

that we do as far as client service.Trent: Where do you store all these processes?Chris: Well we use a project management system called Podio, but many

of them can do similar things. I found that this one works for

us because we can customize certain things with regards to

marketing campaigns specifically we can trigger actions based on

creating an item. We have a very detailed process on how we run

campaigns so if we have a client we know that we need to create

a downloadable offer for that client and we know we need to

create some blog posts to promote those downloadable offers.Every time we come up with a marketing persona to market to we

know we need at least one marketing offer and at least eight

blog posts to promote that marketing offer. As soon as we create

that persona, all these other tasks are created automatically so

it helps manage me. I’m extremely ADD. I don’t know what’s going

on.Trent: Join the club.Chris: If I don’t have it written down or if I don’t have somebody

bugging me to do it then I’m going to forget. There’s no

question. I built the software and built it on top of the

software basically just to keep me in line.Trent: My wife does that for me along with software. Let’s go back to

the thing, I want to talk about lead generation here because I

think a lot of people really struggle with it. Can you tell us

what you’re doing? What’s your number one method of generating

leads?Chris: Number one method of generating leads has got to be creating

content. I’ve had the website for two or three years now and so

I’ve done a lot of, before I really got into inbound marketing I

did a lot of SEO work, so I spent time making sure I was getting

found for some local stuff here in Fort Worth. That really

doesn’t bring me any business to be honest.Now our focus has been to get global and to not worry about

local because our best clients are not anywhere close to us so

we got away from that and really started getting active in

social networks. I think LinkedIn is the best place to promote

our content that we’re creating. [inaudible 15:45]Trent: How do you promote your content on LinkedIn? I want to see if

it’s similar to what I do.Chris: Gotcha. We’re writing blog posts that promote offers. That are

behind a form so that we’re gathering leads that way. I’ll look

for conversations where information we’ve written about is

applicable. I’ll go and I’ll say, ‘Hey we wrote this. Maybe this

can help you out.’ I’m a member of a lot of different groups. We

do have some verticals that we target and we’re always looking

to figure out what the best verticals are going to be for us to

go after. We’re still defining that.We’ve done a lot of construction marketing and home contractor

marketing which is interesting. It just kind of found us. We’re

testing out a new market right now and I’m involved in some of

those groups and I’m starting to kind of get in on those

conversations and help people. I think that’s the number one way

is helping people. Eventually they’re going to either need your

help or need more of your professional help or they’re going to

refer you to someone who does.Trent: How much of your time do you spend going into, how many groups,

first of all how many groups are you a member of?Chris: I think I’m a member of 45 right now. I had to delete myself

from some groups that I just wasn’t all that active in in order

to pursue some other ones in the verticals I want to see.Trent: Define specifically your activity in these groups. When you

produce a blog post on your blog, like when we do, we can put a

check mark in every group and say Add to group and it puts a

link to your post and your little intro. It’s not really like

one on one discussions. How do you do it?Chris: Sure. We use HubSpot for marketing automation. It does the same

thing and I think that’s the number one mistake people make when

they go in and they see this fancy social media tool, and they

can just check all the group boxes and then they end up spamming

everyone in their LinkedIn feed. That’s not good for anyone

because everyone sees that you just posted in 15 different

groups and that really doesn’t add any personal value.I really do spend time watching the groups and figuring out who

the influencers are there. Then when a conversation is heating

up and someone actually has something that I can add to, so

there’s a question about marketing in that particular instance

and I have something that’s of value to them I’ll add it into

the conversation manually. I will go ahead and automate some of

the posts, like when I do a new post on the blog. We’ll put that

out there to everyone on LinkedIn but I’m not spamming it into

groups. I really do consider it spam if you just add it to

everyone’s group. That’s how we do it. Even though it’s

marketing automation I think you really need a very human touch.Trent: I agree. I don’t think the way that we’ve been doing it is

ideal. It was, I had a past guest on the show was a LinkedIn

expert author of a book and that’s what she told us to do and so

we’ve been doing it since.Chris: That’s how you do it. I’m sorry.

Trent: No. I don’t mind. This is how we get better, we see what other

people are doing. How much time per day do you spend on LinkedIn

monitoring these conversations? Because with 45 groups, I mean

dude, you could spend like four hours.

Chris: You have to pick your battles. I’m not active in 45 groups. I’m

a member of 45 groups right now. Some of them are professional

groups. Some of them are places we’re targeting so maybe four or

five different groups really right now I’m active in and

actually helping people, and I spend maybe an hour throughout

the day monitoring LinkedIn. It’s one of the first things I look

at when I get up in the morning just to see because I get the

emails of what was going on yesterday, the hottest

conversations, that kind of thing.

Trent: So you . . .

Chris: I just look for anything that I might be able to help add value

to.

Trent: Do you subscribe to a daily email for every group that you’re a

member of?

Chris: Some of them. Yes.

Trent: Some. You wake up in the morning and you check and see what

people are talking about and say, ‘Can I add value to that

conversation?’

Chris: Correct.

Trent: That’s a good way to do it. I should probably do that too. What

other things are you doing for lead generation?

Chris: Aside from LinkedIn, just creating content around those

personas. We do a lot of keyword research. Now we’re trying to

actively solve problems. I prescribe to the Marcus Sheridan

school of blog topics. Marcus Sheridan made his pool business

grow by answering his customers’ questions online. I know that

you’ve interviewed him before.

Very much inspired by his process. Let’s just figure out what

questions our customers are asking and each one of those is

going to be a blog post. I look for questions that have not been

answered in the industries that I’m targeting and I answer those

questions. Simple as that.

Trent: Is that working well for you yet?

Chris: It is. Absolutely. I’ve got a few blog articles that are just

machines. They’re bringing in more leads than I need. A lot of

them we have to qualify throughout with some nurturing sequences

and stuff like that because it’s bringing in more than I

probably need to but you need to kind of cast a wide net at the

top of the funnel and then figure out who’s going to be a fit.

Trent: Absolutely. What types of lead magnets do you find are working

really, because you’ve got your blog posts and people are

getting there via either LinkedIn or search? They’re reading the

article. Are you using one lead magnet across all your posts or

using ten different lead magnets? How many do you use?

Chris: We rotate them out. I’ve got a few. I’ve got one that’s Inbound

Marketing 101 that is a really nice go to for the top of the

funnel and for some of our more basic blog posts. We categorize

our blog posts by three levels, introductory, intermediate and

advanced. I try to make sure that people that are visiting see

that, ‘Hey, they’re on an intermediate article, or they’re on an

advanced article.’ I’ll have it even suggest introductory

articles to folks who found us on an advanced just in case it’s

above their heads because this is an education game.

People need to understand when we’re talking about marketing

automation or even sales process improvement they need to

understand a little bit more about how we work so we’ll always

suggest a previous post to try to educate them along the way.

To answer your question I’ve got probably 15 different offers

that we’ve got and we use five or six of them more than all the

others. We kind of refined those fringe ones every once in a

while and repost it every once in a while.

Trent: What would you say is your number one lead magnet for top of

the funnel?

Chris: I’ve done this really interesting thing. If you’re familiar

with Facebook marketing you’ll have a cover photo at the top of

your Facebook page. I found myself always going and Googling the

dimensions to create a custom Facebook cover photo for my

clients and for me. We create a new one all the time. I found

there wasn’t any great place to find it, so what I did is I

created a Facebook page that is called Facebook Cover Photo Size

Helper.

In fact, if you Google Facebook Cover Photo Size it’s like

second or third result. What it does, it puts the actual cover

photo shows all the pixels on it so you can see exactly how to

build a perfect cover photo for you. Then I link to, I

constantly post some of our articles, and I link to a landing

page where you can download an even bigger guide on how to build

Facebook cover photos.

Trent: What’s the, I just did that search criteria. What is the URL

for your particular?

Chris: It’s Facebook.com/coverphotosize.

Trent: Yeah, okay, number two.

Chris: Right behind Facebook’s Help article.

Trent: Smart, smart, smart. Look at that, 9,643 likes.

Chris: And growing.

Trent: That’s a smart idea. I might even have to call that one a gold

nugget.

Chris: Sure. It brings us 15, 20 leads every single day.

Trent: How many of those, because not every lead, not all leads are

created equally of course. Do you, how many of those leads are

converting to customers?

Chris: I’d say we’ve gotten two or three referrals off of that.

Trent: You mentioned earlier that you are targeting a few different

niches. Can you talk a little bit about the criteria that you

use to analyze the viability of a niche?

Chris: Sure, Trent. I think that, especially when you’re talking about

a retainer relationship, now we really shy away from projects

but every once in a while we’ll take a project, if it’s a

referral that we think is going to help an existing relationship

we’ll do a project. That is different criteria but if we’re

going to go after someone that we think can be a pretty sizable

monthly retainer with a multi-year agreement or 12-month

agreement, we’re looking for something that is a large decision

purchase so it’s a business that has to do a lot of education

before a sale can be made. Maybe something that has really long

sales cycles.

I would not go, we found ourselves doing some construction

marketing and home contractor marketing. That’s just kind of how

we grew. That’s some of the first projects I took on so I keep

getting them, but I would not, today target those industries

because they are kind of one time and the need for recurring

services is not there. I want something like a big software

purchase or a managed IT company, something like that that

targets maybe huge facilities. Just an example of something that

is really a big decision and they need to have a lot of

expertise in any particular field.

Trent: Interesting that you mention managed IT. That was the industry

that I was in before and I’d never want to deal with those guys.

Once you get your leads into the funnel I’d like you to talk

about how you are segmenting them and if you’re using mid-funnel

lead magnets. Because where I’m going here is, as I said before,

not all leads are created equal. There are, and even if they

have the same need they’re at different phases in the buying

cycle. Some people are early. Some people are ready to buy. How

do you handle all of that using automation?

Chris: Sure. Everyone that signs up for any one of our offers is

automatically subscribed to our blog. I’ve had people give me

different feelings on that, whether or not you should just put

everyone on your blog but I find that it really works because we

get a lot of social shares. That’s something that immediately,

they’ll see everything that comes in every week. [inaudible

27:10]

Trent: I’m sorry to interrupt you. Do they get an email for every post

that you publish?

Chris: I choose to have it go out once a week.

Trent: A weekly summary?

Chris: Sure. Weekly summary. We’ll do three or four or five blog posts

every week. In a perfect world we’d have one for every day or

two but right now we’re producing about three or four every

week.

Trent: They get those on Sunday morning.

Chris: Mm-hmm. I find we get the best open rate then. I’m sure once

this thing goes live if you have enough listers that now

everyone’s going to be coming through on Sunday morning and

we’ll need to change it to another day. There’s no hard and fast

rule I’ve found. People will tell you it’s Tuesday at noon.

Well, it really is just when your audience is getting up. I find

early in the morning is great for me. No matter which day.

Trent: What type of, what are some, how are you segmenting? Just kind

of walk us through that. I opt into your funnel. What happens?

Chris: Now you’re signed up for the blog and if you click on any of

the links in those blogs I can identify that you’re somewhat

interested. That’s the only criteria I have to go into an

automated list. I’ve segmented that list off then I will segment

off the agencies because there are a lot of other agencies that

read our content. Then I narrow it down further and I look and

see where people came from. I’ve got some other smart lists that

tell me where they came from. If someone came from that Facebook

cover photo size helper and they’re not an agency then I send

them more introductory content on basic marketing and I look at

that as a way to get more social shares, more cheerleaders out

there because not everyone that comes through there is going to

be a fit for large scale retainer services.

Once I kind of siphoned off all of those other folks, I look at

everyone by industry and I’ll try and send something very

specific. We’ll create new landing pages all the time with

webinars because I can write a webinar. If I see that I’ve got

five different, for instance, managed IT companies that have

come in and filled out forms I might decide to try out a

webinar. I’ll say, ‘We’re going to do a sales and marketing

alignment webinar specifically for the managed IT companies.’

I’ll send them all an email and if somebody signs up, I do the

webinar. If somebody doesn’t sign up, I don’t.

It’s just something else out there a lot of times that we do, we

do end up getting that. I’ve got a real quick process on

launching new targeted landing pages and so we do that all the

time.

Trent: Define all the time. How often would you say you do it?

Chris: Once every week. Probably creating a new vertical just checking

it out seeing what comes up and then it’s another page out there

on Google to be found. Especially, we do have a field on all of

our forms that’s biggest marketing challenge. I think I saw that

on several different marketing automation software original

forms and so I started doing it. It’s kind of my gauge on what

questions to ask folks.

I’ll go and create content around that and make sure it’s in the

weekly email coming up. Even if it’s not a direct, ‘Hey,’ I’m

targeting this person,’ it is something that I can answer and

I’ll find that, let’s say managed IT, I’ve got ‘How do I build a

workflow for marketing automation with a managed IT company?

I’ll build that blog article. I’ll make sure it’s in the next

week’s weekly RSS email that gets sent out. Oftentimes those

folks click on those and then they go straight to an assessment.

Our bottom of the funnel’s always that request a free

assessment.

Trent: That was going to be my next question. What’s the main call to

action? You mentioned that you’ve been particularly successful

to the tune of $20,000 a month in generating clients that pay

your retainer. How long did it take you to get from zero to

20,000 a month?

Chris: Actually only about four months. We had all the pieces of the

puzzle we just hadn’t put it together really until early this

year. I read a book called the, god. Is it “The Agency

Manifesto”? I think it’s, “The Marketing Agency Manifesto.” I’ll

make sure that you can have a link to this but it’s basically a

quick read but it has 12 proclamations. Unfortunately, I’m

unable to think of the author’s name right name but basically

one of them is, ‘We will specialize.’ One of them is, ‘We will

charge for our services.’ I just really was inspired by that and

a lot of different things that is said in there is how can we

charge more for our expertise?

We really don’t accept projects anymore unless, like I said

earlier it was a referral or it’s something that we think will

further our business. We’re just very steadfast on that. I’m not

sending out proposals. I will flat out tell you I’m not in the

proposal writing business because I don’t want to spend my days

writing proposals. We are right now a two man shop and we can’t

do that. We really want to do business. Make the verbal

agreement that we’re going to go forward at that time a contract

will be signed and we’ve eliminated the proposal process

entirely. I think that’s allowed us to spend most of our sales

time on getting quality clients and then weeding out those that

must present a proposal to a board and all those extraneous

steps that end up getting in the way.

Trent: What is the average size of your retainer right now?

Chris: Right now it’s about $5,000, $6,000.

Trent: You’re talking roughly four clients that you have on retainer.

Do these clients all go through your funnel and do the call to

action for the assessment that’s at the bottom of your funnel?

Chris: They all filled out the assessment. Some of them were referred

straight to the website and one of them just called me actually

but in equality I guess he requested an assessment. But two of

them came all the way through the top of the funnel.

Trent: When you do this assessment, so I want to make sure that we,

the listeners and myself understand what this assessment is. Is

that them filling out a form on the website with lots of

questions or is that you on Skype with them asking them a bunch

of questions? What is the assessment?

Chris: Sure. I’m really just wanting their information with that form

and then it’s a 20 to 30 minute conversation. We run a

consultative sales process. It’s very defined. I’ve got four

steps basically in the process. Starts with the assessment. I’m

going to identify what your goals are, ask questions. That’s

really a question and answer session. Sometimes if we need to do

a little coaxing to actually do the assessment once we get on

the phone after they fill out the form we’ll set an appointment

for this assessment. The way it’s positioned is that we’re going

to give you some tips on things you can do online, things you

can do in your sales process to improve. No obligation.

It’s just an opportunity for me to give them a few things that

they could change right now and either get more visits to the

website or drastically improve things and it’s an opportunity

for me to really interview the client and understand if it’s the

right fit. Start to identify some of the questions I’ll ask in

the next call.

Trent: All of this stuff is done on the call? You don’t get face to

face with your clients to do this?

Chris: I try not to, even here in town because what it does is it

takes another hour out of my day to go and drive across town and

get in front of someone and it’s just a big waste of everyone’s

time especially with that first call. I really refuse to even

have people out to my office for that first call because I just

want to get a feel for what they’re after. If the first question

they ask is how much does it cost, I know that that’s going to

be a big factor in the whole relationship and it might not work.

Trent: Do you do these calls with video like you and I are doing right

now where you can see each other?

Chris: Typically, what we’ll do is we’ll use Go to Meeting, and I’ll

have their website or lack thereof up on the screen and we’ll do

a screen share.

Trent: If that’s step one. What’s step two?

Chris: Step two, after we have an assessment we’ve identified their

goals, we’ve identified that there is a need and they’ve

identified that they would like to continue talking with us. We

go to a goal setting call where I send them homework beforehand.

They’re going to fill out a lot of different questions. Here’s

where they fill out a lot of questions and it’s basically just a

spreadsheet that asks them the frequency of marketing and

different channels. How often are they blogging? How often are

they performing these X marketing activities and it’s designed

to do a few things to give us an end result of an arbitrary

score, sort of holistic score based on their entries.

Also the process of that prospect filling out this form and

saying, ‘No, I’m not doing any of this stuff,’ it’s a

psychological trigger and it’s sort of an “aha” moment. ‘Oh my

gosh, I’m not doing any of this.’ That’s been really effective.

Trent: Is there any chance that you would share that spreadsheet that

we can make as a downloadable from this episode?

Chris: I can give you a PDF copy of it, yes.

Trent: That would be wonderful. Thank you. For my show notes, what am

I going to call that?

Chris: Let’s call that an assessment questionnaire. This will be

homework between my assessment call and my goal setting call.

Trent: Very helpful. Thank you for that. That’s very generous of you.

What’s number three after that goal call?

Chris: After the goal setting call we get on the phone and we’ve

identified, ‘Hey, we want to increase revenue by $1 million next

year and it’s going to take us three big projects to do it.’

We’ve kind of gone through the process of, ‘Well how many visits

do you have to your website right now? How many more are you

going to need to get? How many leads are being generated by your

website?’ We can reverse engineer a number of visitors that we

need to bring to the website so we’ll have to put together a

plan. That plan will vary based on how effective their website

is right now, how many calls to action we need to add. Are they

doing anything or do they have any offers? Do we need to create

some? That will all kind of go into the last call [inaudible

38:03:]

Trent: What do you call this third call?

Chris: Sort of just a deal presentation or a solution presentation. I

won’t write up a 20-page document but what I will do is, I have

a PowerPoint presentation that has some of this stuff in it

already. I will just manipulate that to show what our plan might

look like. It’ll detail out the services that we would perform

on an ongoing basis and it’s really a visual meeting so we’re

screen sharing that and we’re talking about, ‘Hey, this is the

plan that we’ve put together. Based on the things you told me

this is what we think we can do and this is how long it’s going

to take us to get there and here’s the cost.’ Only after they’ve

said, ‘All right, let’s do it’ will I go and actually draw up a

contract.

Trent: That’s the fourth call?

Chris: Yes. That would be the fourth step.

Trent: You just review the contract, get them to sign it and send it

back to you?

Chris: That’s right.

Trent: How do you collect payment for retainer? Credit card or direct

debit?

Chris: I require a credit card, recurring payment. I found that when

we did not do that they’d come in late, they’d come in early,

they weren’t as reliable. I don’t mind taking a hit on the fee

because it’s peace of mind. There’s no question it’s going to

come in.

Trent: Absolutely. That’s been very interesting and so now you’ve got

to the point, and I promised early in this conversation, at

least I think I did, that we were going to talk about process

automation and how it’s fitting into your business because I

know that having run a service business myself in the past and

now launching another one how efficient you are or aren’t in

your service delivery can make the difference between being

wildly profitable and making no profit whatsoever.

I think a lot of people especially the solopreneurs or even

people who haven’t started yet maybe haven’t had that experience

and they just assume that if I get more revenue I’ll naturally

have more profit. Doesn’t always happen. Can you describe to us

and let’s stay on the thread of a retainer client, so you’ve got

this spreadsheet, you’ve got a solution, you’re going to need to

do all these things, how do you then systematize the delivery of

the deliverables so as to maintain your efficiency?

Chris: During the process of the sales process we’ve already detailed

out exactly what we’re going to do. Typically that’s going to be

creating offers, promoting those offers and then working on lead

generation. I’ve got in my project management system, which they

have access to, I’ve got built in templates for all these things

so once I launch the new marketing persona that we’re going to

craft for this client, let’s say they are managed IT and they’re

performing managed IT services to let’s see, theme parks, right?

You have to solve very specific problems for that theme park IT

manager.

We want to create a construct of that person so I said all that

to say once we create that persona we know we need to deliver an

offer for that persona to download on the website. We work

backwards. I don’t start with the blog posts. I start with the

offers; I start with the personas then the offers, the promoting

blog posts.

I’ve built my project management system the same way. When a

persona is created we know an offer needs to be created. When an

offer is created we know a blog post needs to be written, in

fact eight to ten. It’s automatically going to create all those

tasks for me. This helps me keep in line because I’m prone to

forget things and I have to have a system that allows me to go

back and make sure we’re on track.

The number one thing we’ve done is make all this open to our

clients so we have complete visibility. The clients can see what

we’re doing all the time. As we create these offers they can

comment, like. They can add files; they can contribute as we’re

working. This makes our meetings so much more productive because

we’re not having to recap, ‘Hey here’s everything we did this

week.’ They know what we’ve done this week. That’s already been

established. Let’s just talk about our strategy for next week.

Let’s talk about the results so that we don’t have to spend so

much time educating them on what we’re doing.

Trent: You’re using Podio to make all this happen?

Chris: That’s correct.

Trent: Do you speak to your retainer clients? Is there a weekly

meeting with them just as though you’re their director of

marketing?

Chris: Yes. Weekly or bi-weekly. That’s how often we meet and we

structure our meetings based on the week number so we’ll have a

different style of meeting at the beginning of the month than

from the end of the month. Then during the middle of the month

we’ll have what we call interviews so we are talking about

topics that we’ve identified are going to be good keywords for

them to target. We’ll put an outline out there and just have

them talk about it and we’ll record the session on Go to

Meeting, come back and use that interview content to actually

build the blog post so that each blog post will be in the voice

of that particular business owner or marketing director.

Trent: That is an excellent idea. Did you think that one up or did you

learn that from Marcus?

Chris: Marcus definitely talked about that and we had already been

doing it for a while when I heard him say something about that

and it’s been a great thing. Once I heard him giving it I said,

‘We’re on the right track.’ We implemented processes around

that. Now it makes our meetings a lot more fun, we don’t have to

spend as much time digging up, ‘Oh god, what are we going to

talk about this week’ because I know a lot of agency owners that

have to speak to clients on a regular basis.

You might find yourself struggling to come up with, ‘What are we

going to talk about?’ That was genuinely a problem I used to

have. Not much has changed. We’ve gone up a little bit. This is

really where we thought we were going to be as far as visits,

leads and sales but we have this meeting on the books. Now we

have something to talk about for these meetings and it’s way

more productive and way more fun honestly because people love to

talk about what they do. It makes them happy.

Trent: Let me feed this back because I want to make sure that myself

and the audience has understood this. In these meetings you come

into the meeting with an agenda of keywords that could be

targeted, correct?

Chris: Yes. They’re framed in the form of a question.

Trent: Like give me an example.

Chris: I have a client that is an HVA, commercial HVAC contractor.

People have questions about how to better cool a commercial data

center. ‘How do I keep my data center cool?’ We’ll just come in

with that and have that business owner share their expertise.

Trent: Your team knew that that was a keyword that you should target?

You then do this meeting with them and you ask them that

question, you record the answer so now you have it in his voice.

You transcribe it and edit it and turn it into a post.

Chris: That’s correct.

Trent: For these clients that are paying you the $4,000 to $5,000 per

month, how many posts per month, like what is the deliverable

that they’re getting for the $5,000 a month?

Chris: It depends on the level of retainer, but we don’t suggest

having any less than ten blog posts every month. There are some

graphs that I’ve got in my presentations that show when you get

to 30 blog posts a month, which we’re not even at, but when you

get to that point the leads start coming in like crazy. It’s

just all about having more content out there on Google but we’ll

have anywhere from ten to 20, in some cases 25, blog posts per

month.

Trent: That’s a lot of posts.

Chris: It’s a lot of posts. That’s what it’s all about though is

creating content that is going to get found.

Trent: You’re doing these, so in one of these calls then, if you’re

doing this once per week you must have to have four different

blog posts in mind that you’re interviewing them for, and so

four questions and they’re giving you the answer to those four

questions and those four questions become four different blog

posts.

Chris: That’s right.

Trent: Tell me what the process that goes from recorded answers

through to finished blog posts and are subcontractors playing a

role in any of this anywhere?

Chris: In some cases yes, we use a content marketplace to fill out

questions, if we didn’t have a chance to do interviews and we

look for experts. For instance I have a client that is in the

hockey space and we found a contractor who is awesome at writing

about hockey and he just knows hockey better than I do. We’re in

Texas. I don’t know anything about hockey. It may be different

from up north but we’re Cowboys football, Rangers baseball down

here. We have the Starts, but it’s just not as big of a deal so

we really struggle in that area but we’ve been very successful

with the content we’ve been able to create because we found an

expert to help us. We do have a few contractors in different

verticals.

Trent: Going back to the first part of that question, you’ve got the

recorded answer. You’re not going to use a contractor so do you

then pay a transcription service to transcribe it and then you

or your wife edit that into a post?

Chris: We don’t pay any transcription services. I take a lot of notes

during so I’m bulleting things out and I do this in Podio where

the client can see so as I’m typing they can see all this stuff

go down. Then we have the transcription so that by the end of it

we’ve got a nice bulleted list of maybe 15, 20 bullets of things

that they hit on during the conversation and then we also have

the recording to fall back on. We can go in pretty soon after

that meeting, we like to go ahead and just type it all out. Get

it ready; get it into a finished format.

We might go over one or two passes as an editorial pass and just

clean it up. Make sure we’re matching it up with the right offer

but we’ve typically come up with that offer and matched it up

well before the interview even takes place.

Trent: How long are these posts typically?

Chris: Six hundred to 800 words is our normal rule of thumb.

Trent: If you’re doing, you said ten of these a month or 20 a month

per client?

Chris: Depending on the client it would be minimum ten. I don’t think

we’re doing only ten for anyone but 15 to 25.

Trent: Let’s just use a number of 15. You’ve got, say five clients

doing this. That’s 75 posts per month?

Chris: Yes.

Trent: Written by just you and/or, well not written, edited, crafted

because it’s already there in the transcription.

Chris: Correct.

Trent: That just seems like a boatload of work.

Chris: It’s a lot of work. We’re putting together a growth plan right

now. We don’t envision us doing that forever.

Trent: I was going to say because that doesn’t scale very well is my

thinking.

Chris: Not for the business owner or the agency owner, for sure, but

what it does it doubles as service. You spend this time client

facing, they’re talking about something they love to talk about.

They’re seeing their ideas realized. They’re seeing the results

they’re getting based on that content. It’s a very positive

experience so that client time spent is actually helping us

produce the content so we’re overlapping a little bit there.

Client service.

With our software being so open they can see everything we’re

doing. We minimize the time on the other side of constantly

struggling to prove your worth. I know that a lot of agency

owners are constantly trying to prove their worth so I’ve tried

to eliminate that step by making everything as transparent as

possible.

Trent: I think that’s very smart. That was a big challenge that we had

back when we ran the IT company because if the computer network

didn’t break, why am I paying you $10,000 this month? Well,

because it didn’t break but it was challenging at times. Where

do I want to go next? Yes, so what strategies do you do to

promote all of this content that you’re creating for clients? Is

it purely an SEO strategy or are you going to town on social

networks?

Chris: We go to town on social networks. I’ve got very specific

numbers of posts for each client that we’re going to make on

each day. For instance our own, we treat ourselves as a client

so the exact same processes you’ll see for our clients are being

used for us. I’ll interview with my wife. My wife and I co-own

the agency together, we work together so we’ll have interviews

together just to kind of extract this content. We find it’s the

best way but for our business, our Twitter account, we post 20

to 25 times a day. Almost every hour and I found that when we

did that we increased now, month over month, 20 percent every

single month in followers. That same growth in my retweet reach,

so our reach is growing at the same pace. If we drop down to 15,

that growth lessens quite a bit. I found that’s optimal for our

business.

Trent: What tool do you use to schedule Twitter posts and get

analytics?

Chris: We use HubSpot for pretty much all of our marketing automation.

That’ll be different for each client. Sometimes the client

preference is simply, ‘I don’t want to have that many posts go

out on my Twitter account.’ That’s understandable. We can show

them, ‘Hey, this is how you get results,’ but we can’t always

convince 100 percent.

Now Facebook’s a different story. We found three to five

different posts every day is appropriate for some and then in

some cases it’s only one.

Trent: Are you sharing other people’s content like in your own Twitter

account, are you only tweeting out your own stuff or do you

share other people’s stuff as well?

Chris: We do both and there are a lot of different schools of thought

on this. A lot of people will say, ‘Share 80 percent of other

people’s content and only 20 percent of yours.’ I found honestly

that’s not the way to go. We’ll schedule out 18 to 20 posts of

our 24, of our own content. We’ll spend time interacting with

other people as sort of an alternate to that plan of sharing

everyone’s content. We’ll retweet. We’ll reply to people’s

tweets. We will generally share the love online but tweeting out

other agencies content, we’re not doing that. I generally don’t

want, I’d rather get the leads. I don’t believe that’s selfish.

If somebody writes a really good article that I used, I found,

‘Hey, how do we use this marketing automation tool in this way?’

If I found value in that, absolutely I’m going to retweet that

because I found personal value but typically we’re going to

write about things as we discover them and that’s the content we

want to promote.

Trent: You guys are doing a lot of writing.

Chris: You have to. It’s content marketing, right Trent?

Trent: Absolutely. You know what? Writing’s better than cold calling.

Chris: That’s true.

Trent: I gave a talk here in Boise just last week. I was given zero

notice. Guy calls me up the night before. He had broken his

tooth and he was supposed to speak and I had lunch with him that

day, just met him. He said, ‘Can you go talk for me?’ There was

like 80 small business owners that were in the room, mostly I’m

going to say three person companies and fewer. A lot of

solopreneurs in there.

The beginning of my talk I asked, I said, ‘How many people here

know what content marketing is?’ What would you guess, let’s

just say there was about, about 70 people in the room. How many

hands do you think went up?

Chris: I’m going to say not many, right?

Trent: Like six. Then I said, ‘How many people here are cold calling?’

Three quarters of the room put their hands in the air. I said,

‘How many people here receive cold calls?’ About half of the

room’s hands went up. I said, ‘How many people who receive them

like getting them?’ Nobody’s hands went up. Then I said, ‘Of

those of you who are making them, how many are getting results?’

Nobody’s hands went up. I’m like, ‘Stop. You’re just pissing

people off and you’re not getting results.’

Chris: Exactly. You’ve got to make warm calls, right?

Trent: Absolutely. So much more I could talk about that, but I’m going

to make a blog post actually about that, that talk that I gave.

Folks will be able to get that at BrightIdeas.co. Let me look at

my questions here and see where I want to go with this.

For the folks who are listening to this and they’re thinking,

‘This is content marketing and marketing automation thing seems

like it’s a pretty good idea, but man oh man does it ever seem

overwhelming. There’s like so much stuff to do.’ A lot of times

people get overwhelmed, they don’t do anything. What advice

would you give, Chris to someone who wants to get started? Who’s

the cold caller and they want to stop being the cold caller and

become a content marketer.

Chris: Start answering folks’ questions online. I will not shy away

from spreading Marcus Sheridan’s advice there. That’s the big

thing because it solves a few problems, well, it solves your

customer’s problems, right? It also solves the problem of what

do I write about? That’s the biggest challenge that I had at the

beginning. I’d write about what my customers are asking me and

you should do the same. Start writing. Don’t worry about what

domain name you’re going to use. Don’t worry about getting a

logo. Don’t worry about getting business cards. If you’re trying

to start a business don’t let any of that get in your way and

just pick something. Just put something out there. Don’t worry

about the design because Google doesn’t care about the design.

[inaudible 57:16]

Trent: You can host it on yourname.com.

Chris: Sure. Anything. That, ultimately it doesn’t matter because

that’s not what people are going to be typing into Google. If

you’re truly going to attack content marketing you’re going to

be attacking questions people type into Google or phrases people

type into Google. They’re not going to be Googling for your

website address, at least that’s not going to be the effect

content marketing has for you, so start writing. Start answering

questions and pick a vertical. Pick an industry that you want to

target because there are a ton of content marketing agencies, if

we’re talking to agency owners, there are a lot of content

marketing agencies, inbound marketing agencies. It’s becoming a

saturated market. It’s not a differentiator anymore so pick a

vertical.

Trent: Absolutely. Is there anything that you thought we should have

talked about in this interview which I’ve neglected to ask you

about? Anything that has worked exceptionally well for you or a

big mistake that you made that you learned a lot from? Anything

at all that we’ve missed that you think we should talk about

before we close out?

Chris: Sure. I think that the biggest mistake I made at the very

beginning was relying on marketing automation and not

remembering that each piece of automated action and all that

stuff really requires a human touch. That’s why I spend so much

time on LinkedIn personally answering questions. You can’t just

set it and forget it. A lot of material online would lead you to

believe that. Remember that each person that you’re trying to

get as a lead is also a real person and they’ve got their own

challenges, their own problems that need to be solved. Start

identifying with them.

Speak with these folks, even if they’re someone who’s not

qualified pick up the phone every once in a while and ask them,

‘Hey, how’d you find us? What did you find valuable in the

content that you read and that you downloaded?’ I do some of

that. I like to spend time just speaking with people even if I

know it’s not a good fit, just understand what challenges they

have and really work with them to better understand. That helps

me build out better lead nurturing sequences, helps me send

better emails. It helps me identify better prospects and that’s

what you have to do over time to improve your efficiency is to

spend time with the folks who are going to be a better fit for

you.

Trent: Absolutely. Those are your biggest cheerleaders and with the

80, 20 rule they’re also going to be responsible for 80 percent

of your revenue.

Chris: That’s right.

Trent: Chris, thank you so much for making this time to be on the

Bright Ideas Podcast. It has been a good time to interview you,

rather a lot of fun to interview you. Download [sounds like],

the episode number of this but I’m just going to pull it up and

so I can rattle that off. Actually I’ll put it in the, I’ll do a

recording here just after you and I are finished so again,

thanks so much for being on the show.

Chris: Cool. Thanks man. I really appreciate your time.

Trent: All right, so that wraps it up for this episode. To get to the

show notes where you can download all of the things that Chris

and I talked about, go to BrightIdeas.co/80. It’s just the

number 80. Then the other thing that if you could do is go to

BrightIdeas.co/love, there you will find a prepopulated tweet

and you’ll also find a link that will take you to the iTunes

store where you can leave some feedback for the show.

I would really appreciate it if you take a moment and do that

because the more feedback that the show gets, of course the

higher it goes in the iTunes store and the more exposure that it

gets and the more entrepreneurs that we can help to massively

boost their businesses with all the bright ideas that are shared

by my guests here on the show.

That’s it for this episode. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid. Thank

you so much for being a listener. I’ll see you or hear you or

we’ll see you again in another episode very soon. Take care.

About Chris Handy

ChrisHandyChris Handy is the Founder & CEO of Thinkhandy, a sales and marketing alignment consultancy in Fort Worth, TX.

Clients working with Thinkhandy find a helpful partner dedicated to shortening their sales cycle and generating more qualified leads.

We create a much more efficient business development environment with an aligned marketing and sales strategy.

 

 

 

Digital Marketing Strategy: How Blue Cow Creative Doubled Revenue in 12 months with Marketing Automation

Do you run a small marketing agency and struggle to attract enough new clients to meet your growth goals?

Would you like to discover a way to put client attraction on autopilot?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, my guest on the show is Shaun Whynacht, founder of Blue Cow Creative, a small marketing agency based in Nova Scotia, Canada. I learned of Shaun at the last Infusioncon and when I heard that he’d doubled his revenue in just a year, I asked him to come on the show to share his story.

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

  • (02:13) Who he is and what his company is all about
  • (04:13) The results they’ve achieved (doubling their revenue!)
  • (04:58) What they did prior to what they’re doing now
  • (06:13) A big investment they made, and the cost of signing up
  • (08:13) How they capture leads
  • (10:53) Specific tactics they use for lead magnets
  • (11:53) Their focus on educating prospects
  • (13:13) How they segment their list
  • (15:49) The type of lead magnets they use
  • (18:43) Which social networks are working for them
  • (19:58) How they drive traffic
  • (21:13) A description of their lead nurture process
  • (22:58) How they are using the phone to follow up
  • (25:03) How they are converting prospects
  • (26:43) How they qualify leads
  • (31:13) How they are using testimonials
  • (33:53) How Infusionsoft has exponentially improved their nurturing
  • (38:13) How they are using Infusionsoft for operations
  • (39:46) Lightning round

Links

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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Transcript

Trent

Dyrsmid: Hey there, bright idea hunters. Welcome to the ‘Bright Ideas’

podcast. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast for

marketing agencies and entrepreneurs who want to discover how to use

content marketing and marketing automation to massively boost their

business.On the show with me today is a fellow by the name of Shaun Whynacht,

who is the founder of a company called Blue Cow Creative, a small marketing

agency. I learned of Shaun by way of attending InfusionCon this past year.

Shaun started to use InfusionSoft, and in the year following his using it,

he was able to double the revenue of his firm. Being as he’s got a

relatively small firm, just two people, I wanted to get him on to tell his

story because that’ll be a great story of significant results with someone

who maybe doesn’t have a huge pile of resources to work with Shaun’s story

is exactly that.Before we get to the interview, I want to give you my tool tip for

this episode, and that is something called JobChangeAlerts.com. If you want

to know when someone who you are connected to on LinkedIn changes their job

description or profile, which might be an opportune time for you to get in

touch with them to sell them your services, JobChangeAlerts.com will do

that for you. Will actually send you an email, so it’s a super-cool little

tool and it’s totally free.The other announcement is, my next life cycle marketing webinar,

which you can register for at BrightIdeas.co/webinar. If you are not yet

getting as many leads as you would like, or you’re not doing a good enough

job converting those leads to customers, or you’re not getting enough

referrals from your existing customers, this webinar will definitely help

you to improve your results. So, BrightIdeas.co/webinar, to register.So, with that said, please join me in welcoming Shaun to the show.

Hey, Shaun, welcome to the show.Shaun

Whynacht: Thanks for having me.Trent: It’s a pleasure to have you on. I think you’re the first

Canadian that I’ve actually had on my show, which is significant for those

in the audience who don’t know, because I’m Canadian.Shaun: Excellent. It’s a pleasure to be on, and be the first.Trent: Go, Canada, go. [laughs] All right. For the folks who do not

know who you are or what you do, please take a moment and introduce

yourself and your company.Shaun: I consider myself an entrepreneur of life. I’ve had a business

since the age of 17, and a couple since; but most recently, what I’ve been

doing is a company called Blue Cow Creative Design and Productions, Ltd. We

do a lot of content creation for clients, including social media marketing

and lead capture, drip marketing, those kind of things.Trent: Okay. So, very much a marketing expert in the marketing agency

space, which is ideal because a lot of the people who are listening to this

show either run a firm like yours, aspire to run a firm like yours, or

could use the services of a firm like yours.You came to my attention because InfusionSoft profiled you for some

of the success that you’d been having since starting to use their

application. I want to talk a bit about that because obviously I’m a big

InfusionSoft fan. I use it myself and I think that there are people who are

considering using it, or could be using it, and I’d really love them to

hear from people who are having success with it.

With that said, you run a two-person agency?

Shaun: Yes.

Trent: Okay. Let’s jump to the conclusion first, So the people who are

wondering, ‘Why do I want to listen to this interview?’ Since starting to

use InfusionSoft, can you tell us a little bit about the results that

you’ve been able to achieve?

Shaun: We’ve been using it almost two years now. After the first year

of using it, we’ve noticed that our revenue has doubled from the previous

years. It wasn’t just a banner year just because of the economy, it was

actually what we have proven to be attributed to the benefit of using

InfusionSoft through educating our prospects before they actually decide to

work with us. And then the service after the sale, that it’s allowed us to

  1. That’s really what it has done for us and it’s almost like having two

other people working 24/7 for us when people are inquiring online.

Trent: Yeah. That’s pretty significant. Doubling your revenue and the

work of two other people.

Before InfusionSoft, how did you used to do what it is that you’re

doing now? Or did you even do it?

Shaun: If anybody listening is familiar with the old show MacGyver, I

say that we’ve MacGyvered a system together, where we had multiple

different systems out there running, one for invoicing, one for emailing,

one for contacts, and none of them really worked together. It wasn’t that

we looked at them as systems that didn’t work together. We just didn’t know

that there was a solution out there that would do it all in one.

When we heard about InfusionSoft and did the online demo, we were

hesitant that there was a claim that there was a service out there, that we

could subscribe to and use their software, and do all that. It took

probably six months for me to convince myself to take that leap and

actually try it, but it was the best decision we’ve done since then.

Trent: What you just said there is not uncommon. It’s a reasonably

good-sized investment up-front, a couple thousand dollars, and then it’s a

couple hundred dollars per month. I’ve had people email me who’ve listened

to the show, to ask about the pricing, and then right away, ‘Oh no, that’s

too much money.’ Did you think the same thing when you were looking at it

to begin with? Was that one of the things that was causing you to not pull

the trigger right away?

Shaun: Definitely. It wasn’t because I saw it as I didn’t have the

money to invest in it, it was just a big investment, especially for a small

business, a young entrepreneur who was just trying to make ends meet month-

to-month. Then, actually doing it, and looking at the other systems we used

where commonly they were considerably less per month, but you get what you

pay for. The time it saved us to not have to go between all those, it

actually works out cheaper if you figure out the time you’ve wasted with

the other services, by using their all-in-one solution.

Trent: Was there subcontractors that you used to use for various

manual processes, that now you’ve been able to automate and so you don’t

require those subcontractors, or even just your own time?

Shaun: It was my own time. It was replying to people’s inquiries about

common questions and those kind of things. For us, for what we do, because

a lot of the work is in creating a project and training our clients to use

it and be able to pedal on after the sale and use those solutions. To

educate them after, and have that resource there that they can come back

to, and currently drip information out to them after the fact to enhance

that service, was something that I would have had to spend a lot of time,

for one with a calendar and figure out, when do I send all this stuff, and

then actually physically have to do it. InfusionSoft just makes it all

simple for us.

Trent: Indeed it does. There’s three main pieces to InfusionSoft.

There’s the CRM component, there is the online shopping cart so you can

receive payments for whatever you would like, and then there’s the whole

marketing automation/email/autoresponder, however you would like to

describe that. I just call it the marketing automation piece. Are you using

all three pieces?

Shaun: I use all three. I use, more so, the campaign manager and the

campaign builder for a lot of the stuff. Probably about 80 percent of the

function we use it for, is for that. We have a lot of free resources on our

website where people can come in and request to download a free eBook or

free report, and then they get into a campaign where they’re getting drip

information about that, to convert them down the road, about when they want

to make that decision to move with a company like us, that they’re already

educated about what we do. We do that before the sale.

Then, after the sale, we use a lot of follow up through that, getting

people into education sequences, going out. We use the CRM, obviously, to

keep track of all the contact information, but also keep track of a lot of

the pertinent information regarding that client’s account, whether that’s

passwords, and things of that nature.

When it comes to the online payment and the eCommerce side, we don’t

use it as much. We don’t have an online store, but we do have certain

products. We do workshops where we get people to register and it processes

through that and puts them in the sequence for those workshops.

We wrote a book last year on marketing for small business and we sell

that through there, as well. There’s definitely a lot of power there on the

shopping side that we don’t use, but a lot of clients in different

industries could use it a lot more to their advantage than we do.

Trent: Yeah. Good segue into my next bit of questions. You started to

talk about free reports and capturing leads and so forth. I want to shift

to that because I think lead generation is a big problem for a lot of

people, especially when they are first starting out, or even when they’re

thinking about starting out. That’s probably the biggest fear I find in

people: How am I going to get my customers? In the next bit of the

interview, we’re going to talk specifically about what’s working for you

for lead generation, what you’re doing to nurture and educate those leads,

and then how you’re converting them to customers. Then, if we have time,

because I want to keep this under an hour, for sure, We’ll talk maybe a bit

about some of what you’re doing for up-sells and cross-sells and referrals.

Shaun: What we do for lead generation: when we started doing this kind

of thing, it was looking at people that were similar in our field and

seeing those mass numbers of contacts. Whether it was social media and

looking at their Facebook pages, to hearing about their email lists and

hearing about the thousands of people that they have, and being overwhelmed

by that and wondering how you can do it.

We’re looking to build quality connections as opposed to quantity. We

do it a lot through offering free webinars. We do a lot of them live, and

then we’re getting into more writing little white papers, two or three

pages, on things like permission marketing and Facebook advertising and

those kind of things.

In our industry here, most of the business community are owners over

45 years of age and up. So a lot of them haven’t grown up with the social

media side. They haven’t grown up with the technology. A big part of it

based around education. We don’t base it around, if you do this, you’re

going to make X amount of dollars, you’re going to bring X amount of

clients through your door. It’s education first. Then, they try it for a

bit, and then they want to take it to the next step. That’s usually the

point where they get in contact with us.

We do a really good job. We give them maximum information with

minimum commitment to begin, and that’s the key to lead generation. If you

want somebody to download something, if you want to email them something,

all you really need to give them, or for them to give you, is their email

address. You don’t need their address, you don’t need their phone number,

all that stuff. The more you ask for, the less you’re going to get. As you

get them through that whole sequence, and educating them, and building that

trust that you know what you’re talking about, then they’re going to be

more willing to give you that information down the road. That’s what we’ve

seen. It’s what we heard about first, and we tried it, and we see that it

works, so that’s what we’re doing.

Trent: Let me ask a follow-on question for that. You, like me and

probably everybody else, when you get that email address from an

individual, we really don’t know anything about them. In the case of Bright

Ideas, they could be a small business owner, they could be a marketing

consultant, they could be the CEO of a marketing agency, they could be

somebody thinking of starting a marketing agency. The way that I would want

to nurture and educate, because I have products across a couple of

different spectrums. Some products would be applicable to more than one of

those four categories, and other products wouldn’t. I don’t want to just

start sending out all my stuff to everybody, so I start to segment.

What is it that you do? You must segment somehow, because it’s not so

difficult to do. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re doing to make

sure that you get your list segmented in the right way?

Shaun: The information they’ve put out there for those lead generation

tools are very specific to that certain area. For example, we have one

where it’s a ten-video series on how to use Facebook, how to set it up, how

to do the very basics of it. We know that the people that are signing up

for that are very basic users. You’ll have the odd person that’ll sign up

because there’s something for free, but the majority of them are that way.

They’ll go through those ten videos, and then at the end we’ll make them an

offer to go to a more advanced phase, or they just sit there for a bit and

they just get periodic emails.

If they make the step up, then we know that they’re looking to go a

little further. The key is not, get an email and send them everything but

the dog’s lunch, it’s very segmented and making sure that you make them the

ones that control when they want the next bit of information. We find that

it works really well. Every webinar that we do, we do them for free, we get

a couple of really good leads that turn into clients, so it does pay back

itself multiple times after the fact. A lot of our clients that we try to

teach this to haven’t really grasped the concept of giving away something

for free. It’s like, ‘Why should I spend my time doing that if I’m not

getting paid for it?’ Well, you nurture them now, they’re going to pay you

back later if you do a good job at it.

Trent: Absolutely. It’s not as though you’re restricted to giving away

this information to one person at a time. The beauty, obviously, of a

webinar is that you can leverage your time by giving one bit of information

to many people at one time.

Shaun: The key that I’ve found with using InfusionSoft specifically

for this is that you’re not set to a start and end time. You spend the time

to create these products, create these sequences, and depending on when

people come into the funnel, whether it’s today or three weeks down the

road, they’re in the program. They’re getting the information based on the

time that they went in. It’s not like somebody’s going to miss some

information, and I think that’s what’s key to that. It allows us to

leverage the power of InfusionSoft above and beyond doing it manually, like

we had before.

Trent: Going back to what you were talking about with the lead

magnets. A lead magnet, by the way, in case people are unfamiliar with that

term, is what you are giving away to get the email address. It sounds like,

Shaun, that you have more than one lead magnet. How many different ones do

you have?

Shaun: We’ve done the webinars. We’ve recorded them, so those are now

available. People can go on there, sign up, then they get the link to the

videos. There’s probably two or three of those right now. We’ve got our

Facebook video series, we’ve got our book that we wrote, that’s now

available in eBook format and audiobook format for free as well. We’re

working on one right now, that’ll come out in probably the next couple of

weeks, on permission marketing.

Trent: Cool. Of those three, which one works the best for you?

Shaun: The videos. People like to be able to watch a video. The way

that we do them is solely with screencast for the trainings. People

actually get to see what we’re talking about, as opposed to giving them a

printed report. The printed report does all right, but not as well as

video, especially if you have some information to give out, just turning

the camera on and talking to the person will have a higher engagement, we

found.

Trent: I also think it goes a long way to build more trust, as well,

because they’re hearing your voice, and I think that we form a lot of our

opinions about how we feel about another person when we can either hear or

see them on our screen, versus just reading some text that they’ve written.

Shaun. Yes. You get to hear their voice, you get to see them. It’s all

those things that you would have if you were in front of that person. My

background is in video, so I’m a big fan of it. I think people are using

video more and I think they can use it even more as we move forward.

Trent: Speaking of video, I’m actually right in the process of

creating a new lead magnet myself, called The Conversion Tactics Toolkit.

If you’re listening to this on iTunes and you have not yet been to Bright

Ideas, go to BrightIdeas.co and you’ll be able to have an opportunity to

opt in to The Conversion Tactics Toolkit. It is an entirely video series.

All right. Is there anything that, in terms of capturing email

addresses, that’s working particularly well for you that I’ve not yet asked

you about, that you would tell somebody if you were sitting in a coffee

shop having this conversation?

Shaun: What I tell people is that if you’re doing this kind of thing,

and you’re on different platforms like social media, Twitter and Facebook,

is you need to have all your lead capturing/lead generation tools available

in all those different platforms. That’s worked really well for us. When we

create something new, we send it out to our existing email newsletter list

that we’ve gained over the years. We also put it on Facebook and do some

promotion there. We put it on Twitter and LinkedIn. The more relevant that

the information is to the networks that we’re doing, then we find we’re

getting some really good engagement that way.

Trent: Do you find that there is one social network that tends to work

better with the business audience than the others?

Shaun: Not really better, it depends on what we’re doing. Depending on

whether it’s a video series, or if it’s-, specifically let’s talk about the

Facebook one, because we had a higher engagement promoted out on Facebook

because they were in that medium when we were doing it. Whether it’s doing

that there, or sending it out by email, I think it’s relevant to what

you’re offering.

Trent: That makes a lot of sense. People hanging on Facebook would

obviously want to know how to use Facebook for marketing.

Shaun: Time of day, too, when you’re posting things. If you’re

targeting a business owner, which in most of the cases we are, we find a

higher engagement when it’s near the end of the day, as opposed to the

middle of the day because most people are engaged in their business. Even

on the weekends, surprisingly enough. At least here, we have a high

engagement of business owners that will subscribe to stuff on the weekends

because it’s low cost, in most cases free, for them to opt into it. That’s

when they’ve got some time to be online.

Trent: What are some things you’re doing to drive traffic to all these

offers? Are you getting traffic to your blog because you’re blogging, or

are you doing paid Facebook ads?

Shaun: We’ve done a little bit of paid Facebook ads, and they do

convert quite well for us. The majority of the stuff that we’re getting for

new leads is through our existing emails and through referrals. Most of our

new business, probably about 85% to 90% of it, is all referral-based. We

don’t do too much advertising. A lot of it comes through other people

sharing the content, being on our Facebook page, and those kinds of things.

Trent: Do you think there’s anything that you’re doing specifically

that’s stimulating those referrals, or is it just people who are genuinely

happy with the services you’re providing them?

Shaun: I think it’s the fact that we’re very real in the way we

present ourselves. We’re not making any false claims. We’re not giving them

the ‘This is the be-all solution to all your financial freedom.’ We make it

known that these are steps that you need to take to learn and know this

technology and we’re here if you want to take it to the next level. People

really appreciate that we’re not leading them in and making them sink or

swim.

Trent: Yeah. All right, let’s transition to nurturing now. You’ve

talked a bit about it. You’ve talked about the importance of educating

people, but I want to get a little bit more specific now, if we can. Let’s

use your video series, ‘Lead Capture,’ as the example of the guinea pig for

this part of the conversation.

Someone, they see your lead magnet, they give you their email

address, they hit the submit button, or the sign-me-up button, whatever

you’ve called it. What happens in that campaign builder? What have you

built, and what’s going to happen to that new subscriber? Walk us through

that.

Shaun: Once they sign up, they’ll initially get an email welcoming

them to the series, explaining what each of the videos are going to be

doing, and giving them the realistic expectation that they come out every

three days on a weekday and they spend whatever the length is there. In the

videos at the end, they’re then given a link to them. So that if for some

reason they can’t watch one, they’re going to get that in the end for that.

Throughout the process, then about a quarter of the way through,

we’re prompted to mail them out a letter just to introduce the company. No

sales or anything is in that letter. Just excited to have them going

through the series. Just introduce our website and those kind of things a

little bit more. Then, near the end, once they’ve finished, we’re prompted

to give them a call and see what they thought about it. See if they had any

further questions. They can talk to me personally about their journey

through Facebook.

We’re promoting it also as education, to use it on a personal level,

so we’re getting both sides of the fence there. Because I truly believe

that even though somebody might not be in a business and might not use it

for a business purpose, they know somebody that could. We’re not

eliminating educating those people that want to know how to use it for a

personal reason, too.

Trent: I’m very happy you mentioned that there was a call in your

sequence. I think that some people are needlessly scared of the telephone.

When you say call, they think cold call, and they think, ‘Ugh, I don’t ever

want to do that. That would be horrible.’ But, you’re not making a cold

call.

Shaun: No. That’s the key with putting the call near the end of the

sequence, as opposed to initially, at the beginning. If we put it right

when they signed up, we would technically be cold-calling them. Whereas at

the end, we’ve provided them ten videos, ten contact points of information

where we’re helping them every time. We’re never asking for the sale. Even

the call is not sales-oriented. It’s not, ‘Here we have a paid program’, or

anything like that. It’s ‘Just wanted to thank you for going through that.

Do you have any questions? If you ever want to take it to the next level,

this is who we are.’ We thank them for doing that. In most cases, we get

thank-yous back. Other times, we even get people saying that they’ve never

actually had a call that wasn’t pushy sales.

Trent: When you’re making these calls, do you find that people…

‘Hey, this is Shaun from Blue Cow,’ they’re like, ‘Oh hey, Shaun’. What’s

the response that you get, the vast majority of the time when they answer

the phone?

Shaun: They know who I am, even if I’ve never met them, because

they’ve heard me. Each of the videos are probably 15-20 minutes in length.

Some are shorter. They hear my voice throughout those videos. They know my

name. I introduce myself at the beginning, so it’s kind of like they

already know me when I call. It’s a familiar voice on the phone, as opposed

to getting somebody else to call.

Trent: Definitely it’s an easy phone call for you to make and it’s an

easy phone call for them to receive.

Shaun: That’s right.

Trent: How many times, even though you say it’s not a call to ‘be

pushy’ or ask for business, how, in your experience, are you finding that

some people are volunteering, ‘Hey, actually I would like to work with you

to do blah, blah,blah.’ or if that never happens, how are we starting to

convert some of these prospects to clients?

Shaun: Probably I have just over 50% of those people openly, as soon

as I thank them for that and I ask them if there’s anything else they might

need education on, they’ll openly tell me what it is. The rest of them, you

have to dig a little bit about that. I’ll ask, ‘How are you using

Facebook?’ first, if you have a business, and then I’ll ask, ‘How are you

using Facebook in your business?’ and they’re hoping to do some advertising

and that kind of stuff, so I lead them to one of our webinars on Facebook

advertising. Or, we have a report that goes with that and I tell them about

that. But probably more times than not, they want to schedule a time to

talk on the phone, and then, if we do a good job and convert them, then we

end up working with them.

We’re not scared to admit that the relationship is not a fit, if

that’s the case. A lot of people will not do that. They’ll just push and

push for the sale, whereas we want to work with a certain demographic of

business owners. If it doesn’t fit for us, and it doesn’t fit for them,

then we thank them and we both go our separate ways.

Trent: That’s a really, really important point, that you’ve brought

  1. Because a lot of small business owners, they get a few years in, and

then they realize they have this hodge-podge of customers, 20% of which are

generating 80% of the revenue. The other 80% are, kind of, a pain in their

butt because they took them maybe out of desperation in the early years. Or

they just took them for reasons that weren’t really solid reasons. Does

that sound familiar to you? Did you go through that experience, or were you

very choosy from the beginning?

Shaun: No, I was not very choosy. Starting out, any hook that came

into the water, I was biting at it. Using the InfusionSoft system, it’s has

allowed us to qualify those people and see, when they receive emails, what

are they clicking on? What are they doing? To see how interested they are,

so that when we talk to them, we can tell now if they’re really going to be

a key client. If we can’t help them, there’s no point in even going through

that process.

Even if the money’s there, we’d still do this work if we didn’t have

to get paid. We just enjoy doing it, especially if it’s helping people. But

also, that need to help people led us, in the early years, to jump at those

early leads because we feel that people were needing our help. We would

just do stuff. We’d discount some services just so they could use what

we’re doing. But in the end, like you said, that’s probably that 80 % that

just takes up more valuable time than you have, when really, they’re just a

one-off project whereas we’re trying to build long-term relationships.

Trent: You mentioned qualifying. I want to dig a little deeper into

that, if we can. In InfusionSoft, there’s something called lead scoring?

Shaun: Yes.

Trent: I apologize to the audience for all the frogs in my throat

today. I don’t really know why I’m having such a problem here, but I’m

doing my best. Are you using lead scoring, and if so, how are you using it

to help qualify the prospects that are in your funnel so that the people

who deserve the attention, be it the phone call and so forth, are getting

it?

Shaun: We currently don’t use lead scoring. I know the power of it. I

just don’t think that where I’m currently at with the business, that it

works for us the way we’d want it to. We do a lot of our qualifications by

the initial phone call and talking with people. We make it known that this

is what we hope to get out of this call and this initial consultation and

get them to commit to that first. Then we sit down. Just talking to people,

we find, is the best way to do it.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t go in and look at the back history to

see how many times they’ve been checking out our website, what they’ve been

looking at, before we sit down, so I can see how interested they are; or,

if they just decided to come to our website and call right away.

The lead scoring is a powerful tool, especially if you’re in a

business where you might even have a sales force or a sales team where it

can figure out if they’re a hot lead based on their interaction and those

kind of things.

Trent: When you are interviewing a prospective client, do you always

meet with them face-to-face before they become a client? Or, are you

sometimes getting clients who aren’t in your town?

Shaun: It depends on the situation. I prefer to meet face-to-face

whenever possible, but I realize sometimes that time restraints, distance,

and weather don’t allow that. We do a few phone calls for this kind of

thing, but in most cases we try to sit down. I think one of the key things

is to not come across as selling them something. But them identifying what

their needs are, what their goals are, and realizing that what we could

offer will be a solution to that. We find that’s really good.

One of the first things I ask somebody is, ‘What do you hope to get

out of working with us?’ They tell you right away. ‘This is what my problem

is and this is where I’d like to go with it.’ Now it gives us a target to

work towards. In some cases, that goal is something we can’t attain for

them, so it’s either try to get them to a realistic level, or just say,

‘Maybe there’s somebody else better suited for that.’

Trent: That’s a very powerful thing to be able to do. I know that when

I was running my last technology company, and this was in the early 2000s,

before any of this fancy-schmancy marketing automation stuff, that I was

aware of it maybe it existed. One of the first questions we would ask when

we would get a meeting with a new prospect is, ‘Why’d you take the

meeting?’ That was a really terrific way for someone to tell you their

agenda right at the beginning, so that you knew the points that you needed

to speak to so you’d have a chance of converting them into a good client.

Shaun: Yeah, for sure.

Trent: We’ve talked about how you’re capturing leads. We’ve talked

about how you’re nurturing leads. I think we’ve covered how you’re

converting your leads to customers as well, unless there’s anything else

there. Is there anything that’s major in your process on the conversion

part of it that we haven’t talked about?

Shaun: Because a lot of our new business and new leads comes from

referrals, it’s using the power of asking for testimonials. I’m a big fan

of testimonials and people telling their story of why they chose to work

with us. What they liked working with us, so we can use that on our

website, on our blog, on our social media, to promote that experience.

Because I think working with a company should be a positive experience as

opposed to just hiring somebody, and then not really understanding what it

is that we do. That talks back to what we do in the early stages with the

education. It’s not really a lot about educating them about what’s out

there. But educating them about the process we take with them, in the early

stages. So that they know they’re involved in that process and they don’t

feel left out.

One of the things we’ve heard a lot is that they’ve worked with other

companies and they don’t hear from them for a few days and they don’t

really know what it is that they’re doing. Then, they get a bill in the end

and hopefully the project is good, or not. That’s key to what we do.

Trent: How do you ask for testimonials? Do you just call them up and

ask them? Or do you have a process, campaign, something?

Shaun: Yeah, we just have a little note campaign that we add to that

contact at the end. Just thanking them that the project has completed and

we’ve successfully launched, depending on what it is. And just ask them to

go to our Facebook page and write their testimonial, as opposed to just

emailing it to us.

Trent: Wow, that’s cool.

Shaun: In most cases, but if they’re not on Facebook, then obviously

we take it by email, but we want it to come authentic from them and not

seem like we’ve reformatted it and pushed it out after the fact.

Trent: Then, you can take a screen shot of it on Facebook and reuse

that particular image wherever you like.

Shaun: That’s right. Plus, immediately, all their friends see that

they’ve posted something on our wall, and it helps that way.

Trent: Golden nugget, there it is. I’ve got to write that down –

testimonials on Facebook.

Shaun: You can always copy and paste it and use it in other things

after, but at least the original source is authentic.

Trent: Yeah. Okay. This nurturing process that we’ve been talking

about obviously is working very, very well for you. And you’d mentioned,

before InfusionSoft that this was not so easy. Did you nurture, in any way,

shape, or form, like you do now, only you did it manually and it took a lot

of work? Or, were you like maybe a lot of people out there who would get a

prospect, call them three or four times, ‘Nah, they don’t want to take the

meeting’, and then just give up?

Shaun: Yeah, the last one there, that was pretty much me. A lot of the

process of using InfusionSoft was learning the keys to nurturing and that

that was actually a key point to doing business. The benefit with

InfusionSoft is not just that they’re a software, but there’s a whole team

of people there that are invested in your growth and the well-being of your

company.

So if you have any questions about, ‘How could I use this element?’

It’s not just the p’s and q’s, and click here and do this. It’s ‘Here’s how

you take it offline, here’s how you use it.’ So I think that they’re really

great that way.

I’ve also been down to both InfusionCons in the last two years.

That’s a huge event that really helped me focus my business, learn what I

needed to do, and realize that I didn’t have all the answers, but I could

learn them down the road.

Trent: That is such an incredibly good point. I’m wondering if you do

this: back when I was running my technology company, I participated in a

couple of mastermind groups where, in one case, one of them was called True

Profit, and another one was called Vistage. We would meet, I think one of

them was four times a year, and the other one, I can’t remember. I think

also four times a year. You’d sit down in a room with other people who are

running companies exactly like what you’re running, just in a different

marketplace. And we would openly share a huge amount of detail in every

area, from marketing to operations, so that we could all learn from each

other.

I can’t emphasize how valuable that was, because you’re learning from

people who are doing exactly what you’re doing, and they’re running their

own businesses. Do you participate in anything like that?

Shaun: I currently don’t. I’m currently looking for something like

that. I do see the extreme value in a mastermind group, but just in the

area that we’re in, we haven’t found that kind of thing. We do a lot of

networking and talking to businesses in other areas that cover a lot of the

key basics of bookkeeping and all that other kind of things that we need to

talk about. But when it comes to specifics, we currently haven’t done

anything like that.

Trent: Okay. Well, I’m going to introduce you to something like that.

Bright Ideas does have a mastermind group. If you go to

BrightIdeas.co/mastermind, you can learn more about it. It is specifically

targeted to people who are marketing consultants and marketing agencies.

However, with that said, because that’s what, when you read the page,

actually by the time this is published, there will be a full page

explaining everything, Shaun. If you go there right now, it’s just what I

call the pre-launch page, where you can register for updates and so forth.

Even though, on the full page, which, people when they’re listening

to this will see it, I want them to understand that the principles and the

things that we talk about, and it starts off with a two day workshop, two

day online workshop. The principles that we talk about are going to be

highly applicable to whatever industry you’re in, but most of the people in

the group probably will be running marketing agencies. With that said, one

of my facilitators, and you probably know him, his name is Dustin Burleson.

That name ring a bell with you?

Shaun: No, it doesn’t.

Trent: Oh, okay. He was one of the Ultimate Marketer finalists at

InfusionCon this year. He’s the guy that has the orthodontics clinic

that…

Shaun: Okay, yes, now I know.

Trent: Four clinics now, because he’s using, it just blew up once he

started using InfusionSoft. He’s going to be inviting a number of the

people who attend, other orthodontists who attend his seminars. This first

one that we’re going to do, I’m not exactly sure of the mix of the people.

Regardless, if you’re looking for a mastermind group, just head over to

BrightIdeas.co/mastermind and there will be information there for you to

check out.

All right. Sorry, again, for all the frogs in my throat. I don’t know

why. What do I want to ask you about next? We were going to make a

transition, how are we doing for time? We’ve still got a bit of time.

Are you still – got a few minutes left?

Shaun: Yes, certainly.

Trent: I know. I know what it was. This wasn’t on my list of

questions, but you talked about this early on. We’ve talked a lot about how

InfusionSoft and the campaign builder is helping you with marketing, but I

want to talk about how it’s helping you with operations, and stuff that

happens after people become a client.

Can you speak to, because the campaign builder, I mean, campaigns

don’t have to be marketing-oriented. Because all a campaign is, is a

sequence of communication and activity, which is more or less any, and

almost every, business process. Can you talk about anything that you’re

doing in that regard?

Shaun: Well use a lot of the CRM side of InfusionSoft, with the custom

fields and and the custom tabs, to tailor it towards the information that

we need to keep about each client’s project. When we’re dealing with people

that we’re building websites for, or setting up online accounts, we keep a

lot of their account details in there; attach their records, so that if I

need to go in, or somebody else needs to go in later to send them that

information, it is there for them.

The other side is, also, using a lot of the tracking of the emails

that we send out. We can send them out through that so we can see when

they’ve opened them and any links that they clicked on. As for using any of

the sequences internally for the actual project building, usually once we

take on the project, when we finish it, a lot of that communication is just

done one-on-one with the client by our team, or any subcontractors that we

use. Then, after the sale, we go back and give them some resources about

using that service or that product that we’ve created for them.

Trent: Okay. All right, Shaun. Well, I want to thank you very much.

Oh, before I go, my lightning round. Can’t forget the lightning round.

Three questions.

Shaun: Okay.

Trent: Question number one: what are you most excited about for 2013?

Shaun: For 2013, what we’re more excited about it we’re launching a

new area to our business called the Seniors Learning Academy. Because here

in Nova Scotia, we have a large contingency of seniors who are using iPads

and a lot of them don’t know how to use them. This whole project is, first,

teaching them how to use these new pieces of technology for their

lifestyle. We’ll be rolling that out in a DVD learning series for them.

That’s what we’re really excited about, coming up.

Trent: Now is that a product you’re going to sell?

Shaun: Yes.

Trent: Okay. I was going to say, because how does that fit in with

lead gen? But now I get it. That’s just a revenue producer in its own

right.

All right. What is your favorite business book?

Shaun: Ooh, well, I’m currently reading, and I’m really liking, Seth

Godin’s ‘Permission Marketing.’ I really like the mindset of that. Anything

that he writes has been stellar, right from ‘The Purple Cow,’ to ‘Meatball

Sundae,’ I think is the latest one that I read before this. Anything Seth

Godin puts out, I think, is golden.

Trent: Finally, for the folks who have been listening to you now and

think, ‘Hey, I might like to do business with Shaun’, what’s the number one

easiest way for them to get in touch with you?

Shaun: The best way is to go to www.BlueCowCreative.ca.

Trent: Terrific. Shaun, thank you so much for making some time to be

on the show. It’s been a pleasure to have you on.

Shaun: It’s been a pleasure being here.

Trent: All right. To get to this show notes from today’s episode, go

to BrightIdeas.co/66. When you’re there, you’ll see all the links that

we’ve talked about today, plus some other valuable information that you can

use to ignite more growth in your business.

If you’re listening to this on your mobile phone, just text TRENT to

585858 and I’ll give you access to the ‘Massive Traffic Toolbox,’ which is

a compilation of all of the very best traffic generation strategies shared

with me by the many proven experts that have been guests here on the show.

As well, you’ll also be able to get a list of, what I feel, are the very

best interviews, thus far, that I have recorded. I can promise you will

discover many bright ideas as a result of those interviews.

Finally, if you really enjoyed this episode, please head over to

BrightIdeas.co/love, where you will find a link to leave us a rating in the

iTunes store.

That’s it for this episode. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and I look

forward to seeing you in the next episode. Take care and have a wonderful

day.

Recording: Thanks very much for listening to the Bright Ideas podcast.

Check us out on the web at BrightIdeas.co.

About Shaun Whynacht

ShaunWhynacht-PromoShot-SmallAs a leader in social media consulting, Blue Cow is on the leading edge of technology application, combining an up-to-the minute understanding of current tools and trends with proven skills in creative design and video production to offer clients the latest, hippest approach to their business needs. But Blue Cow’s approach dictates that superior customer service and a personalized approach is the hallmark of their operation; here high tech meets down home.

It’s a business acumen that has made converts of business operators who have experienced the philosophy; developed by company President Shaun Whynacht; of educate, engage and accelerate in which clients learn about the options available, buy-in to those concepts, and then, through applying those tools and trends, meet their goals. But it’s a process that is preambled by Blue Cow’s astute understanding of the technologies and deep interest in the needs of the client. There’s no love-‘em and leave-‘em in these relationships – Blue Cow and their clients stay committed to each other for the long haul!

And with that track record, it’s no wonder that the youthful Mr. Whynacht (he’s, amazingly, just 32) has earned the attention of regional business leaders who have featured him and his firm in High Flyers, a showcase of the region’s most promising up-and-coming entrepreneurs.