Podcast Booking Services for SEO Link Building and More

For those of you that follow me or my blog, you’ve noticed that I’ve been really into podcasting over the last year or so.

For many years [insert eyeball roll] I thought of podcasting as a fringe marketing tactic.

Because if I wasn’t listening to podcasts, no one else was either.

Boy was I wrong.

Podcasting is huge and has been surging in popularity.

I’ve never had any digital marketing tactic produce as much bang-for-the buck as I have with a strategic podcast guest booking program.

– Phil Singleton

Then I stumbled onto what I still think is the single biggest bang-for-the-buck tactic in all of SEO and content marketing: Podcast Interview Marketing

Is being booked on other people’s established podcasts really that much better than other link building techniques like guest posting?

Uh, yeah.

It’s so good in fact, that established a separate company call Podcast Bookers to deliver a unique type of podcast booking service design to extract more SEO value than run-of -the-mill booking services.

podcast booking services

Down below, you will fine a 90 minute video that we use to training new clients to 10x their return on their podcast guesting campaigns.

But First, What is Podcast Guesting vs Podcast Hosting?

Podcast guesting is when you are booked as a guest expert on someone else’s podcast.

This blog post is primarily about the benefits on being booked as a guest on other people’s and influencer’s established shows, but I truly think to get the full benefit, that you should also have your own show (like I do).

Here is a Summary List of Podcast Booking Service Benefits

  • New audience access
  • Easier than guest blogging
  • Less spammy than guest blogging
  • Personal connection with influencer (host)
  • High production value content
  • More shareable and “launchable” content
  • Social cross-amplification on steroids
  • Free long form blog posts (via transcripts)
  • Increase dwell time on pages (via embedded audio)
  • “As Seen On” content for trust
  • Online reviews (see video below for how)
  • Sales (yes you can get clients)
  • Backlinks from host’s episode show notes pages
  • More “ripple” backlinks from episode syndication on high authority podcast directories
  • New podcast subscribers (if you have your own show)
  • Authority / personal brand building (you are introduced as a subject matter expert for Pete’s sake!)

How Much are Podcast Book Services Worth?

Well, let’s look at the value of what you can get from podcast interview marketing.

This is a spreadsheet that is included in the video below, that assigns a market value to benefits according to retail rates we were able to find for individual marketing service that bring the same value.

Most notably, backlink building services and blogger outreach service cost more for similar quality links, yet you get NONE of the other benefits!

 

podcast link building services

 

10x Better Than Guest Posting or Buying Backlinks

Here’s the video.

It’s long, around 90 minutes.

But it has all the secret sauce.

You see, getting booked on podcasts is great, but if you don’t have an SEO mindset, then you’ll loose 90% of the value from your campaign.

 

Podcast Booking Services Training Transcript

Phil Singleton: Hello everybody, I’m Phil Singleton and welcome to the Podcast Bookers, podcast guest training and certification course. My name is Phil Singleton. I’m going to walk you through a training session that I think is going to help you get way more benefit out of guesting, that is getting booked as a guest on established podcast shows, which is what Podcast Bookers is all about. A lot of folks out there provide podcast booking services, but they do so in a one dimensional way. And that is, “I’m going to get you booked on a show. You’re going to get access to this audience.”

Well, that is a great reason to get booked on podcast shows, but if you think of it from an SEO standpoint and all the additional benefits you can get out of this, you can increase your ROI by 10 times or more. And I want to give you some training and some tips and tactics on how you can get way more benefit out of a guesting campaign to the point where really, for me, I realized last year that I’ve been in SEO and Internet marketing for over 12 years. This is the most powerful form of SEO in terms of an SEO tactic or even a content marketing tactic that I’ve ever seen.

I’ve never had anything produce as much of a bang for the buck as I have with a strategic guest booking program. I’ve done this successfully for myself. I’ve been on well over 50 shows in the last 12 months, probably approaching 60. I’ve booked tens of thousands of dollars in new business, but that’s not why I got involved with it. I got involved with it because I saw a lot of benefits from an SEO and content marketing standpoint. I’m going to walk through each one of those so that you can enjoy some of the benefits that I have in terms of using this service and helping to grow your business, your authority and your own personal branding. So let’s get to it.

I actually had this slide up last, and I’m going to show you it again at the end, but I thought, “Hey, let me show this up at the beginning because I think this really will show to people when I say that there’s a lot of value to this, I actually mean there’s a lot of monetary value that we can prove.” And I’ve been trying to figure out ways even for myself to try and figure out and determine how we can increase ROI and if there’s any value that we can attach to these individual benefits that are actually occurring as part of a strategic guesting program.

And you’re going to see things as we walk through the presentation and the course where each one of these individual benefits like a high quality backlink, we know has a retail value of say at least $150 per link that you would get off of say, a show notes page, which you will see later. And if you really get on some of these bigger, higher authority sites and larger shows over the course of a successful longer term grassroots podcast guesting campaign, you can get on some that are going to give you in terms of a retail value, maybe be worth $1,000 or $2,000 a link more in terms of what other actual link building companies are charging for similar quality link, and get a lot more benefits on top of that.

But we’re going to break it down in links in terms of online reviews that you can gain out of this, building your online reputation, the benefits of personal branding and using guesting as one of the quickest routes to authority in building a personal brand. The actual value of having a whole show dedicated to you versus what an advertiser pays for a 60 or a 120 second advertisement on a podcast. So there’s a tremendous amount of value to the extent that an entire show that you’re going to be on is basically dedicated to you where you have advertisers just try and get in there and sneak on there for seconds, if not maybe a minute or two and pay top dollar just to get access to the same audience that you’re getting for your guesting campaign.

If you’re smart about this, like I think that we’ve been, you can actually get very high quality blog posts out of these efforts that can rank really highly if you go about them strategically and doing the right way. You get all sorts of social media benefits out of this, and you can actually get, as I have new clients, which to me has been the gravy. I would do it without it. I don’t put a value on this where, if you’re going in one of our guest blogging programs for say the four shows per month, you’re paying about $165 a show. You’re at least getting $600 worth of value out of each show that you get booked on. And on some of the bigger ones, if you get lucky as, as you do this, your ability to get pitched on bigger and better shows grows.

Really, the sky’s the limit in terms of value in what they can bring to you. But I think the value is much higher than $600 a show, and could be as high as 10 or 20 times that depending on the shows that you get booked on and how your performance and your value add is. We’re going to get back to this value summary at the very end of it because I’m going to try and prove this case. But I wanted you to see this ahead of time. It’s like, hey, when you get involved with this, we’re talking about real money and real value here. This is a very high powered, very effective content marketing campaign.

And I wouldn’t be doing it because anything that I do these days, I’m trying to make sure that I can get a 10 or 20x return on it, and this is certainly one of those tactics that can do that if you do it strategically. If you do it in a one dimensional way, you’re not going to get much benefit. You’ll get some benefit out, but you’re not going to get through the returns that I think I’ve seen over the last 12 months. So let’s get into some background here. First of all, the first thing that I get from a lot of people who are thinking about podcast guesting I think the wrong way is, “What kind of shows can you get me on? I’m I going to get on the big shows?” Like you’re going to hit this one grand slam that’s going to change your life.

…you’ve got to think of a podcast guesting campaign in terms of a virtual speaking tour or almost like a political town hall strategy where you are going out and seeing smaller groups of people.

It’s totally not like that. That’s the myth. If you’re looking, trying to get on a big home run, Tim Robbins show or Tim Ferriss or some other famous Tim out there that’s got hundreds of thousands, if not millions of listeners, it’s just not going to happen because these guys have their own booking staffs. They’re booked out for months, if not years. And they don’t have any problem getting guests that are a lot more famous than you or I are type of a thing. But that’s not really what the benefit of this type of program is. We’re trying to go after established and targeted shows that are within your niche. So you’ve got to think of a podcast guesting campaign in terms of a virtual speaking tour or almost like a political town hall strategy where you are going out and seeing smaller groups of people.

If you think of, if you’ve ever gone out and given a presentation to a group of 50 or 100 people in a room, that’s a pretty good showing. We’re doing that a lot of times in a guesting campaign where some of these smaller shows might only have 50 or 100 or 1,000 or a few thousand listeners, but they’re very targeted, they’re very dedicated and loyal to the host. This is one of the things I think I took for granted in the very beginning, a show host that allows you access to their trusted audience is a very special thing that should not be taken for granted because the people listening in and subscribing to the show trust the host and their content very much, and you just by nature of being guested or having the ability to access it, is a great privilege to be able to be introduced by somebody that these folks really trust.

So getting to talk to somebody for 20 or 30 or 40 minutes, and for somebody that’s actually giving you their seal of approval, that’s the host, great privilege. And something that I think that I probably took a little bit for granted in the beginning. But you need to think about this as a town hall strategy, a virtual speaking tour, and something where you’re trying to build up a grassroots campaign and that you’re getting in front of potentially a lot of your targeted ideal clients and building this up on a weekly or if you’re doing this once or twice a month basis, and there’s a lot of power to doing it this way. But if you’re thinking about, “Hey, I’m going to sign up, what kind of shows are you going to get me on?”

You’re looking at this the wrong way because there’s many other benefits that you’re going to get from being guested on a show and get access on a trusted website with a trusted audience than just trying to get that one time. “Oh, hope I get on a show with lots of people on it. It’s going to change my life,” type of thing. It just doesn’t work like that. So podcast, guesting, let’s talk about some of the obvious benefits, some of the ones that are going to back up maybe that chart that I showed you at the beginning. The first thing, I think first and foremost, again, like we talked about in the last slide, you’re getting access to a highly engaged audience.

Podcast consumers are people that are going to be advanced buyers and ones that want to be educated and learn. And you’re getting access to these folks. Again, they trust the host, trust the show, and trust the website that you’re going to be, and the social media channel that you’re going to eventually be marketed on. But one of the things that I think is absolutely beautiful about this whole type of a campaign is that once you’re prepared and have an idea of what you want to pitch and how you want to educate people in you’re guesting program, the host is doing all the work for you.

You’re showing up prepared, and giving your best 20 or 30 minutes. And after the recording’s done, you say goodbye, and the host is going to do all this work for you to promote your content and drive people back to that page that they’re going to create for you and potentially even your own website or your own gift, your own call to action. So if you think about some popular forms of content marketing, again, I’m an SEO person, and I think one of the things that people still do in terms of trying to get in terms of a content marketing tactic is going to be something called guest posting, and that’s essentially writing blog posts and getting them posted on high quality authority websites where you, again, you can get access to another audience.

And then hopefully earn an organic backlink back to your website that gives you, that Google’s going to pay attention for, and essentially give you credit and work into the algorithm. And over the course of doing it, over weeks and months. You get enough of these links that are going to contribute to better search engine rankings as well. That is a very, very hard, labor-intensive process where you have to pay somebody to create some great content on your behalf, or you have to spend a lot of time on your behalf to do it, then go out and pitch websites that are getting pitched all the time. This tactics becoming very tired and spamming. And it takes a lot of outreach.

And essentially what you’re doing when you give a blog post, the production value’s a lot lower because it’s just ‘a blog post’ that you wrote and you hopefully got a link back into it. Maybe you have a bio credit at the end of it, but it doesn’t have the production value that being guested on a show is going to give you. So a podcast show has a lot higher production value and is a lot more shareable, and it’s almost got this many launchable piece of content than you would get in, say, another form of content, like a guest post, which is really just almost like a raw post in and of itself, that doesn’t quite have the production value or the chance to have as much of engagement or sharing as again, being a guest on somebody else’s show is.

I mentioned, this is a very popular entrepreneurial website called Entrepreneurs on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas. He’s one of the top guys in the podcasting space. So if you already have your own podcast show, you already know John, you’ve probably listened to some of his podcasts. You might have consumed some of his content or taken some of his advice in terms of how to run your own podcast. But it’s really interesting when I talked about guest posting here is, if you look on John’s site, if you were to go out and say, “Hey man, I wish I could maybe find a way to get some exposure on John’s side through on Entrepreneurs on Fire, through a guest posting program.

What you see, what he has in a lot of websites have these days that have any type of authority or value to them. He’s saying, “We do not accept guest posts on Entrepreneurs on Fire. We do not contribute in any other types of blogs around.” You see, another popular form of content marketing is trying to approach influencers and trying to build up a round up post where you’ve got several influencers that provide a quote and aggregating that together and doing maybe a quote for your own website. Again, this is one of those tired things, there’s lots of outreach for, and people are getting like John than any other mini influencer or influencer that’s out there is getting approached, to try and get some content that people can leverage.

This just goes to show you that it’s a very tired tactic and hard to penetrate harder and harder to penetrate good websites and get exposure on them through a guest blogging campaign. Of course, podcast guesting is a lot different, and we’re going to show you this, but I just wanted to give you an example here of how hard a traditional form of link building and content marketing is through guest blogging. And I talked about production value. One of the things a lot of the hosts are going to go out of their way to do is, when you spend time with them, 20 or 30 minutes, a lot of them, I would say that the majority of them are going to go out and create or they’ve got some a graphic template that they use specifically for sharing.

Well, they’re really nice. They go through the effort of customizing them, they’ll get your headshot, they’ll put your name on it, and put a custom title of the show. They’ll send this out to you during the show, and also place it on the show notes page on their website, which we’ll talk about later. You don’t normally see this thing anywhere else, but again, you’re going and spending a half hour with somebody, and they’re going to go through the effort of promoting. And part of the promotion is, a lot of them come up with custom graphics for you that they’re going to use to promote in their social media channels, and maybe even their email newsletters and on their website.

This is just proof to show you and say, “Hey look, here’s another benefit of guesting campaign.” A lot of these times in each and every show, you’re going to have a custom graphic that the host is going to do for you or a member of their team. More benefits of podcast guesting. One of the biggest things and one of the reasons I got involved with it is because pretty much every established show out there, the way that they traditionally are going to distribute a new show that you’re going to be on, is they’re going to interview you, they’re going to record it, then they’re going to, mostly if they do it the right way, I think in terms of the podcast host, is they’re going to create a show notes page that has an embedded audio in it, and also has some notes and maybe even a transcription of the show along with the graphic that we saw on the slide before.

Within the show notes page, it’s on the host website on your episode that you’re going to be on. They’re typically going to ask you, “How can we reach you?” And include links to your website or websites, links to a special offer, or a call to action that you should have for the show, links back to your social media or any other resource that you’ve mentioned during the show. So huge benefit, if you think about this in terms of making sure that you mentioned your website and/or websites so that they get mentioned in the show notes and in almost all cases the host is going to link back to the resources that you mentioned there. So you have to make sure that you mention all the links that you want to mention in the show.

Massive SEO value here because those links are eventually going to be picked up by the Google crawlers, and you’re going to get a ‘SEO points’ for these because they’re coming from high quality websites that are going to be in or around your niche. There’s also another huge benefit that I stumbled on after doing the first couple of shows is, you can actually use your guesting program to accumulate reviews for yourself, for your own business. Now again, I’ve been on over 50 shows, probably closer to 60 now. And every case I go after an ask the host, “How was I in terms of sharing knowledge and being a guest on your show? Would you be willing to give me a review on Google or on LinkedIn,” or in some other place where I can capture the chance for them to review the knowledge that I share. And there’s multiple ones there because reviews are huge for many different reasons.

You’re spending that period of time with a host, great way to stack up your reviews in something I think is probably worth the value all by itself, just to the extent that you can get more reviews for your company or business or yourself as part of a guesting campaign. So you can also do something, this relates to reviews in terms of you’re building your own reputation, or in terms of maybe helping a client out that has reputation management issues. When you think about the way a show, a podcast show is structured, the whole show, the whole episode is about you, the guest, you the expert. They’re inviting somebody that has special knowledge to come onto the show to educate their audience or enlightened them with some a new tip or a tactic or some background inspirational story.

Well, because the show is about you, the title often has your name in it. The URL often has your name in it. The content on the show notes page on the host website has your name mentioned multiple times on it. Well, that helps you in terms of reputation management because you will see as you get on shows that have a higher and higher authority, that those pages will start to rank when somebody searches for your name, or if you’re doing this on behalf of a client. And if you’ve got somebody that has reputation management issues, you can leverage this in the background as a way to build up those show notes page on multiple podcasts, and build those up onto the first page for name searches, your own or somebody else’s, and start to push down maybe some of that content or pages where you might be dealing with some reputation management issues from the past.

It’s something that you can help to improve your reputation management terms of rankings right now, but more importantly, for somebody like myself, I’m thinking, I’ve got a way to stack the deck against maybe some reputation things that happen in the future. So the more shows you get on and the better you’re able to snowball yourself onto higher and higher authority, and more shows that have more reach and more authority, the more those show notes page on those sites are going to rank for your name when you rank them. So it’s a great way to stack the search engine result pages, the SERPs, with content from other websites that has your name on it.

Of course, you’re going to get … We’re moving on here into traffic. This is one of the things I think people think in the one dimensional sense. Yes, you get that one launch, you’re going to get access to listeners. You’re going to get traffic to your website show on the day of that launch or when it gets shared. Absolute benefit on this, a lot of times it can lead to direct sales if you’ve done a good job soft pitching what you do, educating and getting people to trust you on the show. It’s just a matter of numbers. The more shows that you do, eventually you’re going to resonate with one of the listeners, and they’re going to contact you and say, “This guy understands me. I need a service like this. I need to talk to somebody like this.”

And all of a sudden. you get a chance to suck them into your funnel or your education process that can actually lead to a sale. We’re going to talk about free blog post, something that I absolutely love and have leveraged to a huge extent for my own businesses. The personal branding thing on this piece is something we need to talk about, and we can’t underestimate the importance of it. A big part of being a successful marketer for your business or as a professional marketer is we’re all trying to differentiate ourselves in terms of building a personal brand and building our own authority as a leader in the space. Well, I think podcast guesting on shows that are in and around your niche is the fastest way for people to build authority.

There’s just nothing else like it because there’s no way to spend this little amount of time to reach an engaged audience. And then again, have somebody blast your name and call you an expert and showcase you on their website and on their show. Nothing really does that like a podcast guesting campaign. The list goes on and on, but even from just going through quick list of bullets, hopefully I’m making a case where I think this is the most powerful SEO tactic that I’ve seen in 12 years. It’s not the only thing that you should be doing, but there’s nothing else in terms of the amount of time that you spend going into any kind of campaign where you can get this many wins for this little time. There’s just nothing else that touches it.

I want to get into the actual value that you’re going to get from certain things that happen as a result of a guesting program. Well, the first thing that you just can’t argue with is when we get you booked or when you get yourself booked, let’s say for example on an established podcast, most of these websites that have podcasts, established podcasts are already advanced marketers, so if they’re doing their own podcast show, they’re likely doing lots of other things that have benefited the website by the time that you get on the show. Just about every show that we see, and that’s an established show that has 50 episodes or more, usually has a minimum DA value of 20 or more domain.

DA is Domain Authority, and this is a third party metrics that was developed by SEO industry leader, Moz. That’s essentially a measure of a website’s domain authority. What it tells us is how valuable a website in terms of the quality of other links that are pointing to its website. If you have a website that’s been around and you’ve have other people from higher authority websites linking back to your website, you tend that have a higher and higher domain authority. And when a domain authority reaches 20 and higher, the value of getting a link from that website on a DA 20 site and hire has much more SEO value to you.

There are a lot of companies, SEO companies out there that sell out link outreach or link building services, and the way they charge you for that is based on domain authority. So they’ll go out and say, “How is Moz domain authority of 20 to 30?” And if we actually click out of here and going to go do like a search and search Moz domain authority. If I look on this tool here and open the … If I go to my website, kcwebdesigner.com and do a search, you’ll see that my website has a domain authority of 43 out of 100, which is quite decent, high enough for a small business, a web design website.

It’s got a page authority of 52. So I’m way higher than 20, I’m not as high as you’d see like maybe a CNN that might be 80 or 90, but we’re not as low as a website that might be a zero or a 10 that doesn’t do any blogging, hasn’t been around that time or just has an inactive website. But just from a link building value … Scroll back down to where I was, hoops, you get a lot of website and SEO companies that are selling links services, are going to sell you the placement for 100 and 50 to $200, and in most cases even higher. Most of the ones that seeing right now are like 197 to 200 to $300 for a link placement, just for the link by itself.

Just by nature of you getting guested on a show and mentioning your website or your websites if you’ve a couple of different websites and getting that link placed on the host website and in the show notes page, you’re getting a minimum value most of the time of 150 to $200. So again, if we just look at this from an SEO standpoint and say you’re going through Podcast Bookers and we’ve got a $650 a month campaign for you, where you’re essentially paying about $160 per show, just the link that you get as part of this campaign is worth the value that you’re paying to be on the show. And there’s tons more value you’re going to see, but the link building value into the pure SEO value based on what the retail rates for link building as a one dimensional tactic is worth the fee that you pay on your own, or even if you do this on your own direct access.

But the whole point of it is you can assign or you can see monetary value for each length that you’re getting. So this is not a hidden value, this is something that’s out there. There’s proven fee rates and fee structures out there that will charge you for getting a link from a third party website. And we know based on what other people charge that getting a link from an established show is going to bring you each length that you get. It’s going to get you a minimum value of $150 per length that you get as a result of that show notes page. I’ll give an example here. I was on, again, I like you mentioning this, but I’ve been on many podcast shows for the last 12 months.

This is an interesting site, Active Campaign, some of you guys may have heard of it, professional marketers have, small businesses, maybe not so much, but this is a famous email driven CRM. A lots of people are using it, very fast growth, high tech company that a lot of marketers and small businesses use. Very high domain authority of 75, probably higher because I did this screenshot awhile ago, but a domain of authority of 75 … And this is an interesting backstory here because when I actually wrote the book, SEO for Growth with John Jantsch, who’s actually have got, of course a lot more influence and authority than I have, we actually approached these guys to say, “Hey, we’ve done this.”

The CEO, actually give us an endorsement for the book. I said, “Would you mind as part of our content marketing strategy for the book, SEO for Growth, can we offer you a guest post on the website?” And we were rejected. They wouldn’t let us give them a guest post for their blog on the site because they weren’t doing it, didn’t have a program, it wasn’t in the … or maybe they just didn’t, it’s just their policy not to accept it. But anyway, over a year or so ago when we went with a guest post, then they said no. As part of the podcast guesting campaign, when my booker approached them and said, “Would you have Phil Singleton as a guest to talk about SEO in the show?”

Here I found a way to get onto the website and now as a guest on the show, I’ve been able to get the same benefit, if not a ton more by being a guest. Now again, the post that we were going to put up was just a random educational posts that didn’t have a whole lot of information about me. On this show that I was on, you can see actually the whole episode title is, Finding Success Using SEO with Phil Singleton, a web designer, an SEO expert, Phil Singleton. So they’re actually saying, and by them it’s not me saying I’m an expert. It’s the third party in the host that’s reaffirming your personal branding and your authority.

When somebody else says it, especially when it’s coming from a higher domain authority site with a larger audience like Active Campaign has, a lot more weight and a lot more value because all of a sudden the people that are hearing and seeing this as it gets shared, they’re saying that I’m the expert, not me. Huge branding and authority building that goes along with this. And again, it’s not just a post that I was able to get onto their website with an author bio, the whole episode is about me and it’s mentioned in a couple of different sites. The same things are going to happen to you as you get guested on other folks’ podcast shows.

But the reason I pulled this up is to say, “Hey, I purposely,” and you should be doing this too as part of your campaign. “I purposely ahead of time know what sites I want to mention.” Of course these are all sites that belong to me, that I own or co-own. Each one of these cases, I mentioned Podcast Bookers, I mentioned SEO for Growth, which is a book that I wrote. I mentioned kcwebdesigner.com, which is my services website for internet marketing and website building. But if you look at this and break it down, a DA 70 has a minimum value per link of $750 a site, I got three epic, epic links on here that if you multiply them together, very conservatively just by getting booked on this one show, I got over $2,000 worth of value.

If I were trying to go out and try and have somebody else do this for me, I would’ve had to pay them two, two and a half grand to get this kind of value. Again, just this one show. I got these ‘free’ as part of it, in addition to me getting shared in their email, on their social media, on their iTunes and episode, within their website, on the show notes page. In addition to getting a whole page written up about me with the full transcript on it, I also got three high valuable links. So this was an absolute home run, but it just goes to show you that there’s real value within the links that get shown in the show notes pages.

You have to be very deliberate and you have to make sure that you have great calls to action so that people are going to want to push them to those pages. And that you mention them and you’re purposeful in how you mention your website, and maybe you mention it a couple of different times. These hosts is going to give you several opportunities, especially at the end to mention where people can contact you, but be deliberate about where you’re sitting. If you have multiple websites, if you got a book website, if you’ve got another a funnel website you can send people to, mention. Find a way to naturally mentioned them throughout the dialogue. So you’re doing so in a non “salesy” way, but one that incentivizes the host to add those resource links on the show notes page when it’s published.

Extracting the most wins. Again, I think I’m talking about this and as you’re seeing this and as you’re saying, “Okay, what shows can I get on the beginning?” And now we’re breaking this down saying, Hey, it’s a lot more than that. It’s about leveraging the host website and making sure that you’re deliberate about the things you talk about and the things that get posted up on the show notes page.” One thing you want to think about this whole process and you can see that I’ve done this as we’re halfway through this presentation, is you want to make sure that you keep what we would consider like a Google or an SEO mindset.

Make sure that as you go through and you’re getting guests on other people’s shows that you’re thinking about the words and the phrases that you’re saying. You’re thinking about how can I make sure that this next show that I’m going to be on before I talk to somebody, after I talk to somebody, the actual content and things that I say within the show that I’m thinking about things in a way they’re going to benefit me in multiple ways and not just about that one dimensional, “Hey, I’m going to get a shot at … A certain group of subscribers are going to listen to me when the show launches.” And that’s it.

And then as you’re thinking about it, and as you see shows get launched and as you see things get shared and as you see show notes pages from the host get published, think about ways that you can learn and tweak and repeat it so that you can continue to get more and more value out of your guesting campaign, because you will get better at it over time, you will build up more influence. You will think about ways, and this is a really important thing that I want at the end to get more value out of it. Let’s go through and break these things down one at a time.

First thing, equipment. You got to have great and decent equipment. You’re going to have a Skype account. Go to Skype.com, they’re free, get yourself one. Over 50% of the podcast shows that you’re going to be on, are going to want to record you on Skype. Some of them will do it on third party recording systems like Zoom or Zencastr, but you’re going to have to have a Skype account because virtually half or more people are going to want to contact you through your PC, through a headset on a Skype account. If you don’t have any kind of headset, get one now. One of the ones that most podcasts show are going to recommend that you get is a Logitech ClearChat.

Go do an Amazon search on this, they’re all over the place. I think they cost anywhere from 20 to maybe $35. But if you do H390, it’s a USB connection, plug it right into your laptop or your desktop, you sound really great and the hosts are going to appreciate that. And you’re going to sound really good too when you’re on it for a very low cost. Don’t try and do it through your speaker, I wouldn’t try, and if you can help it through just the earbuds on a phone, invest in a ClearChat headset if you want to bust out and do a little more research and get something a little bit better.

There’s lots of stuff out there, but I’m going to recommend that virtually for all of our clients anyway, that they invest in the Logitech ClearChat H390. And make sure you’re in a really quiet space because like I said, if you’re in a place, don’t try and do this in a coffee shop. Don’t try and meet with your podcast host in a noisy office space or in a conference room. Give him your full attention, if they know that you’re in a quiet space, they’re going to know that you really thought about this and you appreciate the drama show. Give the host your full attention, don’t try and do emails or any other type of work that you’re going to do on this.

You won’t do it in the beginning because you’ll probably be amped up, but as you do more and more of these, you get more comfortable, and there might be some more motivation to try and sneak in some work. But your headset, they’re going to pick up everything and they’re going to hear those mouse clicks and they’re really not going to be very appreciative. And again, I just want to reiterate, getting on somebody’s show whether they have 50 or 5,000 or 50,000 subscribers is a true privilege, and you want to take advantage and not take that for granted, and take advantage of every opportunity that you get and give your full attention.

Number two, your website is key, it has to be up to date and it has to look good. Lots of people that contact us on Podcast Bookers, they’re not going to consider you. If they’re good, they’re going to look at you. We’ll talk about how we present you and having a one sheet so you look professional, but your website has to be up to date, has to look good. You have to be proud of it because nobody wants … The hosts are going to try and drive people to your social media channels and your website. And if they can’t be proud of where they’re going to send you to, then they’re going to be less likely to want to book you on your show.

But not only that, you’re going to lose a huge opportunity, if you don’t have a great website, it’s got great content, great call to action, and it looks at least professional. I’m not talking about an award winning website, but there’s a lot of people that just have a half bake website with not a lot of great content on it. You’re going to lose a huge conversion opportunity, you’re going to lose that opportunity for a sale if somebody come is driven to their website and like, “Who is this person? They don’t even have their own website up. But here they are being pitched or speaking to me as an expert and their website really looks like it was done 15 years ago and they haven’t invested in any kind of content.”

I think before you consider any content marketing campaign, especially a guesting campaign, you’re going to want to make sure your website is in order, because I can guarantee you, the host is going to take a look at them, and anybody that’s interested in what you have to say is going to come back to that and you’re going to lose a real opportunity if you don’t have your site set up. So make sure it’s professional. I’m not talking to scare people away and say you have to have an award winning site, but it should look professional, be error free, load properly and not look like your nephew did it 10 or 15 years ago. It’s got good content, it’s plain I’m sure it’s fine.

But make sure you load up on the know-like-trust factors, read up on Duct Tape and in StoryBrand, and make sure that you’ve got some of those conversion factors on your website. So anything where you can show your book or your ebook or testimonials or trust badges or anything that proves and reinforces your authority is really going to be impressive to those listeners that actually do a little bit of follow up and come to your website, either to cash in on your giveaway or your ebook or download or whatever you’re giving as a call to action at the end of the website, or just thinking about you as a potential person that can solve one of their problems or someone to potentially hire.

And you got to make sure your website’s set up for lead capture. I think I didn’t do a great job of this in the beginning, but then I saw, “Oh my gosh, I’m actually getting clients off of this. I got to make sure that I’m set up and I’ve got something really attractive to incentivize people to come and leave their email.” And the better you get at this, the more you’re going to get a higher return off of potential clients from this. This is an important thing to do, pre-booking and post show, and just keep improving on that.

You are getting a lot of SEO benefit out of this, so take another look at your website and making sure it’s set up on page for SEO factors because you’re going to be getting some great backlinks, and if you don’t have your website set up the right way, you’re not going to get the full benefit of this great SEO activity and signals and links that you’re going to be getting. Just take another look at your site and make sure that you’ve got it up to speed because you will get a higher return on it if it’s set up right.

We’ve got a one sheet here, mine I’m actually redoing it. This is one of the things that we will do for you as part of setting up for the podcast guesting campaign, but it’s a really super important thing to have because one, it looks cool. It’s great for personal branding. As we pitch you, as you get pitched to potential show host, nine times out of 10 they’re actually going to look at your one sheet and scroll through it. But I think what’s really powerful about a one sheet is that you have the opportunity to draft up two or three sentence of your bio, which nine times out of 10 is what the hosts read at the beginning of the show to introduce you.

I can’t explain how this is, I can’t emphasize enough how important this is to be able to put words into the host mouth as they introduce you, because again, you saying it is worth just about nothing, but when somebody else says it and quotes you as an expert or says some of the things that you’re great at, has a huge, much more value into it. And you have the chance in your one sheet to be able to craft and put words in somebody else’s mouth. And again, it all feeds into the SEO personal branding authority, making you sound like a more interesting guest or somebody that’s got something interesting to say or some an important tips or advice in terms of educating people. And also just being able to spin and craft where you want the direction of the interview to go.

A lot of these guests that are out there, established shows, they’re always looking for somebody that’s interesting to the extent that you can actually give your own suggested interview topics and actually again, frame the questions in a way that you’ve got a way to give them some ahead of time. A lot of times, these folks, if you’ve done it the right way, we’ll ask these questions, or ask something in and around what you provided them with. And then down below to anything you’ve got in terms of trust factor, a book, an ebook that you might’ve written, awards, anything where you can show them to be like, hey … Because again, these people, they have their shows, if it’s an interview based show, the onus is on them to be able to consistently provide interesting guests.

And your one sheet is that one opportunity where you can show people immediately that you have something to offer, and it’s kind of that one selling point and again, there’s lots of different places up in this one sheet that we can help you out with, but a lot of it’s also on you in terms of the things that you want to talk about, so that you can frame and steer the interview into topics and questions that will help you get your message out in a way that educates people. So the interesting super important, make sure that you’ve provided the proof that you have on anything that’s out there in terms of your accomplishments and what might be interesting to that audience. And you’re going to frame the topics and the questions.

Again, down here, we’re making sure that people see our contact information and some of the links that are down in here are included along with the contact information. You want to make the topics and the questions broad enough so you’re not zeroing too much on just one type of audience. Because for instance, in my case when we’re talking about web design or SEO or any type of internet marketing, I could just zero in and say, “Hey, you know what, I only want to talk to people that have an audience of web designers or SEO folks.” I really don’t want to do that. I can open this up and say, “You know what? I can talk to anybody that’s got an audience of any small businesses.”

And if their audience list is about people that want to write books, well, I can write how to leverage your book to make sure you get more SEO benefits out of it, or supposedly they have restaurants, there’s all sorts of ways. If you make your topic relevant to a broader base, you’re going to get booked on more shows. So even on surface level, it might not look like, “I’m an SEO web design guy, why would I want to get booked on a show that largely has restaurant folks or restaurant owners? Because I have an angle for them, and if my topics and questions are broad enough, I can frame this in a way where I can add value and still be interesting enough to that audience. And that’s what you’re booking and trying to do in this grass roots strategy, is try and get out there and get in front of people in a way that we can reach as broad an audience as possible.

Pre-show number four, remind yourself to teach and share your best info, and this is your one chance to make an impression on this particular group they’re getting interviewed on. Never ever sell on anything, don’t try and be sneaky about it or pitch too hard during the middle of the show or spin the host questions into something that doesn’t fit into what you’re trying, your agenda, what you’re trying to sell. Use that at the end, almost all the time, the hosts are going to say, “Hey, tell us what you’ve got going on right now, or how people can contact you. Any kind of special offer, that kind of.thing.”

You can soft pitch and soft sell offer that you have, but really, the today’s content marketing is selling by teaching. Nobody wants to hear your pitch, they want to hear your inspirational story, they want to hear your tips and tactics in a way that’s going to help that audience grow or get better or improve their businesses. Ahead of time, spend a couple minutes, read the host website bio, know a little bit about them, where they’re from. You don’t have to spend too much time because one of the things about podcast guesting is that we don’t want you to have to spend a lot of time.

What will benefit about doing this is that you can spend five or 10 minutes pretty show, get up to snuff, show the host that you care enough to know their name, know where they’re from, maybe listen to a couple of minutes of a podcast or two ahead of time so you can hear their voice and say something. A lot of times I’ll listen to part one and I said, “You know I listened to your last podcast and you actually mentioned this.”A lot of those kinds of little touches go a long way in terms of making a connection with the host because of all these benefits that we talked about, one of the things that we’ll talk about later on, I’ll make sure, I’ve included this part of the presentation is, if nobody else listens to any of these shows, you’ve got a unique opportunity to spend 20 or 30 minutes with a person who’s listening to you for that period of time.

So it’s a great way to make a connection and meet a new person, a new person that maybe collaborate with, that’s going to have your undivided attention during the show, to the extent that you can try and reach out and prepare a little bit and show that you’ve looked up this person and that you cared enough, I think to make a note of something special about their background or experience will really make an impression, and I think set the ground works out for a great interview. Like I said, listen to parts of recent episodes, know where they’re located. I always ask a little bit about the audience.

Even if I can figure it out from a five or 10 minute review of the website ahead of time, you can always ask about at least how it breaks down and say, “Hey, I listened a little bit of your show, it seems like your audiences is this. Is that right? What’s the background? Is it business owners as a consumers, is it the moms, the dads, or mostly female?” Anything you know that will help me angle the show to that group is great, but you should actually also do it, like I ask a lot of time because, I use the same stories and a lot of the same advice, but I will try and re-craft the answers a little bit that I give to make sure that I’m trying to specifically speak to who their main audience is.

That I think is the big benefit of pre-show, is spending a little bit of time ahead of time, getting yourself through routine that you have an idea who their audience is and then you frame your answers or your story to the audience instead of just repeating the same story or answers over and over again. Oh, this is one of my favorites, intentional mentions. Make sure, and I actually did this in part of my own podcast, so I’m big into gasoline, but I’ve got my own podcast show right now, but be purposeful if you can about mentioning other books or other influencers or even other companies you might want to work with. One of the things I’ve done I think that’s worked out for me really well is, use an influence or using the example of somebody else, and mention a company that does something really well as an example.

And when it comes out, when the show comes out and launches, as you share on your social media channels, you can say, “Hey, check me out on this podcast. We talked about this subject, we also mentioned some great companies like ABC Company and this influencer that wrote this book. And a lot of times if you do one or two of these tags on Twitter, on LinkedIn, or maybe on Facebook, you’ll get a share or a thanks or some Kudos because you reinforce that company or that influencers status, and they like to be mentioned. That’s part of the nature of it. So if you can make notes about some of the other folks, it’s another way for you to amplify the benefit of your guesting program because you’re drawing other people and using them as an example within the interviews.

If you’re a little bit more intentional about that, something that’s very easy but something that a lot of influencers and companies are going to like because as everybody likes to get a shout out. And then when they come on and about, again, social tag these when they go live, and is everybody going to retreat a re-share when they’re mentioned? No, but you’re going to be surprised because a lot of them will, and a lot of them will be thankful. Call to action. This is probably one of the most important things to have because if you’re looking at a guesting campaign as a way to get direct access to new clients, and you should because it will happen if you do it right overtime, is to make sure that you got a very good call to action and a reason for somebody to visit the website. Free Ebook offer, free consulting, half hour talk.

I’ve done a couple of them, I’ve actually raffled off either free books or even gift cards as a way if I know the audience is super targeted enough to make sure that I get that targeted click back to my website. But the more deliberate you are about having a call that say, if you go to the end of an interview and just say, “Oh, I’m going to interview, my name is Phil Singleton, follow me on LinkedIn, go to kcwebdesigner.com. That’s good, and that’s okay but it’s a lot more compelling if you go and say, “Hey, I’ve got something really special for your group today, John. What I’ve done is on my website, I’ve created a special page, and if you go to this link, you will fill out this form and I will give you a copy of this book that sells for 1595 online or a free website review or whatever it is.”

But the sexier you make that call to action the better chance you are to get somebody to get to that page, and the better chance you are to be able to tag or pixel them or get them to fill out that form and get them into your education or your sales funnel. So whatever you do, make sure that you stay disciplined and try and improve that call to action over time because that’s going to be one of the biggest bang to the bucks, and one of the big higher ROI items. You can actually grow your customer base by leveraging on people that are actual listeners on the show you’re going to be on.

Resource strategy. I’ve mentioned this already, but I want to make sure that you’re very deliberate about the sites and the links and the special offers that you do. And that, make sure even note those down every once in awhile. I’m even getting into better habit right now of being very specific about mentioning a specific blog post on my website or one of my other websites or making sure that I send them to a different site every time and mixing it up if you’ve got multiple websites, And really trying to customize that offer to the extent that you can really, really helps because again, the more you customize it for a given audience, the better chance you’re going to have it actually getting a sale out of it. And then just provide these links with SEO in mind.

I come from SEO, so every time I’m on a show, I’m thinking of, “I want to make sure I get a great backlinks.” So I never forget this, but one of the things I see about a lot of guests booking services or a lot of people that do get guested on programs is, they’re thinking about SEO last. You’re losing a huge opportunity to get massive value out of this, and you just don’t want to do any show without thinking or having SEO at the top of mind on this. And I think if you write it down and make it a habit, you will get that, but you just don’t want to forget about that piece of it.

Now, one of the things that I’ve done is I actually have gone at the end of every show, I send a couple of different emails back to the host. And I want to make sure that every time somebody does a show that if they didn’t hear it or didn’t pick up the links that I mentioned, I will send them this. I’ve already got pre-prepared, so the links that I want to have mentioned are on here. In this case, “Here’s somebody that we work with, actually, I would consider almost like a barter client. They got a SEO for growth, we’ve got Podcast Bookers, which is our own website, KC Web Designer, which is mine. Actually I’ve a different SEO website where I put my gift link on this one.”

And then I put a link to my LinkedIn page, one, two, three, four, five, six deliberate links that I want to, and I sent this to them. And not only did I do it and it helped me make sure that I’m getting extra links on their website, the hosts really appreciate it. John Lee Dumas, he said, “Man, that’s awesome. Perfection. Jim, make sure all these get in the show notes, all, A-L-L. I just took the extra step of reaching out really in the effort of trying to make it a lot easier, but also trying to make sure that I’m going to get the SEO benefit. And this is just one of those things when we take that extra step, you are sure to get a lot more SEO points out of it.

Oh my goodness. Now this is my very favorite one. Ask for reviews. This is huge. If we wipe out every other benefit on a guesting program or getting on a show, this again is one of those things that just by itself is worth the time and effort and maybe money that you’re spending, but at the end of every show, you want to make a special ask. You want to send an email in real time and you want to offer to review the host as well. Every podcast host out there, established shows that have 50 or 100,000 listeners down to the ones that are just getting started, maybe 50 or a 100, they all want more iTunes reviews. They all want more reviews somewhere.

So if you give them an opportunity to say, “Hey, would you mind reviewing me as a guest on your show? I would love to reveal you too.” And you can start to stack your reviews up on LinkedIn or Google+ in a way that will change your business. I say, I don’t want to sound too salesy or over the top, but I’ve gotten over 50 new reviews on my own properties and it has been a game changer. I send this template, “Hello there, host. Thank you so much once again for having me on your show. If you would consider it, would you mind leaving me a positive review with respect to being a guest on your show and the value of knowledge shared? If so, please send through this link.”

I have my own review funnel that I send, you can make your own or somebody can help you make it like us, but this is a fabulous, very easy thing to send something to and redirect people to where you want to send them. “If I can reciprocate by leaving a review somewhere, please let me know. I would love to do so. Thanks again, Phil Singleton.” I send this literally at the end of every show while I’m still on the show, after they stop recording and I tell them I’m going to do this. And a lot of times, I send it while they’re still there and I ask them, “Did you get it?” So you still get them when they’re really hot and tell them it just takes a few seconds and you’d like to give them an iTunes review. Super awesome way to get more reviews for your business.

If you go to the website link that I just show you, ours is a review funnel, which is a single page, it sends them right here. If you click this, it send you right after where I want to send you. I think in this case, it goes to Google+, but I can send them to LinkedIn, I can send them wherever I want. I can send them to Facebook, but I’m still trying to boost up my LinkedIn and Google+ reviews. So I send my review funnel which is right here, so if they click onto this, they land on this URL. If they click on this fifth star, we send them right to Google+ and it’s kind of a thank you and that makes it really easy. That’s an example of one that I got and here’s John Lee Dumas gave us one.

This is third review he has ever given because nobody ever asked him. I asked him, Phil drop value bombs, entrepreneur on fire. What a guest.”Great review I got up on Google+. What’s really, really powerful about getting these reviews is once you get reviewed on a show of this caliber or any caliber, we as a podcast booking agency, when you tell us this, we can then take these reviews and use them to get you on better shows, so the next times my booker goes out and tries to book me on shows, they say, “Here’s Phil, he’s an expert on SEO. Here’s what he likes to talk about, here’s his one sheet. By the way, here’s a couple reviews that John Lee Dumas and Josh Patrick said when he was a guest on their show.”

Now all the sudden I look like a great guest, which makes it easier for me to almost snowball my chances on getting on higher and higher caliber shows, and you’ll do this. My first couple of reviews are on smaller established and as I’ve done more, I’ve been able to use that to get on better and better shows. This is huge. It’s huge to get the Google review, it’s huge to reuse the Google review as part of our own guesting outreach. I then also use this review on other places, like my website to show other people that some of these influencers have said great things about me. This review strategy is huge and it all comes from just a strategic guesting campaign.

And nobody that I know has gone out and used a guesting campaign as a way to have a proactive review management on online reputation management strategy. This is killer. This by itself is worth every penny, anything that you would spend, and it really makes an outreach program probably worth like $500 to $1,000 of show if you do it right versus spending a 100, $150 to $200 a show, whatever it takes you to get booked on it. Just tremendous value. But again, almost everybody that I know, every booking program out that’s out there does not stress this. And this is a killer return on investment.

And if you don’t do this after every show and ask for a review and then you find ways to recycle it, you are losing a tremendous piece of ROI from a program. And this, I can’t stress this one enough. Free blog posts. Again, the gift that keeps on giving. Most hosts and most shows that you’re going to be on, will not take the effort, time and effort to transcribe the audio into a text file. So they’ll do a review, they’ll do a summary, they might write up 250 or 500 words about the show, and then they’ll provide the links and then they’ll use that page on their website, that link on their website is what they’ll use to share out on Twitter and social media and even in their email blasts and things like that.

One of the things that I’ve done as I noticed, hey, people aren’t doing this, but there is a content goldmine in here. And I asked the first show that I was on, I was like, we talked about 40 minutes, “If you’re not going to use the transcription notes, would you mind if at my own expense, I went and transcribed these up on Rev.com, which is a place where there’s human transcribers that you pay a dollar a minute, and they will transcribe and edit, an edited form of a interview and send it back to you in a word document that you can then use as a blog post.”

This is unbelievably awesome. I’m going to give an example of this, I’m going to block out of this. let me give you an example of like the first one that I did. If I go to Google.com and I do SEO benefits of podcasting. Oh, it’s great because we have one of these shows come up, actually Podcast Bookers comes up in the position zero in the knowledge box, but the number one organic is actually on my website. And all of this blog is, it’s a blog post, it ranks number one globally. I took a show that I was on, which is the WordPress Chick, here’s the original show.

I was a guest on this show and she chose not to transcribe it and I asked, and I took this show and she said it was okay, and I transcribed it and I put the transcription notes up on my page and I turned it into a blog post. I made a little graphic, I pulled out some quotes, I put backlinks in it. I put some page titles and some other … And I kind of dress it up a little bit, and this ended up being like a 10,000 word, the post is huge. And this transcripted podcast of somebody else’s show that they weren’t going to use, I repurposed it and made it into a blog post on my show, and of course, I gave full credit back to her website and actually point back to the site, but I got a free long form blog post from this show.

Get a free blog post, most hosts don’t transcribe, ask the host if it’s okay to transcribe it. You can go on Temi.com, which is an automated way the transcript … I’m not too crazy about Temi because it’s not human edited, so it does a pretty good job of giving a raw file and it’s like 10 cents a word. So it’s like for three bucks, you can get a podcast show transcribed, but too much editing for you to go through, but if you to rev.com, that’s actually a dollar a minute, so a 40 minute show will be $40. Most shows are 20 to 30 minutes. If you think about 20 or $30 to transcribe something, dress it up and use as a blog post on your own website, it’s a great way to get a free blog posts out there as long as you’re going to be willing to take the time and optimize it like I’ve done, and don’t forget to optimize and do that.

If you’ve got a weekly blog content struggle or you want some long form content on your website, I wouldn’t completely substitute transcribing some of the show hosts you’re going to be on for bob, but that’s a great way to get some new content in a different form on your website. And if you do it right, you can actually get the post to rank. I’ve got several cases of this where the shows that I’ve been on have been transcribed and turn them into blog posts and now they rank for moderately to even some, fairly competitive keywords. That was part of the demo on there, but I’m going to actually show you again, if I come out and do, on my own podcasts, let me show you a competitive one where I went and did one just recently for my own show. And I did like attorney SEO tips, I think it was.

Here’s a show that’s only a couple weeks old on “local attorney SEO tips“, pretty competitive keyword. I’m one, two, three, four, five, five, mid page five, two weeks out on this, where I actually took one of my own podcast on this and then I transcribed and turn it into a blog post. Within two weeks globally, I’ve gotten into a top ranking for a fairly decent longterm keyword. So just that in an of itself, getting a free posts out of this is a huge value. You can do it for your own podcast, and I believe that you should, but there’s no reason why you can’t ask one of the hosts on one of the shows that you’re going to be on if it’s okay.

And I wouldn’t go out and transcribe a show unless you get permission, but I always ask, I said, “Hey, listen, I noticed you don’t transcribe your shows, would you mind if I transcribe this show and put it on my website and I’ll give you a backlink back to it?” And I’ll do it. I usually tell people I’ll do it a week or two or a couple of weeks after the show, so their initial episode launch goes out first and then we get a second one, maybe two weeks or a month later where the show is almost going to relaunched on my website when I do a blog post using the transcribed audio.

Repurpose some of the stuff on your own website. I’ve aggregated some of the shows, I’ve used some of the audio files, like when you can go on and give an example even on this site, on my site here, anytime there’s a show notes page, like this is my own show notes page for my own podcast, typically, what you’re going to do is embed the audio file from somewhere like Libsyn or wherever the host is the show or the audio file. We can always go onto some of these players and click, where you can grab the embedded file like you would on a YouTube video, and you can take that and then actually embed the same video on your own website. So this is easy to grab.

Somebody could take this, put on their website and all of a sudden, this little player here would show up wherever you’d want it to. Adding, if you didn’t do a blog post and you’ve been on somebody’s show, I’ve taken some of these rough gun and use some of the embedded video and use them to dress up blog posts or pages on my own website, because one of the cool things about having embedded audio on your website, when somebody clicks it, they stay on your website longer. Well, dwell time on a webpage is an SEO ranking factor. So anytime you get some rich media like this, like an audio file where somebody, it doesn’t take too many people to click it to whereas if they’re on their website and they stay on longer, it’s a strong, strong signal to google that the page is valuable and they’re more likely to rank it, the longer people stay on their website.

We like to use, when I say rich media up in here, to the extent that you can use a video, because a lot of times these podcast hosts will actually, they’ll video record you, they’ll audio record you, and you’ll have a chance to embed both these types of files. You can reuse them on your own website or on other pages and get more on page SEO value by reusing and repurposing some of that content.A lot of professional podcasters or professional content marketers will start to take some of the shows that they’ve been on and create a page on their own website, and they’ll show like, “Here are some of the shows that I’ve been featured on.”

And all of a sudden, you can start reusing some of those podcast graphics or just even the logos from the shows and start to show like I’m thinking of doing, “Hey, you’ve see me on some other shows. I’ve been on Entrepreneur on Fire, I’ve been on Active Campaign, I’ve been on Duct Tape Marketing. I’ve been on some of these other WP Elevation, some of these other shows that have a large following within their niches. And for sure, I think I’ve mentioned this once already, using reviews that you get on your website are huge, because one of the things you want on your website is anything where you’ve got third party people saying that you are great at what you do.

And when you’ve got a podcast host saying that this expert came on the show and provide a great educational content, that’s great supplementary testimonials also to have in addition to your own clients, and more third party social proof that you can use to stack your website up to make it more compelling and improve your own conversion rates. Again, this is 10 things we were going through that it’s just one of those gifts that I think keeps on giving, but you have to think about this in terms of an SEO mindset and make sure that you’re on the lookout to extract as much value as possible.

When your episode goes live on a show, obviously, one of the main benefits for both the host and yourself is that your cross leveraging your social media channels. So you’re getting access to their social media and they’re getting access to yours. One of the things the host is going to want to do and one of the reasons that they feature you and make a custom graphic is so that you’ll also maybe in your email newsletter and your website on your social media channels, when the show goes live, you’re going to do your best to make sure that you amplify it in your channels while they amplify it in theirs.

And when you go out, when they post up on there, take a little extra time to go and say, and throw up on LinkedIn, wherever they are, and they post it up there, thank the host on the post where they’re amplifying, “Great opportunity, loved the show. Thank you so much for letting me share whatever you shared on the show.” Because part of this, having a proactive, cross sample amplification on both sides is a way for you to get more value, but also show the host that you are a good guests and also just makes you appear like a another good guest that might want to invite you on the show.

One of the things that I learned at the very end or towards the end of doing 50, 60 shows is that, oh my gosh, if I would have only had my own podcast way back on the first show, I would have had access to the ultimate groups of people that are already podcast consumers. I kick myself now because I have my own podcast called the Local Business Leaders Podcast, and there are about 10 episodes launched into it, but I just started launching it this year in 2018. Had I had that as a call to action on my website, I’ve already been in front of thousands, I think probably tens of thousands of podcast consumers. Whereas if I had my own show, I would have been picking up subscribers since the very beginning.

So if you do this and it’s successful and it will be, if you commit to a longterm strategy onto it, at some point, you’re going to realize the same thing and be like, “Gosh, if I only had my own show, if I only realized how easy it was to produce my own show, I could have already had my own built in audience like myself. I could probably have my own subscriber base of maybe a thousand or 5,000 or even 10,000 subscribers that if I only had a podcast for them to subscribe to, I could have just picked them up because they liked what I had to say when I was on the host podcasts.” You’ve done this 50 times, picking up a thousand subscribers probably would have been easy. So you do get like an oh my God level, oh my gosh level access to ideal clients and to people that are already podcast consumers.

So at some point it, you just get into this self realization. It’s like, “Gosh, I need to have my own podcast.” And if you’re smart enough, like I wasn’t to start one now, it’s ideal, but then I think a lot of people are already just thinking of this as sloughed fringe marketing tactic, which it’s not, it’s about as mainstream as it gets right now. The fastest way to get, and it’s also all sorts of things with launching your own podcast, which have just absolutely blown my mind, but it’s a natural progression from guesting. And the one thing that I think of having my own show that’s been unbelievable is, we tried to do our own outbound sales 90 % of our stuff comes from inbound leads and I just figured “Hey, you know what, we do a great job, we’ve got great reviews, we do a great job for our clients, if I only try a little of this outbound selling and I just told people we existed and showed them our track record, we’d have so many more ideal clients.”

Well, we did that, hired somebody for three months. They were on the phone for 30-50 phone calls a day. We got one meeting and no calls, because people just didn’t want to be, call somebody up on the phone and are like whatever your pitch is, it sounds like you’re selling them something. Well, when I started the Local Business Leaders Podcast, I named it that for a reason, now all the sudden, when we do outreach for a CEO of an ideal client and we call up and say, “I would like to interview your CEO on the Local Business Leaders Podcast,” we go from 100% rejection to like almost 90% of being able to book a client on the show. A perfect way to gain access to people, a perfect way to gain access to folks at the C level, great way to give them an enormous amount of value and spend 20 or 30 minutes on the show.

And having your own podcast is just a mind blowing outbound/inbound technique that on top of all the other benefits that it gives you, what’s blowing my mind is the access to people is about the easiest thing you can imagine when you’ve got a podcast, I think that’s launch strategically. Think about that as you’re going through guesting campaign. If you really get into this and you’ve done it for like I have almost close to a year now, having your own show, it just becomes a natural progression. I wanted to hit the value summary again that we showed in the beginning, hopefully I’ve done a good job, and I want to get you excited about seeing that there’s actually real monetary value if you go out and make sure that you’re extracting as much value as you can on each and every one of these shows.

There’s absolutely no question that you’re going to get at least $150 if not $200 per show for each backlink that you get. Some shows aren’t going to have show notes, and in most cases, almost all of them do. Having one every once in a while that doesn’t do one is not that really big of a deal, especially if they’ve got good … I’ve been doing it for a long time. There are a few, but almost all of the established shows right now, they understand the value of having everybody come back to their website for the episode launches, so it’s 90 plus percent of the time you’re going to get a backlink back to the show, and you have to be very deliberate about it, especially if you want to get more than one.

Going after that review strategy, now, I put this at $50 getting a review up on Google. I think for me it’s at least worth, and I tell some of my clients when they go out and do their own small business review, reviews are everything, getting a small group or an army of people saying that you’re the best at what you do or you’re an expert at what you do is worth a lot more than $50 a review if you get up in the right place. But I wanted to put something that’s a minimum. I think it’s probably worth $500 to a 1,000 reviews, because I didn’t get people, they call us right now on the web design SEO that literally will say, “I’m only calling you because your reviews are so good.”And that’s just the way people buy everything now from Amazon to local services.
People want that social proof, and we have a killer way for you to stack the deck on this. So I put a minimum dollar of 50. I think this is way conservative, and you’re not going to get a review on every request but if you do it right and you bring your best effort to the show, I think probably two thirds of the time you’ll get a review off of it just because by nature of you’re doing a good job, and the fact that people want those iTunes reviews.Your own reputation, again, building up that personal branding and making sure that you have shows notes that have pages that are exclusive to you, that end up over time showing up when somebody does a search.

I’m going to give you an example, and I’ve got a lot of places that say nice stuff about me, but if you go out here on a google search, I type in Phil Singleton, what you’re going to see is, I’ve got some of my own stuff up in here by nature of doing my own SEO, but as you can come down later, you’re starting to see the podcast shows that I’ve been on, Leading Results is a show that I’ve been on, the WP Chick is a show that I’ve been on. Many as we start going down to the second page, Jeffalytics is a show that I’ve been on. You start to see some of the shows, and Real Estate Rockstars is one that I’ve been on, Site Visibility is one that I’ve been on.

In my case, I’ve been a professional SEO marketer for many years, so I’ve got a lot of other pages that show up higher, but for a lot of small businesses are professional marketers, you’re going to see a lot of your podcast show pages show up at the top of Google. Now, if from the reputation standpoint, if you have somebody that’s got a reputation problem, like I talked to somebody today, a dentist in another city, another part of the country said, they were buying another dentist group where the previous dentist had some reputation management issues from some bad press that he got seven years ago, and some of that stuff, when you google his name is coming up on some of these press page.

Well, if you go out and do guesting campaign and you get booked on a lot of shows, those show notes page will start to outrank some of that older press. Now, in that case, each one that gets launched out, especially the ones that start to show up on the first page, are worth a tremendous amount for somebody that’s got reputation management issues. But, for all of us, you’re only one bad article away from something showing up on Google to the extent that you can pre-stack the deck against a reputation issue that you might unfairly run into you years down the road by nature of having a guest blogging program, you will insulate yourself from that.

There’s a tremendous amount of direct and indirect and longterm value in terms of the personal branding and the reputation protection and shield that you build for yourself that I think almost nobody talks about or doesn’t understand the value, but certainly, somebody that’s got a reputation issue right now, I would put them on a guest blogging program right now because that’s the fastest way that they’re going to start to be able to get up onto the first page and start using show notes pages to start pushing that, that bad old press that might be up on other websites.

The podcast ad in and of itself, when you’re on shows that have a certain amount of listeners already, almost all of them are going to have some show sponsor. The sponsorship money isn’t great, it ends up being, I think per thousand listeners. So a lot of times these guys are going to get a couple of hundred dollars per episode, so the episodes you’re going to be on are going to have a show sponsor. The smaller ones probably only get 100 or $50, maybe $200 a show, but they’re paying for 60 seconds to be on the show, you’re getting the whole 20 or 30 minutes for free. So there’s some added value that you get by nature of being on the show and having it be exclusive on you. The bigger shows, the sky is the limit.

I’ve been on some shows that have 50 to 100,000 subscribers per shows. People are paying thousands of dollars for ad spots on that. Meanwhile, I got on the show for free. There’s just add value for that, it’s really that access, immediate audience access value that you get while you’re trying to put some a monetary value on it. And at least even on a smaller show, getting $50 worth of audience access value on show, I think it’s a lot higher than trying to be conservative here. The long form post, 20 minutes show ends up being five to 6,000 words transcribed, you pay 20 minutes on Rev.com. If you do a 20 minute show at a dollar a minute, ends up being a great blog post. If you go and try and hire somebody to write a 5,000 word blog post, you’re just going to cost you probably hundreds of dollars, but having a transcription up at the top or you maybe write a little summary, that long form posts in addition to the money that you pay to have it transcribed, has some value on top of it.

I’m going to say it’s at least worth $150, especially if you can get it to rank like I have, it’s invaluable. On a lot of the posts that I have, but you may to be able to assign some value so that you can see on here. Social media, these guys, and I probably would type on email in here too. Virtually every guest that you have is going to create a show notes page and they custom graphic, they’re going to take that link and they’re going to share that link across all their social media, and a lot of times they will also include it in their email marketing campaign. So you’re getting free access to somebody’s audience that they’re going to blast in multiple channels.

How much is that worth? How much is it worth to have somebody feature you in their email list and in their social media channel and say, “I had this guest expert,” whoever your name is, and as part of their email and drama all back to that onto a specific page which features you as a guest expert? Worth more than $50. Of course it is. Even on the smaller shows that have audience, probably worth several times that. But at a minimum, I think that would be worth $50 to come up on this. And the new client value, I’ve had over six digits in new business come off of several new clients that we’ve got as I realized that I was actually getting real clients off of this.

The sky’s the limits on that. In my case, a new client might be worth a $10,000 website and $2,500 a month in a digital marketing campaign. If we annualize that, you’re up over $30,000 a year for one new client that we get off of a show. Some people have smaller programs, smaller ones have things … It all depends on what a new client is worth to you, but if you do this right and you do it consistently over the course of … and you’re good and you’re comfortable, everybody gets on shows might not work the same for everybody. But in general, if you’ve got a good good plan and a good pitch and some good advice and some good proof and a good track record and good call to action, and if you do this over the course of dozens of shows and not trying to look for a home run off of one or two shows, more than likely, you’re going to get some new clients over time.

The value per show for me, I think this is really conservative, the cash value of getting guested on one established even a smaller show is worth at least $600. It feels closer to like a $1,000, but I have no problem telling somebody that it’s worth a minimum of $600 per guesting on an established show. And for some of the ones that I’ve been on, I’ve just [inaudible]thousands and thousands of dollars. I’ve been on some that I’m sure, and if I went to one of these bigger websites, Entrepreneur on Fire and said, “Hey, John Lee Dumas, do a personal branding campaign where you’re going to give me a backlink and give me your review and do a reputation of personal branding and make a whole website page about me and give me an advertisement spot, and give me a long form blog post and promote me in your social media.”

If you went and aside from a guessing program and positioned a package like this, these guys with big audiences would be charging you five, $10,000 plus for a ‘personal branding authority campaign.’ Well, that’s what a guesting program is if you do it right. It is actually that, but it’s a way to get into a super low cost way that can give you huge amounts of benefits where you’re essentially getting this an personal-branding / influencer marketing campaign. It’s just under the guise of a guesting campaign and it really, really works. It’s worked for me, and I think if you stick with it, it will work with you as a longterm content marketing strategy.

If you’re a part of our program and you’ve got your one sheet and you’ve paid the setup or paid the fees, or you’ve otherwise been informed, and we haven’t given this, you didn’t win this as part of a freebie, you are now certified because I think you’ve actually become a much better guest now at the end of this presentation than you were at the beginning of it. I think hopefully, you’ll appreciate the opportunity that you get to get in front of other people’s audiences, but more importantly, I hope you really think about these opportunities and the massive amount of extra value that you get from guesting, and that you take the onus on yourself to make sure that you get every drop of value, because there’s a ton of it in here.

On the other hand, if you just go about this and think of it in a single dimensional way, it’s still going to be okay, but you’re going to not get anywhere near the value or the return on investment as if you take advantage of all these opportunities the way we’ve outlined them here in the presentation. So best of luck to you. I hope that this really helps, and I look forward to working with you and helping you grow your business.

If you’re looking for the best podcast booking services at the lowest cost with the highest SEO value, please be sure to check out Podcast Bookers.

Lead Generation Tactics for SEO & Internet Marketing Agencies

Tom is an SEO strategist and the host of The Sure Oak Podcast. Go check out his podcast, like I have. He is the founder of Sure Oak an SEO agency in New York City that grows companies with search engine optimization to get businesses more traffic and drive their revenue growth. Tom has been published in many well-known publications, such as The Huffington Post, Search Engine Watch and SEMrush.

Episode Resources

Meet Tom Casano of Sure Oak

Phil Singleton: Tom Casano, welcome to the show.

Tom Casano: Thanks for having me Phil. I’m psyched to be here. It’s going to be fun.

Phil Singleton: Oh, yeah. This is going to be … These are my favorite ones, and talking to somebody of your caliber is always going to be really fun. Who knows what directions we’re going to go on, but I would love to know, just for myself, little bit of your path about when you got out of school or wherever your last stop was, and got into the business world, what got you to where you are to today and got you into SEO and digital marketing.

Tom Casano: Yeah, it’s a great question. I studied philosophy in school. When I graduated, I wanted to be a rock star. Tried doing that for about a year and, after making $30 for playing at a bar, and no one cared too much, in giving me music lessons, I traded on Wall Street for 10 years. And then once that got pretty meaningless and unfulfilling, then about four, no, six years ago, I started a business. I went through a program to develop a SaaS. I had never developed a SaaS, but I created a lead generation website for life coaches, and that’s called Life Coach Spotter. That’s kind of where I started cutting my teeth in digital marketing, and ultimately, SEO.

Tom Casano: So initially, I struggled like crazy to get traffic to the site to generate leads, because here I am supposed to be the marketer for the life coaches who don’t know how to do marketing. It took me a long time to get to two, three, four, five thousand organic visitors per month. Then we could talk about this. I did link building strategy. You might be familiar with that scholarship. And then the traffic to the site went up literally 500%, 5X in two months, which I’m usually afraid to say because it just sounds too good to be true, and I don’t want people to have the wrong expectations. Also did a lot of Skyscraper pages on there and a lot of cured research and optimization.

Tom Casano: So like the onsite stuff was just like ready to go. And then the link building happened and then it went to like 25,000 organic visitors per month. And then I was like, “You know what, I’ve spent so much time grinding away at SEO and doing tons of stuff that doesn’t work.” I have to bring this to other people. The businesses that are making millions a year and we moved their organic traffic by 10% or 20% as meaningful for their business. So then I started the SEO Agency Sure Oak. And that’s what I’m deeply involved in and focusing in today, which is doing SEO as a consultant, as an agency, and helping businesses to grow their traffic.

Phil Singleton: That’s so awesome. So when you were at the Search Engine Spotter, is that the name?

Tom Casano: Life Coach Spotter.

Phil Singleton: Life Coach Spotter.

Tom Casano: It’s for life coaches. Yeah.

Phil Singleton: That’s right. Okay. That sounds like when the fire was lit a little bit, right? Cause you kind of self studied your way. It sounds like I’m hearing also some people that you may have studied from skyscraper it was reminding me of Brian Dean, and some of these other guys. Did you kind of dive in self study? And some of these … you take some courses and you just test some things out. How does that get rolled in for you?

Tom Casano: Yeah, totally. Totally self education. I’ve always loved to read and learn and teach myself new things. And that’s the funny thing about SEO. I mean, I would hope today there is a college class like search engine optimization 101….

Phil Singleton: I doubt it…

Tom Casano: It’s one of these things, right? Like if you’re in college right now, where are you taking a class in Chatbots, it’s cool that some of those things might be evolving. So yeah, basically as you know yourself and then the worst part is everything you can possibly read and learn. You could pay for courses and classes and mentorship, but then you go and do yourself a practice and it’s like not even driving the results that you know. And part of that I think is not out of someone trying to mislead you.

Tom Casano: But this, the context and the situation is different. So someone might say like, you need to get all the technical stuff on your site, really good. The 404s and a 301s and the, I don’t know, the image all tags, image all tags like those ones drive me crazy cause it drives in results. But that might be very true for a site that has like a hundred thousand pages. But for your little site with like 20 pages that hasn’t even done keyword research and has two backlinks, you really need to focus on your backlinks and the content. So it’s tough like to learn this stuff. But actually, I think all that failure along the way makes you stronger and you realize like, okay, this is what actually works and moves the needle.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. So, that’s really cool. Coz I mean, for some of this stuff it’s like, this is kind of my world where I live. So it’s you get talking to somebody else who’s kind of taking their own path. It’s really exciting to talk about. But how about just getting the agency started doing that kind of thing? I mean like I know for me, deciding when to maybe get some physical office space, or taking that first plunge, or maybe actually hiring somebody, whether it’s a full time contract or even an actual W-2 employee, that kind of thing. It’s a big step. Right? Can you maybe explain how you got started with that, did you get the same feelings? And we are trying to build a team, whether it was a remote team or a local team, whatever it was and … because at some point you’re making money for yourself and all of a sudden you’re starting to feed other mouths to feed type of thing and the kind of … the responsibility becomes I think a little bit gross.

Tom Casano: Yeah, now it’s a great question. So I guess in some ways I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I learned along the way with that first business, the life coaching one that is using Upwork to hire freelancers and writers. And we created like 10,000 words of content and like I’ve realized that it wasn’t the best use of my time to sit and write this content. I was outsourcing and finding freelancers to help. And then, when I decided to start the SEO agency, I mean it’s just … and the thing I learned, I did a program called the foundation from being Maxwell, Andy, Trish, and learned a ton about business and a lot of mindset, like these limiting beliefs and these emotional blocks. If you’re afraid to kind of take those first steps on what’s holding you … a lot of it is like the inner game.

Tom Casano: But then … I lost my train of thought. Oh, basically I knew it’s just about getting the first clients, right? Once you get that first client, even if it’s like 500 bucks or a thousand whatever, it doesn’t matter what it is. Now you start to build a little momentum. Like a first little testimonial, you get some experience, you figure out how to create a proposal. And then for me, again, it’s just a matter of like finding a freelancer, finding someone that can … I think like a subcontractor. Like, “Hey, can you help me with Keyword Research?” “Hey, can you help me with … do a technical audit?” And I’m slowly starting to get one or two or three or four clients and starting to pass off some of that work.

Tom Casano: And first I’m doing all the work myself, right? So first I’m just a consultant, then I’m passing that work off. And over time it grows and grows. So now as there’s more clients, then there’s more freelancers. All of a sudden the freelancers are full time people. Our team is all remote. So it’s pretty interesting. Yeah, it’s been really a-
Phil Singleton: Everybody’s moving the nuts. I love it. I love to hear more about that and how you kind of manage it. But that’s-

Tom Casano: You know, exactly, that’s it. Someone was asking me recently, and what’s really been the most helpful is we have this like one half hour meeting once a week, and we just have this vibe and attitude of being like a family and helping each other, loving each other, just being open and honest.

Phil Singleton: How do you…

Tom Casano: That’s a Skype call with no video. I don’t know why, but it’s just the idea of like, just being honest and caring for each other and loving each other and somehow it just brings us more close together. And even though we’re remote, people love it, they work from home or wherever and it hasn’t really been a problem. So yeah, now we have like a full team. There’s over a dozen full time people, I don’t know how many people…

Phil Singleton: I think in my experience it seems like that’s a huge perk for one, to get the best people, and the best people that are really good at what they do. They want to be able to work from home. They don’t want to come into an office or work in a cubicle. That’s the main reason why I got into this business in the first place I was … I got a soul crushing cubicle job my first four years out of college. “I Don’t want to do it anymore.” But yeah, it seems like the best people, seem like they want to work from home or remote cause they can. Do you feel if or not the same way here?

Tom Casano: 100%. And I think also you find such quality and talent and people like if you’re living in the middle of nowhere in Montana, you can’t like commute to a city to get some SEO strategist job. But you know, we got one for you. And you know, I live in New York City in Manhattan, and if I want to hire an SEO strategist here, it’s going to cost me a fortune. But when I find people in other places of the country, so I think there’s just all these benefits, and then there’s also challenges. Like there’s time I wish … so many times I wish I could just give someone a big hug and I can’t. So we need to have yeah, like a get together. But yeah. It sounds like you understand this stuff. Your team has is remote or local?

Phil Singleton: I’ve got local, we have some W-2 employees that are here, but, we also have remote people and like basically full time contractors so. I actually have an office. The only reason I have an office really is for local clients to come in and come to our conference room, have a meeting, know that there’s kind of that investment kind of here locally. But then it’s really just all for them. Because then most of the work’s not done in the office. So I’ve got me, then I’m here with … as I’ve trained my boys were talking about before the show, and the summertime, I kind of have to be here. But other than that, I’m at home when I can be and then my sales guy is in here, we have meetings. Other than that, there’s no reason to have like a physical office, you know what I mean? So.

Tom Casano: Yeah, now that’s a cool thing about the online world nowadays.

Leveraging Upwork

Phil Singleton: Love it. Let’s get into something that’s near and dear to my heart because at the end of the day, it almost all comes down to lead generation for quality clients. Whether it’s for our own agencies or what we’re trying to do for our own companies. All sorts of other things can help people manage and scale and do this all kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, I mean really doesn’t it all come down to lead generation in some shape or form?

Phil Singleton: So you’ve had some successes generating leads in different ways. I’d love to kind of dig into it. And some of the ones that you mentioned before, I think in this call right now even before we started recording. Upwork, Linkedin, you’re a great podcaster you do a lot of video, good video content that goes along that as well. So those kind of things that are kind of working for you in terms of like drawing in ideal clients.

Tom Casano: Yeah, I’ll tell you honestly, 90% or so of our clients and business and revenue and everything is from Upwork. And it’s still kind of surprising to me to hear my own story, but I used Upwork to outsource work. To offshore it, maybe someone in India or the Philippines can do something for a few bucks an hour-

Phil Singleton: First to get help basically is that right?

Tom Casano: Exactly, yes. So, they call it the client and the freelancer. So I’d be the client, and I’m putting in whatever, a hundred bucks to get some work done and I get the work back. But then, I don’t know why or how, but I became a freelancer. So now I’m the consultant or the person looking for the work. And honestly, like that’s, I can’t tell, like I think in the last, 12 trailing months, over $100,000 of transactions have happened through Upwork, but that’s not counting everything that’s happened off of Upwork, off of their platform. Because they take a fee and all that stuff. So I’ve really scaled that up and I spent enough time as an SEO, like you understand, you just want to optimize the heck out of something once you start understanding the mechanics of it.

Tom Casano: So I can walk through that, but we’re maybe getting, I don’t know if it’s 10 or 20 leads per week? And then it’s a matter of filtering, because a lot of people when they’re on Upwork, they’re looking to like outsource, sometimes they’re looking to do it cheap. And so there’s a lot of people that are not the right kind of client for us, but those ones that are, where you go that extra mile to show how much you … how smart you are, how much you care or your experience and your skills and you make your profile awesome and you make your pitch awesome. And you filter out for those bigger projects. But it takes time cause day one you’ve got no reviews, and you’ve got no profiles either build it up over time. But it’s like anything, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

Phil Singleton: Are talking about sampling from your first a little bit? Or did they kind of come in and be like, “Hey, we love what we hear. We’ve done some research, let’s sign you up for like a retainer based thing for the rest of them.”

Tom Casano: No. Yeah they started like small terrible projects and to be honest, I have had like zero sales experience I’m like, “What do I know about pitching them and making it compelling and proposals and stuff?” So yeah, I started $500 or whatever I could get to get those little projects and building stuff out.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. And was that to build like reviews and things? A smaller transaction or those turn into bigger projects from the people that bought the smaller project from you?

Tom Casano: Yeah. The way it worked for me was just getting that traction of some reviews, so you have like a score, and I figured that it’s called, a Top Rated Freelancer. And then once you have that credibility, and they have their own algorithm. So it’s just like SEO all over again, like how do I rank higher when someone’s ranking SEO on the platform. So yeah, that actually wasn’t from those same client, cause those initial clients were smaller projects. And I could never a upsell them cause I never had the budget. I was like a little local printer in Australia and his budget was $1,000 a month. I could never upsell him to $2,000 a month cause it was just out of his budget. But having that experience and credibility in the platform then, would allow me to get the 2000 a month to 3000 a month.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. So Upwork’s one another’s contract it under some degree or some shape or form. Which one do I want to hit on these next? I mean we did talk a little bit about cold calling before the show started. I know in your team you’re not the person responsible for that, but to the extent that you can, love to hear more about it, cause I’m always intrigued about that piece of it was always believed that if there’s a way you can reach somebody on a phone, if you’re good at it, there’s just always going to be an element of timing. We were just thinking about doing and you show yourself, you get that ability. That’s just almost like a numbers game type of thing too. But I also know there’s a lot more noise these days and it’s just so much you’ve got like a really big give or a good angle is hard to get anybody’s attention.

Phil Singleton: Love to hear if that’s working for you or something you guys continue to do now, is it still kind of one, this is up in the air? Is it a core part of kind of like your sales and marketing efforts? How’s that going for you?

Tom Casano: Yeah. Honestly we haven’t even started it yet. And we have two guys that were hiring and we have sales training and I’m not a huge believer in it. It’s not that it can’t work and it won’t work. And I have a friend Ed who’s over in Brooklyn and he’s been doing a lot of it. And when I think of the types of leads, there’s, I think at the top you have like referrals or networking and then layered, like the next level down second level would be like inbound or someone’s found you through content marketing or saw you somewhere on social media.

Tom Casano: And then the third one is outbound. And I tend to think that outbound is the one you can have control over and you can be very proactive in. Because if no one’s coming to your website or you are going to have to pay. But I just think that it’s like a needle in a haystack. And if you call a hundred people, maybe one to five of them or one to ten … It’s a numbers game. And I’m not a huge fan. I’m not a huge believer but I know it’s possible. I know whole businesses built on it.

Phil Singleton: Yeah. Well it’s also funny, it seems like some of the clients that we end up getting seemed like they maybe if they were unhappy from their last digital marketing company, nine times out of 10 they were cold calls. How they kind of got on the hook for them. It worked for the company even though maybe they didn’t have their sales and marketing work. So always interested in talking about anybody that’s got a way. Cause there’s other people that swear by it and I’ve interviewed a ton of entrepreneurs where it seems like no matter what at some part of their early career they kind of had to roll up the sleeves either to like save their business or to get it going or just to try and generate something. Lots of them, nine times out of 10 hit the phones, but one time I guess in their life.

Phil Singleton: And maybe that’s a little bit different now because for us trying to do it, we don’t hit the phones. We’d go to another place where we’d try and start off with small gig or something like that to get better clients I don’t know how that works, but I’m definitely still interested in cold call. Cause I told you before that we failed miserably at it, but there’s some tenacity there to see like see how there’s other ways to make it work. I just know the way that we initially tried it didn’t work very well for us.

Tom Casano: No, I know exactly. And it’s like anything, if we try to do too many marketing initiatives, then we’re not giving anything enough attention to like really make it work. And then if you really have conviction on something you can double down on, You start to see the inklings of it. Like working and you get a lead out of it. I mean, like I’m telling you, I think 80-90% of our business is from Upwork. There might be a couple of referrals or partners has been working with those take time to build those relationships. Like if you’re just starting out, even for us to build relationships with potential partners, it’s a process, which I’m okay, I love longterm things, but at the same time I have like an urgency and I always want to see the growth chart to be as vertical as possible, even though it’s ridiculous.

Tom Casano: Another thing I’ve experimented with this clarity about us, have you heard of that Phil?

Phil Singleton: Yes.

Tom Casano: And that works well, no, it doesn’t work right. I guess some phone calls, but none of them really become retainer clients. Maybe like one or two have you could do get hourly work out of that. You could build relationships, you can actually optimize your profile. I’ll be frank with you, the algorithm all these platforms of algorithms, clarity’s algorithm. It’s like you can just keyword stuff your profile and your rank higher. I think for SEO I’m ranked number two, you want to get more reviews and more calls that’ll help you-

Phil Singleton: That’s another, I mean I’ve heard of it. I’ve never like actually used it, Is that’s a kind of another gig based kind of-

Tom Casano: It’s a cool platform. I wish they would market it. I want to help them because you can just hire any consultant on a minute by minute basis, you could talk to someone for a dollar a minute who is an expert in Facebook ads and just like boom, start talking. I think it’s a great idea. And so I’m on there as an SEO consultant. Anyone could be on, there’s any kind of consultant. So it’s another way to get potential leads. But that one doesn’t really drive us retainer leads or retainer clients-

Phil Singleton: Doing that now a while or is it still kinda up in the air is it still?

Tom Casano: Yeah, I’ve been doing that maybe six months or a year-

Phil Singleton: Are you getting like the engagement and starting the conversation, but it hasn’t like-

Tom Casano: Well, what will happen is these people want to pay by the minute, so they want to do a 30 minute call, great. They got what they needed. Maybe they’re doing it themselves for doing it in house and then they’re gone. And it’s like, hey, you want to spend $3,000 a month with me, It’s like not in their budget is not in their mindset. It’s not really the right targeting.

Phil Singleton: Gotcha.

3rd Party Webinars ie “Webinar Guesting”

Tom Casano: And then, oh, I did a Webinar for SEM Rush and I think I got four or five leads at that and two of them I think closed and became pretty good, retainers. And then I got another lead from a podcast I was interviewed on. I know this is your thing, so you can-

Phil Singleton: That’s great. I mean, I know that somebody else to like, confirmed that it’s actually working and it wasn’t just luck for me, but that’s awesome. Because a webinars almost to me, almost a very similar type of idea. Where you get exposure and other audience through being a guest somewhere, sharing knowledge bit-

Tom Casano: I think a topic matters too because the one that worked so well for me. It was all about the ROI of SEO. I think that can speak to like a CMO or a business owner. I did another Webinar with SEM Rush and it was all about how to be a great freelancer on Upwork and I think that’s going to get all the freelancers on Upwork it’s not gonna be targeted to my ideal prospect.
Phil Singleton: There’s value in that too though, right? Because all of a sudden you’re getting your name out there more than personal branding and authority and stuff that hopefully will come back-

Tom Casano: Yeah. I think it’s not as much, but yeah, and then we didn’t touch on yet, but I think, I mean I’m working on this now so it’s still too early for me to be like, “I’m getting leads and it’s growing my business.” But, Linkedin we could talk about, we seem to already be aware of….what’s that?

LinkedIn Lead Generation

Phil Singleton: The Cherry on top, let’s get it to Linkedin is something we’re excited about and I think you’ve got much more of a head start than most of us there. So tell us about how that’s working for you and what’s working for you.

Tom Casano: Yeah, for sure. So Linkedin, Microsoft bought them two years ago and change a lot of platform and now people probably notice it’s more like Facebook. There’s the news feed that’s on the homepage and so-

Phil Singleton: Some people were a little bit afraid they (Microsoft) were going to mess it up. It’s just like they actually like hit a home run with it.

Tom Casano: Yeah, exactly. I was like, why is Microsoft buying this? This makes no sense. But the challenge is if you look at Facebook, not only is it like saturated and every marketer kind of knows about it, but also, you get like basically almost zero organic reach through your company page. It’s like basically if you want to be seen, you have to pay for it. Linkedin is still kind of a baby and oh my God, Linkedin is every, in the first of all, the targeting is amazing, right? Like you could basically find anyone you want to find, you want to find the CMOs, you can find them and everyone is on there and it’s much more one to one.

Tom Casano: And it’s also like, it’s not a one way street, like with, Facebook, you’d get followers, but with Linkedin I connect with you and once we’re connected, we’re both automatically following each other unless we unfollow. But there’s like no content. It’s like if you look at your Linkedin feed, it’s terrible. Typically for most people’s feed, it’s like someone share something that gets zero to one likes and it’s like people are promoting it. It’s like garbage.

Tom Casano: There’s this opportunity of all these content creators that are coming on now and it’s an algorithm like, other social media algorithms that if you start getting engagement with your posts, like within the first hour, I don’t even know. I need to study the algorithm. I don’t fully understand. Within the first day or so, the algorithm starts to think like, “Wow, everyone’s liking this to commenting on it. It must be really good. We’ll share it across more, give it more visibility.” And there’s so many fascinating things in this. You could tell getting passionate about it because they’ll show your stuff the second and third degree connections. And you’ve probably seen it like it’ll say the topic, someone commented or someone like such a such a thing. All of a sudden your network just starts like moving further and further out of people that are not directly connected to you.

Tom Casano: And a creative video a week ago, as of the time we’re recording this now and it’s gotten 12,000 views and I think like 200 comments and 200 likes. And it was a very transparent, vulnerable video about spike own self worth, which has nothing to do with business or Linkedin. But if it can resonate and if I can get that initial … I tell the guys in my team like, “Hey, like, or comment on my thing.” That’ll tell the algorithm that this is a good piece of content.

Tom Casano: And so basically I’m very hyper aware now people that have grown, tens of thousands or a hundred thousand plus followers and they put out a piece of content. It gets all these likes and views, and I was telling you in the green room right before this, that if I would have be on YouTube, it might be lucky to get five years right and put the VR on Linkedin, it got 12,000. But that’s because I’m really optimizing the crap out of it. I’m scaling my connection. I’m connected with a hundred people a day. I’ve grown from like 2000 to 4,000 connections in the last month. There, there’s a lot and I’ve been putting a lot of too much time and energy into learning about it, but I just think the opportunity is just amazing.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, that’s so good. There’s other ones, I don’t use it, yes ave looked at at all, but it seems that there’s a lot of Linkedin lead generation services where you’ve got people that are, I’m not exactly sure how it is they’re doing it but I guess they’re targeting people helping to do the outreach stuff, setting up meetings and calls and that kind of stuff. Is that something you’ve tried or looked at? Have you done any kind of your own outreach or that kind of thing?

Tom Casano: That’s something I’m starting like literally next week for, we’re moving into the fourth quarter because I don’t know exactly the best process, but I do know a few things. I do know that templated or like copy and pasting and junk just I don’t think works so well. I think it has to be personalized and I think it has to start from a place of like, “How can I help you?” or “What’s in your world-?”

Phil Singleton: All the time, I’m sure right now, I get it like, all of a sudden somebody can do it. It’s like, now, you know?

Tom Casano: Yeah, exactly. It’s like spam. It’s a cold email. Like we talked about cold calling. There’s cold email, it’s the same concept, right? Just copy and paste as junk and then the person’s like, “I don’t … who are you?”

Phil Singleton: We’ll do a followup with you on that to see how it kind of works I know there’s something, I mean I even tried to think about the ways that people have actually … that I’ve actually ended up buying from. Because they get pitched all the time. Sure you do. And the ones that really only works when then the gift has been pretty good. Like, “Hey, some people say I want to guest post.” Or when somebody comes and says, “I read this post, it was really awesome. We actually linked from it from our side.” and I said. “Oh Wow. Okay. Well that’s cool.” they already starting to give me something. Now I feel obligated to come back and do that.

Tom Casano: So now all your listeners now they just need to send you a backlink.

Phil Singleton: I guess we’re doing that right now, but anything, yeah, another guy said that, their posting or their blogger outreach was so good that he was willing to give me three of them to like, “Hell yeah, I got to try that.” And then all of a sudden it was good. So we tried them out and that kind of stuff. That stuff really works right? Cause they’re investing in themselves, to do that kind of thing versus “Hey, we just connected with you. I want to tell you about how I can make your company more money. You’re saving money.” It’s like never, it has never worked once for me. I don’t think it will ever work. Has it worked for you? Has it worked for some people? Because it’s a numbers game for em but-

Tom Casano: No, I have the same philosophy you got to give first. You have to add value, create value. I’ve been also tracking this as I connect with more people. I get more of these things and I’m actually starting to record there’s like four of them that got me to engage. And I was almost intrigued. I was like, “Ooh.” And one of them was just an open question of like, it’s a personalized message. So it can be templated it’s like, “Hey Tom, thanks. We’re going actionable.” And they’re like, “What’s new in your world?” And I feel like I have to respond to that. I don’t know why and two of those guys said. And I was like, “I wonder if this is like a thing that people are doing this?” Like, “What’s new in your” … it doesn’t have to be that phrase, but I was just like … or they say, “What can I do to help you?”

Tom Casano: And I usually say that and then like, “Oh, do you know anyone who needs help with SEO?” I’d love to …. But you are not adding value, and this is now … we could talk about it for a second like … cause I want to actually you to teach me when you’re in my podcast about how you’re becoming a guest on podcasts. So there’s been some … I have a podcast as well as fill in and some people have pitched me like, “Hey, I want to be a guest on your podcast?” And it’s just like you’re saying, and I heard you say this in the Larry Kim episode, like, “What’s in it for me?” Like, “What’s the value?” Like, “If I get 10 pitches, why would I pick you? I don’t have all the time in the world.”

Tom Casano: And, so I watched another agency like pitch me in to be a guest. On their podcast, I took the guest, it was the guy who’s the founder of Manychat, the chat-

Phil Singleton: Okay. Yeah, sure.

Tom Casano: And what she said, it was a great email and I copied the whole thing. I was like, “This is beautiful.” It was like she left her review, and then she talked honestly.
Phil Singleton: Wow that’s good.

Tom Casano: Yeah. And she said like something very specific, like I could tell she must have listened to an episode for at least 10 minutes. Oftentimes people will say that when they’re doing outreach for link building, like, “I liked your post about it.” and then insert title and then you’re like, “No, you didn’t.”

Tom Casano: Who Cares? Right? So it’s adding value. It’s giving first building a relationship and then finding that synergy and connection. But, so that’s what we’ve been doing. So for me to become a guest on podcasts on it, I need to hear your strategy. We’ve been doing that and just being methodical or having a list of podcasts and creating a rela … a lot of it is building relationships like you and I met through a relationship through my colleague, who’s been a guest on your podcast, and on mine too. So it just becomes a small world where people want to help each other and all that.

Phil Singleton: Exactly. And it’s so genuine stuff like that. I’d love to kind of dig into that a bit more. But yeah, the Linkedin things very exciting and I think it’s going … it seems like it’s getting, it’s almost like early, it’s getting better.

Phil Singleton: I mean, I don’t wanna spend any time on. The only place I ever spent anytime right now is Linkedin because it’s cleaner content. It’s more interesting. It’s more focused on stuff that I like. I just not never have really been into Facebook. I am there because you know, clients and customers need to be there, that kind of stuff and there’s some group things that work. But I love Linkedin but I also feel like I’m leaving money on the table.

Tom Casano: Well I think-

Phil Singleton: Only participating and not doing it with enough strategy.

Tom Casano: Yeah, I mean I think it’s like anything, it’s like to really make it work for you, you really have to invest time or energy or money. You have to give it some focus. Right? And I’ve struggled with this too, because I’m too focused on too many things I’m not. But I think the other big thing is to, when we talk, like Gary Vaynerchuk talks about like optimizing to the platform or like being native within that platform.

Tom Casano: And so with Linkedin you can’t put an external link in your post because Linkedin’s algorithm will not give it as much visibility coz Linkedin doesn’t want people to leave the platform. So you really have to create content for Linkedin. Like specifically, you can’t take your blog post and just paste it in the link and say something about it. You’ve got to, craft that Linkedin post in the same way that if you’re writing a blog post for your blog, you’re just making it just for that blog. So does that make sense? I think a lot of people like doing that.

Phil Singleton: Totally. And that’s something I’m probably doing you no wrong too, coz I’m always wanting people to come back to our site so I can tag them now with Linkedin’s got their own remarketing tag too, so I can see how people would do it the old fashioned way.

Phil Singleton: But I totally get what you’re saying it’s like, well you’re also, it’s a little give and take there. They want you to put your best con … you want your best content on your site. They want the best content on their platform and they’re going to reward you more for it. So-

Tom Casano: Exactly. And it just takes more time and effort. And the other thing is like they give you like the preview, like if it’s a text post, you see like the first. I should know the number of characters are down that need’s to click see more. And so the real, it’s almost like the headline or the Clickbait and you have to have something in there emotional that will grab people. And the other thing is like transparency or vulnerability, which people, I think there’s fear because on Linkedin you feel like you have to be professional.

Tom Casano: It’s your professional network. But I think once you start to just say something like raw and honest and the other thing that’s really amazing, is like when you go on Instagram or Facebook, you know everyone’s posting like their vacation pictures and this perfect life, life like the filters on. But like, then it makes all the rest of us kind of feel crappy like, “Man, these people have awesome lives.” Like, “Mine sucks.” But then when you go on Linkedin and no one’s doing anything like remarkable, and then you start to say something that’s like, “My client just fired me yesterday.” Period. It’s like, well, you want to start your … see more. Or like, “I just had the worst day of my life yesterday and I cried for two hours.” Well like you can click see more and your students are reading it and getting the engagement. So it’s like marketing and other platforms as well.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. Let’s let them wrap up here and then kind of also just tell our listeners where they can find you and that kind of stuff. Before I do that, I want to ask one more question. One of the things I noticed in after we made a connection, of course I checked your website. That’s great. I checked out your podcast with some episodes. You’ve done a fantastic job of being able to start a podcast in your niche and be able to invite and get people on your show that are pretty much the Who’s who in the SEO, like kind of in the inbound marketing world in particular in SEO. How does that … how did you do that? What? Did you do direct outreach? Did you engage with these people first? What … you saw one of the tricks Larry used again when he came on my show. Did you do … was it that extravagant or did you use something else? Spill it man. Tell em how you do it.

Tom Casano: Oh you know I didn’t finish Larry King episode, and he told to listen to the rest of it. Yeah, so, I have kind of like a template, and you have to, like we talked about adding value and giving you have to position that so that like, “Hey, would you like to be featured as a guest on my podcast for all my listener?” It has to be of extreme value to them, but the relationship building is even first and foremost. And even with any templated email, I’m always personalize in the beginning. If you have an existing relationship, you have to have that human connection that they like you and they want to be on.

Tom Casano: But if they’ve never heard from me, I might cold email them or I might try to like get some kind of referral or some kind of like connections was not direct. So like for instance, Brian Dean, I think I first emailed him in like September of last year. And I replied to one of his like automated marketing messages, and then he went on Hunter.io. I tried to find … he had like three email addresses like, “I don’t know what or it he’s even going to reply. So and then I replied to one of his automated marketing messages, and then he said something, he was taking like a podcast holiday for two months and he was busy. Okay. So I marked it on my calendar and I followed up again and then he was busy. Okay. And then … Sometimes the opportunity just presents itself. Like there’s a, a company I mentioned to you called conductor, which is … you’re not that familiar with them and probably a lot of people aren’t.

Tom Casano: But I want to interview the CEO, his name Seth. And so I’d emailed him in the past and then the opportunity presented himself. I just randomly … Sorry shared on Linkedin that he was interviewed in some podcast and shared. And then I liked it and I commented, I said, “Oh great. I’ve had Pat from your team, from your company on the show and I’d love to interview you and … sorry the guy too.” And then he responded and then I emailed them and they emailed me back to set up a time. It’s like … and the other thing is having the credibility. So what I’m asking someone that I want to interview on my podcast, I have a landing page and I could share with you and it’s like, I’ve got the most credible figures I could think of, at least in my or in our world of SEO and stuff like that.  Eric Su, you know, maybe I’ll change things or add people if I have some of those types of people or internet famous. What’s that?

Phil Singleton: If they click on it and they are of that caliber, then all of a sudden they see everybody else to it. Now it’s kind of like snowballing on itself, right?

Tom Casano: Exactly. Yeah. It’s like street cred, right? And you build your way up. And then, but then what I’ve learned, Phil, I’ll be very honest, is I thought that like, what’s cool is one, it’s influencer marketing. So you’re building relationships, right? Like now I feel like I can email Rand Fishkin or Brian Dean and then I’m not going to be some stranger weirdo guy. But the other thing is I thought that these people would kind of like share it. And he even got Brian Dean’s tweet it, but like did nothing, I don’t really think it had any impact. So even my concept and what I heard and thought about influencer marketing, it’s not really driving results for the podcast, which makes me realize Mm-hmm (affirmative)- okay. That’s not really the best strategy for me. What other strategy should I do?

Phil Singleton: Awesome. It’s great stuff. Gosh, we have to have you back again to once now that we’ve had this kind of initial one to kind of really maybe drill down on one or two things the next time if you’re willing to come back on the show. But for now I just want to thank you and I’d like for you to tell us where people can reach you in terms of your website, and I’m assuming Linkedin’s going to be one of the places that we’ve got to make sure that we are link to because you’re active on. What any other social channels that you spend time on too?

Tom Casano: I spend a lot of time on twitter, but it doesn’t really do anything. You thinking like a con. I don’t know. People don’t really engage or maybe I’m just too late to the platform. I Dunno. But yeah, and it’s been a pleasure. I-

Phil Singleton: You do it just to … so it will include that link, but that’s one of the ones that you just kind of-

Tom Casano: Well it’s, yes. Some people say it’s a ghost town, or it’s overly bullish on Linkedin.

Phil Singleton: I just … Yeah Linkedin seems like it’s more for like the people out there that are actually getting the work done. Twitter just seems like such an … just like a major influencer platform.

Tom Casano: It’s too noisy. That’s the other thing, like you could-

Phil Singleton: Unless you are a Celebrity, and I mean the rest of us, is it really the best place for them now?

Tom Casano: But it’s too competitive. It’s too noisy and competitive, like maybe there’s … in someone’s feed, they might have like a thousand tweets an hour or 200. Like how are we going to stand out in that? You’re not.

Phil Singleton: Once I was talking to some other guy, I was saying, yeah, like the twitter or something … twitter’s the shelf life’s like minutes?

Tom Casano: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: Facebook, It’s like maybe six hours or so I don’t know what it is on Linkedin, but at least on some of those-

Tom Casano: Linkedin is like, oh, it’s like a week, it’s two weeks. Like you look in your feed and you might see like something from four days ago.

Phil Singleton: It’s still in…

Tom Casano: It can still show it because they’re so hungry for content. There’s nothing better that happened in the la … I mean that video is still getting views. It’s still increasing cause it’s, yeah. So people can find me anywhere. Google my name Tom Casano or connecting with me on-

Phil Singleton: Can you spell it out for us?

Tom Casano: Sure Oak. Yeah, for sure it’s Sure Oak Yeah. It’s S-U-R-E like you are “sure” about something and O-A-K like an Oaktree.

Tom Casano: So yeah, connect with me. Follow me, reach out. I’d love to say hello and see what I can do to help you. And thanks so much for having me, Phil. It has been a pleasure.

Phil Singleton: Awesome I also got so excited about this too. So and Tom Casano tell me I’m saying it the right way hope I didn’t say it … mispronounce it. I didn’t, I just rolled the dice and said, I think I can get this one. But thanks a ton of time.

Tom Casano: Yeah. I’ve had a blast Phil you are awesome and we’re kindred spirits, so thanks for having me.

Phil Singleton: Awesome.

How to Get Content From Your Clients

About James Rose & Content Snare

James Rose is a reformed Australian digital agency owner and the co-founder of Content Snare.

Content Snare is an online software service designed to cut down the time and headache wasted on chasing up clients for website content.

Content Snare is one of the best content marketing tools helps digital agencies and web designers get content from their clients.

One of the biggest bottlenecks in the web design process is waiting on clients to send their content through.

After countless follow-ups and an email trail longer than your to-do list, it’s still common for deadlines to be missed.

Content Snare helps you get the content back on time and in the right format, in a process that’s simplified for the client and your agency.

Instead of wading through different files, a massive email trail and Dropbox, Content Snare provides a central place where you and your client can access everything.

Episode Resources & Links

 

Meet James Rose

Phil Singleton: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of The Local Business Leaders Podcast. I am your host Phil Singleton. Today our featured guest is James Rose. James is a reformed Australian digital agency owner and the co-founder of Content Snare. Content Snare is an online software service designed to cut down the time and headache wasted on chasing up clients for website content.

So, wow. I’m a website, SEO, digital marketing owner myself. And I can tell you that this is one of the most difficult things that us agency owners run into. We’ll get a website, you know, 90% done and then be waiting weeks and weeks on content from the clients, who are busy during their own thing, right? The website’s a really important part of their business and it’s the hub of basically anybody’s modern digital marketing program. Yet getting that critical content up onto a new website can be like pulling teeth.

So anybody who creates websites for a living and knows how tough it can be to get the content needed to complete and launch a new website is gonna love this. And I think other folks with small businesses that listen to this podcast as well will kind of understand some of the challenges that we have in … Or in getting this kind of content. Really probably for websites but just maybe ongoing, you know, content for the website and other projects as well. So we can’t wait to really dig into this.

James, welcome to the show.

James Rose: Thank you for having me, Phil.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. I can’t wait for this one. ‘Cause anytime we get the chance to talk about our own company’s pain points and stuff like that is always a treat. But before we get into that kind of stuff, can you give us a little bit of background about yourself? I mean, literally your first kind of job out of school or what have you? How did you get started into the business world? And what was kind of your story in terms of getting to where you are today?

James Rose: I think I have one of the more boring stories here. Like, I always hear people like … Oh, they like selling things to people in school and stuff like that and always have had the entrepreneurial thing. But I did not at all. I was fully in the system, you know? Go to university, college as you guys might say. And then get an engineering job, ’cause I was really into that sort of stuff, like super logical and liked working stuff and I liked working on that kind of … Sorry, moving stuff, you know, like machinery and all that. And I was just fascinated by it and I wanted to make it.

So that’s where I went. But yeah, I just did the thing. I went to college, got my job. Was doing … Just did that for a few years. And then a friend of mine was going to an online marketing conference and he had a free ticket. And you know back in the day when online marketing conferences were basically pitch fests?

Phil Singleton: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

James Rose: But yeah, I went to one of those kind of things. And … But it actually provided a fair bit of info on like how to sell other people’s products for a commission online. And that sort of … It was one of those like Matrix red pill moments where, you know, I couldn’t get back now that I know that I can make money on the internet. Yeah, that’s pretty much how it all started.

Phil Singleton: The conference basically lit the fire, huh?

James Rose: Yeah. Like, so I went home and started building websites and trying to monetize them with … Back in the AdSense gold rush as they called it, where you could just throw up rubbish websites and put AdSense on ’em and try to get them ranking in Google to make some money. And yeah, that was my start. Like, in hindsight we made some terrible, terrible websites. I mean, we were probably putting a lot of crap on the internet and I’m glad it went away. But …

Phil Singleton: How awesome was it for a while? I mean, as it was kind of easy to make a little bit of money back then, or a lot of money. You know, just by getting started up. They were sweet. So then what happened? And then you got … I know you’ve had an agency or had an agency for a long time. What was kind of the …

James Rose: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: Like when you first got that started and how you kind of maybe amped that up?

James Rose: Well, the first thing we actually did is I met my business partner at my day job. And we built some software for that industry. Is a long time ago now. So we always liked software and building stuff, and that’s where we started. But eventually-

Phil Singleton: So you actually had some skills? I mean, in terms of like, you know, build stuff and participate in that kind of, you know.

James Rose: Well, we learned it. We learned it, you know? Like, we wrote software as part of our job, but very, very different style of software then writing something for a computer, you know? Like these industrial things that have their own special programming languages that most like web developers and stuff would have never even seen half of these languages before.

But so there, we learned C Sharp, it was, and we built a product for … It was in the SEO space, and eventually it kind of … We just decided we didn’t want to be in that space anymore because this product was kind of dodgy. You know, like now it’s a grade of black hat and back then everyone was doing it. And we saw that shift happening and we were like, “No, we cannot be in this space. We don’t really want our names on it.”

So, yeah. Then we started networking just around the local area to just try and find another problem to solve, really. That was it. I was just talking about what issues they had. They asked what I did, and I’d say software. And most people seemed to associate anything with computers as the same thing. You know, like IT, websites, software. So as soon as we said we did software they’d be like, “Oh, my web guy’s like disappeared and we’ve got all these problems with our website.” And blah, blah, blah. Everyone focused on websites.

So that’s how we got started. We went, “Ah, well, we’ve been building websites for years. So how about we do that for people and charge them for it?” So that’s how we got into the agency side of things.

Phil Singleton: Nice. So that kind of … It looks like you had that going for years. Five, six, seven, eight years. Something like that? Or …

James Rose: Yeah, I think it was about … Oh, actually, no. It was only about four and a bit I think now. Because we’re winding that down now. But yeah, so we started doing websites and obviously had that capability for software and eventually mobile apps, which we learned over time. But to be honest, we always had our head down, like ear to the ground looking for ideas for our next product.

So we … Actually, it really early on in the whole thing we found a problem with … A client needed to set up a payment system and send invoices out with Xero using Stripe, the payments … Sorry. The payments went out with Stripe, invoices went out with Xero. And there was not a really easy way to make this happen. Like, we were trying to use Zapya and Triumph, and things together to make it work. But the reconciliation process was really awful. And we ended up building a product for that called Silver Siphon, which we actually sold to an investment firm in Silicon Valley last year. So that was-

Phil Singleton: Nice.

James Rose: But it was only like a side gig. It was never going to be a huge app, ’cause it was a single feature app type thing. Yeah, so … And that sold last year. And then around the same time we started work … Actually, it overlaps quite a bit, but we started work on Content Snare, which is our product which you’ve already touched on for digital agencies to get content from clients. Because we obviously had that problem quite a bit in our agency life.

Phil Singleton: Right. So that’s what I was gonna ask. Is it … Is that something that you went around and asked? Or obviously you had a niche building websites, you felt that pain on your own as any of us still feel to this day. So loved to hear about how kind of, you know, that started and the kind of problems that you had at your agency in terms of getting stuff out of clients to launch.

James Rose: Yeah. Well, I absolutely cannot take credit for it, because my original idea was something around the briefing process, like website briefing. Because that was one of my biggest issues. I was really trying to get websites down to a really sort of … Like, I’m very process-minded, and I wanted all these parts that took a while to be automated somehow. So I had this pretty cool idea for a briefing app. And in our software circles, they talk about doing client interviews, where you go and talk to your potential audience and find out what their biggest problems are.

So I did that. And the idea is you go in without any … Like, you don’t guide them towards what you want, you know? Like, I wasn’t sitting there going, “Is the briefing process really difficult?” I didn’t … I just wanted them to talk about their biggest problems.

So I just went down that path with about 15 different local designers. And every single one of them focused on content as the biggest bottleneck in their process. ‘Cause that’s … I just talked about their process from start to finish. From talking to a client or potential client to signing off a job and them going on their way. And every single one of them focused on content as the biggest problem. So even before we’d started, the idea was kind of flipped over and we basically moved on Content Snare instead of a briefing tool.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. So let’s talk about like what it does and how you guys help people and what kind of traction you got and a little bit more about Content Snare. It’s one of those things, too, I think that … You know, I’ve been doing this for years myself and it’s always been an issue and we try different ways to do things. And we found certain ways I think to kind of ease the pain. And some of it is trying to do whatever we can actually to take it away from our clients.

So part of our process would be like, “Okay, we’ve got 10 or 15 questions. We do interviews on Zoom. We record ’em. We transcribe ’em. We send them to a write and we just basically … Part of our contract is we’re gonna write you like seven or 10 pieces of content, you know? Get some stuff out. So if takes a long time, we’re just gonna be able to like stamp this out. Even though that’s probably not the best way to do it. It’s almost like just a way … Like, get some really high-quality starter content on the website. Which isn’t great, but you can see how … I can see how people are out there just trying to figure out how to get things done.

The Problem: Getting Content for a New Website

‘Cause if I step back and look like, “Look, if I just … If every new client I had just already had 10 or 15 pages worth of content, some great images and maybe a couple of videos, we could be turning out really awesome websites in like a couple … Custom websites in like two to three weeks.” You know?

James Rose: Oh yeah.

Phil Singleton: But you don’t have that piece. So that’s the X factor that takes a website … You know, instead of two or three weeks may take two or three months. Or four or five months. Or six months or … You know, like we were talking about before the show, everybody’s got one that they’re probably really embarrassed about. It’s like, “Wow, we’ve worked for like months and we can’t get it launched.” And I’ve got two right now that are from 2017, you know? And we’re still trying. Which is like scary. So-

James Rose: And it’s definitely a story we’ve heard a lot.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, yeah. So tell us … And then you hear things like, you know, “Cool, alright. There’s a new software or service that you got.” Which almost sounds … I don’t want to like, you know, always hit it … Is that too good to be true type of thing. How have you guys solved it? Like, what does it do? Let’s dig in a little bit and tell us how it’s made our lives easier as agency owners.

James Rose: Yeah, and it’s funny you say that too good to be true thing. Because I’ve actually … The first email that goes out now and to clients’ Success Pack, this sort of thing that I send out to people that sign up, I make sure that I say that it’s not a magic bullet, right? Like, nothing’s just gonna magically get you content. I think that is actually one of our biggest issues at the moment is people sign up expecting they can turn it on and magically all their content problems go away. And suddenly clients start providing content in like three days. But it’s not the case.

So essentially we just try to make it much easier for clients to provide content. And that also requires a bit of work on the digital agency front. So at its core really it’s just a lot of different places for a client to put their content in. So that might be file uploads or text fields or WYSIWYG, which is for those not familiar, What You See Is What You Get. So just like formatted texts so they can bold things and italics and all that sort of stuff. You know, and you can constrain everything, so like with images … You know, it’s always funny when you get a logo that’s like 20 pixels high or something and you’re trying to use it on the site.

So you can force clients in … ‘Cause this is one of … Like, the biggest problems we found people had were the delays. Getting bad content. You know, whether that’s the wrong images or content that’s not long enough or short enough, or, you know, it’s waffling. Or it’s just not good content at all. Or it comes back really strangely formatted, like probably a lot of web designers can probably resonate with this. But getting like Word documents back that are full of highlighting and red text with like instructions saying things like … Yeah. You’re laughing because I’m sure you’ve had it before.

Phil Singleton: Oh yeah.

James Rose: Yeah. So … And you get these weirdly formatted documents. And that was what we were trying to squash, is those three issues in one. So it’s a place … It’s a central place to manage all the content where you don’t need to have instructions throughout the actual content like you do with Word documents. So the instructions sit separately in their own little boxes where you can guide your clients through the writing process and what kind of content you need. You can constrain them into the right kinds. And then obviously the automatic reminders, because that’s the biggest thing is sometimes they just forget or, you know, you don’t want to have to sit there and constantly email them and chase them up.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, right.

James Rose: So yeah, I mean, one day maybe we’ll even do some text message reminders or something, I don’t know. But we want to turn it into a bit more of a management platform where it helps you manage your clients a bit more. At the moment it’s kind of just email reminders, you know, on schedules based on due dates.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. So it’s like a central repository kind of where you can put stuff and then you’re actually structuring the content that you need and then the clients are basically getting reminders. And once it’s filled, does it stop the reminder?

James Rose: Yeah, absolutely. So … And you can actually send out different reminders based on like whether they’ve not started at all or they’ve filled it out just a little bit. Or whether they’re done. So in the future, I think we’re gonna make that even better. But, yeah, that’s pretty much it. Like, I never know how much detail to go into with this. But yeah, in one sentence, it’s a central repository with a structure and the automatic reminders. So yeah, what you said.

Phil Singleton: And then it’s like I see … I totally get what you’re saying about it. It’s really any of these tools. I mean, there’s so many things out there that I guess can work or can’t work for you. And it’s like none of them usually are like, “Buy something and solve all of your problems.” But anything that can kind of give you the structure and you actually like use and make part of your routine, is huge. Right? I mean, that’s just a big thing.

But the other side of it is that I can see … This is an agency designer myself that’s … Look, I’m really intrigued by this and I’ve actually signed up for it myself. But we’re already like, you know … Always seems like we’re in a game running around. So you get that part where it’s like, “Which tools do you kind of give it a try?” ‘Cause every trick that we try takes some time, is a learning curve, right?

James Rose: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: And then you know you need to do some of these things so that can improve your process. But at the same time, it’s like … Okay, sometimes we put things off, right? And then-

James Rose: Absolutely, yeah.

Phil Singleton: And even on new things that we know can help … Any challenges with that or any success stories that you can relate to people that are taking the time to work this into their routine? And some of the things your happy clients say after kind of incorporating it I guess?

James Rose: Yeah, and this is why we have to spend a lot of time trying to make that onboarding process, like getting people to use it, as easy as possible. And because if they put it in the too hard basket, I don’t know, do you guys say that in America? Put it in the too hard basket?

Phil Singleton: Yeah, I’m gonna start saying that. But, had to explain it, yeah.

James Rose: Yeah, yeah. So that’s … You know, if you have to put all this work in to get it going out of the … Especially as a busy person already, which most agency owners are, they’re not gonna have the time to do it. So that’s pretty much where all my time’s going right now is making things easier. And I mentioned the Client Success Pack before. And that’s essentially like a video that helps people get started as fast as possible. Some explanation on how to make it work the best. And some actual templates, you know, and copywriting instructions. Because I find that is the biggest thing.

And I was speaking to a client … To answer your question … I was speaking to a client just like a week ago who sort of hit this aha moment. They’d first started using it a while back. And didn’t really realize the best ways to use it. And to him that was realizing each section. So in Content Snare you have a content request, and then you have sort of pages, which could be used for pages on a website. And then within those, you have sections.

So in a website header, you know, the hero header might be a section. But he hadn’t … In my mind that was really clear, ’cause that’s how we designed it. But he hadn’t realized that was a … How it was supposed to be used. And when he realized that you could put a screenshot of a website section as like a section in Content Snare and then put fields in that corresponds to that like a headline and a subheadline and a button, that was his aha moment where it clicked in. So that’s a big thing now.

Like, I’ve … We’ve created built-in templates for common website sections like navigation sections and headers and, you know, about blurbs and contact pages and all that kind of stuff to get people to that point faster. And he actually said it really well. ‘Cause we were just talking about the time spent to get up to speed. He said, “You know, putting in a few minutes work now can save you hours later. And now I’m trying to work out how to put that in our onboarding.” Like, get … Make people realize that that’s the case.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, that’s awesome. So I can see as you’re talking about this, I’m also thinking about how many of us … And you’ve probably done this yourself, too, James, maybe … Where I’ve bought things or started trials or even bought things where, you know, you are … You’ve got this thing, this service page you’re paying for. And I’m actually thinking right now, every once and a while I think we go back and I take a look and like, “Are we actually even using this?” ‘Cause you start doing your own agency or whatever, all of a sudden you start building up this like list of monthly payments that you’re doing. And then not even realizing that you haven’t used it.

And not that the product’s not good or anything, it’s just you never took some time. I think it seems like some online software providers, they must have some way to like tag their notices. ‘Cause some of them I notice if you don’t start using them, they basically are like … They know that they’re at risk of, you know, maybe canceling the service because you’re not even using it at all. You haven’t really given it the chance. Like, you went on with the best intentions. You buy and it kind of sat there. And all of a sudden it starts dinging your credit card.

James Rose: Yeah, you’ve just given me an idea of like … ‘Cause that’s definitely one of our things at the moment is people forgetting about it or not using it and not having the time. And then canceling. And I was like, “Man, the CRM we’re using has that ability to email people who are” … It’s called the segment’s slipping away. So it’s like built in, right? So that’s something I need to start doing.

Phil Singleton: Well, even still just myself, I was just thinking, “Gosh, that I could see how that happens.” ‘Cause we all want the next edge and you have to keep investing in technology and stuff like that. But I can see that being a tricky … How about just making the … I mean, you didn’t really make a transition I guess from … You always kind of had the agency in the background, but you always seemed like you also had the ability or you had a product that you were actually selling and, you know, kind of a scalable piece where you could have it out there and resell it. And I was gonna ask…

James Rose: Yeah, I think that’s where our heart’s always been, you know, like in the software side of things. Agency stuff was like … I enjoyed it, but not as much as software.

Phil Singleton: Right. And that’s ’cause you like building that stuff? Or you like actual process of being able to kind of put something out and market it and sell, you know-

James Rose: Yeah-

Phil Singleton: Lots of them versus having to kind of … You know, it is kind of tough. Everyone wants to scale their agency. But at the end of the day, we’re still consultants to some degree, you know? It’s really, really hard to like completely automate like a website.

James Rose: Oh yeah.

Phil Singleton: Especially if you want to use it as a tool to do recurring income type of thing. But-

James Rose: Definitely.

Phil Singleton: So you can scale and have more, maybe you can go from 50 to a hundred or two hundred. But you can’t do like a product where you could literally sell thousands of ’em, right?

James Rose: Yeah, that’s right.

Phil Singleton: And that’s kind of where you guys are at with this thing. And … Can you give us some examples about how you … You got this, you got a product, you have something that almost seems like it’s really geared for agencies, right? Digital agencies?

James Rose: Yeah, well, that’s like the marketing. There’s definitely other markets for it.

Phil Singleton: So how are you going about, like, getting the word out? Marketing that now? Maybe a website for it? You’re doing your own content for it? You doing any AdWords? I mean, you’re out there both … How’s … What’s working for you that way?

James Rose: Oh, this is a touchy subject.

Phil Singleton: I’m sorry.

James Rose: No, no, no. I’m kidding. It’s like the bane of my existence right now because the big thing with any sort of productized thing is they say … Especially in the beginning … Finds one or two channels that are really working well for you and just double down those. And right now I have about 15 channels that are working a little bit. So I don’t have any one channel that’s really like exploded or … You know, it’s all working a little bit and it’s fine and it’s growing. It’s just like I wish I knew where to focus. But yeah, we’ve tried … We’ve done a little bit of AdWords. A little bit of Facebook Ads.

But a lot of our stuff comes from people searching for the problem. Whether that’s by actual on Google going like, you know, hitting a point of frustration and going, “How to get website content from clients”, but that’s really, really low volume. Like, not many people actually search for that. To the point where we couldn’t even target it on AdWords ’cause it said too low volume or whatever.

And the other thing is if they hit that same point of frustration and go to like a Facebook group or a community and say, “Look, I’m so sick of this. Like, what have you seen that helps or how can we streamline this process?” And people might mention Content Snare if they’ve heard about it. Or, you know, ’cause I find some groups that we haven’t sort of gotten into yet where people are talking about Google Docs or product management systems. And they’re probably our biggest competitors in these tools that can be used to do it, but probably not in the best way. And then people find out about Content Snare and suddenly we get recommended.

But that’s … They’re our biggest channels. I spend a lot of my time on content marketing, so we definitely have a few blog posts that rank well for terms that digital agencies would be searching for.

Phil Singleton: Nice.

James Rose: But there’s not many of those, you know? I’ve spent … Oh, man, I don’t even want to know how much time I’ve spent searching and reverse engineering other websites that target digital agencies to find what they rank for and come up empty-handed. It’s crazy. So yeah, that’s why I said it’s a touchy subject, ’cause I just … It’s all these like small channels. Nothing’s really just gone gangbusters yet.

Phil Singleton: Have you guys ever tried … Like, you mentioned at the beginning … And I’ve never really been … I mean, I’ve actually never been to one single industry event type of thing. So anyone out there … And I know a lot of people go ’cause they end up making … You know, a lot of people … I mean, I’m sure of the States anyway … They’ll go after a certain vertical or whatever and the big part of their business is just going to like, I don’t know … If you’re doing … If you want to do marketing, you want to focus on like dentists. And you go to like a dentists, you know, event or some trade show or something like that. And I just go with them. And that’s great.

But I don’t know. Have you been … I mean, I know you went to some early on. One kind of sparked the fire for you. But have you ever gone to any of them yourself just in general? And have you ever gone to any of them with the purpose of pitching Content Snare?

James Rose: No, not really. So I go to a lot of events, but more like general entrepreneurial stuff. Mostly just to be around other business owners, ’cause it’s like a different head space. But I’ve been to a WordCamp, which is sort of 50-50-

Phil Singleton: Sure.

James Rose: Our target audience. And I’ve looked up a lot of agency conferences. Unfortunately, a lot of the big ones are not in Australia, obviously.

Phil Singleton: Such a roll of the dice, too, ’cause they’re so expensive to-

James Rose: Oh yeah.

Phil Singleton: Travel to and go to and …

James Rose: And it’s a bit hard to justify I feel when, you know, software products might be 30, 50, whatever, a hundred bucks a month. So let’s say your lifetime value is somewhere between, I don’t know, 300 bucks and a thousand dollars. For us, like, it’s … You know, I don’t know if how worthwhile it is to spend all this time, you know, all the money to travel to a conference. To stay there. To … You know, there’s a lot of costs, right? For the ticket-

Phil Singleton: Exactly.

James Rose: And all that sort of stuff. And if you’re only there talking to a few people … If the entire purpose was pitching, which it rarely is, you’d have to convert … You’d have to get a lot of people onboard to make it worthwhile, right?

Phil Singleton: Yeah.

James Rose: Whereas if you were doing.

Phil Singleton: A hundred dollars, sure.

James Rose: Yeah. And you know, if you’re doing dental marketing stuff and you can charge five, 10 grand a month or something, then you’re gonna pay back that much faster by … With just one client. Exactly. Exactly. So that’s why it’s not something I’ve really looked at too much. I’ve looked at sponsoring some events. So far the sponsoring thing hasn’t done real well. I think that’s more of a branding play that you gotta do long term. And if you’ve got lots of money … Like, yeah, that hasn’t really been a big part of our play yet.

Phil Singleton: And then that’s a great time to segue into something that’s actually worked pretty well for me, which is podcasting. Both-

James Rose: Oh, yeah.

Phil Singleton: Having a podcast and being a guest on a podcast, you know.

James Rose: Definitely.

Phil Singleton: Even in front of lots of targeted audiences. Sometimes I guess in maybe small pockets, but you’re still doing it from your home office or your office in Brisbane or in Kansas City or wherever you are. And all of a sudden you’re getting in front of targeted audiences week in and week out.

James Rose: That’s it. And after having you on our podcast last week, I … We sort of talked about this offline and I’m really starting to think about doing that again. ‘Cause that’s how we did that in the beginning. And we got a lot of traction. Well, you know, relatively sort of compared to zero. At the beginning, you know, that was how we started is going on various podcasts. And you can use the people you’ve already spoken to to introduce you to other podcasts, ’cause everyone’s connected. And then suddenly … And as a lot of things that that … A lot of benefits for that where it’s not just getting in front of the audience but the backlinks obviously. So rank better across a lot of-

The Agency Highway Podcast

Phil Singleton: Ding, ding, ding, ding. That’s actually the reason I got started. And I was like, “Holy cow. There’s so many other things that come.” You know, once you start getting clients from it, I was like, “Okay. All in.”

So tell us now about how you’re … You’ve got your own podcast. This is a great time to talk about it. You know, you’re talking about your … I’m gonna butcher it … But it’s Agency … What is it?

James Rose: Agency Highway.

Phil Singleton: Exactly.

James Rose: Yeah, and that’s cool. And it’s brand new, right? Like, well, I think brand new. We’re at about 12 episodes or something. But the reason we started that is people have been telling me to podcast for years. Saying that, “You know, you’ve got the personality for it. It’s be awesome. Blah, blah, blah.” And I never knew what I was gonna podcast about. That’s why I never did it.

But now it seems to make sense, because Content Snare as … We do a lot of content marketing around Content Snare, right? I could have done a podcast under that brand, but the thing is a lot of agencies might not need Content Snare, so they might have an in-house copywriter or whatever that uses their own systems. They know how to provide the content and the right format, whatever.

So they might not benefit unless they need a sort of collaborative tool to work with their clients. Which is, you know, that’s a whole ‘nother topic really. But which is where we’re going to be moving Content Snare. Not moving, but adding features for that kind of workflow as well. But because I feel like a lot of our marketing then is wasted because we’re here getting in front of these agencies that don’t need Snare where if we had another resource or place for agencies to go, it becomes … I don’t know. That’s just more helpful in general.

So it will … I plan on it being a resource website. A bunch of content as well as the podcast. But yeah, that’s what we’re doing now. It’s more just so my marketing isn’t … I don’t know. I can help more people and not waste marketing, really. It makes sense.

Phil Singleton: This is a great, you know, just such a … Every agency owner can relate to some form of pain. I don’t care how big or small the agency is, but there’s always some parts of … ‘Cause you’re dealing with people and people get busy. Especially or obviously … Especially when you’re in smaller companies where people know that the website’s a really important part of it. But they get locked down ’cause they’re actually executing some other owned work, right?

No matter what it is. If it’s a plumber or….layers, all that kind of stuff. So … Your company’s are saying, “Wait, I have some resources in-house. It’s a little easier for them.” But still, coordinating that effort, I can see that as a big challenge. But yeah, I love that. ‘Cause one of the reasons we started the podcast is one, so I can pick the brains of smart people like you and get hacks and ideas and get access to new tools and that kind of stuff. It’s gonna make us more profitable and more scalable.

But it’s also such awesome access. I mean, we try to do some outbound marketing last year and got no one. And then as soon as we, you know, go to an ideal potential client and say, “We want to be on The Local Business Leaders Podcast“, they’re just like, “Yeah”. You know what I mean? ‘Cause they want to be … So same thing I think with you, obviously, right? I mean, you could start interviewing folks and some of them might be either ideal clients or if they’re influencer agencies where people are trying to follow them, at least they’re not gonna use it, then you get to tag their out answer, do all that kind of stuff. So …

James Rose: Yeah, well, it’s definitely a good networking tool for sure. And that was one of the first sort of things I was thinking about. And, you know, if I want to have a partnership with another company, like an influencer agency that you were talking about that’s connected with other agencies, it’s hard to go in and go, “Hey, we’ve got this product. Would you like to try it? Blah, blah, blah”. And it’s all on the take, right? It’s you just trying to take all the value.

But if I can go in and say, “Hey, look. We’ve got this audience and I want to put you in front of them. I come on the podcast, we’ll put you in the Facebook Group. Obviously gets shared everywhere. We can do a guest post if you want. Whatever.” But, you know, lead with all this value and then they go, “Oh, you’ve got this cool product. Like, I think I should share that with my audience.”

Phil Singleton: Awesome. Well, really cool, man. I love all of this kind of stuff. Yeah, we’re kind of … Throw us in that group of folks that like … I have every intention to use Content Snare. We’ve signed up for it. You know, we’re gonna try and obviously use it and give it a try. But it’s funny. It’s one of those things that’s like we’re constantly in … I’m one of these agents … I know a lot of them are like it … But I don’t … You know, we don’t like hire for growth type of thing. We hire after we’ve been doggie paddling so long that we’re drowning.

I don’t know … That’s probably the worst way to do it, but I’m so conservative. ‘Cause I mean there’s so many agencies out there, especially here like here where they basically hire based on feast or famine type of work. And then they go out of business because they had a couple of really good clients an office and hired a bunch of people, and they couldn’t “feed the beast”. And they close like a year or two later. So I’ve always…

James Rose: Yeah, totally.

Phil Singleton: I’ve been doing this … The only way I’ve survived is kind of being … That means a lot of times we’re doggie paddling, you know? We’re, you know, “busy” kind of thing that works. So … The other thing I was wondering … I’ll tell you this about myself, as I’ve got a great, really smart guy in-house that has tried to build something on his own. I think we talked about this before on active campaigns or something.

And I’m thinking like, “Gosh, all a sudden if you’ve got somebody who’s got their own process, and now you’re gonna say, ‘Hey, I got this really cool thing that’s probably gonna be better than what we have'”, do you compete sometimes a little bit with somebody that’s either got their own thing and you’re introducing something new? And I’ve never really had that discussion yet, but I’m just throwing it out there if that happens or how do you get around it. Tips that I can try to get internal buy-in to try and sell it, too, right?

James Rose: Yeah. And I mean, yeah, that’s almost another story than I was going to mention. Because then there’s a person involved, you know, and people tend to enjoy like creating … If they’ve gone and created this awesome process, then they’re not gonna like to have that be taken away or whatever.

Phil Singleton: Even if it is better.

James Rose: Yeah, but I mean, they can always get involved in that new process themselves, right? Like, they could set up … You know, it’s still their little baby … But like I was saying before, it’s … These things are definitely our biggest competition. Things like Google Docs or project management systems like Basecamp or whatever. Like, we have people say, “Oh yeah, I just get them to come into our project management system and do it there.” And I’m like, “And that goes well for you?” And they go, “Oh, no.”

Phil Singleton: But that’s how we do it.

James Rose: Yeah. And like, I’m a big fan of not having clients in project management systems. That’s why I’ve always been a big fan of team work, ’cause it integrates with team work desks so that clients can keep using emails to talk with you. But it comes into your system as … Not into your project management system. I love that. Yeah, so I … And Google Docs, I mean, obviously everyone’s or most people are familiar with that. But it’s got its inherent problems as well. But yeah, these are our competition and some people don’t have the time or want to change. And then other people do change and go, “Oh, man. This was like … I wish I’d done this earlier.” So yeah. I think that answers it.

Phil Singleton: James, look, I really appreciate you having and kind of sharing all this insight and kind of what Content Snare is and how it’s helped and how you got, you know, why you started it and kind of where you guys have … Are today with it. Tell our listeners where they can find you online. At what places you hang out, what opportunities that you have. Content Snare, that’s something people can try out. Is there a trial thing? How does that work? And kind of tell us … Our listeners how to follow you and connect with you.

James Rose: Alright, cool. Well, I guess the best way is probably go to ContentSnare.com. That’s obviously the tool itself. But if you go down to the footer, there’s a bunch of free resources. We’ve got like a Facebook Group for web designers. And agencies, obviously AgencyHighway.com. That’s pre-launch at the moment. But if you to … Just search The Agency Highway Podcast, you’ll find that. If you want to subscribe to that. Me on Twitter is @_jimmyrose. I was really late to that and didn’t get my name or my nickname. But yeah, I think that’s pretty much it.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, your Facebook … You have like thousands of people on that thing.

James Rose: Yeah. 3800 in there. And it’s called Grow Your Web Design Business. Very originally named.

Phil Singleton: So awesome.

James Rose: Yeah. Jump on in and say hi. That’s where I spend most of my time hanging out, for sure.

Phil Singleton: Alright, James. Thanks so much for coming on the show. And we appreciate the time that you spent with us.

James Rose: And thanks for having me, Phil. This has been awesome.

 

Building a Million Dollar Website Business with No Employees

Chris Parker is the founder & CEO of WhatIsMyIPaddress.com, the number one website in the world for finding your IP address. According to the Alexa ranking, Chris’s website is one of the top 3000 websites in the United States with over 6 million visitors a month.

Chris started the website on January 4th, 2000 and for the first five years, his revenue didn’t even cover his internet bill. In 2005, Chris made $30 from display ads and he knew he couldn’t give up!

In 2014, Chris was laid off from his corporate job and was faced with the scary opportunity to make his website a full time business. Since then he’s aggressively grown his site to generate just under seven figures a year in revenue with no employees, no office, and no inventory!

WhatIsMyIPaddress.com has granted Chris and his wife time and financial freedom that they use to travel the world and raise their mini schnauzer, Bailey.

WhatIsMyIPAddress.com Resource Links

Chris Parker Resource Links

 

Meet Chris Parker of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com

Phil Singleton: Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris Parker: Great to be here, Phil.

Phil Singleton: Awesome, so I’d love to hear right off the bat, like just what got you into the business World in general, those first steps out of high school or college, or whatever it was. What was your first job? And kind of just give us the quick story in terms of how you got involved in the business world, and what brought you to here today.
Chris Parker: Sure. Yeah, my first job was in 1984. I was 12 years old, and I delivered newspapers.

Phil Singleton: Nice.

Chris Parker: I think I had like, I had the smallest route in the neighborhood. I had like 30 customers, so to speak. I made four bucks a month or whatever it was, but grew that, took over all the neighboring routes, and did that for number years, and then realized I don’t want to ride my bicycle every morning and every night delivering papers.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Chris Parker: I think my first business that I tried running was a website called discountbibles.com, back in 1999.

Phil Singleton: Dang.

Chris Parker: That was just around the time, I think, Amazon had launched not too long before that, but I was competing against Amazon, selling Bibles. It was fun. I was working a day job at an online, or I guess at that time was a mail order catalog, a computer reseller called Club Mac. I thought, you know, I want to sell Bibles of the side.

I put together a website, got some databases of things, and put together something fairly clever, and started, put up the server on my own DSL connection in my home. Over the course of a couple months, I realized it really sucks to have to pick up the books, box them up at night, and on my lunch breaks take them over to FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service. And on the weekends, I was boxing and running credit cards, and trying to do all this out of my apartment. I realized, oh my gosh, this is not scalable. I don’t want to be doing this.

I think I was making maybe a couple of hundred bucks a month at the end of the day, which is nice to have some extra spending money, but way too much work for what I was making. So my next thing that I tried was, well, if you can’t beat Amazon use should join them. And so I switched over to the site. Called it “The Bible Finder,” you know, keeping your niche when you know what you’re doing. And rather than packaging them up myself, and doing all that, all the credit card processing, the chargebacks, all that fun stuff, I just became an affiliate for Amazon. No more, you know, no more books lying around the house, no more dust. I thought, oh, this is awesome. It’s totally scalable, until Amazon decided, “We don’t want to have to charge sales tax to all the orders that we ship to California, so we’re dropping every California affiliate.”

Overnight, my business disappeared.

Phil Singleton: Wow.

Chris Parker: I think, during all that time, I’d actually started whatismyipaddress.com back in 2000, and it was totally a hobby. I’d never thought of it as as a business. I just put up the site because it solved the problem that I was trying to figure out for the company I was working for. I just kind of let it run in and, honestly, didn’t really pay attention to it for a while.
Once I saw there was some traffic to it, I was originally like just showing people their IP address, like no welcome to the site, just eight characters, 12 characters, whatever it is. Just effectively one word of text on the screen.

Phil Singleton: One point there, before we could continue on there. Just as a refresher on an IP address. Can you explain to people kind of what that is? I think most people have heard about it, especially if you got a job or something, and you know we’ve all heard about, “Hey, what’s your IP address?” I think, definitely for marketers, it’s become something that they’re familiar with for a variety of reasons. But can you explain just in simple terms to the layman, that really doesn’t maybe spend a whole lot of time on the computer, what an IP address is, and why somebody might want to look it up?

Chris Parker: Absolutely, it’s the internet equivalent of your home mailing address. When you’re at home and you want to mail something and get a response back from someone, you put their name on the envelope, you put your return address on the envelope, you send it off. It gets to that company. They want to send whatever they want back to you, they need that return address in order to get the envelope back to you. That’s the internet equivalent of an IP address. It’s so websites and email servers and all the things that we do online, games, data, it knows how to get back to us when we put a request in.

It can reveal a little bit more about you than you realize. It provides someone with a database. They can figure out what who your internet service provider is, and with some more advanced databases, they can actually probably figure out within a few blocks of where you live, just based on your IP address.

Phil Singleton: Some practical things I’m thinking of, like we run into all the time, is for our websites we a lot of time will put some additional layer security for against malware and hacking. There’s ways to kinda block access to people, maybe add them to the back of your, say WordPress example, WordPress website. You need to know, basically, your IP address of the people that want to walk in there, if you want to like white-list them, allow them in, right? So that’s one thing I know that we’ve used your site for, to lookup an IP address, so that we can white-list people to be able to access, and through the security settings that we have for our website.

I can also think of other things that are like hot today. You hear people talking about geo-targeting, geo-fencing, all this kinda stuff that’s based on maybe a device and a location. I’m guessing that probably has something to do with an IP address for some of these things. Is that right?

Chris Parker: Yep. When it comes to mobile devices, primarily it goes based off of the GPS data that you’re intentionally sharing, but even if you turn off the GPS data, you kinda fall back to the geolocation based off of IP address. Not as accurate, but nevertheless when you’re surfing the internet, it can give you ads for your local neighborhood, as opposed to the wrong country.
Phil Singleton: Awesome, okay. So thanks for that kind of refresher there because I think, again, most people have heard about it. A lot of people have kinda looked it up for certain different things, but I think that kinda helps put things into perspective. Get you back onto the trail of kind of where you were, you said that you had kinda started whatismyipaddress.com kind of as a hobby, still had kind of a day job, and where would you take it from there?

Chris Parker: Yep. I, at some point, put an email address on the site, and said, “Hey, if you have questions, ask me questions.” So I started answering questions about IP addresses via email, and I realized that, “Gee, I’m getting an awful lot of the same questions over and over.” So I put up a FAQ on the site. That was the beginning of my content development days, of rather than one-off … and I’m thinking scalability here, rather than one-off responding to these emails, but put the information online, and that’s kind of how the site started to grow.

Like you said, back in 2005, you had the launch of ad networks and AdSense. So I put a little ads on the site, and realized, “Oh my gosh, I can make a little bit of money doing this, and offset my bills for my hobby.” Then it, you know, finally started being more than my bills, and making a little bit of vacation money, some travel money, and little of investment money.

Again, it was never really on my mind as this is going to become a full-time gig. At this point it had become a side hustle, until the day that the company I was working for started struggling in the financial crisis. Over the course of a couple years, and multiple rounds of layoffs, they finally came to me and said, “Well, Chris, we can’t afford to keep paying you full-time. We’re going to have to let you go,” which is I don’t think what anyone wants to hear. I suppose some people want to hear it, but I didn’t want to hear it.

So I was faced with a decision. Do I try to turn whatismyipaddress.com into my full-time gig, or do I look for another corporate job? Asked my wife, we sat down and talked about it. We set up some milestones of like, okay, can I grow the business enough in the course of the next year or so to offset the loss of my full-time income? We set up some milestones every three months or so, to kinda reevaluate and see how things were going. Lo and behold, by putting 30 to 40 extra hours a week into the website, I was able to earn back my day job, I haven’t looked back.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.

Chris Parker: It is a blast being able to work from wherever I want to.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, I mean, you’re definitely living the dream from that respect, to be able to kinda … Yeah, you’ve solved a bunch of different things. You solved a problem. You turned it into a website. You got traffic, and then it sounds just kind of like by the force of the economy, or outside economic forces, that you were almost forced to to turn it into a revenue generator, and you really got serious about it, and found ways to make it, and turn it into a nice profitable business.

On that note, I’d love to talk about like what … because as you’re talking, I’m thinking, wow, okay, at some point you really knew you were onto something because the traffic probably really started to take off. You were definitely one of the first ones on there, so from a search engine standpoint, and we can talk a little bit later, you had kinda the first move or advantage, and you’re working on it. And there are probably people linking to you, and your traffic grew.

You mentioned AdSense in the beginning, so it was probably the first thing that you did to try and monetize it, right? And you realized, okay, not a whole lot of people get rich just from AdSense money, or just from display ads, but there’s all sorts of other things I’m taking that I’d love for you to talk about. Did you try … Was there any affiliate marketing, you know, upselling people, email lists, all these other things that probably have come into play maybe in recent times, or that you looked at, since you kinda did this full-time? Can you talk to us a little bit about how, how do you start monetizing a site like this once it starts taking off?

Chris Parker: Absolutely. Actually, one of the biggest challenges has been to actually monetize the traffic. Everybody jokes of like, “Well, if I just had lots of traffic, then I could make lots of money.” I’ve actually had kinda the flip problem that most people have. It’s, “Okay, I’ve got lots of traffic, now how do I make money off of this?” People immediately go, “Oh, well, all you have to do is just throw ads on the site, and you’ll make lots of money.”

Well, when 70% of your internet, when 70% of the traffic to your website isn’t in the United States, it hurts. There’s not a whole lot of money to be made in banner ads to people in India, China, Russia, Poland. There just isn’t money in that. So it’s really been an interesting challenge over the years trying to find the right ad vendors, the right ad networks.

There’s been a few tried-and-true ones, but most of them I’ve been able to work with them for a couple of years, and then they become less effective. It’s been a very unique challenge with most of the people I’ve talked to about it because that international element to it makes a complicated. The other side of it is that whatismyipaddress.com does not draw really targeted, intense traffic.
It’s not like they’re coming to my website because they’re researching a camera that they’re about to buy, and I can, “Hey, here’s a camera I can buy,” whether it’s via ads, or by affiliate marketing. That’s not the case. People are coming, “I just want my IP address. I’m going to get it, and I’m going to go. I’m not going to look on any other pages. I’m not going to look at any of your ads.” So it’s been difficult to manage that.

One of the exciting things that’s happened over the last couple of years, is a new infrastructure technology that kind of can be used to compete against Google AdSense, and that’s called Header Bidding. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it or not.

Phil Singleton: I haven’t. I’m all ears.

Chris Parker: It’s basically when someone hits your website, it sends off a request to a variety of ad networks, and they can bid against, bid for that impression. “I’m willing to spend this much money for the impression, and then if you’re using, like I have been, Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers as an ad platform, it could then turn around and compete against AdSense. So not only do you have the ability to monetize impressions that maybe AdSense wouldn’t, it creates a little bit of competition, and right and pushes the AdSense rates up a bit.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, takes some money off the table for them, basically.

Chris Parker: Takes some money off the table, lowers their margins a little bit, and pushes your revenues up a bit. It’s kind of … the technology’s a bit in its infancy, so there’s definitely some hiccups. I think over the next year or two, they’ll actually be a lot of consolidation in all the ad networks as they and they … you just can’t have 500-600 companies competing on exactly the same product, exactly the same space. There’s going to have to be some consolidation there, but I think over the next couple of years Header Bidding will really, really coming into fruition. A lot of it’ll be done on the backend, and not on the client browser. It’ll help website owners who are monetizing with display traffic a lot.

Phil Singleton: I love that because it really seems like, and even now, when I think about it. I think of, geez, it just seems like you really can’t make the majority of your revenue, again, this is from the outside in because we don’t do a whole lot of it, but you just think, well, somebody’s … if they’re on their way they’re monetizing the website is through AdSense, then you know that that’s probably not, no matter how big, unless it’s like super huge. They’re probably not making a whole lot just from that, right? I mean because it takes a lot of displays to make to make those checks really big.

Chris Parker: Yeah, and anyone who’s been doing AdSense for more than five years can attest, the rates that publishers are making for traffic has just been dwindling over the years. We get a smaller and smaller, smaller and smaller bang for our buck for those that are in kind of that general … If you’re really, really nichey, and have really good intent, you can get some crazy good ad rates. But if you just have a very general interest news site, a general information site like I do, it’s hard to get good rates on the ads.

Phil Singleton: So a couple of things there I’d like to ask. One is, what’s interesting from the advertising perspective, from the banners and things like that, over the years Google has changed their algorithms, and just been more scrutinized a lot more, you know, what’s being presented on the space in terms of like above the fold and things like this, right?

Chris Parker: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: So, you get a lot of stuff where you maybe you get more impressions, or better ads, then they want you to push them down, and if you don’t, you kind of have this game that you’re playing versus how do I satisfy the search engine to keep my rankings up, versus they don’t want you to have a bunch of ads above the fold because they’re going to say that’s not most beneficial to the user. I guess, have you thought about that, and had to play that game a little bit? It makes it a little bit tougher for people that are selling ads, right? Because it’s like, wow, you just took that away. You’re gonna take our rankings away, and you’re going to make us put what’s valuable down below the fold. It makes it even a little bit harder, I think, if you’re relying a lot on organic traffic.

Chris Parker: Yeah, it is a challenge, the balancing act of that is a lot of give and pull. You’ve got, you know, the ad network who want as many ads and as high up the fold as possible, covering as much of the real estate as possible. You’ve got the users who want no ads whatsoever because it’s on the internet it should be free. And then me, who, well, I’ve got to pay my bills. I have to make a living. Trying to balance all that out, and my general approach has been I want as good of a user experience as I can provide, and still make a living. I definitely tried in the early days, “Hey, let’s try these pop-ups that were paying your $20 per thousand impressions, or $50 per thousand impressions.” Yeah, I could make a lot of money very quickly, but it disenfranchises the users. I’d get hate mail. I’d get, “I’m never going to use your side ever again.”

I kinda took that to heart, and said, “Okay, I can’t do that.” I’ve gotta find that balance that keeps my users engaged, and doesn’t turn them off, and hopefully they’re going to understand that I need to make a living. There has to be some ads on the site, but not so much that it becomes a horrible experience.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, that’s what you get-

Chris Parker: We’ve all been on those sites. You open it up on your phone, and there’s like one sentence on the screen, and all the rest of it is ads. That’s a horrible experience. Those sites should be penalized.

Phil Singleton: Right, right, right. Next, we got the ads … these are when we’re talking about … Sorry, what we’re talking about right now is the banner and the ads that show up, that you’re basically being paid on the amount of impressions that you receive. Have you tried any, or do you have any where like there’s affiliate relationships, right? I’ve heard some people, obviously back in the day it was a huge thing, I think even now. I think people still do really well with it in some areas where you’ve got a banner ad you’ve got a relationship with the people that are the advertisers, and if they click through to their website, it carries over a cookie. A sale is made, and then you get a piece of the sale, right? Is that something that you’ve tried? Is that part of your current model? I mean, that’s changed a lot over the years. Can you talk to affiliate marketing a little bit?

Chris Parker: Yeah, I definitely do affiliate marketing, and it’s probably been the the quickest growing segment of my revenue over the last couple of years. I’ve tried doing it with ads, with ads kind of competing against the ad networks all in an ad server software. It’s a lot of management. I very quickly realized that I was spending a large portion of my time tweaking, a little bit more here, turn that one up, turn that one down. It really just became too much time consumption to manage the affiliate relationships within display ads. Again, I think part of it is because I have such a a non-nichey site, only in certain place up on my site could that even potentially work. In most cases it just doesn’t work at all.

But I have really worked really hard on affiliate relationships over the last couple of years, and building content which promotes particular products, which are in the same sort of vertical of a portion of our users. A lot of that is privacy, online safety; have done really well with VPN affiliate offers. I’ve tried newsletters.

Phil Singleton: That was gonna be my next question, is like build an email list, and trying to have another thing, I guess, to monetize.

Chris Parker: I have a fairly large mailing list that is really hard to get them to do anything. Again, I think that comes down to it’s a lot of international people as well on the mailing list, and while it might be more targeted than the website, it’s a pretty hard mailing list of to move to do stuff. I’ll get a lot of … great open rates on my emails, but really hard time getting clicks into affiliate offers in the newsletters, and so it’s something that’s like, there’s more bang for my buck to do other things, work with more strategic, like exit intent pop-ups, things that engage users after certain amount of time on the site through OptinMonster, and there’s a bunch of other platforms that do it. But try to catch people with with other types of interactions when it’s less intrusive than like right when you get hit the homepage.

Phil Singleton: Right, the next thing I was gonna ask is have you tried or thought about any type of premium service, upsell, software-as-a-service type model, where somebody comes in and you got the … I mean, I see on your site now, it looks like up in the bar, I haven’t checked too many of them, but there’s other things we can check on whatismyipaddress.com now, right? Are any of those premium, or is it just another way to draw more traffic, and have you thought about that model?

Chris Parker: I definitely thought about the model. Again, some of it, I’ve questioned the scalability based on the amount of effort that I’d have to put into it. So currently all the tools, all the functionality that’s mine on the site is entirely free. I just kinda like that model. I’m in talks with a couple of different data providers who provide … let’s call it the the background checks type of stuff. A little bit more in-depth than information that I can provide and an awful lot of work for me that to build it out in-house, that are offering like a white-label solutions where I can start the brand that. They’ll handle all the billing. So, I think there’s a great opportunity there. It’s something that we’re looking at in Q1 of next year in order to grow that.
A lot of it has been the amount of work to get a subscription.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Chris Parker: It’s one thing if you’ve got this great master class, and you can charge $5,000 a year membership. Hey, if you get a couple of members, you know, you get a couple of dozen members, you don’t have to scale it up. Anything that I do, just because of the niche, I’d have to scale it up to tens of thousands of people for it to be profitable. And kind of dealing with, okay, credit card processing on 10,000 transactions a month, or annual subscriptions in order to get $10 a month from people. It becomes … I don’t think the metrics work out in the long run for me.
Speaker 3: Interesting question.

Chris Parker: Oops, sorry.

Phil Singleton: That’s all right. So it’s safe to say, I mean, it’s been great. You mentioned in your bio that you’ve grown this to essentially a seven-figure business. So the majority of that seems like it’s coming from some shape or form of advertising. Is that safe to say?

Chris Parker: Yep, at this point it’s either display ads or affiliate relationships. There’s a few data things that I’m doing, but it’s kinda that one percent on the backend sort of things.

Phil Singleton: That’s really cool. Then I wanna get into a little bit in, I don’t wanna get too deep into SEO stuff, but kind of in the green room before we were talking about … Somebody that’s had a site since 2000, has seen it grow. You had a ton of organic traffic. I looked at Ahrefs, which is a tool that we’re both familiar with, that we use here at our agency. I’m looking at it, I think I can still pop it up right now. I’m going to share a screenshot of what I see, but they show that you’ve got … and this is just for organic traffic. I’m looking at it today.

You know how these things are. I mean, it’s not analytic, so it’s not gonna be like your exact numbers, but they’re showing organic traffic of four million unique hits a month. So that’s just only organic. I’m sure you guys have direct links, direct traffic, referral traffic, social media traffic, all sorts of stuff that gets you up to six million and above. Of course, we know, a lot of times these external ones aren’t as accurate as some other things, but it also shows one of my favorite metrics inside of Ahrefs is your monthly traffic value in terms … I don’t if you’re familiar with this one, but it’s one of my favorite ones in SEMrush and also Ahrefs, where they assign, basically, an AdWords value to your organic, free traffic that you’re getting.

I’m looking at it right here, and it says your monthly organic traffic’s worth three million dollars a month. I’m like, wow, okay. So they’re basically, because you get so much organic traffic, they’re cobbling together lots of probably diverse stuff that your ranking for. Obviously, to see that’s one thing, to be able to monetize into is something else, but it does show the power of what you have in terms of what you’ve been able to build and the amount of organic traffic that you’re able to get. I’m sure it’s really probably only getting, building and getting more over time, as more people get familiar with IP addresses.

It’s become a hot topic, since the last election and stuff. Things that are going online, what people are looking for, what do people know about us? It’s just more in the media right now, more people trying to understand about what people know about certain things. The more they become familiar with it, the more likely they’re going to be looking up like, “Well, what is my IP address?” Right? I’m sure you guys have benefited a little bit of that as well. On the topic of SCR, I’d just love to hear about … because you’re starting way back in the day, 1999-2000, things that you’ve seen in terms of these massive Google updates, them going after links and content, Panda, thin content.

Even in recent years, you see great sites doing really good things, but for whatever reason, you’ll see good sites with great content still get hit randomly by one of these Google updates that they do every day, and then once or twice a year they do a really big one that sends a tremor pretty much that everybody feels. Can you talk a little bit about your experience with Google, and has it frustrated you over the years? Have you had to kind of move things and change things? Did you ever experiment with stuff? Have you changed your site strategy and content based around SEO and Google and this kinda stuff? Just kind of give us a little bit of a background about how SEOs impacted or affected this business.

Chris Parker: Yeah, I mean, definitely, like you say, there’s a crazy amount of natural search traffic. I think when you are so reliant on natural search traffic, there is always that kind of underlying fear of, you know, if I get slapped by Google, this is gonna be a problem. I think every time there’s been a major update, it’s always kind of like, “Okay, I hope this doesn’t impact me.” I think part of why a lot of these haven’t impacted me is I really tried to use kind of best practices. I don’t buy links. Maybe 20, maybe 15 years ago, 10 years ago, played around a little bit in that space, but it’s, honestly, it’s not cost-effective for me. I’ve tried to avoid just a lot of the practices that were sketchy to begin with. I’ve never paid companies to spam my links in forums and comments and-

Phil Singleton: Did you ever try and build out tons of pages that were kinda thin that way, or did that ever happen?

Chris Parker: You know, I never tried to do it as intentionally thin pages. There were some stuff that, looking back at it, that there’s definitely some pages on the site that have very thin content. But it wasn’t like, “Hey, let’s-”

Phil Singleton: Let’s build a 1,000 pages for each keyword here, and try and-

Chris Parker: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was never that. It was, “Well, I had an article written on what is SMTP,” the way mail servers communicate, and it was like 300 words, 250 words. In my mind, it’s like, “Yeah, it’s really pretty thin. I don’t really know if that article’s that helpful to anybody who reads it.”

So algorithm changes which affect that sort of stuff have concerned me over the years. One of the ways that I’ve addressed it to go back to a lot of that content, and either get rid of it entirely, and just 404 the page, redirect it somewhere else, or have a better writer come in and write better content that’s-

Phil Singleton: Beef it up, yeah.

Chris Parker: … that’s just more useful to people. And so that’s kind of been my way of dealing with that. The one algorithm update which scared me the most, and I think all businesses and some sense should be kind of scared about it, was … I don’t know, when Google directly started answering questions. If you google right now, “What is my IP address?” Google will actually tell you what your IP address.

Phil Singleton: The knowledge boxes, now they’re starting to work in more direct stuff, and basically answering things on the page, and bypassing the source of where they’re getting the answers from.

Chris Parker: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: And that’s just been something, I don’t know the we can specifically call that like an update, where they just did this, and did it. It’s almost been something that’s been creeping into the search results, where more and more it seems like they’re trying to provide, really to me, data that has answers to it without as much maybe commercial intent to it. So it’s like you ask a question, you get an answer, so there’s no reason for you to go to a separate page. Yeah, I think a lot of people … Here, it’s funny, because this is one of those things with Google where here they don’t want you scraping content, but they can scrape content from you and show it directly in the search results before going to your page. But, yeah, so some of that stuff I could see, I guess, how that would be concerning for some people that are supplying answers to people like this.

Chris Parker: Yeah, informational sites kind of run the risk of either being scraped by other people, or being scraped by the search engine, and the search engine’s just totally bypassing you. The interesting thing about that update and subsequent traffic, is that I saw maybe a 10% hit in traffic due to that update with Google starting to answer that question. It really made me think of a couple of things. Do people just not trust Google that much that they’d rather go to my site instead of trusting a result from Google? Or, that I’m actually providing more information beyond that, which is what I’m doing.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, right. When I look at your site. I mean, I see some of the Google, sometimes when you do the Google one, it either gives you, and I don’t … and you can maybe explain this little bit better, but sometimes the IP address looks different. It’s like a longer string with colons in it versus you an actual whatever that multiple digit with the period numbers is. And it doesn’t give you like the carrier, and the map results, and I kind of stuff. So, obviously, a site like yours is giving you a lot more information than just a number.

Chris Parker: Yep. So, as a segue, or as a tangent, the short one with the period, the four numbers with four periods, that’ IP address version four. It was designed as, “We’ll never need more IP addresses than the 16 billion. I think it’s 16 billion that IP4 supports. Then magically all these internet of things devices started connecting up, and everybody’s got 20 internet-enabled devices in their home now. So slowly the transition has happened to IPV6. That’s the one that could be a lot longer with colons and sets of four digits, and you never kinda know whether you’re connecting via IPV4 or IPV6, and for the vast majority of people, it’s totally behind the scenes, and they don’t really even ever need to know. But you visit my website, and I’ll tell you IPV4, IPV6, carrier, where in the world it is, and some other interesting things that we might be able to determine about the user of that IP address based on available information.

One of the weird side effects of Google actually answering that is the quality my traffic went up because the people who were, “I just want the number, and I’m going,” didn’t come to the site anymore. So, average pages used per session went up. The click-through rates on all the ads went up because, effectively, Google carted off the worst traffic for me and kept it for themselves. So it really only upgraded the quality of my traffic. I saw almost no revenue hit from losing that traffic, which was really kind of crazy.

Phil Singleton: Nice. Alright, let’s … This is fascinating for me, I mean, just to kind of see how somebody that’s gone through it … Like I say, there’s a lot of people out there that are side-gigging, wanting to build up their own internet asset, so that they can one day step away, make a seven-digit income, and be able to do whatever they want. In a lot of ways you’re basically living the dream.

That being said, it’s like a lot of these quote-unquote overnight successes that’s taken many years to get to the point where you are today, right? It’s not like you just had an idea, popped up a website, and then made a million bucks one year. I’d love to know on that, we’ve got the $10,000 question. If you didn’t have any of your assets right now, and had to build something from scratch, and I gave you $10,000 to do so, where would you start? I mean, if you were gonna try and rebuild the empire?

Chris Parker: You know, if you were telling me I had to go into the whatismyipaddress space…

Phil Singleton: Something similar, yeah, something similar to this. How would you-

Chris Parker: I would just and wouldn’t do it, yeah.

Phil Singleton: If you’re coming late to the game, you might have another idea of it, right?

Chris Parker: I think I could probably do something in the affiliate space where I could build up content around products, and really provide some insights about those products, comparisons versus others. There’s a lot of sites that do that, to find a really nice … maybe it’s even the VPN niche because I have experience there. But to really find a really tight niche where I can really get a good understanding of the audience, really zoom in on who they are, what they do, why they do it.

Today, the ad targeting that you can do these days through Facebook and Google AdWords is just amazing. If you really know your audience, you can … I’d rather have 10 people who want to buy my product coming to a site than 10,000 people who have no intent of buying a product. I think these days there’s some crazy opportunities to make money being super nichey, super targeted. I’d probably go that route, and try to-

Phil Singleton: So you’d build a site, build some content around it, and then start just giving a lot of value, and maybe doing some really highly targeted advertising.

Chris Parker: Yep, and start working out from there.

Phil Singleton: So just off of that real quickly, you mentioned VPN. I think we talked a little bit about that in the beginning too, or you mentioned that once or twice. What’s going on in that space where there’s some interest? Why is that kind of a hot area for you, and something that sounds interesting?

Chris Parker: So the 10,000-foot view of what a VPN is. A VPN is a network, not your internet connection like your internet service provider or your wireless carrier, but it’s a company that provides transit for your data. So rather than you appearing to be surfing the web from your AT&T mobile phone, your traffic gets routed through your VPN provider, and it pops out the internet, kind of almost wherever you want it, wherever your VPN provider has servers. If I’m traveling in Singapore, and I want it to look, to the internet, like I’m on the internet in California, I can use a VPN company which routes my traffic through a server in California. So as far as the rest of the world knows, based on my IP address, I’m in California and not in Singapore.

Where this is really impacting things these days is you’ve got oppressive governments who are trying to limit access to social media and information, and so people in those countries don’t want their government spying on them and watching what they do. So they’ll use VPNs to route their traffic elsewhere, so they can get access to content which they otherwise might not get access to. I think even more so, people are are becoming more concerned about that even here in the United States as well. “I don’t trust the government. I don’t trust these big companies with my data. I wanna make sure that I’m protected,” and things like that.

Then you’ve got people who are expats. That are US citizens living abroad, and they wanna be able to access US Netflix. Well, you can’t do that from many other countries, so if you get a VPN which routes your traffic through the US, your traffic to Netflix and Hulu and the common streaming services appear to come from the US. There’s a bit of cat and mouse going on with that because the Netflix and Hulus, there’s licensing issues. They really don’t want to be distributing US content to people in other countries. So there’s a little cat and mouse game going on there as well. Usually, the use of VPNs revolve around, “I want to access something I can’t access my country. I want privacy. I don’t want people who’s website I’m visiting to know where I am, know anything about me.” Or security, like, “I’m on wifi at Starbucks or my local mom-and-pop café, and I don’t trust their ability to keep their network secure, so if I use a VPN, my devices are protected. My traffic is is encrypted, and no one can kind of sniff out what I’m doing while I’m gone at the café.”

Phil Singleton: No, it makes perfect sense. As you say this, I’m also thinking, geez, earlier this summer, you know my wife’s from Taiwan. We took a trip there, spent a couple weeks. Of course, we’ve got kids, and we have a Netflix account. Of course, if you go overseas and are trying to access your Netflix account through there, it’s like you can’t access it because you’re outside the country. I’m wondering if, okay, I wonder if a VPN would kind of solve that problem, where you could actually access something you already should have access to. They just don’t tell you, or aren’t explicit about you can’t use this traveling or traveling outside of the country type of thing.

Chris Parker: Yep, a VPN is a good solution for stuff like that. You gotta test it to make sure it works, but each one is a little bit funky, or can be funky in how they implement it.

Phil Singleton: Well, Chris Parker, this has been really awesome. Of course, I guess we’re kinda geeking down a little bit more, maybe than we do on some of the shows, but I find this really fascinating because some of this stuff also is a great lesson for … it just happens to be IP addresses, right? But it could really be anything. If somebody gets on to something that their passionate about, and able to build up traffic. It all comes back to, if you’re gonna do it full time, it’s gotta be profitable, and you got to monetize it. A lot of the lessons, I think, learned here today could apply to a lot of different folks, especially when it comes to advertising.

Can you give us … what’s the best way to kinda follow what you’re doing? I know we mentioned whatismyipaddress.com a couple times. What else do you have going on? What’s your favorite social media channels that you kind of act and distribute and share content on? Are there any other websites where people can follow you?

Chris Parker: Definitely, you can get all the social media profiles for whatismyipaddress.com down in the footer of the website, and unfortunately whatismyipaddress.com is too long to be a social media handle, in most cases. So you can find it there, we’re on all the main social media channels. If people wanna follow me personally, and kind of some of my behind the scenes and my journey, they visit cgparker.com, and find all my social media there.

Phil Singleton: Is there any particular one that you spend a little time on than others? Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or they’re all kind of mixed up?

Chris Parker: You know, if anyone is personally trying to get ahold of me through social media, LinkedIn is probably the best way. I will provide a link for you for the show notes.

Phil Singleton: Awesome, we will definitely place it. Well, thank you very much, Chris. This has been really awesome. I’m so glad we get to have a person with your experience and of your caliber on the show. I just want to thank you one more time.

Chris Parker: Thank you, Phil. I had a great time. It’s always fun to geek out on some of the technical aspects of the site.

Phil Singleton: All right, bye now.

Chris Parker: Bye bye.

Kansas City Advertising Agency Expert

Dave Wieser the founder of DW Creative Marketing,  a Kansas City-based marketing agency that helps local businesses increase leads and sales through effective marketing strategies and systems. Dave is one of Kansas City’s top advertising experts.  He has a decade of previous working experience as an account executive for Kansas City area TV stations.

DW Creative Marketing, LLC has a strong reputation of providing marketing and advertising consulting services in retail and home services. These services include:

  • Creating and implementing marketing strategy
  • Strategic “New Market Entry” communications
  • Brand strategy
  • TV & Radio Advertising
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Crises management
  • Social media marketing
  • Reputation management
  • Web design
  • Pay-per-click advertising

Learn More About Dave Wieser

 

Meet Dave Wieser of DW Creative

Phil Singleton: Hey, Dave. Welcome to the show.

Dave Wieser: Thanks, Phil. Thanks for having me.

Phil Singleton: My pleasure. Let’s just kind of get into, before we start talking about marketing and some of the services and things that you do around here in Kansas City, which is nice to have somebody that we’ve got somebody local with me we can talk shop with, tell us a little bit more about kind of your background and maybe those first steps out of school and maybe some of your early career things and what brought you to your own agency today.

Dave Wieser: Sure. Yeah, so I was actually a finance major in school. I had no ambition to go into marketing or advertising, and wanted to be a CFO or do something with managing corporate cash flow or some kind of training. We were going through kind of a mini recession when I graduated, and so a lot of the positions were not that desirable right out of college.

I needed a sales internship to graduate and the local TV station was advertising a sales internship, and I’m like, “Oh, that’d be cool to go work in a TV station.”. And I had done sales before. I had actually worked one summer in upstate New York [loss od audio]called Southwestern and did door to door book sales so that summer it was tardo I thought maybe let’s check the sales intern thing out and I worked under the national sales manager kind of learning the language of the TV. What a rating is, what shares are, what HUTs and PUTs are and when I graduated they offered me a job. And like I said, the finance jobs at that time weren’t that desirable so I said, “Yeah, let’s give it a shot”. So I worked for literally selling local air time right out of college for about two-

Phil Singleton: When you say local college was that here in around Kansas City or was that in another state.

Dave Wieser: University of Nebraska at Carney; go Lopers. So it was in the sticks really, my … the t.v. station was 13 miles south of town in the middle of a corn field. So I had to drive 15 miles before I could even get to a business. So when I started I had no, basically no billing. You’re starting from scratch and when I say I’m talking to local business owners, it’s literally Main Street. Main Street of Carney is paved with brick, so it’s everything you can think of in terms of mom and pop, right?

So that was … but the finance background actually helped me, I don’t know, maybe speak the language of business. You know, long story short, kind of cut my teeth in that small market and really kind of held accountable for selling these campaigns to, directly to the business owners. It has to work so you have to figure out how to write ads, figure out copy, placement of schedules, because we didn’t have a creative services department.

I sold there for two years and then moved to Kansas City and worked for the ABC affiliate KNBC for eight years and it was really quite different because in Carney, everything was direct pretty much. You’re dealing with the business owner directly, that’s where your sales come from. That’s who you’re held accountable to but when I got to a bigger market, well medium, it’s bigger in my eyes being from small town Nebraska, but in Kansas City a lot of the buys are transactional so you’re dealing with the media buyer, who has a media supervisor, who deals with an account planner, who deals with the actual client. So I went from 100% pretty much direct billing to 75-80% agency billing.

And that was just a big change for me so I worked at Channel Nine for eight years and then moved on to a small ad agency called Proof and learned a lot about research and brand positioning and then was there for maybe a little over a year and started DW Creative four years ago.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. And since then you’ve just basically been providing general marketing services to mostly local businesses here in Kansas City?

Dave Wieser: Yeah, yeah. And we’re … we kind of look and see ourselves as an external marketing department. So I’ve had to beat the streets and try to find my strategic partners who have various areas of expertise whether it be PBC-SCO, web dev, graphic design, all that, and so I kind of have my team, quote unquote. And-

Phil Singleton: Awesome.

Dave Wieser: Like you said provide any and all of the above services that the client needs to grow.

Phil Singleton: So let’s dive if we can a little bit into … cause I’m really intrigued, I don’t know much about it, I’ve always been really interested in … traditional advertising because you know I think a lot of folks think, “Oh, it doesn’t work and it doesn’t work like it used to”. My personally think that creating demand out in the market place is never gonna go away. Somebody’s got to go out there and try and like spur sells … stuff that’s open … and yeah, sure it’s changed a lot because people come back online to research stuff or verify or look for social proof, but somebody’s always got to be out there creating demand.

And then you’ve just gotta make sure that I guess you’re in the right places to capture it if you create it. But how’s that changed to you? Just TV, TV advertising … how do you see things people are doing right and wrong and kind of where are we with it? How would you explain it to somebody who hasn’t used it for their business or even a marketer like myself. I have no experience with any form of TV advertising, I just kind of love to hear your thoughts on it.

Dave Wieser: Yeah, it’s … traditional has really been beaten down. Kind of feel bad for the traditional media reps. It’s kind of like Apple/Mac commercials, you’ve got the kind of stuff [inaudible] versus digital to start where everything’s trackable too so, but when you look at the numbers. When you look at really at how people consume media these days, and that’s I think a place that really gets overlooked. The latest I think I read was people are on TV seven hours a day. The average adult. People are still spending an hour a day with radio; over the air, terrestrial radio. So that’s a lot of time. That’s a lot of consumption and obviously they’re consuming with the phone in their hand or their on a laptop and that’s obviously changed the approach that a local marketer has to take. In terms of dying, TV or these traditional channels, they’re still very, very much alive but it’s how a local advertiser approaches it.

So one of the biggest issues I see with local advertisers and traditional approaches is dipping their toe in the water. TV is definitely not a platform where you try it, quote unquote for a month or two or three. It’s a long term game. You need to be … you need to understand that you’re building a awareness. You’re building a brand. You’re building that type of mind but it doesn’t happen in a month or two.

Phil Singleton: It’s probably always been like that to some degree, no? Or is this-

Dave Wieser: Always. And that’s the challenge because in the digital context you get immediate analytics right? I know how many people came to my website off this display ad, or I know how many people downloaded a PDF for some kind of dated content. So that’s a completely different part of the funnel for a local advertiser who … if they’re not on the list, if I’m shopping for whatever category, could be tree service or a piece of furniture … if you’re not on the list in the consumer’s mind you really have no [inaudible] but again that’s where the digital approach comes in. So that’s what I think has for right or wrong has changed.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Dave Wieser: But the advertisers, they need to understand that it’s not dead, and the two pronged approach, the traditional impacted with a solid digital footprint, can be very, very powerful. And if you look at the top leaders in any market, most of the guys who are number one, number two, share wise within a category, they’re doing some sort of traditional.

Phil Singleton: Yes. And just like I said … of course we’ve got listeners all over the place, but a lot of them are in Kansas City. Just out of curiosity … I know the answer to this is all over the place but I mean if somebody did want to like to get started and dip their toes into a way that was like perhaps could be somewhat meaningful, what is it like investment wise? I mean is it usually like a few couple thousand dollars a month to tens of thousands a month? Is it like almost like some of these people come out like myself, you go out and try to build a website, well it could be a $500 website or $50,000 website depending on who you call and what you’re try to do. Generally start calling around figuring out what people do and you kind of understand, okay, I get an idea of like what an investment might cost to make sense but-

Dave Wieser: From a dollar perspective it’s really, really tricky. Because in Carney, Nebraska I remember selling Good Morning America 30 second commercials for $35.

Phil Singleton: Wow.

Dave Wieser: I mean that dollar is the same there as it is here, right? But you’re paying for the high balls. It’s just far less high balls in Carney, Nebraska versus Kansas City.

Phil Singleton: How does it work in Kansas City? Are you doing like a zip code or a city or is it city wide or is it like one channel, multiple channels? How does it … how does one even go about like figuring out who’s gonna see what, where, and what channels?

Dave Wieser: Well any station can provide you with the coverage map and the way Nelson breaks it up is what’s called DMA’s. Designated marketing areas, and for Kansas City it’s gonna be your major counties and beyond. So you’re gonna have some spill over. There’s no doubt.

Phil Singleton: Look, I’ve seen some commercials that seem to be like, when I’m flipping around or even on a cable station, they seem to be playing on different channels. Is that something because you’re buying it through like a cable … how does that work? Or should it only … am I not seeing this right? Am I only seeing it on one channel and thinking that I’m seeing it on multiple channels?

Dave Wieser: So your local broadcasters … that like your ABC, CBS, your big four. If you buy an add on the ABC station, that ad is gonna run on the ABC station in that market. It’s not gonna matter if you’ve got Comcast. It’s not gonna matter if you have Sure West or AT&T or Google Fiber, or any kind of paid TV for provider. That ad is going to run the whole market.

Phil Singleton: Just on the one station, okay.

Dave Wieser: Yeah, just on that one station and that’s why they talk … that’s why the reach is so powerful. But let’s say-

Phil Singleton: So do most companies pick a station or do they do all three or how does it-

Dave Wieser: So you asked on the approach to what’s the cost, and I’ll back up a little bit and I’d completely ripped this off from Jim Doyle and Associates. You can look them up. They have what’s called the glass theory. So local advertisers should really look at their whole budget, and it doesn’t even really matter what it is. And most of the time … and you even see it in bigger advertisers … is they’re splitting up that budget between glasses. And each glass is a different platform. Your PPC might be a platform, your SCOs a platform. Any kind of traditional, so a radio station is a glass. All these are different glasses and they take their budget which is a pitcher of water and they just dip a little bit in each of these glasses. What they should do is, from what my experience is … the biggest impact if you’re kind of approach this tradigital approach is just strip away a bunch of glasses and just overflow one TV station. One program, and own it. And be something to somebody. As opposed to just, how many of these direct mail opportunities are there. These shared mailings … there are thousands of opportunities locally for any advertiser to spend money. It’s overwhelming. But from what I’ve seen the biggest success are those advertisers who strip away those glasses and just vest in very few areas.

Phil Singleton: So then what … the company like yours … I don’t know how this would be more … let’s say the you’ve got a company like mine that wants to do perhaps … I don’t know if it makes sense for a web design internet marketing company to do a television ad … but let’s say you do and he comes in and says, “Okay, I want to do a TV ad in Kansas City”. Is it like you gotta do research to see make sense on what station. Do you just pick one? Is there like you go over a business channel? How is that part of that approach? I guess some of it might be … is there anything where there could be a couple different channels and there’s somebody might give you a better deal that they’re running on right now, so you run with that or? I know I’m kind of throwing a bunch of stuff out there. I’m just kind of thinking how does this even work?

Dave Wieser: Well you’re gonna approach it the same way you would any kind of marketing planning. Is you start with the customer, right? Who do you sell to? Whose your ideal customer? What do they look like? Describe them for me? What’s the age, demographics, psychographics?

Phil Singleton: Do they have better data now because stuff runs through cable a lot? Do they know stuff really better than they would without cable or does that make a difference? I’m just wondering how well stations like know what their demographics is versus like-

Dave Wieser: A lot of them will commission … I mean have you heard of Scarborough … that’s probably the biggest one where it’s qualitative research. So they’re gonna be doing surveys throughout the market a couple of times of year. Marshall Marketing is another one. You can dip into what is the demographic profile of a certain program. And with TV, because programs change from every half hour or hour or whatever it is, you’ll see audience changes between those programs. So we have to do the homework up front to understand what program might make a lot of sense to reach the ideal customer.

Phil Singleton: Interesting. And then, how … cause I can imagine … and we talked about this before … working on our previous conversations, Dave, and kind of even before we started recording the show and that is … to me it makes no sense to do any kind of traditional demand creation if you don’t have something on the internet to make sure that you capture your own demand. Cause it’s like … So kind of speak to that a little bit. Do you agree with that? Is it like when people are out buying media now … do you think they could do a better job of driving stuff to a website or is that something that’s still missed? Is people doing a better job of that? How has that kind of changed since you originally got in the business versus how it is now.

Dave Wieser: That is massively important. I think I even heard you, Phil, on another podcast talk about this. And it makes zero sense at all to invest in mass media and have a very weak digital footprint.

Phil Singleton: You think people are still doing that? It seems that some do.

Dave Wieser: I absolutely think they’re doing it. I see it every day.

Phil Singleton: I mean I can give a perfect example of a company that I know that I’ve seen recently do advertising and then go to look them up on line and they haven’t really worked on their reviews at all. So it’s almost like they do this thing, sounds compelling, do a brand search, they pop up. They’re getting killed on reviews because they’ve only got three reviews and they’re not so great where they should have like 50 and all of a sudden that money that they spent just went to the competitor. [inaudible]That has 50 or 100 reviews that’s been working on their digital presence and all of a sudden those guys just stole the TV dollars from the guy that I just saw.

Dave Wieser: Happens every day. Something as simple as buying your own brand and Google ads which cost nothing, you know. The SCO part is again massively important because that’s automatic trust. Consumer’s gonna Google and if the maps don’t show up or if it’s not that kind of relevant search but you’re in the top … you’re ranking for these key words … well Google says they’re, I should be seeing them right away then I should probably put them on my list. There’s a little bit of … I don’t know if the local advertisers are thinking that my TV advertising or traditional advertising is kind of going to take care of that for me. It won’t. You have to have a completely separate digital strategy to-

Phil Singleton: It’s almost like what good is the brand awareness that you create if you haven’t stacked the deck in your favor on the internet. If your website sucks, no good content, you don’t have good reviews, you’re not participating in social media, I mean you could do brand awareness all day long on mass media and all of a sudden the guys that are doing it right look ten times better than you. So that’s what I was getting at in the beginning is yeah, I think demand creation works. It’s like, “Oh, yes I do need a plumber”, but I’m not gonna go from the TV to the phone like I used to. I’m gonna go from the TV to the internet to the phone. So it’s like-

Dave Wieser: Well, nobody ever goes from the TV to the phone unless your somebody-

Phil Singleton: They probably used to though to some degree, right?

Dave Wieser: Maybe if you’re [inaudible] pets right? It’s just not that kind of platform. I have never thought of it like that. It’s an influencing, perception changing, attitude changing, platform. It’s ones that shapes opinions about a brand over time, whether it be positive or good based on the message. If you look at … I cannot stand bringing up political … we’re in a mid-term … you’re gonna see a lot more political ads. But these politicians have one chance, one chance to win. They’re gonna put three-fourths of their budget into TV. That can be backed up. Look at any study. And they do that because they’re trying to change the perception but obviously-

Phil Singleton: That works, right? Obviously they wouldn’t put so much money into it.

Dave Wieser: So that’s for a local advertiser. They have to be committed if they wanna … they can’t dip their toe in … they would have to be committed on almost in perpetuity to be committed to these traditional platforms.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, you never see in a mid-term election or an election, one advertisement. I mean those guys are of course are going on a time frame but they are doing a lot of it consistently over the time that they’re going after versus just kind of dipping their toes and hoping oh that one or couple commercials is gonna do what it takes to get the vote. It doesn’t work like that.

Dave Wieser: Exactly.

Phil Singleton: Well, one thing I was gonna say is it seems like it’s gotten better, although maybe not … over the years it was almost laughable where the quality difference between a national commercial versus a local one, was almost comedic in terms of how bad it was. And I’m sure there’s still some of that to this day but it seems to be that it’s gotten a little better. There’s local companies now that have TV commercials that seem like the production quality has gone up some, that are really good, but you don’t see so much the really, really bad ones, I guess. Or maybe I’m noticing less or maybe I just don’t watch as much TV anymore, but any comments on that? And how do you go about making sure that you’ve got a good quality commercial if you decide to do something let’s say in a local market?

Dave Wieser: Wow, quality commercial … equipment technology has gotten so much better and cheaper so there’s a lot more I guess, democratization of the creative services opportunities. So you can get really good production for a relatively low cost. Local advertiser for the best local TV commercial might be spending 25 grand or even more. Can get something easily less than 5. No problem. I’m definitely not an expert in that area, in terms of the actual technology and how they shoot. It’s just, I look at the ad. Is it distractingly bad? Does it pass that test? Is the message crystal clear?

Phil Singleton: Well that’s when it helps to have a marketing person like yourself come in and actually try and … cause I could see some companies saying, “I’m either gonna like go direct and do my own commercial” and maybe the TV station says, “yeah, sure, we’ll do the” or somebody will just say well … and it’s just kind of like the production is just kind of whipped together just to kind of get it going. Almost like if you do like a magazine ad in some cases. I don’t know, I’m just saying sometimes you can spend some time on the good advertisement for the magazine. Do it up or sometimes you can just be like okay the magazine got you to commit to it and all of a sudden everybody else says we’ll whip something up for you and put something in there and all of a sudden it’s done just to get it done, type of thing. Or am I oversimplifying?

Dave Wieser: Well still, all the stations, all the platforms are gonna have … they’ll approach you to do the ad for you.

Phil Singleton: But you can do your own I guess, is that how it works or they’ll do it for you?

Dave Wieser: You should do your own. You should definitely … and that’s something I had to learn over time is what is the point in investing all this money into shaping perceptions and not and just … it’s almost like the message is an afterthought. So yeah, it never made any sense to me why a local advertiser shouldn’t put a little more thought and effort into the actual ad itself.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. Well look I’m just gonna bring it back to close the interview out and just kind of things that … anything you want to talk about or like about. I ask people favorite things in Kansas City. Is there … it’s funny cause I’ve asked people that have lived here … what they’re favorite restaurants are and like five people in a row told me Q39. I’d never been there until last night and it was really good. I don’t know if it’s my favorite BBQ place right now. I still like Smoke Stack, probably feels a little more like … maybe it’s been part of growing up type of thing … but yeah, any types of places that you like, anywhere? Businesses you admire? Anything, just tell us what you like about Kansas City.

Dave Wieser: I like Kansas City because it’s a big little town. You have … commutes aren’t terrible, you do get some kind of the small town kind of neighborhood feels within different pockets. But you still have national things going on with professional sports and the arts and entertainment districts that make it feel bigger, so I mean that’s why … it’s still got the Midwestern feel though.

Phil Singleton: Any places that you like in particular that are you favorite local … no national franchisey type things but any favorite restaurants or nothing you can ring off.

Dave Wieser: Well-

Phil Singleton: Bars, anything, I don’t know.

Dave Wieser: There’s so many good restaurants but I’m a big … I love MicroBrew … and so Beer Station … it’s actually right across from John’s office.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, exactly, he mentioned that in his … he likes Beer Station too so that’s-

Dave Wieser: If you like good beer, these guys always have rotating taps and it’s the best beer selection in town in my opinion. I know that would probably get me blown up in the beer tasting KC social media page but-

Phil Singleton: Naw, that’s cool. That’s a favorite. That place has already got like two or three votes on my podcast so-

Dave Wieser: One thing that I do kind of want to close out with is … we talked about what works the best and that’s a hard question to answer because of all of these different influences that drive a consumer purchase. So there’s two key metrics that every business should be looking at. The first one is the advertising to sales ratio. So a retailer, a furniture retailer is gonna have a different threshold of pain as to how much advertising they can spend, versus maybe an air conditioning company or plumber. You should know that number. So if you’re spending money on advertising whatever in all of these places, and you’re growing and you’re still hitting … you’re not overspending, then your advertising is working.

Phil Singleton: Right, okay.

Dave Wieser: If you are not growing and you are … one, not growing or you’re over spending and not growing. You’re over that advertising to sales ratio, then you really need to look and see what’s going on.

Phil Singleton: It gets tricky though, cause if you do the advertising say on traditional media and mass market and it works and it drives people back to the internet where a lot of them are gonna go. And they click on SCO or they click on PBC or they click on PBC on social or whatever, there’s a cost to that but it’s all kind of working together, right, cause you-

Dave Wieser: That’s where messaging comes in. That’s where positioning comes in. Like how are you different. And so there’s this eco system of marketing … it’s really complex and it’s just never as easy as we’re gonna advertise in this place or do these things and expect to grow. So there’s just so many factors that we need to look at and that’s probably-

Phil Singleton: So look at advertising to sales, and if the sales and if the stuff’s working-

Dave Wieser: Advertising to sales ratio. And different businesses would have different thresholds. If you wanna grow maybe that ratio is higher. It just depends on how mature the business is and your propensity to grow … put more money into it.

Phil Singleton: You mentioned one thing as I close out … I’ve done this for some of my clients before … is there are a lot of businesses out there that spend money on TV and some of the ones I noticed that don’t do a good job on the back when it’s my client, we’ll go out and if we see somebody doing a campaign, we’ll bid on their words while they’re doing TV. Especially if they’re not doing a good job picking up on the web presence.

You gotta kind of look out for that stuff too. So if you’re out there creating demand and you’re not catching it online, there’s gonna be other people that are in, especially digital marketing, that are gonna see you create that digital demand and they’re gonna try and steal your marketing dollars when they come back online if you’re not taking care of that other piece of the pie basically. You mentioned, Dave, and I really should have been on your own bat, your own brand works … you should because smart other guys that are trying … are gonna probably bid on your … if they see you doing mass marketing, they’re gonna come back online and bid on your words if you’re not. Or in addition to you. Just kind of another thing that I’ve done myself so I know people are doing it if I’m doing it, other people are doing it.

Dave Wieser: Oh absolutely. And that’s another thing that a local advertiser … if you’re bidding on competitors key words are those really converting. That’s where call tracking comes in and that’s where recording conversations come in, so it just gets more complex by the day.

Phil Singleton: Well, that’s awesome. Some really great conversation that we haven’t had anybody come on the show and talk about these pieces and kind of how they tie together. Tell us where we can learn more about you online and follow what you’re doing.

Dave Wieser: Twitter is @DWCreative and can find me online at DWCreativemarketing.com.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. We’ll put all that stuff up on the show notes. Dave, thanks so much for sharing your experience and all these great tips.

Dave Wieser: Thank you, Phil, really enjoyed it.

Bidsketch Proposal Software Founder Ruben Gamez

Ruben is the founder of Bidsketch, a bootstrapped SaaS app that’s used by thousands of freelancers, agencies and sales teams to create professional looking client proposals. He launched it on the side nine years ago, working nights and weekends, and grew it into a profitable product shortly after it launched. He’s also now starting a new SaaS called Docsketch, which is an electronic signature product that gets sales documents signed 40% faster.

Learn More about Ruben & Bidsketch

Meet Bidsketch Founder Ruben Gamez

Phil Singleton: Ruben, welcome to the show.

Ruben Gamez: Hey. How you doing? Thanks for inviting me.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, it’s going to be really fun. First, I’d just love to get just a little bit of your background, like whatever happened your first steps out of whatever your last stop and kind of the academic world is. Whether if it was high school, college, graduate school, whatever that was like and jumping into the real world, like how you started. Was it in a different direction, jumped somewhere else? Tell us kind of how your path that led you here today was.

Ruben Gamez: Sure. I never went to high school, so I was 15-ish or something when I was done with that and I started working construction actually, in California. That’s how I started out. It wasn’t until years later where I moved to South Florida and I was working … I was at the time, I think it was in my early like 20, 21, just getting into all sorts of trouble. I sort of grew up in a bad area in California. Lots of gangs and all that stuff.

Ruben Gamez: Moved to Florida to kind of get out of trouble and got back into trouble a bit for a little while. Then just got tired of it. Decided that I needed, I should probably go to school or do something. I decided to get a job as a security job, because that’s a good … I could do that at night, do my homework, get paid, then eventually get a job in something. At my job being a security guard, I met this programmer at it was an American Express building. He asked me what were my plans, what was I thinking of doing. I told him going to school. He said, “For what?” I said “I don’t know.” I didn’t really come from that world. I didn’t know any people who had gone to college or stuff like that.

Ruben Gamez: He took out his paycheck from his pocket and showed it to me. He said, “You should get into programming.” I saw that and said, “Wow.” As far as legit money made, that was the most that I had ever seen. I didn’t know that people actually made that much money, so I decided okay I think I’ll check into this. I did, but I went to this really crappy technical school where they have programming. I did that for about a year, and then …

Phil Singleton: What was that like? Pulling your hair out? Did you figure out it was something you wanted to do? Was it like I’m not sure about this?

Well I didn’t know anything about computers. I didn’t have a computer, so my biggest fear was that I’d start school day one and they’d ask us to turn on the computers and that I would just be standing there not knowing how to turn on a computer.

– Ruben Gamez

Ruben Gamez: Well I didn’t know anything about computers. I didn’t have a computer, so my biggest fear was that I’d start school day one and they’d ask us to turn on the computers and that I would just be standing there not knowing how to turn on a computer. So because I didn’t have a computer. What I would do is I would write out programs on a notepad at home, and then when I got back to class I typed them all out and of course they had errors and stuff like that. It was about six months before I was able to get hold of a computer to be able to start thing that way.

Ruben Gamez: Then I met somebody and got a job doing technical support for Compaq. It was just like $12.00 an hour or something like that, but it was a lot of money to me at the time. I thought I made it. That’s it. I stopped going to school after about a year. Through there I met somebody else who had his own website. I asked him how he did that. He just like…you can teach yourself all sorts of web stuff. I just got fascinated with it and spent a lot of time doing it. Built up a couple of websites. Did a lot of stuff with computers and all that stuff. Just self-taught. Actually I’m studying between calls and all that stuff at that place.

Ruben Gamez: Now after about a year, year and a half or something like that, I created a thick portfolio and got certifications for the past and got certifications for programming for different things and got a job doing development. They hired me at a payroll company. It’s a privately held payroll company in the United States. They hired me … At the time it was small at the time. Just a very small amount of people. They didn’t have a developer, so I was the first one that they hired. They said that they really didn’t plan on building their development team around here. It was kind of like a test for them. Definitely a test for me. Then over the next few years I spent there eight years. I learned more-

Phil Singleton: At that time you must have really been picking up some hard skills at that point, so that was a nice-

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. Once I got into it, like when I first got the tech support job I spent all day, all night just programming.

Phil Singleton: Wow okay. You’re off and running then.

Ruben Gamez: I have an obsessive-type personality. Over the years I hired a couple people. I became a dev lead then hired more people. Then I had dev leads, eventually I ended up where I was managing the web development department, managing managers as well as business and other things like that. That’s where I realized that I was making a lot of money, but I didn’t like what I was doing because I wasn’t programming anymore and all that stuff. Read a couple books about just starting your own business and doing products and did that on the side and had some success. Grew it for about a year and a half, and then there was enough to replace my salary. Then did that and grew a team there and all that stuff.

Phil Singleton: So that last job at the payroll company was when you started the sketch on the side that was the birth of …

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. After being there many years and getting promoted and getting bumps in salary. I got to a point there like okay money isn’t really … Because when you’re poor it was a big deal. But then once you start getting at once you have it, if you’re not doing something that you don’t really enjoy, then …

Phil Singleton: Days get really long.

Ruben Gamez: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: That’s so awesome, dude. That’s the most, probably the most amazing story I think I’ve heard in tech firsthand like that. Really cool and inspirational how you totally … You bootstrapped the app. You have it up in your bio, but you basically bootstrapped an entire career from … It could have gone a totally different direction if you didn’t have the ambition and tenacity to make it happen. That is so awesome. Wow. I’m blown away. I didn’t know that was your whole story. I mean, I’ve known of you and known you kind of, for a few years now, but I didn’t know that part of your story. Thanks for sharing that. That’s amazing.

Ruben Gamez: Yeah of course. It’s always hard to know where to start when somebody asks about … Go back to where school or wherever you started and say …

More About Bidsketch

Phil Singleton: That’s the thing, is like where you’re … yeah. So awesome. Let’s talk a little bit about what Bidsketch is, because like I said, a lot of our listeners, probably half or more are digital marketers and they have their own agency, whether its web design or SCO or that type of thing. We played around with doing … I never really committed to getting one, course I probably now am going to sign up for Bidsketch and really make this happen. We still, embarrassingly enough, still do stuff in documents, right. We do a lot of proposals. Tell us what, how Bidsketch would make my life different and maybe some other freelancers or agencies that are still doing it the hard, old-fashioned way.

Ruben Gamez: Sure. Most people that really like Bidsketch, they use it because basically the biggest benefit that most people get is that it cuts their proposal time by a lot. On average we say in half a lot, but there are a lot of people that say they go from hours to really just minutes. That’s the reason we do that in Bidsketch is because it lest you save up parts of proposals and entire proposals. It lets you set up not just templates, but also sections of proposals and sort of piece together, mix and match sections, images, stuff like that very quickly to create proposals. Then also automatically as you’re doing that … Let’s say as you’re putting information or templates that you have, it will automatically replace the main address, different fields, so that you’re not manually having to update that. Also getting to update that because it’s a common thing. When people are working with proposals, where they’re renaming or copying to update something. Of course that’s an embarrassing situation when you’re unable to Along with that, also helps in notifications. You get to know when they actually open the proposal, when they read it, how long they read it, if they downloaded it. Then it makes the whole-

Phil Singleton: Are you sending them to an HTML place to look at, or is it a PDF?

Ruben Gamez: It’s a link. Once it’s done, they can either send it directly through Bidsketch or they can grab sort of and share the link.

Phil Singleton: Then when they open the link, that’s how you snag the analytics of how often they checked it-

Ruben Gamez: Right. They email all that and it’s viewable on the Bidsketch website.

Phil Singleton: Then they can download it? It sounds like they can download it-

Ruben Gamez: Yeah, they can download the PDF version of it as well. Then once they’re okay with it, they approve it, there are things like optional fees so they can just select, which is good for upselling and stuff like that. That’s helpful. All the people like that. Then the electronic signature part of it where they can just approve, sign really quickly without having to download the whole print, fax, email back.

Phil Singleton: Is there anything like, hey okay I did it online. I signed it, let’s say electronic signature, something that would trigger say some of us have a web development project we do fixed fee and half down type of thing, tie-in to an invoice-type situation, or …

Ruben Gamez: Yeah, we integrate with Fresh Books with Zapier, and then we have the zap integration so that taps into over a thousand apps at this point. Most any invoicing app can be integrated using the Zap integrations.

Phil Singleton: So it kind of works like that, where you could get a down-payment right like on an action or something? Let’s say I signed a proposal. Then what?

Ruben Gamez: Then you can either send the invoice through Bidsketch, but if you have an integration tied in, then you will send it through your integration. Or, some people they have an embed or payment for link that they add to their approval message. In Bidsketch, you can have approval …

Ruben Gamez: Their approval message, so in Bidsketch, you didn’t have approval messages. Once something gets approved, you can have like, “Okay, great. The next steps are steps; download this or whatever, and please fill this out” and you can have a payment button or link there. You can basically put in HTML in there.

Phil Singleton: Sweet. So most of your clients, what are they like? Professional Services? I could see that some might not work for a home services or a plumber or something like that, but for agencies, freelancers-

Ruben Gamez: Definitely we do have a fair amount of home services as well. We have-

Phil Singleton: Oh for like, okay they’re doing projects or something like that, like maybe a remodeling, right? And then they would have a proposal.

Ruben Gamez: Yeah, like remodeling … All sorts of stuff. It used to be very specific to mostly freelancers and agencies, marketers, web designers. Over the years, we’ve gotten more variety. We still have that segment as well, but we not necessarily having more sales teams join the system, and home services and different types of businesses, and basically anybody at this point that sends out client proposals.

Ruben Gamez: At the very beginning we were for creatives, specifically.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. Let’s get into how you got this launch and how you ended up getting clients and the digital marketing part of it because, here you’ve got a great tool that can help people grow their businesses by helping them save time and streamlining the process, but at some point, even still today we all wanna grow some more. What got you started in terms of getting new customers and getting the ball rolling, getting some traction sales wise, and what thing are you doing today, to keep new clients and leads coming in?

Ruben Gamez: Sure. At the very beginning before I had started building out any part of the app, I was reading books about marketing and starting with marketing first. So I don’t remember what I had come across but there was something related to SDL that I’d read and I thought it sounded too easy. You do a little bit of research, you find out what people are searching for. Then write some content that targets that key word, or those key words and then you’ll start getting traffic.

Ruben Gamez: Before building the product, what I did was just do a test. I did that exact thing. I wrote a post, I put it in out there and within two weeks it started ranking on Google and getting some traffic, so I thought “wow, this actually works. This is actually pretty cool.” I put a landing page of small email us, and just started with content a little bit. Then immediately did some research to just figure out if this is something people will pay for because at the time, there was nothing like this. Initially it was a little rough to where I wasn’t sure if people … I was getting mixed feedback, but decided I was getting good enough feedback more importantly, from the traffic that I had gotten. I started getting not a lot, it was just a little, but from when you’re starting from zero, any amount of traffic is great. And just the people that were signing up to email us, when’d they’d reply there was excitement there. That’s where it was like encouragement.

Ruben Gamez: Then I started building the product out and at the same time I was doing some back and forth, of product work and marketing. I didn’t wanna just entirely … I kind of understood and it made sense that marketing was important. So it was mostly SEO I did some AdWords back then too, just learning about AdWords and started off with the really high cost-per-click and through a course that I was taking at the time. I’m like “Okay you can get that down like with most things in marketing, your first attempt is probably not going to be the best, right?

Phil Singleton: Right.

Ruben Gamez: It’s gonna start off a little rough, but as long as it’s close, it’s like “Okay, I can improve on this, and get it better.” And that’s exactly what I did. Not having the experience, for me, just trusting the stuff I was reading online or wherever out I was coming across it. Just doing the work. With doing the work and making a good effort and doing some research, it started working a little bit too. Nothing was working to this huge amount. It’s just a little bit of traffic, some traffic through paid ads, some traffic through FCO, but certainly enough to keep me interested and it’s like, “Wow, okay, I’m getting something. Some people are setting up to the email list.”

Ruben Gamez: When I got to the point of where it was time to launch, I followed a game plan that from Balsamiq mockups had done a year before, and he wrote about it, which was basically just email a bunch of blogs and tell them that you’re launching … This is funny, back then, this was way more effective than it is now, as are a lot of things … and offer discounts, ask them if they want to write a review about it, and all that stuff. People would. So I only got three people, I emailed I don’t remember how many, we’ll say fifty blogs, that got a good amount of traffic, that had the right type of customer and I got almost no replies, at all.

Phil Singleton: Wow.

Ruben Gamez: It was not … my pitch probably wasn’t the best and that was not very encouraging, but I did get a couple of replies and one of them was a write from About.com and they said yeah, they’d be good. So that was just-

Phil Singleton: That’s a nice one, yeah.

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. It was really big back then. Then they wrote about it; I launched it in … it wasn’t until weeks later that I got one reply back and then another replied back, some of it was from the original emails. I don’t know why they were so delayed, but it’s like “yeah, well write a review about it.” At the time I was just focusing on designers, so it was like design blogs mostly. The way it works, a lot of times, is that once one writes about you, or once you’re being seen in the right place, the others immediately start following.

Phil Singleton: Okay. Snowball a little bit.

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. So that got like that. That counted for some good early traffic … customers. When I launched I did a whole beta period for two weeks, and then the first day I, by the end of the launch, it ended up with 22 paying customers. I did a whole drip campaign that I just ripped off from a friend of mine, who had launched a educational product, but he was following … What’s the guy that’s really famous for his … He’s known for his launch sequence … I think it’s called Launch, literally. I can’t remember.

Phil Singleton: I’m drawing a blank myself.

Ruben Gamez: He’s an internet marketer type guy, but basically, the method is you take a self letter and you put it in a drip campaign, is what it is. Following that, got some good results for someone who’d never done it before, or anything like that. Then after launch, I started getting good reviews, and I started emailing other apps that had similar audiences to us, asking them if they were interested in cross promoting.

Phil Singleton: By this time though, had you had a big break or was it slowly snowballing a little bit?

Ruben Gamez: Yeah, just snowballing. There was no explosion of anything; just pushing, pushing, pushing, hustling. But this is all within the first few weeks of it launching. Got those write ups all within let’s say the first couple of months. I’m emailing a whole bunch of blogs, I’m emailing people who had similar products asking if they wanted to cross promote. Started doing integrations, started doing some integration marketing to where we’d ask them, “we’re thinking of building out an integration with you. You’re one of our top integrations but we’re trying to find out which ones to prioritize so just wanted to check in and see what you can do on the promotional side to help out.”

Phil Singleton: Wow that’s great.

Ruben Gamez: Most of them promoted us because we did that. The biggest one was Fresh Books.

Phil Singleton: Yeah they’re great!

Ruben Gamez: They said, “Yeah we’ll promote you” which is really cool because they had millions of users at the time.

Phil Singleton: Sure.

Ruben Gamez: And when they send out their email to their email newsletter, I was getting so many sign ups, I though our server was hacked.

Phil Singleton: That was a great break!

Ruben Gamez: That one was a good one, and it was just through sending a bunch of emails doing integrations, but [crosstalk 00:23:51] integrations, but actually before we even did the integration, making sure that the ones we’re gonna do first are the ones that are gonna promote us.

Phil Singleton: Right. That’s really smart.

Ruben Gamez: Then more SEO; we worked on proposal templates which that was a big focus and just created a lot more of those because people were searching for that.

Ruben Gamez: SEO. All throughout this period we’re still also doing SEO, but all those other things helped because they helped us get mentions and links, and things that just help Google say, “Hey, there’s a lot of activity around this brand” so any SEO efforts we had going on would be more effective as well. SEO turned out to be the thing that was working the best. All the other stuff was pretty manual, but very useful when you’re getting started and when you’re starting from nothing or very little.

Phil Singleton: Yeah.

Ruben Gamez: Then once well sell, okay, we can get a lot more leverage through creating content focusing on very specific types of key words and where the intent is closely aligned to somebody who will pay for a product, and that’s where we just spend all of our time and had the most growth through that.

Phil Singleton: Nice. You still do that a lot today, but on the content I see, you’re obviously blogging on your site. I see blogging on authority websites as well. I mean you put-

Ruben Gamez: Yeah, but I would say the blog side of it would be more of an indirect benefit, more branding related actually, than for customer acquisition. Other content that’s not on the blog is much more effective for converting to paid customers. This is the same for most people that I know that have a blog.

Phil Singleton: You mean when you’re getting published on other people’s websites?

Ruben Gamez: We did that. A lot of guest postings and stuff like that. But I just mean on.

Ruben Gamez:  We did that, a lot of guest postings and stuff like that. But I just mean on our site, like by other people, they’re not typical, like what you typically see on a blog. Which is a lot of top of funnel content, you know?

Phil Singleton: Right.

Ruben Gamez: Just content like what they, even content within the blog if it’s closer-aligned to somebody who’s going to be a paying customer. So, we might have, so something that did really well for us in the early days when we were focusing on designers was how to write a web design proposal. Right?

Phil Singleton: Okay.

Ruben Gamez: And it’s because there’s somebody who’s searching for this and that’s what they have to do right now. And a lot of them find the information useful but if they also come across a tool that helps them do this…

Phil Singleton: Yeah.

Ruben Gamez: Right, just, it’s perfect for that. Compared to like how to do proper upselling for your client. How to follow up on your proposals. How to…

Phil Singleton: Gotcha.

Ruben Gamez: Even though it’s proposal related, it’s a little more top of funnel, and the conversions are less. So we have content that does, so we have content like, we have a post on networking, we have a post on creating sort of like customer profiles and narrowing down and targeting your ideal customer as, you know, as an agency or whatever. And each one of those, let’s say, gets, one of them gets about 2500 uniques a month, the other one lights up, gets about 3000 uniques a month. Not that many conversions compared to content that maybe gets 500 uniques a month. But that is more closely aligned with…

Phil Singleton: Right.

Ruben Gamez: …somebody who’s going to be a customer.

Phil Singleton: Gotcha. I mean, I’m putting you on the spot there but you think of one that’s like a topic that’s more, so top of funnel ones I can get more traffic, less conversions. But is there one you can think off the top of your head that’s, here’s a like a sample and we could actually link to, there’s like, oh here’s one that’s got, you know? Maybe not as much traffic cause it’s not top of funnel, but, you know we can…

Ruben Gamez: So just like our proposal templates.

Phil Singleton: Those get, okay.

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. So we have…

Phil Singleton: A page on that, that gets good…

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. So I’m just thinking about like our agency proposal template. When I did the keyword “research” for it, there were at the time, it changes over time, but at the time it was pretty low. It was not that high. And of course it was easier because nobody was really targeted because there’s just not that many searches for it. Created something for it because it’s like, “Okay, this is the right type of customer even if we’re not going to get a bunch of traffic.” I see this all the time. This happened to us several times.

Ruben Gamez: So something that’s, okay, there may be 90 searches a month or something. And generally, nowadays I wouldn’t target something like that as much unless it’s just really perfect.

Phil Singleton: Yes.

Ruben Gamez: And created it, put it out there, started getting traffic to it over, nowadays it takes a lot more time to get.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Ruben Gamez: Starting from zero. But then, turns out, oh, we’re getting more than that. Let’s say we’re getting like 500. So five times or ten times the amount that is shown on there. It’s just better. But not just that, it converts really, really, really well.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.

Ruben Gamez: The type of customer is good. So we have pieces of content that are like that.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. Is there anything else that you’ve tried? I mean, do you ever try any, like, traditional things? Trade shows or any kind of paid stuff? I don’t know. Any like cold calling back in the day? You ever try any of that? Just out of curiosity. Anything that kinda?

Ruben Gamez: Did a lot of AdWords, and it just over time got really expensive, so…

Phil Singleton: Right.

Ruben Gamez: Do a little bit of it nowadays. But not as much. It used to be more effective for us. Facebook ads, have done a lot with Facebook ads and we’ve just not been able to make it work at scale. So we can make it work for, so, if we were starting out from nothing, or had very low volume, then it would be worth the effort to continue to do the Facebook ad campaigns that worked for us.

Phil Singleton: Facebook’s really, really tricky like right now. I hear a lot of people complaining that, you know…

Ruben Gamez: Yeah, it’s getting harder and harder.

Phil Singleton: You’re not, people aren’t seeing stuff they even want to see now. It’s like so scaled back organically. Like just recently.

Ruben Gamez: Right. It’s all leaning towards ads. But we, so we can get ads to work, but at a small scale. Once we turn up the scale, like they stop working, they get too expensive. But because we were sort of like a SAS business and we need a large number of trials and large number of customers to move the needle, if, you know, we’re just adding five a month or ten a month, it’s just not worth our time.

Phil Singleton: Got, yeah, ends up being more to…

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. But if it was the early days, then, you know, great.

Phil Singleton: You gotta do it.

Ruben Gamez: Right. But once you get to a certain scale you sort of stop doing the things that, you know, take, it’s about like opportunity costs. Okay, how much time is this taking compared to other things that we could do that are just come out? Give us a bigger return. But like my wife is starting to do photography and I experimented with Facebook ads, the Messenger Facebook ads, recently.

Phil Singleton: Like the chat bot stuff, yeah?

Ruben Gamez: Yeah. Those were really good. Those were super effective for her. And very cheap. Very cheap. I was surprised. So I think I’ll, you know, I’ll be trying some of that with our software products as well. But as far as like a services business, that was pretty easy. Now that’s kind of newer, so that’s the way it kind of works, right? Like…

Phil Singleton: Right.

Ruben Gamez: Things that are newer, or just cheaper, and Facebook sort of wants to encourage people to do that more. So they’re gonna be more effective. Then everybody gets on board and they get less effective, you know? Then you have to look for the next thing.

Phil Singleton: Exactly. Dude, this has been really awesome. I really appreciate sharing this much insight with us. How, where’s your favorite places that people can find you and follow you, you’re most active? Is it LinkedIn, Twitter, socially? And tell us again your website?

Ruben Gamez: Sure. Probably Twitter, @earthlingworks on Twitter.

Phil Singleton: Okay, I’ll make sure I include that.

Ruben Gamez: Bidsketch of course for proposals, and Docsketch for electronic signatures.

Phil Singleton: So is that, yeah, Docsketch, is that out yet, or what’s the?

Ruben Gamez: It’s in early access. So it hasn’t launched yet, but… So that one was interesting because we’re just starting, we’re starting from scratch. Right? So it’s a new website, new brand, no traffic, and we’re now up to like 5000 uniques a month.

Phil Singleton: Nice.

Ruben Gamez: And starting to scale that up. But it’s really the same sort of strategy that I laid out in a recent post, where we basically said, “When you have competitors, it’s really nice.” With Bidsketch we didn’t have this luxury, there weren’t that many, there weren’t any competitors, direct competitors. But the way I think about competitors now differently nowadays. It’s just like anybody that has the same type of traffic that you want, look at their site through tools that can tell you about how they get customers and traffic and all that.

Ruben’s Favorite Software Tool

Phil Singleton: And what are some of your favorite tools to do that?

Ruben Gamez: My favorite, number one, is Ahrefs.

Phil Singleton: Yeah.

Ruben Gamez: That’s really the best tool for that. And it’ll tell you what are the top pages, how much traffic are those pages getting, what keywords the site is targeting, where are they getting links, links are really important. And you’ll find all sorts of stuff that is accidental for other companies that you can just sort of double down on.

Ruben Gamez: So like I was doing research on this other product that I’m probably going to be building out. And it’s just for sign up forms, you know? So it’s signup.com and SignUpGenius are the two biggest companies. And they had a couple of pages that were like, that they had written and posted about sign up sheets. But they didn’t have anything else on their site about sign up sheets. Just drilling, using Ahrefs, it’s like, “Okay, this gets some good volume, it’s not very competitive, and they wrote a post about it but they weren’t really targeted. Sort of like an accident. And then they don’t have any other content targeting it.”

Ruben Gamez: So then I just, using a keyword research tool, just sort of like, what types of sign up sheets are people searching for? I found all sorts of different types of sign up sheets, a ton of volume, not very competitive. So we’re gonna be, over the next few weeks, building that out. But it’s, that’s…

Phil Singleton: Just a serendipitous…

Ruben Gamez: Happens all the time. All the time.

Phil Singleton: We see an opportunity through just knowing SEO.

Ruben Gamez: That’s why competitive research like that is really, really, really good. Because a lot of sites get traffic by accident that they’re not taking advantage of. And tools like Ahrefs can tell you where it’s coming from, and you can, like, maybe it’s an accident for them, but we can do it on purpose.

Phil Singleton: In your case you can not only create better content and outrank them again, but you can build a new business around it.

Ruben Gamez: Right. Exactly. Yes.

Phil Singleton: That’s really awesome. So we’re gonna check out Docsketch too, and, you know, link to that and stuff, and any articles that you have as an example of anything else that we talked about, please send those so we can put them in the show notes as well. But Ruben, so awesome man. This has been really, really cool. I so much appreciate you joining us and sharing your experience with me and our users, listeners. Great, great episode. I can’t wait to promote this one.

Ruben Gamez: Alright, well, thanks, thanks for inviting me. It was fun.

Brad Burrow Real Media Kansas City Video Production Services

Lear more about Brad Burrow and Real Media:

Meet Brad Burrow

Phil Singleton: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of The Local Business Leaders podcast. I’m your host Phil Singleton. Today our featured guest is Brad Burrow. Brad has a full range of experience and a wide range of production disciples from broadcast, film and TV commercials, to high end B2B and B2C communications. He’s directed national spots for Biton USA, did I say that right?

Brad Burrow: Biton, correct, yeah.

Phil Singleton: All right. ESPN, Lowe’s and the Golf Channel. Experience as a writer, director, producer and editor. 18 years building a successful production company. Has a variety of working experience with a range of talented people including Ken Griffey Jr., Trace Adkins, Joba Chamberlain, did I say that right?

Brad Burrow: “Jobba” actually.

Phil Singleton: Joba, sorry. I thought that sounded wrong when I said it out loud. Josh Beckett, Bill Curtis and George Brett. He’s also worked with a variety of clients including the Cincinnati Red, the KC Chiefs, woo! The KC Royals, Kansas University, Maryland University and many more. Brad, welcome to the show.

Brad Burrow: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Phil Singleton: I don’t think I even mentioned your company name here so I’ll make sure I mention that at the beginning. It’s Brad Burrow from Real Media, right here in Kansas City.

Brad Burrow: Yep, you got it.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. Well give us a little bit background about how you got started into the business world. Your first days kind of walking out of college or what have you and kind of what put you path to where you are today.

Brad Burrow: Well you know it’s really interesting, I paid my through college playing in bands and really my goal was to try to get signed and become a recording artist so I spent many years working on that. I played full-time for 15 years and wrote music and did all everything you could do in the recording industry outside of getting signed. Through those processes I learned the creative process. Learning how to write music and lyrics and things like that which then kind of translated into learning how to connect with an audience. Learning how to create content that people enjoy and would respond to and that was kind of how I cut my teeth into getting into video production and storytelling.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. And then tell us about Real Media, how did that come about?

Brad Burrow: Let’s see how. I started Real Media in 97, before that I’d actually, like I said, played in bands and stuff but I had started a little company called Video Doctor, which I fixed video tapes for Blockbuster Video and ended up having every Blockbuster from Minneapolis to San Antonio and Houston sending their broken video tapes to my house in Olathe, believe it or not.

Phil Singleton: Wow.

Brad Burrow: I was on the cover of the Business Journal. It was a pretty crazy thing. The problem with that business is that it was pretty short lived because video tapes were going to go away. Technology was changing so I realized that I needed to do something different. I’ve got a marketing, bachelor’s degree in marketing from Wichita State, computer science minor. One of the things you learn in case studies is that business there’s a cycle to the businesses and so I knew I’d better do something, learn something different so I went out and bought a video camera and a little editing system and I learned how to make videos and that was the beginning of my career as a director and video producer. That was probably 25 years ago.

Phil Singleton: So that’s pretty much self-taught almost it sounds like. I know the internet didn’t probably have a lot of courses and things like that and blogs that could teach you. YouTube where you could basically self-study your way in a short period of time.

Brad Burrow: Very true. Actually the interesting thing about that, I made a lot of mistakes. I had to learn from my mistakes a lot and but I also don’t have kind of the baggage that comes with somebody that’s gone through film school. When you go through film school you think there’s only one way to do something. Well I never had that so I didn’t ever have that one way. My style was a lot different and still is today because of that. I go, I’ll work with somebody that’s actually come through a legitimate film school and will say, “Well you have to do an edit just like this.” Well no you don’t. You don’t have to do it like that. A lot of my work is based on feel and if it doesn’t feel right I keep working with it til it feels right and then usually it’s pretty impactful at that point.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. And how do you think things have, obviously you’ve been doing it for 25 years and 25 years ago the internet wasn’t what it is today so I’m assuming that’s changed video a whole lot. The way it’s consumed. Where it is. How it’s produced. Any comments on that piece of it from your perspective?

the quality of video on the internet now is way better than it ever used to be.

– Brad Burrow

Brad Burrow: Well technology in general but even the internet has changed. It used to be for example that if I wanted to have the potential of getting work from somebody, I’d have to send out a VHS tape with our demo reel so they could watch it see, oh yeah, these guys are good. None of that anymore. I can be on the phone with somebody and send them a link and they’re looking a video piece or whatever it is. It’s changed the selling cycle a lot which makes it a lot easier to sell. And the quality of video on the internet now is way better than it ever used to be. We used to spend hours compressing video to try to get it optimized so it play back good. It would take forever. Now, none of those things are issues.

But I tell you one of the challenges that we have as a business is that the barriers to entry to get into video production have come way, way down and it used to be you’d have spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get high end cameras, editing systems, edit bays, all the stuff that would go into just making a basic high end piece of video. Now you can go to Best Buy and buy a little camera and laptop and you’re a video production company. It’s really forced us to rethink our business model and rethink how we deliver content and all that. It’s the way technology changes and you got to roll with it and you learn to adapt. Ultimately still comes down to being able to tell a story and being able to impact somebody.

Phil Singleton: That’s a great point. One thing I think we can segue into, from my perspective doing web design, digital marketing, videos has become so hugely important right now as a way that, all talking about trying to get, everybody wants to get targeted traffic to their website or drive demand and drive traffic back to generally speaking the kind of companies that are doing it right, you’re trying to some way, shape or form are driving you back to the web presence which is usually their website. Video’s become so important because once you get somebody to a website, well you got to get people to know, like and trust you quickly and video’s one of the best ways to do that. Like you said, to tell a story or maybe see who the people are behind the company and get really quickly, build that trust up as quickly as possible.

Even though we and you and a lot of people in marketing know that’s really important, I still think not nearly enough of small businesses are doing this. I have my own personal opinion and that is I think people think a lot of this stuff these days is actually still expensive like it was and they’re just thinking, okay, man to write a book, that’s a huge project, maybe I’ll do it someday. To get it right, like a proper good commercial quality video for my company cost prohibitive. I’d like to do that. Sure I know it’s important but way too expensive maybe for the small business owner or podcast or whatever it is. The barriers I think are small but I still think they’re much more attainable than maybe some of the business owners or the small business community thinks they are. Can you speak to that? And what things small businesses can be doing to start incorporating video into their marketing and their business model.

Brad Burrow: Yeah. The first thing I would say is that the power of video and converting even in a eCommerce site. You have companies like eBags, I don’t know if you’re familiar with them.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, we’ve got several of their bags.

Brad Burrow: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: And I think largely because probably my wife saw their videos and bought them.

Brad Burrow: Exactly right. You see they’re very simple. One camera, sometimes two cameras but it’s somebody on camera that’s demonstrating all the features of a backpack or something like that. And you’re like, “Wow, that’s cool.” Well, they’re conversion rates are way higher than their competitors because of those videos. We’re visual learners that’s the big thing about video. It’s like I think one second of video is worth 1.8 million words. Our minds process the visual images so much faster and at so much more depth and retention with video and movement than from reading something that we can make decisions quicker.

If you’re not using video you’re missing out on a big opportunity especially on the eCommerce side of thing. Any small business. But most, like you said, most small businesses think it’s I can’t afford to do something like that. Well actually can. One of the challenges that we’ve had as a business model is figuring out okay, we’ve been a high end production for over 20 years. We’re doing TV spots. I’ve had spots with a 80 to $100,000 budget before. What happens is, the big, big brands are spending that kind of money. Well a lot more than that actually, on production but a little small business can’t really do that.

I wanted to come up with solutions for small businesses so we came up with a business model called Stream Stage which basically is about 10% of the cost of normal production. The great thing about it is, is you can create all this video content that’s still high quality. It’s still broadcast quality, you can see it on a national network but it’s very affordable. The way we do that is by doing it more in a live production environment. Understanding, we understand that there’s a big need for video and it’s only going to increase but the challenge is how to provide that at a cost that a small business can afford.

Real Media’s Stream Stage

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. I definitely obviously full disclosure here, Brad and I met a short time ago, I think we’re already kind of like minds and very excited about collaborating and do a bunch of things. I am so excited about Stream Stage. Already referred clients to them and we keep doing so because I think this is such an important of the business. I’ve done some video, if you visited our site, our homepage, you’ll see that we’ve tried to do a little bit. I’m looking forward to work with Brad to do some more that’s better and more thought through because in the video that we’ve done on our website, we’ve noticed our conversion rates have gone up quite a bit. And we just barely scratched the surface.

And that’s one thing, like Brad you’re going to talk about a little bit more too, I think it’s like, it’s one thing to be careful I think about any type of content that we put out there that people will say is important or is helpful in terms of maybe generating leads or helping conversion. Sometimes we’ll say things like, every company needs to be blogging. I do believe this is really important to be blogging but once you just kind of say that word blogging then people just think like, they just do more blogging. I think it’s just like video. You just go out there and say, “Oh he said video important. Just go run out and do videos.” So they’re out shooting mindless stuff on an iPhone and dropping it on their website. That’s not really what anybody’s saying. You got to be thoughtful about the things that you’re doing.

Some of the things I think, and you can speak to this more, I think might be important forms of video are something where a person sees you talking. I always think it’s important to be able to see the staff myself. If it’s a doctor or a lawyer are somebody, at least at some point you can see the person talking. See their voice. Look into their eyes. Also, testimonial videos where you have other people saying you’re awesome, I’ve worked with you. And then maybe some types of things, you have a lot of experience with is just trying to figure out marketing message or maybe even trying to build story into something, some marketing videos.

Can you speak to those types of things? What people should really be working on ’cause I think it’s like, you just don’t want to always say video’s important, just go run out and get some video. Then you get price shop some video and then you get something that doesn’t have a lot of strategy baked into it. You put it up on website. You said more video, we did more video, we put it on our site. Nothing happened. Well it’s not just about the video. There’s got to be some strategy behind it. Can you speak to that a little bit?

It’s just like that in storytelling. If you’re going to create content that really impacts an audience, you’ve got a message and you need to know as much about your audience as you can because we want to know what kind of fish we’re trying to catch.

– Brad Burrow

Brad Burrow: Right. Yeah, you’re exactly right. I use the analogy a lot of fishing. If you’re fishing let’s say you want to catch bass. Well you have a pretty good idea where you’re going to fish. You know what kind of bait you’re going to use. You’ve got a good idea of how you’re going to get them into the boat. It’s just like that in storytelling. If you’re going to create content that really impacts an audience, you’ve got a message and you need to know as much about your audience as you can because we want to know what kind of fish we’re trying to catch. Are they a stay at home mom? Are they a business owner? Are they a millennial? For example. And then what’s your message and how does that message need to be communicated to that audience so that they’re going to be interested? That’s the bait.

The type of fish is the audience, the message is the bait or the lure and then the call to action’s how we get them in the boat. What we do to get them to bite? The more that we can know about those things up front, the more effective we can be in telling a story that’s going to impact. I call that storytelling with purpose. We want to tell them a story and there’s all kinds of studies and things that talk about how storytelling can impact our brains. It actually a story impacts our retention in different parts of the brain much more effectively than reading or even watching something.

There’s real power in that but if you know your audience and you know your message and you can tell a story that is going to really impact them in a positive then your call to action’s going to be a natural thing that’s just going to automatically kick in. You ask them to do something, they’re going to do it ’cause you’ve impacted them and you understand them. That’s what we try to do is really, really understand the audience and then everything are just tools that we use to do that.

Phil Singleton: It’s so awesome because that’s it’s such a deliberate repeatable process that you can just, that makes perfect sense. Okay, you go through this. We’ve got these steps. It pretty much works for everybody. Obviously I think storytelling’s really big all the way around and marketing in general is a really hot topic but you really help bring it to video in a way that’s really easy to understand. But then I kind of even see in my mind right now, it’s like okay, you got this process with the fish kind of analogy and then you bring that into a production environment that’s lower cost for small businesses. Let’s just say if you’re in Kansas City. I don’t want to hone too much in on Stream Stage thing. I do think it’s really exciting to talk about that because it just makes it so much more attainable for small businesses to get that really crucial piece of video content that I believe will really, really help people convert sales a lot more.

If you’re in a small business and you end up figuring out a way to get a good website, maybe get good traffic to your site and you’re just really trying to get that way to get people to convert, well some of things Brad’s talking about like the storytelling or having something quality enough that really resonates, that’s sometimes all you really need to help get people, push them that little extra distance to get them into the sales or the education funnel. You think about the things that really work for folks and you’re just like, gosh, I wish I had this piece to be able to put on my website to be able to benefit the way like some of these really high end production pieces are. Man, if you’re a local small, medium size business, got guys like Brad with his great company Real Media, it’s attainable. You can do it. It’s a great investment and I think it’s really important.

That’s one of the things we’re so excited with working with you because you finally got this piece of the puzzle in a way that can really help clients out. Really appreciate you coming to the show and sharing your story.

Brad Burrow: Yeah.

Real Talk – The TV Show

Phil Singleton: Where can we learn more about you in terms of like your website and maybe places that you like to hang out social, online? So people can follow.

Brad Burrow: Yeah, at Real Media we have our websites realmediakc.com, not Real Media but realmediakc.com/streamstage if you’re interesting in seeing how that works. That’s a place you can check that out. Go to our website. We have a LinkedIn page. We’re actually doing a, we’re using Stream Stage to create a show on LinkedIn called Real Talk. If you go to our LinkedIn page you’ll see show where we’re interviewing CEOs. Actually we’ve got Joel Goldberg from Fox Sports that comes in and interviews CEOs so we release videos every week on that which is going very well. And then Facebook page, Twitter and all those things as well. It’s a full-time job just keeping up with the social media side of this thing.

Phil Singleton: Right, right. And before I let you go, I like to ask all my Kansas City based guests, just kind of some of their favorite places to go, things to do in Kansas City. Places that kind of make them love being here. Places I guess if they’ve been away awhile that they’d either come back to and one of the first places they’d go maybe to eat or grab a bite or get a drink or refer a friend from out of town to.

Brad Burrow: Yeah. Well I’ll tell you, I have people come in from out of town all the time and everybody’s here’s about barbecue. Of course we’re the barbecue mecca. My favorite barbecue place right now is Q39 which I know you’ve heard about too. We live out in on the south part so they just moved out to the Antioch & College Blvd there.

Phil Singleton: Sweet.

Brad Burrow: Man that place is awesome. We could eat there every night every night.

Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.

Brad Burrow: And be just happy.

Phil Singleton: I think I was telling you, that’s like you’re probably the third or fourth person that’s been their favorite. I have yet to go there. It’s pretty funny ’cause on Father’s Day I was trying to figure out a place to give my parents. And I think they’d said they’d been there, maybe the original one once and it was like, ah, kind of too busy. They didn’t have good, super good impression of it. Course here it’s like, I’ve heard like three or four times it’s like the people’s favorite restaurant. I got to get out there and try this place out.

Brad Burrow: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: Sounds really awesome.

Brad Burrow: Yeah, you need to try it out for sure.

Phil Singleton: It’s on my list on the short list.

Brad Burrow: Yeah.

Phil Singleton: Thanks again for being on the show Brad. Looking forward to hear more from you. We want to welcome you back maybe and dig a little deeper into some of these other video marketing topics.

Brad Burrow: Yeah, love to do it. Thanks for having me.

Phil Singleton: Awesome.