Matt: It doesn’t have to be a formal business plan, really an idea of what do you want to accomplish? How are you going to do that and what data do you have to back that up?
Ashley: That is key. You have to understand who your audience is. What are the needs for your target audience? What is, what are, what are their pain points? It goes back into solving that problem. You can’t just go out and say, I’m awesome. I have this awesome product. You have to really say what it is that you’re trying to solve and how you’re going to get seen from all your potential competitors or even your competitors. And I see potential because you may have a new product that you’re bringing to market that nobody else is doing, but you have to think about who could potentially come out after they see that this little guy is coming up with something, right? So you had to be prepared to really be able to deal with that and to be seen in a crowd that’s full of advertisements and a lot of different media. How are you going to really get, see, yeah.
Introduction: Welcome to endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing, news, culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat. And thanks for joining.
Matt: Well hello listener and welcome back to the endless coffee cup. And guess who’s back in the studio with us today?
Ashley: Ashley. Hi. Thank you for having me.
Matt: Thanks for coming back in. Ashley. It’s always great to have you here.
Ashley: Yes, I’m very excited to be here. I love talking about digital marketing and planning in general because I think that this involves everything under the umbrella. So I’m very excited about this topic.
Matt: Well, I could tell because when I sent you the idea for the show you there was no time wasted. You wrote back, you’re like, yes, let’s do this. This is needed. I you, I’m just talking about this yesterday with somebody. So yeah, you were on this, you were on this topic.
Ashley: It’s a lie. Um, I talk about this quite a bit with different clients just because it’s this, everybody wants to dive into the tactic. They hear something there, they’re getting a buzz word out there and they’re like, oh, I definitely want to do that. Or I want to get into that social media channel. But they don’t totally understand why and really what to expect from that and what the ultimate goal is to accomplish.
Matt: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So in case you haven’t figured it out, our topic for today is planning a, and the reason why we are doing that is there was a study that came out about small businesses and I’m going to look for this. Okay, here is the number. 50% of small businesses do not have a marketing plan for 2019.
Ashley: And that does not surprise me.
Matt: No, not at all. Not at all. And there’s a number of obstacles I think to putting together a plan. And I think one of the first ones and being small business owners, we, yeah, we understand this as well. Uh, but especially when we had the agency and we would work with business owners, they just want to run their business.
Ashley: Yeah. They just want to make the next dollar. I mean, they’re just concerned about that. Yeah. We, I need to do for today,
Matt: Right. They w looking ahead and investing and putting money into, you know, a website or marketing. And the biggest thing is they don’t want to update their website. Yep. They don’t want to monitor their marketing. They just, they want to deal with their business because that’s what they like. That’s what they, that’s what they want to do.
Ashley: Yeah, absolutely. I think that gets into really understanding and that’s why it’s good to go to an agency, a good to go to a consultant or, um, whoever it is that you’re working with and make sure that that person understands those platforms. Um, because they’ll be able to guide you. Because I think that it gets into lack of understanding. So as a business owner, if you’re hearing that I need to update my website and you’re thinking, well, that’s not really what’s going to generate sales for me. It’s just about me getting on the phone and making those calls. And if you’re not really understanding the platform and what it’s there for and what it could be, then yeah, you’re not going to put that as that priority.
Matt: Yup. Yeah. It’s interesting. I was talking to my brother the other day and he’s talking to someone where it’s a completely internet based business and the revenue has gone down by half over the past three years. And my brother was telling them, well you just need to update this, change this, do that. And the guy said, frankly, I’m not interested in spending money on it. Right. He’s like, I’m an old dog. I don’t want to learn new tricks. I don’t want to put the money into it. You know, even though it will continue to lose rankings and continue to get less revenue, just not willing to put the money into it.
Ashley: It is so stunning to me hearing that it’s a web-based company not wanting to put the money into it. Yeah. Wow. Because I hear that quite a bit from companies who have other sources that, they use to generate that revenue. And is that primarily web? So it does make sense to me what they’re saying, but at the same time, like you have to evolve with the times, you have to make sure that you’re thinking about where your buyers are going to look and what those channels are for. The web should not be your online brochure, right? It’s there to solve a problem. People are looking for answers. And once you understand that, then you’ll really see why you should be investing in your website.
Matt: Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, when we talk about developing a business plan, the first thing that people think about is, I, I don’t know if you’ve done any economics or any courses, anything like that. I, I can’t remember what class it was, but we had to write a business plan and I just did a search real quick to see, you know, what are the top business plan mistakes? And entrepreneur.com it says the plan is poorly written, uh, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Or it’s sloppy. And honestly I kind of laugh at that because you know there’s a difference between doing it for academic reasons and doing it for practical. This is what I want to do.
Ashley: Oh yeah. Cause sometimes you’re just taking a picture of some drawing on a whiteboard.
Matt: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s an idea. Well or even an existing business and what do I want to do next year? It’s the back of a Napkin. It’s a sticky note. It’s maybe even a whiteboard if you’re, you know, I’ve got a few people and you know, what have we, it to me, I think just taking about 10 or 15 minutes or over a lunchtime and just thinking about, okay, where have we been? What’s gotten us here? What’s, what’s worked and how do we leverage that for the next year? Honestly, that’s as much as you need just to get a good start.
Ashley: Oh absolutely. And I’m a big believer in the white board. Yeah. I love getting people in a room, brainstorming, talking about ideas. Cause I am a, I am a believer that two heads are better than one. Three heads are better than two. And I just think that ideas build off of each other. But I do think that the business plan is so important because let’s face it, when you’re brainstorming and you have your whiteboard and you look at all of those different drawings, those, outlines if you will, you come back to it later and you’re thinking, what was I thinking when I put this together? Like that businessman will outline those thoughts and build them out even more. And I’m guilty of it myself starting out my own business and just, I mean, I got to say, I did just outline, um, I knew where I wanted to go, but things do change. You have to be flexible and be willing to change that business plan. But mine wasn’t as formal. And, I learned a lesson with that because I do think that whenever you have something that’s more formal that is more built out, you can really see what your vision is.
Matt: Absolutely. And I guess that’s the first rule. It doesn’t have to be a formal business plan, right? Just really, an idea of what do you want to accomplish. How are you going to do that and what data do you have to back that up?
Ashley: That is key. I am a, I know, I keep saying big component. I like, this is something I’m really passionate about, so I just think you have to do your research. You have to understand who your audience is. Um, what are the needs for your target audience? What is, what are, what are their pain points? It goes back into solving that problem. You can’t just go out and say, I’m awesome. I have this awesome product. You have to really say what it is that you’re trying to solve and how you’re going to get seen from all your potential competitors or even your competitors. And I see potential because you may have a new product that you’re bringing to market that nobody else is doing, but you have to think about who could potentially come out after they see that this little guy is coming up with something. So you have to be prepared to really be able to with that and to be seen in a crowd that’s full of advertisements and a lot of different media. How are you going to really get seen?
Matt: Yeah. I think a lot of times businesses will see it. You know, they will read articles about, you know, what is popular right now. Yes. You know, I, I see so many about like you have to be on Instagram. Instagram has millions of users. Well, okay, I’ll, I’ll allow that. But what are you trying to do? Like you say, who are you trying to reach? Where is your market? and What makes you better, different?
Ashley: Well, think about Instagram, like a younger audience. It’s not even if you’re like trying to reach same, like say you’re is selling hearing aids, are you going to go on Instagram?
Matt: Funny. You should bring that up, right? So I saw an article the other day and it was why are we focusing on millennials? And it really broke down the economic aspects like especially in the U.S. that the boomers have. I think it’s like 70% of the disposable income in this country. And yet all these brands are going after millennials, which have less than 20% of the spendable income. And also are more in debt.
Ashley: That’s amazing research.
Matt: Exactly. Yeah. And so the, the, the author’s saying, why are we focusing on millennials when they’re not the ones with the money?
Ashley: They’re not, I mean, it’s good to look into the future, but I think all this debt.
Matt: What does their future look like? It was, it was a very interesting article and it was interesting also from the fact that he broke down like this whole generational analysis that people do and what they say. And he had this quote of, I want you to identify which generation this is. And it was, you know, they don’t trust brands. They’re looking for authenticity. You know, they’re going to go outside of normal channels to find what they want and they don’t. And what it was, it was written in the 1960s about the then boomer generation. and he says, as you can see, your initial thought is this is millennials because so much has been written about it is, but in reality, every generation kind of fits this pattern.
Ashley: That is so interesting because that’s where my mind went. I was thinking millennials.
Matt: Yeah, no, it’s the boomers from the 1960. So yeah, a little side note there, but again, it’s who are you marketing to? Um, I think that’s, that’s one of the first things in a plan is who are you trying to reach? Is it local? Is National? is it international? You know, what, what do they look like? What are they thinking? And what you said was really important is what problem are they trying to solve?
Ashley: That is key. I see it all the time that a company will put together an ad. They know they need to do some advertisements and the ad is all about how awesome the new product it is. Or is just the fact that there’s a new product. So why, what does this do for target audience? How is this solving something for them? And also how is it even, being portrayed, like getting into graphic design even and looking at the type of message that you’re putting out there because all of that really does connect and you want to make sure that you’re putting your, your brand in a good light.
Matt: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I think the first thing is you don’t have to have a 20 page extensively written footnoted business plan. I think when I started my company, I, I had a business plan. I like, here’s what I want to do, here’s how I want to grow it. And I think within the first 40 days, like I, you know, they’re like, why did I even take the time to write this? Because reality actually changes what’s going, you can plan all you want and it’s good to have that identification, but you start getting clients, you start getting customers and needs, demands, things like that. And the best education for running businesses, starting a business,
Ashley: Right? I think it goes into really making sure you understand the business goals. So getting into, you know, I’m a marketing person, so if I’m developing a marketing plan, I want to really make sure I understand the business goals before I develop those other segments.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely. It’s, I tell people, I make every, I made every mistake you could make, right? I mean,
Ashley: That’s why you learn now.
Matt: I made a mistake buying a phone system. I made a mistake, uh, with office space. I made a mistake with furniture. You know, it’s just, you know, just go down the line and those are things you, you know, in a business plan, like I got to do this, here’s how much it costs. And it’s like I overspent on everything.
Ashley: Oh yeah.
Matt: How did I survive? I overspent on everything. And now, you know, I look back on that and I’m like, there’s so many different ways we could have gone about that. but, and, and even talking to some people, it’s just, unless you were involved in actually the purchase of that, you don’t really, you know, they weren’t many people I could talk to about that. So it’s just, yeah, you plan and then you make your mistakes and you learn from them.
Ashley: You do. you can’t invest in everything. I think that you said something that goes into putting your budget together, making sure you understand how you are going to allocate those dollars and that you have a plan B.
Matt: Yeah. Oh absolutely. Well and this gets to one of the statistics that came out of this study is that so the percentage of SMB revenue spent on marketing, 5% or less is spent by more than half. So of the of businesses surveyed, 54% spend less than 5.5% or less of their budget on marketing. Which I like you said when you sit down and you figure out your expenses, when you figure out. you know, this much for office space or retail space or whatever and this much for inventory. this much for phone, this much for salaries and you start adding it up. Marketing is last.
Ashley: It usually is. And if you think even whenever a company is going through layoffs or there they’re doing anything like that. like who’s the? What’s the first apartment in frame? Because they not really understanding the value and that’s where it gets into any marketing people who are listening in, making sure you really understand what those measurable goals are and you’re communicating. Those people have to understand your worth and understand what it is that you’re doing and how it is helping to meet the ultimate business school.
Matt: Absolutely. I’ll never forget. So in, was it 2009 when the recession hit? and that was one thing where we had companies calling and saying, we’re cutting our marketing budget. We’re doing this. Well, one company in particular, they were cutting their budget, we were able to go back to them, and say, you know, looking at what we’re doing from the marketing standpoint, here’s how much you’re spending. Here’s what it’s generating in terms of sales and leads and you know, and they were doing Google ads and things like that. So we were able to tell them, if you’ve got your marketing budget, you are cutting revenue. And we were able to very clearly position this and they were able to take it back then and to their decision makers and say, look, this budget, it may cost us this out of our budget, but it is producing four times as much revenue. And so if you cut that, you’re not, yes, you’ll save that money but you’re going to lose. this much revenue.
Ashley: Right and that really gets into like understanding the sales funnel because the sales people will stay, they’ll stay if there’s a layoff or something like that going on. In fact, like when you were talking about the recession during that time period, I was actually working at a company working in two different departments and I was one of the newest set that company I was in sales and marketing. I’m thinking, oh no, I’m getting caught. But I outlasted everybody because I had that sales background. And that was the reason why. Because otherwise like marketing, they’re going. And so because I, that sales background, I was okay, but if you look at the modern day funnel, the sales funnel, it includes a lot more marketing than it did that. So that’s why it’s like you really have to understand that and see what it takes to generate a lead and nurture that lead down the funnel to turn them into buyers. And there is so much more marketing. In fact, I think marketing owns the funnel.
Matt: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. As just read an article on that today, that that customer experience and that customers don’t see silos. Nope. If they have a problem with tech support, if they have a problem with the product itself, if they have a pro, you know any problem; it’s not the department they have a problem with. It’s not your social media, it’s you the brand that they have a problem with. And so marketing eight, you know, it was for a case for breaking down the silos, pulling the data together in that marketing should be controlling or guiding communications across every aspect of that customer experience.
Ashley: You can really see it, especially like the smaller companies. You can see where marketing is impacting a lot more. In fact, there is a company, and I’m thinking now, where B2B was more impacted by the sales part, but the B to C portion was definitely more impacted by marketing. And when there were some changes made in the marketing department, you could see a direct impact in the sales. I mean, it was drastically lower. Because they weren’t doing a lot of the same things. That they did the year prior and those same things and included doing a lot of lead nurturing. they weren’t doing that or thinking about developing those email lasts because over time those people that you’re developing are either going to change their email addresses, they’re going to get sick of you. You know, you have to think about how you’re going to build that relationship and constantly get new people.
Matt: Yeah. So I teach a lot about marketing automation and you do, I’ve done a lot with it as well. The best, the best marketing automation I have seen is my dry cleaner. I am not kidding you. So we recently moved and I go to a new dry cleaner drop off my stuff and they’re like, can we get your email address, your phone number? And I’m like, oh, okay. You know, usually they give you this stub, come back on Tuesday. No they wanted your name, phone number and you know, and we’ll you take texts, SMS will text you when your, your order’s ready. What really? And so you know, they gave give you the printout anyway and they said, you know, Wednesday at latest Monday I got a text that it was ready to pick up. Well before that, just after dropping up and off I got a welcome email. Oh Wow. Thank you for trusting us. I’m the president of the company. Here’s my email and phone number. If you ever want to get in touch with me. Next day, here’s what we do. We also offer an in a home laundry pickup service and I’m like Whoa, what, what’s happening here? You know I, I’m, I’m teaching businesses how to do this and my local dry cleaner is dominating it. They are doing it right.
Ashley: And that was really logical too. Like what they did the welcome, like I think that having it come from like an executive level showing that, hey, we really do care. And then the next one trying to bring you to the next step or funnel to turn you into a loyal customer. Perfect.
Matt: I get an SMS like two days before pickup that it’s ready. Went ahead picked it up, guess what I got next. How was it?
Ashley: Love it. How will you know? It was like on a scale of zero to 10, how is the service, would you recommend this marketing automation done? Right? There’s so many times that, you know, I see a lot of companies do marketing automation and it’s just, they have things automated, but it’s not logical. It’s not thinking about how you’re going to like the end goal. Their end goal was to turn you into a loyal customer. They already had you as a customer.
Matt: And that’s important. Let me tell you what, let me finish this then we’ll go back to that. I’m going to make a note.
Ashley: There’s so much to talk about with this.
Matt: Oh yeah, I’m making a note to come back to this. Okay. So it’s tied into their point of sale system, their CRM point of sale system. Because, I didn’t go back for another two months. I got an email after two months. Did we do something wrong?
Ashley: Wow. That was good.
Matt: Did we, you know, did we not deliver? Was a service not up, please, you know, let us know. and we will take care of it right away. Whoa.
Ashley: Yeah. I hope you call this company, this such a good job.
Matt: No. I Just didn’t need you. And so periodically if I go more than two or three months, I will get that email with, you know, and it’s like almost like this, oh, I need to take something there.
Ashley: Ohh. This kind of reminder. I don’t know about, I mean I, I am always at the dry cleaner, but I will be honest with you, sometimes I do put my suit jackets or things like that in a little bag and just leave it in my laundry room and I forgot about it. So if I would get that, that would work for me.
Matt: Yeah. So they send reminders. They, I, I mean, it was just one of the best automated in a small business. And I, I’m sorry, it takes it to the next level.
Ashley: That’s why.
Matt: I’ve gone to dry cleaners for years. No one has ever done anything like that. And so I was now to your point, circling back to business plan, instead of the traditional business plan, what they set out to do, like you talked about, what’s the problem? What’s the customer going to do? What do they expect and at what point should we communicate with them and what should we say? They sat down and planned the customer experience and how do we make it better?
Ashley: And that’s why you get into making it more formal. Like you have to do that. Oh, I mean, with my own business, I have marketing automation and I also, I make some cold calls. I do that, but I know whatever that conversation is, or, whatever email that I’m sending out or where that potential, um, customers at in the funnel, I know where I need to take them and the goals. And those are things that I’ve learned, you know, from going through and just doing it myself. But when, when you work like you, obviously you have the templates and that’s something that I wrote down here. If you not, if you’re not really sure where to start when you’re building out your business plan, there are plenty of templates online that you can look and just get an idea. But I will say that you’re absolutely right. Sometimes you just dive in as a business owner, scratch it out. And it’s just, it takes time to just figure it out. To get that momentum and to see what works and what doesn’t. And unfortunately you learned that from just doing it.
Matt: And I think that’s the key. So a lot of business owners and you just doing it day by day or just doing it and you really, I can’t stress this enough. You really have to take the time. Just sit and think about it, reflect, think, how do I improve this? Because when you’re just in that day to day operation, okay, so what was this? Like 30% of SMBs feel more stressed about their business this year than last year. So 30% of SMBs are increasing in stress. And I think that’s a result of feeling like you’re on the hamster wheel. Like every day I got to do, I got to do and I don’t have time to sit down. I don’t have time to plan. I don’t have time to think about that because I’ve got so much of this.
Ashley: Or they’re just so excited about their idea, which I love. I love talking –
Matt: It’s a small percentage.
Ashley: I love it. I love talking to business owners. Or you’re just so excited about a new idea and you just can’t wait to bring that to market. But then you’re not. you know, we try to take a step back. You’re like, oh, I got, I got this much money that I want to put into marketing and I’m thinking advertising. I’m thinking this, but let’s step back and really look at the research. Let’s look at your audience. And, it’s not about fitting into like a mold or that template. It’s just really making sure that you’re meeting your audience’s needs and understanding who your potential competitors can be.
Matt: Well, and there’s in, that gets to, I think a significant problem, especially with marketing online. Who can you talk to to get straight answers? Who’s not trying to sell you something? Because okay, so 5% or less of marketing budget. Okay. 5% of your budget is being spent on marketing and by half the of business owners and if you go talk to a at, you know, an agency that creates websites, they’re going to try and sell you a website. Oh yeah. If you go talk to someone who does SEO, they’re going to try and sell. Yes. Yeah. So
Ashley: Everybody has an end game.
Matt: Yeah. And as a business owner who just wants to run their business, how can you find out what’s, what would I do? You know you’ve got social and the biggest questions I get from that, how much do I do and how do I know it works? Every business owner has that is when it comes to social, it’s they want, they want like that time clock mentality. Like, how much time do I got to put into this and will it work and how will I know it’s working? And it’s just that because I need to get back to running my business.
Ashley: Oh yeah. You want to get those measurable like goals, answers. So you want to see those numbers. You want to see those metrics. But I will say you mentioned something that. You know, I know that whenever I was on like more of the corporate side and I would deal with agencies quite a bit. If you’re trying to figure out like who you need to pick as an agency, you will know who really cares about you and what you’re doing by how they approach you. And if they’re coming in and they have a presentation on all these different tactics and they have no idea what your strategy is and they’re not asking you about your strategy, that’s a clear indicator that they’re just trying to sell you some services and they are not really trying to help you as a business to grow.
Matt: Yup. They’re not asking questions. Questions are the biggest thing. Then you asked the right amount of good in–depth questions and they’ll sell themselves. Um, I just heard about the other day a company has signed with an agency and the first thing they got was a design and it was a template design and it was just expressed that this is where we’re starting. It just made no sense. So it tells me, okay, there were no questions asked. There were no, there was no planning with this agency about, okay, who’s your audience? What are they trying to do? You know, and I, and I, my response was, why do you even need a new website? can you just as a business owner, can you justify to me why you need a new website? What is it? Did you know? What’s not happening?
Ashley: Or maybe it’s just like, do you need to just correct your current site? Like there’s, there’s a couple of things that are going on with that because I see this a lot where because a new website that’s money to an agency, because that’s, I mean depending on who you’re working with, you get a simple site for what, $10,000 and you can go up to like six figures very easily. So it just depends on the agency you’re working with and really what you want on your website. But I think it gets into going into those goals. So if you’re, say you want, you don’t have a very big budget and that’s why understanding what your budget is whenever you’re putting your plan together, before you do talk to somebody is key. Because if they are trying to sell you a website right away and you’re like, I just really need to generate leads or they’re trying to sell you ad words and your website isn’t made to convert those leads that are coming in from your ads, they won’t turn into conversions. They’re not going to turn into sales. So like really understanding what it is that you need versus just buying the top of the line marketing products, if you will.
Matt: Well, and even on the other end of the spectrum, a single small business owner, just got into a conversation. He didn’t even know what I did. And then we found out and I said, yeah, I’ll take a look at your, you know, he had a question and I said, I, you know, I help people with online marketing, ad words, stuff like that. And, and I said, if you want, I’ll take a look at it, just give you a couple of pieces of advice. And he sent it to me and I’m like, you know, uh, someone set it up for ‘em. And, and I told him like, look, there’s like four things you could do. Save you some money and a real simple. And I just kind of laid it out. And it’s like, why, why doesn’t anyone tell you this?
Ashley: You know, I did the same thing for somebody. I said, I would go ahead and look at their website. And, I started looking at their keywords. It was uh, so their agency does their SEO and their ad words, I was looking at their keywords, and their keywords were so broad, they weren’t even like specific to what it is that they have to offer. Like it just, it was like more of an adjective of the type of company that they are, if you will. Like, I don’t want to be too specific with giving the company away, but like it just, the homepage was not, you can’t use like fun, as like keyword that you’re going for. You know what I mean? Like that’s a verb, You don’t want to go after I guess verbs per se. You want to go after like really what it is that you’re trying to sell. Like it’s about thinking about that funnel. If your agency doesn’t understand the funnel, they don’t understand where the keyword should be at in the funnel, that’s for whatever you’re working on, and it comes to the digital space, then there is a problem there.
Matt: And I think that that gets to, I think probably one of the biggest things is a small business, whether it’s a small business owner partnership, whatever, they just want to do their business. They don’t want to take the time to research a proper setup of an AdWords campaign. They just want it done.
Ashley: They do. They have too many clients on there. Right.
Matt: So, okay. Yeah. 80 – this is huge. 86% of the respondents prefer to spend their time on other business activities rather than marketing. That’s almost 90%. 90% would rather just be doing their business than doing marketing.
Ashley: And you know, you can actually see the shaft because you are seeing that the companies that are doing marketing very well, they’re rising.
Matt: Oh, absolutely. That’s, see this gets to something we noticed very early in the internet days. I had a client, she knew her business. She knew it well. She – and I would equate that to the local hardware store where you went there and you told the guy that was there all time, here’s what I’m trying to do. And he’d walk you through, get you everything you need, maybe even explain it, demonstrate it. But he had this knowledge, okay. Then all of a sudden, Walmart comes in, you know, or a Lowe’s and they have more stuff but less people who know how to do it and work with it. So my client, she knew her business, she knew it in and out. Someone else starts rising up through the rankings. They’re just selling the stuff. They don’t have the experience, the knowledge, they couldn’t tell you, you know, good details about what you need to know for a specific parameters of the product. So she’s got the knowledge and experience. They’ve got the budget and the flash.
Ashley: Yeah. That flash. That is so key.
Matt: You know, in the, in the analog world, we’ve seen what, what’s happened when Lowe’s comes in, home depot comes in, your local hardware guy who extensive knowledge can’t compete. Because he’s got a set plan. He’s got a set budget and he can’t compete with that. And so you’ve got this competition between people who actually know and love the business and people who are doing it for the money but they’ve got budget and flash.
Ashley: Yeah. I will say, so this is years and years ago I was working with a lingerie company and right. So they were competing against and it was a new company but they were competing against like Victoria’s secret and Victoria’s secret, let’s face it, they have the flash, they’ve been around for awhile. They had that brand recognition, domain authority, all those things that the web loves and I just knew like it just is not going to do well. You have to think. So if you have a product that you are bringing to market, it’s already been out there, and it’s being dominated by other brands, very important brands, then you have to think about what is your niche, what is your competitive advantage, what makes you unique? Then do the research and then once you do the research to see if there’s any keywords that align with that, that people are looking for going into that, solving that problem. That’s how you’re going to beat those big brands.
Matt: So this is a significant part I would say then of your business planning. Who else is out there and how are they taking my business or art, you know, who am I competing against? Not just small business wise but big business wise. What are they doing? How are they doing it? Do I have a chance in this area or do I need to, again, like I love how you said find that niche, find that group of people that I may not get this size in the market but I want to dominate here. Right? And I want to make that. And how do you do that?
Ashley: Is it a unique size? Is it like think about what is that from your brand that these other, that’s why I get into those competitors. So when you’re building out like your, your business plan, like really know who those competitors are or who the potential competitors can be. Because if you are on the rise and they see it, you better believe they’re going to start developing a product that’s going to be very similar to yours. So if you don’t have that Flash, you’re not ready to say bring it on, you’re probably going to lose.
Matt: Yeah. Especially if you are dependent online for your business. It’s, you know, I have seen some really good pivots of businesses that understand I can’t compete at this level and so I’m going to pivot and I’m going to focus on a specific group.
Ashley: And that’s smart.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m going to do it great. Instead of doing the big thing. Okay, I’m going to be fantastic here. and it’s a great, again, that comes through understanding who’s your competition online and what are your chances of competing against them? What are they, you know, if they’ve got large budgets and you know, then you’ve got to really seriously rethink how you’re going to go around it. Get to that. and so in a way, yeah, I understand you just want to run your business, but you do have to look at that long term. How, how am I going to run my business when I’ve got competition doing this?
Ashley: Right. And be smart about it. Like, look again, I know we already satisfy, but I just think it’s really important to understand, look at that niche because I know that sometimes you’re thinking, okay, well I’m only spending that 5% for marketing. You know, I’m going to bump that up to 10 and that’s going to make all the difference. But if you don’t understand like how you’re really going to reach, right. Because I just recently saw this where I’m a company did spend a lot of money on display advertising and they actually put, they put that extra money that they were, yeah, I know. You know where this is going. They put that extra money into creating a video and this display advertising and it did not make a difference for the business. And it doesn’t surprise me because you have to really think about those channels and really what your audience needs and you have to be strategic about it.
Matt: That, yeah. Strategically.
Ashley: Yeah. It’s not always, I mean you need the flash. But you can’t just go out and have this video and not think about if that’s really serving the purpose.
Matt: That is key. So for an SMB audience, if you are going to market, if you are going to spend that money on marketing, it needs to be laser targeted. Okay. It, you know, rather than a broad approach like I’m just going to buy some keywords. I’m going to know, pick one thing, pick one thing and similar to running your business, pick one thing, do it great. If you’re going to market your business, pick one thing and do it great. Which means put the time, resource, talk to people, figure it out. One of the things I used to do is on a whiteboard, and I’m going to talk through this now. I would, I would walk people through, okay, if you’re going to do SEO, your investment is early and your investment will have to start high because, and this gets to then understanding is this a brand new website. Says a website has been around for 10 years.
Matt: It, hey, how much content do you have? Because, depending upon where you’re starting, your results, results may vary. But typically your budget for SEO is going to be very high early. But the results are going to take a long period of time, you know, and, and you know, 18 months, let’s say on average, you know, it’s now after 18 months you’ll start seeing your results, which means leads, sales start to climb. So your investment is always very high and it can tail off over time. The results start slow and build up and the longer you do this business, the longer you do that. So four years from now your SEO will be your number one source. The return just keeps growing from that. And so visually you’d kind of have to map that out.
Ashley: So I have an a combination like a paid and organic.
Matt: Yeah. And so that would be the next thing. So from paid, we can kind of go here on investment, your results are immediate and, and kind of go from there. And then similar to social of, okay, social content plan and all this, you know, image, you know, and you’re going to do a video, you know, so start looking at, okay, what are all these investments and what are the time that it takes to get results? And that really helped people sort of figure out, okay, if we’re going to do one thing, what should we do? And a lot of times, you know, seeing all the options and what happened, and again, you play, you have to understand the business because one business was telling me our goal is to get acquired in two years. Like, okay, we’re not going to do SEO. You know, that’s, that’s out the picture right now. You know, there’s no reason.
Matt: If that’s your goal to invest in SEO, I would recommend, you know, now maybe we’ll go in and maybe, you know, maybe a little bit of stuff, but I’m like, you are on Edwards. Then you know, that is where you’re going to focus and develop because that will help develop you, make you more attractive target for acquisition, And again, understanding what their goal was as a business, help to do that plan. but I think from a small business perspective, they see a hundred things, a hundred people want their money, all these options and rather than some here, some here, some there understanding what the options are, what’s the timeline of return, what’s going to give me the biggest bang for the buck in laser focus. That investment on understanding on, you know, if you’re hiring someone to do it, do they know your business? Do they understand what you’re doing and are, are they accountable? You know, there’s laser focus that, and, and I’m sorry, you’re going to have to take some time in education yourself about the channel.
Ashley: Right? I just think is it a collaboration between you and that agency or that person, whoever it is that you’re working with? Because let’s face it, whoever you’re hiring, they’re not going to know the business as well as you. So making sure that they work to get that you guys work together is going to be key.
Matt: No, absolutely. And that’s, that is hard part because unfortunately, especially the at the SEO industry has such a snake oil reputation.
Ashley: I actually think the digital world is becoming like that in general. Just I think everybody says that they new social media, everybody says that they new ad words. I’m seeing it more now than I think I’ve seen in the past few years. I think SEO was always there. Unfortunately everybody said that they all understood SEO, but I’m seeing it with ad words too. Like I know we had a conversation not that long ago, like about how like the type of keywords that are being used that are being matched. I mean it’s just, you really have to be careful with who you’re hiring.
Matt: Oh, well a provider to train people in Google ads approached me, and I was like, oh, okay, that sounds good. I’m like, who’s the audience? Well, there are people that want to sell Google ads. wait a minute. You want me to train people? And I think the goal was a two hour course that they wanted me to develop a two hour course on Google ads that would be used by people who went to learn Google ads to sell their services.
Ashley: Oh Geez.
Matt: After learning, you know, and I’m like, wait, yet, you know, let’s walk through this again. So these are people that don’t know Google ads or you know, very little. He’s like, yes, we want to take them from a beginner to an intermediate level of knowledge about Google ads. So that they can sell their services. And I just had to tell him I can’t be a part of that.
Ashley: You really can’t do that. Like it’s this, it’s not intuitive, it’s not intuitive platform. I just had this conversation with somebody that, you know, they’re trying to get somebody in house to do their ad words and this person doesn’t know ad words at all. Not at all. They just are comfortable with clicking around in the platform, I do not recommend that. It takes special training to deal with, with something like that.
Matt: Oh, absolutely. Because, you know, if someone asked me, you know, should I get someone who has this, you know, they, they went through this course and, no, I’m sorry. Did you ask about their experience? How many accounts that they managed, you know, what are their success stories, you know?
Ashley: What are some problems you’ve had? How’d you deal with it?
Matt: Exactly. I just saw that, you know, have you, would you hire an employee with three months experience who just got a certification from some training company? No. No. If they’re going to run 4% of my marketing or 4% of my entire budget on marketing, if they’re going to run that, I’m sorry, you need to have a year or two years’ experience maybe four clients, maybe, you know, how many pounds have you run? So I am, it just boggles my mind that people are getting 90 minute, 120 minute trainings and then hanging on a shingle that I can do this.
Ashley: I just don’t know how they can trust themselves to do that. I would be nervous.
Matt: Well, and I told him, I said, if I’m going to train people who are going to sell Google analytic services, I says, I’m sorry. It’s, it’s a minute, you know, if it’s going to be an in house person running it, it’s 10 hours, you know, at the least 10 hours at the least. If it’s someone who wants to run their own business doing this, it’s almost double that.
Ashley: You have to learn by being in the trenches. I mean I learned Google ad words years and years ago. I did not go to school for Google ad words. I am a PR person. That’s what I went to school for was PR, traditional PR,
Matt: Yeah. They don’t teach google ad words. Nobody does.
Ashley: Right. And I started working at an agency for a bit and they needed help with ad words and I believe me, I had somebody there with me. I learned, I got, I did get a certification but you learn not from that certification, right? You learn by being in the trenches, seeing problems being handed clients that maybe weren’t fully qualified and you’re like, oh, they need to have some unique landing pages and understanding. Why? Like it’s just that is how you learn. And I say you just cannot get somebody that is, is fresh in an area like that in some other areas.
Ashley: I know social media, a lot of people will hire somebody who’s, you know, maybe a little fresh I guess is the word. I want to use it maybe a little, like maybe they have a year of experience or something like that. And I can understand that because that can be molded a bit. But at the same time, what are you having them do in social media. If it’s just organic or I’m, I mean I hope that it’s not just organic because now we know we need to have a mix of paid and organic and social media. That gets into another thing too. When you’re working with somebody, do they know that? Do they know the algorithm? Do they understand that? I just had this conversation, which kinds of business plan, understanding that, hey, you want to spend this money on social media. I’d have me manage it. And just to organic, you’re not going to get the results because these posts aren’t going to show up in the newsfeed. Now you have to pay some money for advertising in order to play that game, that engagement game.
Matt: Well and there’s, and that’s thing again, it’s one of those things that even on social media, so you can say, okay, I’m going to, I’m going to target social media will, even within the social media world, what are you going to target? I mean, are you willing to, yeah. Are you going to target existing customers? You know, are you going to take your, your mailing list, upload it to Facebook and target your existing customers and people, that look like them or you do you know how to do it? Again, what I just described, you have to have a very high level of understanding of Facebook to even know that that exists. And this gets back to the snake oil of the online marketing industry is, I mean, I get these emails too. We have a special relationship with Google. The amount of agencies or emails that charge you to create a business listing in Google, that’s free. And you don’t need an agency for that. That is yours. And doing it through them, they control it then and then they want you to pay it. And so, right. The amount of misinformation for an SMB, I mean the, I’m sure you get those emails too. Just the amount of misinformation that is pumped into their inbox of we have special relationships with Google and we’ll get your business listing up and running.
Ashley: We were looking at your site and we saw this problem with that problem.
Matt: Yes, yeah, yeah. Or you’re not ranking for this keyword and the keyword and actually I like that. But uh, SMB doesn’t know they’re not competent enough because they’re running their business. They’re not vested getting marketing. We’re reading marketing articles every day. We’re in it. But for someone who’s not in it to distinguish between fact and fiction, I think it’s, I don’t know.
Ashley: And understanding how much work, like you mentioned in Google listing, and that’s something that like if you’re transferring ownership, it’s this, it’s better that it’s actually done at the company level versus outsourcing that because there’s this, how much that goes into it. Like, if you had somebody that managed that at, say you already had one and they left the company and you’re trying to get ownership back, it’s a lot more work than what meets the eye. And it’s better if you have somebody in house doing it because they’re there to get that postcard. Like Google is not just going to send an email. Unfortunately, they do it by postcard area verification.
Matt: And that right there for it, for a local SMB, man, you better be on those Google listings. Yes. And it’s free. Don’t let anyone tell you different. and it should be set up within your company, like you said, and be active with it. The more active you are with it, it increases your chances of be showing up. but that’s something you can start with. I think as a local SMB, that is an easy place to start. That requires just your time. And I think it’s, it can be intuitive enough to kind of work through things,
Ashley: There’s some kinks to it, I mean, I will say that when I set up mine and I did the day, like the, I’m open from eight to five or whatever. I will say that sometimes it could get a little like quirky, if you will, or like a little buggy or I don’t know the word I’m looking for is.
Matt: You’re not traditional brick and mortar business, It’s quirky. It is that, that’s part of it.
Ashley: I don’t usually have the same problems that I have with my own with other companies because yeah, they’re, they’re much larger.
Matt: And that’s the, so Google is kind of trying to be the yellow pages with it, but I think Google has realized doing this as not all businesses are the same. I helped one business set themselves up and Google keeps wanting to classify themselves or classify this business with this trait or with this feature. And that’s not what they do. But Google keeps wanting to market that way and classify it that way. And it’s like, no, that’s not what it is. So it’s kind of like it’s outside of the algorithm, which doesn’t sit right. But that’s, And that was the advantage of the yellow pages is the owner describes what they do. It’s in there, it’s done. Whereas Google’s trying to database and categorize and algorithmize all these things and it doesn’t always fit right.
Ashley: No, it really doesn’t. I will say that I do think that, you know, yellow pages and things like that are still important. Local all depends on like, you know, like some of these local citations. So I think that Google my business is absolutely like top of the last. But I will say it wasn’t until recently that they had, where you couldn’t even list your business unless you had a location. And now you don’t have to have that.
Matt: Well. One thing, and saw this the other day with someone else trying to help out is they had a local component to their business and a national component. You can’t do both. Yeah. Because, yeah, in order to be found for this service, which is local only. And the, the response I got was he had to create another LLC at the same or another business at the same address and then he could have a second listing and that would be the national one. Like that’s wow. That, so I can’t list these services as national and these services as local. No, couldn’t do it. No. It had to be one of the others. So there there’s like, you know, some limitation with that. It and every business, you know, that gets back to that every business is so different. And then Opportunities present themselves. You grow sometimes in ways you never thought you would.
Ashley: And that’s why every marketing channel that you leverage within your plan is going to be different because every business is different.
Matt: That was, I think having that time though, to kind of sit and review, I’ll never forget with our agency, I went back and I looked at all of our clients, you know, what are they paying, what services are we doing? And just breaking down, here’s the revenue. Then here’s the budget, here’s what we’re trying to do. And really kind of broke it down to a per hour, you know, ratio. And then I shared that with everybody on the team. That this is why we’re doing it this way. This is what’s happening. And it opened their eyes. It really did. And I’m so glad I did that because it opened their eyes to, Oh, you know, now I see, you know, how what I’m doing contributes to the company’s success. I understand why you know, where this company’s at and based on what they’re paying, what we need to do. And it really helped.
Ashley: It does, it builds that collaboration. you’re selling your business to your employees and I mean, hopefully, I know this is the dream that every employee that you hire is invested in your company and wants to see it grow too. I know that’s not always the case. But when you’re selling your company to these employees that you hired, hopefully they see it as more than a paycheck and you can show the difference that they’re making.
Matt: What was big is, when I showed them, okay. Here is, you know, I circled these in red, like, or maybe I should have done green. I showed them red. I’m like, this is the highest profitable stuff that we can do. If we do this. That’s big profit. And then I circled and this is the lower end of the spectrum. This costs us, you know, these are our loss leaders. This is, and it was interesting because I did have like one or two that this was their favorite stuff to do. And then showing them that no, you realize the more time you put into that activity and actually loses us money, this is what makes us money. And that is what blew them away. They had no idea to an employee; I’m there nine to five. You know, and I get my check. To the business owner though, when you start to understand that these activities are more profitable than these activities changes everything,
Ashley: And if you can tie those into being like some kind of an incentive for the employee too. I think that will also help you to develop some incentive program.
Matt: Oh, absolutely. And it’s one of those things that, you know, as a, as a business owner, that my big recommendation to other SMBs, what I have learned, it’s best to pay someone who knows what they’re doing to do what they do. My Best example of that is like when we have something go wrong here at the house and my wife no longer asked me to fix it. Because my response be I could fix it, but it will look like I fixed it. Oh yeah. What you’re paying for is quality work that won’t look like your husband did it. That’s, that’s what you’re paying for. And the same thing, and I learned this as a business owner. I’m paying for quality work. I’m paying for someone, you know, I, yeah, I could do that, but it’s going to look like I did it.
Matt: It’s no, it’s not going to have the polish, it’s not going to have the finish and finding the people that this is what they do and they do it well and can prove it and show you examples of it.
Ashley: That’s key can they prove it.
Matt: That’s what I want and not prove it by. And let’s get back to our, our snake oil. Not prove it with a pretty website. I don’t care if it, yeah, I don’t care if it’s pretty, I want numbers. I want business, you know, leads produced, sales closed because it’s, you know, like we’re talking about, it’s not just the website, it’s, it’s the nurturing program. It’s the lead generation. It’s the lead closing. It’s website’s just Kind of your salesman in the field what’s happening behind.
Ashley: Yeah. And it’s just like, I think that gets into, I mean, I just saw this where an agency was trying to sell any websites and really all that needed to happen was to fix the current site. And that will save you a lot of money.
Matt: Well, just putting it in, putting in an odd, you know, a welcome series, a nurture series. You don’t need a new website. You know, you just need to take better care of the visitors and the conversions you’re getting.
Ashley: And that’s how your agencies should be smart enough to understand that because instead of selling, so okay, you didn’t get the new website. So done. I have, I’m not, I’m not going to get that six-figure number, but if you’re going to update your site, what other programs can we develop together as a partnership to help you grow business?
Matt: Well, okay, so this gets to, this is to what I learned as an agency owner when I would talk to someone and they’re calling us up because they need something. What do you need? This that question, what do you need? Now usually what they would tell me is we need more visitors. Okay. How is more visitors going to increase your revenue? Whoa. What? You know, and I wanted to, because, and I wish I learned this from day one, you know, but no, it’s 10 years in more visitors. Why, why more visitors? Well, you know, increase our how, how we’ll move it just because what I wanted to lead them to is the realization that your problem is not more visitors. Your problem is you want more revenue. And you want more revenue with higher margins? Is that, you know, because if your goal is revenue, well then your problems not more visitors. What is your problem? Let’s work backwards from your ultimate goal to find out. What’s your problem? Your problem is not usually the website. You know, you’re probably, you know, where’s the problem? And if you can’t identify a true prompt, you know, I’m sorry, what problem does this new website address?
Ashley: And you thing is the, website is only one piece of the Pie.
Matt: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Because now if your problem is revenue, we’re addressing processes, we’re addressing…
Ashley: That. Is that right here is big processes because that will impact every part of your business. Every part of your business.
Matt: That’s exactly where I was going. Yeah, the website is a piece of a big puzzle. What are you doing with the leads? How are you handling them? you know, do you communicate with them? How are you nurturing them? You know, and that’s from that side. From the other side, you know, let’s say from an ecommerce, well maybe there’s some things in the website interface that needs to be fixed but also do you have a follow up? Do you have a thank you? Do you know what your processes are? What are your business pro- And this gets back to your business plan.
Ashley: It does and it gets into like with ecommerce sites you have your cart. So what are you using for that too? Like if it’s like direct sales, like versus lead Gen, like really thinking about you know, how you, how you are gathering those finds.
Matt: You know, ask the question. Is your process like your, is it business plan based or is it customer based? Are you looking at the pros in that? Usually you’re business owners thinking about process from their operations. But like as we talked about, think about process from the customer standpoint. Yes.
Ashley: And your communication and customer experience. What does that look like?
Matt: So now. My problem is not my social media. It’s not, it’s not visitors.
Ashley: I will say though that business process part more the operations. That can be a problem too. You’d be a big problem. So that’s, I think that you said it, working your way back and really seeing like which part of the process is the problem here?
Matt: Oh, I countless times since I started doing that, I would say the vast majority, if not all, we found something in the process that was a huge problem. with one company, it was their returns, the returns, shipping, you know, it didn’t take long to find all the reviews online. So they were losing first time customers to a bad experience. And so their retention was horrible.
Ashley: Well, SEO and how like those review sites that impacts so much.
Matt: So SEO won’t fix them. Paid search won’t fix them. All they’re going do is put more people into the top of the funnel that’ll fall out. So it’s process and so every time now, and so it’s completely changed the way I deal with companies and it’s really just a matter of asking them enough questions to, they get to the point where, you know what our problem is revenue. We want more revenue and we want more higher profit. Okay, good. Once you’re there, everything’s on the table. Everything you push the chips in.
Ashley: Right? Right. And it goes into like making sure you understand the funnel. Like I love how you said that you’re going to go ahead and use those other tools, SEO, ad words, whatever it is, and bring people in to the top of the funnel. But they’ll never go. They’re never converted. They will never convert. Yeah. Just understanding those different stages and where that part of the process is going to impact them and then you can actually see a in your data because hopefully you know you’re keeping track of those. Your marketing department is right. I know we’re in losing that research. What I mentioned at the very beginning of this conversation, making sure that the research is done. And I’m not just talking about like demographics, like looking, I think once you ask the right questions and you’re trying to decide maybe which part of the process is the issue here, is it customer experience or is it my business doing that research will help you to answer that.
Matt: Absolutely, absolutely. And a true realization of what, what problem am I trying to solve? again, it comes down, you know, hey, you’ve got all these options ahead of you. But what I like about getting people to that bottom line, okay, I need, I need high margin revenue is what I need. Oh, because now it gives me the right to let me see your emails. Let me see, you know, what is your follow-up? What is your retention program? How are you now we’re not just talking about a website or an app or, you know, and then we can approach the website with very specific questions rather than, oh, the, it’s outdated. The design’s a bit outdated. If we’re approaching the website with a very specific question of revenue, what contributes to revenue and how do I increase retention? When you approach the website with those specific questions, you get better answers.
Ashley: You do. And I think that if you’re looking at customer experience and what that looks like and maybe because I sometimes I feel that the business process impacts the customer experience. So if you’re looking at the funnel and you’re seeing, okay, this is the customer experience as it relates to the funnel, this is, I’m seeing that we’re getting plenty of leads coming in and into the awareness stage, but they’re dropping off here. We’re not getting enough people entering this part of the site or whatever it is that you’re using to measure that part of the sales cycle. Maybe look at your business process. because I have seen this before where the tools were not, and because of that a leads were dropping off because they weren’t able to do what it is that they wanted to do. So making sure that. The software that you are using. if you’re using salesforce, if you’re using, like I, I don’t know what a registration system or whatever it is that you’re using, going into your return example, making sure all of that is integrating to create a good customer experience because the business process can go into the customer experience process as well.
Matt: Oh absolutely.
Ashley: So understanding the difference, understanding where the problems are at, and having those real conversations. As a business owner, you have got to be able to be open minded enough to have those conversations because I will say coming from the agency side, it can be awkward. Like you’re bringing the conversation up and you want to be real because you know that this is going to help. And you know, if they do good, you do good and you know that, hey, they’re going to just keep using me. I’ll have them again next year. But sometimes like if you’re bringing these problems up and you’re defensive, your agency will back down. Because at the end of the day, they want you to pay them.
Matt: That is a great, great point. And, and that’s, I that kind of gets back to, you know, the advice to the SMB in, you do need to educate yourself. Now the advantage is if you kind of pick a small target of I want to use social or I want to use Google ads, there are resources available to educate yourself about that too. And you want to get to that point where of, of asking the right questions. That’s, that’s where you’re at. And by the way, if you’re listening to this podcast to your listener, like either Ashley or I would be more than happy to take a minute or two and answer any question. so if you run into something or you know, someone who has a problem, you know, build a network of people who can help you with those questions that that’s really simply. So if you have a tighter focus, then you don’t have to spend as much time learning everything. Just educate yourself about something small.
Ashley: Yeah. Educate yourself and know when to step back. Do you know that, that you hired somebody for a reason, that they have a particular set of skills and expertise? I know that you’re passionate about your business and you’re excited and you want to be involved or maybe you’re, you have a vision of how the marketing should look. But step back and make sure that you are opening, you’re listening to what the expert is.
Matt: I think the final thing that I would go after on a business plan, because I see this as absent in so many times and it’s a plan for retention.
Ashley: Yeah. And that goes into, I know we talked about this a lot but you know, I love this funnel. So, once you convert somebody, so hub spot, so I know that, I said how I’m a big hub spot fan. So hub spot is changing the funnel. So like, you know how you have the traditional funnel, how it looks large on the top, small on the bottom. And they were saying it’s more of a flywheel. So more of a circle. Let’s just really think about the common sense of the funnel. Once you convert someone and they’re down in the funnel, they should reenter the funnel. Hence, yes. Is then turned into a flywheel. We all, we don’t need to say that we’re, we’re reinventing the funnel because the lead nurturing and it’s now flywheel. Well, no, not really. It’s just like, it’s kind of common sense after you convert somebody, you should be taking them back through the funnel.
Matt: Absolutely. Absolutely. The whole concept of retention and, and there’s so many studies about this that one retained customer is worth five new customers. That you know, how much you’re spending to get customers and that if you are not building that pool of customers to be repeat customers or to upsell, cross sell, you’re losing money. That is the biggest source. And then also, I mean, we could get into this for a whole show. they’re the best source of referrals for new business.
Ashley: They really are. And that’s the one piece that has never changed. As marketing keeps evolving and there’s more technology that comes down, everybody’s getting into digital. It’s just a new way of networking. You have to think about how are people networking, how are they spreading the word? Because it is really about like, okay, I’m going to listen to what my mom says to buy or like what my best friend says to buy versus like something I’ve seen online that I know is an advertisement and I can’t really trust it.
Matt: Oh yeah. Could, yeah. The distinguishing between what’s advertising and what’s not, especially with this influencer stuff.
Ashley: Oh. And influencer marketing is so big right now and I think that people are just getting smarter and they, I mean I think so it’s becoming more and more obvious. I there’s too much, too much of it. Yeah. I think that maybe a couple of years ago was doing really well. I think it’s good to get the name out there, but I also just feel that if you’re a smaller company, don’t invest all your money into that. Be Smart.
Matt: Yes. Yes. Well, there are even well known, especially analytics people who have come out and said, don’t spend anything in influencer marketing.
Ashley: No, I mean you should really like really understand the type of influencer marketing you’re doing because influencer marketing is an element of PR. Absolutely. Are. Where is that at in the funnel? That’s in the awareness stage.
Matt: Well we’ll, we’ll, you know what we’ll talk about influencer. I think that’s a good show to. We’re for next time. I think that will be the way to go. All right. Let’s do a quick review.
Ashley: There’s been a lot,
Matt: There’s been a lot here. so for creating a small business marketing plan for this year, don’t do what everyone tells you to do and make the three ring binder, 200 sheet plan, start there, Start simple, simple who, what problem do you solve and who needs that? just starting with their and getting into, and I think this is where we kind of came around to it. Build your business plan around the process. What will you do when you get that sale or when you get that lead? How would that be handled? Where are good communication points along that process? Look at it from the customer experience standpoint. So focus your business plan more on operation, More on process. More on that. Then that will help you get a much tighter focus on do I need to fill my funnel more? Do I need to nurture more? Do I need to focus more on retention? Anything else here? I tried to remember everything I’ve heard.
Ashley: I think that, um, you know, I think there’s one thing we didn’t talk about was brand positioning. you know, do you make sure you understand how you want to position yourself with your audience and making sure those messages are coming across?
Matt: Yes. That well. And I think so, like with that brand positioning is also when we’re talking about knowing your competition, that are you competing against a big box? Are you competing against a big competitor?
Ashley: Yeah. What’s your niche and what gives your competitor the edge?
Matt: And how does your brand stand up to that? And does it require a pivot on your business online? You know, and that’s the thing. SMBs, everything, there’s so many variations.
Ashley: Those messages are so important. they actually impact every man, every marketing deliverable you’re going to do, down to even like your ad words landing page. Like, the hierarchy of that message, the key message that you want to make sure that you’re getting across to your audience, you need to understand what’s going to sell.
Matt: Absolutely. And that’s, yeah. Whole conversation about brand and branding that. What problem do you solve and is it obvious from your brand? Yeah. Uh, you know, can you describe your story and the need,
Ashley: It’s more than creating a flashy marketing campaign. It’s more than that. You need that flashy marketing campaign, but you also need to make sure that you’re saying the right things.
Matt: Very true. Very true. And that will help, like you said, all the way down to the smallest detail. Because everything and Sue talked about that, that if your brand statement is right, everything you do can be measured against that brand statement. And does it fit?
Ashley: She’s absolutely right. Yeah.
Matt: We’ll get her in to talk about that. Great. Ashley, thank you so much for coming over today.
Ashley: Thank you for having me.
Matt: And I could tell this was a very passionate topic. This was something that you were ready to jump on.
Ashley: Oh, am ready to jump in. And there’s so much more I could have talked about, but I kept myself in.
Matt: I appreciate it. But you know, the more you lose control and start screaming and yelling, that makes a good podcast.
Ashley: That is true, next time we will go into a difference between tactics and strategy.
Matt: Yeah. Well maybe the influencer marketing will bring that out. Oh yeah. Yeah. That was good. I tell you what; I’ll start losing control on that one.
Ashley: I know, I know.
Matt: I’ve got some strong feelings there.
Ashley: I do too. In fact, I’m currently writing a blog post about it. So good.
Matt: Good! We’ll bring that, bring that. Next time we’re going to cover on sir. Great. Hey Listener, thank you so much for being a part of the conversation here. I hope it has been worthwhile and maybe actually picked up something here. So certainly feel free to contact, uh, endless copy cup through the blog, um, through email, whatever. Uh, let us know if he appreciated it. If there is any content you’d like us to cover. And also please give us some rank ratings as well. That really helps with findability. And, if you’re still listening, oh my goodness. Thank you. I appreciate that. You know, this is the closing. And this is where most people tune out. So thank you so much and look forward to seeing you again on another episode of Endless Coffee Cup.