Alright everybody. This is good.
Okay so I’m going into the presentation now. I’ll do my best to answer your chat questions as they come in, but what I decided to do today is I just wanted to talk about lead generation.
I’ve been doing a lot of 1-on-1s with you, the people who have joined the course recently and we’ve been talking a lot about your sales process, about lead generation, answering questions. There’s a whole section obviously in the course that talks about this ‘share some things that work for me’ but you can never talk about this too much. We could go through all the lessons and talk about it, but really want to make this personalized to you and what your needs are, and in general, just want you to come up with some ideas and talk about lead generation.
So I have from here a presentation that just shares some of the things that I have done, and that it worked for me. Just want to show you how I got some of my clients. Just some ideas to get them running through your head, tell some back stories. And then, just to get your wheels turning as to ways that you can utilize lead generation because there’s really no one way to do it perfectly. There’s a lot that goes into it and so you just basically have to try a lot of things.
I know that’s hard to grip, like trying a lot of things and not knowing if they’re going to work, but that’s the reality that goes into generating new customers. And so, there’s inbound lead generation which obviously a lot of people know about.
The way that I look at it is, you do any number of activities, whether it’s blogging, networking, going to networking events or sponsoring something in your community. Doing anything that gets people to know about your name, and then they go to your website or online presence or wherever you’re listing your services. They read through it, think it’s enough that they decide they’re going to give you a call or email you.
So for example, on my website I get contacted 5, 10 times a week from people saying that they either want to work with me, potential clients or people who want to partner with me, all kinds of different outreach. And I’ll share some outreaches that I’ve got recently on here but ‘inbound’ essentially means that they find you. They’re raising their hand and saying ‘hey I’m in need of something and I’m looking at vendors and I want to consider you as one of the vendors that I talk to.’
So that’s inbound. We all have probably participated in inbound. It works really well for some of us and works not as well for others.
I’m going to give you some ideas as to how to make it work better for you. And we have outbound which is really things like sales, cold outreach. Basically we are out there trying to find clients and if you watch through the video to this point, one thing I was saying is that you can rely entirely on inbound till you get to a certain size for your company.
But then eventually you’re going to need some kind of outbound business development in order to grow because inbound dries up at a certain point. It’s hard to say exactly at what point but my experience is somewhere in the $5-10 million range of revenue. Inbound alone won’t let you sustain or grow past that so eventually you do need to have business development.
Now at what phase do you need that, do you want that to be employee number 1 or 50. It really depends. I’m happy to answer specific questions you might have if you’re going through that right now. But outbound is sort of a compliment to inbound. Inbound can get you going for a long time but outbound is how you grow to a certain point.
Now you’ve probably seen this before but I’ve worked with quite a few different clients – big names, household names – over the years. I thought that’d be fun to share with you how we got these clients and how did that happen, so that’s what I’m going to do.
First one, this one here. You’ll recognize that name especially if you’re in the US. This is actually the first client that my agency had. I didn’t win this deal myself but they merged with another client. So it was the Nestle baby formula company that we were working with our agency. And the way that contract was gotten in the first place was the first contract my agency got.
That was because the founder of my agency worked on that account for another company called Hallmark, which in the US is a pretty big thing as well. When Hallmark got fired, they called the owner of my agency up and said ‘Hey, we’re not working with Hallmark anymore but would you want to do this as a contractor?’
And that was the first contract that our agency got. That’s how we got that first one and then eventually we merged and that’s how we got the logo on the wall there.
This one. We actually did get this one from a cold call using our industry connection. I’ve mentioned several times that we worked with home improvement so this is James Hardie Siding. They’re out of Australia but have a huge presence in the United States. They’re the fiber cement and the really nice looking siding that you put on your house. We basically used our industry connections to set up a call, had our salesperson keep on calling them until we got a meeting, and eventually that became a client.
Now this is actually one of the worst arrangements we had of any client relationship even though it was a big name and logo, because we had to rely on sales. We had to give up a lot in order to make that relationship work. So our margins weren’t as great for that client but it was one of the few successful instances we had of cold calling or outbound lead generation to grow a client. So that’s another example.
Moving on, this is Cargill. They’re the largest private company in the United States and we got them through an agency partnership. So one of the other agencies in town, they were a creative agency. They ended up working with Cargill and said ‘Hey we want you to come in and do a website for us.’ So I created a website. I think it was a WordPress website on a weird random server somewhere.
And suddenly Cargill was my client, and so that was interesting. It didn’t lead to more. We thought it would lead to a bunch more projects or we’d get in good but we basically worked with just one brand on Cargill and then it was over with.
But actually that’s sort of a good contrast to Lean Cuisine, and then if you see on the right side, Boost and Nestlé Health Science. They are all part of the same parent company as Gerber and so the way that we got Lean Cuisine, Boost and then Nestlé Health Science was, we basically worked really strongly with the Gerber brand and then they told their friends or other brand managers.
So they even moved on themselves about us and our ability to manage paid search and SEO, all the things we were doing, and basically we got a lot of extra business just by expanding within a client. Tons of extra business and so that’s a good way to get new brands. If a client either moves up within the same parent company – Nestlé, largest food company in the world. Once you get in good at them, you can do expansions across your entire country as well as internationally. There’s a lot of potential there.
So that was a fun one. Basically having that one relationship that led to many more.
This Acorn one is an industry connection of mine. He moved to a different company and the first thing he did when he took his new marketing role is, he said ‘I need somebody who knows digital marketing well’. So he called me up and that turned into a 6-figure client, close to $1,000,000 in billings over the course of the life of that client.
Same with this Kroll Ontrack one. Basically I went to industry networking events and met the Marketing Manager at Kroll Ontrack. That’s actually something called MIMA which is a local organization that I was on the board of. Basically I got introduced to the Marketing Manager. They had me come in and pitch, and we won the business again. About a 6-figures the first year contract and then millions plus over time.
Another one, Medtronic is a huge medical device company and basically I networked with them and then the Marketing Manager there was on the same board as me for another organization. So basically utilizing that relationship, I was able to get in at Medtronic.
Now some of these ones, they turn into 6-figure clients. Medtronic was about a $20,000-$30,000 project. One time and we never worked with them again. So sometimes you go in thinking that you’re going to get these really big goals and project coming out of it.
Sometimes you think you’re going to get that and you don’t, and then sometimes it does. So anybody who has questions about how to sniff out whether something is a 6-figure deal or if it’s a ‘why is one only 20 grand’, I’m happy to answer those questions if you have them. I just wanted to give you some background.
These two were the same client expansion. Just on my own site Jeffalytics, I’ve landed these clients. Hubspot – basically that came from a long-term relationship. I had put a post out there on Moz about doing content groupings and the person at HubSpot was like ‘I want to do that on HubSpot’ and so it led to a whole big project with them.
That was still a good project and company to work with. I can’t go into details about what we did because it’s under non-disclosure but it was sort of funny how that happened. Basically I had been talking to this guy online. Eventually he goes and gets a job at HubSpot, and then he reads my post and says ‘Hey, I want you to come in and do that for us.’
Edina Realty is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. It’s part of the Berkshire Hathaway real estate group in the United States. Several people who work at that company were students in my analytics class. They wanted to do all the stuff that I was talking about but weren’t confident in their ability to do it. And so they had me come in and help them out, and that’s been a good long-term client.
They’ve also introduced me to all their other Berkshire Hathaway affiliates and so that was a nice way to grow. I basically did a keynote speech at their national Berkshire Hathaway conference. I did this last year and they paid me to speak, and then gave me a ton of opportunities to work with all the different real estate offices all over the United States.
Little stuff like that, I mean, think about that journey of how that happened. I taught somebody what I know. They said ‘this is really cool but I’m not confident that I know it. Can you teach us more but privately in our company?’ and then eventually they told everybody, the 50+ affiliates all over the United States about this and gave me the opportunity to scale this at mass.
Basically, they all end up having the same problems over time so the reason why I talk about these things in detail is because I want you to get your wheels turning and start to think about this. Is there a way you can teach somebody what you know, and then if you teach them, are they going to want you to do the work because you’re the expert? Is that an opportunity for you? You can use this as an example of how that works.
Another thing is expansion. If you find a parent company that has outlets all over the United States or your country, wherever you’re located, is that an opportunity for you to expand? That was a big piece of what I was able to do with my agency while we were able to grow beyond just a couple people. In the agency it was mostly expansion: finding a good idea, client, niche and then expanding it from there.
MacRumors – this was just a one-off project and I didn’t even own the relationship. Basically I was talking about analytics at happy hour and this guy goes ‘Hey, I’m pitching MacRumors, do you want to do a pitch together with me?’ and I said ‘sure!’
And then he said ‘The caveat is that I own the relationship. You don’t get to talk to them or solicit them.’ I was fine with that. It was their relationship but I have been on the phone with MacRumors tons of times.
StarTribune is a local paper in Minnesota, where I’m from. Basically they were students in my class. They liked what we were talking about but they needed more, and so I have an ongoing piece where I continue to talk and share with them how to expand what they’re doing in analytics.
So you notice that a lot of these come down to: I’ve given away free intellectual capital, free things to form a relationship or talk about something, and then it leads into something else, something that I didn’t really anticipate but I also know that when you are positioned as the expert and you’re the one who knows the answers, and people want those answers, they’re willing to bring you in at least a little bit or a lot.
What I mean by a little bit or a lot is, sometimes depending on how busy I am or what type of project I want to take on. Sometimes I’ll just let these things be one-off projects just to put the logo on the wall. I had mentioned that in the lessons and agency course that sometimes you just do something for a logo, and then other times you do something because it seems like it could be a great long-term relationship.
And so you have to roll with it and see what is out there, what the opportunity in front of you is and then make that call. There’s no perfect answer. Do I set up with every single client thinking that they’re all going to become millions of dollars a year in billing? I would love that, right. But I am also realistic to know that’s not going to happen every time.
So basically you just make adjustments. You have to have a conversation or somebody who’s interested in you in the first place, and then where it leads to is all about the relationship management. It’s no longer a function of lead generation. It’s more of a function of process and your agency’s delivery method.
So just even look at mine from lead generations, what was my number one thing?
It was relationships and those came from networking and partnering with other agencies. It came from putting myself out there and developing relationships over a long period of time. One of the things I said in my podcast a few weeks ago is that the key to marketing is to do a lot of activities over a long period of time. And I would say that’s the same for your agency as well.
The key to building a brand or something where people just think of you when your name’s in the conversation for agencies or consultants to work with is your back catalog. It’s doing a lot of marketing over a long period of time. A lot of agencies end up doing a lot of marketing over a short period of time, and then they move on to something else. And it doesn’t really stick and then they give up, and they say ‘Oh this isn’t really working for me. Oh I’ve tried blogging, I’ve tried this stuff. It doesn’t work.’
And you look at it from the outside perspective, you look at their website and see oh so you think that ‘you tried blogging’ means that you blog on a Monday three weeks in a row and then you don’t blog ever again. And you think that’s what it took to work. That’s not how it goes, right.
So it’s a lot of effort over a long period of time. I wouldn’t say that I’m perfect at this. My blog gets abandoned from time to time too but as you can see, having done it for several years, it is generating tons of leads and doing quite a bit, and so one of the questions later on is about blogging, how that works and how to get started. But just now, knowing that is, I didn’t mention on here once that blogging was the main source of a lead or logo.
I’ve gotten other clients because of the blog but ultimately, blogging is like an amuse-bouche or appetizer in front of the entrée. Blogging is like something that people see. It puts yourself out there and demonstrates your expertise. It takes all of your intellectual capital and forces you to put a wrapper or structure around it, but it may or may not be the main reason for your relationships. You still need to close. You still need to develop that human connection, so I’m a big advocate of blogging but I think you just need to have expectations as to what blogging’s going to do for you. I don’t think that you’re going to be able to give a lot of attribution to blogging alone. You need to do these other things as well. You need to build relationships with real people.
Another thing is client expansion. So within my clients, there’re two major expansions. One is that they moved on to another business and brought me in. That’s happened so many times. It’s unbelievable how much business I’ve gotten just because somebody went from one big company to another, and they said ‘Hey I want to bring you along.’ It’s worked phenomenally.
And then expanding brands of clients. That works really well too so actually I think expanding within brands of clients is like printing money if you can get to that point. If you can provide the same service that people are happy with, instead of doing it to just one brand, you can bring it to two, three, four, five brands.
Think about how efficient you can be with that delivery because it’s the same thing over and over again. So it helps with your margins and that piece. It helps with having dedicated teams. You can have Account Managers and all kinds of different roles dedicated to it. But it also represents so much more revenue that you can generate specialized teams too. So if you can get your clients to expand, you can just focus on them and give them the one-on-one attention you need to give to keep that relationship going, because there’s money to do that. There’s an incentive to do it so expanding within clients is great.
The other thing is that you’re usually already in their procurement systems so you have to go through a lot of work in order to get approved as a vendor if you’re going to the second or third brand.
Downside of client expansion is that, if you have a lot of eggs in that client basket, their purchasing department will try to get your rates down. They’re not going to let you charge the same for client number 1 as they would for client number 5. They can hold threats over your head.
Now this has happened to me at these big corporate offices where I had to get security badge in and all that stuff. They basically hold your entire business in their hands. They say ‘Hey if you don’t agree with us or lower your rates, then we’re going to look elsewhere.’ They basically threaten you and so you have to decide on that as well. But generally speaking, if you have 5 clients and you can manage them with one team, it’s still a lot more profitable than getting 5 different clients or brand new ones and having to on-board them.
Any questions at this point? The chat looks pretty quiet so I’m just going to keep going.
And then the third one, and this is one that I don’t really talk about a lot in the course itself because it’s sort of an ongoing realization.
I’ve taught a lot of people marketing. I’ve taught a lot of people a lot of things over the years. Not just with the online courses but before that, it was in-person teaching. And before in-person teaching, it was lunch & learns at my company. And before lunch & learns at my company, it was going to people and just talking about PPC and how great it was going to different companies. And then, hopefully they want to work with me to do that.
And so, it’s always been about teaching for me. It’s like sharing my passion that I have for these things and just showing how great it is when marketing is done in the right way. When marketing is done well, when you can generate leads and lower your costs, and when the phone is ringing off the hook.
I love teaching people how that stuff works and it’s really been a big piece of generating leads. Now I’ve never taught with lead generation in mind but a lot of times it generates leads because of the nature of teaching people how to do something. Once you give them a solution, and then they try to implement it, they get frustrated. Are they going to give up or hire out the person who taught them how to do it, or who put that thought in their mind.
You also position yourself as the expert. If you’re the one who’s teaching them, then they’re always going to regard you as the expert, and so there’re a lot of opportunities for you all to teach. Even if you don’t want to be a teacher or university professor, none of that stuff’s necessary to generate leads.
In fact, what you see of me right now, Jeff the teacher, Jeffalytics, that was something that didn’t happen until 2011. But the first time I taught somebody before I had that public persona was 2005. So I did 6 years of teaching clients and internal employees at my company before I ever did a course. When I did the in-person course and everything, that expanded over 4 more years till I did an online one.
Now it’s online but it took a long time and so think about it from that perspective. What can you teach to somebody that gets them interested and shows that you’re an expert? When they either try and fail or want more, that your services are the natural solution. It works out really well, so think about it.
One of the questions I get from a lot of you is, what if you don’t have any relationships or clients? What do you do then?
Client expansion is great if you have clients. Building relationships is great if you know how to build relationships. But what if you’re just getting started? What if you just took my PPC or analytics course, you just got certified and don’t have any relationships yet? How do you get to that point?
Well I mean, you should develop relationships. That’s sort of an obvious one, right. But you need to develop relationships. Again, you can’t look at somebody like myself who’s been doing this for over a decade and has relationships all over the world with people, and think ‘Oh I’m never going to be able to build those same relationships’. Because the first 8 years, I didn’t have any relationships of that nature either. It’s basically just finding people in your local community. When I say ‘local’, I don’t mean necessarily in your physical metropolitan area. What I mean is, in your local area of expertise.
So it could be talking to people who have blogs that you admire. A lot of people that are really prominent in the Google Analytics community all started out as commenters on blogs. Some of these people who have leapt over me, who are doing much better than me from a blogging page view perspective, they just started out as commenters and that’s how this really works.
So there’s a natural progression. You can’t look at the person who’s on top of the world and then think ‘Oh well I’ll never get there.’ You have to basically just join and develop relationships either with them, somebody who’s up-and-coming or in your community. Contribute to your community. That’s one way to develop relationships for sure.
Put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid. I’m doing a podcast about this. It’s going out on Thursday, just about putting yourself out there and how it’s not that scary. So if you like listening to me, there’s another chance to do that on the next podcast.
You can try outreaching. Outreach hasn’t really worked very well for me but that’s more because I do a lazy approach to it. Basically, instead of me out reaping personally or honing that craft, what we’ve done is we’ve hired a salesperson because none of us really wanted to do it ourselves. ‘So let’s just hire somebody who has sales skills to get the word out there.’ So basically when I say ‘lazy’, it’s just I didn’t want to take the responsibility so I hired the function to do it. That didn’t work that great as I mentioned earlier. We had one major client landed through cold calling and that ended up being not the easiest client relationship to work with. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it work.
I’m just going to give you some examples I’ve seen over the last weekend that I found to be really interesting.
The first one, I might have five in here now. I keep on adding them as I look so this one I didn’t even read. It didn’t even come into my inbox. It went right to my spam folder. So this guy Sanket. You see it’s a junk message here. I was just clearing up my junk folder because for some reason, some of your emails are actually going into there too. No offense to anybody but sometimes your emails get put into junk so I just check it to make sure there’re no real questions going in there. So that’s how I was like ‘hey this is outreach’.
This is pretty terrible but the reason why I don’t like this one is because, I mean he gets my name right at least, but why would I go to your website and try to learn about you? You say ‘communicate about Jeffalytics’ but you don’t do anything to say that you recognize me or that you did this outreach. You have an ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom so it’s obviously bulk mailed. This is just a bad piece of outreach because it’s not personal, it’s all about them and expecting me to do all the work.
Next one. This one came into my travel blog. Look at this. It’s terrible. It’s a full email message but without any carriage returns or formatting. I had to read through this thing and it’s just terrible. I mean this is what gives SEOs a bad name.
Let’s not talk about bad outreach anymore. I auto deleted this one, and then I was like ‘oh I remember that terrible thing that came in earlier today’. So I captured it for you to see some of the bad outreach that I’ve received. I’d call this one mediocre. Basically this guy says ‘Hey Jeff I’m part of this website and you are on a list of the top 50 marketing experts.’
Now I always click through on these because I’m an egomaniac. I just like to see what people say about me and see if there’re any corrections. The other day, I was called Jeff Sauce on one of these things which is hilarious in itself.
Anyway. So I went there and it’s the most half-assed ‘marketing expert’ thing I’ve seen. Ultimately, what this guy wants me to do is to share it because he read in some kind of growth hacking manual that if you write about people and ask them to share, they’re going to share. I think that doesn’t really work that well anymore but some people do share these things, look at them or favor them. So he might have got some pages but what is he asking here? What does he want out of this thing? Is he trying to get link building or new business? What’s the point of this article?
Yea so it’s mediocre because the content’s not that great. I’m not even going to respond to him because I know he’s going to either ask me for something or it’s not apparent what he wants from me. So I don’t need to dwell on mediocre ones either. Let’s get to the good ones.
I posted these in our Facebook group because I thought they are really good. So this one came in before the weekend. The reason why I like this one is because he says ‘I know you’re using ActiveCampagin’, which I am. The value proposition is right away. ‘Usually you don’t know whether you’re paying too much or the right amount or not, and so if you fill up the survey, we’ll let you know. We can tell you if you’re paying too much or not.’
That’s a good value proposition. I have really nothing to lose, do I? I could fill this thing out. I actually have things to gain. For 3 minutes, I get a $25 Amazon gift card, which at an hourly rate, that’s a pretty good use of your time if it does only take 3 minutes.
The other thing is, it’s really fascinating that he’s like basically promoting his software but not promoting at all. He’s completely talking about Jeff. Like ‘Jeff how do I save you money?’; like he’s only giving me value in this email. It’s pure value given to me and not really asking for much so this is a really good piece of outreach.
Now I haven’t followed up with him so I’m not really sure what the next step is from this thing. I think it might be some kind of subscription or something like that. I’ll take a look at it to see what they’re actually doing. I have not responded to this guy because once I’m in a funnel, I don’t really want to be sold right now. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for other people.
Now this last one, I got just a couple days ago. Basically I put out something on my blog so he’s very specific about how he learned about me which is awesome because I did write something like that. I did write an article and did a bad job with it. I didn’t actually use what I was talking about. He demonstrates that I’m not practicing what I preach on that blogpost.
It mostly has to do is switching to a new theme that something broke. Anyway, I have already fixed it but his value proposition is okay. ‘You are obviously good at what you do but you’re busy and don’t have time to fix these things. Why don’t you work with me?’ I think that’s what he’s going to get. I’ve responded and asked him what he does and how much it costs. I haven’t got a response. It’s actually been about 12 hours since I responded to him so a little disappointed in that piece.
But the other thing is, he created this personalized Youtube video. He went through my site and showed Ahrefs and a few public tools. He showed me how there’re opportunities but how I’m doing it all wrong, and that’s amazing. I did link this 3-minute video in the Facebook group so please do take a look at that. I see that 12 people have viewed it and it wasn’t me, so I think it’s all you guys.
Brilliant, right. He gave some value there. It’s a 3-minute video. He probably took one to two hours in total to develop that thing. If the pricing came in right, I would just use this guy’s service. It could be that easy for me to do. I haven’t seen his numbers yet but if it’s $500 a month, which seems like a lot but if it’s a couple hundred dollars or $99 a month, whatever it is and he basically goes through my most popular posts, tells me where I don’t have lead magnets in place, and then just does them for me or helps me with my assets and creates them, this guy could make $1000 a year. It’s almost no work to do that because you can automate almost the entire process.
So the outreach is brilliant. I’m not sure if the guy’s business development or the owner of the company or not. I haven’t done any research on him but basically, you could just train somebody to do this process a couple times a week or do all your research, do these 3-minute videos and you could easily find 20 new clients a week if you use this type of process.
So this guy can generate quite a bit of new revenue using this process. So I wanted to show this to you because you could easily do something like this for your services. If you don’t have relationships and don’t know where to start, couldn’t you create a video for somebody who needs your services but doesn’t know it yet? Could you make it personal? Could you be on camera and do the things that this person’s doing, and how would people react to it?
I think people would react pretty well depending on how you outreach. Now there’s no perfect way to do it. You have to sort of A-B split test things and go through it, but I love how this happened. This is perfect for me. I didn’t know who this guy was 2 days ago. I still don’t know who he is. I haven’t researched him but I would do some research. I think that this could turn into something, and I’m tempted to use this myself.
Do I reach out to agency owners or people who are learning analytics, or companies that have a poor Google Analytics installation?
I could easily look at a list of users. I can use BuiltWith to figure that out. I can look at whether they’re installing it properly. I can find errors and do all kinds of stuff, and I don’t have to necessarily be the one who gets that data. I could think anybody can compile the data with a list of inputs and outputs, and I can generate new inquiries for an audit or any kind of service by using this type of technology to my advantage.
And so this is the kind of stuff that, if you don’t have ideas or not sure where to go, look at this guy. He’s found a creative way to do this and it’s a really brilliant way to get noticed. This is what I’ve been talking about all day today. It’s this guy’s awesome piece of outreach.
So you can do these same things yourself, right. This is something that anybody can do. It might take time and effort but I think that it can be very worthwhile to do this for them.
Now I want to get into your questions. So I asked you all to send me your questions before and I got a few in. Not as many as I’d like but I’m going to go through these and then I’m going to let you guys ask more questions in the comments box on the side.
Now this is a good one because it’s about the networking theme.
So Martin, he’s on a flight right now so he’s not able to join us. He said his biggest problem is lead generation because he doesn’t have any leads. Basically he’s working as a freelancer and he’s working remote right now. He’s gotten leads through forums but only occasionally through online communities. He used SEO to generate leads. For PPC clients, he used PPC to generate them and found that they’re pretty low quality which I’ve found loosely as well. He said most agencies use personal business networks to build their client bases but when you only rely on your client base, it’s sort of all across the board. And then, since he’s not living in the same community that he’s selling to, he doesn’t have the same networking opportunities that you might have if you’re living in a community. And so how do you generate good quality leads and then sort out the poor leads.
This is a lot to process but I like that he’s talked about things that have and have not worked for him, and the challenge of being abroad.
Looking at just that technique we saw in the outreach, where the person did about an hour of research and then sent a video to me, I think you could do that in a remote position, Martin. You could easily record a 3-minute video and share with somebody pretty easily. That short video and telling them how you might improve on what they’re doing.
You can use publicly available tools to do prospecting. It’s hard for me to know what ‘no relationships’ is like. If you’re just getting started, it could truly be ‘no relationships’ but there’s always relationships. It’s just that it might not be of the quality that you hope they’re going to be in the long term.
When I first got started and had no relationships and contacts, I just told every single person that I would do SEO or make a website for them. I was like ‘hey do you know anybody who needs a website?’ I had that conversation probably a hundred times before I got 2 clients. And so part of it is just putting yourself out there and obviously the challenge of being remote is a challenge but I think you can get around it. You just have to be creative with what it is. And so if you can’t go to a happy hour in downtown Sydney and tell people you do SEO, well then you have to find a way to do it online or reach in that community without being there in person.
So how would you do that?
You know, podcasting, blogging, outreach, videos, that type of stuff. There’re all kinds of different things you can do to get your name out there. Cast studies, again like I said, blogging, just putting out your expertise and in sharing that.
Now, I think you are in a position being abroad. You might want to try to do some kind of outreach where you find a targeted list of people and go for it. We saw one example. Somebody who knows the email marketing system that I’m using and then reached out as a member of that. So that’s one thing you can do, is to base on the software they’re using or the technology.
It’s easy to tell if people are advertising on AdWords using some SEM Russian spy flu. It’s easy to tell if their SEO is in order using Ahref or Moz. There’re these different tools that we almost take for granted because we use them every day. But if we put a potential client through there and tell them what they’re not doing very well, we can show how we can improve for them. Then you can build a relationship that way.
I think that remote does create a challenge but it also creates the opportunity to be clever with what you do, and so that’s how I’d look at it. You just have to get creative with the way that you do things.
So hopefully that helps a little bit and you and I are going to have a one-on-one soon, so we’ll talk some more on that call.
Neil wants to know ‘somebody’s new, doesn’t have clients yet, what are your first tips to how to write a blog or craft a speech about PPC. There’re a lot of sites who already write about PPC, AdWords and beginners.’ He feels intimidated not knowing what to write anymore.
So, a lot of these big websites are always looking for articles. It’s a well-kept secret that even Google will let you write an article for their blog. You just have to ask them. So I’ve written for the Google Analytics blog several times. I’ve written for the AdWords blog a few times. And they said ‘no problem’. They just let me write for them. I’ve written for PPC Hero several times. No problem. They want content. They’d love to help promote industry people or people who are just getting started.
The biggest thing is you have to come up with ideas for how you want to get yourself out there. The easiest way to start with is blogging and speaking, and to just talk about what you know and share your experience and expertise. And if you’re not confident of your expertise, don’t worry about that because sharing your experience is the same as sharing expertise. Like if you share the experience ‘I did this and then this happened’, that’s by nature expertise. If I worked on a client account, took it over and delivered these results, then it’s pretty straightforward. That’s demonstrating your expertise because you put those results out there.
So there’s no such thing as the expert or the number one expert. Basically it’s ‘can you do a better job’ than what was there before. So write and speak about what you know, share examples of how you did these things and how the results changed for the positive. That’s how all my speaking started out. It was just simply case studies. It wasn’t even case studies. It’s like I did this and that, and then this happened.
I guess it is a case study, and I did that for several years. It was a long time before I started trying to be a thought leader, you know, somebody who’s trying to push the envelope forward. So again, you can’t compare yourself with where you’re at right now to somebody who went through the 5 years of just talking about case studies to clients, and then wonder why you’re not giving keynotes at a speaking event.
That’s an evolution. That takes time. You need to go through those other steps first. You can’t be a minor league baseball player wondering why you’re not in the pros. You need to go through the different leagues, right. You need to go through Rookie Ball, Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A in order to get to that point. I know Ryan will appreciate that because he has a baseball background or his family does. So if you’re on, Ryan, I don’t know. It’s 5 in the morning, where you’re from in Australia. But if you’re on, let me know if you’re alive.
The chat’s pretty dead, everybody, so I’ll keep on going on but if we don’t get any more questions or chats then this is going to be an early ending of the call. So hopefully that helps, Neil, if you’re on the call. But basically, start small, start by talking about what you know.
George is saying, for him, the main lead generation business development source has been referral from previous clients or colleagues that he’s worked with in the past. So remember the request that I had was to talk about either what is or is not working for you, or what your questions are. So the first two were more questions or ‘what’s not working’. This is ‘what’s working for me’ so it’s great to share that, George, and I agree. I mean, relationships are awesome. As soon as you can get them, the better off you’re going to be.
And that’s most of the only questions that I received. I know I sent the email a little bit late to everybody but why don’t you ask questions in the box on the side? Anything for clarity? Otherwise this might be a short call. So let’s see.
Yea so Jason’s saying I mentioned writing for PPC Hero and several other blogs. So now I’m just trying to think back, Jason, to how that first happened and how our relationship happened. I had read them for 5 years before I ever approached them and actually I was in the same boat as Neil was. And any of you might think why would anybody want my guest blogpost and I was like ‘oh I don’t know anybody.’ I think if you do send a guest blogpost out there, it might not get accepted if you don’t have your own website or any kind of credibility at all. You might get filtered through as spam even if you wrote something nice, right.
And so personally, I got the confidence to write for the blog because I went to their conference and they were like ‘I love your blog’. The president of the PPC Hero company is like ‘I love your blog, man. Last time you wrote something, I printed it out and made everybody at my company read it.’ And I was like ‘What? That doesn’t even make sense.’ And he’s like ‘yeah, this is awesome stuff.’ And I was like ‘okay well that’s cool. One, why didn’t you tell me that or how do I just find this out now? And then two, I’d love to write for you guys. I thought that I was not good enough to write for you so I’ve never really brought it up.’ He’s like ‘no we’d love for you to write. That’d be great.’
And so he put me in contact with the content person and we just made it happen. So I developed a relationship and had that in-person conversation. Now again, this is the hard part. I’m talking about something that happened over the course of 5 years and a lot of you are wondering how do you do it in 5 days or 5 minutes.
Part of it is tough but here’s the deal. Now you know me. I have these relationships. If you want to write something for PPC Hero, why don’t we work on it together? So send me your article idea, I’ll tell you what I think and like about it. I’ll even help you create the treatment and then I’ll make sure to get it in front of the PPC Hero people and we’ll get it published. I’m happy to help with that type of stuff. Make introductions and help build your relationship with that. But obviously I’m not going to put my name out there unless it’s good.
I think the best article you can write or to put yourself on the map is something that you’re seeing every day in your AdWords accounts, your analytics account or whatever you’re working on. You see it every day and haven’t seen a person write about it. This has always happened at my agencies. We’d see these things because we were in AdWords every day till our eyes bled. And we’d see these things happening and then like, why is nobody writing this? Why is everybody writing the same crappy articles about the same crap? Like why is nobody talking about this? This is really what’s going on.
So eventually I just starting writing those. That’s how I put my blog on the map in the first place. My Jeffalytics one. I thought that Google+ was huge for SEO and so I did a little study on SEO in Google+, and I proved that it did make a difference and it put me on the map. And so basically I was like I had this theory. I didn’t see anybody else writing about it. I wrote about it and it worked. That’s the biggest way that you can differentiate.
Now it doesn’t mean that you can’t get traction doing other things, like 5 reasons why you need to talk to a client about their AdWords account. Like you could write that article but that article’s been written a thousand times. I’ve seen that article a million times, you know, so what I would say is, come up with something you haven’t seen before and people will take it. And if they accept it, they’ll publish it. And if you can’t get through them through your normal channels, then talk to somebody who’s been there before and have them help you out. And I just made an offer to help you with that, Jason, for sure, or any of you if you’re in that situation.
Peter’s getting started so yea I think the same thing applies. It’s basically to start writing stuff, whether it’s on your own blog or a guest post. I think what I would recommend to a lot of people is just getting used to writing on your own stuff, on medium or something that’s low stakes just to get used to it. And then, start to publish something that’s high quality.
There were two people on my podcast who are huge in the SEO industry and conversion optimization. Oli Gardner and Mike King. I asked them ‘how did you get into this?’ and they said ‘the first post that I wrote went viral because I was like ‘I want to write the best post’. And so they’re examples of two people whose first ever blogpost they wrote went so viral that it put them on the map. So that’s an example you can look through. You can listen to them on my podcast if you want to go back to those.
Now the reason why I mentioned the podcast so much is because it’s in their own words. They’re actually saying exactly what they did, and so it’s really helpful to get it that way, to hear them say it.
Richard says ‘you mentioned that hiring a sales rep did not work out well. Are you currently using any external marketing strategies that are working for you?’
So sales reps could be good for some things but you have to put them into their box as to what you want them to do. And you have to train them really well as to how to recognize the value that you provide. And so part of the reason my sales reps didn’t work well for us is because we didn’t have a great list of services that they could just take from and easily explain to a client.
The other thing is that we were calling about services that people were getting pitched all the time already. So if we were calling to say ‘hey do you need help with your PPC? We see that you managed with AdWords.’ That person would be like ‘yea you’re the fifth person today to tell me that they handle AdWords. I’m sick of hearing from you. I’m not going to do this anymore.’ Right? And so that’s one reason why it didn’t work. It’s because we didn’t differentiate very well and the salesperson wasn’t trained enough to differentiate or think on their feet.
It was also a salesperson trying to sell marketing services, not a marketing person trying to do sales, and so I think that contributed to it to a certain extent. I think this salesperson I have in mind is what I’m going to talk about. We’ve had several over the years. None of them really did very well but this one was a software salesperson so he was trying to sell our services like software.
Guess what, services don’t work the same way. You can’t just offer somebody a 20% discount to sweeten the deal or close out your quarter. You can’t take things off the table because it’s people hours and your margins and stuff like that, so it’s been difficult to do that.
Now my role was more sales engineer not salesperson, so I was not the VP of sales, so I think part of it is that I didn’t own the role. If it had been my role to manage a sales team, I would have implemented a different process. I’d taugh them more about what we do, how to handle objections and would have done a better job of getting them through. But that wasn’t my function so I can’t tell you exactly what it failed because I wasn’t in charge of it. What I would say is that they just didn’t speak the language of the customer. They didn’t do a good job of selling our solutions.
Ian wants to know ‘what’s your opinion on answering questions on Quora?’
I’m all for it. I go through ups and downs of answering on Quora. It’s like never-ending. People are always asking questions. I find that answering questions about internet marketing doesn’t generate a lot of traffic or it’s hit-or-miss. So you think of the more general, broader interest categories because there’s just not a lot of people talking about Google Analytics or PPC. I mean there’s a fair number of questions but there’s not a lot of volume. It’s not like if you answer a question on other stuff like even blogging, you’re going to get tons of upvotes and stuff.
But if you just talk about Analytics and AdWords, it’s mostly like super easy questions that you can answer easily. Track it, like what’s it doing for you. I was fairly active on Quora for a while. My biggest response is about how to start a blog actually, and my advice is to write a hundred posts and then throw your blog away, and then start over. So then you’re actually a good writer. But that was the most successful one that I had. Now other ones, they get some play and position you in the industry, but I wouldn’t get a ton of leads or anything coming from it. It’s more of just positioning yourself. Quora is the new equivalent of going onto a forum and talking about SEO back in the day, or going onto an Analytics forum or something.
I think it’s good. Build it into your workflow and see how it works. See if you can measure it from a traffic and lead perspective. I don’t think the people who use Quora are usually in your target market. There’re a lot of people who are wasting a lot of time in my opinion.
Peter says ‘have you had any success doing anything on LinkedIn?’
I think that LinkedIn can be successful. Again, I’m not a salesperson so I generally utilize LinkedIn to build my own credibility and position myself as the expert. I don’t use it to inquire and get inbound leads. I know a lot of people who are using LinkedIn and getting a ton of inbound or leads from using LinkedIn.
So it’s very effective for those who commit to it, and use it to develop a strategy. I would say that it’s sort of like a channel, just like email or something else, and so use that to figure what your strategy is for that channel. Do you want to do a bunch of upfront research and then do one-on-one personal stuff? Do you want to friend somebody on LinkedIn and just send them a super generic terrible message, like what I get several times a week? What do you want to do with LinkedIn?
So I think yes, it is effective for many people. I personally just haven’t had the time to dig into it.
‘Where do CMOs hang out, industry conferences, magazines etc.?’
I think your best bet for finding a CMO is one, what do you need to target the CMO in order to sell a company? A lot of people say that you need to sell high. I think actually finding the person who cares what PPC, Analytics, SEO, whatever your services and then bringing them in, can work even better. I think you’ll find a lot of CMOs hanging out in bars. Maybe that’s just a joke but I don’t know, where do they hang out?
I have talked to a lot of CMOs. There’s actually a better chance of randomly talking to them than there is of being able to get them on the phone through cold outreach or being able to get them to respond your LinkedIn.
I think a lot of times you just have to be where they are. So if they’re keynoting a conference, can you arrange to be at that same conference and talk to them? If they’re part of your alumni network, can you reach out to them that way? They’re busy people so what do you have to offer them? Other than just randomly bumping elbows with them, what’s your offer to them and what are they going to get in return for talking to you? That’s how I look at it. And also, instead of looking for all CMOs, I’d set a target as to the ones that really matter. The ones that fit and going there.
Yea ‘what’s a profile of a CMO?’
I know that’s what you’re getting at, Richard. I don’t personally know their exact habits. Like I said, I’ve hung out with more of them randomly like friends of friends at dinner parties and at wine tastings than I have by emailing them cold. I’ve had better luck of bumping into them in a social setting than I have from cold outreach, but that’s just because my role is not cold outreach. But even our salespeople tried to target CMOs. The phone’s not a great way to do it.
Twitter may work. If they’re new digital ones, you might be able to get a hold of them on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe not Facebook, that’s a little weird. I don’t have an answer for you. I have ideas but they’d have to be tested.
I do think that conferences can work really well but obviously as a CMO level, it’s not going to be tactical stuff. It’s going to be more high-level, you know, South by Southwest or stuff like that.
‘What’s my experience with industry-specific trade shows, having a booth there or just going to network?’
We had a lot of success in home improvement trade shows because obviously that’s one of our bread-and-butter areas. And so we would put up a booth and talk about what we did with PPC and lead generation for home improvement, and it worked really well. So I do think it can work out. I think you’d want to have case studies about how you do in that industry, a clear value proposition and a good team that can answer the questions and instill trust.
If you do it right, an industry trade show can be like fish in a barrel because as I have mentioned before, I spoke at the Trades Association for the Berkshire Hathaway affiliates, and had a ton of leads that came out of that, and that was amazing. I could do 50 speeches on Analytics at an SMX type or Analytics conference and get less leads than I got that one day at that one industry-specific one. The hard part is finding them.
If you actively went out there and try to find all the different conferences and got put onto those bills, you could probably do pretty well. I usually get invited. I’ve gotten invited to industry conferences of all kinds, mostly based on my website and putting from an SEO perspective. People seeing ‘Google Analytics speaker’ and I’m number one on Google for that right now, and that’s how they’ll find me and bring me in.
And yea I can do a lot more too. I think the hard part with all this is, how much time you spend on lead-gen, delivery and everything else in between. All these things will work if you commit, set a target and get smart about it. That’s why I love that outreach so much, that I showed you earlier, the guy at the YouTube video. It’s because he researched, added value, and knew I’m a very qualified lead for him. He did all that work and just made it happen. That’s how well this can work if you can refine your process.
But what most people do is they will get a list of people who use Active Campaign or something. They’ll send out a generic message that sort of put all the work on the person who’s receiving the email, and that person just deletes it because it’s way too much work. And so the less work you can make somebody do, the better off you’re going to be. That’s same for trade shows and everything.
Do I charge for speaking at conferences?
Yea for sure. I do charge. It depends on the conference. I almost always require travel expenses. I’m mostly doing international ones now because I like to travel. But if I do industry ones, then yea. I definitely charge and the rates vary so I’m not going to tell you the exact rates. You can take it offline if you want to ask that stuff. I wouldn’t call that a significant source of income. It’s sort of like teaching in person. It’s not my main income driver but it’s both fun and sort of cool that somebody wants you to come and speak at their conference. Also, if you have a good sales funnel, you can turn it into a ton of extra value from that if it’s an industry association.
Good questions, everybody. These are awesome. I don’t see anymore coming in now so I’m going to give a couple more minutes to get some questions and then we’ll sign off.
Awesome, Peter, that’s good. Glad it’s been helpful.
Jason wants to know ‘what is your final look, like when you have a good quality lead?’
So for all of you, you’re getting access to the Sales Jumpstart Mini Course which I’m working on now and it’s basically another module. It’s going to be a sales module added onto agency course and so it’s going to be really in-depth there, Jason. I’ve been talking a lot to people about this on the one-on-ones but just to give you an idea when you get a good lead.
First of all, you never know if you have a good lead or not. Like if they give you a lot of detail on your contact form, it might sound good. First thing I do is get on the phone and talk to them for 15 minutes or so, to sniff out whether I think they’re a good lead or not. During that time, I’ll ask them what their situation is. I’ll understand their technology, what they’ve done in the past, if they’ve been burned by other vendors or not. I’ll understand if they have budget assigned, their timeline to completion, whether they’re making it a competitive bid or just looking at me.
In this scenario, like what’s going on there, I’ll ask a bunch of things to qualify them, and to give myself an out if it’s not going to be a good lead because I just don’t think it’s a good fit. And if it is, I’ll say ‘hey I’ll get back to you’. Then I set up an hour, if it’s worthwhile and everything’s good, then we’ll set up an hour-long pitch where basically we’ll go through capabilities of the company, what we’re capable of doing and what solution we want to provide to them.
That’s usually a couple weeks out. We’ll do some research on the company just to make sure that we understand everything they’re doing. This is going to be in the course but basically 80% is like a stock boilerplate deck, and then 20% is going to be customized to that person you’re pitching based on the phone call you have with them.
Once that’s done and it sounds good, then you get to the point where you talk ballpark pricing or pricing verbally on that call. They don’t see a price until the very end, near contract phase because you want them to be committed to you so I do a lot of prework in order to make sure that I can do well for them, before I even put a proposal in front of them.
So part of the prework that I didn’t mention is, after the 15-minute call, depending on what information is public available or what you’re expecting to do for them, you might actually ask for access to their Google Analytics or AdWords account, take a look at it and give them some free consulting, advice or at least a free assessment on your end as to what you can do for them.
This does two things. One is they’re now more committed to you because they’re getting free stuff and everybody likes that. The other thing is you get to see if they’re the real deal or not, if they’re actually spending the money they promise or if any of that stuff’s happening. And so it’s good on both sides.
Now I’m probably forgetting a few steps in there so this will be more polished when we do the Sales Jumpstart Course. But I wanted to give you some ideas as to how it all comes together. So we’ll do more templates and a lot more in the Sales Jumpstart Course.
Cool. Alright. Well I’m going to end this call then. And I’m happy how this turned out. Thanks everybody for your questions and looking forward to talking to you again. If you want to set your calendar, it’s going to be 3 weeks from today which will be May 30th. This will be our next conversation so looking forward to talking to you then. Thanks everybody.
Alright everybody. This is good.