Thought Leadership As Celebrity + Authority + Trust

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Dan Sanchez talks with Robin Robins who is the Founder and CEO of Big Red Media. The dive into Robins marketing methodology, show she defines thought leadership, and her unique approach to becoming an authority in your field. 

Yeah, welcome back to BTB Growth. I'm dan Sanchez with Sweet Fish Media and today I'm here with Robin Robins, who is the founder and Ceo of Big Red Media. Robin, welcome to the show. Hey dan, how are you? Thank you for having me. It's a privilege to have you on here. When I asked Adam Woody, who is kind of like the thought leader or the person who has the attention of lots of technology companies since a lot of tech founders and cmos and VPs and marketing listen to this show. He you were the first person that he said. So I was excited to finally have you on the show since Adam recommended you someone who speaks directly to technology companies and helping them with marketing challenges all the time. As you know, we are on this deep dive. This journey into thought leadership, that where we're picking apart the topic, we're looking at it as at its strength. We're looking at its weaknesses where even having debates about this topic on whether it's actually a thing or not. I know as you've done so much marketing that it probably is a thing. It is while it is a bit of a buzzword, I'm excited to hear your thoughts, Robin on what a tech company specifically you do on their journey to becoming thought leaders in the space. But before we get there, I want to hear your thoughts on if you feel like it's relevant at all today. Like what's what's your position on the term? Thought leader? Is it kind of a cringing term? Is it a real thing? Like where do you sit as far as where thought leadership is? Well, I think the term is another sort of, you know, new, innovative way of labeling something, you know, I'm not I'm not for it, I'm not against it. You know, it's just like with me and my my business we practice and we teach direct response marketing well, direct response has been around forever, right? It's not like not recently invented, but yet you have people like Seth Godin who came up with the term permission marketing, which is essentially a direct response or hubspot coming up with inbound marketing, which is essentially direct response. Or you have people talk about content marketing, which is essentially direct response. So if you like the term thought leadership and that has meaning to you and you can define it then great. But to me, I think the goal and again, this is my opinion, but my goal and I think the goal of many people who start a business is not to necessarily become a thought leader. That's not the end goal that may be uh to become one, helps you reach the ultimate goal, which is I have a growing, thriving, profitable, sustainable business. Um, and I think that's really what we, I think that's what most people want. I mean, that's what I would want. Um, I shouldn't say most people, I mean, again, I'm projecting, but, but so the term thought leadership, I think is what they're really trying to say, I believe is you want to become an authoritative expert in a topic matter. So I mean, if that's kind of how I interpret it, so again, I'm, I don't use the term thought leader because I do think it's a little cringe e at this point because it feels a little, you know, like, hey, we're gonna be doing branding or, you know, all these sort of newer terms, but at the end of the day, people who come to me, the business owners would come to me, they're all tech business owners. They want more customers, high paying customers that are profitable, that they want a sustainable business. They want to make money consistently build strength in their business, not just sales. And so that's what, that's what we do, and that's what I do. So when you say it would be fun to kind of see like where it falls in the spectrum for you um direct response marketing as I know, it's kind of like on the other side from like your high level brand advertising kind of marketing, right? Is that where you put? It's kind of like, it's on the other side from it and then there's like many things that kind of fallen between branding and direct response marketing. Yeah. When you say direct response, you're you're...

...talking like the old school Lester wonderman type of coming coming from direct sales, where it's like you find your target audience, you approach them with an ad that tells them exactly like it just cut straight to the point, right? We have this product that has these benefits to it. Yeah, I mean like people think that what you say, but you think that it's like old school like you mentioned, but google is the biggest direct response marketer in the world. I mean it's pay per click, that's that's what it is. I mean they provide free search and maps to get the audience there. But essentially how they make their money is I have an ad and it's based on a keyword you're searching on. So there's a target market with a need and I pay when you click and that's direct response, it's per action type marketing, so it's not necessarily old school, you know, I think that's the thing. People think that it's old and therefore it doesn't work anymore. But over and over again, I can I can with with absolute certainty tell you if your goal is to get a customer who's going to write you a check, then the fastest path to getting there is running in implementing direct response marketing. And I know again these terms, you know, sales funnels, funnel hacking, I mean it's all that's all direct response, just a little more sophisticated way of explaining it. So yeah, so again, brand and I'm branding, I I don't think they're mutually exclusive because I've never run a branding campaign in my life. However, I've done a lot of direct response marketing and by doing that, I have built a brand and kind of tying back into your thought leadership. A brand is uh and by the way, you don't really control your brand, you can influence it, but your brand is established in the minds of your customers. Um but you know, it's being known for something, you know, it's it's that's what a brand is. And I think small business owners who have smaller budgets, we're not talking about, you know, Pepsi and we're not talking about Nike now, but you know, they spending money on pure branding exercises is usually very, very wasteful because to really, if you're going to do that kind of branding, you can't run one ad. It's like you've got to run a lot ads in a lot of places over and over again and it's extremely expensive to do. It does not guarantee sales. And you've got a still have some sort of direct response where people can come and buy your software, your services, your product. Right? So again, I don't think they're they're mutually exclusive. I think you can do direct response and reap the benefits of list building and building a pipeline of tomorrow's customers and getting customers today while simultaneously building your brand. Yeah, I absolutely agree with you in that direct response marketing is powerful. In fact, I think it happened a long time ago, but it's been tried and true. Like it continues to be a fantastic method of marketing. I know I got my start marketing doing google adwords so and perry marshall was kind of like my first marketing guru that I learned from because he was a fantastic direct response marketer and it still is like the undercurrent of pretty much everything I do as a marketer, right? If you if you don't have some kind of like thing action you want people to take and you haven't gotten good at figuring out what baby steps you can do to get them there, then your market is probably gonna fall flat. Like you said, ads without a call to action of some kind is just not going to go anywhere. I mean, and it's market research because if I put an ad out for something, whether that's a lead generation bait kind of thing, like a free report or a video or it's a coupon for to buy something when you put it out there, you instantly know whether or not it's working. You know, if people are really interested in that or not interested in that. So, direct response is very accountable, which is why a lot of agencies don't want to practice it because they quickly figure out, you know, I'm spend all this money and I'm not generating leads and sales and customers, you know, so that's why...

...a lot of agency shy away from it because it's far easier to do branding than it is to do direct response. But it's it gives you instant feedback because if I, if I decide to host a webinar and I only get 1% of my audience registering I say only, but whatever, if I get 1% responding, if I do another webinar and I get 10% responding and registering, I instantly know to my audience to my list. Whatever the topic was that got the 10% is clearly where their interest lies and I should put more focus on that and therefore should be writing articles about that, doing seminars about that, writing books about it, being a thought leader about it, because that's what, that's what direct response does. It's the customer votes with their pocketbook or they vote with their attention, their clicks, their options. And so the other thing that direct response gives you is that real market intelligence that is not biased by your opinion, by the opinion of your marketing gurus or whoever it is, um, not by the opinion of your staff or your spouse, not what you think will work, not what you respond to, its what they respond to. And if you want to be your again, use your term thought leader. If you want to be a thought leader, you know, step one is you got to figure out what is going to bring all the, you know, what milkshakes gonna bring all the boys to the yard. You know, you gotta, you gotta figure that out and that's what direct response does. So to kind of come back to the question, if a tech founder came to you and wanted to position themselves at the thought later, and maybe that's the best thing for them. Maybe, maybe it's not, maybe there's things maybe they got, maybe let's just say they got the basics cover when it comes to direct response. Um, but it's very tactical right now. They're bidding on adwords um, when people find them and see their value prop than it works out, but they want to be more well known in the industry, right? You sometimes you hit a certain barrier where you're getting all the people that are searching for the exact thing you do. But there's not a lot of people who even are solution aware, but there's a lot of people who are problem aware of the thing the company addresses and they're just not exactly searching for the solution yet. It happens a lot with tech because they're breaking into new industries and solving problems or solving problems that people don't even know their solutions for. What steps would you give to a tech founder who then wants to head into this place called thought leadership marketing or to become authority in their industry? Yeah, I mean I've never had in my 20 years of doing this and working with tech companies, I've never ever had a single customer come to me and say I want to be a thought leader on this, like not once. So I don't think it's the language of small business, you know, it might be the language of marketers who are trying to sell the small business saying you need to be a thought leader, right? Because every business owner that I've ever talked to work with, the goal is how do I get the maximum number of right fit customers? Just not all customers, but how do I get the right customers who want to engage with me, do business with me? And so, you know, to that end the first step And this is tough for me, every, again, 20 years of working with well over 10,000 firms. the single biggest challenge most have is they have to figure out who their customer is first and they really are fuzzy about that. Like if you, if you press them a bit and you ask them, you know, tell me who your ideal customer is, Your slam Dunk one, they give you really big broad general terms. Well like, well when they use terms like anybody who right, that's that's where I get nervous unless they put some additional qualifiers on that, you know, so anybody who has between 10 and 100 pcs, anybody who's in this geographic area, anybody who's using this kind of tech, anybody who has this kind of problem. And so when you start using those terms, it's okay if you start there anybody who has this problem and has this this this this this in common. So I think first and foremost most people are really fuzzy about who they're trying...

...to attract and until you know exactly who's your, your sweet spot customer, the one who's the slam dunk the most likely to buy. The one you can do your best work for until your crystal clear on that. You're gonna be wasting a lot of time money and effort writing articles, blog post google paper, like you name it and you're gonna be attracting a lot of people that you just gotta sift and sort through. So my, what I tell my clients is you've got to remove a lot of the haystack before you start looking for needles and you gotta actually know that you want a needle first. Right? So that would be step one is you really got to get crystal clear on who that customer is. And then the second thing you've got to really understand is how they think, how they behave, what they value because you're right. Most people are problem aware. They're not necessarily solution where and the big second, big problem tech companies have is they're so in love with the technology and they're so geeked up about it. And I get it because we're all geeked up about our stuff. I'm geeked up about direct response marketing. I mean, you know, so we're all geeked up about our stuff, but we forget that that's the customer, especially with tech, your average business owner is not very technically savvy. It's an area that is uh, sort of ambiguous to them. It's an area where they feel like they spend a lot and don't see a lot of our oi for um, they see tech as a necessary evil. So, you know, if you go into the average Ceo's office and you start telling them all about the technical whiz bang awesomeness of your, whatever it is that you're selling and you start g eking out to them, you're missing the boat because that's not what they think about. That's not what they care about. I mean, if you're, again, it goes back to knowing who your customer is. If your customer is a small business owner, a big, it doesn't matter if your customers, a business owner, they care about gaining new customers and generating revenue and profitability and they want to eliminate risk from their business. They want a sustainable business, They want less headaches. And so whatever it is, you're selling from the tech, you've got to package it as a solution to a problem that your ideal customer has. And then we've got to convince them that why that solution versus all the other solutions that they could possibly want. Okay, so once you get clear on your customer, once you get clear on, here's the problem I solve. You know, then we have to start getting into what are all the different ways. We can get somebody into that funnel, that marketing funnel where they, first of all notice us and then they start paying attention to us and then there's trust that's built and then we get them to take action and more action. And so we, you know, we draw them in that way. But again, until you're really clear on who that customer is and what problems you solve specifically and you can articulate why somebody should do business with you and by your thing, whatever the thing is, all this thought leadership is just activity that's going to get you nowhere. Hey everybody Logan was sweet fish here. You probably already know that. We think you should start a podcast if you haven't already. But what if you have and you're asking these kinds of questions, How much has our podcast impacted revenue this year? How's our sales team actually leveraging the podcast content? If you can't answer these questions, you're actually not alone. This is why cast it created the very first content marketing platform made specifically for B2B podcasting. Now you can more easily search and share your audio content while getting greater visibility into the impact of your podcast. The marketing teams at drift terminus and here at sweet fish have started using casted to get more value out of our podcast. And you probably can too, you can check out the product in action and casted dot us slash growth. That's C A S T E D dot us slash growth. All right, let's get back to...

...the show. It's not necessarily getting you nowhere because a big part of marketing is trust and expertise. And even in direct marketing you're just you're doing it in small ways throughout your your landing pages and your conversion funnel. They tend to just be smaller snippets of credibility building. It could be as simple as a testimonial or an endorsement of some kind or I don't know having yourself with a picture of somebody they would know and respect. You know on the on the side of the page somewhere. Yeah. But again, let me just but again you say it's not the way it is a waste of time because I'm telling you I've dealt with 10,000 I. T. Business owners and they'll come to me and they'll say well we're tweeting and posting and writing articles and we're doing all this stuff and we're not getting any customers and so you know it's not that's the part they overlook and then I press them well who is your customer? Are your customers on facebook? Are they on twitter? Are they on youtube? Are they you know and when you're doing these things, are you if they're there which it is Arguable whether they are or not, are they? They're looking for what you sell and then are you posting and creating content that is going to hook them where they are, where their thoughts are. And it's like when you start going down that path that's not what they're doing. So there's a lot of activity going on but there's no results coming in. So. Yeah I mean it is that is that is wasteful when you're just producing content to produce content because uh, thought leadership going back to your, you know, of when we'll say that's being known for something, well that requires content creation and to do content, it's a big giant time suck. You've gotta, you know, writing articles and doing videos and creating webinars and getting pictures with celebrities and all this. It's like, it's a lot of time to create it, you're competing with a lot of content online, you're competing with netflix and amazon, you know, at that point for attention. So this is a very, very difficult game and it's easy to fall into just doing a lot of activity and not getting any results. And again, it goes back to you got to know who your customers, you gotta know what problems they have, what they're interested in, and then back into that with whatever it is that you sell. So how do you establish credibility in your conversion funnels? Yeah, I mean, but but again, if we can't we can't establishing credibility and trust is after we've gotten their attention, if we can't get their attention, if we can't get them to read the article, we can't get them to take action and we can't continue that dialogue because they're not paying attention to us. You can't build trust. So you could be putting tons of articles out there. But if nobody is looking at it, nobody is reading it, nobody's clicking. You're just doing a bunch of activity and getting nowhere fast for sure. And it doesn't necessarily have to even be content out there. But how in the conversion funnels, are you establishing trust is they're discovering you and discovering that go, this is actually a solution that I've seen for the first time. Maybe they clicked on a google Adwords ad or saw you somewhere relevant where they had attention on it and now they're on your website. How are you building credibility? Well, I think there's there's a couple ways, I think the first thing is you have to be able to articulate the problem they're having and how they feel about it even better than they can, because that creates instant report for an instant trust. So I don't know if you ever had a chance to interview chris voss my he's a good friend of mine, he wrote the book, Never split the difference. It's a brilliant book. He's a he's a brilliant guy. He was a former FBI head of the FBI department that was for hostage negotiation for international hostages. Like so if you're an american and you got kidnapped overseas, it was chris and his team that negotiated you to safety, right? And so he, in his whole book it's you've got to be able to articulate whatever the proposition is. So that the person the prospect says...

...that's right, not your right, but that's right meaning whatever you just said, however, you just articulated the problem, the statement the whatever instantly I go, that's right. You know, and if like for example, if you watch news commentary, right? I mean the you know, late rush Limbaugh laure you go and it doesn't matter whatever news broadcaster who has an opinion, who they're you know, delivering an opinion on the news, not just the news but which is almost all of them right? But when they're doing that, when they make a statement, the recent people tune in is because they're making statements where the average person is going, that's right. And they want that person to be able to articulate why they feel the way they do. And that creates follow people following them and tuning in and reading what they write because they want to hear that person's opinion about something. And so, you know, when you know your audience again goes back to God know your customers when you can produce content that that the prospect goes, that's right, you instantly get report okay. Um and and it can be not just in articles. I mean, I just wrote about was give examples in our newsletter every month. And there was a cleaning company that had this big full page ad in some sort of publication, local publication newspaper I picked up. And I mean, they spent for a full page ad and it was for a Mother's Day, adds basically the add some kind of paraphrasing with something along the lines of, you know, don't spend your mother's Day. Uh, like we get it that, that was, I think it was something like we get it. You know, you're super busy, don't spend your mother's day clean and give yourself a break. But the picture that they had was of a woman. Now she was, you could tell it was manufactured because it was a woman in a sort of dress suit. She has a baby on her hip and she's got like her hand on like a spatula right now she's in the kitchen, there's nothing in the pan. The kitchen is pristine, like pristine and its modern looking and there's not like a single like toy on the floor. There's no fingerprints on the, the refrigerator. There's no like spills on the countertop or baby bottle stuff everywhere or dirty dishes piled up or the groceries there. The person like it was pristine and instantly I said, you know, they're trying to say, we get you moms, we know how it is because look, we have a picture of a mom with a baby on her hip and she's got like a spatula and she's got her phone like a phone and it's like they got that part right? But they got the scene wrong. And so instantly I know whoever created that at is not a mom because I'm a mom and my kitchen doesn't look like that, right? I know what a kitchen looks like when you have a baby or two kids, you know, and you're, you know, so you know, whatever in always the first thing you do to build report and trust is you have to be able to communicate to that prospect on a level about their problems, their situation, their beliefs, their concerns what they aspire to, and it has to have a connection and that's just so that's the first step. And again, that's a big step. A lot of people don't get that right. And then beyond that, as far as building trust, by the way, I should also kind of point out, we have this term, we call the trifecta. So we we teach our clients, not just, it's not just trust. You want to actually have celebrity authority and trust and they're actually three different things and celebrity and authority when you get in those categories, they also established trust. Right? So another thing is to become a mini celebrity. Well, how do you become a mini celebrity? Well, you public speaking, writing books, getting on the news, being seen in, in in different venues with with key people, you know, all of that builds celebrity. Being an authority means you actually can speak to a particular topic with deep knowledge and expertise, not surface level opinions. So if you really have...

...deep research knowledge information on statistics on whatever it is that your topic is, you know that helps build authority as does publishing books and public speaking going back, you know, they all kind of blend together. Um and then there's trust and trust really is this this confidence we have in a person's honesty and integrity and their moral character that they're going to do the right thing. All right. So you look at someone like uh not to get political, but you look at like a doctor Fauci. Now dr Fauci is a celebrity. He's on the news and has been on the news for over a year now. I don't think there's an american household who doesn't know the name. So he is absolutely a celebrity. He is an authority. I mean he has the credentials in the background to speak about this virus and the infectious diseases. However, what he has is a huge trust problem because he's backtracked on a couple of things. His emails have now come out and people are now not trusting him. So when you're, you know, so trust is also about consistency because that's where a lot of politicians get in trouble. Especially in this youtube video. Everything world, anything you ever utter on camera on a Youtube video on facebook, on social media. You know, people in its forever recorded and if you constantly flip flop or you're not, you don't have very clear definitive guidelines about what is good, What is what people should do any time you have gray fuzziness. See all those things destroy trust, lack of consistency destroys trust. So, um and I'm not just talking about consistency in your viewpoints, I'm talking about consistency and people seeing you. So another way of building trust is they've got to see a lot of you, they can't just see you like post-1 article a month because that's not gonna build enough consistency, right? So they've got a c in multiple media and they've got to see the same sort of content coming up over and over again. I mean if you're a magazine, you can't just publish once in a while, It's gotta be on schedule. If you're a news media, you've got to publish where you gotta put your video out on a certain schedule and that consistency in and of itself builds trust. So just longevity, you know, or number of clients that you have, if you have um you know, if you've been in business for a very long time, although that alone won't build trust, it's just another check box. Um and that's, and I should say all this stuff is like a layering effect. The more you have of this, the more trust you can build, right, so longevity, consistency. A lot of clients, the right type of clients, if you have celebrity clients, all of those things build trust and you know, so, so again, celebrity authority and trust their three different things and you've got to get them all, they all sort of support each other like a three legged stool. Um and you want to have all this now, all of the, this the things I'm describing here are a lot of work. And so, you know, again, another problem where people get into is they creep into it do a little bit, you know, so they want to be the thought leader on something, but like they don't publish all the time. They, you know, they don't, they're not consistent with videos. I mean, it's like, so it's either, I mean, I think people have to understand the difficulty of the task to get to that point and, and it's it's gonna be over a long term. I mean, I had a client the other day who was, you know, his consulting, he's doing, he's been doing marketing for about a year and he's, his cost per lead is still extremely high and he says to me, I can't continue doing this, I can't afford it. I want to get my cost per lead more like what you're getting. Well, the problem is, Yeah, it took me 20 years to build my list and authority and trust and credibility, right? It took me 20 years. He's in a year and he wants what I've got, it's like, well dude, I mean we have things we can do to accelerate it, but you know you you got to be in this for The long game and you gotta put all the work in, you can't and he wasn't, there was 20 things he wasn't doing, he was just doing one thing. I mean I did 30, 50 things over 20 years and so again, I think people missed, they don't...

...understand the difficulty of the task and you know, they kind of do it too timid and then they get frustrated and give up and then they really get nowhere. So I know I'm a little bit wandering Dan, you're going to have to rein me in. It's been really good. I think, I think when you say authority, celebrity and trust, I'm like to me that equals thought leadership When you have when you're known for your authority and people trust you. Um and we both know like when people perceive you as that person in your industry that creates demand for you, which makes it much easier. It's like you have to do way less work on the direct response marketing side to even get them into the pipeline and what they get into the pipeline, they just shoot right through it because they're just like you're just like, oh yeah, you should buy this and this and this and they're just like, okay, okay yeah, whatever you say because they respect you so much, they're willing to pay. They come to you with their kind of wallets out already because they already trust and respect you. But like you said, it takes it takes a long time. It's kind of a long game plan that I think a lot of people can work on. But in the short term you can get a lot done just having clear and concise marketing that targets a very specific person with the specific problem and your solution does the best at addressing that problem. And if you could just get clear with them and with a very concise, unique selling proposition, you can kind of get them in while you're building all that ah thought leadership while you're building the authority, the celebrity and the trust. Just just you know we call it the cat trifecta. Smile mix right? You know what I mean? Because it's celebrity authority and trust. You know we call it the trifecta because I don't want people me yelling at me. But uh but yeah again you have to realize that they are three different, distinctly different things and you got to work on all of them because you can have celebrity but not have authority and trust. I mean there's a lot of celebrities we know that we would not trust to watch our dog, you know what I mean? Like and they might have an authority on anything and then there's a lot of people who have authority, they're very knowledgeable about their topic, but they don't have the celebrity and they might not have the trust because they haven't really built that with the marketplace. So you got to think about all three of those things. They're three distinct things and you want to, you know when, when somebody has all three going for him, that's when you really see somebody take off. Like if you look at a Micro. So I had Micro speak at my event. Um, it's probably about 34 years ago and Micro has thousands and thousands of people who follow him. He, his, I asked him one of the questions, I'm like so describe to me your business and he laughed, he really didn't answer. He, he kind of pulled it off to his, his manager who was there, we were having dinner and his manager, you know, uh sort of answered it. But basically he is, I mean he's a celebrity endorsement, you know, because when he says ford trucks are awesome and he's in their ads, people by four trucks because Micro has celebrity authority and trust with a very large audience and they, you know, and they and that carries a lot of wait. So if you really want a good example of that, then I would, I would submit to you someone like Mike Rowe and you want to study and see what he's done. But you got to look back, you can't just see what he's doing today. You got to look at what he did. I mean he started out as a Q. V. C. Pitchman you know and gained his fame that way and learn how to sell and how to influence people and how to be good on camera and how to engage people and you know from there you know as dirty jobs and uh you know Micro works the foundation he's got I mean there's like so many things he's done but if you want to see someone doing it really right. He's the guy to look at fantastic. I think I'll dig a little bit more deeper into his stories. Of course I know him most of us do. He's a big name. You said a lot of the in the very beginning when I started talking about some of the work and things people can do in order to become a thought leader. You talked about it being busy work or work that was not driving profit. I think we can both agree that if you start with thought leadership type of work, then you're gonna be running around in circles for a while. The first thing any business...

...has to do is get really clear in their audience, have a clear like website with a strong value proposition that essentially does good direct response marketing. It's kind of like the basis of the funnel. You have to be able to have your marketing do good sales first. Right. Well, I think well, yeah, I mean you have to have a viable business first, you know, I mean because you can be uh you know a celebrity and well known and have a lot of viewers and and followers and everything else, but if you don't have something to sell them that they want to buy at a price point that they'll pay for and stay engaged in good customer service. So like, you know, having a good business, a good viable businesses, just your I mean you gotta have it your entry into the game, right? And then once you have that, then you start doing the mark, you doing, you're doing marketing. It's it's kind of the analogy I'll give is like it's sort of like like if I was going to sell my house, I want to fix up the house first, I want to declutter it, repair, you know, any repaint, make it look fresh and new, maybe re decorate a bit. I wanted to look good before I start driving people to come look at the house to buy it, you know, and so you want to make sure you have a good viable business model, something that people want to buy that they're interested in and that you can get customers consistently at a price point where it's not gonna, you know, it's not going to undo you, right, so that's that's number one, you know, you know you gotta have that then you can say well who is my customer and then how do I become the number one brand if you want to use that, what's the number one go to person for this audience on this topic, on this product, on this service, on this, in this area of expertise and to kind of wrap things up, what would you say are one or two things that if you haven't started doing that level of marketing to build that celebrity, that authority and that trust, what are some activities they can do that are like kind of have the most bang for your buck kind of activities. Well I think that again the biggest thing is building a list of those prospects, you know because um all social media, if you're paying paid ads and retargeting and all those things you've got again, you've got to know who your customer is and then you've got to start building that list, getting people to opt in to follow two and and and and in various media because you know, linked in as a different group than facebook than as Youtube right? And again, knowing who your audience is and where are they? And then you start building the content um and list to get people to opt in and want to follow you because without that list, I mean that with in any business, in any business, the single biggest asset you have is your customer list and the relationship you have with it period. That's it. If you've got a really good quality customer list and we'll say prospect list if you will. And those people they trust you, they do business with you. If you want to gin up sales, you just send an email to the list or you just do a run a promotion. I'll say email. But I mean we could do it on facebook link to whatever. Um you run a promotion to your list and they buy in the responsive. So the number one thing I think people need to start doing is building that responsive list. And again every over 20 years when I'm doing this, that that's the single biggest neglected thing in most businesses because they don't value the customer or the name capture, they don't see that as an asset. So they don't have a list. They've been in business for 30 years. And you say, well, do you have a list of unconverted leads and they don't have a list of, they don't have one and or you know, they'll, they have customers but they haven't been tracking customers. And so they they're like, yeah, well we have people who bought from us, But it was like, you know, they're inactive. Like they haven't bought from us in five years or 10 years and what are you doing with those people? Nothing. And so, you know, I think the one thing that everybody needs to focus on is...

...building a list of those sweet spot prospects and then continually engaging it because you can't just build this list and then forget about it. You know, your list is not a static asset. It's not a static relationship. So you got to constantly be working on relationship staying in front of them, providing them content. They find interesting and useful or funny that they're going to open your emails are gonna watch your videos, right? You got to build that list and that community because once you have that over time, it's the single biggest asset you have because it is, you know, again, if I need sales, if I want to promote a new book, if I want to do anything, fill a seminar room, if I have a very productive, healthy list, then I can get, I can make that stuff happen. But if I don't have that list then I'm struggling paying high dollar for Cold leads, cold traffic, trying to convert newbies to pay attention to follow me. And you know, it's kind of like trying to lose £20 the week before your wedding. You know, good luck, right? You know, it's probably gonna involve surgery and a lot of painful things, but if you take the time and you start building this list and building the relationship with this this community, if you will of people, that's the I can't stress that enough. That is the number one thing. That I mean, that's why you want to be a thought leader. I mean what is the thought? It's a it's a person that people follow and want to pay attention to. So um you don't want to just post stuff out there. The whole goal is to build this list that you own, that you can control. Because even if I have that list, I can do direct mail, I can do telemarketing, I can upload these and make custom audiences on facebook, on linked in. I can do retargeting. I mean, there's a lot of stuff I can do if I have that list, but if I don't have that list, I can't do any of it. And the second thing again is it's not just building the list, but continually working and talking to and communicating with it so that you're always relevant guys. Let me tell you, that's a tough game to play because staying relevant, new and fresh where people will follow you for a very long time is a tough, tough thing. I mean, I've been doing this for 20 years and I'm proud to say that I have customers that are still customers of mine that I've had from 20 years ago, they're still following me, they're still opted in there, still opening my emails, they're still coming to events, they're still coming to webinars. And that's because I have to constantly keep new fresh relevant information and deliver it in a way that they always want to kind of stay engaged. You know, they, they're like, they might not follow everything and read everything, but they stay connected because they know I'm a source for good information that they want and they need. And that's and that's really a big key. When you say list, do you mean email list or do you mean audience on any particular platform? No, I mean, well, I mean, it could be any particular platform, but yeah, I mean, I'm talking about a mailing list where you have physical address, name of company, phone number, email address. Believe me, there's a, there's value in that, right? Like full contact profile, that, that's a list and its own media. It's your crm, essentially. But at the same time, those same people I've got on that list, I still try to get them to follow me on facebook and linked in. And Youtube subscribe to my Youtube channel. Why? Because They might not get my email. I mean basically we all know email is a dying medium and it will never go away. But I mean it's, I mean, you're lucky if so, okay, you have an email list. You're lucky if 20% opens it. So that means that means 80% of those people never saw, never open, never looked at. So this, you might as well not have done anything. So that's why you want to have multimedia. So if I have email, I can email them to the, I could post the video on Youtube and my Youtube subscribers will see that. Then I go over to linkedin and I posted in that community of my, you know, my linkedin face, my linkedin group or you know,...

...posted in my feed and then I put it in my facebook and I'm driving. So, you know, you want to have this multiple community the same community obviously, but subscribed will say in various ways, and and again, you got to maintain it because if you don't post on a regular basis, if you don't have relevant information, people tune out, they got too many other things going on there. Again, you're competing with netflix, you know, you're competing with a lot of very interesting people who have that, that are far more entertaining than me than you, you know, and so it you've really got to fight for that. Um and I think people have to understand the difficulty of the task. Well, that's been amazing. I agree, growing an audience of some kind across of course, Omni Channel, doing it across multiple mediums is the best. Usually have to start one way and kind of build your way from one thing to a second thing to a third thing and kind of start small and grow like building an audience. There's nothing there's nothing that can make up for that, no amount of posting to Forbes or other places in using their audience. You have to build your own. Exactly right. Robin, thank you so much for joining me on the show today. This information has been fantastic. Where can people go to learn more from you? Well, I think if there and uh if they're an I. T. Firm, if they're an MSP. Var I. T. Services company that sells outsourced I. T. Support the best website for you guys would be technology marketing toolkit dot com. That's that's my business that's focused just on marketing for MSP. S varsity service companies. So it's technology marketing toolkit dot com. Now, Big Red Media is uh we are serving mostly people who want to sell to and through our community of the I. T. Providers right? So if you go you know big Red media. But another thing they might find interesting is Big Red Virtual and that is our virtual event platform. Um that's our software as a service and again we we launched that because last year in 2020 our big event got shut down three weeks prior to us um going live and that's an event that costs us roughly about 1.5 million to put on. And uh we triggered over a million dollars in refunds. It's just because we you know we couldn't do anything. We did end up going virtual with it and it was a huge home run. And so we I really do think that virtual events are going to be the I should say hybrid events because it's the in person with a virtual component or pure virtual event. Fantastic. Thanks again for joining me on GDP growth. Mhm. For the longest time I was asking people to leave a review of GDP growth in apple podcasts but I realized that was kind of stupid because leaving a review is way harder than just leaving a simple rating. So I'm changing my tune a bit instead of asking you to leave a review, I'm just gonna ask you to go to GDP growth in apple podcasts, scroll down until you see the ratings and reviews section and just tap the number of stars you want to give us no review necessary. Super easy. And I promise it will help us out a ton. If you want a copy of my book, content based networking just shoot me a text after you leave the rating and I'll send one your way text me at 4074 and I know 33 to 8. Okay?.

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