Simple Social Branding with Robert Stanley
Audio Only [powerpress]
Jack: Today I’m very happy to have with me Robert Stanley. He’s a local Internet Marketing Expert, speaker, trainer to local businesses and also to local consultants. He’s also Founder and CEO of Local Pulse Marketing.
Robert, how’s it going today?
Robert: Good. I’m feeling good today. I’m a little cold so I have my hoodie on because here in San Diego we don’t have air conditioning or heating in our office space. You’ve just got to dress appropriately, you know?
Jack: Yeah. Well, I don’t know how anyone lived in Texas before there was air conditioning so I can’t…I couldn’t deal with it.
Alright, Robert, so the first thing I want to do is get out of the way and talk about who you are. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’re up to.
Robert: As you said, I’m with Local Pulse Marketing. I started that company in 2008 when a friend of mine who owned a chiropractic practice asked me to help him with his business online. At that time I was just doing paid advertising selling affiliate products which means I was selling other people’s products using Google AdWords.
I was telling him about that and he said: Hey, could you help me? Then when I helped him that turned into a referral to another chiropractor and it just spun off into its own thing and then Local Pulse Marketing was born. I’ve been doing it ever since
Jack: That’s interesting you started with a chiropractor. A lot of us helping local businesses that’s what we did. We got into it backwards and found out we had a little knack for it, if you will.
What is it that you think right now with the clients you have and working with the businesses is really returning the best ROI for businesses when it comes to local marketing?
Robert: What’s interesting is that I could have answered that very simply maybe 3 years ago and said: Well you could just do SEO or you could just do Pay Per Click and paid advertising to get customers. Every business wants more customers, right?
I think that’s still what businesses need to focus on, but what I’m finding is with more and more businesses gravitating to online marketing and moving away from traditional things like Yellow Pages and such, there’s more competition. What that means is that you have to use more than one form of advertising.
Now certainly you could start out with something but where you’re really going to get the highest return on your investment is when you’re attacking on multiple fronts. You need to be doing SEO which nowadays really means content generation, right?
You need to be doing social media. You need to do Pay Per Click advertising. You need to do retargeting. You need to do paid advertising on Facebook.
For each vertical market the emphasis that you place on each one of those might be a little bit different so knowing that market and knowing where your clients are, knowing where they’re going to respond the best is going to help you a lot.
Also what we found is because of this huge migration into the world online a thing that is probably THE most important (and you and I have experienced this from years gone by) even if you’re just trying to sell widgets online, a big problem people have is trust.
Trust even in a traditional sales environment if you’re meeting face to face with customers you’re like shaking their hand…that’s all part of building trust. The sooner you establish that trust and that credibility, the sooner the transaction happens. When you’re in the online space that’s critical.
What I’ve discovered over the years is that the bad word of ‘branding’ actually is an important element of trust. If your establishment, your business, is inconsistent online…you have a wonderful webpage but they go to your Facebook and it looks like your 3-year-old did it and there are only 3 Likes on the page, those things add up in a consumer’s mind and they say: Well, these guys don’t really look like they know what they’re doing. Maybe they’re just fly-by-night and had somebody do a great website. Or they go look at your online reviews in Google Places.
It’s all these different things. Those elements that build trust are ultimately what create conversions or appointments or phone calls or sales. It’s kind of a convoluted and complicated answer but that’s really where we’ve evolved to.
I could have told you 3 years ago: Yeah, Jack, we’re just going to do Pay Per Click and your phone is going to ring off the hook and that’s all you need to do. The reality is that that’s changed.
Jack: Right. That can be overwhelming a lot of times. A lot of business owners think: Where do I start? And they end up not starting anywhere because they don’t know or they’re talking to people who are kind of selling them what they do whether they get the emails everyday: I can get you on the front page of Google. Like you said, that’s changed.
It’s one thing to be found but then the next step is you to have to make them pick you. You mentioned that when you’re in a face-to-face that’s exactly what is happening right there. You’re building up that trust and I think probably a lot of businesses are missing that element online because they just have something out there.
That brings up a big issue. One of the things that I look at is – At what point should a business start focusing on branding?
You mentioned that branding was the bad word because it was something that didn’t really give you a direct ROI or something trackable, but it seems like now you have to market what you do in order to get those leads in.
Then you have to establish that trust with those leads to make them pick you or make them take the next step. So at what point do you see businesses going from just pure lead generation and getting someone to pick up the phone versus actually starting to establish that brand across their different properties like you talked about their Facebook page and maybe their LinkedIn and things like that?
Robert: It seems to me like a lot of businesses haven’t even really recognized that that’s important yet. They don’t even know that that’s something they need to consider.
A lot know that they need to do something online as far as social media but they’re not sure what. A lot of them have the perception that: If we talk about social media that means I have to get a social media manager. That’s going to cost me tens of thousands of dollars or thousands of dollars a month.
The reality is – the way to look at it is it’s just one more thing you have to do when you establish yourself as a business owner. A couple of things we have done for years is get business cards, get a logo, get a website, maybe get some brochures. Okay, I’m ready to go out into the marketplace and say: Here’s my company. Here’s my brand. I’m ready to go.
But you have to take that one step further now and include all these social platforms. Let’s face it, people that are younger than us, that’s the first place they go. People that are older than us maybe go to the newspaper first.
You have to look at this now diverse audience and be ready for them and then see your brand and see it consistently. That’s the key word. You have to see it consistently online and really build your online presence.
You have to think about it in a broader scope than maybe you did in the past and that directly impacts the level of trust that the consumer is going to have with you – even another business owner if you’re B-B.
In some cases you’re just going to establish those things so that when they go out and look you up – and let’s face it, you and I both do this all the time – somebody solicits us or offers their product or whatever- we research their product a little bit. Hey! Do they have a Facebook page? What are the people saying on Facebook about them? Hey! Do they have a Twitter? Are people complaining on Twitter about this company?
We do our homework now. We don’t just go out and buy things anymore. Let’s face it, you go into BestBuy® and look at a dishwasher, you’re on your phone looking at prices at Lowe’s®, right? Or you’re taking screen shots of the serial number. They’ve got those scanners.
So people are doing their homework on you, on your business, and on you as a person. Branding and reputation management and advertising and client acquisition and conversion…those things are all kind of one now.
The most important thing you can do is just realize that’s the case and then take that first step to establish all that consistency in the brand. We’re not talking about spending thousands and thousands of dollars to do that.
For example, we do a social media branding package where we set up all the graphics and logos and all the accounts and all the places you need in the major social accounts for our clients for as little as a thousand or two thousands depending upon the client, and then they’re done.
That’s part of what you do with your business cards and your website and everything else. It’s all things when they look for you. They say: Okay, this guy is really set up…This company really knows what they’re doing.
Jack: You made an interesting point which I think is probably that pivot point for a lot of businesses. There are a lot of businesses that are spending money on SEO. They’re spending money on Pay Per Click and they’re getting that traffic but they’re not getting the results that they expected or that they were sold when they signed up for that kind of stuff.
I know you do a lot of Pay Per Click and you do SEO and things like that, but one thing you focus on is not just about getting that click, it’s what are they going to see on the other side of that click? I think that’s one of the big things that people miss.
A big part of your recipe is to make sure that what they see on the other side of that click is consistent with the message that brought them in the first place.
You talked about what you’re doing for businesses as far as that consistency brand and you’ve actually put a name to that – Social Packs, right? Tell us a little bit about what social packs are and kind of how you came up with that idea of social packs and what you’ve seen a result of people being consistent on the other side of that click.
Robert: Thanks for that question. What a social pack is is a social package. If you were to think of it as a bundle. You go into CircuitCity or something and you could just buy the TV or you could buy the TV and the surround sound together with the DVD player. That’s kind of what we’re doing.
We’re selling bundles and the reason it came to be is that when I was working with businesses and helping them with maybe SEO or Pay Per Click or some of these single item type deals they would always ask me what they should do about social media. Should I get into social media? Everybody’s talking about social media.
For the longest time I really didn’t have a good answer for them. I think in part that’s because I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with social media for my business. I never found any direct return on investment.
What it evolved into was more of ‘Okay, social media is a place where you connect with your customers. It’s not where you get sales. It’s where you build trust.
If they go into that environment and they don’t find you there or they find a poor representation of your organization there then it actually diminishes the trust. They might just move on to someone else who has a better looking brand.
It’s kind of the example of if you walk into the diner and there’s a cockroach running across the floor versus if you walk in and it’s squeaky clean and there’s a nice hostess greeting you at the front. It’s that experience, right, that immediately impacts in the back of your mind how you feel from then on. You may actually walk out of the restaurant with the cockroach depending upon how you feel about that sort of thing, but those types of small things…It could be something smaller than that…a dirty fork or whatever, but those things add up in a consumer’s mind.
So what we’re really talking about is making that place look shiny. When we talk to business owners and they’re like: I don’t know what to do about social media. Our answer is: Well, first let’s establish your brand. Let’s build a presence.
They get anxiety over the idea of these big comprehensive campaigns. Remember I told you earlier you have to do lots of things to really make sales and conversions work online? But if you bring up all those things in a conversation with a business owner right away they’d freak out. Oh! That’s too much information!
What we say is we just simplify it and say: Look, the first step is to establish your brand.
This is what a social pack is. A social pack is taking the look and feel of your logo, your business card, your website, putting it onto all those social platforms so that when I go to any one of those places I’m like: Oh, yeah. That’s Jack Mize. Oh, yeah. That’s Best Buy, Incorporated. The logo is there and everything’s the same. That looks familiar to me just like the banner on the building.
So what we do is the major platforms that we establish businesses on are of course, Facebook, LinkedIn…In some cases it’s important to get the CEO or an executive team on LinkedIn and to have a full profile look good because businesses will research you, especially if you’re in the B-B space. LinkedIn is critical. A LinkedIn Business Page is a place where you can advertise your product and services, talk about your company…it’s kind of another establishment of trust. Hey, look how great we are. Look at all these things we offer.
So Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter…I don’t see as much value in Twitter in terms of establishing yourself as a business, but for businesses that are business to consumers…like if you’re selling shoes, for example…Zappos is a good example of a company that has used Twitter as a way to engage with their customers. They get complains and feedback and stuff.
So you kind of need to be there even if you’re in the B-B space at a minimum – because you can have your brand up there- but also because it has some SEO value. If you publish something that connects to your website there’s actually some Google love that happens there.
YouTube, you know video like we’re doing now. Video has a tremendous amount of value. It’s very under-utilized in the small business/local business space.
YouTube channel you can actually have your company logo brand, your phone numbers, informational videos…I think you referred to this. You talked about educating customers and stuff. That’s a great place to educate your customer about what makes you different, what you’ve done for other people, place testimonials…things like that.
Pinterest – Now Pinterest is a new social platform. It’s not necessarily the one that most people would choose. Right across the hallway from me here at my office we’ve got a company who is a sunglass company. They’ve got started less than a year ago.
They started all on Facebook but they’re getting a tremendous amount of momentum and value out of Pinterest because when they release a new pair of cool shades they post it on Pinterest and when people repin those and everything you get shared out virally and it has a huge advantage. Is it perfect for B-B? Maybe not but you probably should still be there because these things can evolve. You can have your company Christmas party pictures there or something.
Then of course Google+. Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook, right? Despite our desires they’re forcing us to use it. If you’re a business and you have a Google Places listing, guess what? You have to have a Google+ account. It’s how they validate reviews.
If I go to leave a review I can’t be just anybody. I have to have a Google+ account which means I have to have a Gmail which means they know who you are so on and so forth.
So Google+ you can have a Google+ business page or places page and a Google+ account…same concept as Facebook where you can share information.
Now if you really want to empower yourself after having all these brands we set up all the accounts, put all the graphics up there and everything else. To take that to the next level the next logical question is: Okay, what do I do with all this stuff? Right?
So all of those platforms are probably the major ones you need to be set up on. For certain industries – if you’re a real estate agent or a doctor or lawyer- there are other vertical market social sites that you want to look at as well. But those are the major ones that we focus on and make sure that everybody is set up on initially.
Jack: So folks aren’t overwhelmed, there are a couple of points I really want to spotlight in what you said. (1) Even if you do nothing else…people say: What do I do on social media? They’re thinking they don’t have the time or resources to be posting things all the time. The fact that they just have a presence out there and even if that presence looks good…it has their brand and it has their compelling message on it…even though it’s not updated because like you said, these profiles show up in search results. So now it’s not just that people will find your website. Before they find your website they might find your LinkedIn profile. They might find your Facebook page. They might find your Google+ page. Even if you do nothing else…Don’t think: I think to take on this big task of tending to these every day and write stuff on this every day. Just by having the consistent brand and the same compelling message across those will do wonders. That’s a great place to start it sounds like just by doing that. Then you can take that baby step and say: Okay, which one of these do I really need to start focusing on and contributing to and start engaging my business on?
Robert: I’d like to speak to a point that you brought up which is something a lot of people don’t think about. In a way you were talking about it’s almost a form of proactive reputation management.
I get a fair number of customers who a past employee or a really angry customer goes to PissedConsumer.com and leaves a bad comment. It ranks in the search engines right below their company name or close to it, and getting that pushed down with other positive stuff can take 6 months, a year, or more just depending on how established that stuff is. If it’s press coverage from a business journal or a local newspaper you may never be able to remove it because Google says: Hey, that’s important and needs to be there.
So to be proactive a beautiful part of the social packs and this branding concept is that for Facebook you can get Facebook.com/yourcompany or Facebook.com/(your personal name) and then that will as you were saying, that will show up in the search engine.
So when they search for you – maybe it’s your business website comes up first and the next thing is your Facebook or your LinkedIn or your Twitter. Those things all take up that nice top 30% which is where the majority of the clicks go, right? It’s about protecting your brand as well. It’s not just about establishing your brand but it’s also about protecting it because now somebody is going to have a harder time to go in and say something bad about you online and then have it suddenly show up on your website.
I have a number of customers that that’s what I’m doing with our branding efforts is to remove that negative information or push it down and help them take over their first page when it comes to their business name because their customers are calling them and saying: Hey, did you know there’s some guy that said you stole something from them and this that? Then they have to go and explain it all and everything else. That’s just for the people who call and let them know not the people that are just leads and say: This guys obviously are not…
Jack: Yeah, that they’ll never hear from. Exactly. So what you’re doing is kind of the second step. One…people think they need Pay Per Click or SEO so people can find my business. But then the next step is once people find it, guess what? You’re probably not going to be the only one they find and then they go into what has become the de facto due diligence of our day and that’s ‘the next step I’m going to do is Google them’.
It’s not just about if you’re a chiropractor being found for back pain in my city. The next step is what are they going to find when they actually just Google your business name? The more social media profiles you have – not even really the content (what we’re talking about today but just that branding and consistency of message and look and feel) can go a long way to making them pick you over maybe those other 3 or 4 businesses that they found while they were searching the front page of Google. So that makes a really good point there.
Robert: A really good test for any business to do is to put it in their business name into Google and then scroll all the way to the bottom and the results. Then there will be a little square with some text and it says ‘Related Searches’. If you see your business name reviews or your business name complaints click on those and see what comes up.
The only reason those related search terms are down there at the bottom when your business name comes up is because people are typing them in.
You can get a similar field when you type into Google your business name and you’ll see that Google will suggest other search terms. If the very next one is your business name reviews or complaints guess what? People are doing their homework on you and you probably want to make sure what comes up on those pages is also something that is positive. One way to do that is through this branding effort that we talked about.
Jack: That right there I think is huge and something that’s simple that business can get their head around. It’s not techy stuff. It’s not about huge website development. It’s just about getting consistent brand and that main message out there.
Let me ask you this before we get out of time. What do you see right now is probably the number one thing that you see businesses doing wrong? What’s the number one thing that they’re focusing on that they probably shouldn’t be with their online presence?
Robert: It’s interesting that you say that. There’s probably a number of things but I’ll mention two even though you said the number one because these are kind of tied.
One is that they’ve put too much focus and emphasis on the website design and how pretty it is and ‘Hey, we need to spend a lot of time to make the logo the right color.’
They don’t focus enough on conversion which is making it easy for them to call you, having your address and your phone number prevalent and an opt in box where they can subscribe to your newsletter. That directly ties into the number two thing which is businesses aren’t building lists.
I don’t think that businesses really understand the value of having someone’s email address. It is tremendous. The reason they don’t understand the value of this is they always look at themselves. ‘Well, I don’t read any emails I get.’ Well, that’s because you’re a very busy business owner.
But you DO read emails. You read the emails that are important to you and are relevant to what you’re doing. So if you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica like I did this past February, guess what? If I’m getting emails about vacation packages in Costa Rica some months prior to my vacation I’m reading those emails. Now that I’ve already gone I’m deleting them, right?
So some of it is timing. A lot of it is the messaging. That’s something that a marketing consultant can help a business with…help them to get into the head of the consumer or the customer, figure out what that message needs to be so that the emails are being read.
When you have the right message to the right audience that turns into conversions that turn into sales and appointments.
The biggest mistake they make is they assume nobody reads emails therefore we don’t need a newsletter because ‘I don’t read emails.’
That one is huge. I recently helped the Surf School establish email lists. They now fill up their Spring break classes and camps before they even start whereas previously they were filling them up as they were starting because they weren’t getting that message out in advance. Their idea of marketing was calling and sending post cards and now they can send out an email and have an Early Bird Special. People can sign up before the camp actually starts and then they’re filling limited slots on the week of the actual event.
So it can be a tremendous value to prepare your consumers or your business partners of anything. I’ll give you one more example of a great use of email.
My wife’s company is a business payroll company. They had put on this big event about Obamacare. They were going to have all these lawyers come up and talk about ‘What’s it going to mean to your business…How much is it going to cost you?’
One hundred percent of that was handled by email…the appointments, telling them when to be there, all by email. If they didn’t have that list how would they get the message to all of those people at the same time? How would they have gotten them to register and sign up? This is all very important stuff.
Having that list of your customers and prospects is really key and critical.
Jack: I think that you may have also answered my next question. What do you feel is that one thing – that X Factor – that businesses can be doing that very few local businesses especially are paying attention to right now?
I think probably the email thing is one of the big ones that I still don’t see them taking advantage of. Is there anything else that you can think of that would give businesses that X Factor…that would give them that extra lift above and beyond what most of their competition is doing or even paying attention to?
Robert: This is something I’ve been doing recently with a lot of my customers. It’s called retargeting. I know you’re familiar with it, Jack. It’s an extremely inexpensive form of branding and trust building.
The concept is this…You can do it with Google AdWords and AdRoll and various other advertising platforms. You’ve probably seen it yourself. You go to any website that sells stuff online. Go to Zappos.com or something and look up some shoes then leave. You’re going to see Zappos banners, maybe even the exact shoes you were looking at, advertised in a banner as you surf the web. You’re at NYTimes.com or CNN.com and here’s Zappos, right? You as a small business owner have that same power to have your business brand, your offer, show up on the New York Times and CNN using something called retargeting. You can do it for as little as $4 per thousand impressions. So a thousand views of your banner costs you 4 bucks. Well, small businesses aren’t getting thousands of people to their website every day. They’re maybe getting a thousand a month or something. So you’re talking about maybe spending $20-30 a month to have your brand chase around your prospects and customers all over the web. They’re going to think: Wow! These guys are huge. They’re on CNN.com.
How much more trust does that bring for your brand? That is a huge X Factor we are just now tapping into with a lot of our clients. It also really accelerates if you’re doing Pay Per Click advertising, having that retargeted on the landing page and some other things can really accelerate your sales and give you that X-factor, as you said.
Jack: I think you just opened up a can of worms and left us with a really good cliff hanger to come back to talk about that because I think you are spot on with retargeting as being that X-Factor.
So real quick before we run out of time and shut it down, what should be on the top of any local business owner’s reading list right now as far as a book that they can grab that’s going to give them a big impact…some of those V8 moments?
Robert: Okay. This book really distills down one of my biggest concerns – I don’t want to say complaint- but things that bother me about business sometimes. That is that when you get the phone to ring for them…I’ doing all this advertising for you. I’ve got your brand established. The phone rings. You pick it up and the sale doesn’t happen. Why doesn’t the sale happen? Well, the script isn’t written. The conversion process isn’t there. You’re letting a part-time person who doesn’t care about your business answer the phone….whatever the case may be.
Something that I think ties into that rather nicely is a book called Pitch Anything. Pitch Anything is this VC capital raising guy who talks about all these big meetings where you take control of a sales conversation and you get people to say ‘yes’. You get them to pay attention.
It doesn’t directly correlate to your receptionist answering the phone but the concept of getting a meeting or phone call to convert into a sale is huge and tremendous. Everyone who sells anything should read Pitch Anything especially if you sell face-to-face. It will be of tremendous value to you.
Jack: Yeah, I agree. To me that’s one of the best books of the last 5 or 10 years on sales and marketing. Tremendous book and absolutely great suggestion.
So before we wrap it up, what’s next for Robert Stanley and where can we find out more about you?
Robert: Our company, Local Pulse Marketing, is focused primarily on the real estate and home service industry. We generate leads for real estate investors, real estate agents, HVAC companies, plumbers, anybody around the real estate market. We’ve pretty much done work for it all. You’ll see case studies and testimonials right on our website.
What’s next for us is we’re actually working on combining some of these campaign concepts we talked about today with the retargeting, Facebook advertising. There’s some Ninja stuff you can do with email lists and Facebook advertising. Also, creating this brand and really enhancing conversions because your competition is out there right now trying to figure out how to do this stuff.
The good news for you is that most of them are only doing 1 or 2 and when you do 3,4, or 5 and combine those things and we help you, we can help you launch that and help you get that going, you’ll have that X-Factor. You’ll have that exponential result that they won’t get. You’ll see a higher return on your marketing dollar and investment. That’s where we’re at and where we’re focused.
If you’re in the real estate and home services vertical and you need help, you should contact us. We’re the guys to do it.
Jack: Fantastic. We’ll put a link here on your post and you can Robert at Local Pulse Marketing and make sure you want that X-Factor package.
Thanks, Robert, very much. You’ve given us a lot of good stuff and I’m sure we’re going to have you back on to go deeper into some of this other stuff you have.
Folks, there you have it…the X-Factor. Robert, oftentimes one of the smartest guys in the room when we’re talking about local marketing and some of the stuff that he’s doing that can definitely take you above and beyond what you probably are used to seeing or being pitched on a regular basis in your emails. It goes way beyond being on the front page of Google which is really what we’re all about….becoming the local guru in your industry.
So, Robert, thank you very much, and until next time, we’ll see you on Online X-Factor.