0:00:00.3 ANNOUNCER: So you wanna know the ins and outs of managing your money? Well lucky for you, you’re just in time for another episode of Master Your Finances with Certified Financial Planner Professional Kurt Baker. Kurt and his panel of experts are here for you and will cover topics from a legal and personal standpoint. They’ll discuss tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money and more. Master Your Finances is underwritten in part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment and Rider University. Rider offers continuing studies programs for adults who need flexibility. Want to add new skills to your resume? Take a continuing studies course at Rider University. Now let’s learn how we can better change our habits with Kurt Baker.
0:00:46.3 Kurt Baker: Do you ever wonder where to begin about maximizing your marketing ROI? How can your business acquire leads in today’s inflationary economies to sustain its operations? Do you want to learn how sales and marketing collaborate to build a brand? Would you like to discover how to manage your marketing budget during market downturns using an investment mindset? In order to assist other businesses in expanding and achieving their objectives through strategic marketing and integrated communications, Jeff Barnhart launched CMA in 1987. With over 35 years of experience, from startups to Fortune 100 firms, including the first energy efficient, environmentally friendly lighting, solutions, and introduction of the earned Energy stars programs for runner, the EPA Green Lights Program, Jeff will show you how to achieve growth in your business despite recessions, inflation, job shortages, disruptions in the supply chain, blackouts, natural disasters and the pandemic. Jeff, welcome to the show. Sounds like you got everything covered. So now that we’ve been through this interesting past few years, you know it all now. You knew a lot before, but now you simply know everything. So what do we do?
0:02:06.8 Jeff Barnhart: Well, it’s interesting, Kurt. Thanks. First of all, thanks for having me. I appreciate it very much. But yeah, it’s some interesting times we’re in right now with how everything’s going on. And we’re just talking about technology, technology gives us a lot more opportunities than what we’ve ever had. And so it’s all about how do we take advantage of those opportunities? And what’s the best way to do it from a marketing perspective.
0:02:31.6 Kurt Baker: Well, that’s great. I know we have all this stuff. For years and years and years, I’ve been hearing, well, go digital, go digital, go digital, do all this stuff. And as a business owner, you’re kind of, “Okay, that sounds great.” But how do I start this whole process? Because it seems a little bit overwhelming to somebody who just knows, “Hey, you’re supposed to get your name out there, you’re supposed to do all these things.” But you hear things like SEO, you hear about optimization you hear about, you’re like, “Oh, that sounds like cool terms. But how do I start this off?” So it doesn’t feel quite so overwhelming?
0:03:01.7 Jeff Barnhart: Well, it’s interesting, going back several years, and I’ve been in marketing my entire life. It seemed to be a lot easier before and I’m not sure it was easier, but there was less things you had to worry about. There was less opportunities for you, back earlier, you had TV, you had radio, you had print, you might have had direct mail, maybe outdoor, and that was it. And you could focus your advertising marketing in those particular areas. And then with the advent of technology and the progression of technology, a lot of new opportunities have created themselves for everybody. And I think that’s where a lot of companies, businesses, individuals, who aren’t in it on a regular basis can get very confused, because there’s a lot of different terminology, you’ve talked about, SEO, SEM, content marketing, SE, social media marketing, everything that goes with it. So it’s like, where do you start?
0:04:00.0 Jeff Barnhart: And that is the question, but what we tell our clients is, today, the best way to store from a marketing perspective, you have to go back to how people… How you sell. In the early days you sold by identifying your prospect, targeting your prospect, going out and reaching to that prospect through various various mediums and various tactics. Today, it’s 180 degrees, it’s about being found. So if you think about it, before you used to have to find your prospect, now, it’s all about your prospect finding you. And how do they do that? Well, today, people that they say that, people are connected to the internet by at least three different mechanisms, whether it’s a laptop, a phone, a tablet, whatever, everybody’s connected to the internet, so everybody is looking for something through the internet. So the best way to be found is to have a very, very strong Internet presence.
0:05:01.7 Jeff Barnhart: And that starts with a very sound very strategic website on your company, or your business. So you can drive people to that website. And they’re gonna find you through various mechanisms and marketing tactics of how we drive people to that website. But the first thing is you have to have a good website, because that’s what people are looking for. They’re looking for that for information. And then quite honestly, in today’s buying age, the buying decision is almost 90% made before they even reach out and contact you. They’ve looked at your website, they looked at maybe your competitors websites, and they’ve kind of made an informed decision along the way of who they wanna talk to. So your website has to almost do a pre-sale for them, and get the information across to your potential audience of who you are, what you are, how you do it, and more importantly, why you?
0:05:53.1 Kurt Baker: So its interesting. Yeah, we hear about websites, it’s a lot. And I know, it’s gotten a little easier to put a website up, which doesn’t necessarily mean the websites are better. So what are some of the key components, when somebody’s like trying to get a website together, we hear about like, branding, obviously. So whatever your messaging is, you wanna make sure that flows through everything, but you’re saying start with a website. And then once you get it nailed down there, you can definitely push it out to all these other platforms that are out there, is that my understanding of what you’re kind of saying?
0:06:19.6 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, pretty much. The website is basically the home base, as we call it. That’s the starting point. That’s where you’re gonna ultimately drive your prospects and you’re gonna drive your audience to, and then we look at kind of an integrated campaign as to how you drive your audience to that website? How do they find you on? How do they find you? How do they find your website, really, and whether they’re on their phone or laptop, whatever, they’re typing in two, or three, maybe four, maximum five keywords. And when they’re typing in those three, four or five keywords, they better find you, you better come up, and you better come up on page one on a Google search when they’re doing that. And that’s where you get into the, search engine marketing, and SEO and content marketing and everything. They’re all the means to drive your potential audience to your particular website.
0:07:13.6 Kurt Baker: So do you have any tips on like, if you’re saying there’s two to five keywords out there, depending on who I am, let’s say I own a trucking company, that’s gonna be one set of keywords. If you have an insurance company, that’s another set. So how do you go out and decide… How do you determine what may be the best keywords or things you should be focused on for your particular businesses? Is there a way to figure that out?
0:07:33.5 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, there is, and again, there’s a lot of algorithms and areas that you can look at from a technical perspective. But that’s where I get into and I think, which is kind of a differentiator that we look at, because you gotta get dive deeper before you look at the tactics, you gotta look at a strategy. And strategy is gonna drive your execution. So your strategy is, who are the types of people that are your key customers? What are those key people that you want to show up on your website? Or to see your website? And then you look at how are they actually looking for you.
0:08:06.4 Jeff Barnhart: And that’s where it starts with, the search engine side of it, is looking at what keywords people are searching to find those various aspects of what you do. If you’re a trucking company, what are people looking for in a trucking company, they’re looking for somebody that might be nationwide and might be regional, somebody that can move you and in one day or move your freight or move a vehicle from state to state or whatever. So you wanna be able to identify how people are looking for you once you identify what those particular keywords are. And that’s much more than the five. But once you do that, then you can start developing a strategy of the keywords that you wanna develop into your site, so that when people are looking for you, they can find you.
0:08:52.3 Kurt Baker: Oh, interesting. So I guess can you start off by looking at what people are doing currently to find you if they have found you? And then maybe expand on that?
0:09:00.3 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, exactly.
0:09:00.6 Kurt Baker: ‘Cause you can look… I know you can look these things up with some of the tools. I think Google and some of that offer basic tools, but you have to really dig deep and find out who those people are ’cause you wanna find out who your ideal client so to speak is. Who is that person you really are trying to focus on, I guess?
0:09:12.8 Jeff Barnhart: Well, that’s key, who’s your ideal client, you have to identify who is your ideal client, first of all, and what are they looking for in your particular service, and then you can look at how they’re looking for that particular service. So again, it’s about understanding your business and knowing your, basically your ideal client, and then you wanna take them through a buyer’s journey of how they find you on your website with keywords because they’re not looking very long. They’re typing in, trucking, national, whatever. And you better show up when you do that. That’s why it’s critical to really do a lot of research upfront, because if you put the time in upfront, the results on the back end are gonna be that much greater for you. And again, when you look at marketing, marketing is an investment.
0:10:00.0 Jeff Barnhart: I think too many people look at it as an expense. And that’s why people sometimes cut back on marketing during crisis times or whatever. But if you look at marketing the way it should be as an investment, no different than a financial investment, you should be able to look at it, if I spend X amount of dollars, what can I get in return? And if you can’t determine that, then you probably shouldn’t even do it.
0:10:25.3 Kurt Baker: Oh, I happen to agree with that. Talking about the financial, people like… When things are tougher, that’s usually when the opportunities appear. And I assume that sounds like intuitive marketing when things are tough, ’cause river businesses are shifting. So if the markets down in your particular business area, that means it’s down for all your peers as well. So maybe there’s some opportunity that when thing’s expanding and maybe now instead of being number four, you can be number one, all the way back up.
0:10:47.0 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah. And that’s the perfect way to look at it too. Because, studies will show you over the course of time, those that continue to market during downturns or recessionary times, end up far more advanced or far more ahead than those that don’t. And the thing I like about it is a lot of people do cut back. So if other people are cutting back, you can have a greater presence without even increasing your marketing budget, simply because other people are cutting back on theirs.
0:11:15.0 Kurt Baker: That’s a great way to look at it. So just like when the market’s down in general, you wanna lean in a little bit, selectively be careful about how you do it, sounds like in marketing, when the market’s down, you wanna lean in a little bit, maybe be a little more selective about what you’re doing, very, very targeted. But then you can expand.
0:11:30.1 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, very targeted, and you’re really no different than the financial aspect of it, you don’t have to, jump in with both feet, but you wanna keep a presence you wanna focus on maybe your most profitable projects or products, you wanna focus on maybe your inventory that you have available for you. So you’re getting the greater return on that aspect of your marketing budget. But yeah, it’s gotta be a return on investment because if you’re not getting your return, like I said, you shouldn’t even do it. It’s not like the lights where you turn out the lights, but marketing, you gotta get a return on that investment.
0:12:00.7 Kurt Baker: Excellent. Yeah, and the good thing about digital is you can track it, so you can actually see what’s going on.
0:12:06.7 Jeff Barnhart: It’s kind of a good thing, but it can be a curse too, if you don’t really understand it. And a lot of people, we have a lot of clients that, we take the time to explain it to them because although, digital can be very measurable and that is good that it is, a lot of digital marketing is also for branding purposes. Branding is to create that brand presence awareness out there, which is much more difficult, if almost impossible to actually track a one-on-one return of that.
0:12:36.2 Kurt Baker: Excellent. We’re gonna take a quick break, you’re listening to Master your Finances. We’ll be right back.
0:12:40.6 ANNOUNCER: This is Master your Finances with Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner Professional, learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning managing and saving your money and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten in part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment and Rider University. Rider University offers flexible education for adult learners. For more information, it’s rider.edu/nextstep.
0:13:08.9 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. We’re here with Jeff Barnhart of CMA. And we’re talking about the importance of marketing, especially in a downturn where you can actually increase your market share when things turn around. So it’s important to get to keep a present, be strategic. And just before the break, we talked a little bit about branding. And I just remember years ago, how they talked about the value of brands, I remember Coca-Cola was the one we used to hear about all the time, I think Apple might surpass them now. But think about you buy a company, one company versus the other company, what are you really buying? Usually you’re buying the name, the brand, the structure, what you’re getting is, that’s what you’re paying a premium for. And so can you give us a little bit of an understanding about from a marketing perspective? How do you go out and “brand” yourself to give yourself that extra value, an image in the public that maybe other of your competitors wouldn’t have?
0:14:00.7 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, sure, Kurt. Branding is very critical and in a marketing component ’cause, branding is pretty much, what people feel when they think about you, or they see you, or they look at your website, or they see your logo, it’s a feeling they get, and you want that feeling to be a positive feeling. And in the case, when you look at some of the companies we talked about today, like Apple, they want you to think technology when you think about Apple, ’cause that’s who they are. Coca-Cola, for the longest time was the real thing, ’cause they wanted you to think they were the real thing, they were they the only cola out there, if you will. But branding has taken on a life of its own per se, especially in the digital world. Because, again, you have so many different ways to drive people to your website. And when people come in to that website, they’re gonna to look at your website, and they’re gonna get a feeling about you.
0:14:54.6 Jeff Barnhart: It’s like driving through the neighborhood and looking at various houses and some houses you’re gonna look at and say “Wow, I can see myself living there.” Somebody could say, “Jeez, I really not sure I wanna even be in this neighborhood.” So when you look at branding and in a website, per se, it’s the look of what you want people to think of when they think about your product or service. And then you wanna kinda look at, what your brand promise is, what do you stand for? If I do business with you, what am I getting? And that’s where it ties back into looking at the idea of being unique and being able to have that brand promise that when people look at you or think about you, something positive comes to mind, and you want them to remember that. And that’s what you kind of remind them with an ongoing basis through the various marketing tactics.
0:15:43.8 Kurt Baker: So how does one go about figuring out what their brand should be? So you’re out there… You’re in business, let’s say and you’re like, “Okay, let’s take our trucking company, I know, my trucking company, and I know there’s many trucking companies out there, how can I make myself a little bit different? Because everybody’s driving a truck, probably the same darn truck. But I’m gonna do it a little bit better, a little bit different, so you’re gonna hire me instead of somebody else?”
0:16:06.7 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah. And, again, I think that’s the toughest challenge when it comes to branding. If you’re looking at, 2, 3, 4 trucking companies side by side, it comes down to what makes you unique, why you versus… Why trucking company A versus trucking company B. And that’s when, we like to get back into telling a story and telling that story through case studies or case histories, if you will, of successful ventures that you’ve done with clients, where you’re… In some cases, your clients are speaking for you about, they selected, this trucking company, they selected you, because, “Hey, you have the best customer service, you answered the phone on the first ring, you showed up on time.” Those are all unique selling propositions that helped build the story about the brand. And it’s even better when you can have, your clients tell that story for you through case studies. But that’s where people look at that story of who you are and it conjures up. And that’s why the internet is so crucial today, because as easy it is to talk about positive thoughts, it’s also very easy for people to post negative comments about your brand on the internet, like, you see it all the time, “Never showed up, didn’t answer calls,” whatever. Well, that’s gonna create a very negative presence in the marketplace about your company, and your brand is gonna kinda go down because of that.
0:17:33.6 Kurt Baker: You hit on two big areas that I picked up on. One is everybody has their own unique personal story. So every owner-operator, company, we all have our own unique story. So even if the companies are, “look” the same on the outside, if you really talk about them, they have their own beginning their starts, why they began the business? Why they do what they do? Why the owner started the business? So you’re talking about how we make that story part of the brand and once way shape or form and how the clients interact back to that. So everybody’s unique, so you have to nail down what is your personal story, so to speak, and why do you do what you do.
0:18:13.1 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, very much so and even looking at CMA, the business I started 35 years ago, I came from the corporate side of an agency client relationship. So, being on the on the client side, I had my frustrations and successes with, various marketing companies and advertising agencies. And so when I started CMA, I knew what the positive feelings I wanted to do for my clients to have with me. And so when I started, our business, CMA, I said, “Hey, I understand. I’ve been on your side of the desk. I’ve been there. I understand that you have to present something up to senior management. You may not have that decision-making ability yourself.” And so we always approached it from, “Hey, we’ve sat on your side of the table before, we’ve sat on your side of the desk, and we know what you’re under, we know the stresses, and so therefore we can make your job a lot easier by working with us.” And the aha moment for the client is, “Huh, somebody does understand what I do. I don’t have to educate them. I don’t have to explain it to ’em all over again. They do understand.”
0:19:12.5 Kurt Baker: So they feel like they have a true ally, somebody who’s been on the inside of their structure a little bit…
0:19:16.5 Jeff Barnhart: Very much so.
0:19:17.0 Kurt Baker: That can kinda help them navigate the process with them, as opposed to them having to teach you and maybe you doing it incorrectly as far as what they have to deal with. That’s awesome. The other thing I thought was interesting, which you talked about, negative comments, which I think is an interesting thing because I’ve seen some people actually turn those… Like there’s a negative comment posted, but then I’ll see some businesses that actually interact with it. And when I read through the whole thing, I’m like, “Oh.” I actually like the business more after the negative comment, because the person who made the comment, they actually dug into it a little bit. So what are your thoughts about how to manage those? Do you just ignore them or do you kind of… What do you do with those when they’re out there?
0:19:54.8 Jeff Barnhart: Well, most of that is social media, and that’s kind of the pluses and minuses of social media. Social media can be a great and wonderful tactic. And you also have those keyboard cowboys that sit behind the desk and do nothing but talk about, “I went to your restaurant last night and the steak was bad and the service was bad and everything else.” They kind of just wanna talk about negative things. And no, you can’t ignore it, because if you ignore it, you’re kind of saying, “Okay, we may not agree with it, but we’re just ignoring it.” So, I think you always have to respond to negativity. You don’t wanna get confrontational or whatever, but you wanna be able to explain to it. And sometimes it’s just a matter… Especially using the restaurant business today, especially down the shore where it’s very, very difficult to get help, people are waiting in lines and people are saying, “Hey, I waited forever to get my meal and it was cold.” Sometimes you just wanna say, “You know what, we had a bad night. We’ve got a good reputation, we had a bad night, we were short a server that day, but we still elected to try to accommodate a full compliment of people coming into the restaurant, and we apologize. Please stop by and check us out again.”
0:21:05.5 Jeff Barnhart: And like you said, most people look at that and say, “Yeah, you know, I know it’s tough for that business,” and they’re acknowledging it, they’re not running from it. And I think a lot of people look very positively at those types of responses.
0:21:18.8 Kurt Baker: Oh, absolutely, ’cause I’ve had that personal experience in a restaurant where you sit down, they go… They actually apologize in advance, “We’re a little short-staffed tonight, so things are a little slower. We just wanna give you a heads up, so to speak.” I thought that was interesting. So that’s kind of… To me, that was a branding thing. They were making sure we had information, right? Which is nice.
0:21:33.9 Jeff Barnhart: It is. And if you go back before social media, that interaction would have never happened because the client, the customer had no vehicle, no way to talk about that other than if you ran into somebody. But now, social media… Before, everybody had a voice, but now, everybody has a channel through social media, and those that are successful learn how to leverage it from a positive perspective, and learn how to deal with the negative that you will get at a certain point of time and turn it into a positive as best you can.
0:22:07.2 Kurt Baker: So once we’ve gotten our branding kind of figured out, which is the key, and you get your personal story, your brand, then it has to take on a look and a feel that matches this story. So can you tell us a little bit about how that process goes? So if I’m a corporation, I’d be different, a big company as opposed to somebody a little more agile, let’s say. I mean, everybody’s got their own little personality, ’cause we see all kinds of images out there. Can you tell us a little about how you come up with these different images for people?
0:22:30.8 Jeff Barnhart: There’s all kinds of images and especially in today’s day and age, ’cause there’s more and more businesses, there’s more and more small business, small business is what drives our country today, and more and more people are starting small businesses. But it comes down to a lot of it is, is you the personality of the company, and especially in a small business where the company takes on the personality of the owner or the few people that start the business, and if somebody, for example, looking at a website, what do you want them to see when they see that website? Are you a conservative company? Are you a cutting edge company? Are you fast and furious? Are you slow and methodical? And each has its own advantages, but that’s what kind of defines sometimes the color selection, the font selection, so that they not only read about you, but they can visually see, “Oh yeah, I can see what they’re trying to achieve here from a graphic perspective,” and the greatest thing about websites, as opposed to before, your corporate brochure was your website per se, but it took a long time to design that corporate brochure, took a long time to print it. It was very expensive to print it.
0:23:40.6 Jeff Barnhart: And now with websites, you can kinda modify and manipulate on an ongoing basis to suit existing needs that you have, you can post content on your website that might talk about specials that you’re having, or product inventory that you’re looking to push out the door, so it can be instantaneous recognition for your need as a business or company to your audience out there, and that’s where it comes back to making sure that you have the keyword set up, that you can drive people to those particular areas.
0:24:13.0 Kurt Baker: Alright, thanks Jeff. I’m gonna take another quick break. You’re listening to Master Your Finances.
0:24:16.8 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, Certified Financial Planner Professional, learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten in part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment and Rider University. Rider University offers flexible education for adult learners. For more information, it’s rider.edu/nextstep.
0:24:46.6 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finance. I’m here with Jeff Barnhart of CMA, and we’ve been talking about some branding and getting things going, and look and feel the site can match your messaging, your personal story for your corporation, for the ownership, and to really make it all kind of work well together. And one thing you brought up in there was like how you can post content or blogs on your site, and we hear about that a lot, so what are your thoughts about content and like how to manage that and make sure you keep the site up today, ’cause my understanding is things like the SEO and Google and all these things, when they search, they like new fresh information to be showing up on the website, they kind of favor that, I guess, right? When you have content on it.
0:25:28.0 Jeff Barnhart: Absolutely, they favor fresh content on your website, they favour fresh content that you have out there in the marketplace, and the best way to do it is to be ongoing with your content, and the best way to be successful at it, is to incorporate the key search engine words that we’ve talked about previously into your content itself, so those keywords are replicating itself through your website, and that’s one of the positive algorithms that Google picks up where they see you’re being repetitive about what you’re doing, the Google algorithms are saying, “Yeah, okay, this company’s got it, they’re very consistent in their messaging and they’re not being all over the place,” and that’s a very positive of how that particular works. And also, again, it gets back to, you’re typing in those three, four or five words, those words are showing up, whether it’s a blog on your site, or whether it’s a press release on your site, or whether it’s a case history on your site, it reinforces the keywords that people are searching to find you in the marketplace itself, and that’s what they’re doing, they’re going on there, that’s where your leads are coming from.
0:26:41.0 Jeff Barnhart: Once they find you on your website, you have to make it very easy for them, or you have… First you’ll have to make it easy to catch the information, who are they? Who’s coming to your site? What do they want? Can you offer them help, things of that nature. So once you capture that information, how can you turn that into sales leads for yourself, and that’s how marketing and sales has to work together for the success of a given organization or company.
0:27:06.5 Kurt Baker: Now, you said marketing and sales, now you wanna differentiate this? I know there’s a difference, but do you wanna clarify the difference between marketing… What is marketing versus sales?
0:27:13.5 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, I have a very simple definition of that Kurt, and it’s because people ask me all the time, because a lot of people confuse marketing and sales, they think marketing is sales, and nothing really could be farther from the truth, yet they’re so related and they have to work together to make it be a success for your company. But quite simply for me, sales is the implementation of marketing. So marketing is all about the prep, the upfront work, and sales is the implementation of that aspect. I’ve had a lot of companies that we deal with where they say, “We want leads.” “Okay, we can provide leads to your site,” but they almost… What they’re saying is, “We want you to create sales for us,” and we’re not a sales company, we’re a marketing company, so we can drive people to your site, we can drive the right people to your site, but at that point in time, you need a sales support organization operation person that can reach out and talk to those people on an ongoing basis, in most cases, unless you have a product-based site where you can drive people, where you can buy in online stores, which is becoming more and more prevalent today.
0:28:20.3 Jeff Barnhart: I was referring more to the B2B where you’re selling a service, but today, and especially since the pandemic situation, people aren’t going out and shopping, they’re shopping online, and again, it’s a little punching something in there, you come up on a website, I want this, I like it, I like your company, I like what I see. Boom, I can order here, I push a button and if I’m lucky, I get it tomorrow at my door step. What could be more convenient than that?
0:28:47.0 Kurt Baker: Yeah, it’s a little scary, isn’t it?
0:28:48.5 Jeff Barnhart: It’s a lot scary. It’s almost like… I see it all the time, and because I know it, I know what’s going on, but a lot of people say, “Boy, it’s really scary. I was looking up something online the other day, and then something popped up on my website, it was the very product I was looking at, and how do they know? It’s very spooky.” Yeah it’s convenient, but it can be spooky because it’s almost like big brother is kind of watching you on an ongoing basis.
0:29:12.0 Kurt Baker: Yeah, you bring up an interesting thing, so there’s… I guess you wanna describe what that is and how these ads are appearing, ’cause you do a search and it’s capturing it, I guess through the cookies or whatever that are on your site, and it’s reading what your preferences are, so to some degree that’s supposed to be more convenient for… So do you wanna explain a little bit of how all that really works and why people kinda gets surprised?
0:29:33.5 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, it’s really interesting. At the agency, we have technical people, that’s what they specialize in and they can give you the technical explanation.
0:29:41.0 Kurt Baker: High level is fine. [laughter]
0:29:43.0 Jeff Barnhart: But the simple explanation is you’ve already told people what you’re looking for and what you wanna see, and it’s just reading that information, so when you show up on a different website, it says, “Oh, you wanted to see this before, you might wanna see it again here,” and so it pops back up again, and if you learn how to manage that process, it can be very convenient ’cause you know it’s gonna pop up again later on. But again, a lot of people do get scared by it ’cause they think somebody is watching in on them. But that’s where the technology is today. That’s where it evolves, where they know where you’re at, what you’re looking at, what you’re seeing, and everything else. We do a process that we do on our website and we do what a lot of our clients called re-targeting ads. So if somebody goes into your website and they’re on your website, we’ll do a re-targeting ad for them, where if they’re on another website, we’ve captured all that information before and we’ll pull a re-targeting ad up about the website that you’re on for your company, so it’s a reminder for them, “Yeah, I was on that website yesterday. Yeah. I forgot to order that and let me go back in and order that.
0:30:46.7 Jeff Barnhart: So it’s kind of a reminder to those people that were on your website that, “Hey, you were on here yesterday, or the day before yesterday, or even last hour, and we just wanna remind you we’re still here and that product you were looking at, we might even have a special on it today if you buy within the next whatever.” So again, it makes things very easy sometimes and very convenient, but it can be a bit spooky at times.
0:31:11.0 Kurt Baker: That’s really cool. Yeah, it just fascinates me, the whole digital world and how it all evolved, and now it’s like really keeping pretty close eye on us. So we have our branding out, now we wanna spread the word out there, so what are some of the next steps once you kinda get the message, the branding, the site, so how do we start marketing and get it out there, what are some of the next steps you take and what are the types of ads and ways to reach out and reach the right people?
0:31:34.0 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, the key thing that we do, we start with a content strategy, and that’s what… That starts the messaging and the content strategy, which ties into your blogs and your PR and things like that. We’ll get into digital advertising, which is advertising digitally through sites that may be similar to yours or sites that might support what you’re looking for, where if somebody’s on a given site, they’ll see a digital ad of yourself on there, so we’ll tie in the content strategy with the digital ad strategy. I talked to you before about the retargeting strategy, where they’re on the website, you’re gonna maybe have an ad pop up or what that is… There’s a lot of people are using what they call geofencing now, where it’s like drawing a circle around a certain area that you wanna target, for example a bank wants to drive… Target an area where maybe a branch of a competitive company, they closed down that branch last week. And so as a company that has a branch in that area, you draw a circle around that area, so if one of those companies or customers come into that area, your ad pops up…
0:32:42.0 Kurt Baker: “Hey, great deal on a new checking account by the way.”
0:32:43.6 Jeff Barnhart: Exactly right. “Great deal on new checking account. We’re right down the road, you don’t have to… You can still stay on the same street and everything else.” So a lot of it’s about creativity and being consistent with the content, and if you combine the content strategy with the upfront SEO, social media is a key driver today. Social media is one of the biggest integrators of driving people to websites, ’cause people are on social media, and that’s what a lot of the companies are on social media. Again, it’s all about driving people to your website when they’re reading about you on social media as well.
0:33:20.0 Kurt Baker: ‘Cause I hear social media, if you wanna touch on that just a little bit, I know some are coming up, some are going down, more people are using LinkedIn for certain things, and I think Facebook, certain, there’re… People are changing. Aren’t they changing over time? Like, who’s on these different platforms it seems. That’s just my read as a lay person.
0:33:39.0 Jeff Barnhart: It’s interesting. I had a client one time, a while ago, he said to me, he says, “We gotta be on Facebook.” And I said, “Okay, well, why do you feel you have to be on Facebook?” And he said, “Well, my daughter is on Facebook and she said I gotta be on Facebook.” And so to me, we practice social media marketing, it’s gotta be for a purpose as far as what you’re doing, and Facebook may be the appropriate audience for you, it may not be. But Facebook is more or less a consumer person-to-person type of channel, that’s what it’s known for. LinkedIn is known more for the business side of it, Instagram is kind of crossing over both platforms now, people are posting pictures on Instagram from a business perspective, and then you have individuals posting what they’re eating on Instagram, so it’s kind of a crossover platform. But it’s always changing, and I think it is gonna change. And now you have the… There’s a lot of conversation, especially right now, on the way here I was listening to the radio about TikTok, and TikTok is… It’s all basically Chinese-driven, and they say that the authorization you have to sign when you sign on for your TikTok account is that they own all the information that they have access to on your phone.
0:34:56.0 Kurt Baker: Which is like everything.
0:34:57.0 Jeff Barnhart: Which is everything.
0:35:00.0 Kurt Baker: Not good. [laughter]
0:35:00.5 Jeff Barnhart: So your contents, maybe your passwords, whatever they have, photos, they have the rights to all that stuff, so you have to be careful of what you use because the technical side of it allows the companies in those areas to really delve into a lot of your personal information and so you have to take special precautions to guard against some of those aspects to keep some of your private information private.
0:35:24.5 Kurt Baker: I agree with you 100%. We need to pay a lot more attention to these little disclaimers that pop up, I know like the Europeans have more disclaimers now than we do at the moment, as far as even going on a website, they’re explaining what information… And they could decide, ’cause a lot of people don’t realize, you do have a decision or you can just stay off the platform altogether and we’re gonna… That’s excellent information. We’re gonna take another quick break. You’re listening to Master Your Finances.
0:35:48.4 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, Certified Financial Planner Professional. Learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten in part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment, and Rider University. Rider University offers flexible education for adult learners. For more information, it’s rider.edu/nextstep.
0:36:18.3 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances, I’m here with Jeff Barnhart of CMA, and we’ve been having a wonderful journey through marketing and sales, which are different, so marketing drives sales, sales aspect, you do marketing, once the lead is generated, is properly targeted, the right person or a client, then the sales team takes over and matches them up with whatever the appropriate solution is to that. So, what I heard here a lot about is like the branding, the personal story, content is enormous, I know that, so you get the content out ’cause that’s always a little bit unique to your own personal company and so forth. So once we get all this kinda up and running and all these different aspects of the market that you talked about, how do I kinda monitor this and make sure I am kinda pushing things in the right direction and just watching this whole system, ’cause it sounds like it gets fairly complex, but now I need to decide what’s working, what’s not working, what to optimize, how do we tweak it a little bit along the way?
0:37:19.0 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, the key question that a lot of people ask is, “How do I monetize it? What is the best way for me to approach this?” And a lot of people will ask if they’re not adept at it, they’ll say, “What should my budget be?” And there’s different aspects for different industries or different cycles where you’re at in the business, if you’re starting out, obviously, it’s like an airplane when you take off, you have to put more gas to it because you need more power to take off, once you’re up in the air you can pull back a little bit because now you’re coasting, you don’t need that thrust that you had before.
0:37:56.8 Jeff Barnhart: And what I always tell clients is there’s no right or wrong budget, it ties into affordability upfront because you have to afford the first step of it. But then you have to be able to look at it and I like to back into it, say from a year out and say, “How will we define success a year from now? If we’re at X today from an… Typically tied into a sales perspective,” ’cause that’s what you’re trying to do, increase sales. “But if we’re at X today a year from now, what does success look like for you?” And some people are very, “Well, we want to triple business in one year.” That would be nice, but quite honestly, and you really don’t have the dollars to do that or what it would take to do that, but if you take a look and you back into it, and say, we wanna be at maybe a 20, 25, 10% increase, whatever it is in one year, then you can look at what that increase is and you can tie into what that equates to you from a business perspective, and then you can look at it and say, what percentage of that do I wanna allocate to my marketing budget to achieve that? And then you hit on a critical point, Kurt, is how do we measure that? And one of the nice things about the digital medium today is the fact that you can measure it.
0:39:12.4 Jeff Barnhart: We have a very good process that we use for ourselves, even evaluating leads coming into our business through various aspects, various channels, different places that we advertise in, and a very sophisticated tracking process as to following the lead down the journey of where it is, are they just kicking the tires? Are they looking to do something else? We reach back out to ’em, Where did it go? And then we track the actual sales for that, and then we track the actual sales back to what medium did it actually come from, and we go by the premise that if you’re getting a successful return on a budget… Whatever your budget is, okay, we feel you should get a five times return on your budget. So if you’re spending… Pick a number. If you’re spending 10,000, you should give 50,000, and if you’re spending 100,000, you should get 500,000. That’s a good successful return. You can be successful with less than that, but that’s a good number to look at from an approximation perspective. Once you start approaching 10%, then you’re higher up 10 times, then you’re really getting a very, very successful campaign, and you can do that by tweaking what you do.
0:40:24.9 Jeff Barnhart: And that’s the nice part about digital media, and that’s where a lot of the time goes into it from a strategic perspective is tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak. Whether it’s an ad do an AB testing of this headline versus that headline, what is driving more? What’s attracting more? Different copy. Different content. What are people doing? And if you put the money in to tracking that from a strategic perspective, you can watch your return go up or down, and obviously you wanna keep monitoring so that return is going up and then it becomes very easy because then somebody says, “Hey, wait a bit, I invested 100 grand and I got 500 grand in return. If I invest 200 grand, can I get a million in return?” And yeah the ratio should be able to stay the same, and so that’s why we look at what we do. The product or service that we have is marketing, but we’re basically an investment company, companies hire us to grow their business, and that’s some of the metrics that we use for a successful return on investment when it comes to their marketing budget. And when I sit with everybody I always say, “If you don’t think you’re gonna get a return on it, you’re probably better off just putting your money in the pocket, maybe putting it in the stock market some place because that’s where you wanna get. You wanna look at a successful return on your marketing investment.”
0:41:40.4 Kurt Baker: You talked about a lot of things in there, but can you explain real quickly just what AB testing is just so people are clear on what that is?
0:41:47.2 Jeff Barnhart: Sure, absolutely. One of the nice things about digital marketing is you can run competing ads, if you will, and they’re your own ads, but you’re competing against yourself, which is what’s getting the best return. And it could be different headlines, it could be different body copy, but you might test one headline against another to see what’s getting you a better return on ad A or ad B, that’s what we called AB testing. Ad a lot of times we’ll test the headline. What’s drawing their attention to the headline. We do it a lot with email marketing, email marketing is very challenging because people get so many emails today. How do you cut through the clutter? And the only way you can actually do that if you’re not a known entity where they know who that person is, that it’s coming from is to have a very enticing headline that might entice the prospect to click through and read more on what you do, but that’s a nice part about digital media, you can test it.
0:42:41.9 Jeff Barnhart: And it doesn’t cost you anything extra. Whereas back in the flat days, you had to create ad A and ad B and place them and price them out differently, to have them be out there. Now you can just test them on an ongoing basis and continue to tweak, and that to me is what’s nice and exciting about the digital market. You can continually test it and tweak it and tweak it as you go.
0:43:03.6 Kurt Baker: So not just digital, you can track other types of media as well, is my understanding correct? How do you… Like if I’m doing a TV ad or if I’m doing a… Let’s say a newspaper ad. Something that’s not necessarily digital or magazine, are there ways to track those as well? What are some of the ways to track those?
0:43:18.2 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, there’s ways to track everything per se, but digital is good because you’re getting a direct one-on-one return. Newspaper, you can do it or you can drive them to certain landing pages that you might have for a specific ad, so if you’re doing a print ad and you wanna drive them to your website and you wanna track it, a lot of times, we’ll create separate, what we call landing pages, where we drive them specifically to that landing page, where we can track where that’s coming from and who it is that it’s coming from, so you can track the print side of it or the flat side of it as well. So yeah, there’s ways to track the flat side of it, digital is a little more interesting ’cause because of technology, you have a lot more opportunity in front of you to do that.
0:44:03.4 Jeff Barnhart: But again, those I think are very successful at it, are those that understand you have to invest your time into three things to me. Your goals, what do you wanna achieve? ’cause if you don’t know where you wanna go, any road will get you there. Your strategy, which is how are you going to achieve it? And then your success, what is your degree of success to that? And understanding that that’s a skill set from a marketing strategy perspective, that’s very critical to the business, and the more you invest in that side of it… The greater your return is gonna be, and there’s some people that just wanna throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks, and that’s an approach, it’s not the approach that I would wanna take. A kind of like a rifled approach.
0:44:46.2 Kurt Baker: So if you ever had anyone… You don’t have to name the name, but I mean ever had a company or entity went in like, “Yeah, I’m not so sure I wanna do this.” They went, they did it, and they maybe had a pleasant surprise or something, because I know, especially if you’re starting out with a fairly large budget for your particular company, whether it’s 5000 or 100,000 that might be a lot of times that’s a stretch for companies to try these things. So somebody went outside I’m gonna commit this money, not sure it’s gonna work. Any stories that you can tell us?
0:45:10.6 Jeff Barnhart: We know it’s interesting because of how the market has changed so dramatically, I had to learn starting about 10 years ago, how I look at marketing. Because if I was pitching my business to you today, or anybody pitching their business to you today, I may pitch my business to you, in a way that I know you’re gonna understand and how I wanna present that to you, okay. But when we turn around and we look at now, you’re finding me. You may not be looking for me the way I’m trying to sell you, and you may be looking at me through other aspects of it, so from our aspect of it, when we look at it from a marketing company, people may be looking for websites, they may be looking for digital media, they may be looking for SEO. So we have to be able to market the way people are looking for you. And that’s what we kinda call the buyer’s journey, what’s their journey as far as how they’re looking for you, and sometimes it takes that aha moment that you’re talking about for people to really understand how that works because it’s kind of changing the mindset of pitching what you do to somebody versus that person finding you. ‘Cause the two messages can be very, very different, and if you don’t understand that, you may not be using the appropriate strategy for you.
0:46:29.5 Kurt Baker: So we have to learn how to attract people to us, right? We can’t just go out and capture those…
0:46:35.7 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, and that’s the key word, and the attraction may not be what you think is gonna attract them to you, but in their eyes, what are they looking for? And sometimes it took me a while to realize, even in our business, people are looking for me a lot different than how I thought they were looking for us.
0:46:50.7 Kurt Baker: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking is that they’ve never been surprised like, “Oh, I didn’t think that was gonna work, and all of a sudden, Wow, that worked pretty good.”
0:46:57.8 Jeff Barnhart: Yeah, big time like that, because a lot of times, I think as much as I believe in strategy and goals and everything, ’cause I’m an old-time marketing person, a lot of today from a marketing people side, people jump right to tactics. “I wanna do a website, I wanna do social media, I wanna do this.” Without looking at what’s the strategy of why you should be doing that, and that was kind of a learning moment for me to understand that people might… They wanna jump right to the tactic and once they’re there and I’m talking to them, I can explain why they wanna talk about goals and strategy as well, but, yeah, that’s kind of that aha moment. When you look at wow, that’s… “You found me how?” And they say, “Well, okay,” then it kinda changes your mindset about how you go about using that type of marketing to attract new people to your business.
0:47:45.4 Kurt Baker: It sounds like we need to plan, kinda like you need an architect before you build a nice house. So if you want it to be all right, you better decide what you’re gonna build first before you go in and make all the changes along the way, it’s a lot cheaper. A lot easier to do.
0:47:54.0 Jeff Barnhart: Well, it is a lot cheaper, and it is a lot better and it is a lot easier, and from that aspect, if you don’t have a plan, then you really don’t know what you’re doing and no different than an architect building a house, if you don’t have a solid design to create a solid foundation, the rest of it, it’s a house of cards, and it’s just kind of a whim and a prayer.
0:48:17.1 Kurt Baker: Thank you, Jeff, this has been extremely informative. We really appreciate it. We learned all about marketing branding, digital media, it’s all changing and you have to keep up with it, but the key is it’s something we should all be doing as companies on an ongoing basis at some level, because otherwise how are we gonna attract people to our business to let them know what we’re doing? You have to market if you’re gonna create sales. Thanks again, Jeff, you’ve been listening to Master Your Finances. Have a great day.
0:48:41.3 ANNOUNCER: That was this week’s episode of Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional. Tune in, every Sunday at 9:00 AM to expand your knowledge in building and managing your wealth. Missed an episode? No worries, you can subscribe to a free weekly episode of Master Your Finances to listen to on your favorite podcasting platform, Apple, Spotify, Google podcasts, whatever. Master Your Finances is underwritten in part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment and Rider University. Rider offers Continuing Studies programs for adults who need flexibility. Want to add new skills to your resume? Take a Continuing Studies course at Rider University.