Wednesday Apr 20, 2022

How small or solo businesses can beat out the big guys EP-025

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Blake Beus  0:01  
Okay, yeah. All right, record. We are. We are recording. Okay, Greg, you're telling me that you've seen a lot of small, like small solo business owners people that were running their ads and things on their own. Getting more and more frustrated and stressed about ads. Yep. Now like running their own ads now and everything, like tell me tell me what you're seeing there. Yeah,

Greg Marshall  0:32  
what? So the overall vibe that it seems like that's going on as ever since iOS has changed. The tracking algorithms, all of the things I think you could kind of get away with is not working anymore. And I've seen a couple of people actually say that to a tee like things that used to work, no longer work anymore. Hmm. Right. Okay. That seems to be a theme that I'm hearing. And typically, one of the one of the other things I've seen with this is, there's a level of like, okay, what do we what do we do now? Like, so? If this isn't working? Now, what do we do? So it's kind of like, you mentally it's a mental game, right? So plays, it plays some head games with you? And you're like, alright, so if this old trick isn't working, where do we go now? And they're starting to feel, I think, a little bit pressured with the changes. Sorry about that guys. Just had some foul off the wall. But that's, that's the overall vibe that I'm getting. Are you hearing or seeing that and your space? And what are your thoughts on it?

Blake Beus  1:40  
Yeah, I'm definitely seeing. I mean, I'm definitely seeing that. The reality is, is like, even when I got back into running ads, four or five years ago, I've always been in marketing, but I never did the actual media buying. This has been a constant theme. Like everybody's like, the stuff that used to work is no longer working. And and so I feel like for some reason, we're always surprised that stuff that works two years ago is no longer working. But I think that's going to be the the constant is that we're constantly going to have, oh, what what worked last year, your your before is not going to work. But people keep getting surprised. I think where a lot of people where I'm seeing people get really hung up with this particular one is, is the iOS 14 really started a big shift. Yeah, that really impacted the capability of ad platforms, specifically Facebook, and their ability to actually track performance. And I feel like that is to bring us back full circle. We're seeing an impact the smaller businesses that that maybe are a little bit less established, or maybe don't have a full marketing team, or like a holistic we use the summer for a holistic marketing strategy that includes multiple channels, where they used to be able to rely just on like Facebook ads, yep. They are seeing their costs go up, they're no longer being profitable on those ads, the cost per leads are going up. And then people start panicking. Yes. And then they start just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Yep. And and that's a really great strategy to waste a lot of money.

Greg Marshall  3:27  
Well, and here's, you know, here's something to kind of build on that, too. So the other thing that I'm finding, and I think this is what's causing the panic, or the feeling of like, I like to call out the walls are closing in is, not only is the tracking not as good, but the typical response. You know, we all have knee jerk responses, right? Yes. And we're going to do this. And what happens is the typical knee jerk response in the past would be well, I'll just go the organic route. Okay. But here's the challenge we're running into, are these platforms giving us more free organic reach? or less? Well, less, right. And it's and it's only gonna get smaller and smaller. Right? Yeah. And, and that's not necessarily because the platforms are like, Screw you

Blake Beus  4:20  

Greg Marshall  4:21  
They're purposely trying to hurt the business. It's it's mostly

Blake Beus  4:24  
because there's there's just more competition right there. Right. Like there's the the amount of people putting posts out there grows faster than the amount of eyeballs watching posts. Yes, typically. And so it gets harder and harder to kind of stand out and have have organic content that you know, makes sense. Now. Now, that being said, part of the holistic marketing strategy is the organic side effect. Right. But you and I have both seen that there's a lot of magic that happens when you're combining organic with pay. Yes. Right. And so you get those people that want to do just organic and that can work for a hand Full of PDL, that can work for the you get the people to want to do just, you know, just the other, you know, or gay just paid. And that can work as well. But when we take a step back, the businesses that are able to plow through the ups and downs of whatever is going to going to come? Are the the businesses that have this holistic approach that includes, you know, email or organic or paid ads on multiple platforms and everything, but the small business owner or the solo business owner, like they don't have time, sure to do all of those things. Yes. And so we're starting to see, in my opinion, we're starting to see a gap. Yes, right, a gap where established businesses can can take off and make a bunch of stuff happen. But it's, it's harder to start off as a solo business, or whatever, and bridge that gap to the point where you can, I don't know, have a team or have those systems in place or get those things figured out. It's like, I want to talk about some realistic theists, those people that are trying to jump from, from doing it themselves, or even just barely starting to the point where they can have a more holistic approach, or maybe even a team in place, like how can people bridge that gap?

Greg Marshall  6:15  
So here's something that I want to touch on real quick is the extreme on one or the other? Whether it be organic or paid. I always use the health analogies, that would be the equivalent of only eating fruit and nothing else, are only eating me and nothing else. Like it's there's no extreme way to do this. The best long term approach, yeah, is a blended approach. Right? So do both, right.

Blake Beus  6:43  
And that's a great analogy. Because even like even things like, you know, people can go on super strict diets to cut weight or whatever it goes super strict on keto, yep, whatever. But from a long term, perspective, five years, 10 years, whatever not gonna do that, it's, it's not feasible to stick with something like that. And it's probably not even healthy to stick with something like exactly more variety, or whatever.

Greg Marshall  7:04  
And so one of the things I want to mention is I've been doing in my past, I've been, I believe in whatever you have to do to generate the sales. And so I like to personally implement content marketing, paid, influencer marketing, email marketing, as many channels as you know, public speaking, as many channels as podcasting that you can use in order to generate business. Because, you know, I've been doing this for a while, and I've been in business on my own for a while. And I understand at one point, Twitter was the hottest thing ever. And now it's gone. I have seen that the ebbs and flows of how things change, right. And so change is part of the game. Yeah. And so this is why you want to focus on having multiple ways to do it. But I also understand the challenge when it's just you or a small group of people having to constantly maneuver things. Yeah. And so some practical advice I like to give is the following. So number one, go ahead and start utilizing, like, email marketing is something that we've talked about extensively. And yes, iOS changes will impact the reporting of open rates, on email marketing, but that doesn't mean that doesn't work. It just means you can't see as much detail as you used to write. And so I would definitely implement email marketing. And keep it simple. Write an email, it's, it's more about consistency, than thinking of some huge, elaborate thing that you have to do for email, like you're writing a school term paper.

Blake Beus  8:47  
Yeah. And odds are out there. Because you you'll hear, you'll hear, you know, other other people out there saying, Okay, you need a drip sequence. And it needs to take people down this story path where step one is this introduction. And step two, is this and this and this. And I'm not saying that's a bad strategy. But what I am saying is, that is an overwhelming strategy for some people. And if you're a busy business owner that has maybe just you and maybe one other person, that that can be so overwhelming that you just simply decide to not do it. You might be thinking, if I can't do it the right way. I'm not going to do it at all. Yep. But the reality is, is writing some sort of email, maybe start saying I can do I can do one a month or two a month, right? I can carve out the time and then you work up to like one a week or two a week and and you probably don't ever need to do more than that depending on your audience or your business model. But it's better to be consistently putting out email content than it is to follow some sort of elaborate story arc and your email because I don't know if you're like this, Greg, but I don't read every email that comes in my own notes. Like I don't really like having an email this emails that build off of one another. Kind of doesn't even work for me because I'm not there. The first night like I'm I read number one and then number six, and then maybe I'll go go back and read number five, if I was searching through my email popped up, but like, I don't read them in order. So just having like these little self contained emails that can be like three sentences long, yeah, have to be something elaborate.

Greg Marshall  10:18  
Well, and the other thing, you know, as far as what I always kind of fumble when I say this word, but deliverability. Right. So one of the things I found is, subject lines can't seem too spammy, like free or special sale or something like that, because that will hurt it. Having too many links, or too many pictures inside of the email also impacts whether your email gets into the promotions tab, or the primary tab, and then who you're sending it to, also matters. So you want to make sure that they're opting into your list. And you're not just like borrowing someone else's, and throwing them on your list. Right? Those are a few things that you talked about email marketing, you talked about, if you're gonna do organic, at the moment, excuse me, at the moment they have on Instagram, you can do that collaborators. That's a good feature, environmental averages. Yeah. And they created that because Instagram knows that reach organically is going down. So they have to provide some type of solution.

Blake Beus  11:15  
And if you're not familiar with that, with what that is, you may have seen it on on on Instagram. But it's essentially, if Greg and I wanted to post a collaborative post, it would essentially show up, and the identity would be both of our little circle dots. And the audience, the reach would cover both of our audiences. So it's a good way to cross pollinate follower lists. If if you want to collaborate with someone because you can get followers that way. And it's doesn't cost you anything. Yeah. And increases your reach. Yeah, it increases both both people's reach, right. So

Greg Marshall  11:53  
I mean, the other thing to think about is, I would and I know, there'll be some pushback on this, but there's a way to do it, I would seriously consider hiring an admin, some kind of assistant, and just pay them by the time that you're utilizing them and the beginning. So you don't have to hire someone that's doing, you know, 80 hours every two weeks, right out the gate, which is usually what people think, right, but they have to pay some salary, you can hire someone that can just work a few hours a week for you. Yep. But give them very specific, like tactical things to do for you. For example, writing the emails, gathering the emails, sending out text message marketing, maybe compiling some content to post for you, scheduling your content. These are, this is an investment that I think a lot of like smaller individual businesses really don't take into consideration, because they believe that they can't afford it

Blake Beus  12:56  
right. And like, I think we can pause there for just a second and talk about how to actually find, yeah, someone to help with this. So. So real quick, I have two kinds of shout outs, the very first thing I would do is, wherever you're at wherever you're living, I guarantee you, there's some sort of a Facebook group for local business owners, find that group, hop in that group participate a little bit, and then just say, Hey, I'm looking for someone to help me three or four hours a week, write a couple of social media posts, maybe write an email or two and just kind of helped me organize that effort for a few hours a week. And oftentimes, if the person isn't in that group, someone knows someone in someone in the group knows someone. And depending, depending on where you're at the price for that could range for, from anywhere from like 25 to $30, an hour to 40 to $50, an hour for a copywriter, depending on skill level and everything. But if you think about it from a business expense standpoint, that's, you know, two to three hours a week, yep. That's really not that big of a business expense for for, you know, a business that has steady revenue, or whatever is added can have a big impact on your online presence, and your ability to get some of these things done without having to come up with all of it yourself.

Greg Marshall  14:19  
Exactly. And I think that's if I were to boil down the biggest challenge an individual business owner has, it's, it's time, they don't have enough time to do all the things that they want to do to make the business succeed. And that's outside of like, when we start talking about having multiple marketing channels, you know, paid is only one kind of spoke of the marketing wheel. Right. And if you're not ready to do paid, you should be doing these organic methods. But if you can't do the organic methods, because you don't have enough time because you're either sir Losing a client or fulfilling your product, your business is going to slow down, I run into this with, you know, physical therapists, personal trainers, people that in the service industry have people that they're working with and so that it's like feast or famine. Yeah. And it's because they get so busy working with the clients, they stop marketing, they're no clients coming up is this big roller coaster marketing again, I get more clients and they stopped working. And it's just like, over and over again, versus having a consistent marketing going on at all times. One thing that you can never eliminate, ever is the marketing aspect of your business. Because I believe that who is it Peter Drucker, who says all a business's is marketing, and innovation, and everything else is an expense.

Blake Beus  15:51  
That's interesting. I've never heard that quote before. And

Greg Marshall  15:53  
that's to me, I've always taken that series, because what that's essentially saying is, the core business is your marketing message, and innovating against your competitors. And everything else is an expense, right? cost of doing business. And if you don't, you know, innovate, right? And this is, this is a good point right now, where people are challenged, you know, with the Facebook ads, and I'm being as effective. This is the time to innovate, this is actually an opportunity. Yeah, not a giant obstacle,

Blake Beus  16:25  
right? Well, and I like it, like calling it an opportunity, because this is where some businesses are going to, some of your competitors are going to going to fall away there, they might even shift to a completely different business model or something, or, or maybe decide it's not worth it or whatever. But those businesses that can innovate and can kind of think this through get get some things figured out, are the ones that are going to come out on top. Yep. So it is an opportunity, every time I hear about something like iOS 14, or whatever, like, oh, boy, here's another opportunity. We don't know exactly how that's gonna play out. But for those people that can innovate quickly and think things through, and it's, it's a time for those businesses to be able to come out on top.

Greg Marshall  17:09  
Yeah, and that's, that's the thing is what you'll learn from here, although, anytime you go through a difficult time or transition, or you have to do the change, right, air, quote, change, which no, you know, none of us really like, it's always beneficial and best for you, when you go through it. But at during that time, it doesn't feel good, right? Because now we have to get outside of our comfort zone again, and do some new and do something different. And that's part of the growth, right. And so you have to look at if you're running into, like, you know, Facebook ads aren't working anymore, or they're not working as well as they used to, or I can't run ads at such a low budget anymore, because the algorithms not as advanced. And that was your only method of getting new customers, then you have to think about how can you change? How can you adapt? And how can you start implementing these other strategies, which means it's an opportunity to innovate, because a lot of people, when they do run into adversity, they fall apart? Yeah, they just they either give up or think they can't do it. And so you don't want to be one of those. Right?

Blake Beus  18:22  
Well, and when you stop marketing, you start shrinking. Right. And, and it's like many, many, many business owners, especially the small ones, are those just starting out? They are a technical expert, not like from a technology standpoint, but like, they're a technical expert in their field, maybe maybe they I don't know, maybe one of my neighbors is, is an engineer who builds 3d models for prototyping products, and he gets patents and things like he's a technical expert at that, but when it comes to marketing his business. Yeah, it's, it's okay. Like, that's not saying that's a bad thing. It's, it's that it's a different skill set. Yeah. And, and a lot of people try and do that themselves. And sometimes you're in a position where you have to do that yourself. Yeah. But doing a few key things can make that an easier, you know, an easier thing to do. Like I said, outsourcing to someone for a couple hours a week, small bit of self promotion here, using something like my SM three group where we basically create the images and the captions that are editable for you so you're not starting from a blank screen, you just like grab one, fill in the blanks, coming up with another strategy I feel like a lot of people should do to simplify this is just repurpose the content. If you only have the bandwidth to write two or three posts a week, take those posts and edit them just a tiny bit and now you have your email. Yep, right like put them together and you could even just post your post as an email and link that back to people. That's so you're not have you have to come up with email content and social media posts content and video content and all that stuff you just use repurpose it. We do that with this podcast, a lot of these podcast episodes go out on YouTube, as well. Yep. So we have a presence on YouTube there, even though it's and we pull it and we plug them everywhere else.

Greg Marshall  20:18  
Instagram anywhere we can put it. And that's really what you want to be thinking about is how can you utilize different channels, different platforms, and don't stop or quit? Or think I can't do this, or I just I don't know if I can make it happen. If you if if your dream is to own your own business, and to be your own boss and to become successful, do not give up. All you have to do is push through the challenge that you have, and focus on where are the opportunities that I can take advantage of that maybe my competitors are not willing to take action on to do it. Yeah. And when you look for opportunities, and you can't, it's hard, I know. But when you look for opportunities, and the challenge that you have, you will find it. And you'll look back after you kind of overcome it and be able to go well, I'm so happy that I figured this out. And if it wasn't for this, quote unquote bad thing, we wouldn't have this good thing today. Right? But during that bad thing, it doesn't feel great. It can send you in panic mode, right? I've been there. Yeah. That's why I'm saying this is part of the game is like, when you sign up to build a business, you're signing up for both the good and the bad. Yeah. And that's what you have to understand. But it doesn't have to be those bad times, they'll have to, you know, overrun you or completely ruin you. They're they're there to help you learn something to take you to the next steps. And if you understand that, it business is a series of ups and downs. And this too shall pass, you'll be able to get on the other side of it and essentially get your get your business running and good things will happen. So that's kind of me on my motivational rant of understanding. Things will get better. Yeah, just keep pushing through.

Blake Beus  22:20  
Well, I think along those lines, one of the things that came up while you were saying that was like instead of giving up, ask yourself, How can I do this? How can I continue to deliver on these marketing channels, organic email, whatever, without me having to spend more of my time because time is oftentimes almost always the bottleneck. And we've talked that several times, several times already in this episode. But if you ask yourself that question, there's some really creative solutions that we've already covered a few. I'm sure you could come up with something that we haven't covered here. I did want to circle back to talk about another thing I've seen people do. And I think this is a fantastic option is is especially if you're like a solo business, maybe you're coaching consulting, you're just barely starting out, you don't have any staff or anything yet. You can get a business buddy. And you can help each other out. And you can say, okay, maybe we can trade some services, you're you're better at copywriting. And I'm better at maybe I don't know, building out a page on your website or something, right? Like say, Hey, do you want to maybe just kind of swap some services here. And then you work on the you spend more time with the thing you're comfortable with, you're helping out both businesses grow together. And you're you're helping each other out. But both of you are able to get the things done that you need done. And that's a great way to go about something like that. Plus, you can send each other business back and forth like it's, it's a really, really great situation.

Greg Marshall  23:52  
This is the time to get creative. And this is the time to negotiate. This is the time to get out of your comfort zone to start working the deals that you need in order for your business to succeed in the long term. And I promise you, if you do that, because I've got pushback before on telling people you should you should try influencer marketing, like it works guaranteed. But usually the pushback is this social media has spoiled us in a way where we are able to hide behind, you know our computers and our cell phones and everything else to avoid the fact that there's a level of entrepreneurship is a level of salesmanship. Right? And you have to sell Yeah, and reaching out to influencers reaching out to people and trying to work deals. The option of getting told no. is available and because of that, that's usually the spot people stay away from Yeah, right. But because most people stay away from that, that's also where the opportunity lies. Yep. So if you can just push yourself to go, I feel dumb. putting myself out there, someone tells me no or someone says a bad idea. And you can just keep going and try. You're gonna get some pretty sweet deals out there that most people will not get. Because 98% of people want to avoid sales like the plague. I want to do anything that has the option of you getting told no, or you being viewed as a perceived failure in front of other people. Yeah, right. And that's the key. And if you can just get over that, and push through that and train yourself to go, it's okay. If someone tells me No. And it's okay. If I reach out to 20 people and only to respond back that one deal can change everything. Yeah. So I'm here to say, get out the comfort zone. And it put the sales hat on and yep. And get it done. Yeah, absolutely. So let's,

Blake Beus  25:58  
let's wrap all this up in a in a nice, nice, neat package, and kind of just summarize what we've talked about so far. Number one, stick with it, stay motivated, changes like this, with iOS 14, or whatever, are an opportunity. And also changes like this are not going away, you're going to hear people next year saying, Gosh, the stuff that worked in 2022 doesn't work anymore. With advertising, ah, you're gonna, you're gonna hear that every time every year, you're gonna hear that so. So the, if you can stick with it, considered an opportunity, find a way to work through it, you're going to be better off in the long run. Number two, get creative with how you can get these things done, delegate some stuff out there, find a business buddy, reach out to a local group, maybe find someone that can help you for two or three hours a week. And, and help you kind of coordinate and organize some of these things. They can help with writing the posts, they can help with posting the posts, whatever is your bottleneck. Find someone to help with that. And there's lots and lots and lots of freelancers in just about any city that that can help you with that. You just need to test a few of them out, find find someone that works. Focus on like a holistic marketing strategy. Don't forget about email. If you're doing just organic, maybe dip your toes in some ads, if you're doing just ads, dip your toes in some organic. repurpose content. Yep. If you're posting stuff on social media, you can use that same content with minor tweaks or even no tweaks in email, or, or elsewhere. And then we talked about repurposing content, feel free to just repost that same stuff on LinkedIn, or Pinterest or whatever, it's totally fine to have the exact same content on multiple platforms, because the audiences are slightly different. And if someone's a fan of yours, they're not going to get ticked off exactly that. Oh, my gosh, they're posting the same stuff on LinkedIn that I saw on their Instagram account earlier. unfollow, that doesn't happen. But I feel like people are afraid. Yeah, it's gonna happen.

Greg Marshall  28:04  
Because Because that's like, a sales situation. Someone can tell, you know, and verify that you're a terrible person.

Blake Beus  28:12  
I think that's a good summary. Did I miss anything?

Greg Marshall  28:14  
No, I think I think that covers it. I mean, I think the biggest thing is just look at writing right now is a good opportunity to advance your business and different ways that you didn't think before, this is where the fun begins. And this is where if you push through it, 12 months from now, you'll say, Wow, I'm much better off, I'm doing better. And if I did I get forced to make these changes. I would have never got to the spot that I'm in today. Yep. So this is good. I know, if people are struggling with it. Just keep pushing through. Think creatively. Reach out to people to help you out partner with people. And I think you'll be good to go. So I think until next time.

Blake Beus  28:55  
We'll we'll see you guys next time. Absolutely. How do people get in touch with you, Greg?

Greg Marshall  28:59  
Go to Greg And you can book a free strategy session with me and what about you

Blake Beus  29:04  
just flip the stock calm. And you can check out my SM3 group in there that Greg's going to soon be a part of. And basically, the SM3 group can kind of help you with the organic side of things get you 80 to 90% there of yours with your strategy and help you create. We create templates and things like that, that that can help you with diversifying your strategy. So definitely check that out.

Greg Marshall  29:32  
Well, until next time, we'll talk to you guys later. All right, bye.


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