This month’s featured expert Trent Dyrsmid is a leading expert in B2B marketing, website optimization and automation. He publishes a popular podcast at BrightIdeas.co with a wealth of resources for small agencies, aspiring podcasters and entrepreneurs. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Trent via Skype and pick his brain on everything from content marketing to building a marketing funnel.
BWF: What changes in digital marketing have impacted your business over the past three years?
I didn’t want to keep building websites that were 100% dependent on Google for traffic because that isn’t a very sustainable model.
TD: The biggest change came courtesy of Google. Prior to the panda and penguin updates, I used to get a lot of my traffic, as did many others, from SEO, and when Google made the change that they did, traffic from SEO virtually dried up over night. As a result of this, I needed to find a better way to attract traffic to my websites.
The solution was to produce better content, and then promote that content in places where my target audience would find it. By taking this approach, instead of having to build links myself, the readers of my content would do it for me by sharing my content across social channels.
BWF: What’s your biggest social media marketing challenge?
I think a lot of people really misunderstand what social media is for.
TD: My biggest challenge has been allocating time and getting an ROI. I think a lot of people really misunderstand what social media is for. The money is in the mailing list. It’s in how many email addresses I have; not how many Facebook followers I have. The engagement rate with Facebook and Twitter is so ridiculously low. When you compare that to having someone’s email address, it’s just not even a competition. Email addresses are worth hundreds of times more than a follower on Facebook. I only use social media to drive more traffic to my websites.
BWF: How do you have fun and engage audiences?
You can engage audiences by letting them know that you are actually interested in helping them.
TD: Have fun? I have no idea. I don’t think anyone thinks my stuff is fun, I mean I don’t even think my stuff’s fun. I love what I do, but I wouldn’t classify it as fun per se. Riding my dirt bike is fun. You can engage audiences by letting them know that you are actually interested in helping them. Then provide the best possible user experience. You do this by making sure to employ what I call the “behavior-based marketing.”
It depends on what links they click, what forms they fill out, which videos they watch, how much of those videos they watch. All of those things are data that I collect to alter user experience. It’s all about providing value to the consumer, because otherwise they just unsubscribe. And it’s all for not. It wastes their time and mine too.
BWF: What makes a brand successful in today’s environment?
Their ability to build an audience that is engaged in their website with their content.
TD: Their ability to build an audience that is engaged in their website with their content. You can have a tribe that cares about your stuff as long as you’ve picked a topic that has commercial value. And, you will make money.
BWF: What did 2012 teach marketers?
If you’re not going to put A LOT of effort into promoting your content, you probably shouldn’t even bother writing it, creating it, or recording it.
TD: Content that is not promoted might as well never be written. And actually that’s what I learned in 2013, too. In other words, if you’re not going to put A LOT of effort into promoting your content, you probably shouldn’t even bother writing it, creating it, or recording it. There is just SO much content produced every single day, and if you don’t promote yours, no one’s going to find it. And if no one finds it, then no one will share it, and the viral effect of the sharing will never kick in. I recently hired a full-time VA a couple of weeks ago to specifically promote our content on social media. And last month versus the month before my website traffic went up 69 percent to date.
BWF: What do you wish you could teach others?
Marketing automation and the marketing funnel go hand-in-hand.
TD: The power of marketing automation. Marketing automation and the marketing funnel go hand-in-hand. My behavior-based marketing funnel is all automation. Having automation is like having more employees and most small business owners don’t have any idea how much you can do with it. For example: I capture an email address and then the consumer has to confirm their email address. Most people send one email; I don’t send one, I send up to five. If my new subscriber needs a few reminders to confirm their address. If they confirm after the first email, they don’t see any more reminders. Could you imagine trying to do that manually? You couldn’t. It’s impossible. You would need an army of people checking inboxes and sending out emails, and it would be ridiculous. So, that’s why I love automation, it’s really powerful.
BWF: What advice would you give to marketers who want to reach niche audience in social media?
The amount of income you’ll earn each month and each year is directly proportional to the number of engaged subscribers you have on your list.
TD: Focus on building a list. Only use social media to drive more traffic to your site, so you can build a bigger list. The amount of income you’ll earn each month and each year is directly proportional to the number of engaged subscribers you have on your list. A good example is the book I’m getting ready to self publish.
BWF: How much commitment does it take to podcast?
I can do a podcast without any interview prep, because it’s just a formula.
TD: It doesn’t really take much time. When I do an episode, honestly I put five minutes prep into it. Because I am going to ask the same formula of questions every time, which is telling me all the results you’ve achieved so we can establish social proof that your worth listening to. And now tell me what you what you do to achieve those results. I can do a podcast without any interview prep, because it’s just a formula. The actually recording takes the duration of the conversation and post production takes me anywhere from 7-9 minutes. Then it’s edited, uploaded and done. It’s really easy, I think.
BWF: Is it beneficial to podcast?
I definitely make money from it.
TD: Yes! A podcast is exceedingly valuable and very worth the time. It’s a great networking tool. Let’s say I see someone who has a bigger following than me. If I send them a tweet asking them to come on my show to tell the world how awesome they are, do you think that person would decline?
A podcast also gives me a free hour of consulting with an expert. And when the episode goes live, it will most likely be shared on their social media site. When their followers listen, some of them might be interested in other interviews I’ve done and subscribe. I definitely make money from it.
BWF: Should brands be podcasting?
After listening to my podcasts for so long, the consumer begins to see me as a trusted and as an authority, and they are more likely to buy something from me.
TD: A podcast is good for is creating engagement. People tend to spend 3-5 minutes on a website, then they’re gone. But if they’re running or driving and listening to my podcast, I have them for the duration of that run or drive.
After listening to my podcasts for so long, the consumer begins to see me as a trusted and as an authority, and they are more likely to buy something from me. That’s what podcasting is really valuable for. The fastest way to become an authority in a given market is to interview existing authorities in that market.
BWF: What’s the biggest trend in agencies?
Becoming an outsourced marketing department for a retainer fee.
TD: In my opinion, the trend is becoming an outsourced marketing department for a retainer fee. I am talking about smaller agencies; I’m not talking about the “mcmonster” agencies. I don’t know anything about their business; I’m only familiar with small business. My last business was an outsourced IT department for a retainer fee and we built a couple million dollars a year in revenue, as opposed to building an agency a website for a thousand bucks and ending the engagement.
Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to say, hey, I’ll be your ongoing director of marketing, because we are digital marketing and automation experts, and I’ll make sure you’re receiving a large number of leads on an ongoing basis for a monthly retainer fee. Isn’t that really what the client wants?
BWF: What are the biggest mistakes agencies make?
Not choosing a niche and not using automation.
TD: People have this fear, that if they target their website to a specific niche, they are going to lose out on people who don’t fit that niche. They want to have the opportunity to catch as much falling from the sky as they can, so they cast this wide net. The problem is now your nothing to nobody, as opposed to being something very specific to a very specific audience. You can have more than one website, or use landing pages to push specific content to a specific audience.
Next, if you are capturing leads from your site, and I hope you are, you need an automated way to follow up and segment your list. I don’t often see agencies doing this in a sophisticated way, and as a result, they aren’t converting as many leads to clients as they could be.
Meet Expert: Trent Dyrsmid
Trent Dyrsmid (@TrentDyrsmid) is an entrepreneur, co-owner in two software companies, founder of BrightIdeas.co and the host of a popular podcast by the same name where he has interviewed over 100 other successful entrepreneurs to get them to share what is working for them today. His IT company ranked as one of the PROFIT 100 fastest growing companies in Canada by PROFIT magazine. Look out for Trent’s self-published book, The Digital Marketing Handbook, on November 14th.
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Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog 🙂
Content is king, and niche is the kingdom. Great thoughts on a variety of topics useful in today’s digital marketing.
Thanks Rob 🙂