Eric Keiles, CEO of Square 2 Marketing, talks about the technology changes that effect the way businesses buy products and services.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hi guys welcome back to the show. Texas Business Radio. Texas Business Radio dot com is the website. See the whole thing in high definition video right there on the website. I’m your host Matt Register. Jake Curry is the one sitting over there in the co-host chair. If you’ve listened to this show for any length of time you know that we like to take guys that come into Texas that have a wealth of knowledge to talk to CEOs about some aspect of their business.
We love to have them on the show. And we call this segment the National Advisor Showcase. And you can go the website and see of them, we’ve ever done. But this is one of them and we’re going to be talking marketing for this segment. Marketing is one of those things that, you got to do it, and if you do it right it can have tremendous benefit for your company.
And the world has changed over the last ten, fifteen, twenty years to the point that marketing isn’t done the same way and if done correctly you can make some money at it. Eric Keiles is here from Pennsylvania, from Philadelphia to talk to a bunch of CEOs about marketing and inbound marketing specifically. Eric, welcome to the show.
Eric Keiles: Thank you. It’s a pleasure being here.
Matt Register: So talk to me a little bit about what you’re here talking to CEOs about.
Eric Keiles: Well, my main goal is to get them to think differently. So many businesses started years ago and they’ve been using traditional ways to market their companies. And buyer behavior has changed so dramatically since the internet came around, sometimes companies are a little slow to change. So I encourage them to think differently and show them a couple of ways along the presentation that they could enhance their marketing, literally in just one day.
Matt Register: Well, the buyer behavior has changed to the tune of … We were just talking about this the other day with a segment, that what does somebody do when they have a problem? They go burn down Google and find a solution for it, right?
Eric Keiles: Yeah. Or they ask their buddies. Hey, you know, you know … These days we crave the recommendation or referral from a friend or a family member or a colleague, a coworker and that’s why things like Yelp and Trip Advisor or so popular. Even though we don’t know those people, we get that same feeling of comfort or safety when we look at user reviews.
So we look for that recommendation and if we can’t find what we’re looking for, we start Googling stuff, like you said. And understanding or agreeing that, that’s the way people look for products and services … Ask any company, “How’s your referral marketing?” And they go, “What’s that?” Meanwhile, referrals are free and they come with a baked-in testimonial. Why wouldn’t you first put referral marketing on the top of your list, rather than tradition advertising? So, it’s just a different way of thinking to get a bigger bang for your buck.
Matt Register: Yeah. No doubt about that. We were talking during the break about some companies that are non-traditional for using cutting edge marketing. And some of the ways that you can actually gain a lot of traction versus your competitors when all your competitors are bad at this, right?
Eric Keiles: It’s true. So at my firm we have a couple of different kinds of clients. Well the one you’re referring to is what we call the “un-sexy bucket”. Manufacturers, distributors, these are the guys that have a huge opportunities because they have such a traditional industry and none of their competitors are doing any kind of aggressive marketing.
You come out with a nice offer on your website and a back end database, a little nurturing, some social media. All of a sudden you’re the king of the industry, because you’re just absorbing some of these new techniques. You know, if you look at an industry like software or technology, they’re all doing this kind of stuff.
Matt Register: It becomes a little harder. A lot more competition, right?
Eric Keiles: Exactly. And that’s why the unsexy group gets such better or dramatic results, because the competitors are kind of weak.
Matt Register: So what is it you’re actually guiding these guys to do? You talked about being able to have an impact in a single day. Talk to me about that. What are some of the things you’re asking them to do?
Eric Keiles: I’m asking them to do three steps. One, consider their story. Ask anybody, “Hey, why should I do business with you?” They’re like, “Because we’re the best.” Well, that’s obviously not as exciting as it could be.
Matt Register: Everybody says that, right?
Eric Keiles: Right and the story is key. If you have nothing interesting to say about your business don’t spend any money on marketing because then you just look like everybody else. So first we talk a little bit about the story, differentiating yourself. Who’s your perfect buyer, what problems they have and start to craft a story that matches up with that.
Once you’ve got a great story, then you can let it cascade down into the second step, which is your content. Have an interesting website. Push that on your blog or social media or email marketing. But now you have something interesting to say. And unfortunately just having a good story and having a great website still isn’t enough. Now you have to have some campaigns and get in front of those folks.
So I encourage them to find what we call the watering holes, those places where your target markets are gathering and sharing information. Stick your story in front of it there. Maybe sprinkle in a few offers like white papers, free reports, tip sheets, which drives them back to the website and now you can have a conversation. So with those three steps, which are relatively straightforward to execute, if you can do those three things, all of a sudden you have a nice, effective marketing program.
Matt Register: Well and it’s interesting how many people don’t have that. They have a website that their nephew built 15 years ago, that’s a brochure and they’re not using it as a tool. They’re not using it as a communication platform. They’re not using it as a means of gathering contact information and they’re really missing the boat at this day and age, right?
Eric Keiles: Yeah, I mean if you think about it, a decent company’s website traffic, let’s call it 1000 people a month. With any kind of conversion, call it 3%, that’s 30 people a month that can you into your database and now you can start having conversations with.
Sure, if you run a restaurant, 30 people a month isn’t going to move the needle, but if you’re professional services, you have 30 new prospects a month, man that could really be an impact. So like you said, just putting a white paper or free report on your website and having you convert it into back end database is enough to start driving sales leads for most companies.
Jay. W. Curry: Isn’t it true that a few years ago we would say, you need to do this to be out on the edge and be a front runner? Now, if you’re not doing it, you are behind and your competition’s going to eat you up. You’ve got to get into this.I don’t care what your business is.
Eric Keiles: Sure. Stuff like that is table stakes. If you want to compete you got to have a decent website with a good story. You got to be able to convert website visitors and you got to have some kind of back end tool whether it be Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, HubSpot.
All those tools help you nurture those people, building a case why you’re the obvious choice to do business with. And tools like HubSpot start at $300 a month so any business can afford it. It’s just a matter of taking that leap of faith, that little next step to say, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to bring my marketing into the 21st century.”
Jay. W. Curry: It’s like what they need is for somebody like you to tell them what the different and how they can use it and why they’re crazy not to be using it. [crosstalk 00:06:46]
Eric Keiles: Well at the end of the day, business owners want a return.
Jay. W. Curry: Absolutely.
Eric Keiles: So the magic number for us is ten to one. If you invest a buck in marketing, you’d better get $10 back in revenue to make it work. And with digital tools and some of the strategies we’ve already talked about, it’s easy to get a ten to one return. But meanwhile a lot of companies are going to trade shows and doing cold calling and direct mail, which could not possibly get a ten to one return in most cases.
Matt Register: No, there’s no doubt about that. One of the questions that I find interesting to ask is, because we have sponsors. We have folks that come to us and talk about marketing. Is answering the question, who in the world has a problem that you’re unique solution for, and what is it they’re searching for whenever they’re searching for a solution to their problem. You better be the one to pop up for that, right?
Eric Keiles: Well, if you’re not the one doing the talking, who are they listening to? The competition. So you’re right. Most companies I find, have fabulous inside realities. They just stink at storytelling. If you can just make that bridge between their fabulous inside reality and the outside perception, all sorts of good things start to happen. More leads, better press, all those things that come. And by the way, back to your conversation about some traditional media.
It’s not that those things are bad but people tend to not integrate them into their digital program. So, if you’re running a radio ad, that’s awesome. Great reach, but give me the last five seconds to offer something on the website. Or if you’re doing a print ad, carve out the corner. Go to our website for this free report. And that way the integration between the old school and the new school advertising still give you a nice bang for your buck.
Jay. W. Curry: So the idea is to give them something of value that will bring them to your site where, guess what, you have your wares.
Eric Keiles: Yeah. Yeah, and it’s more about giving them the solutions to their problems as you said, as opposed to just win a free iPad.
Jay. W. Curry: Right.
Matt Register: Yeah. No. No. No, I got it. Eric Keiles is the CEO of Square 2 Marketing out of Philadelphia, although you have several other locations as well. Where else are you located?
Eric Keiles: Bend, Oregon, Milwaukee Wisconsin, and Ft. Meyer, Florida are our other three satellite offices.
Matt Register: Yeah, so all over the country. What is the website, should somebody want to learn more a little bit more?
Eric Keiles: It’s Square2marketing.com. That square, the number two, marketing, dot com.
Matt Register: Square2marketing.com. And we’re going to have that linked directly from TexasBusinessRadio.com as well, if you’re driving and can’t take notes. Fascinating conversation about marketing and about how you as a business owner … This is pretty low hanging fruit. How much money would you expect, if you had a brand new client that came in and said, look I really need help in that, what is the kind of scale of costs you’re looking at to get started on this because it’s pretty low, right?
Eric Keiles: It is. It also depends on where you’re starting from. If you have a 1973 brown and orange website, we got to redo that. But for most companies that have a decent website and some other assets, if you invested $3,000 to $5,000 a month for a six month period to kind of build out digital marketing lead generation program, you’d have plenty.
Jay. W. Curry: And ten times that in return.
Eric Keiles: Absolutely.
Matt Register: Yeah, well easy enough man. That’s, if you’re not doing it, you’re wrong and need to start doing it. Eric Keiles, Square 2 Marketing, Square2marketing.com, thank you very much for joining us.
Eric Keiles: It’s a pleasure being with you guys. Thanks a lot.
Matt Register: Great story. In the meantime guys, 844-814-8144 is our 24 hour call in line. Get your questions in that way. We also monitor hashtag TBR on Twitter. TBR, Texas Business Radio or go to the website and see the entire thing is beautiful high definition video. See links to all our guests and a whole lot of content there that you’re going to want to see and share. We do have to go pay a couple of our own bills. We’ll be back right after this. Don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.