Using Data Driven Strategies to Scale Your Business
Today, on The Profitable Property Management Podcast, I am talking with my good friend Ryan Mauldin. Ryan and I have had a relationship for close to a decade now and is a fellow entrepreneur, hustler extraordinaire.
The reason we’re talking with Ryan is that he has a deep background in branding, design, SEO, SEM, and everything that is required to build a robust online presence.
In our chat today, we dive into how property management entrepreneurs can benefit from Ryan’s vast expertise to better use data to build their online brand.
- (00:46) – The background on Ryan’s digital agency, Vici Media Group.
- (01:54) – Branding and representing the small business owner.
- (02:25) – How Vici begins when working with a new client.
- (02:38) – A deep dive into the overall goals and strategy of the company.
- (04:11) – How to generate growth.
- (04:22) – Profiling the targetable demographic.
- (04:53) – Search engine marketing, social advertisements.
- Facebook, LinkedIn.
- (05:13) – Testing creatives.
- (06:10) – Ongoing process of testing potential market segments.
- (06:20) – Identify your potential audience and then start a conversation with them.
- (06:40) – Step by step process of generating new clients for a new business owner with low capital.
- (07:13) – ‘Purple Cow’ concept.
- Delivering a message in a unique and original way that catches attention.
- (07:52) – Dollar Shaving Club as an example.
- (09:14) – How to create a ‘Purple Cow’ moment.
- (10:03) – Using Facebook Live to connect with your potential clients.
- (11:20) – Emailing prospects from list brokers.
- (11:20) – Twitter and Facebook mining.
- (12:17) – Build an engaging and creative email marketing campaign.
- (13:22) – Where people can go to purchase data.
- Data mining on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- (13:51) – ReachMarketing, Aculist, Strategic List, Experian.
- (16:21) – Inverse relationship between engagement and quality regarding video production.
- (19:18) – Start early and build volume.
- (20:56) – How video builds relationships with prospective clients.
- (23:10) – Whether it makes sense to commit all in regarding the volume of social.
- (23:48) – Avoid producing content for the sake of producing content.
- Offer value and insight.
- (25:08) – Discussion regarding the concept of becoming a ‘thought leader’.
- (26:23) – How the scope of your ambition determines your ability to speak with authority.
- (07:13) – ‘Purple Cow’ concept.
- (28:32) – The viability of using paid ads for small businesses.
- (28:50) – The available channels.
- Twitter, Facebook, Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pandora, Hulu.
- (29:43) – Testing and optimization.
- (30:41) – Tracking funnels.
- (30:50) – The finer details of the testing process.
- (31:22) – Using your cost per acquisition to determine testing parameters.
- (33:17) – How much a small business may consider investing.
- (28:50) – The available channels.
- (35:22) – Using current customer information to retarget similar prospects.
- (35:48) – Identifying commonalities.
- (36:26) – Using list brokers.
- (37:39) – Using direct mail to find prospects.
- (37:48) – Combining direct mail with hyper-digital targeting.
- (38:31) – Connecting an offline message with an online message in the customer’s mind.
- (38:45) – Creating the perception of familiarity.
- (41:03) – Connecting a physical address with a digital identity.
- (41:10) – Third-party data sets.
- (43:23) – What kind of information is necessary for this connection.
- (46:39) – How to find leads based off current client data, and target them with online ads.
- (46:53) – Hiring a list broker.
- (47:47) – Targeted use of data appends.
- (49:09) – The next step in the process. How to engage new leads.
- (49:30) – Paying for likes and clicks.
- (49:57) – Start a conversation, build a relationship.
- Offer something of value for free.
- Free analysis.
- (51:07) – The next steps after starting a relationship with prospect.
- Schedule follow ups.
- Enter them into a drip campaign.
- Continue to nurture and build the relationship.
- (53:55) – Who have you learned from?
- (55:59) – What would you do differently if you could go back to day one with the knowledge you have now?
- (59:06) – Are entrepreneurs born or bred?
- Seth Godin: Entrepreneur mentioned, who has the Purple Cow theory of gaining leads. (07:13)
- Dollar Shave Club: Startup that successfully demonstrated how to stand out from their competition. (07:52)
- Noah Kagan: Founder of Sumo who employs a highly successful email marketing funnel. (11:36)
- ReachMarketing.com: Data purchasing resource. (13:53)
- Aculist: Data purchasing resource. (13.53)
- Strategic List Services: Data purchasing resource. (13:53)
- Experian: Data purchasing resource. (13:53)
- Grant Cardone: Entrepreneur using amateur video technique with success. (17:44)
- Gary Vaynerchuck: A major influence on Ryan’s progress as an entrepreneur.
- Jim Collins: Author of “Good to Great” and an entrepreneur Ryan cites as an influence in his own journey.
Where to learn more:
If you’d like to learn more about Ryan and his agency or get in touch, check out their site at ViciMediaGroup.com. You can also head over to ViralMediaPartners.com, which is their publisher services and software company.
Jordan: Welcome closers to another episode of the Profitable Property Management podcast. Today I am talking with my good friend Ryan Mauldin. Ryan and I have had a relationship for close to a decade now.
This guy is my paisano, fellow entrepreneur, hustler extraordinaire, and the reason we’re talking to Ryan today is because Ryan has a deep background in branding, design, SEO, SEM, everything that is required to build a robust online presence. And that stems from the fact that Ryan runs a traditional media agency with a little bit of a specific focus.
0:00:46.4 Ryan, thanks for coming on. Give us some background on what you do with your work with Vici Media Group.
Ryan: 0:00:52.4 Absolutely. Jordan thanks for having me man. Vici Media Group is a full-service, digital focused agency. So we’re a creative agency. We do graphic design, branding, web development, online advertising, online communications, social media management. Anything that you would need to operate an online marketing operation for small business, non-profits, or a lot of our client base is political. 0:01:21.8 We can take that and run with it for you.
So that encompasses for some clients small bits and pieces, filling in for what their in-house team does not have. For other people are them online. We have clients where everything you see, from their logo down to their social posts, their websites, their ads, everything, we do the entire thing top to bottom. 0:01:47.5 Depends a little bit on the client, but we’re a full-service agency.
Jordan: 0:01:54.5 Ryan, here’s where I got you on the podcast. My real motivation here is to talk to you from the position of representing the small business provider. So if I came to you knowing that I have a small property management firm, I’m managing 200 doors, maybe 300 doors, I’m really trying to grow my property, but I’m not deep into online marketing. I’m not deep into social, SEM, SEO, all this stuff is foreign to me, I just know that I want to grow.
0:02:25.7 And where my tendency might be to take the conversation is on where I’m going to get more leads, where I’m going to be able to generate more referrals, etc. If I came to you with a growth problem, where would you start that conversation?
Ryan: 0:02:38.7 We start every conversation with every client with a deep dive into the overall goals and strategy of the company itself. So, we don’t start with the digital portion because we want to make sure that anything that we do, any services that we provide, and the money that you pay, is actually goes to accomplishing your overall business goals.
0:03:03.0 And we started that probably a year or two after I started the agency. I realized that we would have a couple clients after a couple months of doing a project, they would say, “Well I didn’t get the results I wanted.” “Well, what results were you looking for?” And they would tell me, and I would say, “Well that’s not what you told me at the beginning?”
0:03:20.0 We really need to start from a strategic level, understanding the business goals. So we always start with where you actually want to go, what does growth look like for you? What does your target client look like for you?
0:03:35.1 And then from there, we try to drill in what can we do to help you accomplish that online. Whether that’s increasing a particular portion of your funnel, qualifying more leads or moving those qualified leads into opportunities through ongoing drip marketing. Whether that’s establishing a brand because you have no brand at all online. We’ll look at that on a case by case basis, but it’s got to fit your overall business goals. 0:04:08.7 We start always from a strategic standpoint.
Jordan: 0:04:11.4 So man, let’s say my goal is just growth. I’m just trying to get more doors. I want to get more owners ringing my phone so that I can manage their properties. What do I do?
Ryan: 0:04:22.9 You’re going to start by looking at what’s 0:04:25.7 [Inaudible] targetable. So who converts for you in the past. For your particular set of skills, for your market advantages, who does that convert? What does your demographic look like? We’ll try to profile that and then go find more of those people online.
If we can get those through organic, yeah if there are available pools that we can go after and try to target we’ll do that. 0:04:53.7 If it’s got to be paid through search engine marketing, through social advertisements. Facebook is particularly powerful. LinkedIn can be as well because you can target people by their job title. Which through third-party data you can as well through Facebook.
0:05:13.0 Then we try to first identify the pockets of available new people and then start testing creatives against some of those. We’ll test LinkedIn, we’ll test Twitter, we’ll test Facebook, we’ll test search engine marketing.
And then the great thing about digital marketing, is you can get near real time results on most of those platforms. 0:05:37.3 And day to day we can change the types of creatives, the type of advertisement and optimize your spend a lot faster.
Old style media, which can still be effective in some places, radio, TV, things like that. Mail. You typically have a couple weeks to a couple months turnaround on your data. 0:05:57.1 So you don’t know something you’re spending money on is working on or not.
In digital we can do that – if you’re on a platform, sometimes to the minute and make changes on an ongoing basis. So it’s a highly efficient use of dollars.
0:06:10.7 But overall, it’s a – you’re going to have this ongoing process of testing once you identify the potential market segments. You’re never one and done. It’s always iterates, get metrics, analyze the metrics, iterate again. And you have this constant feedback loop that you’re looking for. For pure growth, you’re looking to 06:20 identify your potential audience and then start a conversation with them.
Jordan: 0:06:40.3 So Ryan, talk me through where you would start if you were in the shoes of a brand new business owner. You are effectively broke, you’ve got a lot of hustle in your bank account but not a lot of capital to spend.
You mentioned all these different options, pay per click, SEO, social. You can do all this stuff, but there’s limited time and resources. If you were starting on day one, where would you start if you didn’t have much money to spend? What do you think you would do to generate new clients as a property manager?
Ryan: 0:07:09.6 So Seth Godin 0:07:13.5 has a concept called the Purple Cow, where he says – tells the story where if you’re driving through the English countryside, or let’s just say the Texas countryside where I’m from and you see a bunch of cows. 200 longhorns in the side and they’re brown and white and you’re kind of used to seeing those, and all of a sudden, you see a purple cow. It’s going to catch your attention.
0:07:38.0 So if you’re – especially if you’re starting out, you’re hustling, you don’t have the ad dollars to spend, try to be the purple cow. Try to find a way to stand out in a way that people can’t ignore you.
0:07:52.2 So an example of that in marketing with a scrappy startup is the Dollar Shave Club. I imagine that most of us have seen the ads that were published initially, I believe, on Facebook, certainly online, from Dollar Shave Club.
They became, in as far as the internet timelines go, virtually instantaneously famous for these off-the-wall commercials that were relatively cheap compared to the amount of exposure they got. 0:08:23.6 Because they were original, they were unique. They had a lot of personality behind them and they conveyed a great, fun brand message that was backed up by a decent product.
And you tried it. I tried Dollar Shave Club. 0:08:40.6 I know that at least a half dozen of my friends signed up. Whether you continued or not, you tried it because it was so unique and so interesting and spoke to a lot of the experience that you had.
They got tens, and tens of millions of views off of a single ad spot. Which was literally pennies on the dollar compared to traditional media. 0:09:01.8 So try to find a way to stand out. Do something different than what everybody else is doing and find a way to tell that story in a way that other people wants to share it and wants to talk about you.
Jordan: 0:09:14.6 I hear you my man, but I’m still stuck. My new company, my property management company, Muela Property Management, here’s my tagline: We’re number one.
And I’ve got a list of services we provide, I don’t want to pay for a professional photographer, so I’ve got some stock pictures on my website, basic service description. Insert service business in any industry, the specifics don’t really matter.
But that’s where I’m coming from. How do I have a purple cow moment? How do I have a purple cow thought to go from name + service as effectively my brand, into doing that. Man, can you just help me work through that.
Ryan: 0:10:03.8 Yeah, so one particular way, a great platform that you have to work with which costs almost nothing, is pick up your smartphone, turn on the camera, and turn on Facebook Live. Start talking to your potential audience. That’s automatically recorded, stored online in a highly available, sharable format. It’s very personal.
0:10:28.8 Some of the large operations that we were a part of in this past year showed incredible returns on vertical video format, that Facebook Live uses. Especially from a smartphone. 0:10:44.3 Because it’s so engaging with the face.
People love to interact with other humans and Facebook Live, especially just video taping yourself gives you that sort of raw, intimate personal connection. And you can talk directly to people. That gives you a great platform. It stores it for you, makes it easily shareable, and it makes it accessible in a way, not just digitally accessible, but personally accessible. 0:11:10.6 It makes it – gives you a format that you can talk directly to people, grab those links and start emailing people.
0:11:20.9 Start emailing prospects that you found online from the list brokers or through LinkedIn. Mining, through Twitter mining, through Facebook Mining, and that gives you a great outreach.
0:11:30.9 Another way to do that through outreach in the digital space, is to use an approach that Noah Kagan used 0:11:36.4 when he was starting some of his operations. Excuse me, a story that he tells about somebody reaching out to him.
His email program is actually really fantastic, and really original as well. I highly recommend you sign up for the AppSumo email list. That’s A-p-p S-u-m-o dot com. 0:11:58.0 Regardless of whether you actually use any of the services, it’s a brilliant, brilliant email marketing system that they use. They’ve really honed their content. Really well, and you find yourself reading it all the time regardless of whether you buy the service.
0:12:17.6 So, learn from his really personalized, really fantastic copywriting and start an email outreach. Email is basically free. You have your time, go do data mining. There’s a ton of data available on LinkedIn. A ton of available data for relatively cheap through third-party data services where you can go and say, “I want to find people who own a second property that is not their residence or a third property, etc., in this particular metro area that’s of this size, this value.”
You can look for multi-family homes, non-resident owners. All of that is relatively available at cheap. Start an ongoing outreach program to people like that. 0:13:07.5 You could also target those online for literally starting with $5 on Facebook. You can upload that data set and micro-target ads to it. It’s the most effective, cost effective way. Even starting up with not a lot of money.
Jordan: 0:13:22.4 Could you give me any names of any places that listeners could go to to purchase data?
Ryan: 0:13:30.6 That one. Let’s see, I would actually start with, even before purchasing, I would start with data mining on Facebook and on LinkedIn. Because there is a ton of available data there. Let’s see, I’m looking through the people we’ve used in the past 0:13:50.1 [Edit Out]. ReachMarketing.com 0:13:53.4 has a list of really direct. Aculist, Strategic List.
There are actually quite a few of these. Experian has a list as well. And like many kinds of data sets or the different platforms we were talking about, I would recommend testing different lists for their accuracy for your particular data set match.
0:14:26.5 So start with a small list, small acquisition from that. Test it. See if it works well for you before buying a million names. You’re not going to find that many, but. Always test, always start small.
Jordan: 0:14:38.7 So I want to go back to the data, because they say data is the future and I see the opportunity here, but I want to connect the dots on how you nurture these relationships over time.
But before we do that, the thing that you mentioned about – you know I put you on the spot, I said what would you do and your response was reach into your pocket, pull out the phone, hit record. With the objection that follows that is, “I don’t know what to say.” And the response to that is to document not create.
By focusing on documenting what is, what you are doing? By lowering the bar and taking on a service based perspective, rather than a performance based narrative around your content creation, I think that’s the right mindset.
Gary V talks about that, and I think it’s spot on, because the anxiety that you can induce as a result of thinking that every bit of content has to be highly polished, highly curated, highly edited, it basically creates a wall and a barrier that most people cannot get passed. Because, whether that means hiring a film crew or whether that means having your personal rendition, even holding in front of your webcam be so well curated, people just won’t do it.
0:15:49.4 So, I love that. Guys, take that away from this conversation. Pure gold. Take Ryan’s advice, start doing content creation. Document don’t create. Creating content at volume, at scale. I know that’s something you have some experience and some background with. Talk to me about the opportunity that social represents. And when I say social, that can mean a lot of things. So kind of parse up the opportunity with social for small businesses specifically.
Ryan: 0:16:21.1 Yeah. I would reiterate what you just said too, about being afraid or not being afraid of the perceived quality. There is actually an inverse relationship between engagement and quality. It’s sort of a reverse bell curve, where your best engagement in our testing online, and we’ve worked with some very large brands and very large personalities on a national level, and seen this born out over and over again.
You don’t want to go in the middle. You don’t want to try and get something that’s a bit too – it’s too overwrought for your budget. Go simple, go raw, go authentic or go all the way and get a full on professional production. Don’t try to go in between. So do something really nice, or pick up your iPhone and record yourself and don’t worry about post-production.
Don’t worry about the stuff in between. The raw stuff, the more authentic stuff. 0:17:30.8 Frankly, sometimes the ugly stuff actually performs better than trying to get something middling because you’ll usually step over yourself and people won’t relate to you as much.
Jordan: 0:17:44.5 Totally it makes sense. The odd thing is that is the pro tactic right now. If you go on YouTube and you look at the Grant Cardones, the Gary Vaynerchucks, etc., there is definitely a subset of their content that is clearly highly polished, highly produced, but there are also plenty of videos of them driving in their car with an iPhone strapped to their dashboard doing regular videos.
If they’re doing it, if it makes sense for them, why as a small business owner would you place a higher burden than that on your back. 0:18:16.6 I think it goes back to, “I don’t know what to say”. And this is where people have to embrace the fact that you have to have an opinion in business. You simply have to have opinions about what you’re doing, the services you’re providing, and if you don’t, if you want to be Acme 0:18:33.8 why are you in business in the first place?
Maybe the answer is that you don’t want to have a job and you thought this was an easier out. But the reality is, it’s probably not. If you’re in this for the long haul, you have to have some strong opinions and those are the things that people can actually respond to.
0:18:50.0 I know you and I have both had hours of back and forth dialogue about the things that we believe about our business, our respective industries, how to operate, how to execute. 0:18:59.5 Cultivating opinions is a by-product of educating yourself, reading, listening to podcasts, etc. I think that’s what develops the well-refined mind, that then puts yourself in position to actually have something to say, if that is your hangup.
Ryan: 0:19:18.1 Yeah, absolutely. And frankly, a lot of that’s developed over time. Both your ability to develop those opinions and your ability to express them happens with practice. So if you wait to express those until you have the absolute perfect opinion on everything, you’ll number one never express them and number two, you won’t be very good at it once you do get that good opinion.
0:19:41.5 So start early. Most of the time, by the time somebody discovers you on social, they don’t want to see just one video. They want to see that you have a history of talking about the ideas that matter to you and the areas of your expertise. If they go online and say, “Oh this is fantastic, I see this video that I’m drawn into, this message that somebody put out, they were recording on their iPhone” about you were walking up to door to do service. Service a house maybe, that you’re managing.
And then they click on your profile and that’s the only video you’ve ever posted. It’s sort of a letdown and you – that initial reaction of saying, “Well hey, maybe this guy’s – this guy or gal’s an expert in their field” is suddenly cut short. 0:20:32.8 You’re cutting yourself off at the knees.
Create that backlog. Create that history, that repetitive track record of solid information that you’re providing, and documenting what you’re doing. Because it builds trust and it also builds a sense of relationship with people before you even get to reach out to them.
0:20:56.8 So, by the time they call you, they already feel like they know you. We’re getting into the ideas of inbound traffic at that point. But if somebody goes through and watches ten of your videos, by the time they actually talk to you and they’re a qualified lead, they’re already going to be half the way down the sales funnel, because you convinced them through ten other videos that are always there and always working for you.
Jordan: 0:21:20.5 You’re talking about a rational brand bias. You’re talking about the phenomenon of somebody coming up to you and feeling like you’re a friend. They have a relationship even though this person’s a stranger. Because they saw you online.
Corollary to what you said before, I think about that quote Reed Hoffman 0:21:35.8 “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” I think about that myself. The first videos of me online, the first blog posts, etc., it’s embarrassing.
I look back and those things – let me rephrase that. Those things would be embarrassing to me if they were being sent out to my list now. 0:21:55.3 It’s not embarrassing because I understand the historicity of context and how that’s the natural progression of things.
But I think that’s the way that it should be. You’ve got to work out the kinks and the only way to do that is to practice and as they say, “Good judgement comes from bad judgement.” Right? You’ve got to make the mistakes to be able to actually get to the point to where you want to get.
Ryan: 0:22:19.4 Oh absolutely. And even beyond messaging about what you’re doing, I wouldn’t hire myself when I started. I think back to the original work we did when we first started the agency over six years ago.
If somebody came to me applying for a job and said here’s my portfolio of work, I wouldn’t hire them. I would say thank you very much, come back in a couple of years when you’ve gotten better.
0:22:47.8 And that’s me. And six years later, we’ve got a long track record and national clients with people and brands that you would all recognize. 0:23:01.4 It’s just – the worst thing is to not start. It’s far worse to not start than to try and be perfect the first time you go out the gate.
Jordan: 0:23:10.2 So you talked about it being a binary thing. Either go low-fi or hi-fi when it comes to the quality of content. But talk to me about volume. Talk to me about whether or not it makes sense to either all in or not at all when it comes to the volume of social.
Because the tendency and the temptation is to dabble and effectively do just enough to say, “Oh I tried that and it didn’t work.” What is kind of the bell curve and the progression of expectations that somebody should have around social media and what would you tell them to know whether or not they’re going to actually get a meaningful yield based on what they’re willing to commit?
Ryan: 0:23:48.4 There are two considerations. One is I – don’t produce content literally for the sake of producing content. You want to produce content to the extent that you can provide value. Another – varying levels about you and balance this against what we said about starting is better than not doing at all.
But try to always provide some element of value with what you’re doing. Some element of insight. And don’t just blather on endlessly because you think you’re supposed to create content. 0:24:28.9 That changes a little bit industry by industry and person by person.
If your brand is that you are an industry leader, a thought leader, then you need to be producing content regularly, and you need to be producing content of value. Which means you’re going to be spending time thinking about that. To some extent and putting time into planning and making that a regular part of your operation. You at least every week are producing something. 0:24:56.3 Maybe more often if your industry has enough that you can talk about. So I think that’s one.
Jordan: 0:25:08.0 So pausing on that thought, how do I know if I can be a thought leader Ryan. Yeah, that sounds great. Thought leader. Yeah, sign me up baby. I mean, how do I know? What has to happen for me to give myself permission to be a thought leader. And I’m using air quotes here. It’s an interesting concept just from a chicken and egg type perspective right?
Ryan: 0:25:29.0 No it is. And typically, when you actually become a thought leader, it’s sort of a thing where you look back and say, “Oh wow, I’ve reached this place.” Not something you just really notice at the moment. 0:25:44.5 That’s a – that can be a strategic goal. If it does, you’re going to have to spend a lot more time making sure that the content you provide is of a super high calibre.
How you decide on that is, do you ultimately do you have information that other people are going to want to listen to you for. 0:26:05.3 That’s a highly arbitrary definition. It’s not something that I’m qualified necessarily even to say. I’m an individual person in the property management space, because that’s not our primary client subset.
Jordan: 0:26:18.2 Sure, sure, but what you can comment on the fact – what we both know is that you can cheat. Right?
Jordan: 0:26:23.0 The scope of your ambition determines your ability to actually speak with authority. If you want to say, “I want to be the definitive global expert on real estate and I’m starting on day one in real estate tomorrow” odds of that happening, zero percent.
0:26:40.3 Let’s take it from global to US. Ok. The viability just went up, though an incredible angle of attack. Let’s scale it down to Texas. Let’s scale it down to Austin. Let’s scale it down to the definitive expert on real estate in the zip code 78759. Now we’re cooking. Now we’re talking about a reasonable scope of ambition.
So from that regard, that’s where I think about the opportunity exists. I don’t think that social media represents a meaningful opportunity for people that purely want to use it as a distribution medium. But if you are actually committed to creating a brand that is centred around education, centred around creating value, and you have a reasonable expectation of the scope of what you want to own, maybe it’s not – it doesn’t have to be your metro. Or if it’s your entire metro, it’s on a very narrow topic. It’s just – it’s Dallas, but it’s Dallas property management specifically for asian overseas investors.
Somehow you have to be able to slice it and dice it to where it’s a category you can truly own. Agree?
Ryan: 0:27:43.2 Yeah. 100%. If you try to go after everything, you will definitively not be the thought leader in everything. Especially if you’re starting from scratch. Start with what you do know or can know and can learn. Because you can teach other people by teaching yourself.
0:28:02.8 Frankly, as well, that’s how a lot of content creators actually get started. That’s how some of our spinoff businesses got started. We had clients that needed a particular service so we taught ourselves in order to help them and in the process we became experts in that particular market niche.
0:28:21.7 So don’t be afraid to teach yourself at the same time you’re teaching other people as well. It’s frankly how a lot of content is produced.
Jordan: 0:28:32.2 So we’ve talked about organic. Let’s go to the other end of the stream. Let’s ditch the long game. Talk to me about the near term now money. Talk to me about arbitrage. Talk to me about using social for arbitrage. Paid ads. Is this viable and realistic for small businesses?
Ryan: 0:28:50.2 Absolutely. There’s – there are tons of opportunities, especially if you get invented with your testing and you’re creative and you want to go after any element that you can. Test Twitter, test Facebook, test Google, Bing, test LinkedIn, test Snapchat, test Pandora, Test Hulu. Depending on the levels of your budget, your scope, and timeline etc.
There was a large operation we were part of last year that got a huge drop in cost per acquisition on Snapchat, which is not thought of as a lead acquisition funnel. But it actually worked exceptionally well and beat some of the other channels. It didn’t scale to incredible proportions, but to the extent it could scale, it was a very low CPA.
0:29:43.0 So, once you get into paid operations, especially at scale, it’s all about testing and optimization. Iterative cycles. Don’t just say, “I’m going to do Google and that’s it.” And through up some ads and forget about it. It’s going to ultimately – it is likely to be a highly inefficient use of your dollars. Test, set up acquisition and tracking funnels so you know tracking across that funnel. You know what stage people are in. You know where each of those people came from and you know where the sources of your ultimate conversions.
0:30:24.9 Because sometimes you’ll get a platform that will convert really well from the broad list into an unqualified lead but then just never moves down from the unqualified lead into a qualified into an opportunity or a sale.
0:30:41.0 So ideally, you set up tracking funnels – you set up your tracking across your funnel and you’re testing different data sources, different platforms and different creatives across all of those.
Jordan: 0:30:50.6 Define test man. Let’s keep digging in on this framework. I’ve heard so many times, “I tried it, it didn’t work.” What do I need to do? What is the true MVP for me to say that I experimented with a given channel?
Talk to me about dollars, talk to me about sample set. How do I know that I did enough to validate or dis-validate with a given channel can work as a lead distribution strategy for my property management business.
Ryan: 0:31:22.7 In testing, you’re going to look at, obviously at your cost per acquisition. You need to know what your ideal cost is across your funnel so that you’re actually making money in the end. And then see if – see how close you’re getting in the beginning.
0:31:40.0 So if you’re – say your cost per acquisition goal is $100 for a qualified lead. And your initial tests are running at $500 or $1000. I’m just using arbitrary numbers for the sake of example. And you run a couple split tests on creatives and you’re hitting $500 or $1000. Something is massively wrong and you need to go really wide with any tests beyond that. Completely change your data set. Completely change your platform. Completely change your creative. Don’t make tiny changes like changing your colours.
And see if from there if you go really wide and you change an entire data set, and you drop it from $500 to $150, you know you’re on to something really close. And you may be able to whittle that down to the $100. If you drop it from $500 to $450, you’re still swinging for the fences and you need to maybe look at doing something radically different.
0:32:45.8 Or, it may be that your particular audience is simply not available online. There are those areas. There are very few but there are some. 0:32:58.6 You’re looking at the relative change in your tests to – in relationship to your target CPA. In most cases, we’re able to tell within about four to five if we’re anywhere close.
Jordan: 0:33:17.6 How big is the test? Talk to me about the sample set. How many clicks? How many leads? How much do I need to invest to, say a cycle is really complete in one of these 0:33:26.7 [Inaudible – talking over]
Ryan: 0:33:26.7 Yeah. You’re looking at typically – at scale, if somebody said, “I want a full online operation”, I’m going to tell you to look at somewhere between $3-10,000 and about a month. That’s going to depend on the size of your available audience.
If you’re looking national versus more targeted. The more targeted you get the more expensive the leads typically are. Online, for targeting, anything less than $1000 is, in terms of your target demographic that you’re trying to reach, is basically unreachable online unless you have them on a first-party capture.
0:34:08.8 So, if they visited your website, or they’re on your Facebook page, or they’re on your email list and they’ve directly signed up or they’ve directly visited your site. 0:34:18.0 If you’re going out and saying, “I’m looking for a list to acquire and I’m going to acquire them on Facebook or I’m going to target a demographic set on LinkedIn or something like that.
If you’re under $1000, generally speaking it’s going to be a highly unreliable data set to go after. You’re just not going to get the reach to get real data targeting. At least within a reasonable time period. You’re going to have to extend a couple months to get relative data on your tests.
0:34:49.1 You ideally want to hit – you have 5, 10 thousand plus in your target segment. And if you don’t get that, then you look for other ways to acquire that data. Through email lists, through organic that gets people on to your website. Then once they’re on your website, you can use pixel targeting or cookie targeting if you want to 0:35:11.2 [Inaudible] target. It drops a cookie on your browser and then you can retarget them through AdRoll or Facebook, or Google.
Jordan: 0:35:22.6 This is really interesting, let’s start here. So I’m branded to digital marketing, I hear the opportunity, I want to act. I don’t have – I don’t think of myself as having a database, but I do have one thing, I have customers. I have 150, 200, 300 customers and I got the existing web traffic. How do I translate that into creating a database that I can then use to retarget and find more people like them? What are the steps involved?
Ryan: 0:35:48.9 First thing is always to look at that data and see what you can pull out that’s common or most common among them. So, look and try and find if, say 75% of your decision makers happen to be male over the age of 65 with a net worth of 7 figures plus. Or that happen to live in a particular metro area. Look for any kind of commonalities that you can use to limit your audience.
0:36:26.7 So you want to get big enough that you can target, you want to get small enough that you’re not paying for people who are unlikely targets. Your best case scenario, is you can go to a list broker and say, “These are – this is particular my data set, I want to go into the greater metro Atlanta area. I want people who own more than one property with a net worth of 1.5 million plus. The property value in question is, multi-family and above. A couple million dollars as well.”
You get something as specific as you can, and then shop that around to, both on what’s targetable on Facebook and LinkedIn out of the box. Or the platforms. And then go to list brokers and see what you can find. 0:37:14.3 You always have some information that you can use to limit and start with.
Try to limit as much as you can while still having a large enough relevant data set to go after. And if your data set is only 250 people, then probably what we would do is direct mail and phone calls and direct email outreach. 0:37:36.6 And you start there until you get bigger.
Jordan: 0:37:39.1 Talk to me about direct mail. It’s old school. Does it still work? What are the basic elements of executing a direct mail campaign. What are the things people could do wrong?
Ryan: 0:37:48.3 Yeah. Direct mail can work very well. It can also work actually in combination with hyper-digital targeting. If you can limit, again with – this is sort of an equivalent of first-party data, we can use IP match targeting or cookie match targeting against third-party data sets to mail and feed digital ads to the same sets of people.
0:38:16.9 There are case studies showing a lift, even in off-line conversions if you do that, because people are seeing your brand ad at times, a subconscious association with something they already know. It’s just a general name ID. Then they get hit with a specific ask in mail. 0:38:31.2 So, I would preface …
Jordan: 0:38:31.3 You know, let’s make sure we didn’t lose anybody. From a human perspective, as a consumer, walk me through the experience I’m having that relates to what you just said about connecting the online and offline there.
Ryan: 0:38:45.7 Yeah, so if somebody walks up to you off the street and says, “Hey I’m from ABC, I’m John Smith from ABC company, and I want to sell you a new roof” or whatever it is. If you’ve never heard of ABC company before, if you’ve never seen their name around, you’ve not seen advertisements or heard other people who have used them, yeah there’s a bigger hill to climb psychologically in the sales process than if somebody goes, “Oh yeah, I know ABC company.”
There’s already at least a minimum threshold that’s been met versus, “Who are you? I’ve got to look you up online to make sure you’re not scamming me.” 0:39:27.0 So digital ads allow you to prime that pump a little bit, even if it’s just subconsciously where they can say – associate the brand that they’re being hit up with direct mail. At least with having seen that brand before.
So if they’ve seen it before, there’s a level, at least a minimum level of trust that’s been associated with it. 0:39:52.5 Now you go all the way to the other extreme and anything that Coca-Cola puts out, anything that Apple puts out, anything that Google puts out immediately has a massive amount of trust associated with it. That’s the far other end of the spectrum.
0:40:08.9 What we’re talking about is at least just getting over that basic hub of somebody having heard of you before. Which, if they’ve even just done that, it makes the introduction, the sales process a lot easier because there’s a minimum level of trust associated with having heard of somebody before.
0:40:29.3 So, what you’re doing with the digital ads, is trying to get past that first hump by the time you’re getting the more expensive media like direct mail in their hands with a specific ask. 0:40:42.6 So if they’ve already heard of ABC, they’re like, “Oh yeah, I think I’ve seen that online somewhere. I’ve seen their name around, let me look at this.” You’re going to at least spend a few extra seconds looking and reading the piece of mail.” You’re statistically more likely to read because of the psychology of having heard of them beforehand.
Jordan: 0:41:03.5 How do I connect the two? How do I connect the physical address with the digital identity via Pixel or 0:41:08.2 [Inaudible – echo]?
Ryan: 0:41:10.3 So that’s done through third-party data sets. And none of this in the digital world is 100% science. It’s constantly moving because people move houses, they have different offices than they do home addresses, etc.
0:41:26.5 So it’s with a caveat that this is on a level of percentage of accuracy. But it’s continually getting better, especially as we’re cross supply – what we’re essentially doing is cross supplying third-party data that’s known about you.
0:41:43.6 So when you submit a credit applications and all kinds of things. There’s tons of organizations that track you across lots of other places. Phone numbers and your phone address. That often gets sold to third-party data companies. Amazon. A ton of people have Amazon accounts online.
Whenever you send something, you’re mailing a package to yourself, you’re not going to send somebody the wrong address, so Amazon, for instance, has a pretty accurate data set on a vast number of Americans especially. And they have also, an associated cookie on your – ip address, both, on your phones and on your computers.
0:42:27.4 So they’ll connect those two. Say that this person at this address is connected to this phone or this computer and then they sell that in bulk to third-party data providers. Most people don’t realize how many people do this. Every free app on your phone, most of – I shouldn’t say every – most free apps on your phone are selling your data, your location data, your email address, your phone id, all of that to third-party data providers. That’s how they make some of their money.
0:42:58.2 So all of that’s become available to us, and there are companies that associate those together and allows us then to track that. Facebook is one of the biggest. Amazon is another huge one. And we can push those out through third-party data providers that we have access to, especially as a digital agency, to place ads in front of very specific targeted groups of people.
Jordan: 0:43:23.2 So what do I need to bring to that party in order to make it work. I’m bringing what? What is my list contain to make the bridge? Am I bringing the physical address, the email address, the name? What do I need to have as the starting point in order for them to make the bridge?
Ryan: 0:43:37.2 As much as possible to increase the level of accuracy of the targeted data set. Ideally first name, last name, address. That’s always a starting point. Email address. Even just email address alone is also a great one because so many other services that will connect third-party data to email addresses.
0:44:00.6 Phone numbers are also a possibility. Anything that you have that’s accurate in and of itself you can run what’s called a reverse append on, or just a data append. So we can go to third-party data broker and say, “I have this phone number and I have this email address, or I have this email address and I have this name, I want you to append whatever you can for their addresses or their phone numbers. Or their age or their ethnicity. Their buying habits. Whether they bought a car in the last year.
0:44:32.8 There are hundreds of data points that you can add to this. So you do a data append to flesh that out and then you can use that 0:44:41.4 [Inaudible – To Be Confirmed] list to go target online. As much as you can. As much as you have available. Ideally, at least either a first, last and address or a list of email addresses.
Jordan: 0:44:56.5 Aw man, we’re getting into some juicy stuff here Ryan. Here’s what I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about, is this enterprise level tech, blah-bitty-blah-blah pixels, tracking…totally irrelevant, I just need to hammer the phone book.
Or is this something that small businesses can utilize? And I think it’s option B and here’s why. 0:45:13.0 Let’s say I only manage 300 doors, but I’ve been in business for awhile. The problem is, I haven’t been thinking about this in the context of building a database. I’ve just been thinking of leads. And in that transient mindset, what that means is that I’ve lost out on the opportunity to track and build out a long list of people that I could append-ate on, use to match with other people.
But if I was to go back over the five years that I’ve been in business, collect and scour every person that could have been in my database, maybe I come up with a 1000 names. Maybe it’s 2000 names. A lot of those are folks that are qualified, but for whatever reason, weren’t ready to buy at the time.
0:45:51.8 So that’s opportunity one. Mining your own data that you’re throwing in the garbage. I run a company that provides CRM services for property management companies. On occasion, I’ll get a painful email of somebody saying, “Hey my lead list is kind of clouded because I’ve got a lot of old leads in there. Can you just delete them all so I don’t have – so it’s easier for me to see what’s fraction, what’s new. Just delete my leads from the last two years because I only want to see the leads from the last 30 days. Old leads are just dead.” That’s the kind of mindset that I deal with on a day to day basis. But this is opportunity one. Collect all your old data and go market to those people.
Opportunity two, though, is to take all that data and then find more people like them. 0:46:39.9 So let’s say I go through step one, I go back, I scrape all the history of leads that I ever got. I build out my 2000 person, 3000 person database. How do I go find 10,000 more people like them and advertise to them online?
Ryan: 0:46:53.8 Yeah, so there are – there is the quick and easy way and then there’s the more precise more targeted way. The quickest, easiest way to do that is to go to a list broker and say, “Match this against likely audiences, or to upload it to Facebook.”
Facebook is a great data matching service that’s part of their ad platform. And say create what they call a look-a-like audience. And Facebook will take that data and say, “Based on all of the hundreds and thousands of things that we know about hundreds of millions of people, we will create – we will generate a list for you of people that are highly similar to this list that you uploaded.” That’s a quick and easy way to do it.
0:47:47.2 The more targeted way to do that over time and with slightly more effort, which is the way that I would recommend doing it, is to do a lot more analysis of that list. Get an appends on it about a lot of other data points. Buying habits, net worth, age, ethnicity, location. Go get – it’s a few pennies for records typically, depending on how much data you’re getting. It’s fairly cheap, especially when you’re only talking about a couple thousand people.
And you will learn a ton about your target audience. Or your available list of qualified leads. 0:47:47.2 And then take that, analyze it, say, “I know that X – 75% of my list is this demographic and 75% of my list is this demographic.” And then go back to your list broker and say, “I want another 5000 people that fit these categories. That are female, 35-55, this net worth or this kind of land ownership, etc..”
0:48:59.0 Do some analysis on that list, figure out who those people are and then find other people that fit that same category that created the qualified leads in the first place.
Jordan: 0:49:09.1 So do you get all that and now you’re firing up your ad campaign, would you focus on the immediate conversion i.e. an ad that’s trying to get you to immediately click and submit a contact form or would you focus on the long term conversions, i.e. paying for likes, paying for people to engage with content that hopefully has some kind of an educational opt-in behind it.
Ryan: 0:49:30.9 Definitely the latter because, especially with these people that have not heard of you before, you need to create a relationship. So rather than go straight to, “Hey, let me manage your seven figure property” or maybe it’s less than that, it doesn’t matter, it’s still a big ask to go from, “I’ve never heard of you” to “Here are the keys to my second home that I’m renting out,” “or my apartment complex.”
0:49:57.7 So create a relationship, create a conversation with the lowest possible opt-in that you can. Do anything that you can. Give away a piece of information, give away a white paper that you’ve created. Again, very low cost. Just your research, your time to create something like that. Give away a free – maybe a free analysis.
So tell somebody, “I will give you a 20 minute conversation analysis of your property and what you should be making or what you should be doing differently than what you’re doing right now.”
0:50:36.5 Find something that you can either give away for free or that you can give away anonymously or somewhat anonymously, because they’re giving you their email address — to get their contact information to figure out who these people are that are moving them down the funnel from unqualified, not even a lead at that point, just a potential, into anywhere in your funnel.
0:50:58.7 So, give something away or provide value in some way that somebody wants to give their contact information to you and start a conversation.
Jordan: 0:51:07.0 Man, you are making me work Ryan. First I gotta get – collect all my data to get this list, then I’ve got to advertise to these people, then I’ve got to actually get them to give me their email address, because that’s not enough.
We both know that that is not enough. What do I still have to do to take this opportunity all the way home? If I actually get them to submit their email and give me permission to contact them.
Ryan: 0:51:31.1 Yeah, absolutely. So it depends on what that thing you’re giving away is. If it’s the consultation, when you have them on the phone and then you move into the sales side of 0:51:41.3 [Inaudible] you already have the conversation going, you need to figure out the next step.
Lead naturally off of what they tell you and schedule a followup. Or ask them for a follow up. Start sending them what we call a drip campaign, which is – the next day they get a canned email that you’ve produced once and send to everybody that’s a follow up from that consultation.
0:52:06.1 Then three days later, they get another one. And provide value with each of those so you’re continuing the conversation, escalate the ask from that time. Whatever your ask is the first time, escalate it the second time with this drip campaign.
0:52:24.2 Move it up a notch. Ask them for just a little more commitment. Ask them, if you gave them a white paper, ask them for a consultation or ten minutes on the phone. 0:52:34.7 Or ask them for – to sign up for another white paper or a recurring series of informational emails so that you become an expert in their mind and when they look to outsource the management of their property or switch vendors, that you’re top of their mind. This is definitely playing the long game in most cases.
0:52:55.9 This is not like cold call sales where you’re trying to make the sale today. You’re building a relationship, you’re building a rapport, you’re building a reputation with these people through largely scalable, low cost and low effort actions over time.
0:53:11.2 Once you’ve set it up – the first time it’s a lot of effort to set it up – once you do, it gives you recurring value over and over and over. But you’re playing the long game. You’re playing the game of building a relationship, building a conversation, being on top of their minds and being there so that when the opportunity comes for an actual close comes up, you’re right there to make the sale.
Jordan: 0:53:35.7 I love it. Totally makes sense, but like you said, it’s the long game. It’s a lot of work. I want to go ahead and move to the rapid-fire section of the interview where we just quickly go through some questions and I just want some guttural answers from you Ryan.
0:53:55.6 My first question from you is, when it comes to sales and marketing, who have you learned from? Who has had the biggest impact on your development in that area?
Ryan: 0:54:05.7 Yeah a couple we talked about already. Gary Vaynerchuk 0:54:08.8 has been influential. Seth Godin 0:54:13.6 has had a couple concepts that I’ve really learned from. Jim Collins 0:54:20.2 who wrote …
Jordan: “Good to Great”.
Ryan: 0:54:22.5 Probably the most influential business book on me as an entrepreneur. I highly, highly recommend that book. Noah Kagin 0:54:34.2 actually, who’s a local Austinite as well like myself. I’ve run into him a few times, had dinner with him. Great guy, super scrappy entrepreneur. I appreciate all of what he’s done. Especially on the small business side.
The other one, which I’m going to toss out – might be a – not a traditional large name, but you actually. And what I mean by that is that both you individually, Jordan, and our conversations over that last, close to a decade, and what we’ve learned together as entrepreneurs – but the experience shared through small groups of entrepreneurs who are all playing on the same stage of growth in their business is both important because you can share insights and coach each other or call bullshit on each other, but it’s also important because it keeps your energy and enthusiasm for learning up to par.
0:55:28.9 So other people who are either mentors, and so who’ve gone before you or people who are in roughly the same stage who are learning also and you can get excited about what they’re learning and they can get excited about what you’re learning. 0:55:43.9 It keeps you engaged.
Jordan: 0:55:47.8 Love it. Totally agree with you. Our relationship, which to some degree has been kind of like a mini-mastermind, going back and forth, tracking at the same level has been hugely instrumental for me as well.
0:55:59.3 The next question I have for you is, take me back to day one and tell me what you would do different. If Ryan, with all of the current knowledge that he has, was to go back and be reincarnated into the body of Ryan ten years ago, what is just the obvious thing that you would do differently with hindsight being 20/20?
Ryan: 0:56:20.5 Ah man. There are a couple things. One is I would manage the emotional rollercoaster better, just because it’s inevitable that you have wins, it’s inevitable that you have losses. And sometimes your huge wins and huge losses may go back to back and so you can be all over the place.
0:56:42.6 Just learn to – learn to expect that there are going to be wins and learn to expect that there are going to be losses, and don’t let either think – make you think you’re a rockstar when you win, because you’re going to fail again and come back down to Earth. Or think that you’re an utter failure when you fail, because you will do both.
0:57:04.9 So learn to expect those earlier, number one. Number two, is pay attention to business model and signals of quality or future success or failure. What I mean by that is, my first company was importing custom equestrian equipment from another country, from South America. And it was a phenomenal learning experience. But it was utterly a failure for me. Firstly because I didn’t pay attention to the business model. At that time, I really didn’t understand what a business model was.
0:57:47.4 Understand fundamentally what are the keys to success or failure in your business. Understand what you can systematize, what you cannot. What you can systematize, invest in early. What you cannot, know that you have to accommodate and have a plan to accommodate that, or mitigate it and focus on the things that you can systematize, and create a regular cadence for.
And understand that as a result of that business model, what you are 0:58:22.7 [Inaudible], what your projections are going to be at, and be realistic about that. There’s a huge, huge learning curve around business models for me.
Jordan: 0:58:33.4 Really thoughtful answer, and this is coming out of the mouth of a guy that has started many, many businesses. I mean, there have been times where you told me that you start a new business and I just wanted to reach through the phone and tell you, “Don’t do it!”
But you have pressed – you have pressed on, you have taken the focus of – focusing on at bats and just really making – putting yourself in an opportunity to succeed while not being trapped into one opportunity, but pivoting, iterating, iterating, which I love about you. Final question, for today 0:59:06.0 Ryan, are entrepreneurs born or bred?
Ryan: 0:59:10.7 That is a, that’s a little bit of a chicken or the egg. I think that some people who are naturally inclined to the entrepreneurial world, or they are born with certain proclivities that make entrepreneurship easier or more difficult.
But I’ve met entrepreneurs who are complete introverts who are successful and entrepreneurs who are complete extroverts who are completely successful. I’ve met people who are risk prone, people who are risk averse. There are many, many shapes and sizes of entrepreneurs.
0:59:50.2 Ultimately, you can learn a lot of what you need to be an entrepreneur if you’re willing to put in the work and stick with it and continually learn about yourself and about your industry. Your individual proclivities and personality may make that harder than it is for other people and it may make it easier than it is for other people.
1:00:20.7 You have to work, you have to learn, you have to put in your 10,000 hours before you become an expert, and you have to be willing to know that you’re going to put in 10,000 hours before you’re going to get that. As long as you’re willing to do that, you can achieve some level of success as an entrepreneur.
1:00:40.4 So like many things, Michael Jordan was arguably the best basketball player in history, there’s some other recent ones that might give him a run for his money on that, but he was even as the best natural player on his team, he was the first to show up to practice and the last to leave. And he practiced on the weekends. Both and.
Jordan: 1:01:04.2 Let’s sum it up as talent is not enough. Which is a great book by the way. Go check it out. Ryan, thanks for coming on the show today. If folks want to connect, want to read more about what you’re doing and your work in the digital space, where can they go to do that?
Ryan: 1:01:21.2 They can go to one of two websites. ViciMediaGroup.com, which is our digital agency. V.i.c.i media group dot com or to ViralMediaPartners.com. Viral media partners dot com, which is our publisher services and software company.
Jordan: Thanks again for coming on Ryan, we’re wishing you much success.
Ryan: Absolutely, thanks a lot man.