"You're In Charge" with Glenn Pasch
"You're In Charge" with Glenn Pasch

Episode 125 · 8 months ago

How to Market a Small Business with Eric Thomas


As a small business owner, marketing your business on a limited budget can be challenging. Where to spend, on what platform and how to measure your results can be a challenge.  

In this episode, Eric Thomas, founder of Rival Digital shares how he helps his clients market their small business. He focuses on the HVAC industry and shares how he expands his strategy to other verticals as well  

Tactical and insightful. Enjoy and don't forget to subscribe, share and rate the show.  


About Eric Thomas 

Eric Thomas is the Founder and President of Rival Digital – a digital marketing agency thatspecializes in helping HVAC business owners establish an online presence that produces apredictable lead flow, streamlines marketing & sales initiatives, and ultimately, builds a betterfuture for their business. He has worked alongside some of the largest brands in theworld in industries such as home services & healthcare.

In 2020, Eric decided to venture off on his own to start a digital marketing agency. He partneredwith Erik Olson & from Array Digital to launch a hyper-focused Kevin Daisey niche agency –Rival Digital. 

Additionally, Eric is the host of an industry-leading podcast called the Smart HVAC Marketingpodcast. On the show, Eric interviews contractors, business owners, and manufacturers acrossthe country on tips for running a successful HVAC business.  

Outside of work, Eric enjoys woodworking, surfing, and going on walks with his wife and hisdog. 


About Glenn Pasch:   

"Everyone finds themselves in charge at some point in their lives. Yet many of us lack the skills to generate consistent results. My goal is to help you learn the skills to adapt and grow in your personal and business life.”  

Glenn Pasch is CEO of PCG Digital, a full service digital marketing agency that specializes in helping businesses create and deliver customers raving, recommending & returning for more. He is author of 2 books including "The Power of Connected Marketing" and has spoken and educated audiences throughout the US and internationally.    

 Let’s Connect:  

 Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/glennpasch/​ 

Personal Website http://glennpasch.com/​ 

Company website: https://pcgdigital.com/

As a small business owner, one of the biggest hurdles when you're starting out is developing a great marketing brand promise. You know, should I be hiring an outside vendor to do this? Should I be doing all this marketing myself? And when it comes to brand promise, what am I really talking about? Am I talking about the product that I'm selling? Am I talking about me as an individual? It can be very confusing. Well, today's guest Eric Thomas. He's the CEO and founder of rival digital and his company focuses on helping small businesses with this issue, developing a brand promise, really understanding the core values that this company has and then communicating that with customers in order to generate opportunities to sell their products and services. As he talks about, it's really about creating content to connect with the consumers, to start developing a relationship with them, not just hitting them with another add so I can't wait for you to hear this conversation. He delivers very tactical advice helping out small businesses. So if you're listening today, make sure you have your pen and paper out so that you can take note. So let's dive into today's episode of you're in charge. Now what with Eric Thomas from rival digital? Okay, so Eric, first off, glad you came and I'm really excited to chat with you because you you handle big need for many businesses, especially small businesses. It's this concept of we all need to mark it, but as a small business owner, you don't know one should I be doing it myself? Should I hire somebody? What should I be doing if I have limited budget? So I thought I'd bring you in because you really serve that really well. So let's start right off. I'm a small business owner. I need to mark it. Should I be doing it myself or should I be looking for a cost effective way to hire somebody to help me? Yeah, so I'm I would really just take us a step back and see what stage of business you are in. You know, are you just getting started, like right now our of the gate, you don't have anything set up. You know, you don't have a google business profile set up, you don't have a website set up. You know, have a facebook page set up. So I would kind of inventory what you have already and what you are capable of doing yourself, because you know, there are a lot of things that small business owners are very capable of doing themselves. They can set up a google business profile, they can add images that post to it, they can add images to their facebook page, but they might not be able to build a website, you know, a nice website. They might be able to set something up on Wicks right. You know, that's certainly can't scale with the business. So you might want to think, okay, I can handle the facebook and the you know, responding to reviews on Google, but I might need help with the website. Or you might want to set aside a budget based on what your goals are and then just have someone do all of it, if you know, if you're able to afford that right. So I like that idea of inventoring and I also like that idea and I think it's really a great place to start. Is really understanding where you are. So let's let's take both of those. If I'm brand new, like you said, I'm just starting out and you serve the Hvac community a lot and other small businesses. So if I'm just starting out, I don't have any of that. But I'm building my business. Is it building the Google business profile versus a website? Even just to start. So I have a landing place. Is that a place that we should start right off the bat? Yeah, you know, I would make sure that you you focus on building one don't build your house on rented land. That's kind of like the theme that I say to all the contractors I work with. You know, a lot of a lot of contractors. They want to dive in head first immediately into running facebook ads and Google ads and doing all these things on platforms that could be taken away from them tomorrow. You know, like we saw in October, facebook went down for for six hours in the whole world stopped and those people who had built all of their digital equity on facebook were like, a crap, now I can't reach consumers. So I think when you're first starting off, first you got to focus on building up the things that you own. Your email is like your customer list. That's something that you can you own. If facebook and Google go down, you can still send out emails. Making sure you have a brand, you know, not just...

...taking a stock logo off of somewhere and saying that that's your logo, but like actually investing in some form of brand identity. And then from there, I would say yeah, you want to make sure you have a place for people to contact you, have a nice website or even just a facebook page or a Google business profile page. You're first starting out, if you need a place to send people to write, well, I see. So again, what I love about what you're talking about, and that's the point of this show, is really to help people with tactical advice, and so I like that idea of rented land. And I think we all take it for granted, some because we've been in business or, in my case, I've been in business for a while and you're in business and we're just already moving. But you take a step in the back. I agree. I think every business, if you're really going to be a business, create a website. You know it's there are so many inexpensive ways to accomplish even if you're just creating a website with one page on it that talks about who you are and here's a contact us form, you're starting to build your own building, and that's what I really like, that idea building my own building. What do I control? An email list for my customers. Then all of the other platforms, if you look at them as those are advertising platforms, but they could change tomorrow, they could disappear tomorrow, but if you have your own house in order first, it's a great place to build off of. So I really, really like that. A Lot. You talked about brand and I don't want it to skim by because I think that's really important. So when you're talking to your clients, in a lot of ways they have a service that for most people would think there's no delineation from one to the other. So when you're talking to them, how do you explain to me, how you explain to your clients what brand is, or a brand promise, or how do I stand out in a market when there's other people who do similar services? Yeah, so, I mean I would say really, your brand is, you know, is what you say about yourself. Your brand is what other people say about you. So, you know, I could, I could have the best look at logo made, I could get all my service vehicles wrapped and have the nicest looking website, but really just do a poor job with customers service and the actual trade side of HBAC. You're plumbing, and those customers are going to say, wow, eric really sucks, he's a terrible service technician. And that's my brand. Now it's like, oh, that guy with the Nice fans, like they're they're bad. That's your brand. So I think when you're we're talking about brand, we need to first understand who your ideal customer is. I think that a lot of people try to just service as many people as possible because I think that's how I'll make the most money right. But I think it's important to understand who your ideal customer is really, and that's not that's not something that a lot of people like to hear because that requires a lot of a lot of work and research. But I think that the people that truly get that they have the strongest brand, because if they know we're going after homeowners between the ages of fifty and sixty five who have expensable income and can afford a Twelvezero HVAC system, then they will always be happy with what I have to offer. And then that couple is going to tell the whole world. Hey, all of my friends on facebook who are also probably fifty sixty five, Eric is awesome. We loved our service with him. You should contact him for your service to and now your brand is the you know that the company that this demographic which is your ideal customer, is telling whole world about right. See, I think that's again really tactical, wonderful points. We had someone on a few episodes ago, Adrian Barnes, who focused on exactly that, helping companies figure out that buyer persona who is that right person, and I agree with you. I think when we start out our businesses, or even some businesses that are, I would say, more long tenured, near been around for a while, they still think they can serve everybody and that's a problem because you're not delivering the value or the service to the person who's going to be receptive to your point. If I'm a new homeowner that you come in and you're telling me it's going to be this price, it could be well know or they're expecting for that price I'm going to get some type of different service. So it's really important and what I love is you're talking about it from from the experience of Hvac, but, folks, this applies to any business, any business, understanding who your market is, who is...

...your ideal customer, and then providing that value, because if you do that, then they're going to be your advocates for referrals. Yeah, and we've even we've even experienced this on, you know, at our agency side, with our first and so far only, knock on wood, nightmare client. You know, we thought we only work with HBA seek contractors. That's the only people we served. That's who we thought our ideal customer was. So we started selling services and get people signed up for websites and all this. Well, someone came along and clearly wasn't the right fit and he ended up being a nightmare and it went terribly and that we lost them as a client. We actually ended up, you know, gladly, you know, party ways with this person because it was just not a good fit for either parties. But that made us realize, okay, this actually applies to us as well. We're not just servicing this industry in particular, like we need to look for a part very particular individual we can go after. Yeah, and I think again we have a tendency to forget that or we start believing our expertise that we we can make up for that. Now again, if you want to move into a different industry, vertical, a different segment of the market, well then you need to do that due diligence to work and say, okay, how is how is this group different than that group? What can we take from that's been successful over here and applied over here? But, more importantly, what do we have to change about that or else that? That is going to be very disconnected and and all it takes is one powerful customer with a lot of voice to really wreck your especially if you're focused in a certain geographic area that you're serving. We can really do damage to you. Yeah, absolutely, I agree. So let me ask you this so so again. I want to work down this brand thing, because I think a lot of people misunderstand what it is when you're looking to help your client build a brand or a brand promise. What are you trying to get from them? Like, what should they be telling you, and where do you see them making a mistake or bringing the wrong thing to the table about brand? What exactly are we looking for when we talk about that? Yeah, I think the mistake that a lot of folks make when you're trying to establish your your ideal customer profile, your brand, is they think about it from a monetary standpoint. You know, I'll ask him if you've had one customer that you could just sign up and have, you know, be your customer one hundred, that, one hundred two, a thousand times over and over again. Who would that one person be? And they immediately think, oh, it's that one person that gave me, you know, Fifteenzero. That would be it, because they would give me that same amount of money over and over again. It's like another no, though, who's the person? Not? Not The check book or how much money they spent, like the personality type there. You know the area they lived in, what they did for fun, what are their hobbies? What? What does that person look like? And so I think that's the thing that a lot of people they kind of lose site over. Is like you need to find out who they are exactly. But then when it comes to finding that brand promise, I think it really comes down to just one and I know this is kind of a broad more of a broad answer, but like what are your core values as a company? I think that can help you identify one. What you're going after as a company, who you hire, who you fire, who you accept the work from and who you turn work down from, is based on your your core beliefs, and so I think you need to establish those first and then from there just be that. That's the bedrock of every decision that you make right and I think and I love that, because it's starting out with who you are and what your company stands for, and then from our clients, because we work a lot in the automotive space. So again, that's even more of a commodity in a lot of ways, where we work with our clients to understand exactly that and then help them say, well, what's different about you? Why should I do business with you? You know what's your process? I think, for for even what I'm hearing from you is what you're trying to get them to say is okay, if I have three people who could provide that HVAC system or whatever product someone is going to be marketing, why should I pick you versus them? Don't talk to me about the product. The product is the product, right. What do I have to do? You know what's my process? How am I...

...going to take care of you? What's my follow up? Here's the how it's going to interact. I think that a lot of businesses don't think is the right message. But what your opinion, I mean, is that something that you really work with your people to help them stand out in the market through that, or do you find pushback on that where they go no, no, it's about the price and it's about the actual quality of the product I'm using. Yeah, I think I get a both. You know, we get we get the ones that push back on it and then we get the ones that embrace it, and the ones that have more success are the ones that embrace that, you know, the ones that say you know what you know? What is your experience, your customer experience? Like you know, would your customer be willing to spend fourzeros more than they would for the next guy or the next company or whoever else is out there bidding for work? Would your customer gladly give you a significant amount more in regards to how much it cost because your you know, your promise in your experiences that much better? And if it is, what is that experience? You need to find that and then that needs to be you know, that needs to be on your website, that needs to be on your vans, that needs to be on all your pretty material the matter, you know, whatever it may be, selling cars in the digital age like that, that could be it. Or the power of connected marketing kind of street of things behind you. No, establish what that is. Breathe easy, we're here to help, you're not color. We're not comfortable until you're comfortable, stuff like that. What is your promise to the homeowner that makes them willing to pay you for your service? Right and see, and I love that because I think you're right. There are people that are going to fight that, but those who embrace it and deliver on it. Because to your point is I could say breathe easy, like you said, breathees your we're not comfortable to your comfortable. What does that actually mean? How do I do that? What do we do? I worked in hospitality for years and that's what our owners of restaurant you still always say is that. Well, that sounds great, but what are we going to do while that customer is here? So when they leave, they go. That was a great experience. That was wonderful and we have to repeat that. So, to your point, you're saying it can be that could be a marketing phrase. But if I can't tell, if I don't know how to deliver on that. And then, to your point, if somebody says it's not about the price. So yeah, it was a little bit more, but they said it was going to be two weeks. It was less than two weeks. They said that they were going to do x, they did x. They took care of you know, when they came in the house, they made sure nothing got ruined and cleaned and whatever. However, that process is to deliver that experience. So someone goes, wow, that was great and then they recommend it. But notice what they're recommending is the ex Meuriens of how you did your business. They're not recommend me, hey, it's four thousand dollars more. They're telling you, if you need this, these are people take care of it quick easy, like to your point, when they say they want you to be comfortable, they really mean it. I Love Yeah, I love that, and it goes for any industry. You know, digital marketing and website design. I can make a nice website. Our competitors can make nice websites. You know, we can whatever I you can. You can help someone sell a car, but I'm sure there's another agency that could help them sell cars. But what's going to make you different, isn't you know, who builds the custom word press website versus the one that's, you know, got a pre built framework. It's who delivers the better experience that customer where they're saying, okay, they told me they would take six weeks for this this project. They got it done in six or, you know, quicker. They told me x and they delivered x and they were responsive to, you know, everything, just like they promised that. I had an account manager that was responsive. We had quick turn around times on our change request. There wasn't a bunch of kick back and and so that's really what I'll set you apart from whoever else was offering the same service. Is just to do what you say you're going to do. Yeah, I it's very funny. You said that about be responsive. We had a few clients Lee recently who came to us and they said that's all. I was looking for somebody to answer the phone when I called, somebody to handle the problem for me, versus saying well, well, here's the email you out to call or here is the number that you, customer have to call, versus now I'll take care of but I think that's really important. I think customer experience is becoming more a differentiator and being able to make you stand out in the market place, even more because, one, there's so many people doing things now. You're being bombarded with marketing advertising claims. So we're really looking for one understanding that experience and why I should do business with you. In the more important verification or...

...validation through reviews that, yeah, you're doing this, so let's pivot on that. So we've set this brand promise and you've worked with your clients to say, Hey, man, I hope you're delivering on this. How important, in your mind are reviews and validation and having a consistent process for your clients? Is I mean, is that a conversation that you're having with them to make sure they're they're getting these testimonials in these reviews? Yeah, it absolutely and it's even become, I would say, so much so, an important factor of their over all these the marking that we offer. We went out and found a review solicitation offering to be able to say, Hey, we believe in the power of getting these reviews so much that we're going to help you get more of them right and we're paying, you know, for a white label license to be able to offer this, because those reviews are, I mean, they are absolutely invaluable. I think they can they say, the average shopper, you know, be it e commerce or home services or automotive, they're going to read at least seven reviews on average before they make a decision. And so you got to make sure you have a healthy mixer reviews in there, even and I don't think it's a bad thing to have a couple bad ones either. But to how you got to have some reviews, you know, more than just, you know, four or five, like I think a good for HBAC that they know. We try to get them to at least five hundred before we say that, like they have a good amount of reviews because, you know, and the average, you know, a good Hvac. Our ideal client in regards to that, like our ideal client as NHBAC contractor, is servicing about twenty five hundred homes a year. There's no reason why they can't get at least five hundred reviews a year out of that twenty five hundred. And most of the time it's just because their technicians aren't asking. And that's the thing. And why don't people ask? It's just because it's it's an awkward conversation. You've already asked them for money and now you're asking them again for a review. But it's you know, it just needs to be done because they're very their vital, I think, to growing your business. Agree, and I I think there's two and in addition to that, I think you touched on it earlier, was there's the fear of the negative review. But to your point is one we coach our clients that a negative review is not a bad thing. Answer it, make sure it, don't leave it hanging out there. Respond to the review, respond to don't get into an argument. You know, respond to them and kind of just saying sorry, this happened. Please reach out to me. I'd love to solve you know, talk to you about it, because then the person who sees that there was a problem sees that you're responding to it, because we also know if you had. I mean, I don't know you about you, but I've I see something like online and every there's five hundred reviews and they're all five stars. I don't wait a minute, wait a minute, they're they're not. Everybody's happy. So I think, I think it is this idea of consistency, of getting reviews into your point is, if I have twenty five hundred. There's no reason where you say, listen, even if I got ten percent, that's two hundred and fifty spread over the course every month. I got twenty people to give me a review. Great, and to your point, it's it's building that process to sk but I agree. I can mark it till we both could market for our client still were blue in the face. But it's marketing unless we have customers going no, they really did this and it was really great. Yeah, I think even more powerful than the Google review is a video testimonial is that's something that we've began doing for some of our clients that we are you know, and arms reach of locally is will find a customer that will leave, you know, a glowing six paragraph review about, you know, how they're allergic to this and their cats got this and they you know, the company came in and saved the day and now our allergies are gone and, you know, Grandma's happy and all this stuff. Well, wearing times that customer and say hey, like clear, this person is just over the moon, so excited, like let's offered them a discount next service or something for a video testimonial and then just have them share that put them on facebook and Youtube and men in on the website. Send it to the whole world, because that's even more powerful if you can say hey, this is betty from X, Y and Z neighborhood in the you know, in the Detroit area, and I love Glen's heating and air. They're the best company ever.

And now their neighbors and be like, Oh wow, this person has such a great experience. They saved, you know, the cat's life and did all this stuff and it will just help you with with delivering. It's third party validation for your brand promise. Really is what it is. Yeah, but it's it has emotion and I and listen. For those of you listening, you know we're getting some really great tactical tips and also understanding why there's hesitation. So if you're in charge of a team or you have your own business, understand that there's going to be pushedback sometimes from your sales team or your frontline people or even yourself feeling that I have to ask, but it should be part of your process to always ask, because you need it to validate, you need it for the marketing and if you can get a few of those video testimonial sprinkled in those are I called the UNICORNS. Those are phenomenal because they just are this gold standard where I can see the emotion, where I can see someone who looks like me when I'm sure the website and I see this. So good. So let's pivot a little bit more. I want to listen to talk to you a little bit about your journey because, you know, you are now a business owner yourself. So what was the thought plan or what was the jump off point or what was the decision for you to all of a sudden go from working with people to say I want to do it myself. Yeah, I'm always kind of wanted to do it myself and have my own company. You know, I was I was in college and I was hustling off websites on the side. Even in the middle of Class I was sitting the regular websites for people and it was funny. I was sitting there, the teachers were, the professors were teaching us about marketing and all this stuff, and I'm over here making money doing marketing while I'm listening to them, while I'm paying them to teach me, I'm making money doing it. It was kind of funny and hindsight, but you know, I that's kind of where it all started. And then got out of college, I went to work for a massive corporation in Kentucky and was just making websites, doing seo stuff like that, and then I left there and move to Virginia and took a job with a large home services franchise which got acquired, so I was an ampoyee of one. It got acquired by a bigger company and then became once again an employee of a large corporation and again doing website operations stuff, Steos, all that good stuff, and the entire time on moonlighting, making websites on the side, doing stuff after work, and I was like, you know, I really enjoyed this. I really enjoyed working at that home services company because it was like I enjoyed the trades. I enjoyed helping these small business owners get new business. It was it was a jolie when I would like help them optimize their website and then people would find the website and then pay them money for their service and they would be like wow, we got, you know X, we got. We got twenty four new customers this month. That was so awesome. I thank you and and that's where I was like, you know, this is this is actually a lot of a lot of fun and it's enjoyable, is rewarding to help these small business owners get new business and grow their dream. And then I was realized. I was like, I'm hoping all these other people with their dream. I was like I never really kind of helped myself with the dream. So at that time, while I was working there, to do this, I'm gonna Start my own marketing agency. Well, then a small virus hit the world. Sure some of you I heard of it, and I was like no, there's this like virus thing going on that's going to like shut down the entire economy. Everything's going to crash and burn. And then our company was like hey, we're you know, they had to lay a few people off. I made the cut, thankfully. Then they are like, you know, there's just a lot of unknown at first with with Covid and a lot of companies like hey, we're going to just as a precautionary measure and to peel back a few things just to make sure that like our overhead expenses or you know as well as possible. Yep, and I was like, okay, I need to find something else. Before because I was I was no one knew what was going on. I was like I need to leave, like there, I'm going to get fired and I'm going to have no job, and so I found another job at a real estate company in the area and I was like all right, cool to do this, because they're that they're actively hiring because real estate was booming during covid and I was like they're not going to go out of business anytime soon, so I'm doing that. When did that, I was like about three months into that. I was like this is not this is not helping me progress towards what I wanted to do. So that's when I met come my business partners on facebook and they were like hey, we're we're nishing down our agency and looking to have referral partnersus and stuff too, and I was like I will gladly take in your ferrals I can get and met with them,...

...and so then we started rival digital and here we are today. So any kind of it kind of brought back the desire I had to help small business owners because I was like I'm getting back into home services because I really, really enjoyed that. So that's definitely a great move, I think there to help that industry in a recession proof industry. So everyone's always going to need home service professionals. So it's a good indistor to be in. So I what I what I loved hearing about this is that it seems like you've always had that entrepreneurial bent somewhere and even though you were working. But but something else just popped while you're talking. It was this the joy or the excitement that you have when you're talking about working for other small business is versus the larger company. So I want to want to just is that that there's different marketing if you're working for a large even if it's a large home services company, where it's very corporate or large, versus someone small? Was it the fact that the marketing was different or the branding was different or the tactics were different, or was it just that you saw the result of your efforts working with small people versus I'm incorporate and I never really see the people were working with what. Well, just trying to figure out if it's we're where the difference was. Yeah, I would say absolutely differences. When you're working with a small mediums type business, it's like you are helping what feels like a real human being achieve their achieve their dreams. You know you're working with the person who left their job and started a business and has a wife and two kids or a husband and a couple kids and they have a family and you can you know they'll pay you x amount of dollars and you will put your best foot forward for them, and then you see them get eightyzero in return and they're just like wow, this is so great, I can hire someone, I can grow my business and it's like you're helping a real person, versus when I was at, you know, a large corporation, while I did learn a lot of great stuff there, it was like who we you know, we set up this ad campaign or we optimize this page and they made two point one billion dollars this week and it's like all right, that's next. It was just kind of churning projects and just, you know, just doing things and you never saw you never see the outcome or the result of your efforts. You just the task was complete and that was it. And so that's why I really enjoyed the small business side a lot more. See I like I I really respect that or and get excited about that because you know, I working in a large corporation. It is you know you're getting your wins by the results of your campaigns. And that's not to say one's right or ones wrong, but you know you you may not see that benefit, but working in a small with small businesses, seeing that impact, feeling that you're really part of that organization and hearing what's working and seeing it more at a personal level really seems to be more fulfilling. And so again, for those of you running businesses or you're working with small to midsize businesses, this is a great, great thing to remember that your efforts do have an impact and you, you are involved. It isn't just here's your campaign, I did my I did my job. I think it's really being part of that and you could just hear it in your voice how exciting it was to get back into this to see, Ye, that that effort. It's really so so flip it then marketing for yourself. You know how you know growing your own company. Are there people on your team and you're treating yourself like a client? Is it all yours hat? Does that work when you sort of, you know, do your own marketing to try and see that? Do you have that excitement for yourself? Yeah, it's it isn't. It's very it's a lot different because, you know, up for our clients were taking a PC approach, helping, you know, the age back company reach homeowners, and then for usome taking the beat to be approach where I'm helping me reach hback companies, right and and so it is a munch. It isn't much different approach and you know, it's it's very interesting because, you know, for an HBAC customer, getting twenty five leads in a month like that's exciting. Wow, we got twenty five leads this month. Will for me it's like getting one or two leads a month. I'm just like wow, that's awesome. We got our goal is to get no more than two new clients a months just so we can kind of schedule our growth.

But to get a couple leads here and there, I'm just like wow, that was awesome. And it is a much more different approach. You know, I'm not going out there saying Sev thous nine hundred and ninety nine and websites and five hundred dollars off this and that, like not Stan Ney promotions, off of the world. I'm right creating a podcast and I'm writing long form blog articles and I'm putting out value into the world and hoping that someone reads it and says, when the time is right, oh, I remember Eric, he read that blog article about social media and they seem pretty legit, and that's usually to be honest, that's about ninety eight percent of our our leads we get is people who say, Hey, I listen to your podcast and I neither website or any help of my facebook page. Well, that's a smart way and I think even for what you're saying, it's a great reminder, even for your client ants, right. You know, we tell our clients. You know, what are you doing to help make yourself be seen as the expert in your field? You know, it could be anything. It could be a restaurant. Well, how are you the best at this? Or, if you're, in your case, HBAC, marketing? Well, how are you? Well, here's how I'm an expert. I'm explaining and giving you information. Everyone's going to say that's useful to someone who is the HVAC provider? How are you putting out a tent into the world so someone says, Oh, I saw that, I went to their website. They have great information, they're helping me understand this. Versus, to your point, one seventeen ninety nine, five ninety nine, then, yeah, I'm so transactional versus. Well, you're the expert who's going to take care of everything for me. That's that, hopefully, is the first connection point, not one thousan seventeen ninety nine, because then it's transactional versus relationship by us. Yeah, absolutely, I think that's it and I think that's really in Bab marketing. I'm sure that you know the marketers listening to this to have heard of demand generation, but that's absolutely, I think, the future of be tob marketing. I think we generations kind of it's kind of seen as days in the right and in the BB world, especially with a lot of these updates coming out with Dioas and data privacy and whatnot. I mean we've found Google ads and wasted two four sixty eight thousand dollars Google ads and you get a single lead, record thirty minute podcast once a week and got seventy eight percent of our new business from it. So it's, I think, the man generations where it's at. Yeah, I agree. We built our I look back and we built our you know, our company based off of that, way back pre you know, clubhouse, or really before podcast, it was being on the forums and having conversations or speaking at events or writing blogs or writing for the industry magazines, because they're always looking for content. Where all of a sudden you see people saying, well, I've read your articles or I followed you and I've read your content for years and I love what you're talking about, and then they go, oh, that's who I should talk about when I have this problem. So it again. Those of you running businesses out there right understand what we're talking about. You know, creating a podcast, creating articles, long form, short form. Are there, if the industry that you're going after or serving, is there a conference where you could go speak or attend or trade show, or their local associations that you could be there or, you know, Chamber of Commerce? I think all of that. In your town, does everyone know what you do and that you are the expert, and how are you putting out content to mark at your own business so that you can connect with people who are looking for that and they're reading all of this and if your purposes to help educate and help them solve their problem, then they're going to come to you when they have that problem and say, Oh, I've read his stuff, I've listened to this stuff. I try at least you're on the list of consideration. Absolutely that's really the key. If I can be on your consideration set, then we're good. Yeah, absolutely. So what do you would you so as we wrap up, when you say things like that to your clients, right in Hvac Company, in your instance, saying you should create video or you should create content or you should have a blog on your website again, are they receptive? Do they think you're crazycy what? What do you see out there in terms of willingness to embrace this idea of creating content about what they do? Yeah, I think some of them are...

...receptive, some of them so they you know, there's obviously there's the four piece of marketing that they teach you in school, but I really think that there's now a FIP, which kind of stands for like personality or like a person that is the face of your brand like. I think if it's not going to be you as the owner, then find someone in your office who can be the personality of your company on facebook and on Youtube and if you need to, you go hire a parttime like community marketer. That's that's a new position. I've seeing a lot of small businesses hire as a community manager or a community marketer, a parttime person or fulltime, depending on how involved going to be. Who is their job is to get out into the community and be the face of your company and say I am here with Glen's heating and there we are running our fall furnace, who up right now, and we you know, we are here to help you live more comfortably in your home and shake hands and get on facebook live and say, Hey, guys, we're giving away a grill this week and get on and say hey, this is you know, this is Lindsay, the technician, and she's here to help you with all your plumbing and this is just that's really what it's got to be, I think. And so it can either be you as the owner, if you're willing to take the time and get in front of the camera, but I think it's definitely something that more business owners should look into. Yeah, I agree and I love that idea for creating either community manager, but getting a face. I could not agree with you more of recognition of that person's face and creating content. We've been very successful with some of our clients creating content that answers the questions that somebody would ask. Why, like how often do I need to change the filters in my air conditioner? Why do I need to win Ariz do? Why do I have to do this? What's the difference between this and this? So even simple things like going to hotly go or lows or whatever and say, there's all these different filters, what do I need and why are there so many different ones? We tend, in know whatever industry is, is to take everything for granted. But if you actually did things like that, you would be seen as the expert because you're trying to help someone. And I would guarantee you if somebody was sitting there saying, well, I don't know what to make, what are the top five questions people ask you when they're calling you up about an Hvac Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding. Okay, great, right, and answer to that film with thee to that put that on your website and then you're right. Now all of a sudden there's content for the community manager to push out. It feels like you're you're just you're not selling anything. They'll come to you because they're going to say, well, thank you for that answer. How much is that going to cost me? And now we've brought them in. But to your point is you've brought them in not on a sale. You've brought a man because you're the expert, and I really really love that. I really love that take on mark. I could, like I said, I couldn't agree. We're very aligned in that same approach and there's a lot of national brands and global brands that have done this really well, like flow from progressive. Progressive is, you know what the auto insurance or insurance in general, but they don't get on there and say we're progressive and we do this and we're the best. Know they have this corky lady named flow who is like when you think of the rest of you think of flow. You think of that sort you know, I'm not even sure what her position would technically be there, but you think of the you know this this funny person who is on other commercials and that's how you remember what they do. Saying with Lily from ATNT, they're kind of following suit, and that's I think that's something that we're too. But to your point is, if you really are, and for those of you listening, next time you see, because I love this thing, next time you see flow, next time you see lily from a TNT, listen to what they're listen to the what the commercials about, because it's solving someone's problems. Such they're answering someone's question. There is the one I always like. Flow. Their supposedly on the beach and they're relaxing, saying we're not going to talk about work. They hear two people talking about bundling their insurance. I wish I could. I don't know. How could you do that? It's all confusing, and she comes over to solve the problem. That's what we're talking about. So if you have your face of you know Glen's heating. Well, what are questions that you can ask, and then you can have either someone asked a question or you could just create thing, going hey, here's a question of the week. On facebook. Question from one of our customers asked why do I need to do xxx. Here's what we do. You know, we've done that in automotive in the service drive a lot, because people will say, why do I have to change my oil, or why do I have to do this, or why do I have to rotate my tires, or very similar things. What's the difference between why should I lease...

...versus financier car or why do what? How putting down and down payment? How does that effect like things that in the industry we go everyone knows that. Reality is most people don't know that. But if your are explaining it, you also take I think you also take away a little bit of power from your competitors because you've given your customers or potential customers questions to ask your competitors that you're cleaners may not answer and then they go, well, you didn't answer that, but Glen's trustworthy because of that. But See, I love this tactical content. All focus to generate conversations versus it's all about price. I really yeah, I think that's really important, especially as a small business. There's a there's a book by Marcus Sheridan. I'm not sure if you've heard of him. Is it? It's called they ask, you answer and if you're listening to this, I definite recommend adding that to your reading list. It does exactly what you're just saying. Like he marcus. For those who don't know the story, he I guess he was doing marketing for a Pool Company and pretty much he choked out all this competitors by going online and answering the questions that people were typically saying you'd had to you know, schedule of consultation to get the answer to or give us your contact information. He's going on the website and saying this, folk, this pool cost exactly this much money installed full price. Here it is and you know this, this feature is this and this is why it's like that, and here's our you know, and just gave the answers a way to every question they've ever gotten about their service and they grew exponentially because of it. And you're right, gives the gives the shopper, the customer, ammunition to go next door and say, how much is your maintenance plan? Because over here seventy nine in the you know what's included with your maintenance plan? That's that would be a good one. You know, Glen Stating here follows a sixteen point checklist was included in your maintenance plan. Exactly. It's transparency of saying I've nothing to hide and if somebody doesn't want if somebody else is going to give the exact same thing for a different price, okay, that's fine. But the mere fact that I was willing and they weren't until that you you ask them and then they begrudgingly gave you that. I think again, it's a longer term play to be in the market, to say I'm here to solve your problems. I'm going to see one of the one of my previous guests, his name was dusts the Sutherland. There was a gentleman in his automotive dealership, Clinton backer. He created this whole relationship marketing concept for all of them where he went out did exactly that, answer questions, made videos. But he said, let'sten, when I sell someone in a car, I have to remember where. I'm going to see him in church, I'm going to see him at the supermarket, I'm going to see him really right. So if I take advantage of them that, if I have to hide my dealership Shart or logo or my own face when I see someone, then I'm not doing business correctly, and I think to your point, is the more that you could be putting out marketing or content where you're seen as helpful, there's no way that you're not going to gain business in your market and seen as the trustworthy person. Now again, you have to deliver on it, but if you're will deliver on it, then why wouldn't somebody? Then that cycle of what you've been talking about is coming up with the brand, delivering on the brand, marketing the brand and then marketing the testimonial. That seems like it's the that's that's the cocktail for success, especially for business. Is starting off absolutely yep, I completely agree. Great. Well, listen, I love chatting with you. I could. I could chat with you because we are brains are very aligned. So before we wrap up, at the end of every episode, I ask a few questions. I call him the one, which is just whatever one thing pops into your head. Answer. So the first one. Now you you mentioned Marcus Sheridan's book. One of my questions always is what are you reading to to reading right now, watching right now or listening to that's inspiring you that you would recommend to the audience and we'll put it in the show notes alone with Marcus this book. But what else are you doing right now that's going hmm, I think people should listen to this or read this. Yes, we're currently reading traction by Gino Wickman. Yeah, it's great, but the founder of the EOS entrepreneurial operating system. We run a trade show in the fall and you know, is the keynote and everyone in attendance got a sign copy, and so we're leadership team is currently doing that. We're holding our our was it like level ten meeting or whatever it is, and we're reading through that book together. So that's that's what what I'm reading right now. Definitely recommend that book, especially if you're at the point where your business is set up and you have some systems...

...in place and you're looking to really grow it. I think that's a great book because it's it means called traction. You're getting rip on Your Business and gaining traction for your business is really something that I would recommend the book for sure. Great, great, yeah, I've read that book. Someone gave that to me for a Christmas present maybe a year or two ago, and it was really, really a wonderful book. Okay, once this covid thing hopefully disappears or whatever. From a travel perspective, one place in the world you'd like to visit that you haven't been to yet? I would love to go out west, like somewhere, maybe not la, but somewhere, maybe in California, like I guess Hollywood is technically a little bit part of Kyle or la, but never been in California. I would love to be to California. You know, there's a lot of the places in the world I'd like to go to, like Utah to go hiking. Right, I probably could go because they're not, you know, highly populated areas and it's all outdoors. But I think in regards to places that covid that kind of struck a line through as a no go for now. Is is not California. I'd love to go out there, like Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Andy Egg out San Diego. Okay, San Diego. I just took my son out there to look at a college and you know, it's basically seventy degrees, beautiful, low humidity, probably three hundred out of three hundred and sixty five days. So Yah, pretty wonderful. All right. Um, if I took all your close friends, business associates, people who really know you and put them in a room and ask them to describe you in one word? What would the one word be they would use to describe you? I hope they say like charismatic, but they'd probably say funny. Okay, I like that. I like that. Yeah, I'm a Jokester, so I lost some jokes. We like jokesters, so okay. So, so last question. We've talked about a lot of things and just some really great, tactical, calm comments and input and things that people can take away. But there's a lot of them. So if I said to you, what's the one thing that you hope the audience would take away to help them with their business or with their marketing or what? What's the one thing you would hope they would walk away with? Don't build Your House on rented land, build your email list on your website. Own what you can own and focus on that first. I love that. Yeah, I think that's a great idea. I remember talking about that with our team. You know that for a time we used to post a lot of articles on Linkedin and then I said, well, let's put them on our website. First and then maybe a week or two later we'll put them on there. And you know, we can always put first shown on this. But you know what happens if you put all of your content on that platform, all of your articles, all of your blots, and all of a sudden it all disappeared. Where did it go? It should all drive to your own house. So I really love that. So listen. Thank you so much for being here. This has been a really fun conversation. I love these because time just flies and yeah, like, Whoa, how did I leave? Just went through this all day. So tell everyone how they can connect with you online. Either social media, your website. where? where? If people want to learn more about one the agency, but also connect with you if they had questions, where would they where would they go? Yes, or our website is rival digitalcom. I've got there's a page on there. If you're going to let meet the team. You can get my contact information about linked in there. If you Google Search Eric Thomas, I'm on life page five hundred, because there's like a really famous inspirational speaker named are Thomas. So don't bother trying to find you on Google or Linkedin that way. I would just say go to the rival digitalcom. They go to meet the team and get my linkedin and stuff there, but my emails Eric and rival digitalcom. So you know, if you have the questions at all, I'd love to conduct with anyone listening and and chat perfect perfect well, I appreciate that. Again, thank you so much for taking time. This was really beneficial for the audience. So what didn't you know? The drill at the end of every episode. Please don't forget to subscribe over on Apple Or, if you're a android user, on spotify or wherever else you listen you can find a podcast. Also, you can jump over to Youtube Channel and watch our conversation as well. I know there's a lot of places for you to consume content. The fact that you spend time with Eric and myself today means the world. Please don't forget to share this out. I'm sure there's a lot of people that could benefit from what Eric just shared and, as always, I appreciate the attention. I look forward to seeing you again and, as they say at the end of every episode, you're in charge when you feel like you're saying now, what now? What do I do next? While we're here weekly with...

...tips and strategies myself or my guests to help you become better, both professionally and personally. So look forward to seeing you on the next episode and thanks again Eric. See you soon. Thank you,.

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