Marketing Can Be Simple With This Strategy

December

31

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Does the thought of marketing feel overwhelming for you? If so, you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. James Hipkin from Red8 Interactive and Inn8ly is with us today. He is going to share a simple, yet effective marketing strategy you don’t want to miss.

Join James Hipkin and Tim Fitzpatrick for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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Marketing Can Be Simple With This Strategy



Tim Fitzpatrick
Does the thought of marketing feel overwhelming for you? If it does, you are not alone and it is not your fault. Our special guest today is going to share a simple yet effective marketing strategy that you do not want to miss. Ho, I'm Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult, all you need is the right plan. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am super excited to have with me, james Hipkin from Red8 Interactive. James, thanks for taking the time, man. I appreciate it.

James Hipkin
Tim, it's my pleasure. Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Well, this is take two for us. We had technical difficulties last time around, so we'll keep our fingers crossed. But before we jump into this Hub and Spoke Marketing Strategy, I want to ask you a few rapid-fire questions to help us get to know you. You good to go?

James Hipkin
I'm good to go.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. So when you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

James Hipkin
I'm a bit of a foodie. I like to make fermented food. I make killer hot sauce every year and also sauerkraut and kimchi and lots of different things. Sour pickles and et cetera. They're very healthy. They're very tasty. And it gives me great satisfaction to muck about in the kitchen.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's your hidden talent?

James Hipkin
What's my hidden talent? I have a pretty good ability to make the complicated, simple. To see the path through things. That's part of what we're going to talk about today is the Hub and Spoke Strategy and how it brings some sanity to all of the swirl that is digital marketing. So I'd say that being able to see the path.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

James Hipkin
I'll tell you, the best piece of advice I got was shut up. If you are listening and actively listening, then you're in a much better position to support your clients and help solve their problems. If you're talking, you can't be listening. And I've learned and honed that skill over the years to listen carefully and then ask probing questions.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's one thing about you that surprises people?

James Hipkin
I spent the first six years of my career after College, working in the rock and roll industry on the production side with a whole bunch of bands that you would recognize.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, I know when we spoke before you talked about working with Rush, the Rolling Stones, among others.

James Hipkin
That's right. And the last thing I did when I was in my late 20s was a large festival in San Bernardino, California, called the US Festival. It was financed by Steve Wozniak, and it featured the return of David Bowie and the Talking Heads were there. Lots of bands were there.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Very cool. I'm sure that's an experience that was very interesting and one that you are appreciative that you had the opportunity to take advantage of.

James Hipkin
I'm glad I did it. And I'm glad I got out.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Not one of those things you could do for a long, long time?

James Hipkin
That's right. I got a real job in advertising, which made my mother very happy.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What does success mean to you?

James Hipkin
Success is having the respect of my peers. All the rest of it is material and superficial. But if I can generate respect from folks, I figure I've had a successful life.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Where's your happy place?

James Hipkin
As self serving as this might sound, I really still to this day really enjoy helping my customers. Helping people succeed. Helping them understand marketing and take advantage of marketing. And it's the engine that drives a business, but it sometimes gets in the way. Helping people work through that is very satisfying for me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What qualities do you value in the people you spend time with?

James Hipkin
Honesty and transparency. I would much rather hear the straight information said sincerely, not said in a mean way. Being kind to anyone. When we hire folks, I'm really, truly interested in two things or three things responsibility, reliability. And are they nice. I have fired people who had great talent but couldn't get along. There's no room for that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. It makes things far more difficult than they need to be, right?

James Hipkin
Oh, yeah. For everybody involved.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So tell us a little bit more about what you're doing at Red8 Interactive and types of clients you're working with.

James Hipkin
Well, Red8 Interactive is a production studio. We act as the construction general contractor for digital agencies that work with their clients to design websites. These are usually larger websites, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers that sort of thing, and often with budgets into six figures. We have a lot of skill in terms of manifesting high-end design into a website environment that actually works. And then all of the back end stuff around API integrations and pulling in third-party systems and services into the website, which is kind of a roundabout way of saying we actually know what we're doing. Our focus here, and the conversation that would appeal to your audience is we have developed a product that allows smaller businesses who couldn't typically afford to work with us actually have the opportunity to work with us. And hopefully I'll talk a little bit more about that later.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Let's dig into it. We're going to talk about this Hub and Spoke Strategy. Tell us a little bit. What Is It? Why is it effective?

James Hipkin
What it is is a way to think about online marketing. What often happens is business owners have all these things and pressures and stuff that they're supposed to do. Supposed to do. And the reality is it gets overwhelming. So if they start thinking about digital marketing in a more holistic sense, where the website is the hub, the various digital marketing tactics and channels are the spokes, and then the rim is their content and messaging strategy. Then that starts to bring things together into a cohesive whole. And truly, the power comes from the connection, not the individual tactics that are involved. And by connecting the pieces together like that, you create value for your customers and then you create value for your business because everything supports each other. I often describe a well-designed website as a fulcrum. It's there to maximize the value impact of your marketing activities for both the customer and for the business.

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of the things that I think is really overwhelming for a lot of business owners is there are so many different marketing channels out there today, and obviously within those channels, there's just no shortage of tactics. But when you think about a hub and spoke, there are some wheels that have all kinds of spokes. But then there are some wheels that only have three spokes. Is that feeling that we have to be everywhere, it's really not valid, is it?

James Hipkin
It's not valid.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah.

James Hipkin
Two things to keep in mind. What's good for the customer? And then what's good for the business? Starting with the customer outside in ask yourself, where are they? What channels are they actively participating in? And from the inside out, don't try to boil the damned ocean. Pick the one or two or three channels and tactics that really resonate with your customers and then do them really well and then keep doing them better. It's not be everywhere at once thing. You're much better off to pick two or three and do them really well. But pick the two or three that your customers are most likely to be using as well. It's an old adage, but fish where the fish are.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, exactly. So let's talk about websites because obviously in this hub and spoke model, the website is at the middle of everything I've always said. I don't care what you're doing. From a marketing perspective, it is driving people back to your website. One of the common things I hear a lot of people talk about is, "Gosh. Most of my business is referral." And so they feel like they don't need this web presence. And I think that is so short-sighted because nobody's just immediately sending an email or picking up the phone and calling. They're checking you out online before they even reach out.

James Hipkin
I hear that often. One of the questions we ask business owners is what's your primary objective? What's the primary objective of the website? And then typically we'll get a litany of answers. And then I'll make reference to the old movie Highlander, and people of a certain age will recognize what I'm talking about there. There can only be one. And we have that conversation in B2B situations the majority of times it's one of two objectives, either conversion, which is the knee jerk reaction in most situations. But there is another one, which particularly for professional services organizations, for coaches, for consultants, it's confirmation. Recognizing that if most of your business is coming from word of mouth to your point, those executives heard about you from another executive they're going to go to the website to check you out. And the thing is, you can't see the null set. You can't see all of the potential customers who went to the website and went, "Are these people still in business?" Or got confused by the website or were unclear what it is that you do or how you're going to solve their problem and they leave. And so that, particularly for professional services, people having that recognition that confirmation is a really valid objective and crafting the messaging on the website with that objective in mind will really lift the effectiveness of the website. It's not that conversion is a bad thing. Of course, you want to get people to contact you to convert in some way. But what is the primary objective of the website? Because they can't convert if they're not engaged.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. What website mistakes do you see people making frequently outside of not really identifying what their main objective is?

James Hipkin
Well, one of the key things that I see is what I call inside out copy versus outside in. Outside in copy is about the problems being solved for your prime prospect. Inside out copy is when you spend all your time talking about yourself and kind of assume that they'll figure it out. Well, they won't. So if you take the PAS Approach, I'm quite sure you've heard of the PAS idea. Problem. Agitate the problem. Solve the problem. That's the messaging hierarchy that should exist on a home page and in many pages below the home page. What's the problem that you're trying to solve and don't try to be all things to all people. Understand who your best customers are, and by implication, who your best prospects are. And understand the problem that they need to solve and then demonstrate your ability and capability to solve that problem. And that can be various forms of social proof to build that level of trust and relationship that you need. Traffic trust value and recognize that's the journey that they're going through.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So we should not be talking about ourselves. I guess we should only be talking about ourselves enough to establish that trust and credibility. Outside of that, we need to focus on our ideal clients.

James Hipkin
Exactly. And if you think about the problem agitate solve model, the next step underneath that is what the technical term that I use is reasons to believe. And social proof is one good example of reasons to believe, but also your capabilities, your features, the things that you do really well in that context, being used as reasons to believe that's the opportunity where you can talk about yourself, but you're talking about yourself relative to demonstrating that you're capable of solving their problem.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Any other common mistakes that you see?

James Hipkin
Yeah. The wall of words. You need to think about a website like an onion. The purpose of the content on the homepage is to get somebody to click on something. If you get them to click on something and they go to the next page. They've demonstrated their interest. Then you can start to give them more content. For example, one of the things we strongly recommend against is using sliders on the home page.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah.

James Hipkin
Sliders gets into the "Oh look, a bird."

Tim Fitzpatrick
Very distracting.

James Hipkin
The squirrel ran through, right? People have no attention span. A goldfish at a nine-second attention span, according to research studies, has a longer attention span than the average website visitor. You have 6 seconds or less to grab people, communicate that they're in the right place, give them a benefit-oriented reason to stay, make it Crystal clear what they should do next.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I think it's really important to highlight what you just said. The last thing you said, what they should do next. I think one of the most common additional website mistakes that I see is people don't have a clear call to action. It's just like, what do you want me to do? They may have some contact information down at the bottom. It's not enough.

James Hipkin
Right. And understand the journey. And you may have different groups that you want to speak to and attract. They all may have a common problem. But for example, in a coaching situation, you may have be in a situation where you're doing programs for individuals. Well, that's one journey, one path. But you may also have a program where you're training the trainers and that's a different path and a different journey. Make those paths clear so that folks can send you a message. I am this or I am that. And then once they hit the next page, deliver on that knowledge. So the customer avatar is a very important part of this, and that work should be done before the website. And then coming out of the customer avatar is the customer journey. What are the steps? How do we support those steps? And in the process of supporting those steps, you're going to build trust and relationship with folks even before they buy.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So we've got our website dialed in. It's the hub. We start to get branched out into the spokes. What's the most important thing to consider when planning digital marketing as a whole?

James Hipkin
Well, I just touched on it a little bit. Understanding your customers and in particular, what I call best customers. And best customers are not the same as day-to-day folks. Every business out there, 80% of their revenue tends to come from 20% of their customers. Now, the specific ratio might be different, but there's always going to be a smaller group of customers that represents the majority of the revenue. You need to understand them and appeal to them so that when you're drawing traffic into the top of your marketing funnel, you're creating interactions in the mid funnel that will help filter out the day-to-day. The tire kickers. All of the lucky lose. The people who are only interested in the free offer and then pull in the folks who are really closely aligned with your best customers. A very effective way to do that. You might use a quiz at the top of the funnel, but as you get deeper in the funnel, once they've connected with you, maybe giving you an email address or something like that, use an assessment. Coaches do this a lot. Use an assessment to really understand if are these people matched up with your best to the profile, to the avatar of your best customer? And then tailor your responses accordingly. You will end up with a group of customers that are not prepared to spend $250 with you. They're prepared to spend $25,000 with you. And there's a pretty significant difference between those two. The same people, the same amount of work oftentimes very different in terms of the result of the work.

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of the common problems I see with small businesses is they're just not sure what the next steps should be in their marketing based on where they are and where they want to go. Do you have any thoughts on how they can best determine what those next steps are? What the right spokes are to put on the wheel?

James Hipkin
Many years ago, there was a still exists today, but a guy named Peter Lynch was managing the Magellan Fund, which is a very successful investment fund done by Fidelity Investments. And a business reporter asked him one day what was the key to his success. And the reporter was expecting a big and long and involved conversation around financial things, et cetera. And he looked at the reporter and he said, "Very simple thing. Water, the flowers, prune the weeds." And the same is true with marketing. Understand what's working. Do more of that. Understand what's most effectively drawing in your best customers. Do more of that. Understand that your customers, your current customers are your number one chief source of future revenue. A customer contributes revenue five ways. I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of large brands with a lot of data. Visa comes to mind, but also Sprint long distances comes to mind. And we concentrated on understanding who the best customers are, and a very small increase in loyalty amongst best customers would have an order of magnitude impact on revenue because of the five ways that a customer contributes revenue. What are those five ways? I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, well, the longer they're with you, the more of a return you have on the initial investment required to obtain them. The longer they're with you, the more and better they understand how your product and service works, which means they're less expensive to support. The longer they're with you, the more likely they are to pay full price for your products and services. The longer they're with you, the more likely they are to buy more products and services from you. And finally, the longer they're with you, the more likely they are to recommend you to other folks just like themselves. So that's five ways that you can maximize revenue by focusing in on current customers. So to be two things, find the marketing tactics that are working best now, do more of that and do it better and focus on your current customers and how you can maximize their loyalty and maximize the value that's created by your business for them and thus from them to your business.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Love it. So many people skip those two things. They're like, we're already doing these things. What else can we do? They start looking outside what they're already doing rather than maximizing and optimizing what they're already doing before they start to expand. So that is awesome. Spot on advice, in my opinion. James, thank you so much for taking the time to run through this. You have dropped some serious value here. Do you have any last-minute thoughts, words of wisdom that you want to share with us?

James Hipkin
Well, I think the key thing that I'd love to share with you is the importance of being online regardless of your business. The online space is vital to your future, and even more so as a result of the pandemic. That Genie is not going back in the bottle. A whole generation of folks have discovered online and doubled down online. So I embrace the hub and spoke strategy. And if you're really interested in the hub and spoke strategy, I'd recommend you go to Hub and spoke dot marketing. That's hub and spoke dot marketing. Tim is running it across the bottom of the screen right now. And if you go there, you'll be able to download an ebook that I wrote that talks about John's journey and is capturing exactly the question that Tim asked before about how he maximized his online presence and his online marketing to improve his business. And then if you're really interested in what I've had to say today and you'd really love me to come in and maybe give you 6 seconds or less website audit, then go to Vipchat with James dot com and use that link and it will go to a calendly. You can book an appointment and I'd love to chat with you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. I love it. James, thank you so much. Guys, if you love what James had to share, he shares a lot of the same philosophy as I do from a marketing perspective, getting back to those fundamentals, this does not have to be difficult, but we got to get back and make things simple. Go to Hub and spoke dot Marketing or Vipchatwithjames dot com

James Hipkin
That's right. Vipchat with James dot com.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome guys, head on over there, please. James, thank you again so much. I really appreciate it. Those of you that are watching listening, thank you for doing so. Again, I am Tim with Rialto Marketing. If you are struggling with your marketing, you are not sure what that next right step is, hop on over to our website Rialto Marketing dot com. It's R-I-A-L-T-O Marketing dot com. Just click on the get a free consult button. Happy to chat with you. Until next time. Take care. Thanks so much.


Connect With James Hipkin



About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

Do you know you have an opportunity for revenue growth and are unsure how to make it happen? Do you lack someone with the time, skill set, and desire to take ownership of marketing to drive results?

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At Rialto Marketing, we work with B2B professional service firms that want to accelerate revenue growth and attract more ideal clients.

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