Podcast: Marcus Sheridan and content marketing for local businesses

Listen to the podcast with Marcus Sheridan:

[podcast]http://blog.rewardme.com/wp-content/podcast/Marcus-Sheridan-RewardMe-Interview.mp3[/podcast]

To play podcast, click on the ‘play’ button above

Interview details:

Marcus Sheridan interviewed for the RewardMe BlogMarcus is an amazing individual.  When the economy tanked in 2008, he found that his company was in serious trouble because no one wanted to buy pools anymore.  He saw a ton of pool companies fail around him, but his work-ethic, perseverance , and drive refused to let him rollover to die.

He created a blog for his company where he wrote content every night after work about fiber glass pools and spas.  Because he refused to let his company die, he gradually grew his company to the biggest of its kind.  He successfully used content/inbound marketing to generate leads and drive sales.

What you will learn in this interview: A lot of companies make the mistake to assume that online marketing, or in this case content marketing, is just not for them.  Marcus is here to tell you that if a pool company can make a killing online, then your company can as well.  Think of this podcast as a complete blueprint to how you can get started with content marketing right now for your local business.

Tell me about River Pools and Spas and how social has affected your business

River Pools and Spas was founded in 2001 and is located in Virginia, Maryland.  When the economy hit the fan in 2008, Marcus was in big trouble and they almost ran out of business.  They didn’t have any money for advertising, but needed to find a way to generate leads and generate sales.  That’s when Marcus discovered inbound and content marketing.

The concept: he could be rewarded for being a great teacher online.

Marcus decided to take every question that he’d ever been asked about swimming pools and answer it online.

He turned every question into the title of a blog post and turned it into online content.

Within 12 months, it became the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world.  It was all because he was willing to address every single question that he’d ever received.  This principle is applicable to every company out there.

Great teachers and great communicators build trust with people, and if you gain trust, then you can gain business.

If someone comes to your site and can’t find the answer, then they’re gone; they’ll leave your website and look for someone else that is willing to answer their questions.

How did you get started with content marketing?

Marcus used Hubspot, which is an all-in-one tool to track online marketing and inbound leads.  Marcus used it so well that he is now a partner that uses Hubspot to coach his clients how to get inbound leads.

This whole thing about social media is worthless unless you’re making money and closing sales.  You can’t do stuff that doesn’t’ make money; you need to track it and Hubspot tracks it.

How much does Hubspot cost?

Depends on the size of the business and how many leads you have in the system.

Marcus’ average Hubspot customer spends $4,000 – $5,000 per year.

Before Hubspot, Marcus used to spend $250,000 per year on marketing and advertising costs, which generated $4M in sales per year.

Now with inbound marketing and Hubspot, Marcus spends $20,000 per year and makes $5M in sales per year.

The real price that Marcus paid is that his bed time changed to do the work.  At 11pm at night, he’d get home from a sales appointment, open his laptop, and get to writing a blog post.

There’s no such thing as not having time to do good marketing – the actual phrase should be, “It’s just not that important to me right now.”

How did you drive traffic to the site to get inbound leads

Marcus’ industry was completely open for the taking.  He was the only person online writing answer to the questions people had for the pool industry.

Google finally found someone that was answering questions for the pool industry.  Because of that, he ranked first for thousands of keyword results.

If Marcus’ was ever asked a question that he had not yet written about on his blog, he would write the question down, and then write an answer to it on his blog when he got back home.

Nothing about this is scientific – it’s all about being consistent, persistent, and hard working.

If someone hangs around your website long enough, they’re going to become your customer eventually.

Tell me about the buying guide

Marcus’ business partner wrote it.  It’s 9 pages long and it took him about a day and a half to write.  The content was already written; it was a combination of certain blog articles that were written.  All he did was organize it and put it together on a PDF.

How do you use the emails that you collect?

Marcus uses forms to lead track.

When you fill out a form, Marcus can track all the pages that you’ve looked at.  This allows Marcus to be better equipped when making a sale because he knows exactly what the potential buyer is interested in.

Furthermore, Marcus wants to nurture you with content.  By sending emails, he can provide more content to the consumer and continue to build trust.

Lastly, Marcus uses emails to make announcements.  He can send an email to customers to let them know that he’s having a summer sale and to hop on board now to take advantage of the price savings.

What is the buying cycle and every stage of the sales process?

Marcus doesn’t give people a choice.

Before Marcus goest to a house to give a quote, he requires that the customer download and read his content so that the customer knows as much as possible about his product.  He makes it clear that when he goes to a house, he’s there NOT to give a quote, but to earn the business.  He will of course answer any questions that the potential customer may have, but the customer must have done his research before hand.

This is an excellent way of qualifying the customer.

 

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