In this episode Josh spends time with Ken Tucker, owner of Changescape Web. The discuss content marketing for blue collar businesses.

Ken Tucker is the founder of Changescape Web, a Digital Marketing and Website Design Agency specializing in comprehensive integrated marketing strategies and campaigns for small and mid-sized businesses.

Specialties include search engine optimization, website design, reputation management, social media marketing, lead generation, email marketing and marketing automation.

Ken is a best selling author on Amazon, and his latest book is Content Marketing for Local Search: Create Content that Google Loves & Prospects Devour.

In today’s episode you will learn about:

  • Understanding the Buyer’s Journey
  • How content helps move potential customers through the Buyer’s Journey
  • What type of content make sense for blue-collar businesses?
  • How content can help you differentiate your business
  • How to get started using content in your marketing

Transcript

Narrator:             Welcome to “Cracking the Cash Flow Code”, where you’ll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You’ll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when an emergency strikes, fully fund a growth program and fund your retirement program. When you do this, you’ll have a sale ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want in the way you want.

In Cracking the Cash Flow code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.

Josh:                      Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Today, my guest is Ken Tucker. Ken is a repeat offender. Those are people who’ve been on the show more than once. He has a company called https://changescapeweb.com/. He specializes in helping blue collar businesses, figure out how to do content marketing, and get people to get their phones to ring more often. That’s what we’re going to talk about today with Ken. Let’s bring him on.

Hey, Ken, how are you today?

Ken:                       Great. How are you doing today, Josh?

Josh:                      I’m doing really well. Thank you so much. It’s a beautiful day here in Vermont. I will be on my bike later today.

Ken:                       Oh, wow. Yeah, it’s great here in St. Louis. Normally this time of the year, we’re in the 90s and starting to have pretty bad humidity and it’s really, really low humidity right now and in the mid to upper 80s so it’s gorgeous.

Josh:                      Cool. Ken, you specialize in helping blue collar businesses with their online marketing. Is that correct?

Ken:                       Yeah, that’s correct.

Josh:                      I like to do a case study for a change. I normally don’t do this sort of stuff. You’re uniquely positioned to help me with an issue I’ve been thinking about with one of my clients. Let me set up the situation for this. There’s been a business for 65 years. They’re in the security and access control business. So as opposed to burglar alarms and fire alarms and cameras, and all that kind of good stuff, very good business, really well run, quite profitable.

We’ve been trying forever to get their sales team to go out and do some cold calling, developing customers in an old fashioned way and they’ve never done it. I finally have realized that when someone never does something, they’re not likely to do it in the future. What they really good at is once the phone rings, they know how to convert those people to customers.

The challenge is— now they use to spend $60,000 a year in the yellow page ads. They’ve cut that out completely. I’m recommending they take half that budget $30,000. They get the phone to ring more often so their sales team has more at bats. They come to you, that’s the problem. How do you solve it?

Ken:                       First of all, are they business to business or business to consumer?

Josh:                      Yes, they do both.

Ken:                       They do both. Okay so a couple of different tactics that you would need to use. The first thing you need to do is you need to work on identifying your ideal customer. Develop a profile of your ideal residential customer, figure out the problems that they need you to solve. Really find stability online is ultimately driven around your ability not only be found when people are describing the problems that they’re having, but also when they land on your website to get them to give you either that phone call or fill out a form on your website to request a free estimate or something.

You’ve got to convey to them that you know what their problem is and how to solve that. That’s a huge thing that I think a lot of businesses really struggle with. The more that you do also, in terms of individual services that you provide, you got to focus on clarity of message. So really address that up front and make it really clear about what you do and how you solve the customer’s problem.

Josh:                      Basically, they do commercial and they do residential.

Ken:                       Okay.

Josh:                      Would you have a different website for each?

Ken:                       That’s a really difficult question that I still struggle with a little bit honestly. Personally, I’m a big fan of making an investment in a single website, making it clear so that you can quickly segment the parts of your website that are the most relevant for your two different customer sets in this case. The reason that I like a single website is because, in general, the more that you can build up the assets and the authority of a single website, the better.

That’s often going to be a factor of the number of pages that you have on the website, the number of total inbound links that you’re getting from other websites to your website. That generally is easier to do with just a single website. You have to balance it. I mean, if there are two fundamentally different offers that you provide to the two different customer sets that you work with, you might need to have two separate websites. It used to be that it was really important when you had a website.

 If you could buy a domain name, what we refer to as keyword rich, commercialsecuritysystems.com for example, if you could buy that domain name five years ago, 10 years ago, that was huge, because that was an important factor in ranking from a search engine perspective. That’s no longer really the case. It’s much more important to cumulatively have all of the content that you need to have on your website. I think it’s better to have just a single website.

Josh:                      That can make some sense to me. You have one website. I’m hearing some language here that makes me think that you’re also a fan of using the story brand framework when you build these sites.

Ken:                       Absolutely. Yeah, as a matter of fact, I was store brand certified for a year. Yeah, that was a great process. I really enjoyed that. I still use it and apply a lot of the concepts. As a matter of fact, every website we design, the homepage is going to incorporate the key story brand framework.

Josh: Yes. Folks who don’t know whose story brand is, is a guy named Dan Miller, who wrote a book called Story Brand and has probably the best frame. I love to write news frames for creating content, for creating great content around what your message needs to be, what problem are you solving for your customers and what are the steps you take them through to do that? That’s why we like that so much.

Ken:                       Yeah, absolutely.

Josh:                      Okay, so we’re going to have one website. We have two different offers that we’re going to be making. How do we get people when they get the phone ring? What do we need to be doing?

Ken:                       Yeah, Donald Miller was also my understanding is a big fan of digital marketer.  We’re also a digital marketer certified partner. The digital marketer core framework that we refer to here is called the customer value journey. What you want to do is you want to look at the eight stages of the customer value journey, the awareness stage, the excite stage, convert, subscribe, excite, ascend, and then advocate and promote.

To the extent that you can get people to move through that customer value journey. You’re ultimately going to max out the value of that customer. Now, having said that, the natural inclination for a lot of people is to just think, “Okay, well, then I got to start it step one, which is awareness.” I really like to look at taking a step back and really, there are a couple of other places that I recommend normally trying to start. First is you need to make sure your website is designed to convert.

That’s where store brand, I think is really fantastic and the framework because what you want to do is there are two different types of conversion that you want to have. You want to have somebody who’s ready to contact you now either fill out a form, replace that phone call immediately. That could be request a free estimate or whatnot. Realize a lot of people are ready to engage with salesperson and talk about it. They’re an exploratory stage. The reality is, the buyer controls probably 70% 80% of the conversation now. It’s only the first 70% or 80%. They’re the ones that are out there doing the research, figuring out who they want to do business with, looking at websites, checking out online reviews, all of those kinds of things.

For you to get involved in that conversation early and also start to improve your chances to be down selected as one of the companies they want to work with. You need to think about a transitional call to action where they’re willing to give you some context information in return. You’re adding value in advance. In this case, you might talk about the 10 reasons that you need to have an access control system for your business.

You could talk about the value from an insurance premium perspective, from a corporate intellectual property perspective, from an employee physical security, personal security perspective, as well as company security, and put that together as a guide that people would give you an email address to follow so that you could follow up with them. Then you can put together an email nurture sequence. That’s really describing the “subscribe” and the “convert” stage.

That’s kind of in the middle of the customer value journey, but you’ve already got their awareness. You can drive their awareness, a variety of different ways. But if you don’t have the assets on your website, initially to convert, you’re going to be pouring money into a leaky bucket, and they’re going to land on your website. They’re not going to see what they want to see. Then they may just move on to your competitor, honestly.

Josh:                      Or you might just decide to move someplace else and not deal with because they’re frustrated.

Ken:                       Exactly, exactly. The other great place for businesses to start, in this case for them would be to go back to their existing customer list, reactivate past customers. There are a variety of different ways that they could do that. They could offer a free assessment just to make sure that the system is working the way it should. That’s a great way to stay top of mind. That’s really where you’re going in taking advantage of your existing customer relationships and the cost of acquisition there is so much lower.

Josh:                      The challenge here and by the way, this is true with all blue collar businesses just about. They just started collecting email addresses last year. They have very few email addresses from the present customer base.

Ken:                       That’s very frustrating. I mean, we run into that all the time. On the business side of things for them, they could probably hire a VA to go out there and build a list for them from their QuickBooks or their accounting system, and looking at records of past jobs to try and at least develop that list of customers from them.

On the residential side, it’s going to be much more difficult because people may move and email addresses get out of date very, very quickly for a whole variety of reasons. Six months, if you haven’t been actively emailing somebody in the last six months, chances are you’re going to have a very high rate of bad email addresses. In that case, it may be harder to reach out to them.

On the business side, I think it would be worthwhile for them to pay a VA to reassemble the contact information for a list so that they could email them. They can always mail them. If you’re going to do offline, like a mail campaign, you’ve got to have a well designed online campaign so that you can measure the effectiveness of what’s happening.

Don’t just do a single postcard. Don’t do a single letter. That’s not going to cut it. If you’re going to spend money on any kind of a mail campaign, you got to plan for at least three to five pieces of mail to go to them. Get them online in that way you can measure and track the conversion of what’s happening. You can really start to tell your return on investment on that campaign.

Josh:                      This is always a tough question for guys like you to answer. What would be a reasonable price for someone to get a good website built? That is an attraction machine for clients.

Ken:                       It’s not just building a website. Building a website would be like a onetime cost or an upfront cost. General, I think it’s probably prudent to plan on $1500 to $2500 so that you can create the content that makes your business findable. You have enough content so that when somebody lands on your website, they see that you can solve their problem.

You have the ability to capture the email addresses and build an email marketing system because you’ve got to nurture people through that customer value journey. That’s the key. You can’t just rely on the fact that somebody found you at one point through their journey of making a purchase decision that they’re going to engage with your business and select you to do business with online reputation issued.

Spend money, making sure that your business directory listings are accurate and up to date so that your Google My Business Page can maybe show up on the Google Map results, make sure you have a lot of great customer reviews because social proof is huge when people especially in the security business, people want to do business with a company that they feel other people very much trusted to solve more problems for them.

Josh:                      When you say $1500 to $2500, you’re saying per month?

Ken:                       Yeah, per month.

Josh:                      Okay, what would the cost be needed to get a website done that would be the right way?

Ken:                       I would plan on $3500, maybe up to $5,000, depending on how much upfront work you went down on the website. How many of those content pages do you want to have from the starting point? $3500 is probably not a bad starting point.

Josh:                      How long would it take? I mean, this is something that I see people do a lot of times. They start and they stop before they get any results. How long of a period you have to go before you say, “Gee, we’re getting the result or we’re not getting a result?”

Ken:                       That’s a great question. Search engine optimization generally is going to take six to 12 months to kick in. So when we put together a digital marketing program for a company, we obviously do emphasize a lot on the search engine optimization. If the transaction sizes make sense to support that, I mean, if your typical deal size is not going to support your investment then you need a lead generation campaign with a search engine optimization campaign.

We like to try to get enough business coming in as fast as possible so that the investment that a company would make with us is going to sell fund and pay for our services. The other way you can really do that is either with a customer reactivation campaign, because that can be an immediate boost to your business. You don’t have to deal with all of the challenges. They already know you, they already like you. They already trust you.

Even if they’re not the company or the homeowner that needs to do business with you, give them a reason to refer you. Give them a referral incentive. Put together formal programs to get referrals, things like that. Try to take advantage of that customer reactivation as fast as possible. Get them to refer or recommend your business by doing a Google review online.

That’s going to immediately drive some results. In the meantime, you’re building out a content strategy where you’re doing blog posts, and you’re doing social media posts, and you’re creating all the content that helps people move through that awareness and engagement stage or another way to look at it is know like and trust stage, so that when they’re ready to make a purchase decision, they’re going to be willing to give you a chance. We tried to get results by putting together a Google ad campaign within a matter of a couple of weeks.

Josh:                      We make sense with this particular company that because they read the do commercial and residential that Google ads will make more sense than residential because people in commercial are going to Google security systems or something like that along the way too.

Ken:                       Well, the challenge on residential too is you’ve got a lot of security systems that you can buy on Amazon that people can basically self install. They may not be the best systems for people.

Josh:                      They’re residential businesses looking at houses that cost three cores and million dollars now.

Ken:                       Okay.

Josh:                      You’re not going to compete with the Amazon and the rings and all that kind of stuff along the way. At least I don’t think you are.  I got another question for you, which is around content. You just mentioned blogs. Do you want your blogs to be written or video?

Ken:                       Ultimately, they need to be written. Now, I’m a huge fan of video because video is one piece of content that you can multipurpose like crazy. Every video you have, you can post that to YouTube. You can post it directly to your Facebook or LinkedIn company page. You can embed that on your website, but take all of that video content, transcribe it so that you get all of the words that are said because Google needs to see those words on a page for search engine optimization.

Humans probably prefer to consume video content most of the time. They can watch the video, every video, like a video we’re doing today where it’s going to be 20 25 minutes long. That’s probably close to 5,000 words of content. That’s a pretty meaty blog post.

Josh:                      Yeah, the nice thing about video is that if you’re doing video, it can also become a podcast. It becomes a written piece and you can take pieces and you can even make an eBook out of it.

Ken:                       Oh, yeah. You can break it up into chunks depending on the nature of the video, like for example, a webinars a great thing to do. You could do a webinar, record that if you’re going to talk about eight stages of customer value journey. Well guess what? You could take that webinar, eight different segments. Now you’ve got eight short consumable pieces of content in video format. You can take video and turn it into written words or audio content very easily. Video is a multipurpose medium. It’s fantastic.

Josh:                      One more question for you. We’ll going to be out of time. This is a good question that I love to ask this to suppliers this. How do you figure out the person you’re worth talking with is any good in your space?

Ken:                       Oh, when somebody tried to hire a company like mine?

Josh:                      Yeah, how do they find out if you’re good or not? All you guys talk a great talk. I’ve had nobody ever deliver on close to what they promised on the marketing side.

Ken:                       Okay. Yeah. Well, one of the first things that I would say is, make sure you’re hiring somebody who’s really truly a consultant, not somebody who’s a tool vendor. A lot of people in the space of what I do, they have a hidden agenda to sell solution that’s really good for them. That’s not necessarily great for the business. That’s not to say that the business can’t get some value out of it.

They probably would. I wish I had a set of questions that I could give you for people to ask, but just ask them a lot of questions and see what they have to say. We also invest 10s of thousands of dollars in my own team in terms of our own internal education to stay up to date with the changes in search engine optimization, or the new features that have come along in social media platforms that our customers could take advantage of.

I think just sometimes asking some fairly simple questions, it’s important that ask them how will they get control of the accounts that are set up for them for their online presence if they decide to fire the consultant too because that that’s going to speak volumes.

A lot of companies, they want to do everything they can to be sticky, meaning that they control all the accounts. There’s a competitor that come across all the time that runs Google ads for businesses. It’s not the business’s Google Ad account. It’s the agency’s ad account.

So guess what? When somebody fires that agency, they get none of the past history as the Google ads, which is a real shame because that gives you such a valuable insight into the content that you should be creating from a search engine optimization perspective. Right now, in the era of COVID, Google is offering ad credits for businesses that have been advertising.

Well, the business was paying for the clicks. The ad agency was just taking that plus a markup, guess what? The ad agency is going to get the credits because it’s tied to the ad account. I mean, the ad agency was ultimately writing that check, but there wasn’t a true ad account for that business.

That’s just a real shame. We try to be very transparent about that. I think if you don’t get the feeling that somebody’s transparent about how they’re going to be working with you, you feel like they’re selling you a bill of goods, they’re probably selling you a bill of goods.

Josh:                      Ken, unfortunately we are out of time. So if somebody wanted to find you, how would they do so besides that beautiful little URL that’s on the screen right now? You better tell us what it says because this is a podcast also.

Ken:                       Okay, all right. Yeah, so our website is https://changescapeweb.com/. You can find us on Facebook or Twitter @changescape. We also have a couple of websites specific for niches that we work in. We have rooferwebseo.com, and painterSEO.com or a couple of other places.

Josh:                      Cool. I also have an offer. I have a big thing I’m called the Financial Freedom Project, which basically is what do you need to do to become financially free from your business, which means that your individual financial freedom is not going to be tied into your business any more.

Again, it’s really easy to go to www.sustainablebusiness.co/freedom. You’ll get our eBook on what the Financial Freedom Project is all about what you might want to be thinking about as you’re trying to become financially free from your business. Hey, this is Josh Patrick. We’re with Ken Tucker. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.

Narrator:             You’ve been listening to the “Cracking the Cash Flow Code” where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?”

If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102. Or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co. Or you can send Josh an email at jpatrick@stage2solution.com. Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.

Topics: sustainable business podcast, Sustainable Business, buyers journey, small business marketing, marketing content, blue collar business blue collar business marketin, changescape web, ken tucker

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