Today we’re talking with Jake Wagner about how to use social media.  This is a topic we should have covered a long time ago.  It really is something you need to pay attention to if you’re interested in creating a sustainable business.  Whether you like it or not, social media is a part of our buisness landscape.  You need to learn about it if you want to create a business that is enduring.

Jake owns Wagner Communications Systems where he helps financial advisors navigate the online world.  In today’s podcast we’ll cover the following and more:

  • Why your website needs to be the center of your digital world.
  • Why setting a tone is part of the branding for your company.
  • You need to make your website easy for Google to find and index.
  • Learn why you can’t game Google and don’t want to in the first place.
  • What you can do to make it easy for those who are important in your business to find you.


Narrator:         Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.

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.

Josh:                Hey, this is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business.

Today, we’re going to cover a subject I don’t think we’ve covered yet which is something we probably should have covered a long time ago, which is how to use social media, why you want to use social media, what about social media, what about online stuff should you be thinking about as you market your business. You know, marketing is about creating awareness. It’s not about creating sales. And one thing I can tell you is that the web is a great place to do that.

And we’re in luck today because today we have Jake Wagner with us. Jake specializes in this. He’s been a longstanding part of financial planning community. He is a certified digital marketing professional which means that he can talk about this stuff with confidence and actually knows what he’s talking about. And he’s going to help us understand this great big world of social media, online marketing and some of the stuff that you should be doing today.

So let’s bring Jake in and we’ll start a conversation with him.

Hey, Jake, how are you today?

Jake:                Great, Josh. How’s it going with you?

Josh:                Oh, I’m just having a wonderful day. It’s cold, snowy and Sugarbush opens 100% this weekend, so life is good.

Jake:                Kind of similar over here, although I’m in Portland. So, we had a nice storm. I mean, it’s cold right now and everyone’s confused.

Josh:                Yeah. So, tell me a little, Jake, I’m in, you know, a business and I’ve really not paid a lot of attention. I have a Facebook account and once in a while look at Twitter, and I’ve got a web page and maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not. If I’m trying to figure out this whole area of online marketing, what will be the first thing you would recommend I do?

Jake:                Well, the first thing I recommend you do is know what you already have out there. I use a digital marketing method called direct response marketing and a part of that is, is that you want to understand where the center of your web presence is, which is generally your website.

And then also understanding what you have out there as far as social media posts and if they’re business accounts or if they’re personal. You want to have a specific tone for each network that you approach and that you work with. And you also want to know your commitment so that you don’t just have some empty account hanging out there.

Josh:                So, when you say tone, what does that mean?

Jake:                It’s an element of branding. Branding isn’t just your logo and your theme colors and, you know, the color for your business, and a little bit of your languaging. It’s also the voice with which you choose to speak on these social media platforms.

You know, at this point, yellow pages are really for going underneath the butts of our kids. So, even if it’s a referral that’s coming to you, the first thing that they’re going to do is either go directly to your website or google you. So, when that happens, you want to know how it is that you’re showing up because that is your first impression.

Josh:                So, do you think maybe one of the places you might want to start is google yourself and see if you’re even there?

Jake:                Absolutely. Please, google yourself and see if you’re they’re. There is quite a bit of work to do in those regards in getting everything submitted properly so that the search engines are crawling over your site.

A part of my Nine Elements of Online Reputation management is that you do actually want to optimize your web presence, not just for the people and your prospects who are finding you, though obviously that’s key. You also want to optimize it for the robots that are going out there making sure that they have all the different elements they’re looking for so they know how to promote you.

Josh:                Robots? You know, that sounds a little scary to me. So, what kind of robots? And what do these robots do?

Jake:                Yeah, absolutely. It might sound a little scary, especially because I was used to the kinder word. They’re also called spiders.

Josh:                Oh, just as scary.

Jake:                Exactly.

But, basically, what it is, is that the search engines are still—there is no monkeys, or human beings, or anything back there figuring out what’s going on. It’s code. It’s computer code.

And so, for Google, or Bing, or any of these websites, Facebook as well. For all of that stuff, they’ll look all well-formed and really beautiful like you see on each of these platforms that a part of what they do, namely Google and Bing and the search engines but they actually send out these little programs and they crawl all over every page they can possibly find on the internet, including yours. And they go over every single page on there, including the ones that you might not know you have. And so, making it so that those search engines can easily understand what your site structure is, what you’re about. And you really do frame this in terms of a conversation.

Ten to fifteen years ago, people just tried to shove as many keywords into their page as possible and they looked horrible and everyone hated it. It kind of made you nauseous. And Google noticed and there’s been all these updates. They’re actually far kinder words like panda and hummingbird.

And part of what these things do is that they check to make sure that the contributions on your website seem human, that they seem authentic. And it’s pretty amazing that there are machines that are so advanced that that is what they’re doing. That these programs actually have what’s called natural language programming. It is a part of how they work but they are trying to understand that, “Oh, this is the about me page. This is their blog. And on their blog, they’re talking about invest 529 plans, or financial literacy, or life planning, or whatever your business happens to be talking about. But it wants to know how to promote you and what search terms to put you at the top for.

Josh:                So, to me, that kind of sounds like SEO or search engine optimization. Is that what you’re talking about there?

Jake:                It is. SEO is part of what you do to do the robot experience optimization. You might have heard about the user optimization and user experience? And that’s critical. You want to know how people are coming to your website, what they’re seeing, what they’re finding and how you’re guiding them along the way. You ask too many questions, you’re going to confuse people and you want to keep them focused to going down a specific funnel.

Meanwhile, over with the robots, part of what they’re doing, they want to know what it is that’s on your site. They want to see a wide variety of content. And they want to be able to see what search terms your likely prospects are going to looking to find you under.

Josh:                So, I’m going to switch gears a little bit here. In marketing, there’s a thing called the buyer’s journey and it’s sort of, you know, what’s the road people go on when they buy something from your company. How can you help people using online tools, navigate the buyer’s journey that they would use with a particular company?

Jake:                Sure, this is one of the elements I actually plot out for my clients. And I think it’s extremely important to know what it’s like for someone who has never heard of you before and becoming introduced to you and having a logical path that gets them more and more invested with you to the point that they first become a client. But then, actually, they become a brand advocate, and start bringing referrals to you, and actually help you establish your online reputation for [inaudible 00:07:37].

Josh:                So how would you help people do that sort of stuff?

Jake:                The best way to approach this is actually really from a top-down perspective, overarching your entire online reputation. As far as the cold audience, the folks who’ve never heard of you, are concerned – that those folks, you know, you can find them either through SEO and try and prepare for those robots to know what it is that they’re finding on your site.

Or you can do it through other social media channels. Let’s just use Facebook as an example. That on these sites, that you can both post ads updates to your page, to your personal wall. You should have a business page if that’s one of the networks you’re choosing and you think that your customers are likely to find you on. That is one of the critical elements. It’s that you want to pick the networks where your prospects are most likely to be receptive to listening and finding and hearing more about your work.

And then on that network, you want to be promoting other peoples’ content. You want to be promoting good, original content of your own. But then, maybe a quarter or less of the time, you can actually – still, you can insert your own offer. And folks often don’t know what you’re doing out there, so it’s okay. People will be forgiving and say, “Hey, this is what I do. And if you’re interested or if someone else is interested then come and find me.” And that’s a little bit of the organic way to do that on a platform like Facebook.

But at the same time, this is a publicly traded company and they want to make money. Well, one of the ways that they do that, that is truly amazing, is through paid traffic that you can go and you can pay Google or Facebook, or any of these other networks some money and they’ll help promote your content.

And part of what’s so amazing about it is that most of us don’t have the advertising budget to get one of those spots at the back of the baseball stadium. However, putting $5, or $20, or $50 down on your most recent blogpost so that it gets seen by the folks who are likely to learn to know they could trust you, that that’s a great way to get folks introduced to the process with you.

And after that, you want to keep the conversation going with the folks who have already come to know who you are, and after you’ve gotten their attention, that the next portion of what they’re going to do is evaluate your services, get to know who you are, decide whether they like you, get to know you a little bit. And part of that’s establishing trust. And then when all of those—that’s a funnel leading towards the last step which is payment. It’s know me, like me, trust me, and then pay me.

Josh:                So you’ve mentioned blogging before and I’ve been blogging – oh, I’ve been an avid blogger for a zillion years. There seems to be a little bit of discussion about where you should blog. And, obviously, you can put blogs up on Facebook. You can put them on LinkedIn. You can blog on your own website.

When you talk to people about blogging, if you do, where do you tell them that their blog should live?

Jake:                On their domain.

Josh:                Yeah, I agree 100% with that by the way.

Jake:                Thank you. Yeah, it’s the center of your web world. Your website that those robots from Google are looking to see your social media connections and that your websites mobilely responsive and it wants to be seeing consistent updates, regularly. And that’s the most easily done through things like blogpost. You can just add pictures or other content that continue to add the content to your site. But it’s a lot easier to talk about what you know through blogging and to gather interest that way.

If you’re over on some of the other sites like LinkedIn especially, but Facebook as well, it’s a business decision. And personally, when it comes to my podcast, I always put up a post on my LinkedIn profile so that folks can see it. It blasts your whole network and that’s extremely powerful. But also, I put a little bit of a teaser in there and then pull people over to my blog because I want the web traffic. I want the ability to have those folks come back and get to know a little bit more about me as well.

Josh:                Yeah. I actually put my blogpost on my site and do a post on LinkedIn that links back to my site. So, if you want to read it, you have to click on the link and go to my site.

Jake:                And just an excerpt, right? Not the entire post.

Josh:                I just actually put a description of what the post is and then put a link on it there. And I say, “Want to read more, click here.” Or “Want to watch my video? Click here.”

Jake:                Yeah. It’s about the same for myself.

Josh:                So, I’ve got another question for you. Today, there’s basically three ways of putting information out on your own site, or actually even on the other sites and that’s video, podcasting and blogging. Of those three, which one is the most important to do? And how often should you do all of this sort of stuff?

Jake:                The one that’s most important to do is the one that’s going to be the most well‑received by your target audience. There can also be elements of budget. Or, if you feel like you have a face for radio – I definitely have some clients who feel that way. But, each one of these is a very powerful tool.

The video is engaging. It grabs people. It establishes relationship. But also, folks who do webinars, you’re going to ask some time out of people’s workday and sometimes that can be asking a lot.

Personally, I have a podcast and a part of the reason why is because I want to inform financial planners about digital marketing. But I also don’t want to expect to take some of their workweek. I want to take some of their commute home time, or while they’re working out, or taking a walk, or while it fits in with the rest of the rest of their life. I took a lot of time to make that decision and decided that podcasting really was the channel for me.

Josh:                Well, that’s an interesting thought. I mean, I have the same thought about podcasting with our audience is that these podcasts run about 23 minutes long which happens to be about the time of the average commute in the United States.

Jake:                Mm-hmm.

Josh:                So, I kind of want people to listen to the podcast on the way to or from work. And if that happens to be you, have a good dinner tonight or have a great day at work.

Jake:                Yeah. I hope you enjoy yourselves.

Josh:                I hope you enjoy yourself.

So, when you say the word video and everything I read says video is where the action is, and people kind of say, “Video. Boy, that’s expensive and complicated and scary.” Does it have to be?

Jake:                It doesn’t have to be. But having a good resource and a good team makes it a lot easier. Also, keeping it simple. And when I say keeping it simple, that can be something as simple as just taking a pretty much blank PowerPoint deck and putting across it, and recording what you have in those words, and having people read. That’s a video. And that’s something that you can put on Facebook and you can put payment down on.

And I do have to comment that video is very hot. I mean, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get access to your ideal client. That I can actually sometimes get two views for a penny on Facebook when it comes to a good video. You know, the more engaging, the cheaper it is. But it’s pretty amazing.

And at the same time, if you want to have a setup where we actually are seeing a picture of you, I recommend doing something like having a white background behind you, just get a tripod and you can do a lot with , you know, a good basic video camera, possibly even your cellphone. These things are pretty amazing today.

Josh:                It’s unbelievable, what cellphones can do.

And just as you know, the videos that we do, I have an editor that does it. It costs me about $40 a video to have her edit it for me. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

There are lots of virtual assistant sites out there that can help you with this stuff. So if you’re thinking about doing video, or podcasting, or blogging for that matter, you really should be thinking about getting some administrative assistant help so you create the content and that’s the end of your commitment to doing this sort of stuff. Does that make sense to you?

Jake:                Yeah, it is. I have recently pulled on an editor for my podcast. Before that, I did all of that work myself. I’m capable but it also took a lot of time. And so, having the efficiency of getting this editor added into the mix is very, very helpful. And pretty reasonable as well, cost-wise, considering especially that we added about a day of my workweek back in.

Josh:                Yeah. My editor is great. He has been just a lifesaver for me. You know this guy also.

Jake:                Mm-hmm.

Josh:                We only have a few minutes left so let’s talk about e-mail marketing in a bit. I mean, for me, my goal with all my online marketing stuff is to gather e-mail addresses.

Jake:                Yeah, absolutely. That’s the best way to relate with your audience.

Josh:                Yeah. I want to be talking and having a regular conversation with my audience. Why is that so important?

Jake:                Because our e-mail inboxes are a very, very personal space. Getting into someone’s e-mail inbox is a privilege. And it’s something that you need to respect. And it’s also something that you need to earn.

Now, if you do something like “sign up for my newsletter today” and you haven’t provided any value to the visitor, they’re almost certainly going to hit the X and continue to move on with their lives. But if you provide enough value to let them through a lead magnet, engaging blog posts, so they’re just interested, then they’ll sign up and they’ll keep on coming back for more. And the thing is, about getting in someone’s inbox, is then they unsubscribe from e-mails so it serves they violate that trust quickly.

But if you maintain that trust and there are certain folks that when they have an e-mail that they come into my inbox, I’m excited to open it up and see what it is that I’m going to have to learn. And I feel like I have an intimate conversation with these folks. And that is wonderful.

And I also quickly make sure to turn away folks as well. You need to make sure you don’t let other people into your inbox unless it’s maybe an educational techie but you probably don’t even let your wife in there. It’s very personal space.

Josh:                Yeah. I guess it is.

So, when it comes to e-mails how often should you send them? I mean, there’s a big argument out there. I get this conversation with my clients all the time. They say “I want to send them once a quarter.” And I keep saying, “Well, that’s a waste of time” which pretty much is true across the board but when you recommend people send e-mails out , how often do you recommend they send them?

Jake:                Once a quarter is definitely too low. But this is also something that is going to need to be something you feel out with your audience. My trainers at Digital Marketer tell me that once a week is probably the right number.

You want to keep that conversation active. You don’t want to let everything go stale. But conversely, I’ve got to push back against what they say because if you are just sending something to them once a week and you start to get bored with what you’re saying, especially, everyone else is too, your open rates are probably going dive.

You want to feel out what is that your audience is going to be receptive to. And some audiences are receptive to daily e-mails. Weekly is probably the best rate. And personally, I actually do it every other week e-mail as I release my podcast.

Josh:                So, one more question and we’re just about out of time. If I’m going to write an e-mail, how long should it be?

Jake:                It depends on what kind of e-mail you’re writing. Sales letters can be very long because a part of what you’re learning is that, depending on which link somebody clicks on, you can gauge their interest. The one at the top and they’re blindly interested because they’re just a fan of what you’re doing and they want to see what you have next. And they don’t care what’s going on. Someone clicks the link at the bottom of a long e-mail, then they want to learn and they’re evaluating and trying to figure out a bit more.

Conversely, you still have transactional e-mails, you know, as someone’s signing up for your list. And those e-mails should be very brief. Now, if you’re delivering a lead magnet of some sort, again, that should be very brief. Just say, “Come here, Get it. Make sure to whitelist my domain so that you continue to get e-mails from me.”

Josh:                Well, that’s great advice.

Jake, we could probably talk about this for four or five hours but unfortunately we only have 20 minutes. So I’m going to bet that some of the folks listening to today’s podcast would love to contact you. You certainly have done a lot of research on this stuff. You know what you’re doing. And I can, say from my own personal experience, you’re very approachable. So, how would folks find you if they wanted to?

Jake:                Yeah. The easiest way to find me is through my podcast website and that’s

Josh:                So, that’s, is that correct?

Jake:                Absolutely. I’m looking forward to having folks sign up on my list over there.

Josh:                And if they want to have a conversation with you, is there a phone number or a contact you thing?

Jake:                Absolutely. You can find all of that pretty readily from that page.

Josh:                Okay, great.

And I also have an offer for you. It’s something that I really like a lot. It’s my one‑hour free – and I emphasize free, audio CD. It’s called Success to Sustainability: Five Things You Need to Do to Make Your Business Economically and Personally Sustainable. To get it, is a really easy thing. Take out your smartphone and just text the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222. That’s the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222.

This is Josh Patrick. You’ve been at The Sustainable Business and I hope to see you back here really soon. Thanks so much for spending some time with us today.

Narrator:         You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at, or you can send Josh an e-mail at

Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.

Topics: branding, sustainable business podcast, Marketing, social media, inbound marketing

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