The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

8. Digital Marketing with 44 North Digital Marketing Founder Corey Shelson


This week’s Ivey Entrepreneur podcast features Corey Shelson, MBA '12, founder of 44 North Digital Marketing.

After serving with the Canadian Forces for nine years, Corey joined the Ivey MBA program and launched a start-up soon after. While his first foray into entrepreneurship didn’t pan out the way he hoped, the itch never left him.

In this episode, Corey talks about his journey, as well as the growing importance of marketing in an expanding digital landscape.

You're listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast from the Pierre L Morris at Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivy Business School. In this series, Ivy Entrepreneur and Ivy Faculty member Eric Jansen will anchor the session. Corey, thanks for sitting down and having a conversation. Eric, good to see you. It is great to see you. So I'm here with Corey Shelson from forty four north digital marketing. I'm going to talk today about all things digital marketing relevance for startups, but I wanted to start with you as an entrepreneur. I would love to know your story. Men, super interes didn't where the name came from, but how did you get into this business? Yeah, so bit of a odd background. Actually spent the first part of my life in the army and left the army after a tour overseas in two thousand and ten and did my NBA Ivy. That's kind of how our passive cross this through the network during Ivy. Really enjoy the entrepreneurship stream, you know, really good program and work in a startup after I be you know, we transitioned out of that right. Transitioned out of it after basically burning all my cash up. Right, the IV program great program but it comes with a price tag. The startup world for about a year. You burned through all your personal cash and I had to go get a job. So I went work in Engineering Company for a couple years. Learned a lot but really didn't feel like working and an engineering company of for rest of my life. And at the time my wife was starting this fitness business. She at the time as my girlfriend. She followed me out of town, you know, left her teaching job here in London, moved up to to bury with me and she started this prepostnatal fitness business and she said, Hey, you know, I want to start this thing. How do you think we start getting customers to come? And, you know, she handled the fitness side, I handled the marketing side and basically taught myself everything from, you know, what is a facebook add to how to create landing pages, how to, you know, convert traffic into into customers, and it was really a sandbox. And I can say when you use your own money to market your own business, you're much you're very, very careful with your cash and how you use it. So we had to bootstrap everything and long story short, we started bringing a lot of people into this gym that she was renting space out of. She, you know, was bringing I wouldn't say more people than the gym was but she was bringing a lot of, you know, traffic through the front door. And then we started doing business with that Jim and then the owner of that Jim owned another company and we started doing business with that company. And then, you know, this kind of you know, I hate the word side Hustle, but this, you know, in the evening business that I was, you know, helping my wife with quickly turned into a full time Gig. So I left the engineering job, you know, put on my EGS in one basket with forty four north and then, you know, kept going from there. And the name forty four north. Where that come from? It's the latitude of Berry. So I don't know, a bit of play on words, you know, army guy maps latitude. I think there were a few beers involved and up I came up with the name. It used to be actually like pro metrics, Business Solutions Inc. But it's really hard to sell business solutions like Hey, you company, I've got this. I do business solutions and like that. Consultant, whatever, go away. So, you know, started this digital marketing business, needed a brand, came up with it. I'd like the number. And Yeah, that's where it came from. We move the business from Barry Down to London. One of my wife got pregnant, her family's here and here we are three years later. You know, I've got a team now in London, six staff. You know, the covers all the major skill sets and need in digital marketing company and you know, it's grown to the point where we're really servicing clients across, you know, the whole spectrum of be to be in BTC and you know, really started to make a name for ourselves in certain industries. There's this rise right now of these one call of one hundred and twenty five employee businesses. Is the ambition to do you want this like hundred or thousand person business? There's what's the ambition with it? What do you want of it? Yeah, I don't I don't think so. I mean, more people typically equals more problems. Not to say that employees a problems many...

...means. You know, our employees are the lifeblood of our business. But you can make a lot of money and you can be very successful with, you know, five or six staff. There are companies here in London with fifty, sixty, seventy staff. That comes with certain pros and certain cons I really like the small business, scrappy type work. We've got a great team, very dedicated people. I think when I'm more interested in is less about the number of people but this business model. How do we take what we're what we're doing as an agency and start to productize certain things and be able to scale them that way? I think they're more profitable business models than just trading time for money, right and that's what we do right now. We trade time for money. It's great. You know we're doing very well, but you know, we've got a few things in the works that are less trading time for money and more, you know, productizing certain services and, you know, being able to push them out at a very high quality but with much less labor. And I think that's the direction that I think a lot of five or six person businesses can take and and scale, but just in a different way. Often those one or few few people businesses is a maybe a more generalizing, but it seems like it's a consulting type business right, like you. You're a person who's got some knowledge. You trade your time for money and it seems to me that some who are getting be you can do incredibly well doing that, but those that are getting beyond that are figuring out a way to productize parts of it. They may not always they'll always be involved in some capacity, but it's not directly trading time for money anymore. Yeah, I mean I think the biggest Aha moment for me was every time I used to do a sales proposal, it was custom right. People come to me and say, Hey, I've got this business xyzed and I need help doing this. What should what should I do? And I often found myself on the phone, on the phone, trying to pitch the solution right there and then, without having taken the time to really understand their business and a I think it discredited me, I think it discredited our my abilities and it didn't come off as genuine, as a genuine and and now people call me and I say the exact same thing almost every single time is I actually have no idea what we should do for you. And if I tried to tell you what we should do on this phone call, then you should not choose me as a service provider. But what I can tell you is that we have a process to figure out what you need and basically, if you get on the bus that stop, at the first stop, I'm going to take you through about eight stops. By the time we get to stop eight or nine, we're going to have a really good plan and that plans going to be based on hard facts, data, competitive analysis, and that plan is going to then take us through the next year. And it's amazing how that's shifted the way that I sell, but it's also shifted the way that we do business. is now our projects are starting in the same spot. We can train our team and we have developed our team to go through a standard set of processes and our clients are getting a ton of value and we haven't even started executing it. It's still the research and analysis and planning, but now they have a twelve month or eighteen month plan based on hard facts. They know their budgets, they know where they're going to invest their money, they know why and for a lot of people that have no idea what digital marketing is or why they should be doing it, there's a massive amount of information that they need to understand why, and there's a huge education aspect that goes into what we do and that initial planning research bays and then being able to present them with the plan. They go ah, I see why you do seo, or I see why you're going to use ads. I see why we need a new website. A lot of companies will just pitch yeah, we just build you a new website. But why? Why the heck would you just develop a new website unless there's, you know, an SEO justification or conversion rate justification, and for the most part I can't tell you that in five minutes on the phone. I need to look at you know, what are you currently doing? What's your website being used for? What are your objectives? People will come to me and say, Hey, can you run my ad words campaigns? Yeah, sure we could, but I don't think it's about add words. I think it's about the fact you want to sell more windows or you want to some more real estate or you want to sell more shoes. Okay, well, it's not. Maybe it's not. Maybe Google adwords is the wrong place to go. Maybe we need to be focusing on some other strategy and that initial research planning...

...phase that we go through. That brings all of those recommation, recommendations of the surface and really allows us to say, Hey, here's what the other top window companies are doing, here's what the other top you know, clothing, you know tshirt companies are doing, here are the best practices and here's what we can learn from them and here's we're going to apply to you to make sure that you're competing at the same level. And people really like that and that's that's the way we're taking the business. Yeah, it's a an amazing approach, really good approach. I want to rewind a little bit. So you said people are asking or trying to figure out what what is digital marketing? Let's start there. Let's start out with what is digital marketing? Why is that relevant for businesses today? HMM, yeah, so digital marketing is the same marketing, old marketing stuff that people have been doing since the beginning of time, but we're just doing it on a computer and instead of, you know, using some other traditional form of marketing like billboards or radio or or, you know, newspaper, we are just applying the same fundamentals to you know, targeting people predominantly in a browser. They're on their phone, on their tablet, on their laptop, on their desktop. I don't really care about the device. It's about getting people through a browser, because that's where most people are spending their time today when they're looking for a business. You know, the days of a phone book, the days of yellow pages and saying, you know, I need a plumber, get the phone book, honey, let's go to the yellow pages and find a plumbing right, the days of yellow pages where you name Your Business Aaa plumbing, so you can be at the top of the yellow pages. That marketing strategy there by the wayside. That's called Google right. And you know I'll throw some facts out here, but like what they say, like ninety percent of online experiences start with a google search. You know, if you are ranking in the top three positions in Google for a very specific set of search terms relate to your industry, you're going to generate traffic and that traffic is going to result in and business. So any business right now who's not investing in some digital marketing strategy, in my opinion, is putting themselves at an a massive amount of risk because they are competitors. Are you know, we're working with a company and an industry. That I'll leave you. I won't talk as sure and they realize they've been in the industry for forty five years, they have spent no money in digital and these new businesses run, you know, run by let's call it, quote unquote, millennials, are popping up and sure those their houses may not be as good or their tshirts may not be the same quality, but they're investing in digital marketing and now they're ranking at the top of Google and that, you know, we've got folks coming to us saying, Hey, like people are going to our competitors because they can't find us or because we have one review that's two stars on Google my business and saying I don't even know what Google my business is, but apparently it's important, because people called us and said, wow, do you guys know you only have one review and it's a two star review. Yeah, but we've been doing x and Y for forty five years. Yeah, but you've got a you've got a really bad review on Google my business. And you know, people who are buying homes or buying cars. You know, these are now the twenty something year old people who care about this stuff. They want to see you. You know what's your online presence look like from a review perspective? You know our you know can we find the information about you online? Can I do can I check you out on facebook or instagram or Linkedin, and, you know, connect the dots and do that bit of you know, we've all played in the online dating a game a bit right you you meet somebody online and you do that little you know, you check them out a few different platforms. Does everything you know add up? And if you don't, there's a huge risk that people are going to pick up the phone and they're going to call the guide down the road or the company down the road that that does look good in all those platforms and where there's online reputation is very polished, and I think that's what it comes down to. It's all about it's all about trust, it's all about reputation and you know, being online digital you have to, as a business, have a...

...trustworthy online reputation which is more than just creating a five page website and launching at and hoping that that's good enough. You have to be maintaining all of your different platforms so that when people come and look at you and they do that you know, was that like the sniff test, like let's let's not around here. What do they look like online? What are they look like socially? That it all adds it up and it all tells the same story. So, as a call it early stage company, if you're just getting going. At what stage do you start to think about your all purposely ask you this way, your digital marketing strategy? When do you even start considering that page in the playbook? I think you have to be doing it right away. I mean I don't think it should be an afterthought. Sure there are. There are many businesses that the digital marketing or inbound strategy may not be the business model. Like some companies could be built based on an outbound sales model. You know, we're going to hire ten sales reps. they're going to make this many calls per day a we know the conversion rate is xyzt and and that's their model. But I'll go back to it. It doesn't matter what business you're in, you need to have a effective digital marketing strategy. Otherwise you risk your competitor, you know, doing it better than you and you losing market share to them. I think pretty much any business should be starting from here. Are Revenue Goals. We want to do this. You know, quantity of business, whether it's project based or, you know, product sales, and then working backwards through that digital marketing math, to say if we want to sell twozero dollars in roofing jobs, you know, how many quotes do we need to do? Okay, sort what I say. Two Tho roofing jobs. Let's say two million dollars in roofing jobs, and our average roofing job is ten million or tenzero. Okay, how many quotes do we have to give? You know, how many leads do we have to talk to? Okay, based on that number of leads, how many visitors do we need to the website and therefore, what should our plan be to get that traffic there? If companies aren't doing that and not doing that math and working backwards from here, are my revenue objectives and working back to therefore, I need this many people to come to the site and working through all of the assumptions, then I think they're leaving a massive part of their marketing strategy on the table. The problem is I think most people, I would say most people, many business owners, don't even know where to start. They don't even know how to do the math because they don't know what they don't know. It's just something that it's a little too, too scary. It's a I know I should do digital marketing, I'm not sure what I should do. So what are my options? I hire somebody, I use an agency. Some agencies are good, some are bad and it ends up being a pretty stressful for a lot of a lot of business owners, especially when they're trying to run the business. You know. So my question of where do you start? You suggested the math. So the math makes sense. I see probably between all of my courses and consulting work and things, I probably see upwards of a couple hundred business proposals, plans, summaries, pitches, whatever a year. Often overlooked is the bottom up analysis to figure out how many customers you need. So the mistake is like the market is this big, I will take x percentage in your one. Wrong. The math you're talking about is if we want to do two million in sales, we typically convert. In order to get the sale. We're going to have to go to some off fits, a roofing company. We got to go to their house and give them a quote. We convert twenty percent of the quotes that we actually do in person. Therefore, we need x number of to we need to complete x number of quotes at a certain average deal size in order to convert them to hit and keep working back from there. So to get the quote, you need certain number of appointments, to get the appointment and use a certain number of online leads. That's the math that people aren't doing. That is the math that people aren't doing in that is the math that we do every single day and that's how we get graded on how well we're doing as an agency or the clients that we work with. Right. Like to give you an idea for some industries. Let's pick industry A. don't get too specific. You know it's Ay. Hypothetically,...'re spending ten dollars a click to get somebody to your website through add words, which you know. If you didn't know, that's literally what you could be paying. That's a lot of money, right. So to get a hundred people to your site, you're spending a thousand bucks. To get a thousand people to your site, you're spending Tenzero, Tenzero, a lot of money. Like I don't personally want to go take tenzero out of my bank account and just give it away unless that money is going to have an Roi right. So then you get those tenzero people to your site and now you need to convert them into either a phone call or a get a free quote or start a free trial or, you know, request the demo. The average website is converting at about two point three five percent. Right. So two point three five percent is pretty low and in most industries, if you're actually converting at two point three five percent, when you look at the numbers and you look at the cost to acquire the traffic, the conversion rate on visitor to lead and then the conversion rate from lead to sale, you'll lose money every time. So the top performing websites are converting at ten percent plus. Put to get the conversion rate of a landing page of a website from two point three five percent and to get it north of ten is a tremendous amount of work. And it's more than just, you know, a nice looking website with a fancy picture or a cool little video. You know, there we've got a checklist of probably a hundred different items that we work through and every single item makes a small incremental improvement. But that is the digital marketing game, as being able to create places to send traffic. Typically we call them landing pages. That could be your home page or it could be an actual product page or a service page. Driving the traffic. They're analyzing the quality of the traffic, analyzing what people are doing on the page, looking at the different elements of the page, be at the messaging, the functionality, the way it responds to different devices, what the target customer is doing, and then trying to draw out conclusions of Huh, maybe if we make this small change we could actually increase the conversion rate a bit. Right. Not. No one change typically is going to double or triple your conversion rate, but small incremental changes over time can make the difference between you having a profitable online experience with digital marketing or having you know something that's you're just blowing money out and and not making money on the on the approach. So this could be potentially overwhelming for new business owners or even I mean experience. Would call myself a season veteran, but I've done a few things and me rolling up my own sleeves lately into the digital marketing world. I thought I knew it. I didn't know it as well as I thought I did. So until your own money's, you know, directly on the line and you're teaching it and actually doing yourself, is it's different. So it can be overwhelming. Right. There's a lot of things to test, there's a lot of different tools and technology and when you start to do your homework, if they're digital marketing tools, they're good at digital marketing themselves. So now I'm getting twenty emails a day from all of these services. I'm getting bombarded online with all these tools. I don't know where to start. So Marketing Math, I agree with you. Then what I want to avoid the overwhelmed trap of this digital marketing overwhelmed that I seem to be falling into. Yeah, I mean, I think you got to take a look at your option. So option one, learn it yourself. Option number two, hire somebody who knows how to do it. Option number three, find a company like ours to work with that can do it for you. So do yourself, hire someone you're like your own employee, you're own employee that has the skill set that you know can do all of these things. Or then you use an agency and there's pros and cons to every option. I mean, I started off, because we didn't have the cash, learning it myself, but I also had a keen interest in doing it, so for me it just fit. But I mean I had to learn web design, web development, search enginet optimization, you know paperclick advertising management, social media marketing, email marketing, automation, you know data analys and reporting. That's a ton to learn and I'm still not done learning. I mean every single day I'm watching...

...videos, I'm listening to, you know, thought leaders in the space and seeing what people are doing. We know which social platforms have the highest organic reach. Right, right, right now. Linkedin is huge, right, and you know you follow a couple influences. You see the type of content that producing and where they're pushing it out. Linkedin is huge, right. You're very active on Linkedin and you know we've done we've connected recently through your linkedin posts. You didn't pay for any of those posts, right, but I would say most people that are following you or connected with you are seeing those posts and they're getting great organic reach. Same if you were to have posted those exact same things on facebook, I probably wouldn't be sitting here today because the organic reach on facebook is pretty much nothing. So I guess my point is learning at yourself. You have to have a keen interest because there is a ton of stuff you need to be exposing yourself to. Option number two, hire somebody. Here's the challenge. Digital Marketing is not like a one trick pony. You know, I'm a graphic designer, now a digital marketer, or I can develop websites, now a digital marketer, or I can do facebook ads and now a digital marketer. That's why it takes my whole team to serve as a client. So I think there are people out there that can do all of it, but most of those people are, you know, very happily employed making a lot of money, you know. So I would say you probably want to budget, in today's economy, seventy thousand dollars a year plus to get somebody who has the type of knowledge you would need right, or divide Seventyzero by twelve, figure out a monthly retainer would be and then go talk to an agency to figure out if they can provide the same quality of service. They may not spend as many hours on it, but they've got a group of experts. So in our team we've got a designer, we've got a developer, we've got it somebody that is really, really good at running facebook ads and Google ads, and we've got somebody that's really good at doing Seo and analytics and we've gotten the strategy person in the copywriter, like all of those skill sets we have in house. And I think the challenge and hiring somebody, although it's possible, R and there's companies that do it, you know, good life being one of them. Good life fitness has a whole team doing this, but they literally need a team. And so then your third option is work with a company that you trust, that aligns well with your values culturally within your company. And I think the agencies that are like the five to ten employees, you're still going to get the attention of the owner. Right you get to the five thousand, sixty, seventy eighty person agencies, you may not. I think you know there are plenty of them. They are doing very well, so I'm not trying to put them down by any means, but I think the level of service you're going to get from a small aging agency like mine to a larger agency. You know they're going to be bang on one or the other and I think, you know, people need to consider using both. I think for me, my biggest lessons learned were when I was doing this type of work for myself, and so it's not a bad idea for business owners to get their feet wet. You know, try some things. You know, experiment. Will realize what you know and what you don't know, what you can keep in house and what you need to outsource or what you need to partner with an agency for. For example, we work with clients. We don't need to be managing their social media accounts for them and in fact I prefer not to be right a lot of the time social media is that in the moment type, you know, data or in the moment content, whether it be video or a story or a post that US as an external agency, we're not on site, we're not able to capture that. So have your person that's in house, you know, be your social media coordinator, me, become to us and will help you figure out what they type of content they should be posting, what platforms they should be on, you know, what hashtags they should be using, what tools they can use to, you know, make their efforts a little more efficient, but do that stuff in house. Use An external party for the more heavy lifting work, like marketing, automation, you know, automating repeatable tasks, creating and integrating a crm, like a customer relationship management system, to do, you know, integration with your sales team and do the automated email follow ups. You know, the heavy lifting on Web Design and development, the data analytics, integration and reporting. That kind of stuff a lot of people are going to have a hard time learning on their own and it's eating. I think...'s more suitable to hire experts to do and then keep the things in house that you can do in house comfortably. And in fact, if you do it that way, I would say your social media is going to be better if you do it in house because you're going to have that real time, you know, content and it's going to be more genuine than something that's planned thirty days in advance. When we were building my wife's fitness business, you know, small business folks on pre and postnatal in Berry, you know, it was crazy. Still Training. What is the business? Yeah, so the business is called mum and bubs health and fitness. My wife is no longer running it. She's gone back to be a teacher and I quickly learned as a like husband wife Combo, it's super hard to be in business together and then be friends and partners and now parents. You know, we needed a break and I think probably for the sake of everybody's benefit. You know, she's gone back to teaching and it's not because the business wasn't successful. The business was very successful and we know we're I still have ideas about maybe, you know, selling it or franchising it, but with forty four north it's so busy I don't really have time to focus on it. But without business, the goal was to sell pre and post natal fitness to women that were six months leading up to having birth. So who want to stay fit leading up to having their baby and that kind of year post having their baby? Huge market, you know, pre and post. You see the stroller fitness groups everywhere, you see the fitness focus classes in gym's and we saw an opportunity to build this business and, you know, we started running, you know, created some landing pages and running facebook ads and we started trialing different marketing strategies. And I mean if I think about the number of lessons I learned in that six months or a year creating that business, doing it on my own and bootstrapping. I would see any business owner that takes that level of interest in trying they're actually gonna be much more educated when they deal with an agency because they're going to know a little more than just saying hey, we have a problem, can you fix it? You know, for example, we were running traffic to site which was, you know, Free Class Pass. So facebook ads drive the traffic to a landing page offering a free class pass and free class passes we were giving out, like what's that term? Like? They were just flying off the shelf. But the quality of the people showing up for the free class passes where it's just horrible tire kickers, wrong income demographic, you know, may they were never going to be, they were never going to become paying customers. So although they were, it would, very cheap leads, the quality of the lead was crap. So then we said, okay, well, let's let's make them pull out their credit card and we started selling a nine dollar three class pass and we started running a new campaign around that. And although that quantity of leads coming out we're much lower. Two things happened. The quality of the people who showed up were much higher and the conversion rate on coming out to a paid, discounted class and that traffic converting into now somebody's paying ninety a month for a program versus the person that's coming up for free. The conversion rate was way higher. The other thing that we I learned is I was charting nine dollars for a three class pass. was only costing me about eight and fifty to sell the nine dollar class pass, which means I would spend eight fifty make nine bucks. Spend eight fifty or nine bucks, make nine bucks, and so the marketing spend itself is being covered by these free classes. So now I had this. You know, and you'll listen to these online gurus that talk about this like you know, start with ten dollars and scale it, and you know you don't even need a marking budget to start. That's all they're talking about. They're saying take a hundred dollars, invest it, make money, be more profitable than you were when you spent money and take the money and reinvest it in overtime. You're marketing budget gross yeah, News Flash, that's really, really hard to do and if it was that easy, every company would be doing it. But it's tremendously hard. We just happen to crack the not in that small business, or for the most part, we could keep investing money and it would keep paying for itself and essentially it generated free leads and that's the goal for any digital marketing business.

So I learned a lot about, you know, pricing and how do you get people in the door and how to convert that traffic. I also learned a lot about analytics and how important it is to be watching what people are physically doing. So I often give this presentation about digital marketing framework and I talked about placement of call to actions and I'll talk about making sure you're called action is above the fold, so on the landing page, at the top when you get there, but also having your call to action throughout the page and especially have it at the bottom. And I'll often ask you know, why, why do you guys think we should have the call to action there? And people say, well, because people are lazy, they don't want to scroll back up. That good. There's it's obvious that knowledge is out there. especially in a younger crowd when I'm talking to like, you know, the twenty somethings. They've grown up on the Internet. They can they understand. They may not know why they understand it, but they see it. Well, turns out about ninety five percent of the traffic coming to our landing pages were coming by mobile. Right. So you think about these women. What are they doing? So pre and Post Natal, typically, let's look at the postnatal. So they are they've just had a baby, you know. So are they busting out their laptop and throwing it on their lap while they're no, they're not. They're caring, they're carrying their baby around or maybe their breastfeeding, and so they're all on their mobile device. And it turned out a ton of our traffic, and I would say the majority of our traffic, was coming in I would call non peak hours, not coming like in the afterwork period. No, no, that's when. That's when, like you know, dinners being made and kids are trying to go to bed. They were coming in the middle of the night, like midnight to four am, and we actually were seeing a massive spike in purchases coming at like three thirty am, four am, and I just couldn't wrap my head around it. You know, this is before my wife and I had our kids. I was like what the heck, like, why are women buying these nine dollar class passes at thirty in the morning? And then it dawned on me they're probably breastfeeding or they're probably sitting up with their kids in the middle of the night trying to console them to go back to sleep and and they're exhausted. So they're sitting on their phone, the they're scrolling around on facebook, they're seeing our ads, they're going to our landing page, they're scrolling through, they're clicking on this you know countdown timer. You've got five hours left to get our nine class dollar class pass. They'd Click on it and make the purchase and I was like yeah, that's interesting, like all these purchases are coming in the middle of the night. And then I started looking deeper and I realized we had a massive not only were we getting a lot of purchases, but we are also losing a lot of people at the check out. So I had to ask myself again, like why is this happening? Had to put myself again in the customer shoes and and the only reason I could come up with, and you know, I verified it with some people who, you know, we're in the program. Were they up breastfeeding? They didn't know their credit card on them. And where's the credit card? It's downstairs in their purse or it's, you know, maybe it's a shared credit card that they husband and wife share. So they couldn't make the purchase because they didn't have the credit card. So what did we do to step check out process? You fill out step one, you opt in for, you know, communication via castle Canadian Anti Spam legislation, you know, a statement. And if somebody didn't purchase within I think we had it set at half an hour. If you didn't purchase, you know, complete step too of making the purchase within half an hour of doing step one, then we would note you in our system as saying, you know, abandoned cart and we would flip you an email the next morning saying hey, we knows you were checking out but you didn't purchase. Here's the link to purchase. You can still get the deal. And again we saw our conversion rate go up again. So, you know, as a digital marketing agency, it's crazy the lessons that we're still applying three years later from the stuff I was doing when I was bootstrapping with my wife three years ago on this, you know, pre and postnatal fitness business that we're not even running anymore, and I would say my advice to any business owner is you need to educate yourself right and watch the youtube videos, learn a little bit about Seo, learn a little bit about Facebook, ads, about web design. All the stuff is publicly available. You just go search it on Youtube and you can find some good and obviously some bad, but Leo'LD say there's a ton...

...of good content out there. Listen to podcast like this and then go talk to somebody and be able to come to the table with a little bit of education, because I think your strategy is going to be much more powerful if you do that. It's interesting you talk about I mean digital marketing, is the digital it's reinforcing the same thing that you've always done, but digitally. And so when you talk about that example, that story, it's an it's you had to go analog. I mean yet digitally enhanced in that you looked at the data, but then you went analog to figure out what is this data saying, like? What activities in the real world are painting the picture in the data. So it's like the more things change and where they stay the same. Yes, it's digital, but like these are real people with real behaviors that you had to dig into to get to those insides. The difference is now we have the data our fingertips. Like literally, I can take a client, any client you know working at the trucking company. Right now we're launching a campaign the beginning of next month. Within twenty four hours launching that campaign, I'm going to have data coming feeding back to us where we can start analyzing things like how long are people spending on the site, what are they clicking on? How far are they making it through our interactive quoting form? What device are they searching on? What locations are they coming from? What keywords are they clicking on? What keywords are they searching? You can't do that with a billboard or a newspaper at or radios, radio spot. Now, don't get me wrong, I love radio, I love billboards. I think those forty foot tractor trailer billboards on the side of the one or awesome, and I actually went down the root of trying to start a forty foot trailer sign company because I think they're so effective. But you don't get instant data coming back to you from a billboard. With digital, you know, if you have all the analytics platform set up, and, let's face it, I say all the I'm talking like Google analytics, which is free, and there are a couple of other platforms that we use that we pay nine bucks a month, for twelve bucks a month for. These aren't like massive investments, but if you set these platforms up and you know what to look for, it's quite easy to start deriving actionable conclusions that you can use to start, you know, optimizing your campaign. And that's what's so cool and that's what I think is so awesome for small businesses, because you have the you can be nimble as a small business. If there was one resource that you recommend people, whatever website to visit, book to read, article to read, is there one that stands out? So really to play depends on what you're trying to learn. So if you want to learn about, say, marketing automation, then I would check out active campaign and just read. They've got a really good like blog that you can read and then check out videos of people implementing active campaign on Youtube. I think Youtube universally is the best thing that's happened from an education standpoint probably ever. Right. You think back to like Con Academy. You have used Con Academy? I haven't, no, but I know about it. I think I got through my MBA using con academy and like when I had to learn about accounting, it was a con academy video. And not to say anything about I'm just not smart, very smart, so I'd have to spend a lot of extra time in the evenings, you know, trying to reteach what probably should have come obvious to me in class. CONN academy is Great. That's Youtube, free resource. So Youtube by far, I would say one of my favorite people in the world right now digital is rand Fishkin. Yeah, rand is awesome. So if you're looking, if you're looking to learn anything about SEO, search engine optimization, man is he a beauty? Is a from MAS? IS THAT MAS? Yeah, so mas is a platform that we use for doing like competitor analysis and Keyword Research and, you know, analyzing how websites doing within Google. And Rand Fishkin has this series called whiteboard Friday. Our Seo like all right, here, agencies, News Flash, OUR...

WHOLE SEO strategy, by the way, is based on whiteboard Friday. There you go. You have our secret sauce. And I would say any other person that wants to learn Seo at whiteboard Friday is a one a week video series that he released. He literally has a white board. It is what it. You know, it sounds like he has a whiteboard. He explains up one aspect to Seo and he's got two hundred videos. He want to learn Seo. Go Watch Rand Fishkin on whiteboard Friday. The guys a beauty. He's a great public speaker, goodlooking Dude, you know, and just you know, he works you through all of the methodologies and I would say every single video you can walk away and go, Huh, interesting, I'm gonna go do that. Like very actionable, not not theoretical in any way. And then I would say, for you know, facebook ads, Google ads, there are online training programs through like use a you to me or you know. They're like fourteen bucks and mix that with some youtube videos. You can learn anything you need to learn about facebook ads. Those would be my recommendation school. Those are good recommendations. So one last question I wanted to ask it's a question I like to ask. Our most recent guess is how can we as a community help you as business owner? So we've heard answers. Like you know, I'm growing and these are the types of customers that we're looking to work with. I'm working on a new segment of our business and if anybody's got experience in it, they might be able to help you out. But I'm curious if we can help you at all with your business. Yeah, no, I appreciate that. I mean we're we're on fire right now and it's great. Comes with his own set of challenges. So there's probably two or three things. The first thing is there's a lot of great people coming out of the MBA program and the HBA program am we need, I think, to do a good job of of especially then the IV network is huge and the night the IV network is, I would say, one of the most differentiating factors for me and why I came to the program especially being an an army guy coming to the program with no network on the private side or in the business side afterwards. So I think from a network perspective, how do we connect students with agencies or with companies that are owned or led by Ivy People. I mean the McKenzie's, the banks. I mean that their formal part, formal part of the MBA program whether it's through interviews, interview prep, but I would say on the small business side, on the entrepreneurship side, there isn't as much of that connection. I would love. You know, the race rosters, the forty four North's, you know, you know Alex Vanderhoven, great guy, doing amazing things. He probably needs IV people. Maybe you guys bring him in. Just not me. I'm just I'm just joking, but like get get US small business owners in and see if maybe there's an alignment with some of these students, whether it's for summer placements, whether it's for full time jobs or even some of the consulting programs you guys are running. I would the other thing is, conversely, with anybody was listening in the Ivy Network, I mean if you're struggling with a with a digital marketing problem. I mean we're growing, looking to align ourselves with the right customers happy to have a conversation and I have just appreciate we're doing here with the podcast and, you know, bringing in all of us to particip to pay, you know, talk a little bit about what we do, what what we know, what we don't know, what we thinks happening, and then getting it out to the network, because I think everybody gets value. That's great. Last one. So how can people find you if they want to contact you? Want to get in touch either with you, could be you personally, or maybe it's through your company website. What's the best way to reach you? Yeah, so if you're looking for you know, to contact us, we're geting, digital marketing, whatever, forty four north digital marketing. Just simply google us and you will find us. Alternatively, on Linkedin, Corey Shelson, you know, send a connection request and happy to chat and connect on their awesome, awesome. This is great. I think starting to demistify the what happens behind the curtain in in digital marketing, rooting it in real life, you know, analog peep real people, is a really great lesson. So thanks for sharing. It is great to have you on and we will come heavy back and... ground to at some point. Thanks are thanks. You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or a visit IV dot ca, a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening, until next time.

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