Jason talks with author and marketer Jay Baer. Jay is an acclaimed keynote speaker, technology marketer, and social media consultant. Jay’s newst book, Youtility, talks about key marketing ideas, and unique ideas to jump start your business.
Narrator: Speakers, publishers, consultants, coaches and info marketers unite. The Speaking of Wealth Show is your road map to success and significance. Learn the latest tools, technologies and tactics to get more bookings, sell more products and attract more clients. If you’re looking to increase your direct response sales, create a big time personal brand and become the go-to guru, the Speaking of Wealth Show is for you. Here’s your host, Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Speaking of Wealth Show. This is your host, Jason Hartman, where we discuss profit strategies for speakers, publishers, authors, consultants, coaches, info marketers, and just go over a whole bunch of exciting things that you can use to increase your business, to make your business more successful and more and more passive and more and more automated and more and more scalable. So we will be back with a great interview. Be sure to visit us at SpeakingofWealth.com. You can take advantage of our blog, subscribe to the RSS feed and many other resources for free at SpeakingofWealth.com and we will be back with a great interview for you in less than 60 seconds.
Start of Interview with Jay Baer
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Jay Baer to the show. He is a hype-free marketing strategist, and a speaker and author, and president of the social media and content marketing consultancy, Convince and Convert. As a digital marketing pioneer Jay has consulted with more than 700 companies since 1994 and that’s a long time ago in internet year. It’s the dawn of creation, including Caterpillar, Nike, visit California, Allstate, Pepco, Columbia sportswear, and 29 of the fortune 500. Jay welcome, how are you?
Jay Baer: Oh I’m fantastic thanks for having me on the show. Yes in 1994 we did most of our internet consulting with an abacus, it was a very interesting meeting.
Jason Hartman: Yeah it certainly was.
Jay Baer: Well it’s a funny story. I actually got involved in internet marketing in 94 without ever having seen the internet. I was the spokesman for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, and I know Jason that you’re in Arizona, and I was the spokesman for the Department of Juvenile Corrections. And so essentially my job was to give tours of the juvenile prison system which is not even as fun as I made it sound. And I got to the point where I realized I would do almost any job other than that job, and simultaneously two of my good friends from college had started the very first internet company in Arizona. And we were having beers one night and they said this internet company is starting to take off, and we don’t know anything about marketing, and I said well that’s good cause when you say the word internet I don’t know that means. But I said, you know what, I don’t care, I will do anything other than what I’m doing. I cannot give one more tour of this prison. So I walked in and quit my job and started as the vice president of an internet company without ever having logged on. So that was an interesting start to that. . .
Jason Hartman: That is a very interesting start. It’s funny when you hear these old like internet entrepreneurs and people talk about BBS’s and things. . .I don’t even know what they’re talking about, I don’t even understand what that is but I love internet marketing as it is today. It’s an incredible field, very interesting. Tell us a little bit about what you do, and really your book, Youtility, what is the book about?
Jay Baer: The book is called Utility and that is spelled Youtility and the sub-title is Why Smart Marketing is About Help, not Hype. And the book’s done great, sold lots of copies, on the New York Times best seller list, all that kind of stuff, and it’s all about making marketing that is so useful people would pay for it. It’s marketing that has inherited and trensic value so much so that if you said to your customers, or your perspective customers, hey would you kick in a couple of dollars for this? They would say, “Yeah, actually I would kick in a couple of dollars for that if you ask me to”. Now typically you don’t because it’s gonna benefit you in the long haul, but it has so much value, it’s marketing that people actually want as opposed to what we’ve been doing for 3 generations, which is marketing that companies think they need, and then of course this podcast is right in line with that philosophy. It’s quality to the degree that if you said to people hey, you need to kick in a couple of dollars in order to listen to this show, people would absolutely pay you for that Jason, but you don’t charge them, but you could. And that is the principle of the book. There’s lots and lots of case studies in the utility book, and I add more all the time on the website, and it’s kind of become a thing. There’s lots of marketing departments now in the country that use that word utility as shorthand for creating marketing, either online or off that’s very useful.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic, there’s an interesting way to test this Jay and I did it with my most popular podcast, of course like you said podcasters don’t charge for podcasts pretty much ever, but there’s a few ways that they do it here and there, but that’s all on the fringe right? Most of them just give it away for free. And some podcasts out there are just a pitch fest, and some actually have youtility, YOU-tility type content that people would pay for. And if you want to know what kind of content you’re putting out I might suggest an experiment. I did it once, and that was to put a donation button on your website and see if people donate. And boy I did it for a little while and people did donate. One of our highest donations I think was 2 or $300 and wow what an incredible thing when people don’t have to pay for something but they just like it so much that they throw money at you.
Jay Baer: Wow I’m gonna test that, that’s a great idea. I have a weekly podcast call social pros, SocialPros.com is the landing page for it and it’s a weekly show where I interview somebody who is the social media manager or content marketing manager typically for medium size or larger companies. So we’ve had folks from Taco Bell on the show and Ford and Delta Faucets and a whole bunch of different companies and they come on the show and sort of talk about what the real world is like. You know what they’re really doing out there in social media. And it’s a very tactical kind of show for professionals in the industry. I’m gonna do that, that donation button, it’s a great idea. And you know what’s interesting about that Jason is it’s so similar to sort of the macro trend of allowing people to decide what happens, whether it’s Mountain Dew, crowd sourcing different flavors of Mountain Dew, or Doritos, letting people vote on what their Super Bowl commercial is going to be. Or even the phenomenon of things like kick starter where people decide what products get built now. It’s a really interesting time to be in marketing and business.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, fantastic yeah. It really is, it really is. So the donation button, I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about that. Try that experiment. So marketing has changed a lot and one of the questions I’d like to pose to you is how and why has it fundamentally changed, and what new expectations do consumers and followers, to use a more modern term maybe, what do they have nowadays and you know that the business needs to fulfill.
Jay Baer: Well the changes have been enormous and numerous. I’ll point out sort of three of them briefly. One is that the way we used to reach people, which is by finding out where people clump and then inserting messages into those spaces doesn’t really work anymore. Consumers don’t clump their attention the way they used to. Partially because we have this explosion in content sources. If you look at the number one TV show in the United States in 1977 was Happy Days. And Happy Days in 1977 did a 31 ½ rating, meaning that 31 ½% of Americans watched that show. In 2011 the number one show was Sunday night football and it did a 12/9, so you think about. . .
Jason Hartman: So it’s much more fragmented.
Jay Baer: It’s incredible. In 2006 there were 35 million blogs. In 2011 there is 173 million blogs. Now half of those are about cats, but still I mean that’s a lot of competition for whatever it is that you’re trying to do. So one of the changes is that it’s just really hard to rely on some of the old school top of mind awareness kind of marketing that we’ve all frankly been trained to do.
The second piece that really changed the game is mobile – you know how people consume information and where they do that and where that fits into their day has really, really changed. For the first time this year consumers will spend more time on mobile than on television. And that just is extraordinary to think about. And so what it requires now is for businesses to create more and more information about themselves. And not necessarily about themselves but information that is helpful and interesting and useful that they put out there, because people are spending so much more time consuming information in mobile space. And then the third piece
I think is perhaps the most important, especially as it relates to social is that our personal and professional lives and selves have converged in a way that was previously it’s just unprecedented, this has never happened. If you look at your Facebook page, Jason, if you just kind of dive into your Facebook feed right, you’ll see a combination of messages from family members and friends and companies. And the same thing is true in twitter, and the same thing is true in Pinterest and Instagram and the same thing is true in your email inbox. But the converse isn’t true right? Your family is not buying radio ads, your friends are not buying billboards to reach you, but yet businesses of all kinds, and all types, and all sizes and all categories are having to use the same tools and technologies and venues that we’re trying to use to interact with people we actually love, business has to use that to try and sell stuff, and that’s extraordinarily difficult. So what that. . .
Jason Hartman: So wait, let me just make sure I understand that. And keep your train of thought there cause I didn’t want to interrupt it too much. Are you saying it’s actually harder today for businesses?
Jay Baer: Oh absolutely. Absolutely.
Jason Hartman: Okay well we’ll go into that, but go ahead.
Jay Baer: It’s because the technology makes it easier to find people and makes it easier to produce messaging without a great deal of cost. But you as a business and as a business person are the interloper. What business does is business pays the freight for Facebook, business pays the freight for Twitter, business pays the freight for YouTube, and Pinterest, and Instagram and even email. I don’t think anybody if you said hey consumers, do you want to have businesses in these spaces or do you tolerate businesses in these spaces because advertising keeps it free. And so what this means is that business has to act more like people. You have to be useful the same way that our friends and family members are use. . .well some of our friends are deadbeats, but theoretically stay with me, but the friends, the good friends right, the guy who has a pickup truck. . .
Jay Baer: You got to be useful, yeah.
Jason Hartman: And so that’s the way you break through in this incredibly, complicated and difficult environment is to be useful. As I always tell people, if you’re gonna send a tweet, a tweet that says “We’re a great company, click here to let us prove it”, is not nearly as effective as “We just created this amazing podcast, which is gonna educate you, click here to download it. But yet most companies, as a social media consultant it breaks my heart, but it’s true, most companies still use social media as the world’s shortest press release, and it’s not gonna work.
Jason Hartman: I agree it doesn’t work. And it’s interesting you made that point about do you want to have businesses in these social media places? Or do you tolerate them to keep it free? And I would say to you that I want to have them in there. I like having them in there. But again, it can’t be a bunch of interruption marketing, you know it’s got to be something useful, it’s got to be something valuable. And I’ve also noticed Jay, and you’ll probably agree with me here that my tolerance for old fashion advertising is becoming incredibly low. For example, I used to be willing to watch to TV, I used to be willing to listen to talk radio, and I literally almost never watch TV anymore because I want to direct the conversation, I want to direct the content. I want to go and seek it out and look for things and be interactive. And god knows talk radio with 22 minutes of commercials for every 28 minutes of content is ridiculous, it’s absurd. I mean this is just absurdity.
Jay Baer: Yeah and that’s why you see the rise of DVR and now the rise of Netflix. And you know the rise of people looking at videos on YouTube and things like Pandora and Spotify. Yes there are some other technological reasons why that kind of media program is attractive, but one of the reasons all of those are useful and attractive is that they allow consumers to largely ignore interruption marketing.
Jason Hartman: Okay so what can we do to be more useful, to be that friend with the pickup truck, if you will, to make our customers want to hear from us.
Jay Baer: There’s three sort of distinct ways of doing Youtility. The first is one I always recommend that people start with, which is self-serve information. Because people consume so much more information now because of mobile devices, they’re always connected. Nowadays people research things that they never would have researched before, because there’s no barrier to research. There’s no friction involved with looking something up. And so consumers are hyper researching everything in ways that they didn’t use to. And so what you want to do is really think about what are all the questions that anybody has really ever asked you about your business and answer all those questions, whether it’s with a podcast, whether it’s with a blog, whether it’s with both or slide share presentation or a series of videos, or whatever it is that floats your boat. Answering every question very proactively and forthrightly is always the best place to start with Youtility.
Jason Hartman: So let’s drill down on that a little more. Maybe with some examples if we can as to a speaker, a consultant, an author, a small business person that wants to have Youtility for their audience. Maybe they’re just catching the train really late here and they’re jumping onto social media, they’re jumping onto all of the great new virtually no cost marketing opportunities we have nowadays. What do they do?
Jay Baer: I’m gonna tell you a story that I think will encapsulate this for your listeners. And it’s a story about Marcus Sheridan and Marcus actually wrote the foreword to my book. And Marcus is the co-owner and co-founder of a small company called River Pools and Spas. And River Pools and Spas in an installer of in-ground fiberglass swimming pools in Virginia, sort of a distant suburb of DC. And in 2009 they almost went out of business because sort of spun economics lesson. If you can’t afford food, people almost never want to buy a pool. So in that economy, that was not working out for them. So they said, look, we’re gonna loose this company unless we can find a way to steel a disproportionate share of the tiny bit of demand that still exists for new swimming pools. But they didn’t have any budget. They certainly didn’t have any incremental budget. So they said what are we gonna do?
So they said well what if we just answered every question that anybody’s ever asked us about swimming pools. And nobody had a better idea. So they said well let’s just try that. So they sat down and they created a blog and they wrote 400 blog posts. And they wrote them at night and they wrote them on the weekends, because they still had a company to run. And every single one of those blog posts was an answer to a question that someone had actually asked them in the past. And they now have over a thousand blog posts. And not only did they survive they thrived. Revenue was up 50% and they now get more website traffic than any other swimming pool company in this country, including the big manufacturers. Because they’re not the best sellers of swimming pools, they’re the best teachers about swimming pools. And their customers on average, okay, on average, read 105 blog posts before contacting the company.
Jason Hartman: Wow that’s incredible. That is really, really incredible. An amazing story, an amazing story. So log the questions that you get, and questions could also be called objections.
Jay Baer: Very much so.
Jason Hartman: So it’s funny when I’ve trained sales people over the years I noticed that they don’t like objections, but the worst customer of all is the indifferent customer. The best one is the one who’s engaging. And they may be objecting with you, they’re making you think, they’re making you learn, but they’re also giving you material. Because other people that don’t say those same objections also have them in the back of their mind but they’re just not sharing them.
Jay Baer: No doubt. And in bigger companies or even medium size companies where you have a separate sales and marketing team, we always encourage that. Marketing doesn’t really know what customers want cause they’re busy doing marketing. So you have to go out and talk to the sales team and talk to the customer service team and really get a handle on what are those objections, what are those customer questions because the marketing team typically never sees them, except maybe on Twitter.
Jason Hartman: Yeah good point. Okay what else should we know?
Jay Baer: So that’s the first way of doing Youtility is self-serve information. The second way is with radical transparency. So in this environment where people have access to all information at all times through a mobile device, you really can’t hide the truth anymore. In these days the truth always comes out. Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun, A-Rod. The truth always comes out. And what smart companies are doing, and smart business people is saying you know what? Why don’t we find a way to build more trust, because trust is the prism through which all business success must past? Without trust you have nothing. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, without trust you have nothing. And as it turns out one of the best ways to create trust is to just be disproportionately open and honest and authentic and transparent.
The guys at River Pool do that particularly well. The most popular post out of the thousand they written, the most popular ones are things like well what are the hidden costs of my in ground swimming pool. Or when should I buy a fiberglass pool versus a concrete pool. Where they’re proactively writing blog posts that show you circumstances when they’re not necessarily the right approach. And this idea of radical transparency is really taking off in business.
I mean look at Dominos. Dominos entire corporate strategy is this; our pizza used to suck, now not so much. Like that’s the whole playbook right. And it totally works for them. And all business people can really differentiate themselves from competitors by doing that, by just being radically transparent.
Jason Hartman: I couldn’t agree more. Keeping secrets is too much work.
Jay Baer: Forget which one is a secret.
Jason Hartman: Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln or something that said honest people don’t have to have a good memory?
Jay Baer: Absolutely. Well said. And the third way to do Youtility is with real time relevancy. You’re much better off being massively useful in one context than being sort of partially useful all the time. So what you want to do is be the best solution for something. And this is where small business I think can really, really dominate. In Banff, up in Alberta in Canada, Banff’s a big tourist town, lots of skiing and natural splendor. And because it’s a tourist town there’s lots of bars and restaurants and because there’s lots of name is Taxi Mike.
And once a quarter Taxi Mike makes his own where to eat in Banff dining guide. It’s very simple 8 ½ by 11 piece of paper, double sided. He’s not a professional graphic designer. He lays it out, goes to Kinkos FedEx, whatever, makes photo copies, folds it up in a regular sort of trifold brochure and hands it out in all the bars and restaurants in town.
And when you’re up there, I’m actually going next week again, when you’re up there you’ll see in on the counter of all the bars and restaurants because it’s so useful. He categorizes the whole town. It’s like best sports bar, best place to take a date, best outdoor patio. He’s like a one man trip advisor basically. And he has a map of downtown on the cover of this thing. So at the end of the night when you’re walking around Banff you’re like I got to find a way to get back to my hotel, you’re not gonna ask a bar tender to call you a taxi because in your pocket is this crumpled up very yellow piece of paper that you’ve been carrying around all night because it has a map and all the listings of all the restaurants. And it says right there on the cover Taxi Mike, you know and his phone number. And that’s the kind of idea that anybody can and should implement. Because it’s not about being a taxi driver, it’s about the bigger story. It’s what people really need, they don’t need taxi driver advice. What they need is where to eat advice. And that idea of sort of making the story bigger can be implemented very successfully, especially by small business.
Jason Hartman: Very good points, very good ideas too. So for big companies and small companies Youtility works?
Jay Baer: Absolutely. Sometimes the execution’s a little different. Sometimes bigger companies will do mobile applications and things like that that are maybe a little bit more expensive or tricky to produce. But the underlying philosophy works across the board, which is one of the reasons why in the book there’s lots of examples of companies from all sizes because I really wanted to set it up so that people could see themselves in these examples regardless of whether they’re a big company or small company.
Jason Hartman: And talk to us a little bit more about mobile. Certainly mobile is a great way to get information out and so forth, but any specifics about the mobile environment that entrepreneurs should use and be aware of?
Jay Baer: If anybody is thinking about making a website or a new website any time soon, you’ve got to me thinking about the mobile version of that first and the desktop version second. Because we’re about 18 months away from a circumstance where more data is actually consumed via mobile device than via desktop and laptop. Today 44% of all emails are read on a mobile device and that number is just gonna go up. I mean I believe that the website, today’s classic website will be of decreasing importance to all businesses because so much of how we interact with media will be via tablets and phones and things of that nature. So you have to understand what is the essence of your usefulness and be able to convey that very quickly and simply in a mobile format as opposed to what we’ve done for a long time which is well let’s just add more crap to our website so let’s just add more. We’ve had this philosophy since approximately 1994, which is that more pages of the website is better. And in a mobile first environment is the exact opposite. It’s less is better and let people get at whatever it is they need to get at right away.
Jason Hartman: But how do you sort? What do you do to know what less is more is and you know say for example someone has a large website with a lot of content. How do they want to skinny that down for mobile.
Jay Baer: You want to think about what parts of that website are going to be most likely to be consumed in out of home environment. So are there pieces of that, for example, if you’re out of your house you might need the phone number so you might be able to get at that easier in a mobile device. You’re probably not going to want to fill out an entire claim form on your phone. So you have to think about of all the things that you have and all the things that you could potentially put out there what types of content are most likely to be consumed or wanted to be consumed in an out of home environment? And the nice thing now with almost any analytics package you can look at your existing website today in Google analytics or similar and just do a simple report and say okay, of all the pages we have now what percentage of them are viewed on mobile. And you can get a handle on your first, your second, your third tier and forth tier content based on mobile downloads right now.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, very good. Jay give out your website if you would.
Jay Baer: The website for the book is YoutilityBook.com. That’s Y-O-U-tilitybook.com and for our blog and podcast and daily email about social media it’s convince and convert.com.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. And Jay one final question for you. And I just want to ask you to maybe pull out your crystal ball, dust it off and tell us where is this all going? The concept of giving good value. I remember back in the 90’s everybody was doing these free reports, it seemed like that was the big marketing kick. And now it’s giving the content away without even making people opt in, just putting it out there. They don’t put it behind. . .you know a lot of the internet marketing sort of people are still putting it behind and opt in, they got to collect your information first. But I don’t know, it seems like the more. . .I don’t have the right word, but I’ll say the more legit, for the lack of a better word. Sorry to the friends out there that still do that, I apologize I couldn’t find the exact right word there. Just putting the content out there and just you don’t need to opt in, you just get it, here it is. Take what you want, use what you want and if you like it and you want to learn more then opt in. What do you think the next big thing is if you had to see the future here.
Jay Baer: The point about forms is really interesting, because it sort of depends on where in your purchase funnel that form occurs. So if it’s content that is very top level that you’re really using to get people interested in you, why would you put a forms on it, because form are by definition the enemy of spread. So if you’re trying to reach the largest amount of people possible you would never put a form on it. But if it’s something that is more detailed, more specific that’s closer to the actual point of the sale, then sure then I can see why you would want to put a form. So, to some degree it really depends on what is the content and what they may have consumed from you before or after that particular piece of content. But in terms of what’s next I think it’s video, and that may be an overly simple answer, but I believe that 100% all roads lead to video. Johnny don’t read anymore, people don’t want to read. It takes too long, we’ve got the twitterization of content. Everything is getting shorter, video continues to be more visceral than any other form of communication. That’s why television and radio continues to be huge, not necessarily for any one program like we talked about a moment ago, but the time spent on video is extraordinary. And every year I think that there’s no way we could possibly consume more YouTube videos and every year it goes up 25 to 40%. So if you don’t have a video driven communication and marketing strategy you need to get one and I mean fast.
Jason Hartman: Good point. Good Jay. Well Jay Baer, thank you so much for joining us today and thank you for these insights. And this is great information that people should really, really take advantage of. Produce good free content that people want to pay for. Great way to put it too. Jay Baer thank you so much.
Jay Baer: My pleasure, thanks for having me.
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Narrator: This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network, Inc. exclusively.
Transcribed by Ralph
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