Listen to this interview with small business internet marketing expert, Mike Brooks. We talk about knowing your target market, the advantages of Facebook and much, much more!
Below are the items mentioned in this episode of the podcast:
- Nuclear Chowder Marketing
- Nuclear Chowder Online Marketing for Small Business Podcast
- Facebook Advertising
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
- CABO, Connecticut Alliance for Business Opportunities (LGBT Chamber of Commerce)
- All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All
- Triberr, Blogging Platform
- Information About Facebook Exchange – Adroll & Amy Porterfield Articles
Here is how you can get in touch with Mike:
Listen to the podcast by clicking the play button below!
Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below.
AUDIO TITLE: Episode #14 – Mike Brooks Interview
AUDIO START: [0:00:00]
Jenn T Grace: You are listening to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, episode 14.
Intro: Welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast where you’ll learn how to do business with and market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way. We’re talking about the $790 billion lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. We’ll help you grow your business, gain market share and impact your bottom line. And now your host – she’s an entrepreneur, a marketing maven and an advocate for the LGBT business community. Jenn, with two N’s, T. Grace.
Jenn T Grace: Hello and welcome to episode 14 of the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I am your delighted to be talking with you today as I am every other week when we get together and share content and information and all that great stuff. So today I have an interview with Mike Brooks, who is the CEO of Nuclear Chowder Marketing. And we had a great 45 minute conversation about online marketing, strategy, defining target markets, all sorts of great stuff that- and some parts has been covered on this podcast before, but he brings a really great, fresh perspective and has really good examples of ways that information that he’s provided has been successful. So I’m really excited to share that information with you.
But before we begin I want to cover a couple of quick overview announcements, and then we will hop into the interview. So the first thing I want to let you know, in case this is the first time you are listening to this podcast, this is a biweekly podcast and it alternates between expert interviews with amazing marketers, and LGBT leaders, and people that are in the diversity space; and then it alternates with me talking about some sort of specific thing around marketing to the LGBT community. So this week we happen to be having an expert interview with Mike as I had previously mentioned, and if you do like this podcast, and you want to subscribe to it in iTunes and have it delivered automatically to your iPhone, or however you get your content, you can head over to my website which is www.JennTGrace.com/iTunes, and that will automatically send you straight into the iTunes store where you can subscribe to the podcast for free. And there are a handful of links that are mentioned in today’s episode, so if you want to find that information without having to go Google search it, or look for it in 100 different places, you can head over to the website at www.JennTGrace.com/014, that’s for episode number 14, and that will provide you with all of the links that Mike and I discussed on today’s episode.
So I am talking to Mike Brooks today, who is the President and founder of Nuclear Chowder Marketing. His marketing career began over ten years ago when he became a part owner of a martial arts school. And in his role there, he had to market the school and build their membership base. So he was really successful in this area, and I believe you did so in terms of reaching out via online marketing channels. So success in this area is really what prompted you to start the Nuclear Chowder Marketing company five years ago, is that correct?
Mike Brooks: Yes, and thank you for having me Jenn, I appreciate it.
Jenn T Grace: Oh it’s my pleasure, yeah this is great. I know that you have tons of information to share with my audience today, so I think it’s going to be fabulous. But before we digress I want to make sure that my audience knows that you do have a podcast called the Nuclear Chowder Online Marketing for Small Business Podcast.
Mike Brooks: Yup.
Jenn T Grace: I got it right? Perfect. So Mike, I know that I just said that you were in a martial arts school, and now you’re in an online marketing business; do you want to tell the audience a little bit about what that experience was like going from something that was brick and mortar to online?
Mike Brooks: Yeah sure, it was actually a really- it was kind of a natural transition, but it was something I didn’t quite expect. I had left my job to- actually probably the transition to being a martial arts school owner from being in the Corporate America world was the weirdest transition. Once I was already running my own business, it’s like you start to think entrepreneurial. But that was the wackiest transition of them all is being my own boss. But I had been to marketing school, I came on as partner, I had been training at this school for years. And my partner came to me, and I guess because I was a business major in college he figured I had some kind of business skills; which I did, I didn’t understand how to run a small business, but I understood the business. So he confided in me a bit, and we kind of- I was his sounding board for things, and one day he came to me and said he was ready to give up the martial arts school, and I wasn’t ready to see its demise so I offered to come in, be his partner for a sweat equity share in the business, and I was going to be in charge of growing the business, so I kind of was a marketing guy. And everything was really going online back then, it was 2002 so I was very focused on getting us found on Google, and social media came up I was right there with any new technology that came in to the mix. And I got pretty good at it, and the school really just went crazy. Ten times the amount of income that we were making, it was a huge success story compared to almost going out of business when I came into it. And what happened is, it shifted from asking people how they heard about us, they’d say, “Well we heard about you in this mechanism or that mechanism.” Too all of a sudden, “We see you everywhere. We see you online, we see you here, we see you there.” And one day a person came in and asked me how I was doing it, one of my student’s parents, we were chatting at the desk and he wanted to know how I was doing all this stuff, especially online. They were very confused about how they could market their business online. So I started helping them with it, and he actually came to me and said that he had searched for pizza, searched on Google, pizza in Brookfield, and came up with our martial arts school and he was very impressed with that. I started kind of consulting just without realizing I was consulting. Just giving free advice, and then finally this person had asked me, “Can you just do this stuff for me and I’ll pay you.” And I said, “Okay, that sounds like a good deal.” And after a few months I took on a second client, and it was kind of a part time thing, I didn’t really know anything about being an Internet marketing consultant, I just kind of invented it as I was going along. And before you knew it, I had two full time businesses; the Internet marketing business, it was just a really good point to get into that because it was new, people were confused by it, and I think anybody could become an Internet marketing consultant at that point and be successful, and I was lucky to be at that point. It’s a little trickier now with all the way Google has been treating people, and the way social media has evolved. But at that point I just fell into it at the right moment. Eventually I decided I really love this marketing stuff, I love doing the Internet marketing, and decided to sell my share of the business back to my partner, and that was in 2010 and I’ve been full time ever since.
Jenn T Grace: That’s really awesome, that’s such a good success story, and it’s one of those things that if I were a potential client of yours, knowing that you did this for your business and it was really successful would give me some sort of peace of mind knowing that if you did it for yourself and you were successful, obviously those proven tactics could be used for my business as well.
Mike Brooks: Yeah, I think so, and because of that in a way you can say I limit myself a little bit in the way I can grow my company, because I really focus on businesses like I was. I try to be there for the small business, for the little guy, and so I don’t go after the big corporate accounts. I don’t make as much money as I could, I can charge probably ten times as much if I went after the bigger Fortune 500 companies, but I really love working with businesses like the martial arts school. Businesses that are small, sometimes they’re not necessarily sure if they’re going to make it another year. I have that place- there’s a place in my heart for a company like that, because I know what it was like.
Jenn T Grace: I totally hear you on that, it’s almost like a soft spot for the small guy, and I have a lot of clients that are local dentists, hair salon owners, financial advisors; all sorts of smaller businesses that like you said, they’re not necessarily sure they’re going to be there in a year or not. And it’s a little bit risky as a small business owner, working with small businesses, but at the same time I feel like the risk is worth the reward when they do double their- somehow, maybe they decrease their marketing spend but they’re getting three times the results that they were.
Mike Brooks: Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. These are the businesses that really are the backbone of the country, for real. They make the biggest sacrifice, they work the hardest, and they sometimes get screwed over.
Jenn T Grace: And I would say that the vast majority of the listeners of my podcast are the small business owners that we’re talking about. Not necessarily ones that don’t necessarily know if they’re going to be here in a year or not, but there’s a lot of small business owners here, and a lot of them are either LGBT people themselves, or they’re just really strong allies to the LGBT community. So as you’re aware, my show is very much around niche marketing, and specifically with the niche of marketing to the LGBT community. And I know that when you were talking a couple of minutes ago, before we even hit record, we were saying that one of the key things to know is where your audience hangs out, and to make sure that you are where the conversation is. Would you mind elaborating on that phrase a little bit for the audience?
Mike Brooks: Yeah, it’s logical when you think about it in the context of regular market networking, or things that you do offline. It gets confusing when I think people put it online, but it’s really the same strategy. So if you were going to go to a networking event, the first thing you’re going to think about if you’re in the LGBT community, is are my potential clients there? Am I going to potentially meet somebody who I can benefit at this event? And if the answer is going to either be a logical yes or no. So you have to find those places online as well. Because when you’re out there and trying to build your email list, you’re trying to capture traffic online, because that’s what it comes down to is finding the people to get to your website, to get to your blog, to get to your podcast, to your social media, whatever it is. You want to speak, and you want to find that correct audience. You want to figure out where they are. So it becomes really important to figure out online where are they hanging out? And that’s why I love your community, what you’re doing, because you’re so niche-specific. And when people go into business they try to be everything to everybody sometimes. You’re really focused on a specific market, your clients are focused on a specific market, and you can be so much more successful when you do that, because it is easier to find your customer. You should be able to know- and unfortunately because I’m not in that community, I can’t give you an exact ‘here’s where I would look,’ but I hope you get the idea from that, is that you just need to figure out where your audience is hanging out, and that’s where you focus your energy.
Jenn T Grace: Absolutely. And so on this podcast I’ve talked- I had a couple of episodes back, I don’t even know when it was, it may be episode 11 or 9, where I was talking about online marketing strategies, and I kind of went down the road of Facebook advertising and Facebook marketing. Because like you were saying, you have to know where your audience is hanging out. And in the outside of the Internet world, there are LGBT chambers of commerce, there are pride centers, there are pride events, there are community driven nonprofits that have to do with the LGBT community. So there’s a million different ways that you can find LGBT people outside of the Internet. But then like you were saying, it’s really just applying what you might do offline, online. And when I had the episode around Facebook, one of the things that I had talked about- and I would love to see if you want to elaborate or add information to this, is the fact that Facebook advertising lets you target so incredibly specific that you can be targeting the fans of that LGBT chamber of commerce, or fans of that pride center, or the nonprofit that serves your local community. So if I were a client, and I were coming to you and saying, “Hey, I run a bakery here in Hartford. How could I find LGBT clients?” What would your strategy be? Or not even LGBT clients, just clients in general, using Facebook advertising. Because I find that to be really, really valuable for people to know.
Mike Brooks: Right, yeah and there’s two ways to think about Facebook. The free way, which is kind of the shoe leather way, and then the Facebook advertising. And there’s two kinds of advertising on Facebook. There’s the paid ads, and then there’s the Facebook Exchange. Have you talked about FBX?
Jenn T Grace: I have not, this would be great for them.
Mike Brooks: Yeah, so let’s talk about the free way. The free way, the kind that takes a little bit of time, is really going out and discovering where your audience is on Facebook. And this is just part- kind of a good transition, segue from the last question. And you should probably do that anyway, because then you’re going to know where to target within your ads. And that becomes a simple as going on their new graph search, and I’m assuming everybody’s got the graph search at this point. But you go to their search bar and you start typing in different things that are targeted at your audience. And see where- who the pages are, where the groups are, who the people are, and look at- when you find an influencer in your area of expertise- so for me if I’m a social media person, I’m an Internet marketing person, I might go and I’m look at Social Media Examiner for instance, they’re big in the social media community. Once I find them and I realize that they’re a huge influencer in the community, I can then go in and start looking at who their followers are. Who has liked their page. And I can go and friend them, or I can start to think through, ‘This might be a nice transition into my advertising strategy where I target people who have liked the Social Media Examiner Page.’ So as you put your ad campaign together, you’ve got all of these deep demographics and psychographics within Facebook. And when you think about Facebook, it’s such a great data bank of information because every time somebody clicks ‘Like’ button, they’re giving Facebook information that is emotional, not just your typical old fashioned demographics. But it’s emotional, right? If I go and see something on the Beatles, and I’m a big Beatles fan, and Facebook knows I communicate with other Beatles’ fans, and I like Beatles’ pages, then if somebody wants to market to me, all they need to do is say, “I want somebody between the ages of 35 to 45 who has this kind of income, married, two children, and likes the Beatles.” And I’m going to see that. And now when I see that ad, I have an immediate affinity, so it’s not like your typical advertising, it allows you to be- connect on a deeper level through that advertising. So that’s the power of Facebook ads. And I don’t know if I’ve built a big enough emotional picture, but people should be really excited about that ability, right? Like if you identified core influencer, the person who already has your audience, well you can just go and market to those people who are connected and like that core influencer, because that’s your market. So it’s very exciting when you think about it. Now the FBX, the Facebook Exchange, is a deeper way to advertise, and it’s something that’s not through the Facebook Ads, you’ve got to kind of fish around for it, and I haven’t used it yet myself. But Facebook changes all the time so I don’t want to give directions, I hate giving directions on how to do things on Facebook because they become obsolete so fast. But if you go searching around, and you do a Google search on Facebook Exchange, you’ll find companies that are authorized to do that. And what that is, is I can now target the same people, but I can target people who’ve bought something from someone. So this now gives you some consumer data to target. So if somebody- if I have my number one competitor, or somebody who’s like me in my industry, if they buy from this person, they’re going to want to buy from me. I can then target that and say, “They bought from here, I want to market to them as well.” And they have this ability where there’s a pixel that gets downloaded onto the person’s computer, so your ad literally follows them across the Internet. So as you surf around, that ad will follow you, and I’m sure people have experienced this. And that is what FBX brings to it, so all the social media networks are starting to get into the advertising model, but Facebook by far has the most interesting- at this point. I think LinkedIn also has a very interesting model that follows along suit, Twitter- a little more basic marketing advertising model, but still pretty powerful.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah the online social media outlets are really powerful. And for those listening, when you were talking about the Facebook Ad Exchange, and how the- essentially the ad literally just follows you out of Facebook into wherever you happen to be; the Human Rights Campaign does this very, very well. Because I find myself on their website at least several times a week looking for some sort of information about whatever grassroots effort might be taking place, or what the newest and latest news is around LGBT. And three days later I’ll be on another site and that ad will still be following me. But it works because now they’re continuously top of mind, and since it’s a company that I’ve already been to their website seeing their ads, it doesn’t bother me because it’s almost expected. You’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s just the HRC.” Versus an HRC ad following you around, that wouldn’t really- as somebody that’s outside of the LGBT community, that ad wouldn’t necessarily resonate with you.
Mike Brooks: Right, they call it re-targeting, I should explain. So if you’re interested in information on that kind of technology, because it’s not just on Facebook. Re-targeting can be done on Google as well. If you do a Google search on buy re-targeting ads, you’ll find a whole slew of different folks who do that kind of stuff. Vet them properly because they’re not all equal. But it’s a very powerful advertising mechanism, when you take that technology and you mix it in with Facebook’s knowledge base, it’s just incredibly powerful.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah Facebook is really powerful, and as you were talking I had some sort of example that popped into my head. For people listening trying to figure out how exactly all this Facebook advertising works, and in my head I was thinking if I were the President, CEO of a regional bank, or a regional credit union, or some sort of smaller institution, not the giant Bank of America’s of the world, and I were trying to market to the LGBT community. A way that I could do that would be to be targeting all of the people who like the local LGBT chamber of commerce. So if I were in Connecticut, there’s the Connecticut Alliance for Business Opportunities and they have a Facebook page. And for those listening, I’m sure everyone’s heard me talk about CABO before because I used to run the organization. But there’s maybe 400 likes on that particular page, and as somebody that’s in the marketing department for that particular credit union or bank, they could easily be marketing to the people who like that page, because chances are they’re going to be business owners, or they’re going to be people who are in some sort of corporate environment that have some sort of affinity to the LGBT community; whether or not that is being LGBT or just being an ally. Either way, if they’re trying to gain more business from the LGBT community, having their ads, and having promotions show to up to people who like that page would be one of the- I think quickest, probably simplest, and very cost-effective way to go about doing that.
Mike Brooks: Absolutely.
Jenn T Grace: So I wanted to give an actual example that people might be able to relate to.
Mike Brooks: I’m glad you brought that up because it’s really- for me, I deal with so many different businesses, I know a lot of- I’m not focused on one target niche. I have anywhere from photographers, to pest control, to a restaurant, I have two lawyers, I have an insurance agent; I have all these different types of businesses, and that’s just the way my business evolved. And it’s tougher for me to give an example because I haven’t worked with anybody in the LGBT community. So I’m glad you gave that example, because it’s perfect.
Jenn T Grace: Thank you. So it’s interesting that you were just saying that that’s kind of how your business has evolved into just working with small businesses, and that’s actually how mine evolved as well. So I’ve been doing this for almost ten years, I can’t wait until 2014 so I can say ten years, and I started off similar to how you were with just working with any small business really, and I can’t even say any, it’s the small businesses that I wanted to work with. But I had clients that ranged all over the map, and I did a whole host of services, so online marketing strategies or building actual marketing plans for their brick and mortar, and they had no online presence at all. And over the years I’ve found that what I really know the most about is marketing to the LGBT community, and just over the last couple of years have really refined that particular niche to be super focused, and even more focused than just being the niche of LGBT, I go like I feel like even a step further and really only work with people who are authentic and they’re genuine in wanting to do this because there’s a lot of companies out there that just want to throw money at the LGBT community, and that strategy just does not work. You have to be authentic, and you have to be honest and transparent with what you’re doing and all that great stuff. So my business even goes a step further and I really try to choose to only work with the companies that are really genuine in wanting to reach out to the community. Because if not, it puts my reputation on the line, and I don’t want anybody who is out there being really disingenuine doing any damage to my reputation.
Mike Brooks: Right.
Jenn T Grace: So that’s always a tricky part of being a business owner, is having a nice big old piece of business sitting there waiting for you, but then it just not resonating with your gut the right way.
Mike Brooks: Oh absolutely.
Jenn T Grace: Have you had experiences like that?
Mike Brooks: Oh yeah. You have to be true to who you are, and you have to stick to your mission and understand what you want to accomplish in your career and in your company, and kind of have that vision, that mission of ‘here’s what I do, here’s why I do it, here’s who my clients are, here’s who I want to work with, here’s who I don’t want to work with.’ And you stick to it, and use that measuring stick, and pull the trigger. If there’s something that you don’t feel comfortable with in your business, don’t do it.
Jenn T Grace: That’s definitely- it will save you some headache later.
Mike Brooks: Oh yeah.
Jenn T Grace: So I want to ask you about- because we were talking about psychographics and demographics before, and we were just talking about kind of knowing who you want to market to. And I would love to hear your thoughts about understanding your target market. And for companies who- because I find this to be a problem in a lot of cases, that I’m working with a business owner that genuinely doesn’t seem to understand what their target market is, or how to figure that out. Do you have any insights around anything around this?
Mike Brooks: Yeah. I take people- I take clients through an exercise of building their avatar. And an avatar is that little thing that you see on the screen, you make an avatar of yourself, or a picture, or a profile. And creating an avatar is just simply creating a profile of your perfect client, and understanding who that person is right down to their core. So when you speak to your client in your marketing, when you do anything, whether it’s targeting, whether it’s creating marketing materials, sales process, you do it to the avatar. And the more specific you can make your avatar, the better. Now your community already has a huge leg up, because they know that they’re marketing to the LGBT community. You know who you’re- really you have already niched that down, call it niching it down, right? So and you take a look at me for example. I am not niche specific. There’s a lot of SEO, social media companies out there that- and I’m sure there are specifically social media SEO companies that target the LGBT community. They can speak to a different level of your- they can speak to you differently than I can. In my marketing, a lot of times I’m speaking to a general population, and that’s not the greatest thing. I’ve kind of backed myself into that corner because I work with- that’s who I work with. And our mutual friends Maria and Michael, they work with the financial industry. As soon as you have that industry that you work with, it’s so much easier to build that avatar. And then it becomes simply getting to know who these people are. What is it that keeps them up at night? What are their questions? What are their burning questions that they need solved? And you’re going to find the deeper that you can niche down, probably- usually follows true along these lines is that the deeper you can niche them down, the more their questions are going to be very similar. An insurance agent’s not going to have the same question as a plumber about their marketing. It’s just going to be different. But if you get twenty plumbers in a room, they’re all probably going to have the same kinds of questions, and the same kinds of concerns, and the same kind of- ‘well what happens if this thing happens in my business?’ If some kind of legislation- like the Connecticut all of a sudden decides they’re going to crack down on plumbers for this reason; they all have that question, they all are concerned with that. So what is it that keeps your market up at night? You’ve got to get your arms around that. And simply, if you’re in business then you already have customers, the best place to start is with them. Go get your top couple of customers, take them all out to lunch, take them to coffee and just chat with them. Take a notebook and figure out what is it that made them do business with you? What is it about you that convinced them that you’re the person for them? What are their issues? What are their problems? What problems do you solve for them? What problems do they need solved? And really it comes down to emotions. Emotional benefits. When you create marketing, it’s important to be benefit driven, emotional- people buy on emotion, and they justify later with logic. And if you can hit those emotions, you’ll be very successful. So it’s what keeps your ideal client up at night. What are those kinds of questions? And I did this exercise back when I was with the martial arts school. It helped us to really focus our business; who our customer was and what our message should be. And when I started- I’ll give you an example. When I started in the school, I was marketing to myself. I was an adult who was taking martial arts, I liked to fight, and that’s why I took martial arts. But what I found out by examining the business and examining our avatar, is that our avatar was a mom who wants to bring their five to eight year old son or daughter- mostly it was boys, to martial arts. They wanted to bring their young children. So we were talking to the wrong people in our marketing, we were talking to adults who wanted to fight, and that’s not the right market. The right market was a mom or a dad, but mostly moms, they made the decision, and they wanted different things. They didn’t want their kid to learn how to fight, a lot of the kids who came to martial arts were not the popular kids in school. They weren’t in sports, they were mostly kids who might have issues with bullying, issues with confidence. So what they wanted was character skills. They didn’t bring their kids to martial arts to learn how to fight. The opposite, they brought their kid to learn how to feel confident and feel disciplined. So that’s kind of the real life example of what I went through to understand who my avatar was. And then I got it down to a person’s name, and the name was Amy that I used. So when I was writing market material I’d be like, “Dear Amy,” and I knew what Amy looked like. I knew what Amy- what her age was, how many kids she had, what kept her up at night was ‘is my kid going to get picked on at school tomorrow?’ And ‘is my kid going to have a bad experience in school because he’s so afraid to go to school that he’s not doing well in school? And he’s starting to slide back in his grades, and then he’s not going to get into a good college.’ So I understood what her problem was, and now I can speak to that problem. And the result is that by the time people came in for the sales process to our school, they just said, “Here’s what I want you to do for my kid,” and they’d circle things on the marketing material that I would send them. It’s like an easy sale because I’ve already answered their questions. So think about when you’re putting this stuff together, what are the- and I like to tell people, especially if you’re creating content, and that’s what I do is I help people to create content (one of the things I do), and what are the ten, twenty, thirty, a hundred questions that are frequently asked of your avatar? What is this person continually asking? And every business has that, same questions over and over again. And some businesses it’s how much does it cost? But that’s because they don’t have enough information to ask the right question. Think about those, after you’ve answered that question with somebody, what’s the next question? Once they know the price they’re going to say, “Well but if I do this, will I get this? Will this happen to me? Will you solve the problem that I have?” And understanding those problems comes with just get your arms around all those questions, and as you get a question, now you can create content to answer that question. And that content becomes essentially, your content marketing strategy is really an inbound marketing strategy as opposed to outbound where you just send out advertisements. But people find you online, they find you through the social media channels, and they consume that content. And because it’s hitting the problems right on the head, they’re going to be interested in buying from you.
Jenn T Grace: That was such a perfect example, that really was. Because I have talked about- I haven’t used the word avatar, but creating what your demographic looks like, and the psychographics of that person, and I’ve always used the example of a lesbian woman in her mid-thirties to late forties who’s a professional; maybe she’s a professor, maybe she’s in the financial industry, her name is Jessica. So I have outlined very similar to what you’re talking about, but I really think that that example of how much off the mark you were in terms of your marketing tactics, to get to grow the business for the martial arts school, versus being so specific with it being a mother. I feel like that’s such a fabulous example that everybody listening to this is going to be able to relate to. And maybe I can relate to it a little bit more because I have two children who have both gone to a martial arts school, and it was for that whole confidence building thing. But if you were sending me an advertisement for me to go, I’d be like, “I have no desire whatsoever.”
Mike Brooks: Right. Well that’s one of the biggest mistakes that I encounter with people on a regular basis. So a lot of people make this mistake, including myself, is they market to themselves. And it’s one of the reasons I’m not with the martial arts school anymore, because me and my partner were very different in how we wanted to grow the school. My partner was very like, “We can’t do that, that’s stupid.” And I’m like, “Well why is that stupid?” He’s like, “Because I feel uncomfortable saying that, because I’m a 6’4″ muscular guy who likes to punch and kick and fight adults.” So it was very hard for me to get him to understand this stuff, and it’s very hard to get a lot of people to understand it. And I had a hard time with it, because we market to ourselves, and you have to really go out of your way to go with the data. And find the data, and then go with the data. Whatever the data tells you, is how you should do it. And that’s the biggest mistake, is when people go off the data. They go, “My avatar wants this, but I’m going to say this because this is what I’m comfortable marketing with.”
Jenn T Grace: Yeah and that’s not going to work, and I think it also outlines the potential market opportunities that do exist. Because if there’s the martial arts school that you were involved in, and he wants to take it where it is just adults fighting, think of the market opportunity and potential for another martial arts to sneak in that niche of saying, “We are going to focus on targeting the mothers who are trying to build confidence for their children.” I feel like what- like you have already said, what’s going to speak to the adult fighting versus the mother looking to help their child are going to be entirely different. And as a savvy consumer, which everyone is these days, they’re going to look for reviews, they’re going to look online, and even when it comes down to looking at the website, if the images are all of adults fighting, that’s not going to say, “Oh I really think this is the perfect fit for my child.” So it’s got to be- it’s a lot of opportunity that exists there.
Mike Brooks: Right. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Seth Godin’s stuff or if your audience has, he’s a pretty popular marketing guy. And I’m going to wreck the- I’m going to like take this totally out of context and probably give a bad example of this. But in one of his books- I can’t even remember which one it was. I think it’s like ‘All Marketers Are Liars’ or- and they changed it to ‘Marketers Tell Stories,’ and I may have gotten the title wrong, but it’s around there.
Jenn T Grace: I’ll include it in the show notes.
Mike Brooks: Yeah, and in the book he- in this particular book he made an example that you really target to a very specific group, and there’s always a small group of people as you target down who are going to be incredibly excited, and incredibly supportive of what your message is, and what you do. And they will then take that to the wider audience. They will become so fanatical about it. And if you think about- I forget the example he used, I think it was Redbull, where Redbull- they were really targeted towards the crazy Gen-X athletes that did these insane idiotic things that I would never think of doing in a million years. And because of that, he wasn’t talking to me. I would never drink Redbull if it was so I could ski down the face of a mountain with like-
Jenn T Grace: Double black diamond?
Mike Brooks: Yeah like that’s just not me. But it brought- these people became so fanatical about it, and brought it into the mainstream, and now it’s like a hugely popular brand. So when you speak to your market and you get your market fanatic about it, they will spread the word and your business will grow tremendously. And people are afraid of that. They’re afraid to target to only a few people, because they think, ‘Well this is only a small amount of people. I need a lot of people so I can pay the bills.’
Jenn T Grace: Yeah, not true.
Mike Brooks: But it doesn’t work that way, it’s totally the opposite, and the proof was positive in the martial arts school because as we stopped- and it took a lot of bravery to stop marketing to adults, that was our marketing message. Students did come in, and kids came in, but when we started being a character development- and that’s what we called ourselves, a character development facility. And guess what happened to our adult community? It grew by leaps and bounds. You know why? Because all those kids have parents.
Jenn T Grace: Yup.
Mike Brooks: And their parents thought, ‘This is a nice friendly place, I could take martial arts too. It’s clean, it’s modern, they don’t beat each other to death,’ and it changed our whole way of thinking. And these parents who never would have gotten involved in a fighting school, all of a sudden they wanted to get involved because they saw it was a fun community, they could do something with their kids, and our adult community blossomed and grew. So it expanded even though we were talking to parents of- moms of kids five to eight years old. That was our core people we were talking to, but people make that connection. They go, “Well yeah I know they’re great for a seven year old. I have a ten year old, this will probably be perfect for him, too.” Or “Man I want to go to a martial arts school that kind of has that philosophy. I don’t want to train at a sweaty gym where these people are just beating themselves up bare knuckled.” So we went from 70 students to 300 plus students.
Jenn T Grace: That’s awesome, that’s such a good success story, and I think what you’re talking about in terms of finding like the evangelist of your brand. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but I feel like if you’re really specific with who you are targeting, you will find that person, and you will find them relatively easy. And I feel like I’m totally that person for the FitBit- I don’t know if you’ve heard of it or not. But it’s a pedometer, it’s a way that it shows you how many flights of stairs you’ve gone up, how many miles you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burned, and it syncs with your iPhone or your Android.
Mike Brooks: Oh yeah.
Jenn T Grace: And I swear I should be a salesperson for this company, because I have gotten at least seven people that I know of that are in my circle of friends and family to purchase one. And they’re like $100 for the one that I have, that I absolutely love, and there’s a couple of lower versions now. And then I’ve talked about it on this podcast a handful of times as well. So it’s not like FitBit is paying me, but I believe so strongly in how amazing this pedometer, that I feel like I need to tell everybody in the world. So it’s a matter of them finding the right person, which happened to be me in this case, and now I’m bringing it out to channels of people that wouldn’t have necessarily heard about it before. So it’s like mission accomplished for them.
Mike Brooks: Sure. Well I did the same thing, you got an email from me promoting where I was trying to bring you into a tribe on a brand called Triberr, a blogging platform. So it’s a great platform for bloggers. I have nothing financially invested in this company, other than I think it’s amazing, I’m an evangelist for them. And because they marketed to the right person with me, I now go off and tell people who wouldn’t normally be their right target market. And I spread that word outward.
Jenn T Grace: So why don’t we use that as an opportunity, and we can actually even use this as our last question. I think we’re running right around 40 minutes or so, so we’re doing really well and we’ve had a lot of good information. But why don’t you share with everybody what Triberr is, because I’ve heard you talk about it a little bit, and I did get that email, and I know that there’s a least a handful of people who do blogging that are listening to this, if not many more.
Mike Brooks: Yeah it’s a social network for bloggers essentially. So it is- they call it blog amplification. One of the most frustrating things as a blogger, is building an audience, getting people to listen. And me and you, we both put content out there, and we hope that people are going to find it and listen to it. So Triberr just- if you have a blog it allows you to connect with other bloggers. And you basically split off into tribes, and Seth Godin was kind of- again the one who talked a lot and kind of coined that tribe mentality on social media. And that simply is I’m in online marketing so I would want other people in my online marketing tribe. And each tribe has a chief and followers and members. And if you’re a follower you can then syndicate the content that you find. So as- and it’s brilliant for you even if you’re not a blogger, because if you’re doing social media, you need content to share on your social media channel. And you can’t always share your own content, you’ve got to share other people’s content, and it’s a way to- when you share somebody’s content, they’re going to see you, they’re going to want to know who you are, and they may want to share your stuff back, and that’s the idea of this whole thing. So as a person who might want good content, you can go to join Triberr as just a follower, and you find tribes that have people who blog about what you’re interested in. And then you’re going to see them in your social stream, in your tribal stream they call it, but it’s your news feed for lack of- it’s just another term for a news feed. And when you see something you like you just hit a little button that says ‘Share,’ and you can manually share it to Twitter only, or Google Plus only, or you can share it to everything, all your social networks that you’re connected to and it’s instantly out there; and it tags them so that person sees that you shared their content. And if you’re a blogger and you’re with- you’re in their tribe, they can then share your content. So if you have 4,000 followers on Twitter, that’s all that you can share your content with. If you’re on Triberr and you’re in a tribe with ten people who have 4,000 followers, well now you have 40,000 followers. Make sense?
Jenn T Grace: Sure does, that’s really interesting.
Mike Brooks: Yeah. So I asked you to join because you’re a podcaster, so I wanted you to join my podcasting tribe, because I thought I want to share your content. And that’s what that is all about, it’s just a social media network for bloggers basically.
Jenn T Grace: That’s awesome. And speaking of podcast, why don’t you plug your podcast quick, and then let people know how they can find you, and we will wrap this up.
Mike Brooks: Sure. Yeah I do a podcast called ‘Nuclear Chowder Online Marketing for Small Business,’ and you can find it on iTunes either if you search on my name or the word Nuclear Chowder, I’ll come right up. It’s a bright orange logo with my face on it, you can’t miss it. And yeah I just talk about- I do a lot of interviews, I do a lot of this kind of thing, and I’ve had some wonderful guests on. And I like bringing people on because I love learning. So it’s just such a gratifying thing to bring people on and learn from them. And I do a mix where sometimes it’s me, sometimes I’ll talk about social media news, I’ll talk about what’s going on with search or content creation, or anything really online marketing oriented, and then bringing on guests. And they can also see the podcast on my website which is www.NuclearChowder.com.
Jenn T Grace: Excellent, this has been fabulous, hopefully you can be a repeat guest sometime in the near future.
Mike Brooks: Yeah I’d love to.
Jenn T Grace: Excellent, thanks so much. I appreciate it and we’ll talk soon.
Mike Brooks: Well thank you, Jenn.
Jenn T Grace: And that wraps up episode number 15 of the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast. And last but not least, we can’t have a podcast episode without the fabulous words of wisdom from Michael Keiser at the Human Performance Academy, who is talking about his podcast. So if you have not listened to his podcast, have a listen to this, and please make sure that you check it out.
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