Jeff: Welcome to Deal Talk brought to you by Morgan & Westfield, I'm Jeff Allen. If you're a business owner, entrepreneur, or investor this is the place to be. Our mission is always to educate and inform you along with the help of some of the most credible, highly-regarded experts in the industry of transacting businesses and helping business owners, so you'll be equipped with the knowledge to help you make some important decisions when the time comes to sell your business, or buy one for that matter.
You know the importance of marketing your company’s products or services, and depending on the size of your operation, you may even handle some or most of the marketing responsibilities yourself. Now, how much of that time do you spend in your online marketing efforts? How much? Maybe 25%, 50%, all of it? Good for you. My guest on this edition of Deal Talk is here to reinforce the notion that the old tried and true marketing strategies are not as effective anymore, particularly if you're interested in adding true value to your business. Jan Rautenbach is the president of Capstone Advice, based in the Johannesburg area in South Africa and his company provides leading edge marketing services and support for clients all over the world. Jan, welcome to Deal Talk. It's good to have you sir.
Jan: Thanks very much Jeff, it's great to be here.
Jeff: Jan, this is the first time that we've had a chance to talk to you and I was wondering if you could take first of all, just to kind of set the table for us. Tell us a little about yourself and Capstone Advice, exactly what it is that your company does in a nutshell.
Jan: Okay. I've got an interesting background and experience in various aspects of business. I ran a software house for some 20 years in the old days when there was UNIX and COBOL. In the last five to six years we've been doing online marketing for companies, Google advertising, long-term search engine optimization, Facebook advertising more recently, and LinkedIn advertising. And helping people to create a system so that they could turn their leads into customers consistently.
Jeff: I think that's really key that you used the word system because every company that operates today has systems and processes in place for productivity. So that they can be more productive, so that they can produce the products and services that their customers ordered; they get them out the door to them quickly. And make sure that they satisfy their customers so they continue to come back. And then we have processes and systems internally to help in the production of those goods and services. So it's very important indeed to have systems in place for marketing, and particularly for online marketing.
We don't want to start talking over the heads of people right away because there are a lot of people Jan who continue to operate kind of in the status quo. They kind of fit into that category. A lot of people have been in business for 30 to 40 years and they continue to operate their own companies using the same systems, the same type of traditional media vehicles to advertise their products and services, whether they're to general consumers, whether it's a business to business kind of an operation. And it kind begs the question Jan. If I've been in business since 1980, 1970, 1945, and maybe this is a second or third generation transition of ownership, why should I spend more time online marketing? I'm using all the traditional media resources, radio, TV perhaps. I'm going direct mail. I have a website but I'm not getting anything out of it. Why should I spend more time marketing my business online?
Jan: Well Jeff, traditionally people would probably have used things like yellow pages as one of the media aspects. Advertising in magazines, print, or whatever. However, these things a long time ….. what is generating business for you, what works and what doesn't. So what's really great about online marketing is that if you do it right, it can be quick and you can measure it. And you can know exactly what your return is and what you've spent. That is the real difference. As far as I know, I don't know about America, but here, Yellow Pages doesn't really exist anymore. And I do have clients in America and Google is the new yellow pages, right?
So what's really great about online marketing is that if you do it right, it can be quick and you can measure it.
Jan: So if you want to look for something, you don't go and look in the Yellow Pages, you don't go and look in a magazine, or in the classified ads, or wherever you actually go and search for it, and you want results now. So if you are not advertising there then you're losing all that business. That's really what it's come down to and that's why it's so important.
Jeff: What's interesting here Jan, in the United States the Yellow Pages is now known as YP, and may be known as YP in where you are as well in your part of the world. And they tried to kind of streamline it and they've obviously integrated all of their efforts. It's all online now. But at the same time, it's interesting, once a year we'll come home at the end of the day and we'll see in our doorstep at our homes a phone book wrapped in plastic with the advertisements on the back and all throughout in Yellow Pages. They are still printing these things. They're trying to use online marketing methods also to stay alive. Jan, let me ask you though about transitioning over. It just seems like it takes a lot of time. I can tell you that even from my perspective as a business owner and as someone who spends a lot of time online it can take a substantial amount of time to do that. I'm a business owner and I don't have a lot of familiarity with it. Google Adwords, Facebook advertising, LinkedIn advertising, or sales funnels, and we can get into this stuff. How do I know where to start? How much is this going to cost me? I want to add my bottom line, I don't want to subtract from it.
Jan: Okay, you see, that is where this is so great because you could actually get started as long as you talk to someone that can help you and can get you started. You don't have to do it yourself. You can actually start flighting ads within a week and you can start generating leads within a week.
Jeff: That quickly, really?
Jan: That quickly, yes. If you use Google Ads, as opposed to search engine optimization, which is what most people think you have to do. Google Ads, you can generate leads within a week. The most important aspect though, what people need to understand here, the difference between generating a lead online and perhaps getting a referral from via a customer, that's still the best business. But that's not going to get your business to grow quickly necessarily.
The most important aspect though, what people need to understand here, the difference between generating a lead online and perhaps getting a referral from via a customer, that's still the best business.
Jan: If the referral comes to you via another client or customer, that is gold. You can convert that easily without even trying hard, right?
Jan: But if someone is contacting you cold, either from print ad or via a Google Ad, and especially via Google Ads, they more than likely are going to contact more than one company. The important thing to get into place is not really so much anything technical, it's how are you going to deal with those people calling you. You have to respond very, very quickly. It's been proven that the first company that responds gets the deal. That is very important. So the first thing to put in place is to make sure that your salespeople, and actually this is one of the things that we do help people with, is to let their salespeople understand the importance of responding quickly. And you have to build a relationship. It's an old thing. It's nothing new. It's as old as the 1940's. If you build a relationship with someone they're going to buy from you, and that's what it's about.
Jeff: Jan, let me ask you a question. It sounds to me like there is almost a correlation between the immediacy of the internet in terms of being able to look something up, find what you need almost instantly, where sometimes you're not sure where to look for necessarily in a phone book but you basically tell Google what you want and it brings up a list of 100 to 200 entries for companies that sell this thing that you need, or information that you need, or whatever the case may be. The correlation comes in as quickly as that can be brought up on a monitor in front of you. It is also expected by the customer that someone out there is going to fulfill that need that they have for that thing just as quickly. That they're going to be not only able to access the information, find the pricing and all they need, but they'll be able to get that thing delivered to them particularly quickly, especially in light of Amazon and eBay, and being able to get their stuff out the door very quickly. Is that true?
Jan: That's correct, yes. Because they get to the information quickly, they also expect a quick response. Whether it's a delivery or whether it's just a phone call. It depends obviously on the business. What the business sells, whether it's a service, or a product, or whatever. The thing is they want a response quickly, not necessarily the delivery immediately. Sometimes if its food that you're delivering from online, yes, then they want it immediately. But they just want someone to talk to them.
Because they get to the information quickly, they also expect a quick response.
Jeff: There really has to be kind of an adjustment of the mindset on the part of not only the business owner but of the sales staff, the customer service staff to be able to address these needs quickly, and take care of these customers. If you're going to get started, make sure that you have a commitment to be able to handle the inbound traffic because that is indeed what you want. You want these calls coming to you. You want people coming to you and they're going to do that if they see your ad. Now you're talking about Google Ads, which I know is just one form of the paid online advertising you can get. How does that work? How expensive is it? And how do I pay Google for my advertising? How does that work Jan?
Jan: Okay Jeff, just before that, you mentioned someone who searches on a computer and they see all these list of companies on the computer.
Jan: I don't know if you know but more than 50% of searches nowadays actually take place on mobile devices. That makes it even more instant. They might be in your area and they might be ready to walk into your premises if they're searching on a mobile device. Instead of going and filling in a form or anything they could just click on a number and phone you immediately. It's really important to respond correctly to them. The way Google Ads work, to get to your question, is basically you open a Google AdWords account. You write AdWords and there's a thing called a landing page. That's where people end up when they click on your AdWords, and you basically pay for the clicks. So Google displays your ads for free. There are many different models but we're just going to keep it straightforward and simple here. Basically Google displays your ads for free. When you click on it or when you call the number from the ad that's when you pay, and you pay per click.
Jeff: Okay, so good, I'm not going to pay for waste, I'm going to pay when someone actually comes and clicks on that ad to find out what I'm all about.
Jan: Correct, yes.
Jeff: Okay. You mentioned something about a landing page. Explain what a landing page is as opposed to the regular website that a company might be using.
Jan: Okay. The landing page is probably the most important, other than responding quickly, the landing page is probably the most important aspect within a Google Ads campaign. That is where people land up when they click. Google doesn't do it for you and it's always best to get someone to set that up for you. You don't want to just send them to your home page. Let’s take sort of business, you might be selling, what's very hot in South Africa is generators because we have a lot of power interruptions at the moment. Let's say your business sells generators, solar heating, solar power, and various different aspects, different products. If somebody's looking for generators, you don't want to send them to your main website where you're talking about your vision and mission, and how good your company is and all of that. They're interested in the generator. You want to send them to a page where you're telling them about all your generators. That makes the search relevant, and that also gives you a good score from Google, which means in the end you're going to pay less for your clicks because more people are going to click on your ads.
You want to send them to a page where you're telling them about all your generators.
Jeff: Really? Okay. Very good. What that does also too is it makes it more convenient. I don't care where you're from, I don't care how much money you have Jan, and it's true for me too. Not that I have a lot of money, but for me, convenience is important. I don't want to have to navigate through a sea of clutter. I don't want to have to read about the CEO or president of the firm, and their business philosophies, all the people they've helped, I think that's all wonderful stuff but I'm interested like you said in that generator or this widget, or whatever this company makes. And so the landing page is going to cut to the chase and it's going to get me where I want to go to find out about the products.
Jeff: Okay, excellent. Very, very good. Jan, this is good so far and I'm really enjoying our chat. We're going to get a little bit more involved in online marketing here. We're going to talk a little bit more deeply about it. And we're also going to get in the aspects of….what it is that you need to set-up really in advance to make sure that you are taking advantage of all your online marketing opportunities to the best that you possibly can, to your best benefit. We're going to talk about that when we come back. You're listening to Deal Talk, my name is Jeff Allen. My guest is Jan Rautenbach from Capstone Advice and we're going to talk more with him about online marketing and too the inclusion of maybe some different technology you might not be aware although maybe you've heard, to help make your online marketing efforts more effective when we come back after this.
Time savings and cost savings are both essential to running a profitable business. The same is true when it comes to actually selling your business. Morgan & Westfield are experts at saving you both time and money. How? By providing a complete valuation report on your business. By providing specialized knowledge and expertise to market, promote and advertise your business for sale. By preparing a detailed selling memorandum to attract buyer interest and inspire action. By carefully screening individuals to identify only serious, well-qualified buyers. By properly identifying sources of financing including alternative options best suited for the buyer and escrow support with appropriate legal documentation. And Morgan & Westfield works with specialists and advisors to reduce risk. Selling your company? Contact Morgan & Westfield for a free consultation--888-693-7834--888-693-7834 or visit morganandwestfield.com.
Jeff: Welcome back to Deal Talk I'm Jeff Allen with my guest, Jan Rautenbach. He's president of Capstone Advice and Jan, we've talked a little bit about paid advertising, Google AdWords that can be actually cost-effective method for advertising online for companies who may not have tried that yet but it's a great way to get your potential customers or clients to come to you to actually make your phone ring in-bound, or generate inquiries online through a landing page and that's really important. But what we want to talk about now is there needs to be a way, I would think, for a company to be able to harness all of the advantages of online marketing.
We've just kind of hit and really touch the tip of the iceberg. We haven't talked about Facebook marketing and we haven't talked about LinkedIn. We can probably fill up an entire other show talking about some of these other vehicles. But one of the things that it seems to me, that some people have probably heard about and don't really know what it means is Cloud-based systems that are out there that allows people to essentially expand their ability. Using their current infrastructure, their computer systems that they already have a set-up in their offices and in their work spaces to really take advantage of online marketing to its fullest extent. I was hoping that we might be able to touch on this just a little bit. First of all, explain, if you would, what the Cloud is and why it's so useful particularly for businesses today?
Jan: You can basically look at the Cloud... Just the simple analogy is that it's just a big computer system. So instead of you having a computer system that's office bound and you go home and you can't access it. The Cloud enables you to do that. So you can access your information from anywhere, from almost any device. And how this ties into a business, and what can really help the business here is when you're generating a lot of leads, you need a way of managing it. So you want a system that helps you manage your leads. And you want to automate things. If you think about it as a funnel, you've got all these leads going into the funnel one by one, pops out a new plant or a new customer, or a new sale. That is what we term our lead funnel. These leads we then put into what's called a CRM system. I don't want people to get scared of CRM... When you state CRM is a customer relationship management system, they are some really, awfully complicated systems. I'm talking about something really simple that you use as a lead management system, and it tells you when you got this lead, when you have to follow it up. You set this all up in advance that the system tells you, you've given the first call, you've sent an email, you've sent a quote. And it keeps reminding your salespeople to follow it up.
Jeff: Basically, what this is, it's a tracking system also. It's essentially if you take and combine a calendar with a diary, and if you were to take those two ideas and set them up it would be able to maintain all the records of things like calls, every time you reached out to a customer, maybe even by email included in that. It may have a record of their address and their phone number, and it will include, as you said Jan, I think talking about when the order was placed, what it was that they ordered, and how soon it has to go out, or when they need delivery, or that it's in the pipeline for delivery. Is that correct? Is there anything else that the CRM does to help the business owner keep track of things?
Jan: That's correct. What’s really great with software nowadays is that with a lot of these Cloud-based systems you don't have to replace everything. What I think business owners find very scary is that you replace one thing, then you have to redo everything, you have to replace everything, your accounting system, this and that, and everything. What these systems enable you to do nowadays is to integrate into existing systems. So it's not scary that it's going to take you a new implementation. It's going to take three years, it's never going to get done. It's going to cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can actually implement these things fairly quickly and reasonably painlessly. And they even integrate into your diary calendar system. That's how cool they are now.
Jeff: I think that's really, really huge because some of this stuff is so intuitive nowadays. Jan from what you're saying, if you've got a basic Microsoft Office setup, if you use Outlook, and even if you use Google's tools setup, there are software programs out there. Whether you may recommend them or someone else may recommend them that can work with the hardware you have set up, you don't have to buy any more computers necessarily. You may not even have to upgrade your operating system if you're using Windows 7. You might have a number of choices out there that you can take a look at that you can already use. And as you'd pointed out, the cost is so reasonable on these. It seems to me that in the translation at the end of the day, you're getting something that's not only going to help you essentially streamline really the way that you handle your orders, and the way that you process and get your orders out. But you're also going to add value to your company because you've spent so little money and at the same time you're streamlining your operations, and building your bottom line at the same time.
Jan: Yes, correct. You're systemizing your business. And that also I think from a business value perspective what that also does is it makes the business less-reliant on the owner, which very often when people want to buy a business... I've sold businesses in the past and people wanted me to remain. It was so frustrating and that was a huge lesson I learned.
Jeff: Because you knew how everything worked. They didn't know how everything worked, and you couldn't get out from underneath it because you felt compelled somehow to stay so that they could run the business.
Jan: Yeah, the business becomes a ball and chain. It's painful. You want to be able to disengage from it and let that work for you. And the only way to do that is to implement these systems and to have a lead generation system work for you that keeps giving you new customers is really powerful.
You want to be able to disengage from it and let that work for you.
Jeff: It sounds like it indeed. How does someone go about learning more about the Cloud and how this can help them? Are there resources that you can tell us about, or even your company provides so that people can at least get a basic education on how to learn more about this?
Jan: We send out regular newsletters. It's not a full-on newsletter, it's a short email because people are so busy now that they don't want to read long stuff. We send out a regular email once a week about this information. If people want to subscribe to that, I don't know if you want me to...
Jeff: Please. That's fine, you can go ahead.
Jeff: I'm going to have you repeat that Jan. Go ahead please.
Jeff: There you go. And I think that's really, really important Jan, I appreciate that.
Jan: Okay. But just on that Jeff, what people should also be doing in their own lead management system like we do is you send them information once a week or once a month, and it depends on the industry, how often, because you don't really want to inundate people with useless information either. You want to send them something relevant and interesting about your business and your products, and how you can solve the problems for them. This is part of a lead management follow-up system as well. Like we do it, we recommend our clients do it, and we often also help them find somebody to write the content for them that has knowledge of the industry. Because the business owner does not necessarily always have the time to do it themselves.
What people should also be doing in their own lead management system like we do is you send them information once a week or once a month, and it depends on the industry, how often, because you don't really want to inundate people with useless information either.
Jeff: Good points. And it becomes a drumbeat really. Jan, I follow a lot of online marketing trends and a lot of this news... I get stuff in my inbox every day it seems like from people who are experts in this field and there are a lot of very, very good ones indeed and it's true. You're out to solve problems and you need to think of it that way. And in order to do that, you need to be able to concept a message that you can get out to people, that will be effective to let them know that you have in fact something that will solve the problem that they indeed have. There is a way that you can approach it from an online perspective in order to closely target your marketing objectives online. Get those leads coming to you, and then essentially put things on, maybe not autopilot but as close to autopilot as you can by getting a Cloud-based system that helps you manage your customer relationships. And you talked about those CRM systems that are out there Jan and I appreciate that. Jan, if people want to get in touch with you how can they do that? Do you have another website or someplace else that they might be able to go in addition to the Yahleads email that you provided?
Jan: Yes. The easiest would be just to go to yahleads.com. I have plans in America as well. I also have an American phone number. It's 302-231-2252.
Jeff: There you go. Once again, repeat that would you Jan, please.
Jeff: Very good. Jan, we've run out of time on this segment but I can see that we might have an occasion to have you back real soon. We can delve a little bit more deeply into other effective methods of marketing online, maybe some specific advertising vehicles, we talked a little bit about Facebook and LinkedIn. We didn't have the time to go into it but maybe we can have you back on again and talk about that.
Jan: Thanks very much Jeff. It's been a pleasure from our side and farewell.
Jeff: Thank you so much. Jan Rautenbach, he is the president of Capstone Advice.
Deal Talk is presented by Morgan & Westfield, a nationwide leader in business sales and appraisals. If you'd like more information about buying or selling a business call Morgan & Westfield at 888.693.7834 or visit morganandwestfield.com. And make it a point to check in with us again soon for valuable information and insight from our growing list of small business experts on Deal Talk. My name is Jeff Allen. Thanks so much, we'll talk to you again soon.