The following is a transcript of the Image Talk Show on Blog Talk Radio featuring Dean Mercado of Online Marketing Muscle:
If you are ready to achieve new heights in your business, then it’s time for you to get to know our guest speaker today Dean Mercado, President of Online Marketing Muscle. Well respected internet marketing coach, strategist, author and speaker with expertise in helping small businesses and independent professionals across the nation leverage the power of the internet to discover their visibility, credibility and reach within their target market. Dean’s business building creativity and practical yet cutting edge tactics has given many a fighting chance to not only survive, but thrive in today’s volatile marketplace. Dean has been quoted for his expertise in several reputable publications including Inc. Magazine and Crane’s New York Business News and we are delighted to bring him here for your enjoyment today.
So without further adieu, here is Dean!
Joann: Good morning Dean.
Dean: Good morning! Thank you so much for having me on.
Joann: My pleasure young man, my pleasure.
Dean: Fantastic! I’m looking forward to a very exciting and stimulation conversation this morning.
Joann: Absolutely! So let’s start with Online Marketing Muscle. What is it?
Dean: What a great question. Online Marketing Muscle came out of my passions. Coming out of corporate America, some of the things that I had to do a little bit was to take some stock into what I wanted to be when I grow up, that’s the way I was looking at it. I wanted to create something that would be able to support the lifestyle that my wife and I were looking to create for ourselves. So taking a little stock in ourselves, the technology was always a strength of mine, the marketing was always a strength of mine and we kind of put technology and marketing together and out came internet marketing. So we decided to create a company that revolved around internet marketing and marketing (?) type solutions. So that’s where the concept of what we should do came out of. Online Marketing Muscle was really looking at what’s missing. Where is this business world going right now? And we saw so many companies just tripping over themselves, stumbling over themselves and we knew that the next big frontier was the internet. It’s cheaper, it’s more powerful, it gets out there quicker, it’s a different world than traditional marketing ever was before. Not that traditional marketing doesn’t work, it does, but the Online Marketing Muscle world opens up a whole other dimension for the small business, especially the small business community. Now the playing field is leveled. In other words, you can represent yourself online just as well as the big boys can. If you have a little creativity and a little bit of skill sets you could do some wonderfully amazing things for yourself and your business online. So we looked at what was missing, where our skill sets were and how we can help. So we found something that we really loved doing and we’re going into our 7th year now with Online Marketing Muscle. So that says a little something. Typically once a company passes that 5 year mark, it usually means they are here to stay, which is a good thing.
Joann: And forever changing also.
Dean: No doubt. And that’s one of the beauties especially in the online marketing world. It changes every day. So staying on top of things, keeping our skill sets moving forward, learning about the newest technologies, like this, Blog Talk Radio, this is technology. This is the internet marketing world. It’s using the internet to deliver radio. It’s just taking an old marketing strategy or tactic and putting it online. How cool is that? Very powerful.
Joann: Absolutely and I do think its super cool but I do have one question. How do you take your, let’s say traditional marketing, print marketing and bring that into the internet? Between all that social media that’s there, your twittering, your emails, blog radio, your blog, posts that you have if you have one, your letterhead, your articles that you have everywhere, how do you make it make sense, how do you keep it consistent? What do you do?
Dean: Well the premise is this, this is what you need to think about. There are two main things that you need to do to grow your business in this aspect. One is to drive traffic to your front door, whether that’s online or off. It doesn’t matter, you still need to use marketing to drive the traffic, to drive people to your front door, whether your front door is your website, whether your front door is a storefront, whether your front door is an office building, whatever it is you have to drive the traffic, in other words, your target market towards you. Pull them in, that’s what we call magnetic marketing. And then the second piece of the equation is conversion. You’ve got to convert those prospects that are coming in into paying clients. So whether you are doing this online or offline really is irrelevant. It’s finding what works for your target market. How to attract them and then how to convert them. So in the online world, to answer part of your question, if you look at most of the traditional marketing, television commercials have now translated online into YouTube videos. You’ve got traditional radio has now translated online to blog talk radio and things like that. You’ve got articles that people used to send to magazines and newspapers to get published, now there are so many article publishing houses online on the internet, I’ve got well over 100 articles floating all over the internet that are personally penned by me. So it’s the combination and the culmination of all of these things that you put out there, the traffic driving techniques and tactics and then I use my website as a major conversion strategy. My website acts as a great salesperson, the best salesperson I’ve got, and helps convert those leads into clients. So it’s very powerful in what you can do, it’s just a matter of being very strategic. And that’s a big word for today, strategic. You can get lost in the wild wild West that we call the internet and you can really get overwhelmed quickly. So it’s a matter or picking and choosing a few things that are going to have the biggest impact and doing them great. Don’t do things half/half. Pick a few that you can do and that you want to do and do them great.
Joann: OK so there is a limit, what they call too much marketing, too much media, am I correct?
Dean: There can be, if you do it all great, fine, but you’ve got to find that sweet spot. That sweet spot that your target market, where they want you to be kind of a thing. So it’s like yeah you can overwhelm them, there’s no doubt about that and you could become nauseating if you just market too much, so it’s not about force feeding your message, it’s about strategically placing it. Timing is everything and your message is everything.
Joann: So value.
Dean: Yes, no doubt, but doing it very strategically. So it’s not about doing more, it’s about doing better. You could do less marketing more effectively and you’ll be better off than doing a ton of marketing horribly.
Joann: So that theory of throwing all that stuff out there and some things bound to stick?
Dean: Right, right, that’s what we call spray and pray marketing in my company. We don’t do spray and pray marketing. Any marketing that I put out there, whether it’s on behalf of my company or my client’s companies that I help them with, we don’t believe in spray and pray marketing. We believe in very targeted, strategic marketing. You’re better off putting a great message in front of 5 people that need to hear it, than putting a half/half message in front of a thousand.
Joann: That makes sense.
Dean: Because you know the chances of you converting the 5 people are going to be much higher if you’re sending the message to people who want to hear that message. Then they are open to listening to it. It’s quite amazing. One big tidbit that I’d like to share as well is we are bombarded with well over 2 or 3 thousand marketing messages every day, each one of us. Everywhere you look there is a marketing message. Look at the front of your computer that you are sitting in front of. There is a branding on the computer that might say HP or Dell or whatever the computer company is that you bought your computer from. But it’s that marketing that’s going on that you don’t even realize it’s happening to you. But we’re so bombarded and overwhelmed we learn to tune it out. So when we market ourselves if our brand is not strong enough, it won’t get through. Because people are ignoring it. They’re ignoring all the marketing. We’ve become very good at that tuning out thing. So that being said, on the branding side of if you don’t establish a great brand, not just a lukewarm, mediocre brand, if you don’t establish a great brand for yourself, and we’re not just talking about the name of a company. Online Marketing Muscle is part of my brand, it’s not my brand, it’s part of my brand, so am I , I’m part of my brand too. Your brand in my world, the way I look at branding is your brand is everything that somebody’s sixth senses can pick up about you. And I add the sixth sense in there as intuition, what does the gut tell you? What does your gut tell you when Joann walks into a room? What does their gut tell them about you? Did you ever meet somebody and you don’t know why you don’t really like them or something about them just doesn’t feel right?
Dean: Right, that’s your gut. The branding is so critically important in today’s day and age because you get lost amongst the sea or garbage that’s out there. And let’s face it, a lot of the marketing out there is garbage.
Joann: There’s a lot of confusing messages definitely. Now first impressions in marketing. I understand as an image consultant a quality first impression can make or break you. A good solid first impression with consistency and the actions behind it can be incredible.
Dean: You’re right on the money. And regardless of whether you are talking about the offline world or the online world, it’s the same. When someone shows up at your website and you have a garbage looking website, that projects that onto you. Whether someone wants to believe that or not, hey choose not to believe it at your own peril, but people judge you, we are shallow human beings. We judge people by the way that they look. It’s terrible, whether it’s the way their website looks or the way their office looks, whether it’s the way they dress, whether it’s the way they walk into a room, the way they carry themselves, are their shoulders back? When they enter a room, it’s simple things like that have such a huge tremendous impact on whether or not somebody has decided or will decide to do business with someone else. Amazing right?
Joann: I think that one factor that we tend to forget is that we judge people, their websites, their literatures, their personal presentation and we sometimes forget to look in the mirror to see the image that we are projecting. We’re quick to judge others but we don’t evaluate our own first impressions whether it’s in person, the internet, written literature, we tend to forget those little things.
Dean: No doubt and I think that’s one of the critical reasons why we all as businesspeople need other people in our lives, third party people, like you for instance, if someone is not consulting with someone like you, they might be fooling themselves by the image that they are presenting out there. When they are walking into a room, but if they have an unbiased third party looking in from the outside you might see things plain as day that either they don’t want to see and they are covering their eyes or sticking their head in a hole like an ostrich or they just don’t see it at all.
Joann: Sometimes you get so wrapped up in trying to build your business and they go out and network and get the clients and please everybody because they’re going to give you the paycheck that you forget to look at the obvious whether it’s yourself or your internet.
Dean: Right, any piece of marketing that a business chooses to put out there, you need to be very critical about that piece of marketing. Because every little touch point that you make whether they are seeing you in person, whether you are putting a tweet out on twitter, whether you’re putting an article out on one of the article marketing directories out there, whatever you are doing, it all reflects upon your brand and it’s the culmination of everything you are putting out there that creates your brand. Now we don’t create our brand, our clients and prospects create it for us in that sense. We can influence it, which is what we are trying to do, by dressing a certain way, by presenting our website a certain way, using certain colors, having our logo look a certain way, we’re influencing the way we want our brand perceived. But ultimately it’s the end user or the person viewing that brand is the one that decides how they feel about it. And whether or not they are going to take any action about it. Very interesting stuff.
Joann: I was just going to say that that is extremely interesting and understanding that as you move into the next level and understanding that statement how powerful that is and it changes your thinking. OK Dean some questions with regards to small businesses, the independent, the individual, you talk about the presentation, you talk about the power of the internet increasing visibility and credibility within their target market, there are some entrepreneurs just starting out they went from one position that they had working as an employee, now they are changing their mindset to an entrepreneur business owner, is that someone you can help?
Dean: Absolutely! And I have helped. The key is the people I work with I look that certain something in their eye, I can usually see it a mile away, because I used to be on the other side of the fence. I was that up and coming person with possibilities who wanted to break into the entrepreneurial world more permanently but it’s a big transition. It really is, and it’s a scary transition. But yes, absolutely, one of the things that people need to do first is they need to check and see do they really have the desire to go out there, it’s like when you think of the pioneers crossing America the first time, that’s kind of what it is to a degree. You’re putting yourself out there and you’ve got to be willing to be a little vulnerable. You’ve got to be able to take some risks. You’ve got to be willing to stick your neck out there a little bit and say you know what, I’m the creator here, I can create this thing however I want to create it and yes I’m going to take lumps and I have to be willing to take lumps, but the key with anyone starting out is to get a coach. Get coaches, get people around you that have been there and done it. Because that will shave so much time off the learning curve for anyone looking to break out and go the right direction. I know that for me it really wasn’t until I reached in my pocket and said you know what, I’m hiring a coach. It wasn’t really until I did that that things really started taking off. No matter how good we are, and I felt I knew everything, I was a young kid coming out of corporate America, I was knocking down everything in corporate America in a great way and then I came into the world of entrepreneurship and said oh wow, I don’t know everything. This is a little scary. Because now all of a sudden you have to do marketing, sales, you’re doing everything. You’re that chief, the cook and the bottle washer so to speak, you are everything. So yes, absolutely, these are people that I can help and that you can help as well. They should be consulting with someone like you because image is everything. In marketing I use the phrase all the time that perception is reality. And I’m going to say that again, perception is reality. So how people perceive you is the reality you will face. If you walk in like you just crawled out of someone’s crawl space under their house, and then you go to a networking meeting and you look like a slob, what do you expect? Do you think people are going to go running up to you dying to meet you? Absolutely not! You could be the most wonderful person with the greatest solutions in the world but number one yes, you do have to look the part because we are shallow, and I know that some people aren’t going to like hearing that but you know what, it’s reality! That’s the culture we’ve created here and it’s not only here in America, it’s across the world now.
Joann: And people don’t realize and I talk about this in my seminars all the time, you have to have the presence, when you walk into a room you have to have presence. When someone opens your website, there has to be a presence, it has to be duplicated and carried through and that’s part of the branding. It has to send the same message and understanding the power of that message, yes the power of the message, but the power of you.
Dean: That’s right, it all starts with you. And that’s a whole other conversation for another day, but a lot of people don’t realize that that is the first place you need to look you need to work on is you. Your mindset will drive your results. So you can have the best skills in the world, but if your head isn’t in the game, you’re not going to have a great game. It’s just that simple, that’s why when you look at sports and let’s take baseball that’s just coming towards the end of spring training now, and you look at these guys being paid $15million a year. And they have coaches all around them, all day long working with them on every aspect of their game. If we as entrepreneurs and business owners looked at ourselves as like athletes like that and realized that we don’t have all the answers. Surround yourself with team, the people who do have all the answers that can help you raise your game and help you point out things that might be missing or could use a little tweak here or there. It doesn’t mean that they are better than you, it just means that they are someone that can help you and has the desire to help you. But you’ve got to be helpable, you’ve got to be coacheable as we call it.
Joann: And sometimes that’s a little difficult now we only have about 7 minutes left, do you have any tips for the small business owner or the independent professional to help them strengthen their brand, whether it be online or offline?
Dean: Well number one is that brand should be consistent and you said that before and I wanted to drive that point home because you were right on the money, it needs to be consistent whether its offline, online, your brand needs to be consistent because what happens when there is not consistency you confuse people and there is a phrase we use in our business all the time that a confused mind does not buy. So if you are confusing your target market where they don’t know what to make of you, they don’t know are they this or are they that? They won’t buy. It’s just that simple. So a confused mind never buys. That’s a big tidbit, so when you are looking at your brand be consistent across all platforms. Look at what you are putting out there. Is what you are putting out there something that would get you to buy? And that’s very important. You need to look at that and scrutinize that and say would this get me to take action? If someone posted something like this on Facebook, would that get me to jump? People need to be a little bit more realistic with themselves. Oh I’m on social media, I tweet once a month. I don’t know why I’m not getting any clients from Twitter. Well you’re tweeting once a month first off. In the online world if you’re not out there and you’re not playing out there on a regular basis you’re not going to see that kind of result. So most people are looking at all these cool tools that are out there and they’re hot and sexy right now, but if you’re not going to do it great, don’t do it right now. Take on something you’re going to do great. Let’s say you are going to go out there and network. And yes, it is all about people. Nothing happens in business without people. So get out there and meet people. Whether you are meeting them online or through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or whether you are meeting them offline at local networking events, look the part, get your schpeel together so that when you are communicating who you are and what you do and what value you add, people will be willing to listen to you. The key that most people need to realize is that what it comes down to what are people really buying, they’re not buying a hammer so to speak, they’re not buying a drill so to speak, which is something tangible, they’re buying the hole that the drill can make. Because they need a hole in something. That’s why they are buying a drill, so it’s not about the features of your service, the features of your product, it’s about the value, what is the result that by having your product, how is going to make their life different, better, more exciting, whatever it is, when you find that out and you communicate that message in your marketing your marketing will be a lot more effective. And bake that right into your brand. So that this way that when you understand your target market and that’s critical. Most people I talk to do not know their target market at all. They say they do, a lot of them don’t even know who they are, oh we serve everybody. When you’re serving everybody in my mind you are serving no one. And usually those are the people that don’t have much of a business going on. Understand your target market intimately, fall in love with them so much so that you want to know everything about them. Spend time with them, if they network in this event over here, you should be networking in that event over there. If they hang out on this website over here, you should hang out on that website over there. Go where they are, spend time with them, get your message straight, these are all critical. But with most people they get glossed over. They just jump right into doing and they don’t do any of that advanced thinking or planning or strategy which is in my mind why most businesses fail.
Joann: Interesting. So Dean, we have about 2 minutes left now. Where if we have some listeners out there who want to contact you, where first of all can they hear you speak, where is your next speaking engagement and how can they get in touch with you?
Dean: The next speaking engagement unfortunately for Long Islanders if that’s where some of us are listening from the next speaking gig we have is a big one coming up but it’s in Atlanta. It’s a biggee, we are excited about it, we get in front of a huge audience to do some really cool things so that’s the next big one. We are in the planning stage of putting together a bunch of programs right now. We don’t have them listed or rolled out yet, but I would encourage people if you haven’t been to my website, OnlineMarketingMuscle.com go up there, there is an event calendar up there we’re posting stuff up there actively all the time of where we are going to be and what we are going to be doing. So that’s definitely a place to check, it’s right on the home page.
Joann: And you’re a networker, you have a phone number?
Dean: Absolutely, I can be reached at area code 631-730-8285.
Joann: Great, Dean it’s been a pleasure having you on the show. Also you can reach via email at: Dean@OnlineMarketingMuscle.com
Dean: For those new entrepreneurs out there, understand that on my website I have more than a university’s worth of knowledge and wisdom available for free. Just go up there and read. You will learn a ton about business and marketing and it’s all free and available on my blog. And we have a newsletter as well that will be coming back out again. Take a peak you could help yourself greatly by just reading.
Joann: Thank you Dean, it’s been an incredible information, I want to thank everyone for listening to Image Talk.