Marketing is the foundation of any successful business, and consistency is key. By developing effective strategies and maintaining a strong online presence, businesses of all sizes can generate more leads and increase revenue. In this episode, Neal Schaffer shares his life and work as a fractional CMO. He discusses marketing and its three main components: Organic, Paid, Earn. Neil shares his insights on developing effective marketing strategies and increasing lead generation for businesses of all sizes. From startups to mid-sized companies, Neal shares how to build a strong marketing foundation and reach potential clients through multiple touchpoints. Tune in now!
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Neal Schaffer Exit Rich Podcast Guest With Michelle Seiler Tucker
Neal, how are you?
I’m doing good. Thanks. How are you doing?
We’re talking about possibly being on my show in the future.
I believe that is the case.
Where are you based?
Southern California. You?
I’m from Southern California, but I’m in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Whereabouts are you from here?
I grew up in Palo Verde in Orange County.
Many people are moving out. I always said I wanted to move back, but not now. I would go to Florida or probably go to California. It’s because of the taxes and the politics. Tell me a little bit about yourself. You’re a fractional CMO, digital social media content, influencer marketing, and keynote speaker. Have you authored a book yet?
I’ve written four books.
I didn’t see those on here. What’s the name of them?
It’s called The Age of Influence.
The Age of Influence and then Maximize Your Social and Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing.
That’s number two and then Windmill Networking is number one.
Any Wall Street Journals or USA Today that are bestsellers?
How do you define bestseller? Most authors will show that they were number one in one category on Amazon for one day and they’ll say bestsellers. I don’t need those backgrounds. I prefer to make money from books being business cards, CEOs buying them, and reaching out to me.
Did you self-publish?
The first was self-published. Maximize Your Social was with Wiley, and The Age of Influence was with HarperCollins Leadership.
You got some good people there.
HarperCollins is good.
Yes. They’re good people.
Didn’t they make any of the big lists for you like USA Today or Wall Street Journal?
Big publishers don’t really promote you. The way I look at it is they probably have 10, 20, or 30 books going out each month and they pick 1 or 2 authors that already have proven success that they put all their PR spend behind. That’s the way I analyze it.
Do they give you a fee, like some type of commission or something?
You get royalties. Michelle, have you ever written a book? You said you were an author.
I wrote three.
Join the club.
They’re behind me. Exit Rich came out. It was a Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Who’s your publisher?
I used Greenleaf. It’s like a hybrid approach because I didn’t want to go to any traditional publisher where they owned the content. I want to make sure all is my content.
I know who Greenleaf is. They’re a very respected company.
I had a great experience with them. I’m doing three more books, and I probably will use them. These others like Harper and Wiley give an upfront fee.
The way that hybrid is, you basically pay.
I know, but I’m talking about Wiley and Harper.
It’s all in negotiation. There are some people that can negotiate few hundred thousand dollars upfront. You’re basically getting your royalties in advance. It’s called a Royalty Advance. Most people will not get that. Publishers don’t want to give out royalty advances. Authors want to get them. It’s usually not that much, but at least you’re not paying. It’s free.
You don’t own the content, right?
You are the author, so it is your copyright.
Yes, but you can’t use it whenever you want is what I’ve been told by self-publishers.
It depends on how you define that. I said, “I want to create a lead magnet. I want to be able to give away some to get downloads and build up my email list.” They approve of that. It was in the contract. You can create up to what percent of how many words to do that. It’s all part of the negotiation.
Can you speak on stage and use your content?
At least that makes stories about that. Enough about that. I was picking your brain.
No worries. It’s all good.
Tell me a little bit about you.
I have my own podcast and I’ve been in a lot of podcasts. Someone reached out to me on LinkedIn. I’m assuming maybe your VA or someone that works with you.
I hired VA. Unfortunately, I wish I had VAs but no. I paid taxes and everything else.
Maybe it was yourself. It was like, “You’d be great on my podcast.” Whenever I do these calls, it’s like, “You had reached out to me. I thought you knew something about me or there was a reason why you thought I’d be appropriate for your podcast.” I can talk all day long about me, but that’s my question for you.
Have you tuned into any of my episodes?
I have not.
I’ve been on more than 100 podcasts. I don’t have time to unfortunately listen.
I’ve been on about 400. Were you on a 100 every month?
I did it as part of the book launch.
Me too. I don’t know if you know anything about me. I do mergers and acquisitions. I buy, sell, and fix companies. I have several different programs. I partner with business owners. I invest money, etc. I try to have good guests to have had million and billion-dollar exits.
I’ve had Alec Stern. He was the Founder of Constant Contact. I had Jeff Hoffman on, the Founder of Priceline, and a bunch of other stuff. I like to have big access, but I also like to have entrepreneurs that can help other entrepreneurs. I’ve been doing this for many years. One of the biggest issues is trying to find the right marketer because a lot of us have wasted a lot of money with the wrong people paying these fees, no results, etc.
That’s is hard to find a lot of times. That’s going to eat up your bank account. It’s hard to sometimes find the right CPA that knows what they’re doing. In marketing, there are so many different forms of marketing. You got a good copywriter. You’re trying to find a good copywriter, a good digital marketer, or good at email campaigns, webinars, and things like that. I always try to bring resources to the table, and that’s hard for me to know how good you are in conversation without using you.
I try to bring guests to the show that can make a difference and I help that person struggling with taxes or tax credits. You’re struggling with how to sell out. That’s what Michelle is about. It’s how to sell out, but also legal strategies, tax strategies, marketing strategies, financial advisors, and how several financial advisors come by for tips on what to do with your money. That’s what I am talking about. When I found that you’re a CMO, there are not a lot of companies that have CMOs. You’re a virtual CMO.
I’m a fractional CMO.
It’s like a fractional CPA.
I have one of you on before.
There are some companies I work with where they were trying to get their first round of however millions of dollars and they had at their first board meeting. They invited me to speak at the board meeting as a way to show that they are working with experienced leaders and, “Here’s our go-to-market plan. We successfully got the funding.” People work with fractional CMOs for a lot of different reasons. There definitely is that startup. When we pitch to investors, we need to have a better story.
Do you mostly work with startups?
There’s a part of it. I work with a variety of brands. I’d say part of it is startups or smaller SMBs that do not have experienced or senior marketing people. They want that expertise and they bring me on. The other is larger enterprises where they have a strategic initiative like an employee advocacy program or we want to launch a new influencer marketing program or things of that sort. It’s a combination. As a fractional CMO, I do tend to work more with smaller than the larger company. My focus is digital. As you can see from my books. I started in social media marketing. Now I cover all of digital, whether it is SEO, pay-per-click, email marketing, marketing automation, social influence, and marketing all the way to TikTok.
That’s all in my domain. The way that I help businesses is it starts with a strategy. What are we trying to achieve? Do we have any metrics? What’s the cost per lead? What budget do we have? What’s going to be the biggest bang for our buck? I’m navigating through all these different channels and then, “Do you have junior staff? Let’s include them in the meetings. Let me help train them so that they can do the job as well.” CPA is a little bit different because they sit back. In my role, I’m actively involved. I’m almost like a virtual employee because we’re doing Zoom calls together. Often, it’s not only with the CEO but also with junior people that I’m helping to educate. That’s basically what I do.Helping businesses starts with a strategy. What are we trying to achieve? Do we have any metrics? What's the cost per lead? What budget do we have? What's going to be the biggest bang for our buck? Click To Tweet
Do you do the lock-in, or do you do the strategy for it?
It depends on the clients. Now, I was going over an Amazon ad campaign that I’m managing for one client. I do it for my own brand so I go as deep as we need to.
It’s your personal brand. Is that what you mean?
My own business is what I mean. I go as tactical as they want, but if they want to hire me to do tactical, it’s going to be a little bit pricey. Normally, they want to try to find people that can do the tactical. I’m not an agency. I have launched my own agency before. I prefer to be at the strategy level, but if they’re going to pay me the same level at the strategy level to do tactical work, I’m more than happy to do it.
What would you think would be the biggest thing you’d like to talk about on the show? What do you think would be the a-ha moment or something business owners don’t know?
Michelle, I come from a spirit of service. I’m not trying to make any money or try to get any of your audience to become clients. I’m here to provide them with education. If they want to work with me, they’ll reach out to me. With that in mind, I’m glad we’re doing this because of what your audience needs.
It’s hard to say that unless I have eyes on what’s going on out there. Usually, the audience is going to be anywhere from startups to small to middle size. Ours is responsible for companies with $10 million and up. We have a smaller audience with smaller businesses too. What are the needs? I’ve been working with business owners for years and helping them fix their business. The biggest need out there is marketing. “How do I get leads? What do I do? Why don’t we turn on the waterfall and pour out leads?”
It’s always the biggest need. They always take a break from marketing because if they don’t have their foundation built in their company, they’re going to crash and burn after we turn on that waterfall. For me, it’s about giving them rule advice on marketing once you should be doing your business and things like that by people who do it. I fixed businesses. I have a little program that only fixes businesses. As far as doing the marketing piece of it, we were proud of our marketing partners.
If that’s the case, I would almost take this very holistic perspective. Let’s dumb down marketing. What do we need to do? You basically have three main components. You have this paid component, and I’m sure a lot of startups are like, “I’ll spend $5,000 a month on Google Ads or $50,000.” It doesn’t work that way. Not necessarily.
You have this organic side of, “I’m going to create a TikTok video every day and I’ll make millions.” It doesn’t work that way either. You then have the earn side. That to me is the influencer side, which I wrote in my book about, which is a side that most businesses tend to overlook. When you think about business, you have these JV partners. When you think about the spirit of JV, it’s close to what influence marketing is rather than that Kim Kardashian or TikToker. I like to talk about all three because, at the end of the day, you need to do all three. It begins with your website. It also begins with, “Do you do email marketing? Do you have an email list? Do you communicate with people when they come to your website? How do you position yourself and your branding?”
There’s a lot that goes into it, but at the end of the day, you want to have a well-oiled machine where it’s like, “Michelle told me that I can spend $25,000 a month on marketing. How am I going to best spend that?” Part of it is probably going to be content creation. Some of that is going to be for your website and SEO. Some of it or a little bit of it is going to be for social media. There’s going to be some money that’s going to go to influencers. There’s going to be some that’s going to go to paid media.
We’re going to monitor and manage all this and try to optimize this over time so that our spend on paid media gets us more leads per dollar and we get more website traffic and leads organically from everything else we’re doing. We have that well-oiled machine. It’s like, “Now we see that for $25,000, we get $50,000. How do we scale this?” To get to scale is hard work. When you get to scale, it gets exciting and a lot of fun, but it’s that drudge work at the beginning that needs the most attention because it’s part that most of the people reading need to do but don’t do, or they hear someone talk about, “You need to be on LinkedIn.” They do that but don’t throw anything else.
You have to have 5 or 7 marketing channels.
I don’t know about numbers, but you need to have 10 to 20 touches.
I call it 5 to 7 different marketing channels. For us, we have a book. That’s marketing channel. We have an international speaker. That’s marketing channel. I have a referral network with CPAs, attorneys, and financial advisors. That’s a marketing channel. I do social media. That’s a marketing channel. We do pay-per-clicks. That’s a marketing channel. We have word of mouth. That’s a six right there. I tell all my clients you have to have 5 to 7 different marketing channels or different ways that you get leads. A podcast is my seventh one.
That’s awesome. I find that we both speak to slightly different audiences. My audience will get overwhelmed like, “I don’t even know where to start.” As I said, let’s dumb it down. You have organic, paid, and earn. On the other end with organic, you have a blog because where do people search for information? They go to a blog or YouTube. They may listen to podcasts. You need to have this type of evergreen content that’s going to be the basis. A podcast is definitely one. A blog is another. YouTube channel is another.
A book is another.
I don’t expect everyone to publish a book. That would be awesome if they did. Probably, in reality, you’re right. There are multiple touchpoints you need, but some are going to perform better than others that you want to invest in.There are multiple touchpoints you need to invest in something. But some are going to perform better than others that you want to invest in. Click To Tweet
I call them channels. I tell my clients you have to have 5 to 7 ways how you get paid with marketing channels because a lot of people have one. It’s one way they get paid. Why do you think all the restaurants went out of business? It’s because of COVID. We can definitely talk about that. That would be good. I’ll come back and call them channels. You can call them touchpoints.
They’re different things. You want to get touchpoints through your channels, but it makes sense as well.
It’s the consistency. People got to keep hearing you and seeing you. I own a medical clinic here in Louisiana. Some of the biggest attorneys, to get the most business, all of a sudden, get dug and seen. Their billboards are all over the city. There are constant advertisements. There’s a constant social media presence. How many touchpoints do you need before somebody reacts?
I said 10 to 20. Some people say seven. You need a lot.
I always had seven, but that was before the pandemic and all the noise. I agree with you.
You have experience working with all these so we can definitely riff on this conversation and you can throw out like, “Neal, one of the businesses that I’m working with is this. What would you recommend?” We can go at that level as well.
You seem a little hesitant at the beginning. You’re like, “How did you find me?”
It’s because I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. This phone call is for you to vet me, but I didn’t know about you, your story, and your show. Thank you for letting me know. I’m absolutely interested. It will be a great conversation that will help a lot of people.
We’ll work on the marketing team and will get you scheduled. It’s probably going to be the later part of January, sometime in February 2023. We’re backed up a little bit.
Awesome. I’m going to check out the 6P Method To Sell Your Business For Huge Profit.
You can buy my book on Amazon. For audio, it’s $14. For print, it’s $27.
Very nice. You’d recommend Greenleaf then?
I am good friends with Greg Reid. He’s in California. He has an event called Secret Knock. He wrote Three Feet From Gold. He wrote all kinds of books. He’s saying, “Different authors I’ve talked to have different stories. We’ve got to be careful with the content.” I want to own my own content. I don’t want to have to ask somebody for permission. I write for ink and I had to go through this whole negotiation, but they don’t negotiate stuff. They explain it to you. If you answer that you don’t, it’s all right for ink. I’ve heard that they own the content and you can get in trouble if you’re talking about it on stage. I’m like, “It’s my content. I don’t need anybody to bring me down like that.”
There is a negotiation. For instance, they negotiated. I wanted to sell my own. I speak Japanese and Chinese. I wanted to sell my own foreign language rights. They said, “We’re going to do better. Let’s include it in the contract.” They said they want the rights to create a course for my book. It’s like, “If you’re going to do it and I don’t plan on doing it, then that’s fine.” I ended up creating a course. It wasn’t called The Age of Influence. It’s called Influencer Marketing Strategy. There are no lawyers coming after me. It’s all in the negotiation. I’ve never worked with an agent, but if you were to contact a few book agents, they’ll give you the lay of the land. I’ve never worried about that.
Do you have an agent that you can recommend?
I never work with an agent. I got introductions from other authors, but this is really top of mind. My last book was published right when COVID started. I’m looking at publishing my next book, and I’m in the process of putting together a book plan or a brief to send to publishers. I’ve thought about potentially working with an agent, but I’ve yet to do any research. The agent is to get you free royalty to get greater money upfront. That’s all. For me, it’s about distribution. I want more people to get it because I know it’s a big fat business card.
Are you in Hudson Bookstore?
The book is all in the bookstores.
It’s in Hudson, the airport stores.
Not the airport stores. Greenleaf got you in there?
That’s good. You made the right choice.
I got a big deal. I haven’t signed up yet. I had a $20 million company. She sold my book in Canada at Hudson Bookstore.
Hudson is huge for business books.
I’m going back there in January 2024.
I’ve heard a lot of that about Morgan James. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them.
I’ve heard of them.
I went to this self-published author event, and Greenleaf talked a lot about and then Morgan James. I got an offer after that event. I decided not to work with Morgan James because I do have some friends in marketing that have published with Morgan James and they say a lot of great things about them. It’s similar to Greenleaf. It’s the same approach, but Greenleaf has been around longer and they might have better distribution networks.
They probably have better distribution.
Wiley is focused on education and universities, like textbooks. HarperCollins Leadership is all over the place. Part of it is timing. It came out during COVID. People couldn’t go to bookstores. They retweaked their whole distribution channel.
We finally bounced. We were coming out in 2020. We decided to come out in 2021.
My topic was so timely. I didn’t want to wait any longer.
There’s a better strategy for us.
It makes a lot of sense.
We’re also trying to make the list. We were doing a lot of pre-sales. We had enough sales to make New York Times, but we didn’t make it because they chose all alumni. It’s so frustrating. At least we made USA Today and Wall Street. I’ll have our schedule with you. You made it to Wall Street and USA Today too you said. Didn’t you say that?
Honestly, I have no idea. To me, it wasn’t important.
You would know if you did.
I would know if I did. I made number one on Amazon in certain categories for certain days.
I’ll have the marketing team get you scheduled and we’ll go from there. Sound good?
- The Age of Influence
- Maximize Your Social
- Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing
- Windmill Networking
- Exit Rich
- Alec Stern – Past Episode
- Jeff Hoffman – Past Episode
- Secret Knock
- Three Feet From Gold
- Influencer Marketing Strategy
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