Shelley Carney: We have an amazing guest with us today, Mr. Vince Warnock. He is the host of his own podcast called Chasing the Insights, and that's also the name of his book.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
Vince Warnock: I'll give you a quick history of me. I've been in and out of entrepreneurship and corporate life for most of my career.
I even did a stint as a radio announcer in one of our top radio stations here in New Zealand. I've always created, I was going to say always created and sold, always created them, failed some businesses early on, but then created and sold businesses. Then I would go back into corporate and vice versa. I had just come off the back of selling my largest startup, which was a multi-eight-figure exit after three and a half years of extreme anxiety and stress. It was a crazy journey, but totally worthwhile in the end.
Then I joined the team at Cigna Insurance and became the Chief Marketing Officer there. I was there for five years. On paper, this is the dream job, seriously, the pay was ludicrous, and I got to work on some incredible projects. I got to travel the world, speaking on stages all over the place, which by the way I love. I got there and got the results there as well. I managed to take their online sales from pretty much nothing through to almost half their revenue. I doubled the revenue of a Fortune 100 company in the five years that I was there.
I got recognition for that internally, but also got recognition through a number of awards. I was selected by Adobe as one of the top 50 marketers in the world. Plus I published my first book there. I had the second biggest office. It really was the biggest office in the place with my “Mad Men” style whiskey cabinet.
Everything on paper looked amazing. I literally was sitting there, on one of the top floors of our biggest building here, looking out at the beautiful view, writing down all of the different attributes that made that the perfect job. The reason I was doing that is that I was utterly miserable.
I really hated the job. It was nothing to do with the job or the people or anything. It was a great place to work, but I just didn't want it. That made me feel really guilty. It made me feel really ashamed because this was such a coveted job. Anyone I knew wanted that job and here I was with it going, no, I don't want it.
I had to come to the realization of why that was and that's when I realized I was incredibly unfulfilled there and it was not the job for me.
I need to be where I'm impacting people, where I'm helping people.
I have such a soft spot for entrepreneurs. I love entrepreneurship itself. I needed to get back to that. So I made that easiest hard decision of my life. I decided that's it and packed up.
This was back in December 2019, I told the CEO I think I need to move on. I want to become a full-time author. Just write my next book.
She thought I was having a breakdown and threatened to get me a psychologist. She said, wait, do you know how much money we pay you?
I'm like, it's not about the money.
She didn't understand that.
I think that's why I'm leaving.
left in January of 2020, and the goal was to become a full-time author. That lasted about a week because I realized with ADHD and trying to focus on one thing consistently full-time, it's just not good for your mental health. After about a week, I was going a bit loopy. I thought I need to do more things. So one book became many books and I began launching my podcast. I accidentally became a marketing visibility coach.
By that time COVID hit the world. Most of the people I was interviewing for my books fell apart. They said, look, we want to keep helping you with this. But the reality is we've got no cash flow coming in the door. We've got all the same fears. We don't even know if we're going to exist in two months’ time. That broke my heart. I thought I can't stand by and let that happen. I asked everyone if I could come alongside them, give them some help, and they said yes. Then all of a sudden, we were getting these people back to profitability, really giving them hope. In some cases, I helped to pivot their businesses and in some cases to step into thought leadership.
I doubled down on publishing my books because I love writing. What I wanted to do is make sure I secured a top-notch developmental editor, top-notch proofreader, designer, all these kinds of things. I hired them all and said, you can help me with more of my books.
Next, I thought, I've got the team here. Why don't I help all these people get books as well? I started my publishing company.
I remember sitting there one day, I was waiting for my wife. I was picking her up from work and I was sitting in the car and I was getting all these voice messages on Facebook and all these people posting, Vince, you can’t believe what’s just happened. I've just signed this new client. It's amazing. There are people in tears and I was sitting in the car, tears streaming down my face. What's this weird feeling I have on the inside?
I feel fulfilled for the first time in a really long time.
That started this whole era of what I'm doing now. I’m absolutely loving it and have doubled down on all of it, growing the podcast, helping more people to get books published, all those kinds of things. It's so much fun.
Toby Younis: In our approach to these things, we're very much in line with what you're trying to accomplish.
I feel like the best part of what we do is helping other people. I think it was interesting that you decided to make that pivot from the satisfaction and the safety of having a well-paid corporate job, to going out on your own. It happened to coincide with the beginning of what we're now referring to as the pandemic.
This applies to the next question we have for you and the other guests of your ilk that we interview.
What have you learned about marketing in the last two years?
Vince Warnock: So much. I've been doing marketing for, I say 20 plus years, and that is because I don't want to admit how many plus there is on top of the 20 because it makes me feel really old.
I've discovered in the last couple of years that everything has changed. Marketing was all about presenting something bigger than yourself. It was presenting yourself as bigger. That's why brands would always try and look professional, and all the photoshoots were absolutely perfect and all that messaging was just spot on. You would work for months on something and then release it as a campaign.
Now the world's changed. People have reassessed what's important to them, reassessed their life in general. Everything is still in chaos, even though we're resuming some sense of normality, there's still so much change happening.
What we've discovered over the last two years is to forget about perfect. Forget about the perfect photoshoots and working on your marketing messaging for two months, and then releasing it. Just get it rough and ready and get it out there. People appreciate your human nature. They appreciate the authenticity of it. They appreciate you turning up.
One of my peers was running late for a Facebook live. She had this Facebook live organized with 200 people turning up. It was a big webinar she was doing. I was like, this is awesome.
She was running late for it, oh my God, what am I doing? What can I do? I don't have time to put my makeup on! I don't have time to do my hair!
I told her just show up.
It was so successful because she turned up and literally said, everyone, look, I've got kids. Life is in chaos. Everything's a mess. I haven’t had time to do my hair. Haven't had time to do my makeup, but this is me. Immediately everyone watching could relate and connect.
I now have this pseudo-social relationship with you, even though I've never met you physically. I feel like I know you. I feel like you know me. That created a deeper connection with everyone.
Her conversion rate on that Facebook live was phenomenal. So now she's never turning up with her makeup or hair done.
I'm just going to show up.
Toby Younis: Those are amazing lessons. I think everyone has had to adapt to the new reality. A lot of that involves interacting with people that you may never in your life meet in person. But the benefit is we can have a conversation with someone who is right now in New Zealand and it's perfectly acceptable, not only to the parties but to the people who are interacting and being part of that communication.
We appreciate the change. We had the benefit of being livestreamers before this, but we've learned that there are true benefits to being able to communicate with people in this medium and in this way.
How will digital marketing for entrepreneurs and small business owners change in the next 12 months?
Vince Warnock: We're going to get really technical here for a moment. I need to go back to a basic principle of marketing and we always talk about having owned, earned, and paid channels, right?
We have our owned channels, which are our website, our domain name, our email list, those kinds of things. We have the earned channels, which are PR, word of mouth, bring your friend, those kinds of things. Also the paid channels.
What's happening at the moment is the world is in flux in terms of social media. Facebook is facing a lot of pressure. Instagram is facing pressure. A lot of these channels are, which means that your organic reach on these platforms is getting less and less. I know someone who's got a Facebook group of 30,000 people who put a post in that group and after three days it had reached 16 people. These are people who opted in to a group and had actually ticked the box to receive the notifications. Only 16 people had managed to see this, which means that we need to shift how we do things.
That's why I think there is a new paradigm where instead of just paid, owned, and earned channels, there's actually paid, owned, earned, and borrowed. The borrowed channels are the things that we used to think are owned including a Facebook or Instagram profile, any of our social profiles, and our content itself.
We own the content, but the distribution of that is borrowed. We are beholden to the algorithms on these different networks.
I think things are going to shift and technology is going to be a huge part of that.
I'm really excited about some of the potential technology like Web 3.0. I don't think businesses are ready for the Metaverse yet. There are a lot of things that need to be sorted out before we can really leverage that. Certainly, DAOs have some legality issues around responsibility and who's accountable. Crypto I just steer clear of because I'm terrible at investing. Anytime I invest in something, it's pretty much going to doom it to failure.
But there are aspects like NFTs, smart contracts, and things like that, which I think are going to enable us to take control again of our distribution. It's going to give people the option to be able to invest in that and invest in you as a business.
For a lot of businesses, we're going to really double down on this concept called the Thousand True Fans Theory.
It's really looking at who are the people who connected with us and how can we take that off social media? How can we control those interactions? How can we give them a sense of ownership in us, our brand, our story, and our business?
I think we're going to see a big shift in that in digital marketing. I'm looking at a number of different use cases for entities this year for businesses and for entrepreneurs. I'm going to be launching a few of those to test out, but I’m really excited about the potential of those. I think it's going to be quite profitable for businesses and entrepreneurs, but it's also going to be a great way to connect with your audience and drive the right behaviors from them.
Toby Younis: I look forward to your next book on leveraging the Metaverse because I think it's going to be desperately needed at some point.
Vince Warnock: I would say that a book like that will be out of date within five minutes, but yes.
Toby Younis: You always see the opportunity, even in worst-case scenarios. We see opportunity not only for ourselves but for our clients.
What do you see as the most significant obstacle?
What do you see as the most significant obstacle people you work with are going to have to overcome to avail themselves of these opportunities that are the result of having survived this pandemic?
Vince Warnock: It doesn't matter where in my career you've asked me, this will be the same problem that comes up time and time again. That is limiting belief. It really is the doubt that we have in ourselves. I have ADHD and with that comes a thing called RSD, which is Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. It's tied to things like imposter syndrome.
Limiting Beliefs and Imposter Syndrome
I've had to battle through that throughout my career and most of my life. But one of the things I've concluded is that imposter syndrome itself isn't bad. What's bad is what we choose to do with that imposter syndrome.
That's the thing that is going to be the biggest obstacle for us. That's the thing that when opportunities are there, we look at them and think if I take that opportunity, I might fail. I might make a fool of myself or people will think, you don't know what you're doing, or who do you think you are? That's our own limiting self-beliefs. That's not actually what anyone is projecting on us. That's just what we think ourselves. So we hesitate and we don't take those opportunities.
For me, I had to understand that imposter syndrome is a defense mechanism from our brain. It's our brain saying you're outside of your comfort zone right now, therefore I want to get you back in here where it's safe and I'm going to use fear to do that. I'm going to make you think everyone's going to see through you. They're all going to think you're a fraud. They're all going to think you don't know what you're doing. So run back in here in my safe little arms where it's nice and comfy.
The problem with that is as entrepreneurs we need to take those opportunities. Outside of our comfort zone is where we need to be. That's where growth happens. That's where breakthrough happens. That's where prosperity happens. When we understand that about imposter syndrome, we realize imposter syndrome isn't bad. It's really just a signal from our brain saying you're exactly where you need to be right now. I'm screaming for you to get safe because you're exactly where you need to be.
We get to choose what to do with those signals and that information. We can either choose to run back to safety or we can just do it anyway. If you look at every successful entrepreneur, that's what's got them there. It is that mentality of, I'm afraid, I'm insecure, I'm worried, but I'm going to do it anyway.
That's the biggest thing that holds us back is limiting beliefs.
Toby Younis: Before our show today, I had a conversation with my daughter who was recently hired by a big high-tech company and she was experiencing some of that insecurity.
She said I don't know if I can do this, Dad.
I asked how many people interviewed her and she said she had six interviews. I said, they all agreed to hire you, is that correct?
Then those six people believed in you enough to hire you and you have to believe in yourself as much as they do.
Vince Warnock: Back in the old days, when you’d go to speak on stage if anyone had stage fright or they were really worried, they used to hear the worst advice which is to picture everyone naked. Which for me means I'm going to stand on stage blushing the entire time; a terrible idea. But the idea behind that was to try and equalize everyone there. To say everybody's the same when they're naked or when you strip away the layers, they're all the same. The same thing applies to imposter syndrome and this was a big lesson for me.
When Adobe picked me as one of the top 50 marketers, they had actually only selected the top 25. I'm standing on stage there with all of the people I look up to in the industry. This is insane. There are 24 other people here. I know every single one of them and I've bought all of their books. I consume everything that these people do. What am I doing here?
That's when Adobe said this is not just a conference. We're also honoring these people. These are the top 25 marketers. I got to go out to dinner with them to a really nice whiskey bar. When you sit down with your heroes, the quickest thing you learn as you get to see the real side of these people when they start opening up is they are as much of a hot mess as I am. They feel as insecure and have as much of an imposter syndrome as we do. In fact, the higher the level you're going to, the higher the breakthrough you have to have, the more it screams at you.
I'm standing there looking at one of my heroes who's got eight New York Times best-selling books and was just about to put out the ninth one. I was so excited about that.
I wanted all the inside scoop on it and he said I'm really worried.
I said, why?
He said I go through this every time I put a book out. I think people are going to think, why didn't you stop at three books? What makes you think that you've got anything special to say?
I'm thinking, this is what I feel. How is this possible?
It's a great equalizer when you know that if you're feeling those insecurities, you're feeling that fear, so is everyone else around you. That means you've got as much right to be there as they do. You've got as much right to turn up and do it as they do. It's a very different mindset.
Toby Younis: I think Shelley and I are at the stage where we must need to grow more because we haven't experienced the imposter syndrome yet.
Vince Warnock: Let's get outside your comfort zone now.
Shelley Carney: I think when you get to a certain age and you've been through some things you don't have Imposter Syndrome as strongly as you did when you were young. For instance, I have friends who are PhDs. I'm not a Ph.D. But I don't look at them as any better than me because they have problems just like everybody else has problems. They make mistakes, they make wrong choices, just like everybody else. I learned how to equalize.
We’re going to talk about business foundations.
What should entrepreneurs or business owners have in place if they're a prospective client that you might be thinking about working with?
What should they have in their business before you can best help them with their digital marketing?
Vince Warnock: I'm going to go with something that's not digital at all. I'm going to go with something that I think every single business needs as a basis, as a foundation.
That is regular interaction with those customers, as much and as frequent as you can.
I still remember one of my first startups. I knew I had to validate what I was doing. We did this thing called startup weekend where you build a business in a weekend. I had this idea, which I knew was going to kick ass. It was going to be this incredible app where iPhone users battle Android users and battle the three people in the world that use Windows mobile. It's going to be so much fun. I had to validate that idea so I grabbed a clipboard and pen, and decided I'm going to go out on the street to ask as many people as possible.
I discovered very quickly it’s not as simple as that. First of all, when you're in the street and you've got a clipboard, they either think you're asking for money for some charity or they think you're a crazy street preacher. I learned a lot of new swear words out there. Plus you're interrupting them as they’re going somewhere.
You've got to find a way where they want to engage with you as a captive audience. So I managed to work out this concept called coffee line tests, where you go into a cafe. If it's a busy cafe where there's always a line of people then I'd go up to the manager and say, I'm going to put my credit card on the table. We're going to pick some random people and I'm going to pay for their coffees and my friend is going to do the ordering. I'm going to take them over there and interview them. Are you okay with that? They go, yep.
So you just go up to people and say, Hey, we'll buy you a coffee. You go over and give Vince a few minutes of your time. I'll sort it out your order for you and bring it over. Everyone was always keen.
But then I found the next barrier for that was validating something is not as simple as asking would you buy this? I'd explain something to you and say, it's cool Isn't it? They go, yeah, it's cool. See? I validated it. Then you put it out there and no one buys it.
What you really want to do is get inside their world and inside their heads. What I do is I record the sessions and I ask them to tell me as many stories as possible. I'd say to them, for example, tell me about the apps that you use on your phone that you really want. What is it you enjoy about those? What are the things that really irritate you about these apps? When you're looking at a new app, what are the things that you look for? What catches your eye on this? What type of games do you play? You get them to tell you all these different stories.
The reason for that is it's going to give you some really good qualitative data. You're going to understand their motivations and what they do. What makes them hesitate? What makes them lean in?
You're recording the session and the hidden gem amongst all of this is that the words they use are going to become your marketing materials.
You don't want to use your own words because you're a marketer and they're not. You want to use the terminology, the language, and the words that they actually use.
A good example of this was a couple of my clients in Melbourne, Australia. They're two little old ladies and they're going to kill me for saying that. But they run this knitting cafe and when the pandemic hit everything dried up. They had no revenue streams whatsoever. They had the knitting cafe, they had all these events that they were planning. All of those are canceled.
So I said let's at least get your products online.
We don't know how to do that.
I'll teach you how to do it. In fact, if I fail at teaching this I'll buy you a bottle of gin each.
They're like, oh, okay.
So over a weekend, I taught them Shopify and got all their products online.
We launched this and it went amazingly, but then I realized to have sustainability we need to get them found on Google. We had some issues around that. I went to them and said the main thing here that I'm concerned about is you're not ranking in the search engines. What I want to do is called an SEO audit, which is a search engine optimization audit, and find out what's going on. Then we're going to put in place a plan to get you up the rankings. I look at these two women and they look to me blankly. I can tell that failed. What's going on here?
One of them just leans in and says, look, love, we don't care about any of that. We just want to be found on Google.
That's when I realized I was using language that I'm familiar with as a marketer. By the way, marketers are terrible at this because we use complex terminology and acronyms because we're really worried that people think we're dumb. We're really insecure so we use these big words to sound intelligent. But what I realized is that I needed to use their language. So I pivot it really quickly. I turned around and said how about this? You're not getting found on Google, so how about I find out why you’re not getting found on Google?
Then we'll put in place to plan to get you found on Google.
Bingo! Take our money.
It was that simple. Interacting with your clients and your prospective clients as much as possible, whether it's B to B or B to C, just getting in front of them, asking for those stories, recording that, using that language, you're going to leapfrog your competition.
Toby Younis: I learned a valuable lesson from one of my mentors. He reminded me that 95 to 98% of the population has no idea what I'm talking about and that's not their fault. It's my fault. I need to learn to talk like them so I can talk to them.
It sounds like you're a great storyteller.
How does a website affect marketing success?
Vince Warnock: This is going to sound crazy because my background is actually in web development, but I honestly can tell you, you don't need a website, but it's super handy.
I say that because one of my clients literally does all of her business in DMs on social media. She'll go out there and say I've got a new offering who wants in? DM me! Then she'll send them to a Venmo account. They transfer the money and suddenly she signed all these new classes and she is crushing it. Absolutely crushing it.
That said, a website does add a lot of value to you because it can do a lot of the heavy lifting.
It gives you a central point that you can point people towards.
This is why landing pages are really important for your campaigns. If you're on social media, or you're talking on a podcast, or you're in a book, being able to say to people go to this website and having it set up so that people can find exactly what they need is a huge advantage to you. It’s much simpler than saying connect with me, email me at this address, or hit me up on social or do all these things.
I run a podcast. I have books. I've got a publishing company. I do strategy work for people. I've got social media accounts. All of that can be housed on my website. So that's one of the advantages it has for you.
The other advantage is it can take care of a lot of the social proof aspects of your business.
When people are looking to make a decision to work with you, there are three paths or three functions of the brain that are activated. There is the logical part of your brain. That's the part that's looking through the websites, the neocortex, it's going through your website looking for the benefits. What are the features? What are all the reasons why this is a good deal? Why should I look at working with you?
Then you've got the other area of the brain where the real decision actually is made, that’s the limbic system, the emotional system. That's where the brain is looking at what need is this going to fill? What is my need? Also, what does it say about me when I align with something like that?
A good example of that is one of my clients who does a lot of work with helping new dads. His whole campaign to start with was basically, don't be a sucky dad, or you suck as a father now let's get you somewhere. No one's going to sign with you because it immediately means that they are a terrible father and nobody wants to admit that even though we all feel that way. When we are new dads, we have no idea what we're doing.
I aked him why don't you reframe that around? What about how to be a super dad or how to actually step into that really good dad space. Reframe it and then you've got more people buying into it.
But there's another part of the brain which isn't involved in making the decision. It's involved in opting out of the decision. That is the reptilian part. That is the defensive part of your brain. That's the bit that's asking should I be worried about this? You'll see it with a lot of really highly produced videos. You're looking at a highly produced video on the website and something feels a little bit veneer. It feels a little bit fake. Or you're looking at some influencer’s Instagram feed, and everything's just so #beautiful. You want to see the vulnerable. I want to see the human element of this. Then that part of your brain is on the defensive. I'm on high alert.
When they come to your website, that part of the brain is looking and then when it sees things like testimonies, awards and quotes from people that they know or trust, that part of the brain says I'm not actually needed here. This looks pretty reputable. Limbic system and neocortex, you go ahead and make your decisions. I'm going to go and make a coffee and sit over there. I'm not needed right now.
So then the heavy lifting can be done by your website.
Toby Younis: I think fatherhood is the epitome or the classic example of imposter syndrome. I had six children and each time wondered can I do this?
Vince Warnock: I've only got two, but I can tell you now I felt like an imposter every single day.
How does social media play into a small business's marketing strategy?
Vince Warnock: One of the key things for social media is it's where your audience is. Don't try to get people to come to you. It takes so much effort. So go where they are and interact with them in that space. Social media, as a result, has a huge amount of potential, ignoring the algorithm changes and all those kinds of things that you're always going to fight within there.
It's a really good opportunity for you to connect deeply with your potential market.
So for small businesses or any kind of entrepreneur, there's a number of different activities that need to happen regularly on social media. The obvious one is content. Write really good content that connects with your audience.
It does two things. It does the heavy lifting where you're connecting through your content, they're relating to it. But also the more content you produce, the more salient you are.
Some friends of ours came over. We hadn't seen them in a year and they came over for dinner one night and they walk in and the wife turns to me and says you are everywhere. Everywhere I go on social you're there.
That is the best compliment I think I've ever received. That's exactly what you want to hear as an entrepreneur. That means you're front of mind with people all the time.
When they're making a decision, or in my case, if they're thinking about how do I get published as an author, they think I see Vince everywhere. He's someone I should consider. So that content does a lot of work around that salience and around actually connecting with your audience.
The other thing it gives you is a direct connection to different people. One thing I've tried to teach people is when you're on social media, have a conversation. I'm really bad at doing this myself. Go on there and put a post up and say who wants to be an author in my network? You get some people who raise their hand saying “Me!”
If you only reply “Great!” “Awesome!” Emoji or a little animated GIF of whoo, you've missed an opportunity to have a conversation.
That’s very much what social media is; it is conversational. Take the time to go back and reply “That's fantastic. What type of book you're hoping to write? How far down the process are you?” Ask follow-up questions. Keep asking those follow-up questions, because what happens is from their perspective, you're showing an interest in them.
Everybody likes people to pay attention to them. Everyone likes someone taking an interest in them, but also it's telling Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn look at the amount of interaction that's happening on here. These people obviously want to hear what this person has to say. All right, then.
Despite the fact we want them to pay for advertising, we're going to increase their organic reach.
It really does work in your favor and once you're interacting with these people, take it off social. I have a great example of this. I help a lot of people launch podcasts and there was somebody who was asking questions about hosting. If you've ever done that on social media, you're going to see the same responses, prepare yourself.
If you go in there and say, what hosting providers should I use for podcasts? You'll have a small handful of people say Buzzsprout, Spreak, Riverside or Libsyn. These are all great platforms. I use Libsyn personally. But then you're going to see about a hundred or 200 people say use Anchor, here's my link. Because Anchor has a really strong affiliate program. There are people wanting to make money.
I wasn't going to recommend something. I said, look, here's the approach that I take. I said, one of the things I did is I looked at what platforms I should ignore and what pitfalls I should pay attention to. You should definitely ignore Anchor for these reasons. That annoyed a lot of people. I said, the other thing I did is reverse engineer from people that I respect in the industry. I looked at all the podcasts that I want to be like: Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn, all these kinds of people. They all use Libsyn so that was a no-brainer for me.
But then I wrote, if you ever want to chat about some of the upsides and downsides of that, it's too much to put in the text here. Let me know. I can always jump on a call. Then they quickly DM’d me and said, I'd actually love to know more. So I jumped on a call with them, signed them as a client, and actually helped them to set up the podcast. That one comment in there, that one interaction, caused four other people to reach out to me and say, I saw this, are you okay if I DM you? Can I pick your brains as well because I'm launching a podcast. I signed all four of them as a client as well.
Social media is one of the best ways you've got to interact and engage with your audience. So make sure you use that.
Toby Younis: We try to take advantage of as many of those opportunities as we can to offer in a subtle way the services we offer..
I belong to a group that has about 13,000 people in it and it happens to be related to photography. They'll come on and ask a question like I've been using my iPhone and I think it's time for me to get a more sophisticated camera. What do you recommend? There are 12,999 responses, all presenting a different opinion of what you want.
It really is not only structuring the questions so that they can come up with an answer, but making sure that it doesn't give everybody an opportunity to express their opinion on the matter. Because if they have one, they'll write it down.
Vince Warnock: I liked something you said there, Toby, when you said subtly selling our services. That's a key in there as well, because if you look at those 12,000 responses, the majority of those will be here's my affiliate link.
One of my key principles is if you're on social media and you're trying to help someone, let that be your focus.
Focus on adding value first. Believe me, the sale will follow. I had this argument with one of my peers in the industry, a very well-known digital marketer. He and I were disagreeing on a number of things in a joking way. One of the things he said to me is it's about making sure you take as much money upfront as possible. You should be charging people as early as possible, then you should be trying to bring them up the value chain.
I said, no, I disagree with you. You and I are never going to see eye to eye on this. I believe in giving away as much as possible for free, which sounds so counterintuitive.
He said that's why you're never going to be more successful than I am.
I'm thinking hang on. I didn't see you on the stage with those other 25 people. Don't tell me about success.
I said to him, what's happening here is you're creating a transaction. You're creating an interaction with an individual where they may or may not buy your product. If they do, then you're going to try and upsell them. You can try to move them up the chain, but again, they're going to always reassess you. They're always going to look at this and ask is there any value to me?
Whereas what I'm creating, and I hate the word, but it's the best word for it, is fans. I'm creating people that say, I'm buying into what you're doing because I trust you. I know that you're going to add value. I know that you go over and above to add value. I know that you're only going to be selling me something if you think it's really a benefit to me. I've got people that have been following my careers, particularly in this new stage of it now, where whatever I put out there they'll buy. Even if it's not suitable.
I've had to refund a few. I say, look, there's no point in you joining a business accelerator if you don't have a business.
They say but I want to learn from you.
No, you just paid four and a half thousand dollars for something you're not going to get the value out of. I'll refund the money. I'll find something else to teach you.
They'll sign up because they believe in you.
That's because you've used the approach of I'm going to add value to you. I'm not going to just sell to you every single time.
Toby Younis: It's funny because that principle of being willing to give away something for free, especially when it's your own knowledge, dates back to the beginnings of digital marketing.
Although I know we were talking about it before, digital marketing made it easier. The lesson we've learned is giving away things, especially when it comes to your knowledge of a particular area is always the best way to build confidence and trust in other people.
When I do answer any question in one of those groups that I belong to, I'll be very picky about what I do answer. But when I do, it's a very comprehensive answer. The next time somebody says Toby, I was thinking about doing this. What would you do? You realize you've made an important contact there in the sense that you've given them something first before you asked for anything.
My position is you should never have to ask. You should have enough visibility, credibility and trust with them that they ask you.
How can we use email marketing most effectively?
Vince Warnock: Email marketing is critically important in this day and age. When I was talking about the owned, earned, paid, and now borrowed categories, the most powerful one for us is the owned and the earned. But we need to increase the owned and your email list is a great example. You can take that email list with you wherever you go.
It's a way that you can almost guarantee connection.
You get about a 25 to 30% open rate, so you can at least get in front of a large portion of your audience. But the thing to note with email marketing is the same as we mentioned with social media marketing; what is the value I'm adding to them? It's really tempting sometimes to just push out emails and keep that in their face.
I'm always looking at what the journey is that I'm taking them on and what is the value that I'm adding to them in that journey. For every email and every piece of content I create, even for social, I start with wanting to know three things.
Before I write this content, what do I want them to think?
What do I want them to feel?
What do I want them to do?
If I start from that basis, I'm always looking at how am I adding value to these people? What is the outcome going to be? Then I write for that specific purpose.
For example, with my team, I say to them about email marketing, any sales conversations that go out in email marketing should be one in every five. You should be adding four times the value of anything that you're taking from people.
We put people on a journey. For example, if someone signs up for one of my masterclasses on how to become an author then they will get so much value in the emails that come afterward. They will get tips, they will get exercises they can try, they'll get all of these and there's no ask within any of those. I'm just adding that value to them.
You watch the open rates on those emails get higher and higher until then you're going out with an ask. All of that stuff I've taught you? You can do that yourself. Or if you want, I can make life easier for you and my team can do a lot of that for you. We can do the editing, we can do the proofreading. We can do the cover design, all those kinds of things. By that time, you've earned the right to have that sales conversation.
That's the key for me is always looking at the value you’re adding to them within your emails.
In what ways are content development and distribution factors in marketing success?
Vince Warnock: That's one of the most important things whatsoever. Your content is your gold. That is the thing that you can control. That is the thing that you write yourself. It's the way that people will relate to you. It's the way you can add value to them. But the distribution is incredibly important.
I've seen this even on social, actually, one of my clients was having a bit of a bad week, one day and they put a piece of content out there. We worked together on crafting this incredible story. They put it out there and they came back and they were grumpy and they said it didn't work.
I said, what do you mean it didn’t work?
I didn't get any engagement on it. I should just pay for advertising and put it out there.
I said, okay, tell me what you did.
What do you mean?
What did you do?
I wrote the piece of content.
Then I put it on social media.
Yeah, but what happened next?
No one looked at it.
Are you surprised? I said, what is it we've been teaching you for the last few months?
And they're like, oh. Fine.
So what I teach people is to put a piece of content out there, but don't leave it there. Actually go out and invite people to that content. Pop in DMs with people. Pop into a group and say, Hey, I was thinking of you. I've created this piece of content. I'd love to get your feedback on that. Or, I've got this piece of content. I'd love to hear your opinion on it.
Lead them to that piece of content. Everyone likes to feel like their opinions are important. Everyone loves to feel like they can give you feedback on things, but then in doing so they're consuming whatever it is you're putting there. If you're driving them towards something, if you're nurturing them towards an outcome, then they're actively consuming that content as well.
It's a bit of extra work and it's something that some people don't like the idea, because it means that it's hard to scale. You can't just put a piece of content out there and then go to the beach.
You actually have to actively engage with it.
But I'm telling you now the return on investment for this is incredible.
Toby Younis: I have to admit that it is one of my weaknesses because I look for the easy way to produce content. Shelley is not only a master producing content but leveraging it and causing an interaction as a result of it.
I learned a lot about it from her. I only need to be smart enough to implement it.
Vince Warnock: That's the thing, it doesn't come naturally to some people. With ADHD, I'm very aware that I operate in creative energy a lot of the time. I love creating something new, a new piece of content, a new idea, a new thought, new kind of process, all these kinds of things. But it gets to the point where the repetition thing kicks in and you hire people that can do that for you. It's much more powerful.
Toby Younis: It was the combination of my attraction to livestreaming, I can do this 24 hours a day, and conversations with Shelley that resulted in what do we do with that? If that's what you're going to do all day, then what are we going to do with it?
The best example of that is what we're doing on one of our other channels, where the discussion is about photography techniques, tools, and equipment. Shelley right away says, let's use that as a basis for creating a book where you're giving advice to people, and then you have something else that builds you out.
Shelley Carney: There has to be purpose.
Toby Younis: There has to be purpose and there has to be an audience because you're always asking me who is this for?
Shelley Carney: Who cares about it?
Vince Warnock: No use creating really good content for a really good purpose if no one is seeing it.
Shelley Carney: We talked about the knitting cafe and how you help them to put their business online.
What are some other alternatives that we can use instead of doing face-to-face in-person networking and other events?
How can we grow our network online?
Vince Warnock: One of the key things is to have a reason for them to want to engage with you. Giving away things for free as a really powerful way to do that, but nothing's ever fully for free. This is where lead magnets come in.
Finding something that's going to add value to your audience and then getting them to register for that so you get the contact details.
A good example is I recently had a masterclass on PR and on getting press. I put together this masterclass, and one of my coaches, (because every coach has coaches,) one of my coaches looked at what I put out there and asked, why did you do this?
They said, you give away so much in there. You basically outlined everything in there that they need to do.
I said, yeah, but it doesn't mean they want to do it. Just because they've got all the methodologies that we use in press and the way we used it in getting PR it doesn't mean that they're going to actually make the effort.
For half of them, it made them realize just how hard this actually is and that they need to hire somebody to do it. Then from there, I put out a PR checklist. I put out a list of different publications and how to get in them. I put out a whole different pile of lead magnets like that, and the number of people that signed up for those and then signed up for further masterclasses grew my audience dramatically.
That's one of the ways you can do this is to have something that's compelling enough that people really want to give you permission to market to them in exchange for that lead magnet and in exchange for that value.
Toby Younis: What do you recommend to attract digital media attention? Not just advertising attention, not just social marketing, but getting the media to be attracted to whatever you're doing, whether it's in the form of podcasts or livestreams or blog posts, things like that?
I think that's been a struggle for as long as I can remember being in marketing.
How do I get media attention?
Vince Warnock: There are a few things I'll give you advice on there. One of them is, first of all, you've got to realize that nobody gives a damn about anything you do. It's a stark reality, but nobody cares. No press cares that you've got a new book out. No press cares that you had such and such guest on your show.
You've got to give them a reason to care. You've got to think about their audience.
I treat every journalist in two ways. One, knowing that they're really lazy, because we're all lazy in reality. If you make it really easy for them, then they're going to be more inclined to want to work with you.
But the second thing is they want to genuinely add value to the audience because the more that they add value to the audience, the more the audience reads this stuff, the more they get paid for putting stuff out there.
So look at the audience and think, what's the value I can add?
I look at specific reporters, there's a reporter called Joel that I look at. Joel put a piece out there talking about up and coming podcasts in the marketing space.
I went to him with a pitch idea and said to him, I love the article you did around this. I love the value you’re adding to people, showcasing all this. I gave him some direct feedback on some of the podcasts mentioned in the article.
I said, one of the ideas I've been thinking about for a while which may be relevant for your audience is to look at the specific types of podcasts in these areas. If they want advertising advice, for instance, they go to all these kinds of podcasts. Next thing I'm suddenly in an article in Forbes talking about the different types of podcasts that are out there.
So it's actually looking at how do you add value and connecting with that reporter on those levels.
But the other one, there's a cheats way of doing this as well, which is there's a website called Help A Reporter Out or HARO. I recommend every entrepreneur sign up. It's going to be a huge distraction for you originally because you get three emails a day from them. It's all requests from reporters saying, I'm writing an article on X, and I'm looking for peoples’ opinions on that.
For a lot of people, particularly when you're starting out, it's a great way to get in some press. You can get in Authority magazine. You can get in Valiant CEO, you can get in Business Insider and then you start to move up the ranks. Obviously, it's harder to get into Forbes and Yahoo Finance and all those, but often there are opportunities within there as well.
You've got to look at what are they asking for? Can I talk authoritatively to that? Can you respond really quickly? The key thing with those is always to move as fast as you can because they only take a day or so to look for people. Then they start writing the article.
Toby Younis: One of the other folks that we interviewed mentioned the same thing, and I went and took a look at it. It is very useful as it gives you an idea of what reporters are talking about in terms of the topics that you have an interest or expertise in. The advantage is they're not expecting you to write anything. They're expecting that you're going to give them some piece of content that could just be them interviewing you on the phone. Sometimes it's just another expert quote they want.
Vince Warnock: Often those quote ones can open up a lot of doors.
I looked at Valiant CEO recently where they were asking for quotes around working for social media influencers. I went in there and I gave them my response and I told them my backstory because they asked me to tell them that.
Next thing you know, I not only am in that article, but they've also done a whole profile piece on me in Valiant CEO, talking about what I believe and my stance on ethical marketing.
I had a reporter in the UK reach out to me saying that they were looking at podcasts that monetize in different ways. They said they'd been asking their community and apparently, my podcast had come up a number of times because I have a thing called the Insiders Club.
They contacted me, and said, you're 15th on our list and we only want to take the top five.
I'm thinking why have you called me then? That sounds like a waste of time.
She said, but the thing is, I looked at the top 10 on the list and you were a guest on every one of those shows. You're everywhere.
So she ended up interviewing me for that. While talking with me, she asked me what's coming up in the next year?
I told her about the book publishing stuff I'm doing, talking about the work I'm doing in the NFT space.
She lights up because she is also writing an article on NFTs. Can I interview you for that?
Now I’ve become the primary and I think that one is going in Yahoo Finance for an article on NFT's.
All of these opportunities come from you taking those lower-level ones and Help A Reporter Out where it's asking for quotes from people. Then leveraging that to build that relationship with the reporter and then those bigger opportunities will come
What marketing functions would be something that we could automate and how would we do that?
Vince Warnock: Automate all the boring stuff. That's my simple goal in life. For me, automation is a really interesting one. I only automate when I can prove that it's repeatable.
I participated in a challenge recently that Hay House was running and they were quite open about the fact that they had issues. They had these chatbots set up, which were all automated. Every day it would prompt and remind you about all these things. But the problem was they hadn't actually done this manually first. They hadn't sat down to find out, what does this look like? How's it going to be helpful for people? So you ended up in a situation where in one day I had 43 messages from their chatbot going back and forth, trying to prompt me to get into their thing.
I didn't even respond to those, but this is happening on a large scale. They ended up getting the chatbot deactivated and the Facebook page got banned. So they had to appeal to Facebook just before the challenge to try and get it back. You've got to be really cautious of those kinds of things.
With automation, we are always looking at automating anything repetitive.
Distribution is a good one to automate as long as you can prove that you've got a system in place that is repeatable, that is scalable, that you can manually do and get the results from.
Toby Younis: Share with us some advice to attract more leads.
How do I get more leads?
Vince Warnock: It goes back to the core principle which is adding value. I've been in businesses where we purchased lead lists. That's a soul-destroying thing, never do that. Cold calling people is also a soul-destroying thing, because you have to get used to rejection.
If you want to generate leads, then building relationships and adding value is the starting point.
Then you're going to get to the point when you've proven your value to different people, and you have a hidden gem right in front of you. You've got your own current audience.
What I encourage people to do is what we call “friend campaigns.” A good example of this worked with one of my clients. They were working with an organization doing cooking classes and they were going to roll this out across the nation. One of the things that this organization wanted was more members. How do we get more members?
First of all, we're going to run this event for all of your current members, but we're going to give them a bonus if they bring one of their friends along. They ended up with an almost 100% strike rate where everybody brought a friend to this thing. They had now doubled the number of leads they had previously.
Look at trying to get your current people incentivized. I don't mean pay them to bring someone on board or giving them affiliate links or commissions. Those can work, but give them a reason to want to bring their friends on board or to bring their friends to connect with you. Often that has nothing to do with money. It has nothing to do with getting a month free or any of those kinds of things.
It has everything to do with how that makes them look.
For example, if I was going to write Toby to say, you’re part of my program. I want you to bring Shelley along to do one of my masterclasses. Then I'm going to make sure that when Shelley attends that masterclass, Toby looks like an absolute legend in there. Toby says I will invite many people in here because I feel damn good when I'm in here.
We give you a shout out at the beginning of the masterclass or we give you a special badge in there that says you're a VIP or something along those lines. We'll get you up on stage to ask a question and give you a spotlight.
Those are the ways that you can get people incentivized through their own needs and emotions to bring others into it. So it’s a really effective way to generate leads.
Toby Younis: I have to admit to you, I'm a sucker for VIP badges.
Vince Warnock: I'm a massive sucker for sticker charts. Honestly, I don't think I had enough of them when I was a kid or something. Now if anyone runs a challenge that has a sticker chart, I don’t care what it is, I’m joining.
In your experience, what works best for converting? When we're converting suspects to prospects and then to clients, what is that key ingredient?
Vince Warnock: We always talk about this in sales; objection handling. When somebody says it's too expensive. Then we immediately start talking about the price or the value. Or if they say I don't have enough time, then we look at how you can minimize the impact on them. But what actually is happening is their objection is never what they're saying.
It's never really the price because the reality is if they knew the outcome that they were going to get, if they knew the breakthrough they're going to have working with you, they'll pay any price to get there. So it's not anything to do with the price. It's not to do with the time or the complexity.
What it has to do with is they're looking at you thinking, I want to make a decision to work with you, but I have no idea what's on the other side of that decision. I have no idea what that looks like. I feel like I might get disappointed because it might not be worth the money. Or I feel like I'm going to have to put too much work into it and then I'm going to burn out. Or it's not going to be enough. Or there are all these questions I have.
One of the most powerful things you can do as an entrepreneur is showing them behind the curtain.
I do that with free strategy calls. Anyone that wants some clarity on marketing, can book a 30-minute call. I won't sell to them. I'll just give them clarity. I'll actually take them through, find the problem they've got. We'll deep dive on that and I'll show them what it's like on the other side of that.
So immediately they understand this is what it's like working with Vince. I come away empowered. I come away feeling really encouraged and inspired and feeling like I could take on the world. That makes it a lot easier for me to make the decision around this.
You can do it through free webinars, masterclasses, five-day challenges or three-day challenges. They work really well for showing people what it's like working with you. That's one of the best ways to remove a lot of the negative friction around making that decision.
Then it's much easier for you to convert those prospects into actual paying customers.