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Dec. 3, 2021

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy with James Hipkin

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy with James Hipkin

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy with James Hipkin

Over 40 years, James has worked in marketing and advertising at a high level. He is an accomplished, forward-thinking marketing professional. His clients included Sprint, Apple, Wells Fargo online bank, Nestlé, and Toyota. James’ clients appreciate his practical, no-nonsense approach. He has the scares and many stories to share. James backs up his advice with fact-based examples drawn from his extensive experience. Always valuable and always entertaining. His humor and infectious good-natured approach to marketing is as fun as it is practical.



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This presentation of The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy with James Hipkin was livestreamed on our Messages and Methods YouTube channel with Shelley Carney and Toby Younis on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. You may watch the video here:

[00:00:52] Shelley Carney: Hello and welcome to Messages and Methods. Today we have a very special guest, James Hopkin, and he’s here to talk with us about digital marketing and his specific hub and spoke digital marketing strategy as well.

[00:01:19] Toby Younis: Thanks for joining us today. We are looking forward to this conversation because we felt like what you do and what you teach is up very much in the alleyway of our encore entrepreneurs, the people who watch and listen to our program.

Let’s get started with a little background rather than us reading your bio. Tell us about yourself and your background. At what point did you make the transition into being an encore entrepreneur? At what point did you decide to follow up on your hub and spoke model?

[00:01:51] James Hipkin: I have a long career in marketing and advertising. This is our fourth country and third continent in the last 30 years. I’ve had the good fortune to be able to work with high-level brands all over the world. This has given me a really good perspective on what works and what doesn’t work.

I have hands-on big-budget experience with a whole lot of brands that you’d recognize. Folks like British Airways, first-class cabin, Sprint, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Visa, and Apple. I worked on the team that launched the Wells Fargo online bank. I have a lot of practical experience.

My last digital assignment was managing the digital budget for Toyota in Northern California. That led me to 10 years ago when I bought a vendor. Which was allegedly my semi-retirement. My wife likes to ask, what part of working from eight in the morning until six at night is semi-retired?

I have spent my whole career helping my clients be successful and this seems like another good opportunity to do that. We’ve built large custom websites as a production studio. So we’re the construction general contractor working with design agencies on large corporate websites, often with six-figure budgets. Which is a roundabout way of saying we know what we’re doing.

We’ve been working with the same handful of design agencies for 6, 7, 8 years now. They keep coming back to us with more work. so that’s a testament as well, I’m proud to say, to my team more than me. Then a few years ago I identified an opportunity, a need in the marketplace, for smaller businesses that couldn’t necessarily afford to work with us.

I hear the stories of the things that they’ve been through with regards to websites and digital marketing and the disasters they’ve experienced, the snake oil salesman they’ve run into, and how they’ve been sold stuff they don’t need. They’ve been sold the wrong things. They’ve paid too much for things. I started using our expertise and developer downtime to build a subscription product for small businesses. We call it Inn8ly. We compete with the Squarespace and Wix of the world. I prefer to think of them as more of my farm team in that over 60% of our current subscribers have come to us from either Wix or Squarespace.

What they discovered was that the fashion model and the TV ad lied to them. It’s not that easy. So they come to us because we’re a full-service proposition. We answer the phone. We don’t just hand them the keys to a Ferrari and wish them luck on the freeway. We do it for them. I have a team of content specialists, mostly stay-at-home moms that we’ve trained to build websites. They’re all across the country and they’re doing a great job for our customers and customers love the fact that they can work with a real human who knows what they’re doing. It’s a good win-win situation.

I’m here today to talk about the hub and spoke strategy. It is an idea that I came up with many years ago. When you think of digital marketing as disparate pieces, they’re all very nice and shiny and could be very effective. But when you start thinking of them as part of a whole, that connection brings power.

The hub of the hub and spoke strategy centers on the website. The spokes are the various media strategies that you pursue, whether it’s email marketing or SEO or paid advertising online, or even traditional advertising, it all needs to rotate back into the hub, which is the website. The rim is the content and messaging strategy that you’ve developed that holds all of the pieces together.

That’s a very strategic view of digital marketing. When I was doing public speaking and I was speaking to a room full of small business owners, I stood there literally with a hub in one hand and a handful of spokes in the other hand. I’d say, they’re nice, they’ve got value. But when they really have value is when they become a wheel and I’d pick up a whole bicycle wheel. That’s the story and light bulbs would go on when I’m talking about the power of the connection.

That’s the hub and spoke strategy in a few sentences. It’s a pretty simple idea. But it’s a profound idea because it maximizes the return on the investment that’s made on each of the pieces when the pieces are connected.

[00:07:20] James Hipkin: At Inn8ly our tagline is websites without worry. We’ve got a couple of puns going on in there. We picked I N N because at an inn we take care of you and websites without worry, of course, is www.

[00:07:56] Toby Younis: Tell us about your website and what people can expect to find when they get there.

[00:08:00] James Hipkin: It’s the information that they need to know to follow through and have us work with them to give them the website that they need to help them create a hub for their digital marketing strategy.

If they’re a six-figure business trying to get to seven figures and they need a professionally designed, built, hosted, and maintained website they don’t have to worry about, this is a good proposition. We make the entry points quite reasonably priced. Although I will say we are planning a fairly significant price increase in January. So if anyone is interested in exploring this I would suggest they reach out to me. They can book a few minutes to talk to me by going to VIP chat with and scheduling some time and we can talk about what they need.

On our website, we have our service proposition. As you can see in the menu items next to pricing, it says need support. That’s our real differentiator is proper full support infrastructure. That’s there to help our customers be successful with their website without having to worry about the back end.

[00:09:24] Toby Younis: Now as I understand it, the website that you build for your clients either is integrated, takes advantage of, or is associated with the hub and spoke model. Is that correct?

[00:09:35] James Hipkin: Any website can work with the hub and spoke model. The hub and spoke model is a concept that if you have a website, you need to stop thinking about it as a digital brochure and start thinking about it as the hub within your digital marketing strategy.

We’re speaking about the hub and spoke strategy in this context. Hopefully, people will make the connection to upgrade their website in which case they’ll reach out to us. We’ll be happy to do that. But the most powerful idea, regardless of who you’re doing your website with, is how the website fits into the value proposition that you’re creating for your customers and for your business, rather than just being an expensive, digital brochure.

[00:10:55] Shelley Carney: I’ll play a little devil’s advocate here. I know some successful entrepreneurs build a business without having a website. So why is that a bad idea for encore entrepreneurs to go that route?

[00:11:09] James Hipkin: That’s a great question and I hear this frequently, particularly from professional services businesses. They’ll say to me, I don’t get any leads from the website, but the opportunity they’re missing is the null set. They can’t see the null set. In most cases with professional services, their primary source of new business is word of mouth. Executive A tells Executive B all about this lawyer that they’re working with and Executive B decides to check out their website to see if they’ve got the capabilities that they’re looking for. That they’re the kind of organization that they want to spend time and money with. So they’ll go to the website and it will look like it was built in the 1990s, or there was no website at all, and guess what? They will not go forward. That’s the null set. That’s all the folks that you’re missing because you don’t have a digital presence.

The other thing that people have to recognize today is particularly with the pandemic, the shift to online has been tremendous. Last summer, GDP numbers were coming out and sales GDP was down 20% which was shocking. But if you looked inside the numbers online sales were up over 20%. GDP would have shown a lot more losses if it hadn’t been for that. That genie’s not going back in the bottle. A whole generation of people has discovered the power of online business. They were forced to by the pandemic and they’re not going away.

For any business, the online presence is very important. Now how you use the online presence, and what tactics you pursue, is where the hub and spoke strategy helps a lot because you start to have a plan. One of the other things I counsel folks on frequently is don’t try to boil the damned ocean, pick a few things and do them really well. Use the website as your hub, the place where people can go and you can send messages out from there. Create value that goes beyond the transactional benefits of your product or service and you’ll end up with much more loyal customers and therefore much more valuable customers.

The website in my humble opinion is an integral part. The other thing that I’ll hear frequently is I have a Facebook page. Okay, that’s awesome. But you’re on rented space. Facebook can and does change how they do things regularly. They don’t consult with you on whether this is going to be good for you or not.

Facebook can be a very effective spoke in the hub and spoke strategy, but to have it as your primary digital face is a very risky proposition. Whereas the website is real estate that you own. You own your domain, you own your content. Whether you’re leasing space on our server or leasing space on Wix or Squarespace, or wherever it might be, you still own your content and you still own your domain. That’s an important business asset. It’s a place where you can maximize value.

[00:14:51] Toby Younis: I’m going to say on a scale of one to 10, we’re seven or eight when it comes to technical capabilities. We do a lot of our things just because that’s been my background, but we know a lot of folks and clients who struggle with exactly that. Assuming that if they have a Facebook page they have all they need to be able to establish their hub.

But it’s not enough, especially because Facebook, as you suggested owns the real estate and they can not only make changes whenever they want, but they can throw advertising out there that may or may not have anything to do with your group or your page.

Because it’s free to you, right?

[00:15:43] Shelley Carney: If you’re not paying for a product, you are the product.

[00:15:45] Toby Younis: You are the product and that’s how Facebook sees you.

[00:15:47] James Hipkin: The other thing is that Facebook and all of the social media platforms control the distribution of your content. Clubhouse would be the exception currently. Just because you have a thousand followers on your page does not mean that a thousand followers are seeing your content. Five to 10% of those followers are being served your content. Facebook wants you to pay for that. It’s an important spoke and it’s something that should be considered, but the hub should be the website because that’s the piece of real estate online, real estate that you can control.

[00:16:27] Toby Younis: You mentioned Clubhouse which fits into that social audio category. We played around with it and wanted to use it as a basis for generating leads. But now Spotify, who wants to be the major social audio player in the game has announced their version. They call it the Green Room.

[00:17:00] Shelley Carney: But they’re serving more of the celebrity and sports crowds.

[00:17:03] Toby Younis: What are your thoughts on this trend towards social audio? How does it fit into your hub and spoke strategy?

[00:17:13] James Hipkin: Potentially it could be another spoke. I’m also poking around in Clubhouse. I poke around in all of the social media strategies, just because I want to be familiar with them. But I think the question business owners need to ask is, who’s your audience and where is your audience? Because my opinion about Clubhouse or Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, or any of these channels is irrelevant. It’s what does your audience use?

I see businesses come to us and they’ve got their website and they get all hot and bothered about getting their Instagram feed connected to the website. Yes, we know how to do that, but then I ask them the question. Your audience is all over 40, generally, they’re not on Instagram or TikTok. Why are you putting all this energy into this platform?

[00:18:16] Toby Younis: Shelley and I have this particular conversation regularly. I tend to be the one to say, let’s do Instagram. Let’s do TikTok. She says, encore entrepreneurs. Are they going to be there? No, they’re not going to be on TikTok.

[00:18:39] Shelley Carney: Can you share maybe two or three of the top things that you would encourage people to have on their website?

[00:18:47] James Hipkin: That’s a great question. You may have seen reports in the press as studies have been done that show a goldfish has an attention span of about nine seconds. The reality is the average website visitor has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. You have about six seconds and to grab their attention and draw them into what you’re trying to present to them, then create value and have them stay. If you can’t do that within six seconds or less, they’re gone.

The key thing with websites and with website pages is less is more. Be very focused on what your audience is looking for. First and foremost, make sure that your web pages are loading quickly because part of that six seconds is the time it takes for the page to load. That’s a piece that people often overlook. It’s also important to the Google search algorithms. Page load speed is a ranking factor. But more practically if you only have six seconds and you’re taking three of them to load the page, that’s a problem.

The next thing you need to do is make sure it’s absolutely crystal clear that they’re in the right place. This should take a millisecond for people to recognize the color scheme is the same as expected and the logo is there. The fonts are the same. It doesn’t jar them visually. They haven’t gone to the wrong place. People are very nervous online, and if they have that feeling, they’re gone.

The next thing you need to do is give them a benefit-oriented reason to stay. Don’t talk about yourself, talk about their problem, present that problem to them, agitate that problem, and then speak to how you solve the problem. Then give those folks an absolute crystal clear indication of what they should do next. A clear single-minded call to action. Then there’s a couple of other things you can do once you’re past that point.

When I’m talking about marketing funnels, it’s about traffic, trust, and value. One of the ways to build trust is social proof such as testimonials, brands you’ve worked with, and quotes from people about your product or service. Those sorts of things are very good reasons to believe in your features and attributes, and the things that your product does really well. Build trust by sharing this information.

If you do those things, you’re likely to get people to stay on your webpage and take the next step. Go down the path that they need to follow. The other piece of all of this is understanding that your customers have a journey and you want to make it easy for them. Once they’ve gotten to the website, it isn’t about creating a brand. The website is about providing the information they need to follow in their journey to the destination that creates mutual benefit. They’ve solved their problem. The benefit to you is you’ve sold a product or service.

[00:22:22] Toby Younis: You were very clear about what you needed on your website. What mistakes do you see people making in building their websites that are the most detrimental to their goals and objectives?

[00:23:09] James Hipkin: Talking about themselves. I see this over and over again, headlines that are generic pablum and self-centered there’s no meat there. There’s no reason why visitors should take another step. One of the questions we often ask is, what’s the primary objective of the website? We’ll get a litany of answers and then we’ll talk about the movie Highlander and how there can only be one and we’ll get them to narrow in on the primary objective.

With most business-to-business websites, their objective tends to fall into one of two buckets. Conversion, which is the one most commonly thought of to generate leads. But there’s another one and we touched on it earlier, particularly with professional services folks. I call it confirmation and that’s as legitimate an objective as conversion. Confirmation is about the journey that your customers are on. They need to have a relationship with you and have some trust in you before they take the next step. That’s when the confirmation objective is really important.

None of this is about talking about yourself. This is talking about how you’re solving your best customer’s problems. That’s a very common mistake.

The other very common mistake is putting too much information onto the homepage. The purpose of the homepage is to draw people in and have them take the next step. If you can get them to take the next step, your chances of turning them into a customer have increased by an order of magnitude.

But if they don’t take that next step, if they hit the homepage and bounce, then they’re gone. They’re not coming back. You want to make sure that they come back.

The third thing that I suggested, and this is an old idea, there have been books written about this, and this ties in tightly with don’t put too much information on the homepage and that structure I was describing. Don’t make them think. Make it very natural and intuitive and easy to suss out what they need to do.

One of the common mistakes I see is 6, 7, 8 things in the primary navigation bar. That’s way too much thinking. Ideally, you only want three or four. If you have more than four things in your primary navigation, you’re losing people because you’re forcing them to look at all this information. They wonder where they should go next. You should understand what their journey is and then make that path very clear to them so you can get them to take that first click into your website. Then as they go deeper into the website, you have a bigger opportunity to provide more content.

The content will be more focused on where they are in their journey. Then they’re more willing to absorb larger quantities of content. But when I see all this content on a homepage that’s a common mistake. It makes a big difference if you start thinking about it in terms of the customer journey.

[00:26:43] Toby Younis: On his website, you can see he’s used the four items rule. One of them is a blog. When I went to the blog, I found it very informative, very easy to get through. James has a lot of information on there and if you go to page four of the blog, you’ll see that he describes using the hub and spoke marketing process. So if you want to learn more about what James thinks when it comes to these various strategies, you can find it in the blog.

I’ve read probably six or seven of the articles. I find them all very informative and James is very good at sharing his knowledge.

[00:27:48] James Hipkin: I’m glad you got value from it.

[00:27:55] Shelley Carney: You mentioned traffic is number one before trust and so on. So let’s talk about that traffic. How are we getting traffic to visit our website?

[00:28:09] James Hipkin: It comes back to understanding your best customers. Let’s talk about the best customers first. It’s an important distinction. I’m not just saying customers, I’m saying best customers and by extension best prospects. Best customers are the customers every company has who represent 20% of total customers who generate 80% of sales. They’re going to be heavy category users. They have a strong need for your product or service. Their perspective on the products and services you offer is going to be distinct as compared to the majority of customers who might occasionally have a need and occasionally purchase. That distinction is very important.

If you create content and distribute content that’s focused on those best customers, you’re much more likely to drive high-quality traffic into the top of your funnel or back to your website. That high-quality traffic is more likely to value your proposition and will ultimately become much better customers for you.

If your ratio of heavy category users to regular users is higher than that 20%, say 30 or 35% of your customer base are heavy users. Even with the same number of customers as the guy down the street, you’re going to have 25 to 30%, 40% higher sales, with the same number of customers. So understanding that distinction around who the best customers are is the key to higher profits.

Now, once you understand who your best customers are and you’re creating content or you’re generating advertising to those customers, it’s the same model that I just described. Describe and agitate the problem. Talk to the benefit, make it clear what they should do next. That model extends out into advertising, into social media, et cetera.

It’s also about creating trust and being trustworthy. This is where I’ll talk about microtransactions and creating opportunities for folks to interact with you. Low-cost transactions like taking two minutes to watch a video in a Facebook ad. That’s a microtransaction and that says an awful lot about who this person is.

They haven’t clicked on anything. No money has changed hands, but it’s a microtransaction that increases their relationship with you. As they go deeper into the funnel, the richness of the micro-transactions will increase. Things like sharing a blog post, or sharing a Facebook post, or liking a Facebook post down to getting to the website and providing an email address for a lead magnet to get on your mailing list. These microtransactions increase the relationship and increase the trust factor and ultimately generate higher-quality customers. For traffic, you can use traditional Facebook advertising, Instagram, or whatever channel makes the most sense for your audience. Just be sure that when you get them engaged, you have a plan to follow up with them.

That’s where email marketing becomes significant. There’s no magic formula for how to generate traffic. But, it’s not going to come just because you’ve got a website. You have to work at it.

[00:32:13] Toby Younis: We in the marketing field throw out a lot of terms, especially as our discipline evolves. Help people understand the differences between a digital marketing strategy, a content marketing strategy, and how the hub and spoke model fits in between the two.

[00:32:34] James Hipkin: The hub and spoke model is an idea. It’s a strategy. The execution channels that you might use like conferences, let’s talk about that. You know that you’re generating leads and you want to build relationships through micro-transactions. That can be done to a degree in the conference.

Where does your value proposition manifest itself online? It manifests itself on the website. I have this conversation frequently with retail, brick-and-mortar business owners and it’s a hard thing for them to put their heads around. I try to show them how it used to be that your retail location was your hub, but as people are shifting online and the online channels are becoming a more integral part of day-to-day life that’s less and less true.

They may go to your retail location to pick something up. But they’ve probably been to your website ahead of time to understand where you’re located, what your hours are, situations where they’re going to that website. One of our customers owns a brewpub. With pubs and restaurants and that sort of thing, people go to the website all the time to check hours. Are they still open? What do they have on tap these days? The owner of the brewpub says I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the website for my customers to congregate outside of the physical location.

That’s a good example of how you’re drawing people into the hub. If you’re using conferences as your way to generate traffic back to the website, awesome. But to make that conference event have a long-time value, you have to have that connection with folks and the website is where that can be done. Then connect that into email systems where you can send your messaging back out again, and you get that oscillation effect of your consistent messaging and content strategy. That’s the rim. Whether that content is delivered in a conference or it’s delivered in organic blog posts or Facebook ads, or however it’s being delivered it needs to oscillate back and forth to the website.

[00:35:03] Shelley Carney: If somebody is just starting a business online, they’ve just decided to shift into retirement and they’re encore entrepreneurs, and they’re just getting started with their business. What are the top things that they’re going to need to get into place?

[00:35:25] James Hipkin: I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I’m very passionate about it because it’s very important. I think the first thing they want to do is understand who their customers are, do a customer avatar. I’ll quickly describe what it is. It’s a four-block grid. In the upper left-hand corner, you describe the demographics of your best customer. The upper right-hand corner you describe the psychographics of your customer, what they value, their attitudes, their personality, that sort of thing. In the lower left-hand quadrant is where you describe their pain. What is it that they’re struggling with? What is the problem that they’re trying to solve? Then the lower right-hand quadrant is the gain. What can they gain when they work with you, purchase your product, your service? That customer avatar is a very powerful thing and really can help an entrepreneur begin to craft their messaging so that they’re appealing to their audience.

The next thing is to pick a couple of things, do them well, do them consistently and build that gradually. Marketing is a long-term game. They say in niches there are riches.

Being focused is very important and then build your list. Your email list is so important. I know email’s been around a long time. Although I’m old enough to remember when email didn’t exist. Build your list, work on it, build it, get people onto that list.

So much of marketing is timing. Your customers may be valid potential customers, they just don’t need your product at this moment. Your email list is a great way for you to remind them that you exist. Even if they don’t open the email, they’re still seeing the subject line and preview text. It’s still reminding them that you exist.

I get folks who reach out to me who I haven’t spoken to in two years. But I’ve been sending them regular emails and they will comment, yeah, I get your emails regularly. It reminds me I always know where I can turn. There are riches in your list and you want to have that list. It’s a very low-cost, very effective channel to start with. Then start exploring some of the other channels. Social media can be very effective, particularly when it’s focused on where the audience is.

I have a customer who’s in an e-commerce situation. He sells a very specific kind of orchid, not houseplants, not orchids in general, but a very specific kind of orchid. I had this hub-and-spoke conversation with him when he first came to our platform. He said I’m trying to do this and this and this and this. I told him to stop doing all those things. You just need to pick a couple of things and do them well.

He picked his email list and organic social media presence. Now he has built his organic social media to the point where he’ll get upwards of a thousand interactions on a post, which is exceptionally good. His audience is very engaged. He’s worked very hard and he and his wife, that’s all they focus on. With just those two channels they doubled their sales the first year they were with us and they have doubled their sales almost every year since. They’re doing really well and they’re still only using two channels, email, and organic social media.

Occasionally we’ll do some paid Facebook ads for them. When he’s presenting and he’s going to a show someplace like Fort Lauderdale or Ventura County, we’ll do Facebook advertising in the general vicinity to generate awareness. His typical return on a few hundred dollars in Facebook ads is several thousand dollars in sales. It’s a very effective strategy when it’s executed consistently.

[00:40:16] Toby Younis: I have a personal Instagram account. Every once in a while, I’ll take a picture of a flower. Every once in a while that flower is an orchid and I’ll hashtag orchid. That photograph gets more responses than the dozens of other photographs I post. It’s a very tight and highly interested community of people.

I liked the idea that you feel like we do, that your email list is one of your most important assets. Email was the first digital variation of marketing when people started realizing that there were digital marketing opportunities and they weren’t going to print, or television broadcast.

Email was the first and it rose and then it took some hits just because people were playing games with it that they shouldn’t have been playing. I remember people buying lists from cities and counties, that kind of thing. But then after it went through that period, starting around 2012, the platforms that offered it started using it in a way that was in line with the spam law. Then it became an important part of a strong digital marketing strategy. We have an email list and send out a newsletter every week. We’re very proud of that email list and it’s very useful for us. It allows us to consistently share our message and support whatever our branding is at that moment in time. We’ve had to make a transition here in the past couple of years, and it’s worked for us to help make that transition.

[00:42:14] James Hipkin: Absolutely. I have an acquaintance, he and his wife live in a tiny cottage at the end of the lane in the middle of Vancouver Island. He’s a developer and I’m an expert in digital marketing. But he has a list of over 30,000 people and he’s generating from his little cottage at the end of the lane in the middle of Vancouver Island seven figures in annual income through the courses and products he sells. He’s written a few books and he does podcasts. He says the list is gold because I know that I can use it to test products. I can use it to promote products. When people get passionate about the things that I’m doing, they tell their friends about it.

It’s such a cost-effective channel for them. So it hasn’t gone away. It’s become even more important because there’s so much noise in social media and that one-to-one connection can be generated with email. If you put value into the email, your emails are something that people look forward to because you’re always sharing valuable information that’s useful to them.

Back to understanding the customer avatar. I regularly get 35 to 40% open rates on customer emails. Have you heard of the 70, 20 10 rule? It was first told to me by somebody I respect highly in the social media space: 70% of your content should be focused on value creation, 20% of your content should be curated content from other resources focused on value creation, and then 10% of your content is sales. I counsel folks to put the same ratio into their emails. When you’re sending emails out to customers, 70% of it should be about things that you’re doing.

That’s why I put so much energy into my blog. It’s my vehicle to create that value that I can then repurpose into emails and social media. I repurpose my hub and spokes messaging. I’m a bit of a one-trick pony, but it’s a trick that works.

[00:45:21] James Hipkin: If people have enjoyed what I’ve had to say and think that I can bring value to their business, go to VIP chat with which will redirect to my Calendly link and give you a chance to book a time with us. If you’re interested in the hub and spoke strategy, I wrote a book about it. You can download the ebook at 

I wrote the ebook in a slightly non-traditional way. I didn’t write it as an explanatory book. It’s written as a novel, and it’s the story of John Small Business Owner and how he was struggling to get his small business to the next level and how he was introduced to the hub and spoke strategy and how he embraced the strategy. It’s written as a short story, so it’s a little easier to read than a dry tome on digital strategy. We have to have some fun too.

[00:46:39] Shelley Carney: I would just ask if there’s anything else that you would like to offer the audience as a takeaway or anything that we didn’t touch on today that you wanted to make sure to bring up before the end of the conversation?

[00:46:52] James Hipkin: I will highlight a couple of the points that we’ve made throughout as they warrant repeating. Understand your customers. It begins and ends there. Understand what their struggles are, what the problems are they’re trying to solve, and present solutions to those problems. If you do that, they will engage with you. You will break through the noise, and it will be refreshing.

Don’t try to boil the ocean, pick a few things. There are so many shiny new things. Pick a few things that your audience understands. Toby, I loved what you said about the orchids and the flowers which is why my customer picked the channels he picked because he knew his audience. He knew where they were. So pick a few channels, do them very well.

Your list is very important and stop thinking of your website as a digital brochure and start thinking of it as the hub of your online presence. It’s the hub of your digital marketing strategy, the place where your customers can receive value beyond the transactional and functional benefits of your product or service, and where you can ultimately receive value as well through loyal customers who buy from you over and over again.

I just want to highlight those few points. They’re the key to success in this world.

[00:48:26] Shelley Carney: I have to agree. Toby and I have started many different ventures that have failed. Then we looked at who was already coming to us for help. What are they asking us for? How can we focus on those people and just expand in that realm? That’s when we understood our audience, our avatar, who is responding to us the best, and what the problem was that we could uniquely solve. Once we had that figured out, that’s when finally things started to click for us.

[00:49:05] Toby Younis: We had built up this market with our digital media that was very comfortable for us. Then the bottom fell out of that market and we were stuck with what to do next. It was a good experience for us because we had the opportunity to try a lot of different things that could work, but never to the extent that we had succeeded previously. Certainly not generating any kind of income or revenue. Shelley was the one that came to ask, who are we selling to? Who do we want to sell to? Who’s coming to us to buy from us? That gave us the ability to start focusing on what we wanted to do that would draw customers in and would make us happy. I don’t mean that we were unhappy, but it satisfied our need for communicating with and serving people.

[00:51:32] James Hipkin: Looking at the free book landing page, you’ll see there’s another subtlety there that people often miss. Notice there’s no navigation. I’ve used a landing page template that allows us to suppress the navigation and this means that the decision is bifurcated. They’re either going to take action or they’re going to leave.

That simplifies and exemplifies the comment I was making before, don’t make them think, make it easy. They just have to decide one thing. They can sign up or not, but that’s it.

[00:52:13] Toby Younis: It would be worth your while to go there and download this ebook that James makes available to you.

[00:52:29] Shelley Carney: That’s all the questions that we have for today. But we do want to thank you for being here with us to help our audience understand the best use of their website and digital marketing while employing the hub and spoke digital marketing strategy in their business.

We do hope that they will look at your website for inspiration and possibly even connect with you to help them with their website.

[00:52:57] James Hipkin: It’s been an absolute pleasure, Shelley and Toby. I appreciate it and I’ve enjoyed the conversation. 

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