Read the transcript below and listen to the whole conversation here:
This transcript has been edited for readability.
Justin Blaney: Hi, this is Justin Blaney with click.works. Thank you for joining us for our podcast today. We have special guest, Maria Dykstra. She’s the co-founder of TreDigital.
Maria, thank you so much for being on the podcast. We’re excited to have you on! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Maria Dykstra: Absolutely. Thank you so much for inviting me to the podcast, I very much look forward to talking to you and your listeners.
A little bit about me: I am a recovering Microsoft veteran. I spent about 14 years in Microsoft—but don’t ask me about computers because most of my time was in digital marketing. So I know more about advertising and programmatic advertising then I know about computers.
About three years ago I started my own company with a partner and we focused on digital marketing with a specific focus on how to drive revenue and how to deliver results with social media and marketing. I’m also a very active member of the Seattle community, I run Founder Institute in Seattle, which is one of the largest startup accelerators in the area, and I’m also part of the Women in Wireless board, and doing a lot of other startup-y things in Seattle.
JB: That’s great, I love that. We’re excited to have you on and hear what your experience is, either from what you learned at Microsoft, but even more important, many of our clients have sales numbers from 1 to 20 million and they are frustrated often times with the marketing process because they spend a lot of money on marketing and they don’t necessarily get what we’re all looking for in marketing which, of course, is online leads. We want qualified leads, we don’t want to just have a website or send email, but we want to actually generate sales.
Most of our clients are good salespeople, they’re good at closing leads, but what they need is more awareness. I wanted to find out from you what your perspective is, you know that the days of cold calling are quickly going away and becoming less and less effective if it hasn’t completely gone away already, so what has replaced that in your experience?
MD: Absolutely. I’m glad you mentioned Microsoft, because I absolutely loved my experience working with Fortune 100 advertisers. The main difference between what happens with larger companies advertising and the smaller businesses within the 1 to 20 million range is the amount of marketing budget that you can spend on your marketing campaign. For Microsoft, we had million-dollar campaigns, and they generate lots of brand awareness so there was budget that could be spent.
As a small business or an emergent growing business, you don’t have a million dollars to spend, so it has to be very focused on results and generating leads online. To me that’s exactly what my passion is—thinking about how do you take the smallest amount of budget and generate the most revenue out of that.
And from the cold calling perspective, let me just throw a quick stat at you, in 2007 it took about 3.8 cold call attempts to have somebody answer your call. In 2015, it takes 8 attempts for someone to answer your call, and it doesn’t even mean that they will be talking to you. Most people will hang up on you, so if you want to connect with the person and you’re using a cold calling mechanism, it’ll take about 6.2 hours of dialing—straight dailing—to schedule a meeting. So clearly it’s not effective if you a small business.
Specifically, what I love is digital lead generation and most people don’t understand or appreciate the power of social media and how it can play a huge role in creating relationships.
Marketing in 2015 is relationship-based marketing, you no longer can pick up the phone and call somebody and ask him for a meeting and then sell your products to them immediately. It’s all about creating personal relationships and making those connections with people. Really, that’s the first start and the best way to do it and are very noisy and overloaded world is to start a broad outreach campaign and social media, and that’s what I have seen work time after time is that at the very top of the marketing funnel, you create a very broad reach campaign with either Twitter or LinkedIn or any other mechanism on social media that can potentially start creating relationships and warm up the leads if you will. And then you can drive it down the social media funnel to email and to having the in-person conversation, whether it’s a phone conversation or it’s a conversation over the phone. It takes time, though, and I think that’s where it could be frustrating for people. It doesn’t have to have to be that expensive but the time—if you think of that as an expense—the time is still required.
JB: Yeah, and a lot of people have questions for their small business—depending on their vertical—I mean, B2C, it’s a little more obvious that social media is necessary depending on who their audience is. B2B, it’s a little less obvious but in both cases I think small businesses want to know, “How am I going to actually convert all of this effort into sales?”
MD: Right, right. . .
JB: And I know that you believe that you can, and so I want to hear how you connect spending money and time on social media and how that actually converts to hardline sales.
MD: Well I think the first couple of things that people need to understand is that it’s about creating a full loop. Because a lot of people jump on social media and they post about things that they had for lunch, and then they don’t know why the people not converting and building the business with them. My recommendation to all of you listeners is to take a look at Dave McClure and his metrics for startups. Are you familiar with metrics for startups or “AARRR,” as he describes it?
JB: No, tell me about it.
MD: Take a look at that—it’s a very popular talk. If you Google it, on YouTube you can find several talks on that. And he talks through multiple stages of what you can do with your users. It starts with really acquisition and activation, which means it’s not only important for you to start the conversation with the user but what do you with this user is also very important. And then it goes into the retention, revenue, and referral—the full loop.
For social media marketing, what you really need to be thinking about is how do you map out your entire marketing funnels? What is your process of starting the conversation on social media? For us,what we do, we find people that we believe are in our target audience, and we first follow them and then we engage them in the conversation so it could be a question that we ask, it could be a comment that we make on a tweet that they sent, or social media post that they made.
Then we—gradually depending on their response—we lead them toward something that exists and is of value to the customer. Because you can’t start selling before you earn the right to sell to that person.
And to earn the right, you can offer something of value. So think, for yourself it could be a checklist that your potential customer can find really valuable and helpful. It could be 10 simple things to generate leads on social media. So if you have that as a value offer to your customer, they can potentially build relationship and engage with that checklist, then you have the opportunity to ask them for a conversation.
So really having a very straightforward mapping in your head of how your marketing can look and work together, that’s is very important, because lots of people start without really realizing where they’re leading.
JB: Yeah, absolutely. So I guess my final question might be related to maybe if you have a story to share—a success story—of how a small business maybe even that does larger sales, enterprise sales, has been able to successfully use social media to engage their customer base and grow their company. Do you have any stories like that off the top of your head?
MD: Yeah, quite a few stories! I think the most relevant to you would be how do you lead customers, and how do you lead community to an event or to potential sales [or to ] something big that can create a lot of buzz and generate a lot of excitement.
So what we have done quite a bit in a short amount of time—because you talked about frustration a lot, and that time leads to frustration—is that tapping into the community and building successful launches with a campaign, or successful product launches, or successful events is something we have stories about.
We had a partner who was doing a launch of their new office space and we wanted to get 100 people into an event with one-week notice. So what we had done is we really thought about, Who are the strategic partners and who can help us spread the word? How do we find them on social media, how do we engage them on social media? And we had pre-written messages for all of our potential points of contact to share the information.
So what we did is between the social media reach and the email campaign is we created a little wireless act where everybody in town knew what was happening and then if you tap into the effect that if it’s viral and everybody wants to go then more people will join.
And so having a conversation in a very short amount of time created the buzz and as a result we had a 150 people show up at the opening and we did it in one week. And this was at one of the most busy times in Seattle, when people are not paying attention to social media, so I’m really proud of doing that. And that led to revenue, the space was sold out really fast.
So you have to think about those little opportunities of creating buzz, of creating something that will be of interest, it’s not necessary immediately generating revenue to you, but that can lead down the funnel to bring money, to bring opportunities, and building relationships.
JB: That’s great, I love that. Well, Maria, thank you so much for coming on our podcast. You had good things to share. And TreDigital – I’ve known about you guys for a couple of years now, I think right after you guys got started, I met Matt and was really impressed with what you guys have to offer.
And so in relation to this podcast, you can see a link to go to their website and check them out more. What would be a link that you would give on the air people want to find out more about TreDigital?
MD: We’re at TreDigital.com, and you can reach us on the website. We’re also ivery active on Twitter, I’m @TreDigital, or my co-founder Matt is @ChatWMatt. We’d really love to connect with you, and if you have any questions definitely reach out to us.
And thank you so much, Justin, for the opportunity to meet and chat—it was really fun!
JB: Yeah, you bet! And we would love to have you on again soon. So thanks, everyone, for listening to the click.works Podcast and we hope to have you back soon and talk you later. Bye!