HOW TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS’ REVENUE AND LEADS FASTER

Tips on how to grow your business' revenue and leads faster with Kenn Costales 

  • The big hurdle that you need to overcome in growing revenue and leads is trust, and having that personal brand, up and active, helps solve that problem.
  • And then, once they do sign up, it's not over yet, the selling process is not over, yet. So, having a PDF makes a lot of sense, to build more trust and rapport with the potential client.
  • Organic Facebook is not your Facebook page, but rather it's you. Business owners within Facebook using their own Facebook page to create original content.
  • What we normally do to improve trust for B2B businesses is to do a lot of PDF downloadables, or basically, white papers or primers.
  • I think after working with a whole bunch of B2B folks, quality is almost always way, way more important than quantity.

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The big hurdle that you need to overcome in growing revenue and leads is trust. Having your personal brand up and active helps solve that problem.

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Doug Morneau: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. Today in the studio, I have to join me, Kenn Costales. He is the Founder and the Lead Consultant for a company called Monolith Growth Consulting, they are a paid search and social media agency that helps Shopify stores and lead generation businesses around the world to grow their revenue and their ROI.

Doug Morneau: Kenn is a 2019 Honoree listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia for marketing and advertising. What sets Kenn's agency apart is that they build fully paid ad funnels for their clients. They specialize in customizing the landing page, and the emails, to maximize conversions. They build a custom dashboard, where the clients get to see all sorts of data, like customer lifetime value, frequency of purchase, basket analysis rate, to maximize retention. So, before starting his own agency, Kenn worked as a Brand Operations Manager for Proctor & Gamble and has managed multi-million dollar businesses in Asia, like Olay and Head and Shoulders. So, I'd like to welcome Kenn to the Real Marketing, Real Fast podcast today.

Doug Morneau: Hey Kenn, super excited to have you on the Real Marketing, Real Fast podcast today, so welcome to the show.

Kenn Costales: Thank you, thank you for inviting me.

Doug Morneau: So, I love talking about marketing, and business, and lead generation, and that seems that's your wheelhouse, and that's where you have your expertise. So, do you want to share with our listeners an overview of the types of services that you typically offer to your clients?

Kenn Costales: Sure, happy to do so. So, we're mainly a digital marketing agency. Now, in terms of the clients that we serve, they normally classify under two categories.

Kenn Costales: One is in the eCommerce space, so we mostly help out Shopify businesses, Woo Commerce business, grow their ROI online. Whether it is through Facebook ads, Google ads, or email marketing, it's something that we help them out with, so that's one category.

Kenn Costales: The other category is what I would generally term as lead generation businesses. So, it covers quite the gamut of sub-industries. So, we've helped out consumer services businesses, so that means interior design firms. We've also helped out a construction services firm, specifically what they do is they help out architects, engineers, do 3D modeling, so basically it's a service company. We've also helped out IT staffing companies, as well.

Kenn Costales: So, I think when it comes to helping clients more qualified leads, if you're in the B2B space, or if you're just trying to get more sales on the eCommerce space, that's where we specialize in.

Doug Morneau: So, where's the starting point? When you engage a client or a client goes to your website and requests a free audit, or connects with you, where's the starting conversation? I mean, I think you mentioned early on when we were chatting before we started recording, that you start with strategy. So, what does that look like?

Kenn Costales: Sure. What happens when you jump into a call for the free audit is that there's going to be a 30 to 40-minute conversation. What I'm going to ask there is, essentially, what you've done before, so what you've done before in terms of marketing, in terms of Facebook ads, Google ads, email marketing, et cetera. It's really trying to get a lot of context of what you're doing right now.

Kenn Costales: What's going to happen after that is we're going to require just view-only access to some platforms. So, we will request view access to Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Google Ads. What we do is that we take and study all of the activities that you've done before, and compare it with our internal best practices.

Kenn Costales: What's going to happen after a few days, is that we're going to hand-make for you a proper audit, it's about 30 to 40 slides. It's not from some automation, some software or something, so it's really done by one of our experts internally, so it takes about three days to complete. What's going to happen is that we're going to tell you, it's about a 30 to 40 point checklist, that this is what you're doing now, and this what you can do in the future to improve results. That's how we demonstrate our expertise, and demonstrate our strategic capability, to any potential client.

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The big hurdle that you need to overcome in growing revenue and leads is trust. Having your personal brand up and active helps solve that problem.

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Doug Morneau: So, do all of the people, just in your experience, do you find that most of the people you're working with actually have Google AdWords and Analytics set up, on their sites?

Kenn Costales: I would say, for eCommerce folks, I would say 90 to 95 percent do, so most of the eCommerce folks do have that in place. When it comes to lead generation businesses, not so much, I think only 20 to 30 percent have that.

KennCostales: For a good chunk of our lead generation clients, when we're starting out, we set up everything from scratch. What happens there is we basically just import all of the best practices that we use already for our clients, into that lead generation business if, for example, they don't have anything set up yet.

Doug Morneau: Now, the next question is, there are lots of people who have it set up. I'm not talking just specifically about your clients, but when you're in the marketplace talking to businesses, and looking at other people's businesses like you said, you're doing a lot of audits.

Kenn Costales: Yeah.

Doug Morneau: How many people have the analytics set up correctly? I mean, it's one thing to have it set up, and it's a whole different story to have it set up correctly, so you're getting meaningful data?

Kenn Costales: Right, right. I would say, it's honestly very rare. I would say, only one to two percent have it set up correctly. Because what most people do is that they assume they just install the main code on the website, and then they're done. But, there's a lot of things that also need to happen under the hood, so there's a couple of things that's missing, I've noticed.

Kenn Costales: One is a proper goal tracking, inside the website. So, for example, if they have a Contact Us form, which I think is very standard across all B2B businesses, or businesses in general, they normally don't have a goal tracking code installed on the Thank You page, after people submit their details. I think that's a big piece that's missing because you don't really know, number one, what are the queries that are driving the Contact Us page, meaning are they using a certain keyword to get introduced to your offer, and to your website? I think that's one thing that's missing.

Kenn Costales: The other thing that's missing, I noticed, is that a lot of people don't install the Search Console inside their website. So, Search Console is basically this internal tool, within Google Analytics, that allows business owners to figure out which keywords are driving organic traffic to their website.

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KennCostales: So, I think those are the two things of which are missing, after the simple Google Analytics installation.

Doug Morneau: So, for our listeners who are not familiar with that, how difficult a process is that for you to set that up for somebody?

Kenn Costales: I think, for Google Search Console, I think it's a fairly straightforward process, but the thing is, the UI is so bad that it's hard to find that area. Yeah, maybe in the show notes or something, I can show that link, where people can, at least, set that up.

Doug Morneau: Yeah.

Kenn Costales: So, that one's fairly simple. As for the Google Tracking, I think it's a bit difficult for most people, I noticed, because it requires some awareness because sometimes they build a website, but it doesn't necessarily have a Thank You page. It could just have a thank you message.

Doug Morneau: Right, yeah.

Kenn Costales: If that is the interaction, then it gets really, really technical because it requires some additional JavaScript or some additional code to set up. But, if it's a thank you page like, say, for example, service.com/thank-you, then it's fairly straightforward because you can simply enter the URL into that goal tracking page, inside Google. Google would normally ask, “Hey, is there a URL that we can use as an identifier, that people have submitted the form?” At least, if your website is structured that way, where it has a proper Thank You page, then it's easy.

Kenn Costales: But, if not, if it's just a message, then it gets a bit more technical, and it requires some additional code to work out.

Doug Morneau: Well, I've just been updating some of my own stuff, for my own online lead generation and email signup, and one of the guests I had on my podcast last year talked about adding value at the thank you page. So, I've taken that to, if I'm promising people value if they sign up, you might as well start rewarding them right away, by giving them access to some private information, right on the Thank You page. “Hey, thanks for signing up, this is what I promised,” without making them go to the email. I think that's a great point, make sure you've got a thank you page set up, it's a good time to reinforce whatever it is they bought or sign up for, and to surprise them by adding some value while they're there.

Kenn Costales: Yeah. Yeah, that's definitely great because it is best practice, for sure, to have some item, or some PDF on the thank you page, something that demonstrates your expertise further.

Kenn Costales: Because normally, when people visit the website, there's normally a lack of trust. What they normally do is they try to go around the website, they try to understand your background, your history. And then, once they do sign up, it's not over yet, the selling process is not over, yet. So, having a PDF definitely makes a lot of sense, to build more trust and rapport with the potential client.

Doug Morneau: Now, what are you seeing for trends, in terms of lead generation? What are the best practices today, for businesses that are listening, or people that are in the service industry, that are looking to generate leads?

Kenn Costales: Sure. I've noticed two specific trends. I would split it into two, for SME businesses, and medium to large businesses, which work with a lot of enterprises.

Kenn Costales: So, when it comes to SMEs, I still think that Facebook ads is really, really strong in that space. But, not just Facebook ads, what I also notice a lot of small business owners do is that they also use organic Facebook as a platform. What I mean, organic Facebook, it's not your Facebook page, but rather it's you, Kenn Costales or Doug Morneau, that's actually adding business owners within Facebook, and they're using their own Facebook page to create original content.

Doug Morneau: So, you're talking about the personal page? Not my business page, but my personal page?

Kenn Costales: Exactly, your personal page. Because I think one major trend, nowadays, is that people don't buy brands, people buy people especially when you're dealing with small business owners. Using yourself as a personal brand, and making sure that your page is really active, with anything, really.

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The big hurdle that you need to overcome in growing revenue and leads is trust. Having your personal brand up and active helps solve that problem.

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Kenn  Costales: Normally, the best practice is not to be overly silly, so you should continue to still post your personal things there. I would say the ration is about 60, 40, so 60% business, 40% personal, just so the person can know you at a much more personal level. Because, from the looks of it, at least in the SME space, people buy people, and not necessarily brands. I think that's one interesting trend that I'm seeing, that's working really, really well for some of our clients.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, I've noticed that, as well. I've seen a few people that are doing that, and they're getting great engagement. I think it also if you want to look at it, it also gives people a better understanding of who you are. So often, they see a brand, whatever the brand is, and it's like, “Okay, the brand looks nice, it's got the right collateral, and it looks like a brand.” Where, when you get to the personal Facebook page, you get a glimpse at the person you see, “Hey, here I am with my wife, or my family, or my kids, or my grandkids, or on the soccer field,” so you get a better understanding of who the person is.

Kenn Costales: Definitely, definitely. That works really well, because again, the usual barrier is not necessarily how good you are, because I think people know that there is a lot of great talent across the world, or in your area. But, the big jump or the big hurdle that you need to overcome is really trust, and having that personal brand, up and active, helps solve that problem.

Doug Morneau: In terms of building trust, there's the personal page is one. What other opportunities do you think that you guys have been able to help your clients to speed that process up? It's just really, the question is, do you want to do it in a few weeks, or a month? Or, do you want to take years to do it?

Doug Morneau: How do you guys help people to do that?

Kenn Costales: Okay. So, in terms of how we help people do that is … The personal page or the personal branding is more on an emotional level, but there's also much more, I would say, logical level, which is on the website.

Kenn Costales: What we normally do to improve trust for B2B businesses is to do a lot of PDF downloadables, or basically, white papers or primers. It really depends on the industry. So, if it's in the SME space, it can be something like a free checklist, or a webinar that they can opt into. But, that's using, I would say, a language that makes sense for small business owners. But, if we serve someone in the enterprise B2B space, then the language becomes different.

Kenn Costales: So, it now becomes a white paper for, let's say, BIM services. BIM is like, building information modeling, for example. For these folks in the enterprise B2B space, the language becomes not a free checklist or free PDF, it now becomes primer, white paper. But, the concept on the marketing standpoint is still clear, which is you need to show and demonstrate value. You need to show that the company, or you as a person, know what you're doing, in terms of the service that you're trying to offer.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. That totally makes sense. I think, these days, there's so many people are subscribed to lists, or following you on social media, if you're not adding value, I'm just going to tune you out because it is just more noise.

Kenn Costales: Right, yeah. People default to … To be honest, in a very saturated world, it's really two things. Either you're the person who talks the most, or you're the person with the most unique ideas. Like, that's only the two things or the two ways that you can win in this much more crowded market.

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The big hurdle that you need to overcome in growing revenue and leads is trust. Having your personal brand up and active helps solve that problem.

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Doug Morneau: That's funny.

Kenn Costales: Yeah.

Doug Morneau: I'm afraid to find out what category I'm in, so I'm not going to ask.

Doug Morneau: When you're working with your clients and helping them to generate leads, how do you help them identify, and get quality leads? Opposed to just a tire kicker, or the wrong lead, someone just looking for information. I mean, often what I hear is the clients are confused with, what does it cost to get a lead, and are more worried about how many leads they get, and the cost. I'm more worried about the quality than I am either the cost or the number of leads. If we don't get the quality right, it doesn't seem to matter.

Doug Morneau: How do you guys help your clients optimize for that?

Kenn Costales: Sure. What we do there, is that we try to reverse engineer their sales process. What normally happens is that we have a meeting with the business development team, or the business owner if the business owner is leading the sales initiatives. What we try to diagnose is, really, two things.

Kenn Costales: One is we try to understand, who are the people that are talking to, and really understand their profile. For example, for one of our clients, this is for the construction services company. What they do is that they provide 3D modeling services, so it's really for architects, engineers, et cetera. What we did there was that we figured out that had four different target markets that they're serving. There are architects, there's engineers, general contractors, and business owners. That's one starting point.

Kenn Costales: The other question that we as is, okay, among those four target markets, which one was the most qualified leads? In terms of ease of closing, how fast can you close that particular persona or person? What's the value, or what's the contract value that you usually get, from this profile?

Kenn Costales: What we've learned is that architects seem to be good in terms of getting people to convert fast, and what's slow is definitely the general contractors or the business owners. Those are the two initial questions that we ask. So, that's the first level or the first layer.

Kenn Costales: But, there's also a second layer which is, okay, what are the types of information that we should get from these people? To use a different case study, because I think it's more clear, that other case study because it's a much more familiar space. But, in the interior design industry, when we talked with the business development team, they normally have criteria on what's a good size deal, and there's normally an indicator on how you could close a good-sized deal.

Kenn Costales: When we had that conversation with them, they've identified two factors, which are the location and size of the home. We have three targets in mind for them. It was either people who live in houses, people who live in condominiums, and people who live … not live, but business owners who need to furnish their office. There are certain criteria, that are normally location and size.

Kenn Costales: In simple terms, it's actually something that we don't know upfront, but rather it's something that reveals itself through a conversation. Normally, when we take on a B2B client, it's normally required that this B2B client has been in business for, about, a couple of years, minimum because it's only at that point where the business owner, or the business development team, know that what are the identifying factors that lead to a qualified lead. It's a piece of information that we only know through that initial diagnosis meeting or that initial conversation.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, that makes sense. I had interviewed a guest previously, we were talking about knowing your numbers. We got into the conversation of lifetime value, cost of acquisition. What's the time to close? Is it a 30-day sales cycle, or is it a six-month sales cycle?

Doug Morneau: You're right, as a new business, often you don't know that, you're just doing whatever you can to get some sales in the door, so you can keep the lights on, to figure out what's going to work, yeah.

Kenn Costales: Yeah, definitely. I wouldn't recommend, in general, for a B2B business to actually reach out to an agency early, early on. I would recommend until you get a good handle on your sales process, I think it's a responsibility that business owners or the executive team need to do first, before outsourcing it.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. Yeah, I guess, as you said, they've got to have enough revenue to justify having an agency, and they better have a really clear understanding of what their goals are, or you're going to have a meeting with them, and they're not going to know what to ask for.

Kenn Costales: Right, right. Exactly.

Doug Morneau: In terms of business, B2B stuff that we're talking about, I'm seeing lots of stuff on LinkedIn?

Kenn Costales: Yeah.

Doug Morneau: What's your thoughts on LinkedIn, or AdWords, or Facebook for lead generation? So, if you're looking at the three, do you want to just give us a highlight on what you see as the strategy or opportunity? Is one better than the other? Or, do you use all of them?

Kenn Costales: When it comes to larger businesses, LinkedIn outreach definitely works the best. For SMEs, I notice it's a mix. Actually, not a mix, but I have a strong preference for Facebook ads, still. Let me explain that.

Kenn Costales: For LinkedIn in particular, it works really well if the messaging is done correctly. So, I think one common mistake that I'm seeing is that, when people do these outreach activities to other people, they don't customize the messaging. It's like, “Hey,” there's no indication of the person's name, and they just use a standard template. Like, “Hey, this is what we're offering,” et cetera.

Kenn Costales: Now, I have an issue with that, because I think the mindset that you need to have when it comes to LinkedIn outreach is you need to ask yourself, what are the first things that you say when you get introduced to someone in a conference? So, when you're at a conference, you don't say something like, “Hey, this is what I do, this is what I offer. By the way, here's my PDF, download it online.” So, you don't go strong like that, in the initial conversation.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, yeah.

Kenn Costales: For me, for example, when I do my own personal LinkedIn outreach, it's very simple, and not sales-y at all.

Kenn Costales: For example, I would say something like, “Hey Mike, I noticed that you're in the eCommerce space. I just wanted to connect with other Founders in the space,” and that's pretty much it. It's very simple, non-sales-y, and it's really just an introduction, or literally just like a hello.

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HOW TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS’ REVENUE AND LEADS FASTER

The big hurdle that you need to overcome in growing revenue and leads is trust. Having your personal brand up and active helps solve that problem.

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Kenn Costales: Now, it actually links to what I've mentioned earlier about personal branding, because of personal branding, it's not just on the Facebook page, but you can also sync it with your LinkedIn because the selling isn't necessarily done in the outreach, or in the direct messages. But, the selling actually happens in your feed, so you need to provide a lot of content first. Because again, just going back to a point earlier, you'll need to go over the trust hurdle first.

Kenn Costales: People don't buy immediately, or they don't download your PDF outright, from the get-go, in the connection request. People download the PDF once they see that you're actually a sincere person, looking to help out.

Kenn Costales: Normally what happens is I do the outreach first, and I don't do any follow-ups. What I do then is that, for about seven to 14 days, they get to see my content in my feed. And after seven to 14 days, I then reach out and say, “Hey, we have a …” Not saying we have space, but, “We have this thing, let's say it's a PDF or webinar, totally complimentary, totally free. Maybe you're interested since you're also in the same space.” So, that's where the selling happens right after you've done some work in building trust through your feed.

Kenn Costales: That's how I would structure it, so it's not like hard-selling, like in a cold call translated to LinkedIn outreach. The process for social selling is actually quite different.

Doug Morneau: No, I agree. I'm just asking because we're both in the same space, and I'm always surprised at how many pitches I get, for LinkedIn outreach, and how poorly they're done.

Doug Morneau: I was looking at my Spam folder in my business account, and I've got … How many do I have? I have one, two, three, four, five … I have five appointments in the last two days, or five emails in the last two days, of people offering to have a phone call with me, to help me grow my business through LinkedIn outreach.

Kenn Costales: Wow.

Doug Morneau: You notice that I started with, “They're in my Spam folder?”

Kenn Costales: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug Morneau: So, I can only assume that if I hired them, that their messages to my prospects would be in the Spam folder, as well.

Kenn Costales: Right.

Doug Morneau: There's an example of how not to do it, as opposed to, as you say, build the relationship first. I've been guilty of that, I've tried with my LinkedIn before, where I've sent a canned message, had my EA send a long message. I'm thinking, hang on a sec. Nobody types five paragraphs of content into the LinkedIn chat. It's short and sweet because it's like sending a text message.

Kenn Costales: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Don't get me wrong, I also did that, as well, before. I think as marketers, we just experiment with everything, so we see something in the marketplace, you assume that it works for them, so you try it out as well. But, over time you test out different messages, soft sell, hard sell, and all that. Then, over time, at least me, I started to realize that hey, soft-selling actually works much, much better.

Kenn Costales: At least, in terms of response rates, it used to be higher before. I think the response rate three to five years ago was about 17%. Now, the standard rate that I'm seeing, at least for some of my clients, about seven to nine percent. Response rate meaning, they actually reply to the outreach that I sent out. So, they don't just accept, but they also reply. That's the rate that I'm seeing, so far.

Kenn Costales: By and large, if you still zoom out and compare it to Facebook ads, or Google Ads, that's still a good number. Because, if you think about it, people who download your PDF through Facebook ads, it's a very, very low number, I think it's about 2% or 3%. So as compared to LinkedIn outreach, which is about 7%, in terms of the hard numbers, you still get a better probability of closing a deal through LinkedIn outreach.

Doug Morneau: Then, how does that compare to using Google AdWords? I mean, I'm assuming you take a multimedia approach for your client advertising?

Kenn Costales: Right. For Google AdWords, it's a bit tricky because it really depends on the industry. Not because of the quality of the keywords, but simply because of the fierce competition.

Kenn Costales: I think, as a general rule, when you're in a space, like say, for example, IT staffing. One of our clients tries to help out businesses to find IT, staff, whether it is a developer, or whether it is customer support, or a network engineer, overseas, so maybe in Asia or in Europe. At least, for that space, since it's extremely, extremely competitive, it's really hard for them to compete in what are normally construed as the right keywords.

Kenn Costales: For example, IT staffing in, let's say, Ukraine or something. The cost per click there is extremely difficult, just because there's so much demand. I think it's about $15 to about $25 per click. At least for them, it's really, really tough in that space. What we do for clients like theirs is that we do, just what I mentioned earlier in the diagnostic process, which is we really break it down. Okay, let's not focus on the keyword, but rather we should focus on the audience, or we should focus on the market. Can you tell me, what are the different markets, or what are the different audiences that you serve? What are the different services that you serve?

Kenn Costales: What we concluded was that, in terms of opportunity areas, the opportunity area where there's not a lot of competition is AWS developer. Because that is a very niche industry, within the IT staffing space. So, hire AWS developer, or offshore AWS developer. AWS is Amazon Web Services. You can see how niche we got there, so that's one opportunity area. The other opportunity area that we found was NetSuite developer, as well.

Doug Morneau: Sure.

Kenn Costales: From a very broad term, which is web developers, we really niched down to the keywords which are less competitive, which results in a better cost per click, and an eventually better cost per lead.

Kenn Costales: At the same time, since we also had that qualified leads discussion early on, we also identified people who click these ads, or rather search for these keywords, they're also, as we've identified, qualified leads. That's what's working right now, on Google Ads.

Doug Morneau: Well, I think to your point of qualifying them by drilling down on the keyword, for example using NetSuite, you get an idea of the quality of a person who's a NetSuite developer, versus just trying to look for computer programmers or IT professionals. You're really niching it down, like you said, so less competition.

Kenn Costales: Correct.

Doug Morneau: Higher quality response, somebody that fits the bill that you're looking for.

Kenn Costales: Right.

Doug Morneau: What about negative keywords? Do you guys use negative keywords at all, to detract people, or repel people from clicking, that isn't your audience?

Kenn Costales: Yes. You should definitely do negative keywords.

Kenn Costales: In terms of how we do it, the way we do it is that we normally use a tool. At least, internally, we use this tool called KeywordTool.io. What it does is that once you input a root keyword, so say, for example, web developer, what it does is that it produces all of the other words that are usually searched alongside web developer, so for example, AWS web developer, among others.

Kenn Costales: There's a huge list there, and what we do is that we figure out which of the keywords are not indicators of a qualified lead. The best way to figure it out is to actually look into it, one by one. What we do is that, when we see a keyword, what we do is that we search it ourselves, and then we look at the search results to figure out if the results show other service businesses, or if it's something else. Because the concept that you need to understand as well when doing this is the concept of search intent.

Kenn Costales: Google wouldn't put things on the search page if they didn't feel like, or they didn't think that it is relevant to their customer. So, the algorithm actually adjusts to the customer, when they showed the search results page. For example, if you search for something like, … Let's use a simple example, like bedsheets. If you search for bedsheets, and you see a lot of general informational content about bedsheets, and not necessarily a bedsheet product, then what that normally indicates is that people are still educating themselves in that space. If there's a lot of products there, they're actually not looking for that specific product that you're selling.

Kenn Costales: So, instead of that keyword, you need to choose something like to say, for example, bamboo bedsheets, because there are some bedsheets that use bamboo as an internal component, or internal ingredient. So, if you see a lot of products or service listings there, then what that indicates to you is that people are actually looking for a service or a product, at that point. In other words, it's a high intent keyword or a highly qualified keyword.

Kenn Costales: Going back to the KeywordTool.io story, which I mentioned earlier. What we normally do is that, for that 1000 … Not 1000, but 100 to 200 plus keywords, we actually check it, one by one. And, if we see a keyword which is not qualified, we take out one of the words in that keyword, and then use it as a negative keyword. It's a very tedious process, but it's the right process when it comes to this marketplace. It's getting really, really competitive, and the ones who usually win are the ones who make that extra effort, in checking all of the keywords. That's what I do for negative keywords.

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Doug Morneau: Yeah, that totally makes sense. I mean, even if you think about the buyer's journey when people might use a tool like one of the websites that rates … you know, one of the rating sites, or the competitive sites, so you start your research there. If I'm looking for a piece of software, I might go to one of those sites where it says, “Hey, let's compare Salesforce to NetSuite.”

Kenn Costales: Yeah.

Doug Morneau: While I'm clearly not ready to buy yet, I'm trying to figure out what one I should buy, opposed to if I'm searching on Salesforce, and then I'm a better leader if you're using that as a keyword.

Kenn Costales: Yeah.

Doug Morneau: One of the things that we've done because we work in the equities market, often helping people raise money, is we'll put the minimum investment level right in the ad. It's not a bragging point, it's just the opposite. If you're not a sophisticated investor, and you can't invest $50,000 US, we really don't want you click on the ad, because you're wasting our resources, and more than that, you're wasting your own time because, at the end of the day, it's not a fit for you.

Kenn Costales: Right, right. Yeah, that definitely helps as well, putting a … we call it a qualifier. You put a qualifier up front, in the ad.

Kenn Costales: What normally happens is that the cost per click will get higher, but in terms of the qualified leads that people are actually looking for, they tend to be much, much happier. I think, in terms of the bait, which is volume over quality, I think after working with a whole bunch of B2B folks, quality is almost always way, way more important than quantity. So, they're much happier to see one solid lead for a quarter, if their real value is, let's say, $50,000 plus. Like, just having that one qualified lead per month, or even per quarter is more than enough for them, and it just pays out the fee that we're charging them for.

Doug Morneau: Well, I think the other thing you need to consider too, is that the cost of the lead is only part of that.

Kenn Costales: Right.

Doug Morneau: That the behind the lead, you've got it going into a CRM, and then you've got a salesperson. How many times is that salesperson going to take their time, to call that person, or email them, or text them, to get to the point where they get, “No, I'm not qualified?” So, the cost of the lead goes way up, way beyond what you've spent on advertising because now you're taking people resources, and directing them there.

Kenn Costales: Yeah, that's a great insight. There's a hidden cost, definitely. I think the best term is you need to go beyond the cost per lead, but you also need to look at the cost per qualified marketing lead, almost. You can only factor that in, once you can factor in the salesperson's time, so that's definitely a great insight.

Doug Morneau: Well, as you said, once you've been in business for a while, you know. You know that it takes three months to close a deal, and the average deal is X, and your salesperson closes X percentage. So, it probably makes your work a little bit easier, if they can share that data with you, as you're helping them build out their marketing strategy?

Kenn Costales: Right, right. Definitely.

Doug Morneau: A couple of questions for you. What are you most excited about, in the next year, in your business? I mean, the world's changing so fast, now. I heard somebody, just the other day say, “It's never been cheaper, easier to get into a business online.” Here, we have a rush of people coming into the business.

Doug Morneau: What keeps you awake at night, with excitement?

Kenn Costales: At least, on a personal level, the way I'm trying to evolve my business is that we're trying to transition to what's called a hybrid agency. What they mean by a hybrid agency is that, apart from giving services, to deliver higher ROI for clients, we also try to deliver higher ROI through software.

Kenn Costales: Internally, we're trying to translate whatever we're doing on a service level, or on a labor level, into a tooling or software level. That's really exciting for me because there are so many tools out there that enable even the least technical person to make their own version.

Kenn Costales: For example, there's this trend nowadays, that's called the No Code trend. There are tools which is kind of like a drag and drop tool, where you can make your own internal software. So, I think that's really, really empowering, not only for me, because it helps me expand my base of revenue channels, but it's also empowering for the general business owner because they can now have the power to create their own internal tools.

Kenn Costales: I think the best example for that is Bubble, Bubble.io. That's one good example of a No Code tool. Another tool that is getting really popular in Silicon Valley is Coda. So, it's C-O-D-A.IO, if I got that domain right. These are two software … Not really software, but these are the two No Code tools that are just driving change in the industry, and I think it's really exciting.

Doug Morneau: Well see, that's why I'm super excited to interview smart people like you because again, I learned a couple of new things. I've never heard of a no-code tool, before.

Kenn Costales: Yeah, it's amazing. You literally can … It doesn't do things like AI, or ML, but if it's something like a simple business application, you can build your own CRM, or your own, let's say, payroll management tool, using that software. It's really amazing.

Doug Morneau: That's really cool. What's some of the bad advice that you hear, in the industry? I mean, obviously you've got deep expertise in the industry, you're out serving clients, you're likely speaking at events, and attending trade shows. What's the advice that you overhear people offering up, in terms of marketing? That you say, “Hey, wrong advice?”

Kenn Costales: Yeah. I think there are two things that come into mind.

Kenn Costales: I think one piece of advice that I'm hearing, which I think is really bad is a new business can start off with paid ads, upfront. Like, on day one, you can start doing Facebook ads, or Google Ads. I think that's really, really bad because you don't really know what the right angle is for your business, or you don't know what the right target is for your business. So, doing all of that testing online, sure, it can be done, but it's really going to be costly.

Kenn Costales: I'm a big fan of doing things organically yourself, first. So, doing one on one sales, reaching out to your network, et cetera. It has to start organically first because one thing is that it's cheaper, so you won't go out of business after six months because you're running ads. Yeah, I think you need to do things organically, first.

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Kenn Costales: I noticed some folks approach us, with barely anything set up on their website, with little clients. Let's say, one or two clients. They want to start scaling. I think the concept here is that you shouldn't scale prematurely. Things need to happen organically, meaning you serve clients, and you need to see that these clients are referring you to other people. It means that customer or the client retention is healthy, it means that you know the right angle.

Kenn Costales: And, once you know the right angle, once you get the operations cleaned up, and well systematized, and well oiled, only then should you start looking for paid ads. That's the only time you should start scaling up your marketing and service. So, I think that's one bad advice that I heard.

Kenn Costales: The other bad advice is, I think, for many small business owners, you just get saturated with all of these direct response tactics. Do you know what I mean? It's the ads which have really, really long ad copy, and stuff. I think that's okay if you're targeting other small business owners, and targeting people who are in the marketing and sales space. That's totally fine if you're targeting folks like that. But, if you apply the same concepts to other industries, like say, for example, construction, or in more traditional spaces, or in food, it just doesn't work.

Kenn Costales: What I normally advise, when people are exposed to that advice, is that you need to look at the marketing principal behind it. You try to understand what the person is actually doing, on a marketing level. You don't have to do the hard sales stuff, but you try to understand the principals. For example, we need to learn how to empathize, we need to learn how to design an offer, we need to learn how to create additional value. Then, you start with these concepts, and you translate it in a way that makes sense for your industry, makes sense for your brand, because the direct response isn't exactly a long term strategy. It does get your sales in the short run, but it's not sustainable in the long run, they can't do all of these direct response things, all the time.

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Kenn Costales: So, at least for industries like the construction space, or in the much more traditional spaces, short-form is actually better, and less hard selling can also be better. I think direct response, again, it works in certain contexts, in certain spaces, but I think the key thing that people need to take out, there, is that you need to understand the marketing principal behind it, and then you try to translate that principle into what works for your industry. So, it takes a bit of experience, I guess, how to figure that out. But, I think that's one bad advice that I'm hearing.

Doug Morneau: Well, I think you're right. If you're selling face to face and having conversations with customers, you very quickly start to learn what their objections are, their concerns are, why they're doing business with you, why they chose you over the competitor, what research they did before they came to you, as a business, so you get that market insight. I won't say it's for free, but virtually for free. You know, you've closed the sale. Then, as you said, you can take those findings, and then find an agency, like your agency, to work with, and say, “Hey, this is what I know,” and shorten that learning curve on digital advertising, and reduce the cost by starting out with a good baseline, and some base knowledge.

Kenn Costales: Definitely, yeah. That's definitely correct. That will definitely increase your probability of success.

Doug Morneau: And, hopefully, reduce your advertising costs, and time to make your advertising produce?

Kenn Costales: Definitely, yeah.

Doug Morneau: So, who's one guest I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Kenn Costales: So, I think there's this guy named Ben Kochavy, so B-E-N K-O-C-H-A-V-Y. He's this growth marketing consultant in Los Angeles. He does a lot of great work for startups, whether it is in the B2B or B2C space. I think he specializes more in the B2B space. But, I think he shares my mindset, where you need to do a lot of experimentation before you find the right angle before you find the right ad before you start scaling.

Kenn Costales: He also takes a strategic approach, meaning he will look at all of the channels first, analyze it, test it out. And then, if there's a channel that works much, much better than the rest, then he scales that up further. Because again, I think one philosophy that I have, before working on a client is we need to understand first, what's the right channel? Is it LinkedIn, is it Facebook, is it Instagram, et cetera? You only get to know that through broad testing which is what he also does.

Doug Morneau: Super, I appreciate the referral. If you have access to his contact information, if you'd introduce us, that'd be amazing.

Kenn Costales: Sure.

Doug Morneau: I'll reach out to him, and get him on the show.

Kenn Costales: Awesome.

Doug Morneau: Next, most important question is, Kenn, where is the best place that people can find you online, connect with you, your agency, learn more about what you're doing, and how you help your clients make more money?

Kenn Costales: Sure, there are a couple of channels. There is on my website, MonolithGrowth.com. Once you get to that website, there is a form where you can opt-in for a free, complimentary audit. It's like a 30, 40 complimentary analysis slides, which I mentioned earlier. The booking form there actually goes straight to me, so it doesn't go to a business development manager, or anything like that, because I want to make sure that we show our value. The booking calendar there goes straight to me, so that's one area.

Kenn Costales: The other area where you can reach out to me, as well, is through LinkedIn. I'm very active on LinkedIn, so we can have a chat there if you prefer that channel.

Doug Morneau: Cool. Yeah, I'm looking at your LinkedIn profile, it's a great way to connect.

Doug Morneau: I just want to say thanks for taking time out of your day, today, and just being generous and sharing with our listeners, your experience from years of helping lots of companies to be more successful.

Kenn Costales: Awesome, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Doug Morneau: There you go, listeners, there's another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. We had Kenn Costales, Founder, and Lead Consultant at Monolith Growth Consulting. I hope that you took some notes today, I know I took a whole page of notes. My writing was getting smaller at the bottom, as I was taking more notes.

Doug Morneau: Make sure you check out his website, or check him out on LinkedIn, and see how his marketing approach works on LinkedIn. I am sure excited to have this conversation with him, and hopefully, it added lots of value. So, we look forward to serving you in our next episode.

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Links to other related podcasts and or blog posts:

HOW TO TARGET, CONNECT AND CONVERT SALES LEADS

USING LINKEDIN FOR PROSPECTING, LEADS, & SALES