Local Marketing Hero – Brian Saemann

Local Marketing Hero – Brian Saemann

July 2, 2019 Failure 0
Brian Saemann

Digital Marketing Strategist Brian Saemann

Successful entrepreneur, teacher, lover of the underdog, a wildly unreasonable person and a Local Marketing Hero. Brian Saemann

Welcome Brian, Why are you unreasonable?
⦁ what is a Local Marketing Hero?
⦁ Why did you become an entrepreneur?
⦁ Why a teacher?
⦁ In case someone doesn’t know What does a digital marketing consultant do?

  • What marketing mistakes do you see most often?
    ⦁ Why do you think entrepreneurs are made, not born?
    ⦁ Do you run PPC ads on Adwords?
    ⦁ Is it still possible today to start a digital marketing agency without a budget?
    ⦁ Have you ever had a marketing campaign go terribly wrong? (like site down, or product not ready)
    ⦁ What’s your opinion about entrepreneurs in college and the amount of student debt they rack up?
    ⦁ Does the give give give, take (jab jab jab right hook) still work
    ⦁ whats your relationship with Go beyond SEO
    ⦁ how do you currently generate leads for your own business
    ⦁ What’s the difference between an entrepreneur and a freelancer?
    ⦁ What’s a local marketing hero?
    ⦁ How important is social proof?
    ⦁ Is honesty the new marketing hack?
    ⦁ What do you think when people say marketing is deceiving? (due to photoshop, 3D renderings, basically selling the dream)
    ⦁ In marketing, for many years I’ve heard of the law of 7, where… does that law still apply today
    ⦁ How did you get over your fears to start your own business?

What marketing mistakes do you see most often?
⦁ Why do you think entrepreneurs are made, not born?
⦁ Do you run PPC ads on Adwords?
⦁ Is it still possible today to start a digital marketing agency without a budget?
⦁ Have you ever had a marketing campaign go terribly wrong? (like site down, or product not ready)
⦁ What’s your opinion about entrepreneurs in college and the amount of student debt they rack up?
⦁ Does the give give give, take (jab jab jab right hook) still work
⦁ whats your relationship with Go beyond SEO
⦁ how do you currently generate leads for your own business
⦁ What’s the difference between an entrepreneur and a freelancer?
⦁ What’s a local marketing hero?
⦁ How important is social proof?
⦁ Is honesty the new marketing hack?
⦁ What do you think when people say marketing is deceiving? (due to photoshop, 3D renderings, basically selling the dream)
⦁ In marketing, for many years I’ve heard of the law of 7, where… does that law still apply today
⦁ How did you get over your fears to start your own business?


how to start a business,
how to become a marketing consultant,
starting a marketing agency,
how to start a business with no money,
how to get marketing agency clients



Quin: Welcome, everyone, to the show. Today, we have a very successful entrepreneur, teacher, lover of the underdog, a widely unreasonable person and a local marketing hero. With us today, we have Brian Saemann. How’s it going, Brian?

Brian: It’s going great, Quin. Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Quin: No problem, Brian. Why are you unreasonable?

Brian: [laughs] Well, I consider myself pretty unreasonable ’cause I think I’ve taken a bit of alternative path than most people. The unreasonableness came when I quit my job and started a local marketing business. When I started my business, I was still working full-time. 

I guess this is a little bit reasonable, but people don’t think of doing it this way, I did stay at my job and I built my business on the side as a side hustle, and then it took me about 18 months before I could leave my full-time job and have my business support me and my family.

Took me a little while to get it going. I was figuring everything out along the way. I made my mistakes, had some failures, will probably get them still. But it was a great ride and I’m so glad I did it. Years later now, looking back, I can’t imagine life any other way.

Quin: That’s perfect. My opinion is that you did the right way. I hear a lot of people like, “I’m gonna quit tomorrow and start a business.” I’m like, “Start a business first.” I did it like you, running it on the side while I do my 9-5 9-9, whatever it was. And on the side, while you’re getting paid by somebody else, you can do a bit of work for yourself, right?

Brian: Yeah, absolutely. Entrepreneurs, especially the big tech entrepreneurs, they’ve become almost like athletes or movie stars. We know their names, we follow their careers. In the tech world, that’s what people do. They go, they get a huge sum of money from somebody and that’s their investment. They’re always raising funds in this than the other. 

But for people like us, we’re just trying to support our families and have a business that works. Sticking around in your job, not asking for outside funding. Not going into debt. Getting a proof of concept and getting customers, and knowing that it works, and knowing that your customers are happy, I think it’s the only way to go. That’s the only way to go.

Quin: I agree. What made you become an entrepreneur?

Brian: I would say that I really wanted to be one for a long time but I just didn’t really know what to do. I was always looking into different opportunities and different side hustles. I just knew for whatever reason my personality just didn’t match with having a job. It just didn’t.

I was a really good employee, actually. I won employee of the year, places I was at, so I don’t want to come off like I didn’t like my job or I wasn’t good at it or anything like that. Just deep down, I knew that I wanted to work for myself. I do have a saying that entrepreneurs are made, not born. 

You do hear a lot of the stories out there where people just like, “I had a lemonade stand when I was six, then I just knew I was gonna own my own business.” Or, “I was selling baseball cards.” Whatever the deal was. I don’t have that myth, that backstory. I went to college, I got a job, I started a career, and that was when I realized, though, I don’t think this is what I wanted to do. 

Entrepreneurship just wasn’t really an option up until that point. I was like, “I need to start exploring.” Explored a few different options. By exploring, I mean, I actually began doing them. I started some side hustles, started building some websites, started doing as much research as I could to figure out how to make some money, and then ended up really settling on my business now, which is doing lead generation for local businesses. That was the one that took off the most that I had the most fun with, and I love it.

Now, I’m really hoping to help other people learn how to do that, too. I’ve got a couple of students that I brought from being in the position I was in, where they had a job and they really didn’t like it and wanted to learn how to do this. I’ve helped them move along, and now I’d love to be able to help out more people.

Quin: That’s where Local Marketing Hero came.

Brian: Exactly. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. I’ve put together a course where I just show people exactly what they would need to do in order to start this business. I really just started this business in 2019. When I started back in about 2008, the landscape was very different. Now, there is an army of freelancers out there who are willing to do a lot of this work. I had to figure out a lot of this stuff on my own back then.

It’s definitely a little bit of a different path now but the fundamentals are the same. You’ve always gotta pay attention to the fundamentals. Lead generation’s obviously a big part of it. How you’re gonna find your clients, how to make sales, and how to run your business back. I’ve done a course for that and I’m trying to help people out, get them started. There’s a lot of people out there that would rather be doing that than the job they’re in. If I can help, I want to.

Quin: In 2008 is when you started the marketing agency?

Brian: The agency actually didn’t start in 2008, but that was when I really first started to explore how to make money online, how to build websites. I built my first website right in January of 2008. WordPress was out but it wasn’t really a big thing back then. I actually bought a course that taught me how to hard code and build my first website in HTML. 

It took me forever but I got it going. I just learned things the hard way. Now, you could go on Freelancer.com and have a much better, more robust, more powerful website in two or three days ’cause a freelancer could do it for you.

Quin: I know exactly what you’re saying. 

Brian: [laughs]

Quin: Back then, 2008, 2007, it would’ve been HTML on a Wordpad or a Notepad, or Dreamweaver. 

Brian: That’s what it was. It was Dreamweaver. That’s what it was, yup.

Quin: That was a fortune to buy the Dreamweaver software. [laughs]

Brian: Yup. I think it was probably later that year when I discovered WordPress, and it was still in a

[inaudible 06:51]

 so it had some issues, but I was just like, “Wow. This is amazing. This is so much better.” The agency started in 2010. It was the end of 2010 when the agency really started to get some traction. Then, in 2011 was when it became official. 

I can remember the first couple of years talking with people that they needed help on their website, so I’d be talking to their webmaster and their webmasters hated WordPress. They’re all like, “No, you have to build in Dream, man.” I can feel their pain. Their jobs were threatened. It really went from needing to have this very specific technical skills to not needing it anymore.

Quin: Isn’t that incredible, the difference back then? Doing the website in Dreamweaver to today, going in any platform. A couple plates and 10 minutes, you have a website up, eCommerce store site up, funnels. 

Man, I remember I did something similar to you, learning HTML and trying to code websites by myself without actually going to school for it. Man, I’m lost where I was going with this.

Brian: I thought.

Quin: At one point, I started doing Google searches for script. Like website script that are pre-done. I bought one and I ended up getting website that was getting hundreds of thousands of visits per month. The first time it broke, I realized it was in PHP and I had no idea what PHP was, so then I have to learn another one.


Brian: [laughs] Yup. It’s a big rabbit hole. You can go down for a long time.

Quin: Yes, sir.

Brian: But that’s awesome. I’m sorry to interrupt you, but you had a hundred thousand visits going to a website back then? What was the topic there? That sounds awesome.

Quin: It was a video website. Actually, it was the infancy still of Youtube. Well, infancy compared to today. But at the time I had the site which was some of the most viral videos from Youtube embedded into my site. Originally, it was like that. There was one point they were just downloaded directly from Youtube to my site, which they didn’t allow anymore. They ended up removing my AdSense because of that. I couldn’t have AdSense on the site because I was downloading the videos.


Brian: Got you. I remember AdSense. I definitely had a couple of AdSense sites as well.

Quin: You mentioned that entrepreneurs are made and not born. I hear that a lot, too. That “It’s in his blood,” and those kind of things which I don’t agree with. Nobody is pre-born being an entrepreneur. You learn it or you see somebody doing it. Maybe your parents, maybe a neighbor, so I agree with you with that. That means you were not born an entrepreneur. Did you have a mentor? Somebody that you look up to?

Brian: That’s a great question. I wouldn’t say that I really had a mentor around entrepreneurship, but when I was younger, my dad was an entrepreneur. My dad owned a Deli and he had a partner in that Deli. I was probably around 10 years old when he sold it. I was young when he owned it. 

But I did get going to work with him and get to experience that this is something he owned and I was the boss’s kid so I felt like I had a stake. I would go in and I would help out around there. That was definitely a formative experience for me. But then, like I said, I was about 10 when he sold it. It was formative but it wasn’t necessarily the years where you’re really grown and they’re trying to figure out what you’re gonna do with your life. Back then, all that I wanted to be was the center fielder for the New York match.

I would say through high school and college, I really focused much more on trying to build a career and things like that. Then, I would say when I really started to look into becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve had a lot of mentors ’cause I’m a big reader. I read a lot of books. I try to take each one of those as a mentor, really. 

Now, I’m not having conversations with these folks but they have spent hundreds of hours curating this content and when they’re doing research or just sharing their thoughts and their beliefs. I’ve had Tony Robbins, Jim Collins, Tim Ferriss. I would say Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek book definitely hit home for me when that came out. I’ve got the copy around here. It is underlined and earmarked and highlighted. That’s one that I go back to over and over again.

Quin: I guess Tim Ferriss did that to a lot of people.

Brian: He sure did. He sure did.

Quin: He’s still today on the top of the bestseller’s list. Just today, listening to a podcast, the host read it for the first time this week. There’s still people out there that continue reading it now. 

Brian: He released his new one where he’s got some case studies in there and some success stories, people who were taking the advice from the first look and build businesses like he recommended in there. And he’s still coming out with new books. He’s got a great podcast, too. He’s definitely an influence. 

Quin: When it comes to, for example, the digital marketing a few years ago, if somebody wanted to start it, it would be just like anything else. The early stages, it’s always easier to start some things. Is it a lot different today and a lot harder to start something like that?

Brian: I would say this is a lot different. To be honest, I think it’s a lot easier. It was a little easier back then because it was so new, everybody was interested in it. Everybody wanted to talk about it. But there’s a big difference between being interested in talking and actually purchasing something whereas now, businesses know, “I’ve gotta advertise online.” 

They know it. They know it from day one, so you don’t necessarily have to convince people. But I would say that you’d get started much differently. When I started, I wasn’t actually out to build an agency. I was out to really just build some websites that generated income. Like you, I had AdSense websites, I had an information products website, I had some eCommerce websites which now the big thing is Amazon stores. 

I did all of those things and it was through doing those websites and trying to build those businesses which never really made it. There were some sites that made a few hundred dollars a month and that was nice, I wasn’t complaining. But nothing really made it to the level of a full-time income. 

Because I was developing these skills, I started to get requests from people I know like, “Hey, could you help me with my business? I need help with my website. I need to get more people to my website. I need to start making sales for my website.” It started off like that, very organically, and I started helping them, and then I realized this is where the opportunity really is.

I loved it because it gave me the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs instead of just gaining alone in my office, plugging away in the middle of the night. It gave me the opportunity to work with business owners, get to know them, help them with their businesses. It’s very satisfying when you create a campaign and it starts bringing in customers for somebody who owned the business. They really like that. 

That’s why I called it Local Marketing Hero ’cause you get the opportunity to really feel like a hero sometimes. When you get an email from people, or a text, and they’re just thrilled ’cause they just closed a huge deal and you had a big impact on their life, I love that. I wasn’t really out to start an agency, it just happened.

Now, you really could make the choice, “I’m gonna start agency.” Because you do have those army of freelancers behind you, you don’t have to learn all of the skills. You don’t have to stay up until two, three in the morning learning HTML like you and I did. 

Of course, there’s always trade-offs. Are you gonna pay in time or are you gonna pay in money? We were able to pay in time back then, and you can still pay in time now. But if you do have some money that you can invest, then you can pay a freelancer. You can get things going much, much more quickly. 

The beauty of this business, too, is that it’s a great cash flow business. Typically, you get paid by the client before you go do the work so if you’re gonna hire a freelancer, you can look upright. Let’s say I’m gonna try to do Facebook advertising for gyms in my town. You’d go to a local gym or fitness center, you can try to put together a campaign for them, and then you don’t have to go get the freelancer until after they have agreed. You don’t necessarily have to have the money on hand in order to get started.

Quin: That’s a really good point. How about the scale? If, for example, you mentioned Facebook ads, if somebody starting today wants to start an agency and they get a request for Facebook ads, do you believe that the person, in this case has started agency, needs that skill or they can just go and outsource it?

Brian: They need to understand skill. I do think that you need to realize how campaigns are set up. You need to realize some of the strategic things around it, and all of that is readily available. You don’t need a degree, you don’t need to go to college for this. This is all you learn by reading blogs, by listening to podcasts, by finding people who have done it and asking them questions.

There’s tons of groups on Facebook that are dedicated to running Facebook ads. There’s people in there, you can ask them questions. There’s all kids of ways to educate yourself. Self-education is so much more valuable than a formal education. I do think you need to understand it. I do think you need to be able to get strategic. What you don’t need to do is spend the time in the nitty-gritty nonsense of it.

If you’re able to approach freelancers like, “Hey, here’s my strategy here. Here’s the audience that I wanna show the ads to.” You develop that, and then you hand it all to a freelancer to actually just go in and implement, and create the ads and start the campaign running, that’s probably best balance. 

If you’re just getting started, maybe doing the first one on your own is not a bad idea. Spend that time in Facebook getting familiar with what you would need to do so that you could give better instructions later to a freelancer. As soon as you can, outsource that to a freelancer ’cause that really opens up your time to go out and work on your business, not in your business. It gives you more time and energy to go get new clients and to just look at different ways you can grow your business and work on your business as opposed to sitting in front of your computer. 

Quin: Nice. I wanna ask you about something, and you kinda touched on it already so I think I already know your opinion about it. I wanna ask you about entrepreneurs going to college for few years and racking up a huge amount of student loan debt. What’s your opinion when it comes to the entrepreneurs in college?

Brian: You see now that entrepreneurship is available as a major in some colleges now, which I don’t really understand. To me, college in entrepreneurship, not very at odds, but it doesn’t seem like the right place to learn entrepreneurship. That, I guess, is the way to put it. I should say I did go to college. I went, I got my degree, my degree has been philosophy, so it wasn’t exactly super useful when I got out.

I do think that there’s some value in college. As far as racking up debt, absolutely not. I have two sons now. They’re 13 and 9, and I already told them like, “You cannot rack up debt. I don’t care if you stay home for school. Whatever it is, there will be no racking up of debt ’cause that buries you. It puts you so far behind

[inaudible 20:15]

 and as an 18-year old kid, you have no idea what you’re doing to yourself and you take out those [inaudible 20:20]. You have no idea.”

I’m really trying to teach my kids that you don’t have to go to college. We’ll see how it goes. We’re still a few years away but I would love if my sons were interested in starting a business. I’d rather take money and help them start a business than send them to college necessarily. I definitely don’t think you need college to be an entrepreneur. 

I do understand that living in our culture is hard for some people. They just don’t know what to do. They’ve been told what to do their whole life. They graduate from high school and what everybody’s telling them to do is go to college. If you come along and you’re like, “No. You don’t have to go to college,” they’re like, “Okay, but what do I do?”

It’s a little bit of the paradox choice. Yes, there’s a whole world out there. But I would love to see kids at that age, if you got into a business and you just really approach the business owner and said, “I just wanna learn everything. I wanna learn how you run your business and learn the different things I should be looking at,” a business owner would love that. They would absolutely love that.

I’ve got a friend here who started a pretty small business after high school cleaning carpet. He didn’t go to college, he just started a carpet cleaning business and then reinvested in it, reinvested in it, and he’s doing great. He’s doing a lot better than a lot of us who went. He still has some regrets, though, about not going. It’s a weird thing in our society. People, really, still like, “You have to go.”

Quin: It’s a program. I follow a gentleman with the name of Bruce Lipton, and he always mentions that we, as humans, are living a program since the day we’re born. We’re always told what to do and what we can and cannot do. It’s like we’re programmed for certain things. 

Then, when it comes to colleges, the original intent of college was to train factory workers, so basically, it’s the opposite of entrepreneurship. Train people how to work for somebody else and then it developed into what we know today. I agree with your opinion, too. And I agree if my kids wanted to become entrepreneurs, I know that there’s a lot of online training, basically, and online world is the future that I see now.

Brian: Absolutely. Let’s say you just really wanted a college, you can go to MIT for free. I mean, for free. All of their classes are available online for free. Now, they’re not gonna give you the piece of paper at the end. You’re not gonna get that degree out of it, but you could get all of the education out of it. 

The world’s changing, especially in the education space. It’s changing so fast now and it doesn’t matter what you wanna learn, you’re gonna be able to find a course on it. The thing that I love about that is that most of those courses are created by people who actually did it. You go to college to learn entrepreneurship, well, if this professor’s never been an entrepreneur, how much can they really teach you? It’s really important to learn from people who’ve actually done what you wanna do. I see the educational world changing dramatically.

You’re right, it was kind of a training ground for factory workers, really, is why we have the school system here in Canada, but I’m in the States, school systems are close enough. It was really to get people off the farms and get them into factories. That kind of wrote job now, like the factory worker job, they’re going away. They’re all being automated now. The jobs of the future are gonna be jobs that require imagination, jobs that require creativity, emotional labor. You don’t learn those things in college, you learn those things by experiencing life. 

Quin: When it comes to marketing, back in the day, there was a lot of people that used to say that marketing is deceiving, and I somewhat agree with that. You know we have to do Photoshop, 3D renderings of the product instead of the photography of that product.I don’t know if this is a new marketing hack, I see a lot of honesty as a new cool selling feature. 

Brian: Absolutely.

Quin: You think that honesty is a new marketing hack?

Brian: It is a little bit. It really started like you don’t hear these buzz words so much anymore, but a couple years ago when social media really started to explode, authenticity was the big thing. I gotta authentic, I gotta be transparent, and that’s true. You wanna be authentic. But what people were missing back then was, I talk to my mom differently than I talk to my kids differently than I’m talking to you right now differently than I talk to my wife. 

All of them are authentic, they’re all real, but they’re all just different versions of me. When you’re doing your marketing, that’s another version. I do think that I don’t wanna see honesty get manipulated now. It has become a little bit of a shortcut, but only if they truly are being honest. What happened was people realized that authenticity and transparency were really important so they became “authentic and transparent”, but not really. 

I remember reading a story about a girl. I’m not gonna remember her name, but she was doing something on Instagram whether it was fashion or interior design, whatever the deal was. She was making some money. She had a lot of followers, whatever it was, but she would set her computer up and her phone up so that it only shot one half of her apartment which was immaculate beautiful, and then the other half on the other side of the computer was just as advanced. You might be able to pull something off for a little while not being honest but, long-term, you’re gonna sabotage yourself. You’re not gonna be able to pull it off forever.

Quin: Exactly. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Like it’s, “Here, I’m being honest with you, but the bit of honesty that I want you to know is not the full [inaudible 26:50].” That’s something that we see now more and more and, actually, I believe that’s causing depression in some of the younger generation. The fact that people host all these nice things and, of course, even us, we post what we want to be seen.

Brian: Sure. Of course.

Quin: When people see your image or the image of that Instagram girl, they imagine the reality. It’s not really what she’s putting out. Each person imagines their reality and that, I guess, seems to be unstoppable right now.

Brian: Yeah. Facebook, it’s a highlight for you. We only put up the stuff that we would want other people to see, but that doesn’t mean our life is only full of highlights. I agree with you, it does lead to some depression. I’m really careful with my son who is nearly a teenager. He doesn’t have a phone. I don’t want it to be in his face all day, even as an adult.

I didn’t have my first smartphone, I was probably 35. I don’t remember what it exactly was but it was around there. Even still, I’ve got the hardcore habit of just being on this thing all the time. If you start at 10, 11, 12 years old, when are you ever gonna look up? I really don’t want him to get too involved in it. It’s impossible to not be involved with some level in today’s world. It’s something we all need to really think about and be careful about.

Quin: Man, it’s like we’re the same person because I agree. My kids are not teenagers yet. It’s a big fear of mine already that it’s like having a third arm, that cellphone is always attached to everybody.

Brian: Yeah.

Quin: That’s brings me to a good marketing point which is when social media gets involved with marketing, something that marketers can use to their benefit, and sometimes against them, and that social proof, how important is social proof in your line of business?

Brian: Social proof is pretty important. You don’t necessarily need to use social media for social proof. Let’s just say you’re sending somebody to a landing page for whatever product it might be, doesn’t even matter. If you can show testimonials, that is social proof. You’re gonna be able to show like, “Hey, look, there’s a community of people that really think this product is awesome.”

Social proof is really like one of those factors that you always want to show on a product. If you’re the type of business that has a big social media following and you can get people excited about your stuff, and then they can display that excitement on social media, that’s gonna be pretty valuable for you, too.

Quin: I see it everywhere. At eCommerce sites, on the bottom left, you see the

[inaudible 30:02]

 that, “Joe somewhere just bought this.”

Brian: Exactly.

Quin: There’s some that are actually 100% verified purchases. Others are kinda made up social proof.

Brian: You do see that a lot, and that’s unfortunate. That’s where, let’s say, 30-40 years ago, we’ve started to understand a lot of the different triggers, the behavioral economics behind a lot of our purchases and a lot of the way we act in the world and, unfortunately, with that understanding, started to come manipulation and people realize, “Wow, social proof make people buy so I’m just gonna show social proof even if I don’t have it.” That to me, is really unethical and we should be doing what we can to root that out.

Quin: Same as with, say, scarcity and the countdown timers like, “You have five days to buy this price.” You go to two weeks from now, it’s still at the same price.

Brian: That’s the thing. You have scarcity, urgency, social proof, and all these different factors that do help people buy from you. It’s completely legitimate to use those things, but only when they’re real. If you tell me I’ve got five minutes at this price, and then I come back in a week and it’s the same price, that’s not legitimate to me. 

But if you’re like, “Hey, I can only do 10 of these at this price.” When the 10’s was gone and the price is going up 50 bucks, “Okay.” As long as it’s real, I’m okay with using those levers, I guess you’d call them. When you use those levers and it’s not real, that’s really unethical.

Quin: Years ago, we always used to hear about the law of seven in marketing, that people would have to hear from you seven times start buying from you or trusting you. Is it still the same? Is it still seven times? Or now that everybody lives inside their phones, is it quicker? Does it take longer? What’s your experience?

Brian: That’s a tough one. I would say it was never an exact science. It was never like, “Hey, it’s the 7th time, they’re gonna buy it from you.” It was more of a saying that just helped you continue to reach out or continue to put your messaging out there. That law of seven comes a lot from TV and radio. 

When people bought TV or radio advertising, they would buy the two yard sticks used to measure that or reach how many people saw or heard the ad and frequency, how many times that they see it. That was a thing that helped build up frequency. It helped TV and radio advertisers say, “They’ve only seen it three times, they need to see it seven times before they’re gonna buy a product.”

I think that’s where that was born. I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s where that was born. If you use that saying just to realize, “Okay, I can’t say it once and expect to completely resonate with my potential buyer.” I can’t just say it one time and walk away. A big part of marketing sales is saying it more than once because they might not be ready to really hear you the first time. 

Let’s say you get an email to somebody, they open it up, they’re excited to start reading it, but then their kid starts crying, they’ve got to walk away. Especially, life today. I would say it’s easier to get in front of people now, and I can’t really say whether it takes more or less than seven anymore, but I will say it’s harder now just because there is an all out war going on for your attention. 

There are just so many things that are battling for your attention that it’s hard and once you do get someone’s attention, you do wanna take advantage of it. You do wanna be like, “Alright, I’ve actually got their attention right now. How can I use things like urgency, scarcity, and all that to really hold their attention?” Because that’s not easy to do in today’s world anymore. It’s actually really hard to do.

Quin: Yes, it is. What it reminds me of sometimes, they used the car dealerships to have those inflatable man with wiggly hands, and that was like in real life so you’re driving by. Now, I see that online. You open a page and suddenly, there’s all these wiggly things. [laughs] And they catch it.

Brian: I haven’t seen the wiggly guy, but for a while. I’m glad that these didn’t really stick around, but a video would come up. You have a lot of car dealer websites, the car dealer would be on the page like, “Hey, I’m Brian. Welcome to my car dealership,” and would start to have a conversation with you. Pretty quickly, we realize that level of trying to grab my attention is just way too interruptive that people don’t really want that. 

Quin: As you mentioned, TV ads, radio ads. TV, I guess, still has their fair share. I still see a lot of people using radio and newspapers to advertise even though they don’t know what their conversion rate is.

Brian: I do. I definitely do. I do see a lot of people have gotten savvier with tracking conversion rates on those things. They might use specific coupon codes, things like that. Actually, we have a new client we just started working with a few months ago, and they were running ads in newspapers. 

It’s a very niche product and they were able to place it in these newspapers and it was working for them, and they knew to what level it was working for them. I was like, “That’s great.” Most people have no idea. I’m like, “Well, let’s run some digital stuff and let’s compare. Let’s just see which one does better.”

They were able to see like, “Okay, this is what we’re doing in newspapers and then, boom, wow, this is what we can do online. This is awesome.” But they did decide just keep the newspaper stuff running, even though the numbers didn’t really compare to digital, they were still making money. It was still turning a profit for them so, “Okay, we’re not gonna turn it off. It’s making money but we’re glad we found digital, too.”

It depends on who your audience is, what exactly your product is, who you wanna reach, what your message is. If you’re looking to reach people over 65, the newspaper might not be a bad spot. They’re still reading the newspapers, for sure. It’s easy to see that that’s gonna go away. I actually wouldn’t say it’s gonna fully go away. I think newspaper will be with us forever. Forever might be a stress, but they’re gonna be with us for a while. I think they’re still gonna be with us.

There are just people who were in that habit and they buy the newspaper everyday. Those newspapers are making money. They’re not making the money they made in the 80’s, but they’re still making money. I can’t remember the big newspaper publishers right now, it’s [inaudible 37:04], I think. I remember their names here in the States. 

They’re still making money, they just have to do it in different ways. Instead of you just own the one local newspaper, they now own 50 local newspapers, [inaudible 37:15]. It’s just they completely restructured their business model, but they’re still making money.

Quin: I imagine it somewhat going almost disappearing, and then having a comeback. Almost like snail mail. There’s some really cool campaigns that could be done now with snail mail because when you send a wide envelope with just the person’s name on it, more than likely, the chances are they are gonna open that envelope. I see a lot of cool marked things like that.

Brian: That’s kind of the thing on marketing, you wanna zig when everybody else is zagging. Like what you said earlier with seeing honesty come out or things like that. People making bold, bold, bold claims and then try the honesty for a while. It’s just you wanna zig when everybody’s zagging. It helps you stand out.

We’ve definitely done some snail mail campaigns, and you can tie them in with digital mail, which is great. You can have a snail mail where that goes out, but sends people to a specific landing page. When you wanna combine the two, you get even more power out of it.

Quin: Nice. How about the strategy of give, give, give, and then take jab, jab, jab, right hook? 

Brian: I agree.

Quin: Yes, sir. They still apply today.

Brian: Yeah. I think that’s a good strategy. It goes to another one of those triggers which is reciprocity. They have the urgency, scarcity, and reciprocity. Then, people, if you do something for them, they wanna return the favor. Depends on your business model, but there’s a lot to be said, or even what your business is, but there’s a lot to be said for if you can give in the way of education or you can give in the way of entertainment, and it keeps your audience engaged and it keeps them paying attention to you, if you start to just ask for the sale everytime, that’s gonna get old really quick. Three gives to a get ratio is a smart play.

Quin: Awesome. Tell me, what was one of the times that you had a big failure either in your marketing career or in your entrepreneur life?

Brian: I touched on a little bit earlier. I would say, really, it ended up being okay ’cause it worked out and I got the agency out of it. But a lot of that stuff that I built in the beginning, I did consider failures. One of my eCommerce websites did a lot of sales. It ended up doing really quite a big number of sales, but it was dropshipping, so the margin on that is so small. 

One summer, I tracked it and I did $9,000 in sales, I probably worked, jeez, hundreds of hours, and then the actual profit was around $1,500 and, oh my God, this is just not worth it. I was really proud of myself. I got the website sales and I got traffic to it. I was showing off in Google, and people were making purchases. 

I can remember the very first customer. He ended up not even being a customer. It was a website, it was just you disposed the order online. He called customer service number which has just forwarded to my cellphone and he was asking, “Can I take the handlebars from this bike and put it on this bike and change this, that?” Then, I gotta call the wholesale, the dropshipper, and see if all those things can happen. 

It took me hours just to get all these questions answered and then, he’s like, “Man, I’m good. Thanks, anyway.” But I was excited ’cause it was my first one. I kept it going, and then we did start to make just some sales when people came to the website and just pull the trigger. Then, you had to take the purchase off send it off. But the real bulk of the work was making sure people came to the website.

After that summer, I was like, “This is not worth it. I’m getting paid way more by the hours just doing my job.” So, I let that one go. But just getting out there and making mistakes, I don’t really see them as failures because it’s part of the process. Part of the process of being successful is doing stuff that doesn’t work. At the end of doing that stuff that you really learn what does work.

As long as you’re applying the lessons, it sounds cheesy if we share, but it’s really long as you’re really learning and applying the lessons from your mistakes, they’re just not failures to me. You can fail when you don’t try. If you just don’t try something, to me, that’s really true failure, and not trying something that you wanna try. 

Obviously there’s plenty of things in the world that I haven’t tried. But a lot of times, we don’t try because we’re scared, and that was something that held me back for a long time in the beginning. I definitely got some paralysis through analysis. Like I said, I did a lot of reading on entrepreneurship and running a business but I never just took those first baby steps to get something to get started. Took me a long time to really get something started, and I regret that ’cause I lost years just that entrepreneurial stage of, “Man, I really wanna just work for myself but I don’t know what to do or I don’t know how to do it.”

The key is to just take small actions. You’re gonna learn stuff. Yeah, you’re gonna make mistakes. Who cares? You’re gonna learn stuff. Taking those actions also gets rid of the fear. We fear the unknown and we fear things that we wanna do but we’re scared to do, but once you start to just take those small action, it really gets rid of the fear, too.

Quin: Did you find that you missed taking a few actions then, suddenly, when you start taking action on this and that, you lost a bit of your fear, and then you actually had the fear of not taking action? I ask this because it happened to me and then, I would say like, “Affiliate marketing? Oh my goodness. I’m already late. I’m gonna jump on this right now. Dropshipping, jump on that right now.” Did you feel that?

Brian: Absolutely. Absolutely, yeah. I’ve had things come and go. It’s important to realize that timing is not everything. But I’ve definitely done things where I was like, “Man, I missed my window on that opportunity.” I think that I’m wrong when I think that way. Maybe the window changed a little bit. 

Maybe instead of using this tool, I need to use that tool, or things like that. But I genuinely believe it doesn’t really matter how old you are, doesn’t matter how young you are, something like dropshipping or affiliate marketing, they might have had like their big hay day and then moved on.

I’ve been hearing email is dead and SEO is dead for 15 years, and it’s just not true. They still serve a purpose, they still have their place. It’s just that it’s not new so everybody’s not talking about those things anymore. I try to fight that when I feel like, “Man, I I think I missed out on this.” I try to take a minute and be like, “Okay, did I really miss out or is there another angle I can take here?”

Quin: I try to fight it now. I fight it as well. Sometimes, not only for the fact that, “Do I still have time?” It’s more than, “Do I actually have time to invest into something new? Or do I keep my time just to progress with what I’m currently doing?”

Brian: Yeah. Absolutely. To be honest, I feel that sometimes even with Local Marketing Hero, but I’m still running my agency. I didn’t shut it down. [laughs] The Local Marketing Hero piece of it is I ran to all those questions, too. Like, “Do I actually really have the time to pull this off? How much can I really give to this?” 

To be honest, it took me a really long time to put together all of the materials because it was something I was doing at night, in the morning. I got two kids and baseball games to go to, and all types of things like that. But it really get to a point where, and I think this goes to a little bit of where I was saying earlier, I would’ve considered myself having failed if I didn’t really push it out there. There was a piece of me that had some limiting beliefs around it and just having pushed through those to really get out there and get it created and help people. This is something I battle with, too, and will probably battle with it forever. It’s just being human.

Quin: Well said. Brian, now, let’s talk a bit about the Local Marketing Hero. What exactly can people expect from Local Marketing Hero and how can they find it?

Brian: If they go to LocalMarketingHero.org, there’s a couple of blog posts there, couple of my stories on there, and they can download what I’m calling my 88 secrets. It’s basically what I see as just really the thoughts and the beliefs and some of the business structure and business ideas that really helped me be successful at this. There’s just a quickie download and you could read the PDF. There’s really some awesome nuggets in there.

If it’s something where people are thinking, “I do wanna start my own business. I’m not sure what I wanted.” A lot of people go through what you and I have gone through. I’ve tried affiliate marketing, I’ve tried [inaudible 47:16], I tried eCommerce, I tried this, I tried that, and I just think that there’s so many great things about this business model. 

I mentioned that cash flow earlier. Obviously, all the things that you wanna get out of an online business which is working form home and making your own hours and working for yourself. But this one in particular is more the cash flow up front. For me, personally, I found I need the interaction with other humans when I was doing all those other businesses. I was really just on my computer, a lot of it was at night. 

After a while, I do work from home now, still, but there are days when I’m just like, “I’m just gonna go work in a coffee shop, or I’m just gonna travel around and hop in on a couple of clients just to get that interaction.” that’s one of the things that I really like about this business model as opposed to some of the more online-focused ones. 

Quin: I love that. I’m gonna let you know a secret that I never even shared on the podcast. When I envision myself as a online entrepreneur that can work from anywhere, I didn’t see myself in Mexico drinking piña coladas on the beach with the laptop. I always pictured myself going from coffee shop to coffee shop. 

Brian: [laughs]

Quin: Just having a coffee and just talking to people coming in and being there doing my work. That’s what I’d picture.

Brian: Yeah. If that’s what you want, ’cause that’s much closer to how it really is. I’d definitely have my weeks on the beach, but to be honest, I don’t want my laptop when I’m having those weeks. I wanna be able to tuck it away at that point. It’s different things appeal to different people. If I was younger and didn’t have kids yet, maybe I would wanna travel the world but at this point, I’m focused on just building a life that I enjoy so that I don’t have to take big vacations, travel the world, and just really love my work. I love what I’m doing. That’s where I’m trying to get now. Sounds like you are, too.

Quin: Yes, sir. LocalMarketingHero.org, that’s where they can find Local Marketing Hero and if they wanna get a hold of you, it’s through the same URL?

Brian: Yup. They can just send an email to me if they want, that’s fine with me. It’s just B@briansaemann.com. It’s really the easiest email to reach me at. I’m also on Twitter, just @Bsaemann. My last name’s spelled S-A-E-M-A-N-N. Twitter’s not a bad spot to find me, too.

Quin: Perfect. For those of you that are driving, you can check the show notes when you pull over, and I’ll have the links in there for you.

Brian: Perfect.

Quin: Alright. Brian, thank you very much for your time. This was a lovely conversation. I felt really excited about this.

Brian: You got it, Quin. It was great chatting with you. I really had a great time. Thank you very much.

Quin: Thank you. We’ll stay in touch and we’ll do this again another day.

Brian: Okay. Sounds Great. Sounds great.

Quin: Yeah.

Brian: Alright. Thanks, Quin. Have a great day.

Quin: You, too.

Brian Saemann



Twitter: @Bsaemann


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