85% of small business fail within the first 12 months because new entrepreneurs don’t take the time to identify and understand their ideal customer. If your new venture is struggling to get off the ground because you are hurting for clients, today’s guest is prepared to offer guidance around getting your product or service in front of the right audience and then creating an automated system of lead generation to produce consistent sales.
Oguz ‘Oz’ Konar grew up watching his father start business after business, all of which ended in bankruptcy. Motivated to understand what makes a business successful, he studied sales and marketing strategy to identify common mistakes made by aspiring entrepreneurs – and how to avoid them. With seven years of sales management and marketing experience under his belt, Oz founded Local Marketing Stars to assist small business owners in the implementation of productive marketing strategies. He has written two books about online marketing and marketing automation, and he is currently running four companies of his own.
Oz is an expert in the area of results-driven marketing strategy, and today he explains why automation is essential, the seven marketing strategies you need to know, and the function of a small business website. Listen in as Oz reveals his greatest challenge in building his consulting business and how to get your product or service in front of its target audience!
The importance of marketing automation
- Too many small businesses rely on ‘random acts of marketing’
- No systems in place to measure results
- Automated system of generating leads, sales is essential
- Business must run itself when you aren’t present
The first step toward automated lead generation
- Look at products, services
- Determine what has been most successful
- Develop system to get right offer to right people
The greatest challenge Oz faced in building his own business
- Difficulty focusing on single vertical
- Felt like missing out on opportunities
- Wanted to do lead gen for variety of small businesses
- Realized niching down was easier to scale, produced better results for clients
Oz’s seven marketing strategies you need now
- Understand your audience
- Work on offer (solve problem for audience)
- Find your customers (identify channels)
- Develop core message
- Create proven sales model
- Establish system to retain customers
- Develop system to generate referrals
Oz’s advice regarding small business websites
- Understand their function – to generate, convert leads
- Capture email addresses of visitors
- Ensure that your site accommodates search engines
- Study your analytics and optimize page by page
Oz’s #1 tip for aspiring entrepreneurs
- Interview 10-15 potential buyers
- Get their feedback re: your product/service
- Ask them to walk you through pain points
- Build your business based on feedback
Connect with Oguz Konar
Oguz Konar started his business at age 7. He has seven years of online and offline sales management and marketing experience. After witnessing his family’s small business fall apart due to financial and marketing illiteracy, he decided to take action and learn the secrets of sales and marketing to keep other small business owners from making the same mistakes.
He’s the author of two best-selling books on Online Marketing and Marketing Automation
Oguz’s the founder of 4 companies that he’s currently running and he spends most of his time consulting his clients on implementing effective, productive and no-nonsense marketing strategies to maximize their income in the shortest amount of time.
Besides his best-selling books, Oguz received many awards and accolades and has been featured on numerous publications for hi time-tested and results driven marketing strategies.
Laura Pennington (Host): Hey everybody! Welcome back to the Better Biz Academy Podcast. My guest today is Oguz Konar. He started his first business at age 7. He has 7 years of online and offline sales management and marketing experience. After witnessing his family's small business fall apart due to financial and marketing illiteracy, he decided to take action and learn the secrets of sales and marketing to keep other small business owners from making the same mistakes. He is the author of two bestselling books on online marketing and marketing automation. He's the founder of four companies he's currently running and he spends most of his time consulting his clients on implementing effective, productive and no-nonsense marketing strategies to maximize their income in the shortest amount of time. Welcome to the show.
Oguz Konar (Guest): Great to be here, Laura. How are you doing?
Laura: I am doing well. Excited to chat with you. It sounds like a lot of your business experience is inspired by what you saw with your family growing up. So, I'd love to hear a little bit more about that.
Oguz: Yeah sure. My father was a small business owner ever since I've known him. He owned a couple of businesses but unfortunately, all - I think he had three of them throughout his lifetime and all failed with bankruptcy and I was seeing a pattern and I noticed that something was wrong because I got to know a couple of his friends and their businesses were prosperous regardless of the economy and what was going on. So, it gave me a lot of motivation to understand what makes the business successful or not so much; and I noticed that it's not destiny or chance or luck or anything like that. It is what you do in understanding your market and how to get in front of your ideal customer and learning those tricks. And accumulating that knowledge is what that helped me just guide other businesses that had been struggling with similar problems that my father had been struggling with. And that kind of opened the door to where I am today, helping small businesses and also consultants with their businesses.
Laura: That's amazing. I love that you've taken this experience that you had when you were younger and saw the problems and the challenges that your family faced and how you could apply some fixes to change that in the future. And I think what you're talking about, automation, it's something that a lot of people really struggle with because if you ask the majority of business owners how much time they're spending on tasks that really could be automated, or how much their business would struggle if they were suddenly unable to work in it, I think it would be alarming to realize how many people are in that situation. So, what do you think are the most prominent challenges with business owners today who are in need of automation. What's kind of the challenge that you face stepping into that first time?
Oguz: Well the challenge is not having an automated system of bringing leads and sales. A lot of businesses just rely on random acts of marketing. They do marketing for a couple of days, a couple of months and they give up on it because they don't see any results or they don't even have a system to measure the results and let alone optimizing it and automating it. So, that's the biggest problem - just relying on old fashioned ways of generating clients, relying on the third-party influences outside, other companies or whatever the industry is doing instead of figuring out what offer works for your customers, testing it, and once it is tested, improving and automating the heck out of that so you can get that consistently flowing and bringing the business.
Laura: What do you think is sort of step one for the business owner who is feeling overwhelmed and has hesitant feelings about approaching automation. Maybe they feel that it's going to remove the personalization from the process or the mistakes will be more likely. How do you overcome those kinds of objections?
Oguz: Great question! The first thing I have them look at is the products and services they offer, and take them away from all the other things that they're focusing on and have them focus on the sales part of that. What has been the most successful and profitable product or service that they're selling? If they're not selling anymore, what has stopped them or what were the challenges with selling more of that. So, we start with that and identify what has worked before and how we can either make it work right now or if it hasn't been working, what has changed. And once I identify that, it's usually really an eye opener for a lot of businesses to really focus on that - just like you said, they focus on a lot of money producing activities and they get pulled in different directions and they become the only person who can run the business and if something happens to them, then there is no business. So, businesses cannot be run that way. That's why systems are important. Before we can have systems in place, we need to have a way to bring in consistent sales and for that to happen, we need to have the right combination of the right offer, right audience, making the offer at the right time using the right tools. So, we start with that and once we've established all of that, then all the other strategies are really easy.
Laura: That's perfect. I think a lot of people could benefit from services like that but they're scared to make that leap. Obviously, you are walking the walk and talking the talk. You have four different businesses. How do you keep all of that afloat?
Oguz: I would say in principle, whenever I start a new business, I always look at the business model as to who we're serving and what is the easiest way to get in front of those people and what will be the obstacles they would have in their mind before they make a purchase from us. So, once you answer those questions, you can modify your offer that way and just create more of those offers.
Let's say one of the businesses is such that online marketing doesn't really work that well; it's a high-ticket item, a lot of the sales are done on the phone so the first thing I did is first establish an understanding about how to sell this on the phone and scripted out and trained other people for replicating myself on the marketing end and have those people do the same thing. And instead of me sort of just sitting on the phone making 200 phone calls a day, I monitored their activities, optimized it and then this business kind of runs itself. Of course, what they are counting first and foremost is that there are different individuals. As far as marketing is concerned we use great tools such as Facebook, Google, once we know the specific industry we want to focus on. That's why niching is really important. We focus on certain protocols that we have a really, really deep understanding in. So, once you understand the science of getting results for your business and for your clients, it's just a matter of either having another person or having another tool do that on your behalf so you only focus on reporting and looking for other ways to improve that.
Laura: That's so powerful because there’s all these different pieces to it but it sounds like you've ultimately come up with a system where it's kind of wash, rinse, repeat. And then you can use that same methodology when you're helping clients with the process as well. What have been the biggest challenges that you've overcome as you have grown your own businesses and been helping so many other people scale theirs through automation?
Oguz: Yeah, the biggest - especially with the agency that I own, a local marketing agency, the biggest challenge was to focus on vertical because it's psychologically when you need to focus on one area, one type business, it makes you feel like you're missing out on a lot of opportunities out in all the other areas. We started as a web design company that turned into a lead generation company. Initially I wanted to be in a totally different market so I wanted to do lead generation for real estate companies and dentists and doctors and lawyers, chiropractors, fashion companies. But when you spread yourself really thin, it makes it really difficult to get the trends in that industry and really have a deep understanding of that industry. So, we had no problem with client sales but I wasn't really happy with our systems because I was always just running around, it was really tough to formulate the working system because every client demanded something different and their needs are a little different, although they're all looking for new customers. So, that was my biggest challenge and that's what I see with a lot of the businesses out there. Either they have a white shiny object syndrome, they jump from one thing to another, or they can't focus on a certain area and get really deep. Once we did that, once we took one area to focus on and get really deep and just get amazing results for a couple of local clients, things have become so much easier and it has become so much easier to scale the business as well because you can charge higher fees because you have a reputation in that industry because of the results that you got to similar clients. And itself the process becomes much easier because you can speak of specific case studies and examples from the same industry, the whole process becomes a lot more peaceful. But it's just the mindset of like the fear of missing opportunities. If you do that - it was hard to overcome for me and I talk to a lot of consultants too and I usually see that's the problem with many people.
Laura: I completely agree with that. Especially with people who are just starting out in business, they're so excited to be learning and getting their hands on everything that it's hard to break that habit and narrow things down a little bit, which ultimately ends up benefitting everybody when you do choose to focus on one particular thing or one particular industry because then you know that thing very well. You can charge higher prices as you talked about but it also benefits your clients because they're essentially buying your years of expertise in this particular niche or on this particular type of project and ultimately it ends up serving everybody extremely well. So, I know one of the things you talk about is marketing strategies and you say there’s 7 important marketing strategies that every business needs now. What are those?
Oguz: The first one is understanding your audience. Like if you are an existing business and you want to go back, you want to understand your customers, you want to go back to your past customers. I always tell business owner flat out, take out pen and paper and write down a few of their customers. Who are the customers that they have the most positive experience with and they like interaction and they can charge more fees and get better results. If that's the case so find out who that customer is and create your marketing based on that customer's need and responses. If you're just starting out, the similar practice, just imagine who is your ideal customer and try to go after that one. Once you identify that, work on your offer. What will be an offer that will be pleasing to that customer? Not only pleasing but what would solve their biggest problem. Think about your customer again and think about their life situation, what they go through every day and what would really help them if you had a product or service that would just eliminate or maybe make it easier for them, make it less painful. That's the offer part, that's number two. Number three is since you have the first two components, then you have to think about what will be a great place for you to find those customers. Where would they be? If you're targeting an age group above 60, maybe online market is not the way to go. It is direct mail marketing. If you're targeting millennials, then you'll definitely go to social media channels. So, then you identify the channels. And the fourth part is your core message. Now you know a lot about your audience, what offer to put in front of them, what channel do you use and then how to structure your offers so you grab their attention. Because, Laura, as you know, you and I and everyone else, we get bombarded with marketing messages every single day from text messages to ads on social media channels, AdWords and on TV - every place you look at. So, you need to have the right message to get in front of them, to break their pattern so they know to listen to you in the first place. And that's important. So, all the components really need to work in the best way possible. Then once you grab their attention, the next step is actually to have a proven sales model. A lot of people suffer from that too. I know you talk a lot about hustling and doing a lot of hard work and getting in front of the right customers, but many of the other businesses and consultants, they really don't have a streamlined and model sales process that they can follow step by step every time. Many businesses don't know their closing percentage. I know for some businesses that are service providers that really want to see what they do as a business sales decision but everything is all about sales in our lives. So, you got to have a sales process in place. And the next part of that is once you acquire that customer, what is the next step for them? Do you have another system in place to keep that customer happy because retention is a huge problem? You got to have retention around 90% or more so for that to happen you got to have a system in place with the right communication. How often do you talk to your customer? What kind of expectations do you set up with them in the beginning? Do they know when they going to be hearing from you next? What kind of results they should be expecting? So, you eliminate a lot of this misunderstanding upfront so it doesn't cause a problem later on; especially in the industry that I - I'm involved with teaching consultants how to become successful online marketers. A lot of people focus on sales. How do you get the sort of client who's getting you $2000 a month but no one really talks about how do you keep that client for at least 12 months or more? So, that's one area that's really really important. Then the last part is the referrals. So, you have a client base. How do you have those clients not only buy more from you but bring you more people like themselves because hopefully, you did your homework and you will attract your right customer and the odds are you know people like yourself. And that they probably know a lot of people who will be great customers for you. How to have a system to get more of those people? So, if they follow these 7 steps, I know it sounds easy, but even having to lay out a plan and start working on it will make a much more difference than what many companies have right now, which is not much. They focus on one area but they can't hold other six areas.
Laura: I love all of those golden nuggets in there because there is a lot of information, as you're listening to this you're probably thinking, hey that applies to my business, that applies to my business, I didn't think of it that way. One of the things I love that you talk about was this idea of marketing to the target people you want to reach. Certain people are not going to be active on social media platforms. I frequently work with a lot of attorneys and their content marketing and I just tell them there's literally no reason you need to be on Instagram and Snapchat, right? People are not on those social media platforms looking for a lawyer. Yes to LinkedIn, yes to Facebook but no, you've got to think about where you're directing your marketing information and how those people like to receive advertising and information because it's different based on where they live and their pain points and their age category and all of that. So really really important for anybody who runs a business to do some deep digging into that before you start just kind of praying and praying and hoping that everything will work. I think that's a mistake a lot of businesses make too. They think, well, now it's just about getting people to know that our service, our product exists. We're going to put it everywhere, we're going to employ every marketing strategy out there and it's really - you're throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what's going to stick. So, I love that you talk about that. And I know one of the other things that you have expertise in is websites. And this is a huge deal for people. They know they need a website, right. But they don't know where it's losing them money. You can put up a website and you can tell where things are converting, you can tell where people are leaving and things like that but it's really hard to track that lost revenue and I know that's an expertise area of yours to discover how your website could actually be costing you money. So, would you like to talk a little bit about that?
Oguz: Absolutely! Definitely a great point. I have conversations - they are not even business owners - all they want from me is for me to run some ads for them so they can get some leads. And usually I direct the conversation to their websites. I think many business owners have a misunderstanding of the functionality of their website. The function of a website is not to please the owner. Its only functionality is to generate leads and convert them. If someone lands there, it has to have a functionality which can convert it into something - it could be capturing the email, it could be - if it's an e-commerce site - actually getting a sale out of them. Something that will turn into revenue down the line. It gives me chills when I see business owners spending $15,000, $20,000, $30,000 on a website and they haven't even started their business. It's just focusing six months on creating their logo or what not without really being clear on their offer. Your website is super important and one of the first things before I jump on any campaign or give advice to anyone is I check out their website. And my question to them is alright, let's assume that I bring a ton of traffic to your website, what will to happen to that? And usually they assume that their problem is getting more people, whereas that would be a part of the problem but the main problem will be if you cannot convert those people into customers or buyers or contacts that you can turn into money later on. So, whatever we do to the website, that's the first question that we focus on. How can we make this website more marketable? More conversion friendly and knowing that most people will check out the website on their mobile phone, is it really mobile friendly and are you really on the map with your website? Does Google recognize what it is that you do? The website might look really pretty but Google might have no idea what is it that you're offering to your people so they can't categorize you the right way. If someone looks for your services, you will not come up most likely as the best case. You might have the best-looking website but you got - you have two different audience, as I always talk about this. One audience is your actual audience who would buy from you. The second audience is the search engines, Google and Bing. And both of them speak a different language. So, you have to accommodate to both of them in order to make sure that you please Google first so they view your space in their network and they can rank you higher. The second is when you do get an audience, they like what they see, they trust your authority and they make a positive decision towards your services or products. So, it's really important and a lot of thought needs to go into the website design, the conversion matrix, analytics like know exactly who is on your website, how much time they spend on the page - because we go through page by page to optimize it. We see one page has a bounce rate of like 95%, there certainly is a problem. Bounce rate means that when anyone comes to that website, to that page, they don't stay there. They almost spend a couple of seconds and they leave. So, something is wrong with that page and if you change anything that would add 10% more to your sales. So, things like that needs to be kind of broken down into pieces and needs to be looked at that way. Once you do that, a lot of businesses experience like really upward trajectory, really really fast.
Laura: Such valuable advice in there. What is the point of investing all this time, energy and money into driving traffic to a website if you haven't already tested that. Your user here and target market likes the website, it's comfortable navigating around it, wants to spend time on it, it's a must have part of your process to start with a website and see what may need to be changed before you begin driving those marketing campaigns to it. Well, I know I have learned a tremendous amount from you already. If you have any parting advice for my audience, which is mostly new and emerging entrepreneurs doing things online, what would that advice be?
Oguz: I know that a lot of people talk about go with your gut feeling, follow your passion, which is all fine and nice and dandy but if you're just starting out or if you think that you have a great idea, before you do anything else, before you even print out your business cards or get your website done, always talk to your potential buyers. Like people you think will buy your product or service, try to interview them without asking them anything. Don't ask them to buy your product but just set up a couple of interviews and tell them about your product or service and get their feedback. Like I can't tell you how invaluable that would be. You don't need to hire a coach for that. You can definitely do it yourself. Talk to your ideal customers and help them walk through their pain points, what they go through every day and if your product would be a great fit or not. Based on that, build your website, print out your business cards, build your whole business model, I think that's one of the reasons that more than 85% of the small businesses fail within the first 12 months because they think what their gut feeling or their passion is telling them to do this but there might not be much demand in the marketplace or they might not have the understanding of that demand clearly. So, I think that will be my parting advice to a lot of entrepreneurs who are starting out.
Laura: Very valuable to consider as well because like you said, you don't have to invest all of this money, pay for a program, pay for a high-end coach to discover that. Go out there and talk to people. Find out what they actually need. Sometimes what you think they need and what they actually want are two different things. So, get the answer to that before you create a service, before you create a product so that you're actually creating something that your target market needs and is interested in and that you factored in all of their opinions about it. So where can people go to learn more a little bit about you?
Oguz: They can go to our website 10krevenueclub.com to learn more about our systems and how do they get results for our clients where they can literally copy and paste some of our marketing tools and use them for their own businesses.
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