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Trent Dyrsmid Shares His Insights on Digital Marketing
Posted on June 16th 2014
Our latest interview for the Oktopost blog took place with author, entrepreneur, content marketing and marketing automation expert Trent Dyrsmid. It was great to hear insights from Trent – a thought leader who has built and sold a successful business (which he started from the kitchen table!) from the ground up, launched an incredible marketing agency, and started a popular blog where he frequently interviews the top marketers in the industry.
1. What is your professional background?
I initially started my career in sales, after which I launched my first company, called Dyrand systems in 2001. I grew the business from the kitchen table into a multi-million dollar enterprise – and it was ranked twice as one of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada. Eventually, after I sold it, I took some time off and started blogging. Not too long after that, I created the BrightIdeas.co podcast and website, and really just immersed myself in the field of content marketing.
I started selling my own information products and software, started using Infusionsoft to automate my marketing, and wrote The Digital Marketing Handbook. In the midst of all this work, people kept asking me to consult them, and that’s why I decided it was worth pursuing full time, and as a result launched my agency, Groove Digital Marketing.
2. What attracted you to social media? How did you get started in the field?
I find that social media is a very good way to reach out and make connections with other people. More than that, it provides the opportunity to start a conversion with someone who could potentially become a customer. In the old days, if you wanted to reach out to people, the telephone was a fairly effective way to do so. However, I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Social media, at least in my opinion, has a created a new way – really a less replacement for the telephone, which isn’t nearly as disruptive – to get a hold of just about anybody you want to.
You can pay attention to what companies are doing, retweet their content, comment and share. Beyond that, it lets you become known to someone who is a total stranger to you, but you’d like the chance to have a conversation with. Having been on the receiving end of this many times, once someone begins to interact with me and shares my content on social media, it’s much easier for them to reach out and start a conversation with me.
3. What’s the best marketing advice you can give early-stage startups?
That’s a big question! The first thing that’s really, really important to get right is figuring out the answers to these questions: Who are you trying to reach? What problems do they have? What language will you use to describe your content? How can you create interesting content that they will share on social media? You focus should be on writing content that your audience wants to consume and share, and will eventually get them to enter the marketing funnel and move down the process towards becoming a customer.The best strategy is to generate lots of content such as podcast episodes, blog posts, eBooks, and more, and then bring as much attention as you can to that content on social media.
In terms of identifying audience interests, the first thing is really to talk to people. A lot of people just do their research on Google without ever starting a conversation with another person. It’s incredibly important to talk to people, and social media is a phenomenal tool for that. You can send a tweet to someone and say, “Hey, I’m doing some research, are you free to talk to me and answer some questions?” Not everyone will say yes, but some people will, and these types of valuable conversations can greatly contribute to your content. On Twitter, for example, it’s so easy to find people, get a hold of them and reach out to them.
4. What is the number one result B2Bs want to see from their social media marketing?
B2B companies come to Groove Digital Marketing when they’re having trouble generating qualified leads from their sales team. We help them identify the deficiencies in their marketing strategy, create a new plan, and implement it in such a way that generates more leads, preferably by incorporating automated software.
Some industries are already very aware of the fact that social media can be used to generate leads, while others remain completely ignorant about this. What they both have in common is that they want more customers, and they understand that to achieve this, they need to first generate more leads.
It’s important that you have a conversation with your client where you emphasize that your strategy goes beyond just managing their social media activities, and actually focuses on generating leads. Engagement metrics and Likes really have no value whatsoever. At the end of the day, you need to actually deliver quantifiable results and quality in leads, and show that the conversations you’re having with leads originated on social media.
5. How frequently should a company be blogging? How is this determined?
I think that organizations need to be blogging at least twice a week. There’s a good case to be made for fewer posts that are longer, just as much as there is for more frequent posts that are shorter. You have to understand who you’re blogging for, and try to do your best to figure out what their attention span is and what kind of content they want to consume.
If you’re not blogging regularly, then people aren’t going to visit your blog, and you’re not going to get the traffic or the leads that you want. If you look at anybody in the publishing industry, particularly magazines, they don’t just publish a magazine whenever they feel like it, they’re going to publish a magazine monthly – month after month, or if it’s a weekly magazine, then every week. As a content marketer, you need to adopt the right procedures, and having an editorial calendar that ensures you’re publishing on schedule is critical to this.
6. Where is content marketing headed?
I see the trend in content marketing obviously continuing. There are so many companies out there, in a number of industries, that are still not doing it – and if they are, they’re doing it wrong. One of the biggest mistakes is when companies write blog posts about themselves and their product, which people are naturally going to be less interested in. Many businesses, especially new ones, spend so much blogging about themselves! Instead, they should first invest time in determining what their audience is interested in, and then figure out how to relate their product or service to that specific interest.
7. What are the top 3 things you’ve learned while interviewing for BrightIdeas.co?
That’s a tough question! The first is that the people I see who are most successful are the ones who take action in a very deliberate way. They have a strategy, they execute it, and they measure their results very carefully. If the results they get don’t meet the expectations, they adjust their strategy and start again.
The second is that when it comes to content marketing, make sure that you’re writing very high quality content that you know is going to be of interest to the specific target audience you’re going after. Afterwards, always use social media to promote that content and reach that audience, all the while paying close attention to analytics.
The third is to use marketing automation. If you don’t have a marketing automation engine supporting your content marketing efforts, then you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for, and you’re wasting a lot of time. Whether you’re using Hubspot, Marketo, Infusionsoft or any other platform – make sure you have a tool that can be used to nurture leads. Marketing automation solutions are crucial for moving qualified leads down the funnel to becoming sales qualified, and ready for a conversation with the sales team. If you don’t have a marketing automation tool, it’s like trying to drive a car with no steering wheel.
8. What are your thoughts on the convergence between marketing and sales?
The need to have a sales team is really dependent on the specific organization. If your company is one where your customers put products into a shopping cart and then check out, you probably don’t need a sales team.
However, if you’re a B2B organization, marketing is to generate leads and sales is to close the deal with them. You need to make sure that both teams are talking to each other. Many times, especially in larger organizations, no one from the sales team ever talks to anyone from the marketing team. As a lead passes through the funnel, there needs to be a tracking mechanism, a closed reporting system, so that sales can report back to the marketing department on these leads, and use this information to optimize their work going forward.