Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest, Marti Sanchez who is the CEO of Influence Podium, a thought leadership content marketing agency, and host of the podcast. He’s a Barcelona-raised, American-born entrepreneur who went from playing college basketball and being a professional athlete to running a fast-growing agency helping B2B CEOs spread their message online. Welcome to the podcast, Marty.
Thank you much so much for having me men.
Yes, no problem. And I’m really excited to talk to you today because I got a hot topic. We’re going to be talking about B to be content marketing. So if you’re an ecommerce business, you’re in the B to B space these days. Content is still King. I know they’ve always said that they said that several years ago, and I think it really hasn’t changed. So for me to be businesses, content marketing should definitely be a piece in your toolbox of marketing tools that you definitely need to use.
So we’re gonna be digging deep into that. And your definitely gonna be providing us with some actual tips on that. But before we get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today.
So I was raised in Barcelona in Spain, and I decided to move to the United States when I was 17. I had to play College basketball. I went to a very small school in North Carolina in the middle of nowhere, which was a big change coming from a 5 million citizen city. And I needed some extra money to just grab some food at night. But I couldn’t work more hours because I was playing basketball and NCAA has these rules that you’re limited on the hours that you can work.
So I had to find a way to make money on the table. What I knew that I could do was write and I would cost write my classmates papers for them for $10 a page. I haven’t told them. If you had less than a B, I’ll give you your money back. I kind of run it like a business. And when I graduated, I was looking for my next step. And I again decided to go back to what I know, the one skill that I have which is writing.
I started writing on Quora, which is a Q Amp, a platform online. I wrote every day for six to seven months, and I generate about three to 4 million views from there. I started getting people mainly be to be a CEO is asking if I could request right for them. Maybe they had access to Forbes or Inc magazine, and they could write for that publications, but they didn’t want to do it themselves. And they offered me money. And I was like, we do it for free.
And obviously I’m happy to do that. So that’s where I learned first about content marketing, about inbound, about personal branding, and I still live in know what the sports meant. But I learned the concepts from there. We started growing. I caught too many clients, and we had to turn it from freelance to an agency. That’s how Influence Boy was born. And now we’re helping over 40 CEOs. Betwe CEOs mostly do the personal branching fat content scale, which I’m very proud of. The things that we’re building right now.
Okay. Great. That’s good stuff. Yeah.
Quite a story.
There being a ghost writer for your classmates papers and that’s, I guess, how high you initially get your feet wet into content collaboration. And I know you did a lot of writing in doing that, I’m sure.
Yeah. Finding seven ways to write the same paper. It’s not easy. Yeah.
Exactly. And these days, that’s really kind of what you need, especially from your end when you’re providing content to companies that are in a similar space. Of course, you can’t say the same thing, but a you gotta be unique. So, yeah, that’s that really kind of seems like it was meant for you to do what you did to get into what you’re doing today.
It was the first time that I had to, like, figure out their boys. So finding the boys of Michael, my best friend from College and finding the boys from and in 500 CEO, it’s always different. But it comes back to the same thing. And that’s how I set it as a ghost writer. Now, I don’t do much ghostwriting anymore. Sadly, but I built a team of cost writers. Mediators were able to do that. And it’s looking really good for us. So that’s awesome.
Thank you for sharing it. I appreciate that. And so we’re going to kind of dig right in because a lot of the listeners, of course, I know that are in the ecommerce space that are dealing in the B to B space. We hear a lot about content marketing. And like I said, these days, of course, content is definitely still King. So let’s take it at the beginning for your business that may not really have any type of content marketing strategy in place. Where do they really begin?
What’s kind of step one? Yeah.
Step one is actually believing that content marketing will help you. It’s content marketing, something that’s not going to give you results in one month, two months, three months. If you start by now, you might see it results in six to twelve months. So if you don’t believe that this is actually the right way to market your business, you’re just gonna give up too quickly. So the first step is, do I actually think that this is going to help? If you’re not fully condensed, then it’s not the right place.
Like for us, if we have a client that is thinking about it, we’re not going to take him because it’s just not he doesn’t believe enough. So the first step is that after that, I think it’s very important that before you start creating content, you follow five things. I think number one is the reverse engineer your long term objective. So what’s the one thing you want to drive? What’s going to be the main objectives that you’re going after by pursuing content marketing? The next thing you have to identify for your target audience is and get really deep down into that and fully understand, not just demographics fit.
What can you go deeper than that? What are their fears? What are the motivations? Then you have to create a content roadmap. What are the main topics that you’re going to touch on? I think the next step that we do is to create a content creation system. So finding the right people, finding freelancers or full time people writers, video Editors build that system so that it doesn’t take too much of your time. And then finally, I think it’s important to set KPIs and track progress over time because we can touch on that later.
But everything that cannot be measured cannot be improved. So that’s the final step before you start creating content. And then that’s when you can have the foundation to run a good, solid B to be content marketing strategy.
Thank you for sharing. That one thing that I want to kind of dig into that, I think can sometimes be a challenge for business. And I want to get your opinion on the best strategy for doing it. You mentioned before. You really put anything out there. You do have to course understand your target market, who you’re going after? What is a typical customer like? And you said, of course, it’s a lot more than just understanding demographics. So, for instance, let’s say you sell women’s fashion. Maybe you sell women’s dresses, formal or stuff like that.
You know, obviously, you know, your man demographic is women. Depending on the style that you have, you may have a certain age range. There’s other factors that determine who that demographic is. So there’s some more obvious things that can help kind of get your content or get your thinking in line with the type of customer you want. But then you mentioned, you really need to take it a step deeper where you understand. Okay. What are their fears? What are they really interested in? What type of products, what’s the mindset of the customer?
And you know, those type of really cool, specific questions that are beyond demographics. How does a business find out those things and really uncover that type of information?
A good question. I think it’s easier when you’re part of that group. So if you are selling to women between 30 and 40 that are higher income, it’s easier if you’re part of that. So that gives you a huge advantage. For example, for us, we mostly sell to Beat B cos. And me. Being one allows me to understand them very deeply because I’m one of them. When you’re not, then you have to figure it out. The way I would do it is to speak to as many of them as possible.
So if you can get meetings with them, if you can have just quick conversations with them and try to fully understand what’s happening and see the common trends between them, the more people you speak to and talk to, the better your content marketing and the better your full marketing strategy is going to be. One thing that I think is key is to really understand what language do they speak? So I think every target demographic and target audience have a specific language that they talk to there or that they use and they use a Moses or do they know what type of punctuation do they use?
Like every target audience speaks in a different way, and you have to talk to them if you want them for your content to rest, mate. So the closer you can talk as the only talk on their daily life, the better your median is going to perform.
That’s very true. And what you mentioned actually just kind of rank truth to me as well. If we kind of bring this back into the B to B space, where as a company, of course, I’m a cofounder of our affiliate software. We’re constantly pitched, and I’m constantly getting emails from a lot of other companies, other service providers, and one of the type of emails that I just reinstall noticed this probably earlier this year, is that and what you say it kind of rings true as to why they’re doing it.
A lot of companies will send you these cold emails that are not necessarily a pitch. They’re not really straightforwardly selling. They’re saying, okay, you know, can we get on a call? Can we talk about what some of your needs are? It’s not really a hard sell. And I think and I’ve been in these type of meetings before when you do get in the line or you get on a Zoom call with them. They’re not really pitching that hard. Of course, they want to sell their product at the end of the day.
But what I’ve seen with a lot of these calls is they’re doing a lot of information gathering. And I think what you’ve mentioned is really the reason why they’re trying to really totally understand their customers. And even if that rep that is on that call, that’s in off the email, even if he doesn’t get the sale, you’re not interested at all. He’s gathered if you’re on that call and he’s asking the right questions, he’s gathered a lot of information that he can then send back to the content team and marketing team, and that will help further narrow it down.
Yeah. A good friend of mine. He’s the CEO of this company called Opinion, which helps software managers track data of their teams. And he did over a hundred customer interviews or prospect interviews. I interviewed 100 software managers and documented each of those interviews that were lasted 30 to an hour. And then when we came to us to help us create content, he gave us all this information from those clients that he had interviewed. And it was so easy to create content that sounded like them because we literally took all the data that he had gathered and we could find a common trends.
We found that these are the main problems that they have. These are the ways that they speak about them. And then it’s just a matter of getting content that solves those problems. So the more you can speak with them and document that, the easier your continent. And honestly, your whole marketing strategy is going to look like.
Yeah, that is very true. And there’s so many more companies that are doing that are getting these calls, get doing these interviews and on their end a lot of times on your end, if you’re being kind of being pitched or the one that they’ve reached out to you, you’re kind of wondering, all right. Why are they doing this? They know I’m not that interested, but to them, it’s still kind of a winwin to them. It’s not a losing thing. Anytime they’re pulling information, it’s very valuable.
And we all like to hold people, right. Because the end of day, what they’re doing is asking for help. I just have a conversation. I’m not going to sell you on anything. So we like to help them. And then they’re still creating that awareness on you. The day products works. So maybe you’re not interested. But, you know, somebody in six months from today, you refer them. Having conversations with your audience is a key step into a content mangling strategy right now.
Speaking of the content marketing, let’s say somebody has gone through these steps. They’ve really isolated who the ideal customer is. They’ve asked those questions that come up with the content. How do they put it all together? How do they use this content to really generate leads? What are some of the ways that they can do that?
That’s a good question. I think the lead generation from content comes through a very simple equation, which is the right content with the right distribution. But with that, I mean, right content has to resonate with the audience and has to create value and nurture that relationship with them. The right distribution is just having the right eyeballs. So is your content being put in front the right people and enough of those people for you to generate leads when you’re doing both sides of the equation, when you get the right content in the right distribution and this one good things start to happen to be, especially with higher deal sizes, is a very high touch, very high relationship based cell.
So the focus on content has to be to educate that audience and to stay top of mind and not sure that value, so that when they’re ready, they can come to you inbound. So good content comes drives inbound leads with inbound leads. I think it’s fair to say that they’re usually a lower number of leads that you generate from content, but they’re much higher quality. So a lot of these companies are looking for a thousand leads, 10,000 leads. In the vast majority of cases that’s never going to happen with content with content.
For example, we generate four to five leads every week for us, but that’s enough to close one or two of them because they’re very high quality because there are people coming to you inbound. So it’s more important to focus on the quality of the leads, then the quantity. And then it’s just about educating that audience, being patient and letting them come inbound because nobody buys impulsively a five or ten a month retainer or deal size. It takes a lot for that to bring in. So people usually have that misconception gotcha gotcha makes sense.
You also mention that you need to come up with the right type of content that’s going, of course, resonate with the audience that you’re trying to reach. So how do you really find that right content? Like, what are some of the strategies to know what is the right content?
That’s a great question. I think it comes down to being self aware. You have to reverse engineer what you do best, where your market attention is and what your objective is, and that’s going to tell you which one is the platform that you should go to, and which type of content where written or video or design should you be putting out personally, for example, just to give you a personal story and the listeners, can you hear me? I have a Spanish Jackson because I was raised there and for a long time I didn’t want to put video content because I felt self aware and I just felt ashamed of that accent.
I was like, I don’t want that I’m a good writer. I’m just going to stick to it. And honestly, that was a good move at the beginning. I think you should double down on what your best key is and decide whether you build your content or reading content is what comes naturally to you. And then you can expand later when you build that confidence up. So finding what is your skill is number one and then finding where the attention of the market is. So if your prospects are on Instagram, that’s where you should go.
If you’re there on LinkedIn, even though you might think it’s a boring platform, that’s where you should go. So when you’re having these conversations that we were talking about with your audience, you have to ask them, where do you hang out online? What social media do you use? And then that’s where you reverse engineer that and utilize that information to beat them where they are because they’re not going to come to you. You have to come to them. And I think that’s very important, even if it doesn’t come that naturally to you.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely makes a lot of sense, because these days, I know another part of the battle is not only choosing the right content, but then, of course, what you mentioned is getting the right distribution for that the right distribution channels. That as well. And that’s kind of a whole nother thing. And especially these days. Here’s another question with all of these distribution channels from the multitude of the different social media networks for the BTB space LinkedIn, of course, there’s a huge one. And I know that’s one big area that you guys focus in on for your clients.
There’s a lot of other spaces as well. There’s niche directories online for certain types of companies in the B to B space, there’s review sites, there’s a lot of things. How do you determine those right distribution channels for the content, then once you come up with that right content.
Yeah. I mean, you have to test them out. It’s hard without, like, there’s no universe to advise that me or anyone can give in terms of that’s the right distribution channel because each business is different and its target audience, it’s different. So our approach is to test different channels and see which ones are the best performing. Doing a lot of research beforehand is key. Like we’ve been talking a lot of good content markings. Strategy comes before you ever put out a piece of content. That’s the foundation.
So testing things out, being open minded and not letting your own personal thoughts and impressions on what the market wants is key. So just being able there to listen. And once you hear this, the person that this is working, let’s double down on that. So again, the testing out have patience and let it come to you versus you force one distribution channel because if you’re a Precon safe ideas.
Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. I think a lot of times businesses will have a tendency to try to copy or clone maybe some of their competitors just because they see their competitors in a certain channel, their competitors may be successful. They think they need that channel is right for them. But it may not be the case, even if it’s your direct competitor, that necessarily mean is the right fit for you? Yeah, that totally makes a lot of sense.
And you don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, right? We had the clients who we’re talking about. Our competitors are killing it on SEO, but they’ve invested in SEO for twelve years. You can wait two of years, and maybe you’ll catch up, but that’s just because they’re killing it there. It doesn’t mean that that’s the right move for you. You don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, that you don’t know what they’ve done until the point, and now they’re killing it. If you’re willing to spend twelve years like they have, then sure.
But if not, then we have to look at something else. So again, just because your competitors are doing something.
It doesn’t mean that that’s the right move makes a lot of sense. A lot of times we don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes. There’s usually a whole lot. They’ve got a whole plan in place that for you to just jump out to you’re, missing the whole their whole process as to how they got there.
I like that. That makes sense. Now, as we get ready to wrap things up, one of the biggest things with any marketing strategy, like you said, one thing you have to do is test, test, test, test, see what works, and then be able to pivot quickly. How do you recommend tracking the performance of specific content marketing strategies? What do you guys usually do?
This is a great question, because there’s not a clear answer for that. So something that I always tell clients is it tracking content and the performance of that content is honestly complicated. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. It’s not as easy as Facebook ads where you can track the cost per link and the cost per mile of everything. And there are expensive tools like HubSpot that most business cannot afford. But even those tools which do help, they’re not perfect, because there’s this thing that I call dark attribution, which is what’s happening behind the scenes that just SAS.
Companies and fast tools are just not able to track. Like, how do you track a coworker telling their boss that your tool is great? Open a beer on a Friday at happy hour. You just cannot track these things, and it’s hard to deliver a very specific report on the performance of the content, which companies don’t really even want anymore. There are some leading indicators, such as engagement rate, followers, impressions, bills that they’re good to track. But they also can be played. Like if we want to create content that generates a lot of bills, we’re going to put out cat videos or whatever that is because it’s going to get a lot of views, but it’s not going to get anything important, any other important KPIs.
So my bias and this is where I tell our clients is to focus on the qualitative tracking. So if you’re seeing inbound revenue go up, you seeing inbound leads go up. If you’re seeing people come to your sales calls and say, hey, I read that LinkedIn post. Hey, I was listening to your podcast with somebody else, or I read that article on Medium two weeks ago. Those are the data points that you should be tracking. And again, it’s not perfect. It’s very qualitative, and a lot of people do not appreciate that, especially if you tend to performance marketing.
But that’s how we track it. To be honest, our North Star and with everybody else, North Star should be with content is inbound revenue. So how much inbound revenue are you generating? If it’s going up, then contents working. If it’s not going up, then maybe you have to test something else. But focusing on one KPI, which is in my revenue generated, is the easiest way for companies to track their content. Matically Naman opinion list makes a lot of sense.
It really all comes down to the revenue. And are you seeing your numbers increase from the inbound strategy? Yeah, definitely.
Because everything else is an ego boost. Right. Use impressions followers. Make sure that feels good. But is that going to pay rent next month or is that gonna make payroll?
It most likely 3000 followers that I got that one.
So I think people need to stop putting their ego into their marketing and then just focus on actual results. And if you’re delivering good content and numbers are going up, the numbers that matter, then everything’s working. If not, then something is changed.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Well, that’s a great closing word. I think we’ll close on that. And I’ve definitely learned a lot, Marty, with which you’ve shared the company’s gonna be to best place. I know it’s very challenging because of the competition that’s out there and the amount of channels that are out there. I think it’s just what it’s done is it’s made more of your competition more visible. So people have just a lot more choices these days and the visibility of these choices. It’s like no other. So very challenging.
But yeah, I think with content, it will always be King with the way that people find other companies and products and services online. And it’s just a way that it’s really the heart of these search engines and people always talk about. Okay. Is Google’s algorithm going to change it? Where are we going to get to a point where content is not that important that I don’t see it. It’s really the heart of everything.
So you have good pets now with Wins. And especially now that we’re going into a more virtual world, the importance of content is even larger. Now that there are no conferences, there are no events, there are not one on one coffee meetings. Your content is your reputation as a brand and as a person. And if you’re not being productive on that, your repetitions failing. So like you’re saying, I think you’re making a great point. Content skin, and you need to invest in it. And it’s usually the right move is doing well.
Definitely. Well, great, Marty. Well, one thing I always like to do to switch gears here at the very end here, just our audience can get to know you just a little bit better. Yeah. If you don’t mind sharing one clothing fun fact that you think our audience would be interested to know about yourself.
Yeah, of course there’s a couple. I think one of them is, despite being raised in Spain, I was born in Born, North Carolina, which is a hometown of a plain State, because my dad was a basketball coach at that point, and the head coach was from Michael Jordan roomate.
Michael Jordan’s Roma thought my dad out to coach, and he coached me. So my code and I are related in that way.
I guess that’s what I like to think. Okay.
And then finally enough, I only learned to speak English at 17. So that was definitely a big change for me. And now that we make a living by writing and by creating content, it’s funny that until I was 70 and 60 78 didn’t English was foreign to me, like, very foreign. And all I could ask was the bathroom and a beer. But, yeah, it’s definitely been a journey. But I appreciate you having me on the podcast. I think for your questions were amazing, and I really appreciate your time.
No problem. And yeah, thank you for sharing that. And I just thought about when you were share the story of how you are connected to Michael Jordan. It just goes to show that. Well, it’s a small world when it comes down to it. There’s billions of people. But when it comes down to it, what they always say is there’s really just seven degrees of separation between everyone in this whole world a lot of times less. Cause, like you said, your father’s roommate, new Michael Jordan and roommates and Timid mate and teammate New him.
And so whoever never known, I’d be talking to you. And so it’s just it’s a bit of a voltage.
But I’m gonna go for it. I’ve got a super.
Exactly. I would go for it. And just looking at that, that’s less than seven degrees of separation in Kashi talking to you. Well, that’s awesome. Well, thank you, Marty, for joining us today. I really appreciate it. But before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brain anymore about B to be marketing, content marketing or any other digital marketing strategy? What is the best way for them to reach you?
Thank you. I appreciate it. Sure.
CEO of Influence Podium