Arlen
00:01:46
Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast. Everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest Jonathan Baldock, who works in an advisory role for Social HP.  With 10 years of experience at Linkedin supporting customers like, Accenture, JP Morgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, IBM and PepsiCo amongst others.  He is highly skilled in developing evergreen marketing channels and an expert in Social media recruitment, sales and marketing strategies. Welcome to the podcast, Jonathan.

Jonathan
00:02:24
Thanks, Arlen. Appreciate you having

Arlen
00:02:25
Me on. Yeah, no problem. I’m super excited to talk to you today because we’re going to be covering a subject that we may have danced around a bit on other podcast episodes, but you know, I hadn’t really got deep into it and that’s going to be evergreen marketing. So we’re going to have you break that down, but before we do 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?

Jonathan
00:02:47
Yeah, so I’ll start just one tab before LinkedIn. So before LinkedIn, I was actually in the recruitment industry. So as a head hunter and I had a couple of side projects, I had a side business renting out feature film cameras, which was a lot of fun. And then a friend of mine said, Hey, you should go work for LinkedIn. I was actually having quite a nice little existence and wasn’t really looking for anything, but had some conversations with them. And at that time it was in conversation with LinkedIn in 2010 and it just sounded too good to be true and I needed to check it out. So I decided to, you know, try and convince them to hire me on they, they accepted me. And so I started at the beginning of 2011. At that time, there were 600 employees at LinkedIn and 80 million members.

Jonathan
00:03:30
When I left, there were 13,000 employees and over 750 million members. So the group grew quite a bit while I was there and, and the platform evolved a lot while I was there. You know, originally it was like, people just thought, oh, it’s a place where you kind of pro you know, post your profile, you try and find a job. And maybe you do a bit of B2B advertising and it’s really become a, a communications platform. It’s become a content platform and it’s become a news platform. So all the other stuff that was already there, it’s still there and it’s a lot better. And then of course, you know, it’s really excelled. And then after LinkedIn, I didn’t think I would stay in the space around advocacy and so closely tied in, but social HP reached out to me and they basically have what I would consider the 2.0 of an advocacy type of platform. And everyone else in the industry has the one point something. And so I thought, you know what, actually, I’d like to invest some time in with this organization and help advise them and where to go bring about some conversations that they might not have had access to. And that’s how I’m investing my time right now.

Arlen
00:04:32
Okay, great. Great. That’s awesome. And yeah, thank you for sharing that. And yeah, the numbers that you quoted with regards to LinkedIn and their growth is really just kind of a Testament to how that platform is really just exploded over the past years. I mean, you know, that’s, you have some explosive growth and these days you hear so much more about LinkedIn being really, like you said, more than just posting your job, your resume, where you’ve been, it’s really a communication tool for B to B companies. And yeah, I’d see a lot more activity these days than, than ever before, really from people posting informational articles and these days I’m getting a lot more outreach people reaching out to me via the messaging when, so I’ve been able to establish some context through that. And so, yeah, it’s a really a great tool these days. But, you know, as I mentioned at the beginning, today’s topic is going to be evergreen marketing. And so I want you to tell us what are the, in a nutshell, what is evergreen marketing?

Jonathan
00:05:29
Yeah. Evergreen marketing. And it can be done in a variety of different ways, but evergreen marketing is basically having a channel that’s always on evergreen is like a tree that never loses its leaves. And so that’s that marketing channel that you, you flip on and it can be done in, as I said, several different ways, but the idea is that you’re going after a particular audience, you’re communicating to them regularly and it never gets switched off. Historically we would think about marketing is more of a campaign based. So, you know, what’s the ad I want to put in front of somebody and what action do I want them to take? Whereas evergreen, marketing’s, what’s the story I want to tell over the period of time. So for example, if we think about marketing in the traditional marketing funnel, sales is the same way. Even how you hire people is the same way you need to build awareness at the top.

Jonathan
00:06:16
Then you need to start, you know, getting them familiar with the brand, getting them familiar with the products and services, starting to get them to take some actions. And then eventually you’re putting them into your sales funnel and starting to, you know, to bring them through, to, to closing a deal. And so evergreen marketing is taking a bit of a different approach where instead of running a campaign here and there, which has, you know, the start middle and end, usually they’re pretty short term because it costs a lot of money to run campaigns. But then, you know, once they’re done all of that activity that happens in the top of the funnel stops. And so LinkedIn had a very great way of assessing how well you’re performing in a particular space. And so what they used to talk about was share of voice. And so let’s say you’re a company and I’ll just pick a technology-based example, but let’s say your company and your services, artificial intelligence, and you could be, that’s like your whole business, or it could be, that’s just, you know, one thing that you offer and you’re a big company and you offer all kinds of things, but let’s say you’re in the artificial intelligence space.

Jonathan
00:07:19
What LinkedIn will do is they’ll calculate basically what is your share of voice? So out of all the conversations that happen on the LinkedIn platform that are on that topic of artificial intelligence, what percentage of those are you actually involved in? So what percentage is your company involved in your employees? How many ads, how many different pieces, you know, stories are you putting out there about artificial intelligence? And then they look at the total sum and then they’ll tell you your percentage. So usually it’s pretty small on a topic like artificial intelligence is really hard to own that space, right? So, so they’ll come back and they’ll be able to say, Hey, like you’ve got a 2% share of voice. And then they’ll be able to tell you how you compare to your competitive, fierce set. So they’ll be able to say, Hey, like this company has 15%.

Jonathan
00:08:01
This company has nine, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, you have to. And then there’s these other companies that are below you. And then the question is, where do you want to go? And of course, very few companies want to say, I want a smaller share of voice on the product that I’m selling. They want a bigger share of voice. And so usually that then takes them into the conversation of, you know, why should we be targeting this particular topic? Because you don’t need to convince the entire world. Everything you do is amazing. You really only need to convince the people that care about the topic that you really can support. And so that’s where LinkedIn starts to head into that conversation of evergreen marketing, which is, Hey, how do you go from 2% to 10%? How do you go from 10th in the space to a leader?

Jonathan
00:08:45
And so sometimes that conversation around evergreen marketing is, Hey, why don’t you give us many, many millions of dollars and we’ll work with you to build a campaign that never ends. And you’re constantly putting in targeted ads in front of the people you care about and so on and so on. And so on. Now, if you have unlimited virtually, you know, like indestructable deep pockets and you know, like you’re like apple where you’ve got X, many billions, if not trillions of dollars in the bank at the ready, then, you know, if you’re in that position, great. But most people aren’t most organizations aren’t. So then how do you handle evergreen marketing when you don’t have that, those kinds of dollars? And that’s, you know, that’s where my expertise comes in. It’s about, you know, building out those communication channels, building out a strategy to involve other, you know, other mechanisms, other avenues that traditionally companies don’t tend to look at, if you could do it on the cheap, and it becomes a great equalizer, you can be a company that’s, you know, one size and you’re trying to compete with a company that’s 50 times larger.

Jonathan
00:09:49
And if you have the right strategy, you can do it at a very, very low cost where they would have to spend millions of dollars to equal what you’re able to do.

Arlen
00:09:56
Yeah. That makes sense. And I’m glad you mentioned that at the end where, because I know a lot of e-commerce companies may, you know, make it a little gun shy. We don’t want to hear evergreen, because like you said, it’s a continuous flow of money that you’re putting into these marketing activities, marketing campaigns, but you know, most businesses don’t have a continuous flow of money. Nobody has evergreen pockets, right? So like scares a little about people. But like you said, it’s a matter of, you know, adjusting things shifting to maybe some less expensive tactics where you’re still staying out there. You’re still keeping your brand present. You’re building your brand awareness, but you know, you’re being creative with it. And that’s really a way to be able to compete with, you know, some of those larger companies that have endless pockets of money and they’re just continually flowing money into these, you know, these LinkedIn campaigns or into Google ad campaigns or any of these types of campaigns. So, yeah.

Jonathan
01:10:51
Yeah. Makes sense. And I’ll give you a quick example. If we think about two different companies on LinkedIn, one that has 50 employees and one that has 2000 employees, usually a company that has 50 employees might have 800 or a thousand followers for their company page. So that means when that company does an update, as part of their communication strategy, it’ll reach between 600 and a thousand people because that’s how many followers that company has. And then a company that has 2000 followers, sorry, 2000 employees might have 40,000 followers. So when they do a company page up that 40,000 people, they’re going to see it. So now a company that has 50 employees like, well, how do I compete with that? Like, they’ve got so many followers. And if you go to LinkedIn and say, I want to buy 39,000 followers, it’s going to cost a lot of money because you’ve got to put a lot of targeted ads, et cetera, et cetera.

Jonathan
01:11:41
Yet you’re 50 employees. The average person on LinkedIn, the average member has 800 connections. So if you just get one of your employees to share up the same update, your company, that one employee has the same reaches the company. And if you’ve got 50 employees times by the 800, now you’re reaching 40,000 people. The same as the company that has 2000 employees. Every time you do an update, if you can get all 50 employees to share it, you’re doing the exact same job as a company that has 2000 employees, hence the great equalizer, the ability to be able to get in front of the audience that matters. And of course, who are your employees connected to? They’re connected to your clients and they’re connected to your prospects and their networks, or, you know, really broaden it. You know, they go deep into those.

Arlen
01:12:29
Yep. Definitely. You know, when we’re looking at this evergreen marketing concept, you know, as we see it, you know, it definitely seems something that’s makes sense outside of the obvious things that obviously getting your, your messaging out there on a consistent basis to various channels, what are some other benefits of pulling the trigger on a evergreen marketing campaign?

Jonathan
01:12:52
I’ll back it up one step. And just say before that, you can’t just only talk about your company because then you’re a blow horn, right? Like, you know, our products, our services, our products, our service buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, people will switch off pretty fast. If all you see is ads, you know, like when the commercial skip button came out on your remote, that’s all people did. They just commercials, commercials skip, right. They, you know, you’re going to get bombarded. So, and that’s how the LinkedIn ecosystem has changed. And I know I’m focusing primarily on LinkedIn, but really this strategy applies to all, all social platforms if you’re using those channels. And that is, if you just only talk about your company and you’re only talking about your products and services, people get tired of it and then they switch off. Whereas if you’re providing values, you’re taught, you know, you’re delivering content, that’s thought leadership, you’re telling stories about the industry.

Jonathan
01:13:41
And then you’re also talking about your company. And there’s an ideal ratio that we used to talk about when we were out LinkedIn, which was three to one. So for every six pieces of content, three of them should be thought leadership. That doesn’t mean you have to write them. You could find thought leadership stories and sit, and then just add in your 2 cents. Hey, this is such a great article, you know, great ways to do this, et cetera. I think, you know, point number three is really, really sound so providing that. So three pieces that are thought leadership, two pieces that are about your industry and then the last piece is about your company, right? So if you, if you think about storytelling on those kinds of platforms in that way, yes. You’re only talking about your company one every six times, but the difference is if you’re still talking about things that are a value, those networks, then start to appreciate it.

Jonathan
01:14:28
Like, oh, that company is really delivering value to me or, oh, those employees are sharing out things that are really, you know, resonating with me. And then if your employees are sharing it, statistically on LinkedIn content that is shared by employees is twice as likely to be engaged with as if it was an ad from a company. So you’re going to get much higher engagement. They already know the people that are at your company. So you’re going to be able to, you know, to really drive better results. But then, so that’s sort of the ratio. So that’s just making sure we have a strategy when we talk about storytelling or that, you know, when we’re talking about delivering content, then some of the main areas of like companies can measure results as to, you know, why, you know, with the evergreen channel is that storytelling takes a while.

Jonathan
01:15:13
And, you know, if I just put an ad in front of, you know, particularly like a targeted audience, that ad’s not going to get a very high, like close rate, you know, they have to really be familiar with your company. They have to get an idea of your products and services. What’s your about before. They’re really ready to make that decision. Nobody sees one ad and then just runs in by something, unless it’s for a chocolate bar and that’s me. So, so you know, any of those big purchases, it’s a, you know, a lot of times there’s a lot of people involved. And so what you want to do is you want to build that awareness over a period of time. It’s like, what is that buying cycle? And buying cycles could be three months, six months, a year and longer. And so how do you stay in front of that?

Jonathan
01:15:53
Those buyers, how do you stay in front of that audience so that when they’re ready to make the decision, you’ve done all the work, building, that awareness, getting them familiar with your products and services, they know about your brand. They know about the value proposition about the great works you’re doing in the community and, and how you’re lifting everybody up. This is all part of it that makes you much more compelling when you come to the table and you make your pitch because they’re like, we already know you guys. You guys are great. Oh my gosh, that thing you guys did three months ago with, you know, the veterans that was like so wonderful, how you’re helping, you know, getting them back. That’s a different kind of conversation than hi, do you want to buy something? So, so that’s all part of it. And then what companies typically aim to measure is the number of engagements.

Jonathan
01:16:37
So from a marketing perspective, are we getting likes and comments, et cetera, from people we care about. And then the second would be social selling. So are we providing leads to our sales team? Are they getting likes and comments from prospects that they can see in LinkedIn and go, oh wow. I can action that. Like, I can actually reach out to that contact and ask her for a meeting because she commented like, Hey, this is a really thoughtful piece. And then I can say, yeah, you know what? We’re actually experts in that field. I’m happy to provide some more info if you guys are in the space and you want some more information, it books, meetings, and then also around brand reputation. And again, LinkedIn, a great place to be able to manage your brand reputation, because it’s an environment where almost no one is negative, so you can control the story.

Jonathan
01:17:23
You know, you can control the press because you are the story you’re delivering it and you are your press. So, and your, your employees are advocating on your behalf. So this is all part of it. That brand reputation is really, really critical if anybody’s in corporate communications and then lastly, around talent acquisition. So if I need to make some crucial hires, if we’ve got this as evergreen story happening, whether it’s through our company directly answer our employees, we’re able to attract those right people. So that way, if we’re not even on the radar, let’s say, you know, you’re looking for salespeople or you’re looking for technology, people as examples. Those are all highly sought after skill sets. So how do you get those people to even consider your company? Well, reaching out to the blue is just like making any other sale. You know, how do you want to work here?

Jonathan
01:18:10
The answer is no, I’ve never even heard of you. What, like, what are you even talking about versus, oh my gosh. Yeah. Like you’re that company that does this great stuff. I know all about you. I know about your campus. I know about the people. I know what projects you work on. This is so cool. Thank you so much for reaching out to me. But meanwhile, you’ve been telling that story over the last year through your employees and their connections are the ones you want to hire because they have the same skillset. So if your employees are great, you definitely want to hire the people that they know.

Arlen
01:18:36
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And I think a lot of times businesses don’t really look at it like that as far as using their employees on LinkedIn as a brand awareness strategy and, you know, just tapping into their networks. But that’s a very powerful tool for sure, to be able to do that. You know, you also mentioned a couple of other things that are interesting that I want to kind of tie into, because I think a lot of times when you’re talking about, you know, creating messaging, you talked about creating informational content, coming up with content that is going to give people information about your brand. And you need to get you drill down into your sales funnel, what you can do all of that through posts on LinkedIn, you know, social posts, informational posts, you can post articles, you name it can all be done on LinkedIn.

Arlen
01:19:20
I know one of the things that I know e-commerce businesses struggle with these days is content creation, understanding what content to come up with, how do they come up with it, who comes up with it? And so I’m always a huge advocate of content reuse. And so I think one of the things you mentioned, which I think when you can let me know if this is, would be a good idea or not, but could that same informational content that you’re putting out there on LinkedIn, could you reuse that same content through an email campaign, you know, several emails to your subscribers that have opted into your list? Would that be a good idea to reuse that same content?

Jonathan
01:19:55
Absolutely. I think if you think and know that this is providing value, then absolutely. It’s, it’s definitely, you know, it’s definitely worth it to stay top of mind. And I think it’s, you know, as long as those email campaigns, again, aren’t only like products and services oriented, but you, you want to like, sort of like when the tide rolls in that lifts all ships. So that’s kind of, the goal is like, Hey, I want to actually not just sell, but I want to provide value. Then that’s a great strategy. And yeah, you’re using the stories and the content on LinkedIn, you’re storytelling through email campaigns, you’re your storytelling in every single avenue that you can and, and email marketing can be a great evergreen channel. It’s just that, you know, the click-through rate, it’s, you’ve gotta be strategic about who you’re targeting with the emails. And again, making sure that it’s not just sort of some sort of like death message that that gets rolled out because they just, that’s, all they get is just, you know, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch pitch. So it’s really being thoughtful about the approach, I think is really key there.

Arlen
02:20:52
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So yeah, if you have a segmented list of a specific demographic and you think the content is appropriate, do that rather than blasting out that same con to your entire list where, you know, it can be falling on deaf ears and, you know, your click-through rate is just going to be, you know, through the tubes going that route. Exactly definitely makes sense. Well, as we get ready to wrap things up, you know, I’m a huge advocate of saying what some other companies are doing around a particular strategy so that we can learn from wrong, learn from them. Are there any particular companies that, that you could identify that have been successful with evergreen marketing? What specific campaigns that they run?

Jonathan
02:21:31
I got to make sure I quote companies that want to be quoted, you know, I think it depends on also, it depends on the outcomes that they’re trying to drive, but I think a company that stands out to me and we’ve been working with them as Pepsi co, okay. They are doing a great job of telling their story. You know, they’ve been evolving thing with their services and the different products that they offer. And they’re also doing a great job of telling the story about how they’re being corporately, responsible, you know, how their technology is shifting. And then they’re also doing a great job of telling the story of their employees, making it a compelling place to work, making a compelling place to stay. And so I would say they’re a great example. If you look them up and you see, you know, how they’re telling their stories, they’re great, you know?

Jonathan
02:22:16
Sure. They sponsor big events. You know, like the Pepsi halftime show at the super bowl was amazing. Like I watched it, I thought it was great, you know, and you can see their advertising, but when you look at how they’re participating on a platform like LinkedIn, and they’re really not advertising, they’re really just sort of telling their stories. And that’s where you shift your perception of a brand. And it goes from like, oh, there’s that company that sells that stuff to, oh, here’s that company. And they’re telling this story and it’s really compelling to me. And it resonates with me. And, you know, for example, in their particular case where they’re telling a story around talent acquisition, they’re doing a great job of it because it persuades people to want to work there because the more, you know, the better you’re in a position to know if you’re a good fit.

Jonathan
02:22:57
And so often we go blindly into things and, you know, information is power. So the better we are equipped to be able to make those decisions, you know, the better we are to be able to help out our customers or whoever it is that we’re trying to partner with. And I would just say, you know, as a closing note, you know, for those that are, you know, listened to the podcast, if they’re interested to know more or, you know, have a conversation around this particular topic, we’re certainly happy to, to be there and help in any way we can.

Arlen
02:23:24
Okay. That’d be, that’s great. And I definitely encourage people to reach out to you. Yeah. One of the things that I’m also stuck out when you mentioned this kind of the story telling aspect of what out of these bigger brands are doing like Pepsi co and how they’re being informative yet, then you know, they’re getting people aware of their brand, but not directly shoving their products down people’s throats. You see that a lot more of these days. And you mentioned the super with even the Superbowl commercial these days, a lot of times you watch the commercials and they’re like, okay, what was the product they’re selling? Right. So it’s a whole comprehensive story, almost like a little mini movie or a little short film. And, you know, that kind of creates there. I think the focus on those ads is similar to what you’re talking about, where you’re just, or with PepsiCo is doing a LinkedIn where you’re creating awareness, you’re creating a compelling story. It’s really, maybe it’s about some type of social issue, environmental issue. You’re showing how your brand is socially responsible. And that kind of pulls people in. So because people are really aware of that socially conscious environmentally conscious, and they want to support brands that are, that are doing that.

Jonathan
02:24:26
Yeah. And I think, you know, this topic could be intimidating for people, you know, like, oh my gosh, like, how do I know what to say? And you know what to pick and et cetera, there’s a lot of content available there. And it’s really, you know, it’s just knowing where to find it and making it easy. And there are tools like social, HP has one that helps people do it, but really it’s about building your confidence and knowing that, you know, this is something that I could take on. It’s not like a new full-time job. Right. So that makes it a lot, a lot simple.

Arlen
02:24:53
Yeah, it definitely does. Yeah. This is owners and people that are managing marketing departments. They’re definitely not looking to take hold of the jobs. That’s good to hear. Well, it’s definitely been awesome talking to you, Jonathan. I, you know, I can go on and talking about every remarketing for hours for sure, because it’s definitely a hot topic, but, you know, I know I’ve learned a lot in our listeners have as well, but before we let you go, I would like to switch gears here to find out a little bit more about our guests. Just if you don’t mind sharing one closing fun fact that you think our audience would be interested to know about yourself.

Jonathan
02:25:24
I used to do improv professionally in Toronto at second city. Oh wow.

Arlen
02:25:29
So

Jonathan
02:25:29
I was a failing comedian at some point.

Arlen
02:25:33
Okay. Well, yeah. I didn’t know. They had a second city in Toronto. Yeah. Cogley area. And I know original second city is out of Chicago and a lot of the big comics of today have all come out of that whole franchise. And so yeah, it wasn’t aware they have one in Toronto, so that’s awesome. So is that like a side hobby that you do now? Do you do any type of improv now?

Jonathan
02:25:54
It was a while ago. I was, yeah. I was doing it pretty consistently before LinkedIn. So about 10 years ago and I did it for quite a few years. So I ended up doing like, you know, commercials and some stuff like that, but I can tell you, as you mentioned, you know, all the big comics and a lot of the big comedians came out of second city, I was not one of them. So therefore, you know, that, that just tells you and puts it into perspective as to how, how really successful I was with that and actually built up a lot of confidence for business conversations though, because you can be a lot more relaxed and comfortable in them. And so I would say, you know, if anyone’s looking to explore or if they’re a little bit shy of just about getting comfortable in, in standard business conversations, taking classes that organizations like second city improv class has really opened the doors to be able to let you know what’s reasonable, what’s not and have fun with it because you know, these kinds of things can be intimidating.

Arlen
02:26:48
Yeah. Very true. That’s a great piece of advice. I hadn’t really thought about using improv as a, as a tool to help with your business conversations and networking, but you’re, you’re totally right. Because with that, you really gotta think fast, you gotta think on your feet and you know, you gotta be able to talk about a variety of different subjects and that’s great when you’re networking. So yeah. Thank you for sharing that. That’s a great piece of advice. Well, Jonathan, lastly, before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brain anymore about evergreen marketing, about what is the best way for them to get in contact with you?

Jonathan
02:27:19
He hit me up on LinkedIn. I think that’s the best way where I seem to spend most of my time. You know, if that’s, if there’s a platform where I’m reachable, that’s the one and you can just type in my name, my actual URL. So it’s just linkedin.com forward slash Jonathan Beldock and I come right up. So that’s probably the best way to connect with me.

Arlen
02:27:38
Okay. That is great. Well, thank you for sharing that. I definitely heard all of our listeners to connect with you on LinkedIn. I’m going to go ahead and do that myself after this recording, for sure. So we can connect via that platform, but you thank you again, Jonathan, for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast.

Jonathan
02:27:54
Thanks so much. I really appreciate you having me on

speaker 1
02:27:59
Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. 

Podcast Guest Info

Jonathan Baldock
Advisor at Social HP