In the for-profit world, Sales and Marketing are two sides of the same coin. They work hand-in-hand to build an organization. In the nonprofit world, however, these two components of brand building and stakeholder engagement get a bad rap.
But do nonprofits actually sell? Of course they do. Whether some component of your organization drives revenue through selling, or your ED is simply out drumming up donations during the giving season, at some level every non-profit depends on sales and marketing.
My guest on this episode of Relish This is Suzi Bahnsen, founder of Apple and Arrow Sales. They help organizations and leaders navigate the intersection of marketing, branding, and sales. Suzi and I met when she was working at Boulder, Colorado’s Small Business Development Center. She has a long history working with nonprofits and small businesses to improve their sales and engagement, and it was great to reconnect with her.
We had a vigorous discussion about storytelling and how to use marketing and branding to get your message across to your stakeholders, how to develop a solid marketing and engagement strategy, and much more. This was a super fun episode. I hope you enjoy it.
Apple and Arrow Sales
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Telling Your Story At The Intersection Of Marketing, Branding, And Sales With Suzi Bahnsen From Apple And Arrow Sales
My guest is Suzi Bahnsen and she is the Founder of Apples and Arrows Sales, which is a new business that she’s founded to try and help people navigate marketing, branding, sales and the intersection of all of those things. Suzi and I met a couple of years ago when she was working for the SBDC. They’re a local nonprofit part of a bigger organization.
She was working for Boulder SPDC and was putting together classes for local businesses. They had me come on as a speaking guest. It was great to reconnect with Suzi. She’s an amazing person. She has a lot of great insight and information about marketing and sales and how those two things overlap. We talked about a whole bunch of stuff that I think you’re going to find fun and interesting. Suzi is great. I hope you enjoy the show. Suzi, how are you doing?
I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.
I’m excited to have you on the show. We met back when you were with the SBDC in Boulder. You were doing some cool stuff to bring webinars to people during the pandemic and had me on as a guest a couple of times.
People love you. You did such a great job.
It was super fun. It was great to start working on my teaching chops a little bit. That was something that the SPDC was doing a very good job of, but you have moved on to a cool new business that you’ve started up from scratch called Apple and Arrow Sales.
It’s my third business. I used to own a marketing and design agency on Pearl Street called Launchpad Interactive and then I had a business called Turn Left. That was a fractional CMO business where I’d go and help people with their tech stack and helped them to assess their internal and external resources. I get sales and marketing to work together. They pop out like Mary Poppins of marketing. I used to call myself. That was a blast.
I’ve done this dance of marketing leadership, sales and having my own thing. I love the entrepreneurial spirit. Apple and Arrow Sales are my newest venture. It’s about helping empower people to price appropriately, scale their business, evaluate their sales strategies and their brand and help them to live that life that they want to live. It’s fun to be at a place where I can make choices to work with people. I want to see the effect. I want to see them enjoy their life, have great clients and bring some good in the abrupt.
Let me a little bit more about what you do there and who you’re looking for over at Apple and Arrow?
I created two online courses. One is called Badass Branding, which is a DIY branding class, and then the second is called No Apology Pricing. I originally started thinking this time I would work with women. My brand is like this magenta and black, in your face poppy, “I’m going to work to help empower women.” During the pandemic and the last few months of 2021 particularly, I’ve had some people come to me that have been in business. They’re not women necessarily but need help.
I look for people that want to grow, that maybe have something great that they want to bring in the world, whether it’s a service or product, but they’re lacking that sales background or that marketing know-how. I love to work with people that need to work with an agency or they’re trying to build their marketing, brand platform and work with them before they start to make sure that they have done their market research and due diligence. They know who their target is so that they can be in more control and a better client to people like you, agencies or freelancers.
Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
They’ve done that legwork and thought things through and they know where they want to go and where they want to take their business. It’s an open book, my background. I did a lot with a technical company and I’ve worked with everything from natural food to green building to start-ups. I have consulted hundreds of entrepreneurs over the course of my career.
I love those heart-based companies, these passion brands. There are people that are at a tipping point, like maybe they’ve been in business for a decade and they’re ready to scale. They don’t even realize that they’re selling something that doesn’t have high margins or they didn’t even want to sell it in the first place, but they ended up going down this path. That’s where the money came in.
The apple for this brand represents what you want and that might be more time to travel, spend time with your kids, take care of your aging parents, make more money, scale or whatever. The arrow represents alignment and focuses on that direction. It’s a fun poppy brand. I think at this point in my career, I want to help people and bring some love, that a-ha moment or that feeling of people being heard or giving someone space to express those vulnerabilities, concerns and help them get past them. It’s more about that than the industry this time.
The quicker that we can all get to be able to do the things that we love and have those kinds of employment or entrepreneurial opportunities to get us excited. That’s where we do our best work. It’s in those spaces where we’re passionate about it. It sounds like you’ve found yours.
Particularly now I think that people realize the world has changed on us and got a little bit pear-shaped. A lot of people worked hard. If they had a business, they might have survived and grown. They may have gone off to do their own thing and realize that life’s so short, precious and fragile. It’s time to be clear on what you want and go for it. I see exciting times. The flowers that grow after the burn. I dig that and why not?
One thing that you mentioned that I’ve latched on to in the last several years is the idea that we can all lead with purpose and you don’t have to have an eco brand or a nonprofit necessarily to have a purpose-driven business. It’s cool to see how the marketplace is shifting. It’s being driven a little bit by circumstances and quite a lot by some of these up-and-coming generations who are demanding that of the brands that they frequent and use. You’re seeing a lot of brands that historically, maybe, haven’t thought that way. They’ve been pure profit first type of people who are starting to reconsider how they approach business and I’m hoping that that’s a movement that continues to gain steam and continues to grow and blossom.
I always like to keep up line statistics and see where marketing is and what the marketing trends are. I’m pretty sure it was either 71% or 72% of Americans are looking for that purpose-driven companies. It’s their expectation now that businesses are going to have something that they stand for, giving back to and it’s not whatever product or service that they’re selling. I think that’s a good thing. In my first contracts, when I had my agency, if they wanted to work with me, they had to do something for the community.
I didn’t care what it was. It was like, “Whatever you’re passionate about, whether it’s a rescue, kids, food, or whatever it was, but you had to do something. If you didn’t have a lot of money to give, maybe you invested your time, did a silent auction, or whatever it was.” It was a part of my value system as an agency and it taught these businesses also that there’s altruism in it. You can convey that these were what you stand for as a brand and help that nonprofit or that purpose, whatever that purpose was like. Help them get the word out that they’re available. Have you ever made any of those farm-to-table dinners out and there in unincorporated Boulder?
I haven’t done those, but I am on the board of GoFarm Colorado, which has a harvest dinner every year and they’re a lot of fun.
I would like to do one of those. I love that stuff. I went to one and all of these organizations have come together. They were doing introductions about like these and it was like the Watershed Center was part of it. It wasn’t the farmer and it wasn’t the person that was making whatever delicious cocktails they were making, but it was also this water conservation. I love it when they have bees. They help people help the bees and all that stuff. Build a community around purpose and it gives a good feeling.
It brings everyone together and it’s interesting because it does help people feel at least some of the money that they’re spending for a service or product is going back to a good cause. It’s has a slightly dual effect and that it’s doing some good, but it’s also creating opportunity. More businesses will probably at least hopefully start hopping on that bandwagon.
It’s one of those things where with all the shakeup from COVID-19 and all of the businesses that had to readjust, I think that there is an opportunity to tell that story now differently to bring it back into the fold. Stuart, you did some sessions for the small business development center in that series. Remember we were talking about people that had popped up their online presence event. In the beginning, you can talk about what’s going on with your employees and you can talk about what’s going on with your hours or are you shutting down? Now, what do you talk about?
You have your presence up like, why not talk about how to get involved? What are your values as a business? Nonprofit, for-profit, whatever, where are you now and how are you fitting into the ecosystem? It’s a great thing to share and people are interested in hearing about that. Down to the individual that you effect, I think that’s important. Has your employee done something nice or kind? Did you help out a family? Are you adopting some charitable giving that you weren’t doing before because now you’ve moved on to the next thing? I think that people find a lot of heart in that.
Storytelling is interesting and I think people get hung up on having the perfect story or having to come up with the big idea themselves. There are so many ways to share stories that bring value to your particular audience that people don’t always consider. They think, “I need to write a blog post. I need to craft the social media thing and I don’t have any great ideas now.”
Frankly, there are so many stories going around and you brought up a couple there that are great storytelling fodder in terms of what are your employees doing? Maybe one of your employees does trapeze performances on the weekend and there’s a story. That’s something that you can bring to the table, talk about and it demonstrates that you support your team and you have interesting people on your team. It doesn’t always have to be some big tome of information that you’re bringing as long as you’re bringing value to the audience. Do you have any other ideas around storytelling that you’d like to share?
Some of it could be funny or little humor to tie in. Storytelling is personal and some people are naturals at it. I was looking at my dog and he’s a good example. I don’t post that much on social. I tell people to do things and then for me, it’s like, “Oh God.” I don’t know how many pictures in my thing where I’m like, “I’m going to post that. That’s going to be great.” I psych myself out, but I have no problems posting something about my dog because he’s a rescue dog and he’s my heart. I love him and he’s part of my brand and part of who I am. It cracks me up that he’s snoring next to me.
He’s the easiest thing for me to talk about and for some people, it is their animal, mascot, or event that they’ve done. I was talking to a couple of women and one of them was telling me the story about her son. He’s autistic and epileptic. He had to go get the COVID-19 shot and he had a big issue. It didn’t work out and it was very traumatic. I don’t know if it was Walmart or Walgreens, but one of these bigger chains, but this one guy took the time to work with her and he made a party. He blew up balloons, had little toys and made this party event for this child that was having a hard time adjusting. I’ve told that story three times now.
I’m the queen of, if I hear somebody that’s doing something good and they’ve done something that made someone’s day better, I like to tell those stories and repeat that brand. It’s what makes you feel good about anything that’s around your business and it doesn’t always have to be about the product that you’re selling or the service that you’re providing.
Here’s another good example. Somebody reached out to me. She sent a message and it said, “Personal favor.” It’s a work colleague. She was asking strong women to write an inspirational message for a relative of hers who was going back to grad school who had four children. She had a tough road, but she was pushing to go back and get her Master’s degree. I loved that she did that and she reached out to help her family member.
I had to write a note for this person I’ve never met, but that’s put some goodness out in the world. It made me feel good about her organization and as an individual. It had nothing to do with the organization that she works for. It had everything to do with that connection. It made me feel good because it’s a strong woman. I was like, “You think I’m a strong woman?” I got a little eco snack from the invite, but this ability to help someone made me feel good about her and the organization. They’ll probably get some more money from me.
We talk about creating relationships all the time. I think with nonprofits and for-profits, ultimately, marketing is about relationship building and sometimes that relationship is pretty short-lived. It’s fairly easy to get over a hurdle. For example, if you’re purchasing some small ticket item or it can be something that you need to nurture over time in order to get somebody to take that next step to volunteer, donate or buy a larger ticket item.
Sales has changed so much over the years but you still have to learn how to face your fear of sales.
At the end of the day, people certainly buy from businesses, but there are always people at the end of those transactions. When any organization can let that shine and demonstrate that they’re there and they have cool things to share, whether those be very business-specific, interesting information or something fun and friendly that creates an opportunity to grow a relationship. Whenever one is struggling with what content to create, get back into the last few days and think about some of the conversations that you’ve had. See how those could help brighten somebody’s day or bring them a little taste of something that they didn’t know about.
That connection with relationship building and also being honest about where you are in your space, I think that’s important. We’re in marketing and marketers always talk about the upside. I used to laugh about when I first started my business. You always said, “Everything is great.” It doesn’t matter if it is or not. Everything’s great like, “I’m doing well, I’m busy, whatever.” I think that now there is also some storytelling in the vulnerability of sharing. You’re not alone in some of your emotions, too and trying to give somebody some uplift.
It’s the human piece that goes a long way. Even as a part of imagery like sharing pictures and video, I think that that helps to sell a business. If you’re trying to raise money, whatever that might be, people are so visual, but I also feel telling a story, like writing a card, goes a long way these days. My office mate, Lisa, has a box of cards that she printed off from Canva. She’ll write this gratitude note and I always had good intentions of doing it because I love the idea of it all. She’s great at mailing stuff.
It makes someone’s day and makes them feel so good. I thought of you. I just want to say I’m grateful that for whatever. Not like I asked you for something, you gave me something, “I was thinking of you. You were on my mind.” It could tie back into whatever you’re doing, like, “We did this thing. I thought of you.” It’s not for the sale, but it’s for the relationship. It’s the, “Thanks for being you or thanks for what you did and I remember you saying something that made me feel good one time,” or whatever it is. That’s a good story, too. It makes people feel something. I like going back to those roots.
I think that there are a lot of things that we let fall by the wayside because they’re not new and they’ve been done for years, but a personal note is something that can go a long way. At this point in time, they are fairly unique. It’s rare to get a handwritten note of any kind. It’s certainly a technique that people should keep in their back pocket. At one point, I got away from this because I forgot about it a little bit, but one of my weekly KPIs was to send out 3 thank you cards or 3 handwritten notes to clients or people that I’d talked with and it can make a difference.
Even for people that don’t want to mail something, if you go back to some social channels and reach out on LinkedIn or whatever for no other reason than you were on my mind, that seems to stick to it. Have you ever had a friend that’s like, “You’re so busy or whatever?” It’s like, “I never want anybody to feel I’m so busy.” It’s almost the opposite of when I was in my 30s.
I want it to be so busy. Now, I’m like, “No, until here and until the present.” I want people to know that I’m listening and more than ever now that those little tokens mean a lot. Also, providing the space for people to be heard and listened to a little bit goes a long way. That’s a relationship-building thing that’s effortless. It doesn’t cost a thing.
It doesn’t cost anything to be present. We are here anyway. Those are great things for people to keep in mind. Relationships are two-way streets and I believe that a lot of salespeople fall into the trap of always be selling. That’s the whole Glengarry Glen Ross thing. Always being present would be a better motto for people because there is so much that you can pick up on, learn and be able to share that if you are authentic, present and not trying to get to that next quota, sales goal or whatever it is. There is a lot to be said for being there and present. People remember that particularly in the fast-paced world that we live in.
If you can remember a little bit about their life and what matters to them, I think that goes a long way. Sales have changed over the years and I’m working on a book. It will be by July 2022, but hopefully before then. It’s called Facing Your Fear of Sales and it’s a guide to helping people overcome those doubts and uncertainties like imposter syndrome, not asking for what you want and all of that.
It ties into selling something that you feel like selling as a service to someone. You’re providing something that you know is going to help their day be better, whether that’s a pair of shoes that’s going to make them smile or whatever it might be like some tool or service that’s going to help them in their marriage or whatever it might be. A tincture that’s going to make them feel lofty. Whatever it is that they’re selling but doing it in a way that I know is going to be good for you.
It’s authentic and it’s like not that pushy salesperson. It doesn’t carry as much weight anymore, but what does carry weight is the follow-up. Those little touches that you and I have been talking about with those relationships build and notes like, “I’m reaching out and see how you’re doing,” or, “How’s your business going,” or “I know that your daughter is graduating,” or, “I know that something in your life changed and I wanted to check in.” That’s a great way to do business development. You have to keep track of it.
If you had a CRM system or some way to manage your customer relationships so that you can keep on top of it, as we all get busy and distracted, I think that those are key ways to be top of mind. I’ve been on both sides of the selling fence where I’m the one that’s signing the purchase order, I’m the one asking for one, and the people that I liked got my money. They were stuck with me. If there was a good salesperson, they had to stay true and stay with me through the whole process. They couldn’t sell me and leave. That was the payment.
It’s not included what I asked them, but they got that sale because they did a good job. They heard me, made space and I’m very clear, particularly when I was in corporate. It’s like, “Here are my problems and my budget.” Giving it to you on a platter, but those that listened, had some kindness, caring, honest about it and taught me something went a long way. I would say that the teaching part is also an important piece and also goes into storytelling and relationships. Anytime you can teach someone something, share information, stories or whatever. I think that’s a win.
We’ve been using Loom a lot, where if someone asked me how to do something, I’ll go do it for them, but also record what I did, so they have an understanding of how to do it themselves next time if that’s what they would like to do. It’s a great tool and it’s very inexpensive. I think it’s $7 a month or something like that, but it can be used in a variety of different ways to create differentiation and personal touch.
A lot of times after sales calls, I’ll record a Loom message and you can embed it in your email. It’s something that stands out. It’s a little bit unique and special. People like it when you can take a little bit of a special touch or add a little special touch to how you engage and interact. It stands out. It’s like Lisa and her gratitude cards. It’s doing little things like that and that’s where I think that any business leader, whether that’s a nonprofit or a for-profit business leader, there are opportunities to do those types of things every day.
For example, one of my good friends owns or is one of the founders of Skratch Labs and they do an amazing job of getting orders out the same day. Even if you place orders late in the day, they have a company policy to try and get those things out by the end of the day. Oftentimes, I’ll order something there right in Boulder, but if I order some of their product, I’ll get it the next day without even having expedited shipping or anything like that.
One of the little things that they do is they add a personal message of preorder. It’s short and it’s like, “I hope you enjoy the drink mix,” or whatever it is. It does create that personal touch that I think a lot of places potentially miss out on because they’re trying to hurry too much or they don’t think that it matters.
It’s a little thing. It’s like that surprise and delight. Remember, we used to always talk about surprise and delight. It’s like, “I love that little note.” It doesn’t have to be much or a little. Sometimes people send out a little sticker. It goes a long way. I love the Loom as a tool to reach out and do a quick little video for email.
I’ve been telling some of my clients about that because I was these new things and to your point, it doesn’t cost much. You can record a personal message even or maybe your handwriting’s not that good. When you’re thinking of somebody, you can send them a quick, “I was thinking of you. I wanted to let you know what’s happening. Here’s where I’m at. I’m thinking of you and that time we talked about whatever.”
A lot of times like people will be like, “What’s the big idea,” or, “I have to do marketing.” They have this huge idea of what marketing is and sometimes it’s so subtle. You hit them at the right time when they were like, “Now that you’ve reached out, I do have something going on,” or, “That’s so cool that you did that.” It’s authentic. It makes you feel that on the receiving end, it’s good. On the flip side, it doesn’t cost you much to do little things like that. I think that’s super cool.
You were asking about examples of stories. I read about Southwest, so I fly Southwest a decent amount domestically. They’ve been getting such a backlash because they’ve been canceling flights. The whole travel industry, like airlines, has been hit. It was an article about the CEO of Southwest. The flight attendants and the pilots were complaining because they were frustrated, tired, treated like crap, overworked and everything. He did two things. He said he was sorry. He apologized to his staff. I love the I’m sorry, like, “I’m sorry that this has happened and it’s been handled this way. I’m sorry.” That made me feel good about that brand.
In marketing, pick what you’re comfortable with, don’t pick everything and, then just dig a little deeper in that instead of trying to be everything to everyone and live on.
The second thing was he cut the flights. For me, I’m like, “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the fall. Are you cutting back flights? What does that mean for me? It might mean that I have to pay more or whatever.” I’m okay with it because he’s treating his employees well. He said he was sorry and that made me feel good about that brand. I’m telling you the story now, I remember it and I don’t remember a lot of it, but it was good. A simple I’m sorry goes a long way.
There was a New York Times article about the whole airline industry and how challenging things are, particularly for the flight attendants who are taking a lot of the brunt of people’s frustrations. It’s unfortunate that that’s happening right now. They’re short-staffed and overworked. Flights are delayed and people are angry. Flight attendants and pilots have to work extra time. Maybe not pilots.
They may have a little bit more ironclad rest protocol, but certainly, that industry has been hit hard by all of this. The CEO taking the time to acknowledge that there’s a problem and apologize for what he may or may not be able to control that’s affecting that and offer up tangible solutions, I think that those are the steps that are required to create good PR for those of us who are paying a little bit of attention to the actual situation. Perhaps even bad PR that people are going to be upset that there aren’t more flights available or the flights are more expensive. At the end of the day, taking that time to notice and respond, I think a lot of companies out there would either pass the buck a little bit or ignore the situation, hoping that it would go away. There are opportunities for storytelling there to educate the public on why they’re making those types of decisions.
It does affect your mindset and there are clients that will appreciate that, like me. To your point, there are other people that might not be so happy because of the less flights. With all the agro people that have been flying, maybe that’s not a bad thing that they could have a different airline because these people have been beaten down. Branding, marketing and Biz Dev it’s all emotion-based.
There’s something that’s funny that I read the other day about Steve Jobs and his attitude was that a home run is better than two doubles. I wrote a blog post about this. I’m sure if you go back to my blogs in late August, early September of 2020, you’ll see a post about this because it’s a daily stoic thing that I read. It came back up again. In any event, he believed that a home run was better than two doubles. I see where he’s coming from in that respect, but I also think that we shouldn’t begrudge the two double and base hits.
The little things like that are certainly easier to get. It’s a lot easier to come up with a few base hits than it is to figure out how do I hit one home run. They also can be effective and those base hits can turn into doubles or turn into triple. You never know what’s going to happen. Being consistent, trying to keep communications going and being present are the qualities that every business should fall back on. Particularly when they’re struggling to figure out how to afford some of the home run stuff that they might like to do, because typically, home run things can be a little more costly than consistency day after day.
When it comes to a home run versus a couple of doubles, or however you get to the end score, it depends on what your value system is too. Do you want to kill yourself to get to this? Are you going to burn out or is it a marathon where you’re trying to be present, keeping moving, keeping those goals in mind, being in alignment?
In the end, you look back and you’re like, “Look where I came from.” If you’re burning out your staff, that’s such a big deal right now. The turnover of people and that YOLO movement, the whole, you only live once thing, people are changing. You have to keep all of that in mind. The day-to-day of people’s lives is not the same anymore as it was.
Are there any trends or any things that you’ve seen coming up in your space that our readers should be keeping an eye on in terms of storytelling or sales changes in the way sales are being made? Is there anything, in particular, that’s exciting to you right now?
I do like that Loom, little short videos and email to tell a story. Video to me is still hot. I have been thinking about more of your assets being your own and trying to push things out on YouTube more because it’s the second-largest search engine, like Google. If you find some cadence with that or podcasts, I think podcasting is great, but I think that conversions with YouTube have been going well and Instagram too. Instagram people are feeling good about brands and their stories on that.
I would say that the human touch coming back into the fold and not asking for things but sharing and telling stories is top of mind and recommended. People’s attention and focus are so short and it keeps getting shorter it seems. I feel that clarity is going back, even if you’ve been in business for a while, and looking at your brand and messaging.
What solution you’re providing and making sure that’s still the solution your customers need, it’s a great time to do it. I think fall is a great time to readjust the skirt. It’s like, “Go.” I don’t know about you, but people were getting out this summer. It’s like the summer was like a blink of an eye now it’s gone. Now it’s like we’re coming into colder weather and everything. It’s time to tell some stories.
Video is not going to go away. There are video shorts. I’m not a TikTok person. That’s not my jam, but you see that YouTube is now doing those short videos. I think that for people that weren’t living on TikTok, I think that that’s coming into play is putting out these short spots on YouTube. That’s going to be hot. I don’t know what the heck happened to Clubhouse. That came and went in a blip.
You couldn’t get away from it for a minute. You’re the first person that mentioned Clubhouse.
Every time I do a marketing class, I change it. I always change the content because I’m like, “What’s hot now or what’s relevant now? How’s that going to help the audience?” I was looking at an old presentation and by old, I meant several months ago. It was like one picture of Clubhouse. It’s like, “No that went away.”
I like blogs, podcasting, YouTube or website as your assets. Holding those and using social as that distribution piece. Not using that as like, “That’s where I’m putting on my content.” Using it as the connector to bring people back to your website and knowing that your website has an intention. You probably live and breathe this with your company, but many people are popping things up and they don’t know why? They feel like they should.
It’s like, “Don’t do things because you feel like they should and don’t pick channels because you feel like you have to but pick things that are going to be a little bit more comfortable.” If you like to talk and you don’t like your cell phone video like as an example, why do you do YouTube? Maybe you like to write, podcasting or short little Loom videos, even if it’s screen grabs or something you took on your iPhone that you want to share, I think that those things go a long way.
I think inviting people to events and making people feel exclusive like they thought about it also goes a long way. I don’t know if you’re seeing this too, but I’m seeing a lot of these events again, like these trade shows and concerts. They’re starting to pair back again. Here we go with a variant and all of that. It’s like, “How can you still feel real and in touch?” Maybe popping up some networking event with like-minded peers.
I’ll give you an example. Lisa and I have this group that she started called Women Who Rock and it started off with seventeen amazing women, just getting together at the studio, having a nice dinner and wine and then talking about change and what do people need. How can we contribute to the greater good as a group? Now we’re extending that. Each person can invite someone and like trying to create something.
It’s great to be human, to be present, be connected and it’s also great for networking and all of those things too. To me, that is secondary, but it’s valid because it’s that connection that people haven’t had in the last couple of years, like meeting new people of like-mind in a fun setting. I think that those types of things are also cool.
There are so many options out there and one of the things we encourage all of our partners and clients to do is to make sure that they don’t spread themselves too thin in terms of thinking that they have to be on every single channel that’s out there. Coming at that from the perspective of where does your ideal client or your audience participates in information gathering and social activities.
You can really build a community around purpose and it just gives a good feeling. It brings everyone together and would scale your business up.
You certainly would like to show up there effectively, but also think about what you do well. As you said, “If you’re not comfortable on camera, come up with a little different plan. Do something that works for you but also reaches your audience in a way that’s going to bring value to them.” I’d much rather see somebody do one thing well than seven things marginally.
We tend to overextend ourselves because we think, “I’ve got to be on all of these social channels,” and then we don’t do anything. I’d much rather see people be great at one. If you find that you’re knocking that out of the park and have the capacity to do another channel, add another one but thinking that you have to come out of the gate with eight amazing presences is hard to get done.
From a leadership marketing where there’s a gazillion tag for all kinds of marketing like that whole, some people like LinkedIn and they’re B2B. They post, share things and that gets out there too. I think that still has a place for sure. I’ve had people come to me and they’re insistent on wanting to do paid advertising until LinkedIn ads. They have some decent traction, I suppose, but at the end of the day, you’re right. Pick what you’re comfortable with, don’t pick everything and dig a little deeper in that instead of trying to be everything to everyone and live on channels that are noisy to begin with.
I was listening to a podcast. It was Dean Jackson’s More Cheese Less Whiskers Podcast, which is what inspired me to start this show in 2020. I started this one in late September of 2020. One of the things that Dean was talking about on the show was you have three things that we want to get done and let’s call it Marketing Scheme, A, B, and C. You can try and multitask.
Let’s say each one is going to take nine hours. What you could do is tackle the first one for three hours, start tackling the second one for three hours, the third week you tackle the third one for three hours, and then you go back to the first one and you do your next round of three hours on that one, you moved to the second one, and you moved to the third one.
At the end of all of this, you’ve invested all this time, but if you were to focus on one thing, if you did number one first and did the 3 hours, 3 weeks in a row, that one will be done and we’ll be making you money. You move to the second one and do that one in completion. Now you have two out there making your money. The third one, you tackle that third, you put your nine hours into that, and now you have all three done. Instead of waiting the 27 hours or whatever, my math is on all of that to get all three done at once, you can take advantage of getting those incremental wins and making sure that you’re not multitasking and focused on one thing at a time.
If you’re looking at channels, if you can embrace one channel, get it up, running and get it humming along, it can coast and continue to make you a little bit of money or bring in eyeballs or whatever it is that you’re hoping to do therewith significantly less effort than if you’re trying to get 3 or 4 going at one time.
I would say trying to build your email list or something that is an asset to you that it doesn’t matter if the platform changes. It’s like you have that as a connector. I think that’s also something that’s nothing new, but something forgotten. It’s not as sexy. It isn’t, but it has high conversion and is cheaper than some of these other activities for sure. I still think that if somebody that’s like brick and mortar, for example, or somebody that has a space like Google My Business, it’s still pretty effective too. I would say.
I think the local purchases are a big thing right now for small businesses, particularly brick and mortars.
It’s amazing to me that people forget and that’s another thing. You have to invest your time to have that up and the keys to it to have as much information as possible filled out. It’s going to help with search optimization and it’s something that’s for people that have restaurants and things like that it’s a given, but like for organizations, it’s still a value.
If you’re a local business or organization that does work locally and maybe even tries to get donations locally, Google My Businesses is a huge component of your success. Continue to fine-tune the algorithm. They also continue to fine-tune the display and at this point, the first organic search typically falls into about the eleventh thing on the page. Their paid ads up top and there’s usually a local pack which has 3 or 4 results in that section. You’re starting to see big brands come in and swoop up the first couple of positions of organic. The first legit organic small business type opportunity tends to show up well below the fold. Getting up into that three-pack can be a night and day difference in visibility.
It’s like, “Did you think of this?” I said, “It’s not new, but it’s still good. A keeper.”
If people were interested in learning more about what you do and what you can do to help their businesses thrive, where would they go to find out about you?
They can go to my website, which is AppleAndArrowsSales.com. Anybody can schedule a fifteen-minute talk with me. I’m happy to chat and give some advice to anybody that needs it. You can find me on LinkedIn at Suzi Bahnsen. I would say those are two great ways. I have to get my Google My Business page up. That’s on my list. You will be able to find me that way, but those are the easiest ways to reach out and connect.
I would encourage everyone to reach out. I always love hanging out with you and getting to chat. I think that you’ve done so many cool things and you’re helping people out. It’s fun to fun to reconnect here on the show.
I’m ripping you back into this digital marketing course that I’m putting together for the SBDC. We’ll be working together, hopefully, this fall of 2022, as soon as I can get it out there.
I would be excited and thrilled to be a part of that. I love having these conversations, especially with wonderful people like you, Suzi. One of the things that I want to do is foster action. Reading and getting a bunch of good ideas is always great, but I want people to take action after reading this blog. If there’s anything that you would have people do after reading, what would you have them do?
From a human standpoint, I would say, say something nice to a stranger because everybody needs to hear something nice during the day. Also, if you haven’t found a non-profit or a charitable source to give to, get involved, be part of your community and be connected.
I would encourage everyone to go do both of those things. Thank you again for being on the show. It was lovely talking with you.
Thanks for having me.
I’ll talk to you soon.
About Suzi Bahnsen
In my career I have had the fortunate pleasure of exploring sales and marketing on several levels. I have been a Marketing Director, Chief Marketing Officer, Business Owner, Business Development Director, Sales Manager, a Consultant and more. All of these roles have helped to shape my viewpoint and allow me to follow my true passion as a connector. I understand investment strategy, budgets, sales goals, corporate culture, the rush of end-of-quarter, and the stress of end-of-year. In short, I know what keeps executives up at night. My focus and specialty have been brand identity, digital strategy and selling initiatives.
Through this evolution, I have worked with hundreds of companies ranging from Fortune 500s to startups nationally and internationally. Being smart, keeping ahead of the curve, leveraging technology and most importantly, maintaining strong relationships is what I believe to be the key to success.
Specialties: Consultative Sales, Creative Direction, Business Strategy, Internet Marketing, Human Relations Management, Digital Marketing, Training, Idea Generation, Program Management, Branding and Identity, Market Research and Competitive Analysis