Manage Smarter 158 — Seth Greene: Lead Gen Using Direct Response Marketing

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Seth Greene is a nationally recognized financial services direct response marketing expert. He is the author of eight bestselling marketing books, and book seven, "Market Domination for Podcasting," is on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, Target and Wal-​Mart now. Seth is the co-​host of the sixth-​rated podcast in 2019, the SharkPreneur podcast, with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, and the SharkPrenuer Financial Services Edition.

Seth has been interviewed on the news on NBC, CBS, featured in Inc magazine, Forbes magazine, and been on CBS MoneyWatch. Seth is the founder of one of the fastest growing direct response marketing firms in the country, MarketDomination LLC.

In this episode, Audrey, Lee and Seth discuss direct response marketing:

  • How some medical and professional services industries are changing how they're selling
  • How to modify your direct response marketing focus to accommodate different work setups and focus COVID-19
  • How to change and try to go where your competition isn't going right now with their direct response marketing

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Direct Response Marketing

Manage Smarter 158 Length: 00:18:28

This episode of Manage Smarter is brought to you by SalesFuel sales manager training based on the sales managers guide to greatness. It's a 36 lesson on demand program to upskill your sales manager so they can execute your vision and drive consistent revenue growth. Watch a free lesson and find out more at SalesFuel​.com/​smt. 

Welcome to the Manage Smarter Podcast with C. Lee Smith and Audrey Strong. We're glad you're here for discussions on new ways to manage smarter, hire, develop, and retain talent, improve results and propel team performance to new heights. This is the Manage Smarter Podcast.

Audrey Strong: One of the topics Lee we really haven't talked about in this coronavirus era that we're in, is direct response marketing. And we have an expert today who is not only a fellow member of the C‑suite network. He has a great podcast called Shark Preneur that you're going to be on. But he's an expert in this, can really talk about, I don't know if more of us are home, if we're more responsive to direct marketing. I mean I'm curious about the different dynamics and what changes have been made. What do you think?

C. Lee Smith: Well, also that and the fact of the changes in the financial services sector and how they've had to adapt into coronavirus, and then also how the direct response marketing reflects that. So, we're going to get into some of those topics and maybe a couple others as well today.

Audrey Strong: It's great. Thank you. Welcome to Manage Smarter, everyone. We're so glad that you're here. And Seth Greene is our guest today. I'm Audrey Strong, I'm the vice president of communications here at SalesFuel.

C. Lee Smith: And I'm C. Lee Smith, the president and CEO of SalesFuel.

Audrey Strong: So, Seth is a nationally recognized financial service, direct response marketing expert. Author of eight bestselling direct response marketing books and book seven Market Domination for Podcasting is on the shelves at Barnes Noble, Target and Walmart. Co-​host of the number six rated podcast in 2019, the Sharkprenuer Podcast with shark tanks, Kevin Harrington, who we've also met as part of our C‑suite network activities and the shark financial services edition as well. Been interviewed on NBC, CBS Forbes, CBS Money Watch, and founder of one of the fastest growing direct response marketing firms in the country. Marketdominationllc​.com is the website. Seth, I could go on, but I'd like to let you talk.

Seth Greene: Thank you so much for having me. It is an honor to be here. I am excited to share with your audience.

Audrey Strong: So, what do you think? What's different out your landscape in your lane right now that you can share with our listeners?

Seth Greene: Absolutely. I think a lot has changed. I think that a lot of companies, whether, because they had to, or simply because out of fear had the exact wrong reaction and cut back on their direct response marketing. I think a lot of companies cut their marketing budget and that has left the lane wide open. I think, yes, there are a lot of people who are still stuck at home or who are now working from home, which means their mailboxes, their snail mailboxes are a lot emptier than they used to be. So, if I were going to give some advice, I would say you, if you weren't doing snail mail before you should now, and if you're doing it, you should do more of it because there's less competition. And I think the other bigger trend is you are right, people are home more they're on their smartphone, their devices a lot more we're in the middle — as we're recording this, we're in the middle of election season, which means the ad spend for those campaigns is astronomical. And in some places driving other advertisers out of the market, driving the cost per lead up, driving the cost per for traffic up. So, it requires you to think outside the box and say, where can we go where our prospects are? That our competition or politicians who aren't our competition, but where can we go where they aren't so that we can show up like nobody else show up in a vacuum capture attention and then ultimately help those people with our products and services.

C. Lee Smith: There's a lot of talk lately about the effectiveness of digital marketing that maybe it's just not all that it was cracked up to be. And it's causing folks like Google and Facebook or whatever to have some concern and I'm reading a lot about that. What's your take on that?

Seth Greene: So, I'm going to respectfully disagree because you imply by saying it's not all that's cracked up to be. We're implying that it wasn't cracked up in the first place. So, I'm going to address your vocabulary choices all with all due respect it. I'm going to say it's still working. You just have to work harder to make it work. You have to be more creative. You have to be more clever. Your targeting has to be better. So, I mean, Warren Buffet said, “When the tide goes out, we can see who's been swimming naked.” And I think that applies here because there were companies that were just blindly spending. And advertising everywhere and in the heyday, for lack of a better term, it worked because they could get away with it. And now as the political spending ratchets up as the competition wraps it up, they're realizing, hey, advertising, everywhere, trying to do what Nike does or Coke does, or Pepsi does doesn't work for us at a smaller scale anymore. And they may quit or they may say, we have to think harder. We have to work better. A lot of our clients aren't, not necessarily Fortune 500 companies so they can't outspend any of those companies. They have to out market them by being smarter, better marketers, because those companies aren't as good as they have to be because they can afford to wait. They have shareholder money. They can afford to waste it. They aren't tracking every dime necessarily. They aren't saying, “Hey, if I spent $7 today or $700, I need to see an ROI tomorrow because I got to put food on the table and feed all my employees.” If they've got a billion dollar budget, they may not even measure their results at all. And just say, oh, at the end of the year, our sales were up. It must have worked, but we have no idea really if it worked or how.

C. Lee Smith: How about click fraud? Is that an issue that you're seeing or hearing people talk about?

Seth Greene: Absolutely. It makes great news stories. It is true. We do audit all of our clients' accounts to make sure that we're because of traffic and it wasn't “real traffic.” So, I would say it is an issue it's not as big as it's made out to be. It depends on the company and where you're advertising. So, if you are a small business, not small as defined by the government with under 25 million in revenue every year, but small, as in defined by, hey, local mom and pop, hey, maybe we've got a handful, a dozen employees or so, are they subject to click fraud if they're spending maybe a couple thousand dollars a month in ads? Probably not on a huge scale. I think the bigger the budget, the more you've got to worry about it.

Audrey Strong: I have a question about direct response marketing in that I feel like for me, I'm more focused because I'm in this pandemic. I'm paying more attention to direct mail pieces. I'm paying more attention to the messages that I'm receiving. I don't know why that is, but you talked about creativity, the call to action. What are some of the new ways that you are writing or presenting CTAs to get me to respond?

Seth Greene: Absolutely. So, it comes down to the most important factor. 50% of the success or failure of your direct response marketing is going to be based on who your target market is. So, if I just advertise to you because you are a woman, I'm going to have one generic bland vanilla level of effectiveness. If I narrow down that by how old you are, if you've got kids, if you're married, if you own your home versus if you rent. If I narrow that down, by what magazines you read, who you follow online, what videos you watched, what videos you watched yesterday. And I get down to a micro niche, laser focused level. I can dramatically increase my response rate. I think in terms of pivoting, one of the things, for example, we've seen in a lot of professional service industries, so financial services, some in the alternative medical space, a lot of regenerative medicine, a lot of those industries were selling historically before COVID on in person seminar selling. So, they would run newspaper, radio, TV, direct mail, Facebook ads to fill a dinner seminar room where they'd bribe everybody with free dinner to listen to their sales pitch, or if they were smarter, they'd drive them to a public library and just offer them like coffee and cookies and to get a more qualified prospect. Obviously that died with, I mean, it was starting to die before COVID, but really COVID killed it. Some of some people are having some moderate success, getting folks to sit six feet apart now. But that part of those industries will never be the same. So, I think everybody at the same time relatively quickly realized I got to cancel all my seminars. I'm going to switch into a webinar online. So, you couldn't do two scrolls through your Facebook newsfeed on your phone, without seeing an ad to attend another webinar. So, I think that market has now become oversaturated because everybody followed everybody else and you had marketing incest and everybody got dumber. And now you kind of have to think, “Hey, this total stranger who I've never met before, might not want to click on my ad and register and spend 90 minutes watching my sales presentation, i.e. webinar.” I think some of the switches we've seen, we've been taking people through baby steps instead of getting married on the first date and saying give me an hour and a half of your time, maybe it's download this ebook it's 12 pages, watch this four minute video. And then for example, our latest launch this month, we're doing 10, two to three minute videos before we drive them to ultimately register for that longer webinar, because we'll had built up a no like trust comfort factor. And we'll be more willing to show up for the webinar. In the beginning of COVID everybody showed up for your webinar because they were bored and they had nothing to do. Now, that's not the case and you've got to work a lot harder to get the same results.

C. Lee Smith: But I'll push back on that a little bit because I'm doing webinars and my webinars that aren't sales pitches, they are educational everything and I am still driving phenomenal numbers for every webinar that I do. Even [inaudible 00:10:00], they were higher naturally at the start of COVID. You're absolutely right about that, but I'm still driving much larger numbers this year than I was doing last year. So, I think a lot of it has to do with the trust factor of the speaker and whether or not they feel like am I going to be getting a sales pitch? Am I going to get real value out of this webinar?

Seth Greene: I agree a hundred percent. You're absolutely right. Hence why we're adding more pre-​webinar content pieces to establish that reputation so that more of them show up and to take the end result, whether it's buying or booking a consultation or something that we want them to have. That's awesome that your numbers are still doing great. I would be curious is to see how are you doing that? Is it because you have the right message aimed at the right market and that particular market isn't oversaturated and you're able to stand out? If you are a plain vanilla, for lack of a better term financial advisor and there's 52 others in your town, in your geographic 50 mile radius, running very similar ads from similar vendors. It's a heck of a lot harder if you have a whole lot less competition, obviously that makes what you're doing more sustainable and easier. And that's awesome. And congratulations that you're still able to get those results. I wasn't saying that, no one's doing it. I'm saying it requires you sometimes to work harder to pull it off.

C. Lee Smith: So, financial advisors is like, so yeah, they're all pretty much the same. How do you advise a financial advisor then to carve out a niche for themselves or to do something different, to be able to stand out from every other financial advisor out there?

Seth Greene: Absolutely. And that's a significant percentage of our client base because it's where I started. And I still own that firm. We've taught from the very beginning of our inception in business as a direct response marketing firm is, if you say the same thing as everybody else, nobody believes you, nobody can tell the difference. You're perceived as a commodity. Hey, I can get those same mutual funds, that same annuity, that same investment pretty much anywhere. How do I know what really differentiates you? And you can't say good customer service, because everybody says that. So, with the first fact, the most important factor, again, that we would help them differentiate on is based on selection of target market. So, I can offer the exact same financial services. But if I offer them to a specific market where my message is perfectly in line, it will work a lot better. So, as an example, instead of saying, I work with pre-​retirees and retirees to help them get peace of mind, which is literally every advisor on the planet, right? So, if we narrow that down and find out who your ideal client base is that dream list that you could work of the rest of your career and be happy with only those people that might change to I help conservative hunters protect their nest egg from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. That’s an actual financial advisor we work with now, I’m politically agnostic. I don't care which way you vote. I care which way those people pay my client. So, if my client decides, I only want to with conservative hunters, we craft a direct response marketing campaign instead of aimed at the hundreds of thousands of baby boomers in his city at the 362 Republican hunters with a million dollars or more. And he gets an insanely high response rate and works that same 362 person list for like the next three years and builds his entire business on it.

C. Lee Smith: I think it's really about the audience that you have the most credibility with the bank. And that really depends on your background and your interest and who you enjoy working with and your specific area of expertise, not just financial planning, but like I do great working with these types of clients. I have this experience level. I've had this amount of success and everything like that. And I think that that's in my mind where a lot of financial advisors really need to look at crafting their message [inaudible 00:13:40]. 

Seth Greene: Absolutely. And it's not just financial advisors, 83% of businesses can't define who their target market is or who their unique selling proposition is, in a narrowly focused way. We had a dentist who said, I am dentist, I can help anybody with teeth, which isn't his ideal client. And he can't advertise to everybody in the phone book who still has teeth. So, I mean, for example, on the financial services firm I started our purpose was to cut the cost of elite private colleges in half for affluent suburban families with multiple children. So, if you want disability insurance, we couldn't help you. If you wanted long term care insurance, we wouldn't help you. We didn't have the best [inaudible 00:14:22] stock trading model, but if you had a high school age kid who was smart enough, who was going to an elite private college and we could cut the cost in half for you, you're going to pick up the phone and call us all day long.

Audrey Strong: Absolutely. I'm intrigued by something you put in your pre-​show questionnaire, which is how to clone yourself. So, we've got just a few minutes left. I would love to hear more about that because I would like to possibly do that. 

Seth Greene: Awesome.

C. Lee Smith: I'm not sure the world is ready for that. 

Seth Greene: [Crosstalk 00:14:51] conversation. I can't help you with that one. This is [crosstalk 00:14:54] about a whole other issue to deal with. So, I'm not talking about a physical clone. I'm talking about a virtual clone. And what I mean by that is I created software to manage our businesses because I started out managing by Post it, Excel sheet, Google doc, Basecamp. We tried all kinds of Microsoft project. We called all kinds of different programs and none of them did exactly what we needed and things always slipped through the cracks. And we would end up with frustrated clients, “Hey, I haven't heard from you in a week,” or “Hey, Joe didn't do what he said he was going to do.” And I said, “Oh my God, we need a better way.” So, I talked to a software developer and they created a program for us that literally tells our team members or our clients, it works both ways. But tells somebody on our team what to do for each client, when to do it, how to do it and make sure they do it right. And I don't have to manage the process. So, in essence, I've taken everything out of my head, the 57 steps in a sequence that is required to deliver a specific service. I've put it onto this software in the software, manage my team and tells them all the 56 steps to do and make sure they do it right. So, I don't have to sweat the small stuff anymore. 

Audrey Strong: I want that.

C. Lee Smith: We’re also hiring an assistant or protégé that you can train and groom then to also do a lot of your busy work for you so you can focus on the more of the big picture stuff. 

Seth Greene: Yes. You could do it that way. This is designed where we have people who are physical. We have people who are remote. We have people who are in different countries who are getting ping to sign into the software at certain times of certain days to do certain things and making sure they do them so that we never have a client who says we didn't get what we paid for. And I don't have to worry about trying to keep track of everybody anymore because it does it all for me. And it's at cloneyourselfsoftware​.com

C. Lee Smith: And as an entrepreneur, you cannot even hope to scale if you're still trying to do everything by yourself, just not going to happen.

Seth Greene: I learned that lesson the hard way. 

C. Lee Smith: Yeah. We all have.

Audrey Strong: Well, too much brain damage is what I used to say.

Seth Greene: That's a great way to put it. I'm going to quote you on that one.

Audrey Strong: Marketdominationllc​.com, Seth N. Greene. Greene has an E on the end folks. That's the Twitter, Market Domination LLC is Facebook and LinkedIn, Seth Greene, no N in the middle for that. And Sharkpreneur is the podcast and Seth, people who want to engage with you, you want them to ping you any which way or do you have a preference?

Seth Greene: Sure. We have a special offer for your listeners. If they go to marketdominationllc​.com and they watch the sizzle reel that's right at the top of the page, right next to that's a little form. They can fill out to get a free critique of their existing direct response marketing campaign or and that will take them to my calendar where they can grab 15 minutes with me because they listen to you. 

Audrey Strong: That's awesome.

Seth Greene: And I guarantee we can solve any direct response marketing problem they've gotten 15 minutes or less. 

Audrey Strong: I watched this season reel by the way. Got great rock music to it, everybody. So, you've got to go over there and watch it. And it really does put sizzle on the sizzle.

Seth Greene: And we have some awesome people, clients and celebrities telling how fabulous we are. 

C. Lee Smith: Fantastic.

Audrey Strong: Well, we appreciate your time. Thanks for being on the show.

Seth Green: Thanks so much for having me. 

Thanks for listening to our episode on direct response marketing. If you enjoyed the show, please rate and recommend on iTunes, overcast, or wherever you get you or podcast. You can also get more great information at SalesFuel​.com.

This podcast is a part of the C‑suite radio network for more top business podcasts, visit C‑suite radio​.com.