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Digital Marketing And The Digital Business Builder with Kasim Aslam
I have with me Kasim Aslam who is the Founder and the CEO of Solutions 8 and the author of The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing. Through Solutions 8, Kasim has spent more than a decade helping over 500 organizations grow and scale using a unique, proven, and proprietary process which is called the Digital Business Builder. I know that many Heartrepreneurs have had questions about digital marketing. Kasim, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me.
I am excited to have you because there is so much mixed messaging around digital marketing and what do we do. How do we grow with it? How did you even get into this?
I like to say that every good marketer is a failed entrepreneur. I believe that wholeheartedly. I was building software applications and my software company failed when the economy failed. With nothing to do and no return, I started building websites to feed myself. When you build somebody’s website, their very next question is, “What do I do with it?” My answer, in the beginning, was, “I have no idea.” Slowly but surely, I started to figure things out. The logical segue was SEO, search engine optimization. From there, it branched out into digital marketing.
I’ve been in this business for many years. When I first started, I had a website that was pretty as can be and stagnant and did nothing. I invested a ton of money in search engine optimization and it still pretty much did nothing. Now, I’ve got websites and I understand more about how to use them, yet I still think there’s way more that can be done in terms of the internet and digital marketing. What do you see as the biggest mistakes people make with digital marketing?
Honestly, it’s assuming that people are different online than they are in person. Far too often, we tend to look at digital marketing as though we’re making an attempt at attracting a bunch of lemmings. That is going to march into our funnels and do exactly what we tell them to do and buy what we tell them to buy and like what we tell them to like. My challenge to that is I believe digital marketing is relationship building. We need to build those relationships online the exact same way that you build those relationships in person. In person, you don’t run up to somebody and say, “Listen to me, I have something I want to sell you.” You can try, and people have, but they fail miserably. Instead, it needs to start with giving, empathizing, and caring about whom it is that you’re speaking to. If people approach marketing the way they approach digital marketing, more specifically the way they approach relationship building, I don’t think they would have quite as much difficulty.Every good marketer is really just a failed entrepreneur. Click To Tweet
I see a lot on social media, in particular where I feel people are like, “My word’s vomiting on me.” It’s like, “Let me tell you all my stuff and here’s what I’m selling.” I use that as an analogy when I was speaking and I said, “It’s running up to someone and wanting to have sex on the first date. Can you buy me dinner first or something?” The concept of Heartrepreneur is this. It’s giving. It’s sharing. It’s caring. It’s relating. It’s helping. For whatever reason, I find people seem to do that a little bit better in person and not well online. What are some of the things that we can do in terms of being more effective in our digital marketing?
You have to put your skunks on the table. We’re living in the day and age of the educated consumer-base. What it means is people are going to make most of their purchasing decision without your intervention. They’ll go to your website, read your blogs, listen to your podcasts or watch your videos. They’re not going to talk to you yet. They’re not ready to reach out. There’s an old statistic that says 67% of B2B purchasing decisions are made before anybody reaches out to sales. That since has been debunked, but the spirit of that statistic is true. It means that people are going to engage with you before you can engage with them.
What that means is you have to be honest. In my world, we do pay-per-click advertising. It’s one good example. I tell people that for the first 90 days you’re not trying to win. You’re purchasing data, and this may not work. If you’re not willing to say things like that about your own industry, then you’re not effectively building a proper relationship. You need to be honest about what’s possible, what’s not possible, properly managed expectations. Maybe even push away people that are unrealistic about whatever it is you’re offering. Too often with digital marketing, everybody tries to paint that it’s all sunshine and rainbow image. That’s not an effective way to earn trust or to engage prospects.
I’ve hired people over the years to do things with me on LinkedIn or to help me with Facebook or whatever it might be. People give me these big grandiose results, “This is going to happen and that’s going to happen.” If it doesn’t happen, I’m not happy with them. I certainly don’t refer them to my client family members. I found a company to show how this works that said, “We’re going to be open with you. You’re probably not going to get results for the first 120 days. Once we build an audience and warm them up, then we can start to get your results.” They had the three qualities that I love: authenticity, integrity, and transparency. I gave them my business. Does that make sense?
It does. You’re speaking to it well. We need to earn trust before we can earn the business. It sounds like that’s an okay then with you.
You also manage not being afraid to push people away. I had somebody come up to me at an event and said, “I want to enroll in your program and I can give you my credit card right now.” I said, “My program isn’t the right program for you,” because it wasn’t. I knew I couldn’t get her results. Would I have loved to have had somebody’s money? Sure, everybody loves to do that. However, she would have been unhappy and I need to send her to the right place.
You did yourself a service there too. When she is ready, she’s probably going to come back to you and be more excited to engage.We need to earn trust before we can earn the business. Click To Tweet
What are some of the principles to be effective at digital marketing these days?
The first one is empathy. The first and most important thing to do with digital marketing is to empathize. That’s such an easy sound bite. It’s such an easy thing to say. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s surprising how few people want to take this approach. The best way to empathize is to build an avatar but write a story for yourself. Cast your ideal customer as a character and define who that person is. What do they look like? Where do they go? What do they eat? What scares them? What TV shows do they watch? What episodes do they listen to? What are they worried about? What are their goals, their hopes, their dreams or their desires? Get to know them. Know them so well that you feel you could play them in a movie. Get into some character examination. Turn back around and look at your marketing message. What you’ll realize is you’re probably missing the mark more often than not and it’s because I don’t know that the first inclination for marketing is empathy. The first inclination is what is it that I need to sell you instead of what is it that you need to solve whatever problem it is you have.
We always have our client family members create their avatars. I never heard anyone go as deep as you’re playing them in a movie. That’s a great tip. I hope every audience member hears that. I do believe where people get conflicted is it’s like, “Here I am with this great thing and I want to sell this thing to you,” versus, “What are your issues? What are your problems? What are the outcomes and results that you’re looking for? How can I help you?” This is what has been missing in the way people are going about their digital marketing. I truly believe that.
Thank you, Terri. I appreciate it.
You’re welcome. Can you give us a couple more?
There were seven in my book and the first three I call them the foundational principles. The second four I call them the functional principles. The second half is boring. The first three in order is empathized, that’s number one. If you can do that 90% of the way there, you don’t even need to buy my book. Number two is giving value first and last. You want to bookend your value. You always want to be the first person to give value and you always want to be the last person to give value. The way that I articulate this, I steal from Ryan Deiss, a digital marketer. He talks about relationship building is a bank account. Every time you give value, you’re making a deposit and every time you request value, you’re making a withdrawal. One good example that I like to use is in the realm of dentistry. What I ask my dentist to do because that’s a vertical that we were focusing on for some time. When they bring somebody in, they bring them in for typically a free evaluation is our initial lead magnet or it’s cheap, $30 for care, cleaning, whitening, etc. When they have them in the chair, they do their periodontal chart.
Everybody’s afraid of being upsold at the dentist. That’s not a notorious narrative. What my dentists are doing is after you’re done with the periodontal chart, they hand you the chart so you can visually see where your fours and fives are. Those are negative numbers. They say, “I want to see you back in here a month from now or three months from now, depending on what’s appropriate from a medical standpoint. I’m not going to charge you. I want you to do these three things. You need to floss, you need to brush, and you need to use a special mouthwash. I want to see if we can get these numbers. I want your fives to become fours. I want your fours to become threes.” When you tell them, “I’m not going to charge you,” that’s shocking, but it does something. It breaks their buying pattern. All too often people are shopping around for different dentists and hitting a bunch of Groupon deals every time they need one. You earned at least a repetition. Now, you’ve also established a narrative. You’re telling a story with their periodontal chart and that means that they’re going to want to see how the story ends. It articulates well how you give value first and last.
Interestingly enough, a dentist is one of the niches that we also work in. I have never ever heard anyone give this advice. When you said to give value first and last, I said, “Most of my client family members give value first.” They give reports, assessment, tools, demos, and consults, whatever it is. They’re good at putting that into the relationship bank account. What they don’t do is give value last and many of them are confused on how to do that. I was thinking, “Where are you going here with the dentist?” You did something that I’ve never heard of, which was truly giving me the additional value of, “Come back. Let’s try and get these numbers to change. Do these three steps. I’m not going to charge you.” Not only would you break that buying pattern, but you also opened my eyes, my ears to so many ideas. That is one of the best tips that I’ve heard in years and years of being in this industry.
Thank you so much. Coming from you, that’s a huge compliment.
You’re totally welcome. If somebody does want to get the book, The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing, let’s make sure we tell our audience where to get it.
Amazon is the best place. You can buy on Kindle or paperback.The first inclination for marketing is empathy. Click To Tweet
You do have this proven proprietary process, the Digital Business Builder. Who is that for? How can people find out more about that?
It’s for small business owners, typically businesses that have an ability to scale. To contact us, you can go to Sol8.com.
You have given some great tips and lots and lots of value. Kasim, I have learned a ton. I want to thank you so much for being a guest on the show.
Terri, thank you for having me. This has been a blast.
It’s been my pleasure. For the audience, this was a power-packed interview. I don’t always say this and I don’t often say this. I would go back and read this one again. Don’t forget as a reader, we have a brand-new free resource for you. We put it together for our readers. It’s over at HeartrepreneurAcademy.com. You can sign up for a free membership, join our forums, and then go to start here. When you go into start here, you’re going to find over $10,000 worth of courses and programs. Instead of selling them, we’re giving away to you. Thank you for being here with me on Heartrepreneur Radio.
About Kasim Aslam
Kasim is the Founder & CEO of Solutions 8 (a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, Infusionsoft Certified Partner, and Official Google Partner) and the author of “The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing.”Through Solutions 8, Kasim has spent more than a decade helping over 500 organizations grow and scale using a unique, proven and proprietary process: The Digital Business Builder. This experience fuels his presentations and has helped to make him a foremost authority on business growth and scale in the digital age. He has worked with the largest privately owned bank in the U.S., a 54,000 member PPO, a Gates Foundation-funded non-profit, and an Academy Award Contending documentary. He also helped to build, launch and market the National Association of Child Helplines (NAACH) and has worked on a contract basis with the United States Army, Intel and Pearson Education. Kasim has been published across a myriad of networks including CRM Magazine, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, Emergent Path, and Explore B2B.
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