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Ask the Expert—Marketing Research and Sponsoring Events

Nancy Seeger, the CEO of Seeger Consulting joins us in our final episode of our Partner series, which is packed with market research tips, as well as why the often overlooked tactic of sponsoring events might be a great move for your business.

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Dusey Van Dusen: Hello listeners. This is Dusey Van Dusen. I am the producer for the Small Business Success podcast, and we are pleased to be joined by Nancy Seeger today. Hi, Nancy. How's it going?

Nancy Seeger: Hi, Dusey. I'm awesome. How about you?

Dusey Van Dusen: I'm doing fantastic. So we are finishing up our series where we've been speaking to partners [00:00:30] of Infusionsoft. They are really just amazing experts in helping small businesses run their business, get more customers, get more leads, every aspect of running a small business. I'm super excited to have Nancy here because she's going to show us some awesome tips and tricks. I know you've got some great stuff planned.

Nancy Seeger: Always a few things up my sleeve, but yes.

Dusey Van Dusen: Fantastic. Could you just tell us a little bit about who you are, your business, what you've got going on?

Nancy Seeger: Okay. I'm [00:01:00] the CEO, for lack of a better term, of Seeger Consulting, and we specialize in helping real estate agencies, smaller agencies of five to 10 agents, collect the leads and optimize and track for following up specifically when they're growing their boutique agency. But my history's a little bit more interesting than that. I've come through with a lot of experience running different businesses, because this is actually my fifth business. Not all of them were successful [00:01:30] is where we're at right now, but I have some-

Dusey Van Dusen: That's how you learn, right?

Nancy Seeger: It is. It's how you learn, and I have some great tips to share with you about some of that process.

Dusey Van Dusen: Oh okay, fantastic. We were speaking earlier, and you mentioned focusing on growth for small businesses. Why would you say that's an important thing? I feel like there's some small businesses that might just be saying, "I'm happy where I'm at." It depends on where they're at, right, if they're saying they're happy where they're at. But why do you think it's important to focus on growth?

Nancy Seeger: Well, as with all things [00:02:00] in nature, you're either growing or you're dying. So although people really like to think they're happy with the status quo, if you're not putting effort into growing your business, your business is probably getting away from you, or it's dying a little bit. You might have enough clients today, but what's going to happen when two or three or five of them go away?

Dusey Van Dusen: Absolutely. When you see small businesses that are successful, I feel like there's always a few common things, like [00:02:30] drive and a passion that they're really pushing forward when they're entrepreneurs and growing. The reason you don't see the other one too much is because, like you said, if they're not growing, then they're probably slowly or maybe quickly starting to go [inaudible 00:02:44]. Hopefully not too fast, listeners out there.

Nancy Seeger: Hopefully not.

Dusey Van Dusen: So where would you start? You've run a bunch of small businesses, you work in the real estate side of things right now with what you consider small businesses. So [00:03:00] what are some of the things that you see often that you would say, "Okay, here are my tips. Here's the things that every business should be doing to make sure that you're growing."

Nancy Seeger: I think there's a couple of things that I would start on. It's a quote, and I'm not sure who said this to start with, so I'm not going to try and give you a source, but basically know what you're doing in your business and are you working on something that's going to affect 10% growth, or 10 times growth? Because most of us tend to focus on the things that are 10%. Somebody complains about a typo on the [00:03:30] website, somebody doesn't like the color of this, we change a button, we play with that. Those are things that are not going to even have 10% impact on the growth of your business. If you put that same amount of time and effort, though, into something that is a new product, is solving a problem, could 10 times your business, you're going to get a bigger result.

Dusey Van Dusen: Yeah. Those first things are the easy things because they're easy to see what needs to happen. Here's where the change is.

Nancy Seeger: And they're within our control, because we all love to think [00:04:00] we have control of our business and our life. Truth is, there's only so much we can control no matter what.

Dusey Van Dusen: Whereas something like venturing out with a new product or new service, you might not be so sure of the results. There's not a lot of guarantees.

Nancy Seeger: And you're not. That doesn't mean that I support people going out and fully developing a big product and launching things, and then seeing if it will fail. That's not what I would recommend. Understand lean development, lean marketing. [00:04:30] Launch and sell something before you create it. Know what the market is going to accept and pay for. Do your research in one way or another. There's tons of books out there on lean marketing and lean development. Go find out what you need to do to create something that your market will willingly part with their dollars for, and that will make a 10 times difference in your business.

Dusey Van Dusen: I recently heard our director of marketing talk about the idea of even on your website putting a little button that's like, " [00:05:00] I would like this thing." And you go, "Oh yeah, I would like it." And you hit it, and what do you see? You see a page that pops up, says, "Thanks for saying you like this thing. We're considering doing it." You didn't even have to have the product yet to find out.

Nancy Seeger: Nope, that's the new market research. You don't need to develop it beforehand. Don't spend all that time on developing something. Brad Martin, in one of the sessions this morning at PartnerCon made this phenomenal impression on me. He did this little thing where he did a tapping example and he [00:05:30] said, "Does everybody know what that song is?" Nobody could figure it out. And then he tapped again, and he said, "The song is Merry Christmas," or some Christmas carol. The song wasn't important. What was important was the point he made was that no matter what message we are trying to communicate, whoever we're trying to communicate it to doesn't understand if they don't know the song we're singing. So if you think about that, it's the same when you're doing market research. You can build this phenomenal [00:06:00] thing, but if what you're delivering isn't really resonating with the people who are going to part with the money, you're not going to be able to sell it no matter how fantastic and wonderful it is.

Dusey Van Dusen: I love that example. I've done that before. You're tapping along, you're like ... If it was somebody else outside of your own mind, you wouldn't even know. That is a great example. So where would you point people to get started? We've given a few tips of ways to think about it, but I don't know if there's somewhere that you would point people that are saying, "Okay, I want to do this. [00:06:30] How do I learn how to do this, or what are the first steps that I should take?"

Nancy Seeger: So learn how to grow a business specifically?

Dusey Van Dusen: Yeah, how to grow a business or how to use some of these lean marketing tactics.

Nancy Seeger: There's tons of books. I always start with Amazon. Research anything on Amazon, start there. That's the least expensive way to do it. Business consulting and coaching, you can always reach out to me. There's different partners that I work with that if I don't know what we're looking for or can't manage your business model, it's [00:07:00] outside my comfort zone, I know who I can refer you to.

Dusey Van Dusen: Fantastic. What are some of the things that small business owners should keep in mind when they're thinking about how to grow their business?

Nancy Seeger: You have to look at what is the fastest path to cash for you. For most people, most businesses, the catch all and the one thing that I would say across all industries, would be sponsoring events. That includes speaking, paying to speak on a [00:07:30] stage and sponsoring and having a booth. All of those experiences. A, you will learn so much more about your clients. And B, if it's done right, you can 10 times your business exceptionally fast.

Dusey Van Dusen: Awesome. I'm pretty new to that world, despite being here at PartnerCon where we've got sponsors. I'm here making podcasts. Just walk me through the basics. Teach me where would I start, whether it's deciding what to sponsor, or what to do once I've decided on an event. Either of those.

Nancy Seeger: [00:08:00] One of the first things that you need to do is find the right event to sponsor. The trick is knowing how to do the research to find the right event, then knowing what questions to ask those event organizers so that you know if it's a good fit for your audience, for your money, because it is an investment. What is the rate of return, and there's all kinds of information that go behind that. But what are the right questions to ask? [00:08:30] And then, how far in advance do you have to plan? How do you build it into your ongoing marketing strategy? Because this is not something that you should do one time. If it's a true strategy, you're going to work on it throughout your growth of your business, and you're going to tweak and measure what's successful. How do you keep the cost down? Keeping lean development in mind again, how do you keep the cost down in the first few events so that you can tweak it 'till you get it so that you are making money on these events. It's like everything else in marketing has a series of iterations that makes it more successful.

Dusey Van Dusen: [00:09:00] I love that point of view because yeah, jumping into one event [inaudible 00:09:04], there's so much that you're going to have to learn. You have to establish that baseline, and expecting that first time to be the shot to the moon is probably not.

Nancy Seeger: Part of my background in my experience was running events for an organization, and I did this for five years. It was the biggest disappointment to see small businesses come in and only do it once because they have a hard time figuring [00:09:30] out how to do it right the first time. If they really want to learn how to make that a part of their marketing strategy and how to build it out, it's important to go in low, keep your cost down, but iterate repeatedly. You spend more and you gain more every time. It's an exponential experience.

Dusey Van Dusen: That's fantastic. So Nancy, it's just about time for us to wrap up. Where would you point people to that either want to learn more about this and learn more about you and what you guys do?

Nancy Seeger: Well, I have a special [00:10:00] offer for your listeners today.

Dusey Van Dusen: Fantastic, I love hearing that.

Nancy Seeger: I do have an easy one page tip sheet for you. It's called the Top 10 Things That You Can Do To Make Money When Sponsoring Events. It's located at I'll spell that out for you because I know that's a mouthful. It's B-I-T.L-Y/T-O-P-10, and then "L" as in Larry, "P" as in Peter. And the "L" and "P" [00:10:30] are capitalized. So if you go to that, you'll get the tip sheet. If you just want to talk about other things Infusionsoft or how to get connected with somebody who can coach you on lean development and lean business marketing, or to find the right business model for your company, reach out to me directly at [email protected]. And again, I'll spell that for you. Seeger is S-E-E-G-E-R. Consulting, inc, which is short for incorporated, and of course, dot com.

Dusey Van Dusen: Fantastic. Nancy, thank [00:11:00] you so much. I love that idea. That sponsorship, I think, is something that might now be on the top of mind for a lot of our small businesses. So go grab that tip sheet. We will have that link in our show notes if you guys find it easier to go click that link. We'll make sure that that's ready for you guys. Nancy, thank you again so much for your time.

Nancy Seeger: And thank you, Dusey, for having me.

Dusey Van Dusen: Absolutely. We'll see you guys next time on the Small Business Success podcast.

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