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The Value Behind Tiny Marketing Actions (TMA)

Small Biz Buzz hosts Crystal Heuft and Jack Smithson are joined by Pamela Slim, co-founder of the Main Street Learning Lab in Mesa, Arizona to discuss Tiny Marketing Actions (TMA). A TMA is a small, outbound marketing action you take each day to streamline your tasks, helping you establish direct connections, build your brand and provide value for your ideal clients and customers. Tune in to find out how taking baby steps can build a solid foundation when starting your own business.


Derek Harju: 00:00 Howdy, listeners. As we all know, planet Earth has 7.5 billion people and 7.4 billion of those people have small businesses. Now to be fair, numbers that size can be hard to envision, and to be even fairer, most of what I just said is entirely made up. But I'll tell you what isn't made up, Keap. Keap is the all in one client management software designed specifically for small businesses. Keap takes the most annoying and laborious parts of running a small business and metaphorically tosses them into the sun. Stop grinding yourself to death with busy work and repetitive tasks. Let Keap integrate your customer followups, messaging automation, next level appointment setting, and so much more. Head over to Keap.com and start your free trial of Keap Grow, Keap Pro, or for those looking for something beefier, talk to one of our coaches about Infusionsoft, the product that started it all. More business, less work, that's Keap. Just go to Keap.com to start your free trial. That's K-E-A-P dot com. One more time, that's K-E-A-P dot com.

Crystal Heuft: 01:01 Hi, this is Crystal.

Jack Smithson: 01:03 And this is Jack.

Crystal Heuft: 01:05 And this is Small Biz Buzz. Today, we have Pamela Slim. She's an author, speaker. She does a little bit of everything.

Jack Smithson: 01:13 Entrepreneur.

Crystal Heuft: 01:14 She also is a co-founder of the Main Street Learning Lab in Mesa, Arizona. Thank you so much for being here, Pam. We're really excited to have you.

Pam Slim: 01:23 I'm so excited to be here.

Crystal Heuft: 01:24 Well, we're looking forward to it, and we have a great topic today. But first before we dive into that, I was hoping you could tell us a little bit more about yourself. Tell everyone what you're passionate about, your business journey. I've got to hear it, but I want to make sure everyone else does, because it's pretty awesome.

Pam Slim: 01:40 Yeah. I have been working for myself for 23 years and have done... I started my journey as a management consultant in Silicon Valley working on the inside of large companies, trying to make them better. I learned how many people wanted to leave. that's when I started Escape From Cubicle Nation, which was my blog that I started in 2005 that turned into my first book. I worked with thousands of people in the early stages for about the first 10 years of my coaching business, helping people to leave and go through that early stage journey.

Pam Slim: 02:12 Then in recent years, I've really been focusing a lot more on entrepreneurs who are scaling. Helping them get to a certain size and scale and had the great fortune to work with people like Susan Cain, who wrote the book Quiet, to really take her core IP and great ideas and make more of a larger business about it.

Crystal Heuft: 02:28 That's great.

Pam Slim: 02:29 What keeps me passionate these days, along with my husband, is really local ecosystem economic development. We're right in the middle of Mesa, Arizona, which most people think is a totally boring, dead place. Which in reality has tons of exciting entrepreneurial activities happening. We have a learning lab right there in the middle of Main Street.

Crystal Heuft: 02:49 I was just telling you yesterday, where your learning lab is located is one of the hip areas of Mesa. I was just drinking there last night at Cider Corps, my favorite little local brewery. I don't know if it's a cidery. I guess it's a cidery.

Pam Slim: 03:03 It's a cidery.

Crystal Heuft: 03:04 Yeah. It's my favorite spot. The people are so nice there, and anytime you go, both the people that work there and the people that visit, I feel like I meet new cool people every time.

Pam Slim: 03:14 It's super nice. Who would've thought that hip and Mesa could be said in the same sentence a couple of years ago? But it's true now.

Crystal Heuft: 03:20 It is. Have you ever drank there, Jack?

Jack Smithson: 03:23 No, not in that particular. I mean, maybe on a street corner or something.

Crystal Heuft: 03:27 I mean, you guys can probably all tell from Jack's voice, it sounds like he probably doesn't drink cider, but they have cider there for everyone, even hoppy cider. Maybe the manly man in you may still like it.

Jack Smithson: 03:38 Hoppy cider. That's why I don't drink IPAs, because they-

Crystal Heuft: 03:42 Oh, I hate IPAs.

Jack Smithson: 03:42 Taste like grapefruit. I can't do it.

Crystal Heuft: 03:45 Yeah. Well, then you actually might like the cidery.

Jack Smithson: 03:48 Well, there you go. My wife would love it.

Crystal Heuft: 03:49 Well, yeah. I think you should bring her by. It's really good. And they have Mike's Pizza in there. That pizza is also very good. Anyways, I could go on a tangent about that place for a long time, but we won't, because we have more exciting stuff to talk about today.

Crystal Heuft: 04:02 We're going to be talking about TMAs and how they lead to acquisition. If you're like me out there and you don't know what that is, I had to Google it. You'll see Pam Slim's stuff come up all to the top of the Google search, which I was telling her I was very impressed with earlier. But basically it's tiny marketing actions. How did you get involved in starting to look into this and really talking and being a thought leader on this topic?

Pam Slim: 04:27 It really came from my body of work of coaching people. A lot of what I see all the time is people who are doing title waves of marketing. We talk a lot about having huge launches. I've worked with a lot of authors that are launching books, and if you've ever done that, oh my gosh, I feel for you, everybody who's listening. Or a big product launch, or you have an online class. We really tend to look a lot at marketing as a gigantic wave of activity followed by two months of eating Ben and Jerry's and watching Netflix, because you're just so tired from all of it.

Pam Slim: 05:01 When I began to see there's some ways sometimes in which the worlds come together. I did martial arts for many years. Early on I did Capoeira for 11 years and MMA for five years. One of the things that I really noticed when I was both a student and also a teacher is I noticed the difference between people that would walk into the studio and the first thing that they would want to do for some people, they'd look at the advance people and say, "I want to be punching somebody in the face and taking them down," or in Capoeira doing a back flip immediately.

Pam Slim: 05:32 Then there were the people who came in, who paid very close, respectful attention and said, "I want to be learning this from the beginning. Can you teach me the foundations?" It's the everyday actions, the small actions, the tiny choices that you make, deciding to be consistent in this case in your sit ups and pushups, or showing up to class, falling on your face, getting punched, getting up. Building the emotional and sometimes spiritual resiliency one needs for the journey of entrepreneurship that actually leads to the big changes.

Pam Slim: 06:07 I started implementing with a couple of clients this process, what I called TMA, a fun take on TMI, tiny marketing actions. In a couple of cases, one I'm going to be profiling in my next book, my client was really stuck, business was just dead. She's very, very competent and had a really good flow in business and things were just at a standstill. Of course, you feel like you need to do a huge tidal wave. Right? I have to just spend thousands of dollars on an SEO consultant or do something. Instead, we just began to break down, did a little bit of analysis about the core activities for her that would make a difference. Every day she had to do two tiny marketing actions that would take no more than 10 minutes. She gave herself a gold star each time she did one.

Crystal Heuft: 06:54 That's great. I love stickers.

Pam Slim: 06:55 Right?

Crystal Heuft: 06:56 I really do.

Pam Slim: 06:56 It was amazing. She turned everything around, doubled her revenue, and then recently just got $100,000 grant from the Canadian government to be codifying her materials. I've seen that consistently with so many clients. I was like, "There is something to this."

Crystal Heuft: 07:13 Well, that's why I love you Pam, because I think a lot of thought leaders out there, they just talk about a pretty story. And it sounds great and nice, but whenever you're talking about something, you've already backed it up with real life clients and real life case studies that you know it's worked. So when you're teaching others, you've already given it a try yourself. I think that's great.

Jack Smithson: 07:36 Holistically you're doing a mentorship, full on total, end-to-end business mentorship. We're talking specifically about marketing. Do you find this is a common pain point? This is where a lot of businesses hurt?

Pam Slim: 07:55 It's the thing. What's interesting about it is it doesn't matter what stage of business people are in. It manifests in a different way. In the early stages, you can just feel like, "Oh my gosh. I have to do everything all at the same time, and I'm totally overwhelmed." In which case I'm like, "Simmer down. Let's just break things down so we do tiny marketing actions, plant seeds consistently." When businesses turn around and start to grow, like in the case of my client Carly, we had the opposite problem. Instead of having no clients, she was so busy doing delivery, that people feel like they don't ever have any time to do marketing. In which case you have to break it down even smaller.

Pam Slim: 08:36 Sometimes then you can afford to have a team member who's doing that for you. We know we love marketing automation around here. It is absolutely in lockstep with building funnels, with looking at how those activities as much as possible are automated. But there really is a human side of it I think that is needing to nurture that part of your business very consistently. And for me it's about constantly widening market opportunities. Sometimes we know we need to really dig deep in a market and just deliver in one area. But being in business now for 23 years, I know that economies shift. Something that's set up really well, somebody's jamming out on Facebook ads and they change the formula and everything can be messed up. I always like to have-

Crystal Heuft: 09:24 Never.

Pam Slim: 09:24 Right. Does that strike a nerve? I always like to have new things that are going on. I remember when I was in Silicon Valley in what was that, '99 to 2000 when we had the massive crash. Most of my clients were in tech, but somehow a weird part of myself made me earlier do some outreach to other industries in insurance and I think Charles Schwab, in financial services. So I was able to ride it out even though it seemed crazy at that time to not just be focusing 100% on tech because everybody was making so much money. I have a healthy amount of cynicism from pain-

Crystal Heuft: 10:02 We both have that too. We were just talking about that yesterday. Might be a little bit above healthy but-

Jack Smithson: 10:07 Might be a little bit dark sometimes, but we still get everything done really well. We overachieve, but yeah, a little healthy or maybe even a little more than healthy amount of cynicism I think is-

Pam Slim: 10:19 Is important.

Crystal Heuft: 10:21 I think too, because you've already escaped cubicle nation, I think you also know what it takes. And you know what those tiny steps you had to take where at one point too. I think you never seem to forget that. And I love going to the learning lab and seeing all the people you're mentoring and all the people that are mentoring each other too. I mean it's such a beautiful culture there. But I think this is a great way of teaching people how to do something different.

Crystal Heuft: 10:45 I was sharing with you downstairs that I actually just started Noom. I'm almost done with week three. For those of you that don't know, it's a cognitive relationship to making bad decisions. What they try to do is replace those bad decisions with new great habits. But it's very little every day. They tell you when you're buying, which I really appreciate the expectation being out at the front, that it's going to take you 10 minutes every day. They have little module lessons so I can spend two minutes when I have a free moment, another two minutes and go through each module. But slowly it's starting to build habits that are longterm.

Crystal Heuft: 11:23 And that's what I love about this idea of TMA is because I think you're 100% right. You've seen it with a lot of our customers.

Jack Smithson: 11:29 Oh sure.

Crystal Heuft: 11:29 The amount of stuff they have. It's too much at once.

Jack Smithson: 11:32 Yeah, it is. I find two problems with small business and I just hit this thing with my hat. And I've worked with tons of small business owners/operators here throughout the time that I've been here. And I find two things or two issues when it comes to marketing.

Jack Smithson: 11:49 Number one is that people are afraid of it when they first get started because there's that barrier like, "Uh, am I an authority? Am I relevant? Am I actually a subject matter expert? Does my voice matter?" And of course the answer's yes. But getting them over that hump. Then further on when they get to the next level of development, it is, I'm too busy. I'm so busy. At first, it's like, "Oh, I'm scared." And then after that it's like, "Ah, I'm slammed."

Jack Smithson: 12:19 And I think that breaking it down into these little small achievable goals on a daily basis and especially seeing your list of ideas around what these tiny marketing actions can be, it's incredibly helpful. It's feasible that you can look at it and go, "I can do that."

Crystal Heuft: 12:39 I could've used this lesson last week. Well, I'm speaking at my first conference, but it's recording based. It's an online conference. And I'm telling you, the fear paralyzed me. For about two weeks, all I was doing was thinking about what I had to do to get it done and terrified to do it at all. Because I've never done it, although it's something I've wanted to do a long time to try to help other social media managers out there. I just remember I kept trying to think of the whole thing all at once. And finally I just said, "Until I get the outline done, I can't move forward." Then once I got the outline done it's like, "Until the deck is done or at least in progress, I can't get feedback and get on." I did actually end up having to piece it out just to get over the fear and be able to tackle more than I thought I could handle.

Jack Smithson: 13:26 Baby steps.

Crystal Heuft: 13:26 Yeah, exactly.

Jack Smithson: 13:27 Like "What About Bob?" I'm baby stepping, I'm doing the work.

Crystal Heuft: 13:30 I love "What About Bob?"

Jack Smithson: 13:32 I'm baby stepping.

Pam Slim: 13:33 It's the same process as you said. If you're doing a presentation, if you're writing a book. I remember when I was writing Escape from Cubicle Nation and I was totally overwhelmed. I looked at the deadline and everything I had to write and I had full on panic. I created an outline of all the chapters that I then taped to the bottom of my computer and the foot of my bathtub and the kitchen counter. And as I would just complete a chapter, I would highlight it and just start to see where you're breaking things down into smaller pieces. It's everything we know from athletic performance, from habit changing, a lot of the good work, like in Atomic Habits, things like that are really based on these small steps.

Pam Slim: 14:11 I like to think about it for tiny marketing actions as almost insulting. I did a class that utilized this. I called it Giant Client Magnet because I like to have fun. And thinking of the whole principle was getting people in the habit of doing tiny marketing actions, we had to report back. I had two participants who signed up and I think it was the second day and they sent a message and they were like, "We signed up, we like your stuff. But we were like, 'Really? These actions are just... This just does not seem like it's going to work.'" And I said, "That's fine. Here you go, here's your money back. More power to you. I totally understand." And then literally the next week I had somebody who was like, "I just made $5,000, I just made $4,000." I was sitting back and at a certain stage maybe earlier in my journey I would have been questioning like, "Oh my gosh!" But based on what it is that I've experienced with so many clients, I believe in it.

Pam Slim: 15:06 I did one last year, I did a tiny marketing action day. I just did a virtual day where we all spent all day exploring each hour different things and people took action right there in the moment.

Crystal Heuft: 15:19 So cool.

Pam Slim: 15:19 And somebody made $1,500 before the end of the day. She's like, "I just reached out to a client and they wanted more work and they paid me right now." So literally by the time the day was over, she had made it.

Crystal Heuft: 15:30 That's impressive. [crosstalk 00:15:32] I did see that you had dance breaks on the day.

Pam Slim: 15:34 We did, yes.

Crystal Heuft: 15:36 That's where I got a little caught up. I was like, "Oh my God, that sounds fun. Marketing and dance."

Pam Slim: 15:40 Come on now.

Crystal Heuft: 15:40 Why wasn't I invited Pam?

Pam Slim: 15:42 Come on now. Well, come next time.

Crystal Heuft: 15:44 I could have been definitely marketing with all these other people marketing and dancing in the breaks. I was like, "They've got dance breaks," [crosstalk 00:15:52] so I hope you do it again.

Jack Smithson: 15:53 Whenever you want. I'll bring the music.

Crystal Heuft: 15:56 You got to follow me on Instagram. No one else follows me on Instagram, but Jack, if you want to see me dance, I dance every Tuesday in a hip hop class and I post my embarrassing dance videos.

Pam Slim: 16:06 Good for you.

Jack Smithson: 16:06 Fantastic.

Crystal Heuft: 16:06 And that's fun. I'm part of a dance troupe, that's what I call us. They're all ladies in their 30s and 40s out there dancing. It's great.

Crystal Heuft: 16:15 We're getting ready to take a break here, but before we do, I wanted to hit on what are a few of the main tiny actions to get someone started? What are those top that a lot of people need?

Pam Slim: 16:29 The thing I know we'll dig into a little bit more after the break, but the context is we're going to go through a specific process to try to identify first just the fields of play in terms of areas that you can look at depending upon who you are, what your market is and what your marketing strengths are.

Jack Smithson: 16:44 Just like the channels you talking about?

Pam Slim: 16:47 Yeah, exactly. Could be channels, so it could be things like speak at live speaking, versus LinkedIn, versus walking around knocking on doors, et cetera. We'll talk about that in a second. But when you do that, when you have an analysis of who are your customers and what do they respond to? Some of the core things always to me is starting in the immediate circle of looking at people who you have worked with before. It's the most obvious thing.

Pam Slim: 17:13 But if you make a list of people who were your very best clients, who you loved working with, who loved working with you and got great results, then you want to reach out to them and just connect. You can send a little quick email and say, "Hey Jack, how you doing? It's been a really long time. What's up?" Begin to start that process where you're just imagining, it's seeding. You're reaching out and you're making these tiny little connections. That's a perfect place to start, if you don't know. And if you're brand new in business, reach out to people who you used to work with.

Crystal Heuft: 17:45 That's awesome.

Jack Smithson: 17:46 Right. Okay, perfect. We're going to break for a moment. We're going to throw it to the Worst Business Ideas in History.

Derek Harju: 18:03 Howdy folks. I'm Derek Harju.

Dusey Van Dusen: 18:04 And I'm Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek Harju: 18:06 And this is Worst Business Ideas in History.

Dusey Van Dusen: 18:08 The show where we look back at some of the most brutal missteps, failures and flops in consumer history.

Derek Harju: 18:13 And make fun of it.

Dusey Van Dusen: 18:14 But also learn something.

Derek Harju: 18:16 Nope, it says in my contract, I don't have to learn.

Dusey Van Dusen: 18:18 Fine. The rest of us will learn something and you can just mock people's misfortune.

Derek Harju: 18:22 Sounds good. Welcome to the Worst Business Ideas in History.

Derek Harju: 18:28 Hi, I'm Derek Harju.

Dusey Van Dusen: 18:29 And I'm Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek Harju: 18:31 And this is Worst Business Ideas in History. Today we're going to be talking about the USFL, which is the United States Football League.

Dusey Van Dusen: 18:40 Did it have another name, like Extreme Football or something like that?

Derek Harju: 18:46 You're thinking of the XFL. The XFL also exists, and apparently is trying to make a comeback right now for I think the third time. But no, the USFL was a league created in 1985. It was the brainchild of a New Orleans businessman named David Dixon, who had been injected into the NFL. He was instrumental in helping to build the Superdome. He was a very powerful businessman in New Orleans. And he basically had the idea of why don't we have football in the spring? We watch football all through fall and winter and then it's just nothing. So he's like, "There's got to be a market for people that want to watch football year round. Well, how about a league that plays in the spring? We'll set a salary cap, we'll grow slow and that way we won't compete with the NFL and everybody will make a bunch of money." It was a great idea.

Dusey Van Dusen: 19:39 And this isn't 50 yard touchdowns, indoor like XFL at all?

Derek Harju: 19:45 No, no, no. As far as I know, standard NFL rules.

Dusey Van Dusen: 19:50 Okay, okay. Sorry, I'm hung up on the XFL. That's what I know.

Derek Harju: 19:55 No, it's easy to get hung up on. That's one we could do at another time. The XFL had 18 teams total.

Dusey Van Dusen: 20:04 The USFL.

Derek Harju: 20:05 The USFL. Did I say XFL? See now it's in my head. Basically what they did is, I mean they were able to start with these 16 teams, which expanded eventually to 18 teams. They filled their rosters with people that were solid players in college or solid players in the NFL but weren't currently playing. Because the NFL is extremely competitive. And there's a ton of great talent out there, but not everybody makes the cut. So they're like, "Great, we'll take all of those people." So they filled these rosters, they had some market success at first, but then things started going off the rails.

Derek Harju: 20:47 One of the big problems was that the 18 teams all had to fight for stadium space because the NFL doesn't like anyone in their airspace. Whether they intervened or not, there's a lot of crosstalk about this, but it would appear that in order for the teams to even have a place to play, they had to scramble to find non NFL venues that could support their numbers. They basically had to find football stadiums that were not NFL stadiums that would let them use that space during the spring.

Dusey Van Dusen: 21:23 It feels like it's NFL and probably college stadiums. I think of soccer leagues in Europe and in England and all over the place. They have smaller stadiums for these upcoming teams that slowly try to fight their way up the rankings until they're doing the top level stuff. We don't really have anything like that for football. There's not a bunch of football stadiums just hanging around for people to use.

Derek Harju: 21:51 And they've talked forever about there being basically a minor league NFL. It's just for some reason it just doesn't exist. There's a minor league franchise for almost every other sport in America. There's basketball, there's baseball, there's hockey. But for some reason the NFL just has no interest in allowing for a minor league. And I've heard people say that like, "Oh, if they're in the minor leagues they're going to be playing too hard and the players are going to get torn up sooner." Because that's what happens in minor leagues and other sports is that the players are trying to show how good they are. They're trying to be [crosstalk 00:22:28] aggressive version of themselves that they can be. The NFL, we see players have short careers, so I can't imagine how much shorter they get in this situation.

Derek Harju: 22:40 Things are okay. The league is, they're playing, they're getting good air time. The Detroit Panthers who are the counterpart to the Detroit Lions for the USFL, actually are getting more people to attend their games than the Detroit Lions are.

Dusey Van Dusen: 22:55 Seems promising.

Derek Harju: 22:56 Yeah. Well, then things just start to slide and it all starts with a little known businessman named Donald Trump.

Dusey Van Dusen: 23:04 Never heard of him.

Derek Harju: 23:05 No, nobody has. He takes a majority stake in the New Jersey, what was the name of the team? It was the New Jersey Generals. He basically, as he is want to do, said, "Oh, you have an informal salary cap, which means you don't actually have a salary cap."

Dusey Van Dusen: 23:25 Informal equals doesn't exist.

Derek Harju: 23:30 To be fair, they didn't put it in writing. It was basically a gentleman's agreement and he was just like, "No, I want the best players for my team. The team I'm buying did terrible last year. I want them to do good." So he's acquiring players like Doug Flutie, he attempts to acquire Lawrence Taylor. Goes after him to the point where the New York Giants have to quadruple his salary in order to keep him. But then the other teams follow suit because-

Dusey Van Dusen: 23:59 People are getting offered money. I see the people over there. Yeah.

Derek Harju: 24:01 The first time it happens, it happens everywhere. So they're all throwing money around trying to keep their rosters.

Dusey Van Dusen: 24:07 The team, yeah. Sorry, I was thinking of players. But yeah, the team's saying, "Well, I have to compete now."

Derek Harju: 24:11 Yes. So what ends up happening is they start burning through all their capital. These teams are just running out of money and it gets so bad at one point that there were teams that couldn't even fill their roster.

Dusey Van Dusen: 24:26 It takes a lot of people to play a football game.

Derek Harju: 24:27 Yeah, it does. In one instance, the Los Angeles Express, you're supposed to show up to the game with 44 players-

Dusey Van Dusen: 24:35 Isn't that how you get from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the LA Express?

Derek Harju: 24:42 They show up with 36 players for a 44 player roster.

Dusey Van Dusen: 24:47 Oh, man.

Derek Harju: 24:47 They can't even fill the roster. Doug Flutie is quoted as saying, he's like, "We couldn't even afford tape. We had to bring our own tape." There were players driving three hours to get to a home game. Teams borrowing big yellow school buses for transportation.

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:03 Can I show my ignorance?

Derek Harju: 25:04 Sure.

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:05 What kind of tape?

Derek Harju: 25:06 What?

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:07 Tape, we don't have tape?

Derek Harju: 25:08 Yeah. To tape-

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:10 Filming tape?

Derek Harju: 25:11 No.

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:12 See I'm a video guy.

Derek Harju: 25:14 No, no, no. When you put on all the equipment for football, actual [crosstalk 00:00:25:18].

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:18 Got you. The stuff that you put around joints or whatever that kind of-

Derek Harju: 25:23 I don't know about other sports, but I know football and hockey, tape is super important.

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:27 Oh, yeah. Hockey they're doing the sticks a lot [crosstalk 00:25:30].

Derek Harju: 25:29 On the sticks to hold your equipment together. Because stuff gets torn apart from one game to another or you want something to fit tighter than it normally does. And so you just tape it up.

Dusey Van Dusen: 25:38 The video game enthusiast on this side of the room thanks you for the explanation. You can continue.

Derek Harju: 25:44 I'm glad I was here to help. They go from 18 teams back down to 16 and then 16 to 14. Then basically the league gets into such dire straights that they're like, "Well, we need a big shift so we're going to move our schedule to autumn." And they're like, "Wait, but the NFL plays in autumn." And the majority of the owners were just like, "We don't care. We're going to go toe to toe with the NFL." Which a handful of the owners thought was a really bad idea, but too many of them thought was a really good idea.

Dusey Van Dusen: 26:14 Wow. Yeah. Seems obvious. Maybe just the way you're telling the story, but seems obvious that's a big... It started out by trying to carve a niche and then moved into, well, no, let's just [crosstalk 00:26:29].

Derek Harju: 26:29 Let's go head to head with a corporation that has more money, more establishment, and probably more legal power.

Dusey Van Dusen: 26:36 And none of that by just a little amount.

Derek Harju: 26:38 No.

Dusey Van Dusen: 26:38 By a lot.

Derek Harju: 26:38 By a lot. So they realize they're only tactic at this point is to sue the NFL basically for anti-monopoly laws. They're like, "The NFL has a monopoly, they're trying to squeeze us out." They go to court and against all odds they win.

Dusey Van Dusen: 26:56 Whoa. I was going to say, it does feel like they have a monopoly. Depends how they were using it.

Derek Harju: 27:02 It's hard not to make the argument that they absolutely have a monopoly. The jury is effectively deadlocked. They come to an agreement where half of them are like, "It's a monopoly." The other half are like, "No, they're just incompetent and that's why they're failing." They go to the judge and they're like, "We find the NFL guilty but we're going to give damages in the amount of $1." A juror was polled, saying they gave the amount in $1, assuming that the judge would set an appropriate amount of money, which he did not. He let the judgment stand and the USFL won a single dollar.

Dusey Van Dusen: 27:41 Wow.

Derek Harju: 27:42 In what was a multi, multi million dollar lawsuit. By the time it was all over, the USFL had closed its doors. They were $160 million in debt and the players scattered to the four winds. Some went back to the NFL, some just went back to their lives and that was pretty much the end of it.

Dusey Van Dusen: 28:01 So the moral of the story is never start a business and you can't take on the big guys. Wait, okay. No, that's not...

Derek Harju: 28:08 That's not a bad point.

Dusey Van Dusen: 28:10 Well, to me it sounds like the biggest mistake was they started with a target market in mind, which is there's this gap. There are fans out there and for 75% of the year they're satiated with football. But if they really love watching this stuff, why isn't anybody giving them anything for the other 25% of the year? And if they could become 25% of the NFL, fantastic.

Derek Harju: 28:40 That's a good day if you're raking in 25% of what the NFL pulls in every year.

Dusey Van Dusen: 28:44 Yeah. To apply this to a small business, what are your thoughts there?

Derek Harju: 28:50 I think that if you can find a niche market and you can find success in that niche market, that's maybe where it's okay to stay. Expansion is great, but like you said, joking or not, if you found a niche, maybe it's not in your best interest to go nose to nose with the big guys. Or if you do, you need to do it in a different way that isn't just cannibalizing an already established market because then you're working uphill.

Dusey Van Dusen: 29:23 A lot of the marketing advice that I've heard over the years would say that not only is it okay to stay there, but you probably are not as narrow as you need to be. You probably think that you're quite narrow and maybe there's these other things that you could be doing. But defining your target audience very precisely and going after them, especially to start when you're the little guy, is powerful. Because you can deliver a service or product that exactly meets their needs.

Dusey Van Dusen: 29:54 I think once that's established, if you do say I think I see a need or I think I can do better than these guys do that are adjacent to my industry or adjacent to my niche, you can start to sliver off a little bit to invest in a moonshot. As opposed to switch the whole business to I think there's money over there. We're changing gears now. What's the old saying? Something about it was an overnight success. It only took me 10 years or something like...

Dusey Van Dusen: 30:25 Yeah, work that niche that you have and it's okay to explore other things, but take your time, do the research, find the right partners and don't jump in so hard that you've got nothing left if your gamble fails.

Derek Harju: 30:41 Well, this has been Worst Business Ideas in History. I've been Derek Harju.

Dusey Van Dusen: 30:44 This is Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek Harju: 30:45 And we'll talk to you guys next time.

Dusey Van Dusen: 30:46 Bye.

Derek Harju: 30:53 Keeping ever expanding client info straight, sending the same emails hundreds of times, scheduling and rescheduling appointments over and over. Who enjoys this nonsense? No one except my cousin Brent and Brent is the absolute worst. Keap is the premier all in one CRM. Just head over to Keap.com. That's K-E-A-P dot com and start your free trial today. Get the busy work out of the way so you can focus on what's important and make your small business grow with Keap. Start your free trial at keap.com. That's K-E-A-P dot com. More business, less work, that's Keap. (music)

Crystal Heuft: 31:41 And we're back and we're here chatting with Pam Slim, talking about tiny marketing actions today. We're going to kick right in because you've got a lot more and we're already getting halfway through the show here. So I want to make sure we get to the meat of it. So give us some more. What's the next steps they should be taking for their tiny marketing actions?

Pam Slim: 32:01 All right, so the first thing is really to step back and to look at your ideal customers. We were just having a little convo at the break with Jack and you and I about how a funny thing about tiny marketing actions in my experience of working with so many people, is that if you ask people to do too much heavy lifting of creating some big complex marketing plan, they start to freak out and it actually reinforces the lack of action.

Pam Slim: 32:29 It's always that thing of we need some of the strategy and at the same time you can still do a tiny marketing action without having it. But here's the strategic piece. In the center is always your ideal customer. I absolutely live by the philosophy of our local hero, Susan Baier from Audience Audit, who's a audience specialist. She really talks about defining your client or your customer in terms of the problem or challenge that they have. For me, core people that I work with are people who have built really amazing IP. They have great ideas, they've written great things, but they really want to scale it and they want to maybe license their IP or create a certification, but they don't have any idea how to go through that process.

Pam Slim: 33:11 When I'm describing my ideal client in that way, the right person is going to be like, "That is me." In fact, I said it to a client. We've been friends forever and he's like, "Well, what do you do?" And I described my audience in that way. He's like, "Oh my God, that's me. Can I hire you? I wouldn't have even thought about it." It's so different than when you say, I work with business owners that are making $500,000 in revenue, who live in New Jersey. That doesn't tell you anything. [crosstalk 00:33:36].

Jack Smithson: 33:35 Two point five children.

Pam Slim: 33:36 That's right. Demographics sometimes are important if you like to work with women or some other dimension. But first it's defining them by a problem or challenge that they have. The second thing is where you do begin to look at different marketing channels, different ways that you can reach them and think about for that particular audience, where are the places where they're hanging out in person or online? That can be are they more Facebook people? Is your work a little bit more like fitness professionals and people who are doing things that there's a lot more happening on Facebook or more and more on Instagram. If you're more the buttoned up professional trying to do B2B and reach people in business settings, LinkedIn is a really good area.

Pam Slim: 34:21 Then for a lot of folks like me who have this weird blend of people all over the world and main street and local business owners, it can also be doing something like showing up in a very specific, I call it a watering hole. Which would be a group of people in person who all fit the profile of an ideal client. Just last night I met with a client over at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, a beautiful hotel here in the Phoenix area. She's a lawyer and we were talking about this whole idea and she was there for a mastermind of lawyers who were on track to make $1 million a year. And I was like, "Okay, here's an example. If my target market I knew were professional service providers like lawyers, I should just hang out in that hotel lobby and I can't go one foot without running into somebody who's ideal."

Crystal Heuft: 35:10 If you really wanted to date a lawyer that was on track to make that amount of money. [crosstalk 00:35:18].

Pam Slim: 35:17 Are we changing the topic right now?

Crystal Heuft: 35:20 Should I have maybe got a drink there last night?

Pam Slim: 35:21 I will invite you next time.

Crystal Heuft: 35:23 Thank you, thank you.

Pam Slim: 35:24 But that would be the case where if I was going to be doing a talk, I should be talking to associations that are filled with people who are ideal clients. There are many folks I know where they can close their business. Susan Baier, who I mentioned from Audience Audit, her clients are digital marketing agencies and so she has a very specific speaking schedule where she does maybe, I don't know, 10 to 12 speaking engagements a year. But every single one is for groups of marketing agencies and she gets more than enough.

Pam Slim: 35:55 Believe me, I love marketing automation as much as anybody else. But we can get caught up thinking that you have to generate massive amounts of content, or you have to be doing these complicated things. Sometimes it's just standing up in front of people. So to think about it for you, there can be live speaking associations, doing things like webinars. There can be social media channels, ways that you're creating engagement on social media. Also just really reaching out to your circles of folks if you already have a good circle of people.

Pam Slim: 36:30 And the same thing is true I think for partners. I call them the peanut butter and jellies. Who would be the jelly to your peanut butter? As I'm a business coach, who do I have to refer everybody to for my clients? A web designer, copywriters, photographers, videographers, lawyers, accountants.

Jack Smithson: 36:47 The people that are guilty by association.

Pam Slim: 36:50 That's right. They're all my jellies. So I want to be creating partnerships and doing a tiny marketing action in terms of reaching out to people, I should be reaching out to the jellies to my peanut butter. The people who are serving the same kinds of clients that I want to serve. I suggest to start doing a little bit of analysis and then thinking about maybe one or two areas that you can start with. Then from that when you break it down into a tiny marketing action, like I said earlier, it should be an action that's so small it is almost insulting.

Crystal Heuft: 37:22 Yeah, that's great.

Pam Slim: 37:23 I am offended that this is what you're asking me to do because it seems so little. That would be one day going on LinkedIn, maybe there is a company that you think would be an amazing future sponsor or maybe there is a favorite colleague that you had from a job five years ago. And you open up LinkedIn and you hit connect and send a message and just say, "Hey Crystal, it's been a long time. How are you doing?" It is as simple as that and you get your two actions and then you say check and you move on.

Crystal Heuft: 37:54 So great.

Jack Smithson: 37:56 Too simple.

Pam Slim: 37:57 We know that within a bigger strategy, and Jack and I were talking before, you have to have a bigger, deeper strategy that you do put dollars behind. That could include ad campaigns or funnel development. And tiny marketing actions are the things that are going to keep everything flowing as you go through time. And it should just be where even in the busiest of times when you're totally overwhelmed with stuff, who can't pick up the phone and scroll through your contacts and send a text to somebody who was a great referral partner before or a client and say, "Hey, what's up? How you doing? Do you need anything?" That is a tiny marketing action.

Jack Smithson: 38:30 Do you ever get pushback? Because I mean they're meant to be simple and they're meant to be easy. Does anybody ever push back saying, "I could've thought of that myself. I came to you for magic."?

Pam Slim: 38:40 Yes, they do.

Jack Smithson: 38:41 What's wrong with you?

Pam Slim: 38:42 To which I say, "Well, like Dr. Phil says, 'How's it working for you?'" First of all, it may seem conceptually simple, but are you actually doing it?

Crystal Heuft: 38:51 That's what I was just going to say. Have you done it?

Pam Slim: 38:53 Yeah, and the other thing to me is about risk mitigation. What big risk is there when you think of five actions a week? This requires math, so let's all do this together. I was like, "Five actions a week, 20 a month times 12 is what, 240 is that right?

Crystal Heuft: 39:14 Oh my God. [crosstalk 00:39:15] I'm a liberal arts major. Actually 24, that's right.

Pam Slim: 39:18 Okay. There we go, 24. Okay, 240 actions a year. So imagine that you're just doing five actions a week, which is pretty small. You should probably be doing a couple more. When you think of the amount of seeds that are out there, when you think of the amount of connections, it's stunning in my experience what a difference that it makes.

Crystal Heuft: 39:36 One hundred percent. About how much time do the clients that you work with, what's the average time commitment a day that these actions are taking?

Pam Slim: 39:46 No more than 15 minutes.

Crystal Heuft: 39:47 Oh my gosh, that's so great. Imagine 15 minutes a day is all it's taking to have 240 at least goals met or check marks are gold stars by the end of the year.

Jack Smithson: 39:59 Yeah, that feels good.

Crystal Heuft: 40:00 By the end of, yeah the year.

Jack Smithson: 40:02 And you're beating the tendency to procrastinate, right? Because we're procrastinating because we're avoiding things that are uncomfortable. Literally procrastination, avoiding discomfort. Well, if you break it down so it's not so uncomfortable, you're less likely to procrastinate it. You're going to do it. And then all of those little things add up. At its core it's such an easy sell for somebody or the small business owner. You're not asking for a lot of time. You're saying, "Hey, it's more than you're doing now. So you think of the results you're getting now and what does that mean to close one more deal out of 10? What does that mean to close one more deal just from these little things? What does that mean revenue wise?"

Crystal Heuft: 40:46 Yeah, that's what I was just going to say. Let's get down to it. What's the return on this? You were talking about your clients that are making money while they're doing these small things in one day. But what can someone expect a return on investment of this 15 minutes a day? What are they getting out of it?

Jack Smithson: 41:02 [inaudible 00:41:02] the most annoying consulting answer in the world, which is it depends.

Crystal Heuft: 41:06 It's accurate.

Jack Smithson: 41:07 The reason it depends is it depends on your average sale. The kinds of clients that I tend to work with now, their average sale is not a small $29 eBook or something. It's going to be a larger [crosstalk 00:41:19] multi thousand consulting package or something. So some of the returns I've seen for clients this last year were people adding $100,000, $150,000 in revenue to their business. And it becomes one of those things that is based on making sure that you're making a strategic decision upfront about choices that you're making of choosing the right kinds of channels. Not just doing something because everybody says you have to have a podcast and you hate podcasts and it's a pain and your ideal customers don't listen to them. You do need to do some strategic planning upfront, but it does create this momentum.

Crystal Heuft: 41:57 And at the end of the day it leads to acquisition and that's the important thing to remember. Is that whatever your average is, whatever the actions you're taking, those things are slowly going to lead you to getting more acquisition and doing something is always going to be better than doing nothing. I think that's why I like this so much. That's why I'm using Noom. I can't tackle the whole thing all at once, but start teaching me slowly and we get check marks. We don't get gold stars on Noom. I wish they were stars, but they're check marks. I just discovered that three weeks in and I was like, "Wait, what happened on the days I didn't get a check mark? What did I do?" I get really competitive. I mean they talk about rewards in Noom too. The gold star or seeing revenue come in, whatever that revenue is, is a way to keep you moving in those tiny actions you're doing. I think that's really, really cool.

Pam Slim: 42:52 And just remember that usually you won't see the results from a tiny marketing action sometimes in three, four, five, six months. It's about seeding proactively.

Jack Smithson: 43:01 Right.

Crystal Heuft: 43:02 Totally. Well, I think you got us really going on this tiny marketing actions. I'm going to be doing this to all of my work actually this coming week. Looking at how I can piecemeal it out and make sure I'm moving towards my goals. But I hope everyone listening that you got something out of it too. And Pam was actually really, really cool. She says she's going to give us her eBook where you can learn a little bit more about this. We'll make sure to have a link there in our blog for you to make sure to go there and get the eBook.

Crystal Heuft: 43:33 But also Pam, if they want to learn more, where can they go to learn more about you and what you're working on?

Pam Slim: 43:38 Pamelaslim.com.

Jack Smithson: 43:40 Perfect.

Crystal Heuft: 43:40 Awesome. And you guys, if you're in Mesa area, make sure and you're an entrepreneur, check out the Main Street Learning Lab. It's so great in there and I'm telling you, the entrepreneurs are doing big things in there and they're doing it together. Which I think is really important when you need a community.

Jack Smithson: 43:55 And cider.

Crystal Heuft: 43:56 And cider right down the street. If you need to go drown your sorrows before, then you go with a great community and get on a positive foot and then keep making your dreams happen.

Pam Slim: 44:06 There you go.

Crystal Heuft: 44:07 Thank you guys so much. Thanks Pam for being here and I always love working with you, so thanks for stopping by and helping educate all of our listeners.

Jack Smithson: 44:15 Yeah, thank you so much.

Pam Slim: 44:15 Likewise.

Derek Harju: 44:18 Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five star rating. It helps keep the show going. And if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to keap.com, that's K-E-A-P dot com and get started. More business, less work, That's Keap. (music)

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