Tom Libelt on systematized marketing and audience building

January 21, 2021 · 34 minutes reading time

Transcript of episode 6

Matthias: Hi and welcome everybody to The Audience Explorer. The new episode is with my first guest, Tom Libelt. He’s living in Bangkok. I’m very happy to have you here, Tom!

Tom: Yeah, thanks for having me. I didn’t know this is the first episode, congrats!

Matthias: No, it’s not the first episode, but the first episode with a guest – I’m quite excited to have a guest!

Tom: Good job! It’s an interesting journey with the podcasting.

Matthias: Yeah, absolutely. I really like it.

So first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your backstory? What do you typically do?

Tom’s backstory and audience

Tom: I mean, I’ve been in business for a long time. Probably over 25 years. I’ve done everything from inside sales, outside sales, retail my own record store. I owned a coffee shop. I filmed the documentary, did music, online stores. I had a Kindle book business, a publishing business, an SEO business, a lot of different things – but I’ve always been more interested on the marketing aspect than anything else.

So. Right now we are strictly a marketing agency for online course creators. So if you have an online course, we help you market the online course. Like that’s kind of what we need to dial into. Yeah. And it’s what we’ve been doing full-time for three years now.

Matthias: Pretty cool, online courses, I’ve have a few ones myself. It’s difficult to market them, right!

Tom: That’s the number one thing that an educator sees, right? Because the first step is, putting the online course out, which is not that difficult because the software is really easy now. But then the next thing you figure, I was like, how do I sell this thing? That’s

Matthias: Yeah. (laughs)

How Tom works with his audience

How does it look like when a client comes to you and says: “I need help with marketing with my online course .” how does that work?

Tom: So typically they’ll come to our landing page and then they have to fill out a survey, which kind of tells me about their problem. And then book a call. I will quickly look over the survey. And if I think it’s not a good fit, because we’ve done everything we can on the sales space to kick everybody away, that’s not the right customer.

So if somehow they sneak through, I make sure that they’re not, but if they are, then we get on a call and I am mostly trying to find out about what they’re trying to do. Because most people don’t! Like I’ve been on a call today, and I looked over their lead magnet. I looked over their sales page, everything, and I’m like:

“I’ve seen all of your info, but no one looking at this can figure out what the problem is that you’re trying to solve! You haven’t addressed the problem. You haven’t given a solution. You haven’t told us why we should even care. And then you haven’t told us why we should hire you to teach us to solve this problem, which we don’t know what it is.”

Matthias: Interesting. So that have a pretty basic mistakes, right?

Tom: Well you think, but it’s actually the most common mistake for anyone that comes to me saying “my course is not selling.”

Different customer subtypes in one audience

The second type of customer might do those things right. They get lucky, on one channel! Though so for example, they will put out the course, the everything’s working on it. They’ll start putting up YouTube videos, getting traffic, they start making five, six figures, usually low six figures, high five figures. And they call me saying like

“Well, This is all working. I’ve been putting out videos and, and I’ve been making money. But now if I put out 10 more videos, nothing changes and I try it again and nothing changes. It’s like, I plateaued, like I’ve exhausted this channel!”

If I start asking them questions, we quickly figure out they don’t know what happened.

They got lucky. They don’t know why it’s working. And they tried to transfer it to a different channel because the luck factor is not there anymore. They’re like “Nothing works! like I tried paid, or I tried going on Facebook, but the only thing that’s working is YouTube and I can’t make more money, so I will help them figure out what the sales process is based on what they’ve done.

And then we transfer that to the other channels and then we scale again. And then at some point they come, hit different walls because at different revenue points, you hit different walls and you have to do new things to get over them, but that’s the second type of an audience usually.

And the third one is just doing really well, but they just need something where I can go over their process and make it even better , often by seeing inefficiencies and problems in the system, I can fix a few things and the revenue goes up 10, 20%. So, but that’s someone that’s already doing well and has the whole process down.

So three different types of clients usually.

Matthias: Interesting: you’re pretty clear about your different types of audiences!

How Tom got his first client

Let me go back for a moment: how did all this start? When did you have the idea? You said you were doing it for three years now?

Tom: Full time. So…

Matthias: Ah, full time!

Tom: Around seven, eight years ago when I was running my SEO company , one of the clients was a gym in Atlanta. The person that I was in contact with was a Muay Thai champion, which is a Thai kickboxing, martial art, right? And, we became friends, they did a really good job for the gym.

And one day he just asked me: “What if I took my training which I do here - because he was still teaching some classes and trying to get away from it - and put it online?” And eight years ago, online education was not that known like you

Matthias: yeah , not so popular…

Tom: It wasn’t very popular.

So I said, I have no idea! Well, let’s try! So back then, and with the software being so basic, it was very difficult to get the first step going. It took about a year and a half to, to kind of figure out how we’re going to do that because we were both busy. Then when that happened, he says: “Now, we need to sell this thing!”

And I was like “Yes, go sell it!” And he’s like: “No, I was looking at you to sell it!” And I was like, seriously, I was like, “I have ever sold an online course. I’m an SEO!” He was like “ah, just try!”

So, we made the agreement and then I started trying . It was actually the hardest niche possible, because it’s something that people do physically in the gym, with trainers and partners.

And now we need to sell this idea that I’m going to teach it to you online and you actually should pay for it! So it was very difficult, it’s much easier to teach someone about business or drawing or anything else that they can like visually, then like … “how do I teach you how not to get hit? Over the Internet?

Matthias: Yeah. Right. Or how to move correctly, how to do all those moves and so on. Yeah.

Tom: It was very difficult. I think it took us another two years to really figure out how to sell it. And after that, he gave me some more referrals and all was very downhill. Like I did the hardest one first the stuff.

Yeah. And most of the stuff that comes to me now, it’s just like a layup. It’s like, I just see the ball and throw it in the hoop. It’s like, yeah. Okay. but it, it took many years, it took me four years of doing it part time, until I felt confident enough to just drop everything else and say, let’s go all into it.

Going full-time in the online course marketing niche

And it was probably the best thing I’ve done because now I have just one audience to look after, one offering! I know exactly who my customers are. We’ve been booked ever since. We simplified our offerings so we can make more money for less time and give better results, right? So all this happens when you actually narrow it down and simplify. Things become so much easier than if you’re running like a full fledged service company.

Matthias: If you specialize, if you niche in, for example, on online courses, it’s much easier to know your audience. I can think so. Yeah.

Tom: But even with that, we very specific about our clients. Like I said, if someone doesn’t come into those three buckets that I mentioned I just tell them to leave because I’m not the right person. Like I’m not gonna create a custom offering for you because I’m way past that. Now. Like if you don’t fall into my process and what I like to do, then “no, thank you!”

Matthias: Let’s get back to the audience types. You mentioned three types, some kind of starting audience, some plateau audience and some scaling or scale-up or something like that, right? How come that you recognized these three types of audiences? What made you recognize that?

Tom: Through four years of taking on anybody.

Matthias: Ah, okay, so first you took anybody. Okay.

Tom: That’s what we all do. It’s, it’s, it’s the process, right? But eventually you need to stop doing that because sometimes making more money is actually the most expensive thing you could do because you’re not doing the right things for your business. you’re sidetracking it’s it gave you some money, but it’s actually taking back and taking you many steps backwards, and often you will hate what you’re doing.

Finding out whom you want to serve well

So, you got to kind of figure out who it is you want to serve and, get the best offerings and that’s best for them and for you. That’s why I said, I kept on thinking, what’s the thing that will take the least amount of my time? That’s going to give them the best result, because then I can charge well for that because clients care about results. If someone asks me – and I had a few people still like two years ago doing this – “oh, how many hours are you going to work on this?” And I’m like “I’m not a Walmart employee, okay?”

Matthias: Yeah (laughs), you’re not paid by the hour.

Tom: Yeah. We’re not, we’re not talking about my hours. It’s completely irrelevant! If it takes me 15 minutes, but it took me seven years to learn, you got to pay for that accordingly, right?

Matthias: Yeah, that’s right.

Tom: So the people who don’t understand that concept. Get kicked out of my funnel immediately.

I’m like, we’re good. I don’t want to work with you. So again, through experience, I found all of those people become problem clients, right? Because instead of looking at the results and treating it as a business, they want someone to be, I guess, on coal or, or just wasting time with. And I’m like “I’m not interested in chatting with you. I just want to get this done, get you the results, and let’s both move on!”

Systems to make “first contact”

Matthias: How come that you get in the first contact with new people in your audience?

Tom: We have systems for this:

  • we have a system of going on podcasts
  • we have a system of targeting people in some Facebook groups
  • we have a system for finding people with courses and then cold emailing them
  • another system of using LinkedIn.

We have different systems set up for this, and my employees do that.

The only thing I actually do is to write up stuff for the newsletter , to give some insights, or just jump onto this podcast, like I reached out. This was probably one of the only ones, because I just started playing on Twitter a bit where I actually reached out myself. Normally, my VA would reach out to you, and then pitch me on your podcast.

This was like one of the only times where I’m just like “I mean, if you’re asking, I can come in because an audience is what I can talk about”. But that’s Twitter.

The role of Twitter

Tom: Twitter is a weird thing, I kinda like it.

Matthias: Yeah, Twitter is very open. I really like it on Facebook. You have to be more … I have no name for that. Facebook feels totally different for me. LinkedIn feels very corporate and enterprise to me. It’s a, it’s a totally different, I like Twitter.

Tom: The thing that made me like Twitter is before I thought it was horrible, I was like, there’s so much nonsense. I hate this. And then I found this setting where you can mute words.

Tom: I muted Trump, Biden, COVID , anything that I thought was just, not yeah, just noise.

Right. And when I did that, my feed just opened up and all I see now is the stuff that I want to see. And if there’s something I don’t want to see, I look at the words which annoyed me and they get muted also. And it just continues. And it’s easy to clean up. You can’t do that in LinkedIn. You can’t do that in Facebook, you can block people, but you can block crappy ideas

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom: So I think that’s kind of what Twitter is bringing to the table, for me at least. And then like stuff like you asking a question will show up.

How Tom found my podcast

Instead of me seeing some nonsense about politics, there’s someone actually relevant asking

Hey, if you can talk about an audience, come on the podcast!

And I was like

Well, that came right in front of me!

There’s no friction because I just messaged you. Like I’m not wasting time on it. You’re not wasting time. Twitter can be very, I think, productive in some ways.

However, I would imagine it’s hard to scale. I don’t like creating any channels and I will never depend on Twitter where I have to come in and all the time “do things and actions to hope that something happens”.

I like systems where I can outsource it, and my assistant can do these 15 tasks every single day. And I get clients, constantly. Or use some paid advertising, a combination of both, or maybe some SEO, but I shouldn’t be actively having to seek people out or make conversations to get clients.

So, I like it, but I only show up when I feel like it. Twitter is not my daily part of my business.

Matthias: So how come that my message reached you? Was it simply random luck or where you’ve already following me or following somebody else? Just interesting for me,

Tom: It must’ve been just random luck. Like I said, when I cleaned up my my feed, I follow some people and when they retweet or like, or comment on something and now I’m actually seeing much more relevant stuff that’s from others as well. But it’s in my niche. Like, something with marketing, so Twitter is actually the algorithm I think is becoming much, much better. And even sometimes now, if I see like a weird post on Twitter, that I’m just like, why is this on here? Often Twitter says “is this useful for you? Yes or no?”

Matthias: Oh, interesting. Didn’t say that to me.

Tom: I’ll just often say: “negative”. This is not useful at all. And the feed gets even better. Right. Which is a very interesting feature, cause ever since I’ve been blocking and cleaning things up, constantly, Twitter just shows me more and more of what I want to see. So it takes time for it to become useful.

I think, because like I said, when I first activated it, I thought it was garbage.

Matthias: Okay.

Tom: No, just nonsense spam and noise, but it’s really not.

Matthias: that’s cool. That’s pretty cool. I should look for those mute words and, and yeah, maybe cleaning up the feed.

Tom: So small adjustments like that have done a lot for me.

Matthias: It’s a two edge sword on Twitter, right? First of all, you must be constantly active so that people hear about you, that you develop your feed further, you get known and so on. I think it doesn’t scale well, I would agree with that.

You can’t put a virtual assistant on your Twitter feed and let them tweet. I tried an experiment with ads last week. It wasn’t successful. I, I would have to work on that, but scaling on, on Twitter is difficult, I think.

You wouldn’t agree with that?

Tom: Well, what I would just add is that I don’t see any reason of spending too much time on a platform that you don’t control. Right. Like, like any way that we’re looking for leads, I need them to either come in and apply for a call, or get on my email list. If they’re not doing that, I don’t get a satisfaction of seeing seven or 8,000 LinkedIn friends or, a thousand people in a Facebook group..

Matthias: Yes, that’s right.

Tom: or a thousand followers!

I’m like, I don’t really control this. So, it’s, it’s a nice little bonus, right? It’s like when your Bitcoin goes up 5,000 before it crashes 5,000, it’s, it’s nice for it for a little bit. Right. You’re just like, yay, great. But I’m like, it’s not mine. So. how much effort am I going to put into someone else’s account building Twitter? Then, I’m not building my company!

Matthias: Yeah. It’s not about having many followers. It’s about having the right followers and getting into real good conversations! That’s what I like about Twitter. For example, I can direct message people and get into a much deeper conversation, or I move them off Twitter. Then I invite them to a zoom call: “Let’s get deeper on this.”

Or I say, please subscribe to my mailing list. Let’s move them off Twitter. Twitter is kind of “getting to know people and developing a relationship to them”.

Tom: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s a good, like first line of attack. It’s like going to a networking event, whatever you feel like, there’s always people networking on it and talking and you just kind of join conversations. And if it’s interesting, you’ll pull someone off. If it’s not interesting, you just move on to the next one.

That’s, it’s a very easy, thing to do. I think.

Tom about chitchat in Clubhouse etc.

Matthias: That’s right. I’m curious. What happens when Twitter comes out with, with their audio feature? I heard that they have a similar offering, like, like clubhouse and with an already existing social graph on Twitter, it would be exciting. I think.

Tom: Yeah. I don’t know. Like, I think it’s just more wasting of time for people, like I, I went into clubhouse for, I think, three minutes and I was done. I was like, this is nonsense.

So I think that you got to think where your time goes and like I like the sales pitch for me was you can hear some of these amazing people talk and I’m just like, yeah, but that doesn’t make me any money.

And then, after listening to a few minutes of them talk, I’m like, they’re not really any smarter than me. Just have, either better opportunity or something different place maybe, like there are 10 years ahead, but I was like, these people, I’m not listening to it.

With a podcast that’s different. You’re advertising some kind of a topic, and hopefully the person actually thinks it through. Clubhouse seems more like rambling, like two people in a car. And I’m just like, I don’t want to hear this. Even if I was in the car, why would the world would I waste my time to go in it now?

Matthias: yeah, it’s a, it’s a kind of chit-chat, right?

Tom: Yeah, I’m not, I don’t have time. I don’t like chit-chat as it is, like if I’m doing something, whether it’s work or at the gym, I don’t like people coming up to me and be like, Hey, what do you think? I was like, not now, like, I’m this is like a different time than, like, if I want to chat, I’ll go chat with you over a coffee.

Right. But we schedule that. I’m not interested in like, especially other people’s chit-chats, why?

Matthias sees a possible use case in chitchat

Matthias: I could imagine some use cases. For example, if I’m working deeply on a product, I could open up for, let’s say half an hour and say: “People, come in, have a coffee with me. I need some relax! I can talk about my product, about your product, what you’re doing, what I’m doing and we’ll have a chit chat” and then go on, move on with the work.

Tom: Yeah, but you’re leading the conversation.

Matthias: Yes. Yeah.

Tom: See, that’s a, that’s a bit of a different thing, but I just want to check out what that is. And I’m like, yeah, at this moment, I don’t have any more time. Especially since the stuff I like doing is more evergreen, right.

Again, having chitchats on clubhouse doesn’t scale.

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom: Right. I want to have something where I put it out and it’s out there forever. I’ve done it once, instead of me. Oh, I have to go again and clubhouse today. No, thank you.

Tom about the importance of systems in your business

Matthias: So you’re really very much in into systems. Right? You already mentioned systems

Tom: Well, systems will set you free ! having goals and having a to-do list and hustling… yeah, maybe when you’re 20, that’s all fine! But the older you get, the more it’s like, I don’t want to be doing all this stuff. Like. Why am I even working at all? Like the whole point is like, how do I build this?

So that it’s just an asset that works by itself. And then I just do whatever I want to, which, at the moment is marketing and probably will be in some aspect because I like it, but anything I don’t like, I’m trying to think how to get rid of it, not how to do more of it. having chitchats on clubhouse.

It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a fulfilling experience for me. Right.

Matthias: Yeah, no, no, I don’t think so. What are typical examples of your systems? You already mentioned that you have systems so that people get in contact with you. What else do you have?

Tom: We have systems around pretty much everything. The main ones I would always want to start with. I tell people to start with there’s to get your leads, to move them into the right buckets, and then to keep them engaged.

Because when you have leads and money coming in, it solves almost every other problem. You need more customer service people? Just throw some money at that problem. You need to buy this type of software? You automate it, you throw money at it.

The main part of a business is just making the money. If you’re not making money, you’re not in business. You’ve got a crappy hobby, that’s probably giving you anxiety.

So I create systems. The most system is around all my marketing stuff. And, and, then you have fulfilling stuff to clients. But again, if you can step away from that and simplify it as much as possible, then less headache as well, but you need systems on getting money in, and then getting the product or offering out to clients. That’s the only things that really matter.

Matthias about GetTheAudience for the early stages of audience development

Matthias: But how about product design ? Designing the right offering for your audience? That’s, that’s what I’m very much into. I created for example, this tool “GetTheAudience” where I mean the word “get” not in terms of “how to get more people into my audience” but how to “get” them, i.e. how to understand them so that I can build the right type of product, the right type of offering for them.

So the “understanding” part it’s very much central to GetTheAudience. How do you think about this one when the product is not yet clear, when the audience type is not yet clear … about that stage of things?

Tom: Well, you’re either really good at customer research, and you know your company and who you’re going after, or you need to talk to these people, right?

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom: By talking to the people, I don’t mean asking them questions and like, “Hey, if I build this, will you buy it?” None of that matters. None of it. Free advice is worthless.

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom about validation and progress in his audience

Tom: The only type of validation that I’m looking for when I talk with a client is like, okay, I’m assuming this is the problem. So I tried to present the problem, right? I’m trying to make them feel a little more of the pain and what happens if you don’t solve the problem, and giving some insights on how to solve it from my perspective.

But don’t tell them the “how”, right? After any call like that, people expect you to pitch them something. If you don’t, it’s just an awkward conversation at the end. It’s like “Oh, okay, bye!” Right. So you have some kind of an offering. And then you ask them to buy it. If they send you money, it means you’re validating your offer.

If you can do it over and over, it’s validated. If it’s not, maybe you just got to return the money. Say like, “look, I tried that didn’t really pan out. Sorry! ”

And this is the first step. Right. But what I would quickly do, if I get a couple of validations in, then I change this “call me” button, because if it’s a simpler offering, hopefully. Move everything I learned onto the sales page and just put the “buy” button now and see if people will buy it without me even talking to them.

I’m trying to get myself out of the equation. If it’s still selling, it’s nailed. Maybe you got to get them on a call again, or, see, see what happens. Yeah.

Matthias: So in the beginning, you’ve got a “call me” button. On the landing page, for example, where you described some problem and you put a “call me” button below it?

Tom: Yeah. I mean, that’s, from my perspective, if you’re selling something different, maybe it’s a demo, it’s a free demo where you show them, like you go over the same type of thing, problems, how we solve them. And then you need to pitch at the end. ‘cause if you don’t pitch again, very awkward conversation.

Cause everyone’s like, well, you just told me all this great stuff. So how are you going to help me, you know? And that’s it. So you need some kind of an offer. And that’s how we test, how we validate.

Doing it wrong by not making an offer

Tom: Anytime I’ve seen people doing it differently, and I just had a friend who did not listen to me “try to do this!”

He sent people questionnaires and surveys. On what they would want built and how much they would pay for it and all this great stuff. And then he built it and nothing happened, no one bought.

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom: So then again, he didn’t listen to me, but he actually, I told him, “get on the calls with these people!” And again, instead of giving them an offer, he’s asking them, “what would you like?” and all of these things. And, everyone’s like, I don’t know, like we kind of handle stuff in the house or if we need someone we’ll hire them. I don’t actually know what problems I have. And again, pointless, right?

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom: So hopefully now, now I told him like, okay, you need to give them an offer and make it very simple!

Stop letting it go on. It depends. Give them like a solution for their business. And if they buy it, then you’re closer to validating.

Tom about what happens when a client requests something different

Matthias: That’s right. Do you still lead such conversations when you create a new offer, or do you keep your offer constant for months?

Tom: It, it depends. Right? Often, as you have clients coming in, they start asking for adjustments and you slowly adjust your offer. And if you want to do that, right, you don’t let clients run your business. But if it makes sense for the both of you, you will adjust it a little bit. Like if you’re offering, let’s say content, you’re providing content, right. And maybe the clients are happy with the content, but they would like a little more SEO visibility. Right? So you can offer content with SEO visibility. If it’s not too hard for your team to create, you can just offer that with it. If not, maybe we can make an up-sell or you can give people, “you have content already and we’ll just help you with the SEO visibility”. We’ll change it so that it’s SEO- proof and we’ll fix your headline. Right? So it depends on the feedback. Like if you’re seeing the feedback, you can, leave that offer and maybe do an enhancement or then take people that already have something, and just use that enhancement on them.

It’s all about talking with the users constantly.

Matthias: Yeah. Yeah. So you’re taking this knowledge from the conversations with your existing customers or with new customers, for example, when they ask for your service?

Tom: Usually it’s what the ones paying already. If someone hasn’t paid me yet, they don’t really have a voice.

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom: “I would like a unicorn too”, I mean but I’ll give you another example, right? We’re in course marketing and sometimes, and what happens client will be like, can you help us with getting verified on Instagram?

Or can you help us with figuring out how the survey page needs to be laid out? I’m like “that’s not a part of course marketing. I don’t want to go in that business. I don’t want to go in businesses or fixing survey pages. That’s not what we do”. I tell them no, and that’s focused on what I do, which is course marketing.

So that lets us have a painless experience than someone else who will be like “Oh, I will help them with anything!” And now, instead of fulfilling stuff to your best clients, you’re learning about all this extra nonsense, which you’re not interested in. And yeah, you get like $80, but you just wasted four hours learning it. You’re losing money!

Matthias: Yeah, that’s right.

Tom: so this is why I say don’t ever let clients run your business. And if they give you feedback, only if it makes sense to you as well. So sometimes you’ll see something like with our course marketing, we found that normally if you have a lead magnet, right, you get someone through the lead magnet, you give them a warm up sequence and then you have them buy. And it’s done, right?

How Thinkific and Teachable are doing it wrong

By seeing the most popular platforms like Thinkific and Teachable, we realized that their checkout process is complete garbage, right?

Matthias: In what way is it garbage?

Tom: What they force the students to do is … If I’m trying to buy your course, I have to enroll in this school, and then I have to buy the course.

Matthias: Oh, I see. Yeah, I did that myself. I enrolled into one or two courses and I’d had this effect right.

Tom: Yeah. So most people enroll in this school. They never buy their course. They’re confused why it didn’t show up. And everyone’s stuck. Right? So the thing we implemented in our business, because it was a feedback that really makes sense, is like

“Okay, are you with Thinkific or Teachable? What we’re going to do is we’re going to make sure that all those people who enroll and have not bought, we’re going to set up automations and ConvertKit, and we’re going to make sure that there’s a little sequence, getting them back on track. Like yeah, we understand you signed up or you actually didn’t purchase a thing.

So what was a solution to a problem that we’re willing to address? Because we’ve seen it, like, Oh, this is annoying.


Matthias: It’s a repeatable problem, right?

Tom: It should be solved by the platforms, but it’s not, and what was real feedback from customers, but it was us looking at this problem and being like “this doesn’t make any sense. We just had 500 signups for this guy. But there’s only 400 people that bought, what’s happening here, right?”

And then we’ve seen that, okay, this is a software issue. So how do we solve this? And then we came up with a solution. So that’s how I would adjust the situation: once I see that a problem occurs, and it makes sense for us.

Matthias: Yeah. That’s what learning and feedback can do. You can identify new problems in your audience and you can take care of that.

What happens when demand for a feature rises

Tom: So another thing that happens is optimum. We have clients we’ll help them with the marketing and all this stuff and they ask like “can you do this?” Over and over, 50 different people will ask us. And they’re like, we don’t do that. But after you have 50 people asking for it, then you start thinking, well, you know what.

Let me throw up a sales page cause we could do it. It doesn’t take much time, but we just, we’re not going to offer with, for nothing and see if they buy it. But people ask us to create this, people ask like, can you help us with this problem over and over and over? And then we’re like, well we could, but it’s going to be a different service.

it might be like a recurring monthly thing because you’re looking for this and that. But that’s something that happens from clients too. And often initially I’m like, I’m saying like, well, no, not now. We’re not doing that now, but I’ll put them into a file and then, if there’s enough people asking for it, like 40, 50, I’m like, “Hmm, why not? Let’s put up a sales page and see if we can pre-sell it!” And if enough people buy, then I’ll figure out the system to deliver this.

Matthias: Okay. You’re systematizing again when there’s enough demand and when you see it, it will work right. Then you put it into a system.

Tom: Yeah. Cause, I’m not assuming, I’m just responding to the market, you know? And sometimes when you have an audience and this is why it used leather is a good thing you can kind of bait people, right? You can start presenting different problems and then, seeing how they respond to the emails.

Matthias: Also a kind of validation, an early validation.

Tom: Just so just to see if they’re like, Hey, I would like this solved. And I’m like, well, that’s nice. We’re not doing that now, but I’ll keep it in mind, but if enough people do it, then it’s like, well, “let’s put up a sales page, see what happens”. But again, we always have to think “is this the type of business I want to get into?” also just because people want it doesn’t mean I want to do it. Right. So it’s a big thing too. What’s a business do I want to be in, but if it makes sense and you’re like, this is actually a good business, I could systemize it., completely outsource it. I could put it on its own domain. I could sell it in five years. People want it. I can get a pretty decent margin. Why not?

Matthias: Yeah.

Tom: That’s kind of how we work.

Matthias asks Tom about what he expects for the future

Matthias: Interesting. If you imagine, if you go on for, let’s say one year, two years, five years what should happen? What are your goals for the next upcoming years?

Tom: Well, it really depends. The way we structure our business is we have the parent company, which is “smart brand marketing”, that’s the parent company. And then we have all the services and things underneath it, right? So, the service businesses, which are like me actually working on stuff, they’re around to kind of keep my skills sharp and to fund a lot of the other things and give feedback so we can come up with ideas. Then some of the other productize stuff we will test and we will either continue with it. Or you will sell that business if it’s making enough money.

Matthias: Hmm. Okay.

Tom: At the same time, we’re still trying to build an audience because if you have a big enough audience, it’s much easier to come up with anything. And if you want to create a software, you better have a pretty big audience that is ready to buy, or it’s going to be a very long road, right? So with us right now is we’ve really simplified our offering on the service side.

So it’s just throwing out money and it’s delivering results, but I can, I still have time. For other things the product, I service stuff, we’re testing different things. The main goal right now, even though we don’t need it, is building a big audience of relevant people. So then when we start offering other things, it’s going to scale much, much, much faster.

Matthias: I’d say it’s a numbers game, right?

Tom: Yeah, it’s a numbers game. With our boutique service, it’s not really a numbers game cause we only take a couple of clients. They pay a lot and that’s it, we’re booked, we’re done. But with other things which we’re testing, that’s a numbers game and that’s where we want to build that audience for. It’s the long game, the parent company is not going to change that they will keep cranking out content and audiences, but services and products, who knows in five years.

Matthias: Five years is so far away these days.


Matthias: Wow, this has been a blast. Really, I learned a lot I like to get in contact with people to learn totally different views. Your view has been amazing! Thank you very much for today for being here!

Tom: Yeah. Yeah, it was great. It was great. Like you, every time I speak with someone, like I kind of get more clarity because I got to think these things through, right?

Matthias: Right.

Tom: You’re asking me a question, so I really get a lot out of them too.

Matthias: Cool. So I wish you very much success with Smart Brand Marketing, and maybe we see each other again on Twitter .

Tom: for sure on Twitter, so yeah, thank you!


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