Called a “web marketing guru” by the New York Times, the Story of how Marcus Sheridan was able to save his swimming pool company, River Pools, from the economic crash of 2008 has been featured in multiple books, publications, and stories around the world and is the centerpiece to his best-selling book, They Ask You Answer, which has been named “One of the 5 Best Marketing Books of All Time” by Book Authority.
Today, Sheridan is a highly sought-after global speaker and consultant in the digital sales and marketing space, working with hundreds of businesses and brands alike to achieve their potential in a rapidly evolving marketplace, ultimately helping them to become the most trusted voice in their perspective industry.
As part of the 100th episode special, Robin Waite welcomes best-selling author, sell-out speaker and “web marketing guru” Marcus Sheridan to The Fearless Business Podcast. Together, they look back through Marcus’ marketing best-seller They Ask You Answer and discuss why it’s relevant for all online businesses now more than ever.
If you haven’t read Marcus’ best-seller (of course, we totally recommend you should), the philosophy of They Ask You Answer is centred around honesty and transparency. Throughout his novel, Marcus continuously provides examples of transparent marketing strategies and how they can help generate more leads. It’s about knowing what your target demographic wants and what they are searching for the most.
Marcus greatly encourages business owners to put themselves in their buyer’s shoes. For example, imagine you were looking to hire a landscaping company. What would be the first thing you’d google before hiring one? Would it be something in the realms of:
Although it may seem like an obvious route to go down, at least from an SEO perspective, it’s surprising how many business owners don’t publicly disclose this information. This lead Marcus to pen They Ask You Answer as through displaying these answers on his site, he was able to save his pool company during the recession in 2008.
During the podcast, Marcus outlined the five main subjects every business owner should talk about on their website. These include:
“These five things drive the economy,” says Marcus. “You have businesses still like an ostrich with its head in the sand, that ignore them. And that's holding us back from attaining the amount of trust that we could be attaining from our audience”. Marcus believes that in business, honesty truly is the best policy as the consumer can go and find the answers to those questions anyway. So why not be transparent? Surely, as a consumer, you’d place more trust in a company that feels they’ve got nothing to hide?
The world of digital marketing is always changing. And Marcus knows this more than anyone. When asked if there are any trends digital/content marketers should be aware of today, Marcus simply responded with “seller-free” and “self-service” methods.
According to a survey conducted by Gartner, 33% of buyers prefer a seller free sales experience, with millennial buyers scoring up to 44%. Although this is sales orientated, Marcus asks listeners to consider what marketers could do to help replicate the non-sales like experience. He uses site comparison tools as an example, many are now getting the answers to Marcus’ big five, through using an external non-biased party.
This begs the question as to why company’s aren’t utilising this enough. Marcus determines that this is due to most businesses fears of no longer knowing their audience fully. However, as technology increases so does the likes of audience research tools. In Marcus’ opinion, marketers nowadays put too much pressure on knowing their audience and tend to overcomplicate things. To avoid complications, Marcus recommends spending a large period of time liaising with the sales department and even doing a bit of selling yourself. No one knows their audience more than salespeople, as they are the first point of contact for consumers in most businesses.
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