Will Bachman: Hey there podcast listeners. Welcome to Unleashed, the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. Unleashed is sponsored by Umbrex, the world’s first global community of top-tier independent management consultants. I’m your host, Will Bachman.
Our guest today is Kenny Jahng, founder of Big Click Syndicate, LLC, a strategic positioning agency offering content marketing, consulting and advisory to non-profit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations and churches across the United States. Kenny has an amazing list of clients that include the Princeton Theological Seminary, California Baptist University, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church and Wesleyan Investment Foundation, among many others.
In our discussion, Kenny educates me on what content marketing is all about. The core of what he does starts with helping clients on their strategic positioning, building internal alignment on the mission and the vision of the organization. Often, this exercise has implications beyond communications and informs strategic decisions the client makes and Kenny gives several examples of that. We also discuss lead generation and how Kenny helps clients build 30 or more custom landing pages that each focus on a niche audience, providing something of value to earn the right to continue a conversation with that visitor over time to develop them into customers.
I was incredibly impressed by the sophistication of what is going on behind the scenes and we just scratched the surface. If you are intrigued by what you hear in this episode, you can learn more about Kenny’s work at kennyjahng.com and his last name is Jahng. This discussion opened my eyes and I hope you find it helpful.
Kenny, it is great to have you on the show, thanks so much for joining me.
Kenny Jahng: Great to be here, Will. Always great to talk to you.
Will Bachman: Kenny, I’ve been a big fan of yours for years and somehow I got on your mailing list a while ago. I think it’s … maybe seven or eight years ago you may have come to a training session that I led and that’s, maybe, how we got to know each other. Then every month or so I get an email from you and it’s always some random interesting topic that you … nothing at all related to your work, typically, just something that I thought maybe came across your desk. There’s so much to get into, but maybe we start there. Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing with that periodic email.
Kenny Jahng: It actually started out because in my consulting, in teaching and coaching clients about when they’re sending out email blasts and when they’re sending out newsletters, it shouldn’t just be about me, me, me. No one wants to talk to a guy at a cocktail party who only talks about himself all the time or only talks about hire me, hire me, hire me. You want to build relationships and you want to share a little bit about who you are and other fun conversational pieces.
That’s how it started out, teaching people these examples about interesting concepts that you can forward to friends or family and colleagues that build that personal relationship. Whether it be from the Reuters Oddly Enough feed or other things that come across your desk, I would actually literally just send out that tidbit, a link and some context to make it personal to a list of people … I guess you can call them prospects, if you want, of people in your network. It’s just an excuse to get on their radar. At the end of the day, I say email is still the killer app in marketing in business and nurturing your leads through marketing automation and through email sequences and outreach emails like that is what keeps relationships going and alive.
It’s kind of funny. I’ve got a bunch of fans of that type of email that they get periodically and some have changed organizations and they’re not on the list anymore because they have a new email address and they actually called me and said, “Hey, can you put me on the list,” which is kind of funny. I guess it’s disarming. You know it’s not a sales email, you know it’s something from me that’s just relational and it’s just a break in your day so you’re not scared to open that email and it probably puts a smile on your face to have some human-interest story or link or some website that’s useful that I’m sharing with you.
Will Bachman: Yeah, I love them. Let’s take a step back. Tell me about your business. If I was going to summarize it to someone else, I would probably say Kenny sort of provides a social media backbone, primarily for churches and religious institutions and will do their website and Twitter and all that stuff, but that’s on the second hand. Tell me what your real service offering is.
Kenny Jahng: I think that’s pretty close. If you look at the swath of work that my team does, it’s basically we typically help with strategic positioning, in terms of communications, for non-profits, cause-driven organizations and churches, denominations, religious organizations. That typically opens up a Pandora’s Box of what is the mission and vision of the organization that you can present, what’s the differentiator that you’re going to put out in the marketplace and then that, obviously, in today’s world spills out into social media, your website, all the marketing collateral out there.
We help provide clarity because most of the time we walk into these scenarios where the organizations asking me for help really are a little bit confused at the top of what they do and what they stand for and who they’re going after and what they want those people to understand. Strategic conditioning is the first box you’ve got to check off. After that, everything else will fall out really easily. That makes sense after that. That’s typically what we do. We do strategic positioning; concept marketing; social/digital communications and then we’re focusing on, specifically, non-profits, cause-driven and churches and faith-based organizations.
Will Bachman: Let’s dig into that a little bit. So strategic positioning … maybe you can help illustrate that to me by an example. Walk me through, maybe, a sanitized example of a client when they came to you, what were they saying and what were the questions that you asked to clarify and what did you end up with? What would a good strategic conditioning, a robust one look like?
Kenny Jahng: This can be done at many levels, whether it be the product, the service or the team or even all the way up to the high level and the top level of the organization. There’s many things that I think can come out of a positioning of an organization that just provides clarity. One of the recent projects we worked with is Princeton Theological Seminary. It’s where I did my masters of divinity, which is the basic foundational degree for pastors. People go through the seminary to prepare to work for the church, typically. In today’s world, the church is declining, the applicant pool is declining. Seminaries are having a hard time attracting new applicants and really understanding how to become practical in their education for their marketplace, which is the church world.
One of the first things we did with them is to look at what are the core pillars that they’re going to talk about over and over and over again? What are they going to get to be known for? We understood quickly with Princeton that there was this tension and balance between fate and culture that they were trying to really help their students understand and straddle that tension in four different areas in particular. Helping them to articulate that that theological model for education with four specific commitments were formed in [inaudible 00:09:00], faith and scholarship, residential yet global, tradition yet innovative. Helping them to craft that language and those buckets then allows them to drill down into show not tell examples over and over again across all their communications for those four distinctive commitments that they’ve made to a theological education model in the seminary marketplace.
So you start there and then that gets expressed in everything. Even residential and global. They don’t take part-time students. They don’t typically do distance based, online education. One of the conversations we had with them is saying, “You need to double down. What about having professors actually living in community with your students?”
When they have a master plan that they’re going through, like now, and where new facilities might be built, new dormitories might be built, maybe that’s part of that infiltration of the architecture of building that into the core of their residential program. Those are the types of things that … that strategic positioning can seep into every part of your organization’s life, online and offline, once you start to define what it is that you’re going to be known for. What is it that you’re going to be distinctive for?
Will Bachman: Wow. This is really interesting. It’s not about going off and, “Okay, yeah, I’ll take your webpage and we’ll start tweeting away,” you really first need to understand what’s the strategic positioning so we know what messages are gonna support that.
Tell me a little bit more about how could a listener who’s in an organization like that do a self-diagnosis to know, “Do we have a strategic positioning and is it good or is ours not good or do we not have one at all?”
How would you go through that first even pass?
Kenny Jahng: That’s a great question and one of the things we do is we go in and we do separate prisoners. We’ll ask for a meeting with your key stakeholders or the top leaders of your team, your board members, whatever it might be, the really invested constituents of your organization. We separate them and then we ask them, “What’s the vision of your organization? What’s the mission of your organization? Can you give us one or two examples of each to show us what you mean by that?”
Most of the time, as you can imagine, you come back and it’s like a game of telephone with the can and the strings. Do you remember that when you were a kid?
Will Bachman: Yeah, I still play that actually.
Kenny Jahng: There’s a lot of confusion. There’s a lot of people who start talking about, “No, that’s not what we do, that’s what we do.”
That’s where you start … If everyone’s on the same page and everyone understands exactly what direction you’re headed, then you’re in a decent position. If people have no clue or they don’t understand what that vision statement is or what the mission statement is. They don’t need to recite it verbatim. It’s not a mantra that they have to have it memorized, necessarily, but if the core essence is not understood by your top leadership, how are your staff members going to carry that out? How are your volunteers going to carry that out? How are your constituents or your customers going to receive it? There’s no way you’re going to have any consistency on the brand experience if you’re top leaders don’t even … if they’re not on the same page.
Will Bachman: You separated the prisoners and you did this initial diagnostic and you get all these scattered responses. So the first part of the effort then would be getting clarity on the strategic positioning. Can you talk a little bit about what that process looks like? How do you go about that?
Kenny Jahng: First we start with defining the difference between the mission and the vision. Some people use those terms interchangeable. They’re not really. I think mission and the word purpose can be used interchangeably. They both describe the why of your organization. We spend a lot of time getting to the core of why you … Simon Sinek with the TED Talk on the why is really important. Vision is different. Mission is never going to be accomplished, it’s never going to be complete, but vision is something that you should be able to accomplish with a set amount or defined amount of time. You should be able to check it off your list and say, “Okay, we need to remap our vision, recast our vision constantly. We start with the mission first. You need a clear mission.
You can start the process and you’ll see when you have the people who are invested in the organization that that’s going to take a while, so you need to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Once you have the mission, you can paint the picture of the future, have a compelling vision and here’s what it looks like in the next couple years as we work on moving toward that mission statement. That’s where we start.
Typically, coming out of that, you start to build pieces that communicate that vision to all the different audiences that are part of your ecosystem. So internal first and then external. That’s where you get a lot of the fodder for social media, for your marketing collateral. It definitely influences what you say and how you position and what you prioritize on your website. Then those types of things, the next step, honestly, is to put that on the board and then you map out … you’re drawing a string from one side of the board to the other. On the other side, you’re going to map out the different audiences that would resonate with that vision, that mission that you have for your organization. Then marketing is all about how do you get in front of them? How do you get repeated exposure? How do you bring them into the fold? Does that make sense?
Will Bachman: It does. I love the example that you gave of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Could you give me another one or two examples of what a relatively completed, clarified strategic positioning looks like? Just to give a couple more examples. I have kind of a feeling for it in my gut.
Kenny Jahng: California Baptist University, right now, has a school of music that’s robust, that’s growing really quickly, that is trying to figure out where they fit in the whole landscape of education for Christian education, for future church leaders, et cetera. One of the things that they realized, I think, is that they have great training programs, but they need to figure out how to be much more relevant to their audience, which is future church leaders. For the school of music, in particular, for the musicians, how do they prepare them for specifically leading the … in the church it’s called a worship band. So worship leaders, the music bands inside of a church, specifically in their denomination. That’s literally what we’ve been helping them to do is to find out how they’re going to position themselves in terms of putting themselves in front of high school students, recent high school grads who want to complete a college education but then vocationally go back into the church.
Probably while working with them, one of the big things that we’ve determined is that we need to position them as being relevant professionally, but also academically in terms of preparing them for a vocation in the church after they leave the school of music. Typically, when you look at academic degrees, there isn’t much necessarily practical experience that you’re going to get out of that academic degree. It’s a paper, it’s a receipt, it’s a diploma. But then when you go through the marketplace, it’s not really practical many times. In terms of all the positioning, we start to gather all the data points to help them come up with that strategic positioning, those distinctiveness. We’re getting these examples that, for instance, within the first 30 days of school when you enter the school of music, you’re going to have a chance to have live performance experiences and opportunities within the first 30 days of school.
For example, you’re going to go into a concert, you’re going to perform in front of people live. In today’s church world, these music leaders are now seen pastorally. It’s not just the lead pastor in a church that people go to to. People identify with the person who’s singing on stage and they are usually better equipped with counseling and theology and all these other things that pastors typically only were the people to be equipped with. Now part of that education and the degree program is incorporating a seminary-like theological degree built into the school of music. We are helping them to become self-aware of what their program is for, who they’re serving and pull out those distinctives so that they can stand out from any other school of music education program out there in the landscape.
Will Bachman: That is so cool, so this goes way, way beyond purely just the marketing side. It’s marketing much more broadly in terms of really defining what the product and offering is and shaping that and changing it.
Kenny Jahng: Yeah, it’s very strategic to the core. Another example is American Bible Society. They are charged with bringing Bible engagement, Bible exposure to as many people across the globe as possible. It’s a big organization. One of the things they’ve done over the years is innovate and invest in new ways to get the Bible out there. It just made sense for them to invest in becoming an Internet registrar for the latest .bible that came out. There’s .com, .net, .org and there’s hundreds of these that are coming out, .football, .club, .company. They launched .bible, taking an innovative approach of the next step in becoming digitally current. We’re helping them with positioning of that product and service of who’s supposed to be attracted to setup a .bible website? Why would they want to set up a .bible website over a .com or .org? Those are the questions that we are now answering and trying to form a strategic positioning for. We’re coming down to some really core differentiators for them. One is it’s instant association. If you have the organization name .bible, you immediately know that it’s associated with faith and the Bible and scripture, et cetera. Instant association is one of the benefits.
Another one is that it’s a short, mellow URL. I believe all two-word combination URLs are taken for .com. I think almost all three-word combination URLs have been taken. It’s harder and harder to launch a new website these days unless you make up names like Google or Yahoo or whatever. It’s difficult to find a short, memorable .com URL now. If you’re able to do that with a .bible, the chances of you getting a short, memorable URL on the .bible is infinitely higher than on the .com. That’s another core position statement.
A third one is that it’s brandable. You can own it. There’s better branding opportunities there. That’s another core differentiation that we are spelling out for faith-based organizations to consider this. Then we’re taking verticals, used cases and mapping each of those differentiators that we came up with to each of those industries, or verticals or use cases to show that what that means is, in terms of different expressions. That’s what we try to do in terms of strategic … in the best case scenario, you’re helping the marketplace self-identify themselves and come to you predisposition and being very positive to receiving your marketing message. That’s the best case scenario for strategic positioning done well.
Will Bachman: Fantastic. Let’s talk about the next stage of how you help clients. You’ve gone through this initial strategic positioning exercise and you’ve built the alignment around mission and vision. What comes next? How do you serve the clients next? I know you do a range of marketing pieces that you talked about earlier. What would the next step in the engagement be?
Kenny Jahng: Typically it is really … They say in the business, money is in the lists. You want to build an email list. Again, because email is the killer app. You’re able to nurture these leads. You have permission to show up in their inbox daily. That’s what we typically work on. We work on the website, but within the website you try to figure out, what are the types of opportunities that we can put out there, kind of like fishing hooks. We call them lead magnets. We provide something worth value that you can sign up for, you can download, you can experience, you can get on your side. It’s a gift from us to you and then in return you offer up your email address and permissions so that we can continue to have the conversation.
Then we build out some sophisticated email sequencing with behavioral triggering and things like that, it’s kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure so that that conversation happens at scale. We are using technology to scale personal relationships. We’ll typically build these landing pages that are very niche specific and that whole purpose is to get your email address, with permission, so that we can have a conversation with you and we demonstrate it up front by giving you something of worth value that shares and, hopefully, builds the trust and authority for the brand in that space in particular. I believe HubSpot, which is a big marketing automation platform company, they came out with some report recently that said that organizations which seven to 10 different landing pages, different offers, versus organizations with 30 plus landing pages, the difference was like a hockey stick in terms of lead generation.
Organizations with 30 or more different landing pages that they’re using in the marketing had exponentially more lead generation opportunities than the ones that only had a couple landing pages. It makes sense. If you have a couple of landing pages, at first you’re going to create somewhat generic ones, ones that are more general in nature and captures a wider piece of audience. By the time you make your tenth, eleventh, twelfth different pdf download or white paper or report or something, you’re starting to become niched. They become very specific. By the time you get to 20, by the time you get to 30, they become absolutely very specific to a segment of your audience. That’s when you will resonate and differentiate yourself beyond any other competitors out there. Obviously, people will be attracted to that.
Lead generation is typically the second part of that puzzle. After that, it’s getting … once you get the conversion piece done, now you’ve got to get more traffic and there that’s social media, that’s outreach, that’s blogger outreach, that’s paid advertising. There’s a lot of other tools that we pursue to get more traffic and exposure.
Will Bachman: Wow, this is cool. Tell me about these different landing pages. They would all be the .org/a different word? Tell me a little bit more about these landing pages. Are they all different URLs? Are they all part of the same .org or .com? How do you get people to them?
Kenny Jahng: These landing pages, these are the best practice that you’ve did. Paid advertising [inaudible 00:26:29] niche marketing. Say you go to a conference and you speak on consulting. How to start a consultancy. Typically what you can do is you’ll set up a page on your website that’s not on your main navigation. We call it an orphan page. It’s basically you don’t know that the pages exist unless you know the specific URL. It could be a sub domain of your site or it could be a specific folder and URL of your site. It doesn’t matter, it’s just that it’s a single-use page and it’s not necessarily … Typically it’s not on the main navigation. If you go to a conference, you can make a landing page that’s very specific to that conference.
One of the clients is going to 10 different conferences this year, we created 10 different pages and the logo of the conference is on the top of every page. The assumption is they saw or were exposed to your brands at the conference, either as a speaker or a trade show booth or demonstration or something. You want to provide immediate association there so that … you’ve got less than eight seconds for a webpage visitor to figure out, “Is this what I’m looking for or not?”
Either they’ll back out or they’ll stay. You want to provide that connection point. Then you’ll want to provide some sort of very specific offer. Here’s my checklist of things that you need to make sure that you register online when you’re starting your first consultancy. That might be a checklist you provide in a pdf report. It might be how to register an LLC, how to get your Tax ID number, all the health insurance, all that kind of stuff. That might be a quick cheat sheet pdf that you provide. You’ll have a form for them to put in their name and email address and then on the form you’ll actually have a picture of the pdf report. It might be a video view explaining, briefly, what they’re gonna get. Then you’ll list some of the benefits or, basically, what you promised them. That’s the typical landing page that you’re gonna see.
You’re not going to have menus on there. You’re not going to have links to other pages, no sidebars. You don’t want what we call link linkage. You’ve got to remember internet viewers, especially with mobile these days, are kind of like little puppies. They need shiny objects or they might get distracted. You don’t want them to be distracted and get off point. You want to almost force them to say, “Look, are you going to do what I want you to do?”
Click the submit button or … the other one is back out, abandon the page. Two options. Either you’re going to go forward or you’re going to back down and do something else. That forces the issue. Whether or not they’re going to come along and be a part of your lead nurturing system or not. The whole point is you’re trying to find these lead magnets, these pieces of information, whether it be a downloadable pdf or video to watch or discounts or something that’s of value to them and that’s relevant to what you eventually want to upsell or lose them further on.
Will Bachman: So not even any link to your homepage or whatever? A specific landing page for someone who went to that conference or speech and/or a really targeted audience and it’s sign up and you get this free, cool goody bag or just, basically, I don’t care about you, go away. Abandon it.
Kenny Jahng: Right.
Will Bachman: So the goal of that is really just lead generation and building that email list.
Kenny Jahng: Typically you have your whole masthead. Whatever your website is, it’s going to retain the same look and feel, it will have your logo. It just won’t have a main navigation bar. Typically you don’t have the footer with all the links on the bottom. You want them to discover your site, but only after you capture their information. The analogy is basically if you have a street on Main Street, USA retail shop that you opened up, grand opening and 500 people came into your store and they all left, they didn’t make a sale, no sales. They all came in, everyone was happy, then they left. A majority of them actually really liked the store and they left.
You have no way of knowing who came to your store, how to let them know about a sale, how to get them back … there’s no way for you to get to them. You already know that they’ve been in the store and they’re predispositioned to buy something. You have specific conversations with some of those people that said, “Oh, this is great. I need to buy this for my nephew’s birthday,” or, “Oh, this is great, I really need to buy this for my business to do x, y, z.”
You see buyer intent in those conversations, but you have no way to follow up. That is the worst case scenario on the web, it’s just drive-by traffic. You’ve paid for the traffic to come to your website in some way, whether it’s free or actual dollars and paid advertising. You’ve invested in marketing tools to get the traffic to your site, what do you do after that? Your number one business objective, typically, is to try to figure out how to capture their email address and permission to have a conversation with them afterwards. In that analogy, imagine if you had everyone’s contact information that came in through the store. Imagine if you knew that some people were interested in this product versus that product and you had notes from each of those conversations. You could follow-up with a thank-you note and say, “Thanks for visiting. I recall you were interested in this product. We’re having a 50% off sale or we’re looking for some great testimonials to put on the front of our storefront. If you’d like to buy it, we’ll give you a bonus.”
There’s all these conversations you can have if you have their information. If you don’t have any device to capture it, you’re at a loss and at the end of your grand opening, you had a great day, you’re tired, but you have no idea where you are.
Will Bachman: So we talked about strategic positioning, we talked about second piece is around creating all these landing pages that help generate lead generation, help you create these email lists. What’s the next big chunk of the work that you’re helping with?
Kenny Jahng: You want to demonstrate authority in the areas that you eventually want to commercially use then further. That really depends on what the end objective is of the clients. You might want to be selling them a product, you might want to engage them in an actual … if it’s a professional consultant, a professional engagement of some sort. It might be to hire you for one or two-day workshop or a boot camp or something. It might be a speaking engagement. It really depends on what that end strategic objective is, in terms of that final conversion, but there’s a spectrum through life-cycle marketing that you’re trying to walk them down the path so they have much more confidence in what you’re offering and in the authority that you have for that offering itself. That’s typically what you want to do as a next step.
You want to nurture them through the email and since they’re email, you want to establish some personable connections and that might be tidbits of that information that you receive in those little personal emails that I send out [inaudible 00:34:12] basis just as a touchpoint. Then it’s also content, teaching content on specific things that are relevant to that end user. It might be email, it might be videos, it might be a course, a mini-course that you put them through that helps them become knowledgeable in one specific area.
Will Bachman: This sounds like a lot of work to create the goodies that you offer for free and then to maintain that over time. Is that something that your firm will support your clients with? Do you have a team of freelance writers somewhere that are actually helping to create this content? How do clients do that piece?
Kenny Jahng: Yeah, this is one of those things where everyone thinks, or thought at one point, that social media and content marketing was free customers, free clicks. You didn’t have to pay Google anymore. You could just get on Twitter and Facebook and people come to your site or you can hire an intern, don’t even pay them. Maybe feed them lunch every once in a while and it’s all done for you. Content marketing and this type of investment, it costs money, it costs time and energy. It’s an investment. Our team helps companies and organizations with this type of content marketing lifestyle, life cycle and all the media assets that go along with it. We coach with how to start a podcast and how to write an Adobe e-book. How to turn e-books into Kindle books to get more visibility, more reach. How to do video marketing. All those types of things are really important tools that you need to be employing in today’s marketplace and it’s not just for B to C, it’s also for B to B.
In fact, for B to B, I think it’s much more important. The difference in today’s marketplace is that we have tools from a communicator’s point of view, to automate so much of it. For example, when we’re giving a webinar as one of those things that we might offer in the landing page, we’re going to offer to teach them how to solve one discreet problem that they’re facing in their business in this webinar that’s coming up. Sign up for this webinar, you’ll learn how to solve x, y, z. So in order to do that on scale, you don’t just have one webinar, you have to constantly offer it on a recurring basis, right? Now you can do it in an automated fashion. You record the webinar the first time you give it and then there are platforms out there that allow you to automate the webinar offering so you don’t even need to be there to present it.
You might hire someone, or have one of your team members there to automate the comments in the chat box during the webinar, but the main offering, the video doesn’t need to be there. Now, all of a sudden you create one live webinar that you’re going to use to record and use as a basis to launch a series of simulated live webinars that go on on an automated basis. In fact, this technology now on these landing pages that if you come on a Tuesday, it will say, “Hey, we’ve got this webinar, it’s available today at …” It checks the clock and it will say today plus three hours. Three hours from now. Whatever time it is today, they were doing this call … say you come to the landing page at 10:00 a.m., they’ll say, “Hey, three hours from now, at 1:00 p.m. your time, this webinar happens to be scheduled. Would you like to sign up for it? If not, there’s another webinar that’s planned two days from now, there’s another one planned a week from now.”
If I come to that landing page tomorrow, guess what? There’s another one three hours from now, the next day and a week from then. It’s all automated. Simulated live and it allows you to scale that offering and all you need to worry is to find qualified prospects to hit that landing page and hopefully they’ll convert for the webinar. Those are the types of things that we teach our clients and we can actually execute on, to build and setup to get them going. But yes, marketing automation is something, especially, the independent professional needs to put in place so they have a pipeline of customers that are constantly being nurtured over time and then, at some point, they’re ready to actually say yes and they pick up the phone and you can have a triage call, as we call it, to determine whether or not they’re a good fit for you or not.
Will Bachman: Tell me about this triage call.
Kenny Jahng: Once you start automating things, you’re going to have a lot of traffic coming through the system. A lot of leads at the top of the funnel, a lot of leads that get qualified along the way. They’re going to one webinar, two webinars if they download your pdf report. You start to understand who these customers are and they become part of your own ecosystem. They start to understand what [inaudible 00:39:19] is about and all the services you’re offering. At some point, you want to get on the phone with them and convert them or get them to the next step. It should not be the first time they’ve ever heard of you and the first time that they’ve landed on your site. You have no idea if they’re qualified or not.
Your time is important. It’s a scarce resource, especially when you’re in the time for money game. Your time is your most precious resource. You should not be picking up phone calls just to do FAQ type of back and forth and get to know somebody. Every time you pick up a call and you talk to a live prospect, there should be a high percentage of confidence that they are a decent fit for you. Even that they’re in the right space, right category, right maturity, right budget, et cetera. The triage call, typically, is set up in a way that … again, we use automation. I think you set up … you asked me to come on this podcast and I believe I sent you a link to an automation tool that looks at my calendar in real time and has predefined windows that I make available for calls for clients, other windows for interviews and media, et cetera. You’re able to book a time yourself, instead of this back and forth, back and forth that typically happens when people are trying to schedule meetings with each other.
Will Bachman: It sounds like you’ve looked at a lot of these tools. Which is the best calendar tool that you recommend? I’ve seen people using a few different ones.
Kenny Jahng: The one I like, personally, is timetrade.com. One of the features I do like is that I can create multiple links, or my assistant can, that predefines different windows of time and lengths of needs. I have a public one. If anyone wants to get on my calendar, you can go to www.meetwithkenny.com and that’s a public one that I have certain periods of time. Typically, right now, it’s afternoons on certain days, because I only want to take unsolicited calls like that only in the afternoons. I don’t want to interrupt my main work day. It’s only on certain days that I’ve blocked out. I’ve themed some days. For clients, we have a link that has longer call times, one hour or two hour time slots and they’re available most days. I want to give them a lot of availability and then there’s interviews for Skype and for my podcasting that I’ll link for interviews and those are specifically set for 45 minutes and they’re only on Thursdays and Fridays on certain recording days. I want to bulk them all up on certain days.
Timetrade allows you to create different links with different windows and different lengths of meeting times. Countly is another one. There’s a bunch of them out there on the market today, but timetrade.com is one that’s been very good, consistent and robust … highly recommend it. But yeah, you want to automate that. That goes into infusionsoft. They all get an email to say, “Thank you for setting up the call.”
They’ll get another email closer to the date and they’ll get some questions that will go over setting expectations for the call. Typically it’s a short, 15, 20 minute call. You get on the call and you simply … you want to audition your clients. You don’t want to be the one selling to them, so there’s this tension when you’re selling or consulting. Typically that get to know you call, the customer or the prospect wants to get free consulting out of you. They want something out of you. They want to pay nothing or as little as possible. On your side, you want them to pay for your time. There’s this conflict that’s set up at the very beginning.
At the triage call, typically I puncture that ultimately I say, “Hey look, the purpose of this call is just to see if we’re a fit. We work in a very specific, niche area and we want to make sure that you fit our client profile and that we can do our best work for you. If it’s a fit, we’ll move on to the next step. If it’s not a fit, I’ve got a full portfolio of friends or associates that I could probably recommend you to. Or maybe we spend a minute brainstorming where else you might look to get the help that you’re looking for.”
You’re setting up this scenario where you’re an advocate and partner for them, not just a salesman trying to take their money. Then you go through a series of questions quickly to understand, whether it be their operating budget, are they ready to set aside x thousand dollars or more? What range for this type of service? Key questions to make sure that they’re right fit for you. Then you make the decision quickly out of that whether or not they’re a good fit to take to the next stage or not. You have to do it in a very matter-of-fact manner. It’s not emotional. It’s objective not subjective and another great tip is you typically set it up as a, “Hey, I’ve got a hard stop in 15 or 20 minutes, whatever it might be, because I’ve got another call that starts at this time.”
That way you’re not burning an hour on a prospect that you have no idea who’s qualified or not. Worse case scenario, you get to the end of the 15 or 20 minute, whatever timeframe you set up for that call, that you have to schedule another call to follow-up, but the upside there is you’re leaving them hanging, wanting more.
Will Bachman: Kenny, it sounds like you have a lot of content out there yourself. Could you talk a little bit about what are the best ways for people to find you online, find your websites and find some of these webinars that you’ve done, even if they are simulated live, if people want to find the simulated Kenny, where can they go?
Kenny Jahng: Twitter is the best way to get ahold of me. The social media is not binary. There’s different purposes and strengths for each one, but Twitter or Linkedin is the best one to get me. Kenny Jahng is the place to find me there.
Will Bachman: Can you spell that for folks?
Kenny Jahng: Sure. Kenny, last name is Jahng, Jahng is spelled Jahng. I’m sure you can pull them from the show notes as well.
Will Bachman: Sure, so that’s @KennyJahng?
Kenny Jahng: Yep. @Kennyjahng on Twitter and then you can search for Kenny Jahng on Linkedin and you should be able to find me. I blog at my namesake website address, kennyjahng.com and there’s a form there as well if you want to reach out to me.
Will Bachman: Schedule one of those short blocks in the afternoon if you want to talk to Kenny.
Kenny Jahng: Yeah.
Will Bachman: I think we’re getting close to the top of the hour here and because there’s so much here that you talked about that I’d love to spend more time on, but I know that you have other stuff coming up. What are some of the other resources beyond going to see some of your stuff on kennyjahng.com? Books you recommend, websites you recommend for people who want to learn more about this whole marketing and automating marketing to get started and learn some of these techniques?
Kenny Jahng: One of the voices in the marketplace that I think right now is highly relevant and has an intersection of entrepreneurship business in a serious sense, but also introductory for other people is Gary Vaynerchuk. I don’t know if you know Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary V., as he’s known. He’s got a video podcast. I really recommend everyone look him up on YouTube. It’s the Ask Gary Vee Show. He shortens his last name as a moniker. But the Ask Gary Vee Show is a great daily video podcast that goes out. He puts a lot of his talks too on there. He has a great book called Thank You, Economy. He’s got a couple of books. They’re all great. Crush It is one of them, but the Thank You, Economy is one that will start to speak into this new form of content marketing and the philosophy that we’re talking about.
He has a great book on social media in particular called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It’s a metaphor for boxing where you need to deliver three jabs, things that are completely unselfish, that’s generous, that’s meant to serve your audience, nothing about you. Three jabs before you earn the right to throw a right hook. That’s a call to action. That’s asking them to do something for you, to buy something, to refer you, to engage you, to do something for you. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
It’s a great book. It’s a primer on social media. He goes and does a lot of case studies on brands and what he does is he also gives you examples of things that brands are doing wrong. It’s not just good case examples, it’s actually case examples of bad examples of social media marketing as well. I don’t think it’s available in audiobooks. It’s only available in hard copy, because it’s full of screenshots and pictures and things you have to consume in that physical sense, which is a little bit … It’s actually a great book to have. Gary Vaynerchuk is one guy that I think you should put on your radar if you haven’t done yet. He does have a little bit of a potty mouth. I think he’s pretty up front with that and people … either you like him or you hate him for it, but the essence of where he’s going and innovating in that digital space is one of the leaders that people should be paying attention to.
Will Bachman: Fantastic. Kenny, as we close, I’m always interested in personal practices that highly productive people, like yourself, have adopted. Whether health and wellness or mindfulness or daily practices, any tips that you’d like to share on any of those things that I’d love to hear.
Kenny Jahng: Yeah, actually I recently was asked to do a whole webinar on productivity. One of the things that came out of that, just going through my daily routines and things that we’re doing there’s a couple things. One is turning off all notifications. One of the things that people are consumed with our devices is because it keeps on teasing us to open the app or open the email app. Turning off notifications everywhere, on your phone, on the apps, even the badge counters of how many emails or how many messages you have and how many text messages, how many emails in your inbox … turning all those off is the first thing in increasing productivity and, quite frankly, piece of mind, so it’s not nagging at you, there’s no guilt for attending. Scheduling those times to get in there. That’s the number one productivity tip that has changed how I do things.
The second thing is theming my days, bulking my tasks together. That’s been another big shift over the last several years that has really helped my work flow and processes. Podcast interviews only on Thursdays or Friday afternoons in bulk so that they’re back to back to back. Just like today. I had an interview before you and I have another podcast interview after you today. I’m doing back to back interviews, so I’m in the zone. Typically you get distracted when you’re trying to multitask back and forth through things. Theming your days is another huge win if you’re trying to up your productivity.
The last one is I have … it’s actually a great video blog post I have on my site if you want to look it up, but there’s five questions that I ask myself at the end of every week and it’s reflection questions, forward looking questions, but it really helps me, I think, in terms of centering myself and making sure I’m on task and on mission for my work personally. I’ll just leave that as a teaser so if you want to find out what those five questions are, you can go to my site and look up the five questions I ask myself every week.
Will Bachman: I love a marketing guy ending with a teaser. Google. Kenny Jahng and look up five questions at the end of the week. Kenny, this was awesome. I understand you have another interview coming up, so we should wrap here. I really appreciate you being on the show. I am so inspired by your work and what you’re doing, so thanks a lot for joining.
Kenny Jahng: Thanks for having me and I love what you’re doing with the Umbrex community.
Will Bachman: Thanks for listening to this episode of Unleashed, the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. Unleashed is sponsored by Umbrex, the world’s first global community of top-tier, independent management consultants. The mission of Umbrex is to create opportunities for independent management consultants to meet, share lessons learned and collaborate.
I’d love to get your feedback and hear any questions that you’d like to see us answer on this show. You can email me at email@example.com. That’s umbrex.com. If you found anything on the show helpful, it would be a real gift if you would let a friend know about the show and take a minute to leave a review on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher. If you subscribe, our show will get delivered to your device every Monday. Our audio engineer is Dave Nelson, our theme song was composed by Gary Negbauer and I’m your host, Will Bachman. Thanks for listening.