The answer may be in this episode, where Doug C. Brown speaks with Taylor Frame, the co-founder of Focus Funnels. Doug and Taylor discuss simple, straightforward marketing – and how it can lead to your best deals. They also discuss the importance of human-to-human connection in the sales cycle, why entrepreneurs complicate their online marketing efforts, and much more.
Taylor Frame is the co-founder of Focus Funnels, a progressive media agency focused on brand and community growth. Focus Funnels runs paid media across a variety of channels and helps brands connect with their ideal audience. When he’s not at Focus Funnels, Taylor enjoys the ocean, mountains, and is passionate about exploring nature with his wife and 3 children.
Visit his website: www.focusfunnels.com
I’ve got an awesome guest for you. His name is Mr. Taylor Frame. He is the Cofounder of a company called Focus Funnels. Focus Funnels provides online marketing services. The reason I asked Taylor to come onto this call is Taylor is a big proponent of keeping it simple so that you can implement that process of online marketing.
There are so many people out there teaching marketing, agencies, or people who profess to know what they’re doing. They’re teaching all of these complex processes that quite frankly are hard to implement because the technology itself is either A, not there or B, it’s complicated to put into play. We want to break it down into its essence and Taylor’s going to share the step-by-step process for you to be able to implement this with or without technology supporting it. Without further ado, let’s go talk to Taylor.
Taylor, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here. I appreciate it.
I’m super excited, Doug. I can’t wait to dive in.
Why don’t you tell everybody what you do at Focus Funnels and what your company does so we set the frame for this?
My name is Taylor and I’m the Cofounder here at Focus Funnels. We’ve been in business for over six years. We have a simple value strategy. We help build acquisition funnels to acquire new customers for online brands. This can be as varied as direct-to-consumer eCommerce brands, coaching businesses, or B2B SaaS companies. We work with a variety of people. Everything comes down to one simple principle, how do I acquire new customers every single week? That is exactly what we do.
That’s what everybody wants. You and I know one another so this is great because I can ask these tough questions. I want to know the answer to this question. A lot of people seem confused about how to do online marketing the right way. There are so many people out there teaching secret sauce formulas and they’re not teaching what works because it’s not a full complement to what somebody needs. It’s just giving them a piece. How do you make it work?
When you think about online marketing, the biggest goal is you’re trying to get someone to stop in the feed and consider you for a few minutes. That’s the biggest goal that we’re trying to do because we have to take someone from an online space to some human connection. For B2B companies or coaches, that’s usually some discovery call, sales call, or pitch. I use the example of a fish net. We have a bunch of fish swimming through. We’ve got to make that fishnet as tight as possible. What that means is we need to have compelling content that tells your story in the places where your audience is spending time.
Let’s go back to like the ‘80s when malls were a rage. If you were a young brand and you wanted to get awareness from a young audience, you set up a shop in the mall because that’s where people were spending time. Online is the exact same thing. The first thing you have to look at is, “Where is my audience? Are they on Twitter? Are they on Facebook and Instagram? Are they on LinkedIn? Are they on Google? Where are they spending their time?” You start there.
You then build your content strategy around where those people are interacting the most. If you’re a B2B SaaS company, it may be that most of your people are on LinkedIn and Twitter. That’s where you need to start. The second piece is, once you’ve identified the platform, you now have to do some deep work internally to say, “What does my offering solve?”
Let me share a random funny story here. We had this baby mat company that we worked with that sold these high-end, beautiful, squishy baby mats that you had sat a baby on. When we were working with her, the value proposition that she brought to us was, “It’s just good and safe for babies to hang out on this,” so we went with that. We started marketing that on Facebook and Instagram because that’s where most moms are spending time. We couldn’t get any sales. We said, “We need to dive deeper here. What’s the problem that we’re solving with this baby mat?” She’s like, “It makes tummy time easier.”
You’ve had children. Kids hate tummy time. They’re screaming and uncomfortable, and the parents are stressed. It’s an awful time. If you can make that simpler, it doesn’t matter how much money it costs, you will pay to solve the tummy time problem. We built a bunch of ad sets for her that talked about how this particular mat, which was three times more expensive than any other mat on the market, solved the tummy time problem. Sales went through the roof overnight.
We have to go back to, “What is the platform that people are spending time on?” For her, it was Facebook and Instagram. What is the very specific problem that we’re solving? We got granular on that. It wasn’t about kid safety or a soft place to hang out. It was just tummy time. We built all of our ads and messaging and the landing page that we sent people to around that extremely specific hook. That’s how we got her sales.
To broaden this out, you’ve got to look at three core things. Where are people spending their time? What is the very specific pain point that I’m solving in the marketplace? Do my content and website accurately reflect that? If you nailed those three things, you’ve got good marketing that’s going to convert.
I’m sitting here going, “That’s so simple.” Why is everybody teaching I’ve got to do the triple-double dragon kick kung fu? If I understood you correctly, it’s where they hang out on a regular basis. What is the pain point or pain points they’re looking to solve, and how do I write, do a video, or something that expresses that in a term in which they understand and they go, “This solves my problem. I don’t want a screaming kid in my face. I want my child to feel better so I’ll buy it. I don’t care what it costs.” That’s the story I heard. Is that accurate?
That is 100% accurate. Here is why there are so many people in this space making this more complicated than it needs to be. It’s because they’re marketers. Their job is to make you feel like you don’t know how to do it. If they can make you feel like there’s a lack, super complicated, or that you have to follow this 40-step program, then you’re going to give up and hire them.
The funny thing that has happened with all of the changes that have happened in the last few years with digital marketing, with iOS 14 changes, costs on the platform going up, and people jumping around from different platforms, when we get back to the principles of marketing, the campaigns always work. The principles of marketing are, “Do I solve a specific problem? Is there a human connection? Is it within a price point that I can relatively afford and it isn’t ridiculous?” This is sales as well. “Can I connect with a human? Can I understand your pain point and address it?” That’s it.
The reason these guys, girls, or whoever’s out there complicate this is that if they can make it seem so complex, then you’re like, “There’s no way I’m going to be able to figure this out. I’m going to hire these people,” but all they’re doing on the background are those three steps that I described. Where’s the audience hanging out? Do I have a solution that will solve their problem? Can I connect with them?
Part of me goes, “It can’t be that simple.” Another part of me goes, “It is that simple because I know it is.” These concepts are consistent with selling. Find where your ideal people are hanging out. Find out what the problems or opportunities that they’re looking to resolve are. Write a compelling message that says, “I’m the right person for you,” and present it to them, which is traffic in this world. They had to come from somewhere. They came from offline to online. When you said that, it was like a light bulb went off. I’m like, “It’s the same thing.”
I went to a three-day mastermind event with people. We were talking about men – when they look at a color and they go, “It’s green,” but women, they often look at the color and they go, “That is turquoise green or that is fennel green,” or whatever. They can see the difference in the clothing. We would look at my shirt and go, “It’s pink,” and they go, “It’s salmon,” which is all valuable.
The reality is it’s a shirt. A lot of people have apprehension now because they’ve been burnt 4, 5, or 6 times. Now, they run across a guy like you who goes, “It’s these 3 or 4 points and that’s it.” They may go, “That’s too good to be true.” What would we say to these people to allay their fears around this thought?
What I tell a lot of people before they even hire us is, “Take these principles and go put them into practice. Get on LinkedIn for two weeks and post every single day about how your product or solution solves a very specific problem. Do it organically and watch what happens without any ad spend or any complicated strategy. Pick up your phone and start telling your story and talking about how you specifically solve a problem. Guaranteed you will start to get shares, comments, and engagements. That’s how simple this is.”
We’ll take it to the next level by putting ads spend behind it, refining the message, building landing pages, and getting people to interact with you faster. We’ll add a little maturity and sophistication to it, but it’s the exact same strategy. It’s talking to people one-to-one or human-to-human and saying, “I see you have pain. Let me help you solve that. Have you considered this?”
I’m going to double or triple dare everyone on this line to go out and do what you said. Everyone who’s reading this, try what he’s talking about because it works.
We have a lot of eCommerce clients. We spend a lot of time building eCommerce funnels and people are blown away. We’re taking business from some of the biggest agencies in the business. All the coastal agencies that are charging ridiculous sums to work with them will come in and set up very simple straightforward strategies that outperform them almost every single time.
It’s staggering when we meet with a CEO or CMO and we say, “Can you get out your phone, record this for us, and send it to my team? We’ll edit it up and build a funnel around it.” 9 times out of 10, that is the best-converting ad set, and it costs them nothing. There’s no production team or complex scripting. It’s just the founder or the main person that came up with the product, talking to their audience and saying, “I was like you. I had this problem. Here’s how I solved it. You should check this out.”
What may be 1 reason or 2 that would be the best converting versus creating a dancing unicorn or whatever?
It’s because people crave authenticity and human connection. We went through a few years where that was completely cut off for most people. We’re coming back into we are craving for authenticity and human connection. When you strip away all of the dancing unicorns and madness that is marketing and focus on connecting human to human, it turns out it works.
It’s interesting you brought up authenticity and human connection. My brain immediately went to anti-DMV. I bought a motorcycle. I hadn’t had a bike in a long time. I’m like, “I want to ride again.” I go to the city hall and register the thing. Now, I got to go to the DMV. You got to set an appointment to go to the DMV now. It says, “Call this phone number.” I call this phone number and it’s like, “For option one, push this. For option two, push that.” It’s the seventh option on this thing. I’m going out of my mind. I’m like, “Somebody, just pick the phone up. I want to talk to somebody.”
I’m up on Google trying to figure out how to do this online. The phone’s on option eleven by the time I figure this out. I go to the website because I want veterans’ plates because I’m a vet. Why do I want veterans’ plates? Folks, if you have veterans’ plates and you get pulled over, the police usually are nicer to you than not because they were usually veterans. Plus, you get into parks and things like that, which is nice. Thank you, government.
I go up on there and I’m thinking because in there, they give you a menu of choices, eleven dropdowns. There are five subheadings on each. I’m like, “There’s nothing on veterans’ plates.” In the meantime, this guy is looped back on the phone and I am saying to myself, “Please, someone, talk to me.” I’m looking for human connection at this point. If somebody had to pick that phone up and said, “I can help you. It’s $25.” I’d be like, “Here’s my credit card. Let me get this done.”
We’re now in 2023, and eventually in 2024. Authenticity and human connection are huge in selling, in general, because there are so many companies taking that away. It’s all becoming self-service. It doesn’t matter on what level. I went to Whole Foods the other day and they wiped out a lot of their people at the counter, the checkers.
My wife and I went to another grocery store. There are no checkers. It’s all self check-out. I’m like, “Why would I pay this for this?” The reason I’m going off on this is not that I’m cheap. It’s because I want a connection. I want to go up to that thing and the person that rings you up and goes, “How are you doing? Did you find everything you’re looking for?”
I want that because it’s human to human connection. It doesn’t surprise me that the CEO or whatever person within that company isn’t coming on and making this a Steven Spielberg production. It’s like, “This person’s being authentic. I can connect with them. I can feel them as a human being and that makes me want to do more together.”
One of my good friends is a master at building funnels. He started this new company where they do AI-generated workouts. It’s a cool app. It’s in the fitness space where people can do a workout and based on what’s happening in the workout, they can touch a button saying, “This is too hard or too easy,” and the workout will then adjust based on where you’re at. It’s very AI-driven and complex. He’s been in the marketing space forever like me. He was having a tough time getting people to convert on these pretty complex funnels that he had built out.
He says, “I’m going to flip the script. I’m going to focus on content creation.” He sits down with his team once a week. He records an hour-and-a-half-long podcast. His team chops it up and takes this podcast and places it all over the internet like on Facebook, TikTok, Google, YouTube, and Twitter.” They put all this stuff all over the place. He saw his cost per acquisition which is the cost to acquire a new customer, cut in half. He changed nothing on his funnels. He got more content out there.
His content is telling his story, why he built the app, why it’s unique, how it solves people’s problems, and how it helps people get in better shape with less effort. He’s telling his story over and over again and then placing that story with no paid spend behind it. This is all organic. His CPA came way down. He’s leaning into that. It goes back to that simple strategy. Where is your audience spending time online? What problem do I solve? How do I connect with them? It has massive impacts on your paid strategy and organic strategy. It will help you get more leads or more deals in the funnel by the nature of the human connection.
I’m sure there are people going, “I got to talk to this guy.” How do they get hold of you?
If you go on our website, there’s a contact form. We’re also across all channels. We’re on Facebook and Instagram. We have a YouTube channel, but FocusFunnels.com is the fastest way. That will most likely go directly to me. We can set up a call to chat about what you need. Once again, it’s a very human connection, very straightforward, and no BS. It’s a chance to talk about, “This is what we’re trying to do. Are we the right firm to take you there?”
Taylor and I met in a cool way. I thought it was awesome. We went to a networking event and we hit it off. You, myself, and a few other people are on the table and we’ve been connected ever since. What I always appreciated about you and what I loved about having a relationship is that you are you. You are genuine.
If we were out having a party or if you were in a boardroom meeting, you’re the same guy across the board. That’s the way it is. I appreciate that about you. If it’s so simple, then why is the technology so hard? Guys like yourself are in this every single day. Technology is changing all the time. You’re keeping up with this, but why is technology so hard? I’ve always wondered that question and I never got a chance to ask it so I figured I would to you.
When you look at all the apps and the different systems out there, what they’re trying to replicate is, “Can I talk to you about your problems at the right time?” When you think about marketing automation, all it’s trying to do is replicate what humans do every single day, person to person. When you walk into a room, your body immediately senses the energy and vibe and it immediately adjusts. All the tools and the complexity we’ve built are trying to recreate that. When a person comes in, they’re like, “What is your problem? Where are you along the sales cycle? How can we somehow customize our message to you?” At some point, it’s either you sign up online or get on a call with one of our sales reps. That’s it.
The reason it’s so complex is that we’re trying to replicate what humans do, which is so hard. We’ve been promised self-driving cars for the last two decades, but it turns out it’s hard to replicate what a human does behind the wheel. Marketing automation is the exact same thing. It is surprisingly complex because we’re trying to replicate what humans do so well.
When you meet up with your friend for coffee, in the first two seconds of seeing them, you know whether they’re having a good day or a bad day. You know how to immediately adjust like, “Do I need a hug? Is it a handshake? Is it a high five?” The first words out of your mouth immediately meet that person where they’re at. How do you replicate that with marketing software? It’s hard. That’s why there’s so much complexity there when you get down to the core of it.
I’ve only asked this question to you, but that is spot on. As I’m thinking about that, I’m like, “That’s brilliant.” What marketing automation is trying to do, but it’s so hard to do is replicate that authenticity and human connection. We are very complex individuals as human beings. It’s very difficult to do that. I would challenge anybody to look at their technology and ask the question, “Is this making it easier for my client or potential buyer, or is it making it more difficult?”
The DMV is always going to have clients coming in, but not every business runs that way. Hilton Hotel did something and it’s brilliant. At first, I didn’t like it, but then the second time I used it, I was like, “This is cool.” Sometimes you call down on the front desk and you want something, and they go, “I got to transfer you in engineering or housekeeping,” or whatever.
They created some type of AI on the front end, and it says, “What can I help you with?” You say, “This is what’s going on, the pillow in my room exploded and feathers are flying everywhere. We didn’t have a pillow fight.” It goes to, “Hold on, I’ll transfer you to maintenance right now.” “I was wondering what the hours of the restaurant are.” “Hold on, we’ll transfer you to the restaurant right now.”
It makes my life easier now. When I pick it up, I can tell them what I want. To me, that is great technology usage. It does replace human beings in some capacity, but I see a lot of companies using the loop that I went through with the DMV. That’s what I’m hearing you say. If you can make this more authentic and connected and people feel that human connection still, then technology’s good. If not, in marketing, in the context of it, it may not be that great to use.
Look at eCommerce business, for example. When you look at all the apps on the front end of the buying cycle, and then all the apps on the backend, they’re essentially replicating the experience you would have when you walk into a good retail store. I used to work at Nordstrom. I was in the men’s department. When someone would walk onto my floor, I would immediately go up to them, greet them, how is their day going, and then I’d say, “Is there anything I can do to make your shopping experience better?” They’d be like, “I have a date coming up. I want to look good on this date. I don’t want to be too formal, but I also don’t want to look like a slouch.”
I said, “Great. Let me build an outfit for you. What do you like?” I’d pick very specific things based on your body style and how you showed up and the way that you’re looking. “This is the outfit for you. Let’s go try it on.” They’d try it on. I’d be like, “How do you feel?” “I feel great.” “This shirt doesn’t quite fit right.” “Great. Let me go grab you one more.” “Perfect.” “Here’s the outfit. You stoked on this?” “This is awesome.” “Let me check you out.” I help them check out, get everything set, and ask them a few more questions. After they’re done, I’d say, “Let me know how the date goes. Come back and let’s do this again. The next time you go out, want to go get a job, or do something like that, let me help dress you so that you feel good.”
When you think about the eCommerce journey, we’re trying to replicate that. How do we greet them on the front end? How do we customize what they want? How do we make sure they have a smooth process? As they’re checking out, is there a follow-up? We’re replicating all of the tools, especially in eCom automation. It’s interesting.
My brain has gone, “Woo-hoo.” It’s funny that you brought the clothing thing up because I don’t know how to dress. When I had a date, I used to go into the clothing store. I wouldn’t have found you, not because I don’t like you, but because I would’ve found the best-looking gal in the place. I used to do this. I’d walk into the clothing store, find the gal, and be like, “I would like to go out with her.” I’d walk up to her and I would ask this question. I’d say, “I’m not hitting on you, I promise. I want to know how would you want to see me dressed if I was going to ask you out. I have a date and I want her to feel that way about me.”
The gal would take something and go, “I’d wear this and that,” just as you were doing. You’re creating a second step though. “Come back and let me know how the date worked out.” If that date worked out amazingly, they’re coming back and buying more clothing from you. There’s no question. I’d be like, “Give me a big hug. Here’s my credit card. Dress me.”
When you think about like eCom, post-service surveys, reviews, SMS, or email, it’s all trying to get that communication going. That’s all it’s trying to do. When you get down to that human-to-human connection, it allows people to feel an affinity towards a brand, and then they come back and buy again.
The challenge I see with technology that way is I don’t think it’s relevant and meaningful enough. Again, I’m going to pat Hilton on the back and a couple of other brands, but when I go to stay there, I’ll get a text. I know it’s a generic text, but it feels like it’s for me because I’m clear enough to read between the lines because of the sales acumen that I have. I will respond and a human being will respond to me. I say things no machine can even think about coming up with an answer for, and I feel like they care.
When I stayed at a Hilton in Toronto, they’re asking me questions like, “Can I make a recommendation for a restaurant? Are you here alone, or with a significant other?” “I’m here with my wife.” “What food does she like?” “She likes Italian food or Thai food,” or whatever. “Can I recommend Thai Village down the street?” The hotel will set it up, send me down there, and tell me to go see Sergio down there.
I walk in and Sergio goes, “Mr. Brown, how are you doing? How is your wife Justyna doing?” I’m like, “Great. How do you know us?” “The hotel told us to take good care of you.” I’m like, “This is amazing. Every time I go back to Toronto, I’m staying here.” That’s what you’re saying we’re trying to replicate with technology. Is it that some of the technology won’t do it or is it that people don’t take enough time to figure out how to use it human to human?
Going back to your original question, why is it so complicated? We’ve been told by all these gurus and masters that it needs to be complicated, nuanced, and complex, and because of that, people overthink the strategy almost every single time. As they’re overthinking the strategy, they end up doing strange things that don’t even feel human anymore.
Let’s say your post-purchase, you bought a thing. Think about the email flow. The first email says, “Here are some tips on how to use what you bought.” You’re like, “This is valuable,” and then the next email is saying, “If you’re having a good or bad experience, we’re here for you. Do you need some help? Here’s our support line or support number.” That’s helpful. A couple of days later, saying, “We didn’t hear back from you, so it sounds like things must be going well. Would you mind leaving a review and telling us about your experience?” It’s so simple, but we make it so complex that it doesn’t make any sense anymore.
The wonderful and sad part is people don’t do that, but it’s so easy to do.
Make it human to human. There are a lot of tools like texting for example. We do a lot of text message marketing for our clients. There is a simple strategy we follow. It’s value, value, and ask. We give you two things super valuable. “Here are three ways to use this dress. Here are three ways to better swaddle your baby.” After we give them a little bit of value, then we say, “We have a solution for that. If you’re struggling with swaddling your baby, here’s a super cool product that we have. You might want to check it out.”
Guess what people do? They go and buy it because you gave them value. You then said, “Here’s something that might help you,” your ask. Our SMS strategy will outperform almost any previous thing that they’re doing because, in the past, all they were doing was sale and discount. People are like, “I don’t need another sale or discount. Teach me, educate me, or add value to my life, then I’ll care about what you have to say.”
It’s going back to authenticity and human connection again.
How many times you’ve been to dinner with someone and they started out talking about themselves and twenty minutes into it, they’re still talking about themselves? You are hoping to God that you can get out of that dinner. You’re like, “I’m so over this.” Brands do the same thing. They talk about themselves all day long. Very rarely do they stop and be like, “How can I help my customer?” When they flip that script and start talking about the customer, it turns out they start to get more sales.
Everybody wants to know somebody cares about them and is willing to listen. Taylor, I want to thank you so much for bringing your A-game here on the show.
It’s my pleasure.
Reach out to Taylor and have a conversation.
Thank you so much, Doug. This has been so much fun. For everybody reading this, we didn’t talk a lot about nuts-and-bolts strategy, but I hope you’ll take these principles and take a look at how you’re showing up for your customers. Guaranteed, there are little tweaks you can do to be more human, be more authentic, and you’ll see massive gains in your marketing. I hope this is of value.
You just laid out a masterclass on how to do online marketing the right way in a simple 3 to 4-step process. That is a huge value. You’re in this game every single day. I’m on the sales side, but I’m hearing it on the marketing side every single day. This is the number one challenge that people face. It’s too complex for them and they’re like, “I don’t understand it.” Thank you for doing that. I’d love to have you back again and we’ll do some nuts and bolts and a deeper dive into this as well.
Thank you, Doug.
You’re welcome, Taylor. Thanks for being here.
Value, value, and ask on SMS or text. Why would we do value, value, and ask? The more we provide value, the more people are going to want to ask us. When we provide value, providing value again, we’ve earned the right to ask because we are creating human connection. We are creating value for these people. We are creating authenticity if we’re doing this right.
Speaking of authenticity, did you love the fact that you don’t have to go do Steven Spielberg or Tom Hanks productions? There’s nothing wrong with Tom Hanks or Steven Spielberg. You just do not need to do all of this award-winning cinematic type of production. It’s not required. What’s the point? Put it into play. Keep it simple.
I loved what he said about authenticity and human connection. Use your technology and yourself to provide this. The old adage of, “People don’t care until they know how much you care about them,” is what we’re talking about. Build a human connection, rapport, and value. You do those three things and the fourth thing is to ask. People will say yes. Follow the step-by-step formula that he laid out in this.
Please send me an email at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Let me know how you’re doing with this. I’d like to know if did this episode go, “It was super clear,” because that’s my hope for you for this particular episode. If you love Taylor and this episode, please go give this a five-star review. Tell your friends and share this with people so you can help more people. That’s what we started this show for.
If you or someone you know is an expert, or you have something that you would like to read an expert talking about, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com and we will answer your inquiry. We are also using authenticity and human connection here. We will respond back to you and let you know if this is great for our show or it’s not.
If you are looking to up your sales game, in other words, get yourself in the top 1% of earners or even somewhere in between the top 1% in the top 10% of earners, let us know. We are rolling out a 1% Earners Academy where we’re teaching everything that I have been using for many years to be in that particular category as well as software. It rolling out this 2023. We have two waiting lists. It is an automated prospecting and follow-up that’s meaningful and relevant that will help you convert more sales and not drop the things that you’ve been dropping. The 1% Academy will help you get to the next level or levels in your selling career.
If you’re not a salesperson, that’s okay. You’re selling every single day. If you’re a CEO, you’re selling. If you are in any type of capacity where you’re talking to human beings, you’re selling. It’s about communication. Go out and sell something. Sell a lot of it. Sell it profitably, but play win-win while you’re doing it. They win because you’re solving a problem or an opportunity for them that they want to achieve and you win because they’re giving you remuneration for your particular services. Until next time, go out, be perfect as you are, and to your success.
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