Quick take: Bringing your service-based business online with digital marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Each week I sit down with incredible entrepreneurs and marketing minds to bring you inspiring and actionable lessons you can use to start and grow your coaching, consulting, or service-based business. If you love the show, be sure to subscribe above so you don’t miss an episode.
This week, we’re going back to the basics with a digital marketing 101 conversation with Collin Belt, someone who has turned his specific skillset into a thriving agency serving clients around North America.
In this episode, Collin shares 3 steps to marketing your service-based business online, the tools that make your marketing life easier, and tips on turning what you do into an agency model.
Transcripts, resources, and top-takeaways are below.
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If you’re short on time, here are a few golden nuggets from our conversation and the resources mentioned.
- Bring your service-based business online. Every business that serves clients can benefit from an online system for lead generation, lead nurture, and closing deals.
- Provide prospects with a quick win. Use lead magnets to get prospects hooked on the benefits of working with you.
- Follow-up like clockwork. Use marketing automation tools to email new connections a series of effective marketing messages.
- Templatize your proposal process. Illustrate value you’re bringing to your clients in jargon-free proposals.
- Elevate your offerings smartly. If you wish to shift from being a freelancer to running an agency that offers services at a larger scale, do so in thoughtful stages to keep your ROI and margins high.
- Belt Creative
- Belt Social (built with Leadpages)
- Drip email marketing automation software
- Proposify proposal management software
- The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks
- The Lead Generation podcast
- Rework podcast (by Basecamp)
- No Fat Cats podcast
Get to know Collin
Bob: Collin, thank you so much for joining me for this week’s episode of The Lead Generation.
Collin: Oh, thanks for having me, Bob. I appreciate it.
Bob: I’ve been really thrilled to see the progress you’ve been making as a business owner over the last bit of time, and you’ve been a great member of the Leadpages community. But for those that haven’t seen you around our neck of the woods yet, what impact would you say you and your company, Belt Creative, have on the clients that you work with?
Collin: Sure. I say that our mantra is, we help our clients perform like rock stars online. And thus, that basically means giving them the confidence to look good online as well as just feel that they have a really good grip on their marketing systems.
Bob: Excellent. And most people who are listening to this episode, they don’t see you in person like I am right now while we’re doing this recording. Behind you, you have a sign that says, “Stay humble, hustle hard.” Can you share a little bit about what that means for you and your business?
Collin: Yeah, sure. I guess I would say that to me, it really encompasses everything because I would say small business is in my DNA. When I was growing up, my parents owned small businesses all throughout while I was growing up. I was really involved with them. I’m still involved in their businesses, and then that’s really become the focus of clients that I go after, are small business owners. So to me, the values of a small business is that you’ve got a creative idea and you work your butt off on it to deliver an excellent product.
Bob: Excellent. And not to be ageist for a second, but you’re about a quarter century old, a relatively younger guy. Talk to us a little bit about what that’s been like for you as someone who is seeking business from perhaps people who are older than you. And making sure that they know that you bring the goods with your company.
Collin: Well, the good news is I am almost exclusively an online business. I do have some businesses that I work with locally, but for the most part, people have no idea how old I am. They just talk to me on the phone, so hopefully my expertise and experience comes across when I’m talking. They don’t get to see my face, so usually that doesn’t come up. Every now and again, someone will ask, “Wait, how old are you?” And they’re like, “I was guessing like 30, 40, somewhere in there.” And I’m like, “Oh, no, I’m 26.”
Bob: Yeah, and I think that’s really great because a lot of people who are looking for the help that your company provides, they really appreciate the energy and the knowledge. You are a tech native as we like to say, right? You were born when the web was already a thing. So that means a lot of things are a part of your DNA, not just small business, so that’s really cool. How did you get started into this world of being an agency owner and working with clients in their marketing?
Collin: It definitely started working with my parents. They own a lavender farm up in Seafoam, Nova Scotia. They grow lavender, they harvest it, they create cosmetic and culinary products. And when I was 14 years old, I very much had an interest in graphic design, so my parents made me a deal. They said, “We’ll buy you a pimped out, top of the line MacBook with Photoshop if you design all the labels for our products.” That was a great deal for me because it was basically my first job, and it really escalated from there. First I was designing their products, then I took over their website, then I took over their social media. Then I took over their email marketing, and that continued. And even though I’m not really involved in the day to day operations of my parents’ business anymore, Belt Creative still manages their digital marketing.
So when I graduated from university, I knew. I think a lot of people who graduate around the same time are thinking, I’m going to go find a company. I’m going to start a career, I’m going to get the experience, and then I’m going to maybe start my own consulting firm, or maybe do my own thing. I knew right out of the gate that I would be completely unhappy and miserable if I was doing anything less than running my own business. And I think my positive experiences helping grow my parents’ business to what it is today made me realize, hey, I could do this service where I’m an extension of a small business basically. I’m their marketing department. I could offer that service to other businesses, and that’s really worked out well for me so far.
Bob: Man, that’s awesome. So the rest of this conversation is going to have two different prongs, right? So chapter one, since we just finished the prologue I guess you could say, chapter one is going to be on the tips that you have for any small business to do some things to grow their businesses online. So we’ve got a few things to talk about there. And then chapter two, if you’re listening and you run your own agency or you’re thinking about starting up your own agency, I’m going to ask Collin to share a few tips around that, too. Because he’s learned a lot in the last few years that I think would be super beneficial for you, too.
The 3 prongs of online marketing for any business
Bob: Let’s get started first, Collin, with the kinds of things that you know that any small business needs to do. These are things that your company obviously helps them with. But for those that are doing it on their own, maybe before they turn to an agency, let’s talk about those things. So it seems to me like you have a three pronged approach towards this. What are those three prongs? And then let’s talk about the first one.
Collin: Sure. Well, I’d say every business needs to have three components to their marketing. The first component is the ability to acquire leads. Second component is being able to nurture those leads, then turn them into customers. And the final prong is sealing the deal or closing the sale. You really need to be able to have strong areas of focus for each of those three. And when you combine them together, you basically have a sales system so that you’ve constantly got customers coming in, getting excited about your product, and then getting excited to buy from you or work with you.
Bob: Very cool. And as these tips unfold today, are there specific types of businesses that you’ve found really go through the model that you specifically specialize in?
Collin: Yeah. I mean, it’s really all businesses have to have those three prongs. But I’d say as far as businesses that I tend to work closely with, it tends to be other service based businesses. So oftentimes it’s agencies that provide consulting work, or it might be healthcare providers. I do a lot of work with dentists for some reason, that’s really cool. So I’d say specifically for service based businesses, you really do need a system to consistently bring in people. Because you usually don’t have a storefront with a product where people can walk in and try out your product, whatever. So you need to have a way to get people interested in what you have to offer, a way to showcase how your offer can help them, and then finally a way to help them picture what it is that you can provide for them. And once you do that, if they’re the right fit for you, they’re going to buy from you.
Bob: Awesome. So the tips we’re going to dig into now apply to pretty much everybody who runs a small business. But there is this tendency, in the closing the deal, you talk a lot about proposals, and coming up with one that really works and gets the deal done.
How to acquire leads through online marketing
Bob: Let’s take the phase one at the start here, the acquisition of leads. What are two or three of your favorite lead generation tactics that you’ve really been helping your customers to do, and that you recommend for a small business that is trying to get an ideal target audience towards the readiness for proposal and closing the deal in that way?
Collin: Oh yeah. Well, I mean, I’m going to be shameless about this and say that Leadpages is an essential tool. It’s perfect because it really works for small business owners. Because if they have an existing site, creating landing pages with Leadpages is a great way to create highly focused landing pages to get people interested, to acquire those leads.
It’s also really good because there’s a lot of businesses now that either don’t have a website or they’ve had a website for 500 years and it’s doing absolutely nothing for their business. So oftentimes, the first thing that I’ll do is look through their website, come up with some suggestions. And if it’s possible to make those updates on their existing website, awesome.
But oftentimes, it’s better to just start from scratch, and so Leadpages provides a really good solution whether they need to redo their website completely or whether they just need some landing pages as an extension of that.
Then of course, we work with the customer to narrow down who their ideal client is, who they love to work with, what services they really want to push, and develop some marketing campaigns. And that might be through Facebook ads, it might be through LinkedIn ads. Oftentimes, we see where their audience is and develop a campaign based on that.
Bob: Excellent. And when it comes to creating the lead generation mechanism, so you’ve got landing pages and opt ins, opt in forms and things of that nature. But what kinds of lead magnets are you driving people towards that really are most appropriate towards the services industry that you focus on?
Collin: I’d say it’s really anything that’s going to provide their future customer with a quick win. So the first conversation that I have with a client before I even think about taking them on as a client is, what does your customer struggle with day to day? What are their pain points? What are they thinking, oh God, this is driving me crazy? And what is an easy way that you could at least help them start to solve that problem? So for example, if someone is really struggling with their brand, I’ve worked with a consulting agency that specifically focuses on logo design, branding, developing color schemes, all that.
Usually, their customers are frustrated because their brand isn’t exciting their customers. It’s not engaging people. So one of the lead magnets we developed was basically just a branding checklist, like hey, what is it that you want your message to be? Here are some resources, some blog posts we have on our site that will help them determine this. And that quick win not only helps lift the spirit of the customer, it also makes them realize, oh shoot, these people really know what they’re talking about. And that gets them interested in working with them and hiring them on.
How to nurture leads with digital marketing
Bob: Excellent. And when it comes to the second stage, now they are on an email list. They have shown some interest. What kinds of things are you doing and would you recommend to small businesses doing this on their own to nurture those prospects so that they are ready for a proposal situation?
Collin: Definitely gather real stories from your customers if you have them. And if you don’t have them yet, get them as soon as possible. I have found nothing works better than telling a story about how you solved the same problem for someone else. Again, using the branding folks as an example, they had a client that really struggled with their branding. They had some bad PR stuff going on, but they were able to help them get back to their core of communicating their brand and engaging their audience, and their business exploded as a result. So by telling that story, you can connect it to a current pain that your customer is having. And if you can say, “Hey, this is what I did to help this other person solve their problem.” Whether you say it implicitly or explicitly, they start to think, oh, okay, this person could also solve my problem as well.
Bob: Cool. And from a technical standpoint, how are you nurturing those prospects? What tools are being used? How frequently are those tools being used to get people to be ready for the conversation where a proposal is necessary?
Collin: Sure. Drip is my go to email software providers. I’m fully indoctrinated into Leadpages’ family, I will admit that right away. Mostly because it allows you to create individual journeys. So that’s been a really important point for me when I’m working with clients that have many different verticals. They might have a customer that’s super formal, and they need to be communicated to that way. They might have a customer that’s a little more lax and chill, and wants some of that language.
Choosing an email service provider that’s going to give you the flexibility to create relevant content for your audience is absolutely important. And so I usually start off my clients with Drip because I’m like, “We could start you off with something else, but you’re going to be on Drip anyways when you get super big. So why not just start there?”
Bob: Very good. And as far as frequency goes, a lot of people are nervous about emailing their list too frequently, or they don’t know if they’re going to email them enough. So regardless of email platform, how often would you say people should be communicating with folks after they initially download their lead magnet?
Collin: It definitely depends. I think after they download your initial lead magnet, you should be communicating with them a lot. And that’s why having an automated sequence that explains your service offering is important. So ideally, you should be sending them an email every day for the next five days at least basically. Because at that point, they’re thinking about your offering. They’re thinking about solving their problem. They’re in the right mindset at that moment. And if they don’t convert after that, that’s okay.
At that point, it does depend on the business, but I’ve found a good rule of thumb is sending an email out every other week. That way you stay top of mind, you stay relevant. And don’t be offended if they unsubscribe. It’s actually a good thing because you’re not paying for that customer who is never going to convert anyways. So it’s totally okay if they say, “No, I don’t want to hear from you,” because there’s someone out there who will.
How to make the sale online with a rock solid proposal
Bob: Very good. So now let’s go to phase three, where people have shown interest. Maybe they’ve clicked enough emails where a lead score could be at a certain level, and maybe they’ve even responded back to the emails with interest that they’ve shown. What are some of the secret ingredients of that conversation for a proposal? And we’ll talk a little bit more about the tools we might use for that as well. But yeah, what are some of the ideas that you want to get right when it’s time to close the deal?
Collin: Yeah, absolutely. Well, it is important to have an airtight sales process for sealing the deal. It’s really tough for a lot of businesses to hear this, and I have lost count of the number of businesses that have come to me and said, “We get to this point. We’ve got leads coming in, we’re doing a pretty good job of getting them ready to buy. And then it all falls apart when we have the proposal, because we take too long to put it together. It’s messy. We don’t know how to cohesively explain this thing that we’re going to do for our client in an appealing way, while also making it a legally binding contract.”
It can get scary and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be when you really sit down and think about, okay, these are the things in every proposal that stay the same. But this particular service offering, you can start saying, “Oh, okay. We can set up a template for that, and then we can just fill in the specifics of the project and the specific details for the client.” For example, one particular client that I had, they offer search engine optimization services. And SEO is an extremely messy field, most business owners don’t even know what it includes. I would say as of a couple years ago, I didn’t know what it included at all until I started working with this client, and they taught me so much.
And so as a result, the proposals that they were sending out, they took forever to put together. They were messy in terms of coding. They contained a ton of jargon, and that was really the real deal killer. Because your average business owner was getting this SEO proposal that said, “We’re going to measure your KPIs and increase by 320%.” And they’re like, “What?” So really having a nailed down sales process for how you’re going to communicate your message to your prospect once they’re interested. It takes the stress out of it, and it dramatically increases your sales.
Bob: Yeah, I think that’s really good. It seems to me too that, and correct me if I’m wrong, if you have too many different types of offerings and you’re trying to appeal to too wide of a group of clientele, that the proposal process could be a struggle. Because there’s just so many different variables that you’re trying to keep track of at the same time. Is that true for the people you’re working with? Do they narrow it down and then eliminate some of the confusion in choice that would otherwise be available?
Collin: Oh yeah, absolutely. And I would say this is an area that I struggled with when I was starting out as a business owner. I had this vision for my agency that we were going to do motion graphics. We were going to do every kind of graphic design. We were going to eventually get into designing apps, everything and the kitchen sink. And I put together service packages for everything, and it was just a mess. And we weren’t good at any one thing. So I think that applies not only to offering a quality product, but also to making it crystal clear when you get to the closing part of the sales process, is you know what you’re good at. You know what you have to offer. And if you have a small, limited, highly focused offering to give to your client, they’re going to realize that you’re an expert.
Bob: Very good. And to help with the proposal process, you’ve been utilizing another tool that is not part of the Leadpages family for streamlining this process for your clientele. Small business owners, I think, really can benefit from this tool, too. So tell us a little bit about the tool you’re using with your clients that makes the proposal process that much easier.
Collin: The tool that I use is called Proposify. I started using it in I guess a funny way, because I’ve been in this disaster mess of trying to pitch my different services, trying to get proposals out in time. I was using paper proposals. I was typing them up in a word document, printing them out, and mailing them to clients. And they were long, and they were complicated, and they were horrible, and I had no sales. And I was just distraught because I was like, what is wrong with me? I can’t run a business. I’m going to fail. Blah blah blah. So I of course turned to Google and I was like, okay, how do I put together a better proposal? Where can I find some proposal templates? And that’s when I found Proposify.
So it’s basically an online software that streamlines the proposal process. They’re all digital. You can create beautiful designs, and you can capture online signatures. So that immediately just having everything digital, having a way to track when clients were using, doing my proposal so I could follow up with them. That alone really spiked the sales for my business and made it so that I can grow. And then one day, I was just looking at the bottom of an email that they sent me and I was like, “Oh, hey. They’re from Halifax.” And at the time, I was living in Nova Scotia and I realized that they were literally down the street from me.
So I stopped over just to say, “Hey, I love your product. This is this thing that’s going on.” And that ended up leading to a conversation where they were like, “Oh, hey. You’re a designer and you use our software.” And I said, “Yeah, I love your software. It’s been really helpful for my business.” They said, “Listen, we have this problem where clients were coming to us, and they want us to design their proposals for them. But we make a software, we don’t design individual proposals for clients. Would you be interested in having us refer them to you?” And I was like, “Yeah. Free referrals? Of course.” And that really started this very specific but very helpful process for our customers, which is helping our clients figure out their sales process and then designing proposals for them in Proposify so that they can seal the deal.
How to narrow down what you offer
Bob: Excellent, love that. Cool, so before we turn to chapter two, we’re going to investigate a bit of your agency learnings. Is there anything else that you’d like to share real quick about small business going through the three phases of acquisition of leads, nurturing the prospects, and closing the deal? Anything else that they need to focus on or get right so that they eliminate some of the hassles and headaches along the way?
Collin: Yeah. Well, I think it can be helpful when you’re trying to figure out what those core service offerings are, just go with your gut. Go with what you’re passionate about. If you’re reviewing all of the different services that you offer, and say you’ve got 10 but it’s really only two or three that you think, oh man, I love working on that. I love the people that we’re attracting to that service. Cut out everything else.
You’re going to feel like the bottom is falling out from under your business for a brief second, and then you’re going to realize, oh wow, I should’ve been doing this all along. Because when you’re passionate about something, not only do you deliver a better product, your messaging comes across as more authentic. People connect with you more and they’re more likely to view you as an expert because not only do you know what you’re talking about, you care about what you’re talking about. So I’d say that’s really the number one thing, is if you’re having trouble deciding what services to focus on, eliminate anything that you are not fired up about.
How to determine the price for your service
Bob: Yeah, that’s really great advice. And I actually thought of another quick question about this too, that I know you get asked a lot probably, and that is pricing. What are some mistakes that people make when it comes to pricing, when they’re going to that proposal? Because I know a lot of small businesses that are doing this kind of work. That’s an agonizing piece of it because they don’t want to undersell, they don’t want to oversell. They want to get the deal. So what advice do you give to small business owners in those situations?
Collin: Sure. Well, the good news is, this can be incorporated into your proposal process. The number one mistake I think business owners make is not clearly outlining what the value of their service or product offering is before getting to their numbers. Because if you can clearly outline it in your conversations with a customer, ideally they should have an idea of what your pricing is going to be before you even get to the proposal stage. But let’s assume that maybe you deliver a proposal early on. Your proposal should clearly outline, this is what we do, this is the value it’s going to bring to your business. If it’s possible, connect it to real numbers, real ROI that you’re going to be able to deliver for your customer. Or, a real problem that you’re going to be able to solve, whatever that looks like for your particular business.
And then if the value that you provide matches the price that you’re giving to your client, then it’s not a concern. Because if what you’re delivering is the right value, they will be willing to pay that price. And if you’re seeing a mismatch there, that means either your price is wrong or you’re not clearly explaining the value.
Bob: Very good.
How to go from freelance to running an agency
Bob: All right, let’s turn to chapter two, and we’re going to do a short version of this storyline because I don’t think we need to get too deep into it. Maybe we’ll have you back for a deeper dive on this later, but let’s talk about the agency development process. We do have a lot of people in the lead generation who have sharpened their skillset in such a way that people are coming to them for this kind of work. And initially, they might be freelancers. And then maybe they get this idea that they want to turn what they do into an agency model instead of just freelancing. So let’s start there. How do you determine or how did you determine that you were not a freelancer anymore, now you’re an agency? And what does that actually mean? Because I think some people get confused about that.
Collin: Yeah, absolutely. And I really did follow that exact track. When I first started out, I was just a freelancer and my business was just Collin Belt, LLC. That was me, and I was fully committed to, okay, I might hire on a couple subcontractors to help me out with the product if I need it. I might partner up with someone to get something done. But at the end of the day, I just want to do my own thing. And that worked for a while, but eventually, it really got to the point where I realized that in order to help people on the scale that I wanted to help people, I needed a teammate. There was just too many requests coming in. There was too many moving pieces for the business. I didn’t have time to focus on developing the business, so I started slow.
I hired on one person as a part-time subcontractor, and then over time, gave them more and more responsibilities. They became an employee of my business. That’s just basically the process that I followed with every hire since then, is just starting them off just working part time. And eventually, if they were a really good fit for the team, bringing them fully onboard. And that has helped me to scale my offering so that I can service more clients. But also, I think it’s really helped me because I always bring people onto the team who are better at a skill that I am. So I have no shame in saying that the people that I’ve hired to lead my Proposify design team are better designers than I am, and that’s awesome. I want people who are better than me because I can learn from them, and we can ultimately deliver something better for our customers.
Bob: Yeah. And again, “Stay humble, hustle hard,” right?
Collin: Yeah, exactly. I’m not the best at any one thing, I’m passionate about what I do, and I hope that’s reflected in what I deliver to my customers.
Bob: Awesome. And it sounds like you’ve been growing relatively responsibly, if I can use that term. You didn’t hire five people and then try to find clients. You had clients as a freelancer, and as you got the bandwidth stretched too thin, then you added people on. But you did so in a way that was always with ROI and bottom line margins in mind. So I think that’s a good lesson to pick out from what you just said as well.
Collin: Yeah, absolutely. I would say it’s imperative to grow slow. Get your business to the point where it’s a little bit bigger than it was before. Sit there for a minute and think, okay, how do I feel about this? Is this the right size? Are we too big? Too small? And then move on just a little bit more. And then eventually, you’re going to find a point where you’re the right size. I haven’t gotten there yet with my business. I’m not planning to take on the entire world and conquer everything, but I have a feeling that once I get there, I’m going to know it. And that’s because I grew slowly.
Elevating your reputation (and rates) as an agency
Bob: Cool. Now, I’d also like to ask you about the transition from freelancer to agency, and what that did to, I guess the word I’m thinking of is your reputation in the marketplace. And that can come in the form of what you offered, the value you brought, the pricing you were able to charge instead. Is that the case, that when you became an agency, your contracts got a little bigger? A little easier to make the sale when you did that?
Collin: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s funny because my offer didn’t really change. The product that we offered to our customers stayed the same. Like I said, we were able to offer it on a bigger scale. We were able to tackle bigger projects. And so our pricing did increase because I have more expenses if I have a team to do everything. But immediately the perception when someone is like, “Oh, you’re a freelancer. That’s awesome. I can pay you $300 to build my website.” To all of a sudden, “Oh, you’re an agency, okay. I better not even talk to you unless I’ve got $3000 to put on the table.” It’s weird, but it is a thing.
Bob: Yeah. I just wanted to bring that up because that’s the assumption I have for that model. It’s my observation that that’s the case, and for those that are still freelancing, maybe you’re cool with that. But you can have an agency of one. You can have an agency of five, 20 people. You don’t all have to be VaynerMedia people at the end of the day, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with either direction. So that’s good.
When to use Leadpages Sites to offer website services
Bob: So let’s talk about those people that are in the design world like you, and they’re choosing between tool sets to utilize. One of the things that caught our eye a few months ago when we released our website products is that you were super gung-ho shifting from a previous platform to Leadpages Sites. So I’d like to talk about that for a second. It’s a little self serving, I understand. But also, I would love for you to share, when do you recommend Leadpages’ websites versus other tools that might be a better fit for certain clients? So talk first about that initial transition, and then when do you recommend what types of tools, depending on the clientele?
Collin: Yeah, absolutely. And I think we mentioned this a little bit earlier, but Leadpages has been an offering of my business for a while now because it’s so flexible. You can add landing pages to any website. You just create a little sub domain that’s part of the thing, and then you can draw up professional landing pages in a jiffy. That’s been super awesome, and that basically meant that we consistently have a tool that we can use to market our clients. Whether they’re on a WordPress website, on Squarespace, have their own proprietary system, using Shopify – whatever they’re using, Leadpages can become a part of that.
But what’s really changed was the introduction of Leadpages Sites. Because whereas before if a client would come to me and say, “Hey, we need to completely redo the website and I want to start my digital marketing.” I would say, “Okay, let’s take a look at whether you need Squarespace or whether you need Shopify, or what’s the best fit for you. And then we’re going to add Leadpages to that.” And that was always a little tough because they would think, why can’t I use this other platform to also do my landing pages? It would get super messy, and the nice thing about Leadpages Sites being a good fit for a lot of my clients is that I can say, “You’ve just got one software. You only have to learn one set of tools. You can run your website and your digital marketing campaigns off of that one piece of software.”
Bob: Very good. And then moving forward, when do you say to people, “Yeah, you should still use a WordPress site,” or, “You should still use one of these other sites?”
Collin: I’d say if they’re planning on doing some really extensive blogging. For example, if their thing is that they’re blogging, they might need WordPress or Squarespace in addition to Leadpages for their marketing. Because just being able to manage that volume of content is what those content management systems excel at. I’d say the other scenario is if they are a product based business and they need to integrate with Amazon and Instagram shopping, and all of these complex selling channels. Then a solution like Shopify would probably be a better fit for them. But the thing is, is that’s not where most people start out. Most people who are running a small business really just need a website that is going to educate their customers on what their service offering is, and convert them into prospects. And for that, Leadpages is often the best fit.
Bob: Awesome. And if we go to BeltCreative.com as an example, this is a site obviously built on Leadpages. And you used to be full on Squarespace, and then you moved everything over for the most part. This is looking really sharp, so actually, I’m looking at it right now. Those of you that are listening, you might want to take a look at it, too. It’s come a long way since the last time that I took a look. You are using the blog. How are you using the blog at this time?
Collin: Well actually, at this point, our blog is still running on Squarespace.
Collin: Yeah, just the needs for our particular company as a marketing agency do require having a content management system that has those kinds of blogging features. But what we have done is Belt Social. BeltSocial.com is our new product that we use for fully integrated social media marketing services for our clients. And we completely run the entire front end for promoting the website off of Leadpages Sites. We’re actually just about to launch a really big refresh where there’s more complex landing pages. We’ve got some posts on social media, because it really is a big enough offering that it needs to be brought out as a separate site from Belt Creative. So that’s a really, I would say that’s a really good example for people to go if they want to see a Leadpages site in action. They should head to BeltSocial.com.
Bob: Very cool, Collin. Well, thank you so much for all that great information for agencies. I know that’s going to be super helpful for those people that are thinking about going in that direction, or they’re already there but they’re just not at the level that they want to be at.
Books and podcasts to boost your business (and your brain)
Bob: Before we wrap up, I’d love to just understand or get a sense from you how you continue to learn for your business and keep your finger on the pulse of the marketplace. What audiobooks or regular books are you reading? What podcasts might you be listening to? What are you filling your brain with these days as you learn the business even further?
Collin: Yeah. It’s funny because when it comes to books, I am a personal development junkie. So I plow through a ton of books, so one that I most recently read was called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. And it’s basically… it was really confronting for me, because the entire book is basically how it’s all about how you shouldn’t let your fear hold you back from doing stuff. And it was a kick in the shins for me because I was like, oh shoot. You know what? I could’ve gone for that opportunity. I could’ve asked that person for that job that I knew I would’ve been a good fit for. But I didn’t ask for it because I was afraid. So that’s really helpful for me, both in my professional life and in my personal life.
And then for podcasts, what I listen to every morning when I take my dog Zack for a walk, because it’s just continual education. So obviously The Lead Generation is a big resource for me because it’s very helpful to learn from my peers. Learn what things that other digital marketers are doing. That helps me know where I can go to get good resources, get people to talk to.
Another good podcast that I listen to a lot is Rework by Basecamp. And the reason that I do that is, it’s an excellent resource for teaching you how to run a calm company. And that’s really important for me. I am 100% committed, and I will accept nothing less, than having Belt Creative be the best place a designer has ever worked.
It’s very important to me that my employees are happy and excited about the work they do, because I firmly believe that talent is a business’ best asset. And if you nurture your employees and you give them the right opportunities for them to grow, they will return the favor by helping your business grow exponentially. And that has been very true for my business.
The last podcast that I’ve been listening to lately is called No Fat Cats. It’s actually my client started the podcast, and it’s been really helpful because it’s all about how to run and grow a creative team. Which is obviously very relevant to me because I run a creative team. And it’s got some really excellent advice and some very real conversations about what it’s like to run a creative team, especially what it’s like to run a remote creative team, which is also an area of focus for me. So I’d say those are my top three podcasts that I would recommend.
Bob: Those are fantastic resources that you shared, Collin. And we’re going to definitely include those in the show notes for this week’s episode. Where can people connect with you to better learn about the rest of what you’re up to?
Collin: Yeah. The best way to get in contact with me and learn about some of the stuff that I do is to head over to BeltCreative.com. And we’ve got awesome information obviously about our services if you think that anything I’ve talked about today would be helpful for you. But we also have a learning center where we’re consistently putting out free, helpful, educational content to help small business owners grow.
Bob: Excellent. And you might also want to go over to our Facebook community for Leadpages, check in with the crowd. Collin is in there pretty actively. I’m sure it would be cool to see what you have to say about this episode, any questions you might have.
Collin, thank you so much for joining us this week. I know that if people were really paying attention, they have received a lot of golden nuggets from today’s episode. So I really appreciate it.
Collin: Thanks, Bob.
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