Talk Marketing

How to Build a Better Brand Strategy Using Talk Marketing (with Mike Cappuccio)

In this podcast, John McDougall from Talk Marketing Academy talks with Mike Cappuccio, founder of N.E.T.R., Inc an HVAC company in Massachusetts. Mike explains how talk marketing has helped his company improve its website, position itself as a thought leader, and expand its business. Bottom line — he says, talk marketing makes their phone ring.

John McDougall: Hi, I’m John McDougall with Talk Marketing Academy and I’m here today with Mike Cappuccio of N.E.T.R., Inc We’re going to be talking about how to build a better brand strategy and digital strategy using talk marketing. Welcome Mike.

Mike Cappuccio: Good morning, John. How are you today?

How Has Talk Marketing Helped Your Business?

John: Doing good. Let’s start with the result. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about how talk marketing helped you get great search engine rankings, better leads and more customers?

Mike: Well, when I roll the clock back, John, I kind of look back maybe five to seven years ago when we first met and started doing things and with talk marketing, it’s definitely a lot different than what we’ve ever done as far as what we do on our website. When we look back with city pages and the way you always try to rank and do things, and now it’s just so different, it’s clustering and doing video, doing talk marketing, it really just works really well on what we’re doing.

When I look at my website and how much organic search we get, we don’t spend a lot of money on pay per click, unless we really need to. In the down seasons we spend money, but in the busy seasons we end up having to turn pay per click off because the talk marketing and the search engines just pick everything up and have people contacting us.

Talk Marketing Produces More Organic Leads and Reduces Spending on Paid Ads

John: Yeah, that’s fantastic. So it’s made a big shift in what you need to spend on paid ads.

Mike: Huge. I mean, obviously you’re spending money to do the talk marketing and do that and there’s a commitment of time and things that need to go with that. But once you get in a routine, it’s actually fun. I got to be honest with you.

Podcasting Doesn’t Require a Big Time Commitment

John: Nice. That’s good to hear. And should people be afraid of the time commitment it takes to do something like podcasting?

Mike: Oh, absolutely not. It doesn’t really take a lot of time. You just have to make the time for it. I know most times when John and I do it we really just set an hour aside, maybe two hours sometimes, but most times it’s just an hour. And if you can’t take an hour out of your week to talk about your business, to create your search engine optimization, to be much more refined and better on your website, then you better rethink your business, I would say. Really, in all honesty, think of how much time you can waste in the course of a day and what you could do to be productive with one hour to really hone in on topics and create an 1800 word blog post on your website.

You look at today, I mean everybody’s got a podcast. People like to listen to podcasts. I listen to them all the time when I’m driving somewhere. I just drove up from Florida for 24 hours. I listened to podcasts for probably 10 hours of the drive. There’s so much interesting stuff that you can learn by listening to them.

An Hour a Month Can Position You as a Thought Leader

John: So you’ve positioned yourself as a thought leader because you’ve taken just that simple hour a month or so?

Mike: Yeah. You want to brain think your thoughts, you know what I mean? You’ve got to pull the thoughts out of your head of what you really want to talk about. What’s important to people like what we do in our thought leadership meetings is we’re looking at, “Okay, what are the key search words? What are people looking at? And how can we develop a lot of content around that?”

We’ve seen competitors that are getting tons of searches from certain words, and then we have to sit back and go, “Okay, well, how are we going to get all these words onto our website and get them into the SEO so we could start ranking for these things?” Well, think about if you had to write all of that and do all that, it’s quicker to talk about it and get the thoughts out of your head and re-edit maybe what you just talked about and thought about it. It’s so much easier.

Think about that one hour, going back to that one hour, if you had to develop a page right on, let’s just say wall mounted air conditioner, for instance. I know we just really focused on a lot of that. If I had to sit down and have someone write all those pages and read all of that content that they just wrote and say, “Okay, this is good. This isn’t so good. Have to edit it. Go back, look at it again.” I can talk about that in 15 minutes and it’s less than an hour, to be honest with you.

John: Yeah. Each post 130 words a minute, roughly. So even 10 minutes is 1300 words.

Mike: Quick easy topics that people are interested in listening to.

Talk Marketing Versus Traditional SEO Practices

John: And compared to when we first started working for you, you had some pages that were written for towns and just really for SEO, that just didn’t position you that well. How does that seem different from this?

Mike: Yeah, this is totally different than a city page or anything like that. This is more… We’ve actually done some podcasts on case studies, on homes and things that we’ve done, the ways that we’ve done homes, the way that things will fit together. It’s a whole different concept than city pages and town pages and that’s old school stuff.

John: Yeah, exactly.

Mike: I tell people you have to cluster and they look at me like I have nine heads. I’m like, “Well, you have one topic, it could be wall mounted air conditioning, but you have to have a blog post about that.” So how am I going to create a blog post? Just think about if you had to write blog posts, I can do a podcast in 10 minutes and have an 1800 word blog post and also have the podcast with it. And then maybe shoot a little five minute video on that too. And I’ve got five or six different ways that people can go to my website to look at that one type of a subject that we’re talking about, which creates the great search engine optimization for people when they go start looking at things.

I just really think the way people search today, you have to have good content on your website. If you have a five, 10, 15, 25 page website today, and it doesn’t have the content and it doesn’t have any relevance and it might be a year old website, but it’s old — believe it or not. It’s got to have fresh content… I always refer to it as like a bakery. You’ve always got to be baking fresh bread and it’s a time commitment. When you work with your team, be prepared to work this year, be prepared to get on some podcasts, get on some video, be involved in meetings. You can’t just put a website together and put it up and forget about it. That’s like a bakery baking 10 loaves of bread, and then going out of business.

John: You’ve seen your site grow into the hundreds and hundreds of pages with thousands of keywords ranking.

Cost Per Click Versus Using SEO to Increase Site Traffic

Mike: Oh yeah, absolutely. We’ve gone from… I can remember the day you came in, you showed me the cost per dollar or whatever it was, or how many-

John: If you had to buy those keywords as Google ads.

Mike: Yeah. And you have to buy them and now it’s tripled that it keeps going up. And those are the things that you got to be monitoring every month like I’m saying, you can’t just put up a website and walk away from it.

A website is a full-time job for somebody to just make sure that things are happening properly with it. And what I mean by full-time is, it might be 10 hours of my time. It could be 10 hours of your team’s time, could be 10 hours of my internal marketing person. But within that week, there’s 40 hours of time being spent on those ways to get people to come to your website to look at things.

Talk Marketing Saves Time and Money

John: Yeah. And so talk marketing reduces that time.

Mike: Talk reduces the time drastically.

John: Do you like doing the podcast or videos better when we’re doing those interviews with you or both?

Mike: I want to be honest with you. I love doing podcasting more than I like doing videos. Sometimes I can be a little bit nervous when I start out in the video, but then after I just start talking I’m okay. But the first two minutes of it your palms are sweating and there should be no need for you to really be nervous, but you’ve got a black camera aim at you and you’re just like, “Oh, I don’t want to screw up when I’m doing this video, because people are going to see it.” When you’re talking, you can edit things out.

In reality, when you’re doing a podcast, you’re just talking about something that you love. I love what I do. I’ve enjoyed it for 35 years that I’ve been doing this and I love talking about it. And podcasting to me that’s just… I really enjoy doing them. I actually look forward to doing them.

John: Nice. That’s awesome. And I would just say agree with you on the video side, I do personally have more anxiety about doing the videos, even though like you, I can do it and I can get through it. We would consider you among our top three customers of all time doing video and podcasts. You’re really comfortable and just do it. So that’s cool to hear that there’s a little bit of anxiety, even for you, someone really good at doing all of it.

We have this one guy, a lawyer in Texas where the guy could just rattle off anything on video. We get dozens of videos and we think of you in the same way. So interesting to hear that backstory, that we don’t know that even some of our best customers that are doing this stuff, they’ve got to muster up some courage.

If you could go back in time and change one thing from five or 10 years ago, what would it be with your marketing? If you could kind of rethink it. If you had known this stuff, when you were doing the city pages and the cheesy SEO earlier stuff?

How to Optimize Your Content With Your Knowledge

Mike: I would’ve just hammered on content, content, content, content. Really, I think the way that I would’ve probably approached it was everything that I have in my head that I know about what I do, that’s important to a customer, I would need to get that onto my website somehow, some way versus just the more generic type things.

You have a lot of people that just want to build generic boxes. There’s a lot of marketing companies that have generic type websites and things like that. They don’t really offer customized branding. I probably messed up a lot on our website in the beginning by not knowing really a lot about websites and SEO. And I made some drastic mistakes in the beginning by having multiple websites and trying to do different things, different colors, different brands, different everything… For example, I had a ductless heating and air conditioning website. I had an air conditioning website. I had a micro site. I remember when we first met John, you were like, “What are all these websites?”

John: You’re spread too thin. And I do it myself.

Mike: You are getting too elaborate on SEO because Google doesn’t even know who the heck you are. And probably one thing I learned was to just build one real refined website with, if your trucks are blue and gold, make your website blue and gold. I had blue and gold trucks with a red and white website. It didn’t help the branding. And also, get your logo. Whatever you’re going to do is make sure that your logo is proper and that it’s proper on your website. That it’s proper and everything that you do in your marketing. Those are probably some of the biggest mistakes that I made way back then.

John: Streamlining, making the brand make sense, having a cohesive message-

Mike: Now we have a guide of our logos, of our colors, of what to use, when to use it, where to use it, how to use it, where we didn’t have a lot of that.

Bottom Line: Talk Marketing Makes the Phone Ring

John: Is there anything that’s kind of surprised you about this stuff about talk marketing or the digital strategies we use versus other stuff?

Mike: Well, the way it makes the phone ring.

John: Nice.

Mike: This really didn’t explode till about three years ago, till we really got into it and started doing it. And it was one summer, it was like, “Whoa, what happened here? What’s going on?”

John: All of a sudden you were getting…

Mike: All of a sudden. And you know what else is a really good feeling too, that’s really surprising to me is when my sales team comes to me and says, “You know what sold this job, our website. People are on our website they say, “Who does your website? Your website’s awesome. Who’s this guy, Mike, he’s on all these YouTubes and he explains all these things and does all this different stuff.” And one thing that really surprised me too that really hones in on is that… John and I did a video on a remote control, just a simple remote control that has 456,000 views as of today.

John: Nice.

Mike: I would be like, really? I look at it. I’m just like, “Holy cow. It’s just incredible.” But 456,000 people have looked at my YouTube videos on our YouTube channel, and that’s just one video and it doesn’t even have me in it. It’s just a pen and a remote control in our hand. And it really showed me that from an instructional standpoint, there are people that really need to know these things and we’ve got to create that good content. So how are we going to do it? And let’s put it together.

Videos Create Connections With New and Existing Clients

John: Also, there’s scientific evidence that those videos where you are in it and people see you talking helps them bond with you. I don’t know if you’ve heard that one, but yeah. So that was an interesting comment you made about your team coming back and saying, they’re like, “Who’s this Mike guy?”

Mike: Well, they like the website. They like the feel… they like… It has all the information for them to go look at what their problem solution is of what they’re trying to do and…

John: Right. It’s not just a brochure that’s like, “We’re great and we’ve been in business this long.” You had that before. You said since 1980, whatever when you started in business, that was there already, but what wasn’t there is, “We own this. We know this business well.”

Mike: And this is our content too. This isn’t boxed content that you get by pulling from a manufacturer, this is our content. It doesn’t have that feel of a custom manufacturer putting together. It’s got our feel, our take, our people. It’s real, it’s just, “Hey, this is me and I’m talking about it.” It’s really surprising the people that really go on and watch these. And podcasting is really good and it gives you a lot of words and everything, but I mean, think about it, if you can’t fix something today or you don’t know something today, you just Google it.

John: And YouTube it.

Mike: And YouTube. Who’s got the best information on how to fix this or how to solve this problem or what they’re doing?

How to Get Started With Talk Marketing

John: Yeah, absolutely. And how do you suggest people get started and overcome common obstacles to get on the right path for this kind of digital marketing?

Mike: Proper planning. Plan out your year. That’s what we do, we develop the year. And okay, this is what we’re going to do this year. We’re going to do 20 podcasts, whatever it is. And 10 videos and 20 blog posts and some SEOs pages and case studies and this and that and whatever we’re going to do. The obstacle is don’t just go into it, not knowing what the expectation is or what you need to do. And you know what, stick to your time, stick to your dates.

Look, if you’re going to do a podcast in two months and it’s on the calendar, it’s one hour. I remember what my father used to say to me on Sundays, is “If you can’t go to church for one hour on Sunday, then we got a big problem here. You know what I mean? I’m asking you for one hour out of seven days to go to church with the families. That’s what you’re going to do today.”

But I kind of look at it as that is okay, it’s the one hour, give the one hour to do what you’re going to do. Look, this times things come up, I get it, but make sure you reschedule it too. Get it done. Because if you don’t get it done, a lot of what we are doing relies on us. It doesn’t rely on you. You guys are there for us to do it. We have to do it. We have to spend the time to do the video, do the talking, get the content back to you, make sure it’s approved properly. Just put the time aside, it’s an hour a week, maybe two at best. If you spend two hours working on your business versus working in your business, you’re going to see the results of it real quick.

How Your Marketing Team Can Use Your Words to Generate Better Content

John: Yeah. The talking side of it enables us and your team to put in dozens of hours, but you as the owner, you can spend very little time and that whole snowball of stuff, all of a sudden we’re making… We write blog posts out of that thought leadership. So we take your podcast and your videos. Then we’re writing blog posts that you don’t have to write because we know everything about what you have to say. And we’re not duplicating exactly what you said in the podcast and the videos, but we know the direction to go. Whereas if you just say to an agency, just go write about HVAC or whatever, it comes out kind of generic versus…

Mike: Yeah, they’re going to go find it on the websites. They’re going to go search multiple websites and some of it you’re going to read afterwards and you’re going to be like, “That doesn’t even pertain to what I’m thinking in my head.” Well, go talk about it with someone, get what you got in your head out and let them understand what the heck you’re trying to talk about, so now they can write it.

I did an ebook that we basically, we talked for probably over two hours and then they took the content that I actually talked about and wrote the ebook with that. So you talk about not just a blog post or something else, now we’re getting into ebooks from getting these thoughts out of my head into a 40, 50 page ebook. You know what I mean? That people download from your website that have great information of what they’re looking for. So I mean, that’s even more powerful. Think about it. You’re going to have someone write an ebook for you. Okay. Well, you want them to write this book and understand everything that you are trying to talk about that’s in your head, what’s the best way of doing it? Just talk about it with someone.

John: Yeah. And ghostwriters often like a big part of the process is behind the scenes audio interviews that they then listen to and do writing from. And that’s a good process, but it’s much more expensive as opposed to the way we use talk marketing. We took that two hours of content that you and John did, and we have a writer go through and turn that into prose, but that’s a lot faster and yeah, is it exactly as good as if you sat down and either wrote yourself or worked with a ghostwriter?

It’s possible if you were publishing a book for the New York times bestseller that you could make it better, but getting that content, that ebook that you talked about, I think that should be turned into a printed book like we’re doing with this podcast right now.

This is going to be a printed book on talk marketing. And the whole book is from podcasting. And we’re even telling people, you can use the straight-up transcript. So it’s like, “Hey, here’s a set of five interviews and that’s the book.” You write an introduction, you put in the transcripts, that’s the simplest quickest way. But what you’re talking about is once you gave us all that audio, we were able to transcribe it, yes. But then turn that into prose as opposed to a blog post fine, put it up as a transcript, but when you make an ebook it is nice to turn it into prose. But again, we’re going to just prove this out, that you can even make printed books with the transcript style of it, but you also have the choice to have a writer turn it into prose for you.

But you as the owner, oh man… I know business owners that have come to us to write a book and they’ve spent years already trying to do it, years. And then they’ve got drafts and they’ve got hundreds or thousands of hours into it. Hey, two hours of hardcore talking is nothing to get a book. And I definitely recommend that at some point we print some of the eBooks that we’ve made, because seeing it in even a paperback is awesome to see it physically, because you’ll realize, “Hey, that’s not just an ebook, this is… A book as a book.”

Turning Talk Marketing Into Printed Books

Mike: Yes, we’ve printed paperbacks on those. And I mean we use those in… I do a lot of homeowner seminars and we used to actually do homeowner seminars in our training center. But since the pandemic hit… I used to bring in maybe 15 to 20 homeowners and explain air source pumps to them and what they can do in their homes to make it a greener, cleaner environment and stuff like that.

And now all of a sudden here comes the pandemic, that’s going to stop. And it was a matter of… Now we’re doing some marketing where we’re actually marketing those events and we’re doing them as webinars. We don’t even do them as Zoom meetings anymore. We’ve got it so that it is a webinars, which are registered events. It took me a little bit of time to learn about webinars, but they’re not much different than a Zoom meeting. I did one the other night with the town of Marblehead and I was on the webinar and I was like, “Okay, well here’s four or five eBooks you can go download for more information.” They’re asking me questions about certain things. And I just pointed to the website and said, “Here, go here. It’s all in these books.”

Again, it takes time to make those, but look, if you’ve got those, people are then going to buy the products from you because they see that you’re the best at what you do. I always say everyone does a little bit of everything, but what can you really specialize in? What are you specializing in? So those eBooks that come from a lot of talking and a lot of them come from writing different things, but doing different things. But you’ve got to put the time in. It’s the time that you have to put in.

John: And you have printed those is what you’re saying, not published as a book at a printing company.

Mike: Correct. I copyrighted a couple of them though, just to make sure that my competitors didn’t get their hands on them so I did copyright them.

John: And then you print them out and have them on the chairs when people come in.

Mike: We print them when… They’re a nice touch of the way you can do things. Because I actually even saw a contractor down in Florida over the winter time who does kitchen cabinets and remodels kitchens and homes. And he said, “Go to my website and download my ebook for the 10 most common questions to ask your kitchen remodeling contractor.” And I’m like, “Okay, well he had to put that together, had someone probably do it in a podcast and write it up and have it on his website and do things like that. But the way things are being done now, it’s totally different than five to 10 years ago with your websites.

Talk Marketing Works; It’s Worth the TIme

John: Yeah. And the proof is in the pudding. I would say my biggest takeaway from listening to you today is that your team is coming back to you and saying, “This isn’t a wasted effort. This isn’t some marketing scheme that Talk Marketing or McDougall Interactive came up with.” We’ve put a lot of hard effort in, it seems kind of crazy at times. You’re getting dozens of calls a day and in the peak season, and people are saying, “The content is what turned me on to buy from you.”

Mike: And the other thing too, John, is that these videos are super powerful, because think about if you’re a homeowner and you call into me and we’ve set an appointment to come to your home. And I send you a confirmation email saying, “Hey thank you for having us in your home.” And I have four videos attached to that. One of them might be about tricky spaces or questions to ask when the salesperson comes out to your home, these are all videos that we’ve done.

And we have four or five good canned ones that just get put right into the email for the, thank you that you’ve booked an appointment. I think one of them actually has the cost of our systems in there and what is this going to cost? What should you expect to see when you come out there? One of them is how it works. One of them is about rebates, things like that.

Because this is all knowledge that you need to know as a prospective buyer that we want to give you that information before we even come out to the house. So, you’ll be amazed. We can look at that because we use HubSpot on the back end of all of these things, they’re all tagged on those pages and we can see if you’ve actually looked at those videos. And if you’ve viewed three of the four videos and opened up the email and reviewed them, it’s a pretty good qualification that you’re going in there and the homeowner is educated before you get there.

There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down with a homeowner who is totally uneducated about what you do and how you do it. And they just want you to come out there. I mean we don’t want to just go out to someone’s home, we want to educate them. How do you educate them? Well, you got to talk about what you do. You got to do videos on what you do. You got to have info on your website about what you do. You got to have some products of what you sell. There’s some time involved. You’ve got to spend the time.

Talk Marketing and the Authority Content Flywheel

John: Yeah. And I think that’s kind of in closing here, we have a thing we call the authority content flywheel. And the idea is that all this stuff we’ve been talking about in this chat today is good, but it gets better when you use a tool, whether a HubSpot or InfusionSoft now called Keap, with marketing automation. So you get a lead in, you need to respond within five minutes or an hour, but then if you just drop it, what a waste of a lead. But if you have say three to seven emails or whatever amount of workflow you get going, they become a lead and then they get another email and another email and another email with good, helpful content. Check out the ebook, check out…

All those stages of educating your customers that you’re talking about, doesn’t just happen with them coming to the website once, you want to entice them with your email marketing automation, workflows and sharing this stuff on social media. So all that big effort to make all this talk marketing content then gets extrapolated out into a system or a flywheel it’s a good system.

Mike: Right? Yeah. We got purchased by private equity a year ago, so we’re one of 20 companies today, probably 24 by the end of the week, maybe. I don’t know. And it’s amazing when I talk to the marketing director and he looks at us and he says, “How do you guys get so much search engine generic leads without paying for him?” He says, “You’re the only company out of all these companies that we own that can do this.” And I just looked at him and I said, “You’ve got to put the time in.” He says, “If I ever told some of these other companies that this is what they had to do to create content, they would look at me and say, “We don’t have the time to do it.” So they just use a lot of different services to…

John: Mostly paid ads. It’s…

Mike: It’s all paid ads. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in paid ads and billboards and look, I know brand recognition. I understand all that. And they do need to drive that business. They can’t just stop what they’re doing right now and say, “Oh, okay, we’re going to create a video and do all this.” But we just started working with another one of the companies and started to create this. We started with baby steps and doing this with one of the companies that they own. I’m very skeptical to see as to what happens I think we’re going to see things happening but…

John: It’s moving in the right direction and we’ve starting with an hour a month talking commitment. And then of course there’s all other stuff, but we’re doing a lot of that.

Mike: I would say start it young, don’t start it old.

John: Yeah. And that’s a great testament, 20 plus companies and you are the only one of the companies they bought and own that had anything like the SEO success and content success.

All right, Mike. Well, it was great talking to you today. And this has been John with Talk Marketing Academy and Mike with N.E.T.R., Inc. And check out NETR for the great content about HAVC and Mitsubishi ductless systems and give him a ring. He’s a great provider of that as you can hear, and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

Mike: Thanks John. Have a great day.

John: Good talking to you buddy.


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