Todd Jones takes over the SDM Podcast and interviews Rob Cairns.
- Rob’s technical background.
- Rob’s business background.
- How Rob started his agency.
- How Rob promotes his business.
Hey everyone and welcome to the SDM show. If you can tell I’m not Rob Cairns. My name is Todd Jones. I’ve been on the show a few times and I’ve hacked into Rob’s Streamyard account and I’m going to record this show for him. We’ll have a. Little fun know how sometimes people will take over an e-mail newsletter. Well, this is takeover day Friday the takeover day with Todd Jones from copy flight and Rob asked me to interview him today. So here we are. And hey, Rob, I’m gonna say hey, how are you?
I do good. It’s like 17 Celsius or 20 Celsius. It feels like spring out there and there’s leaves everywhere, which means more work for Rob to do, but that’s a.
Yeah, never is. There’s job security, right?
Yep, of course.
Household job security.
So close, there’s always job security, Todd.
Now fall is one of. My favorite times of the year. Actually, and we’re getting deep into the college football season and you and I are both big college football football fans and I’m a fan of the Razorbacks in Arkansas, which of course, is not having that grand of a year. But Florida State, I’m rooting for it because they’re still winning and they’re undefeated. And they also, here’s here’s a nice little connection for your audience. The SCM show. Florida is state is robs team and their head football coach is a guy named Mike Norvell and Mike Norvell played his college football at the University of Central Arkansas right here in Conway, AR, where I live. I’m actually I tell. The people on. In Steve Rohrer’s back room that I’m, I’m. My office is just two. Blocks from tote tuck square. But Mike played football at the UCA and he he was an interesting looking fellow back in the I think it was the early 80s. He played here or maybe mid late 80s, back when they were a powerhouse and NAIA football. And so there’s a little bit of a. Connection for you. For the the listeners of the SDM show. But this is gonna be kind of a getting to know Rob segment and for some reason he thought I was the guy to ask the questions and true, I do know a lot of the stuff he’s gonna talk about, so maybe I am the right guy to ask. Question to to do this. So you ready, Rob?
Yeah, of course I’m ready. So what? Let’s.
I should I should have two. I should have 10 rapid fire questions ready for.
Bring it on.
You that would be so. Much fun, but I don’t but. But let’s just start with this a couple of either or top questions. Cake or cookies? Coffee or tea? Coffee. Tacos or pizza? All right, sounds good to me. Sounds like a good Canadian answer anyway. OK, so now we know a little bit about Rob, but let’s start with you wanted me to ask you about a couple of different like beginnings Origin stories. Is what we call them. In the business world, one is the WordPress and one is the agency origin story. Let’s start with the WordPress origin story. I know you were helping family members with pictures and events, and that’s kind of how I got started. Can you take us back to the time in which you jumped into the WordPress space?
Sure. Glad to. Originally in my family, I’m kind of like the all tech guru that as the old port calls it, the tech guy in the family that’s been my business. Or though over 30 years so not surprising and we go to family get togethers and Rob would be the one with the camera in his hand. So if you looked at a lot of family get togethers, ohh probably 30 years ago. I’m not in a lot of pictures and then I got smart and started handing my my camera to people and said make sure you get me in some pictures. Because it just worked out that way. The guy with the video camera and the camera at that time time delay wasn’t the same. And one of the things I would do is take those pictures and throw them on a slide show on an HTML website and my first website was under the domain. Karens-clan.com clan is a a genealogy term for family and if you go to that URL today, actually forwards to my business. The line so I still own the original URL I start. And I created a technical website where I threw all these pictures on and then I threw all the silly techie questions. Family members kept asking me because. I got tired of answering, so I’d say go here, read. It and then. If almost like an FAQ frequently asked Questions page. And then I discovered WordPress and moving everything to a content management system made the personal side easy, and at that time I was still on point in healthcare. I had no intention on starting an agency and. It just kind of. Went on.
Let me ask you. A question that the camera you were using, was it a a film camera or a digital camera? At that time.
Probably a bit of both. Film and digital. So I didn’t really start really the venturing down the hobby photography site until digital and I’ve actually got digital pictures back to 1999. Believe it or not. So that’s about the time the 1st. Digital camera Home was a A1 megapixel, 1 megapixel HP Hewlett Packard. And my mom.
Our funds are better than ours.
Yeah, all owned A1 megapixel Canon and used it for real estate. Believe it or not. So that was kind of my family’s venture into the digital Cambridge.
Yeah, I laugh and say that. My camera that I have now is probably a whole lot better than the first digital. So I got it. I believe it was staples several years ago. A little bitty old. Saying that you. Know probably it’s probably a hundred 100 bucks or something. I don’t know. It was it what? You know what I could. Afford and and use that. Thing in different. Venues. But before we move into like how you. That that’s how you got the WordPress you’re using it to help with your. Family website. I’m not sure if people know because before WordPress rob actually did technical work in the healthcare facilities, everything from customer service to I guess some help desktop stuff. Can you elaborate on that just? A little bit.
Yeah. And even before that, my original background is actually coding. I’m an old school cobalt programmer. There’s a language from the Dark Age of Business systems came out of school in 88, came out of college, took my first job with Allstate Life Insurance. Then went over to a a fraternal life insurance company called the Independent Order Foresters. Got tired of that. They went directions and then got into Technical Support. So I rented. I landed in healthcare, which is really what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with personal computers, but it was beyond. It was ahead of my time at the time. I was responsible for driving your 2000 project Women’s College Hospital at the time, so that was a big Y2K migration of PC’s on nursing units and end users and all kinds of stuff. And then I in healthcare, I did everything from being on the on call team being a senior member of our on call team. So that was the first page at night would go out to the client services support team. Running projects ran multitude of projects in the emerge and in the OR and various people. One of my favorite projects was we put before tablets. We put PC’s on wheels in the OR carts wireless PC’s so they could take them in an operating room and move them around the room. They weren’t kind of latched to a wall. Or a desk or something. And spend a lot of time doing on call support, service support, exchange support. So I’ve kind of been all over the technical side of the business little bit.
Yeah, and your your schooling. You’re after high school. Your schooling was actually in technology, was it not?
It was a business admin with a major in programming. I’ve also got as of today, I’ve got continued education. I’ve got 17 designations after my name. Believe it or not, and everything from. Project management to Facebook ads to you name it. So the big thing is I’ve kept up my skills and I have two colors diplomas and one of those is in the technical side as well.
So you started your first WordPress site was for the Karens clan.
What? What came?
Next, what was the next WordPress project that you worked on?
A couple for some nonprofits to help out a couple blogs for some nonprofits back before, when WordPress was only a blogging platform. And I was thinking the other day, one of my longest clients in my business is the Burlington Conservative Association. They’ve been with me now over 10 years, so. Well, you know, I’ve got some really good long term are relationships. I built them a website had to deal with a a web developer who didn’t want to give up domain names. Have we all been? There or what you? Know and deal with that and they’re still long term clients of mine now who’s actually on the phone with him yesterday. So shout out to them.
So at this point in your career, you’re still doing the IT healthcare and this WordPress stuff is just like something you do on your own time, kind of a side hustle. Right. So when did you? Transition from hey, this is the freelance. I do it on the side to hey, I’m going to go full agency.
So 15 years ago coming up in March, my boss’s boss called me and I’d been on vacation for three weeks and they basically said they didn’t need me anymore. We’re we’re gonna buy you out. And I said OK, and I wasn’t surprised, to be honest with you. There were changes going on. I didn’t like at the time and. Somebody had asked me six weeks before. Would he gonna do with her changes? I said, oh, I’m gonna force him to buy me out. They’ve been there long enough so, and they bought me out and my dad was dying of pancreatic cancer at. The time so. The cool thing was that enabled me in the last six weeks of his life or 4 weeks. Weeks to be at his bedside every day, 12 hours a day. Ironically, the day he passed away, I was the only one of my siblings not in the room. At the time I had got for lunch and I think that’s the way you wanted it. So I just. I don’t kick myself for that. And then I kind of after he passed away, took a vacation and then got the agency going full tilt and went from there.
So yeah, I guess you were on a contract then with the IT healthcare. If they they had to buy you out.
No, I wasn’t. I was on. Salary. I’ve been there over. 21 years at the time. So when the when the Canadian employment laws that they let you go 190 US where they can terminate you for any reason, it costs you money so.
I actually walked away with almost. Two years salary to be. With you.
Good. OK. So what was your first step? You you decided you you probably had. You probably didn’t do anything for six months, right? You you had the freelance stuff going on, but you probably didn’t go full time because you’re, you know, end of life for your father and attending to that. But after, you know, whenever that had passed and you had an opportunity to kind of. Catch your breath and OK, next thing. What? What was next for you?
I started doing some websites for some small businesses because at that point WordPress was coming out of the blogging sphere and becoming a a full CMS. One of the first CMS first page builders I ever landed on was one called headlight. Headway themes and those in the WordPress space know about the the tobacco with headway and how they fell apart. And then I went from kind of went from the headway development to using Aveda, which is. A theme by theme force. That’s their number one selling theme of all time and has a page built or built right into it, then morphed into Beaver Builder and then into blocks. But the other thing we’re sharing is I just. I learned early on that websites were only part of the equation. And that I needed to find a way to market these websites for clients and just putting out the website wasn’t good enough. So I spent a lot of time. Doing some marketing courses, one of my big mentors in the game is Paul. Toby. Those in the word space WordPress space will know Adrian Toby, the founder of Groundhog Police, Adrian’s dad, and I’m forever grateful to some courses I took with Paul many, many years ago. Paul and I are still friends to this day. And colleagues, so that’s important to me. And then I just I realized the best way to market sites one was an e-mail newsletter and then I kind of went from there.
Yeah, that’s. Well, again, I guess we’re kind of getting your business, your marketing background, but what but for those who actually manage websites or build websites for people? I mean you, you. How I kind of liken it to uh. A new physical location of the. No one’s gonna buy anything. They don’t come into store. So you got to. Get to the floor and you know and.
I I tell. People harkening back to the old movie with Kevin Costner. You know, if you build it, that doesn’t mean they’ll come, you know, like in the movie. If you build it, they will come. That doesn’t. That’s not how it works in the world. And sure, you know, there is some things you can do and SEO is part of the equation equation. But most of the stuff we do is kind. Of long. Term, right? You know whether it’s content marketing or. Or or even an SEO pin of some kind, but. You have found. That, and I think it’s true. You can get quicker traction with advertising marketing. You know, digital advertising. And so I guess at. This point you. Know and you did. You did talk about the e-mail newsletter. We’ll get to that. Here, but I guess this is the point where you like you learned the marketing part of it and how you said you had the Facebook advertising, you know certification that kind of thing. This is probably the point where you begin to learn how to do some of those things. Is that correct?
Yeah, and the only way to learn is trial and error and seeing what works. Talking to I’m a big fan of talking to people that have. Done it before. And that are smarter than you like. I’m a big fan of that reading, divorcing, attending workshops, taking courses and then trying it because not everything works. And the other thing. I’d say about digital advertising is it’s. Really hard, the rules have changed so much in the last five years and.
And if we then if you get banned, like in my case, my business dealings been banned from Facebook for over 2 years. So for me running Facebook ads is almost pointless to be honest with you. Like there’s no point.
Yeah. So do you, do you Google ads when you do ads or is that is that the only thing you with? I know you do.
I’ve done some Google ads. I’ve done some LinkedIn ads. I haven’t done any in the last six months. But for me, yeah, for clients. And it depends what they.
Yeah. I mean, your business is you’ve you’ve hit that critical mass for your e-mail newsletter, and your podcast is kind of keeping things rolling for sure. So that’s kind of let’s go back to your mentor, Mr. Toby. Tell me his first name is is. It’s Adrian’s dad. What’s Paul? Yeah, it’s.
Paul kind of thing.
And we and we. Go ahead.
I was gonna say, what do you what did you learn? I mean, you know, three or four points. What did you really learn from him as a, as a mentee from Paul? Toby.
I would say the number one thing was mindset. Paul and I used to have an agreement in classes. He he realized that I usually I knew more technically and more than most of us do. So we actually had an agreement and courses and these were like WhatsApp style courses, business courses. So you’d have 10 people, 15 people. Paul runs a company called training business Pros. He used to have a location in Toronto where he offered workshops. He doesn’t anymore. He now lives in Niagara on the lake. And the biggest thing, honestly was mindset. I mean, he always said. That technically, and I was really good, I just needed to get the mindset that so for me that was probably the number one thing I would say to you. I probably learned more from Paul through conversations before and after class and sometimes in classes. And that’s hard to believe. It was just those after Cuff convos, we’d have sitting at his desk before he go in to teach. And so for me, mindset I would, I would almost bet.
Yeah, that’s and sometimes we do learn more, you know, from someone in a more casual setting than we do in the formal setting. The formal setting is almost like the formal setting gives us access to the casual setting. You know. And so anyway, yeah, so. You begin to. Grow your business, I guess at this point you’d taking classes from Paul and begin to learn about marketing. Can you take us back? You know, some of the? Things you did to to grow your business.
A lot of advertising early on, a lot of word of mouth, a lot of seminars, speaking engagements and somebody asked me speak, I jump. I don’t think I’ve found the stage I don’t like. I started growing in an e-mail newsletter early, which we’ll talk about. Blogging at the time blogging back then was still a big deal and got more traction, I believe, than it does today and things like that and just being helpful to people. If somebody’s got a question on X, formerly known as Twitter, answer it. Help them. That kind of stuff and get involved. That’s the other thing.
So not long ago and and it’s, you know, it’s been a few years now, cause probably as long as I’ve known you, maybe before that even you begin to narrow down a big part of your business to website maintenance WordPress website maintenance and thereby web security which is really an extension of. Website maintenance. WordPress maintenance because it’s it’s a have to right. You know it’s not an optional deal. You have to have website security just some. Degree. Can you talk a little about your decision to really go into the the WordPress maintenance space and thereby the security part of it as well?
Yeah. So one of the biggest factors started was reoccurring revenue security is reoccurring. A lot of its work behind the scenes. A lot of it. Not that I’m talking to people. I’m pretty extrovert. But as you know. But I mean you don’t have to spend a lot of time with clients dealing with that. I don’t get a lot of. Client calls about stuff not working. I’m working on one. Problem right now. The other thing is the problem. When you cite builds is the term we call in the. Business scope creep. That’s funny. Time this recording I was in build mode this morning, and that subject came up again and how to deal with it. And I’m pretty pointed. I kind of say I attribute building websites, so I go into a restaurant. So if you want the glass of wine, that’s $6. If you want the. In food, it’s X dollars. If you want to dessert it’s X dollars, you want to sell the $6 websites are no different and clients seem to have a problem with that. They want the world, the Porsche for into prices and that’s a bit of a problem. So I decided unless it was in the high end client, I wasn’t getting in the new bills. And security extension is interesting because when I were. On the help desk and the client services level at the hospital, security was always a big interest of mine and a lot of my learning came from the legendary hacker Kevin Mitnick at one time who just actually recently passed away. And the discussion there was he got me interested in this whole. Socially engineering and how we hack stuff and so that just became a big interest of mine and protecting clients and helping them and doing, making sure we did the right data back up. So that’s kind of how the security sitting them.
And yeah, I would say you’ve become a leader in the WordPress space insecurity. There’s a there’s. Probably 5 people 5 to 10 people who are really top level and I would put. You in that. Group and you work with them, you work. With all those people. Anyway, all those people that I would all the. Other people in that group. Like they worked with. I already worked with Rob. Rob, you’re in communication with people like Kathy Zant and some of the others that are really good in the security space and so. You you really. Decided to focus on that, especially from your public like what you’re talking about. You could have gone anywhere marketing, whatever you decided to go security. And it believes over into everything you do you you preach it on social media pretty and you have gone to different we call. Webinars I guess. We had virtual webinars when the physical webinars were.
Cut off and.
That would pretty much be primarily what you. Do it’s it’s it’s a good lead. In, I guess you might say. To to more. Work and but. You have really taken an interest in that. What’s what’s it look like for you now and? What do you see? Security looking like for you in your business moving forward.
So right now, thank you to Main WP who you do some work for and you know well, give them a smarter than our friend Mr. Dennis over there, love, love that he’s created. I manage over 400 WordPress websites, give or take somewhere in that ballpark. And as at the time of this record I’m talking to. A couple more. Agencies about taking on their stuff. So. The problem is the average business owner doesn’t take care of their website hygiene. I will tell you that and it’s easier to pay somebody a couple 1000 bucks a year and just get out of it and say do it for me and try and do it themselves. And the other thing I’ll tell you is security is all based on trust. So it’s do you trust the person you’re working with to be upfront and honest with you? Tell you most of business is based on trust? So it’s funny. I’ve had clients move away and it seems when they move away, they seem to get hacked pretty regularly and then they come back and it’s just it’s just interesting. So. I think more people need to take the security side seriously, even on a small website.
Well, that’s fun. Interesting with what? What has happened with your business? And I’m not sure if others in the perhaps a couple people might be in the same boat, but you’re you’re doing security maintenance for not just your own personal clients, but you’re doing it for other agencies. So it’s almost like you. Become a white label. For other agencies, I find that fasting, which puts more people under your umbrella, which is why. You’re probably one of the top five. People in the main WP community with the most sites I would I would put you up there. I know there’s a couple that are pushing 1000 so you know, but but you have gained a lot of your customers and maintenance simply from helping other agencies. First of all say. Kudos, those agencies. And found a solution that wasn’t their strong suit and reached out to you and said would you do this? For me but. How does that get started? I mean, you know. Most people are. Not willing to let somebody else manage their other people, you know their own websites and. Then there’s cost ones out.
I reached out to some agencies and basically offered them to do it for them and just kept pounding that pounding that drum because you know how website owners don’t have time to do this. Well, most agency owners. Don’t want to do it. Either. So that’s the other problems. What are you doing once you specialize?
Well, let me ask you this then. The those agency owners, were they already doing it and just didn’t like it or was it getting something getting lost, you know, in the in the cracks or when you reached out to them, like, where was their status on doing security and maintenance?
A bit of both, actually. So some were doing it, doing it well and then some were. Not our problem. They were leaving money on the table.
So they weren’t OK, So what did they? So if they weren’t doing it, did they have to, like, get their site to client, their client to sign? Up or how did that work?
Yeah, basically get to sign client to sign up, give the agency a cut, and you know, there’s a subcontractor charge when they need to. Charge that’s.
That’s, you know, and that speaks to security, the needs security. And you sent me a e-mail. The other you sent me an e-mail with a link to an another security breach at a major university. And they’re out every day. And and, you know, I have a friend in the cyber. Security space in the in the Little Rock area. And so between you and him and and Ryan, even, sometimes I keep up with this and it’s really fascinating. And I am a beginner level on this thing compared to like you, but. You know I. I do my best to keep up. Thinking a perfect. World. I’ll just let you take all my class too. But you. Helped me, so that’s good.
Let’s move forward to. You know, one of the you you did 2. Things you, you you used 2. Or you talk about two things that you used to grow your business. Now that’s not because you did say that you did some advertising in the early days. You did a lot of speaking, a lot of networking. We grew kind of organically that. Way and some of the things that probably every business needs. To do but. Nowadays you don’t do as much of that. Because you have. A robust podcast which we are on right now and a robust e-mail marketing list. So let’s first of all I. Know you, you. You did the blogging for a while, went back in the days when you said just putting an article out. Got you a lot of traffic traction. But then you switch to doing the podcasting, which I don’t know. What episode are we on now?
367 or 360 somewhere.
367 and in the ages of podcasting, I mean, I think Joe Casa bonus says most people will get past six.
Danny Brown would still the same Bob done and do the rule that said the same Nathan Wiggle would say the same work. Yeah. And it’s funny when we did episode 202 hundred, we had a little bit of fun. We did a a legends of four press podcasting. So we had Nathan, Bob and I just after 200 all on together and that. Was a bit of a shock to say the truth.
To two of the best voices along with you.
Yeah, it was fun. Nobody. Nobody.
Bob and Nathan have radio. Voices have I ever heard, you know they are? I always said my dad would have been. A good podcast host. He had he did have the distinctive baritone radio voice, and he did actually DJ some back in the 70s. So. And he also did public address. For the dirt track where I grew up, so he would have been a great podcast host. But anyway, yeah, that’s how I need to go. Back and listen to. That episode, but I’m assuming it’s. A little bit more casual, relaxed and fun.
Yeah, it was. It was trying to get a word in edgewise between the three of us was like, well, we just kind of let it go. It was back when I was doing audio only too. So there’s no real video of it. It is on YouTube, but. It’s an audio. Track so yeah.
OK, so when did you start the podcasting thing? I know there’s been some. Different iterations, but you you had. Two at one time and you combined them.
Yeah, it was like. It was like 2020. I decided I could to start two podcasts at once for a novice podcast or what? A bad idea, don’t you?
Great idea. Great idea. I’m with you, man. I’ve done my share of the same thing.
And then what happened was I merged the two into one, which is titled DSDM Show, which is the one that’s gone on. And now it started was I reached out to a friend and said I want to do an interview about the book. I want to do a one time shot and then I realized how much I like doing it. So I just started doing it, and I’ve I’ve played with. Different formats, so typically. Really the format now is early in the week I drop a solo show and then later in the week I’ll drop an interview. So usually when this comes out, this will probably will place the solo show so that will be kind of how we drop that. And that’s kind of been my format for the last while. Sometimes when I do my monthly episode with Ryan, I might sneak an extra episode in or something’s noteworthy, but it it’s a lot of work. I mean to do podcasting. I’m probably putting in 10 hours a week of business promotion every week, so. That’s right.
What I started to say, the thing that about you a lot of people may not realize a lot of full-time podcasters. And I’m not saying you do this whole. Time, but people who? Have the longevity that you have that Bob has that Nathan, that Joe Casabona Kim Dole some of people have done it for a long time. Sometimes they outsource the production part, which I’m a fan of, although I don’t like to give the money away. You do not outsource the project of the production part, you do it yourself. That’s why it takes you at least 10 hours.
Yeah, and and I don’t take ads from third parties. So the nice thing about that somebody asked me about that in build mode and we were talking about affiliate marketing. And I said, you know, I don’t even do affiliate marketing because that means my podcast is carpet wash. So I’m the problem is when you take ads, you always got to watch about.
Peeling off your your advertisement, I’m having advertisers. It’s my business. So I can say whatever I want. Mean you want to be respectful. But I can call companies out. I I’ve called companies out. I’ve called Matt my own wake out. So as many people may or may not. Know so yeah.
Yeah. So can you. I mean you had you had two, you had the solo and then you had the interview shows. And I’m a fan of interview shows too, but sometimes they can go on a long time and be hard. To to to keep up with but. You have interviewed some, some really some top name guests, both in the WordPress space and outside the WordPress space. I know I’ve hooked. You up with a few people? I still have at least one more to hook you up with, but what? What kills me about Rob? And and this is. Something that not even on their little. Sheet that I. Wrote down, but Rob is this boracic and I don’t. That’s right. Word. He’s this major consumer of books. He probably reads a book a week, maybe 2. I don’t know and. What’s funny about Rob, which I and I don’t expect this time I say something to my. Hey, Rob, I just started reading a new book and you. Know I don’t get excited about books too much. I just started reading new book. This is a great book. Let me show you and I’m not thinking Rob’s gonna go out buy the book the next day. He’s bought the book and then he’s probably read finished the book before. I have. I mean he is a so he he reads a whole lot and I think you know that’s a a credit I like to digest stuff a lot. Which is probably one reason I don’t read very fast, so probably takes me too long to read books because of that and I get I get distracted easily. But can you talk a little bit about your, your love affair with reading books?
So it start. It started off when I was young. My grandfather was an avid reader. My dad’s dad, Bob or Robert and my grandmother Pearl was an avid reader. My father was an avid reader. My mother is not an avid reader. I have three brothers. Two of us are avid readers. Two of us are not. My youngest brother Graham in Fort Saskatchewan, AB, outside Edmonton, is in avid region, so we both. And I started reading a voice service. By the name of. The Hardy Boys when I was young.
Yeah, yeah, I’m already boisterous.
My father had the old brown covered ones from when he was a boy, so not even the newer.
Ones the old ones.
And I started reading that and I fell in love with that. My genre for reading is interesting. It’s usually. In the fiction side, it’s either mystery Hardy boys. Or science fiction. Or what we call historical fiction. So historical fiction like a guy like John Jakes, who wrote the North and South miniseries? That’s. And the beauty? Of reading fiction books is I paint a picture in my head. I can see exactly what’s going on, how what’s going on now. I read a lot of business books I’m reading right now. I’m just finishing off. Kristen writes book on journaling. Which I’m actually Christine worked for automatic and has been a guest on this show. Actually, she worked for a journaling app called the day one. App. Yep, so. Which I absolutely love. And Kristen’s book is called the transformational year. It’s a great book, the next non business book I’m gonna read is a book called the Having a non anxious life by Doctor John Dooney. It just came out. It’s been sitting on my shelf for 10 days now. So on the pile. And he’s a. A psychotherapist who talks to people to help get them through life problems. He’s a mental health guy, as Psycho, and he has a podcast, so he’s that. So there’s. You know my reading and. Of course I have an interest in sports history, hockey history. I have over 300 hockey history books in storage. And people laugh at that. And say, yeah, but hockey history. I just love, they know more about the game in the 40s and 50s. I know other people that lived during that time. So that’s. Kind of what?
From a lot of my Canadian lot of my Canadian friends, both men and women, are huge hockey. And the one that she’s not really a fan. But, you know, I’m talking about the one that really cracks me up as Renee Paquette. The the voice on. AW, she’s a she’s a sports. She doesn’t enter, does it, backstage interviews on all Elite wrestling. She used to be on WWE and used. You said she started her career. At the TSN, I think you’re in Canada as. A sports reporter.
She loves her hockey, she loves her hockey and I’m not sure if her husband, who’s from Cincinnati, cares a look about. Hockey, but they’re a they’re an interesting. Duo. But she loves her.
Several big people started hers and the other big one notable. Since we’re talking about called football with Mark Jones, who covers ABC college football, Mark played his brother Paul is the voice of the Toronto Raptors on radio. Actually, they’re both in the sports broadcasting and they both played with my second. Cousin Tim Rider at York University basketball. So the Jones family. I got to know quite well many, many years ago so.
We could go down this road. I have a friend whose dad played back in the day at. I want to say. It was one of. The Ivy League schools wanted in that area and. His it sounded like his. Claim to fame was tackling Jim Brown. So she’s got a picture of that. Today he he played, he was a contemporary Jim Brown.
My favorite goaltender, my favorite goalie of all time, played at an Ivy League school called Cornell, and that was the the one the only magical #29 Ken Drive in the Montreal Canadiens came out of the Avon Lake. So.
And I have often said one of my favorite books of all time is written by a guy named. Gary Andrew Poole about Red Grange. I think it is simply called the Galloping Ghost. Excellent book and I have a whole story about how I ended up getting that book, but that that’s not for this podcast. I want to move into our last topic of conversation. I feel like it’s a culmination of everything we just talked about. It’s like a funnel going right into this one subject because I believe probably everything that we just talked about funnels. Right into your e-mail marketing list, because whether it’s security or even your love of books or whatnot, because you’ve given books away.
Through your e-mail list, you share technical expertise. WordPress security even talk about your caucus. It all seems to funnel into that e-mail marketing list.
That’s. Yeah, it’s it’s funny. When I started growing a list, I recognized early on. There’s only two things, you know, your website, your e-mail list and people say, well, the e-mail US platform can go down. And my answer that is I export my e-mail us once a month no matter what I do. So that’s secret there. I’ve got about. I guess 8000 active, I probably have about 13,000 total. The Kid e-mail was is of course to Premier list and stop sending the people not opening, you know people say that’s cheating, adding their stats. I would say no, that’s about impacting deliverability. Talk to Jason resnick. No. The to Jason sometime and shadow to Simon. He’s another one. He’s a Simon Harper. He’s a male chimp. Cause and what I’ll tell. You is the. Whisky gives you some freedom, so I. Can write. What do you want? Anything I want. I typically don’t do. Hard sales, but I have lately I’ve done a couple, you know? Get on your security band MIC and and do it. I’ll share tips, I’ll share tricks I think I’m going to do, one that I’m going to drop tomorrow, which is just going to be some tips and stuff like that and just keep working your list and when people reply to your list, answer them, reach out to them. Good time.
To me, it’s a major deal when somebody replies 9 times out of 10, it’s through the e-mail list, but like I had a a little last e-mail I sent. Somebody actually talked about. It on Twitter. And I was like ohh wow. OK, this is great. Somebody actually mentioned what I talked about on Twitter. And you know, I don’t get a. Lot of those but. So each precious. When I do get one, let me ask you to. I’m assuming this is going to come out in the next week or two. Am I right about?
That next couple weeks you are next vacation.
OK, here’s a let me get you to give some advice and feedback for those listening who are probably all in the same about the same boat, mostly agencies that kind. Of thing and. Regarding e-mail, we are coming into the Black Friday season Cyber Monday. All that jazz now most of us are service providers. We don’t really have. Products to sell half off or whatever, some some may, but what is the best way to take advantage of the frenzy that’s going on as a service provider, a tech service provider at that with the Black Friday Cyber Monday craze?
Be honest with their customers and don’t lie to them. So by that I mean a lot of tech companies will inflate their prices before they offer the discount. Don’t. Do that guys. Do it on your current pricing, so don’t. Don’t auto inform. It’s OK to send an e-mail out that says you will not offer these prices again this year. If you’re going to do that, be honest and. Don’t do like. I’ve done that recently. I’ve I jumped my advertising before Black Friday, as you know, so I’ve I’ve gone that route. Be honest. Keep in mind that. People might be interested in your other products still worry about building the relationship in the emails. I know I’ve got an e-mail rule that says that Black Fridays in the subject line take the e-mail and toss it into this folder and I might get to it and. I might not. Just because my inbox is so. Inundated so I’ve actually set up a Black Friday rule, Cyber Monday rule and and just kind of work it and and try and build that relationship more important than the sale price is building that relationship and that trust of 1. And to me that’s more important if you don’t have something to offer that’s. Well, maybe give away some 30 minute coaching sessions maybe, and give away a limited of five on Black Friday. What’s that gonna cost you some time? Think about it. Be creative.
And would you start in with this as soon as November gets here because because I think you know everybody will get over it, you know, overwhelmed when when Black Friday gets here, they’re going to get all these emails. And I I think maybe starting with your clients month but. I it’s just the. That part maybe starting in early November. On all this stuff.
I would suggest starting in November and I would say you probably need your pins in place like right about the time in this air. So you need to get your plans moving quickly like and the same thing for Christmas too. By the way, you should be starting your Christmas e-mail marketing now. Don’t wait till December 15th. Too late. Don’t wait till December 1st.
- That, that, that, that begs the question for me here and I’m gonna tap into your expertise. You have the Black Friday Cyber Monday, which is right after Thanksgiving, American Thanksgiving. Obviously, you guys already had yours, but. You’re talking about your Christmas campaign as a service provider. What kind of campaign would a Christmas campaign look like?
One of the things a lot of companies have is money. At the end of the financial year and a lot of companies still go January to December. So maybe you want to tap into offering a service at a discount to get them in as a loss leader. Maybe you’ll want to offer a discount on a software package that wasn’t as good as your Black Friday. Package, maybe a one off or something where you give them a. Free book it’s the. Same type of advertising just typically not as good as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
So you would do that in December?
I would do. It starting as soon as Cyber Monday is over.
OK, hadn’t thought about, you know, typically your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas stuff is either e-commerce or product companies not so much service service companies will try to. Piggyback it sometimes, but you know, I don’t usually do a lot. And during the holidays myself, because I’m usually focused on other stuff, but I have some ideas already.
But on the security side, December is one of my biggest months for me. They’re not because people have money table their budgets left and at their calendar financial years January to December, they’re spending money they want to.
Use it so.
So the once a year payments that they you might be able to get that in. December. OK, good to know. All right, well, I hope this was helpful to everybody. Hopefully helpful to you and thanks for letting me ride along with you on this.
Yeah. Thanks, Todd. I appreciate you coming on as always.
All right. I don’t have any cool 1 liners and other than Dusty Rhodes, and that was a get, a dream. Hold on to it and shoot for the sky. So long.