Tom Schwab began his professional life as a U.S. Navy officer running a nuclear power plant on an aircraft carrier. As his family grew, he decided to separate from the Navy and went into industry. He later started his own business selling alternatives to crutches, and along the way, cultivated his skills in marketing.
Tom is now an inbound marketing specialist. He has been a speaker at HubSpot’s Inbound conference. He equates inbound marketing with permission-based marketing and outbound marketing with interruption-based marketing. He works with clients one-on-one to help them formulate their overall inbound marketing strategy and to get them to go beyond buying their traffic and start earning it. He found that the best content for conversion is podcast interviews. The investment is minimal in terms of time, but the ability to talk directly to customers is amazing. Tom teaches and coaches his client’s to grow their businesses using podcast interviews to reach a specific target audience.
Please see Disclosure* (below) concerning affiliate links on this page.
- [00:10] Ultimately, people want to buy. They want to solve their own problem. If you help to frame that and to show them that you might be a good solution, you have a much better chance of getting a great customer, an advocate, and the lifetime value of the customer, than somebody doing a one-and-done because somebody clicked a couple of ad words.
- [02:50] What is inbound marketing? It’s about trying to help people buy. It’s about helping them find answers to their questions. You can either earn attention by being helpful or buy attention.
- [03:40] Nobody really wants your product or service. They want relief from a problem they have. Those who help them solve their problem are the ones who build the brands. It has never been easier than today to make a transaction online, but it has never been harder to build a business and differentiate it. Talk to their pain.
- [04:25] How do you get your message out there? Blogs are pretty much saturated. They’re not working as well as they did five years ago, but podcasts are up-and-coming. You can talk directly to your ideal customer by being on a podcast they already listen to. Blogs convert at 1 to 2 percent, but we found that podcast interviews convert at about 25 times that.
- [05:15] It’s not just about getting on podcasts or just getting known. There’s a strategy. We have a six step process to take people from listeners to visitors and from visitors to leads. [Listen to this section for the detailed steps.] This strategy doesn’t cost anything except time, and it’s repeatable. Sometimes you can even control when it goes out. For over a year, we did it with 12 clients one-on-one using over 500 different interviews to test the system then we started it as a course, a minimally viable product. We got feedback, improved it, added resources to it, and now it’s a fully launched course.
- [10:15] Our company is called Inbound for eCommerce. Engineering dictated how I see the world. A lot of marketers think of the world as marketing; I think of it as an engineering problem to be solved. Today, data is telling you what people loathe and love. If a customer keeps telling you that they have a problem and need a solution, that’s the next product you should build. Build a minimally viable product, put it out there, and ask them open-ended questions like: “What questions do you still have?” or “What resources do you still need?” Keep answering the questions and making the product better.
- [11:50] The course for being a podcast guest is one portion of our business. I also work with clients one-on-one to help them do their overall inbound marketing. We work with eCommerce companies to get them beyond buying their traffic and starting to earn it. But one of the things we stumbled on is that the best content we could find is podcast interviews. The investment is minimal in terms of time, but the ability to talk to your customer is amazing.
- [13:55] If someone comes to you with a SaaS product, what would the process look like to for you to work with them and get them on the right podcasts? The biggest thing is defining who they want to talk to. We can do this one-on-one. The online course also walks people through this, and we throw in two 30-minute coaching sessions with that. Most SaaS companies already have visitor-to-lead and lead-to-customer already built. What they struggle with is how to get people to their site.
- [15:35] Marketing is all about starting a conversation with your ideal customer. Are you going to buy ads or are you going to go out there and speak to your ideal customer? We help people get the word out through inbound marketing. How are you going to get new customers? Are you going to buy the traffic? How are you going to get in front of them to let them know that you exist? There’s no better way to do that than content. If you buy attention, it’s there, and it’s gone. The next day you have to buy more. Content is always out there.
- [18:55] What is outbound marketing? That’s the marketing that we all know and hate. Outbound marketing is interruption marketing. It’s where someone is trying to sell something to you, to push it on you. It’s not targeted. It’s not helpful. It’s focused on what I can get from you.
- [19:40] Inbound is focused on drawing people in and helping them by answering their questions and solving their problems. It’s permission-based marketing. The cost of inbound is minimal. With outbound, whoever has the biggest budget wins. Our grandparents built businesses based on inbound marketing. They weren’t using tricks or buying attention. They earned the attention. They had to serve their customers. They had a customer-centric model. Ultimately, people want to buy. They want to solve their problem. If you help to frame that and to show them that you might be a good solution, you’ve got a much better chance of getting a great customer, an advocate, and the lifetime value of the customer, than a company doing a one-and-done because somebody clicked a couple of ad words.
- [22:40] Concerning Goodbye Crutches, what are the alternatives to crutches?
- [25:20] The best SaaS companies have a good on-boarding process. They want to make sure you learn how to use their product. They want to make sure you see value in it. They want to make sure you differentiate it from other products, so that four months from now when you’re going through your credit card statement, you think: “That brings value to me.”
- [26:15] Tom has spoken at a breakout session of the Inbound He provides some perspective and history. He talks about how the conference content gets shared thus amplifying its impact.
- [27:20] Tom will be speaking at OntraPalooza because of a podcast interview he did on how you can use user-generated content to tell your stories. As business owners, we are sometimes the worst people to tell our story because we start talking about features and how the product or company was built, but what people care about are the benefits. There is nobody better to talk about the benefits of your product than your customers. Tom hired a journalism student to follow up with customers who had written thank-you notes, interview them, get some pictures, and tell their stories. Each customer’s story is different and resonates with a different buyer persona.
- [35:30] Tom is a big fan of intellectual cross-pollination to expose yourself to new ideas. If we always stay around the same people, who know the same ideas and read the same books and go to the same conferences, we’ll never be exposed to new ideas. He loves listening to things like Ted Talks because you get exposed to different ideas. You can take an idea from somebody else’s industry and apply it to yours. Read books from different industries. Attend conferences that are not niched to your area.
- [38:15] The biggest struggle any business has is getting the word out. The Internet makes it very easy, but there is a lot of noise. Don’t try to get your word out to everyone because not everyone cares. Find a handful of people, the fans, and serve them well. If you serve them well, they will probably tell their friends who are just like them.
- [39:00] Tom makes an offer to listeners for a 30-minute webinar specifically targeted at SaaS. He will cover how to build your business by reaching your ideal customers as a podcast guest. At the end of the webinar, there will be a special offer for his online course. Visit TMSchwab.com/SaaS to find out more.
- [40:25] Tom share’s his favorite quote from Derek Sivers, author of Anything You Want and founder of CD Baby: “What’s ordinary to you is amazing to others.”
- [41:15] Tom invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.
- Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur – book by Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby (a popular music site for independent artists), about how he created a multi-million dollar company by following his passion.
- Dane Maxwell – reference to Episode 002 of this podcast.
- Daniel J. Lewis – reference to Episode 003 of this podcast and Daniel’s My Podcast Reviews SaaS app.
- Goodbye Crutches – Tom’s Schwab’s company providing alternatives to crutches. Once named “the second unsexiest company to use inbound marketing” (after industrial lubricants).
- HubSpot – SaaS for inbound marketing and sales.
- Inbound – conference in Boston about inbound marketing. As Tom Schwab put it: “a conference in Boston created by HubSpot to bring marketers together to talk about how to use the Internet to change the rules.”
- Inbound for eCommerce – Tom Schwab’s company specializing in inbound marketing.
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World –book by Gary Vaynerchuk about social media marketing strategies.
- LeadPages – SaaS for landing page generation, split testing, and more.
- OntraPalooza – conference sponsored by OntraPort intended to bring together sales, marketing, and operational instruction.
- OntraPort – SaaS for business and marketing automation.
- Podcaster’s Paradise – podcasting instruction by John Lee Dumas.
- Ted Talks – platform for spreading ideas.
- TMSchwab.com/SaaS – link to Tom Schwab’s website for a 30-minute webinar specifically targeting SaaS as offered in this episode. He will cover how to build your business by reaching your ideal customers as a podcast guest. At the end of the webinar, there will be a special offer for his online course.
- Tom Schwab – Tom’s profile on LinkedIn.
*Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you purchase through these links. These commissions help to cover the cost of producing the podcast. I am affiliated only with companies I know and trust to deliver what you need. In most cases, affiliate links are to products and services I currently use or have used in the past. I would not recommend these resources if I did not sincerely believe that they would help you. I value you as a visitor/customer far more than any small commission I might earn from recommending a product or service. I recommend many more resources with which I am not affiliated than affiliated. In most cases where there is an affiliation, I will note it, but affiliations come and go, and the notes may not keep up.