The Virtual CMO Podcast:
Season 1, Episode 12
Eric Dickmann - Founder/CMO of the Five Echelon Group, Twitter @EDickmann
In this episode, host Eric Dickmann interviews Brandon Seay. Brandon is the CEO of Sharpen Clicks, a digital marketing agency in Tennessee that specializes in SEO and SEM. We discuss the importance of digital marketing for businesses, how companies can implement chatbots on their Facebook Business Pages, how using video can help amplify your brand message, and finally, we discuss the significance of current events and the Juneteenth remembrance.
Brandon is also the host of The Brand On Zone, a marketing podcast.
Transcript: Season 1, Episode 12
**Please note, this transcript was generated by an artificial intelligence engine. It is intended only as a rough transcript and there may be some grammatical, spelling or transcription errors.
Eric Dickmann: [00:00:08] Welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm your host, Eric Dickmann. The Virtual CMO is a podcast designed for marketing professionals at small and midsize businesses. Our goal is to share strategies and tactics from fellow marketing professionals that you can use to impact the trajectory of your company's marketing.
Our primary mission is to pass along meaningful insight on topics of interest to marketing professionals. If you have questions, there's a link in the show notes to provide feedback or guest inquiries. We'd love to hear from you. And as always, we appreciate those five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts. It really helps the show with that.
Let's dive into another conversation with The Virtual CMO.
Today, I'm excited to welcome Brandon Seay to the show. Brandon is the CEO of Sharpen Clicks, a digital marketing agency in Tennessee that specializes in SEO and SEM. And we're going to be talking about that in more detail on today's show. He's also on all the social media channels, including Instagram @coachseay that's S E A Y. He's on Facebook at facebook.com/sharpenedclicks, and his website is sharpenedclicks.com, and I'll have all those in the show notes.
Welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. So glad you could join us today,
Brandon Seay: [00:01:25] Eric. Thank you so much for having me. It's a privilege and an honor to be here today.
Eric Dickmann: [00:01:29] I'm looking forward to our discussion. I think for our audience, I'd love for you to share a little bit of background about yourself and where you are today with your business.
Brandon Seay: [00:01:39] Yes. Yes. Well, my name is Brandon C. I'm from Tennessee. I'm a digital marketer, here in Nashville. I do a lot of, national marketing as well, specifically in SEO and SEM.
What got me into this? I was in the music industry for a long time, and I started doing my own videos, knowing I needed to promote myself. And, we get around the community that I was good at social media. And so, I started helping out family, friends, and other people like that in my close circle with their social media accounts, and then I realized, well, this could be a good business for me to get into. I'm already doing videos and putting social media content out there and, needing to get ranked on Google and things like that. So I just invested a lot into my education and now I'm the owner of Sharpen Clicks digital marketing.
So that pretty much, rest me up in a nutshell.
Eric Dickmann: [00:02:36] So do you still do music?
Brandon Seay: [00:02:38] No, I don't, I don't, I'm focused on my business with the digital marketing that realized I can't spread myself too thin these days, but that's how it began. And I mean, I started I'm 32 right now.
I started music when I was about 16, all the way up to about 25. So it was a long journey. So, yeah, I didn't want to spread myself too thin. I wanted to focus on my business. I recently, well, not recently anymore, but two years ago had gotten married. And so now I'm thinking about a family, my business, and, growing something that is, scalable.
Eric Dickmann: [00:03:14] Nashville is a huge music scene, right? For country music. Do you focus your business specifically on the music industry? Do you try to go after other artists or do you have a pretty broad business?
Brandon Seay: [00:03:27] Yeah right now. I don't go out to artists.
I have managed artists before. now I look at more, coaching, local businesses, people that are looking to start some kind of a coaching program. I specialize in that and also like HVAC companies, chiropractors, and things like that locally. So, yeah, it's a good music scene. It's a big music scene out here in Nashville.
And so, a shout out to everyone doing the marketing thing here in Nashville for our artists. but yeah, it is, it is a great opportunity here in Nashville to market artists, or manage artists, have you look at it, it's the same thing, but
Eric Dickmann: [00:04:05] So when people come to you and they say, “Hey, Brandon, I need your help,” what are typically some of the things that you see that they're doing wrong? Where are they stumbling? Where have they gotten to that made them feel, this is a time I need to go get some professional help.
Brandon Seay: [00:04:21] Yes, that's a great question. And I could sit here and talk to you for a whole hour about this, but I'll hit on some hot spots that I've noticed. I don't really take a cookie-cutter approach, but the main thing I see is people getting in their own way. people feel like they have the formula or the knowhow of the marketing strategies that they need to do. So, I could go in and say, I'm focusing on brand building and they're not really seeing conversions at that time.
And I'm letting them know that look, we need to go after this right now. It's okay. A week later, I could see them going into their account, maybe trying to change some things up or not really agreeing with my expertise. So, a lot of people get in their own way. A lot of people aren't patient, they don't really understand a marketer's job is to build a brand and build noise around that offer.
And so, what we're trying to do is just build up their audience. That way, they'll have more eyes constantly with different remarketing strategies targeted at their offer. So a lot of people get in their way, their own way when it comes to building a brand or seeking those conversions.
Eric Dickmann: [00:05:40] Do you see a lot of impatience? I mean, as marketers, we know it takes time, right? It takes constant effort where you're putting out quality content. You're increasing your visibility. You're just being persistent at your program. And I think a lot of people, they do a few things and they expect instantaneous results and that just doesn't happen.
Do you see that a lot with your clients?
Brandon Seay: [00:06:03] Most, definitely. Most definitely, but I have some good clients. I don't want to talk bad about a lot of my clients. I have some good clients that they understand that. They want the following up. They want their brand to be recognized, build more awareness. And so, I see a lot of good things happening for those people in particular that understand them, the importance of patients and building that brand over time.
So that's the long game. You want to look at the long-term game and I mean, we can get conversions, it's just about your budget. They don't really understand that PPC ads, it's a little expensive to get on there and you're going to spend a little bit of a half the amount of budget, but there's a good return in that.
So it just depends on people's budget mindset. What they're trying to do.
Eric Dickmann: [00:06:56] Do you do a lot of work on Facebook as well? You talk about PPC, where do you find you're having a lot of success with paid advertising?
Brandon Seay: [00:07:04] I see a lot of success in Facebook and PPC. Now with Facebook, I see a lot of success there.
Chatbot features. I don't like to really call it chat, but, but it's like a messenger automated system where the open rates are much greater than the email marketing process. So, the open rates for the messenger system with Facebook are about 85% just to put it in perspective and email is about a 15% open rate.
And so. You're able to communicate better with potential prospects through messenger on Facebook and build that brand and slowly, build up that consideration in that consideration phase. And you'll see a lot of conversions after a while. Through that. so you'll see a lot of marketers advanced marketers on Facebook right now using the messenger feature, which is a game-changer.
So, if anyone's looking into Facebook, I suggest looking into many chats with the messages feature. I see a lot of success with that. And of course, PPC, Google, having a good, advertising agency, working your Google account, making sure you're in the right. One, two, three positions as well as now they have Google my business.
You want to get in a good position in that as well with your marketing experience.
Eric Dickmann: [00:08:23] You've opened up the door on a couple of things here. I want to drill down just a little bit more into what you were saying about Facebook Messenger because I do believe that a lot of businesses don't even understand what you can do there.
Deconstruct that a little bit for me. Your business, you've got your own business page on Facebook. How then do you take advantage of messenger within that business page?
Brandon Seay: [00:08:46] Well, it's awesome because what you're initially trying to do is just the, have that person click to get started or start now or press yes.
Because soon as they, you give them options within the Messenger, as soon as they press, yes, you, you captured them as a subscriber. Right then and there. So, you're able to remarket to them, send them broadcasts, and you want to make it valuable if you're having like a, I don't know, let's use e-commerce, for example, a 10%, 15% off coupon or something.
Send it to them personally through that Messenger and you'll see a lot of results and you can even catch your emails through the message or however you want to use that. But basically, it's just building up subscribers and being creative with that, process, how you want to use that, just like a drip campaign with emails, just have you want to be creative with the subscriber base that you gather over time.
And again, the open rate is just way greater than email.
Eric Dickmann: [00:09:53] But just to be clear for people who haven't experienced that yet, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's connecting to you a real live person as a business owner, it's connecting to an AI, a chatbot, really to collect some information.
Brandon Seay: [00:10:07] Exactly. And you have the.
Power to go in there and lead the buyer through a journey. So you it's really like a map out the process. So, you can say, do you want the 15% off coupon? Yes or no? If they press, yes. Great. We're going to send you over this coupon. Just put your email here. And you will receive the coupon, or you can do the coupon right then and there have you want to do it basically just saying you lead them through an entire journey.
They can unsubscribe if they want to by a person, stop, and just be creative. And that's where you gotta have to really think about the psychology of sales when you're setting up these, mini chat flows. So basically it is AI automated marketing, but you have control, to lead them into the funnel in a direction you want them to go.
Eric Dickmann: [00:11:00] These platforms are expanding so rapidly in terms of the capabilities and what they're offering businesses. , it's hard to keep on top of it all because, this is one of the things that I tell a lot of my clients is that sure, you can do a lot of this on your own, but there is so much capability that's being released all the time.
And some of this, as you mentioned, is game-changing and having. Somebody on your team from an agency from an outside expertise perspective can really help you leverage some of these tools and get the maximum value out of them.
Brandon Seay: [00:11:32] Most definitely. And just to add, you can run these Messenger ads, which is amazing.
I've seen a lot of success with that is you just like go. Just like you run a regular ad, go to Facebook Business Manager, and there's an option for a Messenger ad and so you'll be able to run an ad to your targeted audience and lead them through this entire sales funnel through the Messenger you gathered that client, that customer, that prospect, that lead, you've gathered that information that way the Ad doesn't really go in vain. You really have them on your list, basically through Facebook Messenger.
Eric Dickmann: [00:12:14] And you talked a little bit about PPC, Google ad words, Google it's getting expensive. I've seen a lot of clients spend way too much money.
Because they don't take the time to monitor what's working and what's not. And if the clicks that they're getting are actually the kinds of clicks that they want. So talk to me a little bit about how you work with clients on a strategy for certain keywords.
Brandon Seay: [00:12:40] All right. Well, first of all, I have to make sure they have clear conversion goals set up in their account.
Those conversion goals are crucial. That way you'll have a roadmap. It'll tell you when to turn left when to turn right. What's working, what's not working as far as keywords go and so, the ones you want to bid on is you want to do a lot of competitive research in your industry. You want to go ahead and go to Google type in a keyword that you may want to be it for like a chiropractor near me and see who's in the top three see who's there. I use a tool called Spy Fu spyfu.com. And that way I can go in there and see which key words all three of my competitors have in common. I most definitely want to be for those. And also, the keywords that they don't have in common that they're bidding for as well. And so, I just want to make sure that my bid is correct to outbid them. I want to make sure I'm doing some unique things with my ad. I know they have like extensions now, site links, and things like that. It's all about the messaging on the ad really, really thinking about the copy on the ad and make sure everything's congruent from the.
Copy in the ad to the landing page and making sure the landing page has a clear call to action. I see a lot of people sending people right to their website, and then that that's really not a good for your quality score with Google, which will increase your cost per click so it's really just about knowing the platform and knowing what, what works and what does it work? It is a lot to it. It's a lot to it, Eric,
Eric Dickmann: [00:14:27] And there's a lot of experimentation, right? You have to play around and see what works and change it. And I see such a problem with so many businesses where they put a strategy in place and then they just set it aside and it's just running in the background.
Yeah, but they're not really playing around with it to see if they could increase their conversion rate or change the text, change their landing page, or whatever.
Brandon Seay: [00:14:49] Yeah, so all about AB testing and some people AB tests wrong. They'll have like 19 different ads and that's just too much to really, have control and different variables.
You just want to, test a few at a time, not really test 19 or 20 of them at one time. And see what's working from Dan and try to beat that control each time over time. So, it's just like a science experiment and it's, it's a lot to it. making sure your, Google Tag Manager is correct your Google Analytics, learning how to read that data with the bounce rates and different demographics and placements and devices people are using and increasing your bid and optimizing for certain data that you're getting.
It's just a lot to it, but it's easy if you sit down and really. Learn how to do it or have a professional that knows what they're doing now.
Eric Dickmann: [00:15:46] Are you doing a lot with the non-paid channels to putting content out on Instagram and LinkedIn and Facebook?
Brandon Seay: [00:15:54] you know, less funny is, being more seasoned right now as a marketer.
I used to overlook that and try to do all the advanced techie stuff, but having posting your content on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, that's one of the most crucial things you can do as far as big brand building. People are going to look you up. People are going to do their research on you. And so, you want to have a good brand present on presence on your pages.
So, if you can post every day, post every day, but really make a schedule for when you're going to post content and things like that. So, yeah. Yeah. Posting is very important. Posting building your brand is very important
Eric Dickmann: [00:16:43] One of the things that I think is interesting that you brought up there is this visibility aspect to it. And if you're a person who uses Facebook stories, as an example you'll get a message from Facebook and they'll say this person and that person is, and whoever has viewed your story, but they might not have any interaction with it.
They might not cheer it or make a comment or something, but they've viewed it. And I think that's one thing that gets overlooked by a lot of people is just because somebody didn't write a comment or give you a thumbs up, doesn't mean your post isn't being seen and registered with people. It's just that they don't always choose to interact with it.
So being consistent in putting that information out there on a regular basis really does a lot to improve your visibility, even though you might not have specific metrics that show that.
Brandon Seay: [00:17:33] Yeah, exactly, exactly. And what I've noticed, just so people can be aware of when you first start posting, you'll start getting a lot of likes comments, maybe from your immediate circle or something like that.
I don't know. Or, but after a while, you'll start going down where, you know, you're not seeing that engagement. Like you use the seat, but eventually, after you keep posting, stay consistent, you'll see new people, new likes, new comments, and it just starts going up. So you'll see an upward spike, a dip, and then a huge upward spike.
So that's what I've noticed over time. Just the inside too.
Eric Dickmann: [00:18:10] Well. That's good. I think that's really important to share, you know, what you've learned. I also see that. You have to mix it up a little bit. So, we're both podcasters. So sometimes when I put a message out on the podcast, it'll just be here's my guest, here is a picture of that guest. Maybe the next time I'll put an audio sound bite out. Maybe the next time I'll put a little video clip out but mix it up. So, it's not always the same piece of content over and over again, because people can start to ignore that. If they see something that looks repetitive and doesn't have any differentiation between what you've posted before.
Brandon Seay: [00:18:46] Exactly. And the good thing is to make shareable content. something that's shareable that people will want to show their audience as well. that's another insight to as well, just something shareable, something that's motivational inspiring that someone would want someone else to see. that's a good way to, build your audience up as well.
Eric Dickmann: [00:19:12] Marketing is the engine that drives demand, but too often it takes a back seat to other priorities. Awareness fails to materialize demand drops in sales falter. Don't wait until it's too late to build your brand awareness and demand generation programs. If your company is struggling with their marketing strategy, we want to help let's schedule a call to talk about your unique situation and what options might be available to get your marketing program back on track.
To learn more text C M O to (407) 374-3670 that's C M O to (407) 374-3670 and we'll reply with further details. We hope to hear from you soon.
Now I know I see you all the time in my feed on LinkedIn. you've been doing a lot with video recently. How has the success been with posting videos to LinkedIn?
Brandon Seay: [00:20:08] Yeah, I get that from, my mentor, Gary V I look up the Gary V with some of his marketing tactics. I know my wife doesn't really like me playing it in the car because he's like dropping these bombs, but, you know, I kind of weed that out, whatever, but yeah, posting video content.
It is the way to go. It's just, you get more engagement. Video is really 20/20 marketing. If you know, that's, that's just, you know, the best you can do is a video right now. So, I just feel like the best you can do is. If it's the best you can do is video. I want to do the best I can do. I really would like to pull out my camera.
I have a D S LR camera. That's coming soon. Right now. I'm just using good lighting and a webcam, but I just try to be the best or do the best I can with what resources I have. So.
Eric Dickmann: [00:21:08] Yeah, people can get crazy. You know, I'm a tech guy. I love to buy new stuff and you can go crazy buying all these different tools and accessories.
But the reality is I see a lot of people being very successful, filming things with their iPhone and posting it online and you don't have to be very fancy about it. It's just, you've got to be consistent. You got to be real. if it's just self-promotional, that gets old very quickly. I think for a lot of people, I think you've got to be adding value and people will be supportive of what you're doing.
If that involves a little bit of self-promotion as part of the adding value, that's fine. People will be supportive of that, but if it's just patting yourself on the back all the time, that doesn't resonate with people.
Brandon Seay: [00:21:47] Yeah, the added value just to piggyback on that is, is very important. I mean, whatever you can give away, give it away.
Don't you know, feel like, Oh, they're going to steal my stuff or they're, they're going to build a business off of the information I'm given, but you have to give value. That's going back to shareable content. People want to share value, anything valuable to their life. Anything that can help them out, that's very important. A very important aspect of marketing.
Eric Dickmann: [00:22:20] I completely agree. You know, we're living in a crazy time. This is 2020, we've had COVID around since the beginning of the year. Then we switched into the protest movement and that has been disruptive, but it has also opened up a lot of conversation. We just happen to be recording this podcast done on Juneteenth, the celebration and I'm curious, you know, you're a small, independent business owner. You're out there trying to add value to your clients. How do you see things changing?
Brandon Seay: [00:22:53] Yes. Well, also I I'm an African American business owner as well with all this stuff going on. It it's, it's, it's a crazy time we're living in, you know, I have a lot of Christian values. I believe that you know, there is a storm out here. But I just feel that God is covering me right now is one of his children, not to be, you know, too worried or concerned or fearful or anything like that.
But, but let's, let's just talk about what's going on, right now. Opening a lot of eyes, a lot of built-up pressure seems like it's getting released. it's a lot going on. I'm just curious to see the end game. I don't know, like, we look in history. I mean, things changed for the better over time.
And that's another thing. Going back to my Christian values. I know that there's something good on the other side of all this, I know that through all the pain, her crying now, Looting or whatever, there's something bright and shiny on the other end of what's going on right now, a lot of things are in work.
A lot of things are changing. I found out I'm gonna be a dad last week
Eric Dickmann: [00:24:09] That’s great! Congratulations!
Brandon Seay: [00:24:12] I appreciate it. It's just a time of change, transition going on. and so I can't really speak too much on it. It's a lot of processing going on. I just know that people need to have love in their heart throughout this, and really, really try to figure out where their hope and faith is.
Because, I mean, it's a crazy time. It's a crazy time and you have to have something to hold on to when a guy be positive.
Eric Dickmann: [00:24:49] I couldn't agree more. And you know, we've had so many horrific accidents or incidents happen over the years and people seem to get riled up for a moment and then it fades away. This feels a little different.
Does it feel different to you too?
Brandon Seay: [00:25:03] It does because it's all built up from the different like I don't want to butcher anyone's name for Lando Castille and Eric Gardner. And, I mean, it's all like a trickle-down. It all has to do. With everything this has to do with everything and so, it's like a lot of built-up pressure, a lot of different opinions and social media is just making everything visible for people to see.
And I, I don't think anything's going to get solved with one side saying, Oh, don't have the victim mentality and the other side talking about. You know, we were oppressed for this long and they're not just seeing it. They're not seeing eye to eye. It's not going to work. That's why it needs to be a guide, a mediator.
And I depend on God and the Lord for everything. Like I'm, I'm deep into my religion and my spirituality. I, I do preaching as well at the Eastside Church of Christ here in Nashville. So, that's just what I hold on to. It's really been life-changing for me. And, I try to look at everything with spiritual eyes.
So, it's really hard for me to, you know, get involved, I guess you'll say, but I feel like, you know, Juneteenth, I'm still processing the data because it's new people are talking about it. I've heard about it. Yeah. I have a couple, you know, vaguely, but now it's really getting exposed. And so now I'm like, we're celebrating, being free from slavery.
I'm mad we were ever in slavery. So I'm still, I'm still trying to process, you know, the celebration, but I mean, it's a lot. It's a lot, man. It's a lot of relearning. It's a lot of listening that we have to do. It's a lot of empathy that we have to really listen to everybody's side and not, you know, be quick to anger or quick to speak.
We have to really listen right now in process. Yeah, that's my advice.
Eric Dickmann: [00:27:15] No, I really appreciate you sharing that. because I think the same holds true for me. It's about listing. It's about trying to understand some things that maybe I haven't given enough thought to in the past. And, you know, I was like you, I didn't fully understand the ramifications of what Juneteenth was even all about.
It's not something that has been a topic of conversation around the dinner table for most Americans and I think this has opened up our eyes to a lot of things, and most importantly, it's gotten a dialogue going, and I just hope that we can all listen, understand what's going on out there and make some positive changes.
Brandon Seay: [00:27:47] Exactly. Exactly. So we'll see how it goes, man. I'm just holding on to the Lord, bro.
Eric Dickmann: [00:27:52] Yeah, that's great. That's great. And I can tell you got a little preacher in your eye that I picked that up right away.
Brandon Seay: [00:27:58] Right? You get on this topic. It has to come out because that's the only way I can look at it, man.
That's the only way
Eric Dickmann: [00:28:04] So I want to hear about The Brand On Zone. So, you've got your own podcast. I love the name. So, tell me a little bit about what you try to focus on with your podcast.
Brandon Seay: [00:28:13] Well, The Brand On Zone is really about branding. I try to make a twist on my name. I spend on my name, Brandon, the brand on that's about marketing advertising.
Also, I want to make awareness about certain industries that we may not really focus on. Like, Real estate investing stock market and things like that because you can make money all day marketing, but what are you doing with your money? How are you building wealth? And so basically, I talk about a lot of wealth-building tools.
Right now, I try to keep my audience broad. I don't really want to niche down too much, like, but I love niche down, podcasts such as the search, something podcasts, I don't know, but I listened to a lot of PPC podcasts, Facebook, particular podcasts and so I suggest anyone wanting to learn more about, mini chat or Facebook or PPC, listening to one of those specific podcasts.
But mine is more about, strategies broadly. It could be any channel. I, you know, I have an Instagram show, on my podcast. I have a what's another one, I did just a mindset when making, getting goals. What's your purpose? Things like that kind of broad that people enjoy listening to.
Eric Dickmann: [00:29:36] Have you done any live Facebook Lives or Instagram Lives?
Have you tried that?
Brandon Seay: [00:29:40] Oh yeah, I go live on mine every time. Oh, that's great. Yep. That's great. Yeah. So tune in The Brand On Zone.
Eric Dickmann: [00:29:50] The Brand On Zone. You heard it right here. Definitely worth checking out on Apple podcast, Google podcast, wherever you get your podcasts it's there.
Brandon Seay: [00:29:58] Yep. Yep. That's it. That's it.
Eric Dickmann: [00:29:59] Hey, Brandon, this has been a great discussion. Just tell the audience where they can get ahold of you.
Brandon Seay: [00:30:05] Yes. Well, you can look me up on at sharpenclicks.com that's like sharpening a pencil, sharpenclicks.com. And, right now I want to promote my Tik Tok. It's at Success with Brandon. I suggest everyone get on Tic Tok as well.
Eric Dickmann: [00:30:25] I will have those in the show notes as well, so everybody can find them there. And I really appreciate your time today being on the podcast. I think this has been a very thoughtful discussion and I look forward to seeing more of your great content out there.
Brandon Seay: [00:30:38] Appreciate it, Eric. Thanks for having me on.
Eric Dickmann: [00:30:40] That wraps up another episode of The Virtual CMO podcast. As a reminder, if you'd like to learn more about Virtual CMO, strategic marketing consulting services, or anything else discussed here today, please visit us at fiveechelon.com. There's a link in the show notes. If you'd like to send us comments, feedback, guest inquiries, and your five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts are always appreciated.
If you'd like to reach me. I'm @EDickmann. That's E D I C K M A N N on Twitter. If you'd like to connect on LinkedIn, please let me know. You heard about me through The Virtual CMO podcast. I look forward to talking with you again next week and sharing some new marketing insights on The Virtual CMO.