These days, the “customer journey” invariably takes people online. They Google their questions, they ask their Facebook friends for recommendations, they spend hours in their email inbox. How can your business position itself to meet your ideal customers where they make critical decisions? Rich Brooks, president of digital agency flyte new media, shares how companies can create digital marketing campaigns that turn prospects into customers.
Yury: Today I have a very special guest. He is the founder and the president of flyte new media, a digital agency in Portland, Maine and has been in business for over 23 years. He’s a nationally recognized speaker on entrepreneurship, digital marketing and social media.
He founded The Agents of Change, an annual conference and weekly podcast that focuses on search, social and mobile marketing. He is the author of The Lead Machine – The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing, a popular and well received book that helps entrepreneurs and marketers reach more of their ideal customers online.
He has appeared in Inc. Magazine, The Huffington Post, fastcompany.com cnn.com, The Social Media Examiner, and many other new sources for stories on digital marketing. He’s also the ‘tech guru’ on the evening news show, 207, which airs on the NBC affiliates here in Maine. I’m very excited to be interviewing my good friend and the cohost, Rich Brooks. Welcome.
Rich: Thank you Yury. And I never realized how long my bio is when somebody else has to read it back to me. So I will be cutting down on that.
Yury: Well hey, you know, you stuck through my bio. So you know, I didn’t want to edit it.
Rich: You didn’t want to shortchange me. I appreciate that.
Yury: Absolutely not. So Rich, digital marketing is something that I’m passionate about so I have a couple of questions that I already have for you. Thanks by the way for the questions, but I’m also going to be asking you a couple of additional. And Cody, please feel free to chime in if you have anything in particular you want to know. Cody is the loudest silent voice on the Fast Forward Maine, he’s the guy behind the cameras. But anyway, without further ado, let’s dive in. So Rich, how did you get into digital marketing and how did you start your company?
Rich: Ah, I love that question. So thank you very much. My company really started when I was working for another company called Ultracare Services. I had been in basically the sales department. And then when I got interested in web stuff, I got moved to marketing and I wasn’t really sure of what I wanted to do. And at a Christmas party, my boss hired a psychic and she was down in the basement reading fortunes for people. And we were all taking turns as we were upstairs at his house. And they would come up one at a time and say things like, “Oh, you know what? I’m going to be married in a year. That’s what the psychic says”. Or, you know,” I talked to a dead relative” or you know, “I’m going to have a new job in six months”, which is a weird thing to say at a company party, but whatever.
And then I went downstairs and I see the psychic and she’s like 4’2” and a spitting image of the woman from Poltergeist, the psychic from Poltergeist. So I’m like, wow, this is really authentic. So anyway, I sit down, ready to be told about my future and she just looks at me and she says, “You don’t trust gut enough”. And I’m like, that’s a weird thing for a psychic to say. And she’s like, “You need to get back to trusting your gut and just follow it”. And I kind of took that to heart and I went upstairs and in the next few weeks I kind of thought about that and realized I didn’t really want to be doing medical sales anymore and I was fascinated by this internet thing and I was going to try and figure that out.
So I just gave my boss notice and started to work on my own website and I got it, picked up a few clients and just continue to do that. I mean, there were a lot of steps along the way, but it really just came down to that psychic telling me that I needed to trust my gut more and my interest in this new technology, this emerging technology back in 1997.
Yury: Did you develop that interest while you were a student in college? Because you rarely speak about your college experience and what you actually learned.
Rich: I was an English major, but I was always good on computers. I always felt comfortable around computers even as a kid, actually. So my dad had told my mom one time, he was going away on a business trip and our local temple had some sort of fundraiser and somebody had donated an Apple IIE or IIC computer. And my dad passingly said, “Oh, we should get that, we should bid on that”. And my mom’s like, “Whatever”.
And then he goes away and she goes to the thing and she’s like, “Oh, maybe he was serious”. And so she bought it. She bid on it, she was the winning bid and she brings it home. And my dad’s like, “What did you do?” You know, because he was just, yeah. Anyway, so I sat down and I started figuring out, and I found that I loved programming, basic programming, like literally the language, Basic, but fascinated by it.
And so I was always comfortable around computers. And then when I went to college and I needed beer money, I started a typing service. So I was selling my typing skills for $1.50 a page.
Yury: So that was your first venture.
Rich: That was one. Well it wasn’t my first entrepreneurial experience, but it was definitely one of them. And if I could go back in time to talk to that person, because I was an English major and one thing I realized, this is back in the days where people would hand write their term papers out and then you would type out the final version. And some people even would write that. But teachers at this point started to want you to do it.
Well, I had a computer in my room, which was a rarity back in 1987 so I just started typing and I could type really fast. So I just wished that I had said to myself, listen, what you should do is charge $1.50 a page as is. But I also noticed that as an English major, how many mistakes people were making. So $1.50 as is, $2 a page if I kind of clean up your grammar, $2.50 a page and I guarantee you an A. Because I knew that I could write better than any of the business majors who are giving me their stuff. So that was a missed opportunity and something I’ve learned about tiered pricing
Yury: That is fascinating and that is the very first insight that you shared. So thank you very much, Rich. It’s awesome.
So you know, it seems there are a lot of ways to market business online these days. We can range from Google to Facebook, blogs, podcasts, et cetera. How does a business choose?
Rich: I think the first thing, which is true with any type of marketing, is you start with the end in mind. So you’ve got to figure out what you want to do. And you’ve got to think about where do I want to connect with people, where are they already? So depending on the type of business, I know social media is hot these days, I’ve been involved with social media for a while. But for most of my clients, search is usually a place that I want to start. Because when somebody is in need, what do they do? They turn to the search engines. So if you have somebody who is searching for your products or service or solution, that’s a moment where they are literally in need and ready to make a buying decision. So why wouldn’t you want to be in front of them?
So for me, a big part of any digital marketing strategy is always going to be based around search engine optimization. Making sure that I’m answering the question that the person has just put out there. Now of course different businesses have different needs. If you’re more in a B2C space, business to consumer space, especially something like a restaurant, I’m not saying a website and search engine optimization isn’t important, but you may get more bang for your buck by being on Instagram or focusing on your Yelp reviews or other things like that.
Ultimately, you want to deconstruct and reconstruct the customer journey. Like, think about how you would find a restaurant if you were looking for a restaurant or, or, or a digital agency or a bank or whatever you happen to be. How do people find out about your type of services, and then make sure that you are there in a positive way every step along the journey?
And that could mean about creating content in a blog or a podcast like this one or YouTube channels. But so much of marketing these days is about educating, informing, and entertaining the audience, getting them to know, like, and trust you. And then you can bring them back to your website where you can move them further down the sales funnel.
Yury: So, you know, if we think about social for some reason now I’m starting to think more about like the word of mouth. Is there a specific blueprint that people need to consider when they think about developing word of mouth? Strategies or potentially like working with influencers to kind of like accelerate that. Are there any recommendations about it?
Rich: You mentioned a number of different things and each one has its own unique approach. Influencer marketing is very popular these days and a lot of people are very successful at it. I can’t say it’s something I practice all that much.
But last night I was watching Shark Tank and they were talking about how this one guy got his business off the ground, and it was this special tool for cutting hair for African Americans. And he basically went to all the style guys on YouTube and said, “Here’s my product. Let me know what you think”. And they put it out there, affiliate code, and all of a sudden he’s reaching millions of people and totally blew up his business.
There are opportunities for influencer marketing, and these days it’s become so set in stone in a way that you can just go to agencies that specialize in this and find the influencers that you can afford that are in your industry and go after that. I can’t say that it’s my personal favorite type of marketing, but it is yet another venue to build trust through authority with your ideal customer. As long as you can find an influencer that does influence your clients.
Yury: Well earlier you talked about search and digital in general. Why should someone care about search and search engine optimization?
Rich: Well, again, I think it just comes down to it’s that discovery method. So when people are looking for a particular product or service, that’s when you really want to make sure that you’re content, your webpage or your blog post, is appearing at the top of the search. Which is a whole conversation about keyword research and where on the page you place that, and focusing on your searcher’s intent.
And then also are you a local business with a brick and mortar store or service area? Well then you need to focus on local SEO. And if you really want to own that first page of Google and you do a search on your type of business and you see ads, well now you know you have to buy Google ads.
So there’s a whole approach to making sure that you get found when somebody is going through that discovery process. Social has a different role and it’s more like going to a networking event and just getting to know people on their home turf or on a neutral ground and just kind of being there, being engaging, asking questions, answering questions, that sort of stuff. It plays a different role.
Yury: So if I know nothing about SEO and I don’t even understand this whole thing about search engine optimization, what are the things that I need as a business owner to be familiar with when a engage with the marketing agency and I want them to do an SEO? Do I need to focus on the technical SEO, or do we want to have a greater presence in terms of like the local search engine optimization? Can you explain the difference? What’s more important?
Rich: Sure. And unfortunately like so many of these questions, the answer is, ‘it depends’. But for example, and if you are just getting started and if you’re an owner and you’re like, I know the search thing is important but I don’t understand anything about it, it is a great idea to have at least a working knowledge of it, even though you’re probably not going to do this. Because search is getting technical enough these days that you really do need an expert either on your team or an agency to work with one or the other.
But what you want to understand is that Google, which really is all of search, I mean people talk about Bing or Yahoo, but 96% of searches are on Google platform. Whether that’s YouTube, Google, or any of the other tools.
So some of it is about the on page optimization. How do the words on the page match up with the search that was just done? So let’s say that we have a doggy daycare as an example. So we want to think about what are all the questions that somebody might ask when they would do a search for a doggy daycare. And it might be around, “What does the doggy day care cost”, “What questions should I ask when I go to a doggy daycare”, “Do I need a dog”. Whatever the questions might be. And you can brainstorm some of them. You can use some tools that are free online. Google’s Keyword Planner is a tool, a free tool that we use. Then there’s a lot of agency level paid tools as well to make sure that we are actually understanding what our customers are searching for.
And then it comes down to creating that content. So we might write an article about, “10 questions to ask before bringing your dog to a doggy daycare”, or, “What kind of dogs are allowed at a doggy daycare”, or, “Does a doggy daycare allow you to keep your dog overnight”. Whatever the questions might be. We’re going to create content around all of those kinds of questions that our ideal customer is going to ask. And so when somebody does a search, Google is going to say, “Oh, this is probably the best article on this most relevant answer to this question. I’m going to show this as one of the top results”.
The other thing for this doggy daycare is that, let’s face it, we don’t really care about doggy daycares in Texas here in Maine unless we’re going to Texas, right? So Google is probably going to serve up three doggie daycares in that local pack with the map next to it. So that’s going to be critically important for us to get in there too.
So there’s a bunch of different rules about how do companies get listed in that local pack. And it comes down to things like citations. Which means how many times you’re listed in the different online directories and how identical or consistent your listing is. So you need to have the same street address, phone number, even if you’re abbreviating street “St.” on your website, then it has to be “St.” everywhere on the net. That’s just how it is. So that information has to be consistent.
You need to get a lot of online regular reviews. So you want to be reminding your customers to give you positive reviews on their favorite platforms. And then getting links from other relevant sites, which might be dog-related sites or it might be local sites. That’s also going to help. And then just making sure that your website is optimized for SEO, for local businesses as well. All those things are going to impact to help you get into that local pack.
Yury: So thinking about in your local Google listings, is it something that I need to hire an agency to do for me, is it something that I can do myself?
Rich: Well, obviously I’m biased because I run an agency that does this. But that being said, it is getting more technical. You know, it’s one of these things where it’s like they say, “Well, anybody can run Google ads because they’ve made the platform so simple. Right? But I look at it like this, anybody can play basketball. You and I can grab a ball and start shooting hoops and we can have a good time. But if we go up against LeBron James, we’re going to get our butts kicked, right?
So, I’m feeling that as things get more complicated and more competitive, you’re going to need an all-star on your team. That all-star could be an internal person. You need to decide if you want to spend the internal resources on hiring somebody who’s a specialist in this one particular arena. Or you can hire a consultant or an agency to do this for you. And it really comes down to what you need.
So there are going to be people that the best decision they could make is to hire an internal person, because that person is going to know and live and breathe your brand. And then they’re going to be times where it’s like, this is not our core competency. And so we’re going to partner with another company. There’s not one right answer. Many times we might start off by taking over our clients say Google ads and we get them to a point where they can run it themselves. Because we’ve done a lot of the block and tackling for them and it’s just a matter of running it and they can check in with us on a regular basis. But even within flyte I’ve noticed as long as people are with us for a few years, they start to gravitate towards one thing.
Maybe it’s search engine optimization, maybe it’s Facebook ads, maybe it’s Google ads, but they want to continually niche down because it’s one of these industries that’s requiring more and more specialty and understanding of a very nichey topic. And the people who are best at it are the people who have the ability to focus just on that, not a general marketing person who also has to handle the event planning and the print jobs and everything else and the networking events. It’s that person who’s like, all I need to do is focus on Google ads or local search, or organic search or Facebook ads.
Yury: Gotcha. Awesome. Well thank you. That was very in depth and I appreciate that. But you know, from everything that you said it sounds like it’s going to take a lot of time, especially writing content, getting ranked in search for that particular key award or a long term key phrase. But is there a way to short cut it? Can we rely on writing ads or producing video content? Because if you go on Google, you can see that Google start listing videos above the search results. What’s your take here?
Rich: Oh gosh, I don’t want to start every conversation with ‘it depends’.
Yury: You’re definitely right. I think it’s a really important for people to understand that it depends on their goals. It depends on where they are. It depends on the competition. There are a lot of things that play into it.
Rich: If we’re focusing on search, like if we’ve decided that we may do everything, we may do other things as well. But if we’re just focusing on search right now, one of the things that I often recommend is trying to get into your customer’s shoes. What are they searching for? And do those searches yourself and don’t use the browser you’re always using because it remembers you. So you can use a new browser or a different computer that you don’t usually use and you do those kinds of searches and notice what kind of results are being pulled up.
So are you seeing ads at the top of the page? If so, if you want to rank for that search term, you’re going to have to spend money because you’re going to have to take out ads. Is there a local search component? Okay, well that means that I’m going to have to start thinking about how do I optimize for local. Are there videos? And you know what, there was a time where videos were always showing up for almost every search. But now that’s not true. Because again, Google is really focusing on the intent of the searcher.
So do that search and if you’re seeing videos, it’s probably because what you are searching for has a demonstrable aspect to it. So you’re usually not seeing like some commercial that somebody put up to YouTube as well as showing on local TV. It’s because there’s a video that shows you how to tie a tie or how to train your dog or how to do search engine optimization. Right? And so in those situations, then you’re like, okay, if I want to compete and be in that section, then I need to create a video that is better than the video I see right here.
So that’s going to be part of either your or your marketing department or your agency’s work is to determine what is that journey, how do people find and engage with companies like mine and how do I make sure that I show up at every single mile post along that journey.
Rich: So just to get back to the original question, I don’t think there are shortcuts. There are just other routes that you might take, and some of those routes may be less traveled so you’ll have less competition there. And there’s always those stories about somebody who discovered a new way of doing things, and that was great and it was super effective. And then of course everybody else saw that path and they all trampled it down and now it’s a super highway. But yeah, you want to be trying to figure out where your customers are and just make sure that you’re there.
Yury: The Google ads, it’s a bid system. Does the size of my budget, my ad budget, will allow me to basically outbid all the competition?
Rich: Well, it depends on how big that budget is. Like there are things like “New York City lawyer”, that I believe the price of a click is just like insane. Except if you’re a New York City lawyer and that turns into a client. So, you do want to do your research and find out what are the keywords that have commercial intent that are likely to get you clicks, that’ll take people to a special page – you don’t want to send them to your home page – send them to a special page that kind of helps them convert, move down the sales funnel.
There’s a lot of ongoing work, especially up front in terms of creating negative keywords. So there may be, you know, you might be doing something on retirement planning and you’ve been on the word ‘retirement’. Well, you know what, that’s just too broad. And you’re competing against everybody with retirement homes, retirement plans, retirement vacations, retirement transitions. You’re just never going to succeed there. You’re just going to blow all your money in no time.
So you want to start creating negative keywords so that you don’t show up for those kinds of ads. And this is just something that takes time to figure out all this sort of stuff. I know that most agencies will tell you that you should be looking to spend on ads $1,500 a month to start. And that’s basically because part of the job of running ads either on Facebook or Google, is that there’s a certain amount of machine learning. And the more money you spend, the more quickly, actually the faster you train Google to understand who’s likely to click on those kinds of ads. And also who’s likely to finish that conversion point. And Facebook’s the same way.
So often the first two to three months, not that you’re not going to get any leads or sales out of that, but it’s as much about information gathering as it is about conversions. So you’re having the machine learning behind these different platforms, learn about what are the best type of clients for you, and then they’re going to be more likely to serve up those ads to those type of people.
Yury: Gotcha. So it’s not necessarily just the clicks to your website. It’s actually making sure that those clicks end up buying or converting.
Rich: It depends on how you have things set up. And Facebook I think does a slightly better version of checking off every single step along the way. But yeah, I mean Google is looking to see how long people stay. Both of them have quality scores and Google is looking to see, do people click through, do they stay on your page or do they hopscotch back to or boomerang back to the search page. Are they converting, are they going through that process?
And you mentioned like, can you just outbid at people? Well, one other method is if your quality score is so good that you’re getting people to click on that link and stay with you and be content, hat serves Google’s purposes. So in that case, Google may actually put you ahead of somebody who has spent more money than you, was willing to pay more for that click, because they’re like, but this person is more likely to get the clicks and keep the consumer happy rather than just clicking once and disappearing.
Yury: Yeah, that definitely sounds like it requires a little bit of a training expertise in the understanding of that.
Rich: And you can get certification for free from Google on Google ads. So you can learn all this stuff, they have all these things. The question is, when you are learning how to do Google ads…
Yury: Who is doing the business, right?
Rich: Exactly. And this is the same thing with me. I don’t try and do my own accounting either or my own HR. I use experts who come in and help us out in those areas. And I think you should always focus on what do you do best and what are your core competencies. Don’t outsource your core competencies, but try and outsource everything else.
Yury: Gotcha. Awesome. That is a very valuable advice. Rich, you briefly mentioned Bing and Yahoo. Are those relevant? Do they still exist?
Rich: They still exist. I never give them a moment’s thought. If you do a full on search engine optimization conference with three days and 27 different tracks, there’s going to be things on Bing, Bing ads and maybe even on Yahoo. But for the average Maine business, I don’t think you have to pay any attention to them whatsoever.
If you’ve mastered Google ads and you want to explore Bing ads, great. But to be honest, I think if you put your energies behind, just in terms of like the amount of energy you can spend, I would just focus on Google and be done with it.
Yury: Perfect. But what if we are such a forward thinking organization and now we’re transitioning from typing the key words in the search bar and now we’re talking to Alexa because the Alexa uses Bing for their search results. Is it something that, you know, we need to pay closer attention.
Rich: That’s a great point, Yury. And what I say today may not be true in three months.
Yury: And that’s fine, because things change.
Rich: In my experience, because I have both an Alexa and a Google Home at home, and my experiences when I ask Google a question that I would ask at a search engine, it’s really pretty good at giving me a relevant answer no matter how I ask it. Like we were watching Elementary the other day, right? And now we’re on season seven and I’m like, “Google, how many episodes are there in season seven of Elementary?” And it’s like, “Well according to the website, blah, blah, blah, there are 13 episodes”. And I said, “Okay, we’re shopping here because there’s two episodes and it’s already 10 o’clock. I’m not watching till midnight”.
So that was a great answer. I don’t know that Alexa could have given me that type of answer. And not because it uses Bing. Alexis is really good for other things. And voice search is a thing. But I don’t think most companies need to worry about optimizing for local search. And again, it comes back to this customer journey.
Are you going to turn to Alexa or Google Home and say, “What is the best bank for my business?” Or, “What is the best digital agency that I should hire in Maine?” Probably not. Like, that’s just not the typical customer journey.
So on the other hand, if you’re a pizza joint or a lunch place, then you might want to think about spending a little time investigating voice search. But other than that, like a lot of people even in the search engine industry, don’t feel that you need to pay too much attention to voice search at this time. Like it’s a thing. It’s a big thing. But you should be optimizing for search in general.
And if you do want to get a little nerdy about it, most of the Google voice search results are coming from the snippets. And I don’t want to get too nerdy on the show, but basically if you look at the snippets for a given search, that’s often the result that you get from a Google voice search. So if you do want to optimize for Google voice, you have to understand what Google snippets are and how you rank well for those. And that’s a much deeper conversation.
Yury: Are there any other things that we need to pay attention in terms of search and just trends in general? What are those things that you want the business owners to be thinking about or just simply be familiar with?
Rich: I could talk for hours on that. But when I’m thinking about how do you market a business, it does really come down to what does your customer need to make an informed decision, and making sure that you’re hitting on all those things.
When I’m talking to most businesses, in the B2B world, I’m often talking about you need a solid website, really robust professionally designed. You need to optimize it for the search engines, potentially for local search. Depending on the type of searches, you need paid search. You definitely want to focus on LinkedIn and some sort of content creation platform like blogs or podcast or YouTube. And then for absolutely 100% sure you should be having an email newsletter and promoting it and getting people onto your list, because it is the backbone of your digital marketing.
And then make sure that you are measuring all this on a tool like Google Analytics. If it’s a B2C company, then it’s a lot of the same things. You know, it could be about local and organic search. It’s definitely about having a good looking website. It might be about adding e-commerce into that mix. It might be more about Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram rather than LinkedIn, because it’s more of a consumer facing thing.
But again, I’m still trying to get everybody to build up that email list. Email is still so critical to most company successes. There’s almost not a company out there that wouldn’t benefit from trying to build up their email list.
And the one other thing, and this is as a typical sales guy, it’s so exciting to get a new job, right? It’s so fun to land a customer or land a client. But what businesses should also be doing as they’re thinking about their digital marketing, is how much should be focused on retention and keeping that customer. You mentioned customer experience when we were doing your interview in customer experience, but that is so critically important. And using things like email marketing to keep customers in the fold, and using a CRM – customer relationship management database – to make sure that you are having certain touch points with a client. Because it is so much easier to keep a client than to get a client. So much less expensive to keep a client than to get a client. And so much easier to upsell a current client who already knows, likes and trusts you, that that has to be part of your digital marketing and your overall marketing campaigns as well.
Yury: Well, we’re getting to almost the very end of our show. But I wanted to ask you one more question before we get to the staple question. How important is it to pay attention to self-service options, or introduce self-service option to the website? I’m thinking like scheduling appointments or the possibility of having chat bots. Is this something that we need to pay attention to?
Rich: I think for more businesses, things like chat bots, whether they are automated they’re basically just a program that’s running through some options like a flowchart, or that they’re manned by some person somewhere in the world who’s providing answers, and stuff like that is becoming more expected. So I think that that’s something you should consider at least. But you also have to have the manpower to keep this up and running, or you need to automate the system. And at a certain point it says, “Let me put you in touch with a customer service rep or have somebody get back to you”.
In certain industries that self-service is really important and every website needs to have some level of self service. Maybe it’s to be able to watch a how to video or to take an online class or to use a calculator or to fill out a contact form so that somebody gets back to you. Those are all self-serving at some level.
But there are industries where it does really require a touch. Like nobody is going to click on a button and buy a $25,000 website from me anytime soon or a boat. Actually, the way that people buy cars these days and probably boats, who knows? It is funny how much more open we are to making a big purchase on the web, especially with free returns.
Yury: But it’s a good point. I think it clearly shows the changes in consumer behavior and what’s expected.
Rich: Yeah. But you know there is that personal touch. And as Google becomes a more competitive marketplace, and as Facebook does, and Amazon does, especially small businesses – especially businesses here in Maine – I think there’s such an opportunity not for personalization but for being personal.
So when I see an email that comes through and uses my name, okay cool, I’m probably a mail merge. Or I see a video where the people seem to be holding up signs and say “go Rich” or whatever. I’m like, that’s clever. But again, mail merge for video. But when I get an email from somebody I’ve worked with and I can tell that it’s them and we’ve made a personal connection, that’s incredibly valuable.
And just to share something personal, you know that my daughter’s been having some health issues and she’s on the mend, but the other day I got a text from your president, Larry Barker, checking in on her, and that was insane. Right? You know, that really meant something to me and it’s not a mail merge.
And I think that we need to, as we’re thinking about digital marketing and all the digital channels that we have at our fingertips, there’s got to be some sort of scalability and that’s on personalization. But you also need that unscalable work as well, where yes, you can have that one on one connection with somebody that is really going to secure them as a customer and a friend for life.
And those are the kinds of things that I think here in Maine we have a real opportunity to do a great job in because it is a smaller community here than say in Boston or New York or Chicago. And those are some great opportunities. You can still use a lot of these digital marketing tools.
You know, just as an example, how many times do we get like, Oh look, here are four friends on Facebook having a birthday today. It’s like, okay, click happy birthday. That doesn’t mean anything, and most people don’t even see those anymore. Next time you see one of your friends who shows up there, send them a video. Wish him a happy birthday via video. I’m telling you, they’re going to be so stoked about that sort of thing. That’s going to be the thing that’s going to help you get remembered for your customers, clients and just people in general.
Yury: Awesome. Well Rich, this is the part of the show that you know I get super excited about.
Rich: I can tell how excited you are.
Yury: So Rich, if you had a chance to change one thing about the business ecosystem here in Maine, what would it be?
Rich: Oh, I wish I had thought about this beforehand. Is this a new question? So it’s not easy, but I think that the thing that I’d really love to see the state focus on is building infrastructure throughout the entire state, not just in the populous area down here in Southern Maine. Getting an internet connection in Northern Maine and getting steady, reliable connection in more parts of Maine I think is critical to the growth of the state and the workforce here, and the ability for people to come up and work anywhere.
And we see down here in Southern Maine that there are a lot of people who work remotely for companies out in Seattle or California, whatever it may be, and that’s fantastic. But imagine how many more Mainers could be doing things like that if they could work remote from home or if there were more hubs up there.
And I appreciate that it’s not a snap of the fingers kind of a thing that you have to use your resources wisely. But I think that we should be really working hard to extending the information super highway, for lack of a better phrase, up into the Northern parts of Maine, because I think it’s going to be a virtuous cycle of bringing people. They’re bringing businesses there, funding schools up there, and really just growing the economy statewide, not just down here in the suburbs of Boston.
Yury: That’s awesome. Well, you know, Rich, it’s been a phenomenal show. I am a huge fan of the work that you do. I’m super excited. I actually get a chance to do, the Fast Forward Maine program together with you and with Cody as well.
One thing I wanted to ask you, to the listeners that don’t know who you are but would love to learn more about you, connect with you, and potentially do business with you. Where can they find you?
Rich: Well, certainly they can go to the fastforwardmaine.com website where our bios are. The other thing is I run that Agents of Change event and the weekly podcast. So if they’re podcast fans, and I’m guessing they are because they’re listening in right now, and if they like digital marketing, then they should go check out The Agents of Change on their favorite podcasting platform.
And if you are looking for help in your own digital marketing, head on over to takeflyte.com, which is spelled F, L Y T E, so it’s takeF , L Y T E. dot com. And also I am @TheRichBrooks on every single platform out there. So I’m not too hard to find.
Yury: Well, the Rich Brooks it’s been real. Thank you.
Rich: Thank you, Yury.