In conversation with: Scott Oldford

May 04, 2016

Scott Oldford helps entrepreneurs grow their business by helping them implement a sustainable source of qualified leads through online marketing funnels.

And he believes you are missing out on 80% of the potential leads available to you, simply because you are not talking to them in the right way.

Scott began his business career aged 7, selling eggs from his grandfather’s farm. By 16 he ran a multi-million dollar business, by 21 he’d not only lost it all but racked up in excess of $700,000 in debt, and by 23 he’d recovered to create a new business with $1m in revenue. And he’s still only 24!

Read the transcript below of my conversation with Scott, including:

  • What’s a ‘marketing funnel’ and how do we create one?
  • Why you can’t treat all leads the same
  • Scott’s SSF formula for lead generation
  • How to use different types of lead magnet to speak to different types of prospect
  • What kind of email series should you use to ‘talk’ to new prospects?
  • How many emails?
  • How far apart?
  • How often should you try to ‘sell’?
  • How much ‘content’ vs ‘selling’ should there be?
  • What Scott sees as the big trends in online marketing in the next 2 years

Rob Tyson: I thought we could kick off Scott because you have a really interesting personal story. Just remind me how old you are at the moment, you're not as old as me, I know that.

Scott Oldford: Yeah. Right now, I'm at 24, I have been an entrepreneur since I was seven years old, selling eggs, funny enough. I've been in the on-line world for, I guess, almost over 12 years now. I started out as a programmer when I was nine, ten years old and I've had a very interesting entrepreneurial journey, the typical high highs and low lows and it's been an interesting journey, but a very fulfilling one.

Rob Tyson: Yeah. Talk to us a bit about those highs and lows 'cause I think it's really interesting to get that context, and it just helps people understand how you arrived at where you are now and what you do now. Just give us a bit of flavor about that, you mentioned you launched a business in your teens, I suppose, and that was successful, the IT business. Just tell us a bit more about that.

Scott Oldford: Yeah, no, for sure. In the way that I approach on-line marketing and approach business growth is the number one problem that people have, quite literally, when it comes to their business, especially at the first million is the fact that they don't have enough leads.

We get stuck in this cycle where you go out and you're trying to get business, you're relying on luck, what I call luck, which is referrals, which is networking, which are all of these different types of things and it's not a situation where you know you're going to get X number of leads a day. You truly are relying just on Lady Luck, which honestly, I don't think any of us wants to build our business based on that.

We get into this situation and I saw it myself. I saw it with so many other business owners when I was working in the agency world. And then the other side of it is and, of course, I'll explain in a minute what a marketing funnel is, the other side of it is, is that when somebody implements a marketing funnel into their business, a lot of the time they just try to bring everybody through the same marketing funnel. I truly believe the only way to have a true ROI on every marketing dollar is to give each person experience based on their buying mindset, where there two, and having relevant messaging that essentially pares your company and your services and what you do, to what they do based on their buyer mindset.

There's three of those mindsets that we will probably get into in a couple of minutes, but that's very much the methodology that the biggest problem is lead generation, the easiest way to do it is on-line marketing. We don't want to have luck in our business, we want to make sure that there's a sustainable way that there's always enough business.

In doing that, we can turn off and on the faucet at any given time and then along with that, if you do have on-line marketing or you are tinkering with on-line marketing, a lot of the time people can't make it work because they're trying to bring everybody through and only serve the people that are trying to buy the small, little 3% to 5% that are trying to buy today, compared to the people that aren't really ready to buy just at this moment.

Rob Tyson: Right. I think this is such a light bulb moment, really, because I did a seminar in London the other day and I had one guy who came along to that. He had first encountered me when I spoke at an event three years ago and he never bought from me until this thing in three years. It took him three years, that was the length of his sales cycle, me keeping in touch with him, but then on the other end of the scale, as you say, you do have some people who want the solution right now. The problem, as you say, with having that one marketing funnel where you just treat everyone the same, is that it's impossible for you to talk to those different types of people in a sensible way because they're at completely different stages of the journey and they're in completely different mindsets.

Scott Oldford: You got it, and that is the biggest problem. That's one of the biggest, if not the biggest problem that people have when they're using on-line marketing funnel. Here's the methodology that we've come up with and, of course, this is what we talked about a few months ago.

I guess I could say, I've been working on this, as long as I've been in on-line marketing 'cause it's taken me that long to really develop the concept that can be used across any industry, any type of business, and can be implemented in less than 12 weeks, even less than that to be honest with you.

There's three different types of leads. There's sidewalk leads, slowlaners and fastlaners. Okay? There's sidewalkers, slowlaners and fastlaners and here's the methodology behind all of this and, of course, on our website we do have a training. It's about 80 minutes, and it goes through every single one of these in detail and also gives our eight step process on how to develop an on-line marketing funnel. You can, of course, and it's all over there and, of course, I dive into it a lot more, but here is the gist of it, here's is the high level.

Sidewalkers are typically 40-60% of our potential leads and the sidewalkers are people that don't particularly know that they should be a customer of ours and they don't particularly even know that they have a pain in their life. As a business, we always need to provide a painkiller, that's the whole point of being a business, we provide a painkiller. We provide value and in exchange, we get monetary value back so that we can alleviate someone else's pain. As long as you're targeting people that are within your demographic that are based on your demographic behavioral information, geographic location, all of these different types of things, then you can present a potential problem to that audience and see if they're actually interested.

But, sidewalkers are low obligation, 'cause again, they don't know it's a problem, they're not gonna spend 20 minutes deciding and figuring out if this is a problem of theirs, and quite literally, it is just a little bit of, honestly, a tease of a problem. For example, if you see an ad on Facebook, just to put it in real terms, if you see an ad on Facebook and it says, increase your business growth today and you click on it and it's a 60-minute webinar, the chances of you actually saying, yes, you know I want that is somewhere between 3% to 5%. If I have the same ad and say, [here 00:08:24] is and download this four-page guide to show you the problem of why your business isn't growing, 60% is going to be able to say yes, I want that because it's low obligation. There's no real risk, I don't have to spend my time. Just to put it in a different point, if you go out on the side of the road and someone's passing you flyers, you're probably gonna take the flyer, and you'll look at it and 60% will throw it out, but the other 40% might keep it, if its relevant to them.

But, if that same person was there trying to have a conversation and trying to get you to sign up for a seminar that was two hours and you don't know them, you don't like them, you don't trust them, you don't even understand that they do, the chances of you actually going to that seminar are very, very small. Sidewalkers were essentially showing them that there's a potential pain in their life that they need a fix for or a cure for, okay. That's sidewalkers. The majority of people are sidewalkers. [Secondly 00:09:24], the slow lane is consisting of more specifically people that say yes, I know what the pain is. I've accepted that there is a pain in my life, but now I need to understand the solution and I need to understand the problem a little bit further. In this stage, you need to give them content, you need to give them knowledge and the understanding of the process.

At this stage, you can start nurturing a relationship, you can start ensuring that they know I can trust you. Slowlaners are typically 20% to 30% of all the leads that come through the door. Of course, then we have fastlaners, and fastlaners essentially are the small percentage of people that know what they want. They are now in the conditional mindset, they are thinking about the different objections that they would have. What is the outcome gonna be, can I afford this, what's my partner going to think, all of these different types of things. In the fast lane, this is where we can paint them a picture. This is where we can show them the outcome of what life will be like after our service or our product.

The beautiful thing is that when you do marketing and you think about these three different types of mindsets, you need to deliver different marketing to different people and basically, what we call, you need to change a lane at the right time. In the on-line marketing world, for example, on a Facebook ad that's just going out to a completely cold audience, we would always use a sidewalk lead magnet. We would also use a sidewalk offer, a four-page PDF. Then after that, if they take that and they accept that and they put their email address in, then we make sure we nurture them a little bit, so they know who we are and that type of thing using email marketing and then we offer them a slowlane lead magnet. In our case, it's a four- part video series that the videos are about five to ten minutes each and it goes deeper into the lead generation problem. Again, it nurtures them, it gives 'em a little bit more information, it gives them a little bit more of understanding of the actual process.

Then we offer them, "Hey listen, do you want to come to this 60-minute webinar to understand how to implement an effective on-line marketing process into your business that allows you to grow in less than 12 weeks?" And only at the fast lane do we actually pitch our product, 'cause if we pitch to the sidewalk or the slow lane, you're just doing the typical, here buy my stuff, which we know doesn't work.

That's why the majority of people on line don't have success because if only 1% or 2% is in the fast lane, you can't profit by having 98% of the people just to see this as not being relevant. Marketing at the end of the day is all about being relevant and this allows you to be relevant to the right person at the right time in the right mindset.

Rob Tyson: Yeah. I think it's just a great structure and methodology. Would you agree with me that most small businesses are only really thinking about those fast lane leads. What tends to happen with most small businesses is if they get an inquiry or a lead and they contact the person and it doesn't seem like they want to go right now, they almost just think, oh well, forget it and they don't really cater to that person at all. Actually, is you're saying, really what those people need is they need to be warmed up in a different way and maybe over a longer period?

Scott Oldford: You got it. The majority of the people that contact you aren't going to want to do business with you right then. Here's the other thing, and to be completely honest, as small business owners, we really as human beings were always taught to go after the hot thing, or the trend thing, or the thing that's gonna get us the return right away. This is a more longer term approach, but the beautiful thing is that when we show people how to implement this, the idea is that the fast lane pays for the entire marketing campaign and all your profit is in the slow lane and the sidewalk and you have a continual waterfall approach of a lead generation that just continues, continues, continues. That's really the beauty of this is that your fastlaners are gonna pay for typically your campaign instantly.

Your slowlaners are the people that are gonna take anywhere from 30 days to three to four months and your sidewalkers are four months to two year, right, and as you're bringing more leads in every single day. It's okay if one is in the fast lane, one may make the decision. Three of them may be in the slow lane and the other five or six are in the sidewalk.

But the other side of it is, and this is a really interesting one, Rob, is the fact that if you get somebody at the sidewalk and the slow lane and you bring them up that chain from the sidewalk to the slow lane, slow lane to the fast lane, fast lane to a customer, the chances of you turning them into a customer in the fast lane exponentially increases because they now have a relationship with you, and now, they're not looking at the competition because you are the go-to people in their mind when they're at that stage of wanting to purchase.

Rob Tyson: Yeah, and that's fantastic, isn't it. It's so clear the way you structure it 'cause obviously, the problem with the fast lane people is that if I decide I want a builder now to come and do some work on my house, well then, because no builder has built up any kind of relationship with me already, all I'm about is, well like, let me find three builders and just go with the one who probably gives me the lowest cost and that's really not where we want to be as business owners, is it. We don't really want to be battling on a cost basis and what you're describing is, if you bring people in on the sidewalk or the pavement as we call it here in the UK, you can take them all the way through and they don't even think about other competitors because you've done the groundwork.

Scott Oldford: Exactly. The beauty of this is that people always ask, hey listen, does it work for my business, does it work in this business, does it work in this industry and I've yet to see somebody be able to prove to me that this doesn't work, simply because of the fact that it's just human psychology. It's just the bones of how we are made as human beings.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: When we're in this situation of being able to implement this, and again, it doesn't have to take a lot of time to be able to implement something like this. It doesn't have to be this big scary thing and you know you can implement it in phases and so on, and it doesn't have to cost a whole lot of money. It's not like you have to hire somebody to do this.

Let's say you don't have any budget to do it, I guarantee you there's enough information on line if you use this methodology that you can have this working within three to six months on your own, even if you're just working on a shoestring budget or whatever the case may be.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And out of interest, Scott, how did you discover this formula, this way of thinking about where there's three different types of lead? Did you just wake up one morning and think, oh, I've got it, or was it an approach that evolved? I'm just interested in where that idea came from.

Scott Oldford: It definitely wasn't particularly a light bulb moment, by any stretch of the imagination.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: It was just honestly being in this industry for such a long time that you see this work and you see that not work. It is something that has evolved and is continually evolving. I'm going and writing a book this year on this method and I'm starting to dive into the actual science of this.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: And the true psychology behind it, 'cause I know it works and I've proven it hundreds of times with customers of ours and ourselves, so I know it works. Do I know the deep, deep psychology of it? No, that's something that I am now diving into, so that when I publish this book, this is based on results, this is based on theory, but it's also based on science. It's ever-changing and if you ask me, Scott, do you think this is the end all of what it's going to be, definitely not.

I believe it works, I know it works, but I think it's going to be ever evolving as we see things work and don't work as we go into the future, but it's an amazing model to base your actual advertising on and your marketing on, so that you can have that return on investment and you can have that ...

For example, the majority of people can have a hundred new leads come into their business every single week for about $100-$150, right. I think that would change any business. Regardless if only one of those people turned into a customer, in the first month, that's fine because the rest of them, if you're constantly in contact with them in a one to many way, such as email marketing, you're gonna have success with it.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, it may be a good point to delve into that side of it, the email marketing side. What's happening in ... Tell me I'm wrong, if this is not how you do it, but I guess your approach is when people come in and they consume the lead magnet for whatever lane they're in, the lynch pin of this is they're getting a series of emails. Tell us about those emails. How long do they get them? How long does the series run for? How much time between emails? What kind of material are you putting in the emails? How does it vary between the different lanes?

Scott Oldford: That's a really good question. We use email marketing to essentially [ascend 00:20:01] people, or I should say, allow people to change lanes as time goes on. What that truly means at the end of the day is the fact that when somebody comes into the sidewalk, we want to give them whatever we promised them and we want to nurture the relationship a little bit, so there's emails of value, there's emails of authority, authority building. There's relationship building emails and then there is, essentially, lane changing emails. Okay? A lane changing email is essentially your next lane, the lead magnet that you have built for that lane. If they accept the lead magnet and they say yes, okay, cool, I'm gonna download that, we take them out of the sidewalk and then we put them into the slow lane, same thing for the fast lane, same thing with becoming a customer.

The sidewalk is typically ... Our automation is typically 12 to 20 emails, okay, over however long we typically offer the slow lane email by email three or four. Then, in the slow lane, we have more emails and then in the fast lane, we have essentially more time over those emails. That's the simple version of it at the end of the day, is just when they go to the next lead magnet, we take them off the other list.

When they go to the next one, we take them off that list, and they're on the fast lane, slow lane, on the sidewalk and then you can do a weekly email or monthly email for all of the people that aren't in that automation.

The advanced version, and we currently don't offer a direct ... We don't offer a program for the advanced side of it, we do it ourselves, but there is no kind of training on this just yet. It's something that we're gonna be releasing in the Fall, but it largely uses a lead scoring [then 00:21:50] in tagging to actually look at and predict if somebody's in the sidewalk, slow lane, fast lane, based on what content they consume, what links they click, what emails they open and their engagement rates and instead of just looking at if they opt into this slow lane or the fast lane, it looks at a variety of factors to essentially offer them what we think will get them to engage further.

Rob Tyson: Just elaborate on that lead scoring, Scott. Just tell us a little bit about that. I obviously know what that means, but listeners may not. Tell us what is lead scoring, please?

Scott Oldford: Lead scoring is essentially the ability to look at behavior, such as somebody opens their email, how often they click, what they click, if they have tags, if they don't have tags and give them a score that's either positive or negative and then we can take that score and we can say, okay, out of a hundred, everybody that has a score over 75 is fast lane. Everybody under 75 down to 40 is a slow lane. Anyone below forty is a sidewalk and then based on what score they have, we send them emails based on that.

Rob Tyson: Okay. Fantastic. What technology do you like for this?

Scott Oldford: We use ActiveCampaign, and I do very much like ActiveCampaign, and it's very, very simple. It allows ... One of the things that I love about ActiveCampaign is the fact that you can start out at $9 a month and have all the functionality of somebody such as us, that spends hundreds of dollars a month on our email software. Unlike, Infusionsoft where you have $300, $400, $500 monthly cost, plus $3,000 up front, it's really easy to get in the door, 'cause it does have automation built in right from the get go. That would be my recommendation for email software. It allows us to do all these different types of things.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sure. Obviously, you're growing your own audience in a very impressive way. What do you find are the best channels for that?

Scott Oldford: In terms of growing an actual audience, you mean?

Rob Tyson: Yeah. What are you finding works the best? For instance, are you a big SEO guy or is it more paid traffic or partnerships, just tell us what you find is moving the needle for you the most.

Scott Oldford: Gotcha. Yeah, no, that makes sense. I don't rely on any SEO whatsoever. We don't do any Google advertising. What we do is largely, we do a lot of Facebook advertising that works extremely well for us. We do a lot of joint venture partnerships, like myself and Rob ...

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: Where we share audiences and that type of thing and that's definitely moved the needle. I would expect that we'll probably add 30,000 to 50,000 people to our email list year just with the joint venture partnerships.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: Then, honestly, it's using Facebook with our content marketing strategy. We are starting to use social media, now that we have a full on marketing funnel that really works for us and that we know it works with pay traffic because, as I always say, any type of marketing without a marketing funnel, you're only getting one tenth of the effectiveness. We've waited to really dial in our own marketing funnel before we actually start investing in social media and now we're going to start using Instagram.

As of next week, Instagram, Twitter and our Facebook page are our three social platforms that we're going to be investing in, and then the very last that we're going to be starting later on this year, is our YouTube channel and having a video series, having a video show. In the past, I've built a podcast much like this and that definitely worked, but I think a video series where it can be on ITunes, it can be on YouTube, it can be on Vimeo, it can be on all these different sharing platforms, allows us to get more and more exposure.

Rob Tyson: Fantastic. What do you think are the big trends in the next couple of years if we think about on-line marketing and the on-line marketing space?

Scott Oldford: Video is gonna become more and more important. Video is definitely gonna become more and more important. That's number one. Number two, I will say, the methodology that I teach in terms of having more of an intelligent funnel, a smart marketing funnel, is gonna become more and more evident.

Three years from now, everybody will have a marketing funnel, and you're gonna have to have a smart marketing funnel because the thing is if you don't have a smart marketing funnel, it goes over into customer service. It goes over into customer support, it goes over to your sales team, it goes to every part of your business, is touched in some way by your marketing funnel.

I lived in the 2003-2007 website boom, I'll call it. Much like websites, our commodity today compared to a specialization, you're gonna see regular funnels become a commodity, and you're gonna see smart funnels be the specialization.

I think if you invest early and if you're a smart entrepreneur that really wants to put time and investment into growing your business and being ahead of the curve, it would be very, very smart to deploy a smart marketing funnel in your business before your competitors do because of the fact that we know it works.

There's no question of if it works or it doesn't work. You just have to get it in your [head 00:27:41], do you want to ahead of the curve, or do you want to be there when everybody ... The thing about it, a while back, in 2003, back in 1999, if you had a website, you were a millionaire, right.

If you had website and you created content and all these different types of things, you were ahead of your competition. You're seeing that exact same thing right now where a lot of people don't have marketing funnels. The majority of businesses don't have marketing funnels. You're currently ahead of the curve, and you have a lot of potential in the next couple of years to really capitalize on that.

Rob Tyson: Yeah. Very interesting. At the same, I wonder, do you think a lot of small business owners are just gonna get left behind by this because, obviously, if you're not gonna pay someone to do it and you want to learn this stuff, there's a lot to learn really, isn't there? I wonder, 'cause it seems to me the small business owners, I think that marketing landscape just gets more and more complex, but how do you see it?

Scott Oldford: Yeah. Hiring someone to do this is not cheap yet. By the time anything is cheap, it's no longer effective.

Rob Tyson: m-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: When we use to do this for clients, four of them, we would charge them somewhere between $50,000 to $150,000 a year to set this up. Obviously, business owners, and keep in mind that was advertising [span 00:29:20] and everything else, but anybody with less than million dollar business wouldn't be able to afford it.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: That's really why I created a program, so that somebody could learn it in 12 weeks, but I mean the typical person that comes through our program, it's less than four hours a week and yes, there is lots to learn, but it's actually not that bad, it's really not.

At the end of the day, if you want to grow your business, you can grow your business using this for less than 60 hours over three months. I don't know about you, but I'd be willing, if someone said to me, hey, I can double my business doing that, 'cause quite literally, we'll grow by about 600% between 2015 and 2016 simply because of marketing funnels, and that to me is worth at least the 60 hour investment up front to at least see if this is gonna work for my business. Do you know what I mean? But, again, there's definitely some parts there that if you just [grow 00:30:23] it on the Internet and listen to this strategy and that strategy and try to put it together yourself, it'll take you six, nine, twelve months to figure it out. It can definitely be done, but it's like anything. You can tinker with it or you can master it and truly profit from it.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sure. Just sort of final couple of things, I mean. Obviously, email marketing is a huge part of what you teach. How do you see email marketing changing over the next few years. I mean, obviously, it's gonna get more, I think you're gonna say it's gonna become a lot more about relevant messages at the right time. Do you see a time when email will get superseded by something, or are you pretty much email all the way? What are your thoughts?

Scott Oldford: I don't actually, particularly have an opinion on this one.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: Because I could go either way on it. You gotta think about where technology is heading. If we're looking at the [hour 00:31:31], everyone will be in 10 years using augmented reality and virtual reality on a day-to-day basis, okay. If we think about that, we now think of more notifications compared to actual [foreign 00:31:46] emails, okay. Again, more video, more recorded content. It's gonna be even more and more accessible. Whether someone actually sits down at a desktop computer and looks at a specific email, who knows? Does it become more of pay per play system, who knows? At the end of the day at some point, email will evolve into something else.

Rob Tyson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Oldford: Whether or not that's two years from now, or five years from now, or ten years from now, it doesn't really matter because if you have SSF formula, it works regardless of what technology's out there because it's based on human psychology and human psychology won't change. You can replace any bit of technology, as long as you can be in front of your customer, which you will be able to do anyways, 'cause that's how all these systems can support themselves, you can do it.

At the end of the day, right now, email marketing is working great for us. Whether or not it won't work as well in three years, you look at email marketing and if you were doing email marketing in 1999, I mean, you were killing it, you know what I mean, you were just crushing it.

If you look at email marketing, it is very much about behavior and sending people relevant messages and all these different types of things, but as technology develops, I think you're gonna see email marketing evolve a little bit, 'cause honestly, it really hasn't evolved at all in the past 15 years. It's very much similar of what it was in 2000.

I think it's something that's gonna be innovated upon, but I think it is gonna take some time and when it does, I think it's gonna be a little bit disruptive of what we expect email to be right now, and especially when we go to more virtual reality and virtual reality is adopted as a main thing in our world, compared to just a small sub-culture that it is today.

Rob Tyson: Yeah. Really interesting, isn't it? I mean, who knows where this stuff is gonna go, but really interesting thoughts.


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