The battle for the favors of the LGBT travelers also takes place in the sky, perhaps at ’10 miles high’. It started in the US, where it still happens a lot, but soon Europe and other parts of the world followed. This resulted in funny, wrong, colorful and effective campaigns. There are special websites, loyalty programs, benefits and, above all, cheerful attention.
An Exit Strategy is a MUST have to Grow Your Business
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Stephen Crawford a Business Coach who focuses on the end game.
Stephen Crawford throughout his career has been a teacher and/or coach in some manner. For the bulk of his career, he was a vocal coach helping his clients and students be pitch-perfect while performing and guiding their careers. He has owned two successful vocal studios and has clients who have gone on to reach prestigious positions.
01:10 Stephen’s background in music and vocal coaching
07:00 How vocal coaching relates to business coaching/consulting
09:50 It’s all about mindset
10:50 Stephen provides an overview of how he works with small business owners
12:30 Stephen shares examples of what business owners have lost by not having an exit strategy when unexpected emergencies force them to close their business
15:00 Exit strategy for business growth
17:30 Document your processes – even if you are a baker, document recipes so all things are repeatable by others
19:00 Stephen shares information about the methods and their profit accelerator business survey that covers 40 areas of a business
22:50 Stephen provides a prioritized approach so that business owners can incrementally work on what is the most important and growth-oriented
25:30 In the past you may have hired a coach and didn’t get the actionable results desired. Stephen’s tools provide actionable prioritized reports and guidance.
29:00 Stephen assists professionals with their webinars, presentation, and public speaking game. We further discuss how business owners should leverage video and audio to promote their knowledge, products, and services in an informational way.
Stephen focuses on the end game of what the client is wanting to achieve and then works systematically with them to help them shift their mindset to remove the stumbling blocks that are holding them back. Stephen has taken his past and realized his skills, knowledge, passion, and expertise can help small businesses. He launched Infinite Symmetry Business Strategies as an independent small business consulting agency under a national Business Services company that provides a researched methodology to structure his consulting practice with tools and resources.
One of those tools is a comprehensive business survey that helps Stephen and the business owner uncover underdeveloped or missing core business structures, processes, marketing channels, and key business documents. There are over 40 areas of insights in this survey and its personalized report. From completing it, along with the businesses owners’ stated goals, Stephen can then make prioritized recommendations.
In our conversation, Stephen provided an example of how a business owner due to a family unexpected health issue had to sell her business. She was not prepared and basically had to walk away from all her years of working to build and sustain it. Had she previously worked with Stephen, gotten prepared with the legal documents, documented business processes, a growth plan, a solid marketing plan, insurances, clear accounting, and an exit strategy, she would have been in a much better place financially and emotionally.
Having a business exit strategy is not just a single document. Think of it as an athlete whose goal is to compete in the Olympics. Writing on a piece of paper, “I want to compete in the Olympics” is great. But it won’t get you there. An effective business exit strategy relies on all the areas of the business to be strong, documented thoroughly, and in place right now. Waiting until you need or want to exit is likely too late.
Do you think you are leaving your business to your child/ren? Have they worked in the business long enough to know how it fully operates? A great exercise would be to have them assist in the forming of the exit strategy. As they assist in process documentation and all the other aspects they’ll gain a fuller knowledge and understanding along with being able to contribute to some of the decision makings. Having an exit strategy also prepares a business to raise capital from investors or secure a good business loan.
You owe it to yourself to have your business as strong and ready as it can be. Reach out to Stephen today to set up an initial conversation.
To connect with Stephen you can find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/stephengetsmorecash4u/ Join us on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online networking community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies, and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/recommend-a-guest/
Scott Seitz SPI Marketing Helping Brands Reach the LGBTQ+ Community
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Scott Seitz of SPI Marketing. SPI Marketing was one of the first LGBTQ-focused marketing agencies founded in 1996. Early on SPI Marketing was able to attract beverage and spirits companies. Seitz’s past career in those industries proved useful. They’ve also worked with RuPaul’s Drag Race for its first six years. Seitz explains they’ve also have worked with pharmaceutical companies and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key clients have been Absolute Vodka, Miller Coor’s, Chase and many others.
Seitz shares one of the most exciting and emotional experiences spanning their currently 25 years in business happened in 2004 when they got the opportunity to work with Gilbert Baker who created the original Rainbow Flag in 1978. SPI Marketing was tasked to support the 25 year anniversary of the flag’s creation.
Seitz explains how brands can effectively work with an advertising agency like SPI Marketing through the often changing marketing team. He goes on to say that approaching the clients with a fresh view as if it is their first time there has been a key factor in SPI Marketing’s success. Also after a marketing plan is set, it’s important to be adaptive along the way. He explains a challenge for brands is measuring the effectiveness of marketing to the LGBTQ community. This is in large part due to the lack of retail insights not being able to tell when a product is sold that it was to an LGBTQ person. This problem exists regarding other demographics as well. This led SPI Marketing to partner with the market research company Barra who has over 90,000 self-identified LGBTQ persons in the panel to gauge attitudes about companies and brands from the LGBTQ community perspective. It provides the ability to track a brand over time as well as compare different brands against one another.
To connect with Scott find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/scottseitz/
Join me and Scott on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
Donna Williams: LGBTQ Authentic Stock Images on LibertiPix
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Donna Williams, an out lesbian entrepreneur and co-founder of LibertiPix.
LibertiPix is a new online stock photography site that is authentically LGBTQ from A to Z. Co-founder Donna Williams has years of experience in the marketing media industry. In that role, she became frustrated with the limited selection of stock images and videos represent, or trying to represent the LGBTQ community.
She discusses some of the negative stereotyping as well as images that clearly misrepresent completely. She cited an example of what clearly was a mother and daughter yet it was categorized as a “lesbian couple”. Having worked in the marketing industry for years she knows firsthand that there is a need and demand for images and videos that authentically represent the LGBTQ community. This lack and need sparked Donna along with her wife as co-founders to launch LiberiPix.
On LibertiPix, all photographers, videographers, and models identify as LGBTQ. The startup has a small yet strong base of photographers and videographers in the UK and seeking others from around the world to join and submit images and short videos. LibertiPix is offering an unusual 50% commission share.
Do you know an LGBTQ photographer? Tag them in the comments below or share this video on social media and tag them.
LibertiPix is seeking images that move beyond the stereotypical to breathe authenticity into LGBTQ marketing. Currently, site customers pay for each image however they are making site enhancements to offer a subscription model in early 2021.
Join LibrtiPix today. Fing great images to freshen your marketing campaigns.
In my usual conversational approach, we interject lessons for entrepreneurs with stories of our own startup journey.
Connect with Donna on OutBüro at: https://outburo.com/profile/donnal/
Join me and Donna on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
Matt Skallerud: Innovative, Pioneer, LGBTQ Marketing Leader
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with serial internet marketing entrepreneur Matt Skallerud. Matt founded one of the first internet websites focused on the gay community. Within a short period, he also founded one of the first websites (gaywired.com 1995) for the lesbian community (shewired.com) both acquired by Here Media (2006) and no longer active. Matt shares a bit of history surrounding the development of early LGBTQ web platform presence. Matt shares how the LGBTQ were early adopters using sites to connect with others.
The experience he gained from those experiences led Matt to launch Pink Media (2008), a marketing firm specializing in helping corporations target and reach the LGBTQ community across all media platforms. He and Pink Media has also been instrumental in bringing many live and virtual events, conferences, and symposiums regarding LGBTQ entrepreneurship with a keen focus on marketing SEO, and public relations (PR). We further chat about the current changes in live events to leveraging online virtual events/conferences with a high production value contrasting the past of the logistics of live events versus virtual content that can reach thousands day and night. Matt and Pink Media is continually experimenting to evolve their strategies.
We discuss social media etiquette and properly using it for business networking with authenticity on sites like www.OutBuro.com and LinkedIn. Recently even Gary Vee has been touting the opportunities on LinkedIn. We share some stories of how some LinkedIn profiles are inappropriate as well as compare and contrast the value of social media sites and being very selective on what you post can actually increase engagement versus sharing low-quality content often. In our conversation, Matt shares a bit of his entrepreneur journey along with current and future plans.
To connect with Matt find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/mattskal/
About Pink Media
We integrate the power and reach of content & social media marketing with traditional online strategies including banner ads and e-mail campaigns. We merge PR, Advertising, Marketing & Social Media.
- #ILoveGay Network
- Hyper-targeted social media advertising
- LGBTQ Influencers
- LGBTQ Influencer Opportunities
- Content Marketing
- Social Media PR
- Social Media monitoring and analytics
- Hyper-Targeted, Programmatic Advertising
- Hyper-Targeted Email Marketing
- Mobile Advertising
- Business to Business Advertising
- Market Specializations
- Advertising RFPs
- SEO services
- Keyword search term marketing on Google,
Bing and other search platforms
- SEO Monitoring and analytics
- Pre-roll and other forms of video advertising
- OTT video advertising
- Video as content in social media marketing
- Custom video packages
- Pink Media Receptions
- LGBTQ Week NYC
- LGBTQ New Media Expos & Conferences
- Event Sponsorship
- Our Pride Sponsorships + Corporate Work
Join me and Matt on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
Ben Finzel: Public Relations Leader With a Focus on the Environment
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Ben Finzel, founder of RENEW PR.
Ben Finzel, is not a typical business startup entrepreneur. He launched RENEW PR, a public relations firm that primarily focuses on #renewable energy, sustainability, environmental, and LGBTQ topics. He is an out gay business owner (LGBTQ entrepreneur) with over two decades of top PR agency experience in Washington, DC. With experience at prestigious firms such as Edelman, FleishmanHillard, and others.
- 00:50 Personal background – the beginning of a gay entrepreneur
- 05:00 Development of critical thinks core
- 05:30 Begining at Edelman
- 8:45 Changes in pitching to journalists/reporters
- 11:00 Delving into launching ReNew PR – transitioning from being an employee to an entrepreneur
- 13:00 A short clear explanation of your business is key
- 13:50 A benefit of starting a business after a long a rich career is the professional network of past coworkers, clients, and industry contacts.
- 15:00 He clarifies ReNew PR’s scope is both specific and broad – energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainability, climate change, clean transportation, natural resources, air/water/land use all broadly. A great client would be one who offers sustainable products, say that reuses, reduces, or upcycles as one example.
- 17:45 Honest discussion of transition into being an entrepreneur, the assumptions and adapting
- 19:20 As a business own leveraging technology tool to make the dreaded yet necessary tasks easier such as invoicing.
- 20:20 Shifting from big PR agencies to own small business, created new realizations, new opportunities, and new partnerships
- 21:15 It is not pie. There is enough for everyone.
- 24:00 Focus and differentiate your business. ReNew PR is a certified LGBTQ Owned Business by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
- 25:30 Formation of the Change Agencies a network of multicultural owned agencies
- 27:00 Networking with other LGBTQ communications PR professionals in Washington DC
Connect with Ben Finzel on OutBüro at https://www.outburo.com/profile/benfinzel/
Join Ben on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, a.lies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
Olivier Jamin Changeart: Marketing with Sonic Branding and Audio Tags
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with, Olivier Jamin Changeart is an acoustic, audio, sonic branding identity professional.
Olivier works with companies/organizations of all sizes, to create a full sonic branding identity that becomes your musical DNA that permeates all of your digital marketing reinforcing your identity and message. Olivier is an OUT LGBTQ entrepreneur open to working with all clients from small startups, medium and large enterprises. As an LGBT professional he has a perspective on diversity and inclusion and how that can be supported through your sonic branding.
His website: https://ojcartisanofsound.com/
- 00:30 Olivier recently became a US citizen – say Congrats in the comments
- 00:50 What is a Sonic Brand? 02:30 Diversifying the music to reach and connect with different target audiences
- 03:20 MasterCard a good example of creating global localized music See full article with examples here: https://ojcartisanofsound.com/learn/w…
- 04:00 Add a link in the comments to your favorite brand’s musical branding examples 04:50 Musical Audio Logo Tag examples of HBO, Intel, McDonald’s, Nokia, Netflix, T-Mobile
- 05:45 Not just for large corporations. For any size company or organization.
- 05:50 Practical use and benefits Advancements in technology brought sound to motion pictures in the 1940s.
The Madmen marketing era of the 1950-60s saw a rise in adding music to commercials often called “jingles”. The technology revolution of the 1990-2010s created global brands recognized by their Audio Tag Logo which is part of Sonic Branding Identity’s audio library. 2010-present, the rise of digital, in particular, audio and video communication marketing grows with every year. Companies and organizations of all sizes have the ability and necessity to stand out in today’s digital audio landscape. He starts with an audio tag logo that is often just a few notes. He then himself, or working with other musicians and DJs can build a full musical library to leverage in all your video and audio projects and social media marketing. With custom music founded on your unique audio tag, all of your electronic marketing communication projects will be uniquely yours not reliant on stock sounds. The custom music can express a range of emotions and global diversity, all depending on what your current and future branding requirements may need and want. These unique songs are composed a d created in several standard lengths such as 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 seconds. Longer versions may also be created. Having a branded music library of your own allows marketers to quickly add approved music to all video, audio, and social media marketing assets that support your brand, increase repetition furthering consumer brand awareness.
To connect with Olivier find him on OutBüro here. https://www.outburo.com/profile/ojcsound/
Join me and Olivier on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
Justin Buchbinder: What Does a Professional Social Media Director Do?
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Justin Buchbinder, the Director of Social Media at FINN Partners.
This is the first in a series of dialogs with Justin, he describes what his role is, how he grew in his career, how social media is a great equalizer where everyone has the same ability and his role with his clients.
FINN Partners is a global marketing agency that primarily serves the mid to large client market with a full suite of services with over 850 professionals around the globe.
Justin is an OUT #LGBTQ professional who values sharing is wide and deep knowledge with the OutBüro #LGBT professional and #entrepreneur community so that #gay, #lesbian, #bisexual, #transgender, and #queer business owners and community organizations may excel at creating effective #SocialMedia champagnes on any budget that is measurable and effective.
Be sure to subscribe to be notified of all OutBüro Voices new content gets published including our series with Justin and our friends at FINN Partners.
Do you have a social media question? Drop it in the comments so we can add it to our list and have it be featured potentially in a future episode.
Find Justin on OutBüro: https://www.outburo.com/profile/justinbuchbinder/
- 00:30 Overview of Finn Partners #Marketing Agency
- 02:20 How did you become a Social Media Director?
- 03:00 Social media was love at first sight
- 03:30 To be a Social Media Specialist you need to hang on and keep pace
- 04:30 Social media is an equalizer everyone can leverage no matter size or budget
- 05:20 Realist photography is a new trend – showing everyday people
- 05:40 Align social media to support the business goals and right metrics
- 07:00 Social media is not a piece of the pie. It should be another layer of the whole pie.
- 08:00 The average American spends 2 hours a day on social media
To connect with Christopher find him on OutBüro here. https://www.outburo.com/profile/justinbuchbinder/
Join me and Christopher on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
Pay for Performance Digital Marketing Business Innovation – Louis Walters
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Louis Waters is an LGBT entrepreneur.
His innovative approach is very different than most in that the bulk of his professional service fees are not the typical hourly or project-based. Rather he partners with his clients to share the risk and reward. On a client, by client basis, he structures a relationship where he earns a percentage of his client’s new growth. In this way, if his marketing is not successful his client owes nothing. If it is successful, he earns a percent of the new revenue. It is an innovative approach. Most marketing agencies pitch ideas and the client then pays for the implementation of those and hope it works. In this model, Louis’s firm is highly engaged and equally sharing the fisk and reward. His approach is not for all clients. He likes to have clients with little or very underperforming marketing and a fairly straight forward business model. He also keeps an eye on trends for emerging fields to work with businesses who are early adopters to ride a wave together. He has had to turn away prospective customers who were not a good fit. In some cases, he has offered business advice on how those prospects might adapt their business to be a better fit. Some direct cost fees get invoiced so that Louis is not financially losing any money.
Louis Walters’ profile on OutBüro > https://www.outburo.com/profile/louiswalters/
Conversation Time stamps
- 1:00 Louis Walters’ brief Introduction
- 2:00 Target Client Small to Medium Businesses
- 3:00 Partnering with Clients pay for success in a shared return on investment (ROI) manner – Skin in the game, share in the potential up-side, putting money where their mouth is – earn a percentage based on the success of marketing campaign, cut of increase in profit margin
- 7:30 Legal client example
- 8:00 Does not bill/charge client if traction/results are not realized, they revisit, improve and retool
- 8:30 Builds trust and mutual learning teamwork. Clients then still engage for work that is paid such as brochures.
- 9:30 Unique agreements per client with the ability to earn more with fewer clients.
- 11:00 Choosing clients wisely with the potential to grow and room for improvement
- 12:00 For prospective clients that aren’t a good fit Loius provides advice to improve to be a future fit
- 12:30 Louis seeks a business that has a market potential to take-off based on many factors
- 20:00 This could be a business game-changer if you have financial difficulty right now, this may not be the best model unless you cover your bare base and do a blended approach of partial billing and partial upturn profit-sharing
- 23:00 Small clients are ideal sue to dealing with the owner. Keep things simple, straight forward, and measurable with short spurts of 2-4 weeks to assess, measure, improve, repeat.
- 28:00 Not click tracking. Revenue tracking.
- 29:00 Train client staff – partner, educate, empower, and all thrive while building trust.
- 36:20 Don’t allow a client to abuse your time. Ensure the client understands your time has value and has a billing rate. Don’t waste it or bill.
Could Your Business Try Pay for Performance?
In today’s world crisis how you adapt can define new opportunities or potentially going out of business. If you offer professional services, would you consider a pay for performance? FOR Louis this approach has meant he has been able to cherry-pick clients to work with, have fewer clients while earning above average for his work. He is focused on quality that drives results.
To connect with Louis find him on OutBüro here. https://www.outburo.com/profile/louiswalters/
Join me and Louis on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
New York City: Local SEO Digital Marketing (NYC 2020)
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with LGBT entrepreneurs, Stephen Redford and Robson Teles of AG2 Media, a digital marketing service agency in New York City (NYC) that knows how to reinvent during challenging times and thrive.
During the COVID period, it is vital to really focus on your small business online local SEO strategy. Dust off your online marketing, give it a refresh with a keen focus on being found by local clients or your ideal online target audience no matter where they are located. Case in point, AG2 Media has worked with a local business for quite some time having done their overall branding and website. Yet initially the client chose not to focus on local SEO including online business citations because their business had great foot traffic and word of mouth referral. Fast forward and we all have felt the impact of COVID on business. This client laid most of their small business stars off due to a rapid sharp downturn in business. Then AG2 Media reminded them that they could get phone orders for delivery or pickup if they focus on being found if internet searches served up their business in results in a more targeted way utilizing all the features of Google My Business and more. After getting the green light the AG2 Media team swung into action. The results were quick and profound. Within just around 30 days the client was receiving a high volume of client orders a week and most where new customers. Within a short period, the client’s business was back to pre-COVID levels and they were able to bring back their staff. Had the business owner not invested into local SEO, today they would have been officially out of business. Local SEO literally saved the business. What can it do for your business?
WE LIKE SIMPLE DESIGN; WE THINK IT HELPS KEEP YOUR MESSAGE CLEAR.
We believe design should be concept driven and engaging. Great design can shift the perception of your brand and is an investment in your company’s future. AG2 Digital will design a stylish, professional logo, website, business cards, branded social media platforms, in-house branded materials and custom icons. After we’re done, you’ll have a brand that inspires trust and confidence with consumers.
AG2 Digital creates unique logo designs that relate to your customers and makes you stand out from your competitors. We’ll take you through our logo/branding discussion process to better understand your business, culture, personality, and aesthetics.
YOUR WEBSITE ACTS AS THE ONLINE FACE OF YOUR COMPANY, ITS STOREFRONT.
The value of your web design can either increase site traffic or drive it away. If you have a poorly designed website that just doesn’t look “right” to a visitor, it is highly unlikely they will place enough trust into your business to make a purchase. A site’s design is the reflection of business behind it, and in order to create a reputable online profile, this is definitely not an area that can be ignored.
Since your website is often where customers have their first interaction with your business, it better make a good first impression. Our goal is to engage your audience while creatively telling your story through an aesthetically pleasing and functional website with clear navigation.
To connect with Stephen find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/stephen_ag2digital/
Join me and Stephen on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
Conversation Auto Transcrpit
The below was created through voice to text recognition. We will strive to edit for accuracy as time permits. It may not be perfect. It is being provided for the hearing impaired to still enjoy the interview.
Unknown Speaker 0:06
Hello, this is Dennis Velco with OutBüro where we bring you episodes featuring LGBT entrepreneurs, professionals and community leaders. Today we are joined by the two founders and principals of a AG2 Digital, a marketing and communications firm based in New York City who rah, welcome Robson and Stephen to the OutBüro voices show.
Unknown Speaker 0:42
I just Thanks for having us.
Unknown Speaker 0:45
Absolutely. And so, because I know we are on a time limit, because right now I’m on the cheap. So we’re doing this in 40 minutes to stay in line with the Skype limitation We’re going to dive right into you guys now do know that I will be switching this to the person who’s speaking. So just know don’t know how you guys are going to want to do a little hand signals. But if you find you’re going over each other just one of you kind of pause and let the other one take the lead and just bounce back and forth as you guys like okie dokie. And so what if one of you would like to give me a little bit of background on to how ag to digital got started? And then we’ll move on from there.
Unknown Speaker 1:33
Okay, well I tend to overtalk him, so I’ll go first. I got my background in hospitality, tourism marketing. I worked for 20 years in various boutique hotels here in New York City and a sales and marketing capacity. And then, like a lot of New Yorkers and like a lot of people now at a downturn of the hospitality and the Straight, like what’s happening now? I lost my job and started an art consulting and sales and marketing company. And then that helps him talk about his start.
Unknown Speaker 2:12
Well, I, I’ve always been a designer, I graduated in graphic design back on the early 90s. And right after school, I got a job at Hallmark. I worked for Hallmark for two years. And then I moved to New York, er, word for Forbes magazine Businessweek. And my last job was with new score. And as Steve was mentioning, with the downturn of the economy in 2008, my whole department was gone. And that’s when I start doing freelance and freelance turn into the digital agency that we have now. Student I have run the agents that’s pretty much good.
Unknown Speaker 2:58
Okay, so How long has a a GQ digital been around as a company?
Unknown Speaker 3:07
We started in 2015. And as we when we first began, we were a more of a old school print graphic design company. And we quickly saw that the real business was going to be in website design. So that’s, I would say three years ago, we shifted everything to web design. And then further we went into more SEO capabilities, sem SEO PPC on that we’ve been doing for about two years now.
Unknown Speaker 3:41
Unknown Speaker 3:43
are you guys do all or most of the work are kind of really focused on the client acquisition and then kind of subcontract out some of that work.
Unknown Speaker 3:54
Thompson does all the design work, which is amazing. We subcontract Drag out these some of the SEO work and the social media advertising.
Unknown Speaker 4:06
Okay. Kobe’s now you are in the New York City area. Therefore, I bet you guys have seen a lot of change here in the COVID. But I guess before we get to kind of that to understand the impact of COVID on your business, let’s kind of back up and talk a little bit about as you were starting your business, what are some of the ways that you guys have, you know, found your clients and you know, that the word out about your business?
Unknown Speaker 4:41
Yeah, definitely. We started the company. And I mean, I just want to back up a little bit and say that hausa and I both were never entrepreneurs to begin with. We both were raised to go to school, get a degree and get a paycheck. And that’s coming. of how we operated for most of our careers here, and I guess you would say corporate America. But when we found ourselves in a situation where we had to create our own company, we were a little bit out of fish out of water. And our first place that we started really practicing and learning about getting clients and selling for ourselves was like the LGBT networking community, specifically, our Business Builders is a breakfast meeting that we attended. We joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. And that was how we got our first clients. And that still to this day, is where we’re getting the majority of our clients is the networking that we’ve been able to do within the LGBTQ community.
Unknown Speaker 5:50
Oh, well, wonderful. And I guess I’ll kind of jump in and you know, say how, you know, there is no age limitation on being an entrepreneur, you can jump into to being an entrepreneur at any point in your, in your path, you know, from, you know, 16 years old to 76 years old. And it’s very interesting as I’m interviewing people right now, like my call earlier who I’m talking with next week, she’s she’s a young entrepreneur hasn’t even graduated from college yet working on a mobile app. And earlier today was a life coach. You know, who, from the UK? And, you know, I think it’s very poignant that life and businesses throw us curveballs. And you know, it’s no longer the day, you know, like whenever my father had basically worked for two employers his his whole life and you know, but But today, the reality is, is that companies really aren’t loyal to you. They’re only loyal to you as long as their profitability allows them to be so. And you know, for whatever reason, no fault of your own, you could be let go laid off, whatever nicety words want to be utilized. And in times like this encoded where people have been, you know, sent home and not call back. And so your story kind of really, really is one to pay close attention to because you, although it wasn’t COVID at that time, it was an economic downturn. So there’s that similarity and out of it, what I’m hearing is out of necessity. You had to kind of shake the old mindset that in the end the fallacy of you know, that corporate america Erica is going to look out for you and be your mainstay. And we had to dust that off and do it for yourself. I’m sorry,
Unknown Speaker 8:09
Unknown Speaker 8:10
I just wanted to add to that that they’re on. today. On we have all the facility in the world with technology, you know, you have a computer in your house and you have a printer, and right there and then you have an office full at office, you can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. And that makes it very easy to be your own business. You’re on there. So I just want to add to that.
Unknown Speaker 8:41
And we’re perfect examples of the situation. What’s happening now with COVID is exactly what happened to us. So a lot. I know a lot of people are going to be losing their jobs. A lot of people are already starting the freelance work. We’re here to say that it can be done and ironically, that’s what we Do we help other individuals or small companies brand themselves, which, and to get online, we offer all of the things that you would need the brand, the logo, the website, the SEO capabilities, we’re you know, and ironically, our business has grown more in the past two months because of the services that we offer that we’ve experienced in years. So I don’t I don’t know.
Unknown Speaker 9:37
hatred. Okay. Well, well, so I’ll kind of back that up for you in that. You know, probably that’s stemming out of people are, especially in New York, I’ve lived in New York myself, I know, you know, heavy pedestrian cities. So you’re you’re walking around, you know, you’re taking that street. Taxi or Uber or Lyft? Yes, you do do the subways as well. We’ve never I live there, but a lot of you know, when you’re living in New York for those that aren’t aware of it, yes, it’s this huge city, but it’s also small communities. Like, whenever I lived there, you know, we had some of our favorite restaurants that we would go to you know, the ones on a regular basis were within a couple of blocks the the little place with the flowers on the corner, were just two blocks away. I always heard if I can, I always love fresh flowers in the house. And, you know, so it’s a very, although, it seems overwhelming to a lot of people like oh, my gosh, how many millions of people live there? Well, you know, if you live out in Queens, you’re not going into Chelsea for your prescription or you’re not going you know from the Upper West Side, all the way out to Brooklyn for your groceries right? You have within a certain area a certain distance, it’s more like a small town. And so, as an
Unknown Speaker 11:10
example, one of our clients now is actually a florist. And because of the downturn in the COVID, he was actually gonna have to close his business. He had laid off all of his staff. He was not sure he is going to be able to pay the rent. And he is also a member of one of our networking groups. So we met with him and we, you know, we had been talking about SEO for months years with him. So he finally agreed to do it. And his business after one month of local SEO, working with his Google My Business platform, getting him signed up with local listings. He was able to he’s his business is now where it was before. The Coronavirus
Unknown Speaker 11:58
issue. credible. He’s
Unknown Speaker 12:02
in one month, he has 13,000 new searches. And majority of that is new, new people looking at his website. In the past couple weeks, he was telling me 65 new phone calls most of those new clients. So he’s, if not, he’s thinking about having to rehire, um, and here he was thinking he had to close. Wow, what a great, what a
Unknown Speaker 12:28
great story. And you know how true because you know, when you are no matter where you are in the country or the world, I mean, taking that right there for an example in an area where possibly even those new customers were within a certain distance, right, because they looked online for a local florists. If your competitors aren’t online, if your competitors are not optimized, then you taking those extra steps to Ensure that your website is optimized, you have great content, but especially for those kinds of businesses where you’re ensuring that you are showing up in the Google Maps and getting as many what’s called business citations. A business citation is a listing on a local service. So for an example, LGBT businesses out there you can add your business to our bureau comm that is called a business citation. And that also helps your overall business website ranking, move up and it helps especially when you have your full address. When Google sees that you are on a, you know, X number of sites with a business citation listing not only are you on their record, but when they see that you are also on all these other websites. Yo you know whatever other business site listings there are, that’s going to further give power give Google says, Oh, yes, that is a business it is because I see all of these listings on all these other various websites. And so therefore, I’m going to increase now i’m also pulling that together with local content. So blogs and so forth, having a Facebook page with rankings there. So So let’s talk about since that is a recent customer, and and as I understand it, you’ve been trying to work with that person. And you’ve been cultivating that client for quite some time, correct?
Unknown Speaker 14:43
Yes. And I think maybe perhaps you can talk about the process that we went through with them on the branding process and the process that we go through and how he took him
Unknown Speaker 14:54
from the logo to now being very
Unknown Speaker 14:57
successful. Yeah. left row darlin came to us out say four or five years ago, he was one of our of our first clients. He came to watch because he was with Brenda, he was changing the pricing. It was good branding. And through that we created a new logo, we created a new website for him new content, social media platform, all the collateral material for the store as well. Or in we read it in such a way that it matched the interior of his store. He got an architect and did his store with the columns that he wanted with all the image that he wanted inside the pattern of the wood. And from that I do buy all the creative elements and in the website in the store, they are a perfect match. And then once we did that, that’s when we came with the idea of enhances business with SEO, but he wasn’t so well at the time and everything was working so perfectly. That, you know, we took a little leap to get him to do SEO. So as Steve was mentioned, just recently, he switched to SEO as well. But he has been a client of ours for for many, many years. And, you know, that’s how Frodo and cat came to us.
Unknown Speaker 16:19
I think he’s, you know, he’s obviously benefiting from the fact that internet use is up by 70% since everyone started staying at home, and data usage on your phone is up by 47%. And I was looking at this statistic, the, you know, when someone buys a product at a store, and then goes and picks it up, like you would do at Home Depot or any other store like that, that kind of purchase is 554%. So, you’ve just got to be online, and you get I think that’s the most important thing. Is that is being have a strong digital presence is the is the way you’re going to succeed now
Unknown Speaker 17:08
I couldn’t agree more and so part of the heart of the lesson though here too, for the entrepreneur is you have to be online and for the entrepreneurs out there, take a look at your current and past client base if you have some and revisit them, especially if your services will enable them to as a as a business enable them to thrive better in this environment. If you do do marketing and web service and web development and local local SEO and so forth. You are perfect you are crying. If you are if you are not going back to clients These folks have here. If you have if you’re not going back to clients who said no to you over and over again for the last several years, now is a time where they potentially will say yes. Because look at this as a case in point right here as to how valuable that is. Because they’re, you know, being in New York again, getting back to that foot traffic that florists was, was doing great had a beautiful shop and that’s what gets those people who are walking by on the street front to walk in, right. But and they had the website but they weren’t optimized. They didn’t at that point get to see the need back several years ago to invest that additional funds and taking it to the to the next level. And, and that’s okay. Because Because now look at what has been able to be to be accomplished.
Unknown Speaker 18:56
So another thing another thing that
Unknown Speaker 19:00
People in business have to think about is your presence online, it is extremely important. Because your presence online is going to give you reviews. And over 90% of people who shop online, look at reviews, if you have less than 4.0 they move away from you immediately. So you have to have a presence not only online, but you have to have you have to keep that up in order to have good reviews.
Unknown Speaker 19:33
So you know and eat anywhere at this point in your city. There’s nothing we’ve been we’ve been restaurant deprived for so long, but anyway, yeah, it’s true. I you know, when the restaurants were open, and we had our choice, you know, anything less than a 4.3 or, you know, below I just wouldn’t go. You know, Nancy Pelosi said that all roads lead to Russia, right? In my case, I make, I’m changing A little bit of all roads lead to your website and your Google reviews. And, you know, the the, you know, the Google is offering an incredible free product. Um, you know, Google My Business, it’s such a strong platform now. And just downloading photos. If you’ve got 20 or 30 photos, you’re already beating your competition. And you’re going to get much more hits. Google loves photos on your Google My Business by putting your business address in the footer of your website, so that Google can verify the website address to your Google My Business. Again, you’re going to increase your search capacity, little things like that having your hours, nine to five, Monday through Friday on your Google My Business platform, immediately increases. Little things you can do for free. goes there. They want you they want you to spend more more time on the internet. So they’re gonna try to keep you there.
Unknown Speaker 21:04
Right, and they’re trying to be relevant. They’re trying to be the most relevant search results out there. And so you know, as Steven is indicating, the more information that you provide, you’re making it easy for Google to serve up your business to its searchers. And therefore, the more the more information you have, the better. So I’m going to give you one tip, and it’s the reason why we use search. Google for LGBTQ aren’t for LGBT entrepreneur, LGBT professional, or LGBT employer ratings or LGBT reviews LGBT employer reviews, why out Bureau is either number one or on the first page. So here is a tip for you when you are uploading those images. Don’t just take a photo and go Upload. Because if you do Guess what? The image file name the dot JPG file name on that is going to be something like image 300178 dot jpg. Well, what the hell does that mean? It means nothing. So if you can google this how to search engine optimize your photos. So what I do is every single image on my website of our bureau comm every single image is keyword optimized in the file name itself. So it will say something to the effect of out Bureau, dash, LGBT entrepreneurs, corporate equality employee raise LGB, our gay, lesbian, transgender, queer online community dot jpg, right. So all of those key words are stub In the dot jpg, file name, or PNG file, you know, file name, and so forth. So when you get back to your website, there’s additional things you can do there. And that’s I will leave it to these great folks to inform you, I don’t want to take away all those secrets. However, you can Google it, it’s not that much of a secret. But just so that all of you are aware less than 1%, less than 1% of the websites that are on the internet right now. Do that. So if you just do that you are already promoting yourself up to the 1% category. Now, when you upload those images to your Google My Business Page with all of the other information, those keywords on your electronic file name of your images are also going to help Google knows exactly what your business is about, because now it’ll say New York, Chelsea Flower Shop dot jpg, not just image 3.1707. So take that tip and run with it. And when you need additional help on furthering it, make sure you you seek some professionals. You know what you don’t do your own taxes, do you? Probably not. most business owners don’t do their own finances or many other tasks. So it’s just like that when you’re looking at hiring professionals to help you stand out on the internet with your local searches and wider. It’s best to hire a professional who does this all the time.
Unknown Speaker 24:38
Because Google will change it. Once it once you think you’ve got it. It will change. There’s this new thing. Have you heard of bird I guess you’ve heard bird. I don’t even know what it stands for. But Google is now getting away from keywords. That’s why you might want to if you want to know why you’re being told to write blogs and do podcasts have videos. It’s because Google likes big chunks of information now. And so if you can write, copy and write blogs in a conversational tone that Google can understand, because now Google is moving to more voice searches, so Google can’t just look for keywords, they want a big chunk of information. And that’s why content marketing blogging is so important. ads.
Unknown Speaker 25:29
And that would those images are just one piece of the of the huge puzzle, right? But that’s one thing that again, 99% of websites don’t do. And there’s an easy way to check that. By the way, if you go to your own website, just hover over an image and right click it, you’re going to see the alt what’s called the alt, the title and the alt text. And again, google google image website image optimization and if Go to right clicking download, you’re going to see what that image is. It is named. So although Google you are right is moving away from the amount of emphasis that they put on keyword past that that image optimization is a huge gaping open opportunity where the vast majority of people don’t don’t pay attention to. So
Unknown Speaker 26:29
I’m doing this just to illustrate a service that we have for free. If anyone wants to know more details about their website and how it is running, and they go to our website, and we offer free reports on local SEO and SEO, all they have to do is type the domain of their website and they will have a report landing low exactly what you’re saying us today you have miss a special All images, if the website is running slow if they don’t have the right content, if they have broken links, all that will be on a report. And we can talk to them and help them out to clear that out so they can take the report with them and do themselves wherever they need to argue for.
Unknown Speaker 27:22
You don’t have to, in order to get that do they fill out like a contact form providing either information? No, no, no, no, they just type
Unknown Speaker 27:29
their domain and the report comes up to them. It’s pretty much that simple. Yeah. Hello. Wonderful.
Unknown Speaker 27:38
And I will point out that we are running some private packages. So everything from branding website and SEO is all on a page called ag to digital.com slash packages. So check it out. Good prices.
Unknown Speaker 27:57
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for that. So, um, you know, being entrepreneurs is a difficult journey. Right? You know, you’ve got your ups and your downs, you know,
Unknown Speaker 28:10
it is it is it is very difficult but it is very rewarding, you know, you, you help people out people come to us with a need and deliver what they want. We sit them grow, we sit our business grow, we deliver exactly what they want. We do research and our business, we come up with strategy, we do implementation, and at the end, it is it is a 360 degree circle of just enjoyment. That is Bob Santa Rosa, you’re there because in kind of work that you do, we find bumps in the road, but at the end of the day, it is extremely rewarding. And it is very rewarding to work with the gay community as well, just getting back to people who gave to us.
Unknown Speaker 28:54
Much. So and you know, I think Love as an entrepreneur, I love that the branding and the building thing, you know, getting the word out, and that’s what this is really about. You know, because if you have a business, let’s say you’re, you’re, you’re a lawyer. Well, if no one knows that you exist, if they can’t find you on, you know, there’s multiple ways in which a lawyer should be marketing themselves. But you could say, Oh, I went to law school and I’m opening my own practice. And you rent an office and you go and you sit in the office all day. Well, if you’re not doing marketing, guess what? You’re not going to get any clients. I mean, because you got to get those clients in the door somehow and mountain word of mouth will get you so far, but there has to be that constant, you know, education and awareness out there. And as you guys have pointed out, and made it very clear, you know, having an online presence because no one goes to the Yellow Pages, you know, anymore, do they? I don’t know why they make them Yeah, and part
Unknown Speaker 30:00
of our implementation is the outreach as well. Once your website is done, dusted, implemented, we go further by, you know, get in contact with all the clients have metrics finish the job and communicated that there is a new website after there are new service up. And we do that in print format. And we can do digitally as well. Whatever is the best suit for the client. Right now. We are working with a lawyer we are just in a final phase of her work. And she wanted to do the outreach by print which we are doing, as opposed to digital is she says that has a little bit more of a personal touch to get a card and to get a brochure. So we are doing that but we do.
Unknown Speaker 30:53
Yeah, and I will have another attorney we’re working on. We work with a lot of law firms and financial companies and We started with SEO legal about six months ago. And they weren’t really ranking they were ranking on the 11th page of Google for a lot of the services that they provide immigration law, Bitcoin and real estate law. They’re now on the first page of Google after six months for immigration, and the real estate. Yeah, so it definitely works. And, you know, I just want to encourage anyone out there that’s maybe going to lose their job or one thinking of going out on their own is starting off freelance or a small company. We’ve just seen so many success stories. SEO is one of those words it’s hard to explain. It’s hard to sell actually, but once you see the results, um, it’s it’s it’s such a it’s such a good feeling to see and to watch someone business grow and to be able to say, Yeah, I told you so.
Unknown Speaker 31:58
Yeah, in a good way.
Unknown Speaker 32:01
Yes, there, there’s whenever I’m working on on things for myself, it’s like, oh, I’m going after these keywords, I’m expanding my, my vocabulary on what I’m going after. And it’s like I’m going after this. And then after, you know, a set amount of time and set amount of work and then seeing the result, like, yes, yes, yes, yes. And then seeing the traffic come in, you know, because of that. And I can imagine how much how rewarding it is for you because you get to do that on a regular basis with your clients, and help them and guide them through all of the critical, critical things to take action on and thing and you begin to see those results. To me, that’s really I enjoy it for myself. And I’ve done a little bit of this work in the past for past clients, but like I needed a focus on my own business for a while, do definitely appreciate and value what you do. And again for whether you’re looking at starting a new business or you currently have a business and would would like to take your game up into the next level, you know, you don’t extract your own teeth, you go to a professional, hopefully you don’t, you don’t have to file for divorce but if you do, who do you use a professional divorce attorney. So whenever you are looking at taking your business to the next level, or launching your business, you know you have to focus in on on your online marketing that is that it is not optional. any longer. It is a absolute must have you also, it is no longer optional to focus on localization. If you do serve a local community and even if you’re national, you still want to turn get, you know, major metropolitan areas, you still need to localize, even if you’re a national company. So hire, hire folks like, ag to write here and support your local other LGBT businesses. And as you heard, they have some special offers here in the month of cry. We have just a few more moments here. So if I could, if you guys could share a little bit about how you guys kind of handle the stress, what do you guys do to kind of let go and relax? I personally like to go in a lot of walking, hiking. What do you guys like to do?
Unknown Speaker 34:41
I play tennis.
Unknown Speaker 34:44
I play before co but I was playing once a week or so difficult in New York. But I do play tennis. I bought a like recently to try to get a little more exercise in my office. My gym is closed. And so no more yoga classes. I’m doing yoga on YouTube, yoga with Adrian, check it out.
Unknown Speaker 35:08
Yeah. Adrian gray. How about you Rapson?
Unknown Speaker 35:12
Yeah. You know, I am privileged to live in New York City as I am the law. I love the arts. I go to the museum constantly I go to openings. I’m 30. So a lot out. And I like to travel. We were We were just in cut to hammer a one week prior to the closing of the outwards, which was, I still have a friend on Peru. She lives in Germany, and she has been there like for four months. So I love to travel as well. So in New York City, is a city that you can do so much on. So in addition to movies and all the things that the city has to offer. Right, absolutely.
Unknown Speaker 35:58
Well, well. Good to hear that you guys have some balance in your life. I know it’s can be challenging as a small business owner and working with other entrepreneurs, you have deadlines and what things done yesterday, what’s the makeup finally get get off the or get off the boat and make a decision, right? It’s like, Oh, I want this done yesterday, right? So definitely good. You guys have your your hobbies and things to focus on what balances you. So again, that is a G to digital.com. Why thank you guys so much for taking time out of the day today to chat with us and especially sharing your success story with the local florist. I think that’s very a story that is right on point for today. So I’m sure folks will be very interested in hearing that and looking at that as inspiration. So thank you. Thank you so much for joining us. Today this is Dennis belko. Without bureau voices you can find this episode and others at out bureau comm that is owed utbuo.com and that has now changed to episodes of at the top. And if you are viewing this on YouTube, please go ahead and hit that subscribe button down below. Also be sure to check it out on the different podcasting websites such as Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, I Heart Radio and about 10 others. You can take this on the go. Thank you so much. Have a great day. Bye bye.
Unknown Speaker 37:40