The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value

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Business Podcast » Digital Marketing » The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value Featuring James Hipkin

The Hub and Spoke digital marketing strategy is a great way to keep the digital marketing plan simple and easy. The hub to the middle is our website, the spokes are are channels we use to deliver our message. The outer rim is our messaging. We don’t always need to next shiny object in messaging. More figure out what works and replicate it.

About James

James is an accomplished, forward-thinking marketing professional with 40+ years of multi-disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communications companies serving high-profile, global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services.

He has been involved in digital marketing for more than ten years, first as president of a direct marketing agency Brann Worldwide’s San Francisco office, where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple, Wells Fargo Online Bank and Nestlé.

He went on to become the head of a mid-sized agency’s interactive group, with Toyota as the main client. Over ten years ago, he joined Red8 Interactive, a long-term vendor and became an owner and managing director.


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Business Podcast » Digital Marketing » The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value

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The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value Featuring James Hipkin

Estimated reading time: 37 minutes

Tue, 8/10 12:13PM • 48:43


website, customer, strategy, James, people, small business owners, problem, business, spokes, email, important, build, sales, product, create, purchase, messaging, hear, interest, privacy policy, The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy, delivers value


James, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:00

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy course we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can shine a light on something maybe you haven’t thought about. Or at the very least, if you have something that’s keeping you up at night, we can provide some information may be to help you solve that problem, or some professionals in that discipline that can give you some great guidance and today is no different.

We’d like to welcome James Hipkin to the show. James is an accomplished forward-thinking marketing professional with 40 plus years of multi-discipline, disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communication companies. Serving high-profile global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services. He has been involved in digital marketing for more than ten years first, as a president of a direct marketing agency brand worldwide San Francisco office.

Where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple, Wells Fargo online bank, and Nestle. He went on to become the head of a midsize agency’s interactive group with Toyota as the main client over Ten years ago, he joined Red8Interactive, a long-term vendor and became an owner and manager Managing Director. James, welcome to the show.

James  00:00

Thank you, Roy, it’s pleasure to be here.

Roy Barker  00:00

Yeah, so tell us a little bit about your journey, you’ve got a sound like an awesome background. And I know I gave a little bit but just drill down a little bit more, how did you kind of end up in this space and something that you always wanted to do or something that you just kind of fell into,

More About James

James  01:56

I always wanted to be a scuba diver. But that didn’t work out. Right? I it’s it’s a function of I’m a very curious guy, and things keep popping up in front of me. And I’m not afraid to embrace that and you know, have a have a go at something new. So even with the gray hair on top, I’m still enjoying learning new things and exploring new things and continuing to help. The common theme throughout my career is I’ve always been in account management and working directly with clients, and I just have a deep passion for helping business people, you know, be more successful and take advantage of the opportunities that exists and the technology that exists and the techniques that exist in order to create more value for their customers, which ultimately creates value for the business.

Roy Barker  02:59

Right. Yeah, and that lifelong learning that that’s the one great thing about this age that we live in, it’s given us the opportunity to, you know, continue to learn. And also there’s so many new and different innovations and tools that come out just about every day, you know, you can get behind if you don’t stay on top of it really easy.

James  03:19

That’s true. But that, as with most things has a other side to the coin. One of the things that I counsel small business folks about is you know, avoid shiny new things syndrome, right? An awful lot of the what’s called Digital Marketing. And it’s it’s that genies not going back in the bottle, it’s it’s here to stay. But the principles haven’t really changed. Right? The principles of getting the right message to the right person at the right time hasn’t changed.

Right. And that, you know, that’s, there’s a tendency and to grab the next tactic that comes in to take the advice of the next, you know, plaid jacket sales guy who shows up. And that’s almost never a good idea. Right? Right. And this is I came up with this concept of the hub and spoke strategy to try to make an analogy that small business folks can can relate to. And that’s if they start thinking about digital tactics, they think about the website as being the hub.

The various digital tactics that they can employ are the spokes and then their messaging strategy, content strategy, their you know, what they say, is the rim that holds it all together. Then you have something that’s very powerful because the power comes from the from the connection and the connection is how you create a wheel out of those three disparate parts. When I, you know, pre-pandemic, when I was doing a lot of public speaking, I would stand there with a bicycle hub in one hand and a handful of spokes and another hand and there’ll be a rim sitting on the table in front of me.

And I’d pick that up. And I’d say, okay, each of these pieces is fine. But they don’t have much value on by themselves. Right? Right, you put them together, and you’ve got a wheel, which is kind of a fundamental thing in the evolution of mankind, and a very powerful tool that you can use to create value for your business and for your customers.

Strategy From The Beginning

Roy Barker  05:39

Yeah, I would imagine that, you know, kind of starting at the beginning that developing a strategy, so we can, you know, center our website to make sure it has that material that it needs to have to be the center. And then also, think about each one of those spokes and how we want to deploy that.

James  05:58

Right, how they, how it interconnects with the website, how it interconnects with the brand, the brand messaging strategy, the product, whatever it is that you’re doing, these concepts are universal, it’s there doesn’t matter what business you’re in, these concepts will apply. And the other piece is that in the shiny new things syndrome, pick a couple of things. Do them well, right. You know, avoid the tendency to Oh, my God, I got to do this now.

Oh, my God, I have to do that. I have one customer who sells a very specific kind of orchid. Not orchids in general, not house plants in general, but a very specific kind of orchid. He’s followed this strategy, and he’s picked organic social media is his main spoke and email marketing as another spoke. And he’s generating a significant six figure income using this, these simple strategies, but but the power comes from tying them all together. Right. Right, not treating them as disparate bits and pieces.


Roy Barker  07:11

Exactly. Yeah. And that gets back to the, you know, chasing the new and this, the latest is we sometimes we don’t give the things we have in place, the proper attention or the time and, you know, always try to just to reiterate that, you know, marketing is a long term play, you might get lucky and fling something out there tomorrow, and it blows up. But for most of us guys, it’s grinding it out every day. It’s doing it, it’s getting better at what we do.

James  07:41

Right? Listening to customers. And, you know, the many years ago, a business reporter was interviewing Peter Lynch, who is managing the Magellan Fund for Fidelity, very large, very successful mutual fund. He asked Peter Lynch, what was the key to his success, and he expected a complicated financial kind of response that, you know, ways that he picked stocks and that sort of thing. Peter Lynch came back with a very simple statement, he said, “water, the flowers, prune the weeds?”

Roy Barker  08:23

No, that’s great. Yeah, you know, because a lot of times, too, you know, what I’ve seen is that somebody says, Well, you know, I spent $50 on a, on a Facebook ad, and then that didn’t work out. So we went over and did this. And you know, that for I think it gets back to the strategy and thinking about, you know, how we’re going to deploy our resources, all of our resources are limited. And, you know, we we have a certain amount that can go, but I think really sitting down and figuring that out before we you know, jump off into the deep end is a probably a pretty good strategy. Would you agree?

James  08:57

Absolutely. And patience is also important. You know, $50, on a Facebook ad in the, in the absence of anything else that you’re doing, is $50. That makes Zuckerberg richer? Yeah. But doesn’t help you, but $50 in the context of a larger strategy, where I, I’m using this money to drive traffic back into the website, I’m using the facebook pixel to understand what that traffic looks like. And then using that understanding, to send ads out to people who look just like the people who came back to my website, suddenly, it starts to become part of the plan. And the hub and the spoke are working with each other and supporting each other and it increases the value of all of the pieces,

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Roy Barker  09:50

right. So what are some components of a good hub website that we want to really think about?

James  09:57

Well, that’s a great question. I use a concept that I call the five-second rule. Every page on a website needs to do three things in five seconds. That’s not a lot of seconds. And that’s quite a few things, right? You need to make it clear to the visitor, that they’re in the right place. You need to give them a benefit-oriented reason to stay. This is an outside in statement, not an inside out statement. What’s your problem? And how am I going to solve it?

And then you need to make it crystal clear what they should do next. A website is like an onion, it has layers, websites that I see where people have put everything they can think of on the homepage, right? Accomplishes nothing other than confusing the visitor. Now, am I in the right place? I have no idea. What am I? Why should I stay here? I have no idea. What should I do next? I have no idea. So that concept of the five-second rule, when applied to a website is is really important. Another piece of this is what’s the primary objective of the website?

It’s a seems like an obvious question. But more often than not people have an asset of themselves. And I’ll ask that question to somebody that we’re working with, I’ll say what’s the primary objective of the website, and I will get a litany of things that they want to accomplish, then we’ll have a little chat about the movie Highlander. There can only be one that’s a reference that you probably have to be of a certain age to

Roy Barker  11:46

recognize, well, I was racking my brain, I think I’ve no, I’ve heard of the movie, but I just can’t, I can’t place it, I’m sure I’m seeing it. But

James  11:55

the concept was that these were all immortal folks. And there could only be one, so they went around chopping each other’s heads off. But at any rate, with the objective, there can only be one. And in a business to business situation, which most small biz, many small businesses are business to business, professional services, that kind of thing, coaches, you know, lawyers, accountants, that sort of thing. There are basically two objectives that are common. It’s either confirmation or conversion.

And if you’re most of your business is coming from word of mouth, which is very common with professional services, businesses, then the confirmation objective makes all the sense in the world, I often hear this, well, I don’t get any leads from my website. And I’ll respond and said, Well, perhaps, but perhaps it’s because you’re not seeing the null set. You’re not seeing the folks that go to your website, look at it, think my God, this was built by a teenager, 20 years ago, these people can’t be serious, and they don’t even bother to call you.

That’s the null set. And that’s what happens when you don’t have a proper website, even when you’re getting most of your business or word of mouth. Because executive a tells executive B about this great resource, this, you know, marketing consultant or business consultant that they heard about or that they’ve worked with. So executive B goes to that business consultant’s website to confirm that they have the skills and knowledge and expertise that this guy’s looking for, then they’ll call you.

So that understanding that primary objective is a really key piece of creating an effective hub, within the hub and spoke method. And then is your messaging clear? That’s the rim? Are you being consistent about what you’re saying to people? Are you being consistent about how you’re saying it, and then the spokes are the various media that you use to get that message out to the right people?

Check Functionality

Roy Barker  14:10

Yeah, I’m back on the, on the website for just a minute. One thing I was gonna kind of add to that is, you know, thinking about what we want it to achieve, but also make sure that it whatever you have set up on it is functional, I have run into more websites, you know, sign up for this, and then the button is either below the screen where you can’t get to it or, you know, you hit it and it doesn’t do anything. So it’s always good to you know, periodically, like just run through the process. And sometimes I think we lose sight of thinking like our customer and right you know, we need to take that time to do that. Think Like a customer go through the process just to make sure that everything’s working like you want it to

James  14:54

exactly correct and the words are very important on a website. Picture Tell copy sells. And having those words be from the customer’s point of view. I see this often that all kinds of features and attributes being listed on a website, on the assumption that the customer is going to figure out which one of these things works for them, as opposed to making a bold statement about the problem that the customer likely has, and then providing your solution to that problem, and then providing reasons why the consumer can believe that your solution will work, right? It’s exactly the same information.

But it’s presented in a very different way. And the way I’ve just described will actually generate interest and involvement from the consumer, because it’s, they don’t care about you, they only care about their own problem. Exactly, you know, what’s in it for me? And if you recognize that and craft your words, appropriately, and of course, everything needs to function as well, but part of function is the third part of the five second rule, what do I do next? Right. Right, if I am a, you know, it’s a clear call to action, like a typical, you know, response, we have built a website for a business consultant in the Boston area.

You’re sorry, this guy was in New York, that’s different one in the New York area, and he works in government. He was a New York congressman. And and he was now he’s working as a consultant. And his website is all about confirmation. So there’s clear branding, there’s a clear benefit statement as to what it is he does. Then there’s a clear call to action that says learn more about the founder. And that’s where you can see his deep credentials. What makes him valid choice. Right? I mean, he’s, I mean, he’s, he raves about the impact, that just eliminating lots of stuff from his website has had on his business.


Roy Barker  17:14

Yeah. Yeah, sometimes less is more. And you know that that goes to the the sales portion, we won’t get into that. But, you know, sometimes we can talk ourselves out of business if we’re not careful. That’s right. So tell us a little bit about the messaging, I want to skip the spokes for just a minute. But let’s let’s talk about messaging and how we can get that consistent and concise, you know, across all of our channels,

James  17:42

right, I, I counsel folks to use to create an avatar of their ideal customer. That avatar has four components. There’s the demographics, the physical characteristics of the the, the customer, then there’s the psychographics, there, what what’s their attitude? You know, the, how do they think about things, then there’s the problem, what do they need, and then there’s the ideal solution. So if you’ve mapped out your ideal customer in terms of those four components, you’ve got a very clear understanding of who it is you’re talking to, and what it is you need to be talking about.

The other piece of this is mapping the customer’s journey. You know, they go through any consumer of any product goes through a series of steps from, I call it the interest curve, it looks like a bell curve. Out in the far left area of the bell curve, there’s, they’re just not thinking about you. So doesn’t matter what you say, honestly. Then, as they’ve identified a need in their life, that needs to be solved, they go into the consideration phase, and they start climbing the left hand side of the bell curve, in terms of their interest.

That means they start to see the advertising, they start to see the messages from various potential solutions, then they get into the consideration phase, where they’re actually picking, you know, their top three potential solutions. And then they make the purchase. While their interest doesn’t end. When they’ve made that purchase. They’re just at the top of the bell curve, you’ve still got the whole right hand side of the bell curve that you can take advantage of.

So having a consistent messaging throughout this process, but continuing that messaging, and this is where the hub and spoke starts to get involved. They’ve made the purchase there in the website. What do you do with your email marketing? After they’ve made the purchase? Is your messaging consistent? Are you reinforcing how smart they were to make this purchase?

Are you giving them additional information on how to take full advantage of what they’ve just purchased? You know, those that that understands the bell curve that is interest, and it with a consistent messaging strategy, then you can start to apply that across all of these touch points. So that makes sense.

Roy Barker  20:22

Yeah, yeah, does. And, you know, to the last point, I wish I could think of what I bought, it’s not been long ago, but I actually got an email like, Hey, thanks for your purchase, how’s it going? You know, and I wish I could tell you exactly what it was. But it was, it was very, it was very nice. It was a surprise number one, because we don’t take the time to do that.

But I think that we miss a lot of opportunity, because it’s like, you know, we make the sale, and we’re done. But with this follow up, we may actually sell more, you know, we have more offerings. That are, it’d be like, you know, being able to tell my friend like, Oh, my gosh, can you believe it? They You know, this was that process and my journey? Why don’t you provide?

James  21:09

absolutely the most important sale is not the first sale? It’s the second sale, right? Because if they’re purchased the second time, then your chances that they’ll purchase the third time go up exponentially. Right. And that’s, that’s super important for the lifetime value of customers. You know, I spent, I did a training session with our staff this morning, where I was talking about the importance of transactional emails. People forget about it, they just they, it’s, you know, not terribly exciting.

It’s not terribly sexy. Right? They may not see any email that they sent you send to them, but they will see the transactional emails. So take full advantage of that. That’s another one of your spokes is the transactional emails. Is the messaging in that spoke consistent with your brand? Are you taking full advantage of the fact that they’re high in the interest? bell curve?

Current Customer Opportunities

Roy Barker  22:12

Yeah, yeah, cuz somewhere along the way, you know, we’ve gotten and we, we don’t think about our current customer, it’s always, hey, I made a sale, I’m moving on to the next one. But typically, in the cost of acquisition, or the you know, the cost to get that your current consumer to purchase that next product is infinitely lower than trying to go out and attract that next new customer.

James  22:39

Absolutely. There, there are five ways that current customers can generate value for you, the longer they stay with you, the more return you’ve had on the investment that was required to get them in the first place. Right? The longer they stay with you, the more they know about your product and service, the less expensive they are to service, the longer they stay with you, the more likely they are to buy additional products and services from you.

The longer they stay with you, the more likely they are to recommend your product to other people just like them. Right. So we’ve got five different revenue streams that are generating from an existing customer. Yeah. And that’s, that’s a it’s an often overlooked fact, that that your current customer is your most likely source of new business.

Roy Barker  23:34

Yeah. Yeah, definitely take some time and provide care for them. If we’re going to nurture you know, continue to, you know, we always think about nurturing up into the point of purchase, but we always need to continue to nurture, you know, our present customers as well.

James  23:49

Right. And that’s, that’s is why I’ve talked about the the interest curve, that bell curve that they’re interested in, stop at the top of the curve when they made the purchase, it’s still very high, this is your chance to move the relationship beyond transactional into something that has some more equity. Yeah.

The Spokes

Roy Barker  24:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

So let’s talk about that. Excuse me, let’s talk about the spokes for a minute. And so how we connect these, you know, we’ve got our website as our hub, we’ve got our messaging as our rim out on the outside. So how do we connect these with our spokes? How do we make these decisions on you know, what, what ones we want to employ?

James  24:32

Well, the key to this is avoid shiny new things syndrome. You want to pick a few things and do them well. The example I was talking about before was with a guy who sells a specific kind of orchid. He uses organic social media, he has built his presence in Facebook and Instagram, and he uses that aggressively and he uses email marketing to maximize The traffic back to the website and do actually generate sales.

Occasionally he will pay for some Facebook advertising. But in the end, it’s very profitable for him, he might spend three or $400 and generate $3,000 to $4,000 in sales. While can’t really argue with that, but it’s not a didn’t come by accident, it came because he’s been very careful about maximizing the impact of the channels he’s using. Email Marketing is an extremely valuable and important piece of this, I know people, all kinds of myths out there about email marketing is dead and blah, blah, blah.

None of it’s true. Even if they just see the subject line in preview text and the email that you’ve sent, you’ve once again reminded them of the positive experience they’ve had with your company. And keeps keeps you in mind. So when their need arises, again, the interest curve we talked about earlier, when their need arises, where they’re going to think about. Yeah. And it’s this, it’s just that it’s an underutilized tool, transactional emails, and then ongoing what I call the lazy river. Now, ongoing emails that are designed to create value are very important. spoke in the hub and spoke strategy.

No Stone Unturned

Roy Barker  26:35 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and I think you the, the point you made was the call it the lazy river. Because, you know, what, when I see a lot of times now is like, I sent James an email and he didn’t buy. So again, I’m off to, you know, whoever the next person on my list is, and there’s, you know, kind of the myths you talk about, there’s always, sometimes you hear salesman, like, Ah, you know, they’re just lying, or this, you know, they always have all these different reasons, but really, maybe James just didn’t need my product at that particular point in time.

And, you know, there’s a lot of things maybe couldn’t afford it, maybe saving up maybe looking around. But I think we, again, we lose the value in our prospects by sending out one, maybe two emails and calling it quits what my strategy has always been, I want to educate, so I’m not just hounding you, James, are you ready to buy we talked last week, and we go ahead, right, let’s do let’s get this done. Let’s get you know, whatever that is. But to take something, you know, a simple strategy for me as if I’m, you know, I do trying to read a lot of articles. So picking an article and saying, hey, James, I saw this article, this might be interesting, here’s three points that I found.

But I try to continue to do this over time, because like you just mentioned is, I want to be at the forefront of somebody’s mind when they actually need it. Because, you know, it doesn’t, it’s not a reflection on me, if if we haven’t talked in 10 years, and you’ve, you know, somebody else just reached out the other day, it’s like, oh, this other guy’s Top of Mind, it really doesn’t have anything to do with whether I’m better or worse or anything like that. It’s just, I haven’t taken the time to be in front of you.

James  28:21 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

And I need to solve my problem. And the timing for when I need to solve my problem is, as you said, I mean, it’s up to the individual. So you just want to have a constant stream, there’s a generally accepted idea that with this kind of, what kind of content do you send out? And is I got the 70/20/10 strategy? You know, 70% of your communication to customers should be just value creation, give stuff away, give them information, tell them how to use the product better.

Tell them about what’s going on that sort of thing. Be friendly. 20% is the kind of thing that you’ve just very well described, which is you’ve curated content that you’ve discovered elsewhere, that nothing to do with your brand, but you think your consumers, your target audience, your list would find value in this and then the last 10% is more sales. Hey, we’re introducing a new product. Hey, have you heard about this?

You know, how did you know about this and they can be combined, for example, with website’s privacy policies and having a privacy policy is extremely important. It’s again, states are God bless America. Every state is different. And every state is writing their own privacy rules. The issue with a website is not where your website is located. It’s where the consumer is who visits Your website. Okay. So if you’ve got a form on your website, then you need a privacy policy published on the website. How many small business owners have that?

My guess is not very many. Right? Then there’s the added problem of every two weeks it changes. Because every state’s publishing their own or changing them or adjusting. So it’s, it’s complicated. Yeah. So now there are resources and tools that you can use to create privacy policies that are dynamic, that are adjusted automatically. And that’s where, you know, folks, like, you know, our company gets involved, because we know about these tools. And that’s the sort of thing that we build into our, the websites that we build for our small business owners, were thinking about what they need before they realize that they need it.

Roy Barker  31:00 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah. Yeah, because so many times we don’t realize we need it until we’re in trouble because we don’t,

James  31:07

right. And this is the value creating communication that will send out in emails that say, you know, Hey, I know it ain’t sexy, but you really need to pay attention to this, because these are the things that are going on, you should be aware, you know, this, there are multiple ways you can do it yourself, you can hire your lawyer to do it, you there’s a number of resources online, where you can download templates, or you can use a dynamic, dynamic service, that will maintain the privacy policy for you dynamically, and then you don’t have to worry about it. But be informed.

Yeah. And that’s a good example of that kind of relationship building ongoing communication that you can send out in the lazy river. It has all three components in one, it’s it is informative, and creates value that way it does share information about other people who are solving this problem, if you want to take advantage, and it has a sales component, because we offer that service to Right,

Discovery Questions

Roy Barker  32:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

right. No, that’s an awesome ideal, I just think that, you know, we have to, we have to take the time to make these thoughtful. And, you know, the other part of that is the gathering of information. So you know, about our clients, so we can know, what might interest them or what we need to send out because, you know, again, try to ask, you know, as many discovery questions as possible, not overloading somebody, but you know, we do want to do a little bit deeper discussion.

Number one, it shows interest that I’m interested in you, not just, you know, I need to book your business, so I can move on to the next guy, but, you know, tell me about yourself, because I want to make a lifetime, you know, the goal is to make that lifetime customer.

James  32:58

Right, and and have that customer beat. I mean, more than half of our current sales are coming through customer referrals. Right, you know, suggest you’re doing something right, exactly, you know,

Roy Barker  33:14 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

yeah, no, that’s, and that’s really where you want to be you want those referrals, because it’s your, whoever made the referral convinced the new prospect that you’re the one that you can get this done, you know, that you’re trustworthy. So, I mean, you’re probably 80% through the hardest part of the sales process once you get that taken care of. exactly correct. Yeah. Alright, James, well, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us. Tell us a little bit before we get out of here about Inn8ly.

James  33:49

Okay, innately is a small business website subscription product. We provide an alternative to the Wixs and Square Spaces of the world, which are also small business websites, subscription products. Our key differentiator is, and you will probably laugh when I say this, we answer the phone.

Roy Barker  34:16 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah. Oh, yeah. You’re one in a million if you actually do that.

James  34:21

Yeah, we hear all the time I signed up for this. I signed up for that. And you know, the fashion model and the TV ad lied to me. It’s not that easy. Our debt were more expensive than they are, but we do it for you. Yeah, we are training content specialists to actually build these websites for the small business owners, and that’s included in the subscription cost. And we’re here for ongoing support requests. Most of our customers, they don’t want to be webmasters.

It’s not cost effective for them to try to figure it out. How to make a change on a page. Right? So they just email it, the change to us and one of our content specialists makes the change for them, and then we send them a bill. And they love it. Because it’s so much more cost effective to have our folks do it quickly and efficiently.

Because they know how, versus the small business owner trying to Okay, now I need to stop being a dentist and I have to figure out how to be a website guy, right? I mean, seriously. So that that’s our key differentiator is we build high quality sites, they’re well designed, they, they have a strategy, we spend a lot of time educating our own staff about the difference between can and should.

We frequently get requests from clients, and we’re like, I really like to take your money, but that’s a really bad idea. This is why it’s a really bad idea. Here’s another way that will actually cost you less. That will get you where you need to be. And they just love it. Because they know we’ve got their back. Yeah, we answered the phone.

Roy Barker  36:14 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, that is such a big deal. You know, because everything is not as simple as, you know, an expert can make the example for an expert on that. But you know,

James  36:25

we are an expert makes it look simple.

Knowledge Transfer

Roy Barker  36:27 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

And trying to transfer that knowledge. And, you know, like myself, I was reading through something the other day, and it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t work finally emailed support, and I got this, it was like a whole new plan, that it wasn’t even included, where it would have been awesome to pick up the phone and say, Hey, can I get this done? For sure. Right? Exactly.

A couple points to just, before we move on that, you know, I like that, you, you know your marketing on value, which I think that we have to rethink about that we are not always going to be the price, the lowest price leader. And we’re we shouldn’t be scared of that if we have value to offer, we have to stand up and say you know what we we aren’t. But this is the value that we can provide.

And, again, I always think about things in relation to my time, like standing at one of the at one of the bigger big box stores that tell you that they save you money, but yet you spend 30-40 minutes trying to go through the line to check out so I’m always like, well, you saved me 10 bucks, but you cost me you know, another 100 standing in line so really unproductive is that.

James  37:41

Right? And and you know you’re an expert in whatever it is that you do. You’re not an expert in this kind of digital marketing and digital advertising. And what makes a website work. I mean, the concept of the five second rule, it’s a very simple thing to explain. And anybody I explained to goes well build that makes a lot of sense.

And it does make a lot of sense. But yet I see over and over again. navigations on websites with eight or nine or 10 different choices. What am I supposed to do next? I don’t know, I’ve got all these choices. Oh, my God, I have to think about this, then they’re gone. Right? Or this? They get to a page. And there’s, you know, a whole list of things that you do, but I don’t know, how is does it solve my problem?

The Secret Sauce

Roy Barker  38:34 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Right? Yeah, the other thing, you know, you talked earlier about, you know, maybe talking about the process or given things away. Another misconception I’ll get your opinion on is that sometimes I hear people are scared to you know, we don’t want to give away the secret sauce. And we don’t want to say this. I found just the opposite.

If it’s a complex issue, sometimes when we explain to somebody what we do and how we do it, they’re like, Oh, I can’t I couldn’t do that, or I don’t have the time to do that here. Just take it over. So, you know, I think we have to be careful. We have to be smart about it. Let’s put it that way. We need to be smart about it. But it doesn’t hurt to give information away.

James  39:21

You said something earlier, which I think is very important is that with regards to word of mouth sales and references and the fact that the trust factor has already been established. That sharing of information being clear and honest and upfront about what things can and can’t do. Even the can’t do part builds trust. And ultimately, people buy people and they want to know that they’re going to be working with somebody that they can trust that will have their back that is not their you know in It’s not there to sell them something they don’t need. Yeah. But is there if there is something that they do need?

Roy Barker  40:07 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Right. And most consumers are willing to pay a premium for that. That’s the other thing is it’s I guess it’s a, it’s the comfort of knowing just like you that, hey, I can reach out make a phone call. That’s It’s incredible. It really.

James  40:28

I had a call from one of my customers, his name was Joe. And I saw on caller ID who was calling. So I picked up the phone and I said, Hi, Joe, how can I help you? Then it was silence. And I heard some ruffling and shuffling around in the background. And then he came back on. I said, Joe, what happened? What’s the matter? And he said, James, I had to sit down. Why did you have to sit down? Joe? You are literally the first web developer I’ve ever called, who answered their phone?

Roy Barker  41:00 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and didn’t have to go through a phone tree three miles long to exactly right.

James  41:09

And because our core business builds large corporate sites, we have a whole support infrastructure in place for those large corporations. So we have a support desk, and we have support software and all that sort of thing. We have a process. So that, you know, even if they don’t want to phone and a lot of people don’t. There’s still there’s an email process that is monitored and maintained, and and responsive to whatever it is that they need.

Take Care of Your Customers

Roy Barker  41:38 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and I’ll just, I’ll tell you one horror story on the way out for another service. I emailed support. And this was like on June, 5, or sixth, got a response. August, the ninth or something, it was just over 60 days? To answer a question. I realized there’s a lot of stuff going on with labor and supply chain and all that, but still 60 days it because what I take it as a consumer, it’s really how important is my business to them? And right, not very much.

James  42:16

Yeah, that’s a that’s a pretty clear message. And, and, you know, it comes into the business executive said something to me when I was a young, bright-eyed kid, explaining why something hadn’t happened. He looked at me and he said, James, I understand your problem, I don’t care. And, you know, I appreciate that there’s stuff going on pandemic, labor’s supply chain, all that stuff. Now. I understand your problem, I don’t care, I need an answer. And even if the answer is we’re working on it, or it’s in the queue, or I mean, communication is so important. Right. Right. Because their interest is high. Yep. Take advantage of it.

Roy Barker  43:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and the other thing, you know, I look at the underlying, you know, isn’t an excuse or reason, because we’ve been in this for 18 months now. Right? Most companies that are anywhere near flexible, you know, they figured out obstacles, you know, and some of us, you know, maybe we’ve had to sacrifice profits because of service in our customers.

But you know, to me, it’s a short-term problem that we’re going through that you know, you have to do everything to preserve your customers and your integrity through this and then be okay, on the other end. Right. Exactly. Right. All right, James. Well, tell me one couple things before we go first off, what is the tool or a habit? What is something that you do every day, that really adds a lot of value to your life, personal and professionally, the one

James  44:00

I’ll tell you, my favorite utility is a little utility called text expander. Okay, and what this is, is a little keyboard macro that you can add, so that those things that you have to type every day when it’s the same thing every time like your email signature, or your whatever it might be with text expander I can just type semi colon si g for signature, and my whole email signature gets typed out for me.

Oh, nice. It is you know, I’m we use a lot of Greek and Latin in as placeholder copy for websites and that sort of thing. So I have two little things s l o r for short. lorem ipsum and l l o r for long, lorem ipsum. And it just types it out for me. I don’t have to do anything. It saves so many keystrokes every day. It is the best.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  45:02 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

I’ll check that out. Which brings up another good question Why? Why do why do people use Latin? On you know, on the web, when you see them under construction or something like that? You see, I have I have no idea. So great question. I’ve never asked that question. I have no idea. I didn’t think about tea brought it up. But it’s usually, you know, pretty much the same thing. Yeah. Same copy. Let’s use lorem ipsum. Yeah. All right. Well, James, tell everybody, you know, who do you like to work with? How they, how you can help them? And of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you.

James  45:38

We love to work with small businesses that are serious about their online presence, that want to work with a professional resource that want to maximize the power of the online space and digital marketing. It starts and ends with a well-designed, well-built, managed, secure website. And that’s what our product i n n number eight, l

That’s what we’re offering is a reliable, powerful resource. And then using that like a website as a fulcrum. We’re using that to provide services to these small business owners. We’re not providing the services, we are vetting, marketing communications professionals, and making their services available to the small business owners who subscribe to innately where we want to stay focused on the technology. I happen to have a background in in this.

So I’m pretty good at vetting. Folks, there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the space, sorry to say, but they can’t get past me. And so if I’m making a recommendation to a small business owner, you need to hire these guys to do your local SEO, you can be assured that you’re getting a good recommendation. And that’s so that’s what we’re looking for is small business owners that are serious about their online presence who want a professional website, but they don’t want to have to look after it themselves.

Roy Barker  47:21 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Okay, great. Yeah. Tell us a website one more time.

James  47:24, I N N number eight, l Okay, great. And our little tagline is websites without worry. So we got a few little puns going on there. We’ve got the N like I N N, we take care of you. And we have websites without worry, which is of course www.

Roy Barker  47:44 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Oh, nice. Nice. I didn’t even put that one together. Like that. All right. Well, y’all reach out to James see how they can help y’all. And maybe he’ll answer the phone, give him a call. If you’d be happy to. Alright, that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast.

Of course I am Roy. You can find us at We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify. If we are not on one that you listen to reach out, I’d be glad to get it added to make your listening easier. Also, we’re on all the major social media platforms, we tend to hang out on Instagram a little bit more reach out there, we’d be glad to interact with you. And a video of this interview will go up when the episode goes live. So go to our YouTube channel. Check it out in some of our other interviews that we’ve previously had. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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