How to Build World’s Best Buyer Persona?

An Interview with Stormie Andrews

Welcome to E-Coffee with Experts, an interview series where we discuss all things online marketing with the best minds in the business.

In this episode, Dawood speaks with the brilliant man, Stormie Andrews, President, Yokel Local Internet Marketing.

Stormie takes us through his journey from sales to marketing, link building strategies, repurposing content and more. He also talks to us about building the world’s best buyer persona. Read along!

One of the big mistakes that I think organizations make is with their messaging, All too often, the messaging is about themselves. And the end customer doesn’t care about you. When it comes to digital messaging, the messaging really has to resonate with them. Talk about their pain, their struggles, their issues, their concerns.

Stormie Andrews, President
Yokel Local
Hello everyone. How are you doing today? We have with us Stormie Andrews, President, Yokel Local Internet Marketing. Hey, Stormie. How are you?

Good. How are you doing? Glad to be here?

Well, same here. Thank you for taking out time. You are a busy man and we’re really excited to have you and looking forward to chatting with you.

Same here.I’m glad you put me in front of your audience and hopefully I can give you some pretty good nuggets.

Stormie, before we start it would be great if you could introduce yourself and your company.

Sure. So, as you mentioned, my name is Stormie Andrews, a pretty unique name and my company is Yokel local, also a unique name. At Yokel Local we’ve been a digital marketing agency since 2010. We’re also a HubSpot certified agency partner. We’re a platinum agency partner. We’re actually the largest HubSpot agency partner within the entire state of Nevada, which is pretty cool. We’re closely entangled with HubSpot. I am the leader of the Las Vegas hug, which stands for the HubSpot user groups. I’m a HubSpot certified trainer and we’ve got a great team located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Believe it or not, people live in Las Vegas, they just don’t visit Las Vegas.

But that’s where the vast majority of our teams assemble. Our Head of digital marketing is located in California. So he works remotely and the rest of our team members are located here in Las Vegas.

So since the rest of the team is located there, I'm sure they must be missing office.

Yes. You know what?

Our office has been sitting empty for a few months now because of COVID 19 and that’s kind of a struggle, but safety is our number one concern. When we saw this whole COVID thing starting, we started moving out of our office and getting our team acclimated to working remotely.

About a week and a half after we started doing that is when our state and the country started making remote working a requested move and then a mandatory move. We have permission to go back to the office, but we just don’t think it’s in the best interest of our employees.

And we’ve been doing really, really good working remotely. So this may be a practice that will continue.

You transitioned from sales into marketing. How did that happen? And you were doing really well in sales.

When I was in sales, I had a really, fortunate sales career. I would have risen to the top where I would have either been number 1 or quickly become the number one sales person within a respective industry. And I did it across multiple industries. It started in the consumer electronics industry. Then it went into the world home building. And when I was in the home building industry, I was offered an opportunity to take over the sales management side of things, because I was doing pretty good in sales, I guess you could say. And that was a different opportunity once I got into management, my compensation was based on sales of the company versus my own individual sales. And I realized as a salesperson, my revenue was capped because I can only work so many hours per day, but if I could train a solid sales team and get a little bit of an override off of their commissions, that would equate to more money and it did. So I had great success in the home building industry now.

The owner of the company said to me,”Stormie, you’re doing a great job running our sales team. Here’s what I would like you to do. I want you to take over marketing.”

What do you think about that now, being this salesperson that thinks he can do anything and has a great track record in regards to sales.

I thought, “Great. I can do this. Marketing will be easy.” Well, prior to taking this marketing position I didn’t have any gray hairs. All my gray hairs came from taking over marketing. That was the learning experience. And that’s where I really had to work for the first time in my life, in my opinion, because sales was just natural for me.

And this was right at the beginning of digital marketing, but most of my responsibilities were traditional marketing billboards, newspapers, print advertising. And I started overseeing the marketing space, but I’m a person who likes to challenge and I dug in. I started to appreciate the world of marketing.

I determined that it took a lot of additional skill sets. And what I also had discovered at that particular time frame when I was in the home building industry, is that a lot of people ended up in marketing. They take the same path that I took there. They’re put in charge of marketing while they truly don’t necessarily have a marketing background.

They normally have a sales background and what I found is that a lot of people, either sink or swim, when they’re placed in that position, I almost sunk multiple times and I felt that there had to be a better way. So eventually when we started Yokel Local, I built Yokel Local for my role when I was in the home building industry, because what I had realized once I got into the world of marketing, I had to wear way too many hats. You see, when I was in sales, all I had to do was be concerned with sales and when I got into marketing. Well, now there were a lot of additional stresses. Now, all of a sudden I’ve got to be the marketing strategist, I’ve gotta be the SEO guy, I’ve got to be the guy who’s in charge of blog posting. And this is before social media. And one of the things that I noticed is that the marketing group, the directors of marketing, the marketing managers, there were more stresses and more pressures placed upon them.

And it was very difficult for them to articulate these pressures and these stretches and these stresses to the stakeholders or their bosses. They tend to get burned out. So when I created Yokel Local, I decided what if I can create an agency and bring these experts under one roof?

The first thing I had to do is determine what skill sets were needed. So I determined that there were about 40 skill sets that were required to be really good and successful at marketing. I also realized that no one on the planet has all 40 of the skillsets. And I realized that most organizations don’t have the budget to hire for all 40 of those skill sets.

Because if someone’s really good, maybe they’re really good at three, four, five or six of those skill sets, right. We need a team and, but you don’t need the team for 40 hours a week. So we built Yokel Local and we interviewed, we hired for those 40 skill sets. So we brought in the team where collectively we can bring all the skill sets required to the table for about the same investment that that marketing manager would be able to hire one additional employee.

The value proposition was pretty easy. Hire the one person that can bring another three or four skill sets to the table or hire us, and we’ll bring all the skill sets to the table and also bring a higher level of skill sets with the strategy where many times our clients use me as a fractional CMO because they just don’t have to see them those services there.

Stormie, you are a licensed practitioner of neuro linguistic programming. Does that help you in your marketing strategies?

Tremendous. It really gives us a leg up. When I was in the sales space, that’s when I became a licensed practitioner of neuro linguistic programming.

Now, for those of you that aren’t familiar with it, let me give you a really quick rundown. So neuro, when you think of that, what does that mean? It means the brain linguistics. The words we use when we speak and programming, that’s the models we each make of the world. So what happens? What do I mean by models?

Well, models are based on each of us, we have our own unique experiences. We have a different education. We have different belief systems. We have different backgrounds. And because of that, each of us create this model of the world. We kind of create what our realization of what is reality?

 We create our  own versions of reality. So with neuro linguistic programming, I brought it to sales to make salespeople better salespeople.I provide training and it wasn’t really designed for them to be manipulative. But it was designed to help them to be more empathetic with the person that they’re speaking with.

If I can understand you, your pains, your emotions to a greater degree then I’m in a position to provide you a better solution for your problem. It makes me a better listener and not just a listener for words. But listening for emotions. So I started traveling the country. I’ve spoken at universities in graduating business classes, as it pertained to effective communication techniques, techniques inspired by NLP.

And I wanted to bring that to marketing and especially digital marketing and I found that to be much tougher than I originally imagined. It was a difficult process. So for the last seven years I’ve been working on something that I call the world’s best buyer persona system. And that’s a system that’s inspired by NLP and it’s designed to help your digital assets.

You see one of the things that my belief is I think it’s best for organizations to think of their digital assets as employees. Some employees are going to perform better than others. So if I have digital assets, if I have messaging on Facebook, guess what? That’s an employee. My website, that’s an employee. If I’m doing things on Twitter, that’s an employee. And if I think of them as employees, well, now I have certain expectations. And if I have those expectations, I can manage for those expectations. And I think that’s probably the biggest mistake that businesses don’t take into account.

They think of their digital assets, as expenses or marketing expenses or advertising expenses. And I believe they’re employees. And you can get more out of them. If you train those employees about and the world’s best buyer persona, it’s all about training those employees.When I was in sales, if I was able to probe and ask questions and really build a relationship with a customer that’s in front of me because we’re belly to belly, we’re speaking to each other, whether it’s in person or over the phone.With digital assets you really can’t do that? So with the world’s best buyer persona system it really helps organizations one.

How do you know who our ideal clients are, what are their characteristics, what are their pain points, what are the issues, what are their emotions, what are their triggering events, why did they get here, how did they get here? And then what type of messaging would be important to them?

Not the type of messaging, that’s going to be important to us. In many organizations, it’s not about the facts and the figures it’s emotions because that’s how we make decisions. So when I started creating the world’s best buyer persona system,it’s been a process of taking customer avatars or taking buyer personas to the next level where we’re actually getting into teaching processes and systems to get into the mindset of your ideal clients. So when your ideal clients come across your digital messaging, it’s more likely to resonate with them. It’s more likely to be empathetic where they feel that you’re just like them and then hopefully encourage them to take the next step.

My next question is about the world's best buyer persona. I am really interested to know what it actually is?

So the world best buyer persona. I like to think of it, even though the name of it is the world’s best buyer persona system it’s inspired by NLP.It’s inspired from valuable marketing techniques. It has lots of inspiration from lots of different areas of marketing as it pertains to best practices. But one of the fundamental principles are the components from NLP.

According to you who all should be involved. You know, in creating a buyer persona?

Let me back up from the business standpoint and I think all departments that are customer facing. So in an ideal scenario, we would have sales. marketing and we would have the customer service department. Each of them are involved with the customer. But they’re involved with the customer at different stages and they can all bring different aspects, they can bring their understanding of that customer to the table.

Now, the most important person would be your ideal client. If you’re able to get them to be part of the equation, because they can give you insights where they can be part of the interview process. But unfortunately what I have found after building hundreds upon hundreds of buyer personas is that sometimes getting the ideal client to the table, it’s a lot easier said than done, right?

That’s just the real world scenario. So when we can bring different people that can bring different perspectives, we can do our best. To create a buyer persona or create messaging that’s designed to, to attract those individuals. You see, here’s the beauty of the world’s best buyer persona when it’s developed for your ideal clients.

And you may have multiple ideal clients for different product lines. If you have enough of your ideal clients or your favorite clients and you think about them. Imagine that all your clients were the same or very similar.  They have the same disposition, the same outlook on life, the same pleasantness to deal with. Well, when you get to that position, you can start to reject and turn away the type of clients that you don’t want to work with. And oftentimes we work with the clients we don’t want to work with because finances dictate that you need revenues.

So I’ve got to take this customer in which I know is going to be a problem child. And if you’ve been in business long enough, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Uh, but if you have enough of your ideal clients, you don’t have to worry about the other people. You can turn them away with a smile on your face.

And it’s interesting. Once you start turning them away, you can start charging a greater premium for your services and your services become more in demand. If you get really good at servicing that group.

What according to you are the most common mistakes inbound marketing agencies make?

So, obviously I’m the buyer persona guy. So  one of the big mistakes that I think they make is when you look at the messaging, all too often, the messaging is about themselves. And no one cares about you. They don’t care about me. If they’ve come to the Yokel Local website and we’re talking about us or we’re talking about facts and figures, they won’t care. So knock that stuff off.  So I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes. And so I think when it comes to digital messaging, the messaging really has to resonate with them. The pain, the struggles, the issues, the concerns that your clients have, especially your ideal clients, because now what happens when they come across your digital messaging, especially for inbound, when they come across your digital messaging there, they start to think that, wow, there’s something different about this company.They understand me. They feel my pain unlike anyone else.

And now what happens for inbound, they’re more likely to exchange their email address or fill out a form. So this way they can continue the dialogue because you’ve built this level of  trust. And so when it comes to inbound marketing, when you have the wrong messaging, I don’t care what type of information you’re trying to collect. The problem is you’re trying to collect it too early in the relationship because you’ve done nothing to establish that relationship.

How important is SEO for an inbound marketing strategy on a campaign?

One of the things I believe in is said by Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese general. He wrote that the art of war and he says that you know tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat and a strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.

I may have gotten those backwards, but you get the point. And I think when it comes to SEO, it is important. There’s no question about it. If they can’t find you, there;s no point , but is SEO for the sake of SEO? I think that’s where a lot of people get into trouble because they’re like, “Hey, I just want to show up on the front page of Google for something.”

Well, if your ideal clients aren’t there, who cares?  There are some general keywords that are probably good for any agency, for anyone who’s doing SEO. So they have to be able to find you. So SEO is good, but if you don’t make SEO the priority instead  if you made the priority in deciding how I can create content or messaging that’s really, really going to help someone.

 That really has to be your number one goal. And if you create content that’s really designed to, to, to, to, to help someone get over a pain point or issue that they’re experiencing. And then you have someone who understands SEL that can read the message. Oh, I see what you’re going for. Let me add the proper SEO elements then, let me get back links.Let me do the on page SEO. That needs to be the secondary piece. And I think  where a lot of people mess up as they have it backwards, they have it twist it. They’re like, “Hey, I want to rank for this. So they figured out what they want to rank for”. And then they put out content or messaging. That’s really not that good, not that beneficial.

And that’s not going to help you. You see, let’s think about Google for just a second. Google is the nominee that is the number one search engine, the number two search engine is what YouTube. The number three search engine is Amazon, right? So there’s one, two and three. Everything else is important, but let’s just talk about Google for just a moment.

 What’s Google’s goal is to deliver the best result for their customers and their customers or the person who’s looking for a solution to a problem. Right? So if you have marginal content, our marginal messaging, you’re not the best resource for their customer. So you may get a temporary bump.

 If you have a really good SEO person. But it’s that really going to help you get customers know, spend the time, spend the energy, spend the effort on creating rockstar, solid content designed to help someone spend the extra money there and it will pay off long term.

You're talking about creating the right content.What is the best approach for creating a conversion focused landing page or like any website page?

Well, that’s where it comes to the world’s best buyer persona system. That’s why I created it. There’s been studies. You can look this up. You don’t have to take my word for it.

80% of our decisions are based on emotions. And we justify it with logic. So the beauty of the world’s best buyer persona system is you’re building out this framework where we’re building out this emotional profile of what our ideal clients are, what they’re going through.

Well, if I understand your pains and if I really spent the time understanding your pain, your solution, your concerns, your struggles then what happens is I’m in a much better position to have content produced that’s designed to address that. It’s not designed to address this  high level topical stuff that we tend to see out there that isn’t good for converting. So the world’s best best buyer persona, that’s exactly what it’s designed for. It’s designed to be a foundational piece. So when any message is created, this becomes that Rosetta stone that we go back to that we’re referring back to, and then we would, do you, you don’t qualify the content.

We check whether this content helps that person? Does it help the person that we created this world’s best buyer persona for? Or is it just more noise? If it’s more noise, you know, you’re going to lose.

What are your thoughts on refreshing or repurposing old content vs creating fresh, fresh content.

I think it’s extremely important. As a matter of fact, our previous head of content, she was with us for a few years and she was well, we lost her because she was recruited by HubSpot, our partner, but that was her dream job. So she went to work for HubSpot and her sole purpose is going through the thousands and thousands of content that HubSpot has.

 And her purpose is to refresh that content. That’s her job. So the world changes. Data statistics, information that if you’re looking at your data you know, the world changes. So if you have content that’s performing or content that’s not performing. The question is relevant today? That’s pretty important. Did you have a page that used to have very, very good conversions that maybe it’s not converting? Is that because you have outdated information that needs to be refreshed?

 Let’s just go back to Google for just a moment.They wanted to deliver the  resource to their customers. And the best resource is going to be highly relevant content. So in the world of digital changes, changes happen all the time. So if you refresh your content it’s only in your best interest and not refreshing it for the sake of refreshing it because maybe you’re adding to it. Maybe the content is solid, but maybe you want to add to it. Let’s expand upon it. That’s great. Let’s add a video to some of our blog posts that just goes deeper or let’s get rid of the old stuff entirely. So refreshing your content is extremely important when you’re looking at the data that tells you it should be done, meaning that your contents outdated or the page isn’t doing as well as it should have, or maybe that the page has never picked up steam from the get go.

 But, you know, it’s really, really good. So maybe you look at what you want to rank for, and maybe you go see what’s on there. You know, what’s on that page. What’s ranking on that page? Now is my content better? If it’s not better, make it better, make it better than the best one on that page.

It's easy to think of very cool ways of adding value to the existing content with simple things like creating a video out of a written blog post and embedding that video in the blog post. Not only enhances that page on the website, but helps jump rankings on platforms like Google or even the videos that come as snippets on top of Google. So, I am also a strong believer of repurposing content. We used to tell our agency partners that you should always tell your clients that every blog piece that goes out there should have a calendar reminder that I need to visit this page.

Absolutely. And that that’s absolutely key, having a calendar because you’re not going to remember. So having a calendar every time we publish a piece of content and then the reminder can be a system that’s automated.

Once it gets published, let me have something where whatever that timeframe happens to be in the future, a task is created for me to go back and check it out.

How have you seen link-building change over the years?

As you know, the stuff that that link builders used to do, you can’t do anymore.

And you know that that’s not a good thing. It used to be a situation where you sign up for link forms or you’ll be part of these link networks and you exchange links and all that other stuff. But once again, that gets to go back to Google again, right? Google wants the best content.

And if you have the best content you can get natural high quality links because other sites will link to you. So that’s the key. If you create good content consistently, you’re going to get links. Right. I’m fortunate because I get to contribute to Forbes. I also get to contribute to HubSpot.

So all I need to do is sit down and write an article and then I can have those links coming back from two very high quality sides. Right. But everyone doesn’t have that. But it didn’t start overnight and I’m just gonna use my example, I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I want to start writing for Forbes and I’m gonna start writing for HubSpot.”

I didn’t ask them, “Hey guys, I’m here. Will you start letting me write for you?”

They had to see that I had a history of putting together solid content, and now I have opportunities and I probably turn away more opportunities strictly because of time or they’re like storming. We want you to write on this particular topic or this particular subject, and believe me, I would love to do it, but I’m just too busy with other scenarios.

 If you don’t have those opportunities, what do you do? First thing is to start producing quality. And if you start producing quality, that’s the most important thing that you can do. And then you can start whether it’s a business or a personal brand, once you have that. I have found once you have that library of high quality content, you can use that to help build your social following.

And then if you use that to help build your social following, then what happens is you can submit to some of the high quality sites and say, “I would love to write and produce content for you and check out my check record.” You see, because the scenario is that they’re getting pitched and solicited every day from everyone that says,” Hey, I want to start writing for you.”

 What social proof do you have that you’re credible? There could be a  scenario that they want to see your content. They want to see if you have followers. They want to see if you’ve produced for other places. So having high quality backlinks. Uh, it’s about quality. It’s not about quantity. So being able to produce content or partnering with someone that produces content that’s designed to get on high quality websites, that’s designed to be beneficial for their audience. And guess what? The buyer persona comes in handy there too, because you’re going to get better content. It makes it more likely that you’ll get  a series of organic backlinks that are high quality that are pointing back to you and you will get many, many more of them and Google appreciates it and they reward you by your rankings. Your rankings will improve because they see that you’re credible.

You're also the host of a couple of podcasts. How do you see, how do you see podcasts as a marketing strategy?

You know, I’m one of those guys, it comes down to personality. I’m at a stage where either people like me or they don’t. So at least with the podcast, I can give people the opportunity where we can build a relationship in a way where they can say,” You know what, I kind of liked that Stormie guy.”

Or they could say, “You know what, that  guy is not my speed.” And I’m okay with either one.  I want people, I like most people and I like dealing with people that are like minded. And I like to think I’m fun. I want to deal with fun people. So I tend to attract those types of individuals. So having a podcast one, it gives me more credibility because I do host two podcasts. It gives prospective clients and other organizations that are looking to have me come in to speak to their audience. It gives them the chance to know me and those two podcasts are different.

 One podcast is powerhouse experts. Now that one’s been on pause because my co host has been dealing with some medical issues for some time, but now she’s getting better. She’s recovering. So we’ll be coming back on soon. The other one that’s been more consistent as of lately is finances. Now, the primary host is a young lady by the name of Mellow. She’s a certified financial planner, and she has taken finances and she combines it with the world of music and primary music from the sixties, seventies, and eighties. And she ties to, does a masterful job of tiring of tying those two in together.

[00:30:25] She just asked, “Hey, stormy, do you want to be a part of my show?” And I agreed because I thought this would be fun. And I get it. Additional credibility through her association on her podcast in addition to my powerhouse experts podcast. So absolutely adds credibility because I’m exposed to a different audience. It gives me a little more authority. So when I’m meeting with clients, when I’m introduced to come on stage, they get to say exactly what you said, “Not only he is an award winning author and founder of Yokel Local, he’s the cohost of two different podcasts.It just adds a feather in my cap. So, definitely adds to credibility and it allows me to have more fun.

Well, from your own experience, if somebody is starting off with podcasts, what is a good strategy? I mean, how many podcasts and how often?

So with podcasts, consistency is key. So let’s say if you have all the time in the world, like right now during times of Corona, you can’t go anywhere. 

I believe that that consistency is key. And, you can’t produce too many. Meaning that if you have the ability of doing seven podcasts a week by all means do seven a week, if you can do it consistently. If you can do one a week, do  that if you can do it consistently.But one of the things I would recommend you doing is start recording your podcast.

 If you want to do it, if you want to create a podcast, you do not have to spend tons of money on equipment. You can get the anchor app, which is owned by Spotify, and start doing it on your phone right now. You can start a podcast 10 minutes after listening to this message. You have all the equipment you need in your smartphone.

 And then the first piece of equipment you buy is a better microphone, right? But here’s the thing that’s interesting. When I first started my podcast, even before anyone knew who I was, everyone I would ask to come on as a host would say yes. And I thought to myself,” wow, this is pretty darn easy.” Because by bringing guests onto your shows, You’re helping them promote their brand, their goods and services. That’s really what it’s designed to be. And if your goal is to help them, and if that’s your true goal, they’re going to come on your show. And if they come on your show, you’re now introduced to their audience.  that’s not a bad thing. And if you do that and you do it consistently, that will help your brand. So I would say if you wanted to start a podcast, go download the anchor app owned by Spotify. You can get started in 10 minutes, so there’s no excuse. You get a few bucks together, go buy a microphone. That will be your first investment.

And then all you have to do is ask. Ask someone that’s an expert in their respective field and ask them to come on your show. I guarantee you, if you do it five times, you’re going to get a yes, three out of those five times. At least you may get yes, five out of five times if you make it about them and not yourself.

What’s one valuable, supersecret tip that the audience can apply right away and gain benefits?

So, here’s a secret tip. And it’s something called half-built bridges. No more half built bridges. And what I mean is you may have heard me mention several things here today. There are times that you go to events or you hear something from someone and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is great. I want to do it.” So what do you do?

 You start down the process of doing it. And before you have a chance of completing that bridge, which takes you to success, you stop and you start building another bridge. And then you start down that process because you hear something else great from someone and you hit down that bridge and, and before it gets to the area, that’s going to give you success, you stop and you do it over and over and over again.

Here’s a piece of advice, The first thing I would say is what other areas have you already started? Complete that bridge and then come back and build this bridge, complete something that gives you success to where it’s working for me.

You then build the next bridge. And if you follow that type of methodology, you’ll find success because each and every bridge that you complete makes the next bridge that much easier to build. What do you think was that beneficial?

Well, golden words. Because a lot of people do that, right? You go to an event, you hear a speech and you're very excited. You want to do that? And you just stop thinking about the stuff you already had invested so much tie on. So, yeah. Bang on. Thank you so much for your time today. It has been fun.

Absolutely. And for those of you that are listening, my book,” The world’s best buyer persona”, goes on sale on Amazon next month in July, the middle of July, it goes on sale.

Definitely. Definitely. Well, thank you so much, Stormie.

You’re welcome. Thank you.

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