Laura Bell Greeno started in sales, helping companies like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch brand themselves.
She quickly realized sales was HARD.
It took long hours, cold calling and a ton of effort.
But she didn’t want to cold call…
Laura realized early on from this need that branding and self marketing are key to easier lead generation.
So she became a woman with very good branding and self-marketing.
She calls it attraction marketing.
Laura shot up to number 2 in the entire company after learning this simple and amazing insight about herself and her position in sales.
And it did not go unnoticed.
Not too long after this, Laura had 4 recurring clients and was forced to start her company, Webscout.
In this episode you will learn why everyone came to Laura in her organization for advice,
How she grew her agency, including the ups and downs,
And how she runs Webscout today.
In this episode, you’ll discover:
- the interesting way Laura’s agency was forced upon her (and how she created this need in her organization)
- how Laura uses outsourcing, contracting and on-staff team members to grow her business and take care of client needs
- why being bold and courageous and not afraid to make mistakes is essential for starting a business (plus the difference between a smart and a dumb mistake)
- how looking at everything from a SEM lens is an advantageous perspective that can be used to identify key branding improvements for any client (learn about search volume, trends and different audience factors)
Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO
It’s John McIntyre here, The Autoresponder Guy; I’m here with Laura Greeno. Now Laura is the founder of WebScout Marketing. Now she focuses on SEO and everything she does is based around getting more leads and making more sales through the website. She does this through like SEO and attraction marketing. Now the funny story is that she actually contacted me to — I thought this was really, really cool by the way and if you’re listening and you want to do this please do, but Laura contacted me out of the blue and said, “Look I can’t see any women on your website. You need some women up there,” and it made my day really [laughter] it really put a smile on my face. Here we are recording an interview and we’re going to find out what Laura does and how she makes her clients happy. Laura how are you today?
Laura Greeno: Hi! I’m great, thanks for having me.
John McIntyre: Thanks for coming on. Before we get into, I guess, the nuts and bolts give me the more tactical stuff of what you do. Tell the listener a little bit about who is Laura Greeno and what do you do?
Laura Greeno: Okay so technically I’m an online marketing consultant, but I started in sales. I came from this from a sales perspective and I worked for a — my first sales job was with a digital experience branding company. You walk into a — yea do you have a Hollister, an American Eagle and all those in — where you are?
John McIntyre: We — no not right here and —
Laura Greeno: [Laughter].
John McIntyre: — we don’t have them in Australia either.
Laura Greeno: Large retailers create an experience when you walk into their store. They’ve got music, they’ve got certain scents that goes along with their brand and sometimes there’s messaging that comes in overhead. That was my first sale job with this digital branding type company and I soon quickly realized that in order to be any good at sales I had to understand and learn how to market myself and to — I didn’t want to do it like everybody else. I didn’t want to make the cold calls. I didn’t want to work so hard. I really wanted leads to come my way and based off on my first experience with our first marketing campaign I realized that the marketing team, in most large companies, are just so far away from the customer, so disconnected from the failed organization that I was going to have to do it myself. In order to be a good sales person I had to be a good marketer and the way that I did it was through attraction marketing. I used a lot of email marketing with EXTEND more like 2000 — well 1999 in my hard disk [?].
John McIntyre: Wow, okay.
Laura Greeno: Yea so I did a lot of email marketing, but it was all one on one and I did everything that you did auto responding I was doing by hand like manually [laughter]. I did learn that it work and over time like when we got more tools and learned a little more. Was able to make that happen more, but the attraction piece really worked for me and my boss had no idea what I was doing, but I ended up — I was like number two in the company overall [laughter].
John McIntyre: Nice.
Laura Greeno: It was —
John McIntyre: It was worth it basically.
Laura Greeno: It was a little all right. Yea it was working and I just kind of — I started having people come to me to ask me, way back then, “What — how are you doing this?” and “What are you doing?” and “Can you help me?” and “Can you also do this?” and “What do you become —” so all the — anything and everything that had to deal with marketing and branding and then email and eventually research and documentation and research and marketing and content marketing, all those things. People just kind of picked me just for help and I always had a full time job and for this help kind of became a bigger job, for me, than what I can handle and I decided, “Well I’m going to make money off of this somehow because I’m running out of time helping people on the side.” I just kind of created my agency after all the different experiences and technology and creative kind of mixed together with sales and the behaviour knowledge that I learned over time through being in sales and actually for 10 years before that. I was a bartender so I had 10 years of watching people and learning how people behave. Using that knowledge in sales and marketing has been really helpful.
John McIntyre: Awesome so it sounds like — cause the interesting part of that story is like a lot of people right now, who listen to this, I mean some of them anyway who are listening to this, they’ve got a job or they’re trying to figure out this online so they can go and live the lifestyle that you talked about where some people, who have a job, and you know, “If I can just have a few clients, you know? Then I would be able to set my own hours and wake up when I want and travel or do things like that.” Some people their journey to that is they sort of consciously go out and try to create it which it sounds, for you, it just sort of happened. It happened very organically.
Laura Greeno: That’s right. It came to me and before I even decided, “Okay I’m going to turn this — I’m going to actually legally make a company and turn this into something,” before that happened I already had 4 clients came to me on a monthly retainer. It was because they wanted my help, they wanted to pay me, they wanted me to do — assigned me and I could and so I did. Then from there I’m like, “Okay I’m going to — how can I optimize my own time so that I can be my own boss and that I can make a big difference for other people in our own company?”
John McIntyre: Right, right and so that really marked the transition, it sounds like from basically being a freelancer to hiring a team is that what you mean?
Laura Greeno: Yea. Hiring a team — the way that WebScout works can be, but we can do just consulting or we just, my favourite part, you just show up, there’s no research before [laughter]. You share everything that you know based on what you already know and based on what they’re telling you and you charge them an hourly fee and you give them a 1, 2, 3 next step and they either go do them or they ask you to do them [laughter]. When they ask me to do them I either — I do one of two things. I either put together a project team for that specific process based on variables or budget, audience, all those things — industry and I find the right people for the team who may be contractors, but they might be somebody on my team as well. It just depends. I’m going to get the best person for the job whether they’re on my team or not. That’s kind of the flexibility of building the project team once you plan the project and you figure out the resources and you have everything ready to go 1, 2, 3.
John McIntyre: Right, right, okay. What was some of the challenges when you made this transition from being an employee, basically, from having a job to doing what you do now? I’m sure there were some mistakes along the way.
Laura Greeno: There are always mistakes but actually one of the things, when I hire someone that I think is so important, is that they’re not afraid to make mistakes. Basically the way I look at mistakes is if I’m not making any I don’t know what I’m doing because things move so fast and they change so fast in digital marketing that if I’m not screwing up [laughter] granted I’m not going to screw up with my own clients’ dollars or my own clients’ brand, but if I’m not taking that next step then I’m already behind everybody else and I’m just doing what everybody else’s best practices are and I’m not trying anything new, I’m not doing any R&D, I’m not testing. That is, to me, the mistakes are important and when I hire someone, when I have that — a girl I interviewed yesterday and I said [laughter] “I just need somebody who’s not afraid to make a mistake, but a smart mistake,” right? Note the difference [laughter]. That’s kind of how I feel about that so, mistakes in the industry are very important to me. As far as building a whole business those are, you know, that could go anywhere.
John McIntyre: [Laughter].
Laura Greeno: That could go all the way to where my husband’s like, “Wait a minute you don’t know how much you’re going make this month or next month or the next month?” [Laughter].
John McIntyre: [Laughter].
Laura Greeno: “Like well I think it’ll be this,” but he’s the use to the pay check that when it started changing, you know, one month it could be as little — anyway it could be a very small amount and then the next month could be 20 times as much.
John McIntyre: Yep.
Laura Greeno: Getting him used to that was interesting [laughter], but he, you know, once the year went by and he saw how it worked and saw how happy I was doing it and enjoying it — I could pretty much tell him that I’m doing anything at this point and he’d believe in me [laughter].
John McIntyre: That’s cool. I mean that would be — I feel like that would be a podcast in itself is how to manage a relationship like that. Is he an employee or is he an entrepreneur as well?
Laura Greeno: No he has his own job. He has not worked for me at all, actually.
John McIntyre: But I mean does he has his own business or does he work for another company?
Laura Greeno: Yea he is an Operations Manager for a restaurant chain in the States.
John McIntyre: There you go, okay. Cause the interesting thing here, I find, is almost just from a philosophical point of view. Like I notice it when I go home to Australia to visit my family, I’m not married or anything at the moment so, finding solace that makes on the one hand it’s easy in a sense, but when I go home to visit my family — so my mum, my dad, my sister, things like that they’re all — dad’s self-employed so that helps, but there’s very much — it’s been very difficult to explain like they’re always like, “So what do you actually do?”
Laura Greeno: [Laughter].
John McIntyre: Most people have no idea. Like it’s like, “How do you get paid? Where do you get your clients from? Why do people even want to hire you?” like, “What’s the —” they just don’t understand how the — if you don’t go to an office and perform work and check in and you have a boss and then you leave. If you don’t do that there’s no way you could make money. There’s this weird difference between being an employee and being, I guess, sort of like an online entrepreneur. If you’re a baker or something they’d probably get it, but they’re not saying that either way is right or wrong it’s just it’s a fascinating thing.
Laura Greeno: Yea especially with the energy, right? Online marketing or digital marketing because it’s so foreign to someone who’s 70 plus. The age — they may never get it [laughter] so —
John McIntyre: Yea.
Laura Greeno: A lot of questions, but then at some point they stop asking questions. When you start showing them, “Hey look I got top 10 Start Up in North Carolina this year. Look at my award!” you know and, “Hey I got —” you know when they start seeing those kind of sort of press or that proof, “Hey I was these [?] magazines did you see it?” they’re like, “What?”
John McIntyre: [Laughter].
Laura Greeno: Okay what you’re doing is working and you must be pretty smart. I think you might be one of those what do Jesus say, right? Something like you’re a prophet is never respected in his own hometown or something like that. You’re never an expert in your own area because they know your mom and your dad and they watched you grow up and wipe snot off your face, right? [Laughter] so —
John McIntyre: Yea, okay. Well let’s — I’m curious about what do you actually do? When you say attraction, right, walk me through —
Laura Greeno: Yea.
John McIntyre: — what do you actually do with these clients specifically?
Laura Greeno: WebScout specifically — so what I first do is a little bit of research and planning so, we have a goal. Whatever that goal is which is usually I want to have 100 new leads per week through my website. Right now I have 10 [laughter]. First thing first is we do some initial research and I’m usually looking at this from a very holistic point of view. Comprehensive kind of research on what they’re doing now, how are they measuring it [laughter], what — how do they know those 10 turned into what amount of revenue. Are they tracking? The early step of what they’re doing, what needs to change as far as what do we need to change on their website, what do we need to change to make sure that measurement is automated. Are there any tools that we need to introduce? Do you know your audience? Who is your audience? Where are they hanging out online? Do you know your differentiators? What are they? Are they really different? Are they perceived? Does that need to change? Do we need to work on the brand? How do people see you now? What do they perceive when they think of your brand is it negative, positive? There’s customer interviews, there’s a lot of online research as far as finding the audience and where they’re hanging out in order to attract them to your product or service. There’s a handful of other things, right? There’s paperclip audits and are you spending too much? Are you not using the right keyword? Keyword research, on page conversion optimization all those things have to be looked at first then you devise a plan as far as what to do, what’s going to happen, first, second, third. What’s the biggest — number 1 is always going to be taking a step back to make sure that the brand is solid before we go do any marketing around it. It be that they need to separate out a product that need its own brand identity that goes with this product because it doesn’t fit in with the rest with what you’re doing or —
John McIntyre: How did you figure that out?
Laura Greeno: — that kind of — what’s that?
John McIntyre: How would you figure that out?
Laura Greeno: It really comes down to, again, a swarm approach. I approach everything from a search engine perspective. The way that people find things and buy things online is how I look at everything. Depending on the behaviour of people and the way that they search would be a factor not 100% but would be one of those variables that goes into deciding whether or not this product needs to be separated out. Let’s say for the sake of, you know; let’s say we’re just talking about shoes. What fits a blue, if there’s a blue pair of shoes that has a very different look and feel and would have a different audience. Like different people would buy this blue pair of shoes than people that buy the rest of the shoes. Then well I need to attract this person, this type of people, and they’re different than the other 5 people. That would be another variable that goes into it. Who the audience is? If it’s a different audience that could be an indicator that we need to at least explore whether or not that product needs its own separate brand and so, you can start to create — you can, don’t know if you need to or have to, but you can become very niche as far as this blue shoe. Now I have a brand around this blue shoe. This blue shoe shop could possibly learn that we could actually build a whole business around just this blue shoe based on solely on short volume trends and audience. Does that make sense or do I need to kind of change the way I talk about that?
John McIntyre: [Laughter]. It’s definitely very complex. It sounds like what you do is — I’ve got a big sort of large scale overview everything and trying to find the weak points in almost the whole marketing aspect. Sounds like you really do approach it from this holistic perspective and then when it gets down into it in the sort of the modern and dirt it’s like seeing what specific things can we do like can we figure that certain groups of people are looking for certain types of things so, maybe we need to split off the product a little bit so it’s more easier to understand.
Laura Greeno: If they can find it, yea.
John McIntyre: So they can find it, yea. Okay.
Laura Greeno: Yea.
John McIntyre: What would, you know, someone listening to this and they were like, “I want to do what Laura does,” or maybe there’s — how about this, maybe cause this is what we talked about, right, a week ago that maybe because the overrepresentation of men on this podcast has maybe discouraged some women who listened to it. Maybe they’re thinking, “I can’t do this, it’s all guys,” or they’re like, “It’s just a sausage fest I don’t even want to get involved in that,” so here we are we’ve got — you’re representing. What would you say to the women out there, if they’re listening, what would your advice be if they want to go and create a similar life to you, you know, with the same business and freedom and all of that?
Laura Greeno: That’s a good question. To all the women [laughter] okay —
John McIntyre: What would you say to 1 woman, if that’s a bit too grand? Just imagine you’re just speaking to 1 woman, she’s a brunette, —
Laura Greeno: [Laughter].
John McIntyre: — she’s sitting there expectantly like she’s just asking you the question and she wants to know how does she create a life like yours? How does she have the courage to live the way you live?
Laura Greeno: I think you just answered it. I think the word “courage” because if you don’t go and do or if you don’t try or if you don’t take that risk you’re never going to get to the next step. It’s that first step. I actually mentor some young women, quite a few, and 1 of them — I was in a conversation with a newer mentee, for me, she is in a full time job that she is a graphic designer and she does content development for a real estate firm. She manages a team of 6 or 7 people and she is bored out of her mind [laughter] because it’s so corporate that she doesn’t get to play with her creativity and be — the people in charge are kind of holding her putting her own company back from really exploding, potentially, but they don’t see it that way. They just see it as controlling [laughter] a level of professionalism, probably, is how they look at it and kind of keeping things as they are, not to mention that. Anyway she came to me because she wanted to talk to a successful entrepreneur and definitely a strong one and so, she is how she was introduced to me and wanted to know what to do and I said, “Well what do you want to do? Figure out what you want to do first. Anything — you could do anything.” If you want to do it for her she wanted to do something very unusual. I have never heard of this before, but Christmas decorations [laughter]. Christmas decorations for your home or your office or your retail space that was her passion. That was what she got excited about doing. I mean I guess it’s the design line, right, the graphic design line. That’s what she wanted to do so, we just kind of spent 10 minutes and put together a plan of how she’s going to get started and she was already doing — you need to do it on the side, keep your job, keep your income. Do what you want to do, on the side, if the money will come you have to figure it out, right? You have to do it sometimes for free until people start talking about you and then you just take advantage of that people talking about you and spread that word of mouth using a lot of different means, but digital is what I would use. Then the word gets out and people start — you know you start to figure out what people want and what they’re going to pay, but you got to go do it. You can’t still think about it, wish about it, or wait.
John McIntyre: Yea.
Laura Greeno: Like she’s waiting for her sister to get out of college or something to help her and I said, “Don’t wait [laughter]. Just —
John McIntyre: Yea.
Laura Greeno: — go do now.” Here’s the first one for you to do. Don’t wait until Christmas, all right? Go do Valentine’s Day, go do Easter even though that’s not what your passion is. Go do that to learn and then by Christmas time you’ll be ready to have people pay you.
John McIntyre: I like that. I like that. I think that’s a good note to finish on. If people want to learn more about you, whether they want to hire you to do some marketing for them, or maybe there’s someone listening who would like to hire you to be their mentor, where —
Laura Greeno: [Laughter].
John McIntyre: — can they do all of that?
Laura Greeno: My website is called website — I’m sorry, webscoutmarketing.com, but it’s really — I really LinkedIn quite a bit to connect with people. I think that’s how we connected. Actually didn’t you reach out for me?
John McIntyre: Yea on LinkedIn.
Laura Greeno: You did.
John McIntyre: Yea.
Laura Greeno: You reached out to me. How did you find me? Where did you — why did you like reach out to me?
John McIntyre: I was just on LinkedIn looking for people in ecommerce and I was connecting with them and just trying to get phone calls to see what would come out of it. In this case we did a podcast and sometimes it’s a webinar, sometimes it’s a client and yea it’s just been a big push for me, with a different business actually, but yea so —
Laura Greeno: Okay.
John McIntyre: — I’ve been connected in LinkedIn so, yea people could check you out.
Laura Greeno: Yea definitely so, Laura Bell Greeno. My middle name B-E-L-L so it’s my nickname. Laura Bell Greeno is how it is on LinkedIn. Just connect with me there and let me know where you heard about me and why you want to connect so I don’t delete you [laughter].
John McIntyre: Awesome, cool. All right I’ll have links to all of that in the Show Notes at themcmethod.com. Laura thanks for coming on the show.
Laura Greeno: Thank you!