In this episode, Michael Buzinski shares how to reduce the time drain and frustration of running profitable digital marketing campaigns using The Rule of 26.
About Michael Buzinski
Michael “Buzz” Buzinski is a life-long entrepreneur, digital marketing thought leader, and best-selling author. Dubbed a “visionary marketer” by the American Marketing Association, Michael’s sole mission is to reduce the prevalence of entrepreneurial poverty. Buzz has simplified digital marketing success with the Rule of 26 to help business owners avoid the time drain and frustration of managing profitable digital marketing campaigns.
Read the Transcript
Allison: Welcome back to the Deliberate Leaders Podcast. I am your host and Executive Coach Allison Dunn. I am very excited to introduce our guest today. We have with us Michael Buzinski.
He is a lifelong entrepreneur, digital marketer, thought leader, and best-selling author. Michael’s sole mission is to reduce the prevalence of entrepreneurial poverty in the United States. I actually practiced that 3 times, Michael, before I said it today.
Michael: It is not an easy thing to say. But there’s no other way to say it.
Allison: Prevalence of entrepreneurial poverty in the United States. That sounds way better after I try it again. Oh, my goodness.
He has a simplified digital marketing success with the rule of 26 to help business owners avoid the time drain and frustrations of managing profitable digital marketing campaigns. Michael, or do you prefer Buzz? I understand.
Michael: Buzz is great.
Allison: Buzz. OK. Buzz, thanks so much for joining us here on Deliberate Leaders.
Michael: Thanks for having me, Alli.
Allison: Absolutely. I love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation, what would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners?
Michael: Wow, we’re just jumping right into the number one tip. Got it. In leadership, when it comes to entrepreneurial leadership, it’s a matter of humility. My number one tip is to remember that you should not be the smartest person in the room. Most successful entrepreneurs are not the smartest people in the room, they are smart enough to surround them with people who are smarter at all the things they don’t, or not passionate, or experts at. If you can fill the room in, and fill the room with people who are smarter than you. You have done it right. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’ve built the wrong room.
Allison: I’ve been in both rooms where I have worked with people who are the smartest people in the room and then those that recognize they want to be around people who are smarter than them. It’s a very different dynamic.
Allison: That’s a great tip.
Michael: I’ve been the smartest person in the room and my business has suffered, when I’ve done that and when I put people who were smarter than me and the things that they do really well, and they’re passionate about, things go a lot farther, a lot faster.
Allison: Yes. Cool. Great tip. I am super curious for you to share this concept of what the rule of 26 is, and why do I need it?
Michael: Well, you are a service centric business and so you are looking to connect with people who are going to appreciate your services. But for you to be the conduit in which people find you is not sustainable nor advisable. Nor is it scalable. The rule of 26 allows me to convey 3 very straightforward direct objectives to doubling the revenue from your website and when we do that we have create a salesperson who works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, doesn’t take any days off, doesn’t take sick leave, doesn’t ask for a raise, and does exactly what you tell it to do every single time that is sustainable, and it is scalable, and therefore takes the pressure of the sales acquisition off of the owner and allows them to work on their business and not in their business.
Allison: Yes, so you’re totally speaking my language, those the words I use and everything that I do. I can be replaced with a website. I’m just kidding.
Michael: Yes. Well, a part of you should be replaced by website.
Michael: That’s all I’m saying. I mean, I still talk to every one of the clients that sign up for our full services, our concierge services, right? There is that that piece, that boutique firms need to have that touch right? But sifting through all of the tire kickers is not your job and nor should you be paying somebody to filter those manually and so the website allows us to create this conversation and really shortcut the conversation you have to have by the time you do talk with qualified, targeted potential clients.
Allison: OK, so this process you’re calling is the rule of 26.
Allison: OK. Why is it called rule of 26?
Michael: The rule of 26 states that if you increase the unique traffic to your website by 26%, the conversion rate of that traffic by 26% and your average revenue per client from your website by 26%, you will get 100% a compounded effect of 100% more revenue coming from your website.
Allison: OK, thank you. I’m glad I asked that question.
Michael: A lot of people like 26 steps, I don’t want. Of course, on the book, I literally have at the bottom, you can’t quite see it. Because the lighting in here, it says 3 steps to doubling website revenue. That’s OK. The rule of 26 is intriguing, right? Like 26 is not a number a lot of people think of, and the funny thing is, is the 26 came out of the math of the rule.
Michael: You never create an objective without a goal. Right? So I started with the goal of something that’s tangible, inconceivable, like I could have done the rule of 50, 52 actually, probably would have been it and quadrupled the website revenue, but people that’s hard number.
Michael: Especially, I mean, if you’re only getting $1 from your website every month, yes, quadruples, easy number to come up with for But if you’re making a few $1,000, and then all of a sudden, you have to think of 4 times that amount that that starts becoming inconceivable, especially when you’re doing anywhere between, if you get into the 7 figures, and you’re saying, ‘What do you mean, I can get $4 million out of my website?’ Well, you can, but that’s inconceivable at the moment so doubling, though, is something you can think of, if you do a million, you can think of a 2 million, if you’re at 2 million, you can take a 4 million, if you’re a 200,000, you can concede $400,000 Being able to do it and it’s also something that you probably can handle at your current capacity within your business so then it was all reverse engineering, and really finding the KPIs: the key performance indicators that actually move revenue. Right? And that’s where this all came from, is that there are hundreds of key performance indicators or what we call KPIs out there that marketing gurus love to spout. But the problem is, is the majority of them, the hyper majority of them, I should say, are vanity, KPIs. They make us feel good.
Michael: Right? Visitors have 1000 visitors, that’s great. The visitors mean absolutely nothing if they do not reach out to you and the people who do reach out to you must be qualified prospects for them to be valuable to you. Otherwise, they’re a detriment to your day, they’re actually robbing you of opportunity costs and your ability to work on your business.
Allison: Right. You’ve indicated that it’s 3 steps, could you give us a high level of what those 3 steps are and the rule of 26?
Michael: The 3 steps are literally the 3 objectives, right?
Michael: We’re going to increase each of those by 26%, creating that compounding effect.
Allison: OK. Fantastic.
Michael: I usually do them in reverse order of that. Don’t ask me how that all worked out. But I think it became where I started with what people understand, which is traffic there I go, Yes, OK, I get traffic, that’s a gimme, right? But actually, in doing it, we start backwards, we go the average revenue per client, because a lot of service based businesses and service centric businesses are not even charging enough and so it’s one of the easiest KPIs to increase. I was a keynote in a mastermind that was for, it was called She Builders, all female entrepreneurs in this room, a husband of one, so a spouse of one so there’s 10 businesses in there and we had a 3 hour workshop, I increased every one of their revenue by 26%, just through the ARCP exercise.
It is something that doesn’t actually take the website to do, but it lays the groundwork of what you’re going to be saying and who you’re going to be saying it to because we need to identify profitable clients and separate those from our unprofitable or what we call Pitas.
Allison: Fair enough.
Michael: If we can get rid of our pitas and replace them with our favorite kind of clients, which are usually are more profitable clients, and then we identify how they talk and what their needs are and where their problems are. We can translate all of that into the second objective, which is: increase your conversion rate. Now, how do we do that?
We talk to our perfect clients and we only talk to our perfect clients, we identify their problems, show a solution to those problems, and then forecast what that looks like after they have seen the solution or that solution has been executed. If we do that, rather than talk about ourselves on our homepage, our conversion rates will go up significantly, just by doing that, right there. There’s other things that we can do. But most times, we have a lot of people, or most of the things that I see is that people are I, we and us versus you and your. People are selfish, even your perfect clients are selfish, they pay you money for a solution to their problems, or to help you obtain a dream. Those are the 2 things any service can offer solutions to problems, or a pathway to the dream, the only 2 things you can do.
If we simplify that down to that and we identify that, and maybe you do both, maybe you overcome a problem on a pathway to a dream, then you identify that, are you unable to get this in your life, because this keeps running in the way, this hurdle keeps you away from it. Well, I have a way for you to get rid of that hurdle, and put you on that path to that to what your goals are and that will allow you to do X, Y, and Z so there’s your conversion. Once you’ve done those 2 things right there, your last piece is bringing in the traffic and you don’t want just any traffic, you want traffic that is like who you want to talk to. Bad traffic, bad conversion rate, good traffic, better conversion rate.
Michael: That’s your 3 steps.
Allison: So simple. I mean, anyone could do it, right?
Michael: It’s simple concept. The strategy is simple and that’s the thing. Most service centric businesses think that they can grow their or exponentially grow their business through word-of-mouth referrals, and their networking, which take all their time. You grow, out of the ability to do those things and so what happens is that you end up in this Yo-Yo effect, as you know, you probably work with your clients of, I’m either in acquisition or production, acquisition, production because I can’t acquire any more clients, my work finally will have attrition, either we have a finite amount of work that we do for clients, or we’ll have attrition on reoccurring revenue. We need to make sure that we’re constantly filling that pipeline with new prospects so that either of those situations are being backfield so that you’re in constant production, which allows you to have a rising cash flow situation, if you’re managing your cash flow correctly so that’s what I’m trying to get people out of, because that yo-yo effect, it creates that entrepreneurial poverty.
Michael: Because we cannot grow out of our own capacity.
Allison: It’s interesting, I’ve never heard to refer to it as a Yo-Yo, because I call it kind of like a teeter totter like work, work, and then so forth.
Michael: I look at as a sine wave, right?
Michael: It’s like, if you have this right here, if you’re even to where like all of your efforts of your team are evenly dispersed between acquisition and production, your sales will be in an upward or your revenue will be an upward trend, because you have production being backfilled so you’re not dipping in production, because you have the acquisition, back filling your attrition.
Allison: OK, so can I assume that naturally, especially in a service-based business that like if one is relying on word of mouth or referrals or network, going out there and doing business development and marketing, the very next obvious thing to add in is some type of direct marketing campaign?
Michael: Yes so there’s 2 types of marketing, you have direct and you have inbound and outbound. Outbound is usually direct, right? So paid advertising, direct mail, those types of things, you’re paying for time in front of somebody that they didn’t ask for. We have inbound marketing, where people are actually researching or searching. They’re researching their problem, they’re researching their goals sometimes they know what their problem is or sometimes they just know what the symptoms are, and what we’re in. Inbound, allows them to do that research way up high here, outside of the sales funnel, really, right? Sales cycle even and pushes them down and down. If you have the content out there, and the exposure out there that’s working for you while you’re sleeping, or busy doing other things on your business, then you start having this inbound effect where people are reaching out to you.
I was on a show 2 weeks ago, I’ve had 9 companies from that one show, listen to what I had to say and right now 8 out of those 9 are looking to engage, like full on, all the way and I’m looking at going every time the email comes in, I’m like, OK, cool, there’s probably going to need a couple little things here or there, or they have a question from the book. No, they’re like, No, I want you to do all of it, I want you to be my fractional CMO, because everything you’ve just said, is everything I need, and I don’t have time to do it. Those are the people who are ready to scale their business. If you can’t get, if you’re not in a position to let somebody else have the reins, that’s smarter than you in marketing, then you might not be ready for scaling your business.
Allison: In your opinion, are most service based businesses prepared to have their website be something that converts for them?
Michael: If they built it themselves, 9 times out of 10, unless they have a marketing background? No.
Michael: Because what do we do? We talk about us, me, we, us, I. I do this, we do this. These are all the features, these are all the benefits dot, dot, nobody cares, what you know, until they know how much you care.
Allison: I use that, that’s one of my favorite quotes.
Michael: Right? On a website, it’s almost cliché, but it works and it really does matter. You’re smart for using it because it’s true. I keep telling people that like, listen, nobody cares and they’re like, OK, so once I’ve done that on the website, I can say who we are on the bottom, and I’m like, no. They have not given you permission to talk about yourself, until they click: About Us, the team, the company. Those links are there for a reason. Those are permission buttons to talk about you and even then it’s about your mission, it’s about your vision. It’s not necessarily about you, at the end of all of that, and they understand why you’re in business and why your team is passionate about doing the services that they provide, then you can start talking about the team and that’s on a team page, where literally, that’s all you’re supposed to be talking about is you and your team.
I see some people put their leadership at the bottom of the page, and they can put their key performance at the top of their page. Other people put them at the top of the page. But if you are the show, put yourself on the top page, but you have an awesome team, promote your team first, show the humility, let them shine. I mean, you’re the one getting the shares at the end of the year. You’re getting the profit cheque at the end of the year so who cares, who gets the credit to the public. Right?
Michael: That’s what I talked about, just always putting everything that you are the last thing, just kind of like they talk about leaders eat last.
Allison: Yes. We work on getting our language correct on the website so that it is kind of hitting the pain points or the opportunity points of your ideal targets. How else are we leaving money on the table?
Michael: Well, we go back to the actual, your billing. Right? When we’re taking a look at what you’re charging your clients, I had a fractional CFO, he had just came out of creating, I took a $20 million dollar contracting company to a $60 million EBITDA. It was like 10 times EBITDA or something like that. It was crazy numbers and he did it twice, 2 different companies as a CFO, right? Full time CFO in these companies. I think he was part of the exit. He was set. But then he wanted to serve that purpose over and over again with multiple companies so he started his fractional CFO Company.
Well, he ended up looking at how he was going to charge, he’s like, Yes, I think I’m going to charge like $1500. I feel like if I had this many clients, and they’re paying $1500, that would be enough. Like, OK, is that what you’re worth? Well, let’s take a look at that. Well, who are you serving? Oh, we’re serving, companies are doing 10 Million and above in revenue so it’s $1500 a significant amount of money to them? Well, no, they wouldn’t even notice it. If it just dropped off the face of that of their balance sheet that says, so do you think they’re going to value what you have to say if you’re only billing for $1500? No, he says what? How much money are you going to save them through your process? Oh, 10s of 1000s of dollars. Every month? Oh yes so is it safe to say you could probably make them or save them at least $50,000 in the first 3 months working with them? Oh, Yes, I can do that like in my sleep so why don’t you charge that, and then they can pocket the rest so that’s what he does now.
He sold over 100,000 worth of dollars with the contracts like that. Because he undervalued what he was actually bringing to you, you have to value based price. That’s where the most of the money is being left on the table. The second piece is when people keep around their clients, and they let them sit at old prices, or legacy clients, right? When we finally realize, Wow, we are not charging enough to give the services that our clients deserve. We need to charge X, we have not been doing that, because most of the start will go will take all of the business we possibly can get for any number that they will be willing to pay. Right? It’s how most of us.
Allison: I’ve seen that as a strategy. Yes.
Michael: Yes, and it is survival strategy is really what it is. It’s all we know, well, a lot of us know, when we start business, I did it. I was half of what my competitors were, when I started my business and a year in I realized why they were charging so much and so as I was increasing my prices, I was losing all of the bottom, technically bottom feeders, the people were looking for a deal. There’s other reasons why. But in the end, those weren’t my best clients. In the end, my best clients pay my highest prices. One, I’m worth it, and if you’re not worth it, go get better at what you do so that you can be worth it. Like, provide that value, find what that value is. It’s really easy to find out what the max is. Ask your best client, if I were to give you the same amount of service, but charged you 25% or 26% more, would you pay it still? And if they don’t blink, your 26% is not even enough to go up.
When I reinvented my business 3 years ago, I grew a multimillion-dollar company broke by not charging enough. I wanted all the best for my clients, but I was over delivering and under charging so now I over deliver and charge properly and because of that our clients are getting better results. Those results are revenue so they don’t care what I charge them as long as when they give me $1 I can give them $2 back, I can give them $3 back. If I told you, that like Hey, Alli, give me $1, give me $1 Right now I’m going to give you $1.25 back. How many dollars would you give me?
Allison: A 25% return is good.
Michael: How many dollars you going to give me, if I could give you 25% return on investment?
Allison: Give you all the dollars I have.
Michael: Exactly and that’s where, if you are in a position where you’re creating revenue for your clients, that if you know that you’re worth what you’re paying, right? You’ve looked at the industry, and you know what the norms are. We always want to be at the top of the norms. If we are a premium service, we charge premium prices, because we create premium results. If you have a track record that you can back that up. I’ve been in business for 17 years, I’ve got plenty of case studies, people are like, do you have any case studies? I’m like, geez louise, you haven’t looked at my website? They’re all over the place. Right? So OK, great. That’s easy and it’s like, OK, that’s where you’re going to see the value? Of course it is because I’m an investment, I’m not an expense. You’re an investment, your services investment. You create return on investment some of us do it by dollars, others do it by other means. As long as it’s measurable, there’s a return on investment that can be measured. Done so that’s where I think that second piece is that we’re serving the wrong people, and therefore not engaging our best selves, because we don’t have people to serve the best we can.
Allison: I find that a lot of businesses find the whole online digital acquisition game very complicated. Is there one or two go to tips that you would give people who are trying to make their website be something that converts for them, and they’re spending money already, like what’s the way to maximize that or make it more efficient?
Michael: Alright, so the simplified is to find somebody do it for you.
Michael: OK. I mean, just plain simple. Are you working in your business or you’re working on your business?
Michael: That’s the easy answer. The harder answer is hey, I have more time than money and therefore can’t afford a concierge services say like buzz worthy offers. But that’s why we have these DIY programs where you find a coach or find a program. We have programs that help people manage their social media that can’t afford to pay other people to do social media for so at least we cut the amount of time it takes to do it, and makes them better at it. They can easily measure the results. They know what they’re doing wrong and how they can make it better. It’s self-perpetuating at that point, because at some point, they’re going to go, wow, now I got a little bit more money. I don’t quite have about as much money as I have time, but I want more time. OK, hey, Buzz. Can you use this program now? And do some of the work for me? Yes, sure and that’s our done with you stuff, right?
To answer your question is, we need to find that balance of the time versus money that you are in right now and then find somebody that can match what you can pay either the time or the money, or maybe a combination of both.
Allison: Alright. Adding in some expertise of team that’s smarter than what can help you amplify what you’re doing, great. [Crosstalk] There you go. It’s a full round.
Michael: Full circle. There you go. I love when a plan comes together.
Allison: I super appreciate all of the tips that you have provided today. What’s the best way for followers to connect with you or get more information?
Michael: They can go to buzzworthy.biz. Its 2 Z’s in buzzworthy 1 Z and .biz and then if you’re interested in the book, you can go to rule of 26.com. In both of those, there’s ways to get a hold of me and my team. Examples of stuff that we’ve talked about as far as any of the tactics that we might have mentioned as far as organic or paid or social or email marketing or anything like that. That’s all there. If you have any questions. You can email me @buzz, buzzworthy.biz as 2 Zs in buzz and make sure to follow me on LinkedIn.
Allison: Cool, Buzz thank you so much for your time and tips today. I appreciate you.
Michael: Oh, I appreciate you having me.