Episode 012 – Your Digital Agency Beyond Marketing Services with David Calafiore
Welcome to Episode #012 of Digital Agency Insider – Your Digital Agency Beyond Marketing Services with David Calafiore.
Today’s special guest is David Calafiore. David is the co-founder of DeliciousMarketing.io and EverLinks.io. Everlinks is a dead-simple way to connect your tribe and followers to the content they care about.
David grew up in an entrepreneurial family where both his parents were small business owners. After graduating from college, David believed that one can derive a lot of knowledge from school but will never equate to working experiences in real life.
Today, David shares with us how he manages his Digital Marketing Agency with a different need and goal. Along with his partner Drew, he teaches us the importance of making your agency stand out.
- The added value of Strategic Consulting – Before offering your service to any business, you always have to find out what’s going on with them. What their goals are and what they want to work on. Put up a strategic plan that will assist them in accomplishing these goals.
- Find a work partner with a mutual commonality. It’s often lonely when you’re working in your business especially if you’re working at a coffee shop or a home office. It’s always nice to be able to have somebody to work with, to partner with, and most especially to bounce ideas off with.
- Plugin your service by plugging more value – If you separate yourself from the actual services of your agency, you will have a real opportunity to put something better for the business which will be beneficial to them.
Most of the time, other agencies fail because of their true goal in putting up their business in the first place. If you decide to have an agency that aims to help local businesses, then stay consistent and give them the value they deserve. Build a friendship, and then build a relationship with these businesses. This creates results in advance and will be a successful turnout for both.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
- Sit down with a business owner. Know their needs, dig into their business and try strategic consulting.
- You can’t help all businesses. But you can always choose to be honest with them. Tell them their opportunities and assure them that you will do all you can to take care of them.
- Slow down and think about the process you’re doing. You cannot market anything that is not appealing to people.
We also discussed a few other fun topics, including:
- Everyone should join the Chamber of Commerce especially if you’re doing local marketing. Joining the Chamber helps you add value and create a bigger difference.
- Getting involved affects things in a more useful way, thus helping your business.
- The doughnut drop concept.
But you’ll have to watch or listen to the episode to hear about those!
How To Stay Connected With David Calafiore
Want to stay connected with David? Please check out their social profiles below.
– Hey everybody and welcome again to the Digital Agency Insiders podcast. The podcast that gives you an inside look into how entrepreneurs have built and grew their digital marketing agencies. So if this is your first time listening to the podcast, I encourage you to subscribe to us on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, wherever it is that you’re listening to podcast and while you’re there make sure you go in and drop us a review. So today I have my guest with me, which is David Calafiore and he’s co-founder of Delicious Marketing and Everlinks.io and Everlinks is the dead simple way to connect your tribe and followers to the content they care about. Hey David?
– Hey how are?
– So excited to have you with us again.
– Absolutely, I’m excited. It’s always fun doing this. So, thanks for having me on appreciate it.
– So one thing that I love starting podcasts off with, I love hearing people’s stories, I love telling other people’s stories. So I love to hear what the path to becoming an entrepreneur looked like for you because every person is so drastically different. Nobody ever just woke up and be like you know what, I think I’m gonna start a digital agency. There’s always a path that they go down, so what did yours look like?
– Yeah, well, you know, I grew up in a entrepreneurial minded family, so my parents were small business owners and from the time I was like, six, seven years old, actually I wouldn’t go home after school, the bus would drop me off at their place of business which was, we sold seafood, so wholesale seafood. We sold lobsters and fresh fish to supermarkets and restaurants and then over the years that kind of developed into other businesses like fish markets and restaurants and things like that. So I grew up in an entrepreneurial family where my parents were, you know, small business owners and I think that’s what I was exposed to at an early age and kind of became used to. Like I didn’t have the parents who nine-to-five. They worked a lot and you know, made sure things got done. You know, there’s no going home and forgetting about work when you own a business like that. So, it’s what I grew up around, what I became used to. So I worked, you know, with my parents throughout the years up until when I went to college. Went to college and studied marketing and you know how that is, I mean it only takes you so far it’s not like real world experience. I learned a lot of good stuff about marketing, history of marketing and it’s theory like that but it only takes you so far. Graduated.
– What we both learned in college is so outdated to what we do now. Like, the Facebook ads weren’t a thing when we were in college.
– Right, right.
– Things have changed so much since then.
– Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that was a great experience and there’s definitely things I took away from that but does not equate to real life you know, working experience. So, graduated college, didn’t quite know what I wanted to do had some different jobs here and there after college that I experimented with but ultimately ended up going back and working with my family for many many years and you know, basically running that business after a while. So, that’s where I kind of, you know, took my my marketing degree and put it to work. I think it was like 2001 right after the 9/11 attacks. And the economy really started to tank a bit and things were bad and you know, my parents came to me said, “Hey Dave, you know, you’ve got this marketing degree “Let’s, you know, let’s whoop up some business here. “You know things are slow, we’re a little bit worried “About what’s going on.” So I went to work you know, I didn’t have any digital marketing experience per se especially like 2002. You know, I started to get online and figure things out. Figured out you know, how to start to create a list. It wasn’t an email list at first, it was a fax list. You know, when I actually you know, got in my car went around to local businesses this is when we were doing a restaurant thing at the time and we were trying to get people in for lunch. So I got my car with a clipboard and a yellow legal pad and went around to local businesses and started you know, collecting fax numbers so we could fax local businesses our menu and that went really well, over time it had you know, hundreds of fax numbers and I would spend like two hours every morning faxing out specials to people. I was like if this doesn’t work, I can’t do this forever. So I started getting email addresses and you know, started doing email marketing and we didn’t have a website so figured out how to create a website and you know, over time things just snowballed and one thing leads to another and I got really into it after a while and you know, really helped our business quite a lot and I kind of came to realize that I have acquired skills and figured things out that I can help other businesses with. And it got to the point where I was like huh! I don’t know if I wanna work with my parents and run this business forever. I think I need to go, branch off and do something else. And I took that leap of faith. God, it’s been I think 12 years now. And you know, left and started trying to figure out how to run my own digital marketing agency, helping other small businesses with all the things that I had learned over the years from just trial and error.
– So, that’s with my back stories.
– I love it, I love your story so much because it sounds so similar to mine. Grew up in a family business, ours was a little bit different. We were in a farming community. We’d sell some fertilizer and seed. That kind of stuff.
– Yeah, hard work there, yeah.
– Yeah, you know, working in that business I knew I’m never going to do this I’ve got to change something because this is not my destiny. And I went to this college and got an advertising degree and then actually worked with my brother which is still family business but he owned an advertising agency. So I worked there for a long time before I came to work for Ben. Ours is very, very, not exactly the same but very near so.
– So then you met Drew, who’s your business partner and you guys started delicious marketing is that correct?
– Yeah, so that was maybe a couple of years ago now. So I was at it a while before I met Drew and you know, you go through all of the things I think everybody who tries this business out goes through, trial and error. Having difficulties connecting with business owners and you know, fumbling around for a while until you start to put the pieces together. And I spent many years trying to, you know, figure out the business side of it. I could always help people with the marketing stuff like, that wasn’t an issue but the issues were always, you know, getting clients and sales and things like that. So over the years, you know, I slowly figured that stuff out. And then Drew and I met a few years back and we met via one of the groups that you’re part of the Closer’s Cafe and we kind of, I don’t know, we had a couple calls. We were discussing a few things that we were both working on and we kind of hit it off and decided that you know, maybe we could have a partnership or work together somehow since we both live in Pennsylvania. We’re on opposite sides. I’m in Pittsburgh, he’s in Philadelphia which is about four hours away but it’s not that far.
– We have that commonality. In this world it’s pretty close. so we had that commonality and decided that you know, we were both looking for somebody to work with. It’s often lonely when you’re working in this business especially if you’re working at a coffee shop or a home office. It’s always nice to be able to have somebody to work with, to partner with, to bounce ideas off with, to split up the work. we decided that, maybe we could start to work together. We started slowly and really found that we worked well together and liked each other and became friends and it kind of just snowballed into us working together. Pretty much full-time now.
– That’s awesome, that’s awesome. So what is the core service that you guys do in delicious marketing? What’s the one thing that you guys kinda’ focus in on?
– Yeah, I think it’s kind of evolved into something a little bit different than most digital agencies. Most agencies revolve around selling services and I think that Drew and I both had become tired of that. Just basically, you know, going around and selling a specific service that maybe we had a particular software that we had a hold of early. Things like reputation marketing or SEO or web design, right. What we found is that a lot of these services, many of them have become very commoditized. There are people everywhere trying to go out and sell these services to local businesses. I mean you’re competing against stay-at-home moms you’re competing against high school kids who are trying to start their own agencies you’re competing against larger, you know, marketing companies, people overseas, truly these services are getting harder and harder to sell. They’ve become commodities and it’s kind of like a race to the bottom and we just found that it was getting harder and harder to sell the services. So what we kind of started to dive into is consulting. We both really love sitting with a business, truly finding out like, you know, what’s going on in their business, what their goals are, where they wanna to be in the future, what they’re doing now, what is working, what isn’t working and then really putting together a real strategic plan for them that will help them accomplish their goals and not just trying to sell them services that we have to try and plug in and fit into their business. So that’s really where, you know, we’re kind of are now and heading even, you know, into the future is more so with strategic consulting. Now sometimes there are services that we do and offer that fit in with what our clients need and at that point sometimes we do, you know, take on the tactical side of implementation of the strategies that we put together for these businesses but sometimes it’s not. So sometimes there’s things that they need that we don’t do or we’re not good at. So we have partnerships and people that we work with who will recommend them to.
– And it’s not like a white label type thing where you still handle it. It’s an actual hand off. Hey, they’re gonna take care of you kind of thing.
– Yeah, absolutely. So in our opinion, there’s a lot more power for the business owner in that When you sit down with a service provider they’re gonna create a plan for you that’s wrapped around the services that they provide. Often times it’s not truly, you’re not truly putting together a plan that’s meant for that business. Many times the social media marketing company or the digital marketing company is just trying to plug the services that they sell into the strategy or the plan for the business. So sometimes when you separate yourself from the actual services, you truly have a real opportunity to put something together for that business that is really beneficial for them.
– So, do you manage everything for them so that the business owner doesn’t have to do that or do you just connect them and then walk away?
– It goes both ways. Sometimes it makes sense for us to manage things, sometimes they want us to manage things and we’ll do that and there’s a price involved with that you know.
– Of course
– It’s hands-on and it’s time-consuming. Other times, we will simply just put together a strategy for them that we know if they implement and consistently use we’ll help improve their business and we pass it off to them.
– Gotcha’, okay, so what kind of businesses are you looking for when you’ve got that kind of consulting service? Is there a certain niche that you’re going after that you’re looking into or is it kind of diverse?
– Yeah, truly we can help any business, you know but of course there are business that you wanna work with are businesses that have money to spend on marketing advertising.
– Those are truly the businesses that we’re looking for. Doesn’t mean that I won’t sit with a smaller business owner and have a meeting with them and help them you know, put together some strategy that might help them. We do that also but I’m truly looking to work with the businesses that have budget and money to spend on marketing.
– So how do you find those people how do you know that they, one, have the money to spend and they’re wanting to find these things how are you going out and getting in front of these clients? And are these face-to-face type meetings? Are you working with companies all across the United States?
– Yeah, so we’re doing a lot of the obvious things that, you know, most people do when prospecting for business. We’re heavily involved in Chamber of Commerce that’s one of them.
– We did a podcast on that not long ago.
– Okay, yeah, yeah.
– Everyone should join the Chamber of Commerce especially if you’re doing local marketing.
– 100% and it’s not just joining the chamber it’s like truly getting involved and I think a lot of times when people join the Chamber of Commerce they join the chamber coming from a place of taking, right? Getting benefits from the chamber but if you flip that switch and just change the way you think about it and join the chamber and come from a place of giving and adding value it really makes a huge difference and you can really, really benefit at that point.
– So what’s one of the ways that you guys step in and help and benefit the chamber? What’s the one thing that you guys have done that’s just been really successful for you guys?
– Yeah, let me give you an example, like Drew recently joined the chamber of his area and right from the beginning just started adding value to the membership of the chamber. So you know the chamber directors like the manager of the chamber. It’s their job to create benefits for the chamber members so they renew their membership each year. If they don’t do that the Chamber director is not gonna to last very long. The board’s gonna get rid of them and replace them with somebody else. So there’s a good tip there for anybody who’s being a part of the chamber is; connect yourself to the chamber director and find a way to help them add value to their chamber membership. So right away Drew did a presentation, free presentation at the chamber, talked about going live on Facebook and some other interesting things that could help local businesses get more attention.
– Okay so it wasn’t to just the the chamber president or whatever it was for the actual entire membership.
– That was, that particular thing, yep. But doing things like that will help you have a conversation with the leadership at the chamber. So of course you know after that presentation you know, there’s a conversation you start talking, we find out that the chamber has a podcast that’s not going very well and they came, “We’re having trouble “Getting people to listen to the podcast.” and Drew’s really into podcasting. So he’s like well, you know, let me help you out.
– They did one day a month where they recorded podcasts with Chamber members and Drew went and spent that day just kind of observing and actually helped them broadcast the podcast while they were doing it–
– Live on Facebook?
– To the Chamber’s Facebook live, yeah. What’s really cool is from that from just wanting to help out and not expect anything back from doing that they had I think 12 or 13 interviews that day and you know Drew had 12 or 13 conversations with local business owners just from sitting in and kind of being there and being a part of that podcast. So there you go all of a sudden now the person who is doing the podcast doesn’t want to do it anymore. Now Drew has taken over the Chamber of Commerce’s podcast and starting in the new year here, he’s gonna be the person doing the podcast for the chamber. So what an amazing opportunity, you know, once a month to sit down and have a conversation with, you know, 10 to 12 business owners about their business, what their background is and good things always come from that from having conversations. So that’s just one example on how you know, getting involved and coming from a place of giving affecting things in return really, really, can help your business.
– So how long has drew been in that Chamber of Commerce how long has he been a member? Is it been a year?
– No, three or four months maybe.
– So you mean to tell me in three or four months, he went from being a no one that no one knew. Not a no one, Drew you’re not a no one.
– A new member, yeah, a new member.
– Yeah, no one at the chamber knew who he was and in three months time he become one of the faces of the chamber because he was doing the podcast for ’em.
– That’s incredible. So you know he’s seen as the expert to everyone that’s on there, as far as all that’s concerned. So that’s pretty awesome.
– Yeah. The chamber is concerned about how many people are listening to the podcast but Drew knows in the back of his head that doesn’t really matter. He knows if he can have a conversation with, you know, a dozen small business owners who are members of that chamber each month a lot’s gonna happen from that overtime.
– And I love it, it’s a genius idea and if anybody’s listening and you have a Chamber of Commerce that doesn’t have a podcast, David just gave you a really good idea. Go ahead and fetch it.
– So, going back to the question was, you know, how are we prospecting so that’s one of them you know, networking groups. We also use it, a strategy called local media assets where we’ve created these small local media sites you know, in our area that are news and events based where we’ve used social media to grow a big audience around those and harness local attention. So that’s another way that we connect with business owners. We kind of pick and choose which is kinda’ cool but we will you know, approach a small business owner that perhaps we want to work with or think we may wanna work with and offer to feature them on these local media sites that we have. Where there’s, you know, thousands of people in the local area who like and follow. We also build a email and messenger bucket list based around these media sites so we can you know broadcast and send email updates out each week. We’ll just walk in off the street or you know call or message and say hey, you know we run these local media sites we have thousands of people who follow our page and our site and we would love to do a free feature for your business. It’s just a different way of making the approach instead of saying, hey, I’m Dave from, you know, delicious marketing we’re a marketing agency, who can I speak to about your marketing. Most usually happens when you make the approach that way. It’s like, give me your information, owner is not here. We have someone who does that. When you walk in and say hey, we would like to feature your business on our media site where thousands of local people will see it. They’ll say sure when can we do that. Let’s set it up. And then it just kind of creates that relationship. You come from a place of giving again, right. You create results in advance and once you do that, you kind of create a relationship, you start a friendship, you’ve done something nice for somebody. You’ve given what every local business owner wants, is more attention for their business in advance and it’s much easier to take that next step and say, hey, you know we also are a marketing agency. We would love to, you know, maybe we can help you get more attention for your business. Do you have time to sit down sometime and talk about that?
– And you’ve already given something to them up front, in the back of their mind they feel like they owe you something because you’ve given something to them.
– Yeah, it’s very similar to the doughnut drop concept in a sense, right? Once you just give somebody a present or something of value like you just said, they feel almost obligated to at least have a conversation with you.
– That’s another major way that we use to connect with local business owners.
– I love it, I love it. What’s the favorite thing that you do in your business? What’s the one thing that’s just like, that’s your thing and you love it?
– Yeah, I truly love, like, sitting down with a business owner and just digging into their business and putting together strategy for them. I really really enjoy that. It’s different for every business.
– So is there one question that you ask that just kinda’ of changes everything in those meetings or do you usually go through a set of specific questions and is it the same questions each time or how does those conversations,, how do they look? How do they start?
– I mean in most cases it’s kind of very simple. It’s like, first off, you know, where are you now? In terms of your business. What don’t you like about where you are now? And then I’ll find out what they’re doing now which is giving them the results that they’re having now and then it’s kind of the future. So where do you wanna be? What do you think it’s gonna take to get you you know, where you want to be? How much more of an increase in sales do you have to have to get to where you wanna be?
– You can’t help every business too. Sometimes marketing is not going to help a business that’s not run well or has a bad reputation. And there’s times too when I say to a business owner look, I’m looking around your business here and it’s a mess. I did this recently with, there’s a local bakery who reached out to me and I went and sat with them and I walked into their bakery and it was dirty, it was kind of gross, like, there was fingerprints all over the front door, their display case was unorganized and half empty, there’s crumbs all over the tables and I knew right away this is the issue this is why they’ve got bad reviews this is why people don’t come in here. And I was just really honest with them. I said listen ’till you take care of these things in your business, don’t take offense to it but I’m noticing this, I don’t think it’s gonna make sense for you to spend money on marketing for your business until you take care of these things.
– Did they take that well?
– They didn’t. well I–
– They just need a conversation.
– Well, I think the woman who ran the business in the back of her mind, in her heart, really knew what I was saying was true and she actually started crying. I felt kind of bad but it was the truth and.
– I was like, listen take care of me things. Clean the place up. Go look at Whole Foods, go look at the baked goods section of Whole Foods when you walk in, the tally case is immaculate all the trays are full, looks delicious like you wanna buy something. People shop and buy with their eyes. Go do some research and take care of this and when you do give me a call back and then we can really help you with marketing. You know, you can’t market something that’s not appealing to people and the community, so.
– And I know sometimes with business owners when they’ve been there, day after day after day you kind of glance over some of the things just ’cause it’s there all the time and it’s really easy to do. So in your business, what is the biggest challenge that you guys are facing in 2020?
– The biggest challenge were facing. Its time, time, time, yeah.
– I think we’re to the point now to where we’re kind of maxed out. So our goal this year is to take a lot of the menial and tasks and busy work off of our plate. We’ve already started to look into finding some V A’s and help for a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that we just can’t deal with any more.
– So that is a big thing that we need to get taken care of this year. And I think Drew and I are both, I wouldn’t say control freaks but I think one of the flaws that I have is the mentality no one’s going to do it as good as well as I can but I’ve got to get past that point and just be okay with, you know, 80% of the way I would do it is just fine and past ’cause that’s truly what’s gonna help us grow our business and scale things further. So that is one of the biggest obstacles that we have.
– You and I are a lot alike.
– Yeah, you and I are a lot alike ’cause I don’t like giving things up either. I’m like but I can do it. Why do I need somebody else to do it when I can do it.
– Yeah 100%
– So David, Last question. Yeah, go ahead.
– I’ve said it’s time-consuming also because you have to sit down and really think about the way that you do things and create processes for somebody else to follow. And sometimes you’re just like, aah, I just don’t want to do that but you got to do it in order to move forward.
– Sometimes you’re not thinking about the process you’re just doing it. So when you gotta slow down and actually break it down it’s like, oh gosh! what do I do and why do I do it. Yeah, so the very last question that I have for you right now is what are you currently reading or listening to that’s inspiring you or pushing you forward this year?
– Reading, on my desk right now is this book which is by Dan Kennedy. I’ve got a bunch of these that I just got in. No B.S. Direct Marketing Guide which I’m really enjoying. Over here I’ve got, over here on my book case, you know, I’ve got a whole stack of them that I’m gonna read. I bought them on the Amazon. They’re just great, they’re like easy to consume and Dan Kennedy is such a smart guy in terms of, just the way he thinks and the way he thinks about marketing. so that’s what I’m kind of digging into. I’m really digging into, like YouTube. Everybody is focused on Facebook and Facebook ads and especially for our local clients here. I think there’s a huge opportunity with YouTube. I think it’s really interesting. Notice the other day, that, you know, my son was watching YouTube on our big TV, the, you know, like I think Apple TV or whatever and he’s watching Ryan’s toys reviews and in between the episode– Yeah, I know right. Drives me crazy.
– They all, I think every parent hates it.
– But what I found was interesting, in between the episodes came on a commercial just like a television commercial for a local car dealership and I said, huh, that’s interesting there’s something to that and I really think that our local clients here could really benefit from that. It’s a television commercial on YouTube and I know that it doesn’t cost that much to put those ads up on that screen. Something that I’m gonna really start diving into this year and learning more about is, how I can help my local clients get more attention via ads with YouTube.
– I like it, I like it, I like it. Well David thank you so much for spending some time with us and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, I’m excited.