Ep. #1070 - Mastering Influencer Marketing
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, would you like to try mastering influencer marketing? Get the best insights from Andrew Morgans and Paul Baron, founder and CEO at Influx Catalysts. They are here to share their proven and tested tips to increase your brand reach.
Covered In This Episode
Paul is living proof of drive and determination. He was once fired from a big agency and experienced depression—but it didn’t stop him from achieving success.
And now, he bares it all to Andrew in this episode of Startup Hustle. The marketing pros also share their best insights on how you should treat every person you deal with. There are also other insider tips on how you can master influencer marketing.
Learn the basics of influencer marketing. Tune in to this episode now.
- Paul’s journey to entrepreneurship (05:58)
- From getting fired to founding his own firm (15:16)
- Being emotional leads you to become a better storyteller and brand builder (21:45)
- On creating brand evangelists (26:51)
- If you can’t build a brand community, you can’t build a brand (32:10)
- Influencer marketing versus influencer partnerships (35:56)
- Pro tip: treat every single person with a level of respect (40:14)
- How to become a brand ambassador (46:50)
- Where can you find Paul? (54:41)
You can tell when something’s lacking—a feeling. You can tell when things, like how to connect with people, are something you do naturally.– Andrew Morgans
You need to approach people with no ego. You need to understand that your biggest source of advocacy is your group of people that have already purchased from you.– Paul Baron
You empower them to tell your story. You go to them. You respect them, have no ego, and help them tell their story. Help them tell your story that becomes a part of their story. And then, it’s our story. That’s the goal.– Paul Baron
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Andrew Morgans 00:00
Hey, what’s up, Hustlers? Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans, founder of Marknology, here as today’s host of Startup Hustle covering all things e-commerce, Amazon startups, and entrepreneurship. You know, today’s guest is a friend, a colleague, like a norm. I love getting some of my fellow colleagues and friends on the show because we just really get a jam out, and I know that they don’t hold back. And so, I know that’s bringing the best value. Before we get into today’s topic, shout out to our sponsor. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Today’s guest is Paul Baron, founder of Influx Catalysts, formerly The Chat Agency. Welcome to the show, my friend.
Paul Baron 00:51
So, buddy, good to finally be here. I know we’ve talked about doing a podcast since we’ve had our own podcasts offline. They just weren’t recorded.
Andrew Morgans 00:57
You know, I jammed through some of the stuff that we were getting with TikTok. And TikTok influencers and all the stuff that now is in flux. You know, when we were just scheming some of those things, you had some brilliant ideas. And I’m like, we should have recorded that whole thing. But here we are, nonetheless. Thanks for finding the time.
Paul Baron 01:20
Yeah, buddy. It’s always fun talking to you. I mean, how long are we talking before the record? What? 15-20 minutes?
Andrew Morgans 01:27
Yeah, there’s some stuff that we just like, you know, we can’t give for free to everybody. So we know we got to talk a little shit. Talk a little like bragging to a few people. I think we did a little bit of both. So yeah. You’re in Colorado. Is that right?
Paul Baron 01:41
I am, dude. It is so cold. I think you’re not there now, but you’re probably gonna get that cold front that we had come through probably tomorrow in Kansas City. But right now, it is 10 degrees. It was like negative 15 this morning. It was absolutely awful. Yeah, it was not fun. It was not fun. I’ve started that. Um, well. I mean, you and I were in that. What’s up with the health challenge? So I’ve started doing this. I think you know this when we do it, like the cold shower deal. We were at this museum exhibit over the weekend. And incidentally, my shower water is the same temperature as the water below, like the ice shelf in Antarctica. It’s 43 degrees. Whoa, yeah.
Andrew Morgans 02:31
Yeah, how did you feel? Like a badass for the showers.
Paul Baron 02:35
You know, it’s funny because I was like, man, this is so cold. I thought it was barely above freezing. But technically, 43 is technically barely above freezing. But this has nothing to do with what we’re talking about other than the fact that it’s frigid. And, like, I’m one of those weirdos who is going to talk about how cold showering is awesome. Meanwhile, at the same time, we’re also letting people know that we’re in a health group chat accountability chat, right?
Andrew Morgans 02:51
It’s something that, you know, as entrepreneurs, it’s important to stay connected, like in the Amazon e-commerce community, if we can call it that. It is more to me than just buying and selling and, you know, an Amazon we’ve got like our, our music groups, we’ve got our health challenge groups and accountability. You know, it’s a lot of fun. I love this community. This podcast is for that community. I just came back from the online seller, cruise, and Carlos and the wizards of EECOM that put that on, and it was awesome. I think that’s where we actually met two years ago.
Paul Baron 03:31
Yeah, no, last year, a year ago. It feels like everything. It’s funny because I feel like the pandemic has this stretching effect on time. Everything feels longer.
Andrew Morgans 03:44
Yeah. And I also think, like I’ve known some people maybe longer than that, and have had less conversation. So maybe it’s just a matter of conversations we’ve had, and we have prospered. We were both on stage last year giving away some tips.
Paul Baron 04:01
We both lost it. Vanessa, I think it was. What’s his name from Tyco? I have anyway, yeah, no, but Vanessa was wherever we would have lost to her. She was the second runner-up.
Andrew Morgans 04:09
Okay, got it. Yeah, I have a bad memory. Once I lost. I’m just like, I’m out.
Paul Baron 04:14
But both of our teams did better. We’re just not as good-looking as Vanessa or the other guy.
Andrew Morgans 04:19
We don’t have accents, either. It’s hard to win any calmly while looking like we do so. No, but let’s talk a little bit about you. You know, I love getting to know I know you already, of course, but still getting to know you myself. And true to Startup Hustle, this form and like how I do the show. I love getting into people’s backgrounds before we get into what they’re doing now. And we can talk about the influx and like how you made the transition to rebrand from the chat agency into a broader and broader spectrum of what you’re doing and then also more dialed in at the same time. Before we do that and just start talking about influencers and some of the things that brands should be thinking about when they’re engaging with, let’s say, content partners or influencers or affiliate marketers, let’s start with your own story. I know you own and have built brands, and you do it with your wife. I don’t know all the products that you’re in. But take me back to, like, you know, before entrepreneurship and kind of how you got into it.
Paul Baron 05:18
Yeah. So I’ve, I feel like I’ve been an entrepreneur from the time I was a little kid. And I remember when I first started speaking, and my mom, incidentally, came to the very first speech that he gave in front of a big audience. In fact, it was like the first. I mean, unless you can’t like local Chamber of Commerce things, which I don’t necessarily because it’s like a lunch and learn style thing, right. But in 2018, amazing.com, which did the course ASM, all the versions, I went through that system, they invited me to speak in Orlando at the event there, it was actually, the first seller con, they did a bunch of like, ASMR, or something up until that point. And they invited me to speak. And the topic that I spoke on was building a brand that the media loves. It was PR hacking, essentially. And we flew my mom out because, at the time, my son was C 2018. So he was born at 14. So he was coming up on four years. He was three and a half years old. And so super tiny. And so we needed help because, at that point, it was cheaper to fly her out. And I remember she reminded me of how I used to take little drawings to the grocery store. And I would offer them to Grandma. That was my target. I would try to find grandma. And maybe it’s just the time of day. I don’t know. But I would hand it to them. And I would say do you want this? And they would say yes. And then I would say, well, that will be 10 cents.
Andrew Morgans 06:54
That’s the African style, in my opinion. No, like, you get it in their hand. Are you getting where they like, or you’re holding it? You know, it’s not like a vendor showing it to you. Like if you’re holding it, you might as well just buy it like it was. It was sad.
Paul Baron 07:05
It was like an ambush. Ambush sales pitch, right? Like you give it to him. They’ve already said they want it. And what are they going to say to a cute little five-year-old kid? Well, that’ll be 10 cents. No, I haven’t taken it back.
Andrew Morgans 07:19
Yeah. 10 cents. You’re probably getting the dollar anyway. So right.
Paul Baron 07:22
So I mean, this isn’t the ad. So anyway, so that like ever since I was a little kid, and I remember, you know, like Junior High did the paper out thing. And I had an, I mean, we’ve talked about this, I grew up in the church. So you know, pretty religious. And I had a lawn mowing business that I called the cutting edge with two T’s. They were crosses. And I ran that thing out of a Geo Metro. And I would do it if you knew what a Geo Metro is right. I’ve actually been one. You’ve driven one. Do those things. Like, I’ve gotten three speeding tickets into Geo Metro that is like trying, listen, I need to talk for two seconds.
Andrew Morgans 07:58
So basically, I came back from Africa. 16. Right. Like I’m not cool. Okay. But I started going to public school at 16. Like, I don’t have the clothes and cars, the knowledge. I don’t even know how to talk to girls. Like, I just, I’m cool. Now. I know. I wasn’t cool. Okay, I was worse. And, and I had, like, my parents had a red Ford Escort, like the four daughters basic. Yeah. I got to drive that to school. Right. So I wasn’t embarrassed. It wasn’t a sports car. It wasn’t that cool. Didn’t have a crazy sound system, whatever. But it was red. And it wasn’t embarrassing. Like, and you know, I have very few status symbols. I didn’t have Doc Martens, or you didn’t have, you know, any of the things that made you cool. And every so often, my sisters were still homeschooled. They didn’t want to go to public school, and my mom and then I went shopping during the day, or when they went shopping during the day, they needed the car. Okay, so they would take the escort, and I’ll get my sister, who, you know, was 18 or 19 at the time, and she had a bright yellow Geo Metro convertible.
Paul Baron 09:06
Geo Metro, convertible Geo Metro to Cedar.
Andrew Morgans 09:07
And that’s it.
Paul Baron 09:11
That is putting lipstick on a pig right there.
Andrew Morgans 09:14
They would like to be like, sure, just drive to this school. We didn’t have power steering.
Paul Baron 09:24
It was literally like a Barbie car, like I’m six-three, you know, just like any power steering on a car that weighs 500 pounds.
Andrew Morgans 09:27
I even think she was driving it without one of the cylinders for the longest time. So it was like it was two to one. So I know about Geobella.
Paul Baron 09:36
Okay, so you know how tiny they are. And I would put lawn mowing equipment in the back. I take a lawn mower, and I’d fold it over, and I’d put it in the back, and I’d do like the weed whacker in the leaf. I don’t even know if I had a leaf. I didn’t have a leaf blower and a weed whacker and a lawn mower and a bunch of bags and gas cans and shit. Right, and I put it in the back and I drove around mowing people’s lawns because I didn’t. That was, and that wasn’t it wasn’t my car. It was the sibling’s car because I’m a sandwich between two girls and my older sister, Jess. She’s two years older than me. And then my younger sister is two years younger than me. So I’m like, yeah, so you got the sandwich situation going on too, right? So you got like that middle child, sort of overlooked. But you’re the only boy, so you’re not necessarily overly ambitious. It’s not that important.
Andrew Morgans 10:23
Like, right, it’s not the firstborn. You’re like the middle child. You’re not the youngest, the oldest? Yeah, like, your male, but like, yeah, it’s like, definitely, it’s like, yeah, whatever we’ve already had, we’ve already had a kid.
Paul Baron 10:34
So I would do that. And I would drive around, you know, mowing people’s lawns, cutting edge lawn service. And then, you know, the winters I would shovel, you know, sidewalks, back in the day, when it was like $40 to get a lift ticket. Now it’s like 120 or $140 to get a lift ticket, you know, go skiing in Colorado, sort of thing. But anyway, like, I’ve always been the sort of, do it yourself. self reliant, kind of guy. And, you know, a lot of this. I can’t speak to how much that’s nature or nurture, or nurture. What is it that nurtures nature? You know, Colorado wins in general are typically kind of self reliant folk, like, don’t tell me how to live. I mean, the ones that grew up here. Now we’re mostly like new California, and New York, you get a lot of influx from, you know, pandemic and whatnot. But most native colors, however, native you can be as a white person, right, whatever that means. Yeah, I was born here, born and raised.
Andrew Morgans 11:41
I’m not a mountain person, mountain folk, right?
Paul Baron 11:43
Like, we want to live our lives. And I feel like that’s in general, most people want to live their lives and not be told how to live or what to do. I think mountain folk are more pronounced because they’re like, you know, oh, you’re going to tax me? No, you’re not. I’m just not going to pay my taxes. And we’ll see how that works. Anyway, so entrepreneurism from a young age and that kind of stretched through and you know, a bit of my story, like, I went to Hillsong. School in 2002, I graduated high school in 2001. In my plan, I wanted to be a pastor for the longest time, like years. And so at the core of who I am, like, I just want to help people. And I have a little bit of this like negativity about people that just do stuff just for money. And it’s still a part of who I am. Because I’m like, No, bro, you should just help people because it’s the right thing to do. Meanwhile, I am still struggling with I guess I should also charge for my services, because that’s also the right thing to do, when it’s worth, you know, paying for right. So I went to school, to be, you know, pastoral leadership. And my plan was, I wanted to be a missionary in third world countries, mostly helping people that couldn’t provide for themselves. And my plan was that I wanted to teach them how to start businesses to work for themselves. You know, the crux here was, I had never successfully started a business. So I had this, like this dream of doing this, this thing, and you know, when you’re young, you can do anything, you’re unstoppable, you’re unbeatable. And I got home from school in 2000, the winter of 2002. And I couldn’t get back to Australia and the economy took a giant shit. This is like one of the first big downturns and I remember just feeling totally abandoned. But I still had this dream. Like I wanted to do this. I wanted to help people. And fast forward years. That’s just part of who I am. When I first started in the Amazon world, fast forward to 22,010. I had a knack for marketing. I have a knack for just understanding how to get the word out about things in people and tell stories. And I got a job at an agency, a web development agency, because prior to this, I was starting web development. I don’t want to say anything because it’s too late. My best friend and I started a company called barking pineapple. Okay, and we were doing web development on Joomla templates.
Andrew Morgans 14:34
I know that, yeah.
Paul Baron 14:36
It used to be a huge competitor to WordPress, and that was when I learned how to code and how to write HTML and CSS on MySpace. And I was like, Oh, I know how to do it. So I’m gonna ban days being right. Band pages and you know, you go whatever. So my best friend and I had this firm barking pineapple. We were charging $100 per page. That was our interview process. How many pages do you need? We didn’t ask what the pages needed to do, you know, which is just a page. We did. It was so stupid man, we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. But after a few months of maybe about six months a year of doing that, and like not being able to pay the bills, I was looking to get married to Michelle. And I was like, I can’t, you know, I can’t afford to pay rent or do anything. So I got a job at a firm doing web development, SEO and got a good decent salary. I remember, like, within the first year, I was making like, 50 60,000, next year with making like six figures. And you know, this is like, background again, like, literally, I don’t have a degree. Yeah. Prior to this, I was like working at coffee shops and doing landscaping and stuff like that, right, like, making no money. And I didn’t know, money is not a, it’s not a motivator for me, right? It’s like impact and helping people and that sort of thing. So I’m working at this big agency making a shitload of money. And just not feeling satisfied, like, like the people that I would sell, it wasn’t the sales department that became the director of Channel Sales, in like, two or three years, and I was just feeling lost. Missing in life, like it was not achieving my, my destiny, whatever, my, my why. And long story short, I got fired from a job kind of went to a period of like depression for like, two years, because, you know, back around 2000 2000, to go to Hillsong, come back, try to figure myself out 2010 And get hired on at this firm, 2012, I get fired. And I’m just not feeling like I’m hitting where I want to be in life. You know, I had this great job, helped the company grow, like I was employee number seven, and went from there to like, 200 employees, because of a lot of the work that I did. So a lot of my identity was tied into this company, and I got fired from it. And just went through this real crisis of a person that is like, who am I, what am I? What am I? What’s going on? Like, I felt like I wanted to be a pastor and failed at that. Didn’t, whatever, whatever that looks like, you know, started making all this money. And yeah, I just came back to the entrepreneurial spirit of helping people in the community who knew me as a guy that they could trust when they asked questions about SEO, web marketing, web development. So I started my own firm in 2014, and then a year later, is when I learned about ASM Amazing Selling Machine. And up until that point, I like, you know, I kind of took a crash course in web marketing from 2009, to two that 2008 2009 to 2014, right? Because I’m helping these local firms market themselves online doing SEO, doing brand marketing, performance, marketing, that sort of thing. And my idea of Amazon up until that point in time was just a race to the bottom. It was all arbitrage that didn’t make sense to me. Like why would you want to sell a 12 pack of coke for one cent cheaper than somebody like, it doesn’t make sense to me. And I didn’t really think or understand that you could develop your own products or find manufacturers and build your own brand. And it wasn’t a race to the bottom then because it was about building value, and building a brand. And once that clicked in my head, that was kind of off to the races. So in 2015, Michelle and I launched Boeing Bell littles, and it’s been a crazy ride, because we’ve had so many highs and so many lows, and it’s been like a roller coaster of like, 2016 We were on the Rachael Ray show. 2017 Rochelle was interviewed by Forbes magazine, we did a partnership with Lauren holiday, and drew what wasn’t drew holiday but as Warren drew plays for the Bucs now, but we did a partnership with Olympians like all these sorts of crazy things that I would have never in a million years ever thought that I would be doing. And it all centered around like taking what I knew about building a brand helping brands grow because of the the past agency work and then applying that to our to our brand. Now. Here we are 2023 the core of what sort of makes me tick is telling brand stories and building brands and building communities. Because you know that my background in the king of the church world was I was a director of community. It was kind of the guy who did small groups. I started the coffee shops, I greeted people as they walked in and I just saw, like what I do naturally is I just talked to people and I figure out who they are and what makes them tick. And like I’m like oh Andrew dude, Andrew crushes it at you know Amazon, you know account management. You and like, Dude, you should see their ad plus content or EBC, whatever it is now, you know, you should you should see what they do. And like, if you need that, go talk to them or like, Oh, you do this, you did this, like, that’s just what I do natural, like build community connect people connector. Yeah. So as it applies to business and or, you know, like brand building. I think that there’s so much power in building communities of people, and valuing people because they’re people and not overlooking them, because they may not have a big quote unquote, following because every single person has influence. Right, right. And that’s the crux of influencer marketing. The crux of influencer marketing or creative marketing is partnering with people and valuing people and loving people, and bringing them into the community. And like, if you have a story that’s engaging, and you have a product that is innovative, that is, that’s a thumb stopper that makes people go, Wow, that’s cool. And you can help people and that you connect with people on a friend level, then instead of them promoting a brand, they’re promoting their friends, they’re helping their friends.
Andrew Morgans 21:05
So that’s, that was a no, I let you just go because I think you were killing it. And you didn’t need any direction. So thanks for sharing that number one, which is kind of where we’re at. We can talk more about things like, you know, how you’re working with brands now. But I like to think as someone else raised in a religious background, and you know, Pentecostal, like so emotional, like, charismatic, intense, like, it’s like theatrical, in some ways, you know, like, a more emotional person, especially a more emotional male. If we’re talking about just males in general, just like, I feel things hard to feel things heavy. And growing up in a church as a pastor’s kid, I’m a fourth generation preacher’s kid missionary kid. Community is like, if I knew anything, that was all I knew was, like being a part of a community and building one and going place to place and building another community with my dad. And then also leadership, you know, so some of those things that you talked about going to the school for community leadership, or whatever that actual degree was. But you think about where you’re at now, as you’re building a company, it’s like, okay, communities, and leadership, meaning direction, and how to help a community go in a certain direction, and how to create that. And, you know, I was always the kid that, like, I saw someone sitting by themselves, and my mom was like, go talk to them, like the weird kid, or like, I was worried myself.
Paul Baron 22:31
Like, I did that when I started going to public high school, I would literally walk around the hallways until I saw somebody sitting by themselves, and go sit with them.
Andrew Morgans 22:38
That’s the bird. That’s, that’s who I saw myself as I think so I was like, always, like, I was always just seeking out the weird ones. For better or worse, like in the dating world that sucks. But in the friend’s world, it’s been well, no, but these are, these are characteristics that like I have, maybe it’s like, you know, silver lining, or however you want to look at it. But like, in the same way that I’ve had difficulties understanding my relationship with money, or wealth, or, to me, it was like, I can’t help anyone if I’m poor. If I don’t have any money, I can’t really help anyone, I can go help you move, but I can’t, like, I can’t give you $100 for a new tire that someone might need, or I just couldn’t do it, you know. So in some ways, it was like overcoming that to be able to help everyone else. But then also leaning into these like, I’m sure I have those like cons maybe from that upbringing, but communication and community, and leadership. And some of these are like, coming in as storytellers is what I was trying to get to. I think that by being more emotional than, let’s say some other people out there, then the average being being more emotionally in tune leads me to be a better storyteller and Brand Builder and lead brands in that in that storytelling by by feeling things more, you can tell when something’s lacking feeling you can tell when things like how to connect with people is something that you do naturally. And you’re like, Okay, let me show you how as a product, how to connect with your audience over time. And I think those are some special skills that come from unique upbringings like, like some of ours, that if I can just put a little, you know, a little light on it. I think being emotional when it comes to storytelling and branding has advantages.
Paul Baron 24:18
I completely 100% Agree, because we humans are emotional beings, whether or not we express it, like Richelle you know, my wife, she, I joke that she’s a Vulcan, because she doesn’t she’s not very emotionally expressive. And a lot of that is a result of her upbringing. And I am incredibly emotionally expressive, as a result of my upbringing. Right. And I remember like, one of the things that is granted in my head is my dad used to tell me real men cry. You know, and that was like it’s the thing, because I think that it was like, a pushback from his father. Probably You know, whatever. But anyway, and we need it, ya know? So obviously you and I get along on this, but let’s talk about how we bring this the emotion in the community building and influence and whatnot, because we could just go off on what people, people wonder how you get to where you’re at, and like, what how you’re doing, what you’re doing, why you’re good at what you’re doing, you know, we’re working on some of the best brands in the world, like, at least of our knowledge workers, some of the best brands in the world.
Andrew Morgans 25:15
And how does a small team in Kansas City get to that point? Well, we’re like, raised in a very emotional environment, we’re very like people connecting. And we’ve transitioned that into business skills. But it very much is helping people find those connections, and then dial them in.
Paul Baron 25:44
I have to say, like, as, as having worked with your you guys, I love the community that you have built internally, at Marknology, that you have a strong team, like vibe in moat, you know, a lot of your team is in Kansas City, but you do have people that are, you know, virtual. And you still from what I’ve gathered, like with Dom, right, like he’s not KC, am I right?
Andrew Morgans 26:10
He’s in Mexico. Yeah.
Paul Baron 26:11
He’s like, with Dom like, he’s still like, yeah, I love that. And it all comes back to building a community, whether you’re building an agency, or a brand. And I mean, there’s that essay, 1000 true fans, maybe read that? Yep. You know, it’s like, it comes back to that or like, Pat Flynn, you know, his his sort of thing, like in superfans, or any of any of this stuff that it’s not like this is rocket science. If you treat people like they’re valuable, because they are. And if you give them a poem, and you give them tools to tell a story that you know, the start, we start with the customers, right, you give them tools to tell your story, right. So our story as a brand, is we started our brand because my son Bo, and our brand is named Bo and Bell littles. So we named it that we it was, we wanted to name Atlantis, really thinking Bo littles, and it was like, I don’t want people to think it’s just for boys. But it’s intrinsic to it. Right? It’s high as that’s tied into it, because he is one of the reasons why we started our brand, because we had somebody give us a swim diaper that they bought at Target. They were no longer using it as a reusable swim diaper. And this is a sort of concession that Rachelle made to me because prior to having kids, I wanted to do cloth diapers because I’m a cheapskate. Not because I’m like this Greenpeace warrior. I mean, you know, saving the environment did plan because you know, Colorado and like, Girl hiking, like, it’s not about cause it’s about literally don’t shit on the earth. Like it shouldn’t. It’s not rocket science, right? If you litter and you don’t pick it up, somebody else will or is just gonna stay there and it’s gonna work gross. So as somebody that her confession to me was like, Okay, well, we’ll try reusable swim divers, and I remember it like, he was super undersized. When that person gave it to us, our friend. And he was six months old. And it was a six month sized swim diaper, it was too tight for him. And he was on the 20th percentile. And now he’s like something happened. Like, he’s gigantic. Not at all. They’re like he’s on the other end. But I remember sticking with us. And when we took the ASM course, the concept of the course was how to identify niches and products that were in demand. And that stuck with us that pain point, right, stuck with Rochelle, and she was doing her research. And she keyed into the fact that there was a demand for reusable swim diapers. Furthermore, most of the complaints were on the exact same problem that we had was it would like to have single sized options. Were not working because they were too tight. And I am thankful that I listened to her because it was like no, but if we sell the single size, we can sell the same customer more times. And she was like, No, we need to fix that. The problem is that it’s not the right size, we need to make an adjustable size. So that’s what we did. We made an adjustable size and went over the last four, four kids, literally, we had my daughter’s swimming at six months after she was born. She’s three years younger than my son. So we started the company when he was 10 months old. And by the time he was a year like he was using these things, I mean we got the prototypes and he was like eight months, you know something like that. So he was in him for a while, but she was literally in them her entire time. We could take photos of her with these diapers. But it started because of this the pain point that we had with our son with Bo and the story. That’s a part of our story. You know we talk about this because we want to as a family. We want to create lasting memories, positive memories with our kids. So we think that the best way to do that is to go and engage with them outside, whether we’re gonna maybe not even outside, but like to play board games with them, play games with them, play imagination, games, go swimming with them. And not only that, but if you can do this in a necessity when they’re little, when they’re diaper dependent, they have to have a swim diaper on when they’re in public pools, it’s just a fact of life. So why not have a better fitting option that is better for the environment, and in the end saves you a bunch of money, like, literally customer better for the customer. Like in the end, it saves people like hundreds of dollars, as opposed to, you know, having to go back and reorder these crappy, you know, disposable swim diapers that don’t even work anyway, like you talk to any swim instructor instructor, they will tell you the number one thing that they will always that causes a pull evacuation is disposable swim drivers, they just don’t work. So that’s integrated into our story. And so when we’re bringing on brand ambassadors or people into our community, that’s core. And not only as a core, but it resonates with them. Because it’s a part of their story. Right? And so, if we can help resonate with their story, then they can help like, then then they’re, we’re connecting with them on an emotional level. We understand them, they understand us. We’re not doing this just to make money. Yes, we’re making money. But like it’s an impact thing, right. And so if you can move from money to impact, then you create evangelists.
Andrew Morgans 31:30
Yep. Brand evangelists. Yeah. That is the goal. I would argue that I wouldn’t create a brand that I don’t believe I could build a community around. And you know, I’ve heard I’ve heard Carlos Alvarez say that he’s big on communities and like meetups and all that kind of stuff. Like, if he can’t create a community, he’s not interested in trying to create a brand around it. And I think that’s great advice.
Paul Baron 31:53
Yeah. I mean, that’s one of the things that we like, is a stopper for us to remember early on. Prior to rebranding to influx when we were the chat agency. I’m so altruistic and so optimistic, I thought, hey, we built this great community for us, it will work for us, it will work for anyone. And that is just simply not true. And what I mean is like influencer marketing, building brand ambassadors and that sort of thing. So we would take people on that, for lack of better words, they’re basically your straight up Amazon brand. There’s no story, the reason why they started their brand was because they did a search on Helium 10. And thought they could make money. Right? Yeah. And like, how you can’t build a community, it’s really hard to build a community around that, if not impossible, because people see through that shit. You know, like, when you have somebody that’s like, Well, why did you start at will?
Andrew Morgans 32:48
Because, you know, we just want to want to sell floaties like, yeah, where I wanted to do this or whatever.
Paul Baron 32:51
And there’s, there’s, there’s nothing, there’s nothing emotional. And it’s like, all about money. And people can see through that.
Andrew Morgans 33:00
Yeah, and if you know, I don’t know, like, if you’ve heard me speak in a while, but I’ve liked for years, or at least the last two, I’ve been just harping on content on Amazon storytelling on Amazon emotional connection with customers. Just screaming this from the rooftops because I felt like it was what the Amazon community needed to hear. It was what they were missing. Like, you know, I went as far as to, you know, make some hard slogans that some, some booths at some of these conferences just to like really just like, you know, spark some people, either offend them or get them to love it. I didn’t know what it was like, Listen, you need to hear maybe that’s a preacher in me. But, you know, essentially, like, this is what you need to hear, you need to be emotionally connected with your customers. This is the difference in in, in converting a sale or not, right. And, you know, even that SMS software, it’s called Community right like that, because it’s about building communities, which I think is just absolutely clever. But let’s, let’s take the last 15 minutes here and talk a little bit about like, what, what brands should be doing some of the basic things that they should be doing with influencers or their affiliate marketing or their their content partners. Before we do, I’m gonna give a shout out to our sponsor, finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io We can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to find your technical needs. And then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team visit FullScale.io to learn more. Okay, so like with our last 15 minutes, I know you have tons of value in me and you can just chat it up because I want to talk about what I want to talk about usually most of the time but I would love for you to just like give us you know some of the top things you think that brands should be doing or can do with influencers really wherever you want to take it but I think a lot of people get the wrong idea around what influencer marketing is what affiliate marketing is like, what good influencer marketing is, and and why influx will Why you’ve created it rebranded your agency, the chat agency into the influx agencies so that you can help brands and Amazon sellers. I know that’s where you started. But helping brands off Amazon really tackle this challenge and help them reach a bigger community.
Paul Baron 35:16
Yeah, so because we used to be the chat agency, because I geek out with chatbots. And I had a course in 2018 on chat marketing. And really, one of the main things that we’d use we still use chatbots for is basically as like an application portal, once Instagram direct chat open up toward automation, like we did all of our applications for our brand, and our brand ambassador ships through Instagram direct, but when we when we look at whether or not influencer marketing and I hate using that word, that term, I prefer creator marketing, or influencer partnerships or creative partnerships. There’s the way that I look at it, there’s, there’s several ways that you can go about it. So let’s say, let’s just do a thought experiment, let’s say that banks were outgoing to you, and trying to get you to become their customer for a mortgage, right? Versus you going and applying to the bank and having to apply for a mortgage. Literally, it’s kind of the same process, like let’s say me, they, it just feels different. So, in the instance, where you go to people and you ask for something, and a lot of this is just baked into.
Andrew Morgans 36:33
Paul, let’s use my company as an example. Okay, so I think I think it’d be kind of fun. So I’m, I’m a full service Amazon agency, you know, I can go out and hunt leads, like hit up a brand and be like, You need to be on Amazon, or your Amazon looks like shit. Or have you ever thought about Amazon or you know, I can do, I can hide, right? Or I can have someone, a person and within my community and my referral network or my business network, whether they’re finding my content online, be referred to me. They were influenced or whatever to reach out, there’s a huge difference between the clients that have been sent over by a friend or someone they know, that’s been successful working with us, and then someone that I’m trying to convince that they need us. And this is why and all those things.
Paul Baron 37:19
I mean, we just got a call today, right? So I’m speaking at prosper, the, for those that are listening, prosper is a big show in the Amazon space, if you don’t know, it’s like one of the biggest, and it should be on your radar. So Rochelle and I are speaking at prosper, and I am well connected in the community. I would say that without feeling arrogant, like I feel like I am well connected, we got a cold call today from some random Yoo hoo, who wants to set a meeting with us. Like, I don’t know who this dude is, like I’m trying to work. And this guy calls. I don’t know how lucky got him. I don’t even know how he got her number. Like that is an immediate turnoff to me. Now, conversely, let’s say that I had heard about this dude. And I was like, oh, man, I got to set a meeting with this guy. Like, I would proactively go out of my way to see if I can meet with him. It’s completely different when you’re going to somebody and you’re saying hey, I want to learn about your services, versus them saying, hey, I want to tell you about my services. So that is to think about it like that from the influencer or the creator standpoint. If you have a brand that attracts people to you that they would feel fortunate to represent, right? Say, Apple. If you were at Apple had a brand ambassadorship that you could apply for and you applied, you got accepted. I’d feel fucking stoked.
Andrew Morgans 38:44
Because Apple is putting their name on me. Yeah, like I feel so now if Apple had this campaign where they were just cold emailing people, that would just cheapen the brand and make it feel weird, right?
Paul Baron 38:49
So when I think of creator marketing and influencer marketing, most of the time people think of it in the terms of they’re going to find all these influencers and then cold email them a template email, that is the exact same email that they send to somebody who has massive influence, meaning, you know, maybe they’re a celebrity, or maybe not, maybe maybe you would adapt it for a celebrity. But let’s say like a massive Creator, who has spent a lot of time building their personal brand, right? You email that person, that template email, the exact same email that you’re gonna email somebody who has 5000 followers, like that’s kind of insulting in general, and it comes across as spammy. Why does it come across as spammy? Because it is spammy?
Andrew Morgans 39:34
Yeah, it is spammy. Like on LinkedIn, I reached out to like, you know, probably 100 I don’t know. Let’s just be more realistic. I’ll say like 25 DMS a day. Okay, from people I don’t know. So these are like spam emails. And then they’ll say something like, you know, like a template email like, wow, I really like what you built there. They might give a reference to something that’s in my resume or in my like, you know, my details. I really like what you build, they’re, like, tell you about my service, like, let’s get on a call. First of all, you haven’t given me enough value to want to jump on a call. Secondly, you don’t even know what I do. Because I just know that from a fact because like, of all the billions of people in the world, there’s very few that actually know what Marknology does and how we do it. Well, you don’t just say we’re a new industry, people don’t just know this. So when someone’s like, saying they know what we’ve built, and I have a hard time telling even some of my closest friends and colleagues everything that we’re doing, and someone’s touting that they know what we’re doing and what we’ve built over here, and I’ve like, never even heard of them, and immediately turned off, it’s spam. It’s like, even if they had a good service, I’m turned off, you’ve templatized me, you’ve wanted me to make me feel like you actually have cared about my profile enough to look into it and reference something but the fact is you haven’t you like, you know, you scraped one thing, and you’ve lost him, I might have even been interested. You know, and speaking with you, if someone you know gets personal with it, like you would if you’re approaching a big influencer, you’re going to reference some of his posts, like maybe been following him for a year or reference some stuff he did six months ago. Like he’s gonna be like, Oh, wow, this person has actually like, followed my career or followed my, my brand and they’re going to be more open than that template, the email that you’ve sent to you, no matter the numbers.
Paul Baron 41:20
So there’s so they’re so the the outreach when you do the outreach, that is immediately putting you in the position of being an Asker and you’re selling somebody in the immediate general, generally speaking now, now, if this was if I was talking in 2012, or 2010, when this is brand new, and creators didn’t understand who they were, it was almost like the brain was taking advantage of them, which they were right. Now, creators are getting a lot more savvy. Not only that, but if you go to TikTok and you look up UGC jobs or anything that is UGC, UGC is trending. And there are UGC influencers that are teaching people how to make money by just solely creating content. So that in and of itself is driving the cost of creative partnerships and creating or marketing up even more. Right. So, again, coming back to this idea of, of outreach versus versus creating something compelling, that would get people to come to you. It’s centered around this idea of you, you need to approach this with no ego, you need to take risks, you need to treat every single person with a level of respect that you would expect to be treated with, right? Every person, right? You, me, LeBron James, I don’t care who you are, we’re the same. Right? We’re humans. LeBron has a job. He just gets a lot of publicity. Steph Curry, same with him. Like, I’ve worked with celebrities. Some of them are dicks. Some of them are awesome. But the thing is, people are people. And you want to respect people, because they’re people and not look at them to use them. Right. So if it comes across that you’re trying to use somebody to get to something, then that is already going to put you back. So you need to have no ego, you need to put value on lead with lead with value, but you need to make it more valuable for them than it is for you. That is the thing if you make something better for the person that you’re working with, then it is for you, then you are always going to win. Right. That’s a famous exhibitor quote, right, if you want to totally budget this, but the Zig Ziglar quote is, if you want to give whatever you get more than you receive, Google it, just look at the Google code, but it’s late.
Andrew Morgans 43:39
It’s late in the day, what I remember is that the first one of the first times we talked you were just quoting all the books, people and authors. And I was just like, Paul, you’re like, killing it with your references. I’ll cut you slack on this one. Yeah, you’re exactly right.
Paul Baron 43:54
So give more than you receive. It’s pretty straightforward. If this goes back to the idea of reciprocity, the law of reciprocity, if you perpetual it’s like what I was saying with okay, my sales pitch, right referencing How would give grandma’s there my thing and the drawing. And I say do you want this? Yes, they possess it. Then I say well, that will be 10 cents. I’ve given them something then they feel compelled to give me something back. That’s the reason why in the 70s the people that would give people roses at the Hari Krishna’s were banned from airports, because they overreacted that they manipulated it. That’s my point. So no ego you need to approach people with no ego you need to understand that your biggest source of advocacy is your group of people that have already purchased from you. And you need to understand that whether or not those people have a bazillion followers, every single one of their friends. If you think of them as a piece of gold that you want to keep in your bank. And if you can treat Those people like gold, then they’re going to tell every single person they know about you. And the problem with social media is that we’ve taken the Kim Kardashians of the world and we’ve elevated them above the Kristin Cherry’s of the world. And Kristen Cherry is one of our best customers. And that’s why I reference her as our archetype. She’s like our ideal customer persona, because Kristen has bought literally every print that we sell. So I would want 100 Kristen cherries, because those people love us. And if I could show them affection and show them and like help them then they’re going to tell all their friends. So all social media marketing is all influencer marketing is, is modern day word of mouth.
Andrew Morgans 45:42
Agreed, I have said that I have said that myself. Two dozen times, because it’s like, it’s the same exact thing, we’re just able to do it a little bit quicker, a little bit faster. What I want to get from you is so starry eyed with a giant following though.
Paul Baron 45:54
And they’ll want to see the massive numbers. If you build a mountain, like one spoonful at a time, it will be like Anyway, yes, I’m probably about the Nano the small people build an audience of all people.
Andrew Morgans 46:10
I love it. And that’s why, you know, we’re talking about this. And that’s why you’re leading the way. Because it’s not all about just like contacting a PR firm and getting a big brand ambassador. You know, the small people can build your huge let’s talk about what potentially leads without ego and leading and reaching out to your existing customer. What perhaps in a communication email, or an engagement would look like from like, you know, just football here, but I’m reaching back out to a customer that we aren’t let’s say I already have as a brand. And I want to lead without ego and I want to lead with some value. What’s a simple example of maybe what a simple email communication looks like.
Paul Baron 46:51
So where are we starting? Do we have the people they’ve signed up there? Where are they on our email list?
Andrew Morgans 46:56
Are we trying to get them on our email list they bought from us, they’re on our email list as a customer, that’s okay.
Paul Baron 47:00
Okay, so people are on our email list they bought from us, generally speaking, where I would start as people that are purchased from you more than once. So let’s say that that’s your, that’s your barrier. If they purchase from you more than once, it’s a fairly good indicator that they like your product, right? So you could start with anybody who has just purchased from you one time, but I would, I would just say people that have purchased from me more than once, I would send an email just exuberantly thanking them for their second purchase, and give them something for free. Okay, I remember back in the early 2000s, I, I bought these shirts from a company online, and they gave me free like, remember, those like totes used to be super cool like the messenger bags, like they gave me like free little pins, you know, for like the seen kids right? Back in the day, like free pens that you could stick in your tote bag in like stickers. And they had a hand sign note. The second time I bought it, I felt so special. Like the owner of the company, wrote me a hand sign note. Now, if you can go to that extent, and hand sign something, and thank people, and personally invite them to support your company until the word like, my guess is that you’re going to get a massive amount of return. But that’s really hard to scale. Okay, so let’s say you want to start with people that are purchased from you more than once, put just together and we do this, do this all the time for ourselves and for clients. And basically, it’s just an application like, hey, we want to know if you’d be if you’d want to join our brand ambassador community. Here’s an application link. And then we just ask them simple questions like, you know, what products do you own? What do you like about them? What don’t you like about them? What would you change? What competitors? And we don’t say competitors? But yeah, I mean, we do but it’s worded differently per client and or ourselves. But we’d asked like, who, what other people have you purchased from? What do you like about them? What do you not like? What would you change? So in this we’re asking, we’re getting a lot of information anyway. Because whether or not they decide to be committed to becoming a brand ambassador, we’re getting amazing feedback on products that are like what do you like that’s a product review. What would you change? That’s a way that you can improve it’s impossible new product development, right? So that’s in the first email and then then you can have in that email that can go to like a type form that can go to we run these ads, Facebook ads, so you can do an exact match. audience on Facebook, you can do a lead form it just targeting people on TikTok. I think you asked me the other day about getting people to like retargeting on TikTok. But if people have interacted with your ads before on TikTok, you can retarget them with new ads. And then you can have a lead form and then have them apply on TikTok. We have people apply on Instagram and it’s basically the same sort of thing. But if they’re in our customer base, They will send an email with a link to either type form or an Instagram flow or a whatsapp flow or whatever. Have them apply. And then depending on a handful of factors like if their accounts are public, like bare minimum, they have to have public accounts. Like, really they like they’re they’re what they post has to be on brand. Like, because we’re a family focused brand. So having adult content isn’t kind of vibing with our family deal, right.
Andrew Morgans 50:32
I’ve heard about a couple of your instances where you find some adult content, like the content, so we want to share that with everyone.
Paul Baron 50:40
But Twitter, where we had the bot auto liking things in diapers.
Andrew Morgans 50:44
Yeah, I think you just had like a couple of big influencers that were in a little bit of some adult stuff instead of baby diapers.
Paul Baron 50:51
Yeah, it was, it was awkward. And that will just go with that. Not all diapers are made for children. I found that out.
Andrew Morgans 50:59
Trust me, like, listen, Paul’s speaking from experience he has learned by doing you know, so we’ll keep it PG for the show.
Paul Baron 51:07
Yeah, so Okay. So, again, so email, email out to them, whether it’s SMS, whatever, if you have people on your list, you message them, hey, we have a community, we’d love you to learn more, give you free stuff give you sneak peeks because again, the people that have purchased more than once you give them an opportunity to get discounts and sneak peeks and early releases. They’ll be like, yeah, yeah, totally. I love this brand. I’d love that sort of stuff. So then once they’ve applied, they’ve been accepted. Generally speaking, again, because our brand is baby focus. It’s mommy groups, right? We have Facebook groups, and that is not applicable to everything. We’re starting to experiment with discord groups, WhatsApp groups, anything, but basically you need an online, the idea is that you need an online central space for communication to happen. For the community to grow. Again, my past experience was offline, building a church community and hanging out and drinking coffee together. That’s what you want to do. That’s what you want in a digital space. So however, that happens, whether it’s Facebook, Discord, WhatsApp, Telegram, whatever, right? You want it to be a low barrier to entry, natural food people, and you want communication to happen and community to develop. Initially, you are going to be the community manager and the community person, but you will find people that sort of self elevated. And this is just straight up leadership, one on one, volunteer leadership one on one, you find the people that are passionate, and you empower those people to do more. Maybe you give them more free things, maybe you start paying them. Right. You say hey, you know, Andrew, you clearly love this, can we pay you to do this? Like, we’ve had somebody do a brand takeover for us, they did like 32 posts in one day for free. And the worst mistake that we made was we didn’t ask her to be a community manager. This was like an early on early mistake. We go back in time and say hey, Becky, her name is Becky. Hey, Becky, would you pay you to do this? Because then it’s often my wife’s shoulders. She’s not having to be the community manager Becky, who clearly loves it. She posted 32 times in one day. And not only is she it, cuz she’s She even said, this would be my dream job. Like, can you talk about fumbling the ball? How bad did we fumble that and you’re like, I was so bad, bro.
Andrew Morgans 53:38
But now you’re here to share that, you know. That’s how it goes.
Paul Baron 53:42
You empower people. The whole thing is to empower people. You empower them to tell your story. You go to them, you respect them, no Eagle, you tell you you help them tell their story. Help them tell your story that becomes a part of their story. And then it’s our story. Right? That’s the goal.
Andrew Morgans 54:01
You should coin that like that needs to be a clip at the end of this show. The way you just closed out there. Okay, we’re up on time. But I would love for you to just leave where people can contact you where they can find out more where they can follow along with your guys’ journey. I’ll have it in the show notes as well. But if you want to share that with them, that’d be amazing.
Paul Baron 54:24
Yeah. So you can find her on my website, influxcatalysts.com. Catalyst with why SDS is plural. And you can find me on Instagram. Generally, I’m not as great of an influencer poster-type dude as you. Mainly it’s like me posting things like my family went skiing at Mr. Barron on Instagram. You know, it’s I wanted to start posting more on TikTok, but it’s the Paul Baron On TikTok, and maybe if you’re listening to this meme and posting more regularly, but one of the things that I was starting to do on TikTok was just telling the story of our brand, like how we got started the struggles that we had. And I really liked what I just needed. I needed to find more time just because I knew I would not find the time. I have the time. I just need to schedule it. Do it.
Andrew Morgans 55:17
Yeah, a lot of times, when I’m creating for other people, I just want to take the backseat, you know, it’s not that they don’t have the ideas or this or that. It’s just I get a huge kick out of helping other people too. And, you know, I get just as much kick-off of like doing these things for others and their brands and their stories and helping them come to life that I do for my own has to be a good mix, or else we’d be out of business, you know, but somebody will be like, you have a TikTok, do you do this? No, but I’m consulting on TikTok, and you’re crushing it.
Paul Baron 55:45
This is the stuff that you and I have talked about and TikTok. I’m stoked. I want to, I want to, I want to interview you on a podcast because, like, what you’re doing on TikTok is so unique, and it’s different from what we’re doing on TikTok. And it’s super cool.
Andrew Morgans 56:02
Thank you. Well, that’s just like, we’ll leave it mysterious. You know, if someone wants to know what I’m doing, they can reach out but are stoked to see it prosper. I’ll be there. You know, so I’m excited to see what you guys are going to bring and what you guys are going to share. You guys are always bringing the heat. Thanks again to the community of Startup Hustle for tuning in and listening to another episode. We’ve had a lot of fun with this one. Thanks again to our sponsor. FullScale.io. Do you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders? Let Full Scale help when you visit FullScale.io. All you need to do is answer a few questions and let the platform match you up with a fully vetted, highly experienced team of software engineers, testers, and leaders at Full Scale. They specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Thanks a lot, Hustlers. We’ve had a lot of fun with this one. Thanks again, Paul, for your time. We’ll see you next time.