Let’s just all work to accept one another, embrace our differences and let people live their lives. People are really the same at their core — we want to be happy, love and be loved and enjoy our family and friends.
Asa part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Jon Cummins.
Jon has spent over 30 years in the entrepreneurial space and has helped create some of the most successful independently branded hotels in the world. Today, Jon’s passion lies in bringing yoga to the masses by offering a non-intimidating and welcoming approach to yoga via Bulldog Online. The affordable and on-demand app has been featured in PopSugar, Shape, Allure, and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting and what lesson you learned from that?
When I started the Bulldog Online platform, I was really naïve as it relates to the scope and complexity involved in digital marketing. I thought you just did a little SEO work, put up some ads on Facebook and Google and, poof, people would find you. Itotallyunderestimated how technical, complicated, and detail-oriented putting together a holistic digital marketing strategy really is. I’m still learning every day — a lot. What I do know for sure now is that being a good digital marketer takes a tremendous amount of resolve and resilience.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Well, I’m not really a big fan of the term “burnout.” I know and understand that we all get tired and, sometimes, exasperated. However, my advice to avoid burnout is to not let yourself accept the idea of burnout. When you hit a rough patch, you’ve got to dust yourself off, be persistent and push forward. Being successful requires real mental strength.
Great advice. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. As you know Google and other search engines constantly update their search algorithms. Today, do you believe that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still an important part of any long-term marketing plan? Can you explain why?
I do, simply because it’s still a very cost-effective means of driving revenue for an online business. It’s not free — you’ve got to spend on SEO strategy, content, and analytics — but it’s relatively cheap compared to paid traffic sources. It’s also a high-quality source of traffic because it’s genuine in nature. I like finding sites through organic search (versus via an ad) and believe other people do as well.
Can you share some basic Search Engine Optimization tips you have for less experienced marketers?
I keep learning every day what a long-term project SEO really is. As someone who is “not the most patient”, this is a challenge for me. So, I guess the advice I would give to others is the same I try to give myself — remember SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Work it constantly but know that the results take a while to appear and you’ve got to constantly be evaluating and adjusting to the algorithm changes and market forces.
What “3 Non-Intuitive Marketing Strategies” have been most effective for you in your industry?
Well, I’d say the first one is that while we are definitely in the fitness industry, our core BulldogOnline.com customers are not necessarily “fitness people.” We’ve seen the people who respond most strongly to our online product and brand are people trying to juggle busy lives and stretched budgets. As a result, we are constantly working to target people with this profile, versus the more expected and intuitive fitness-oriented target.
The second example isn’t a surprise to me — I knew that the differentiated nature of our brand and mission would necessitate this — but it is definitely not intuitive. A large portion of our customer base consists of people who have tried yoga and stopped — or never tried it — because of how intimidating it can be. So, our marketing focus is, in a strange way, to sell against people’s preconceived ideas of yoga — and then show them how our product is what they need.
The third strategy is not at all intuitive to me, though others may feel otherwise. When it comes to SEO, Google rewards lengthy subject matter. Long-form content has now become really important in Google’s SEO algorithms. In my world, the world of business, there’s a premium on communicating concisely — don’t use more words when you can use less. This has been a weird adjustment for me to make, but I don’t make the SEO rules (I do, however, try hard to follow them)!
If you were only allowed to run paid ads on 1 platform (in your industry) over the next 12 months, what would it be and why?
I’m not sure I really know the answer to this yet — we’ve got a lot more testing to do, data to obtain and analysis to work through as we grow. But at this moment, I would say Facebook/Instagram. There’s not a lot of magic to the “why” other than we’ve seen the best CPAs from these channels. Could it turn out that YouTube or some other channel is better for us in a month or a year? Definitely.
One more question! You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It’s corny but more appropriate now than ever, given the divisive nature of the world we are living in…
Let’s just all work to accept one another, embrace our differences and let people live their lives. People are really the same at their core — we want to be happy, love and be loved, and enjoy our family and friends.
Thank you so much for sharing so much value with us!