Sam Mallikarjunan is the co-author of the book, Inbound Commerce: How to Sell Better Than Amazon, which is ironically the number one bestseller in its category on Amazon. Sam is the CEO and founder of OneScreen.ai, an Internet of Things (IOT) enabled ad marketplace for the physical world. He is also the former Chief Revenue Officer of Flock.com and the former head of growth at HubSpot Labs. Sam taught advanced digital marketing innovation management and strategic economics at Harvard University. He is also the faculty chair for the digital marketing department at the University of South Florida.
In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss Sam’s journey, how we can market ourselves, and how to get a job with our dream company. Sam shares his story of how he got a recruiter from his dream company to contact him within 3 hours and 26 minutes.
While Sam worked as a talk radio host, his team asked if he could build their website and find a way to make money off it. He didn’t know much about websites so he started Googling things and came across HubSpot. As Sam downloaded and read through HubSpot’s educational content, he decided he wanted to work for them.
“I built a website called HireMeHubSpot.com, and I got the free credits you get when you sign up for Google, LinkedIn, [and] Facebook ads, and I ran ads targeting people who worked at HubSpot to sign up for the free webinar about why they should hire me. Ironically, it’s the best campaign I ever ran. Three hours and 26 minutes later, I got a call from the recruiter,” Sam said.
At HubSpot, Sam helped the company build software that lets e-commerce companies, such as themselves, beat Amazon.
Sam worked at HubSpot for eight years before leaving to work for Flock. Then, in March 2020, he started his own business building a digital marketplace to connect people who own ad inventory with the brands that value them the most.
Sam’s biggest home run happened because he was able to market himself to HubSpot. Once he decided he wanted to work for their company, he created a free webinar where he marketed his talents and abilities. He did this so well that HubSpot reached out to him less than four hours later, and he got a job working for them. How can we market ourselves like this?
In today’s marketplace, it is becoming more and more important to market ourselves. When someone buys our product or service, they are also buying us. Consumers want to feel connected to whoever they are buying from and so we need to learn how to not only market our business, but also ourselves.
When we market ourselves and provide value to our customers, we become an asset. A customer will be more likely to buy from us if they like who we are and what we stand for, if we give them good value, and if they trust us.
3 Ways to Market Ourselves
Here are three ways we can market ourselves.
1. Know Our Target Audience
Sam researched HubSpot and read their educational content before he created the website, HireMeHubSpot.com and started marketing himself. Before we can start to market ourselves, we need to know who our target audience is. This means we should do research before we start.
Nate Elliot said, “If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about.” When it comes to our customers, we need to understand their needs, values, hobbies, and wants. Who are we trying to sell ourselves to? Are we trying to market ourselves to a customer or a business partner? We should ask, “How can I serve my audience?” The only way we can know this is if we know them.
Once we know who our target audience is, we can determine what value we can offer. Gary Vaynerchuk said, “The best marketing strategy ever: CARE.” The more we care about our audience and understand what they need, the more likely they are to convert to our brand.
It may seem backward, but it is true. When we focus on our customers instead of ourselves, we can actually market ourselves better. The conversation shouldn’t be about how amazing we are, but how we can help our customers in a way that will amaze them.
2. Show Personality and Stand Out
When we market ourselves, we need to make sure we show our personality. What makes us different from everyone else? What makes us unique? What can we offer that no one else has? We need to have a unique selling point.
Emma Stone said, “What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. And a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.” We shouldn’t be afraid of being different. Our interests and passions show that we’re human. We’re not just trying to sell a product to our customers, we’re also trying to build a relationship. Remember, businesses are shifting to becoming more and more personalized.
According to recent reports, 71% of customers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal and 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides a personal experience (Source: Forbes). When we show more of our personality and become more personalized with our customers, our chances of success increase substantially.
Sam uses his passions to help market himself and his business. He said, “I am really passionate about how we [can] create a world in which small businesses are a viable economic model 20, 30, 100 years from now, given the fact that everything currently is favoring larger and larger companies [with] more and more consolidation.” Since his passion reflects the goal of his new business, OneScreen.ai, he can share it with his audience to show his personality and stand out. It will also help him build trust and credibility with his audience members.
Coco Chanel, a French fashion designer, and businesswoman said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
3. Build Trust and Credibility
Credibility marketing is one of the biggest tectonic shifts I’ve seen today. Customers simply don’t trust advertisements the way they used to. We have to market ourselves in ways that show we are trustworthy and credible.
One way to build trust is to admit when we don’t know something or when we are wrong. If a customer asks us a question we simply don’t know the answer to, that’s okay. Instead of pretending to be perfect and all-knowing, it’s actually beneficial to accept that we don’t know everything. We are more likely to trust someone who admits when they are wrong compared to someone who pretends to know it all. Admitting we are wrong actually helps us gain trust. People admire others who are willing to acknowledge their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions.
Another great way to build trust and credibility is by being reliant. If we say we’re going to do something, we better do it. If we tell a customer we have great customer service and will listen to their feedback, we better do that. If our website promises a response to a question, we better respond. If we don’t fulfill the promises that we give, our customers aren’t going to know what they can trust us with. People will begin to doubt if we are committed to any of our promises.
Finally, another great way to build trust is to communicate with our customers and simply listen to them. Listening shows that we respect and care about what our customers say.
Thank you so much Sam for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. When someone buys our product or service, they are also buying us. We need to become a personal brand and learn how to market ourselves.
2. Customers are more likely to make a purchase when a brand provides a personal experience.
3. Before we can start to market ourselves, we need to know who our target audience is.
4. If we want to share messages that resonate with our audience, we need to know what they care about.
5. We need to show our personality. What makes us different from everyone else? We need to provide a unique selling point.
6. We can build trust with our audience by being reliant and admitting when we are wrong or don’t know something.
Connect with Sam
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