Caleb Roche Featured On The Freelancer’s Friend Podcast
Our guest this time is Marketing Consultant, and Founder of CRoche Consulting, Caleb Roche. In this episode we chat about: how communication and marketing channels have changed in recent years; what kind of lead generation or sales process a freelancer needs to use now; how to re-engage your existing following or client base if you need to; how data and analytics play their role in successful marketing; new algorithm changes on Google, and whether we should be prepared for it…and more about understanding marketing strategy and implementation.
View A Transcript of the Podcast Episode here
Victor Taylor: Welcome to the Freelancer's Friend, Episode 16.
Caleb Roche [Abstract]: It's now more of a trust factor that people need instead of just an automated strategy. I mean, they're helpful, but there's a lot more transparency that needs to happen within all the different social channels. That we're advising our clients, anytime we take them on, that before you start online advertising, you need to start a relationship with these customers. And if we acquire them online, we need to work on developing those better.
Victor Taylor: If you want to enjoy a thriving freelance business, then learning from others with the knowledge and experience is invaluable. Our guest, this time is Marketing Consultant and Founder of CRoche consulting, Caleb Roach. In this episode, we chat about how communication and marketing channels have changed in recent years; what kind of lead-generation or sales process a freelancer needs to use now; how to re-engage your existing following or client base, if you need to; how data and analytics play a role in successful marketing; new algorithm changes on Google and whether we should be prepared for that and more about understanding marketing strategy and implementation. So let's get on with it.
Victor Taylor: Welcome Caleb. Thanks for joining us from Edmond, Oklahoma.
Caleb Roche: Thanks for the invite. Appreciate it.
Victor Taylor: You run CRoche Consulting and you're experienced in marketing strategy and execution data and analytics, procedure development project management for a variety of companies- from small businesses to the second largest privately owned QSR brand; which I think stands for Quick Service Restaurant. Have I got that right?
Caleb Roche: Yep. That's correct.
Victor Taylor: Are you allowed to say which one?
Caleb Roche: It was Inspire Brands.
Victor Taylor: Okay. So, can you say a little bit about your background and how you got into marketing strategy?
Caleb Roche: Yeah. So I started when I was a little bit younger. I went to college, at a local college here. I started doing some small business operations work in the local area while I went to school. I started enjoying kind of the marketing side and what I attribute to more of the customer-retention and kind of the happiness level throughout the process. So I kind of focused on building better systems to keep productive and happy customers through the journey and that led to working with Inspire Brands for about 2 1/2 years. They own Sonic, Jimmy John's, Arby's, now Dunkin donuts and a couple of other big brands. So I worked on their consumer insights and product insights team, and basically we would help develop a new product. So the culinary team would come to us and say we've got these ideas, take them to market, see what consumers think. So we would do taste tests and it was a really cool experience. I got to travel a lot and see a lot of new markets and how consumers interacted. So while I was doing that, I had this goal in mind that I never want to work for someone. I'm sure you feel this way too. I don't like the 9-5. I'll work 24 hours on my own to not have to go to meetings for someone else. And so when I started that role, I'd kind of built my official business as well. I got to a point where I was making more money on the side than I was with my salary. And so at that point, I talked to my wife and I was like, "Hey, we've got this income coming in, how would you feel about me jumping on my own?" And so that's when I made the jump and became a full-time marketing consultant on my own.
Victor Taylor: And your wife was fully supportive of that?
Caleb Roche: She was. It was a little bit of a journey because we had starting from the ground the first year. Really wasn't that impressive- revenue side or client side. And so, she had been able to see the progression and where I had kind of started and where I was now. So that was an easier conversation to see the actual revenue coming in and hey, I'm making more money than I was then.
Victor Taylor: Yeah. Good. So how would you say that communication or marketing channels have changed in recent years?
Caleb Roche: They've really changed a lot. So if you look at, let's say Facebook. I don't know, do you follow Gary V at all or any of those big influencers?
Victor Taylor: I know who you mean. I don't really follow them personally, but I know exactly who you mean. You can't really miss them.
Caleb Roche: Okay. Yeah. So they're kind of the Grant Cardones. They used to be these big social influencers and a lot of them still are. But the way they, they become became popular was pushing out loads and loads of content. So, they kind of pushed, not really into the quality side, but more of just pushing out as much content on social channels as they could. Before Facebook has kind of improved the algorithm, they really made a lot of attention because of that. And now, as Facebook's grown into this big business, it's been kind of a shift from, instead of just quantity over quality, it's now quality over quantity.
Victor Taylor: We were saying the exact same thing in a previous episode about the LinkedIn platform.
Caleb Roche: Yeah. I'm sure you've seen this on LinkedIn. It's now more of a trust factor that people need instead of just an automated strategy. I mean they're helpful, but there's a lot more transparency that needs to happen within all the different social channels. That we're advising our clients, anytime we take them on, that before you start online advertising, you need to start a relationship with these customers. And if we acquire them online, we need to work on developing those better. Just because, there's a lot of fake gurus and there's a lot of fake things out there that people don't understand. And so the trust factor for brands has really dropped unless they've had a previous experience. And so I heard a story on a podcast a couple of days ago. I really don't remember who, who was talking about it, but they talked about restaurants and how the percentage chance of a restaurant. If you bring in a guest, their percentage chance of coming back for the second time after they've had a good experience is 40%. Then when the third time after they come back, the next time after that second time, if they have a good experience, they have a 40% chance. After that time, if they have a good experience, they have a 80% chance of staying with the brand for their lifetime. And so what they talked about was, developing systems where the first time they sit down, there's a red napkin on their plate. As soon as the meal ends, they get a free meal or they get a comp, something like that. As soon as the meal ends, the manager comes over and says, "Hey, thanks so much for stopping by. You've got to try the chicken pot pie, you got to try it. Like here's a 50% off the pot pie. Here's my card. Give this to them the next time you come in and try this out.” Well, then they're going to come back because they've got an offer and then that gives the servers a hint, the next time that they have a card. And so that kind of flags them as that's the second visit. So then the third time the manager comes over and says, "Hey, you need to try the cheesecake. It is phenomenal. Take this postcard, whatever it is, bring it back. You get free cheesecake on that third time.” That's given them the ability to have three amazing experiences with this business, to where you've got to build the trust and continue building yet, but that trust factor has already gone from zero to a hundred in a matter of four visits.
Victor Taylor: I suppose, data and analytics play a massive part in gaining trust. Would you say that data and analytics are pretty much the core of successful marketing or just one aspect?
Caleb Roche: I would agree. I think it's a very vital core of the marketing component of what you're doing, but I think you have to utilize data in the correct way. Because I'm sure you've heard the term, data is more valuable than oil now and that's a relative term. But there is so much data floating around that we have to identify what data is valuable for businesses to have. And how do you actually use that? Because you can collect all the data you want, but is it actually useful data that's going to help your customers come back and visit. And so that's what we preach with our customers is whether it's website optimization, looking at heat maps where customers are going, seeing how far they're going on a page, how many are bouncing right as soon as they jump on the page, how they're responding to social, any offers that we're promoting. So I think data is a huge thing, but I think it's one of those things where it gets thrown around a lot and it's not properly utilized as much as it needs to be.
Victor Taylor: So is there a best way of gathering the data that you need? Is there any particular?
Caleb Roche: I really think it just has to be centralized. Whatever you do, you have to have a purpose for what you're gathering. And so whether it's for your website and you're using Google analytics or for your social channels, using the analytics tool within there, and then pulling them into like a third party tool that can kind of consolidate all to make sure you're just tracking it and not having to look at 4 to 5 different pieces of data from different companies.
Victor Taylor: Hmm. Something I wanted to ask is how the listener might be able to re-engage with their target market after the pandemic, but also at any time. I suppose after there's been a lull business; for example, or something similar.
Caleb Roche: Yeah. So I think customer loyalty is a huge thing right now. So are you talking about like pre-existing customers or new customers?
Victor Taylor: Well, just reawakening your older connections and network. Say there's been a pandemic or say you haven't been marketing as well as you should, or you've been lost or you've had time out or whatever. How can you reconnect with people that already know you?
Caleb Roche: Yeah. So if you already have an established email channel, if you have established social channels on a website, what we would recommend is, kind of worked-develop messaging that can get customers back in with new systems or processes that you're building to build a better experience. And so whether standardization is a big thing, creating messaging around what you're doing and what you're actually doing for standardization. What that experience look like. Are they cleaning down the tables? Do you have to wear masks? Are masks provided? And then in regards to just the overall kind of bring customers back, finding an offer that isn't too much where you're selling your soul, but some sort of offer to kind of re-engage that customer back in. Whether it's a certain percentage off or a new product offering that you're bringing in that you’re maybe discounting just a little bit to give them a taste of what you have and what they can get. Or some sort of way that you can build customers back in with new processes.
So let's say you're for instance, a marketing consulting firm and maybe customers are looking for better ways to have communication with marketing companies. So, something recently that we've discovered for marketing agencies is communication is lacking between client and the agency. And so we've developed some systems where we're building Friday updates and a client portal where they can see analytics. So kind of honing in our services, what we do and how we do it to build a better customer experience. And then we're pushing out messaging that anytime we get a new customer or we're trying to, re-engage an old client or an old prospect. We can kind of come from the front of, hey, we've worked on ourselves, we've worked on this business and I think it would benefit you in the long run. And so I think you've got three different things you can do. You can work on the, let's call it the standardization, the cleanliness, you can work on your product offering, and then you can also work on some sort of offer. But when you work on an offer, you have to be very, very careful of not getting into the discount type model, continually.
Victor Taylor: Some sort of gift that just says, hello, I'm still here kind of thing. Yeah.
Caleb Roche: We've always done thank you notes. No matter, if we meet with a client, if we've talked to a client, if they've sent us a referral. We did it after the pandemic as well of thanking business owners that we've worked with that maybe had a tough time during the pandemic and still were our clients, or just a way to kind of re-engage our community. And thank you notes were a very effective tool because not many people are doing it nowadays. And it was a great way to show hey, I'm taking the time to write a little bit of a note to you. It's not anything crazy but I've handwritten them and I'm putting the postage on and sending them out. And people really resonate with that because with such a digital world, you really have to personalize it to make it seem like you care because it's kind of hard to communicate that sometimes.
Victor Taylor: Yeah. If you've got a budget going offline this makes a real impact, definitely.
Caleb Roche: Oh, absolutely.
Victor Taylor: I've seen you refer to a new algorithm or changes to the Google algorithm. What changes do you mean and does the listener need to prepare for it in anyway?
Caleb Roche: A little bit. So if they've got the proper steps in order, they’ll be fine. But if they're kind of identified as a more spam site or their site is lower quality in what Google views is low quality, they're going to see a drop in rankings. And so Google for the first time in, let's see, I don't think they've released two updates within two months because they did an update in June and they did an update in July. And from my recollection, I don't think they've ever done an update that quickly or it's been a couple of years since they have. And so what they've done is they've released a spam update and they've released a quality update. And so they've kind of cracked down on spam sites that are kind of pushing out content that really isn't relevant. They're pushing out sites that have been identified or flagged as spam by other visitors.
Then another interesting feature that we've recently learned about is the Google My Business component. It became very popular in networking groups and just overall for people to do what's called like a review chain. So I review you, you review me and then let's say we have another business that we talk with. They review them. And so we've got three solid reviews that we do business with, but it looks like it was a fake review by Google because it's back-to-back-to-back, within the span of a day, let's say. And so, you’ve encountered problems with that happening to some of our clients of Google, not even showing reviews, if that happens. And so there's a lot of different things that businesses need to be aware of like that, not doing review chains, making it, spreading it out over the next couple of days to make it look like its intentional reviews.
Then more of the quality update that Google did was they're looking now for quality content. And so, you know, it's always been a focus of them and I'm sure you're aware of this as much as basically everyone else is. Google makes money on bringing customers back and them having a great experience. And so what they want is they want to push sites that are providing valuable content to their readers. And so we've seen a rise in update from just pushing out blog posts that actually relate to what our businesses do and how they do it and the quality of service and those types of things versus just pushing out keyword stuff/blog posts.
Victor Taylor: So are there any basic things to remember, to make sure that you don't offend Google too much?
Caleb Roche: You know, I don't think we'll ever get to a point where there's a set checklist, let's say that will get you. I mean, you can do some good steps to make sure that you're relevant with Google but the biggest piece is just making sure that, your site actually has heading one tags. Those are, those are big pieces of your website. A lot of business owners don't know that you need to have meta-tags or how to add those on. There's title tags and meta-tags. You need both of those for Google to actually recognize what the page is about. And then the biggest piece is the tool that they've created, it's called Google Search Console. A lot of business owners don't know about it is you can go on Google search console and what they call indexing your site. Essentially, Google crawling your website. And you can sign up for that for free and it takes three minutes to set up and it will start crawling your website and without having to pay for these big SEO tools, it'll tell you your average position on Google, how many clicks you're getting from a certain keyword. So there's a lot of in-depth data that's in this Google Search Console that most business owners don't even know about.
Victor Taylor: So that's a really good place to start if you don't use it already.
Caleb Roche: It is. And there's a lot of helpful guides because it's a little complicated on how do you submit a site map? How do you get an index? There's a lot of different things that might look a little confusing or complex, but there's a lot of help guides. If you're using WordPress Squarespace, most of them actually have guides on how to index your site on Google Search Console.
Victor Taylor: So you started fairly young, you thought you wanted to become a lawyer when you were younger, but eventually you decided to go to the down the route of entrepreneurship. Could you say how you first got started and if you had much of a budget and how you basically marketed yourself to get to your business off the ground?
Caleb Roche: Yeah. So I was actually, I thought I wanted to be an attorney and I thought it was going to be the coolest and greatest thing of all time to be an attorney. And I realized very quickly that I did not like being anywhere close to an attorney. A lot of writing, a lot of sitting at a desk and while that's what I do, it really wasn't as creative as I wanted it to be. And so, I started with a firm I was working with, they didn't really have a website. And so I thought, hmm, I'll try to design a website. So I borrowed a camera from a friend. I thought I was basically the best photographer in the world. I probably should have been on national geographic and took some photos of the local area. Built this horrible website that I feel bad that they even had. But it was a great start for me to understand how do you build a website, what things go into it, how do you improve a website, how do you track it. And so I slowly learned through the course of that, maybe Law wasn't for me and maybe this, this marketing and operation's side was actually kind of what I enjoyed. And so that kind of led me down the path of working for a big business while kind of building what I would call a side hustle into a business. But during that, like freelance and side hustle mode, I really didn't have a big budget. My content was pretty horrible at the time and I was still learning. I mean, I still am learning, a lot. And so I couldn't go to a business and say "hey, I've gotten results for these businesses, here's some campaigns." I was ashamed of the different campaigns I had built. And so I kind of worked to develop relationships within networking groups, the local chamber of commerce here and kind of just building relationships without selling and then hoping that those would turn out to be great connections down the road.
And that was probably the biggest piece that I did that I'm grateful for because I didn't spend any money on advertising, I had a very low budget and I really wanted to work from the beginning on customer service and building better procedures for my clients. And so I had a couple of friends that had gone out and they had started businesses and they solely lead-generate online. They acquire all their clients, they don't talk to them. They might talk to them on a call and that’s for what they do. I've always learned that I don't want that and I want more of over like a relationship with my customers. So I can take them out to lunch. I can call them up and it feels more like an established-relationship. And so from the very get go, I basically bought thank you cards. I built business cards for my business. I built a website for my business, and then I spent my budget, which was, I would say I probably spent under like a hundred bucks a month, my first six months. Just on building materials, flyers, having them print it out and basically just taking people to lunch, going to different networking events and kind of developing relationships. And now, I mean, four years later 4 to 6 years later, after that very initial start of building relationships, getting connections, I'm still getting referrals from people that I met 6 years ago. Or I'm getting calls and saying, “Hey, let's go to lunch, let's go to this let's wait, let's talk about this strategy.” And so it wasn't the coolest or most innovative or prettiest strategy that I could have done.
I could probably throw in a bunch of ads spend on a credit card and become successful but I always wanted this mentality that the customers I acquire are either relationships that I've built through online channels or in-person. And then we're mainly a referral based firm as well. And so we do online advertising. We acquire customers through online channels, but a majority of our customers are actually from referrals. And so I attribute the time that I spent, it was a lot of time and a lot of effort kind of working on my pitch, developing who I was as a business person and walking into those rooms and having the courage to kind of speak when you're young and have the confidence. I think there's a difference between pride and confidence. So identifying what's pride, what's confidence, and then having a good mixture of confidence and walking into those rooms and saying “hey, here's who I am. I don't have all this experience, but this is what I've developed. This is what I want to do. And this is how I can do it.” And from the very get-go, doing more of your organic meeting people approach, was valuable to my business, especially with a small budget.
Victor Taylor: Yeah. Kudos to you for the public speaking side of things, as a young person. I know it's up there with death as one of the most feared things.
Caleb Roche: Well it's one of those things because I'm only 22 still. And so I still struggle with a lot of what's it, I forget the term for it, but the imposter syndrome. I'm still so young.
Victor Taylor: No, the imposter syndrome is a term that's used a lot at the moment.
Caleb Roche: Yep. And so it feels like when I speak with these businesses, even when I go into pitches and talk to businesses, we have these established results. We have the strategy, we have the education, the understanding. And I still go into these businesses thinking I'm going to walk in, they're going to think I'm some young kid that doesn't know what I'm doing. And I feel this like imposter syndrome, like, do I even know what I'm doing? And that's been tough. It's hard as a freelancer to go into these businesses. Some of them are big businesses. Let's say you get a big contract, you're speaking to these people that feel like they're on a tier above you because they work for this business. And what I've discovered through working with bigger companies, like international companies, the people working in those businesses are just like you. I mean, a lot of people in corporate America have imposter syndrome too. And so when you're speaking to these people and you have this like, fear that I'm going to get found out, they're not going to think I'm experienced enough. On the other side, the flip side, these clients, when the agencies come to them, a lot of them feel the same way about them. I've got to make it look like I've got all my crap together and I understand what I'm doing. So it's, it's a very interesting thing that I don't know if you've ever felt this way, but it's just, I don't know if it'll ever go away.
Victor Taylor: No, I think all humans are the same. They have a kind of negative self-talk. And I hear that negative self-talk is what you do the most when you're chatting to yourself, whether you notice it or not in the idea is to become aware of what you're saying to yourself and reframe it. And this is a, quite a big topic that I'd like to delve into here in. Now I think we should stick with the topic that we're meant to be talking about for the moment. There are other episodes where we talk about your mindset and this kind of thing, in general. So, from what you're saying a kind of big takeaway, I'm taking from what you've said so far is, it's a kind of balance between having a good data and analytics and the human side of things and building relationships and having the balance between those two things.
Caleb Roche: Yes. Absolutely. You know, like we talked about at the very beginning, data is core. Data is important because when we price things, when we talk to our customers, we use a lot of data to tell them here's what people are experiencing. Here's the percentage of shoppers that aren't coming back. Here's X. And that's essential. And that's what our main selling point is and what a lot of businesses selling point is. But at the very, too, like you said, the human relationship piece is so important as well. Because you can do all these data, you can do all the analytics, but as we've learned throughout the years, people are people. And so you can do all these complex strategies and use data to inform decision-making. But at the end of the day, if a consumer makes one decision that you didn't calculate for, or they make a decision opposite of what you thought they would make, you've still got to have that human element because you've got to bring them back to that piece or else you've lost them.
Victor Taylor: Yeah. Makes perfect sense. Is there anything else you'd like to add to what we've said already?
Caleb Roche: No, I think that's a lot of rambling on my part. So probably a lot for people to listen to.
Victor Taylor: So, what's the best way for the listener to find out more about you? I think you've got a free consultation that you offer.
Caleb Roche: I do. I have a free consultation. We tell our clients or our potential clients, we don't sell on that consultation unless they want us to. And so what we'll do is we'll provide an audit for them. We can kind of talk about strategy for 30 minutes to an hour on how they can improve their business on different channels that they can do. And if the conversation comes up that they want to look into working with us, that's a different conversation, but they can go to our website. It's CRoche Consulting, crocheconsulting.com. They can check out our website. We have some great blogs. We're talking about neuro marketing right now, consumer driven decisions, kind of some core updates. I mean, some great content. And then we also do have that free consultation on there that link. They can schedule a time, set up some time to talk. And then I also love connecting with people on LinkedIn. So, people can add me on LinkedIn.
Victor Taylor: Great. I think I'll try that. It's interesting. Thanks again for joining us, Caleb, it's been a pleasure. I just have one final question that I ask every guest and its, what’s the one most important thing to do or be for freelancing success?
Caleb Roche: The biggest I thought about this, I listened to some of your past episodes. So I came prepared. So I really think one of the most important pieces for freelancer is not getting too ahead of yourself. You really have to identify what areas you have to work on in your business to improve that client experience. So like we said, use data, build kind of what your clients are wanting, what they're doing, how they're interacting with their brand, and then supplement that with the human side, how can we increase communications with our clients? How can we bridge that gap between what they want and what they need? And so, throughout my experiences, I've made a lot of mistakes. I've made a lot of failures, a lot of miscommunications. And the biggest key is talking to a client, being upfront, being honest about those mistakes and using those that data piece to increase better systems. And then the human side being honest and being transparent with those people and saying, I made a mistake. And that's, that's the biggest piece that I've learned throughout my time doing this.