As a Client Success Manager at Reply, I have the chance to talk to our clients on a daily basis; one of the things I love about talking to our clients is getting to know more about their businesses and how Reply is helping them. That’s one of the best parts of my job because I get to see so many different and exciting ways that our clients are using Reply.
Of course, it never hurts when I talk to clients and I hear that that Reply is helping their business grow!
Recently, I had the chance to talk to Michael Greenberg; Michael is the host of “Top of the Top: St. Louis” on the Business RadioX network. His program focuses on local small businesses and entrepreneurs in the St. Louis, Missouri region.
Read on to find out how Reply has helped Michael increase bookings on his show, decrease workload, as well as assist with expansion plans for Business RadioX.
— What is Business RadioX?
— So, we have our main media property online and then local studios where people come in to record to get real high-quality audio.
And we focus on sharing the conversation with small businesses and community leaders within that community and we are joining these conversations across the communities where we have a presence.
— Can you tell me about your background – what do you do at the Business Radio X network?
— I came to Business radio X first as a consultant; I’m a Growth Strategy consultant for startups and small businesses, and my background is with technology startups, specifically enterprise SaaS. I’ve been taking those skills and applying them to new companies.
Business Radio X is getting ready to expand and I joined the team to help them prepare for that. One of the big things that happened during that time is that I moved back to St.Louis. After moving back to St. Louis, Business RadioX asked if I would open a studio there.
So, when I opened the studio, I was new to town (I grew up in St. Louis, but growing up somewhere doesn’t mean that you have a professional network, so I needed to find guests).
And for me, the best way I know how to do that is the same way I do sales; when you really try to accelerate quickly, which ends up being a direct approach.
So, I started out by sending cold email invites to people I wanted to bring on the show and then that started taking a lot of time – that would take from 5 to 10 hours a week to send out emails and fill people for shows and keep that moving forward (just because of the research involved).
I have about a 60% hit rate with heavily customized emails, but at the same time, I reduce the amount of time I work to about one to two hours a month to schedule those guests.
— So before you started using automation software, did you do everything manually?
— Yes, I would get a lead list and go research leads and figure out who had a recent event that had occurred that I could use as a reason to invite them on my show. I would then reach out them to them to invite them on the show with the personalised emails and then schedule a time.
But with Reply, I would take my lead list and I do a little more research on the leads beforehand. With modern software, I could get a few thousand leads which is enough for a year or two for me; this was ten hours of work.
So, leads end up taking no time.
— Can you tell us about your outreach process and more specifically, how do you get your leads?
— I use two systems. I use an outsource lead generation firm to scrape and go through Linkedin, and I also use RSS feeds, and just general data business intelligence API’s to look at up-and-coming companies in the area or to enrich the data I get from a lead generation firm.
— How have things been working for you since you started using Reply? More specifically, have your processes improved?
— Fantastically. With Reply, I can send out any email batch of a hundred every month and fill anywhere between one to three months of shows at a time.
From the perspective of Business Radio X expanding, this removes one of the largest issues that we have with opening new studios, which is finding people and finding experienced operators with strong business networks to invite on.
It is much more difficult than just finding someone who would be a good operator and then doing the networking portion for them usually.
— In terms of cold emails, what is your mindset? Do you have any tips that you can share with our clients who might be looking to do something similar?
— Yes, so we are in a very advantageous position because we are not asking for money and we are really trying to help the person we’re reaching out to.
And, that is a key to a cold email. I do this sort of thing for other clients on a sales basis and the process still ends up being the same.
You need to be offering something to that person that is actually worth their work time and you need not to be selling with that initial introduction.
That is why, when we had that call not too long ago, I immediately thought that this would be a really good idea for a case study because, a lot of times, when people think of outreach and cold email automation, they automatically assume that it’s for sales.
I really like what you’re using it for because it’s completely different from a sales mindset. I think it’s really great for our clients to see that you can use our tool for something other than sales.
And realistically, I’ve done direct sales outreach campaigns and they are nowhere near as effective if you don’t add in that step of educating the customer and helping them in some way beforehand. We use interviews with Business RadioX because that is our business.
Other people use blog features or webinars; there is a variety of options but it all helps to increase effectiveness.
— Would you mind sharing some conversion metrics? You had spoken about being able to book more guests for your show. For example, how many guests have you been able to set up by reaching out to 100 people? How does that look for you?
— Reaching out to 100 people, I can expect anywhere between 20-30 guests; that’s from an email campaign and that number can end up being higher.
That’s one thing I’m actively trying to push for because of my open rates right now – I get between 60-70% open rates so they end up averaging out around 60% (which means that I’ve got room to grow).
— That’s definitely a great open rate.
— That’s the advantage again of having that offer and being able to reach out to people and say to them, “I want to help YOU with your business” instead of saying, “This product I have can help you with your business”.
I may just add that our mission is to amplify the voice of business, and share positive business stories and for us at least, having that strong mission definitely helps when we reach out to people.
— What does the expansion plan look like for Business Radio X? Is there a timeline that you are looking at or will it be based the results that you are having now?
— With the results in St. Louis now, we’ll have a firmer plan at the end of the year. The goal is to open at least one city per quarter, if not more. Our end goal is to hit from one to two every month.
— Is the network looking to expand regionally or across the U.S.?
— We are definitely looking to expand across the U.S.; the goal is to go, first nationwide, and then try to go international.
But, that is a much more difficult proposition once we cross the language barrier The goal right now is to go national and we have a strong presence regionally in the South East; St. Louis is the first stab into the Mid West and from there, we’ll expand out.
— I think that’s so interesting and I would definitely like to keep in touch with you during that process to see how the expansion is going.
— Yes, definitely. We are working right now to try to offer new things to people who underwrite and sponsor shows just around this booking system because that is one of the issues where, if someone wants to have two or three guests for every episode and they’re doing a weekly show, that becomes difficult to maintain.
I’m going to start using Reply for influencer outreach instead of getting another tool that does the same thing because the pureness of this being for just sales email automation makes it a much better tool to be used for multiple things.
— Thank you so much for your time, Michael; it was great talking to you again.
— You too. Have a great weekend.