Marcus Sheridan is an author, public speaker and online marketing consultant. He is the author of 3 Self-Help books, Co-owner of one of the largest inground fiberglass swimming pool companies on the East Coast, Professional Blogger, and Founder of The Sales Lion.
Click to tweet: Fire Nation, Marcus shares his incredible journey on EntrepreneurOnFire today!
- “No success outside of the home can make up for failure within the home.” – Marcus Sheridan click to tweet!
- In 2008, Marcus and his fiberglass pool company took the brunt of the housing crisis. Who was going to buy a pool when the house value was down 40%?
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- Simply put, best AHA moment yet. Actually… 2 of the best AHA moments yet.
- The Sales Lion is ROARING. Learn how you can use Marcus’ brilliance to enhance your business!
Small Business Resource
- Hubspot Analytics: HubSpot’s inbound marketing software offers businesses an all-in-one marketing solution: blogging, analytics, social media, email, automation & more.
Best Business Book
1) The Freedom Journal: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100-days!
2) Free Podcast Course: A 15-day course that will share how to create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast!
3) The Webinar Course: A 10-day course that will share how to create and present Webinars that convert!
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John Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you! John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply exhilarated to introduce my guest today, Marcus Sheridan. Marcus, are you prepared to ignite? Marcus Sheridan: Fully prepared, sir! John Lee Dumas: Oh, love it! Marcus is an author, public speaker and online marketing consultant. He is the author of three self-help books, co-owner of one of the largest inground fiberglass swimming pool companies on the East Coast, a professional blogger and founder of The Sales Lion. I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview, Marcus, but why don’t you take a minute. Tell us about you personally. We want to get to know you. And then take another minute to tell us about your business or businesses. Marcus Sheridan: Well, John, it’s a pleasure to be here with your listeners. I love what you’re doing. I love the passion and energy that you bring to it, man. John Lee Dumas: Thanks! Marcus Sheridan: My story is one of shortly after I had graduated from college – I didn’t really know anything about business, by the way – I didn’t like my job very much and I moved to the town where I had grown up and I was thinking it was going to be temporary for me and my wife. Two friends had opened up this swimming pool store. Very rinky-dink. Man, we’re over in Virginia, right? So they said, “Hey, do you want to run this place because we’re working out in the field and we need somebody to run it, and you could do that until you find something else,” and I said, “Yes, sure.” So to make a long story short, that was about 11 years ago, and I stayed on and I became the third partner in the business. Things went okay. I mean we were growing all right, but then in 2008, as everybody pretty much knows, the stock market collapsed, and with it, the value of homes fell drastically. At that point in time, people couldn’t afford luxury items and a whole slew of people could not afford to buy inground swimming pools, and that’s what we did, that’s what we do – inground fiberglass swimming pools. So we were in trouble, and by the beginning of 2009, my bank account was overdrawn for three straight weeks, I had 16 employees and I thought they were going to have to repossess my home and the homes of my business partners and it was a sad, stressful time in my life. But it was also during that time, it’s funny how life works, it’s usually in those moments of pain that we really figure out who we are and we’re forced to go beyond our normal self. At that point in time, I was forced to go beyond how we had always done business and I started studying the principles of online marketing and reading words like social media marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing and all these things. To me, after I kept reading each one, the theme that kept coming to mind was this – Okay. So what you’re telling me here is that if I’m a great educator and if I take the time to think like a consumer, talk like a consumer and answer all their questions on my website, I’m going to get blessed with traffic, which will eventually turn into more leads, which will eventually turn into more sales. That’s just the way that I saw it. So I said I got to be a great teacher, and so what we did is we brainstormed every question that we had ever received from clients over the previous decade and we wrote them all down, and then we answered each one and we turned each question into the title of a blog post and we answered them all very honestly and we didn’t hide our head in the sand. We did not dismiss any consumer question. At the time, our website was 20 pages. Today, it’s 850 pages, and today it’s the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world, and we were able to grow our business in a time when the economy was in total chaos. I started talking about what I was doing with my swimming pool company on the website and writing about that on a separate blog that I started in November of 2009 once I started seeing some action, and I called it “The Sales Lion.” Since that time, The Sales Lion has grown, and I’ve become a voice in the content marketing realm, and I just love talking about how we as great teachers and communicators can impact our business, build our brand and dominate our niche. It’s a principle-based thing where it doesn’t matter what we do, it doesn’t matter what your business is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a B2C, B2B, big, large, local or national. It really doesn’t matter. The principle of great teaching and communication is always the same, and if we do it online we can do amazing things. It’s changed my life, and now I’m blessed just to go around and to speak to companies about it and give workshops and speak at conferences and I absolutely love what I do. I still have the pool company, John, but my two business partners run it while I just kind of just go around North America or whatever and talk to companies and it’s a great life. John Lee Dumas: Man, that’s powerful. Marcus, EntrepreneurOnFire is about the journey, and you are such a storyteller. I just can’t wait to continue to dive more into your journey, but before we do, let’s start off the show how we start every show off, and that’s with the success quote because we like to get the motivational ball rolling. You’ve already done that for me, and I know for most of the listeners, but let’s hammer that home now. What do you have for us? Marcus Sheridan: You know what? I don’t think many of your listeners have probably heard it before, but to me it’s something I remind myself of often, and that is “no success outside of the home can make up for failure within the walls of your home.” I tell you that because I have four kids – 12, 8, 5 and 2 years old – and I have a wife. No matter what happens with my career, if I fail within those main walls of my home, none of the other stuff really matters and it helps me keep a perspective about really what I am and about life and about what’s important, and I find that if I always remember that and maintain a balance, I’m way happier and more productive in my professional life than if I just was completely engulfed in it and lost that balance that’s so critical for success. John Lee Dumas: Marcus, you’ve given us an incredible format synopsis of your entrepreneurial career, of your journey, but we’re going to transition now into a more ground level situation here. We’re going to go to failure, and that is something that entrepreneurs face every single day. It’s what defines us as people, it’s what defines us as entrepreneurs. Take us back to a point in your journey when you failed, when you came against an obstacle or challenge that you had to overcome, and then share with us how you overcame that specific obstacle. Marcus Sheridan: Well, it’s interesting. The whole reason why after meeting with so many “consultants” as a pool guy and having them tell us that we had to call it a day and file for bankruptcy to going through that process, and man, that’s scary when you know you’re going to lose your home. That’s really, really scary. But the thing about it is we didn’t have a Plan B, John. It’s like okay, so you’re telling me I can file for bankruptcy, but I’m going to lose my home, so what have I really accomplished? I haven’t done anything. Because we didn’t have a Plan B, our only answer was to fight harder and smarter with what we were doing, which is exactly what we did. I was not a techie guy. I was not a computer guy. I literally had to will myself. I was not a writer. People read my stuff and they say, “Man, you’re just really gifted with this whole writing and speaking thing.” Well, you have no idea! People, it’s like once we get good at something, we’re all naturals, right? John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: I mean we were born that way once we get good at it, but before that, it was not a talent and we just sucked. We limit ourselves so much. For me, I see so many of the 40 and up generation that are business owners that are so afraid of technology and they’re losing their business and they’re becoming a modern day Kmart simply because they say, “I’m just not good at that.” For a long time, I tried to learn coding and HTML and it just didn’t happen for me, and I’m still not a programmer, but eventually, I learned how to embrace technology and use it. I stunk at writing at first and I got good. I stunk at blog articles at first and I got good. I stunk at SEO and I got good. I stunk at understanding analytics, I just stunk at understanding email marketing. I stunk at a whole bunch of these other things that we hear so much about. And arguably, I still stink at Twitter and I probably stink at Facebook for business. John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: But notwithstanding, I’m still going at them and I’m not just throwing up my hands, and I think that’s all that really matters to me. It sounds cliché, but it is in the journey because my goal doesn’t have a point. The goal for me is progress. It’s all I really care about. Progress on a personal level, on a spiritual level, on emotional, financial, mental or whatever it might, I just want progress. I don’t have like these grand goals like be a millionaire. Like okay, so once I’m a millionaire, what does that mean? I’m going to make another goal. So why am I going to set the other goal? It doesn’t make any sense to me. So I just want to continually make progress in my life, which is what’s happened to me, and it’s happened at an accelerated pace drastically over I would say these last 6 to 12 months, and now things are really starting to fly. John Lee Dumas: Marcus, pick out one thing that you really stunk at, and that now you’re considered an expert at, and take us through the process of how you went from stinking to being where you’re at now. Marcus Sheridan: I would say the biggest one is I definitively was not a very good writer. My dad told me one time, I think it was about three years ago, maybe two, when I just started this, he said, “You know, you’re pretty good at speaking, but man, I think you got your writing skills from me,” and he’s a really bad writer. So he was basically telling me, “Dude, you kind of suck at writing.” John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: I was like, “Well, I appreciate your honesty,” but it didn’t really bother me because in every industry, I don’t care what it is, there aren’t enough teachers, and some people allow that quest for perfection to stop the launch. The problem is none of the stuff that we do with social media is freaking NASA. We are not flying space shuttles. Thus, we do not have to check, recheck, triple check and make sure we have 6 months of training to do what we do. I mean literally, we just need to launch and learn as we go. That’s how it was for me with writing. Now think of it like this, John. When I started writing, I wasn’t very good. And so on River Pools, my swimming pool website, I’ve probably written at least a few hundred blogs, right? And so if you do the math there, that’s a couple hundred thousand words. On The Sales Lion, now I have about 300 posts, an average of about 1,000 words per post, so that’s about 300,000 words. So let’s say over this time period over the last three years, I’ve probably written somewhere in the 500,000 to 600,000 word range, and then if you do that, if you look at it like that, it’s okay, so the average book these days is around 60,000, 70,000 words. Okay, if your name is Seth Godin, maybe 25,000. But let’s say 60,000 words. It’s almost like I’ve written somewhere around 6 books during this time period, and you can’t do that without getting better. I’m still not where I want to be, but I am a lot better. But I never really cared about the fact that I sucked at writing. I just cared about the fact that I wanted to make progress. I wanted to generate traffic leads and sales to my business. I wanted to teach people and in that process I knew eventually I would be good at writing. Nobody has ever told me, no single client has ever told me, “Hey, dude, you really suck at writing, but I did business with you anyway.” Nobody has ever said that to me before. Google and the search engines, they don’t sit there and judge you either about the writing. It’s we focus so much on – I’ll tell you what, John, now that I have a lot of clients that are multimillion dollar companies with content marketing and they’re initiating and launching a blog and a content marketing program. The number one problem is they all think they got to be freaking NASA, dude. Same thing! And it just kills them. So it’s the ones that are willing to be utterly imperfect, whether it’s a solopreneur or a multiple employee company or a really large company, the ones that are willing just to put it out there and improve as they go, man, they’re the ones that are doing it online. They’re the ones that are crushing it and everybody else is sitting there like tinkering with perfection and they just to continue to stink up the joint. So that was me. Sorry it’s a long-winded answer, but my writing is way better today than it was three years ago. It’s drastically better. John Lee Dumas: Now does that have something to do with Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours tipping point where you’re just continuously writing and writing so you’re just naturally progressing? Marcus Sheridan: Yes. I mean I think you can’t help but to do it, and it affects everything. It affects everything. I’m constantly thinking about this stuff because I’m constantly writing about this stuff and I’m constantly speaking about this stuff and each one affects the other one and it’s impossible for you to write off and then not be good and not prove in terms of your ability to talk, to verbalize about that. So like for example, someone calls me up right now and says, “Hey, Marcus, could you give a conference tomorrow and speak for about 4 hours everything you can about blogging, concept marketing, etcetera?” I’d be like, “Yeah, sure.” Naturally, if I didn’t want to, John, I wouldn’t have to take a note onstage. I could talk for four hours without practically blinking, not because I’m an incredibly intelligent guy. It’s only because this stuff is etched to my soul at this point because I’ve written and talked so much about it in some way, shape or form. So yes, I think there’s a 10,000 hour rule, but I never really got into that 10,000 because Malcolm made a big deal about like 10,000 and I’m thinking to myself, I just want an hour at a time. I just want to get better and better and better. Again, it goes back to me. I don’t have this grand goal. I just want to continue to make progress. John Lee Dumas: So Marcus, let’s use that and move to the other end of the spectrum. You’ve shared with us a failure or a challenge or obstacles that you’re encountering as an entrepreneur, but we also have these other moments which are these aha moments, these little light bulbs that go off, and you’re having them every single day on certain levels. They’re inspiring you, they’re pushing you forward, they’re having you pivot in different directions, but can you take us back to some point in your journey when you had a big light bulb just go off, and then share with us how you turned that light bulb moment into success. Marcus Sheridan: I have a few for you, John. Let me tell you about a couple of them and I really appreciate that question. In every industry – and I know I’m beating a horse here, but it’s important. Every industry lacks great teachers, and if you look at the search engines and Google, they reward the teacher. They reward the person that’s willing to address the questions that consumers have, the searchers of the world. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Three years ago, nobody in the world, if you can believe this, out of the thousands and thousands of swimming pool companies, had ever addressed the question on their website as to how much an inground pool, or in my case a fiber glass swimming pool, costs. Of course, why is that, John? Well the reason why that is is because they’re afraid, right? They’re afraid that their competitors are going to see their pricing. They’re afraid that they’re going to scare people off. They want to control the conversation, blah freaking blah. Same old, same [Unintelligible]. John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: Well, we allow fear to kill great marketing every day. Fear is a success killer when it comes to marketing. That’s why if you ever come up with a marketing idea, and then you have, “Well, what if this and this happens? What if this bomb blows up in our face?” You know you’re on the wrong track and you need to do exactly what it was that you thought you needed to do. So three years ago when I started this process, I came up with a golden rule of marketing. Believe it or not, this is my golden rule. I think it’s the golden rule of content marketing, of digital marketing, and it’s the title of my first hardback book in the marketing realm. It’s called “They Ask, You Answer.” That is the golden rule of marketing today. So if somebody just asked you the question, you need to answer it on your website. If you haven’t answered it, you’re ignoring the question and you’re going to pay the consequences for that because we are impatient consumers. If we cannot find the answer we’re looking for in your website, we’re gone. I’m gone, you’re gone. In fact, every single person that’s listening to this podcast right now is more impatient than they’ve ever been online when we search for stuff. So for me, the first question I answered three years ago was “How Much Does a Fiber Glass Pool Cost?” is the title of the article, and within 48 hours, it was number one on Google for over 100 cost-related phrases when it comes to fiber glass pools. Because I can track, John, the number of leads, people who have filled out the form, that initially landed on that article from some type of Google or whatever search engine’s search, I have been able to track the number of leads and sales that have come from that one article at a minimum. Not the people that have called me by phone. Just the ones that have filled out a form and eventually become a customer. That one article has made me $1.2 million in sales. John Lee Dumas: Wow! Marcus Sheridan: All because I did not hide my head in the sand and say, “Oh gosh! I can’t let my competitors know what my prices are,” which by the way, my competitors already know my prices and I know their prices. There are no secrets out there. We got to stop thinking we have a secret sauce when in reality, it’s nothing but thousand island dressing. Everybody has it, everybody knows what it is. There is really literally nothing special about what we do in our industry. You can’t say, “Well, we have really special employees. They have really special methodologies. Just show what it is that you do, and if you do that, you’ll be blessed with the transparency. You’ll get more traffic leads and sales in search engines and consumers will say, “Huh, this guy is actually thinking like me and is willing to address my questions.” That’s one light bulb moment. Let me tell you another light bulb moment. So at the beginning of 2011, I was looking at everybody that had filled out a form on my swimming pool website and had not bought a pool, and then I looked at everybody that had filled out a form and bought a swimming pool. So I was comparing people that filled out a form with no action versus people that filled out a form and eventually became a customer. As I was comparing the analytics, John, some number just jumped right out at me, and that number was 30. In other words, if the lead view 30 pages of my website before I went on the sales appointment, they would close 80% of the time. If they did not view 30 pages of the website, the closing rates were incredibly bad. It was an obvious correlation, and as soon as I saw that, I said, “My Goodness! All I got to do is get these people to read 30 pages of my website before I get into their home.” So that was about two years ago when I did that. You see, John, three years ago, I thought that the most somebody would research about swimming pools, or any subject for that matter, was maybe 10, 15 pages of the website. John, do you know the average customer this year for my swimming pool company has read – I’m not lying here, no exaggeration – 105 pages of the site. John Lee Dumas: Wow! Marcus Sheridan: If we could actually see everybody who’s listening to this podcast right now and we ask them in their individual industry how many pages of your website do you think somebody would be willing to read to research the service or product that you sell? Most people would say, “Ah, 5. Maybe 10.” You know why they say that, John? It’s because they’re thinking like a business owner or a marketer and they’re not thinking like a consumer, which is the curse [Unintelligible] and it’s killing us, man. The moment we let go of that and we start just becoming great teachers and we start putting content on our stuff, especially our website, we realize, oh my gosh! I’ve had people, and lots of people. Not a few amount. I’ve had many, many customers read over 300 pages of my website. I’ve had multiple read over 500 pages of my website. And I can track everything now because of the beefy analytics that we use. So I know these for certain, John. I know them for a positive fact. So the thing about it is I use content. I feel strongly that content is the greatest sales tool in the world. Just like, John, if you call me up and you said, “Marcus, I’ve got some questions about content marketing. I think I might want to use your services.” I’m going to say, “That’s great, John, but before you do that, I know you want to be educated and I know you want to be informed. I’m going to get you to read my e-book first. This is going to answer all your basic questions, and if you get through that, then I know that we’re probably going to be a good fit and you will be very well versed in terms of everything that I think and feel about content marketing. Now that e-book, John, is 250 pages. It’s on the sales line. Thousands and thousands of people have read it, but I get lots of leads on the sales line. Lots of them would be time suckers if I allowed them to be such because they’re looking to just free-ride and get free information, which I give tons of on the blog. Well, instead of me spending all my time answering questions day in and day out, a very large percentage of the potential leads that come in is you need to read my e-book first. Now, only a certain percentage of them get through the e-book and read it. They didn’t finish it because every single time, they weren’t that serious, John, but the ones that finish it, do you think they get additional quotes? Do you think they get three other quotes from three other consulting firms? No. They just want to use me because by that point, they’re completely in the stuff that I’m teaching and preaching and my doctrine as a content marketer, as a thought leader in any single industry when it comes to digital marketing. See, that’s why I think content is the greatest sales tool in the world. It is a great filter, it can teach 100 people at one time all around the world while I’m sitting here on a podcast right now talking to you, and everybody who’s on my site right now is being sold. They’re moving down that sales funnel. And I think content is still, despite the fact that all we’ve said online with social, content and all these stuff, I think it’s still the most underutilized sales tool out there and I believe it is so strong because it has changed my life. I know again that was a really long answer to your question, but those were some of the light bulb moments, brother. John Lee Dumas: Love it! Love it, Marcus. As entrepreneurs, all we have is time, and you are just a great example of someone who learned how to leverage his time and not just trade time for dollars, but instead, you’re making people go through a funnel, and if they qualify in your mind, then they’re worth actually taking the next step with because like you said, so many people are just out there fishing and not even really looking to catch anything. So I mean, you can’t waste your time as an entrepreneur on this people because all we have time. Marcus Sheridan: You’re right. There’s a quote that I always like to say, and that is “the rights of a content marketer are greater than he who produces no content.” John Lee Dumas: I love that! Marcus Sheridan: It’s like when Mr. Miyagi had Daniel-san wax the car and paint the fence. Daniel-san was doing that. He didn’t really understand why, but it needed to be done. Mr. Miyagi, in this case, he was offering the service, which is training, right? Daniel-san was the customer. Daniel comes to him and says, “I want you to train me.” Miyagi says, “Sure, I’ll train you, but first I need you to do these things.” Now if Daniel doesn’t do those things, what does Miyagi know? He ain’t a good customer. He ain’t good fit for me and the way that I roll. So it’s the same thing with content. If we use our content for that wax on/wax off methodology, we can know right away this is going to be a great client, this is not going to be a very good client, this is not going to be a very good customer. Again, what I’m talking about here, John, it ain’t about swimming pools. It’s not about marketing. This is applicable to every – I don’t care if you sell popsicle sticks. This is applicable to you, but we’ve got to build value, we’ve got to be great teachers, and then we have to use those teachings to help our potential customers progress, and like you said, move down the funnel. John Lee Dumas: Speaking of Karate Kid and speaking of aha moments, anybody who’s seen that movie knows exactly when Daniel-san had his aha moment. Marcus Sheridan: That’s exactly right! John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: Because all of a sudden, Miyagi throws a punch. Daniel throws a block, and he’s like, “Holy crap! This stuff really worked! Now I understand and I did it!” John Lee Dumas: Oh, love it! Marcus Sheridan: And then as soon as somebody reads your content, they might be like, “Why is he making me read all this?” Like for the swimming pool industry, I tell people, and I don’t go into sales calls anymore, but our salespeople say, “Now, listen, I’m giving you this e-book to read before I get out there, and if you don’t have the time to read it before I get there, we’re just going to reschedule our appointment.” You don’t hear that in the pool industry, BUT the people then know, oh, this guy is serious. He wants me to be well-informed. I spent for 10 years, John, I was going to kitchen tables and I was answering questions that should never have been asked, and people sometimes say, “Gosh! All my Internet leads stink.” No, they don’t! Internet leads are as good or as crappy as the content that brought them in the funnel. If your content is great, the chances that your leads are going to be very strong is the same. If your content stinks and you have 5 pages to your website and you don’t really teach anything and answer any questions, there’s a good chance you’re going to get a ton of tire kickers that are not very good. I hope that makes sense, but it’s very, very critical. Because we change the way that we sell and because I’ve changed the way I sell my business, I’m able to be home with my family more. I’m able to be with my four children a lot more. I’m able to have more freedom in my life that I didn’t have before and I have much better clients. I don’t have nearly as many hate clients as I used to, and that’s because I was going about it the wrong way. John Lee Dumas: Marcus, you have so much passion. What’s one thing that’s really exciting you about your business or what you’re doing in the business world right now? Marcus Sheridan: What excites me, John, is working in industries where people say, “Nah, this whole content blogging thing, it doesn’t work in this industry.” I love that, man. I love hearing that. I’ve actually specifically targeted industries to work with so I can produce case studies so I can talk about them and prove people wrong [Laughs]. John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: Man, I’ll give you one example. I’m working right now with a company that does government contracting. Anybody that knows anything about it will tell you that most people don’t think that it’s an Internet-driven business and it is one of the more technical and boring industries created by the hand of man. Notwithstanding, there are questions that need to be answered in that industry, and I’m teaching one particular company to do it. It’s a pretty big company and we have about 40 people that are producing content blogging on the team. They’ve become thought leaders in their field, John, because of it, and we’re going to prove everybody wrong that [Unintelligible]. Just like it happened in the swimming pool industry and just like it will happen to anybody that’s open to the idea about willing to be a great teacher and communicator in their field, they’re going to eventually become a thought leader, and just the potential business that can come from that is astounding. John Lee Dumas: Man! That is exciting, Marcus. What’s also exciting is that we’ve now reached my favorite part of the show, the Lightning Round. This is where I ask you a series of questions, and you come back with fast, direct lightning answers. Does that sound like a plan? Marcus Sheridan: Man, fast and direct, I can do the direct. Fast? I’m going to do it this time because I know that’s the style here, brother. So let’s rock it out! John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] I love it! What was holding you back, Marcus, from becoming an entrepreneur? Marcus Sheridan: Fear and ignorance. John Lee Dumas: What is the best business advice you’ve ever received? Marcus Sheridan: The more successful you become, the more important it is that you learn how to say no instead of always saying yes. John Lee Dumas: What is something that’s working for you or your business right now? Marcus Sheridan: Content marketing is working, but we’re pushing the content to places nobody’s ever gone before, specifically with versus-related posts. If you sell products, compare them. Compare your products with competitors. Compare, compare, compare all the time products and services. Compare lots on your website. John Lee Dumas: Love it! Speaking of content marketing and just the Internet in general, do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote that you’re just in love with that you can share with Fire Nation? Marcus Sheridan: Well, I have talked a few times about the analytics that I use and how I know as much as I know about my leads that come into the system. I use HubSpot, which is a company that’s not very far from you there, John. A little bit south of Maine and Boston. I think they’re amazing with what they’re doing. HubSpot and their teachings on inbound marketing in general as they call it is really the catalyst that changed my life when we were in the pits back in 2009. John Lee Dumas: So besides your e-book, which I can’t wait to read, what business or entrepreneurial book would you recommend for Fire Nation? Marcus Sheridan: Let me just give you a couple. Everything starts and stops with “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” John Lee Dumas: Dale Carnegie. Marcus Sheridan: Yes. It’s easily the greatest business and personal relations book ever written in my opinion. As far a very new and modern book in the content, in this web education field, the book “Content Rules” by CC Chapman and Ann Handley is also I think pretty exceptional. John Lee Dumas: Awesome! Marcus, this is the last question. It’s also my favorite, but it’s tricky. So take your time, digest it, and then come back at us with an answer. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to earth, but you knew nobody. You still have all the experience and knowledge that you currently have, your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500. What do you do in the next seven days? Marcus Sheridan: I would probably start on LinkedIn, believe it or not. That’s because I would need to make money immediately. I need to make more than $500. So I’m going to start to make real connections on LinkedIn and give value. I’m going to go to companies. I’m going to analyze their stuff, analyze their sites and start giving them real feedback. I’m not going to wait for the leads to come to me. I’m going to go at them aggressively. That’s the first place that I’m going to go, and in the meantime, I would start producing content so I can use to show people that I’m a thought leader in my field. And I’m going to miss my kids to death, man. That’s a sad scenario. John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: [Laughs] John Lee Dumas: Marcus, that was great actionable advice. LinkedIn is totally underutilized by a lot of people. You’ve given us great actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give us one parting piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye. Marcus Sheridan: John, really, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, talking to your “nation.” Man, I like that. John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Marcus Sheridan: One piece of advice that I might give is we read so much about what we should be doing, it can get intimidating. We need to be on Twitter and we need to be on Facebook. We need to be on LinkedIn, we need to have a blog, we need to be doing video. We need to be doing all that other social media stuff and we need to be awesome at all of it. I’m a huge believer in the concept of we simply cannot be a jack of all social media trades because we’ll end up being a master of none. I think that we need to try at first to be a master of one. That means that if you’re the best in your industry at Facebook or LinkedIn or blogging or video, then be that person first. Establish your foundation that way, and as you do that, you’ll have the ability to grow out and it won’t be as cumbersome, stressful and you’ll be much more effective. As far as finding me and my stuff, I’d love for you, if you’re listening to this, to stop by my site sometimes. It’s called The Sales Lion. It’s got a great community. You’ll see that’s a very active blog. I’m very frank and concise in the way that I communicate and sometimes I’m contrarian. The e-book on there that I mentioned earlier, “Inbound and Concept Marketing Made Easy,” it’s been downloaded now almost 10,000 times over the last year and it’s changing lives and businesses all over the world. So check it out. It’s Inbound and Concept Marketing Made Easy. You can find me on Twitter – @thesaleslion. John Lee Dumas: Marcus, we’re going to link all those up in the show notes. Thank you so much for your generous time, information that you’re sharing. It’s all been so valuable. Fire Nation, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.