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Episode 304: Using Social Media and Text Marketing Strategies to Increase Engagement with Mary Barnett

In episode 304, Megan chats with Mary Barnett, otherwise known as Mobile Mary, about her best kept secrets to increasing engagement and a strong connecting with your audience by using text messaging as well as social media.

We cover information on why social platforms are actually “borrowed territory” because you don’t own the information, how to start building your own lists, including phone numbers and ways to organically build a list that you can nurture.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with Brilliant Mobile
Website

Connect with Another Brilliant Idea

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Mary Barnett, also known as “MobileMary” in the industry, is a Text Marketing and Social Media Expert…and her company, Another Brilliant Idea, Inc. helps Business Owners and Restaurants use Social Media to grow a database that they OWN, so they can reach their best customers offline, giving them what they want instantly and on-demand to increase sales and brand loyalty!

Takeaways

  • You don’t own social media or your contacts and audience on social platforms.
  • You have a responsibility to grow your own list. Your blog is your real estate, so you should do it from there.
  • Collecting your audience’s email and/or phone allows you to organically grow your audience with relevant content that you can engage with them on.
  • Build a strategy about building lists and nurturing it and treating it like gold – it’s your business insurance.
  • Getting a text to your audience can help guide them to your emails they aren’t opening.
  • You can create keywords to have your audience use when texting so you can segment your list easily.
  • You can invite your audience in with exclusive content, grocery lists, coupons, invitations to cooking courses, etc.
  • Texting can be personalized just like in emails.
  • Personal relationships and human connection can be built through this form of marketing.

Resources Mentioned

Let’s Get Nerdy podcast episode

Comedian Nazareth interviews Mobile Mary

Profit with a Plan interviews Mary

Diva Strategies for Success interviews Mary

Transcript

Click for full text.

304_MARY_BARNETT

Mary Barnett: Hi, this is Mary Barnett and Mobile Mary from Another Brilliant Idea and Brilliant Mobile Messaging and you’re listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. 

Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player, go to Eat Blog Talk, scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast. It adds value. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay. Now onto the episode.

Megan Porta: Food bloggers. Hey, how are you today? Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for value and confidence that will move the needle forward in your business. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 304. Today Mary Barnett is here to chat about social media strategies that will grow engagement. Mary Barnett, also known as Mobile Mary in the industry, is a text marketing and social media expert. Her company, Another Brilliant Idea,Inc. helps business owners and restaurants use social media to grow a database that they own so they can reach their best customers offline. Giving them what they want instantly and on demand to increase sales and brand loyalty. 

Hello, Mary, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here on the podcast.

Mary Barnett: Thank you so much for having me.

Megan Porta: Yes, I’m excited. We have a lot to talk about with social media and text marketing, but before we dig into that, we would love to hear what your fun fact is. 

Mary Barnett: My fun fact, and I think we’re going to get into this in a little bit more detail and maybe not a lot of people know this, but we technically don’t own social media. I know it’s a shocker. There’s some big guys up there that do own it and control everything. So it’s important that we use social media as a phenomenal platform to get our message out there. But it’s our responsibility to build a list of people who know and trust you based on your wonderful reputation on social media and build a list so you have the ability to talk to them instantly and on demand whenever you want to. Because that is the basis of every business, is your customer. 

Megan Porta: That leads into our conversation nicely. I liked how you framed that. It’s thinking of it like borrowed territory almost. It’s just scary, right? It’s not ours. It’s not our territory. 

Mary Barnett: Exactly. Exactly. 

Megan Porta: I want everyone to hear, because you mentioned your name is Mary Barnett, but you also go by Mobile Mary, which I think is intriguing. So can you tell everyone where you got that name? 

Mary Barnett: Sure, of course. I know this is not a video. So my little joke is that I’ve been in business now 34 years and I’m only 35. I smile and of course look cute and everyone bursts into laughter, but I started my business very young. Not at zero, close. But I had a marketing firm basically for 20 years. About almost 15 years ago, I was actually working with a client, Kawasaki, you might’ve heard of them. They make motorcycles. They were complaining that their dealers were whining to them that they weren’t sending them enough business. So I had read this amazing article about this text marketing. Flip phones were basically in everyone’s hip pocket. A smartphone had just come out that year, the iPhone in 2007. I said why aren’t you marketing to them where they are like, literally mobile. They’re on their motorcycles. They’re not waiting at home for their direct mail. They might be looking at a billboard, but they’re not opening their email from their phone because it wasn’t a thing yet. So it took two years to convince their agencies that this would work because literally it had never been done on a national scale before. But don’t give me a challenge because when you tell me I can’t do something, I’m like, I’m the baby of six kids. I’m like, you’re not the boss of me. I basically helped some very smart engineers. We built a platform that allowed our customers to build a list of customers who wanted them. Right. They want information, they know and trust the company. In the summer of 2009, we drove over 93,000 new customers to the dealerships across the country. I was like, O M G. Like in 20 years of business, I’ve never had that kind of return or conversion on any marketing campaign I’d ever done.

Even though we built it, I was blown out of the water and I was like, oh my God, I bet these strategies would help other people. So I totally dove headfirst into mobile marketing. Of course it was right when the recession was in full swing and people were like, what? New? People will carry their phone around, what? Just believe me. Mobile is the future and the future is now. So I started this radio show and my producer said, ’cause that was kinda my opening song, the mobile, they did this whole thing and he goes, oh my gosh, you should go by Mobile Mary. it’s all you’re talking about is Mobile Mary. I was like, oh my Gosh. Let’s do it, man. So I was like the Mary Mobile Marketing show, with Mobile Mary. The Mobile of the future is now, this whole thing. So yeah, I just started from there. So I started speaking on stage. Most people thought I was crazy. They thought, wow, why would you carry a mobile, like a phone around with you? We leave it in our car. It’s a family phone. We leave it at home for emergencies. I’m like, okay. Five to 10 years from now, you’re going to go. Wow. That Mobile Mary. She really knew what she was talking about, because you’re not going to leave the house without your phone, your wallet and your keys. People were like, ah, you’re crazy. Hello. It came true today. So I’m very excited about that. 

Megan Porta: Your prediction, it definitely came true because nobody is without their phone right now. 

Mary Barnett: I’ve literally turned around a mile from my house to go back to get my phone. It’s crazy.

Megan Porta: I know. It’s like a security thing or something. My husband has this thing he says, every time he leaves home, he does keys, wallet, phone. You need your phone, you need your keys, you need your wallet.

Mary Barnett: It’s like the mobile macarena.

Megan Porta: Are they all there? Okay. I want to hear more about mobile marketing and text marketing, but first I would love to hear about your thoughts about social media. You touched on this in your fun fact, but we don’t own social media. So can you expand on that a little bit? 

Mary Barnett: Of course. So for a long time, a lot of my customers would tell me, oh man, I don’t even need my website anymore. Everybody’s on Facebook, everybody’s on LinkedIn or whatever. So I’m just going to fill that up. So they were starting to ignore their blogs, which you guys as I know your listeners are all bloggers. They are so smart by the way, because literally blogs are your real estate that you can plant your flag in. The blogs are so important. People were starting to ignore them. They were putting all their content on social media. Basically feeding the beast that was owned by others. I kept saying, at least when you write your blog, like put, put that content on it, but keep it on your blog. Drive them back to your website. I would always preach that. So it’s so cool that I’m talking to you about blogs. Then one day, god forbid, Facebook went down. They’re like, omg!? I’m like, what do you expect? You don’t own it. It was only down for, I don’t know, six hours. I can remember the date. It was like people literally lost their minds.

Megan Porta: I remember that.

Mary Barnett: Oh my gosh, it was funny. I was like, see? Then, with everything that was happening with the lockdown and with politics and all that garbage, if you said one wrong thing, some fact checker would look at you and go, you said one wrong word. We’re kicking you off. Even if people didn’t do anything wrong, they were being kicked off. So I had so many people coming to me and saying, what do I do? What do I do? Now, the ones that already had built a list were like, thank you so much for convincing me to do this. Because during the lockdown, we have a lot of restaurant. So we have a lot of restaurants that use it and the restaurants that had built a list, they didn’t see a blip. In fact, they actually made more money because they could let people know, Hey, we’re open. We’re clean. We deliver. We have this in our system. We have a way that you can actually use what’s called a text buzzer and you would like to text people when their table is ready or when their order’s ready to be picked up. They were so excited because they felt so in control and they have the power to talk directly to their customers. Then over the years, Sadly. I always joke about this, when Mark Zuckerberg finally had a baby I was like you know what? He has to feed that ,baby. So that’s why we have Facebook ads. He has to feed that baby. So at the same time happens. It was always my joke. So it coincided, all of a sudden Facebook ads. So then the Facebook and all the other channels became pay to play. So if you were doing anything on your business page, all of a sudden you weren’t getting any organic reach. So we’re like, hey, what’s going on? We were expecting this to be free forever. But when you don’t own something, as you said, you’re living on borrowed territory, you don’t. So I’m all about empowerment and owning your business. Literally owning it where you own all the assets of your business. Because you owe that to yourself. You work hard. You’ve written your blog. I don’t know how often that most people are writing blogs these days, but at least once a week, maybe once a month, but you put your blood, sweat and tears in that. If you know something happened to that, it was sucked away from you. You can start mourning it, right? Oh my gosh, my baby. So by having a way to reach your customers again. I’m a big promoter of email. I know that’s how most people get out their information about their new blog. They have a lot of RSS feeds and things like that, which is awesome.

But in addition, it’s just really good to have business insurance to build that list. There’s a whole strategy and we can talk about that too. A strategy about building lists and nurturing it and treating it like gold. I feel like businesses owe it to themselves. It’s so inexpensive to do it. Just takes a little effort and a little forethought to say, you know what? I need to give people the opportunity to join my list so I can bring them value. Something that they appreciate that will serve them well. It’s just a win-win. 

Megan Porta: So when you talk about building your list, you’re talking about email and also mobile, right? Acquiring phone numbers as well. 

Mary Barnett: Yes. So what’s cool about text marketing? As long as you do it with a certified, viable company, of course like ours, that plays by the FCC rules. So the FCC actually is really stringent nowadays because of the whole spam act. They didn’t initiate the can spam act until too late really, for email. So that’s why people have so much junk email. People just buy lists and spam you. I’m sure you can relate to that. But it’s actually illegal for you to spam people with a text message. So if anybody ever sends you a text message that you did not sign up for, if you literally screenshot it or you could actually say stop. If for some reason it doesn’t stop because most FCC approved channels will do that. It’ll stop the message and literally suck them off the phone or off the software. But if they’re not, they’re doing it illegally. You can literally call your carrier and they will shut that number down. It’s serious business. I have customers who will come and say, can I just buy a list of people who are interested in skincare or interested in restaurants or whatever? I’m like, no. I’m so sorry. You have to build it organically. It does take work, but it’ll be so worth it because the people on your list will actually want your messages. Bodiless and spam people, they would be mad at you. They wouldn’t come to your restaurant. They wouldn’t go to your blog because they’d be like, oh my God, who are these weirdos? So it’s really good to take the time to do it. It’s not that hard. You’re basically offering them something that they want and then giving it to them. So it’s super simple. It’s just doing it in a way that makes sense to your audience. 

Megan Porta: So I get spammed all the time on my phone, and I didn’t know that you could do that. So all I have to do is screenshot it, send it to AT&T. 

Mary Barnett: Yes. 

Megan Porta: With the phone number and they will take care of it. 

Mary Barnett: They will shut them down. Yeah. But at first respond by saying stop. 

Megan Porta: I’ve tried that so many times. Yeah. 

Mary Barnett: Then they’re obviously doing it illegally. So yeah. So definitely screenshot it, which would have the phone number at the top and then just email it to them. We can actually activate landlines with our software. So a lot of big companies who want to use text marketing as a customer service option, you can call or text their main number. So a lot of like the carriers, I’m assuming have probably the same thing. So there might be a number you can just text that screenshot to.

Megan Porta: Okay, great to know. So you’re talking about organically acquiring a list. Can you talk us through how to do that? 

Mary Barnett: Oh, sure. There’s a few different ways to do it. When you’re basically gathering a list, software like ours, Brilliant Mobile allows you to set up a keyword that people would text into a number. So we have shared shortcodes, which is like a five digit number. You can text the word Mary to the number 7 1 4 4 1. Okay. Then in response, You’ll get an auto responder, right? That says, I can’t remember what that one says. Because I have a number of keywords. I use one keyword for like when I publicly speak, I use another keyword on my website. So I know where they’re coming from. So a keyword actually allows you to create a specific database for a certain reason. So like tomorrow. I’m doing a free masterclass on, I know this won’t be out, so it will be over time, but I’m doing a masterclass on building micro courses. So I set up one of my keywords. It’s the word brilliant. The short code is 4 0 6 9 1. So if anyone texts the word brilliant to the number 4 0 6 9 1. Even if it’s after the fact, I’ll of course change it for something else, but they’ll actually get a link to the zoom call that I’m going to be doing. It’ll be the date and time. But when they do that, what’s cool is they’ve now opted in because they’re interested in this micro course. Up until an hour before the course, is basically saying, Hey, welcome, super excited. Save this date. Here’s the link. Then an hour before the master class tomorrow, I’ll send out another message that says, so excited. Grab your pad of paper and a cup of coffee. We’re getting started at 10:00 AM. Here’s the link again. So everyone who’s interested is now going to get a friendly reminder. Oh great! Thanks. I was getting distracted. I’m writing my blog, feeding the dog or whatever it is, they’re like, oh, thank you. It’s so convenient, right? Because everyone now is using texts because it works, right. Dentists remind you of their appointment and your hair salon grants you your appointment. It’s one of the big reasons for text marketing for that. But anyway, that’s a short code. Our system and maybe other platforms for the same thing, creates a QR code for that same thing. So you see a QR code, like on an ad or on an image, you can hold your phone up to it. It actually opens up a text message that’s pre-populated with that keyword. It’s very targeted marketing. So I’m targeting what I want, again, let’s use this example for the micro course. So they scan that QR code. It’ll basically open up and it’ll prefill in the word brilliant. All they have to do is hit send. Okay. So I would say scan, click send. So that’s the second way you can do it. The third way is that we have web forms, which I’m sure everyone listening to knows what that is because software like Convertkit or whatever, they put web forms.

So you can actually create a web form to do the exact same thing on your blog and have a little box that says put in your name and your age and your phone number. Again, our service also collects email. It clicks birthdays. It collects your favorite color, like whatever he wants to collect from your audience. Because we also have a done for you service, which I call text funnels that we literally build a text funnel. So a sequence of emails then for someone first opts in to get a message from you, you do the same thing with text marketing. There’s a balance there. I believe that you have a balance between texts, email and social media, because you never know where your audience wants their information or where they get their information. There is a strategy to it, but basically, you think about it, it’s just like building an email list, but our first priority is their phone number. Then we ask what’s your email or what’s your birthday.

Megan Porta: This is definitely a unique strategy for food bloggers. I was just trying to think about how we could apply it to our businesses. One of the ideas that I had, maybe you have some more, Mary, is if you are doing cooking classes and you want to let people know, maybe what’s coming up for a cooking class, either in person or virtual that you were hosting. Then letting them know, maybe a day before the cooking class Hey, don’t forget, go get your ingredients. Then also remind them like an hour before. Can’t wait to see you. Yeah, that would be a great way to use it. But I’m trying to think of other ideas. Obviously, what food bloggers businesses are about because you described it so well before, we have blogs and we manage social media and all of that. So what other ideas do you have? 

Mary Barnett: Sure. I really like your idea about maybe the day before sending out a link that has a whole recipe. So they could check it off in the grocery store, make sure they have everything before the class. Because that’s where I was talking about the sequencing. Like building a funnel to bring them to the events you’re trying to promote. You can also obviously send a link, like a PayPal link or Venmo link or something. So they have to pay you before the end of the class to make sure that they’re doing it. You’all have to eat so, so you have to monetize. But with food bloggers, I’m assuming that, as you mentioned before, that you do take advertising on your blogs. It might be a value add to, again, you’d have to be upfront about this with your audience, that if you had a sponsor. Let’s say you had an Italian cooking show and your sponsor was a fancy Parmesan cheese. I can’t think of a name. You might say to your audience, Hey I’m going to be using text marketing to make sure you don’t miss one of my cooking shows. Because we’re so graciously sponsored by, that’s called them, Aubanza, if it’s okay with you, when you opt in, we’ll actually once a month send you a coupon that you can use for Abbondanza Parmesan that you won’t get anywhere else. So if you opt into my list, not only will you get reminders of when my cooking classes are, have the opportunity to be the first to get into the VIP area of my cooking show, or, however you want to layer your difference. I used to do a lot of sponsorship marketing. Then opt in and remember, you’re going to be getting some really cool deals when you’re joining my VIP club. So you have Abbondancza saying, wow, here’s this blogger. So now it puts you as a cut head or a cut above. Here’s a blogger that not only maybe drives 5,000 people to an online cooking class, but on top of that, I have the ability, I’m thinking like a sponsor. I have the ability to talk directly to their people. Now you don’t share that list with them, unless that’s something you, again, tell your audience. Hey, I’m sharing this with Abbondanza Parmesan. But you’d be like, no, you control it as a blogger. You’re saying, Abbondanza, if you want access to my 5,000 live viewers, then you have to sponsor me. You give me the ability to send them out like a $5 off coupon or whatever it is. Then it becomes this real value add to not only that sponsor, but to your audience. Because they know they can only get that through you. 

Megan Porta: So special offers. VIP. I didn’t think of that. VIP upgrades to other things you offer. Then also just any bonus. People love bonuses. So if you’re in the exclusive bonus group, then I can see people being all on board with that.

Mary Barnett: Oh, yeah. In fact, you could do something like when there were more live events. I know we’re finally getting back to that, which is awesome. But if you were a VIP, you got to enter the room first so you could talk to other VIP’s and you could meet the speaker. You have that little 30 minutes schmooze fest before the rest of the crowd comes into the room. So you could actually send out something to only VIP’s that allows them to come into a question and answer session. I’m thinking of your cooking show idea. A question and answer time that nobody else gets access to so they can get all the extra prep and stuff that they might not have. So when it’s time to cook, they’re ahead of the game between people who aren’t VIP. So you could actually sell that. Like we once had a vitamin shop. They were more like a natural food store, but they made a lot of their money in vitamins. But the challenge was, people were running out of vitamins. They didn’t remember to buy them again. This was really before Amazon really. So they basically sold our tech service as a value add. Again, this was before you could set reminders on your own phone. They actually, for $5 a month, would actually sell their customers the ability for the company to text them. Because it was all automated of course, every day, at whatever time they set. Like seven o’clock. It reminded them to take their vitamins, which I know sounds silly, but it was a big deal then. Then at about day 22, they would say, Hey, it’s about time to order your vitamins again. Here’s a link. Then people would be like, oh my gosh, you’re right. I’m out. So we’d click a link and they would order their next month of vitamins. 

Megan Porta: That’s creative.

Mary Barnett: So there’s a lot of fun things you can do, but again, it’s permission-based marketing. So you have to be completely transparent with your audience. If you ever start trying to pull a fast one and oh, and then you tell them it’s about one thing, but you’re really delivering something else, that’s the fastest way to get people to opt off your list. But if you treat these people with kid gloves, which I’m sure all of your bloggers do, they’re so grateful for being able to come read their blog and interact with them online so they can make money on ads and they can make a living to feed their family. When you treat your customers like that, like gold, they will not only be loyal for life, but they’re going to refer their friends. Because like on our system, we actually have a way that you can share coupons. If the person you share it with opps in to receive that coupon, you can get another reward. So it’s like referral rewards. So when they get the thing, if they get the coupon for that Abbondanza Parmesan and then you’ve given that the ability to share it, they can share that with their best friend and say, Hey, I thought you might like this $5 off too. Then the system basically says, just reply with this word and we’ll send you that coupon. The minute their friend does that and they have now added to their list. They’ve now grown the list virally. The original friend who shared it now gets a bonus. They’re like now they got like a $10 off coupon or something. It’s all automated so people don’t have to even think about it. It’s actually brilliant. That’s why we call our software brilliant mobile. 

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It is now the beginning of May. So I’ve been doing this for a handful of months and I am already seeing such great results. My traffic so far in 2022 is up 37% year over year when compared to the same time period in 2021. All thanks to this content I’m creating through RankIQ. As I produce more of this content and get further into the year, I anticipate that it is going to gain even more momentum and take off. Also all of that non recipe content I’m creating in these posts supports my other content in some way. So this could be a positive signal to Google that I am an authority in those certain sub-niches within my blog. Go to rankiq.com to sign up and see for yourself how amazing this tool is. Okay. Now back to the episode. 

Megan Porta: Wow. My wheels are turning over here because I’m just trying to think of other ways to explore this outside of cooking classes. What about delivering exclusive content? So maybe like exclusive recipes or anything, I just like that word bonus. Anything we see as a bonus to our existing content could be delivered this way. 

Mary Barnett: A hundred percent. I love it. I love your creativity. That’s awesome. Yeah. So there are a variety of ways you can actually deliver messages. So a standard text message that you would just like to text your boyfriend, bring home ice cream. Just the words, that is called an SMS simple messaging system. But when you send a picture of your dress in the dressing room to your best friend and say, what do you think of this? That’s an MMS multimedia system service. So that’s basically like a picture and it could be a picture, a video, an audio clip. So you can actually send that through text as well. It gets an even higher opt-in rate because people are like, Ooh, it’s like coming into your stream. So you could actually have a little audio clip and say, oh my gosh, I’m so excited that you’re a part of our VIP program. Get ready for a blank, whatever it is. Then you can actually send a series of those audio clips or videos. But again, it goes directly to your customer. Right to the phone that they’re always on, sadly. We’re never three feet away from that darn thing. 24/7. So you really have to be diligent about serving your clients. They say, when you have, what is that expression, when you have a lot of power, you have the choice to use it for good or evil. I don’t know, with something comes great responsibility. I always blow that quote.

Megan Porta: With great power comes great responsibility. 

Mary Barnett: Yes. There you go. So by owning your list, you have great power. You literally have your customers in the palm of your hand. Our system actually doesn’t allow you to text before 7:00 AM in your time zone and after 9:00 PM in your time zone, because that’s just polite. But you could text them every five minutes if you wanted. But that would be obnoxious and nobody would like you and they would hop off your list faster than a. I don’t know. What I’m saying is, so you treat them like, what would you want to do? Here’s another example. So we actually were blessed with the military account. We work with the US Air Force and the US Marines. When we first got their account, it was so funny. Because here’s a little old me standing in front of a bunch of colonels and general all these people, they were so excited that they had the ability to communicate directly with their staff, their personnel, basically the men and women in uniform. They were like, oh my God. So they’re thinking, when you put out some guy in bootcamp, you tell them what to do and they do it. Jump, how high, that kind of stuff. So they were like, oh my gosh. Okay. So we can actually tell them what to do, when to do it, how to do it. I’m like you can. Okay. So how many texts can we send them a day? I’m like, wait, you don’t want to do that. They’re like yeah we do. We want to tell them what to do, because lots of times they don’t respond to us if they’re out in the field. But text marketing will get through if there’s cell towers. I’m like a hundred percent, like it’s guaranteed to get through. It’s not a spam email. They’re like, okay. So we want to tell them like when revelry is and when they do this and when, and I’m like whoa, slow your roll dudes. This is their personal device. Unless you’re willing to buy them a cell phone, pay for their service and keep it locked under their body. This is their personal device and you have to respect that. Of course I could have made a lot more money if I would have gone with that. But I said, you know what, you’re just going to anchor them and they have guns. 

Megan Porta: And they have guns. Yes. Be careful who you anger. 

Mary Barnett: That’s right. It’s great. So we actually have some bases that use it to tell their Marines when to eat in the mess hall. So they are strong and healthy. We have other bases, they use it for social things. Hey, we’re having a dance or having a poker game or having a concert for the families. Because when you’re living on base, sometimes it gets boring and they want to keep people happy. I’m so blessed that they use our system to be able to communicate to people who feel a little disenfranchised.

Megan Porta: You mentioned audio earlier, sending audio clips. Before you mentioned that I had actually written down in my notebook, use audio because I’m on this train lately of trying to get food bloggers to use audio more. Because there’s so much power there because it’s just a human connection. We’ve talked about this before we recorded. Without having to get on video, it’s just such a powerful way to communicate. So I love that idea of just sending a quick audio clip through text message to say, Hey, it’s Megan. I’m working on this new exclusive sauce recipe and you’re on my VIP list. So I’m giving this to you. Here you go. Have a great week. Love you, just like something really simple. 

Mary Barnett: People would feel so loved. Again, this is totally dating me. But remember the TV show Cheers. 

Megan Porta: Oh, yes. Love Cheers.

Mary Barnett: Yes. Thank you. But when one gentleman would walk in, everyone would say Norm, remember that? The theme of the song was where everybody knows your name. People crave human connection. I think that’s why social media became so hot so fast is that they were able to connect with long, lost friends and high school or college or work relationships or family, because they wanted to know what was going on in their life. They wanted to be seen and heard. That’s why vanity metrics, even though now quoted dead. Cause I just went to the social media marketing world. It doesn’t really even matter how many people like your stuff, by the way. They’re totally downgrading. That’s a whole nother conversation. But it’s all about engagement, which we all knew in our hearts, we knew that was important. But we’re like no. We just wanted only to able to like ourselves. Now, it’s all about who engages with you. So on your stories and on your reels, which they’re pushing heavy, video heavy. But the same thing with audio. It’s a human talking to you and you’re talking to your audience, like they’re humans. They matter because everyone wants to feel like they matter. Everyone wants to be seen and heard and listened to and understood. I think right now, with all the lockdown everything, people feel invisible, they feel isolated and not important. I’m about to cry. It’s so important that we not only treat our friends and family that way, and of course senior citizens and disabled and people who again were just like on the fringe that feel like no one cares anymore about them. But it’s important to treat our customers like that. That they’re important, because they took the time to read your blog or listen to your message or be a part of your group. That they care enough. So you need to treat them the same way. That you care enough about what they think. Because don’t you love when you read a blog comments and questions, don’t you love that?

Megan Porta: Yeah, I do. In particular, you mentioned people using your name. When people use my name, it just makes you feel like, oh, they actually took the time to write my name and they know me. If I can hear them say that even more powerful. If somebody actually talks to me with their human voice. Oh, isn’t that just awesome. 

Mary Barnett: Yeah, it is so awesome. In fact, I was gonna say, because the texts you can actually personalize it. So you’d be like, Hey Megan, we have something special for you today. Again, that would be written form. You could take the time to record everybody’s name. 

Megan Porta: That would take awhile. Okay. So that gives me some really good ideas. Then I was also thinking about just evaluating the texts that come into your phone and seeing which ones are not spammy. Which ones do you actually like? Because I am on a few lists of groups that I actually value. I like hearing from these people and they don’t really know me very well, but I feel like an important individual because of the way they frame the text and also their frequency. So they don’t oversaturate my inbox. They make every message timely and personable. So just noting what comes in that you like, and maybe doing something.

Mary Barnett: Yes. So I’m obviously a text junkie because I want to sign up for everybody to see what they do. The good, bad, the ugly. We’ve been doing this now, like I said, for 15 years. Some people are like, oh honey, look at you trying how to do that. You’re totally missing the boat. So I would say based on your suggestion actually, the personal the better. So based on their purchases, based on groups they’re involved in. Again, like I said, it’s so easy to segment your market with a keyword that you know what these people are interested in. You might have a keyword that is all connected to your cooking classes. You might have a keyword that’s all about just your blog. So people want to know when it’s coming, because that’s the other thing. Because people don’t open their email as much, some of my customers are actually saying, by the way, I sent you a text. Look for it because there’s something special in it.

So people will get that text and go Oh, I’ll go check my email. Because it gets lost. It gets in junk mail. It gets buried with all the other spam. So that’s another way to bring attention to it. But again, it’s getting to know your audience, what they want. We also have a feature – polls and questionnaires, where again, a lot of the features on our software is really just all about engagement. It’s learning about your customers so you can serve them better. One example – we have a Mexican food chain that uses our service. In fact, they grew their lists. I think they’ve been with us about five years. I think they have over 80,000 people on their list. This is a small little chain. I think they’ve grown to about 22 restaurants now. But they started with us and I think they had seven. We’ve segmented it per store. So when they’re opening a new store, we use geo-mapping and actually can send a message out to everybody who’s in a five mile radius of that new store. We can send them a message saying, Hey, we’re opening on this corner, put a link to the map. If you text back with this word, it actually puts you on their special VIP lists and you’ll get a free burrito when we open. So their restaurant lists are huge. So they were one of my success stories during the lockdown. Because they actually made more money because they were in front of their customers. But You just said something about personalizing. So with questionnaires and polls, you can actually say, Hey and this is what they did. They actually said, Hey, do you prefer tacos, burritos or quesadillas? It was text one for taco two for burrito three for quesadilla. They were actually more specific about what kind of each of those, but so they were trying to gauge their audience in each store of what they liked. So they could actually stock those stores with the products that made their customer’s favorite food. So this is all tied all in back into the back end of their operations of their business.

So people would text back one for taco two for burrito three for quesadilla for example. So when they did, let’s say they talk text too for burrito, the response in the text funnel and I’m doing air quotes that you can’t see. If they responded back burrito, they would say, oh my gosh, burrito rock. We have this brand new spicy Jack burrito and here’s a coupon for it. We’ll let you know if we have any other burrito specials in the field. Now we have a sub list of people who love burritos. So anytime they were trying to get rid of burritos or they had an overrun of burrito supplies, or they just thought, oh, it’s a good day for a burrito. They would send a message out only to the burrito lovers. The same thing with tacos, same thing with quesadillas. So it just allowed them to get to know each other. Then the people who got in and were like, oh my God, they know I love burritos. I do love burritos. Burritos are my life. 

Megan Porta: I want a burrito now. I’m starving. Thanks Mary. 

Mary Barnett: So that’s the thing it all comes down. I think you’re the one who said this first, it all comes down to personal relationships and human connection. People are craving it and you need to figure out how to provide that. Then you’re going to have these clamoring fans who won’t leave you alone. They’re gonna want to follow you and buy your products and hire you to do consulting and masterclasses and everything else you do, because they love you so much. Because you took the time to get to know them. 

Megan Porta: Oh, my gosh. That was so well said. I love clamoring for fans. I think we all hear that and think, yes, please. I want clamoring fans. This is so interesting because I’ve never given this any thought, which is funny because I am on people’s texts, mobile lists, and I’ve just never considered this being a part of my business. But you’ve made such a case for doing it authentically and in a way that is going to not only benefit us, but serve our people. So, very interesting, Mary, I did not expect to have this perspective at the end of our conversation.

Mary Barnett: Oh thank you so much. I get really passionate about it. It’s so nice to be able to talk to someone who totally gets it. Because I think that you obviously have a show on this. You’re here serving your people. People who write blogs. I’m assuming you have your own blog as well. So you’ve taken the time to create a show that serves your peers that have competing blogs. The fact that you’re doing that obviously says a lot about your heart and your servant. I call it a servant’s heart. So thank you for serving that audience because I’m sure there are a lot of new bloggers that are so grateful to you for helping them show the way so they didn’t have to step in the pitfalls that you probably did.

Megan Porta: Oh, my gosh. So many pitfalls I stepped into. That is part of the reason I do this, because if I can help someone else avoid all of those pitfalls or at least a majority of them, then yes. Success. So thank you for saying that. Those were really very kind words. 

Mary Barnett: Of course. It’s very apparent, by the way. So thank you for doing everything you’re doing. 

Megan Porta: Oh thank you for saying that. If you had to leave us with one main takeaway, what would that be? 

Mary Barnett: Oh my gosh. One main takeaway that you’re speaking to your bloggers. They can do it. I should speak directly to them. You can do it. If this is your calling, if this is what you feel like you can serve the world to your higher self, keep going. Don’t get discouraged. Because by persevering and keep going, even if it isn’t you feel like the best thing right. Done is better than perfect. Just get it out there, get your message out there. People want it. I call it being an answer to prayer because you never know when there’s someone out there wishing, gosh, if I have a special occasion. My mother-in-law’s coming over. I want to make this really special meal. If I only knew how to make her favorite blank. Then all of a sudden, boom. They get a text message or they see something on social media or they get an email with their blog that says here’s how to make a blank. That is an answer to a prayer. You just made that person’s life so much better because you answered that call and you provided that service. So bless you for doing that and being that answer to the people who are watching. 

Megan Porta: Oh, my gosh, Mary. What a pleasure it was to chat with you today. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope you have a wonderful day. 

Mary Barnett: It was so nice getting to know you, Megan. You’re such a dear. I look forward to stalking you. 

Megan Porta: Stalk away. We will put together a show notes page for you, Mary. So if anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/brilliantmobile. Why don’t you tell everyone where they can find you everywhere. Sure. 

Mary Barnett: Sure. My business name is Another Brilliant Idea because everyone needs another brilliant idea. So anotherbrilliantidea.com is our main corporate website, but we do have a website called brilliantmobile.com where they can actually sign up for a free account and check it out and see if it’s something that would help them. We have monthly access to our software for as little as $47 a month and there’s no contracts and they can just see if it’s something that works for them. But I encourage, even if it’s not our service, to please build a list of people. So when you sell your business, it’s more valuable. If there’s an emergency, you have that insurance to help you in your business.

Megan Porta: Awesome. Thank you for all of that. Thanks again for being here, Mary. And thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.

Mary Barnett: Have a brilliant day!

Outro : We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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