In this episode, Stacy speaks with Sharifah Hardie to discuss her over twenty-five years of experience as a radio host, online marketing specialist, and business consultant.
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- Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.
Stacy Jones: 00:05
- Hello everyone. I’m so happy to be here with you today and I want to give a very warm welcome to Sharifa Hardie, who’s joining us from here in Los Angeles from Crossroads TV to discuss her over 25 years of experience as a radio host, online marketing specialist, and business consultant.
Stacy Jones: 00:21
- Sharifa served a key role as a consultant and as director of marketing at Punch TV Studios, where she was able to assist the company to expand its reach, gain national exposure, and raise millions of dollars in its initial IPO.
Stacy Jones: 00:32
- In addition to the success Sharifa has experienced at Punch TV Studios, she’s also consulted with such companies as The Hollywood Film and Acting Academy, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, Pit Bull Energy Products, Jordan’s Rooter and Plumbing, Southern California Black Business Expo, Radiance Magazine, Sandy Chastain and Body Studios and countless other businesses.
Stacy Jones: 00:52
- Along with being an incredibly intuitive expert and influencer, Sharifa is also a published author. Her first book, And Here’s Your Box: From Laid Off to Loving Life, shared how she became Google’s number one ranked professional business consultant by overcoming disappointments, life lessons, and victories with a bottom line technique that reaps success for devoted listeners.
Stacy Jones: 01:11
- Today we’re gonna talk about how to best execute effective online marketing and how to monetize both your website and social media platforms to convert into sales. We’ll learn what’s worked from Sharifa’s experience, what maybe could be avoided if you’re doing this yourself and not working with an agency, and where other brands might be missing the mark.
Stacy Jones: 01:28
- Sharifa, welcome.
Sharifah Hardie: 01:30
- Thank you. Thank you for this opportunity. I’m so honored, Stacy.
Stacy Jones: 01:34
- I am so happy to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit about how long you’ve been doing what you do, a little bit about your background, where you are at, and what got you to where you are doing what you do today?
Sharifah Hardie: 01:44
- Absolutely, absolutely. It’s so funny because people always ask me that question when they see everything that I do and I always tell them that I am here where I am now simply because in 1994, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. That was my driving force because I had this newborn baby and I just wanted to spend all the time with her, and so I knew then in 1994 that the internet was the only way that I would be able to make money and stay at home, and so I developed and created my first website in 1994. Since 1994, I have always had an online presence in some form or fashion.
Sharifah Hardie: 02:22
- And so what happened is when I built my first website, all the people I knew were like, “I want a website,” so I started building websites for them. And then when I started marketing my website, then all the people I knew were like, “I want you to market my website,” and so I just started like that.
Sharifah Hardie: 02:37
- If I would’ve known in 1994 how far ahead of my time or how early I was, I’d probably be a lot further now than I am, but you go through it, because I had a website when most people didn’t even have a computer in their homes. So now when people tell me, “Oh, I’m excited. This is my first website,” I’m like, “It’s 2019. I’ve had a website since 1994,” but it has helped me because when I became a radio host and I hosted Ask Sharifa Radio, that came about because my email was ringing, my phone was ringing because people always had these questions about online marketing, websites, and I’m like, “Okay, wait a minute. This is what we’re gonna do. I’m gonna give everyone one hour a day Monday through Friday to Ask Sharifa,” and that’s what started my radio career.
Sharifah Hardie: 03:25
- Then, I went from radio to marketing to being an influencer, being an online marketing consultant, and then later today, now I own quite a few businesses, my television network, which is Crossroads TV, I have my own PR firm, which is In the News PR, and then I do a couple of other things I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about during the course of this interview, but just wanting to be with my baby is what started it all.
Stacy Jones: 03:51
- That is fantastic ’cause I remember back in 1994, and I did have a computer and I did have an AOL account and that was the day of. People don’t understand who are in their 20s today that this was unheard of. We did not grow up with computers being used all the time. We had to learn how to type. That was something you learned in school. It wasn’t just something that was a given that you had typing skills, know how to do it, know how to open a computer, create a Word doc, work on Excel. So that is phenomenal that you started that so early.
Sharifah Hardie: 04:22
- Thank you.
Stacy Jones: 04:23
- Of course. So, what is the driving force for you that makes online marketing one of the best marketing tactics that you believe in and what makes it so killer that you’re here to talk about it today?
Sharifah Hardie: 04:39
- Oh, you’re absolutely correct. Online marketing is killer. It is. If anyone is listening who’s not utilized the online marketing, they are doing a disservice to their business and I hope that after they listen to this interview, that they go out and start online marketing immediately. Once they get a hang of it and get used to it, they’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, this is what Sharifa was talking about. It’s so wonderful to have an online marketing presence.”
Sharifah Hardie: 05:04
- The main reason I say that is because I tell people all the time, a website is absolutely nothing more than an electronic business card. It’s just a business card. That’s what our website is, but when you go offline and you go to networking events or wherever you’re going, you pass out business card after business card after business card, but you’re out doing that. With a website, you can just tell anybody, social media, when you’re talking, when you’re chatting, whatever you’re doing, just add a little website URL and people instantly go directly to your website and they can utilize your service and buy your product.
Sharifah Hardie: 05:38
- And so, I love talking about the ’90s because I always tell people, when I was growing up, we just got microwaves. Before then, there were no microwaves, but then you could have whatever you wanted in 30 seconds, a minute. So, I’m a microwave internet baby, so I want everything instantly.
Sharifah Hardie: 05:56
- So that’s what online marketing offers our customers, the ability to have your services, to order your services instantly, and that’s really what you want. You want your email inbox to have notifications of a new sale, new sale, new sale, new sale. It’s easier to do that than to go out and try to sell a product or service to somebody. You use a lot of gas, you use a lot of time, and you use a lot of energy, where with online marketing, just by putting out ads, you can reach millions and millions of people. So that’s why I highly recommend it.
Stacy Jones: 06:28
- So when you’re working with brands or individuals and you’re helping them ideate and start thinking about building that website and building that online marketing presence, what are some of the projects that you’ve had the most fun doing and where you’ve seen some of the biggest wins potentially come in?
Sharifah Hardie: 06:46
- I honestly can tell you that it would be with Punch TV Studios, because Punch TV Studios, I started with that company in 2013. We took the company public in 2016 and I literally worked for that company for three years without receiving a paycheck.
Sharifah Hardie: 07:02
- Two of those years, I was an Uber driver while we were writing the filings of the SEC, and so it was just fun because I’m driving around these people, my passengers and they’re talking like, “You’re an Uber driver.” In my head I’m like, “No, not really,” but you still have to get that money coming in.
Sharifah Hardie: 07:19
- So it was so fun because it was one of the few companies that I saw go from nothing, from an idea, to raising millions of dollars. That’s beautiful because there were so many things that we started that didn’t work out. There were so many things that we just knew were gonna work out that didn’t work out, so I saw so many aspects.
Sharifah Hardie: 07:40
- Being that it was television network and being in entertainment, I always tell people, “How hard can entertainment be?” You meet celebrities, you see people. It’s funny now because it’s very difficult for me to watch any television show or any movie, and I can turn on a movie and I’ll say, “I guarantee you in this movie, I will know one of the characters personally. They’re in my cellphone.” My friends are celebrities. I learned all this from being at Punch TV Studios, making these introductions, so it was a wonderful experience, which I later took into being a CEO and owning my own television network, so it was just a lot of fun.
Stacy Jones: 08:17
- That’s awesome. That’s really great, and it’s amazing how much Uber has liberated people because it allows you to actually have a passion project, invest in it yourself but still make money on the side.
Sharifah Hardie: 08:29
Stacy Jones: 08:30
- It’s really interesting. What are some of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to understanding online marketing?
Sharifah Hardie: 08:37
- Misconceptions. Let me just say this. This may not answer your question, and if it doesn’t, I do apologize. I’m gonna give you what I believe is the number one mistake that people make with online marketing and websites.
Sharifah Hardie: 08:50
- Now, being a website designer and an online marketing expert, I have seen some of the most beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, expensive websites that ever were designed make no money. I have seen some websites that some people will look at and go, “That is ugly,” or, “That is unprofessional,” literally make millions of dollars.
Sharifah Hardie: 09:16
- People always ask, “How is that possible? What is that about?” And I always tell people that no one loves you and your business like you love your business, and so sometimes what we do is we create our social media and we create our website in love with it, so we want to put all the bells and the whistles and the little pretty buttons and the little layout and it’s magnificent and it’s shiny, but you know what? When people come to it they have absolutely no idea what you do. They don’t know what you do. They don’t know what your product is. They don’t know what your service is.
Sharifah Hardie: 09:47
- And so yes, it’s so pretty. It’s a pretty picture, just like your social media and especially Instagram. People say, “Okay, Instagram is about photos. It’s about posting photos.” So as a business owner, a lot of business owners make the mistake of posting photos that don’t generate into sales. They’re pretty. They’re wonderful, or they post these wonderful quotes. They want to post what Oprah Winfrey had said, what Abraham Lincoln has said, all these quotes because people say quotes get the number one likes, they get the number one shares.
Sharifah Hardie: 10:20
- That’s wonderful, but I always ask the question, how does that benefit your business? If someone shares a quote from Oprah Winfrey, how does that help you? It’s wonderful that Oprah Winfrey said this because I love me some Oprah Winfrey. That’s one of the people I love. I am going to meet Oprah Winfrey one day. I always say that. But how does that help my business to just share something that Oprah Winfrey says or anyone for that matter?
Sharifah Hardie: 10:49
- Photos, messages, posts that you want to help get customers and clients and sales should have a call to action. What is it that you want the person to do? When they land on your website, what is it you want the person to do?
Sharifah Hardie: 11:03
- Now, I can be over salesy sometimes because I’m like, “Buy now, click here, get this,” and I’m like, “Wait a minute.” You have to find that medium between, “Buy now, click here,” and there’s no link in your post. You make a post that’s about all the products that you sell, but there’s no link in the post. You have to understand that this is a business.
Sharifah Hardie: 11:26
- There’s a rule of thumb that says for every two beautiful, nice photos that you share, the third post should be an advertisement. It can be an advertisement, because if you’re in business, you want to advertise. You want to promote. You want to market. So you don’t want every post to be about marketing. You don’t want every post to be a sales post. I mean, maybe you just want to share photos of your product or service that, “This is what I do. Look at this lovely bouquet of flowers we created at our floral shop.”
Sharifah Hardie: 11:57
- Okay, I might try to push people to buy, but be clear on your intention and when you’re posting of what I want that person to do. Do I want this person just to admire this bouquet of flowers, or would I like the people to buy this bouquet of flowers? Because if you don’t know what you want the person to do, the person will have no idea what you want them to do. So always have on your website, have a call to action on your marketing posts, have a call to action and make your website clear and concise. Don’t have 862 different things going on and so people don’t know where to go.
Sharifah Hardie: 12:36
- There’s also something, which I’m sure you’re aware of, called the one click option, meaning that if you want somebody to buy, they should only be able to make one click from your homepage to whatever your product or service is. What happens is, people put up so much content and it’s just content and content, and you click to another page and it’s content, content. Then you click to another page, and five pages deep, there’s this buy now button.
Sharifah Hardie: 13:03
- And then people say, “I didn’t have any sales.” I’m like, “Okay, did you add a buy now button? Did you have a shopping cart?” They’re like, “Yeah, it’s on my website,” and I go to their website and it’s five pages in. I’m like, “No, your shopping cart, your product that you want them to buy needs to be one click from the homepage.” So I don’t know if that answered that specific question.
Stacy Jones: 13:25
- Oh, yes.
Sharifah Hardie: 13:25
- That’s really the main mistake that I see people make time and time and time again.
Stacy Jones: 13:31
- And so does that apply for service businesses as well as brands? I mean, obviously, you have a website and you have a service business, you’re trying to oftentimes market your service just to have someone actually hire you to do something. You’re a brand, a lot of times you’re trying to on certain types of products, have someone do the one click and purchase, but other times you’re not gonna one click purchase a car. Maybe some people will. I’m not going to.
Stacy Jones: 13:58
- So, when you say monetize and when you say one click and needing this, how does it differ from different businesses? How should different businesses approach this?
Sharifah Hardie: 14:08
- Well, to answer your question, one click is a blatant statement across the board. Everything that you just mentioned is still one click, but they just approach it a different way.
Sharifah Hardie: 14:20
- Let me give two examples that you just gave me. You said the brand and the purchase a car. Most brands, and when I consider a brand, brands are speakers, brands are authors, brands could be your favorite singer. Those are all brands, and usually a brand still has something they want you to do. What is it that you want me to do? How is it that you monetize your website?
Sharifah Hardie: 14:43
- Now, if you’re just a feel good blog and you just want to talk, then we’re not worrying about it, but if there’s some action you want me to take, that’s when you do it in one click. A brand, they want you to go buy their tickets to their next event. Cool. So on the website, on the homepage, it should have one click to where they can buy tickets to their next event.
Sharifah Hardie: 15:05
- Auto people who sell cars, you’re not gonna buy that car online, but it’s still a one click because guess what I want you to do? I want you to set an appointment to come in and talk to me. So it’s that thing [inaudible 00:15:18], “This is what I want you to do.”
Sharifah Hardie: 15:20
- So people have to be very clear as the customer, what is it that you want from me? Ask. Scripture tells us, “Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door shall open,” and people are so in love with their idea that they think everybody will get it. They’re like, “Oh, they love my product. They love my show. I make the best soup in Arkansas,” so they forget the ask. They forget to put that little thing that says, “Book your reservation today.” That’s the ask of what they want to do.
Sharifah Hardie: 15:52
- But then also, people have to understand the mentality of online shoppers. Offline and online shopping is a different mentality, and let me explain to you why. Offline, I say, “Hey, let’s go shopping, Stacy. You my girl. I want you to go with me to Nordstrom’s, right? We gonna go shopping because I got this date I’m going on and I have to find the perfect black shoes. You wanna go? We gonna go shopping and get you those black shoes.”
Sharifah Hardie: 16:22
- Now, let me ask you this question, and I’m gonna pause so you can answer it, then I’ll continue, but if you and I go to Nordstrom’s and they don’t have any black shoes that I like, what’s the likelihood of us, meaning you and I, leaving either Nordstrom’s or the mall empty handed?
Stacy Jones: 16:39
- 100%. We’re not going to go there, unless we go to another store. Oh, we’re gonna leave Nordstrom’s, but we’re going to go somewhere else, or you’re gonna decide you want silver shoes.
Sharifah Hardie: 16:49
- Right. Exactly. We’re not gonna leave empty-handed. Why? Because our mission was to go shopping. You used your energy, I used my energy, you used your gas money, I used my gas money. We gonna find some shoes. We are not gonna come back empty-handed.
Sharifah Hardie: 17:08
- Now, online is completely different because I’m not leaving my house. Most likely, I’m sitting on my couch looking for black shoes in my pajamas chilling with a drink in my hand like, “Oh my god, I gotta find the best black shoes ever.”
Sharifah Hardie: 17:23
- So this is what happens. Now, I don’t want just black shoes. I want black shoes at the lowest price. I want a free coupon for when I come back. I want Stacy to get half off when she purchases her shoes the next time. I want them to be here, today’s Friday, I want them to be here on Monday and I want them in a purple box with a bow.
Stacy Jones: 17:45
- And free shipping.
Sharifah Hardie: 17:47
- See, you got it. You on it. And I want free shipping, and the reason is, is that’s why people don’t understand. So as a marketing person, you have to understand, that’s why it’s called surfing the net. You’re surfing the net. You’re surfing. What do you do when you surf? You go up and down from place to place to place to place.
Sharifah Hardie: 18:06
- So, if I go to the first store that comes up on the net with black shoes and they not giving me all the things we just mentioned, guess where I’m going? I’m gonna surf onto the next place and surf onto the next place and surf onto the next place, and so you have to be able to grab the person’s attention, give them what they want, and make it one click and make it so super easy for them that they don’t have to think about because what you don’t want them to do is surf on.
Stacy Jones: 18:31
- Okay. That absolutely makes sense. And when you translate that into actually active sales, so let’s say you are a speaker, a consultant, a service and you are providing options for hiring you, do you suggest doing multi tiers? There’s the whole give three options and someone will choose typically the middle option type of opportunity. Is that something that you also advocate?
Sharifah Hardie: 19:01
- Yes. I do, because I always tell people, not everybody likes apples and not everybody likes oranges. You will never, ever be something or someone that everyone wants, so you give the people options. You give the people choices.
Sharifah Hardie: 19:15
- And so what I’m saying, and I want to make this clear, is I’m not saying put all your information on the homepage. That’s not what I’m saying. Sometimes it’s simple as having the link in the navigation bar to your services. But when they get to your services, give them choices because some people, their budget may be smaller. Some people, their budget may be larger. Some people want the whole shebang, where some people just want a little bit, but you never know, or you may not even have realized that you may be missing out on sales if you just say, “This my price. I charge $40. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less,” but maybe they would’ve spent $120. Maybe they wanted to spend $80, but give them options. People love options and people love choices.
Stacy Jones: 19:59
- Perfect. Well, so, what is the first step that a brand should do to approach making their online marketing plan happen? Is this a go it alone? Is this hire someone to help? What do they actually need to do before they actually sign on and learn WordPress for themselves, which can be a nightmare?
Sharifah Hardie: 20:22
- WordPress is probably the one thing that people use, but WordPress, it can be a nightmare, and I recommend, since you asked me for my opinion, is hiring a professional. For everything I do, I always like to hire a professional.
Sharifah Hardie: 20:38
- It’s funny because my mechanic says, he’s like, “You’re a woman that you take great care of your car.” That’s what my mechanic told me and I said, “No, you take great care of my car. You put the little sticker on there that says, ‘Come back January 17th.’ January 17th, I come back. You say, ‘You need oil, you need this,’ and I follow it.”
Sharifah Hardie: 21:00
- So to me, it’s the same thing, because people can figure out how to do a WordPress, but is that what you’re in business to do? I always hire somebody and focus on the marketing or your business. Focus on the marketing of your business. Marketing is the magic.
Sharifah Hardie: 21:15
- Marketing is where the money is, so unless you really just have the time and energy, because websites take a lot of time and energy. They do. People may not realize that they do, but if you’re operating a website correctly, it should literally be updated at the very least once a week. If you don’t have that many changes, then I always wonder, is your business actively growing? Because in a week, you should have something that’s new. There should be a new product, a new offer, a new service, a new video that you uploaded, but you don’t want to do all those things yourself, so you can always get somebody to do that for them.
Sharifah Hardie: 21:51
- But when starting off in marketing, I always say just be clear on what it is that you’re offering. I always say when you launch your website after you’ve hired a professional, ask 10 people, 10 people that you know to review your website. Ask them these two things. Ask them what you like best about the website, ask them what you like least about the website. Be specific. Don’t say, “Oh, it was nice,” because only grandmas say, “Oh, that’s nice.” No, I know it’s nice, but what would you add? What would you change?
Sharifah Hardie: 22:27
- Ask at least 10 people because I always look at patterns. What is the pattern? If 7 out of 10 people said, “You know what, it’s nice, but I couldn’t really find out how to get your shopping cart,” bam. Okay. I gotta make my shopping cart more obvious, but you want to do that because you don’t want to go into marketing even though it is trial and error, completely with trial and error, ’cause that’s gonna cost you a lot of money.
Sharifah Hardie: 22:54
- So once you get your website up, have 10 people review your website. What do you like best, what you like least about the website, then try to make some changes before you start marketing. Then, before you actually start marketing, have an idea of what your budget is.
Sharifah Hardie: 23:10
- People often come to me, and when I do marketing, even when I do PR, I always tell people I’m the most unprofessional professional business consultant there is because I have my own way of doing things, my own rule of doing things, and none of my customers or clients pay the exact same amount. I don’t have custom cookie cutter prices. Each one has a different budget, and based on their budget, I can determine the best use of their budget, but it’s their budget.
Sharifah Hardie: 23:37
- So in your marketing plan, you have to determine, honestly, be honest with yourself. If you’re gonna lie to yourself, then it’s not gonna help you. Some people will try to lie to me and they’ll be like, “Oh Sharifa, I would love for you to help me and get my sales up to the top but I only can spend $100 a month,” and I say, “Okay. Well then go back, find some more money, then come back when you have some money, because I could take your $100 a month but you’re not gonna get any results, and then you’re gonna be mad at me because you gave me $100 and you didn’t get any results, right?”
Sharifah Hardie: 24:08
- So let’s avoid that whole process because I’ve been online, like I said, since 1994. If you google Sharifa Hardie, you will find pages and pages and pages on me, but you will not find one negative word, and I’m not trying to mess that up now. I don’t need no problems. I don’t need any complaints.
Sharifah Hardie: 24:24
- So, be realistic about your marketing budget. Not many people know this, but one of the companies that spends the most on online marketing is Geico. The Geico insurance company spends around $13 million a month just on online marketing. That doesn’t include television ads. That doesn’t include anything else. That just means online marketing.
Sharifah Hardie: 24:47
- So then, let me give you another example of a company that I’m sure you’ve been to before. We all have. Target. Right? If you go to Target, just think in your brain how many different items Target has. You can buy silverware at Target. You can buy food at Target. You can buy gifts. You can find cleaning materials. You can find clothes at Target.
Sharifah Hardie: 25:09
- So, somebody somewhere at Target has taken each and every item and made that item available and being marketed online. So Target has a multi-million dollar marketing budget, so when you come to me and say, “You know what? I want to sell clothes online and I have $100,” I’m like, “Okay, you want to give me $100 to market clothes when you’re literally competing against Target? Okay, let’s just avoid all of that.”
Sharifah Hardie: 25:36
- So, I’m not saying that a person has to have millions of dollars for marketing, but be realistic because your marketing budget is what determines one word, and that word is reach. It determines your reach. That’s the most key to marketing is your reach and your reach is how many people you are able to reach.
Sharifah Hardie: 25:55
- When you do Google advertising, they charge per click. That click can be $5 per click. Back in the day, it used to be about 2 cents a click. That was in 1994. Now it’s probably about 15 cents a click, per click, per click. So when you look at $100 a month marketing budget and it’s $15 per click, how many clicks are you really gonna be able to get with $100? Plus if I’m doing marketing, I have to add on the Sharifa fee, so you probably only going to get about $75 worth of actual clicks, and $15 per click, how much advertising are you really gonna be able to get in a month?
Sharifah Hardie: 26:36
- Now, Google advertising is not the only option. There’s Facebook advertising. When people have a smaller budget, I always tell them one thing, to be successful, Facebook advertising. Facebook advertising converts to sales, plus Facebook advertising and Instagram are owned by the same company. So when you advertise on Facebook, you’re advertising on Instagram as well. Now, Facebook is not gonna charge you $15 a click but they may charge you $4 a click. So if you have $100 budget, how many clicks are you going to be able to achieve with $4 per click?
Sharifah Hardie: 27:12
- So that’s what I always tell people, “Go figure out your marketing plan.” They always say, “Well, Sharifa, what’s your price?” It’s not about my price. It’s about your budget. When you write out a plan, business owners, when they come to me, I’m always like, “Excuse me,” ’cause they’re like, “But you gotta tell me.” I’m like, “No, every business has to write their marketing plan. In your marketing plan, you allocate a certain amount towards marketing. So give me the number you have allocated towards marketing so I can tell you the best use of the money that you have allocated.” Then, that’s kind of how I approach it. Did that answer your question?
Stacy Jones: 27:48
- It does, and I will tell you that in our industry, in my business as well, I have people who always say, “Well, how much does it cost?” Everything’s all over the place because it can cost whatever you would like it to cost because everything is out there and it fluctuates with the opportunity and it works for large companies, small companies. There’s so many different things that ply into it.
Stacy Jones: 28:10
- It’s amazing how many brands of all sizes … I’m not gonna say larger companies have this dialed in either. Everyone wants to kind of have an idea of where success is and what they need to pay versus being a little bit more forward-thinking and saying, “I have 25000. I have 50000. I have a million,” whatever it might be, which is a lot more easier to work with and plan from versus the mystical unknown.
Sharifah Hardie: 28:43
- Yes, absolutely, because what happens is [inaudible 00:28:46] budget 25000, 50000, or a million, it allows you to differentiate. So now, I’m not only just doing Google AdWords. I’m not only just doing Facebook Instagram AdWords. Now guess what? Now we can do billboards. Now we can do radio advertising because you have more to work with so we can utilize more services. Once I explain it, they really get it.
Stacy Jones: 29:07
- Yeah. So, what do you think is, and this is hard always, what do you think is the minimum a brand needs to consider before actually pursuing marketing efforts and initiatives? What do they need to say, “I have at least this much,” of before it makes sense to work with a third party to try to create and draft that marketing plan?
Sharifah Hardie: 29:32
- Excellent question. You got some good questions. I like you. But I’m gonna answer that in two ways, okay? I’m gonna answer that. I’m gonna give you one number [inaudible 00:29:39] right?
Sharifah Hardie: 29:42
- But the first number that I would say that I look for, my soft spot in particular is 5000. Now, my second answer to that is this. The Harvard rule of thumb says this. Harvard School rule of thumb says that you should have enough money in the bank for five years to market and to operate and to stay in business without a dime. You should be operate for five years.
Sharifah Hardie: 30:11
- Now, if you go to the SBA, to the Small Business Association, they’ll tell you that you should have … Their number’s closer to two years. So, two to five years is the number that you should have enough money in the bank to operate whether or not you make one sale.
Sharifah Hardie: 30:29
- So, to answer your question, they should have money in the bank. However, we all know what time it is, what society, what life is like. How many of us actually have about 100000 sitting in the bank to just have?
Sharifah Hardie: 30:44
- That’s where large businesses win because they have what they call a ward chest. They have a chest full of money that’s sitting there for whenever … ‘Cause marketing campaign is actually a military term. It’s a campaign. It’s to go to war. So when you go on a campaign with marketing and you don’t have enough money, you’re already behind.
Sharifah Hardie: 31:04
- So, business owners do what I call they make a Hail Mary pass, right? They [inaudible 00:31:12] that’s a miracle. I always tell people, “I do marketing, not miracles.” I can create the campaign but if you really only have enough money for this month, then you might not really want to work with me because I’m looking for long-term customers. It usually takes me about 90 days for me to even get your campaign to where I feel it’s up and running because things change.
Sharifah Hardie: 31:37
- I’m not a magician. I don’t know what ads convert the best. I can give you an idea. I can create them, but I usually start with like 10 campaigns, 10 things that are going out. One may work better than the other. I know how to add. I know how to move, but it’s gonna take time for those things to build, take time for us to get continence, take time for us to get results.
Sharifah Hardie: 32:00
- So I recommend no less than $5000 a month, but the main thing is that have enough money to operate as opposed to, “Oh, if I don’t make that money in this marketing campaign, then I’m out of business.” So when people come to me, that’s the one thing I look for is, okay, let me try to figure out if they’re trying to do a Hail Mary pass to save their business, then I kind of move away because you have to have enough money to operate.
Sharifah Hardie: 32:26
- Again, it goes back to your marketing plan. Your marketing plan for your company should be a two to five year plan so that you’re not counting on your profits. You should know what your operating expenses are, your website hosting costs you how much per month, the different expenses that you have to pay for. We’re right now doing this interview. I know this interview service is not free, so you have to allocate a certain amount of money to your expenses in order to be able to operate as your services build.
Sharifah Hardie: 32:54
- So I always say if you want to start, then I would allocate a minimum of $5000 per month towards marketing for a small business. Larger businesses, you’re looking at 15, 20, but just make it where you have enough money towards marketing, because what happens is when businesses start to suffer or the economy starts to suffer, the one thing they do is cut off marketing. How can you make money and sales and customers and clients and generate leads with absolutely no marketing?
Stacy Jones: 33:21
- Right. I think a lot of things that brands I’ve seen have issues with as well with this is they’ll come up with their marketing budget or what they think is a marketing budget or their agency budget, and as you said, there’s a chunk Sharifa has to make in order to actually be paid for her time to do something.
Stacy Jones: 33:42
- A lot of times I think advertising agencies and consultants are looked at as this is the fee we’re paying and we don’t necessarily have to pay more for the initiatives and the activations. You’re just magically, again, going to make things happen without having a solid budget there in place to work with as well.
Sharifah Hardie: 34:03
- Yes, I agree. I love that. You good. I like you. I’m gonna have to keep you around. But you know what the thing about it is? People tend to have a negative connotation with fees. For whatever reason they’re like, “Oh well, I’m giving you $5000.” I’m like, “Okay, hold on. Wait a minute. You’re not giving me $5000. A certain amount of this money is being allocated. I have to pay this out.”
Sharifah Hardie: 34:29
- Even with In the News, my PR company, I can tell people. Most people don’t understand. They’re like, “Oh, I want to be on TV. I want to be in magazines. I want somebody to do a radio interview on me,” and I always tell them, I say, “You don’t understand where you living at. You live in America, okay? Everything in America is pay to play.”
Sharifah Hardie: 34:45
- Now, most people think, “Oh, the media loved the story.” Yeah, they loved the story ’cause I just handed them $250, so now they love your story, but if I would’ve just went to them and said, “Hey, let me tell you about Stacy. She the best person in the world,” they’d be like, “I’ve seen 800 people like her,” but when I’m like, “Here’s $500,” they’re like, “Oh my god, I love that woman. Let me get her into the studio today,” right? So you’re paying for that. Somebody has to pay for that. Those relationships cost. I have to be able to pay out. I have to pay Google advertising. I have to pay Facebook advertising.
Sharifah Hardie: 35:22
- And then they’re like, “Okay, but Sharifa, but you’re making some money.” I’m like, “Okay, but you gotta pay me to think. Okay, I have to think about you. Isn’t that what you want me to sit here and do, think about your marketing campaign, come up with creative marketing ideas at 3AM when I’m trying to sleep and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, let me do this,'” you know what I mean?
Sharifah Hardie: 35:39
- That’s what you pay for. You don’t want to pay for that? I understand. That’s why I tell people I’m the most unprofessional professional business consultant there is. I am quick when people call me and they start asking all these irritating questions, I tell them to Google me and then come back. Google me, then come talk to me, because this is what I do. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I know what works. I know what doesn’t work. People call and they say, “Well, how do I know that you know what you’re doing?” Okay, well Google me and then come back, but I’m not about to do all that explaining and convincing and any of that. I’m Sharifa Hardie.
Stacy Jones: 36:16
- You are awesome. You nailed it. I’m just going to take this little snippet and then when I have clients calling me and questioning, I’m just gonna pretend I’m you and play it.
Sharifah Hardie: 36:26
- That’s what I tell people all the time. That’s why I do interviews. Just take this information and hit play. Tell them, “Go Google me.”
Stacy Jones: 36:36
- Yes, just play. Plus, besides the cost, you’re not necessarily in a business where you’re a one woman a business. You have costs besides … You have employees, you have overhead, you have all these different things that play in to any of these marketing campaigns that are going to happen for the brand as well.
Sharifah Hardie: 36:54
Stacy Jones: 36:55
- That 100% comes in. When we talk about wins, when we talk about making money and monetizing, what type of ROI, what type of return on investment should brands typically expect to see when they’re spending 5000, they’re spending 25000, 50000, one million? They’re investing. For a while, you’re gonna invest without getting money back, but once you hit over that curb, it’s not a one-to-one ratio. What should brands be expecting on getting back or when should they realize that maybe what they’re doing isn’t actually yielding results?
Sharifah Hardie: 37:33
- For me, there isn’t a specific number because that would make the number the same for everyone across the board and it isn’t the same across the board, but this is what I always do with my clients when I start working with them.
Sharifah Hardie: 37:46
- Monetization is my favorite word ’cause I’m one of those ’90s old school, “If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense,” and everything I do when I’m working with clients and talking to clients, and this is the funny thing, and I always share it with my clients, is that when I was working, one of the last companies that I actually worked for was American Express.
Sharifah Hardie: 38:06
- I was a trainer for American Express, and so I had to train people on American Express sales process. When we would train, they taught the trainers, they told us this is what we were to do, and they would take either an 8 week training course or a 12 week training course depending on their experience, but whether they took the 8 week course or the 12 week course, they told us day one, “This is what you tell them. You tell them we are for profit corporation. We are here to make money.”
Sharifah Hardie: 38:35
- And so I bring that into my life, into my business, into my companies, into my interaction with my clients because what I’ve found is so many business owners for whatever reason, they are afraid to make money. They’re afraid to even say, “We want to make money. We want to make sales. We want to make clients and we want to get the money,” because there’s something in our heart, in our psyche, in the mentality that believes money is the root of all evil. Money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is the root of all evil. So you can have money, as long as everything you’re not doing is for the money.
Sharifah Hardie: 39:07
- So what I do is I say, “Okay, let’s look at your business. Okay, you’re selling shoes. Okay, so you want to sell those shoes, but also, let’s look at other ways that you can monetize this,” because sometimes the monetization is not in the direct sale. There are other ways to monetize your business that you may not have even thought of, and so I’m really good at making money in a lot of different ways, and so the more ways you have to monetize your business, monetize your time, monetize that website, the greater your return on your investment is gonna be. If you just have one way to get your money back, then your return on your investment is gonna be a lot less.
Sharifah Hardie: 39:47
- So I always tell people, and this is a tip again for all the people who are listening, I love to throw events. Oh, I have an event coming up, my Power by Purpose tour in LA May 4th at the LAX Marriott. It’s a bunch of lovely woman speakers, businesses, doctors who are coming together to empower women. It’s a women’s empowerment experience. Again, May 4th at the LAX Marriott, but events. I can make more money in one day, Stacy, with an event than I can make in a quarter.
Stacy Jones: 40:25
Sharifah Hardie: 40:26
- Yes. Because you get money from the sponsors, you get money from the ticket sales, you get money from the exhibitor booths, and you get money from your product. So I’m a speaker, okay? So, the CEO of Crossroads TV at the LAX Marriott May 4th speaking about Crossroads TV. All I have to do is show up and speak, but guess what? Because it’s my event, I get money in multiple different ways.
Sharifah Hardie: 40:51
- So I can make from sponsors, national sponsors, my sponsorship package goes from $1500 to $10000, not a month, but 1500 to 10000. So guess what? If I make three national sponsors at 10000, that’s 30 grand that I made for an event for one day.
Stacy Jones: 41:11
- That’s fantastic. You are a very, very savvy woman.
Sharifah Hardie: 41:15
- I try, I try.
Stacy Jones: 41:16
- We’re gonna be talking some more, by the way, 100%.
Sharifah Hardie: 41:23
- [inaudible 00:41:23] I said, “I know, I know, I know, I know.”
Stacy Jones: 41:26
- We’re gonna figure this out. We’re gonna work together I think. I think we’ll figure that one out. So, are there any other last bits of advice that you can give to listeners, whether they’re from whatever industry, whatever background? What do you want them to remember and take away today?
Sharifah Hardie: 41:45
- Excellent question. When you started to ask the question I was like, “Oh my god, I don’t have anymore tips.” I think that’s the most … I said everything and then all of a sudden it just came to me and I said, “Have fun.” That’s my tip. I always tell people, “You do what you love, the money will follow.”
Sharifah Hardie: 42:01
- One of my motivators, and this will help if anyone wants to Google it, I love Richard Branson. Google Richard Branson’s marketing idea, and Richard Branson has a lot of tips on marketing, but the reason that he stands out is because he has a lot of fun. Just have fun.
Sharifah Hardie: 42:17
- If you’ve ever listened to or saw the case study about Pike’s Fish in Seattle … Have you ever heard about Pike’s Fish?
Stacy Jones: 42:24
- I have.
Sharifah Hardie: 42:25
- Okay. Other people, Google the story, because what happened is Pike’s Fish in Seattle, which does a lot of marketing and touring on marketing and how to market your business, the story is that they were going out of my business. The owner didn’t have enough money to stay in business so he told all the guys at the fish market, he said, “We’re going out of business. I can’t save the company. Let’s just have some fun,” and they literally started tossing fish to each other.
Sharifah Hardie: 42:52
- Because they were having so much fun tossing the fish and the fish was flying, the customers, the people came over to watch and they bought the fish, and so they saved the business just simply by to a certain extent giving up and having fun.
Sharifah Hardie: 43:06
- So, do what you love and the money will follow. If you are not having fun in your business, find the fun. Find the aspect. I love what I do. Why? Because for the most part, I sit around and do interviews all day. That’s my life, talking to people, interviewing and helping people, but I have fun in everything that I do. I’ve always said if it’s not fun … I’m like a big kid. If it’s not fun, I’m not gonna do it.
Sharifah Hardie: 43:29
- But find the fun in your business. Understand that social media is about what? Socializing. Talk to people. Have fun. Make some new friends. If you make 10 new friends today, tomorrow I want you to make 100 new friends. That’s the goal, but just meet people, meet people, meet people, and have fun and you’ll see the results in your bank.
Sharifah Hardie: 43:51
- I always tell people when my new clients come on, I don’t do a lot of reports. Some SEO companies or marketing companies or PR companies, they try to fool you with 18 different reports that tell you the click through ratio and this and that, and I only go by one report, one account that tells my clients that I’m working, and that’s your bank account. If your bank account has increased, Sharifa did her job. So have fun, enjoy life, and that’s it.
Stacy Jones: 44:16
- Perfect. One last question for you.
Sharifah Hardie: 44:18
Stacy Jones: 44:19
- For our listeners, if they want to get a hold of you, what’s the best way that they could do that?
Sharifah Hardie: 44:24
- The best way is just call me. Call me. Just call me. I always say, “Ask Sharifa.” But most of my clients, they call me and they say the same thing. “I don’t even know what you do, but Stacy said call Sharifa.” Most of my clients, they don’t even know what I do when they come to me. I get the majority of my clients through referrals, so they always call me and they say the same thing. “I don’t even know what you do, but Stacy said ask Sharifa,” and they call.
Sharifah Hardie: 44:51
- So just give me a call. 562-822-0965. Again, that number is 562-822-0965, or you can visit any one of my websites, AskSharifa.com, InTheNewsPR.com, and I do a lot of virtual networking events. Visit my website at VirtualNetworkingEvent.com.
Stacy Jones: 45:13
- Well, Sharifa, thank you so much for being on today. I’ve learned a lot. I’m going to be diving into our website a little bit more with our team, looking at some things that we’re doing online and how we can monetize better ourselves. I really do appreciate the time that you spent with us today, so thank you so much.
Sharifah Hardie: 45:29
- You are so welcome. Thank you for the opportunity. I greatly appreciate it.
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