How to Make Money with Daily Deal Marketing | Small Biz Marketing Specialist
groupon marketing

How to Make Money with Daily Deal Marketing

So many companies try Daily Deal Marketing, run the standard “Buy $10 for $5” discount, and wonder why they literally lose money and gain virtually zero long term customers from the promo. In this podcast Small Business Stacey is interviewed by GKIC on strategies to make Daily Deal Marketing work in your business. If you like our podcast please subscribe or leave us a comment.

Episode Transcript

A.J. Mirabedini: Hello, everybody. This is A.J. Mirabedini, the CEO of GKIC, back with you for another one of our Gold Calls this month with someone who is close to my roots in the marketing and advertising world. One of our long-term members whose passion and commitment is to be on a personal mission to save small businesses and to rebuild Main Street, which is something that I relate to quite a bit.

Our guest today is going to be Stacey Riska, who is from Washington, D.C. She is very successful in the marketing area for helping entrepreneurs and small business owners get more customers, clients, and patients using a lot of the proven strategies that she’s learned and has developed and evolved and brings to the table.

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"Before working with Stacey I was a struggling realtor. Today I am the #1 producing agent in my area. I could not have done that without Stacey's marketing brilliance."

Before I begin this interview and this discussion, I want to segue into an interesting view of things that I think is relevant. The way we connected with Stacey and ended up inviting her to be part of our series of Gold Calls was that it started out as a customer complaint issue. She was struggling to find some of the select files that we present. She had reached out to our Editor-in-Chief, Kim Phelan, and was looking for stuff that she couldn’t find, which was making her frustrated. To her credit, Kim Phelan did her work and found ways that we could provide Stacey with the files she was looking for. Furthermore, thanks to Stacey and thanks to her mentoring and her suggestions, we now have created a solution for getting our swipe-into-play files in our online offerings at least a week before the actual newsletter comes out.

I’m saying this, one, as an acknowledgement to Stacey’s guidance to us to better ourselves. Also as a tip-of-the-hat to my staff for doing such great work, and Kim’s commitment to our members. And also as an encouragement to our other members to reach out to us. Any way we can help them and in any way we can better ourselves, because if we’re better we can serve you better. That’s really the point of all of this.

Enough about us. Onto Stacey, her world, and our conversation. Stacey has been an expert and on a mission to save small businesses, as I said, and to redevelop Main Street. She knows that one thing that’s going to help small businesses more than any other – and this is very much in line with what you’ve heard from us at GKIC – that’s effective marketing. But more importantly is getting effective marketing implemented in a business. She’s been a long-time student of GKIC. She knows first-hand that great marketing, implemented properly, can be the difference between a failing business and one that supports a life-style and gives a balanced approach to the life of an entrepreneur.

Stacey’s won numerous awards in the area of marketing and in her career for her marketing efforts for small businesses. She’s a serial entrepreneur like most of us are. Her world includes owning a coffee and smoothie business. Again, like many of us, she’s had her ups and downs. She, at one point in time, was 500k in debt and about to lose it all when she decided, like the tenacious entrepreneur that she is, to go outside the box and use her marketing powers to tap into alternative and new marketing solutions, such as Groupon. She managed to evolve her business and to turn it around from a business that was 500k into debt to a very profitable seven-figure successful business model.

She now teaches other entrepreneurs how to succeed with marketing in a highly-acclaimed “Daily Deals For Massive Profits” training program. She also works with small businesses…a number of private clients that she helps implement marketing that they know works, but are too busy to do it themselves. Which is a very common note that we get from a lot of our members. Really, this is very normal that as entrepreneurs we’re so busy running businesses that sometimes we forget to dive in. Really can’t dive into all of the areas that we need to dive in, including marketing, which is – as we know – the back-bone of all the business success and all the leads that come in.

With that introduction, Stacey, it’s a thrill to have you here. It means a lot to me to have someone of the marketing business end, because it’s a language and it’s a world that, obviously, I’m familiar with as my background in marketing and advertising, and, obviously, as an entrepreneur. Welcome, and thanks for taking the time to be here with us today.

Stacey Riska: Thanks, A.J. Who knew that a customer complaint would bring such good riches? But it is a great lesson learned for small business owners, because a lot of times they’re fearful to get a complaint. “Oh my God! Somebody’s complaining or leaving a bad review!”, and that’s such a great opportunity to do something positive about it, like GKIC did. They not only resolved it, but went out of their way to build a relationship with me and learn more about what I’m doing so that I can then, as well, give back to the GKIC community. I’m excited to be here today, share my story, and help your community grow.

A.J.: Awesome. Thank you for that. And, really, my advocacy to GKIC and to our members is that marketing anymore and business anymore is a dialogue. It’s not a monologue. It’s not a one-way street. You need to listen as much as you need to speak. I urge our members and our listeners to follow our path here and really have a good dialogue with their customers. Learn from them, adapt, and evolve. We all make mistakes, and as long as we improve on it that’s the point of it.

Speaking of which, you have a long and illustrious serial entrepreneur background. I’m curious how you got started. I’m curious how you’ve transitioned and have, on the one hand, a marketing/advertising background in business, and on the other hand a coffee and smoothie business. That’s an interesting connection and I’d love to get your history behind that.

Stacey: Well, what happened was my career actually started in association management. I graduated from the University of Maryland and said, “I just want a J.O.B.” I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and ended up at an association doing their membership and marketing. That’s actually when I came into the GKIC world. It was so much fun because I got to create all these marketing campaigns that were out-of-the-box. At the time, that was very revolutionary. I was working in the insurance industry and coming up with a game concept. That, or a football theme. Something that was not your typical brand-building brochure was sort of unheard of. But it worked really well. I doubled the membership in five years. I was at that organization for ten years.

Then I had this entrepreneurial itch. I loved working on the computer and, as crazy as it sounds, doing data entry. So I left and started my own out-sourcing business where we did back-office work for associations and non-profits. Grew that, was very successful and profitable, and I guess I had another ten-year-itch. I decided I need something fun. I need something different to do, but what am I going to do?

I actually ended up working with a franchise consultant, who said, “Stacey, what do you really want to do?” When I looked internally, the answer was, “I want to live at the beach and work behind a tiki bar serving umbrella drinks.” Well, I’m living in Washington D.C., so the beach really wasn’t going to work out. But the franchise consultant came back and said, “Well, hey! There’s this franchise called Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees and Smoothies. You can wear a Hawaiian shirt, you can say ‘aloha’, and you can get to work behind a tiki bar.” Sold!

So I bought into this franchise and things started great. By the end of my first year, I had ten carts in operation in the Washington D.C. area. I was the number-one franchise in the system, and the growth just continued. By the end of my second year, I had one store in a mall and two stores at Dulles Airport. The growth was great, but so was the crazy and burn. This was in 2008, and everything just started slowing down. Nobody was traveling. That’s, I guess, where the word “staycation” sort of came from. Nobody was going out and doing anything, and nobody was definitely going to the mall just to get a smoothie.

Everything was slowing down but my bills were just starting up. I had payroll, I had leases, I borrowed all this money to build out the stores. I was $500,000 in debt and I did not know where my next costumer was coming from. I was at the proverbial fork in the road. I could throw in the towel, or I could find a strategy that was going to save my business. The issue was that I didn’t have any money to do marketing. If it was going to save my business, I needed something that was going to be outrageous. Something GKIC-style. Something that was really going to save my business. But what kind of marketing could I do that was no- or low-cost?

Then it hit me. Groupon! I had never done one before. Honestly, probably like most people in the GKIC community, I was quite skeptical. But I am here to tell you that it worked. The phones started ringing. My website traffic skyrocketed. The money started coming in. I am so glad that I did it, because it was the key strategy that took my business from $500,000 in debt to a seven-figure profitable business.

A.J.: Great story. That’s so typical of our successful entrepreneurs. You just can’t deny them and they figure out a way to turn bad things into good things. They figure out a way to make them heartier and evolve more. Let me ask you about the marketing side of your business. The marketing business that you’re involved with. Give us some insight into how you got into that and, really, your roots in marketing in small marketing for small business.

Stacey: I am passionate about small business. I love helping small business owners grow. My son, he even calls me Small Business Stacey. I didn’t even have to go out and hire an expensive brand-person. My son just called me Small Business Stacey, and I was created.

What happened was, I started sharing my Groupon story. It wasn’t just Groupon. Groupon got the people in the door, but I was doing a lot of other GKIC-style marketing. I had what I called a Smoothie-In-A-Box shock-and-awe package. I was using lump email. I was sending out newsletters. I had a whole process in place to get testimonials and referrals. Every year my smoothie business was doubling. So people in the franchise started reaching out to me to say, “God, you’re going gang-busters. What are you doing? Teach me how to do it.” Basically, do it for me.

Then I started sharing information on a small business website of what I was doing. Word got out and people started raising their hands. They would tell me these stories. “Oh, I’m a family-owned business and I’m struggling. We can’t get costumers in the door.” Or, “I’m a salon and I’m just locked to the chair. I don’t know how to raise my prices.” Or, “I’m a real estate agent. I’m trying to sell real estate and I know I need to do social media, but who has time to do that? Can you do it for me?”

That seemed to be the big question that everyone was asking me. So, as GKIC taught me, I put on my entrepreneurial hat and said, “Hey! If people are raising their hand, then there must be a market there.” I started provided done-for-you marketing solutions to small and local business owners. That’s why I started the small-biz marketing specialists. So that small business owners can do what they do best, which is running their businesses. They can focus on making it grow, and they outsource their marketing to us and we get their marketing done.

It’s a win-win for everyone. It relates back to what my motto used to be in the outsourcing business that I had. That was, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” I think that’s a motto that every small business owner can live by. If you do what you do best and outsource the rest, then you are going to be completely focused on what brings in the most revenue, what’s going to make you most profitable. It’s allowed me to then build my dream business, which is saving small business and rebuilding Main Street. Helping them get their marketing done.

A.J.: That’s a great story. Stacey and I shared our roots…Again, my start was owning and running an ad agency working with small businesses. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, Stacey, this is a reflection of my own business experience. Small businesses who are – as they should be – very frugal with their expenditures and their resources, have no issue with outsourcing their accounting. They don’t have any issue outsourcing their legal needs, their organizational stuff.

But when it comes to marketing, people consider marketing to be subjective. People have opinions and thoughts on, “I think this works, I think that works.” People sometimes try to take that in-house and do that themselves. Sometimes they run into trouble, because it’s as much science as it is art. They find that they can be as effective outsourcing some of their marketing to people like you, as well as they outsource their accounting to a CPA firm or to a law firm for their legal needs.

In your experience in working with the small businesses you worked with, what do you find to be the single biggest challenge that your clients – and the people that have worked with you – are experiencing in their businesses when it comes to the marketing of their business?

Stacey: It’s sort of three things that I hear out there. There was a survey that was done on Alignable. Alignable is a social media platform where small and local businesses connect. They asked the question, “What’s your biggest challenge?” What do you think you think they said, A.J.? What do you think small business owners said their biggest challenge was?

A.J.: Marketing. Leads. Costumers.

Stacey: Yeah, marketing. I’m not surprised. You’re not surprised. That was the answer: marketing. What I find, is that it’s usually because of one of three different reasons. One is somebody will say, “I’m not doing marketing because I don’t have the expertise.” Well, that’s not necessarily true.

GKIC has so much information that helps build the expertise, so it’s probably more of a mindset. A plumber thinks, “Well, I’m a plumber. I know how to fix the pipes. I’m not a marketer.” Or, “I’m a dentist. I can’t do marketing. I only know how to clean people’s teeth.” You and I, we know that that’s not true, but that’s how many small business owners think. That they don’t have the expertise, so then they just don’t do anything at all.

Then there’s another group of people that say, “Well, I don’t do marketing because I don’t have the money.” Again, that’s just a big excuse. Believe me, if anybody didn’t have money it was me in 2008. I was $500,000 in debt but I found a marketing strategy by using Groupon that literally turned it all around for me and gave me a profitable business that I still run today. So money’s just an excuse.

But it is expensive to hire a full-time marketing person. I had done some research on this and the average marketing director makes $125,000 a year. Very few small businesses can probably afford to have that person on their staff. So they need marketing that can be done cost-effectively. That’s another reason why the small-biz marketing specialist helps them get it done.

But the absolute biggest reason small business owners say they don’t do marketing is time. Time! Everybody knows they need to do marketing, but they just don’t have the time. And I’m sure everyone can relate. But time, as well, is just an excuse. Every small business owner can find the time to do marketing. It just depends on how fast they want to grow.

If you can take all the materials from GKIC…You can read the newsletter. You can buy your programs. You can learn it and implement it yourself. But that’s the slow road to growth. You’re not going to grow pretty quickly. It can be effective if you implement it, but it takes time. The small business owners that want to go fast, it’s relating back to my motto, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” That’s how you maximize your time.

You don’t just sit there and post on social media all day. That is not a good use of a small business owners time. The small business owner should be focusing on what brings in revenue. Then you find somebody who specializes in marketing, like the small-biz marketing specialist. Then you get your marketing done.

Dan, he talks about time management all the time. I love a quote that I saw from him that said, “Delegating is as hard for entrepreneurs as telling the truth is for politicians.” That made me laugh, based on the time of year we’re in. Delegating, it doesn’t have to be hard. Just do what you do best and outsource the rest. Then you will have that time freed up and you can get your marketing done.

A.J.: Perfect. At GKIC we’re hearing that quite a bit from our members. They are looking for help in implementing some of the marketing strategies that we bring to the table. We’re also getting into some done-for-you versions. We have a digital solutions entity now that provides total turnkey services for digital needs for our members, following our direct-response strategies.

So I agree with you that I think, sometimes, some entrepreneurs, some businesses have the acumen. They have the resources to be able to do it themselves. Some need some help. Some need a lot of help because they don’t have the time or the ability to get it done. That’s when the need to reach out for help and – like you said – outsource it to those of us who make a living out of this and are staying on the cutting edge of where things are going on.

Speaking of which, you’ve mentioned Groupon several times. Groupon and others like them – the daily deal sites – had a pretty interesting journey in the marketing channels of things. Some have been criticized – at times – for what they are and what they do. Explain to us how you’ve been able to manage to use Groupon effectively with creating the results that you’ve experienced, and for the things that you’ve been able to put together, so our members and our listeners can have a better understanding of how you’ve applied this tool to help your businesses and your clients’ businesses.

Stacey: I didn’t start my marketing by saying, “I want to do a Groupon.” It was at that point where I was $500,000 in debt. I needed a strategy that was going to bring me costumers fast and give me cash now. I know there’s a lot of negativity out there. People are skeptical about it. I started talking to other small business owners about Groupon. Everything I heard was, “Don’t do it! You’re going to lose money. It just brings in the bargain shoppers. They’re not going to return.”

So it really forced me to look at my business with a clear set of glasses. I had to really decide: is my business worth saving? Can it make money? When I look at it, the answer was, “Yes.” So, here’s the difference. I knew that I could not do the quote/unquote “typical” Groupon deal: buy $20 of smoothies for $10. Let me explain how a typical Groupon works. If you’re selling…Groupon may offer something for, let’s say, $100. Well, then the costumer gets to buy it for $50, but they you’re splitting that $50 with Groupon. So Groupon makes $25 and you make $25. So you’re making 25 cents on the dollar.

For me, in my coffee and smoothie business, I knew that just wasn’t going to work. My food costs – just by itself – was 33%. Meaning I would lose money on every single deal sold. Now, you can strategically choose to do that – and maybe we’ll talk about some of those reasons – but when I was such in debt that just wasn’t going to work for me. So I had to really put on my GKIC marketing cap and, as Dan says, “Don’t follow the herd. Take a look at what everyone else is doing in your industry and then do the opposite.”

That’s what I did. Instead of offering this typical $20 for $10 deal of smoothies, what I did was I created high-priced catering packages starting at $575. This wasn’t just a “smoothie”, or “catering”. What I did was, I literally turned it on its side. I called it The Ultimate Hawaiian Get-Away Without a 12-Hour Flight. What that was, was we would come out, we’d set out a tiki bar where professional tiki tenders blend up gourmet, all-natural, fresh fruit smoothies, and top it off with a Hawaiian parasol. So all of your guests are going to get their vacation-in-a-cup.

I used GKIC-style marketing to transform a commodity – a smoothie – into an experience, which I called The Ultimate Hawaiian Getaway. Which one would you rather have? The smoothie or the Hawaiian getaway? And it worked! At that point, the people who were looking on Groupon…price didn’t matter. It got rid of the bargain shoppers. When they saw this umbrella drink with the tiki – and also changing the business model where, instead of you having come into the store, I’m going to bring it to you – price didn’t matter. They wanted it. It was something different. And because it was something different, from my perspective, I was actually able to negotiate a better deal – a better split – from Groupon, so I made money on every deal.

I also used it as a way to build a list. When somebody saw my deal for this Ultimate Hawaiian Getaway package, they’re not just going to buy it, they’re going to make sure that they’ve got their date and time. So they would pick up the phone and call me. Well, ding ding ding! Dan says, “Your list is business. It’s the biggest asset that your business has, and that’s the way that you print money.” Well, it’s so true.

When people called in, I would get their contact information and I was building a list. Not only that, we had up-sells. When somebody called in and wanted to book their event, we would say – to McDonald-size it – “Would you like alcohol with that?” Because who wants an umbrella drink without alcohol, right? There was an up-charge for alcohol. There was an up-charge if they wanted additional time. There was an up-charge if they wanted decorations or music. We had all these additions. They were all profit that went straight to my bottom line, and they were outside of the Groupon. Groupon wasn’t taking any split of that.

So when I hear small business owners say, “Well, you can’t make money doing a Groupon…” Well, if you do a typical Groupon – a $20 for $10 deal – yeah, you’re right. You’re not going to make money. But if you do it correctly – and that’s what I teach small and local business owners how to do today – then yes, you can make money and you can build a list. Making money and building a list, that is powerful to a small business owner on Main Street.

A.J.: Sure, that’s the beginning. You’re right, that is the base of your business, your list. What should our members, our listeners…What are your words of wisdom to them if they’re considering doing a daily deal? Whether they’re dentists, whether they’re pharmacists, whether they’re candle makers, whether they’re auto repair shops or whatever else that they are. What are your words of wisdom to them if they’re considering doing a daily deal?

Stacey: I’m passionate about it so you may think I tell everyone to run a Groupon. But, no, it’s not right for everyone. There are pros and cons, and there’s probably too many for us to cover today. Let me share with your community some of the really important ones so that they can make an informed decision.

One of the biggest pros is: I call running a daily deal the ultimate customer-generating machine. It brings people into your pipeline. It gets you eyeballs and costumers fast. You can do all the GKIC-style marketing you want, but nothing is going to give you more reach and exposure than running a daily deal. They’re doing all the marketing and advertising for you, so that’s definitely a pro.

Another pro is that it doesn’t cost you anything out-of-pocket. In my situation, that was definitely a pro, because I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing. Just because it doesn’t cost anything out-of-pocket doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost anything at all. You still have a commission split with the daily deal company. But if you structure your deal correctly, and you don’t do that “typical deal”…Running a deal, it’s a great way to get your name out there.

Another pro that I love about daily deal marketing is that – we talked about time and not having enough time – they do all the work. Basically, you can hand it off to the daily deal company. They will write the copy for you. They do all the images. They do creative. They do the marketing, the advertising, and they do the customer service of handling the people who buy the deals. In that regard, it’s a great way to get your marketing going fast.

On the flip side, there are some cons that you should consider. You probably heard that running a daily deal attracts bargain shoppers. And your typical Groupon deal will do just that. If you think about a piece of pizza, somebody looking on Groupon who wants to buy a piece of pizza, they will see, “Joe’s Pizza Shop may have more cheese and Giuseppe’s may have more dough, but I’m looking for the best deal.” And they’re going to go buy that piece of pizza and never come back. The best way to minimize getting bargain shoppers is to make your deal a unique experience, like what I did in moving from selling a smoothie to creating the Ultimate Hawaiian Getaway. When you do that, it takes price-shopping out of the equation.

Another con to consider is that running a daily deal can overwhelm a business. A few years ago there was a story – and you may have heard about it – about this little cupcake shop that ran a daily deal and was almost completely wiped out overnight. They made it sound like that’s why it’s so bad for business. What they didn’t tell you was that this cupcake shop discounted their deal by 75%, which we now know that’s not going to work. So they sold 120,000 Groupon deals that they had to fulfill in something like 8 days, and they didn’t have the staff to do it. It basically wiped them out. That’s why, if you’re going to run a deal, you’ve got to have the systems in place and you’ve got to train your staff to handle the customers so that you’re not getting negative reviews.

There’s one more con that I want to reference because it’s really important. When you run a daily deal, it doesn’t make it easy to stay in touch with your customers. You’re not going to be able to build a list. Groupon – or whoever you run your daily deal with – they’re not going to give you the list of people that bought the deal. You have to build a structure and a process to get that information yourself. That’s why I structured my deal so that people had to call and make a reservation. I was then getting their contact information.

The main thing I want to share is, if you’re going to run a daily deal, do it by making an informed decision. Don’t just do it because I’m broke and I need to get customers in the door fast and “Oh, it worked for Stacey so it’ll work for me.” You’ve got to know your numbers. You’ve got to have processes and systems in place. When you think about it, A.J., it’s really no different than any other type of marketing that you do. For me, it was an informed decision as the best marketing strategy that was going to get customers in the door fast, and give me cash now. And that’s exactly what it did.

A.J.: Such a pillar of direct-response marketing is measurable ROI. You need to define that in your own business needs and in your own business model. If you find a tool that you can measure and you can get the return on investment that you make in it, and it helps move numbers and helps build lists – which, really, you can’t put a price on that because now if you have the list you can leverage that into other opportunities – I think there’s a space and a place for that for businesses. I think the daily deals play into that part on a business-by-business level. I agree with you that I think businesses need to evaluate their own makeup before they go down this road. They need to make sure that they can walk the talk to be able to deliver the offerings that they put out there.

Stacey, I’m going to ask you a question that’s unrelated to smoothies or daily deal offers like Groupon. I think it’s relevant for our members and listeners, and I ask this of a lot of people that I interview. So many of our members – and, really, entrepreneurs in general – feel like their world is so unique. That their needs and their business and their market and their audience and their market city and whatever else…are so uniquely different that they can’t do some of the things that somebody in Washington, D.C. does, or someone that is a doctor does, or someone that is a retailer does, or whatever else.

For someone like you, who spends so much time with other businesses, can you help explain for me and to our listeners why marketing fundamentals – tools like daily deals, tools and strategies like defining and creating lists – why is that business agnostic? Why does it really not matter? In your opinion, from what you learned, what makes us more the same than makes us more different and how we market ourselves and how we approach business?

Stacey: It’s a great question, A.J. Marketing is marketing. It doesn’t matter if you’re on Main Street or you’re a solopreneur working from your house or – like you said – a plumber, a baker, a candlestick maker. The marketing is the same. It’s about building a relationship. It’s doing the things that get you to that point. For example, in my business, instead of just selling a smoothie it’s a process that you put in place. A repeatable process. I do things like sending out hand-written notes. I send out regular email newsletters. I’m doing social media. I’m doing a lot of things. But where I find that the small business owner struggles is…I’ll share what I’m doing and then it just seems so overwhelming like, “Oh my God, how could I possibly do all of that?”

I think the key is to start small and get some small wins. It’s to determine where you can get the most bang for your buck, and developing that relationship. Where a lot of small business owners fail in doing a daily deal is they’re treating those customers like a transaction. They come in, they go out. It’s like the revolving door. They’re never asking to get their contact information. They’re never doing anything to build a relationship. And that’s what the key of marketing is. To, what does Dan say, “You don’t get a costumer to build a sale, you get a sale to make a costumer.”

It’s all about building relationships. Sure, there’s all these excuses we talked about earlier. “I don’t have time. I don’t have money. I don’t have expertise.” But you can find the time to write a hand-written note thanking a customer for coming in. You can do something special that makes them feel appreciated. You can do something, just these little small steps. It’s sort of like doing…I’m a big proponent of doing something every single day that moves me forward, because if you do look at this whole marketing, it can be completely overwhelming. I think that’s part of the challenge, is people say, “Oh my God! I’ve got to do all of this? Where do I start? I don’t even know.”

It’s taking one small step. Doing one thing a day that can move your business forward and build those relationships with customers. When you do, you find out, actually, that your customers become your ambassadors and start doing the marketing for you. I have been really successful in doing that. I call it my “No-Marketing Marketing Plan” because they go out and do the marketing for me. They go out and say, “Oh, Stacey’s been doing such a great job of that. You need to talk to her! She’ll get it done for you.” And that’s where you want to get to, because then you’re not spending a lot of money on marketing. Your customers are doing the marketing for you.

A.J.: I love it. I love it. You’ve been with us for a while. I’m curious, how has GKIC been able to help you? How have we been able to help your businesses evolve? What path would you suggest new members to GKIC to take advantage of the resources that we off and the relationships that we have with our members like you to help them improve their businesses? So, your take-away from GKIC is what?

Stacey: My take-away from GKIC is: immerse yourself. There is so much to take advantage of. You didn’t have this when I started, but one of your newer programs is the Marketing Bootcamp. I’ve been waiting for one of those to come to Washington D.C. because I would love to be able to…You always think, “Oh, she’s been doing marketing for 30 years”, but it’s always about getting back to the basics and the opportunity to network with people.

I know that people learn in different ways. Some people like to read, some people are visual, some are audio. And GKIC provides that information in so many different ways. Whenever I get the monthly newsletter I just ravage right into that because there’s always some great tools and information that you can get into. If you want…What I do miss, honestly, is the local networking that…There used to be local chapters where you could go and network. So I hope that GKIC does build that up for the opportunity to have small business owners network.

But I think – as a whole – GKIC is doing a fantastic job of supporting small businesses and helping them with their marketing, and realizing that what they teach you in old school – run an ad in the paper, build it and they will come – it doesn’t work. It definitely doesn’t work.

A.J.: No, you’re right. The strength in GKIC really is – as I’ve said it to our employees – is really to be a community of entrepreneurs. To provide the opportunity for members who are in one space to be able to spend time with members in another space, people like you. We’re actually…you mentioned our local communities. We’re putting the full court press on – starting this month – on having a local chapter in every major city in the country led by an associate that we will train and can bring local chapters together for them to be able to digest, discuss, review GKIC products and content. To be able to really have more connectivity with it.

Part of the reason that we really love our events – such as Info Summit coming up – is the fact that it gives us a chance to be together. It gives us a chance to sit down, tell stories, and share our wisdom together. We’re certainly going to do more and more of that. People are going to see – in this next few months and year – a real effort for GKIC to enhance our community and be able to create and facilitate a lot of sharing from members – people like you – that can help each other evolve and grow. I’m grateful for your perspective and we’re certainly here. We’re certainly eager to get better, and we’re open to wisdom and comments from members like you to get us on the right page that you need us to be on.

Tell me, if you can, as we’re wrapping up our call, how can our members reach you? What’s the best way to engage with you if they have other questions and if they want to understand how you do what you do?

Stacey: Thanks for asking. I have many different websites as a serial entrepreneur. My home base would be the On that site, people can find my blog. I have videos that share great marketing tips. There’s links to all of my programs, like the Daily Deals For Massive Profits training program. There’s a lot of free information that people can take advantage of. It’s

A.J.: And, Stacey, earlier in our call you brought up Alignable as a tool that you use. I was wondering if we can be clear and give everyone the direct url for that so people can also look into it. That’s a good resource for a lot of businesses to be able to find others that they can align themselves with. What’s the url that you use for reaching them?

Stacey: Alignable is

A.J.: Just the way Alignable is spelled. That’s a resource that I’ve recommended to other small businesses to go to find connections with others like themselves. At the end of the day, this is a lonely journey that we’ve all chosen as entrepreneurs, and what we need is a sense of togetherness and a sense of being able to share and being able to learn from one another. That’s really what we stand for at GKIC. That’s what Alignable helps people to be able to find. I think that’s how businesses and people like Stacey can help each other and help us be better as marketers and as entrepreneurs.

Stacey, I’m delighted that we had this chance to visit and to catch up on the things you’ve done. I think you’re a beacon of hope for a lot of people that are going through the same journey and are looking for hope that there’s ways to improve their businesses. You clearly have done yours. And some of the ideas you’ve shared can change a lot of people’s approach to their marketing. And for that, we’re grateful.

I thank you for taking this time. I appreciate all you’ve done and appreciate your relationship with GKIC. Thanks for helping us get our act together better on our swipe-and-deployment files, and making us even a better firm to be a part of. Stacey, thank you so much. I will be back with our Gold Call listeners next month with more good stuff from great entrepreneurs like Stacey that we spent time with today. Thank you, Stacey.

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About the Author smallbizmarketing

Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small - and not so small - businesses one marketing plan at a time. She helps business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE profit. Stacey's in-demand "Small Biz Marketing Success Coaching and Mastermind Program" is transforming the businesses - and lives - of those who want wealth, freedom, and market domination. Her highly acclaimed book "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" lays out the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of Cups To Gallons, the place where independent coffee, smoothie, juice bar, ice cream, dessert and snack shop owners go to learn how get into lucrative catering so they stop selling by the cup and start selling by the gallon. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.

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2020: Do you have 2020 vision on what your marketing plan is? You can make excuses or you can have your BEST YEAR EVER. You can't have both.