[00:00:00] corey: Today, I'm joined by Luke Eggebraaten. Welcome Luke.
[00:00:20] luke: Corey, it's great to be here. Thanks a ton for having me on. Absolutely.
[00:00:25] corey: I'm super excited for our conversation today. Could you introduce yourself and share a little bit about who you are and the work you do? Yeah,
[00:00:32] luke: absolutely. you know, like you said, pretty perfectly there.
My name is Luke Eggebraaten. I own. a marketing agency called Phaser Marketing. And we are niched down in the dirt world, we call it. So essentially we do digital marketing for six, seven and eight figure excavation companies. I've been running the company since I guess, technically. October of 2019, but I went full time in the business August of 2021.
So it's been a fun ride and yeah, I'm just excited to talk with you here on the podcast.
[00:01:04] corey: Awesome. So this is like your, your two year anniversary of being full
[00:01:07] luke: time. Yes, sir. Actually in, uh, I think tomorrow, technically as of this recording, it's tomorrow. Oh, congratulations. Thank you. It's, it's been, it's been awesome, man.
Like, and I think I wanted to bring this up too, like. I probably have a little bit of a different story of like when I started the business when I went full time and What's different is that I actually loved my job. I didn't start the business and leave because I hated my job or the people I worked with like I actually thoroughly enjoyed it But I just saw that I knew I wanted to be a business owner and do this full time And so it's kind of a interesting transition when I walked out the door two years ago Yeah tomorrow.
It was just like It was an exciting feeling, but I was like, man, what a fun chapter that was at my job, but I'm excited to kind of embark on this business ownership journey.
[00:01:56] corey: Well, let me, let me ask you since, since, uh, you shared the date. So you sound like you started in October of 2019, you started full time.
August of 2021. So that's almost two full years of doing this part time. So what was what was the inspiration, you know, leading into October of 19 that that led you to want to start this on the side? And then what was those two years like? Before you transitioned to full time.
[00:02:21] luke: Yeah, I think those are some of the most pivotal years in my opinion.
Um, so I graduated from college in 2018, so I went and got a full time job. I actually moved down to Omaha, Nebraska, and got a job as a marketing director at an orthodontic practice. So. Uh, you know, very small office, but got to oversee the digital strategy and also work with patients and do x rays and all this other stuff.
So it was, it was a great mix. Um, but really what, what happened there was, um, the orthodontic practice had an agency that they had hired and they were niched down in orthodontics. And, you know, essentially they got me fired up about starting my own company because what I realized is. I loved these people.
They're in California and I'd never met them. They're super personable. They, you know, we paid them a ton of money each month. But, we got tons of value back. They made me look good as the marketing director. And I was like, man, how could I do something like this? Like, they are just, um, crushing it financially and also, like, for us.
And we just really appreciated that. And so, I'd say it would have been about one year into working full time. I'm like, I've always been entrepreneurial. I want to start my own brand and my own business. And so why not start? a marketing agency and, um, you know, got the papers filed October, 2019. I'll never forget my first piece of mail I received, uh, it was from Google and it was just like verifying that I was a business and I still have it today and just seeing like that name.
On the piece of mail was just so cool to me, uh, because I knew that one day, you know, I would be full time and one day it would be a bigger company and providing for my family. So, um, so that's kind of how it started, but I did have one mission for myself and it was, I'm not going to take a penny out of the business until I can go full time.
And I think that right there was very pivotal in growing it because. There were so many things that I did not know of, like, I didn't know what an invoice was, as embarrassing as that is. Um, I didn't know, you know, how contracts work or, like, what services I would offer. And so, for anyone listening that is thinking about starting, like, just kind of start it as, like, almost like a hobby on the side.
Don't take any money out. Learn how to submit for your LLC, learn how to set up a business bank account, and then just use your full time job as like, your salary. And so, that's what I did for two years. Essentially, we built up the business bank account to about 7 or 8 thousand bucks, and my wife got a full time job in Arizona.
And we're making the move and, and it was just kind of one of those moments where I was like, well, I think this is the time to go full time. So, and then I have it in my calendar as well. August 13th was my first paycheck to myself and it was a bit, it was a big one. So cool. It was a big one.
[00:05:13] corey: Yeah. Yeah.
Wow. That's so great. I just love hearing that story. It brings me back to when I started doing things as well. I can remember, the first piece of mail with. My own brand name on it and just how truly special that feels to get that first piece of mail. That's beautiful Thank you for sharing.
Absolutely in October, so you were working at the Orthodontist you were working with this agency. You were the marketing director. They were crushing it They were they were making a lot of money and they were also really doing a great job for For you as their client and you said to yourself Hey, there's something to this.
Maybe I can, maybe I can do this for myself as a way for me to start my own business. what did you do, at that point? Was it clear that that you wanted to start an agency? And if so, Who did you want to serve at that time?
[00:06:00] luke: Uh, I did probably what most agencies do. I said, all right, we do digital marketing for small businesses and, I don't want to say it's a trap, but it kind of is, you know, you just want to start and you're just like, yeah, I'll go to my local community and I'll talk to my aunts and uncles and they have a business and I can, I can help their bakery and I can also help their real estate agency and, oh, my, my uncle has a construction company.
I can help them. And so I started doing that and you know, our first ever client was a real estate agency, but luckily our, my, our second client, April, 2020 was a good friend of mine from high school. He had started his own demolition and excavation company. And, uh, his name is Luke as well. So he was our second client.
And if you fast forward to today, he's our longest standing client. He's my co host of the Dirtbags podcast and one of my biggest supporters, business partners, everything you can imagine. So, uh, we kinda rode that train. and I, feel like we got lucky by getting thrown into the construction industry.
And I know we can dive into that more, but, yeah, we just, we started out just as a generalist agency working with small businesses. And I knew we had to evolve when we hit like eight clients and we were trying to learn all of these industries. And uh, we just realized that that's not scalable at all.
[00:07:22] corey: What about it wasn't scalable, uh, in that moment?
[00:07:25] luke: Yeah, the biggest piece is, um, you know, if you have one or two clients and you know, all of a sudden you learn their lingo and you learn. What their metrics are and like, what are their goals? Like, are they trying to sell X amount of pastries each day or how many cups of coffee, or, you know, you just have to learn an entire industry each time you bring on a new client at 800 bucks a month or 1500 bucks a month, insert, whatever your costs are.
And, and when you get up to eight, 10, 12 clients, you're like, okay. I don't know as much about the industry of our 12th client because I don't have time to learn it. And so, it became obvious. And then I started talking to other successful agency owners and there was a recurring theme and they said, Luke, if you're going to be successful and scale this business.
And also like move an industry forward, you have to become a part of that industry and you have to niche down and that way you're speaking to the same people, your team knows what to do when they bring on a new client, you're going to the same trade shows, your podcast is niche, your webinars are teaching your industry, your book that you publish is going to teach your industry, everything you do Should be dialed in for your industry.
And you essentially become a part of that and a part of the bigger mission. And so, that resonated really well with me, luckily at the time, I think we had four construction clients and maybe two or three other clients that weren't construction. And so, it was kind of just the natural progression of, we're going to go with construction and, you know, kind of say no to anyone else that wanted to work with us, which.
Was tough at first. Sure.
[00:09:04] corey: And when you came to that realization that, okay, we can, we need to narrow the focus, we're going to find a niche or a vertical market to, to move forward with. It sounded like it was natural to go with construction. Companies because you had four clients including Luke, I'm assuming and, at that point, how did you change the business or how did you change your focus, your, marketing?
What did you do differently going forward?
[00:09:28] luke: Yeah, before we would kind of hide who we worked with and like who we wanted to work with. And then what we really changed is we started turning away. people that wanted to work with us, people that had checks in their hand ready to pay us. And that was hard, but I'm so glad we stuck through with it.
And we just said like, Nope, we do digital marketing for construction companies. I'm sorry. And they're like, well, yeah, but I have 5, 000 for you. It's like, I will refer you to somebody that can help. and people all of a sudden. You know, started respecting that. And even people in construction, they're like, Oh, most agencies work with everyone, but you're only working with construction.
That's pretty cool. And so, really just owning that and having the confidence to say that. and then of course we changed everything with, with our social media, uh, with our bios, with our website, everything was heavy equipment. Everything was construction. We do digital marketing for construction companies.
And like, what is the,
[00:10:27] corey: yeah, go ahead. Yeah. So just from a, from a very practical perspective, like what is, what are the things you're doing for your construction clients? Yeah.
[00:10:37] luke: Like what type of marketing? So we even niche that down as well. So we just love nation down. We're like, all right, we're going to niche our services down
so in a nutshell, there's three services we do and we don't let our customers pick, we tell them what they're getting and we have a phase one, a phase two and a phase three, super simple phase one website, ongoing SEO, obviously that's kind of like setting your foundation. we need a good clean website.
We need to grow organically through Google. It's your cheaper option. It's 3, 000 startup fee, 1, 500 per month. One of the biggest things I did that has helped our business, I changed our vocabulary from packages to programs. We don't do packages. Packages is something you, somebody pays for, you do it, you package it up, you send it to them, and it's over.
Both parties need to abide by the program for it to work. And so that has been huge for us as far as retention. You know, we don't do any projects. We only do long term programs. and then phase two, that's grow your brand. Essentially, that's the same as phase one is website, ongoing SEO, but we add in paid ads and then also like graphic design services.
And so go from 1500 a month to 2500 a month. Super simple, but we also include, you know, then you start working with ad budgets. And so we help our clients establish ad budgets and then we manage that for them. And then simply phase three was built out of necessity because we had a few companies that were doing 50 or 60 million that were wanting to replace their agencies that, you know, we're doing just SEO at six grand a month.
And they're like, can you do that? And I was like, yes. But we need more firepower. So phase three is that just that custom digital marketing plan for anyone doing eight figures in construction. And so that's really helped us not pigeonhole ourselves with the 2, 500 a month plan, but it's kind of opened up just in case we have one of those big guys come out and they're like, Luke, we love what you do.
Can you do our SEO? And we can still say yes.
And how did you come
[00:12:46] corey: to define those three different programs? Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3? Was that more of a... Uh, evolution, or did that, like, how did that evolve over
[00:12:57] luke: time? Yeah, I mean, as a lot of people listening probably know, it's, business is always evolving. So, definitely evolution.
We didn't have that from the start. And actually, what we did have from the start was this idea of phase 1, phase 2, phase 3. But we just didn't have that as, like, our programs. And so, I always had the idea of phase 1. Set your foundation. Phase two, grow your brand. Phase three, dominate your market. And that's actually where the name Phaser came from.
It's just simplifying and then, you know, it didn't, it took until November 2022 for us to realize what we were sitting on here of like Oh my gosh, we could use this as we tailor our programs to revenue. So phase one is tailored for six figure excavation companies. Phase two is tailored for seven figure and phase three is eight figure.
And so that way, if a company comes to me and they say, Hey Luke, like, how's it going? I kind of want to work with you guys. How does it work? And I'll ask them like, what are you guys doing in revenue? How many jobs are you doing? What does your fleet look like? They may say, yep, we're doing 850k in revenue, blah blah blah, and say, okay, you're a perfect candidate for a Phase 1 program, we're gonna start you there, we're gonna see how the growth goes.
If you're doing about 1. 3 million in about 8 months, then we'll look at upgrading you to Phase 2. And that way... They're not like, Luke, I want this, this, and this. It's like, no, we tell you what you get because we should know more than you about digital marketing. And so I think that has been huge as well, where there's that trust factor of like, Luke, you do this for a living, so you just tell us what to do and we trust you with that.
So, that's been huge for us. Yeah.
[00:14:37] corey: coming from the agency space, I've seen... A lot of agencies kind of give a perspective client, like a menu of options when in reality, you know, that just creates decision fatigue and they're asking them to make decisions that they they're, they're maybe not in the best position to do so.
So I love this idea of being sort of the guide and helping them to guide them on this is, this is the right path for where you are today. And when we can. Grow you over time. We can go to the next
[00:15:02] luke: level. I love that. Yeah. And another thing too, that's helped us is, you know, somebody comes in and they, they say, Luke, I really want to hit it hard.
I want to jump in and do your ads and do everything. And if they're doing 600 K in revenue a year, I'll just say like. What we've experienced with all the excavation companies we work with is that we, we need you to have a little bit more cash flow to then jump into phase two. Because when you're talking ad budgets, this can't be like a week by week thing to see if there's money in the bank account.
This needs to be like an investment long term. And so, just kind of coaching 'em through that of like, you know, we, you know, we're also talking business where it's like, I want to get you to a safer place. where you're ready to take that next step and invest. and also, you know, vice versa, if they're doing 4 million a year, I want to see what their goals are.
Like, is your goal to just have a nice clean website and grow organically? Let's put you in phase one. That's totally fine. But is your goal to pour some gas on this fire and like grow to 10 million? We're going to definitely keep you in phase two and, uh, you know, get some things going for you. As you were
[00:16:06] corey: building momentum in the construction space, when you decided that you wanted to lean into this and you updated your social media and your website, your messaging, what did you do to attract new construction clients?
[00:16:18] luke: Yeah, this is the part I think is probably a lot different than most agencies. I actually don't come from like a digital marketing background so much. So I'm not. Uh, I don't love to nerd out in analytics as much and like, cold outreach and all this. So I did it a little differently. I love the idea of building an organic presence on social media.
*And, believe it or not today, like 85% of our leads and business comes from Instagram and we have most of our deals happen in our DMs and it's guys *that have been following us for three years. They love what we do. They trust. Who we work with, they see everything we do every day. Um, so we're very, very active.
I'm very active on LinkedIn. And so people can kind of build that trust of like, Okay, they're not just like a, you know, stuffy marketing agency that's gonna shove all this marketing stuff down my throat. They actually do other things. You know, they're involved in the community, they're involved in, sports, and like, sponsoring softball teams, like, all these other things, and they're like, Okay, I could see myself working with them.
And so, I think that's really helped. our potential customer base see the back end of like who they're going to be working with long term and that's really helped. So. it's not ideal for people starting out to hear because that takes years of, building up and consistency. But in my opinion, I think you should be doing that anyway on top of your cold outreach, on top of any other, outbound strategies you have.
Because when you have your brand and you have people that know and trust you, then you're building that referral network. You're building that trust with. Contractors, associations, different JV partners, you know, kind of all around the block.
[00:17:59] corey: I'm just pulling up your Instagram. I'm sure listeners are at this point as well, because I'm very curious to see what you guys are posting.
What, what type of stuff do you guys post to convey your personality and your focus and expertise in this area? Yeah,
[00:19:11] luke: man, it's a little bit of everything. So if you go to our, Instagram, phaser. I think it's phaser underscore marketing, or you can just search phaser marketing. and if you're following us, you'll see, I usually post at least a couple of stories a day.
so we do everything from our own merchandise. We're always selling merch. we showcase our clients all the time. I kind of say that we do the reverse NDA. So if we work with any clients, we're going to showcase what we do with you. We tell everyone what we do, who you are, everything. So, if clients have an issue with that, they're probably not a good fit for us.
Like, obviously we're not going to go into their revenues or their ad budgets, but we're going to talk about your website. We're going to showcase it. And people love that. we also showcase what we do in our community. I have a phaser fundraiser where we raise money for the boys and girls club back in my hometown.
we also have a scholarship set up for my high school for only reserved for people going into the trades. And so people around the country have been keeping up with that and like supporting in that way. And one cool thing I wanted to bring up is for our fundraiser, it's in a couple weeks here. we're doing sponsorships this year and, you know, so businesses can sponsor it and all this.
as of today we have seven sponsorships. Not a single one of those companies is based out of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, which is where the, where the money's going and is my hometown. And six of those are construction companies and it's because they follow what we do. And they said, Luke, we want to step up and help.
We love what you're doing. And so just kind of creating that community through our social medias, has been one of the biggest growth factors that we've experienced.
[00:20:52] corey: Are most of your construction clients, are they local to the Arizona area or the Detroit area, or are they across the U. S.? So
[00:21:00] luke: we have 43 full time excavation companies that work with us, and we have not a single one in the state of Arizona.
Or in the state of Minnesota, uh, sorry, in Detroit lakes, where in Detroit lakes, Minnesota, where I'm from. So that just shows like the reach. And then also we have a good amount up in Canada to places I've never been. And, a lot on the East coast, which I've never been in the Northeast. So, I think it's just the power of digital marketing as well.
It shows that like, you know, our team is remote, our clients are remote. I'm remote, doesn't matter. Let's get back to work.
[00:21:38] corey: So, I'm still wanting to talk a sec about the 85% of your, new business, comes through the DMs and Instagram. So if you were, if you were just starting over today, what would you recommend or what would you recommend to an agency owner?
Maybe who's just starting down this road that maybe they have a vertical focus. they want to build their agency around, and they're interested in doing more of the organic, building organic presence. Like, how do you get started with
[00:22:02] luke: that? Yeah. How would you recommend that? So, going super, super basic, if I'm going back and starting, no matter what, *you gotta create your Facebook business page, your Instagram company page, your LinkedIn company page, and also your Google business profile.*
*Those are the big four, I call them, with social media. * You just have to be very open, transparent and confident in everything you do, you know, kick it off when we did our first soft launch, when I announced the brand, we came out with hats and we were given away a TV, like, and I couldn't afford a TV, but I just said, all right, we're going to figure it out.
And I said, yeah, basically like share this, like comment, somebody who wants to win the TV and just, you have to be confident in your company. And say that I own this company. This is what we do. Even if you have zero clients and zero revenue, so it just kind of kicks it off. And then what I would. Go back and do a little different is niche down right away Find that market whether it's plumbing HVAC excavation Flooring like there's so many niches out there find one that makes good margins makes good money Isn't afraid to cut a check but find one where you can also like make an impact on that's what I loved about construction Is that?
We can do the marketing basics very well, and they'll see a huge rise in their online presence. and then another thing too is just keep up the consistency on your social medias. Cross post it across all platforms. you're gonna be surprised and you're probably not gonna want to hear this when the graphics that you spend all this time creating and then you post on your social media That is gonna do way worse than if you just turn the camera around and start talking into it and you just be yourself like it's It's amazing how social media works where they will reward you for being social Instead of planned and strategic and all this like business y stuff.
Corporate y. Corporate y. Yeah, it's It's disgusting. It's like, just be yourself and talk into the camera, have some fun with it. And you'd be surprised at like, you know, how that will work. And then also like, I did a lot of, I guess you could say like cold outreach to excavation companies on Instagram. Okay, but I didn't say, hey, do you need a new website?
I said, hey, how's it going? Like, how's business out where you're at? Like, just like asking them questions, learning about their business first. And then I think it, you know, kind of drops their guard down there. Huh? That guy didn't try to sell me anything. That's kind of nice. And then in two weeks, they see a post that we just finished a website for a construction company in their area.
And they're like, how much does that cost? And so really just kind of building friendships and relationships and looking at it more of like, life is long, not life is short. And just realizing that these people are going to be in your network for a very long time. So. I like to not crush it right away with like a spammy message and just like be a human to them, you know, right out of the gates.
[00:25:03] corey: You said something earlier that I'd like to revisit, which is that one of the things that attracted you to construction and, you know, heavy machinery in this whole type of this part of the world is that you were interested in helping to move the industry forward. What do you
[00:25:17] luke: mean by that? Yeah.
in my opinion, if I'm going to be doing this business stuff, it's got to be something I'm passionate about. Digital marketing, I can only get so passionate about. So who are we doing it for? And I love talking business. I love digital marketing, but like, what's the bigger mission?
And so, the construction industry, you can't live without it. Most people don't know like when they turn on their faucet where the water comes from how it gets there when they flush the toilet Where does that go? How does it get out of there? And just some of those things where if we didn't have construction though, you know The world would fall apart.
And so I saw that and then it typically has sometimes a a false Like idea of what the construction industry is like, Oh, you didn't get a degree. You might have, you might have to go do construction for now, where it's really like not that way at all. You can have a great career in construction. It can be very fulfilling and, you know.
I mean, you can make a lot of money doing it as well. And so really changing that stigma, that's a big piece of it. I know the workforce, in construction is critical right now. We are losing all of our boomers essentially to retirement and there's not a ton of people to replace them and construction is only going up.
So it's part of that. You know, we can't do it all ourselves, but we're just a very small piece of the pie to like create some awareness to an industry. And, you know, we do that with our clients. We do that with, speaking at these trade shows, but we also do it within our schools. And so, like I mentioned that scholarship, it's not reserved for four year.
Sport management degrees like I got, it's reserved for people going into the trades and it's like, I just want to keep building that up to where it's a full ride for somebody going into the trades. And then we showcase more of the men and women that are doing really cool things in construction and then just making it a more normalized career path.
[00:27:21] corey: Switching gears here a little bit. I think that's beautiful by the way. Switching gears a little bit, do you believe or in your experience, is it important to your potential construction clients that you have a concentration or a focus in that industry? Like, do they, value that or are they, they don't really care?
what's your experience on
[00:27:38] luke: that realm? That is our number one sales tactic without even trying is. I always just tell people, work with who you want to work with. You don't have to work with us. I'm still going to sleep well at night. We can still be friends, no problem. But, somebody's always going to do it cheaper.
Somebody's always going to be more expensive. Who do you want to work with long term? And so, you know, there are thousands of marketers. There are thousands of marketing agencies. and so for us, we already know their keywords. You know, we, we put the words in their mouth. It's like, Oh, what services do you do?
Excavation grading, sewer line, waterline repair. Do you do septic systems? Do you design septic systems? Like we are already putting the words in their mouth and I've never done any of those things. But when we've, you know, worked with the same clients for three years, you get to learn a lot of that. So there's a lot of trust in that where it's like.
Okay, yeah, we could, we could work with, I probably shouldn't name drop, a very big billion dollar marketing agency and it's 300 bucks a month. But, if we tell them to put the excavator on the homepage, they're probably going to put a picture of the skid steer. And then we're going to have to go fix it ourselves and it's just going to be like a hassle.
And so, you know, I always like to tell people too is, this isn't like a client to marketing agency relationship we're going for. This is a partnership. We're going to grow with you. We're going to be going to the same trade shows, hanging out, having drinks. We're, we listen to the same podcasts and also we know what the issues are in the industry.
If I were to be promoting to every one of our clients, we're going to 10X your leads. Like we're so good at marketing, we would be fired from every single client because they don't want leads. And what do they want? They want to hire. They want people to know who they are. They want to be relevant. They want to be able to build a legacy to pass down to their kids or grandkids potentially, and not just the owner operator that.
You know. Gets a phone call and goes out, does the work, comes back at 11 p. m. at night, like having some systems in their business to pass down. And, you know, I, this is one of my favorite things I heard just the other day. There's a good friend of mine, he's getting started out in digital marketing and he's in Montana.
And he's like, Luke, I don't know how you do it, man. Like everyone out in Montana here, they just say, I don't want marketing. I just need to hire people. And I was like, how do you hire people? How do people find you? He's like, Marketing. And I'm like, yeah, dude, it's this marketing doesn't mean sales. It means like it's, it's branding, it's showing your business.
And you know, so a lot of what we do is we rank companies on Google organically for construction jobs near me, construction jobs in Ontario, construction jobs. So it's really figuring out, you know, what your industry needs and tailoring your programs and your digital marketing services towards that. So we don't go out preaching that we're going to 10X their leads overnight.
We take a very different approach and this long. Long term digital marketing strategies, you know, they're just consistent and they're going to keep you growing and We're not gonna bug you with a zoom call every week It's we meet once every three months and we go over a strategy we go from there So that's even a pro is that we don't meet with them as much.
[00:31:04] corey: Yeah, and that that's based on the fact that you've been able to establish trust and you have a very clear scope of what you're delivering It's alignment with what they want. They let you be the professional in your area and then Yeah, you mentioned trade shows, how important are trade shows to your agency and staying relevant?
[00:31:22] luke: Probably one of the most important. I think a lot of times as a business owner, we can get so pigeonholed with just like, got to get that next client, got to get the next client. And we're only looking at like, who are we selling to? Just these clients. Why not network, rub elbows, add value to association presidents, event managers?
You know, like, there's so many people out there, even people that do insurance for the construction industry, taxes for the construction industry. Like, these are all great, great joint venture partners that you can add value to, and then you'd be surprised, like, the referrals just come right back your way, especially when you're not expecting them.
and I think when you lead with value, so, one thing, you know, we've done is, we've been trying to go to as many trade shows as possible. I always submit a speaking request to, host my own educational session. And it's been awesome. Like I, I had the privilege of speaking at ConExpo this year and it's the biggest construction trade show in North America.
And they bring in. They brought in 133, 000 people this year into Las Vegas and, got to host my own educational session. and it was packed, but it's, I now have relationships with those, board members and where it's like, yeah, Luke. Wasn't stressful to work with as a speaker. He came prepared. He also helped tear down chairs and tables and like he wasn't a pain in the butt to work with.
So long term, like I said, you know, life is long. Like how can we keep building these relationships up and not just focus on your end client, but focus on the source. Like go to these trade shows, shake hands with people, have a good time. But also how can you help these trade shows and these associations?
[00:33:12] corey: important is. Word of mouth in your current agency, do you get a lot of word of mouth through your construction clients? What
[00:33:19] luke: does that look like? That's a really good question. it's always important. It's always the number one Source, you know of digital marketing. It's like the number one most trusted referral you can get is word of mouth but it it is pretty like cyclical,
Sometimes we almost have to help with the word of mouth. So we post a lot about our clients websites when they're, when they go live. And what we always get is those clients then reshare that post and they're like, yeah, it's been awesome working with Luke. So sometimes we kind of have to put that subject.
Out there in front of them and then they like, they will take it. And so it doesn't always happen where it's like, everyone's just shouting your name with you out, with you not even provoking it, I guess is a good way to say it. So coming up with good ways to be like, Hey, we want to highlight you on our website.
Would you mind writing a Google review? We want to showcase our work with you as like a case study and kind of show you off. Is that okay? Absolutely, Luke, like, let me know how I can help. And so doing it like that is a much, much better for us and for any agency, rather than just sitting back and hoping that people are just going to be yelling your name out and be like, go work with them.
[00:34:33] corey: Yeah. So you make it very easy for them to, to share and promote your brand and make themselves look
[00:34:38] luke: good at the same time. Absolutely. And so we're actually doing that right now. We're doing a huge overhaul on our website. Um, And, uh, we're showcasing a ton of our clients. We're using their photos that they said we can use.
We're using their Google review that I asked if they could write. And we're also just, um, you know, showcasing their website too. Like, how long it took to build. Like, what were some snags that we hit with the client. And just being incredibly transparent, uh, I think will always help. Even if there were some negatives and some cons.
It's like, just share those and how did you learn from those. And how are you going to be better on the next one.
[00:35:17] corey: Tell us a little bit about your book. You recently published a book.
[00:35:20] luke: Yes. So the Digital Dirt World, it, uh, I just published in early March. first book I've ever published and it was awesome.
Great experience. very, very happy I did it. And yeah, if anyone wants to grab a copy, it's actually a great read for marketers as well, because it covers, I'd say really at a basic level, it covers all the aspects of digital marketing. But we do get to nerd out a little bit, like in the SEO chapter, for anyone that wants to dig in further, like a lot of people just kind of skip over that, but, you can find it on Amazon, the Digital Dirt World, I think it's about 130 pages.
but yeah, it's one of those things where, actually kind of a funny story. So, it took, so it took me about a year to write and like finish and take the ConExpo speaking opportunity. I was in an interview with them and I was like a late bloomer, like applications were closed and I was like, just jump on a zoom call with me.
Like, please. And, and she's like, okay. And so the director of education, her name is Brooke. Like we just hit it off, had a great conversation and I was like. Yeah, I mean I'm ready like I'm organized and dialed in I know I can provide value and I'll have, my book will be done by then. Like I'm almost done with it.
It'll be published. It'll be ready to go. This was June of the year prior and I was, I hadn't even started it yet. So it was half like a gamble, half a bet on myself and yeah, it got very close. I got the first copy in my hand 14 days before the trade show. So no, I take that back. I was on a flight to Vegas to the trade show and the books hadn't been here, gotten here yet.
So they, when they got here, my wife had to grab them and then fly to Vegas. So it was incredibly last minute, but. If you learn anything from that, I guess it's bet on yourself and you have to gamble a little bit, so. That's good.
[00:37:15] corey: And, and I love the, deadline. You, you had to make it happen.
[00:37:18] luke: I love that.
Yeah. Honestly, Corey, I think the book wouldn't be done even today if I didn't have that deadline. And, you know, this seven months passed. So I think setting, actually I heard that the other day too. People are talking about starting your own podcast as a marketing agency owner. And they said one of the best tips that helped them start was announcing it on your social media.
Be like, Hey, this podcast is going to come out every Friday. It's going to come out, you know, starting on August 1st. And that's even before you even have a microphone. So you're like, well, you got to figure this out. So I highly, highly recommend that social pressure of announcing it. And then you're like, well, we got to do something here.
Yeah, especially for
[00:38:00] corey: people like me who tend to over, over plan things, it's better to just, just execute and, you know, improve over time. you mentioned the podcast, you have a podcast as well. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is
[00:38:11] luke: and who it's for? Absolutely. So the Dirtbags podcast, it's exactly what it sounds like.
it's for dirtbags around the world that... Love construction, like to get dirty, but also like to have a good time, like to have a couple of drinks, and learn about business. And so, man, we started in February, 2022, we, we started out posting one episode a month just because we knew we wanted to be consistent and we didn't want to bite off more than we can chew, So it's myself as a host and Luke Payne, who owns two construction companies as the co host as well.
And we're just like two Lukes in a pod. Like we just feed off each other so well. And so then we started realizing, like, I think we have something here, you know, download started picking up and then it must've been six or eight months ago. We, we switched it to two episodes a month and. We're about 33 episodes in right now and we just crossed, we're about to cross 50, 000 downloads, 25 countries.
We have Dirtbags Australia, Dirtbags Europe, and it's like just crazy like how it's taking off and, it's wild, but we really lead with value and I think that's what's really helped is who can we bring on the show that is going to add value. So, one thing, in my opinion, that I think a digital marketer shouldn't do.
is only talk about digital marketing. I think you pigeonhole yourself a little too much there. So we bring on experts to talk about estimating and construction, insurance and construction. Let's talk about financing. Let's talk about digital marketing. Let's talk about, having a partner in a partnership in construction.
And just, there's so many more topics you can cover. And I think then you get more of that broad listener base in your niche. And more value that you can provide. And also as an owner of your company, you can learn so much just by podcasting. So, I feel like that's, that's helped propel our business like crazy.
I'd say Instagram and the podcast together. that's where basically all of our business comes from. And, it's been wild. That's
[00:40:18] corey: awesome. So taking a step back and just looking across the last almost two years now, full time, more than that, and a part time basis, looking at everything you've achieved with this, what would you say are the positive aspects to taking a vertical approach of your
[00:40:33] luke: business?
Oh man, I could go on forever about this, but I'm going to keep it concise. So, the positive aspects is for one, like I mentioned earlier, you don't have to relearn a new industry every time we bring on a client. many times I know a potential client's cashflow numbers and what they're spending, what they're making, even if they don't even know, just because we do this every single day.
So just that industry knowledge really helps. relatability. I text all these guys all the time, just about other things. Like we like... Racing, we like, construction things that aren't business, you know, we like, having a good time, golfing, you know, things like that, so. I feel like you can be more relatable and you can bring people together.
that's another reason why niching down has helped us is sometimes people see us or myself as like a connector piece to our other clients. Like, Oh yeah, you should go meet, Dane. He's in Bozeman. If you're out in Bozeman, like, Oh, here's his number. He'd love to talk with you and just connecting everyone.
and what has been really awesome is when there's a big trade show and there's. 30 of your clients there and you just get to meet up with all of them in one place. It's like, okay, this is really cool. And so it, to me, it's a no brainer, to niche down, you become that industry expert very quick. but you, you can also become respected and, you can rally.
I like to think just like rallying the troops, like for my fundraiser, as an example. Six out of the seven sponsors are construction companies that have never been to Detroit lakes, Minnesota. And it's like, they just want to help out and support. And, you know, I'm going to be supporting anything that they want to do for their community.
Whether it's a golf fundraiser, whether it's raising money for their kids in their community, whatever it is. So there's that as well, that you can build when you niche down and you kind of just dive in headfirst to an industry.
Do any negatives come to mind?
That's a good question. I would say yes and no. as an entrepreneur, we all have this shiny object syndrome. And so it can be very difficult to be like, okay, asphalt is right around the corner. I mean, it's basically the same. And so it's just kind of dealing with that. Like how far out can you go and could you make more money?
Yes, is it long term sustainable? And can you go more vertical? Probably not. And so I'm gonna say I don't see any cons that are a huge con, like I would say a con would be if you find yourself in the wrong industry, if you don't like scrolling Instagram and seeing construction equipment, if that doesn't interest you at all, if you don't like the people that come out of the industry, that would be a big con.
For me, it's been all pros. Like those have all been flipped over and it's like, man, this is awesome. So I would say, yeah, definitely if you can pick a niche that you're at least halfway interested in and could see yourself becoming more interested in. All
[00:43:34] corey: right, we're going to wrap up with one final question and you've been talking about this a lot, so I, I think, you may have already answered this to a certain extent, but I still want to ask it, what's your motivation?
[00:43:45] luke: Man, my motivation, just to live every day, happy with passion, but to take that and try and instill that into others. you know, when I talk about life is long, that's just a mindset. but life is actually very short. I mean. Today might be my last day and you know if when the sun goes down just like appreciating that sunset and for me saying Thank you.
God like for giving me another day another opportunity on this earth to get to do something. I love to do and so That is my motivation. I want to be able To set myself up to spend more time with my wife, my family, my friends, you know, do things that I really enjoy. So, not being so naive that I'm assuming tomorrow's gonna come, but also like having that mindset, like we're taking care of the people that are in your life, keeping them very close.
And then also just, yeah, just living every day like it could be your last, but also, you know, just having a great, great time, so.
[00:44:44] corey: Beautiful. Luke, thank you so much for coming on. you've been talking about leading with value, and I think you led with value here in a tremendous way. There's been a lot of really good nuggets of information.
So thank you for being so open, for sharing, your journey with us. It's been really interesting and fun to
[00:45:00] luke: listen to, so thank you. I appreciate that, Corey. Thanks again for having me on. It's just been an absolute blast. So I'm excited to, you know, stay connected and just continue on this journey with you.
Yeah, me too. Me too.
[00:45:10] corey: I'm excited for you, man.