Lead Generation with Social Media Marketing

In this, The Faces of Business, Brian Davidson, Co-Founder, Matchnode, shares his experience on lead generation with social media marketing so you can better understand how to harness the power of social media to attract and convert the best customers.

In this, The Faces of Business, Brian Davidson, Co-Founder, Matchnode, shares his experience on lead generation with social media marketing so you can better understand how to harness the power of social media to attract and convert the best customers.

Brian brings around two decades of experience in the industry, having worked with a range of businesses, from small startups to large corporations. He has launched successful social media campaigns for high-profile clients like Gatorade, helping them amplify their brand to a broader audience.

Brian co-founded Matchnode to connect people with products and services that can improve and, at best, change their lives. They primarily do it through their deep expertise in paid social media marketing.

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In addition to social media marketing, Brian has demonstrated his expertise in digital marketing, including SEO and Google Analytics.

As a thought leader in the industry, Brian shares his insights through articles and speaking engagements. He is a valuable resource for brands looking to improve their lead-generation strategies through social media.

Damon begins the show by introducing Brian as a social media marketing expert with an impressive track record of working with renowned brands such as the Chicago Bulls, New Balance, and Lending Tree.

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The host requests Brian to discuss his background in marketing and how he entered the field, emphasizing the factors that influenced his career journey and brought him to his current position.

Brian shares his career journey, which involved transitioning from being a “ski bum” in Colorado to becoming interested in the evolving web landscape during the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. He joined a small business and proposed the creation of a social media department, becoming one of the country’s first directors of social media. Through various strategies like advertisements on Google and Facebook, he contributed to big revenue growth and acquisition by private equity. Brian then worked at a Tampa-based agency that focused on social media tech before starting his agency with his current partner, Chris, whom he met at a concert. 

The guest describes his professional journey as “a wild but great ride.”

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The social media marketing wizard talks about the turning point in his career, which occurred in either 2006 or 2007. He was invited to speak but didn’t want to use his vacation days. He felt intimidated by the experienced attendees but eventually gained confidence and received validation for his work.

Brian says that the company he worked for developed a popular desktop app similar to Farmville during the early years of Facebook before the platform went mobile. He mentions that the app involved partnerships with Outback Steakhouse, where they gave away their famous “blooming onions” in exchange for likes. 

Building the app on Microsoft Azure was a challenge. Microsoft even highlighted it as one of their most downloaded case studies, showcasing the cloud infrastructure for the blooming onion promotion. 

Brian humorously refers to the significant calorie count given away in exchange for millions of likes during sales meetings.

Damon, intrigued, asks about the specific factors that led Brian and Chris to start their own company and embark on their entrepreneurial journey.

The guest reveals that he and Chris started their own company because they both had entrepreneurial backgrounds and saw the potential of combining their resources.

Brian explains their journey of acquiring clients progressed gradually. They utilized platforms like Upwork and tapped into their networks to secure initial business. Despite encountering challenges, they continued to learn and adapt, eventually reaching a point where they could scale their business effectively.

Brian’s first significant breakthrough came when they secured LendingTree as a client. This opportunity allowed them to showcase their expertise and discover their strengths in paid social media marketing. Working closely with LendingTree’s creative team and leveraging communication platforms like Slack, they excelled in managing large budgets for paid social campaigns. This breakthrough gave them confidence.

Damon asks Brian about the most intriguing and challenging client they have worked with, which made them unsure but excited to take on the project and see how it unfolds.

Brian discusses one of the most exciting and challenging clients they worked with was a startup called 1440 News. The main objective was consistently generating high-quality leads for them at under $2 per lead. They faced numerous challenges, such as changes in Facebook’s algorithms, the Apple iOS 14.5 update, and shifts in preferred ad formats and targeting strategies. Despite no longer working with them, Brian expresses pride in the significant growth trajectory they helped set for 1440 News, as the client has since doubled their success.

Damon comments on the evolution of social media over the past decade, saying that rapid advancements have occurred in the field, and commends Brian’s agency for navigating this dynamic landscape for the past ten years.

Agreeing with the host, Brian talks about the significant changes in the social media landscape over the past three years, particularly with the iOS 14.5 update and privacy changes. Brian provides a practical example of their work with a nonprofit called Nonprofit Megaphone, where they utilized conversions API to remarket to donors who participated in fundraising challenges.

While talking about recent technological advances like ChatGPT, Brain maintains that they may have positive and negative aspects. Rather than getting caught up in speculation, we should focus on practical improvements like writing better ad copy and streamlining tasks. Privacy updates may have affected ad performance but have also sparked creative thinking and new opportunities to sell.

The guest also mentions the growth of TikTok as an emerging platform, which presents creative challenges and exciting opportunities. Brian expresses hope for improvements in Twitter ads and notes positive developments in return on ad spend towards the end of the NBA and NHL seasons. He discusses the changing landscape of lead generation platforms, citing innovative e-commerce platforms like Pear for CPG brands to connect users with local stores. Quickly embracing new technologies is critical to achieving significant success in advertising.

Likewise, Brian emphasizes the importance of adopting a mobile-first approach in social media marketing. He finds it surprising that many landing pages are still designed for desktops, despite the dominance of mobile usage. The social media marketing champion highlights the availability of various technologies, like chatbots and intelligent conversions tailored to the location, that can enhance the mobile conversion process.

Brian believes that Facebook is the best platform for driving demand. He also highlights the rising platform of YouTube, which Google has invested in to make it a conversion channel. YouTube allows advertisers to learn from their other campaigns running on Google Pay Per Click (PPC) and Google Analytics, offering potential growth for their advertising mix.

Similarly, Brian advises that when considering advertising on platforms, the budget is essential, and a shoestring budget may increase the chances of failure. He suggests having a considerable budget as long as it supports profitable growth. Brian recommends starting with at least $100 daily and testing for a 90-day sprint to determine if the platform works.

Brian says that the success of direct-to-consumer conversion ads depends on the size of the target market. Large markets can yield successful campaigns, while B2B brands often build a following and social proof over time. It takes longer but requires fewer ad dollars. He gives an example of targeting independent insurance agents on LinkedIn for a SaaS company. B2B campaigns are more challenging but can be successful.

Brian mentions that the fastest-growing ad platforms are within e-commerce sites like Amazon and Target. However, the competition on these platforms can drive up costs. He suggests acquiring customers through social media and building genuine relationships can help build a strong brand.

Damon acknowledges that social media is an important aspect of generating demand for a business. He thanks Brian for sharing his insights and commends Matchnode for their work.

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Damon Pistulka  00:00

All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I am your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited today for several reasons, because I’ve got Brian Davidson here from match note, and we’re gonna be talking about lead generation with social media, and just generally driving business with social media. So, Brian, thanks for being here today.


Brian Davidson  00:25

Delighted to be here, Damon.


Damon Pistulka  00:28

Well, Brian, we, we were talking a bit before and that’s why we’re a minute late getting going. I cannot bring this up. We’re talking about motorcycles. You’re related to the founders of the Harley Davidson. And you said you have a Harley Davidson. So is there some place that you’re riding to this summer that you’ve already planned out?


Brian Davidson  00:54

Yeah. Well, it’s the big reunion in Milwaukee this summer. So absolutely. I’m planning on going up for the Foo Fighters concert. Very good writing up with people along the way. So pretty excited for it. It’s been on my calendar for over a year.


Damon Pistulka  01:08

Oh, awesome. Awesome, good stuff. Well, Brian, we’re here today to talk with you about social media marketing and some of the stuff you’ve done. I mean, you have got a tremendous list of customers, I mean, behind you, I don’t know if people know basketball, the team that would be sporting those jerseys and Chicago balls, you’ve got the the new balance, you’ve got lending tree, just get on your national website, and it’s the who’s who have some of the biggest brands, and your background.

Again, I’m gonna let you speak about it a minute. But you’ve really done some some incredible things with these major brands, through social media. And


Brian Davidson  01:59

it’s been, it’s been a blast, you know, we’ve helped small companies grow big, we’ve helped small companies just stay small and really, really profitable. We’ve helped large global brands, let the bowls advance their digital skills, because of course, a lot of the brands we work with are traditional brick and mortar brands that are transitioning to digital. So we’ve worked with all different types of teams in different ways. But it’s awesome to just have, you know, an impact on those brands over time.


Damon Pistulka  02:30

Yeah, I was noticing that too. And I started out talking about the big ones. But when you look on your website, I mean, you’ve helped restaurants, you’ve helped a lot of other small businesses. And we’ll talk about some of those too, because it really is something that I think just about any size business can can leverage if they’re doing


Brian Davidson  02:46

you know, we helped a daily newsletter 1440 Daily News, they were subscriber count was in the hundreds, we helped them to get over a million in daily subscribers. And they’re so big now that they’re actually starting to pop up and newsletters that I’ve subscribed to. It’s pretty, like almost full circle and like, well, now they’re advertising back at me.


Damon Pistulka  03:06

Yeah. Oh, wow. That’s incredible. Well, Brian, let’s let’s talk about your background, because you share an interesting background in marketing and talk about how you kind of got into match note. And you know, what really brought things about?


Brian Davidson  03:23

Sure, I can go long version or short version, I’ll try to give you the medium version. There we go. So after college, I went out to Colorado and I was a ski bum and didn’t do much in the words of career development at that point in time in life. But a lot of development happened on the web, because it was 2004 to 2006. And this is when we transition from web 1.0 to web 2.0.

And web 1.0 didn’t interest me at all. I didn’t even on a computer in college. I didn’t get a cell phone till my fifth year in school that tells you the kind of student I was. But during this transition, I absolutely fell in love with it. I remember my favorite writer quitting ESPN and starting a blog. Like what’s a blog? I remember signing up for MySpace for the first time and coding my background even though I don’t know how to code.

How do I put an mp3 player in my profile? This is so cool. I remember the first time I could join Facebook and which was kind of interesting. For a graduation gift. My dad gave me a lifetime membership, the Alumni Association, which really didn’t give you all that much, but I got an indiana.alumni.edu address. So Facebook that I was a student and I could joined about a year and a half before my friends. So all these things were happening at once and it got me just very, very excited. the meantime I was tired of being a ski bum.

Yeah, I got a job. I moved back to Chicago moved into my fraternity brothers couch. And I’m like, Okay, I need to find a job and I’m interviewing at large marketing agencies hoping to get in. They didn’t love ski bum with Top of my resume working for a business that was pretty small at the time, that was helping athletes find sports scholarships. And that’s pretty interesting. These guys seem like they’re entrepreneurial, and they’re going somewhere. But I literally got a job answering the phone.

And a little bit into the 10 year, I had the guts to walk up to the CEO, founder. See, I think we need a social media department. And it took some convincing and a little bit of luck. I bet on the way it made some intros. But eventually they decided, okay, kid, you got the job. And I really expected him to do it. But I told them, I want to become the director of social media, like, sure, that’s totally fine. I was probably one of the first one of those in the country.

I really helped that business girl, specifically online through Google ads, and the first Facebook ads and redoing our landing pages and do some great work in SEO. And we drove hundreds of 1000s of leads really, for that business, to the point where it was, when I was left I was you know, in the millions, probably when I started there, left around 36 million in revenue. After I left, they were acquired by private equity. After that private equity, sold them to endeavour and ever went public. They actually got merged with IMG.

They just got spun out in a big deal that was in the news last week. Beginning so I certainly can’t take credit for all the things that happened along the way. But I’m really grateful I was able to play a part. Yeah, during that whole career process. I actually ended up meeting my co founder, Chris, who I actually ended up hiring as a consultant to do some, some work for us on the side. And after I exited that business, I went to another agency actually, that was down in Tampa that was working on some social media tech.

They were one of the first officially licensed Facebook app makers for apps that ran on Facebook. Cool Farmville app that ran on Facebook. Yeah, things around giveaways, gave away a gajillion bloomin nugget, onions to gain likes, likes were seen as the most important thing in the world. Yeah. And they were an innovative company to work for at the time, and then ended up exiting that business and not really knowing where I was gonna go next.

And I ended up meeting a girl with my current my friend Chris was before the first Pearl Jam show at Wrigley. And we’re both talking about what we’re doing. And we’re grabbing a beer like, you know, she started agency. And we got together at a coffee shop on Monday and started an agency. So that was about 10 years ago this summer. And it’s been a it’s been a wild ride, but it’s been a great ride.


Damon Pistulka  07:37

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. There’s so much I’ve got to cover this. So let’s go back to your ski bum days. Sure. Favorite place to ski in Colorado.


Brian Davidson  07:49

Vail, Colorado.


Damon Pistulka  07:50

That was where I left Vail. Very good.


Brian Davidson  07:53

Can’t beat the size. I initially thought I was gonna go to steamboat. I went there on spring break my senior year of college. I was bored of it by the fifth day. I’m like, Yeah, I need to be somewhere bigger.


Damon Pistulka  08:03

Yeah. Yep. The I would agree. I’ve been there a couple times. And I really enjoy that. So the director of social media, what year was that?


Brian Davidson  08:18

Business and Oh, six, probably been oh seven. Wow, I remember, I remember getting invited out to a conference in Boston. And at the time, I think I had 10 vacation days. And I told my boss, I’ll pay for the trip. I didn’t think they’d be in for me. Pay for me to go out there to speak. But can I please not use up my vacation days? Like, go ahead. And there were some heavy hitters at this conference.

There were some old Sun microsystem guys, and I’m like, Oh my God, you get it from these gay people and just sound like a complete idiot. I was thinking of the old Seinfeld episode when George is reading the risk management thing and the oval team joke if you’re a Seinfeld fan, and just terrified, and I got up there. And the first part was pretty shaky. And the second part really broke through and a lot of just older people who I just immediately deemed as authorities and the room came over really validated what I was doing, and it was a big step in my career.


Damon Pistulka  09:17

Wow, that’s awesome. That’s awesome to hear that.


Brian Davidson  09:21

And the funny part was, you know, how they found me is they just did a LinkedIn search for social media jobs. And there weren’t that many of us.


Damon Pistulka  09:27

Oh my goodness, that is something that is something and then you said you worked at the the firt one of the first Facebook app makers where they made Farmville I mean, that


Brian Davidson  09:40

that they didn’t make Farmville but I’m equating it to Farmville they made that desktop desktop app that was so popular for Yeah, cuz a two year run before Facebook really went mobile.


Damon Pistulka  09:51

Yeah, it’s it’s is crazy how some of those apps really took off on Facebook early in the day because there just weren’t anything like Again,


Brian Davidson  10:00

like I mentioned, they worked with Outback Steakhouse, and they gave away bloomin onions in receivership for a like. And at the time, that was kind of a hard app to build. So they had to build it on Microsoft Azure. And for quite some time, actually, one of Microsoft’s most downloaded case studies was how they built the cloud cloud infrastructure to give away bloomin onions. So we always made the joke in sales meetings that we gave away a billion calories for, you know, a couple 100 million likes.


Damon Pistulka  10:27

Oh, wow. That’s cool as heck and and your history there. So as we’re moving forward, and you met back up with your your current partner, Chris, that right? What, what really got you guys to go, Hey, let’s start a company. And let’s do this. What was the


Brian Davidson  10:48

couple things seed one, one, we were both entrepreneurs, I was already working on a part time gig on the side, I started a business that was trying to help music students find scholarships. So it was really similar to the first business that I scaled. And that was kind of doing that part time. Our lead investor was actually the adopted son of Jackie Gleason, which is kind of a funny story.

The younger visitors or younger viewers or listeners will definitely not know that is but yeah, the other ones well. And so I was kind of doing the other side is basically making enough money to pay my rent and putting the rest of my credit card. Chris had a couple of freelance clients, like, maybe we should just put these together, and we’re off and running.

And the agency I just come from down in Tampa, they made a lot of great tech, but they weren’t making money. And Chris had just come from a video game business that had a lot of great tech, and a lot of great partnerships with large businesses, but they never made money. Like we’ve got these real businesses that are paying us now. Let’s put our skills together and just start making money now rather than try to build the next great thing in tech. Let’s do a really good at and put it to work.


Damon Pistulka  11:59

Okay, put in a torque. Yeah. So, in the early days, what were you guys doing? imagino?


Brian Davidson  12:09

Oh, you know, you took the bad clients to get the okay clients to get the good clients to get the great clients. So we’re getting work off of Upwork, we were really mining our networks, we had an initial business that was funded on Kickstarter. That was actually at the time when the larger Kickstarter fundraisers ever at the time that was trying to do encryption on a thumb drive with your thumb to unlock Apple Computer. Tech never really worked. It went out of business pretty quick.

And we you know, we hit on a couple of those. Yeah, we talked to a Kickstarter people, or minor network. But it was the most right. So yeah, just humming through things, learning things on the fly. And then finally starting to scale.


Damon Pistulka  12:54

first big break.


Brian Davidson  12:58

The biggest break was getting lending tree, because that would taught us what we were best at. So okay. At the time that we got lending tree, which is through one of Chris’s friends who was an artist, he did some work for them. He linked us up with one of their creative teams.

At the time, their internal team on paid social, was getting shuffled up. And they brought us in as a stopgap. And we did so well with them that we’re still working with them today. In that process of working with them, they were the first client that we worked with that had a Slack channel. So we’re constantly buzzing back and forth.

Oh, yeah. They were the first client where we spent very large dollars on paid social. And it really gave us the confidence that not just that we were good at this. But we could we’re as good as this as anyone. And we felt like we could sell it as well as anyone. And at that time we positioned our agency as strategy first. Well, that’s great. But that’s what everybody I’m not sure. Language on this podcast so often says, yeah.

And we looked at the other agencies in Chicago, because we really tried to own that Chicago and market in the early days. Yeah. And we saw that they all grew up building websites, building large SEO programs, or run Google PPC ads. So we started to position the agency as paid social first. So the combination of repositioning the agency, and that validation of knowing that we were very good at things with LendingTree I think that was our first really big


Damon Pistulka  14:26

break. Yeah. Yeah. Because when you get that first, like you said, you get to you have the money to put what you think is going to work in action. And then when you see it working with larger sums of money, it really gives you the confidence that you’ve hit on something.


Brian Davidson  14:42

It’s just that this


Damon Pistulka  14:44

platform works. Yeah, yeah. So as you’re as you’re doing this, I mean, if if people are listening and you should go to the national website, because you guys have some awesome testimonials on there. And like I said that that you rest draws, I’m looking at a b2c now, which is look human, and you know, just some of these things where you guys are really done. Use social media.

And then the other combination of things with it, obviously, to really drive growth in these businesses. So what are what is the most interesting client that posed a challenge for you that went? Wow, I don’t know. But we’re gonna see.


Brian Davidson  15:30

That’s really good question. That’s a really good question. I’ll go back to the first example. I said, 1414 is because they’re an absolute startup at the time that probably the most wildly successful of all the stories that we talked to, and the key for them was getting a lead for under $2? And could we do that consistently?

Could that that lead be a quality lead that continue to open their daily newsletter at the same rate as their current subscribers? And could that really scale. And we faced a lot of challenges along the way, you know, big run ups, and Facebook, CPM, big changes, and what type of creative worked big changes and what type of targeting worked, we went through the Apple iOS 14.5 update with them.

And all of the changes that happened there, a lot of experimentation around new products that Facebook was launching with conversion leads, conversions API, all these changes that were happening in the marketplace, just changes in how video was really favored, then still images became really favored, and how we’re segmenting by age.

All those things really changed over the course of our relationship. And it was really interesting to see how it came in. You know, spoiler alert, they are actually no longer a client of ours. But it’s amazing to see that growth trajectory that we put them on, they’ve actually doubled it, which is really, really cool. And makes me really proud.


Damon Pistulka  17:00

Yeah, no doubt. It’s super cool, because you bring up so many, the way that social media has changed not only from the user’s perspective is what’s popular, what’s not popular, and what’s available to the tech behind it, the tech that you guys have to keep up with and understand a how the customers your customers are interfacing with it with their websites or whatever processes they’re doing. But how you’re managing the whole thing to it had to be just crazy leaps and bounds in the last 10 years of you guys doing this


Brian Davidson  17:34

10 years. But really, the last three have been the most crazy with the really point five update and all the privacy changes, it really made Facebook conversions API, such a vital part of any Facebook program. And it made it harder to do a lot of things. But it also enabled new things, which is so cool. Previously, you had an offline feeds, but you couldn’t really optimize towards an offline feed. This unlock so many different ways to target and optimize deeper in your funnel. So a practical example is we work with a business called nonprofit megaphone.

And what they do is they help nonprofits scale on their Google Ads grant, as well as using paid social. And they run a program where nonprofits advertise different challenges. So walk 10 miles a day, for every day in May, and you then create a fundraiser and send that out to your friends that I’m committing myself to do this as a challenge where you guys commit, if I do this, that you’ll be donating back to this, which is going to affect this nonprofit.

We’re using Facebook conversions API, we’re actually now able to remarket to the people that ended up donating to those fundraisers. And it’s a, so we’re using conversions API to unlock a signal that previously wasn’t available to them with just a pure web event, and things like that we can get really creative and really drive an extra return on adspend for our business.


Damon Pistulka  19:08

Wow. Wow. So the last three years, you know, I remember talking with somebody like you said a few years ago when this was all coming out. It’s interesting now looking then people were terrified. And now you’re saying it’s actually created new opportunities.


Brian Davidson  19:27

And you know, changes like that with everything right? We could go crazy about Chet GPT taking over the world and launch nuke satis. Or we can figure out how to write better ad, copy and automate 25 things and help our daily lives and make it a lot easier. I think you can look at any changes positive or negative. I think overall, probably the privacy update. As far as looking at just how ad performance happened. It’s probably a little down. But at the same time, we’re able to do new things, because it forced us to think outside the box in a different way.


Damon Pistulka  20:00

Very cool. So as you’re looking at social media, you know, small midsize brands, large brands, what are some of the emerging opportunities that you see, or changes that you think are opening up that people might want to think about?


Brian Davidson  20:18

So the first two I’m going to talk about, but I just touched on conversions API and conversion leads on Facebook, it’s amazing to me how many people are still not utilizing the best demand generation chat generation platform in the best possible way. So getting the technical pieces and the background set up are so important to maximize that platform, because it it still is the most important. On the emerging platform side, we’re really starting to see a growth in Tiktok for some of our clients.

And that’s pretty fun. Of course, that’s creating challenges in terms of now we need a better creative team to create a different type of creative. So but that’s also fun. To do things a little bit outside the box, I’m very hopeful that Elon is going to turn a turn around at Twitter and Twitter ads, those ads have been, again, pretty garbage for the last 510 years, it’s been really, really hard to drive a return on adspend, we started to see an uptick in return on adspend towards the end of this NBA season and NHL season with our clients.

So very hopeful that that platform is going to turn around, and the reason Pinterest in select cases, to drive leads. And it’s slowly changing. And the platforms in which you’re able to run someone through to drive a lead are starting to change. We use an innovative e commerce platform for CPG brands called pear, where someone is able to click to a landing page and find an online store near them that carries a particular product.

We worked with a specific sausage brand that was carried in local stores. So we’re able to link them up and they’re able to pull user data back through. We also worked with a chocolate company here locally that does the same type of thing. So there’s all sorts of new tech that seems to be emerging and jumping on that tech quickly, I think is always been where you find the outsize wins.


Damon Pistulka  22:17

Yeah, yeah. It’s funny to talk about CPG we we work with a lot of manufacturing ecommerce clients in that what you just talked about some of our food clients, that would be very interesting to them with some of these regional brands or something like that, potentially where you know, it’s talking about


Brian Davidson  22:35

your mix of where things are available changes, right? Yes,


Damon Pistulka  22:39

yes, exactly. Because I was thinking of that small stores that a lot of them are in or they’re not in all the big brands, but there are some reasons they are in the other. It’s really interesting to be able to match that up with with users. Awesome. I didn’t know I didn’t, didn’t need to divide verge off of that too much. But that’s it’s cool. And it’s really interesting to to hear how your social is interacting across platforms. And some of the technical things you guys are


Brian Davidson  23:08

really think social is mobile first, the amount of landing pages, I still see they’re designed for desktop. just boggles my mind. If you want to be successful on social media, you need to drive them to a mobile first experience that converts and increasingly there’s tech ability to help with that conversion, whether that be chatbot some sort of intelligent conversion that understands your location. There’s so many different options available, but it has to be mobile first. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  23:40

Yeah. Great point. Yeah, cuz it. If it’s not, the you’re not making it past that. Yeah. Like if you’re fast,


Brian Davidson  23:50

come to this cool page and add 25 different options in here. And you’ll see your thing and use this filter and that filter. Like, that’s way too hard. Yeah, tell them how to convert.


Damon Pistulka  24:01

Yeah, yeah. Good point. I had someone at someone I was talking to the other day that said, hey, look like we built this new form on our website. I said, Great. Scott, it literally had like, 30 different things that people had to fill out. I said, Are you kidding me? Nobody’s filling that out. You might get one in one in your lifetime.


Brian Davidson  24:20

I learned that my first job and that the sales guys want 25 different fields, and they insist they need them all to sell at a high level. And then you take one away and don’t tell them and magically that conversion rate holds.


Damon Pistulka  24:34

Yeah, yeah, there’s good stuff. So as as you’re looking at this now we’re talking about there’s some some places that are that are some platforms that are rising and new opportunities. What are some of the platform’s or ego man, it’s just really getting tough. It’s not what we want to want to do anymore, or it’s much harder than it was


Brian Davidson  25:00

With Facebook, if you don’t advance, if you don’t try the new things, you don’t get better at it, you’re going to fall behind. It’s the biggest opportunity. It’s probably the biggest risk. We realized about three years ago, we didn’t have a developer on our team, we realized these new signals were gonna become really, really powerful.

Yeah, at the time, we were the best at doing great targeting, we realized targeting was becoming a lot easier, you just use the algorithm to target but was really more important to the algorithm ever before was creative. At the time, we were different using different contractors for our creative, like, whoa, we need to have great tech and great creative in house so that we can keep iterating at a quick pace, and harnessed that algorithm, by the brands that aren’t doing both of those things at the same time, are going to be wasting ad dollars.


Damon Pistulka  25:52

Yeah. Yeah. Because this I mean, I don’t know when it’s been a while now, since I looked at the user base. But if you look at the user base of Facebook, everybody else is like, we jumped off Everest on to, you know, look at the mountain outside of your house, if you got one,


Brian Davidson  26:08

it’s by far the best. And it’s by far the best for driving demand. I think that probably the other big opportunistic, rising platform that I failed to mention earlier, is YouTube, Google’s really invested a lot into making YouTube a conversion channel. And that’s great to see. Because of course, we’re spending so many dollars on our Google PPC ads.

They’re rolling out new products, like performance Mac’s that are a little hard for advertisers to tell true or why because you’re mixing in a lot of different platforms at once and a lot of different keywords at once. There isn’t a lot of granularity there. But YouTube is a standalone product can learn from all the other campaigns that you’re running on Google and your Google Analytics and your GA for transition. So that I think it’s a real big opportunity for people to grow their ad platforms and their advertising mix.


Damon Pistulka  27:00

Yeah, yeah. Very cool. Very cool. So now, you guys, and I just want to go back to your website a little bit. I mean, when you look at it, look at you guys are getting some of your return on adspend. It’s just nuts. I mean, you’re getting 10x, you’re getting a lot of three to 6x.

I mean, this is this is significant, the significant return for people that haven’t messed with this before. What do you think someone going into this? Now? Obviously, your returns are not normal? For the industry kind of thing? What should someone be looking at if they’re considering talking to somebody about lead generation using social media? Because, you know, everybody will say they can do it, but very few do it a


Brian Davidson  27:50

lot of things to consider there. One, what’s your budget? If you’re going to do this on a shoestring budget, chances of failure are a lot higher. Yeah. Taking budget a step further, I get the question all the time, how much should I be spending on ads? And how much should I be spending on marketing? And I have two answers. One, unlimited, because we’re pushing this as far as we can as profitably as we can.

And as long as your cash flow supports profitable growth, we want to keep feeling that ad machine, I learned that my first job, we knew I would have closed leads, we wanted as many leads as possible. But the second answer is the scary answer. And it’s whatever you’re afraid you’re okay with losing, because this could work. And this could not work. And I recommend picking them out that you’re okay with testing on. When we start with a client, we start with a 90 day sprint. And that’s all of their commitment.

We say at the end of 90 days, you’re going to understand if this works, or doesn’t work, the ad spend is always at their discretion, but 99 times out of 100, I usually say let’s start with at least $100 a day, that’s gonna give us enough spend to really learn if these are platforms that are work for you. We can run multiple tests, we can learn if something isn’t going to work, fail quickly, and move on to something else. So there’s a lot to consider there. But the biggest thing is deciding if you’re really going to jump in and make a go at these platforms.


Damon Pistulka  29:22

Yeah, yeah. So are there industries and this is kind of a loaded question. So a lot of people listen to us might might not have a product brand. They might be an industrial b2b kind of manufacturer or something like that or sell something that’s not going to sell on the open market. Like a lot of products what what do you think would be there? Would a company like that want to look at social in the same way for lead generation Do you think


Brian Davidson  30:00

yes or no? So it’s a nuanced question. One, how big is their target market? If they can sell to everybody? It’s a pretty large customer base, then yeah, direct to consumer conversion ads probably would work. Well. We worked with the b2b business during COVID, that pivoted and was selling PPE products, basically, big shields that you would put up in all the businesses will every business in America be all of a sudden became a customer. And for a few months, our ads absolutely crushed it. Of course, that market changed. And that basically shifted and our program with them shut down.

But there’s large b2b businesses out there that can advertise successfully. So with lending tree, we have advertised their business loans product. So it’s a loan to a business with another bank that we work with in Chicago byline bank. We’re advertising directly to business owners for specific things. So there are things with a large enough addressable market conversion ads on social absolutely makes sense.

Having said that, traditionally, we worked mostly with b2c brands, because again, a larger addressable market makes it for a more successful probability of a successful campaign. What more often happens for b2b brands is they’re slowly building a following. And they’re slowly building social proof of putting content out there, right? Yeah, putting content out here, like like this podcast, and they’re publishing it on LinkedIn, and Facebook and Instagram stories.

And actually, that’s something we actually just started doing in 2023, was starting to work with b2b businesses on that organic social side, to slowly build a following. And slowly build up that, that proof that you’re really, really good, and you’re an industry expert, that takes a lot longer to do. But the nice piece is that you can support it with far fewer ad dollars, you could take a couple $100 and find a really niche market and target it on LinkedIn. Ideally, you build up a custom audience, so you can target it really specifically on LinkedIn.

We just started working with a SaaS company that is targeting independent insurance agents. So again, b2b, we’re selling a SaaS product to another business. And we’ve got a great LinkedIn list that we’re targeting right now. So it’s, it’s harder to do don’t get me wrong. I’m not gonna say it’s easy, but it can be done.


Damon Pistulka  32:28

Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s great. It’s great to hear and, and to you, if people weren’t listening here, you you switched a couple of things, because you’re talking about building that following building that community building, building. And then he also talks about actually, you know, selling products and services or introducing those people, which I think both of them are important. And some people just that community building or building that following by developing in the organic is a thing that they’re getting started. It’s it is a lot of


Brian Davidson  33:01

people they don’t want, they don’t want their content, they’re selling a large ticket item. And they don’t want someone to click through to their LinkedIn page and see crickets.


Damon Pistulka  33:09

Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right. And, and that is one of the things that I really see all businesses running into now. And some of the big traditional businesses are missing the boat, because the social is so important. Now, whatever it is, if you’re if you should be on Facebook, or you shouldn’t be on Tiktok, or you should be on YouTube, and you’re not, I mean, you’re missing out.

And that’s one of the things that I think, and it could be very business could be very successful. But without it, you’re slowly losing those those people that know about you and understand you and will buy from you in the future.


Brian Davidson  33:51

Or the flip side, just the opportunity to grow faster.


Damon Pistulka  33:55

Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. Well, I want to apologize to the people that were listening because I didn’t have the comments on but we got Mike Mike afterburners on. We got Jody lamb is on here. Thanks for being here today. Deb Curtis, a Deb saw that she’s talking about Mike’s kids knows some of these people are obviously know each other and then. Oh, yeah. They have to talking about Wisconsin. You know the ice.


Brian Davidson  34:22

That’s where I grew up. Deb. I grew up skiing on Ella my dad calls mount OSS Blick, I’ll split ski club and I still make it up there once a once or twice a winter to ski around on the ice and old garbage down.


Damon Pistulka  34:34

There you go. Good stuff. Well, that’s in that part of the that part of the US. You got to be innovative to ski that’s for sure.


Brian Davidson  34:42

Absolutely. You can sit inside all winter or you can go outside and enjoy it.


Damon Pistulka  34:45

Yeah, yeah. Well, Brian, this has been awesome talking to you because I mean, you guys are making social media work for so many different companies. Um, if there’s one thing that we could leave people with today that you would say, think about this. With social media in your business, what would it be?


Brian Davidson  35:15

Are you truly maximizing the channel? Are you truly maximizing the opportunity? I think there’s a lot of businesses out there that could grow faster with social. And I think there’s a lot of businesses that fall into the harvesting demand camp, they love their Google ads, because someone types in I want a box of Kleenex, and they buy the box of Kleenex, let’s create, use pay Google to possibly sell a product to someone that they would have bought on their own by going to your Amazon site, or, you know, just coming right through your website or clicking on an email.

But on social, you can surely generate new demand for your product. Someone can wake up in the hoodie I’m wearing actually, this is a funny story.

I walked into see my brother last week, and he said coastal crew, like yep, they got me on the Instagram ads. And he’s like, exact same thing. I never heard of this business, I would have never gone to go find this specific hoodie. And they got in my feed, I clicked on it. And they retargeted me to one moment, I was weak on the couch late at night, I bought it. And that’s just a perfect example, explanation and case study of demand generation.


Damon Pistulka  36:29

That is, thank you for sharing that. Because I had not thought of it like that make sure right, Google is just bringing somebody that already wants a product just like yours to you. But with social, you’re bringing someone that may not even know about your product to you.


Brian Davidson  36:46

And the fastest growing ad platforms are Amazon, Target, all these new ad platforms within e commerce sites. So all you really have are brands fighting each other to jump in front of each other to the front of the line, that becomes expensive. If you acquire that person on social and truly build a following in a relationship with that business or that I’m sorry, that person. That’s how you can really build a brand.


Damon Pistulka  37:14

We’re just gonna have to take a moment of silence for this. Because man, that’s awesome. I mean, because there’s because there’s so many people that you know, for years, it was the Google train.


Brian Davidson  37:27

Good train. It’s still a good train. Yeah, these channels, these channels all work together.


Damon Pistulka  37:33

They do. They do. It’s one piece of it anymore. And like you said, driving new demand through social building a direct relationship with someone that might be interested in your product or services someday is is a way to do it to generate new demand. That is cool. That is cool. Well, Brian, thanks so much for being here. Man. I appreciate you stopping by. I really think you guys are doing something special there. Match node. Thank you.


Brian Davidson  38:02

Thank you so much for having me. Hopefully, people got something out of today. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  38:06

I’m sure they did, man. I really enjoyed it. So I want to thank Mike and Deb and a sheave. And we had Jody for being here today. We’ll be back again later. Brian. Just hang out for a moment and then we’ll talk sure

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