Troy Broussard Interview

by on September 29, 2013

Name: Troy Broussard

Industry: Internet Marketing

Troy Broussard

Troy Broussard

Website: www.topmarketingstrategies.com

Troy Broussard’s Bio: Troy Broussard is a veteran in the online marketing field. He taught himself programming and later became Executive Director of Technology at Encyclopaedia Britannica. A few years back, together with his friend Mike Perreira, they started ArticlesOnTap.com, an SEO and content services company. Right now, when he’s not busy running his 7-figure online business, Troy hands out marketing advice to small business owners.

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Interview Transcript:

Hi, David Jenyns here from MelbourneSEOServcies.com and PodcastInterviews.com. I’ve got a fantastic interview lined up for you today with an entrepreneur who I think you’re going to find really fascinating. His name is Troy Broussard and you can find out more about him over at topmarketingstrategies.com.

I think why you’re going to find him so interesting is his varied past. He’s got such a rich entrepreneurial background having worked in many different businesses and in many different fields. I’m not even too sure where to start really. I know he started off in the army and then he moved into being a programmer and developer. He even got involved with Encyclopedia Britannica when the craziness of the dotcom and everybody was listing IPOs.

Then he took a mini retirement and moved down to Brazil and started a family. He got involved in a family business which was to do with construction and built it up into a really successful business. Then he got caught up in the 2008 property bubble when everything burst. He lost everything. It was almost like hitting the reset button and then having to start again.

He was in that point when the whole bubble burst and he just watched it all fade away. He had everything. He’ll probably tell you a little bit more about that in a moment. It was like hitting the reset button at age 39. He said, alright, I’m going to start again now. I’m going to build my business differently. I’m going to build it the way I want to have it built. He’s really taken on this almost like a lifestyle entrepreneur. He’s got multiple houses, he travels lots, he speaks lots and he’s very well connected. He’s built up some really fantastic businesses, mainly in the online space.

He had his Articles On Tap and now he’s diversified into some more content services and SEO services. Suffice to say, I’m excited to get him on the line so he can tell us a little bit more about his story. Let me just welcome Troy to the line. Troy, thanks for making the time.

Troy: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here, Dave, for sure.

David: With that varied background that I mentioned, like I said I’m not too sure where to start. I’m thinking probably the best thing to do is if we go back to when you hit that reset button at age 39. That’s really when you started to do a lot more of the online marketing side of things. You built up Articles On Tap. Just by way of introduction, I don’t know if you can take us back to the start and tell us a little bit about that business, how it got going and I think that will build us up to where we are today.

Troy: Sure, absolutely. I’d been around the block a couple of times. You know what, I think it’s a good thing. It gives us a wide, diversified approach to how to be successful in business. I think that when we get too narrowed in one area, sometimes it hurts us. I’ve done quite a few different things.

When everything fell apart in 2008 and 2009, it really put the dampers on where I was going. I realized that it was time to really define my life and the business to fit my life instead. So I really went back to square one and I had to start somewhere. You mentioned Articles On Tap and our other primary site now is topmarketingstrategies.com. Articles On Tap is one of the first sites that we ever created, my business partner Mike and myself. That came out of the same thing that I teach in coaching with my clients today and that is a skills assessment.

Here I was, I found myself with absolutely nothing. I had sold off everything. I had a pretty nice eight figure business going in real estate before all this crashed, so when I say everything, I mean there went the plane, there went the caddy, there went the Harley- Davidson, there went the other homes. It was all gone, retirement was all gone, everything was gone.

So I literally went from that to living down in Brazil. My ex was Brazilian and my two children with her are Brazilian as well. I’m remarried now so, fast forwarding a little bit with a new little daughter. But at that time, in order for me to be close to my children, I needed to move down to Brazil. That meant starting out down in another country. I spoke fluent Portuguese, still speak fluent Portuguese. But creating an income down there in a foreign third world country was not going to be sufficient for what I needed to do.

So clearly it was something I had to build on the fly and I had to come up with a way to make it work. What I fell back onto was some of my skills that I had. I grew up playing piano from a young age, so I type very quickly. Because of my diverse background I knew a lot of different topics. I was very comfortable talking on many topics and so I just translated that into writing. I turned it into article writing. Honestly, that’s how I reinvented myself.

I started out just working for others and selling my soul for the lowest bidder. Living in a little tiny apartment, I couldn’t afford a car and moved close to my ex to be close to the kids. I would just sit there and crank out articles and make money from that. I picked up Craigslist jobs and things like that, enough to pay the bills and keep the kids in school and all those good things.

Then I just gradually grew that out. We started really as content services. I went from doing all the content myself to then gradually hiring somebody who began to write and edit articles and I would just review. We just grew the team and continued that process. In fact that very first employee in the business is still with me today. Employee number one is still with us four and half years later. It’s a neat process.

We just turned that into a content services business which became Articles On Tap and then later led into SEO services as well.

David: That bridge when you first stated doing articles, was it for the purpose of the content creation or was it for SEO purposes, syndication, or a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B?

Troy: A little bit of A and B but in those days it was mostly more about SEO grade things. It was people just cranking out content for the purposes of doing it. Back in the days when content was king, you could do things a lot differently than you could today. So I did a lot of that. But a lot of it was blogging contracts and things as well, which is still very popular and actually a very big portion of our business today. We’re still providing curation services and blogging content and authority article content and review content for affiliate marketers promoting reviews and things of that nature. So it’s still a very big part of our business.

It was a little of both and it has remained a little of both but I’ve never been a copywriter. So I don’t do sales copy or anything like that. I don’t really do any writing today. That’s a bit beyond but it’s certainly how I got my start for sure.

David: I suppose when you started to introduce those SEO services, like you said, that rolled into it. I know SEO as an opportunity started to rise. When SEO first came about and people started to get to know about it, there was a huge window of opportunity. You could jump in, you could use some different strategies and it was very quick and easy to get certain keywords and things ranking.

We’ve definitely seen some changes in the industry. I’m wondering how that’s starting to evolve for you and the services you provide. You weren’t doing articles and content writing solely for SEO, which is good. It was also for content creation purposes. How has that changed? Do you still see SEO as having a big window of opportunity?

Troy: You know, I do if you are broad in your definition of SEO. If you really look at SEO at its core, then yes, SEO has still great potential and great possibilities. The problem is that over the past few years, SEO has really been corrupted to equal link building. SEO equals link building. That was a misconception and a skew in the marketplace for several years.

It was really Google’s fault. They rewarded the links in a way that really skewed the whole purpose of SEO into just a link building contest. So while I think the definition of SEO really fundamentally hasn’t changed, maybe the way people are doing it has changed.

Honestly, those who have been really successful have been doing it very similarly all along. People who really get it, really understand that SEO is not the end game, it’s a strategy in your business. That is probably the biggest differentiation between myself and my business partner.

Our business in the marketplace, what allowed us to create a seven figure business in just our first twenty-two months online, with a tiny list, we had 2700 people on our list at that point and we did it because we had this core understanding of business much more so than marketing.

There is this misconception in the marketplace that you have to have hundreds of thousands of people on your list to have a very successful business. I’ve got to tell you, if you just pay attention to the people who are on your list and really find ways to serve them, and find ways to provide value to them and not be afraid to ask for the prices that you’re worth and provide that value and get people results, you can have a hugely successful business with a very small list.

So that is probably one of the core differentiators in the way that we approach SEO. We look at SEO as being one strategy, one thread of our business and not the business itself.

David: Yes, that must come from your business background. A lot of people are starting to recognize that where they’ve built up business that are solely surviving and living and dying based on the traffic that they’re getting from Google. Then when we saw a lot of changes with some of the updates, Penguin and Panda, a lot of those businesses where that single source of traffic disappeared, so too did their businesses. That really started to sort the men from the boys, those who’d actually built real businesses that had other legs to stand on rather than this central pillar.

When you talk about SEO then being an important part, or one of the pieces of the puzzle and I think you talked about another important part is obviously having that relationship and the dialogue going on with your clients to find out what it was they needed to serve them, are there other pieces to this puzzle? When you think business, what kind of areas do you think about?

Troy: Well the first thing today is the tides have shifted. We have to acknowledge that. We can’t pretend that everything is the same. It used to be that throwing up a very quick and economical site and doing some link building was one of the quickest ways to get into business with SEO. Today that’s not necessarily the case. It still can be, there are a lot of short term tactical approaches with EMDs and such. They’re still very effective today. We’ve still got lots of affiliate sites doing that.

However, the mindset has to be different. You have to be able to prove your business model first. I really take that approach. If you can build around paid traffic first and you know that you can put up a solution, that you can bring cold traffic and can convert through a paid funnel, if you can do that first, you know that you have a business model. If your business solely relies on people stumbling into your site on Google, then to me that isn’t a business. That’s like throwing up a deli in the middle of the street and not really recognizing that you’re in an area where it’s not really ever going to work.

You have to acknowledge the climate that we’re in. I believe that traffic has to be looked at very differently. I think the people who really struggle with SEO and are failing in SEO today really need to step back and just look and need to understand that SEO is just one form of traffic. There are dozens and dozens and hundreds of forms of traffic out there that you can go after. I think you have to build your business where you have a diversified source.

I look at it like your hand. If you stick your hand up, you’ve got a thumb and four fingers. You can have one dominant traffic source and everybody normally does. We all evolve to a certain affinity of traffic that works best for us, whether it’s SEO, whether it’s AdWords traffic etc. There always tends to be one that is the dominant traffic source. You need those other four. You need some diversification. You need to have traffic coming in from other sources as well, whether that’s strong JV or whether that’s a really strong referral process or understanding how to acquire some other paid traffic funnels and sources.

I really look at it as the hand analogy because if you’ve just got one thumb, it’s not very easy to drink a margarita with one thumb. If you’ve got a thumb and one finger, you can make it work. If you’ve got that one other source, you can make it work. But if you lose the thumb, now you’re back to just a finger and what are you going to do?

So I think that’s an analogy for business, understanding that you need to acquire clients from a variety of sources. Ultimately you need to be able to buy your clients. That is the ultimate accomplishment and definition of a business. If you cannot afford to advertise and to buy your clients, then you truly don’t have a business in most anybody’s mind when you really look at it. I think there are lots of people who have coined that phrase. I know Jay Abraham talked about it, I know Rich Schefren has, I know others have. Dan Kennedy said the same thing. If you can’t buy your customers, you really don’t have a business. I think that is the fundamental core of it.

So today I still love SEO, but SEO is not our core of what determines whether our business is successful or not. If we had to just rely on SEO traffic then we probably would have gone the way of many others. But I have always gone this diversified route. We have podcasting traffic that we bring in with a popular podcast and iTunes or Top Marketing Strategies podcast in the business and marketing section. I do interviews, I do a lot of guest speaking and I do a lot of presentations.

Then we get a very high value out of our customers through our back end and through our retention of our customers. So we have various continuity programs that we’ve had people on for three and a half years. What is our average lifetime value? I don’t know, the program has been going only three and a half years and we’ve got people who have been there since day one.

People have to realize it’s not just about traffic, it’s about what you do with it when you’ve got it. How well do you convert it and how much do you extract from the lifetime value of that traffic as well?

David: When you go though and think about setting up a particular business you first make sure, hey we’ve got a really good offer here that we think we can drive traffic to, paid traffic and be able to convert it. Once you’ve proved that model works, is that when you start to look to diversify through these other traffic sources? You get proof of concept and then you double down and say, hey, alright let’s now drive a whole lot of varied different lot of traffic sources and then cherry pick out the ones that are working best for that particular business? What is the thought process there?

Troy: Yes, absolutely. I’m a former software developer and programmer. I started programming in machine language to give you an idea how far back that goes. When it comes to programming, I’ve done everything through that through C++, so the whole gamut.

I believe in rapid prototyping. I believe in failing quickly, which is an odd concept when you’re talking about business growth and success, to talk about failing quickly. It’s absolutely a vital concept. You have to be able to prove or, which is going to be more often the case, disprove your theory very quickly. One of the things I do with my coaching clients is the first couple of interactions is all about finding out what they’re doing. Many times they’re going way down the rabbit hole before they even know if they can sell something.

The first trick is, just go sell it. Can you get one client for your service, your idea for your product? Can you even get that first? Now if you’ve got to discount it, if you’ve got to do this, if you’ve got to do that, whatever it is that you’ve got to do to actually prove that there is a marketplace around that, that’s your very first step. Before you go and try to make everything perfect, before you go to try to build out all the systems and everything else, it’s so easy to prove concepts.

That’s one of the things that people really miss. They must make sure they have a valid concept before they ever get started. That’s I think probably the biggest mistake we can make. If you waste six months’ worth of time developing out a site, building out a site, building out a product or a service, thinking that it’s going to sell and then can’t make it work, in internet years, six months is like three years in the real world. You’ve really hurt yourself by going down a rabbit hole for six months with no outcome.

Dave, I know you’ve been around long enough to know you’ve had many ideas you thought were going to turn out great and just didn’t pan out. So that is the most vital and important first step is prove the concept, then stabilize it and then grow it and scale it. That’s a pretty standard three step process to me.

David: I think the rate of change that we’re seeing now with different disruptive technologies just means that you need to prove that concept very quickly. Previously when a new disruptive technology got launched, like the light globe or the telephone, the years in between when those disruptive technologies were launched is quite a large distance.

Now you’re seeing these disruptive technologies, the internet, iPod, all the mobile computing tablet type of thing, the distance at which these technologies are getting released is just getting tighter and tighter and shorter time spans. So if you start working on a project and you’re investing six months, twelve months, even longer before you actually take it to market, who knows where the market could be at that point in time when you finally take it to market? Maybe you’re bringing something out that at that point becomes redundant.

Troy: Yes, absolutely. One of the things in the SEO niche that I really believe is probably one of the common mistakes or really a common career killer honestly is that so many people are so technically proficient in internet marketing and SEO and have invested so much time in developing their skills in that area and the rug has been pulled out from beneath them.

The reality is that I think it’s the biggest opportunity right now for people who recognize the opportunity in front of them. That is there are so many people who have been caught up in this SEO for IM game when the reality is, if you step back and realize all the skills that you’ve acquired during that process, you’re probably able to tenfold your income by taking those skills outside of the internet marketing arena and taking them into the real business world.

That’s probably one of the biggest things on the table right now. In internet marketing, we think in $27 sales. In my coaching and Mastermind it’s a $30,000 Mastermind program. I’ve got to tell you, the first $30,000 Mastermind I sold was in fifteen minutes. It was the first engagement I had with that person. It was such tremendous value to their particular situation and what we could do for them, that it was much easier to sell than selling a $27 ebook.

People really have to step out of that limiting mindset, a belief that SEO and IM is all within that circle and that environment. If you really step out of that and step into applying that into the business world, many people have far more success in that arena.

David: Along those lines, some of these changes that caused people to think that, I know you know the SEO industry quite well, when we think about SEO, how are you looking at SEO these days? Have Google’s recent updates changed the way that you look at it?

Troy: This is the analogy that I would give in terms of how SEO has changed over the past couple of years. If we look at it a couple of years ago, it was about using link building to manipulate your rankings to acquire traffic and manipulate people into coming to your site through the rankings.

If we look at how that’s evolved today, my personal belief is that SEO today is much more about, instead of trying to force everybody to come to you, it’s about you having your message present in a variety of channels and taking that message to them. It’s about engaging your client where they are, meeting them on their terms and then bringing them back to your site over time.

As an example, a couple of years ago we would just kill it going after rankings on competitive keywords and all kinds of tactical things, but at the end of the day, we were totally dependent on that. If today instead we take our message and we create a really cool podcast around that message and we create a really cool YouTube channel round that and we go out and create in some of the audible sites and some of the pdf share sites, all these different channels that are out there, where we can connect with our target user in the medium, in the format that they want to receive the content, it’s much more powerful honestly.

Is it a little bit different? Has it shifted? Yes, absolutely it has. But it’s just as powerful today. You just have to be willing to make the shift along with the tides. If you keep trying to force a square peg into a round hole, then you’re probably not having very much success.

One of my coaching clients right now, he’s quadrupled his business in the past year, even though his traffic has gone down by half. He’s done that through going through and optimizing and focusing on delivering more value, looking at his price points, looking at his conversions, all of these other aspects of his business. He’s got out of that traffic game and instead got into the business game.

David: Watching it evolve, it’s almost morphing into a little bit more of this content syndication.

Troy: Absolutely.

David: As long as it’s got different platforms where it goes out to, as long as you’ve got a good core message and product that you’re sending or trying to get out there, SEO really happens naturally. That was the whole purpose of SEO, to get the message to a certain point where you got enough attention that SEO happened naturally. People will link to you if you’ve got good quality content.

As far as that as a little bit of a shift, is that where you’re seeing things head now, it’s less about the manipulation?

Troy: Absolutely. In fact the packages that we sell today in our SEO services are multi channel syndication services. That’s what we call them. So you hit the exact word on topic. It’s really about getting into multiple channels, syndicating that content out. Just as you said, SEO has always really been about getting people to link to you organically. The most effective people in SEO have always known that and have always done that.

What we always taught in all of our courses before Panda came out, before Penguin, before all of that craziness, we taught that. We taught people that SEO should be a phased approach. Phase one, your early phase in those days, not really true today, but in those days you could jump start into phase one through link building to get that traffic and build up your presence.

But if you didn’t have a core message, if you didn’t have really good content, if you weren’t providing value, if you weren’t delivering results for people, if you didn’t have a legitimate, real business, then it was just an exercise in futility. But the goal was always to get to phase two of SEO where it becomes more of a viral growth and natural evolution and growth through exposure, which is the way any business truly grows.

Because the playing field has been changed in the past year or so, that it is just forcing people to really go back to the natural approach of business growth. You said a very key phrase earlier in the conversation hereabout separating the men from the boys, I believe that’s true. It’s a good thing. While many people have been hurt, it’s also forced others to elevate their game and embrace their business at a whole different level and that’s a good thing for the industry as a whole.

David: The key parts, because part of what you were teaching your guys, a lot of those fundamentals still remain but there are also pieces that have changed. When you think of SEO, bits have remained solid obviously, like getting out good quality content. The basics of SEO as you see it, choosing a keyword, assigning it to a page, putting it in the relevant places, obviously that is all on page.

Then off page is the link building which we’re doing through content syndication now. Previously there was a lot of stressing on anchor texts and making sure that you really target specific keywords. How have you seen that shift as far as have those fundamentals changed or remained the same?

Troy: The fundamentals of on site SEO are the same as they’ve always been. I don’t really see any big changes there other than people used to get very worried about making everything perfect. We never quite went to that extreme, so for us nothing has really changed. We always look at on site SEO as a fundamental thing that you have to do. If you’re putting a site up there, you have to acknowledge that it’s Google’s world on the internet. If you want to get any free traffic through Google, it’s not really free but if you want to get that organic traffic, then you have to play by the rules.

Designing your site organically with that is always the number one thing you have to do. You want to get as much gravy traffic and gravy business as you can through rankings. When it comes to the off site work, yes, I believe it’s exactly what you’ve said. It’s more of a syndication model today than it is a pure link building model.

The anchor text things, we don’t really even worry about anchor text very much at all. If we do anchor text work, it’s really small percentages, ten, fifteen per cent at most. Most of it we do branded links and what I call junk links, where you’re creating natural link building. You’re not out there trying to manipulate the rankings.

That’s what we’ve seen have had the most impact these days. When you go trying to tweak it and manipulate it too much and have very precise anchor text, typically you’re going to start throwing off some red flags pretty quickly today. So we don’t even play that game anymore to be quite honest.

David: With this evolution, I know a lot of people are really interested in the way this has changed. I’m wondering whether or not you see SEO as a viable solution now still for every business. Previously someone would come to us and I’d say, I can guarantee you’ll get the best return on your marketing dollar by putting it into SEO. Because it was so predictable and because we were using automated tools, that enabled us to get some really great results.

The cost of SEO now is rising, so for some businesses, if they embrace SEO and they do SEO themselves, it can make sense. But I’m interested to know if you feel like SEO still makes sense for every business or whether or not there are other methods worth looking at?

Troy: It is more of an evaluative process now than it used to be. I agree with you in the sense that before it was just a brain dead simple choice for everybody. It just made sense. It was too easy and everybody should be doing it. Today you really do have to evaluate it because there are other things where the cost has more ROI for you in other areas
depending on your niche, depending on your business model. If you’re a local business, if you’re a business that is nation wide or international like we are, it all varies. There is no one size fits all answer.

The one size fits all, I did this in my presentation in Vegas at the event I just recently had with a small group of people. I drilled in the one size fits all really quickly. I put up an image on the screen. It was twenty-five overweight guys running around in a mankini.
They were all wearing the same mankini because it was the one size fits all. I said, if you want one size fits all, that image is forever burned into your retina. It’s true, it just doesn’t. You have to really analyze the business.

As you know, it’s still quite easy to dominate in local marketing for local businesses. So there is a different ROI for that than if you’re selling car insurance quotes. That’s a really tough business to be in today. It really is dependent upon your business model. Yes, the costs have absolutely gone up. A couple of years ago, we were just killing it. We had hundreds of people on the $297 a month subscription package that was doing great results for people for $300 a month.

The reality is today we’ve got packages at $3000 and above. Do we still have some smaller packages? A little bit, but it’s getting harder to provide that same level of ROI that you used to be able to provide. It has, again, separated the men from the boys, not only on the provider side, but on the client side. Now it really is a committed client, somebody who understands this is like placing an ad in the phone book or the Yellow Pages. It’s just another form of advertising. You have to invest and you have to build it over time.
It really ups the game on both sides, not only on the SEO service provider side but on the understanding and education of the client as well.

David: I think making real use and you talked about it earlier, which I wanted to drill into, this making really good use of the leads and the traffic that you are getting. I think that’s another big thing that’s popping up now. Every lead that comes through, or every visitor, you want to make sure you’re maximizing it. Previously you could solve just about any problem online with, hey, let’s drive more traffic at it by doing a whole lot of SEO.

Now with all of these varied sources, that means oftentimes you can spread yourself quite thinly. You need to make the most of what you get. How do you see, when a lead comes through to a business, and obviously it’s going to vary from business to business, what do you think businesses should try and do as far as maximizing those leads?

Troy: Yes, you touched on something so vitally important here today. One of the things I said is, our success has been built upon our customer interaction, much more than our audience building. That’s why I said I really classify myself as a business builder and not so much as a marketer. Marketers can be really good at building huge audiences but a business person can really learn to get the most value from them.

When you look at your business from a business perspective and not doing technology for the sake of doing technology, not playing the game because it’s the newest, latest, greatest technique, but instead looking at it as how can I provide more value to my customers, then if you just start with that question, everything else becomes self apparent.

When you ask that question, if you just come from the place of well, how can I provide more value, the first thing to provide more value, you have to understand your customer better. What does that require? That means more interaction. We do a lot of things and have always done this, that are really core to our business growth.

When we would hold a webinar and people would ask questions and do all of that, the typical response is somebody high fives after the webinar is over about how many sales they made or whatever. We would always go through and find every single person who asked questions and even if we answered them online, we go through and follow up with them. We say, hey, did we get everything covered for you? Is there any other thing that we missed? We know we’re rushed on the webinar and the q& a session and we would do that follow up with every single person who was on the webinar.

The people who weren’t there, we would reach out to. Those little things are huge. It’s the difference between a six figure business and a seven figure business. It’s that big.

What you find from that is you turn customers into fans. Every business has a percentage of their subscriber list who buys everything they ever sell. They’re a fan. They’re somebody who loves that person, they connect with them, they resonate with their message. So anytime they release a new product, boom, they just snap it up. The difference of growing that business quickly is to really be in touch with those fans and to grow that fan base.

One of the best ways you do that is sell people what they want but give them what they need. You can’t give them what they need if you don’t spend the effort to get to know them and put some time in. I do a lot of work where I’ll give away free strategy sessions with me on their business. I provide a ton of value for them. If they decide to go forward, that’s ok and if they don’t, that’s ok too. It’s a non pressure kind of thing but it allows me to get in that relationship building mode.

I think that so many people on the marketing side of the equation are more interested in the numbers in their list and the automated kind of thing and they lose track of that one on one connection. At the end of the day we all, if we’re looking to buy anything, we’re not looking to be sold to. We’re looking to invest in something that makes sense for us. It’s hard to do that without that personal communication.

David: I think that’s interesting to watch the way that you developed your businesses, particularly with Articles On Tap. Obviously having that conversation with the client and then responding based on what it is that they’re looking for and then giving products and services around what they’re looking for, I don’t know if you can tell us a little bit about that story.

I know you were doing some affiliate marketing and selling a particular product. Once you acquired the lead, you built up the conversation with them to find out what they want. Then you started building services all around that one product once you knew who that target market was.

Troy: Sure. I think what you were referring to was perhaps when BMR first came out, Build My Rank. Is that the one you were referring to? BMR came out, we were one of the early adopters of it. We reviewed it on articlesubmissionreview.com, one of our affiliate sites at the time. It’s still up there today. It’s rather out of date at this point.

We reviewed Build My Rank and we saw it growing. We quickly became the number one affiliate for them in the whole time they were out there and had hundreds of people on subscription with them. As that grew, we just grew around that need. We were always willing to be flexible. We always adapted. We didn’t define what the vision was, we rode the momentum. We went where that went.

So as we saw people getting this, we created whole sets of content for them and then we actually formed a partnership where at one point we were supplying all of the content, not all of it but a big percentage of it to BMR through Articles On Tap on contract for a while. Then John went his way and did it himself for a while too. We had done that as well. We looked at it at all different levels of how can we see the tidal wave that’s coming, how can we get out in front of it? How can we serve these people?

What we found is that clearly if somebody is buying links through BMR and the content around it, that’s not what they want. They want to be buying content, they don’t want to be buying links and they don’t really want to rank number one in Google either to be quite honest.

What they really want is the benefit of the benefit. They want the value of that ranking. They want the expectation that comes along with it. What we found was many times they had a lot of false expectations. So Mike and I became really well known in the industry in a small way. We never had a huge audience but we really resonated with people because we didn’t confuse them. We didn’t try to steer them into short term tactical work. We were very strategic from the beginning and talked about what SEO’s role was and how to do things effectively.

We were candid about it. We were very candid about having realistic expectations. While that disqualified a lot of people which was fine with us, the people that it resonated with just bonded with us and created a great following. We just continued to provide more and more services and value.

So it led into SEO services, it led into expanded content services, it led into us providing the content for BMR, it led into us creating automation systems for bonus and fulfillment. Instead of people giving away digital products for bonuses, we would give away free content for a bonus. That actually cost us money. We would do that as a form of lead gen really through the affiliate side.

Then we would bring them into our other services and that led to talking with clients more, it led to the creation of our coaching, our Insiders Club, our coaching memberships and other services and products that we created like building authority sites and all these other things. It all came from really engaging with those clients and asking them the simple question of what can we do to make this process for you easier?

David: It sounds like you had had over the time quite a few moving parts. As you leveled up, as you’ve started to build the audience, learn more about the business and also what the audience actually wants, where are you shifting to now? We were talking about this wave and riding the wave. Have you spotted where you think things are headed as far as both the industry but then also how you’re wanting to position yourself as the industry starts to evolve?

Troy: It’s really a two channel approach that we’re taking right now. There’s myself and my business partner Mike and the two of us are the Mike and Troy’s brand behind all of this, so we’re 50:50 co-owners in everything. We really treat the company as a single company with two divisions at this point to be quite honest. Mike handles all of our content services and SEO and all of that management that is the behind the scenes management of the business.

I really handle the whole other side of the business which I really love. Mike and I are complete opposites, complete opposites. We fight like an old married couple, it’s pretty hilarious. The things that he loves, I absolutely loathe. The things that he hates, I like. So it works out really well. He handles a lot of the back end and the management and manages all of our resources and people who work for us in several different countries from content and link builders and all of these different things going on. He handles all of that.

What I handle is all of the coaching and product creation and training and all of that. Both of those are very strong businesses in and of themselves. I’m one of these guys if I’ve solved a puzzle once, I don’t ever care to see it again. I get bored really quickly. I have done a lot of things in my background. So I’m a kind of digital jack of all trades, I’m the virtual jack of all trades, the handy home fixer up guy who goes around and does all these projects.

What I enjoy now is doing that from a coaching standpoint. That’s really what I focus on, business growth with businesses that are six figure businesses going to seven figure businesses or seven figure businesses going to eight figure businesses. It comes from a position of experience, not a position of making it up, which unfortunately a lot in the industry that is. I’ve done this multiple times in my career and multiple industries, offline, online.

What I really get a thrill out of is getting on the phone with somebody, examining their business and just narrowing in on, with laser focus, the area that we can just boom, focus on quickly and get quick results and scale that business. Whether that means different traffic sources, whether it means working on their lead generation or the conversions or their site or AdWords, whatever it is, I’ve done all of that at one point or another. Now I pull upon my own resources and find the best way to make that business scale more quickly. That’s what I really enjoy doing.

I’m doing a lot in my Mastermind, I’m doing a lot with my group coaching as well. That is something that is to me probably the most powerful thing. At the end of the day we don’t want more information. The information age is dead. Anything that I can teach someone, they can get for free. The difference is, how long are they going to spend looking for it and when they find it are they going to know if they actually found what is worth listening to or something that worked three years ago or something that is going to steer them down the wrong direction etc?

It’s not about information any more, it’s about having a trusted advisor, somebody who can get you across the finish line that much more quickly. That’s what I enjoy doing. It’s the same thing over and over again but it’s different in every case because every client I work with has a unique situation. For one it may be a video solution, for another it may be an AdWords solution, for another it may be a site design, conversions, etc.

That’s where the Mike and Troy’s brand is going right now. It’s in two directions. On Mike’s side, on the SEO side and content services, it’s really much more about content services now and multi channel marketing. That’s really what we’re focused on. I see that not going away.

People are always going to need content. They’re always going to need to enhance their presence online, whether that’s ecommerce sites needing better content for their descriptions or adding a blog or adding a curated content service into the mix. Whatever it is those needs are, the content side is what we’re really focusing more on, on that side of the business.

David: It’s funny you talk about having two parts and two people at the top of the business who complement each other. If you look at Jim Collins’ Good to Great, that was one thing he singled out. As you’ve got one person really in the business operationally which it sounds that’s what Mike’s skill set is, as far as running the team and things like that, whereas you can look forward and see the direction things are heading. I think that makes sense as to why you’re falling into that business growth area.

I feel like that’s where I’m seeing the evolution of, I don’t know if it’s our industry or whether or not it’s just the evolution of as you start to grow businesses. When you look online, there are probably hundreds of different things you could be doing but typically speaking there are two or three things that are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck right now.

Having the skill to be able to identify those, which really only comes from growing businesses and getting the runs on the board, understanding the way the business works, then it makes it easier to target and identify which are those things that are going to be the biggest leverage points?

Troy: Yes, absolutely. The reality is there are not that many leverage points. There are only a few different levers that you can pull in any business in order to affect the bottom line. When people try to make things sound so complicated, it really isn’t. What happens is we can’t see the forest for the trees sometimes when we’re running our own business. Sometimes we need that outside influence.

As well as the outside set of eyes, it’s giving a new perspective and finding that area that can just quickly ramp things up that makes all the difference. Today it’s about speed. It’s about speed to market, it’s about speed into profits, it’s about growing quickly with good cash flow so that you can then afford to expand your marketing and your advertising and your traffic sources and buy your clients.

You do that with cash flow and you get the cash flow by finding that 80:20, finding that 20% that’s going to have the 80% impact on your business and making those changes quickly.

That’s really what gets me going. It’s just fun for me. You said experience and I’ve got to tell you, I take that word very humbly because when I say experience, listen. Experience just means you messed a whole bunch of things up and you’ve lived and survived.

David: And re labeling it nicely. It’s experience.

Troy: Yes, it’s experience. It just means you failed a whole lot of times and you got up one more time and then you got knocked down. It’s not an arrogant thing at all. Experience is just about putting your time in sometimes. You have to have that process. I wouldn’t trade any of my failures for anything. As you know my background, I’ve been dead broke twice in my life and had to start completely over from scratch. I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

I’ve built multiple seven and eight figure businesses. I’ve had the highs and the lows. I wouldn’t trade the lows for anything because they make us respect the process and they give us the confidence to do it again. You have to reach down and pull yourself up. That’s what gives you the ability to do it again and again.

David: It’s interesting to see the way people build business. When they work in a particular business at a certain level and a certain size, they learn the internals of that business and what makes it work at that particular size.

Sometimes you might see an entrepreneur, if they’ve worked in a really big organization and then they go out and try and do their own thing, they struggle with the start up component because it’s foreign and unfamiliar. But they know the map of what this bigger business looks like when it’s more complete. They don’t necessarily know how to get there. They’re starting this new start up. Once they get through that start up phase, oftentimes you’ll see their business just grow at lightning pace after they get through that first phase. They know and understand that middle bit.

Then there are other people who’ve always worked with start ups and they can very quickly grow a business through to a certain level but then they start to get stuck. All they’ve really known is that start up phase.

What I find interesting about your story is because you’ve had that rags to riches multiple times, you’ve gone through those different phases and you understand what it takes to grow the business to the next bit. That way, when you hit the reset button at 39, you were able obviously to build the next seven figure business much more quickly because you knew what the map looked like or you knew what the finished product looked like and you could get there more quickly.

I don’t know if you had any insights on that?

Troy: Yes, absolutely. There are different skill sets and I think what it takes to build a six figure business from zero is very different to what it takes to take a business from six figures to seven. That’s very different to taking a business from seven to eight. Of course niches will affect those statements.

But in general those are three very different skill sets. The do it all yourself and just be able to make it happen kind of guy is the six figure guy. The guy who can understand that he’s now got to start to let go of everything he’s learned and to delegate and to surround himself with a good team, is the guy who can take it to seven figures.

Then to go beyond that, you’ve got to develop a whole different skill set. That’s actually finding the managers, finding the people who are just key assets and resources who you can trust to run entire groups of people below you, so that you can step away at a whole different level.

So it’s really three different skill sets. Some people really struggle with that and they say, if I built this thing up to this point, why can’t I take it to that next level? But it’s a different skill set many times. So you can’t necessarily just beat your head against the wall. That’s why I really enjoy what I do because I enjoy working with those people and helping them find that transition in their business and that gap that exists between where they are and where they want to go and how to fill that quickly.

Sometimes it’s just about realizing the situation they’re in. They think, how did everybody else do it? Well they didn’t do it beating their head against the wall like you’re doing right now. You’ve got to think smarter. We’ve got to move outside this envelope and approach it from a different perspective.

Yes, absolutely, it’s different skill sets that are involved. Somebody who talks about that a lot is Rich Schefren in his Business Growth System. He really goes into that and how the skill sets evolve as you progress through the levels of business.

David: Maybe in the tail end, having worked with different people, obviously growing your own business, done a lot of study, there would have been a few of those aha moments that you’ve identified that people have had or even yourself that have helped you move through to that next level. If you look back now, if there are any things where you say, that was one of the moments or the things when I took that step, it helped shift my mindset and moved me to the next level.

Troy: You know I don’t know that I can really point back to any definitive things like that. It’s a progression for me. I feel that one of the things, and it comes from Tony Robbins that he talks about your business growth will follow your personal development. I’ve always believed that and I’ve always practiced that.

The more that we’re able to look into our own personal growth, the more we’re able to look into our own fears, our own comfort zone and why we’re afraid to branch out of that etc, the more our businesses are impacted by that.

It’s interesting but having gone through this relatively quickly in the industry, there were a lot of people who I identified with, big names. If I could just meet this guy and get some time with him and do this, I know I could go here or I could go there. What was interesting was that never really came to be true. I met most every one of those people and worked with most every one of them. It’s not that any one of them were a let down. It’s not that at all.

It’s just that at the end of day, it comes down to either do it or don’t do it. We tend to think it’s the lack of information or the lack of the right relationships, but we all have the power to create those relationships. We just have to take the action. We all have the power to make that happen. At the end of the day it’s really about personal development. It’s about reaching, out, it’s about making those connections, it’s about being willing to do what no one else is doing. It’s about engaging with people.

When you see somebody ‘like’ an engaging post that was meant to stir things up, it’s about reaching out to them and sending them a message on facebook and say, hey, I saw your comment, what’s up? It’s about engaging and reaching out and creating that opportunity. Many people think they’re waiting for that opportunity to knock. We’ve got to create those opportunities.

I firmly believe the universe rewards action. The action takers, the actions may not always go in the direction you want them to go, but if you don’t put some action in motion, then how can you sit back and say you’re not getting what you deserve? Honestly you are, every single one of us is being paid what we’re worth, whether we realize that or not, we’re getting exactly what we deserve.

We’re getting paid the exact amount we command in the industry.

It’s about stepping up and commanding more and asserting more and providing more value.

David: It’s funny, you mentioned one thing that felt like you touched on it a couple of times as you were explaining that journey. One element that I noticed, is this relationship thing which seems really key and central to what you do and even your success. You talked about when you did start chatting with some of these industry experts and even the relationship you have with clients as well. For me, listening to you talk, from the outside in, it feels like that is one of the key things, whether or not you consciously or unconsciously discovered, you’re a very good networker and it seems like it’s played a key part.

Troy: Yes, it has played a key part but it’s funny because I’m actually not an extrovert, I’m really an introvert. It’s something that I’ve had to force myself into.

Just as an example, a good friend of mine, Ryan Lee is somebody with whom I built a relationship over time. It was built by me identifying somebody whose message I liked, I liked his approach and so I went about it the way I knew to go about it. That was paying my way in.

First of all I attended one of his events. I saw an event that he had coming up that was a small event. It was a small venue. I said, ok, that’s the one I want to go to. There were only thirty people in the room, so I jumped on it when the opportunity came.

Then I was just very methodical in how I positioned myself within that event. I sat up in the front, I got there early, I found ways to interject in the conversation, I found ways to contribute without stepping on the toes of anybody. This was even though at the particular event I was by far more knowledgeable in SEO than the person who was speaking about SEO. I didn’t contribute in a way that would attack him. I just added some things that actually built him up and I did it in a constructive way. I also did it in a way that positioned me.

I was just very methodical and just built a relationship. I did a whole bunch of things after that. I struck up a little bit of a friendship with Ryan. I attended some other events, I offered to do some free webinars for him. I did a whole bunch of just giving and providing value first with really the intention of just building a relationship, not really knowing where it would go or not go.
It turned into multiple speaking engagements and introductions and all types of things like that. That was really not my ulterior motive. It was a strategy, sure, but I was ok if it didn’t develop either. It was about providing value and being around an influencer and being able to contribute to that.

So many people think these guys are untouchable. They’re not, none of them are. The fact of the matter is though, they’re not looking for somebody to pick their brain. They’re looking for somebody to help out. So I just found ways that I could help out and that turned into a very critical, pivotal way of building relationships for me.

I did that with a lot of different people, Ryan is just one guy whose name I’m comfortable releasing in that sense because we’re good friends and have been for a few years now.

David: Very cool. I think you’ve got such a rich background and knowledge source. You can draw on a lot of topics. I feel like we could potentially have two or three podcasts just to cover all of the different things. If people want to do their own research and dig into a little bit more about your story Troy, they can head over to topmarketingstrategies.com and sign up and check out the podcast and things like that. Is there anywhere else you’d point them to find out a bit more about what you do?

Troy: That’s the best way. There are some good articles there on me, the About page on us has got some pointers to some very personal articles that I’ve written. People can get a lot off the Top Marketing site. That’s our main core site.

David: Excellent. Depending on when you’re listening to this podcast, Troy will be speaking at Dori’s event as will I. If you haven’t got a ticket, check out the SEO Rockstars Encore, just google it and it will come up. That might be another way to meet Troy in person.

Troy, we’ll wrap up there. Thank you for your time. You’ve been very generous and I very much appreciate it. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person.

Troy: Absolutely Dave. Thanks for having me on the show, it’s been an honour. I enjoy hanging out with you and it will be fun to get to meet you in person for sure, so thanks again.


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