Chris Kiefer is founder of SkEye Media, a company specializing in Branding and Marketing specifically for Oral Surgery clinics. We talk about how he choose this particular, narrow niche and the benefits of doing so, and from there branch into a broader set of topics that can be found below in the show notes. I hope you’ll enjoy this conversation.
Lessons from Chris:
- The reasoning behind his choice to specialize in helping oral surgery businesses with their marketing. Essentially, it’s a matter of cost and quality. It doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel for each customer as a generalist marketing company. The hours, resources, and learning curve involved in doing something new make it far harder to offer compelling value to consumers. From the customer’s perspective it takes way too long and just isn’t as good. For his business, the costs are far greater when solving a new problem and it becomes harder to make a profit.
- Being careful to serve clients that are not direct competitors. It’s a little bit of a conflict, but even just pragmatically, by offering the same service and strategy to two competitors, you lower the likelihood of success.
- Entering an industry that is dominated by a single competitor. Rather than worrying about getting crushed, he focuses on what that competitor does poorly and how he can fill that gap.
- Dentistry is incredibly crowded, hundreds of marketing companies focused specifically on dentistry. The nature of the oral surgery industry, though, is such that you can differentiate yourself and tell a more unique story. Too, oral surgery and dentistry differ significantly in who they market to. Dentistry is fairly public-facing, but oral surgery exists more as a business to business enterprise since they rely heavily on referrals.
- The digital marketing world is evolving very rapidly in terms of what is possible. Any website at all 20 years ago was impressive. 10 years ago, photos were a differentiator for a website. Then 5 years ago was video… These have all become table-stakes at this point.
- Validating his business concept by signing up customers
- “Getting new clients is the first thing you have to do to validate whether or not you’re going to have a successful business.”
- Two months of cold-calling over 300 companies returned this insight: You’re trying to convince a company that has never heard of you to make a fairly substantial investment in a new website, that they already have, and you’re telling them it’s going to be a little bit better or whatever…there’s no reason for them to trust you over the company they’re using currently”
- To get in the market, he created a low-cost solution designed to solve the specific problem of how these businesses get client reviews. Instead of having a generic, low-value cold call, he can say, “hey, I saw you only have 10 reviews on Google, is there a strategic reason that you are not asking more patients for those.” This catches their interest, requires little risk and little trust, and gives them the time to build the trust to make a bigger sale for retooling their websites.
- What makes people entrepreneurial? One force was having the support and belief of his parents that he would be successful. Another was having his mom as a role model. It was also important to him to see his parents able to be home by 5 every night
- Connecting with larger purpose. Do kids dream of growing up to create marketing companies focused on oral surgery? No, at least not most. But he finds a lot of meaning in the day to day, the people he works with, and the team he leads.
- The biggest return on your time is developing your personal brand. The financial return is not obvious, yet over the long term you get huge benefits.
- Fear setting from Tim Ferris
- How to grow: Learn all the time. Start consuming content just constantly.
Ego is the Enemy (Ryan Holiday). What Chris liked about it, “it was the first time I’ve ever read a book that I felt was geared more towards the early, early start-up, which is where I feel I’m at.”
Grit by Angela Duckworth
Mindset by Carol Dweck. “The difference between the entry level programmer and Bill Gates is a whooooole bunch of mistakes and a lot of hours.” You can either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset in any area of life.
Quoted “Scaling Up” by Vern Harnish. “Businesses rarely die of starvation, they die of indigestion.”
You can find Chris and his company, SkEye Media at http://skeye.media/ that’s skeye.media. You can also find his book recommendations as well as a link to his youtube channel in the show notes. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmAkrM7MMdoeqZxBPQji-7g
Music for this podcast is by Cambrian Explosion who were once locked in a psych ward with Jack Nicholson, based on a simple misunderstanding. Then some huge guy threw a water fountain through the wall and they escaped. You can hear their groovy tunes on cepdx.bandcamp.com, Apple iTunes, and Spotify. As well as their Facebook page.
If you liked this conversation and want to hear more like it, make sure you are subscribed in your podcast app. I’ve got a couple great conversations coming next that you don’t want to miss. Also, if you have a favorite episode, do me a favor and tell a friend about it to help grow this community of listeners. For more interviews, writing, recipes, and book recommendations from me, check out nicholaspihl.com. Thanks for listening.