Your Customers and Coronavirus

Your customers are the lifeline of your business. Now, more than ever, you have a great opportunity to support them. As major corporations send out their “here’s what we’re doing to protect you” messages (I’ve already received several from banks, hotels, and airlines), consider taking a different approach.

If you are in a position to HELP, offer to help. Each of us, as businesses and individuals, has different skill sets. Consider how you might be able to help your customers that have helped you and your business grow.

Offer whatever support you can to them, sending out a message about THEM and not about your business. The goodwill you create from an act such as this would be immeasurable.

Be safe out there. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Help others.

Dustin Fickbohm
Think Twice Before Sending Spam

From time to time we have clients that ask us:

“Can’t we just email to this list we purchased?”

If you have a tiny list (100 – 150 names) you can typically send a single personal email without much issue.

But, usually the risk isn’t worth the reward.

Getting your server IP address or domain name on a blacklist isn’t worth it. Once you are on a blacklist it will take you months and thousands of dollars to get removed.

There are many other ways to get your message out to prospects without resorting to large scale spam.

Spam is still spam. Think twice before sending!

If you are having issues getting your message out, contact us for help.

Andrew Houglum
To SEO or NOT to SEO… That is the Question!

What is that often quoted line from Hamlet? “To be or not to be… That is the question!”

I often think of that quote when a client starts talking about SEO.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a marketing buzz word that every business thinks they NEED it, and if they don’t have it they are missing out on life changing, truck-loads of business!

Here are a couple SEO myths/truths that you should consider before hiring a company to do SEO.

MYTH: SEO Gives a Quick ROI

TRUTH: SEO does NOT provide a fast way to get new clients and make more sales.  SEO is a slow process that can take 3-6 months before seeing solid results.

MYTH: SEO is a Waste of Money

TRUTH: SEO is NOT a waste of money, but can feel that way because it may take a number of months before real progress is made.  SEO is an important marketing tool, but should NOT be where you spend your first marketing dollar.  You should spend the first part of your marketing budget on efforts that have more immediate return on investment.  Grab the “low hanging fruit” first before getting every piece off the entire tree.

MYTH: SEO is for Every Company

TRUTH: SEO is NOT a good fit for every company.  If you answer yes to any of these questions, I would consider spending your marketing dollars on other efforts.

  • Is your marketing budget less than $3k – $5k per month?
  • Is your product/service sold mostly to other businesses?
  • Are your sales down and you need immediate new business?
  • Is your product/service a niche product that many don’t know about?

What should I do?

I recommend speaking with a one of our marketing consultant who can assess your business and create a blueprint outlining where you should spend your marketing dollars.  SEO is a great marketing tool, but should only be used as part of a full marketing plan.  Don’t just buy SEO because you heard it was important.


Andrew Houglum
Impeach Is A Verb

Impeach. It tends to be viewed as an ugly word, and in this day/age/country, incredibly polarizing. But I want to take a step back from that polarization for a second and look at the most basic definition of the word.

If we consider the most basic definition, removing it from the political or legal nuances that we tend to attach it to, it becomes an incredibly valuable, albeit difficult, action that can be internally applied to a business.

There are mountains of data, both industry provided, and internally for your specific business, that deserve a certain level of scrutiny. One of the values DBM Grow brings to businesses is a the ability to analyze and scrutinize the “facts” and data that you assume to be true. Here are a couple of examples to better illustrate what we have done, and perhaps what you should be doing internally with your business to maximize profit and see growth.

The first example, a client in the southwest with a robust marketing budget and a lack of understanding as to what those marketing dollars were actually doing for him. The client was spending thousands of dollars with local radio and television stations. And with each passing month, he would receive reports showing how many people had heard or seen his ads on tv, radio, and the stations respective websites. Growing frustrated by the thousands of dollars being spent and the seemingly small return on that money, DBM Grow took a look at what actually happened when a consumer saw or heard an ad. The end result was rather simple. The media stations were accurately reporting how many times our client was visible to the public, but they were providing no measurement as to how many people acted on those ads. Essentially, everybody was seeing the ads, but nobody was picking up the phone or visiting the clients website. The radio and TV stations were saying “look at all the people seeing your ad”, but upon closer scrutiny, those views and listeners didn’t create business.

A second scenario emerged for us with a client that employed us to generate leads for their business. Doing the job we were contracted to do, we built a campaign and drove traffic to a website on behalf of our clients, but several months into the process we were met with a complaint that “this isn’t working”. Knowing that there were plenty of leads coming in but there wasn’t an increase in business, somebody needed to be impeached, right?

Upon further scrutiny, it was discovered that a number of the leads generated weren’t being contacted or followed up at all. So, while the client spent money and we generated leads, the staff at this particular business was doing very little with the leads that were being provided. The end result was that DBM Grow built the client a nifty KPI dashboard to give them the ability to scrutinize staff and, “impeach” those that weren’t doing their job following up with leads.

In the end, no person, product or process is above impeachment. Challenging the credibility of the facts and people in your organization can lead you to positive change. In truth, it can also prove that you are doing things the right way and your employees are performing at a high standard.

If you’re looking for growth, challenge the status quo. Play devil’s advocate. Impeach. Scrutinize. And if you need an outside set of eyes to help you take a fresh look or you need a system built to keep a closer eye on those Key indicators, Contact DBM Grow…we’re always willing to take closer a look.

Dustin Fickbohm
Growing Your Business in 2020 and Beyond

As we all prepare for the calendar to flip to 2020, growth is on the minds of many of our current clients and likely on your mind too. However, thinking about growth and working towards growth are two keenly different things. So, here are a handful of ways to identify your growth opportunities in 2020 and beyond.

Identify (or re-identify) Your Consumer

In order to first understand your demand, you need to understand WHO your potential customer is. Often, they might be identified with common characteristics like age, gender, location, etc. but don’t overlook soft variables like lifestyle, values, and attitude.

When you again focus on who your potential customer is, you can sometimes find a new focus or a new understanding for who they are, where they are, and what they want.

Buying Decisions

When, where, and how your customers purchase your goods or services can be an important way to identify growth potential. When do people buy your good or service? Where do they buy it? How do they pay? How often are they making this buying decision?

Know Your Direct Competition

In identifying your customers, you’ve taken a basic look at demand. When you take a closer look at your competition, you have a better understanding of supply. Who else is doing what you do, where you do it? Who else is serving the same customers with the same goods or services?

When you’ve identified your competition, take a closer look which of those competitors are growing and why. What is their value proposition? What competitive advantages do they have?

Know Your Indirect Competition

If you sell snow cones and Carla’s Cold Treats on Main Street sells ice cream, you must entertain the notion that while your product is not identical, your consumer may be. And, in doing so, ask those same questions about your indirect competition that you have asked about your direct competition. Who’s growing? What is their value proposition? What is their advantage?

Analyze Complementary Products and Services

When someone buys your product or service, what else THAT YOU DO NOT PROVIDE, do they often purchase? If you sell toasters, you should be aware of the different types of bread trending in today’s markets. If you sell bathing suits on the beach, how is the market for suntan lotion in your area? This valuable insight can lead to a shift in your product or service, but it might also lead you to enter a space or category that you hadn’t previously considered.

Analyze Your Environment

You might be able to identify new or additional opportunities for growth by looking at the changes in the world your industry serves. Has technology evolved? Have the regulations or rules governing your industry changed? Politics, climate, and financial markets can also influence opportunities for growth.

At DBM Grow, our focus is on your business growth. It’s in our name!!!

If you’re searching for growth in 2020 or beyond, answering some of the questions above can help you identify growth opportunities. And if you’d like another set of eyes to help you identify those opportunities, we’re here to help! Schedule a free consultation with us today!


Dustin Fickbohm
We’re looking for a few good men and women!

Plain and simple…if you’re a Realtor, we should probably talk…because we’re looking for a few good men and women in the real estate industry.

Generating leads is one of the things that DBM Grow (formerly Direct Business Marketing) has done very well over the past decade. Originally cutting our teeth in the Real Estate industry, DBM Grow has been helping real estate agents and Realtors generate leads and close more transactions at an alarming rate.

With that in mind, answer these three questions to see if you’re the right fit to join our client list…

Are you a real estate agent looking for more listings?

Seems like a simple question with an obvious answer, but there are two million active real estate licenses in the United States. Let’s be honest and say that not all 2 million are looking for more business.

Do you have the time, energy, desire to work leads for a handful of minutes per day?

Some people just don’t have a good grip on their schedule. Some can’t time block well. Some don’t want to cold call prospects.

Do you have the budget to run a marketing program?

This is my LEAST favorite question, simply because the average agent doesn’t even THINK about a marketing budget. The next transaction closing determines how much they can spend.

So, honestly, we’re looking for a few good men and women… from one agent to a handful of agents in any given area. We don’t provide our seller leads to listings program to anybody who wants it. It’s successful for our clients. So, we’re not going to saturate any given market with our clients competing against our clients.

If you answered “YES” to the 3 questions above. Let’s talk. Here’s my calendar. You find a time that works for you. Calendly – Dustin Fickbohm

Dustin Fickbohm
Google’s BERT Looking at What You MEAN Not What You SAY

Google just released a new algorithm update called “BERT” – which stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.”

In this update Google is using “transformers” or words before/after another word that will change the overall intent of the phrase.  Or as Google put it:

“This breakthrough was the result of Google research on transformers: models that process words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order. BERT models can therefore consider the full context of a word by looking at the words that come before and after it—particularly useful for understanding the intent behind search queries.” – Google Blog

Here are a couple examples that Google provided with their explanation.

Example 1:

Here’s a search for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa.” The word “to” and its relationship to the other words in the query are particularly important to understanding the meaning. It’s about a Brazilian traveling to the U.S., and not the other way around. Previously, our algorithms wouldn’t understand the importance of this connection, and we returned results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query.

Example 2:

Let’s look at another query: “do estheticians stand a lot at work.” Previously, our systems were taking an approach of matching keywords, matching the term “stand-alone” in the result with the word “stand” in the query. But that isn’t the right use of the word “stand” in context. Our BERT models, on the other hand, understand that “stand” is related to the concept of the physical demands of a job, and displays a more useful response.

What does this mean?

Now I know what you are thinking… What does this mean? How will this change my ranking?

First, you should always be monitoring your ranking to see if there is any change.

Second, this change is going to affect mostly “sentence” or “long-tail” type searches.  This should make you happy, as this change should help potential clients who are looking to BUY your services find you.

In a nut shell, if you create long form content that conveys the “intent” that your targeted user should have when visiting your site – you should come out on top.

Please contact us for more info on how it increase your SEO rankings.



Andrew Houglum
The Evolution of Marketing Communication

As a part of our roles as Business Consultants here at DBM Grow, we spend a fair amount of time helping businesses attract new clients or customers. And, generally speaking, collecting a lead or contact information isn’t all that challenging. The success or failure of a marketing campaign that generates leads is usually defined by the follow-up…. “what does a business DO after they have a lead or a person’s contact information? “.

Ten years ago, there were basically three avenues to follow-up with these “internet” leads. Email was the most popular source of follow-up because it was typically the easiest information to cull from a user online. And the follow-up via email was quick, easy and could often be automated…even in the internet stone ages of a decade ago. The phone number was also a possibility. People still talked on the phone in 2010, right? And the third option that was commonly used was a mailer to their physical address. Those were the times we lived in.

Today, those three avenues still exist, but we’ve added a host of other ways to connect and communicate with potential customers…texting, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and others….have all been added to the list.

Depending on your customer base, how you reach out to a potential client can vary. If you’re dealing with the corporate type, perhaps LinkedIn or email or a phone call are most appropriate. If your target is 20-somethings, you might choose to avoid email and evolve to a more modern technology.

Maybe all of this seems rather obvious. And to the savvy business owner, it probably is. But we see two common failures in this process among our clients that struggle to turn a lead into a customer.

First and foremost, if possible,


When you first capture a lead, you have no idea how they prefer to communicate. So, in as many ways as you can, reach out to them with a short message to see how they prefer to communicate. Send a brief text or a message on Facebook or give them a quick call.

And secondly,


Too often, we as business owners are most comfortable doing what’s easiest or most comfortable to us. So, if email is easiest, we gravitate to email. Or if we’re used to calling, we pick up the phone and dial. However, when you reach out to a lead in multiple ways, you can determine their communication comfort zone. And when they choose to respond to you via phone or text or email or some other method, DON’T IGNORE THAT METHOD. Your lead has essentially raised their hand and said “Yes, I prefer text messages” or “I’m on Facebook all the time. So, I’ll respond to your messages there.” And keep the communications in their preferred method until it is necessary to move to a different method. At some point you may have to meet them or call them or email them, but until that is a necessity, stay in their lane.

It’s no secret that following up on leads is critical. But as technology, apps, and social media evolve, HOW you follow up must also evolve. Reach out in as many ways as you can. Find their communication comfort zone. Stay in their comfort zone until there is a reason to change and close more leads by doing so.

If this is something that you don’t have time for, don’t do well, or need help with. Feel free to reach out to us at DBM Grow. We solve problems like this every day for our clients and you could be the next one we help!

Dustin Fickbohm