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Your Customers and Coronavirus
Think Twice Before Sending Spam
To SEO or NOT to SEO… That is the Question!
Work Backwards to Move Forwards
Dream Big! Strategize Small.
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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!" ...

Andrew Houglum
Landing Pages and the Golden Circle

Use the "Golden Circle" to ensure you landing pages have everything your prospect need to ...

Andrew Houglum
Your Customers and Coronavirus
Your Customers and Coronavirus

Your customers are the lifeline of your business. Now, more than ever, you have a great ...

Dustin Fickbohm
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
Work Backwards to Move Forwards

“We need help!”

This is something we hear from prospective clients when we first start the engagement process.  Companies turn to consultants once they realize that the skills inside their organization don’t fit the problem at hand.

What is the problem at hand?

  • Achieve the goal!
  • Get to the next level!
  • Get over the hump!

We hear these nondescript phrases that all really mean the same thing.

“I know WHERE I want to go, but not HOW to get there.”

If you are feeling this way in your business, then here is a quick exercise to help better create a plan of “next steps” to get to where you want to go.

First, really define the WHERE you want to go.  You may think you “know” what it is, but until you have written it out for somebody else to understand… You don’t really “know” it.  A simple way to define your WHERE is to explain it to somebody not in your industry.  Talk to a spouse, family member or friend and articulate WHERE you want to be in terms of:

  • What does your revenue look like?
  • Who are your employees and/or vendors? (hire and fire)
  • What kind of clients do you serve?
  • How will that change your day?
  • What processes need to be in place?
  • What automation needs to be in place?

Really get in there and layout what “over the hump” looks like.  By explaining it to a somebody who isn’t in your industry, they will ask questions and force you to articulate items that someone in your industry may take for granted.

Next, start asking yourself: “Immediately before THAT, we have to complete ______.”  Fill in the blank.

For example, you may decide that “over the hump” entails adding 10 new employees to your organization.

But, before you can add a 10th new employee you need to add a 9th… And an 8th… And so on…

In essence you are working backwards from your goal to your current state.  But you do this not just for one aspect of your business.  You do this for every aspect that you detailed in step one.

Finally, the outcome of this exercise is a list of your “next steps” – or a simple plan on what to tackle next in your business that you KNOW will lead you to your goal.

If this seem overwhelming, contact us… This is what we do!


Andrew Houglum
Dream Big! Strategize Small.

A new year brings out grand plans and ideas on how to improve your business.  Ways to “take it to the next level!”

Most business can define what “the next level” looks like, but they don’t know HOW to get there.  Their failure isn’t in desire or lack of business know-how, but in the breakdown of what constitutes a “plan.”

Plan: a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.

We see businesses that think they have a plan, but only really have an idea.  Here are a couple tips on how to turn your idea into an action plan.

  1. Divide your idea into a timeline.  Talking through the high-level steps from today to the idea’s fulfillment can help you divide the process into phases and then into smaller tasks.
  2. Take care of first things first. You don’t have to have every task for every phase decided at the beginning.  Only break the first phase down into tasks.
  3. Keep pushing. If you aren’t meeting with your team weekly (or every-other week) to assess the progress, then the tasks will get lost in the sea of the grind.
  4. Tasks need an owner. If a task doesn’t have an owner, and a clear due date – they will get pushed back and not accomplished.  If a task is too big to have a single owner; then it isn’t a task, but a phase or section and should be broken down further.

At DBM we enjoy helping business take their ideas and turn them into an actual plan.  Reach out if you are stuck and need a plan.

Andrew Houglum
Quit Logging In & Out

How many different email accounts do you login to each day?  Do you keep different browsers open for different “accounts” – like Firefox is for my personal email and Chrome for my business email?

Well… You can stop all that nonsense!

Check out Shift

Shift is a desktop app that allows you to organize your different email and app accounts in one platform.  No more logging in and out to different email accounts or apps.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


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
Baby Steppin’

One of my favorite movies of all times is “What About Bob?”  I think Bill Murray is extremely funny in this movie, and it has a great line: “I’m baby steppin’! I’m doing the work!”

The idea is that you can accomplish anything if you just put one foot in front of the other and move forward.

I believe that this is also true in business.  You don’t have to have all your marketing campaigns fully developed on day 1 – you can baby step into them.

The baby step plan involves two items:

  1. Know where you want to go
  2. Know the next step you need to take

Notice, that this is different than the “spaghetti” model – “throw everything on the wall and see what sticks!” That model rarely works, and will cost you too much money.

As we are coming into the new year, my challenge to you is to forget the “spaghetti” model of business and start using the “baby steppin'” model.

Andrew Houglum
The Tale of Two Clients

This week I had an interesting set of experiences with two different clients.  Both clients had unrealistic expectations of how their marketing pieces show be created, but from different ends of the spectrum.

Client #1 – Too Much

For Client #1 we were helping them create a landing page to sell their services.  I had given them the “Golden Circle” of WHY – HOW – WHAT, and they had created about 6 pages of content for a single landing page.

Normally, having more content from a client is better than less content, but in this instance the Client didn’t want to trim any of the content down.  They were attached to all the words that were written instead of allowing us to use the words and construct a landing page that flowed and held a user’s attention.

We worked with the Client to eventually cut the content down to a more standard 300 word landing page.

Remember, for a landing page – LESS IS MORE.  Keep your landing pages between 200 – 300 words, as that is the amount most people can read in a minute.

Client #2 – Not Enough

For Client #2 we were assisting in creating a brochure to outline their entire service offering.  This client’s services were easy to explain to a potential customer… In theory…  But, because the execution contained many different concepts they often had to answer: “What EXACTLY am I getting?”  Or, “What IS xyz service again?”

Normally, this question is easy for a business to answer.  “You are getting X, Y and Z.”  But, in this instance just listing the services wasn’t enough as each service was unique and new to potential customers.

We worked with the Client to expand each of their line items in their service offering.  We applied the WHY – HOW – WHAT principle to each individual activity bundled in their overall service.

Remember, for a new service – MORE IS MORE. Don’t assume that your potential customers speak the same language you do. Be ready and willing to expand your “WHAT” if you are introducing a service to the marketplace.

Get Started

Please contact us if you are having trouble creating a landing page or marketing piece that both explains and doesn’t bore your potential customers.



Andrew Houglum
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
Landing Pages and the Golden Circle

As digital strategy consultants, one of the things we get asked to create on a regular basis are “landing pages.”  If you aren’t familiar with the term – a “landing page” is a single web page where a marketing campaign will direct prospects to “sell” something.  I put sell in quotes because sometimes what you are selling doesn’t involve money; for example, you may want the prospect to use their email address or phone number as currency to “buy” something from you.

So, what content should you put on a landing page?

If you Google “landing page” you will be overwhelmed with all the classes, tools and templates to help you create a “killer” landing page. But, unless your product fits EXACTLY with their example, you are still left trying to answer the question… “What content should I put on my landing page?”

The Golden Circle

If you have never watched Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” Ted Talk…  Stop what you are doing and watch this right now:

Now, I know what you are thinking…  “How does the Golden Circle apply to landing pages?”

Landing Page Golden Circle

WHY should the prospect buy what you are selling? What is the top way your product or service will change their life?

HOW will your prospect’s life be improved by what you are selling? I.E. What are the benefits?

WHAT are you selling? Specifically, what are the features that will create a world where what you just detailed comes true?

If you follow this simple landing page content formula, your landing pages will be easier to create and contain all the content your prospect wants.

If need help creating a landing page – let us know.


Andrew Houglum
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