Modern entrepreneurs not only deal with the challenges of wearing many hats to run their business, but now they must understand many of the tools required to run their business and advertising strategies.
Clate Mask, chief executive officer and co-founder of Infusionsoft, an automation tool company, calls the challenge “new chaos.” His passions stems from taking the company from a struggling startup to an eight-time Inc. 500/5000 winner.
Most small businesses grow by referrals by finding their way through the chaos. This week at the B2SMB Institute Leaders’ Forum in Northern California he spoke about conquering the chaos. I met up with Mask via phone to talk about some of the issues. What follows are excerpts from the discussion.
Mask: Most small businesses don’t want to be marketers. They aren’t. They just want to deliver great service, and yet the reality is there are so many marketing technology tools it seems like they must [learn about them] to survive in the modern world. The trick is to get all the information about leads, projects and customers at your fingertips in one place and allow the business to cultivate the relationships.
Search Insider: People say the internet is the backbone of the small businesses because it manages to help them reach so many more consumers, especially in rural areas. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats won a vote to save net neutrality rules ensuring unobstructed access to the internet. Do you think this is positive or negative for small businesses?
Mask: Net neutrality has both positives and negatives on both sides. I think overall it’s positive, but I’m concerned about the unintended consequences of it. I believe the intentions are good, and not just for the reason you mentioned. I’m just hopeful consequences don’t emerge that present a problem.
Search Insider: Do you think search advertising still presents challenges for small businesses?
Mask: The challenge for small businesses with search engine optimization and click advertising is that if you don’t become an expert in your domain you end up competing for search terms and words that big guys can spend a lot more money on. You end up going after the long-tail terms that don’t have nearly as much traffic. They might be relevant to your business, but they just don’t have time to manage that.
Many are working with an agency because they don’t have time to dig in and learn it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that many small businesses that should take advantage of lead-generation online struggle to do it because they don’t want to spend the money on an agency relationship.
Search Insider: When you say Infusionsoft personalizes services for small businesses, what type of services are you speaking about?
Mask: It’s any type of service required to serve customers when they show up.