Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with Marco Torres. Torres is the Founder of MarketingBoost.com, he has helped thousands of business owners worldwide boost sales and scale their businesses by as much as 5-fold through the use of incentive-based marketing. He teaches entrepreneurs how to soar sales & marketing through the use of “Value-Add-Incentives” instead of discounts. His Facebook Groups combined are home to more than 80,000 active business owners who are raking in sales with his advice and amazingly affordable travel incentive subscription program.
In this interview, Torres talks about ways retailers and brands can enhance their offerings with incentives, rather than resorting to discounts.
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Erin Manning 0:02
Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau. The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Mediaclip, Advertek Printing, and School Photographers of America.
Gary Pageau 0:19
Hello again and welcome to the dead pixel society podcast. I'm your host, Gary Pageau. And today we're joined by Marco Torres of marketingboost.com. Margo is a lifelong entrepreneur starting from age nine. And he's primarily been in travel industry. And today he's going to talk to us about creating value for your business and how to compete. Hi, Marco, how are you today?
Marco Torres 0:40
Hey, Gary, glad to be here. I want to be photographers. Most of my images are probably dead pixels. But well,
Gary Pageau 0:51
I think we can connect you with some people can help you out with that. But first talk a little bit about your story. He started he said you started as an entrepreneur at age nine. What did you do then? And how did you get to where you are now.
Marco Torres 1:03
So I started out as a paper route. And I was just using the data cleaning out my dad's garage, he's no longer with us, may he rest in peace, but going through his stuff, and I found a folder with my name on it, it reminded me that oh gosh, I was featured on the front page of the local newspaper for building the biggest paper out they'd ever seen at the time. And so then went on to open own five restaurants and a nightclub by the time I was 23. Got involved in internet marketing to try to speed through my life because I'm no young chicken. I'm 62 now but got into internet marketing in 1995-96, very early adapter for internet marketing, email marketing. I was I was a spammer before they called it spam, I was doing millions of emails a month when everybody used to love email, they all had AOL accounts. So I've generated over a billion dollars in sales from my clients or my own businesses along the way. So I kind of have a feel for what makes people click and take action purchase online or in person. And hopefully, I can bring some value to your to your audience.
Gary Pageau 2:18
So talk a little bit about the travel incentive piece of the business that you kind of launched and created.
Marco Torres 2:26
So what I launched in 2017, because as you mentioned, I've been in the travel space since mid 90s. As well, we launched a a this is something that can relate to anybody out there, we wanted when we first launched this idea came about kind of as a side product, we wanted to generate video reviews for our for our travel website, which was at the time becoming one of the most fastest growing travel sites in North America. And we were scratching our head wondering what can we do to motivate people to go the extra mile and give us a video review of our resorts and hotels that we were promoting. And we came up with an idea to offer them a bonus trip. And you'll see how this relates in a moment, it became an incentive that we later turned into a standalone business. But what we did Gary and this is something any listener out there who's got any kind of business could learn from this is you need reviews, right? You need social proof, you need video, written reviews, video reviews, and you got to solicit them. If you're not asking for them, you're not going to get any of the typically you're only going to get the ones that are not happy. And so then you've got to worry about you know, resolving the client who's not happy versus soliciting review. So what we did, we came up with the strategy of doing a survey, when people would when we expected our clients to be at the peak of their happiness. So this relates to any kind of business, whenever you sell product or service, when you expect your client should be at their peak of happiness, that's when you should do a survey, asking them how you how you, you know to rate you, how are we doing so far? Right? And in our case, we would do it the day after checking. So if they gave it we'd ask them ranges from one to five, how are we doing it? They gave us a four or five. We were immediately responding back with wonderful, can you help do us a HUGE favor, help us spread the word about our resort partners. And Phil, if you'd film a video testimonial, we're gonna give you a complimentary bonus trip to your choice of Orlando, or Las Vegas. And that took off like crazy before we knew we were generating dozens and then hundreds and then 1000s We now have over 30,000 video reviews more than any other travel website in the world. And it was essentially because of the process of doing the survey and of course, the incentive. And then we had those folks raising their hand going, Hey, we want to we want how do I get that free trip. So now we had to dig into our pockets and paying for those free rooms that we had promised. So now we're scratching our head going well how can we reduce the cost of that? So we went back to these hotel partners of ours and said, Hey, we got to we've we've you have a problem. We know we can fix it, we know that your hotels, you're never full, you're full on certain weekend's peak season holidays. But 70% of the year, most of your rooms go empty, there's at least 30% of your rooms go empty for the majority of the year. So we can put some warm bodies in those rooms, couples, families, individuals that will spend money at the bar, the restaurant, the casino, the spa, the gift shop, the excursion desk, etc. And they agreed and we eventually had a few, a few hotels partnering with us in Orlando and Las Vegas. And now we could fulfill those free trips we were given away, then we thought, holy smokes, can you imagine if we could convince dozens or hundreds of hotels around the world to participate with us, we'd have another standalone business. And that is exactly basically how marketing boost.com came about. Today, what we do is we provide travel incentives, complimentary hotel stays in over 125 destinations around the world from three nights to seven nights days. We provide hotel savings bout cards that come in increments of 123 and $500. And restaurants, savings vouchers. And so the key is now is what do you do with these travel vouchers, you don't have to be in the travel business to be able to use these travel incentives to add what we call the wow factor, the delight and surprise factor to stand out from the crowd with your business to enhance your offers to create loyalty programs to continue to shop in your store your online retailer versus somebody else's, there's a million ways that I can get into Gary to kind of show clients whether they be obviously in your space and the digital camera photography industry or turn of a b and in you name it selling I mean, I've got people from using our services that are from lemonade stands to car dealerships. So it's, it fits, it fits the entire realm.
Gary Pageau 6:57
So real quick, how were you managing the video testimonials? Like I mean, was that part of the Google review platform? Or how did you how did you want to do that, because I wasn't aware I didn't if they're doing through Google, I wasn't aware that was an option.
Marco Torres 7:12
No, with Google is just written. So what we did was we actually use another third party service that I that I currently use called the so tell us that calm, okay, and so tell us is a platform that makes it really easy for them. And there's various companies out there that you can use this for, but they make it really easy for the client to, to click and film you know, from their camera, you know, for example, from their from their phone, to film, the video, the selfie testimonial and immediately publish it to her to your essentially your page. Okay, and so now you can be soliciting the video reviews, putting them all over your website, putting them into your emails, campaigns, using those video reviews, in a variety of ways to prove your social, you know, to create that social proof. And of course, written reviews, you need to continue to generate those as well. The other thing that we did, which is very powerful, is that we would throttle these reviews when I told you about that survey process that we would do. And then we would we would also, and this is a tip any business owner can use, we would in that survey process when when they gave us a score of four or five, we make it easy for them when we were sending the requests for a review. And it wasn't always a video review, we were requesting, we would send some links to Google reviews, and make it easy telling them you know, here's the link where we'd like you to post a review, yada, yada, we'd send them to Trustpilot, site jabber shopper approved. We'd send them to wherever we again throttle them wherever we need them to these third party review sites, which is huge, because that's, that's going to give Google what they need to start lifting your main website, above competitors, because there's, there's third party reviews about you. So that's a powerful tool for SEO marketing as well. As you throw out all the reviews here in there.
Gary Pageau 9:07
Why did you decide that reviews were that important? What was the data you were looking at there saying listen to goose or SEO? We need to up our reviews and specifically video reviews? What What were you acting on? What was the intelligence you're at? And because I think a lot of business, especially the ones that I talked to are no. Reviews are important, but they don't emphasize it as much as they could. Because they don't realize what it could do for their business.
Marco Torres 9:36
Yeah, exactly. Well, we in our case, we had we had a specific pain problem that we had to solve. And that was we were at the time we were a startup. And when you're a startup and you start doing a lot of volume, we had some negative reviews that popped up. And we had and of course Google gives them top ranking and it was negatively affecting our business and of course they They lived there forever. And so we're like, well, we need them. We need more, we need positive reviews to bury those negatives, right, and control our online reputation. And of course, so one, that survey process that we invented it one, it gave us the ability to find out quickly, if we didn't get a four or five, we knew we were able to jump on it and fix and solve the problem for the client.
Gary Pageau 10:25
Could you fix it? Like, while they were on the trip? For example, let's say they're complaining about something about the resort they were at? Could you actually act on it that quickly?
Marco Torres 10:34
We could certainly yes. And we can certainly try on their behalf. Right, if there was a room that they weren't happy with, they didn't like it wasn't clean enough or whatever, although we don't own the hotels, we could, you know, we could jump on the you know, fly and get on the hotel management and fight for, you know, on their behalf to save their reputation and hours, before we ended up with a negative review. And then we would so we needed we had that problem to solve. And then of course, we knew if we had the video reviews all over our website, that would that would give us that social proof that people could believe that you know, that we're that we were you know, as big or as you know, why book with us versus Expedia or somewhere else we had to give them we had to give them that, that that video review positive testimonials. And that became something that turned into a huge machine for us literally turned into, you know, millions of dollars in additional sales over time.
Gary Pageau 11:27
You work in other industries, or you help others? And what are the what are some other types of incentives that a business could offer? In the photo space, there's a lot of promotional stuff, right, like X percent discount, or free prints or you know, that sort of thing. But I'm interested more in the value added approach, what what are some of the value added ideas that people could possibly adopt?
Marco Torres 11:51
Well, I'm, again, I'm no expert in your industry field with. But I've got a number of wedding photographers that use our product incredibly well. They go to the trade shows, etc. One of them particular, what he does is he includes the honeymoon trip in the in the offer. So he's, you know, he's like a book, you know, you book your entire package with him for the photo shoot the videography, the editing the whole ball of wax, and it's, you know, close to $5,000 purchase, and includes a five night trip to Cancun in the mix. And, again, when we created this win win win, it's a win for the resorts that are participating, because we're helping them fill rooms that would have gone empty. We are the client, somebody's paying the government taxes for them to check in. There's no timeshare presentations or anything like that. So it really is a win for the client. It's a win for the for the business owner that uses our service and it's a win for the end user who's getting the discounted or complimentary hotel steak, what I would really give you an idea on on us creating these value versus discounting. I'll give you an idea where you might be of kind of retail I got one guy, he's a gun dealer, and he's been killing it with our services. I relate with guns with cameras because they're expensive, you know, investments to buy and how do you stand out from the crowd and you go to a gun show and everybody's got the same guns
Gary Pageau 13:16
you know, your competitive camera dealers run into the same thing the
Marco Torres 13:20
same camera same lenses and it's all about price, right so instead of discounting prices with this guy the gun shows does is he's you know he's got his signage that says you know, purchase any firearm and get a complimentary hotel state and one of the following destinations and he stands out from the crowd and everybody else at the gun show and he's killing it with you know, being able to explain look, there's your shows him that certificates and boom, boom, boom, you know, you buy a camera today or $500 you buy the lens over $500 and you get a choice of three nights in Las Vegas, Orlando, if you buy over $1,000 worth of equipment, you get your choice of Five Nights in Hawaii or five nights in Cancun and you so you create that added value where and you're no longer having to discount you're not fighting over a few dollars and be like well I could get it online for $10 less and you're now saying look Hey with our with this up with a purchase from us. You're getting we're throwing in this complimentary hotel stay on us. And you gotta throw in some disclaimers. What are the disclaimers, hey, airfare is not included food and beverage is not included in either the government taxes and fees. But we're covering we're, you know, we're giving you the complimentary hotel stay. And so with a simple disclaimer like that, you're giving you're adding value to your offer, you're getting full price for your promotion or what have you. Or you're creating a loyalty program, maybe you're making it you know, people come into your retail store online or in person and they're, they typically maybe spend $150 per transaction you were wishing it was 1000. So maybe you come up with a point system and you say you look you know if you if the moment you spend $1,000 with us whether you do it today or you do it over the next month. When you have over $1,000 worth of purchases here, you're gonna earn a six day five night trip to Cancun, Mexico or Cabo San Lucas. So you've got that you're hanging, hanging that carrot and keeping them shopping back with you, versus going down to the street to the next corner store, or the next online retailer. So let's just and then there's, there's use for you know, I think some of you may, we've mentioned before we went live, and some of you are doing classes online, they can do doing, you know, if you've got a Facebook group, this is another huge way, I've got a ton of members that are growing their online following, I think a Facebook group would fit real well with was photography, equipment, and what have you, where you're, you're building an audience that's going to learn about how to use the equipment, what it is how for how this works, how that works. And so they've used our incentives to grow the audience, by running contests every week, hey, we're giving away a trip to Cancun next week. Next, the following week, it's three days in Las Vegas the next week. And if you invite your for every time you invite friends to join this group, you earn a chance to win the trip. And so you can create this engagement and this excitement around these complimentary trips that have a very high perceived value that don't cost you almost nothing with your marketing boost. Investment. There are there are
Gary Pageau 16:16
a few standouts in the camera business who actually do like trips, like they'll do, you know, the organised trips for 10 or 12 people and it's like a safari, and they'll go their trip and take the pictures. But not everyone has the capability to do that. So I kind of liked this idea of a travel incentive idea, because photography and travel go hand in hand, one of the things that I think is kind of interesting to talk about is the travel space is probably in my opinion, probably one of the most competitive spaces there are, because there's how many websites out there that are just beating you over the head with Priceline, or whoever you know. And once you sign up for them, they never let you stop. And then there's the airlines who are coming after you at every every minute. And then there's a rental car company that's coming after you every 10 minutes. Photography is a lot like that, too. And the way it's being marketed to especially output right, you have you know, 10,000 canvas companies plus retailers plus everyone else, how do you stand out specifically like is there without discounting and you know, we've kind of gotten to other travel incentives are there any other ideas you have for getting your business to stand out,
Marco Torres 17:26
but one of my one of our biggest clients has his a retailer of printed canvases, this may not be the, this may not be at a right fit, but he actually you know, throws in the, the bonus right with the purchase is simple, it gets like $120 candidates purchase, and you know, or more and you earn, you know, your choice of the following destination trips. And just a simple, you know, you buy you get and so that's one way the the hotel savings vouchers, I always promote use micro incentives for micro call to action. So we have the three categories of incentives. And you can also obviously, create your own incentives
Gary Pageau 18:11
when people want to create their own Yeah, so you can
Marco Torres 18:15
create your own incentives such as you know, to, you know, maybe it's your photography classes, right, they don't really maybe they don't really cost you that much compared to your equipment. And you know, if you can get people into the photography class, then they're going to end up buying your, you know, your equipment. Again, when it comes to incentives, it's adding value versus discounting. So you know, sign up for the, the one day class and get the second third class free. In other words, create that added value with your own promotions. And then you might throw in and sprinkle in obviously biasing promoting marketing boost me here but you whether or not use marketing boost or not adding value with your own incentives or other incentive products is key. So maybe it's a sweepstakes you create with a camera or somebody, some some equipment you're
Gary Pageau 19:02
giving away of your, there's almost always a lens giveaway or something like right, you got a lens giveaway and
Marco Torres 19:07
that kind of thing. And, and you do that often enough, and it creates that, you know, you're generating the leads, and so on and so forth. But you could enhance that, for example, because your camera lenses valued at you know, $100, whatever it might be. And now you might say plus, we're throwing in a five night trip to Cancun and the camera lens when you know, valued at $2,000 Grand Prize here, for those who sign up for you know, using that as your lead generation. So you're capturing, you know, data that you can then use in your email, text messaging, and automation process to get them into the flow of joining your class. And
Gary Pageau 19:44
so they really have to be able to connect the dots. I think that's probably one of the challenges I see for a lot of the independent folks is are they maximizing if they're having a class let's say on you know, flower photography, and you go to the local Arboretum, and maybe you have a few lenses there, but are you connecting the dots to you know, getting all the participants emails? And then what are you doing that information? You're doing a follow up? And you know, is there like a flowchart or something that is out there that people could follow the like, check this off? Because I haven't found it that that's been useful?
Marco Torres 20:16
Yeah, no, we we do have information like that We on our Facebook page, which is free, we have 28,000 business owners that are part of our Facebook group, that we're constantly providing and training on how to add value and out with incentives, and how to where to position the incentive, the position, the disclosures, we also offer you know, if you don't already have it, your client, you don't have a good CRM system. We all we have that as well as an upgraded process. But there's a million places to get a CRM, but your client should a all of you should have something that automates your, you know, you're generating leads, what are you doing with them, as you say, and you've got to have a system in place, it's sending emails, text messages, of voicemail broadcasting, your sales funnel page, etc. And we do have a product we call automation booster that provides all that it's all under one umbrella, including the marketing boost incentives that can be plugged in. And I noticed our program, but just to give you an idea that those are the steps in marketing, right, you need to have regardless of where you get,
Gary Pageau 21:27
well, I even noticed some of the even that the email providers, right, your constant contact and your MailChimp went out are starting to get into the CRM game. So like you said, there's 1000 options out there as far as something they already have. So one question that I was kind of going in is that I could see where this could be super beneficial for a lot of businesses. But what is a common mistake that someone makes with this sort of approach?
Marco Torres 21:52
But you know, it's a great question. And actually, one of the things that people do is they have the tendency to give them away like candy. Just to give you an example, when you become a marketing boost member, if you become a marketing boost member, you have the ability, unlimited amount of these incentives to giveaway. But that doesn't mean you should give them away like candy, because you've got to create scarcity and urgency to make them believable and make them fit the call to action. Sure. That's why I mentioned I think I mentioned earlier micro incentives for microwells to action. So if you're asking them to join your newsletter, maybe you're giving them a restaurant voucher, Hey, join our newsletter, and you'll also receive $100 Restaurant savings voucher or $100, hotel savings card good at a million hotels worldwide. But then the big incentive the complimentary hotel stays you you make them earn it by jumping through a few hoops such as you know, you got to buy product A to go with product B or something along those lines. So they just keep it
Gary Pageau 22:55
comparable, right, don't give away the farm on a relatively small purchase.
Marco Torres 23:01
Yeah, cuz you make it sound too good to be true. And instead of helping it didn't do it doesn't help at all, or maybe even hurts. So you want to you've got to make it that perceived value has got to be along with your work, you will probably work really well in your niche in this niche. Because you there are products that are expensive. And so you can you can add that value with a higher purchase volume or price to get the folks to step up and get the bigger lens because the bigger lens includes the complimentary chip and the other one doesn't
Gary Pageau 23:31
or whatever. Yeah, no, I can see it, I just I was just thinking in terms of most of the people who like they don't make a lot of margin on the hardware side. So they generally try to, you know, add on accessories or something else that have higher margins. And, you know, the challenge there is, you know, everyone's got the same bags, everyone's got the same lens, you know, so it's, it's difficult to differentiate yourself. So I kind of liked this idea of something experiential, that they could add on to it, but
Marco Torres 23:59
with a larger purchases or minimum purchase or a loyalty program, you know, spend X amount and you get this and you know, and so there's there's different ways to skin that category. And again, we may not be the only incentive that you end up using. The key is. The key is whether you sprinkle them in occasionally with your marketing programs, or you make them full blown, you know, marketing strategies, they can now, incentives work. psychological tests have been done run by numerous universities, people respond better to added value bonuses or incentives versus a 10% discount. And we see it in every grocery store you walk in, there's the Buy One Get ones all over the place and they're just in most cases they're practically doubling the price of the canned beans but but they got you to end up buying two cans of beans that you didn't even want when you walked into the store and now you're buying two cans of mail or two cans of beans And then you got you for more revenue and and bigger purchase. And you're picking your impulse buy, you're picking up things you didn't even think you needed or wanted. And that might be done with the accessories. Okay, your clients coming in for the, for the camera and the lens. But now you're saying if you get all of these accessory kit, the bundle to go with it, right? You buy the camera, but if you bundle it with the bag in the green screen, and the thing and the other thing, whatever, you know, boom, boom, will give you the Yeah, your toy.
Gary Pageau 25:32
Yeah, that's very common. I mean, that's, that is very common in the industry. But I think like I said, I think what you're what you're sharing is very important is sort of keeping an eye on the same level keeping it comparable and really knowing that and not necessarily doing it every single time. Right,
Marco Torres 25:47
right. So yeah, mixing it up, you know, doing them occasionally doing the promotions occasionally a promo cycle, just like you might do a promo this month, we got 10% off on this thing instead of that 10% off. Do you know, hey, this month we're running a special promotion with this bundle of equipment do you get this it includes the following bonus. And I mean it I know it works incredibly well for tons of photographers that we have and wedding photographers especially it works. I've seen it done in in somebody who's using it for webinars to grow Facebook followings to, to get people to show up for a zoom call presentations and show up on time if anyone's doing that type of online presentations with you that type of product. But you
Gary Pageau 26:37
don't have to be there on time you have to actually like finish the bug out early.
Marco Torres 26:41
Exactly. So if you're doing an online class you can say hey, we're giving away some trip at the end of the of the end of the webinar or the end of the training whatever it is. So stay tuned to the end stay engaged ask questions we're going to pick two winners at the end of this training call depending upon who's the most engaged we're gonna give away to a trip to Orlando and another one Las Vegas you might be the winner stay engaged stay till the end Yeah.
Gary Pageau 27:06
Nice nice. Well Thank you Marco for your time. Can you tell us where people can go for more information on marketing boost sure out
Marco Torres 27:13
buds this gives some of your listeners some ideas here on not a try some different things. We've got a marketing boost.com And you can get a seven day free trial. I do have a special offer Gary for your listeners. If you go to Marketing boost.com forward slash podcast. You can get 30 days of marketing boost for only $1 And I would give myself the first thing I would recommend you do is give yourself a trip to Cancun so you can be an evangelist for the brand. You will love us and love marketing boost if you use one of our trips, especially to Cancun right now we've got some amazing AAA Four Diamond Resorts participating in Cancun and Cabo San Lucas. Great.
Gary Pageau 27:53
Thank you, Marco.
Marco Torres 27:54
Erin Manning 27:57
Thank you for listening to the dead pixel society podcast. Three more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at www.thedeadpixelssociety.com