On this episode, Jen visits with Benjamin Dell, Founder and CEO of MissingLettr and the MissingLetter Uppercase Conference. Benjamin provides a lot of insights into rapidly developing ideas and taking them to market.
Follow Benjamin Dell on Twitter: @bendell
Benjamin Dell is the Founder and CEO at Missinglettr. Missinglettr creates strategic, automated social media campaigns that drive traffic for an entire year. Leaving you to focus on what’s really important. Benjamin is passionate about empowering businesses and brands with tools that help them succeed.
Benjamin is joining me today to discuss the Uppercase Conference, an online conference by Missinglettr dedicated to helping you learn, grow and transform your business. With over 100 speakers over 2 weeks, this is a conference you won’t want to miss.
Jen – Jen
Ben – Ben
Ann – Announcer
[00:00:01]:02 – [00:00:19]:22
Jen: Hello and welcome to the third pedal podcast. I’m your host John McFarland. On this episode, I visit with Benjamin Dell founder and CEO of missing letter and the MissingLettr Uppercase Conference. Benjamin provides a lot of insights into rapidly developing ideas and taking them to market. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s ahead.
[00:00:20]:04 – [00:00:36]:04
Ben: Yeah it’s funny though isn’t it when he set ambitious goals. And then he stopped working on that ambitious goal. You then realize wow this ambitious thing that I came up with and now requires is part of it at work. Now dozens of other ways to get to work.
[00:00:36]:04 – [00:00:54]:09
Ann: Welcome to the third pedal podcast recorded at the Vandal Lounge in beautiful Southeast Portland Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck up in business shit creek management consultant Jennifer MacFarland is your Third Paddle helping you get unstuck.
[00:00:54]:09 – [00:01:43]:22
Jen: Welcome back to the third panel I’m joined today by Benjamin Dell. Benjamin is the founder and CEO at missing letter missing letter create strategic automated social media campaigns that drive traffic for an entire year leaving you to focus on what’s really important. Benjamin is passionate about empowering businesses and brands with tools that help them succeed. Benjamin is joining me today to discuss the Uppercase conference, an online conference is dedicated to helping you learn grow and transform your business. With over 100 speakers taking place over two weeks this is a conference you don’t want to miss. Benjamin before we start talking about MissingLettr and the Uppercase Conference. I notice that we all have the same mission to empower businesses to use tools that help them succeed. Why are you so passionate about this work?
[00:01:43]:24 – [00:03:10]:04
Ben: So I pride missing that’s around the agency here in the UK and we helped companies local and globally deliver technology online. So lesson of the WordPress sort of outfits more of the you know SaaS products and the minimum Barbar product we would help people build a technology. Online in some capacity and. It put me in touch with so many different demographics, different people, different challenges different industries and they were all sharing the same sort of problem. How do we deliver it? How do we come up with the idea in the first place and refine it and how do we make it approachable and meaningful for our audience. And the one it’s launched how to actually get a lot of people and along that time not just. Helping our customers our clients. We also built of your own products as well. And what you see is that these problems are shared across everyone. We all have these problems and they know they are different stages of your business of course but invariably you come across them so as with anything this sort of passion. Was Born. Initially from just needing to solve those problems ourselves. You know we needed to get our own product out to the marketplace. We needed to help clients get their products sounds like yes it’s a really. Helping them think about how they do that and helping them up with tools and processes and ways of thinking that will help them do that more effectively became just the bread and butter of what we do and the way I was taught Oteri on these sorts of projects
[00:03:10]:14 – [00:04:29]:28
Jen: What I really appreciate about this answer and what I want to underscore for you is the idea that when you’re approaching your customer’s problems and you hit upon a pattern something you see over and over and over again that is an opportunity for you to develop a product. To address the problems for a broader audience. In the case of my guest Benjamin Dell his comfort zone is addressing problems by developing online software products. This is because of his experiences as a developer so the product is a natural extension of a skill set. When you were considering taking your products out to a broader market. These are the questions to ask yourself and your team. What solutions are we answering? Time and time and time again. How do we leverage our internal skillset to deliver solutions to more people at a time. And what help might we need along the way? If we can’t leverage everything that we have in-house you might be surprised to find that solutions may not always be technological in nature or maybe technology use your wheelhouse. And you never considered a non-technical solution until you considered it in a different way. Benjamin’s answer led me to ask the following question What sequence of events led you to found MissingLettr Was it a particular gap in the market. Or personal experience that led you to where you are today. Here’s what he had to say.
[00:04:29]:29 – [00:06:49]:23
Ben: It was a combination of a couple of things in the first part of the answer is it is taking us back to those agency days when I was running an agency and. We would see time after time. Our clients would write blog posts for that for their businesses. Now we wouldn’t you know play that marketing role for them we would build the blog platform for them so that they can have a place to actually host upload posts. But we would leave it to them to to publish them but we would see a pattern time and time would they would typically be very very good at writing The Ropers content they would know their markets would be trying to fool it in this space. It’s fantastic. Nicely researched them and they would publish them fairly frequently maybe once a week maybe twice a week. Tick tick tick. What we always say was that it would almost always fail knowing what to do once one place publish. In WordPress or whatever the blog blogging platform happens to be the time some of them would would would write a tweet on the day they published a bloke saying Hey guys just published a book. Check it out. Very very few would do something after that. So maybe a week half would say hey in case you forgot. Here’s something we published a week ago. And almost no one would do anything beyond that. And. As you know in marketing one of the key principles that you want to just stick to a point beyond anything else is how clever the tool is that using a clever strategy. It’s all about consistency. There’s no point doing one thing once and then it gets to do it and just haphazardly dipping in and out of a marketing strategy whatever happens to be. And it’s no no true here. So. We were just seeing our customers. Just fail to promote in a consistent manner. The blog post that they were created so that was the patent number one and number two content marketing space in the blogging space is just so crowded now everyone’s doing it. Ninety one percent. I think of businesses are writing posts as part of their marketing strategy which goes to show how popular and how approachable how effective they can be. But it. Goes to show how many blog posts are being published every single day. So. We saw. Not only people were failing to promote the blog post they were publishing. But in combination that without the need to actually. More than ever start promoting them. So just so that you can get your head above the water and actually start really getting your voice heard. Your blog posts are across social media.
[00:06:49]:24 – [00:08:31]:12
Jen: I love Benjamin’s answer. As a business owner blogger and podcast her it’s so true. We only have so much time and in such a crowded space it’s imperative that we consistently market what we are doing. Otherwise we get drowned out by everyone else’s marketing. Marketing is a lot like working out if you don’t work out consistently you lose muscle mass and begin to get out of shape. If you stop attending networking events stop doing social media and discontinue all other forms of outreach that people begin to wonder whether you’re still in business. Did you notice how Benjamin identified a point that his clients felt that he also had compassion for as well. When we approach pain points in this way not as the savior of the client but as someone who genuinely gets it then these are the sticky wickets we are more likely to find sustained energy to address for a broader market. I’ve been a longtime customer of missing letter and as someone involved in the tech industry I’m always looking for products. That are engaged in continuous improvement continuous improvement means it’s not a one and done solutions. Companies that navigate and consistently work to meet emerging customer needs are more likely to be successful. That’s kind of the definition of continuous improvement the important thing to remember here is that missing letter is self funded. They only have a staff of four people. And yet they engage in customer service best practices. I say this as someone who reports issues and ask questions. And always finds the missing letter staff lending a hand and making changes to the product works even better. This led me to ask Benjamin whether it’s his customer service approach that led him to develop so many customer resources like guest blogging on missing letter. Here’s what Benjamin had to say.
[00:08:31]:12 – [00:10:06]:08
Ben: It’s well of blocking them. And and those are things is partially that but it’s also I’m I’ve always been a massive. Proponent I suppose of of. Getting the most out of every opportunity. In the nicest possible way. So there is always opportunity still left on the table so I like to engage with the customer and deliver a fantastic product then ask herself what else. Can we help them with and what else might they be able to help us with them. And while I realize very early on with with with time building out yes it was that. Hey look all of our customers are bloggers in some capacity either solo bloggers or bloggers possibly get a company and. They’re going to be focused on promotion getting the word out. And hey why don’t we create. A way for them to do that by having them contribute to our own blog. It serves on purpose by helping keep our own low populated with interesting. Content and it helps them provide a platform for them to be seen on on a on a wider community. So. There are numerous examples like that’s where you just take the time to think about. Why your customers. Why it that I’ve got so to whoever they might be is there in the first place. What’s the needs and problems that I have beyond why that might be that if your product in the first place. As always a myriad of opportunities. And then it starts filtering ANZ really the point we were making in the beginning when we both. Share a passion for helping businesses succeed. And then you can really help them beyond. Just giving them the product something that they’ve come to you for in the first place then you can really start adding value.
[00:10:06]:09 – [00:10:41]:28
Jen: Did you see how brilliant this is. Benjamin sees the need for Bloggers To Promote creates a product but also a platform for writing writing which he knows will be promoted which will lead to more people visiting his site and potentially buying his product. It’s a true win win because bloggers love to write and are always looking for guest blogging opportunities. When you think about your own business. How can you create these sorts of win-wins for you and your customers? MIssingLettr’s latest initiative is the Uppercase Conference. I asked Benjamin to describe the conference and explain a few of the goals. Here’s what he had to say.
[00:10:41]:29 – [00:13:58]:07
Ben: There’s nothing better if we talk on a product tech he sort of sense for a second. That term shipping. You know. So for those that are familiar with that term it’s basically the discipline the practice of just getting something out into the real world. So if you’re working on something internally. Beats a product or proof of concept whatever it might be it’s the discipline of actually getting out into the real world. To put it in front of real people by doing that it’s amazing how it. How rapidly it challenges your hypotheses and your goals in the first place. So. When I. First came up with an idea the case about wasn’t very long maybe for five weeks ago I was simply thinking live. Why not create a bit of a meaningful sequence of webinars you know maybe just three or four you know one a week or three weeks you know just something to tide people over over summer so that we could deliver some value to our customers we because you know e-mail users and say hey look we’ve got a couple of people you may not heard of but here’s why the really really important that they have this experience in this particular field you might want to catch them just to deliver bit of value. And then. I looked around at some of the other webinars out there and some other online summits that people have done and it just struck me straight away when looking at the landscape that so many of them which is underplaying the opportunity massively. They were doing maybe two or three speakers which is what our initial ambition was as well. And they looked invariably quite terrible. They were quite amateur in terms of how they were being presented. They were just. Fairly standard cookie cutter WordPress sort of templates if you will. And they were thinking of them very much in the light of a traditional offline conference you know book itself into these three people attend the whole day. And you’re an attendee and that’s it. You just come and watch them go away and that’s it. Am I holding out at the end of it. Pretty much it just struck me that. There might be something a bit more ambitious we can do here. And so. It quickly evolved from one or two. Over a couple of weeks one a week to Let’s contain it two weeks let’s go for a hundred. Speakers. Let’s just get a nice round number right. As there were hundreds we just wanted to make sure that a good number of those are genuinely known. Brands that people can really you know you know hang them hang their hat on and really understands and chase author that’s very very quickly what it’s become. So we’ve built out the capful ourselves. It’s it’s completely custom built. We put a beautiful interface we got 100 plus speakers some really interesting figures and all of them are amazing and really great topics being spoken about here 23 topics in total for marketing as audio. From podcasting to mindfulness. Everything in between anything for a. Friend for a marketer or founder for a business owner is going to be so much fun you hear people to get in and go back to the original sort of train of thought at the beginning of this conversation. Those goals evolved quite rapidly just by delivering it reaching out to those first bunch of people to say hey look we got to speed up this event which will be about which at the time have no name and then quickly iterates from there and then you get more and more ambitious goals get bigger and bigger. And here we are today. It’s not the case that’s that’s getting a lot of attention around the world.
[00:13:58]:08 – [00:15:34]:24
Jen: Did you hear that? Only three to four weeks ago he had an idea to hold a conference. He very rapidly realized additional gaps in the marketplace and decided to go for it. How many times have you gone from idea to execution to delivery in about six weeks. Because that’s the timeline. Benjamin is talking about here even as I was listening to him I thought Wow how many ideas are left languishing. How many times have you known how to solve a problem only to lead that solution out there. You might be saying to yourself yeah that Benjamin has a team of developers and they could just without the platform online. I can’t do that. I don’t even know about technology. How can I possibly do. Benjamin is doing. You might even be wondering if I ever put my money where my mouth is. I mean it’s easy for me to say whenever I’m taking a risk right. Well I do I take risks all the time. And actually the uppercase conference is a perfect example of this regimen put out the call for speakers. I knew I had a great idea but I’d never done a web in our before. It seemed like lunacy I’d have my first ever web and are at a large conference but I threw my hat in the ring because the topic was so important for bloggers. And that’s how my presentation five simple ways to guard your blog against hackers came into being. I encourage you to take similar leaps of faith the upper case conferences free and online. It starts September 3rd 2018 and goes on for two weeks. Although Benjamen says the site will be up for the foreseeable future. I asked Benjamin who should attend the upper case conference and how he was able to unwrap the conference so quickly. And here’s what he had to say.
[00:15:34]:24 – [00:16:58]:08
Ben: I mean you’ve said it right. Anyone who’s looking to grow the way we point out on the on the site is anyone looking to you to build a business in the first place. Scale up the business will just grow in some capacity so you know whether you’re literally just focused on marketing and growth whether it’s more the internal team building and business processes and strategies. We’ve got you covered. I mean that. It’s funny isn’t it. I mean. I what I’m learning through this process is that how powerful it is to actually have something that is just genuinely. Out. And out value. Of just unabated value this notion of hidden agenda. It’s just I mean it’s free to attend so that virtually no cost to attend. And it’s just fuel it makes. The selling of things that it makes him so much easier because we don’t get to convince people. If you if you go to the Web I’ll give you at the end of this tour. You will see the brands that. Are being represented here we have people from Abu sumo grooms biometrics help dogs and some new startups like Chami and Puccio. I mean these are the founders of these companies many of them have people asking me are talking about the startup read and done talking about financing and scaling things. It’s incredible the quality of people we have here. It’s just yeah. Check it out. You will you’ll see the quality of that of the speakers that we have here. Jen of course being one of them. Super excited to catch them all.
[00:16:58]:18 – [00:18:37]:19
Jen: If Benjamin can do it why can’t you? Why not join us at the MIsingLettr Uppercase conference? Go to www.missinglettr.com/uppercase that’s m i s s i n g l e t t r dot com slash uppercase. That’s right. The second letter is a letter that’s missing. Go there to get more information and to register my talk is September 5th at 10am Pacific time and it’s titled Five simple ways to guard your blog against hackers but please do check the schedule because there are so many topics and speakers to choose from you can also follow Benjamin’s journey and planning the conference on Twitter. His handle is @BenDell at the end D.L. and if you need a program to help you create campaigns for your blog or podcast that go beyond that one time you remember to promote please do check out MissingLettr online at www.missinglettr.com. And again. The second letter is the missing letter. We’ll put all the links in the show notes for those of you who are wondering. I’m not an affiliate. Missing letter. I’m not being paid to speak at the conference and my comments are genuine as a customer of MissingLettr for over a year. I hope you found this episode inspirational and it helps you take action on all of those great ideas you’ve scribbled down in a notebook somewhere. I know I have a lot of ideas and I’m rethinking or thinking about for the first time. And don’t forget to join me next week when I sit down with Katie Collins who specializes in helping business owners overcome sales fears and obstacles.
[00:18:37]:19 – [00:18:58]:21
Ann: Thanks for listening. Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast. Be sure to catch every episode by subscribing on iTunes to learn more. Check out our website at www.thirdpaddle.com. The Third Paddle podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth LLC online at www.fostergrowth.tech.
Jen McFarland is a business owner, business advisor, podcaster, blogger, and project turnaround artist. She’s helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of podcast listeners make better business decisions. Jen’s passion is helping women business owners overcome leadership and technology struggles.
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