Gavin Bell is 24 years old and is a sought-after speaker, keynoting around the world. He has had articles published in Huffington Post, Virgin.com, Entrepreneur.com. He tells us how he uses Linkedin, Facebook and Content (blogs/vlogs/video) and some other great strategies to raise his profile and become the influencer he is today……at 24 years old!
Dylis: Hi there this is Dylis Guyan and welcome to the Inspired Selling Podcast the place where business owners who are selling to bigger businesses discover how to attract, convert, and retain more of their ideal clients. More importantly, they also find that inspiration and motivation to overcome any of those challenges that sometimes can just paralyse you into inaction. That really is going to be the essence of what we talk about today with my guest Gavin Bell.
Gavin is a multi-award winning entrepreneur. His work is featured in Virgin.com, Huffington Post, The Entrepreneur.com and…is it Fire Kissed Metrics? I haven’t heard about that one Gavin but you might tell us about that and Social Media Examiner.
You might think well that’s all very well, you know there’s lots of people who have done that and yes they have but Gavin is 23 and so I’m really excited to hear his story, how he started and got to where he is today. So, Gavin big welcome to you.
Gavin: Thanks for having me.
Dylis: Oh you’re very welcome I think you’re my youngest guest.
Gavin: I’ll take that.
Dylis: Another guest said to me I could be your mommy; I could nearly be your grandma. So Gavin tell us how did you get into entrepreneurial work? How did you get started?
Gavin: So, I guess my story starts way up north in the Shetland Islands and for those people who don’t know what the Shetland Islands are they’re kind of a group of islands as far north as you can go in the U.K. and Scotland. So, I’m currently staying in Edinburgh right now where I live, the Shetland Islands are actually closer to Norway than they are to Edinburgh. I grew I grew up there a small community of around twenty thousand people.
I kind of always had…I don’t know where it came from because I don’t come from an entrepreneurial family, but I always had that, you know entrepreneurial fire in the belly or showed the symptoms from an early age if you want to call it that. Where I was doing things like cutting the neighbour’s grass, at the age of fourteen I built my first website and was doing drop shipping so I was buying and selling things from China and never making…
Dylis: At fourteen.
Gavin: Never making huge amounts of money you hear of like Gary Vaynerchuck he said he was making like three grand a week or something.
Gavin: I was probably making like three pound a week but it was showing the symptoms at the time. Then kind of just went through school, I always had that in me and what happens in the Shetland Islands when everyone hits eighteen or that school leaving age you get sent…you go down south which is basically mainland U.K. to go to university. The school and my parents were trying to push me towards university, but I knew it wasn’t for me because I had this dream of running my own business.
Luckily, I came across something called the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy which is one of the entrepreneurs from Dragon’s Den which runs kind of business academies around the U.K. and I studied there for a year. So, I had my first…
Dylis: Sorry to interrupt you Gavin do you have to apply for that or is it like they go out looking for talent?
Gavin: So at the time it was…at the time it was apply. I’m not sure what it is now I think…I don’t know if you have to apply anymore but at the time and you had to apply and then go through an interview process to get in. Yes, so I set up a business there where I basically took personal trainers and put them into corporate environments to run fitness sessions around kind of corporate well being.
That business made no money and during the running of that business I had relationships with personal trainers and started to see that they were actually typically terrible at marketing themselves. They would be like going after the kind of fifty plus year olds that was just looking to lose a bit of weight but their Instagram was all six pack abs and broccoli and chicken.
So I decided there was probably something I can do here to help them and that’s kind of when I moved into the social media space and that would have been more than two years ago I decided to take that leap. Over those two years we started to carve a niche in the Facebook advertising world. That’s taken me where I’m at now and one of the things a lot of people know me for now is my blogs.
I started blogging at the end of 2016 really, just to be honest, as a way to stay relevant as a marketer and just to be creating video but they slowly started to move from that into kind of me more interested personally as opposed to business which is kind of getting outdoors exploring, really just making people smile entertaining people. Since that’s it’s kind of switched they’ve kind of taken off as well and they’re starting to grow arms and legs. So as for me I’m excited for 2018.
Dylis: When you were doing your vlog you were just doing these sorts of random videos weren’t and you built those up so how many do you have now? How many vlogs have you published?
Gavin: So my process for starting the vlog was probably was mid 2016 I created my first video and that was just a standard how to grow twitter followers video; very very basic. There’s was no real structure to that and I think around September 2016 where I was like right I need to take this seriously. I know I’m not very good on camera because nobody really is when you first start.
So I decided to take on a challenge of one hundred vlogs in one hundred days. That basically just included me picking up my phone and speaking into it for one hundred days. No editing, no real kind of thought behind it just, for example today, I might have been like I was at a podcast interview this is what I learned, this is what we spoke about. That kind of got me comfortable off camera and at the end of those one hundred days I started the proper what I called the weekly vlogs which is what I’ve been doing now for a year.
So on my YouTube channel there’s probably three hundred videos but I like to say my videos really actually started at the end of 2016 and there’s probably like 50-60 and there’s been one a week since 2016.
Dylis: Brilliant, I refer to this as exposing yourself, metaphorically speaking. Do you know Mark Shaffer?
Dylis: I had him as a guest on the show and of course his message is about becoming know, that’s one of the titles of his books and it’s interesting that you have taken that on board in terms of you raising your profile and people starting to follow you and so on because I know that you speak around the world now. You’re a very sought after chap as the people who are viewing this would see you know not just with your expertise, you’re a very handsome chap.
This is a very important and essential element these days isn’t it, because we’ve got more options now, more opportunities to be able to get our voice heard and yet in some ways and in many ways it’s harder because there’s so much noise out there.
Gavin: One hundred percent, it’s has never been harder and I think it will probably only get harder. I think for me for the vlog I will give you a little bit of insight into some of the things I learned was when I first started doing the weekly vlogs it was more like a day in the life of me as a kind of business person.
My philosophy was, yes, I can create tons and tons of social media, Facebook add related content. And the world but I wanted to kind of just flip it and go what if I actually didn’t make that type of content by I made content that actually performed better on Facebook. Then people liked who I was and then they go oh actually and he’s got this Facebook Ad thing.
When I was creating Facebook Ads related content, the number of years you would get was much smaller than when I create the kind of outdoorsy type content but I know if I’ve got a video that’s got two hundred thousand views I know within that two hundred thousand people there will be a small percentage of people that are still my ideal customer. Just because I’m not hitting them with a Facebook Ads marketing message doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be interested in working with me.
Gavin: So I tried flipping that and it seems to work.
Dylis: Yeah it certainly has worked. Goodness me you’re such a highly sought after person in terms of work and as I said, speaking. So as you know my audience is business owners who sell to bigger businesses or smaller businesses. What advice would you give them to start and get their position and their marketplace.
Gavin: I think I would say to them well obviously who exactly is it that you’re targeting, ie. the role within the company? Unfortunately with Facebook advertising we used to be able to target people based on where they worked; so we used to be able to say I want to target people that work X company or have X job title. Facebook removed from functionality its still there but very very limited.
That was absolutely ideal where I could say I want to work with let’s say Boots, I want to work with Boots. I’m going to create a video ad saying hey I know you work at Boots I would like to speak to your marketing director please and just serve that to the people that work at boots and hopefully they would pass it on. We used to be able to do that unfortunately it’s a little bit harder.
So my philosophy really to be honest when it comes to what I do video on Facebook is if you can…or in fact here is another tactic one of the things I’m looking to do this year is actually to combine LinkedIn and Facebook. So, if you can use LinkedIn to connect with the people that you want to reach let’s say its marketing directors; so connect with as many marketing directors as you can and create content on LinkedIn as you would.
You can also export the email addresses of people on LinkedIn into a C.S.V. file and then on Facebook we can actually upload email addresses to Facebook. So we can take your LinkedIn connections, upload it to Facebook and serve an ad to them. If you serve and ad to them saying hey we’re connected on LinkedIn why don’t we connect here on Facebook. Or hey we’re connected on LinkedIn why don’t you download my free guide. Or hey we’re connected on LinkedIn let’s jump on a call something along those lines.
If you’re connected to them on LinkedIn you’re creating content to them, you’re creating content on LinkedIn and they’re seeing that and hopefully engaging with it and they see you on Facebook as well. That’s three touches already that you’re having with that person and if you can then, depends on the ad on Facebook if you’re asking them to opt into something you can hopefully got their email address.
I would never I would never take that e-mail from LinkedIn and add them to a newsletter but if they opt in themselves on Facebook and you’ve got them again on your e-mail. So that’s a tactic I’m going to start using this year combining Facebook and LinkedIn and I think that’s going to be a pretty solid asset.
Dylis: I love that I absolutely love that, I hadn’t thought about using my LinkedIn emails for Facebook ads that’s really excellent. Do you think that the B2B market is kind of a little bit averse to Facebook? I’ll tell you what I’m saying that, I was working with a sales team this week and, Facebook they wouldn’t even consider it. With what you were just talking about there’s obviously avenues to explore.
Gavin: I think it’s silly to completely ignore Facebook because you’re a B2B. Don’t get me wrong it’s probably easier than a B2C world. There’s two billion people that use Facebook and I can guarantee that if you’re going after a marketing director or whatever it is they are on Facebook. However, this is where people get it wrong, just because that person is on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re interested in hearing what you have to say when they’re on Facebook.
When people are on Facebook they’re typically sitting on the toilet, lying on the sofa and they’re wasting…not wasting time but they’re probably are using Facebook to waste time, speaking to friends and family and so you’re competing against all these things. So even though you’re identifying somebody on Facebook from a B2B standpoint if they’re speaking to friends and family whilst they’re lying on the sofa at nine o’clock at night with a glass of wine putting an ad in front of them or message in front of them it’s like sending out a mailing list just because their interested in that doesn’t make sense.
You have to be wary of the mindset that somebody is in when they’re using the platform. That’s kind of why I went for a more personal approach to my vlogs because I know that that the content is more appealing than Facebook related content when somebody is on Facebook, using Facebook.
Gavin: Understanding why they’re using it.
Dylis: So you’re really creating the know, like and trust element with your personal stuff. I’ve looked at some of your” In the day off Gavin” and they’re great. You know up in the Highlands and all sorts of different videos are really engaging and it gives that insight of you as the person. So I can see how your using that as kind of a bridge over to the business side of what you do.
Gavin: Totally and then I think to add on to that is like I say there’s nothing stopping me then retargeting people that have watched my videos that are also business owners who’ve got that functionality. I think another way that Facebook is super powerful for B2B is simple retargeting
So if people are…and this is where you can combine Facebook with the likes of Google. If people are coming to your website from Google chances are they’re interested they are actively interested in what it is that you’re offering because they’ve typed in something they found your site so there’s intent there from them.
If they then land on your website, chances are because most people don’t take the action that you want them to take; they land on your website get what they want then they’ll leave. If you can retarget them on Facebook just to say we noticed, you were on the website here’s the next step whatever the next step is for you.
You know that doesn’t have to cost you a lot, like if you’re…. most businesses aren’t really getting huge amounts of traffic to their site. So, you can set up a retargeting ad that goes one pound a day to just say retarget anyone that’s visit our website to remind them to come back or to take a specific action.
Dylis: Can you just can you just expand on that Gavin? You said create an ad, I thought it was a pixel that you put unto your website or a pixel in your ad
Gavin: So, you are right the Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you put onto your website. So anyone that wants to create a retargeting ad base on website traffic needs to have what’s called the Facebook pixel installed on their site its super simple to go. I’ve got some Facebook resources on YouTube, so we can get that in short notice how to install the pixel.
Gavin: It’s like a two-minute job and that code then goes on your site and whenever somebody lands on your website it does what’s called “Fires” and then we can then in Facebook create an ad that then goes to the people that visit our website. So, the process for that would be install the pixel on the website, create what’s called the website traffic custom audience, which basically just says we want to it creates an audience of people that have been on our website. Then when we create our ad and we’re choosing our targeting we simply choose that audience of people that we created that visit our website.
Dylis: Okay and do you do one of your personal ads to these people or do you do a business led type of ad marketing you know something free or for them to have a conversation with you? What sort of ad would you put out there?
Gavin: I think it complete depends on who you are, what you’re trying to do and what action you want people to take. So, for me something that’s worked really well as is actually me just saying and the ad actually says hey, 🙂 “Thanks for visiting my website I really appreciate it. If you want to know how I created an ad like this, then just drop me a message.”
Gavin: So that’s quite a personal way but it also has business connotations to it as well. If it’s a very kind of corporate business you could just say hey or we saw that you visited. You don’t even have to say hey it can just be download our free guide and because they would have already seen the logo or the business name in the branding they’re probably more likely to trust you and to take the action that you want to take.
What probably won’t work…well it’s not that it won’t work, what you have to be wary of is thinking of the commitment level that the person has to take. So just because someone’s visited your website doesn’t mean they’re ready to jump into bed with you.
Dylis: Yeah .
Gavin: Don’t try and expect the world just because you’re retargeting people who visit your website. However, if it’s like e-commerce for example and someone’s been actively searching for products on your site and then you retarget them, that can work really well.
Gavin: Another really interesting point just on that is we can create…the website traffic audiences that we can create can be more specific than just saying visited the website. We can see if there’s a specific URL or if they visited the blog or a specific blog so we can then tailor our messages more specifically. If we know someone has visited a blog like xyz blog we can target them with a message that has specific copy right into that blog. Does that make sense?
Dylis: Yeah it’s fascinating and you know I’m aware of retargeting and using pixels and so on but some of those little elements I haven’t thought of in terms of you know, just making it a very light ad that somebody would read and because they’ve been to the website they would read that ad and it would feel very personal to them as an individual.
Gavin: Yeah that’s what it’s all about.
Gavin: How can we create adverts that don’t actually feel like adverts.
Gavin: But still move people through this kind of journey of knowing, liking and trusting us and becoming a customer.
Dylis: Right so is this just all self-taught then Gavin?
Gavin: Yeah pretty much I’ve got a…
Dylis: I just want to remind everybody you’re 23 and at fourteen built your own website. So you’ve just learned this and bought books and learned online and so on?
Gavin: Pretty much, I think I’ve got….one of the things I’m interested in, you’ve Facebook as a tactic i.e. it’s a platform that will always change. Like marketing communication is a thing…
Dylis: It’s sort of a static it?
Gavin: A principle yeah and it will never change and it’s how do we use the tactic that we have, I use Facebook and apply the principles to that and so the thing to this new targeting etcetera is really just a way to make the journey of someone more fluid fashion.
Dylis: Yeah so has it all been plain sailing for you?
Gavin: No I wouldn’t say that. I don’t think this journey…it’s a journey that I absolutely love, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I think it was Elon Musk that said something along the lines of entrepreneurship is a journey that I would wish on my worst enemy.
Gavin: I think to be honest I’ve never had one of those moments or stories that you quite often hear where it’s like I was one million pounds in debt and here’s how it turned….
Dylis: Living in a garage and eating cat food.
Gavin: Yeah and here’s how I turned it around in three weeks. So, I’ve never had anything like that. I think probably the hardest thing for me which I think everyone goes through is just like the kind of, in your own head in terms of I want to be further along than I am. It can get quite lonely working from home all the time.
When things aren’t working out or when you lose a client or whatever it may be all these things just pick away at you. I think that’s probably the hardest bits and I think probably it like. So, someone described it quite well recently which is when you first get into the entrepreneurship world you celebrate the highs and take the lows really, really deeply. You learn to just level off and don’t really celebrate the highs and you also understand that the lows are just part of the journey as well.
Gavin: So I think I’m quite good and back in stability in terms of…I’ll be quite honest December was quite a tough month for the business but I know from two years of experience that January is always an amazing month for business and so. There’s no point worrying about it.
Dylis: I say this to my family and I say it to my clients too you know don’t worry just do.
Dylis: You can worry and worry and worry and it may not happen, so you’ve wasted all of that time worrying or you could worry, worry, worry and it does happen, and the worry didn’t stop it from happening. So put that energy instead of worrying put that into doing; putting things into action because things do turn around.
You know it’s the same in my business; I’ve been in business after seventeen years self employed. You know there has been highs and lows, but I know if I put the activity in it just comes back.
Dylis: Now after all of these years it’s much more stable but it is…and I do want to get this message over to business owners and entrepreneurs that this is the life of being self-employed; it’s just how it is. It’s this mindset, it’s what you referred to before about this thing going on in your head and that can be your biggest enemy can’t it? That negative chatter that goes on and paralyses you into inaction and has you thinking oh God what on earth is going to happen? How has it been for you? Let me just ask you when you’ve had those lows how have you managed mentally to get out of them?
Gavin: I think probably just being aware of the bigger picture.
Gavin: In terms of I kind of, I understand that’s the price you’re going to pay for having the amazing life of being self-employed. If you think in the bigger picture Really, I can get up when I want, do what I want when I want and don’t to have to ask anyone for holidays. If we want that kind of one percent of life then there’s obviously going to be a downside to that, it’s not all fun and games
I think being aware of that, being aware of the bigger picture and okay I’m only twenty-three and I’ve got…there’s just so much time and things to kind of get what I want. So, whenever I’m feeling like I want to be further along, I give myself a wakeup call really. So I think for me just being completely aware of the bigger picture and that these day to day things don’t actually make that much of a difference in a five, ten year period.
Dylis: Yeah indeed and a lot of the listeners and viewers won’t have that situation where they’ve got youth on their side, there’d be some who are a lot older and thinking well that doesn’t apply to me because I haven’t got as many years as you have but the principle is the same isn’t it?
I’m such a firm believer in making sure that you know what that bigger picture is. I always talk about begin with the end in mind and start with your objective and then break that down and then have a plan of what you need to do and just stick to it. Just keep being dedicated to it even in the times when you think it’s not going so well or you’ve lost a client, or it’s been a rubbish day just get on with it.
Gavin: Yeah 100%.
Dylis: J.F.D.I just flippin’ do it.
Dylis: I don’t say the rude version. So just to round up then Gavin what would your one piece of advice be to the B2B entrepreneur, business owner?
Gavin: My one piece of advice I would say…I’m going to go down the content route I think if you…okay so I would say what’s your thing as in your business or the offer that you’re going, who is it that you’re going after and how can you try and become the Wikipedia of that industry?
So how can you be the person that pops up number one on Google whenever somebody types in a query about that? How can you be the type of person that whenever somebody asks a friend on Facebook can you help me with this? You’re the person that they think of.
That’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a long-term thing that you’ve got in your head off that’s what I’m trying to become. When you when you have an audience a big audience of people that love you, you can really do whatever you like. Clients that I’ve worked with have massive audiences, whatever they put in front of them they buy.
So, your Facebook ads are going to be super powerful because you can just retarget that audience. With the content you’re building a huge asset which you can sell too eventually one day. So, I think for the B2B market if you can create, if you can start to build this kind of Wikipedia for the thing that you’re trying to sell, your offer everything else falls into place.
Dylis: Excellent and that really is content isn’t it in terms of podcast or videos or blogs, vlogs and just putting yourself out there and “exposing yourself” metaphorically speaking.
Dylis: It will attract…I mean you are just a case in point.
Gavin: Thank you.
Dylis: You haven’t even been doing it that long but there seems to be a mindset and I know we’re just about to close but I would like to cover this. There is a bit of a mindset in the B2B world of not getting involved in blogging, vlogging, videos, podcasts and so on but there’s nothing to stop them.
Gavin: No 100% I think those in the B2B world I mean I’m in the B2B world I think there’s still a mindset of, it’s done by going to networking events and shaking hands which I’m not saying doesn’t work at all. We need to understand what consumers are like these days and a B2B consumer is no different than a B2C consumer.
Gavin: They’re still humans at the end of the day and we want to find things online without having to speak to anyone. I think an interesting thing for everyone to do would be that anyone that is listening to this but still not convinced, would be audit yourself in terms of how do you act as a consumer?
I guarantee if you’re buying something I guarantee the first place that you go is Google or asking friends and family for recommendations. It’s not going into the shop and asking a salesperson for stuff. If that’s what you’re doing as a consumer yourself, you need to be looking at your business and saying well how would people be trying to consume from me and if people that don’t know who you are can’t find you online then you’re missing a trick because they’re finding someone else.
Dylis: Yeah that encapsulates it perfectly, that was a really great analogy. Gavin thank you very much it’s been really fantastic talking to you I’m inspired…just looking at your websites in fact inspired me reading your story and so on. Tell us where people can find you if they would like to know more about Facebook ads and you know really get the benefit of your experience and knowledge.
Gavin: Yeah, they can just head to my website www.mrgavinbell.com.
Dylis: That easy isn’t it.
Gavin: Yeah I’ve got a free blueprint there that people can get involved in and that will take them through all content that I’ve got for Facebook. If people want to watch my videos then mrgavinbell on Facebook or You Tube.
Dylis: Yeah I’ve been watching quite a number of your videos on YouTube they’re really great. So that’s mrgavinbell.com?
Dylis: Mr Gavin Bell on YouTube and where else did you say?
Gavin: On Facebook.
Dylis: On Facebook.
Gavin: Actually it’s actually Mr Gavin Bell anywhere.
Dylis: All right okay.
Gavin: Wherever people…
Dylis: Even if you just put Gavin Bell in you’re all over the place.
Dylis: Which is great thanks ever so much Gavin and I hope we speak again soon.
Gavin: Absolutely thanks so much for having me.
Dylis: You’re welcome bye.
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