Relationship Marketing With Jessika Phillips, Pots Of Gold And LinkedIn Networking

Jessika Phillips on relationship marketing

The Digital Marketing Superhero’s Club welcomes Jessika Phillips from Now Marketing Group.

‘Relationship Marketing’ may sound like a buzz word but when you master it like this week’s guest you can take the most unusual customer and build a campaign that gets phenomenal reach and sales. Listen below to find out how Jessika Phillips and Now Marketing Group found pots of gold in pot holes.

Superhero Tips – Networking With LinkedIn At Conferences

If you’ve ever returned from a conference with a bag full of business cards and no idea who they came from these LinkedIn tips could be for you.

Be sure to subscribe to The Digital Marketing Superhero Club by email to get notified when the full tutorials go live.

1. Grab your LinkedIn QR code and add it to your business card or your phone lock screen.

You don’t need a reader for QR codes anymore. Most new phone cameras will recognise a code and open the relevant app.

Try it on my LinkedIn code below.

I took a hint from The Digital Gal, Amanda Robinson and created a phone lock screen image so I’ll always have it even if I run out of cards.

Lock screen designed using Canva featuring a QR code on the bottom half of the screen
Lock screen designed using Canva

Use the ‘Instagram Story’ template in Canva or Easil to create your own.

2. Use the ‘People Nearby’ function in the LinkedIn app

I’ve branded this the ‘Stalker mode’. When switched on you can find people nearby who are using LinkedIn and also have it enabled.

3. Use a notes app

To associate the right business card with the right person, use a notes app (Notes on an iPhone or Evernote) to snap a selfie with your new contact and a photo of your card.

4. Follow up

When you get back to your hotel create follow up messages to those you’ve connected with. Use the same notes app or a tool like TextExpander to create a template welcome message, copy, paste and edit to ensure you stay in the minds of your new contacts.

Bonus – Before you go to a conference ensure your LinkedIn profile picture is an accurate representation of yourself so that people can put the profile to the face.


As we’re talking networking our Superpower, this week is Order small batches of business cards for the events you attend.

I’ve used these to create cards for Social Media Marketing World featuring my photo so that people will remember me and a custom link so that people can connect.

Business cards start from €15.35+VAT for 50.

Here’s some I made earlier.

A display of 5 square business cards
Use Moo to print small batches of business cards

Jessika Phillips Mr Manhole & Relationship Marketing

Amanda Webb:

I know you’ve got an incredibly interesting campaign you’re going to talk to me about. And, this is actually one that you ran yourselves, from Now Marketing Group. So, tell a little bit about Now Marketing Group, before we start?

Jessika Phillips:

Now Marketing Group is a relationship marketing agency I founded in 2010. What relationship marketing means is that we really help companies find their ideal target audience group, and form better relationships with them, so they can stick around longer. The whole idea of it is to get more repeat referral business in from those clients that love working with them.

So, we work with a lot of non-traditional clients to help them with everything, from creating a website, their brand and campaign, social media and doing some things like we’re gonna about today, some fine campaigns that get results.

Amanda Webb:

And, this is definitely not what you’d consider a traditional company that we’re going to talk about today. I think if a client came to me with this, I’d see it as a challenge. So, tell me about the company that we’re going to talk about first.

Jessika Phillips:

Yeah. And, I love the biz. So, it’s kind of funny somebody asks me the type of clients we work with. But, this will put it in perspective for you.

The name of the company is Mr. Manhole. And, the name is just like it sounds. It is a tool that helps individuals create manholes in a smarter, faster way, where it’s safer for the person doing the work, and more efficient for the people that having it hired out.

So, if you’ve ever driven over a pothole that’s really supposed to be a manhole. You’ve seen the circular covers on them. They’re everywhere on the roadways. But, you really don’t think about how you could fix that problem.

We’ve worked with Mr. Manhole for the past three years now, and created a campaign for them.

Amanda Webb:

And, it is … I have to say. It’s a problem, ’cause as soon as I started watching the videos of this company, as a cyclist, if you’re in an urban area, you’re constantly bouncing up and down off these things.

Jessika Phillips:

And, that’s actually how it was formed, funny enough. So, the owner … Just a real quick back story.

Mike Crites, he was actually driving. So, he originally owned a construction business. Now his sons have now taken it over. But, he was driving with his wife, the same commute every morning. And, every morning, they’d get their coffee, and then drive on their commute and hit this pothole.

And, he, without hesitation, kept getting frustrated because his wife would spill her coffee on herself. And, he was like, “Somebody needs to fix this.” And, it wasn’t happening. He was reporting it in.

So, he was like, “You know what? I’m gonna find a way to fix it.” And, low and behold, he created the tool. So, kind of cool how that worked out.

Amanda Webb:

True story. Yeah.

So, tell me about the campaign. They came to you with a problem? Or did they come to you … You tell me where it started.

Jessika Phillips:

Yeah. Just an overall problem of communicating their message, and trying to find the ideal audience. So, they create the tool, the Mr. Manhole cutter. And, they are not doing the work however.

So, they’re needing to pitch their messaging out to reach a very specific audience group. So, the first thing, when they came to us with their problem of just overall getting some sales … That was the goal. That’s the main goal for most businesses is, “Hey! We’re looking to make more sales. Generate more revenue. And, here’s what he has to offer.”

And, we take the approach first of saying, “Okay! Let’s back it up first. Who are you trying to capture the attention of?” So, what they were finding is that they were capturing attention of some people that wanted them to just go in and do the work. And, they didn’t do the work. They don’t have a team qualified to do that. But, they’re selling the tool to teams that could do that.

So, we took a step back with them, and really helped them to articulate their audience group, and their core messaging. So, the audience group came from, who are they trying to target? They’re really trying to target individuals that already are performing roadwork, or that would like to. Maybe pitch some people that are doing construction would be a natural add to, and benefit to what they’re currently doing, that would be actually buying the tool from them.

‘Once we could really articulate and understand who their target audience group is, and paint a picture of what their needs are, it then became natural to articulate a message that was going to reach them through campaigns’Click To Tweet

But, at the same time, their audience group also needed to be the people that were hiring these individuals to do the work. So, municipalities, people that are putting it in bids to actually have the crew say that, “Okay! We need you to come do this work, and repair this part of our roadway. And, we’re requesting that you include in a Mr. Manhole tool, because we know that it’s gonna help you get the job done faster, and be smarter for us.” And/or municipalities that would buy the tool for themselves, to have available, so they could these repairs as well.

So, once we articulated who they’re really trying to target, we did some quick interviews, actually with those specific individuals. So, instead of us trying to guess what would make them want to invest in this tool. We wanted to know what is the pain point that they’re having right now, with their current method. How could we help them do it faster, smarter, better? And, what are their goals, right?

Once we could really articulate and understand who their target audience group is, and paint a picture of what their needs are, it then became natural to articulate a message that was going to reach them through campaigns that would meet them where they’re at, basically.

So, from understanding that the current way that they’re doing things now, ’cause they may not know that there’s a better way, right? They’re like, “We’ve been doing it the way forever, and it works for us. So, why am I gonna be searching for something, right?”

So, you had to articulate the message to meet people where they’re at. First, of all understand that there’s a smarter way of doing it, and that you don’t have to do that back-breaking labor. And then also, after we articulated that, then here are some tried, tested and proven of how it works, and some testimonials from others that have done it using the Mr. Manhole method, so they could see the evidence of it.

And then, how could they paint a picture of seeing how they could use this tool in their every day, and imagine themselves using this tool, and benefiting from it.

Amanda Webb:

You may be coming to this. But, how were you pushing that message out? So, it sounds like you’re hitting all pain points. So, how were you getting it out to people? What networks were you using, or?

Jessika Phillips:

Yeah, absolutely. So, we first had it on their home base, right? So, everything should live in your home base. We created a website that had this messaging on it. And, we realized that their audience are people that are very visual. They need to see it in action.

Just talking about it, with a bunch of blow of texts was not gonna work. And, we learned that from interviewing their ideal audience group, and also paying attention to the metrics.

So, we made sure that we had everything on their home base. So, as somebody is progressing through, moving from a lead marketing qualified, sales qualified lead, they would have the content there.

Then, we took the messaging, and we said, “Okay! Where is everybody hanging out?” And, believe it or not, their audience was hanging out more than not, on Facebook, for the people that we were gonna reach with just understanding what the tool was, overall.

So, we set up campaigns and targeted two different audiences. We targeted one for the municipalities and all the city groups that were managing pages online. And, we did a video on Facebook for that campaign.

The second part of that is, we found their audience group, that was the individuals that would be doing the work and paying for the tool itself, and created a Facebook community out of them via Facebook groups.

From there, we were … Yeah. So, we were actually proving and feeding to them, all the marketing materials that would make their life easy, because they wanted the work, right? From the municipality.

‘Chatter, Mashable, Tech Insider also picked up one of the video variations that we did, and ended up sharing it, which got five million views in a week.’ Click To Tweet

So, these contractors were looking for more work. So, the more that we could give them the tools that are saying, “Here’s what makes us different in the market. And, here’s how we can complete your jobs faster for you, for less money, using this new tool that we discovered. And, hey! Don’t we look smart, because we are using this new innovative tool?”

We were, in this Facebook group, giving them all the case studies that they could repurpose, all the videos that they could use, and we branded to them, all the marketing materials. So, they could just take and run with it.

And, our whole job, while we were running the ad, is to feed more work into them. So, we ended doing this video ad. We spent 100$ total, on this video. But, because of the engagement, because we’re reaching a specific group, and because we’ve already had activated community that was taking this massaging, and are still sharing it on their page, and starting these conversations, We’re able to reach 931,000 people, and get cost of three cents per engagement, which is like unheard of.

This is the first time I ever had a 10. I’ve seen lots of eights and nines, but relevancy score for the video. And, it was just explaining how the tool worked, and what it did, in an animated way, that showed them exactly how the problem happens, how the traditional method doesn’t work, and in a way that was very engaging.

So, ended up that Chatter, Mashable, Tech Insider also picked up one of the video variations that we did, and ended up sharing it, which got five million views in a week. It was crazy amazing.

And, it was kind of funny. It was not the professional version that we had originally done. It was one that we repurposed for the group, and using the tool Wave. Have you heard of Wave?

Amanda Webb:

Yes, I have. Yes.

Jessika Phillips:

Yeah. So, we took all the professional footage, and we ended up cutting it into a smaller segment so people could use it in different ways. And, one of the ways that we did it was just using the Wave tool. And, that was the video that Mashable actually picked up. Not like the highly polished, super done up one. But, it definitely helped drive more views to the page, and overall more sales.

Amanda Webb:

That’s brilliant.

Jessika Phillips:

Yeah. And, one extra thing to add to that is, because we opened this up beyond the US, one person from China had seen it. They ended up coming over to his office, meeting with him. And, I guess in China there is like a manhole, one every 15 feet, which is crazy to me, in some of their roads.

So, they ended up getting 1,200 of these tools over the next five years they put in an order. Yeah. So, we’re literally turning manholes into pots of gold.

‘Because we opened this up beyond the US, one person from China had seen it. They ended up coming over to his office, meeting with him. They ended up getting 1,200 of these tools over the next five years’Click To Tweet

So, it all just started with getting super clear on the message, articulating in a way that people can understand, and then easily repeat on, in a private community. It wasn’t like I was trying to grow their likes on their Facebook page. Actually, there are more people in the group than we do on their Facebook page overall, right?

We have more people that are just super active in that private community because that’s where they’re hanging out, and that’s where they’re open to talk about the jobs that they’re doing and all that.

And so, I was even concerned on the vanity metrics. It was the conversations that were happening.

Amanda Webb:

Absolutely. I do think that’s the beauty of groups really. I think a lot of people are thinking of this as an alternative to pages. But, I think it is … When people are in those private spaces, they’re a lot more candid about what they’ll say, which you can loads from, and they’ll do.

Jessika Phillips:

Yeah. They’re asking super open questions on like, “Hey! How can I deal with this regulation that’s coming out?” Where they wouldn’t wanna put that maybe publicly, because they don’t want people to think they don’t know what they’re doing, right?

But, super candid. And, everybody’s like, “Yeah. I was wondering about that too, right? There’s all these silly code regulations within this industry.” Where then that opened up the conversation that sparked the next innovation, that Mike at Mr. Manhole, then created, as part of his tool, because of the conversations that were happening in that community, and because people felt open to talk about it there.

So, it’s been super cool how from that community, he’s been able to innovate and create his next line of goods, and be able to then extend it to some of these individuals that were having the problem with it, and say, “Hey! Has this solved your problem? Can you be my beta testers?”

And, it’s been a beautiful relationship from there.

Amanda Webb:

I love that. This campaign is such a good new story, because like I say, it’s not your standard product. It’s gonna be a hard audience to find.

But, apart from that, you got your results, and you managed to sell to China, which probably he wasn’t thinking about that at the time.

Jessika Phillips:

No. We realized how quickly we had to update some manuals. And then, luckily they spoke English, and it was great. And, now we’ve formed a great relationship with them, where they’ve connected us with some individuals there that will help us convert the manual to be more universally accepted.

Amanda Webb:

Thanks for sharing that. Well, that was fantastic. I’m really looking forward to … I’m really excited actually, because I’m a track leader at Social Media Marketing World. But, not on the day that you’re speaking.

So, I get to come to your session. So, I’m really excited. So, hopefully, this will be going out before Social Media Marketing World. So, just tell us where we will find you there.

Jessika Phillips:

Sure. So, I will be at Social Media Marketing World. I’m hosting a workshop on relationship and ROI. So, breaking down how you can do exactly what I just did. A campaign that’s based on CARE. It’s the acronym for capturing attention, articulating your message, building relationships, and creating an exception experience.

I’ll be talking about that Wednesday again from 2:00 to 3:30, in room 25ABC.

Amanda Webb:

I’m definitely going there. Save me a seat there at the front, won’t you?

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Jessika. You really are a digital marketing superhero.

Jessika Phillips:

Thank you so much. So are you. I was excited to be on. Thank you.

About Jessika

Jessika is a social media and relationship marketing strategist. She founded NOW Marketing Group in 2010 with only a laptop and a vision. The company is now a Forbes recognized Agency Partner and a certified inbound partner with Hubspot.

NOW Marketing Group works with more than 100 clients across the United States and beyond, choosing to serve – not sell. Jessika also teaches comprehensive relationship marketing, presents in a weekly videocast “Magnet Marketers” and hosts one of the largest social media Midwest conferences, Social Media Week Lima.

Follow Jessika:

On Twitter

On Instagram

On Facebook


Make 2019 The Year You Conquer Your Digital Marketing Strategy. Find out more about how I can help you succeed in 2019


Relationship Marketing With Jessika Phillips, Pots Of Gold And LinkedIn Networking

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