Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Shane Barker for the first EngageBay interview of an ongoing series. In case you’re not familiar, Barker is one of the top digital marketing consultants out there, if not the top. You can view his website here to see what I mean. 

Shane has an enormous list of accolades that I mentioned in the video. I figured I’d cover some of them here as well. He’s a sought-after consultant, having worked with celebrities, influencers, Fortune 500 companies, and the average business owner as well. His specialties are website conversions, targeted traffic, sales funnels, content marketing, product launches, and influencer marketing. 

Besides his digital consultancy work, the Sacramento-based Barker regularly shares his expertise among his neighborhood’s startup culture. He pairs with new, inexperienced companies, providing guidance and mentoring services while attending startup events and hackathons.

He is also an instructor at UCLA and does consulting work for the United States government. Oh, and Barker runs avidly. In two years, he’s run about 10 miles daily. According to his Fitbit, that’s more than 6,000 logged miles.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Shane for nearly an hour. During our in-depth interview, we discussed influencer marketing, how startups can get noticed online, the best social platforms for B2B industries, and so much more. 

Here are some top takeaways from the interview.

As a Small Business, Do the Value Trade 

Barker refers to influencer marketing as “a tool in your toolbox” in the interview. He says small businesses should take as much care to vet influencers as a bigger company would. 

What if your business doesn’t have a ton of money to spare for influencer marketing? Barker doesn’t recommend funneling what’s left into this form of marketing and hoping for the best. Instead, he says small businesses should engage in what he calls a value trade.

With a value trade, you’re providing something of value to an influencer in lieu of money. Maybe you have a videographer or two that can record the influencer and do the editing so the influencer doesn’t have to. That’s your value to offer. In return, the influencer promotes your brand. This works especially well for small businesses with an equally small budget. 

Barker Picks LinkedIn as a Major Social Platform for B2B Businesses

While Shane mentions there’s “a lot of great platforms out there for B2B businesses,” he does call LinkedIn a “big one” in particular. Given that employees market and network with other employees and employers on LinkedIn, you can certainly see why he would say it’s a must-use.  

Barker relies on Ahrefs, SEMrush, BuzzSumo as well in a B2B capacity. 

Small Businesses Looking to Get Noticed Should Limit Their Spending and A/B Test Instead

There’s nothing like social media to make you feel like a little fish in a big pond, especially if you’re a small business. You don’t have nearly the ad budget that other companies do, but you want to get noticed online. How do you do it?

Shane says “you don’t have to spend a thousand dollars a day,” and that “really, it comes down to A/B testing.” By comparing two versions of an ad, you won’t have to find out through expensive trial and error which one will garner the most attention. This way, the money you do spend on pay-per-click advertising or other ads will have been worth it. 

For smaller businesses, Shane notes a PPC budget of $10 to $50 a day works, but that the budget should be ROI-dependent. If you’re making more money, then you can afford to increase how much you can spend on social advertising. 

There you have it! The above are three great, actionable takeaways from my fascinating interview with Shane Barker. For further insights from Shane as well as more detailed pointers and examples from the above takeaways, I recommend you check out the interview. You can watch it right here.

Valuable Insights Into Digital Marketing – 2019 & Beyond: An interview with Shane Barker