Stephen: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the Digital Masters Podcast. Today we have on Octavia Connor. She is the founder of Say YES to Profits, a virtual CFO firm. And we're going to be talking to her about the video marketing system that she has put together that pulls in 15 inbound leads per month, people that already know her, like her, and trust her.
And we're going to be talking about how she started, where she is today, and how she's making all this work together. So let's get into it.
Octavia, thanks for being on the show today. I really appreciate you being here.
Octavia Connor: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here today.
Stephen: Yeah, me too. When I first saw you in the community for CFOs that Summit CPA put together, we had a little marketing gathering and you had a ton of stuff to share around how you've built out the marketing for your company Say YES to Profits.
And I was really impressed. You have the dream situation that a lot of companies want. You're definitely in that 1% of people out there that have taken the steps to build out a marketing system. You're doing video, you're on YouTube, you're publishing stuff to LinkedIn.
You've really established yourself as a thought leader with content. And so when I saw that, I really wanted to have you on my show so that we could help break down some of that stuff for the people listening. So thanks for being on.
Octavia: No problem. Thank you so much for everything you just said and thank you for having me.
Stephen: Yeah. Great. So one of the things that I run into when I'm talking to somebody about content marketing, especially in professional services, a lot of them are building their companies traditionally. I’m not saying it in a bad way, but they do it through networking and they do it through referrals.
Sometimes they have outbound salespeople when they start to get a little bit bigger. But you saw the opportunity for creating video. You saw the opportunity for creating this content as a way to scale your business. And it's working. I don't remember exactly how many leads you said you were getting a month, but it was a substantial amount, all coming from this inbound content marketing system that you've built.
So when we think back to when you first got started, how did you know that this was going to play out like this? What was the mindset that allowed you to do this and put in the effort? Because it does take some effort.
Octavia: Yes, does. I won't say that I knew when I first started that it was going to play out in this way, but what I did know is that I wanted to be different.
And I wanted to position myself as an expert. I felt the best way to do that was to speak. You're not often able to get on a stage, so you make your own stage. So I started to think, how can I make my own stage? And video was how I was able to make my own stage and I just started doing it and I wanted to make sure I remained consistent.
Once I started with my first video and got the nervousness out of the way, I kept going from there.
Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. The nervous part is one of the hard parts to get over. I remember when I did my first LinkedIn video, I was super stressed. One of the things I will say, beyond all of the business value that you get from content, one of the cool parts is getting over that feeling.
Because you're obviously very comfortable on camera now. You're always on camera. But before you got on it, it sounds like that wasn't super easy for you or natural.
Octavia: No, it wasn't. But what I started to do was to practice in the mirror. Then I created a script with key pointers so that I wasn't just on there talking.
Yeah, I actually just went for it. It's funny because when I think back on it, I had to stand in front of the mirror a couple of times and recite whatever I was going to say, especially the introduction. Then once I felt like I had it, I just imagined the camera, the phone at that time, being the mirror and I would talk to the mirror.
Stephen: Yeah, that's cool. And you mentioned consistency and that's what's made it possible for me. That's how I broke through a lot of this stuff and started generating business for myself.
How long did it take after you started creating those videos before you started seeing some sort of traction? And what was that traction? What was the first sign that you saw something that was working out?
Octavia: The first time was when I signed a client who specifically stated they found me from a YouTube video. That was the first time. And it wasn't a small client. This was a pretty large client. And she mentioned that she watched a couple of my videos and she was ready to move forward.
And it wasn't a sales process with her. She watched the videos and she knew she wanted to move forward. And that was the “aha.” This is great! That took about six months after I started uploading the videos to YouTube.
Stephen: Yeah, that's cool. Yeah. That's a substantial amount of time. While you were making those, what kept you going?
How did you keep going, because you mentioned that you didn't know it would work. So putting in six months is a good amount of time. What was it that kept you moving along those six months?
Octavia: I knew that it was different. And I knew that in my industry, a lot of accountants are not comfortable with talking on camera, so I knew it was different.
And I really felt if I continue to do this, and not a lot of accountants are doing this, that it has to result in something great. So what I did was I gave myself a year to actually test video marketing for one year, and then I was going to make a decision whether yay or nay. And within six months, once I signed that very first client, it was almost like that client opened the door and other clients came in.
And that's how we were able to go from an accounting firm here in Atlanta to an actual virtual CFO and accounting firm.
Stephen: Yeah, that's interesting. It's also interesting how some of this stuff plays out, too, because number one, I have the same feeling as you do. When somebody does find you online, and they find your video, when they first call you they act as if they know you.
So you're right. It's less of a sales process and more, ‘Hey, here's how it works.’ And they've already bought into some of the things that you're saying.
But beyond that, it also makes it so people can incidentally find you online through the video or whatever that is, and that makes it easy for people to share your content. My guess is, and you tell me if this is true, you probably have clients that have found you or people that didn't even sign up, but still share and spread the word. So it helps increase that word of mouth traffic as well.
Octavia: Yes. That's the amazing part about it. I'll have people that will reach out and they would tell me, ‘Oh, I found you through this person.’ And I don't know who they're referring to. I’ve never talked to them before.
But I'll always reach out to that person and I'll ask them, how did you find me? About eight out of 10 will say, ‘Oh, I saw your live show,’ or ‘I saw your video on YouTube.’ And I knew a couple of people that needed your services or X, Y, and Z person mentioned they needed your services.
So I referred them to you because I watched a couple of your videos. They'll even say, ‘I'm not maybe at the stage where I'm ready to work with you, but I knew that they are, and I wanted you all to connect.’
Stephen: Oh, that's cool. Yeah. And that's another thing I talk a lot about with people. So it sounds like you're also doing a lot of investigation in terms of how people found you.
You're not pushing this content out and then just hoping that it works. You're out there doing investigation, listening to what people say, actually asking them where they found you. Do they like the content? All that kind of stuff so that you can further refine it.
Octavia: Yes, that's a major part of video marketing.
Honestly, I think that's a major part of marketing, but especially with videos, I like to see where they found us. And also on YouTube, you can see what videos receive the most views, the most likes, and the most comments. And then I go and repurpose that content over and over again. And it turns more business for the company.
Stephen: And when you say repurpose, do you mean you'll rerecord it or even take it and make smaller clips all of the above?
Octavia: Yes. So I'll take it and make smaller clips. I'll take it and make an actual blog. I'll do an ebook and oftentimes it's the same content. So for example, I have in a lot of my videos, we'll have three or four tips or three or four strategies.
Then I'll take one of those strategies for another video and deep dive into that strategy.
Stephen: I gotcha. And then how do you determine which video you're going to do that with? Basically what video gets the best feedback or gets the most views, all those kinds of things? That's how you determine?
Octavia: Yes. That as well as what is trending in the marketplace at this time.
Stephen: Yeah, that's smart. And I can't remember if it was you, but didn't you mention that there were a few tools that you used to discover what those trends were?
Octavia: Yes. So one thing of course is YouTube. So on YouTube, if you let's say you want to talk about cash flow, and if you go into the YouTube bar and you type cash flow and don't type anything else it's going to give you a list of some of the well-known topics about cash flow. You can then go and create a video on whatever the top topics are.
In addition to that, if you know someone in your industry that is also doing videos, if you go to their page, you can sort it to see the highest viewed videos for their page.
And then you go and do a video. Those are two ways. I'm trying to think of some more, but I definitely look at that every single week. We go to YouTube and do searches like that every single week.
Stephen: Yeah, that's cool. I think there's a site called Answer the Public as well. It shows that you can go there and you could type in cash flow.
I dunno how descriptive you need to be, but it will do an analysis online of all of the trending content. And they will tell you what's popular.
Octavia: Okay. So I have added that to my tools.
Stephen: Yeah. So I know you're doing a bunch of stuff. You do YouTube videos, you do lives, you do the lunch and learns, which is a webinar, but you don't call it a webinar, where you're teaching people, you're bringing people together.
And then you're building all these assets on your website. I know when I first met you, a lot of the people were, wow, that's a lot of stuff. It can be overwhelming to imagine yourself doing all that stuff. Where did it start? And then maybe after that, we can talk about, okay then how did you start to build on that after you started to see some traction?
Octavia: That's a great question. So it started with videos and then I had to determine, how do I take anyone that's viewing a video and turn them into a client? So I had to figure out the next steps. And the next step from the video was giving them something free.
That was some type of opt-in. We have several ebooks and things like that. Also, as well as in the videos, there are certain things that I say during certain periods of time that help turn clients or have viewers come and want to find out more information. But it definitely started from videos.
And then trying to figure out how to turn views into potential clients or subscribers, how to turn them into something other than just viewers? What I do know is that everyone wants to know what's in it for me. So what is in it for them? Okay. I'm giving them free content, but do I then want them to come off my video and then go find someone else?
No, I can give them that free content, and then as a complimentary opt-in to that content, I add an ebook. Then I'll say in the video, this ebook is going to help you with the strategies that I'm discussing today. And they'll naturally want to go and get the ebook or whatever it may be because that's going to build on what they're already learning.
Stephen: I gotcha. That makes sense. And when you say videos, it was the YouTube videos, right?
Octavia: Yes. The YouTube videos. Yes.
Stephen: So if we were building out the most simple basic system, you started publishing videos. And then at one point, you developed some sort of they call a lead magnet, something where it was a free giveaway.
What was that first giveaway?
Octavia: An ebook.
Stephen: And it was like a strategy on... was it cash flow or...
Octavia: At the time it was basic accounting. What I did was a video on the basics of accounting for small businesses. Then in the ebook, I wrote down the actual or highlighted the actual steps that a small business owner needs to take to build a solid financial management system.
And then in the video, I had seven or eight tips that I wanted to give them, but due to time, I could only give them three or four and they had to download the ebook for the remaining tips.
Stephen: And then in the ebook, there was some mechanism for them to book a call if they're interested in chatting more.
Stephen: I see, so there was always a step up. Was the ebook the first thing that you generated, or did you have other ones that you tried first that didn't work?
Octavia: The ebook was the first thing.
Octavia: The very first thing that I decided to do. The second thing was a CD where I gave away a CD.
The only difference is that on the CD I recorded what I was saying in the ebook. But you can get it in the ebook or you can get it as a CD. We would physically mail the CDs out at that time. This was several years ago. We would mail the CDs out and on the CD would be a little note thanking them and a link for them to schedule their discovery session or strategy session.
Stephen: That's cool. And so how did you decide when you created that particular ebook? How did you know to create that particular topic as opposed to something else?
Octavia: Because I had a lot of business owners asking those types of questions. So as I mentioned before, when I speak to business owners, I ask them certain questions and then I take that information and I use it in some way.
They would ask, how do I set up my accounting system? And what do I need? What is my chart of accounts? And why is that important? So I would create lead magnets, answering those questions for business owners.
Stephen: Yeah, that's cool. I think one of the keys, hearing you talk about your success, is listening.
Stephen: You know, so many people are stuck in their own heads, including me. There are times where you think you know what people want and if you always act from that point of view, and you're never really listening, it's hard to develop the lead magnet.
It's hard to develop the language on your website that's going to resonate with that person.
Octavia: Yes, that's very important. Even like today when I did a discovery session with a potential client and she said, “I feel like you're speaking directly to me.” And that's because I take the pain points and then I put them in all of my content and do videos.
And when you know your target audience, 90% of the time all of them have pain points and problems around the same area. And you could take that and use it over and over again.
Stephen: And that's another thing specific to CPAs and CFOs and accountants in general, I notice a lot of them have a lot of different types of customers. Some of them have inventory and then some of them don't have inventory.
Whereas you focus on consultants, the ones that are providing services. So you know all of their ins and outs. If they're an hourly shop or whatever that is, you know exactly how that works. And so then you can build all your systems to scale that type of company.
Octavia: Yes, absolutely. And that's exactly what we do.
Stephen: And so two follow-ups, I'll try not to confuse myself, but were you always that way? Did you always focus on that type of business? Or did you through your experience and who you like to work with and who you realized you could help the most, did you pivot into that and really commit to those people?
Octavia: Yes. It evolved over time. Because when I first started, I was the typical business owner entrepreneur. I wanted to help business owners with their accounting, but I didn't know who to work with. So I had a variety of clients. And then I took a class a while ago, several years ago, that basically said you want to work with or target businesses that you enjoy working with.
So I started to look back, and I do this every single year. I do an exercise where I look at who we worked with over the year, how much money we made, what type of client as far as what industry and things like that. And did we enjoy working with them?
And I started to realize, I enjoy working with businesses that are similar to mine which are consulting farms and service-based consulting firms. So I started to laser focus on those types of clients.
Stephen: Yeah, that's awesome. It seems like you have the ability to do these really thoughtful exercises. And then you execute on them, too, which I think is pretty cool.
I think often people are thoughtful but then they don't like to execute, or they execute well, but they're not being thoughtful. They're not listening to what people say. And somehow you've managed to create a company where you're doing both of those.
Octavia: Yes, I do a lot of what I call brain dumping on my board here in my office, or even on a piece of paper, whatever the ideal is, I dump everything out. I'll just write. It's sloppy and everything. And then after I do the brain dump, I take a few minutes of a break and then I come back, and the goal is to organize it and then pull out the action items and make it all make sense.
And then I try to be very intentional about taking action because you're not going to really get results until you take action.
Stephen: And then this is almost outside of marketing, but not really. So after you come up with that plan, how far out will you execute on that plan before you might change it or pivot?
Octavia: Six months to a year.
Stephen: Oh, wow.
Octavia: Okay. Six months to a year because the last I read about this is that statistically, it takes someone, especially in marketing, to see you seven to 14 times before they want to actually move forward with you. And I thought if it takes seven to 14 times, that means they really have to see me a lot of times.
So within a year, I'm pretty sure you could see me seven to 14 times. So six months to a year, but along the way, I'm measuring as well. So I'm tracking the progress. I'm really big on analyzing everything. So I look at my numbers all the time and it kinda tells me if I need to pivot or stay on this path and give it a little bit more time.
Stephen: Yeah, that's amazing.
What gave you the insight that you needed to listen like this? This might sound obvious to you, but what gave you the insight to be so aware of what potential clients were saying? Was that something that you were naturally good at? Or did you read a book or did you read a marketing book that explained it was really important for you to get customer feedback and use that in your marketing?
Octavia: I did. Because I didn't understand marketing when I first started. I didn't understand how to attract clients. I had to figure out how to make them come to me instead of me... because I'm an introvert, believe it or not. So I don't like to go out and network. I'll go and speak, but that's me going out and getting on a stage. So I had to figure out how to bring clients to me.
I remember reading a book and I'm trying to think of the book...I see the picture in my head right now...I'm pretty sure it's on my bookshelf. But I remember reading a book that said you have to understand your clients. And then I started to think how do I understand my clients? When at the time I really didn't have a lot of clients.
So I started talking when people would come up to me at a speaking engagement, I'll ask them, what did you like about that topic? What spoke to you the most? And when people schedule a session with me, I'll ask them what made you speak to me instead of other accountants? So I started asking a lot of questions and writing down the notes and I would go back and look at the notes and start to use them in my copy or in my video.
Stephen: Yeah. That's awesome. I've even done a couple of things where I'll record a call and go back over it. I'll listen to where I lost them, where did the conversation go wrong. Or sometimes I'll say something to them and they'll repeat something back to me. They'll say, Oh, did you mean this?
And so then I know that I can say it a different way and it will click easier with that type of person. Yeah, that's awesome. As I said, I think you are definitely in the 1% in terms of having figured all this stuff out. And I think it's really showing in terms of how you're able to grow and scale your business.
You mentioned one other thing that I think is important that I talk to a lot of people about. When you were talking about your YouTube channel, you don't have a million subscriptions, right? I think you said you had four or 500 or something like that.
Octavia: We recently crossed the 500 mark in subscribers.
Stephen: I don't know if you're comfortable talking about how many leads you generate per month.
Octavia: About 15.
Stephen: That's awesome.
Octavia: That’s 15 leads that are actually scheduling time on the calendar to speak to me about accounting services.
Stephen: And that's with 500 subscribers.
Although I bet over time that would probably scale up. My guess is you'll probably see that.
Octavia: I'm definitely hoping it would, but even before we hit the 400 or 500 and it was amazing because before we hit that mark, there were clients finding us.
And then I would see other channels that had a lot of subscribers and I'm, wow, if we're at the two, three, 400 mark and we're attracting this amount of leads, I can imagine only what they're doing. Because I figure 15 leads and I'm only doing about four videos a month. That's pretty good.
Stephen: Yeah, that's amazing.
I think it depends a little bit on what your intention is, too, because I know a lot of people who are trying to get subscribers, their whole intent is they want to monetize the channel and that's a different mindset than producing content to generate business.
So I think it could have to do with intentionally trying to get subscribers in generating content to do that kind of thing.
Octavia: I would agree because I remember when I first started doing the videos, I wouldn't ask for subscribers. I did this YouTube training class a while back, a couple of years ago, and It actually says, start asking for subscribers.
My intentions were to come on and show that I'm an expert in this area. So I wouldn't ever say subscribe to my channel. I do it now, but before I wouldn't say that. I wanted them to watch the video and download whatever I'm giving from the video.
Stephen: Yeah. And I think it also matters what you are talking about. Because sometimes people aren't necessarily looking for my content or your content every day. Whereas if it's something that's super entertaining then maybe that's something that they want to like and subscribe to and get every day.
But I think it is interesting. You have to negotiate those kinds of things. When are you asking people to subscribe and what, and I think you made the point, what is your intention behind it, really? Cause I think sometimes when people think that you're just trying to get subscribers or they can see what your intention is... so I think it's good to have a clear intention. That's probably why you've had a lot of success,
Octavia: Yeah, I agree.
Stephen: I appreciate you being on the show today. It was an honor to have you here. Do you want to tell people, I think it's pretty clear what you do, but do you want to take a chance to explain a little bit about how you specifically help people and then where they can get ahold of you?
Octavia: Sure. I am Octavia Connor and I am the virtual CFO for consultants and I help consultants have more money, more profits, and pay less in taxes. You can find us on all of the social media outlets at Say YES to Profits. And then you can also find me on Instagram @OctaviaConnor_
Stephen: Cool. Again, thank you for being on.
I appreciate it. And I look forward to seeing you around.
Octavia: OK, thank you. Have a good day.
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