Jeanna Barrett | Inbound Marketing Best Practices and Tips for Building a Company in a New Country

For you, as you focus on kind of having this work, life, harmony, sometimes you see people who will make a dramatic change in their life, and then over time, kind of gradually slip back into old habits. How have you avoided that from happening for you personally?

Jeanna Barrett 11:14

Yeah, I’m just obsessive about what my boundaries aren’t gonna keep using that word, right. So like, I follow certain routines and things that I do to make sure that that doesn’t happen. And I’ve talked to, you know, the outline and talked about some of those things are in other in other peer groups, but like, I block out my calendar very specifically, because I’m a better person when I move my body, and I take care of my health and my fitness. So my calendar is blocked out every single morning for me to be able to do that, before I get started working. I also block out my calendar for lunch to make sure that I’m eating and I’m not stuck on Zoom calls exhausted and hungry all day. And so I make sure that my apps on my phone are very, like there’s boundaries with those right that I’m not getting notifications when I’m on vacation during my weekend during my evenings. And so I just have set kind of what works for me, but we talk about these things with people at our company all the time, like what works for you, what are your boundaries to keep you healthy, happy, but still delivering and doing great work? Right. And it’s different for everybody. So it’s not like a cookie cutter approach that I could tell you, like me blocking out morning workouts? Might not work for John. Yeah.

John Corcoran 12:33

And then on the client side, in terms of like the clients that you work with? How have you how do you screen to ensure that it’s going to be healthy relationship with the client, that they’re not going to be the one who’s pushing pushing, saying, Why didn’t you respond to me? It’s been 45 minutes, I haven’t gotten a response to my email yet.

Jeanna Barrett 12:50

Yeah, um, we are a smaller, like, boutique agency, right. So we do kind of take on some of the business that works for us. But on the other hand, I feel like we’re just very open about how we work and we, you know, adhere and stick to our boundaries, and people are fine with it, we have not had a client so far where they’ve been, you know, unhappy with our response time, or whatever it is. We do clearly kind of outlined expectations for our team with clients and stuff like that. But we just do really great work, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in front of your computer, if you’re like, we’re responding at 8am or not, like, if you’re delivering and you’re growing, and they’re seeing revenue growth, and they are happy with your work. They don’t really care when you’re responding or not responding, in my opinion. They’re just happy with what you’re doing for them. Right. So it’s really more about your deliverables and less like, Are you sitting in front of a computer at a certain

John Corcoran 13:45

time? Yeah. And the team that you built has it been is you’re in Honduras. Now? Is it in Honduras? Is it all over the globe? How have you Where have you the team that you build?

Jeanna Barrett 13:56

Yeah, yeah. So I was in Belize for my first six years of my business. And I’ve been in Roatan Honduras for the last year, and the majority of our team is in the US. various locations throughout the US, but we do have global people as well. So we have people in the UK, we have people in Central and South America. We have you know, a member of our leadership team works out of Cancun, Mexico. So, we just have varying locations, but I would say the majority of our team is is spanned across the US.

John Corcoran 14:31

Yeah. And then you got some interesting team members that have joined that have these all kinds of different passions from running in marathons to writing cookbooks and stuff like that. I’d love to hear more about like, what the different team members do.

Jeanna Barrett 14:52

Yeah, so that’s like, so exciting for me as a as a founder like I there’s so much that I do outside of first page that really like excites me and that I’m passionate about, there’s so much that everybody does outside of their job, right? That’s like, really cool and makes them who they who they are that they’re excited to talk about. And so I focus on I interviews every single person coming into our company, all that you know, as a cultural interview, and I really like to talk to people about those things. Because there’s, we have, like, just so many side hustle Moonlighter people, that is great, right? We have, like you said it, someone that writes recipes and cookbooks on the side, she’s an editor for us, as her I don’t know, day job or evening job, whatever hours, he wants to work, we have someone who’s really into running and it’s run Boston Marathon. So he trains pretty heavily and running all the time, we have a band member in a really great band. And their their music was just featured on the love is blind, Netflix, and we have a music producer, like moonlighting in New York, producing music for people on the side. So it’s just like so many cool, wonderful people with really great backgrounds and things that they do. And we really like to highlight those things that first page and like encourage people to keep doing those things that make them happy and passionate, because those people make better workers.

John Corcoran 16:19

Yeah. Have you in the last six years? Have you ever had to fire a client and just said to them, You know what, this is not working out? This goes against our core values. This is who we are. Yeah. Tell me about

Jeanna Barrett 16:32

that. Yeah, for sure. I have Yeah, I have. Just because I am a little bit more on or about my team. And like in keeping boundaries, and working in the way that we want to work. And we we have said, No, for a couple of results, either. Like we cannot do the work that we are proud of because you’re not giving us access or resources or you’re not moving quick enough. We’re just blocked, right? Like, we really like to be a partner and in full extension of the brands we work with, so that we’re able to work with your product team, your customer service team, look at your analytics, like that’s how we’re going to be more successful as a growth marketing team. We’ve said no to people that just are not like willing to work with us in the ways that we need to evolve to say no, with people that just are not treating us the way that we want to be treated.

John Corcoran 17:22

Yeah. I’m curious, I’ve asked a lot of agency owners this question, but take me back to March 2020. As the pandemic starts to unfold, you’re living in Belize far away from the United States. What was that like? For you? Did your life flash before your eyes? Are you afraid you’re gonna lose everything you built? Were you afraid being outside of the US as this pandemic global health crisis really unfolded? What was it like for you, especially in those early

Jeanna Barrett 17:50

days? Yeah, for personally, it was like a very unnerving because I was in Belize, and the airports were closing down. And we didn’t know at the time, like, what that would look like, I didn’t want to be stuck away from my family. So I luckily had a rental in the US that I was able to fly out of and, but I did get stuck away from my home and my pets in Belize for eight months, I was in the US for that time. I just wanted to make sure I was near my family, you know if anything went wrong. And professionally though, like, we really, nothing really changed. We were set up to already be remote and be used to working like that. I had gone through kind of, you know, we work with clients that are product like companies of tech companies, and generally and, you know, recessions and stuff like that, like the tech scene usually is okay. So for us, our clients did not have problems, they actually one of them had like the greatest year ever. And so the only thing that I will say that changed for us is like people, our team are really struggling in isolation, like people that did not have families who were single on lockdown. Maybe some of them didn’t even have a pet kind of a thing. We really, I already focus on compassion and empathy and how I lead but really, really, like accelerated forward and like, tell me how you are doing like, you know what’s going on? Are you surviving and really having those conversations with how people are feeling and then doing as humans versus you know, just working for me. So yeah, yeah.

John Corcoran 19:32

It’s kind of a crazy time. And then did you find that it, you know, ramped up even more so in 2020 as the year went on, what was the experience like later in the pandemic?

Jeanna Barrett 19:45

Yeah, I mean, it ramped up in terms of our people’s well being with how long people are going on lockdown away from friends and family. Got that got worse and worse, like into 2020 and into 2021. A lot of that didn’t change. We had someone at that time and Australia that were on pretty strict lockdowns. And she wasn’t able to leave like, you know, X short mile radius outside of her house for over a year. So again, just like really checking in with the team, we kind of have a, you know, a policy, I hate the word policy, but we have a way that we work at first page where we say to every lead, they’re like, You need to start off a one on one conversation every like, kind of check in with personal checking, like how, what’s going on in their life, just to kind of understand because where people are coming from, personally, like really affects with how they’re doing how their work is right. So just understanding what’s going on with people outside of work was always really important.

John Corcoran 20:47

Yeah, you’ve worked with so many different companies. I’m curious as far as what you advise other companies about getting started with content and an SEO and inbound marketing, in terms of like what they should do to get started. I’m sure it’s heavily dependent, depending on the client that you’re talking to, but, you know, amount of budget they should put into it. You know, how do you explain to them if for companies that haven’t done a lot of inbound marketing, what they should, how they should get started and what they should do?

Jeanna Barrett 21:21

Yeah, so there’s kind of this common misperception, I think a lot of brands, especially in the in the product lead, like SaaS tech startup world, most clients who work with, they invest in PPC weigh heavily and overly invest in PPC, because the PPC is like a engine that you can turn on very quickly, and you see your customers come in, but the problem is, is you can never turn that engine off. And it just gets more competitive. And it’s very, very expensive. I mean, we’re talking $50 Plus, for one click and like it, how many clicks does it take to turn into a customer? So we see under investing in SEO and round and like over investing in PPC, and SEO and content marketing, and is not a $5,000 job. Like we also see a lot of people that want to hire an SEO agency for $5,000 to get like the miracle work done, right. But it does require you need to be having more even investment between like, what am I putting into PPC to get business but then also, what am I investing in the long term of my business to get my business on the first page, which saves you in the money that you need to spend on PPC anyway, when you’re we have brand awareness, and people are coming into your website without you having to pay them to come into your website. So choosing that number, like whatever percentage that is, it should be a larger percentage of your marketing spend than you know, $5,000 a month. And really making sure that you’re investing in like high quality long term content these days is the name of the game right and continuously on your website, your blog, video content and really solving your customers problems. And then I want to nobody, yeah, sorry, I’m just gonna say no brands I’ve ever worked with, in the years I’ve done marketing that has that ever not worked, like every brand I’ve ever seen that invest in it really pays off dividends and, and their business grows like exponentially. Yeah,

John Corcoran 23:24

I want to ask a similar question. But related to companies that are listening to this where they’ve under invested in their team and in the work life harmony, that you’re a big advocate for work, and they get started if they want to do a better job of building that kind of work life harmony amongst their team.

Jeanna Barrett 23:44

Um, well, it really, it comes from almost like a mindset change, like you can’t just make a monetary change without really buying into believing that this is the better way to work. So having a leadership team and like top down idea that you don’t need to babysit people to do good work. But second to that, if you really want to invest in making a big change, it’s having like a kick ass project management system like we use click up Monday or Asana is another, you know, competitors have cooked up. But we’ve run all of our work and everything through there. So if it didn’t happen on site, if there it didn’t happen at all. And so we’re able to really track deliverables and all of the work and not care when people are working as long as they get their stuff done. Right. So that core central system that becomes our office as a remote agency. So having like a really great project management system, and tech stack is the most important piece to all of this.

John Corcoran 24:40

Yeah, we’re huge. ClickUp users as well switch to it a couple years ago. It’s really an amazing tool. Big fan of gratitude. If you look around it, particularly peers and contemporaries, people who’ve helped you along the way or maybe mentors, who would you want to acknowledge who do you want to just shout out and thank for helping you

Jeanna Barrett 25:01

Yeah, I have to actually, I wouldn’t be where I am today without two of my agency coaches, and one of them is Tim Kilroy. He’s an awesome agency coach, he helps me just learn how to like positioning and what can we do better, and sales and all that. And then Carrie Jacobs is my other mentor that I love, love. And she’s my like leadership, marketing, CMO, woman and business coach. And so she’s helped me infinitely and just how to tackle you know, tough conversations, tough situations and how to build really great marketing plan. So yeah, she’s wonderful. So I wouldn’t be nowhere without like, the moment I had rose, like, I’ve been over my head. I need mentors and help. So yeah,

John Corcoran 25:43

that’s, that’s the best. Jeanna thanks so much. Where can people go to learn more about you and connect with you?

Jeanna Barrett 25:48

Yeah, so the business is And you can find me on LinkedIn, under First Page Strategy, or Jeanna Barrett. 

John Corcoran 25:58

Awesome. Thanks so much. 

Jeanna Barrett 26:00

Thank you.

Outro 26:05

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