Josh Elkin is the Founder of Bestcoast Marketing, a company that helps internet-based companies in the B2B technology and e-commerce spaces to acquire high-quality backlinks to increase organic traffic. They have worked with big B2B software firms, e-commerce businesses, and startups to deliver measurable results in the form of increased traffic and conversions.
Benjamin Yost is a Partner and Head of Growth at Bestcoast Marketing. He works alongside Josh to assist in the strategy, planning, and execution of growing the company. He is also the owner of Let It Grow Marketing Solutions and a divemaster with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the Co-founder of Rise25 Media, a company that helps B2B business owners connect with their ideal prospects, referral partners, and strategic partners through a done-for-you podcast service. He has been involved in podcasting for 11 years and has also been running his own podcast, Inspired Insider, since 2011. Dr. Weisz also continues to run his own chiropractic and massage facility in downtown Chicago and has also founded a nutritional supplement business.
In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran and his Rise25 Media co-founder,Dr. Jeremy Weisz, are joined by Josh Elkin and Benjamin Yost from Bestcoast Marketing to talk about getting clients through partnerships and whitelabeling. They’ll be discussing how whitelabeling works, how it can be used to fuel growth, and how Bestcoast Marketing uses SEO marketing to build links and grow a brand.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Josh Elkin explains what whitelabeling is and how it works
- How do most companies package white labeling?
- How Benjamin Yost uses white labeling to increase growth
- Benjamin’s approach for reaching out and creating relationships with agencies
- The type of agencies Bestcoast Marketing works with and how it structures its whitelabel services to avoid working directly with end clients
- Josh shares a crazy marketing story that led to a great deal and why he decided to go into SEO marketing
- Benjamin talks about his background, becoming a divemaster and swimming with sharks
- Where to learn more about Josh Elkin and Benjamin Yost
- Bestcoast Marketing
- Josh Elkin on LinkedIn
- Benjamin Yost on LinkedIn
- Dr. Jeremy Weisz on LinkedIn
- Inspired Insider Podcast
- Scott Carper on LinkedIn
- SCMN Consulting
- Drew Wendland on LinkedIn
- UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses to build strong relationships with referral partners, clients and audience without having to do the hard work.
When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI which is the most important component. Plus our podcast production company takes any of the heavy lifting of production and distribution off of your plate.
We make distribution easy
We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and cultivating amazing relationships.
Contact us now at [email protected] or book a call at rise25.com/bookcall.
Rise25 was co-founded by Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran who have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
All right. Welcome, everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where every week I get to talk with smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, Lendingtree, Open Table, Xsoftware, and many more. I’m also the co-founder with my business partner, Dr. Jeremy Weisz, who is here today of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And before I introduce our guests for this live episode we’re doing, I want to give a big thank you to a couple of people. Scott Carper, he’s the founder of SCMN Consulting, helps companies with a variety of different real estate related matters. Go check him out. Great guy, loves partnering, loves collaborations, and that’s why I thought it’d be appropriate to mention him here today. He’s also a member of my alma mater, member of the board of directors of UC Santa Barbara, my alma mater. And Drew Wendland also, who connected me to Scott. Founder, go gauchos, group and another person who is doing great work and great helping bring people together and building community. You know who you are.
And I want to mention our guests here today, because we have Josh Elkin, who’s the Founder of Bestcoast Marketing, which helps internet based companies in the b2b technology and e-commerce spaces primarily acquire high quality backlinks to increase organic traffic. They have worked with big name b2b software firms and e-commerce businesses as well as startups to deliver measurable results in the form of increased traffic and conversions. And we also have Benjamin Yost, who’s the Partner and Head of Growth at Bestcoast Marketing. And a fun fact, he’s a former master divemaster. I don’t know exactly what it means. But it basically is the master of dive mastery that you can achieve going down below the surface, which is really cool. So maybe he will make the connection between diving and SEO and how those two connect together.
But what we chose as a topic for this episode is partnerships and white labeling and how those two go together. Because Jeremy and I love talking about the importance of partnerships, relationship building, and how they can help grow your business. And I think there’s a connection to whitelabeling, because a lot of companies may think, Oh, this seems like a good solution. I can help other companies, they go and get the business for me, and then I do it for them. And I make money, but it’s probably not as simple as that. So I’d like to unpack it a bit. But first, so Josh, let me start with you. I’ll turn to you, first of all, did anything else I need to add to your bio in terms of what you guys do as a company?
Josh Elkin 3:09
Ah, no, I think you pretty much you pretty much got it.
John Corcoran 3:12
So okay, and so and so talk to me a little bit about white labeling and generally what it is, and how it works and how it enables you to leverage other relationships, other partners in order to bring clients.
Josh Elkin 3:28
Yeah, so as simple as explanation, white labeling is providing your service to another agency so that behind so they can use it for their and clients. Without having their clients know that it’s you that it’s actually doing the service so they can kind of package it and typically, they’ll offer it as part of a broader services package and kind of bake it in, in such a way that they’ll make a little margin on it. And also, it just provides a more holistic solution to their clients. And so that’s why an agency would want to find someone and white label their service typically. So just to add more things, more capabilities that they can do in house even though technically they don’t have those capabilities in house.
John Corcoran 4:26
Got it? Got a Jeremy, your thoughts on white labeling?
Jeremy Weisz 4:30
Yeah, I mean, I guess I’m interested. So just how to tip typically people, you know, package it in, or how you see people packaging, because that’s interesting. It’s like, maybe they have a service that they do, or maybe they have a couple services and they kind of bundle it into what, what they do. What have you seen people do maybe standard and then maybe some creative things they’ve done?
Josh Elkin 4:52
Yeah. So you know, full disclosure, like a lot of times, we don’t have the visibility into kind of how they mark up our services or what structure they used to do that. So, you know, I’m not entirely sure, I’m assuming that they’re, they’re charging their end clients more than we’re charging them. So that it makes sense. But certainly hope so it
John Corcoran 5:20
it doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’re just completely passing off the cost.
Josh Elkin 5:24
Right, right. I mean, so, yeah, that would be extreme altruism. So yeah, I think the way the way it typically works is, you know, I’ve heard I’ve heard one client kind of talking in percentage terms and say, yeah, you know, whatever you guys build charge us, we’re gonna charge our clients 25% more, or, you know, so I think that’s kind of an easy way to do it. Another is, we’ve, we’ve come in and actually given firms a discount, if they’re going to be if it’s an agency where they want to white label us, because, and here’s why that, here’s why that makes sense. Effectively, you know, we’re, if they bring us more than one client of theirs, it makes sense for us, because it, it, reduces our kind of cost to acquire a customer, so we’re willing to make less money.
Josh Elkin 6:30
why? Because we’re gonna make it up, because they’re gonna say, Hey, you know, these guys are getting good results for this client, let’s just add them in to this other client who also needs the work. And so we’ve also worked in that kind of arrangement, where it’s just an upfront discount, kind of like a referral fee, right? Like you’d give anyone a referral fee or, or discount on, we just call it our white label, agency discount. And
John Corcoran 6:56
that’s worked as well. Got it. And so then turn it to you. So you are head of growth, for Bestcoast Marketing, how do you use the white label in order to increase growth?
Benjamin Yost 7:10
Yeah, so I mean, that’s a good question. It’s kind of like what Josh said. But the idea behind it is that if we can connect with, you know, agency owners who have 10 or 15 clients, that it’s, it’s much more beneficial to us to white label with an agency NRS, 10 or 15 clients that we can sell our services to our department through, you know, going directly to those companies, right, it’s just an easier, it’s an easier sell. So cost is much lower, we get way more business that way, we might take a small margin, discount, but generally speaking, that’s why we do that. Yep.
Jeremy Weisz 7:51
So Ben would talk about your approach for outreach, because we’re talking about partnership. And when you’re reaching out to form these relationships, what are the ways you approach these other companies?
Benjamin Yost 8:07
Like companies or agencies,
Jeremy Weisz 8:08
Benjamin Yost 8:12
Because we use a similar technique, but right now, we rely pretty heavily on reaching out via LinkedIn. So the majority of our interactions start in that space, we just reach out to connect, and then you know, we kind of Proposition kind of what we do, and how it might be of benefit to their existing clients. And if they’d like to, you know, hop on a call and see if we might be a good fit.
Jeremy Weisz 8:37
What type of agencies are attracted to you guys, as a white label solutions, you find like, oh, there’s a website agency, and they want to couple it with some of the the backlink and SEO services or I don’t know, what are some of the types of agencies or companies that are attracted to you guys?
Josh Elkin 8:56
um, I can talk a little bit about this. So typically, it’s a full service. So we’ve seen inbound marketing agencies, where they do content, they’ll kind of do the gamut, right? So they do SEO strategy, they’ll do content, they’ll do websites. And they’re just like, okay, link building is something we can’t do for our clients. We know we need it, it’s just one piece of the puzzle that we just can’t do ourselves. So then they’ll just slot us in. Via typically it’s either an S, it won’t be like a PP a paperclip firm, it’ll be like an SEO agency, or kind of a full service inbound marketing agency or the two categories we
Benjamin Yost 9:42
see the most. I think a lot of those full service agencies do a lot of white labeling as well, because it’s, it’s just easier on the delivery side of their business. Right.
John Corcoran 9:54
Yeah, that makes sense. You know, related to that one question I have, particularly for other ages. Susan might be interested in using you is, the presumption of the white label is that you’re, you’re using another company’s service as your own, you’re delivering value to that client, because you’re providing the convenience and the oversight, but that you kind of, you know, portray it as your own. So how do you as a company, create or structure that so that the, the other company is able to, you know, use it as their own service without the end client feeling like, I’m working with a bunch of different companies now and confused about who I’m working with, you know, how does that work from a functional standpoint?
Josh Elkin 10:40
Yeah, and I can talk to this, because I’m more involved on the operational side. So the setup is really kind of straightforward that the client, the agency will give us typically access to their own kind of Google Analytics. So that they, we don’t have to go ask their client for access, because that would be awkward. They don’t want the client necessarily to know they are involved. So that’s how that works. And then it’s fairly straightforward. After that, we’ll do our standard reporting, but we’ll just give that to the agency. And then the agency will then pass that information on to the client. So it yeah, it hasn’t really, there’s rarely been a need for us to even want to speak to the end client. Because we have all the information we need from the agency, the nature of what you do means that you don’t need to do that on a regular basis. Some other company or another agency might have more need to have that direct communication. Correct?
John Corcoran 11:42
Jeremy, to you.
Jeremy Weisz 11:43
Yeah. No, I wanted to just hear a little bit of both your backgrounds. Maybe a crazy shark story from a dive master. And then Josh, how did you get into the agency?
John Corcoran 11:52
I want to hear a shark story. Yeah, I mean, backlinking is cool. And all white labels are cool and all but I want your crazy shark story. Oh,
Josh Elkin 12:04
I’ll start with the boring stuff. So Ben’s story is exciting by comparison.
Jeremy Weisz 12:09
Yeah, Apollo close encounter mission.
Josh Elkin 12:11
I don’t want to, I don’t follow that up. So Ben lived an interesting life every time. So we chat every morning. And it usually starts with a Ben life story about something he did living in Thailand or some crazy, crazy experience in South America. So it’s never a dull moment. But yeah, so I grew up in New York City, which is where I am now. Did finance for a while at a college and then decided I was done with that and wanted to do something more entrepreneurial and creative. Got an MBA at Northwestern Kellogg in Chicago. And was Yeah, just not too excited about the idea of just working for the man again. And around that time. I Jeremy, we talked about this, I was listening to a kind of startup podcasts. And there was a guy by the name of Sam ovens who was doing digital marketing retainers to small businesses. And he would, he would literally find them in the phonebook, rip out the Yellow Pages ad and send them a package with things like a plastic garbage can in it with a crumpled up. dollar bill. It’s pretty, it was genius. And I was like, This is so dumb that it’s got to work. I just love this. So I was like, I’m gonna forget all that, you know, the fancy jobs that people are getting out of MBA, I’m gonna just try this. So I went to my co-working space and in Chicago and trudged through the snow every day with a bunch of these little garbage cans. And I did this. I just followed exactly what he said. And I think it was about my 15th or so that it actually turned into a call and they said, come into our office and make us a pitch. And I pitched them on some basic digital marketing and website redesign. And they said, Yeah, that sounds good. And I was kind of like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe that worked. And they agreed to pay me like $3,000 a month on retainer, and I was like, holy shit, this, this, maybe this can actually turn into something. And that was how it all started. And then from there, it’s kind of taken a few twists and turns but kind of found link building as a as a niche that people just need a lot of help in and grew the business, focused the business around that about two years ago and brought Ben in earlier this year to help me help me grow the business. And that’s that’s kind of my backstory.
Jeremy Weisz 14:39
I think we you know, I think everyone could use that method and whatever business you’re in, right, and I thought about this, Josh at one point, because you have the Yellow Pages, right, if anyone’s advertising large page ads in the Yellow Pages, I don’t know who’s looking at that stuff. I don’t even think I was like this. This is genius for any industry. If you see whatever industry you’re going after you rip out that page, you’re like, hey, like, why are you spending whatever 1000s of dollars? You could, there’s way better ways to deploy that capital than the Yellow Pages. I remember, you know, I’ve heard that that technique, and I was like, cool. I’m gonna try it in, in our industry. I couldn’t even find the Yellow Pages. I didn’t even I didn’t even know where to find the Yellow Pages. I was like, looking at people’s doorsteps like, maybe they have them.
Josh Elkin 15:23
They don’t remember anymore. You gotta like to order them specially.
Jeremy Weisz 15:26
So. But that’s like I love
John Corcoran 15:29
people sit on what a little kid sits on anymore. Before we got to Ben’s shark stories, which we’re really building this up so that it has, like, exceeded our expectations. But Josh, how much? Do you remember how many trash cans you send out? Or do you still do it?
Josh Elkin 15:45
I don’t do it anymore. I don’t know why, you know, it’s like one of those things like it works. It works. It works. Yeah, it makes no sense. But I probably sent out a good 100 of those. And then the deal is you have to call after you set up and say, Hey, did you get the package?
John Corcoran 16:04
Did you get my trash can?
Josh Elkin 16:06
John Corcoran 16:08
If you schedule a call, oh, yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 16:12
sorry, maybe maybe we could use the yellow page ad and crumple it up. I’ve heard you know, three parts enough to waste $1. But I’ve heard like a lot of people use success. That’s like their third piece that they’re mailing. And the direct response marketers out there probably confirm this. But as you know, you always like when you said Josh wants to send it follow up via email and phone, don’t you’re not going to send it in, they get a response. But sending the second and third mailer is usually equal to the first mailer. So if someone so I’ve heard people use as their third step is like, you haven’t obviously responded. So you’ve thrown my other stuff in the trash. And they use that as the lead in for the third mailer using the trash can, but I like right off the bat, like throwing it right in the trash.
Josh Elkin 16:57
I like that too. That’s good. We got to the seat for the multi step sequence. And never, I never made it that far
John Corcoran 17:04
I do, I do want to get to the story about all the swimming with megalodons that Ben is going to tell us in a second. But before we get to that, Jeremy, of course, naturally goes towards the direct response male thing, which he just loves talking about. So that’s how we, we kind of get sideways with it. But I want to ask another question about it. So with the direct response mail that you did, how did you go from doing that with general digital marketing and deciding, like, Seo? That’s the thing that I’m going to throw in with, and I’m going to focus on that. How did you decide that was the right niche for you?
Josh Elkin 17:37
Um, that’s a great question. And it was very circuitous, I think I tried almost everything you can do within digital marketing. I mean, I tried doing outsource content marketing, and I just found that to be a giant, just just a pain in the ass. Like if you know, to write content for someone’s blog and website was so difficult if you’re not in the industry, I tried doing Pay Per Click for was like plastic surgeons for a while. And that just, it was just so hard to consistently get ROI. So I think I tried so many things. And then what appealed to me about SEO was sort of it’s a long term thing that people understand, unlike paid ads, where they’re like, okay, you know, we spent 1000 this month, we only made 900. You know, this sucks what’s going on people with SEO understand, it’s a long term process. And I also just, like kind of the the mix of its, its creativity, because you have to kind of come up with new angles and content that’s gonna, that’s gonna perform well, but it’s also analytical, because you’re looking at, alright, what’s the competitive situation for these terms? And how can we compete maybe with fewer resources and money but like, how can we find a way to, to compete nonetheless. And so I like that dick, that mix of creativity in kind of rigorous analytics that is combined in SEO and just kind of, Oh, yeah, just kind of works.
John Corcoran 19:06
Yeah. works for sure. All right. So, Ben, I understand every morning you go swimming with schools of great whites that tell us the story.
Benjamin Yost 19:15
Let’s see. I’m going to tell you, I’ll give you a snapshot of my background first, and I’ll tell you a, I’ll tell you a shark. I guess it’s kind of a short story at the end of that. So I went to where I grew up in Indiana originally. I graduated from Kelley School of Business there and studied entrepreneurship in corporate innovation. After school, I had kind of a similar feeling as Josh did. After his MBA program. Mine was much earlier. I hadn’t actually entered the perfect professional world at all. I just decided I didn’t want to be in the kind of silo that is, you know, generally most business school students go into, you know, the big firms and things like that. And it was not something I wanted to do. So I was also still not really sure what I was doing with my life at all. And I kind of skipped off, sold everything I owned, and went to South America for a bit about a year and was hitchhiking, surfing down the coast of the west coast of America, came back to the US after I ran out of money and did end up getting a job in Denver, worked in sales in Denver for an engineering company, which was a good experience, but I ended up getting fired from that job. Because I actually almost blew up an air force base with a mistake on a quote that I made for
John Corcoran 20:44
saying now Josh, with these morning stories. Every time someone told me almost blew up in Air Force Base story, you know,
Benjamin Yost 20:55
yeah, well, it’s like flexible hosing right, like flexible metal hosing. And I made a mistake on a quote that I was not aware I had to do and it was going to an air force base and they were using it for jet fuel. You can kind of connect the dots there. So I mean, it was a fireable offense. Well, but yeah, so after that, I kind of decided I was like, I’m gonna, you know, skip off again, I, you know, I had enough money at this point. So I left and went to Thailand. And I wanted to become a divemaster. Right, for a long time, spent some years sailing as a young man, younger than I am now with my dad. And a lot of our captains and first mates always wanted us to, they wanted me to get, you know, my diagnostic certification. So I was referred to Thailand because it was super cheap. And that’s where I went, ended up doing my divemaster on a little island in the Gulf of Thailand called Koh, Tao, and got a job there. Diving, unfortunately, doesn’t make hardly any money. So I had to kind of come up with something else to kind of fund my lifestyle. And I ended up starting a lead generation business for accounting firms in the United States. So I started that out of a tiny apartment, that was about $30 a month. And
Jeremy Weisz 22:20
kind of like the rent in San Francisco,
John Corcoran 22:23
just about that.
Benjamin Yost 22:25
And I would do that, you know, I would have meetings all night long. And then I’d go diving in the mornings from like, 5am to 1pm during the day, and my day would start at around like 2am. And in Thailand, because that’s when people were able to have meetings in the US. And then I would Yeah, go diving. So to wrap this up for a short story, which I know you want it. I don’t have like a lot of shark stories, but I do have, you know, I guess I’ll give you two brief ones. They’re not super exciting. But Thailand has. They’re famous for whale sharks. And they’re not like the scary sharks that you might, you know, think of when you think of sharks, but we have a lot of whale sharks. So I’ve actually had the opportunity to swim with dive with, you know, about six or seven whale sharks. And that’s a super cool experience. They’re about the size of a school bus. And I guess my other shark story is probably more interesting. We have like tricks and trade tricks of the trade. When it comes to attracting sharks, a lot of people think, like you chum the water with meat and stuff. But actually the best way to attract sharks that no one should ever do. But people are using sound because they’re super, they’re super sensitive to sound underwater. And so we would fill up a plastic bottle, like a dishonouring bottle with water or with air under the water. And then you crinkle up between your hands. And it makes you freak out. They can hear it from like a mile away. And they come straight towards you. So that’s what we used to do when I was with like friends of mine that were also professional divers. We didn’t ever do it with customers. And Patti if you’re listening I didn’t actually do this is a made up story.
John Corcoran 24:15
A shark lover and go crazy if you know you’re doing that. Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. a snapshot, I guess.
John Corcoran 24:23
Yeah. What a cool experience. I must have been magical. All right, you guys. Well, we’ll wrap things up Josh and Ben. Josh, I’ll go to you. Where can people go to learn more about you guys?
Josh Elkin 24:32
Yeah, just just check out our website, bestcoastmarketing.com. And that’s that’s the place.
John Corcoran 24:39
All right. Thanks, guys. Have a great day. Thanks, everyone. All right. Thanks, guys.
Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com and while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast.