Looking for a sustainable, resourceful, efficient, and resounding legacy that will create an impact was something that prompted Janét Aizenstros to pivot from being an influencer to becoming an entrepreneur. Janét is the CEO of Ahava Group Global, a women-led modern media parent company. As she recounts her journey, she highlights how one shouldn’t look at limitations but focus on what you want to experience instead. Janét shares how she is now enjoying empowering women entrepreneurs and leaders.
In the digital era we are in now, one of the changes that have evolved is how people communicate with each other. With the variety of issues concerning communication, especially with facelessness, Ethan Beute believes speaking face to face is still the best form of communication. Ethan is the Marketing Vice President at BombBomb, a video email software company dedicated to helping people re-humanize their communication. He says it is now time to stop hiding behind the keyboard and get face to face through the use of video messaging.
I’m glad you joined us because we have Janét Aizenstros and Ethan Beute. Janét is an author, celebrity podcaster, speaker, scholar and a philanthropist who does it all. Ethan is the Vice President of Marketing for BombBomb. He’s also got a TEDx Talk and a book.
Listen to the podcast here:
Empowering Women Through Entrepreneurship with Janét Aizenstros
I am here with Dr. Janét Aizenstros, the Chairwoman and CEO of Ahava Group Global. It’s a woman-led modern media parent company that serves Fortune clients and media companies in nine locations globally. She sat on different boards. She has her own show. Welcome, Janét.
Diane, thank you so much for having me.
You’re welcome. I was looking forward to this. I want to start with a little bit of your background because you’ve got a lot of different things you’ve done that have led to where you are. Can you give us a history on you?
Before it started back in 2010, I made a decision I was going to leave my first marriage and due to the fact I was unhappy. I spent 2010 and a good part of 2011 rebuilding my emotional and spiritual strength to get the confidence to leave. In November of 2011, I got the gumption to tell my first husband that I was leaving and went in after telling him and took my first business meeting. My first business meeting at that time isn’t what exists now, but it was the first business meeting in a forward direction that led me to where I am. Where I am is in a place of thriving. I started writing because that was something I had left behind in my late teens. I knew I always wanted to write and I knew I was going to be a business person. I didn’t know what that looked like. Through the perils of life, life takes you through this weird winding road but it still led me back to this place.
I started blogging and as people started seeing me blogging and gaining influence, I started having more influencers reaching out to me saying, “You’re branding yourself online. Can you do that for me as well?” I have worked corporately, I had an extensive corporate background, which I parlayed a lot of my corporate list into clientele through traveling. I started a digital agency that became wildly successful. I always say I’m wildly successful underground because even though I did do things publicly and in media, that wasn’t my claim to fame. My claim to fame through all of this was my children’s books. One of the ways I got the emotional strength to leave what I felt was a toxic relationship was my children. Anybody that knew me knew I wasn’t the woman that talked about children.
Prior to ever meeting my first husband, I didn’t even think I wanted children or didn’t know I wanted them. I became a mother and it changed everything. I went on to write children’s books that became successful and are sold all across Canada and globally. God has such a great sense of humor that he would take the things we would never think would be what would make us great and utilize that. It was my children’s book. I embarked on a journey that I was going to use every God-given gift I was given to the best of my abilities for the glory of God. I hope people that were following my journey were able to be inspired by that journey that you can come from a place of brokenness, devastation and transform it into something beautiful and harmonious.
Did you go from zero figures to eight figures in a few years?
Yes. It’s been quite a journey. It’s not even something I talk about publicly. When I started this journey, I started as an influencer. I’m good at telling trends and foreseeing. I’m highly intuitive that way. I started seeing the future and I’ve pivoted, moving from influencer more into an entrepreneurial space because I started looking at what did I want my life to be? What kept resounding with me was legacy. I wanted something that was sustainable, resourceful and efficient. I felt entrepreneurship was one of the greatest ways I could do that. What I also discovered was it wasn’t about being rich. It was about being wealthy. I felt wealth was sustainable and I am the first in my family to embark on this journey of truly shifting and transforming, breaking a generational barrier that hasn’t existed before. What came with that was looking at what I wanted my legacy to be.
I started realizing other people who were like entrepreneurs and I are these highly creative. Nobody even knew. They’re not even seen. I discovered in the world of the wealthy. Diane, you used to interview billionaires and ultra-high net worth people. Some of them may have a social imprint, but many of them want to be invisible. They want to love their lives, love their families, love what they do and to leave a mark at some point that impacts other people. That is more of the mission. It’s not about, “Was I featured here? Was I featured there?” A lot of times the features are amazing and I’m thankful for them because I’ve been featured in media quite a bit too. The legacy is what I want to leave within people, not about what I acquired. That became more important than any dollar amount or any client or accomplishment that has come with this journey.
A lot of people who have been successful, and it brought to mind Craig Newmark of Craigslist when he was on my show. He is into philanthropy and not being the center of attention much. He’s typical of the engineer introvert, but he’s trying to give back. You’ve done much with what you’ve done. How did you create an international business? Is it in different countries? Where are you located?
We’re located in North America, Canada. The United States is the biggest place but it’s also the UK, South Africa, France, Australia and the South Pacific. We’re all across. How I did that was I was a stay-at-home mom at the time. I had retired from my corporate job when we moved back to my hometown when I was married to my first husband. I didn’t have a lot of startup capital when I had a business, but I always came from this place. You don’t need money to move forward with your purpose and your passion. I had learned that early on in my relationship with my first husband when we were struggling to try to find ways to buy a house, to get married and take care of our child. There was affirming in my spirit that said, “There’s always going to be something, you have to jump in.” I had the opportunity of interviewing a woman named Nancy Levin and she worked for Hay House. She has a book called, Jump…and Your Life Will Appear.
I’ve always held true to that, but if you do the thing that you desire to do and not look at the limitations that have you feel that have been placed on you, you can create what you want to experience. That’s initially what I did with my company. It wasn’t because I looked at, “I’m going to create an international organization or even this lean team of people.” It was more of, “What did I want to experience?” What I wanted to experience was connecting with amazing, inspiring people all around the world. I did that through podcasting. I did that through relentless networking because I didn’t have the resources. I took to social media and social media became a place where we have this level of interconnectivity globally with people. It was following those footsteps that led me to one person that led me to another person. Originally, it’s 300 people but we’ve leaned it out to 150 people that are highly impactful and come with a level of brilliance. It’s not the same or even more a level of brilliance that wants to change the world.
We have similar things that we do. My work in curiosity is to get over the things that limit us from our curiosity so that we can thrive. We both have these shows. We would have plenty to chat about it on a personal level because I totally relate to everything you’re talking about. It’s a woman-led modern media parent company that serves Fortune clients and media companies. What exactly does that mean? What are you doing for them?
Initially, what we do and women-lead comes from the Google initiative women-led. There’s a mandate for more organizations that give room to women leaders. I’m a woman leader and I came from an influencer space of women empowerment. I started seeing that. Meanwhile, I love men. They’re some of my favorite people. I have dynamic men around me. I also had some amazingly powerful women around me. Through my journey, I aligned with them. That’s where the woman led part comes from. In my organization, I make sure I started with a digital agency that has gone through different incarnations and different name changes, but at the core remained the same. I have a digital group. It didn’t start off that way, but we were always a creative agency that gave birth and breadth to a lot of my interests. I love gaming. I love designing things. I’m a lifelong creative. That’s where I’ve always been.
I was into sound and music, web design, interior design, architecture, all of those things. I found the greatest level of output with all of those gifts was in media design. I may not have been the person executing a lot of the projects, but I was definitely the orchestrator of the organization. What we initially do for these platforms is we help them with creative design. Back in 2017, we pivoted the agency to focusing more on connecting with women consumers in an intuitive emotional way through that and technology. I did this specifically for Fortune corps and for media companies because I understood the importance of social branding from that perspective, particularly within the African-American community. I saw the opportunity of being a black woman as influential as I was to be a voice in that area. That’s initially what we did. We added in consultancy because they found that more and more of our clients were leading us that way.Entrepreneurship is one of the greatest ways to leave sustainable, resourceful, and efficient legacy. Click To Tweet
I would say that would be the foundational part of the media company. In 2012, I connected with an influencer because in our background, we did still do branding for influencers. There’s this prominent influencer who is a senior editor at Forbes, who at the time was aspiring to public release a book and she saw the traction I have with my children’s book. She kept saying to me, “Focus on the publishing company, you should open that up to other people and when you do, please consider me as being one.” I gave birth to her book and she’s gone on to do amazing things. A publishing company became a launching pad for many people who went on to do brilliant things that have been New York Times bestselling authors. Some have been featured in Times Square.
The woman went on to be a Forbes senior editor. One woman was a stay-at-home mom who had a book that she had forgot about from her teenage years. In her middle age, she discovered, “Why not bring it to life?” Her children’s book series in Canada is going through the Toronto School Board System and the Jewish School Board System. She’s also built out a curriculum. A part of my mission through my company is to give creative opportunity to launch their lives and do exactly what God allowed other people to be that foundational element for myself. That’s initially what I do. As much as I would love to say it’s all the nit and gritty of the clients and the fortunes. It’s a launching pad to inspire creatives to be all they can be.
Is this a hybrid publishing or is this a full publishing house?
It’s self-publishing. As much as I’d love to say hybrid, it’s supportive or assisted publishing. Initially, we’re media-driven. The one part we can do excellent due to all the things I do around media is we develop brands that can get them media exposure, not like old PR where we’re going to pitch this person. We initially can place that person. We offer the same level of service to entrepreneurs and established influencers the same media placement that celebrities would initially get.
Do you still have your podcast that you do?
My first podcast I did almost 200 shows. I retired that back late 2014 when I became more entrepreneurial-focused, but I’m back. The beautiful thing is sometimes you have to go through a season of growth to get back in alignment. I feel I’m back at a starting place, in a more beautiful place but definitely, I had a starting place of bringing back after completing my Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences and along with my executive MBA. I came to this place of what does my life look like and it’s harmonious and wholly. People are like, “Is that holy, like a godly?” It is that also but wholly meaning this place of harmony and it was birthed out of something came out of me and he said something about he doesn’t believe in balanced living. He believes in harmony. Harmony is something that can be cyclical, but it also has variances. When I started looking at my life, based upon the level of brokenness I came from the first part of my life, where I’ve been able to co-create to present.
It has been filled with variances but also filled with consistency, beauty, intention and all-encompassing from source, a guiding map that has led me to this place of harmony in my own life. Understanding my purpose, understanding why I’m here but sometimes feeling blinded in one aspect. I created the Wholly Living Research Institute as a way to empower women leaders to live this harmonious life. Brought to run from the parts of life that feel uncertain but to embrace it, but also integrating it with the beauty, the certainty and also embracing the uncertainty. Where I am is in this place of where I’m going back to podcasting, going back to interviewing people and trying to teach and empower women leaders who are on the cusp of embarking on propelling their businesses and their brands forward. What it feels to get to a place of harmony, but also teaching them the lesson that way they can transform. From teaching the six-figure girl how to become that seven-figure and that seven-figure woman how to find grounding so she can become that eight-figure woman.
You do a lot of help for business women leaders and everybody. I was looking at what you’re talking about on your shows and how you come back to podcasting. I’m trying to think of how you combine that with your past influencer knowledge you have. I have a lot of people on my show who have their own podcasts and who have interviewed me and I’ve interviewed them. There are a lot of people interviewing people out there. A lot of people are trying to make money from that and they’re trying to monetize it. That can be challenging. Do you have any advice based on what you’ve done to monetize what you’ve done?
I used podcasting as a branding tool. It was my offer and back. One of the parts I feel I’ve been truly blessed with is wisdom and understanding. I have been blessed with that. That’s been my seeds of sowing back to the world. Initially, I was looking to monetize that but from putting that out, there are many platforms that create white paper. My podcast was my white paper because I felt it was more humanitarian and philanthropic that I ever felt it was something I truly wanted to monetize off of. When I did attempt to, it never worked. Wholly Living is that for me, as well as my previous podcast, but around Wholly Living it is wellness and a research company. Part of what we’re doing is we’re creating research studies.
I’ve aligned with other PhDs and we’re coming up with a research study that is already in the works. That will be launching at the beginning of 2020 that talks about harmonious living and what that looks like for women leaders in the 21st century for now. We have something called Wholly Exclusive, which is a community for millionaire women entrepreneurs to build sisterhood, wealth and business. It’s important I feel for many women that hit seven-figures. The one part I discovered in my journey was many women entrepreneurs start off having a plethora, an overabundance of tools and resources they can tap into. That’s including networking. Once you start becoming that six-figure girl where you’re doing consistently $10,000 a month in your business, it almost becomes a wilderness. You’re out there on your own. You’re in a desert by yourself.You don't need money to move forward with your purpose and your passion. Click To Tweet
Where are the other people? Even if there are other people, they’re not a lot of groups that cater to that, until you get to seven-figures where you can join the EO and then eight-figures with the YPO. What I started discovering was there has to be something for that woman that’s in that wilderness phase of her journey. When she’s in the place of leaving base camp and embarking on her trek up that mountain top, until she gets past her snake line, whatever that looks like for her, how do we sustain them? A part of what Wholly Living is to teach a lot of those foundational tools women leaders need. That way when they do hit their seven-figure target, they’ve already laid this phenomenal foundation. It’s not a launching pad, but it’s also something they can operate beautifully upon as they trek into whatever that future glory looks for them.
A lot of women and men struggle at that point where you’re doing everything on your own and then you have to start adding people, but they don’t know when to add people. Are those the things you’re dealing with in that group are letting go and trying to empower others?
100% and that’s the hardest part for leaders. Leaders have difficulty delegating. I came from the management where I worked corporately, but I found delegation with the most powerful tool I had learned. A lesson I’ve learned is you ask for help. Asking for help is vital. I look back on my journey and there are some areas if I had asked for help, was more authentic or grounded in my story, it would have made some of the trials I went through much easier. I wouldn’t have had to build walls, to hold up walls, to protect the vulnerability that came with that story in my journey. I’m in a place where I can talk authentically about the story and the journey. That’s the foundation I want to lay for other entrepreneurs is that as beautiful as some people’s legacies look from the outside, what they don’t see behind the scenes is the blood, sweat and tears. It will show people there are a lot of tears.
There’s a lot of feeling rejected, abandoned, alone, projection, feeling misunderstood, then finally get to a place of where you find your tribe and then you’re like, “These people think like me. They are like me. I’m not forgotten. I’m not abandoned.” If I can provide an inkling of hope in the darkness for some of those entrepreneurs that have complicated circumstances, the one part I can stress is we are also individualistic. We are not a part of a monolith. Even if we are a part of a monolith, every single person within that group is coming from a different walk of life, different perception, different circumstances, even if there are similarities. If I can share my truth to help those people that are a part of my soul tribe, are a part of my universal tribal or business tribe to offer them that clarity, I am more than happy to be that beacon of light.
If they’re reading this and they want to join anything you’re working on, if they want to be part of that group or find out how to publish and all the things that you’re working on. Are there some best places to reach you?
There are the best places to reach us. We have a strong social media presence. They can go directly to the websites. The one primary website that gives an overview of everything we do as a corporate company website is Ahava Group Global. They can go there and off of that site they can go to the other sites as well. The one place is around everything would be my branded website, which is JanetAizenstros.com.
Those would be the best places to reach you. You’re everywhere on social media. This was interesting to talk to you, Janét, because we have similar things we’re striving for and I was looking forward to this. Thank you much for being on the show.
Thank you so much for having me.
Communicating Effectively Through Video Messaging with Ethan Beute
I am here with Ethan Beute who is the Vice President of Marketing at BombBomb. He has a TEDx Talk. He is the author of Rehumanize Your Business. When he speaks, he talked about the Flight Back to the Face, which I’m interested in that because I know what he does at BombBomb is interesting. I’m looking forward to this. Welcome to the show, Ethan.Asking for help is vital. It makes some of the trials you’re going through much easier. Click To Tweet
Thank you much for having me. I appreciate the invite.
You do tie in the importance of communication, which many people have issues with. Texting has changed the way people communicated. I want to get a little background on you. Can you let people know what led to your interest at working at BombBomb? What did you do prior to this?
I’ve been at BombBomb full-time for a few years. I met the co-founders as soon as I moved to Colorado Springs. My wife, son and I moved to Colorado Springs from West Michigan several years ago. What it was doing back then was running marketing inside a local television station. I would essentially serve as an in-house agency in support of local NBC affiliate or ABC affiliate or Fox affiliate. I did that in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I did it in Chicago and came out here to Colorado Springs to work at the NBC affiliate. I met the two co-founders of BombBomb, and at the time I knew I was personally done with television. I knew this was going to be the end of that line. I was fortunately comfortable with photos and videos. I had shot, edited and written tons of video spots, short-form, medium-form and I shoot a ton of photos and I’m comfortable writing as well.
When social media came out, it became a great avenue for me. It was comfortable. I enjoyed it a lot. The transition into essentially digital marketing and content marketing was smooth. They brought me on early at BombBomb. We maybe had a couple of hundred customers at the time and now we have well over 40,000. Being along for that ride has been fun, interesting and challenging. Essentially, look at the work I’ve been doing here over the past several years as selling by teaching. I see myself as a learner and a teacher above all because it’s anchored in some new ways to do things in a more effective and satisfying way. It also happens to sell subscriptions and sell ideas. It’s been fun and it’s been a privilege.
One of the first times I saw BombBomb, I was working with Ford Saeks, who helped me with my website. He’s a big Hall of Fame Speaker you may be aware of. He sent me a little note about nice to connect. When I looked at it, this was a unique thing. I hadn’t seen it until then. I noticed that when you and I connected, you did the same thing, which I would expect from somebody who works there. It’s a cool little way to get rid of the facelessness is how you put it that we see in digital communication. How has facelessness impacted communication now you think?
There are a variety of issues around it. When we talk about facelessness, it’s not that every message needs to have a video. It’s not that you need to go through the time, effort and expense of getting face-to-face for in-person for things like this. There are some things best done over the phone or through a typed-out email, typed-out text message or typed-out social message. My contention is the pendulum has swung too far that way that we entrust some of our most important and most valuable messages to a form of communication that doesn’t differentiate us from other people. All of our texts look the exact same on the screen. It doesn’t build rapport or trust. There’s some research I highlight in the book about our brains don’t attribute typed-out words to the individual who typed them. Even adding a voice will do that. We humanize each other in our minds through voice and obviously through face and voice through video in a way we don’t do with text. It doesn’t build rapport. It doesn’t build trust. It doesn’t communicate nearly as well as we do when we’re face-to-face.
We see this as a way to use technology to make a slight return in chosen moments of your day to the way we’ve always communicated best since we’ve been on two feet as a species, which is communicating face-to-face by speaking. That’s what we do. We make it easy to record and send videos in a variety of places inside Gmail, inside Outlook, from our own web app, from our mobile apps, from Salesforce, from Zendesk and a variety of other integrations. The premise underneath it is that you are your own best sales asset. Whether or not you are directly in sales, you’re selling ideas, opportunities, etc. you’re advancing things. You’re moving people toward a point of view, a behavior or an outcome. That’s what all of us do working in a professional capacity. We think it’s time to stop hiding behind the keyboard often and find your spots to get face-to-face.
What I like about what you can do with BombBomb is that you get a quick little glimpse. It’s not overly long. You don’t have to get too much content out there. Sometimes I have people that want to get together to get to know you a little bit before we have this conversation or that conversation. You end up spending a lot of time when you could do something quick before the time where you need to get together. I find that sometimes we waste longer conversations to build up to the actual conversation. Do you think this eliminates some of that? Is it in place of some communication that maybe is time wasting?
In fact, I do think so. It’s more convenient for the sender and the recipient. I leaned on Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human in a couple of chapters of the book. In To Sell is Human, he recommends videos somewhere about two-thirds of the way through the book for the way it blends the efficiency of digital communication with the warmth of your personality and your voice. The reason digital communication is efficient is part of it is based in asynchronicity. You and I don’t have to agree to get together at 1:00 Mountain on this Zoom call, on this phone call or at this coffee shop or whatever. I can sit in my office, and this is what I do at the beginning and at the end of the day is I’m trying to get ahead or catch up. I appreciate that people have an interest and are paying attention to what we’re doing. When someone shows up in my inbox and they have a question that I’m going to answer more easily and more completely by speaking to them for 90 seconds, that’s what I do.
When I’m doing this at 6:00 AM Mountain Time it might not be the best time for someone on the West Coast to connect with me directly. It’s asynchronicity of you to record a simple video when it’s convenient for you. I know people who time block it, people who do a ton of business by repeat and referral, by staying in front of people in their database. Staying top of mind, like a real estate agent or a mortgage loan officer. We do a ton of business in those communities, financial advising, insurance, sales, etc. People who need to stay top of mind and build relationships with people to be successful and they’ll time block fifteen or twenty minutes in the morning and put out five or eight simple personal videos checking in and saying hi with people.It's deeply part of the human experience to be face to face with each other. Click To Tweet
Let’s say you want to do a Thank You Thursday. You want to start your morning in gratitude every Thursday and you’re going to think on Tuesday and Wednesday you’re going to start making your list of people to thank. You’re going to sit down and record five Thank You videos in ten minutes or fifteen minutes on a Thursday morning as a habit. Some people are going to open that up immediately. Other people are going to open it up five minutes later or other people are going to open it up five hours later and someone else who’s going to open up five days later maybe and that’s the beauty of it. On their own time, they have this brief experience with you as if you’re across the table, over a coffee or lunch. It’s this simple, casual, unscripted moment with you. I do think that the asynchronicity and the convenience for both the sender and the recipient save me a lot of time.
They don’t have to worry about connecting with someone and exchanging voicemails and all these other things. They’re going back and forth in an email exchange or I’m wondering did you mean this or did you mean that. These things we wind up doing. I do think it helps save time, especially for people. This is a little bit too specific maybe, but a couple of our most prolific customers who I know personally are dyslexic and it saves them a massive amount of time and energy that was otherwise devoted to getting all the letters and the punctuation all in the right order to represent their thoughts. Whether or not you’re dyslexic, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the majority of people reading probably don’t fashion themselves great writers per se. This ability to do a little bit more talking and a little bit less typing will save the individual some time as well.
I want to get back to what you talked about in your TED Talk. It’s the Flight Back to the Face. That’s a reference to what again?
It’s an excellent opinion piece in the New York Times. It was published early 2015 or early 2016. A friend of mine sent it to me and it’s written by a gentleman named Stephen Marche, who does a lot of writing in a variety of styles and format. His piece takes a dark look at essentially what I call a keyboard warrior, someone who is going to type things, whether it’s a Twitter exchange, a Facebook comments thread or a chat environment. People who say and do things when they have that coat of digital anonymity that they would never do if they had to look you in the eye and say the exact same thing, shameful, horrible, awful things. He takes it to a little bit of a dark place, certainly darker than I wanted to take it in my TED Talk. He ropes it around and draws out the importance of face-to-face communication in the human condition, in the human brain, in the understanding of one another and the basics of human survival. It’s all based on this ability to judge people immediately.
Can I trust this person based on the way they’re holding their pasture or through the words they’ve told me? Ability to discern disagreement between the words coming out of it, someone’s mouth and their non-verbal communication, all of these things we have the innate ability to do. One of the things I shared in that talk was a human facial expression of emotion is both universal and innate. It’s innate in that we all do it from birth and we all do it instantly. Infants are reading their parents’ faces and any other face that comes into their line of sight. We’re reading faces at a more valuable level of brain processing than we are any other things. Our brains are trained to focus on the face and read the face. We do not need to learn how to read the facial expression of emotion from one another.
In addition, it’s universal. We all do it the exact same way. There’s a huge body of research on the topic that was produced on different continents at different universities and institutions by different researchers with different subjects in different cultures. Spanning decades and all of it points to this universal facial expression of emotion. Even if you have to communicate with someone through a translator, you know whether they’re giving you good news or bad news or whether they’re excited, scared or anxious. It’s all this stuff. I go to effective and satisfying. When you get face-to-face with people a little bit more often in your day in these digital channels that we all rely on for good and proper reasons, you’re going to be more effective and you’re going to find more satisfaction in it. It’s deeply part of the human experience to be face-to-face with each other.
I was researching some of the six facial expressions that everybody has. I thought it was interesting that even blind people make the same expressions with their faces. My dad was born legally blind. I’ve had a lot of blind guests on the show and I’ve never thought about that until I was researching some information. Our perceptions are a lot of it of how we perceive through our senses and certain things are alike and then in some ways it’s different. Did you look into any of that when you were doing this research?
We’ve already gotten to the heart of what I wanted to do there, which is that this is not learned behavior. We don’t watch people. It’s not mimic, it’s not see-say. We know how to do this and it’s deeply rooted in the human experience. It’s based in survival at a subconscious level learn to do this over the millennia that we’ve been walking around on two feet.
You also host The Customer Experience Podcast. Is this your main type of topic you deal with? Is it sales in general or the whole customer experience?
It’s been super fun. I enjoy it much. My premise in starting it is that the experiences we produce and deliver for our customers are the single-most important thing we do as an individual, as a team and as an organization. When you look at what it takes to produce a customer experience or even what a customer experience is, which is essentially the collective experience of all the touch points someone has with you, your brand and your company. At an absolute minimum, you’re working across marketing, you’re working across sales, you’re working across customer success, which some people see and view as customer service or customer support. Those are three teams. In our organization, they’re on three different sections of the office and they team up and they meet with each other.Customer experience is a new language for a business problem we've always had or been challenged with. Click To Tweet
If you accept the idea that the most important thing we can do is deliver positive experiences for our customers at every touch point, from every seat in the organization, how do we create that in a holistic way? How do we do it with intention? How do we structure it? How do we manage it? How are some of the best companies in the world doing it? I’ve had salespeople on, marketers on, some branding experts. That’s another interesting layer here too. My definition of customer experience there, a branding expert would say, “You’re talking about the brand and branding,” and in a way you are. Customer experience is a new language for a business problem we’ve always had or been challenged with the business opportunity we’ve always had. I’m trying to explore it from various perspectives to get at best practices.
When you talk about best practices, I’m curious if you have strategies to make emails better. Are there some tips you can use this to make it a more effective way of communicating?
Whether you’re going to go video email or traditional typed-out text email, I’ll speak to this in terms of video email. Video email is relatively new. We’ve been doing it in a variety of ways for about a decade, but the world and the market have come around to it. A mainstream publisher like Wiley saying, “We’ll take on a book about simple, personal, unscripted webcam and smartphone videos.” It’s becoming common enough for that to happen. One of the things I hear from time to time in my seat is like, “Why didn’t they play my video?” I promise I’ll take this out to the level of any email. I took the time to record a 47-second video for this person. I sent it to him or her and they opened my email, but they didn’t play my video. Why not? There’s a better question to ask and it’s better for two reasons.
The better question to ask is why would that group or segment of people play your video? In asking that question, these are the two benefits. You’re thinking about what the value is and what the motivation is. You’re thinking about the outcomes for the customer themselves or prospect or whoever, strategic partner, a person you’re reaching out to by email or video email. You’re thinking about what’s in it for them. The importance of that exercise is that often, especially in a channel we totally undervalue like email, we dramatically undervalue its worth to us as individuals and as companies is because we all do it. We take it for granted. It’s like riding a bike or something else that most of us know how to do and we don’t think about or worry about it. We get out and start doing it. I don’t think we pay enough attention to our subject lines, the text around the video in the case of a video email.
When you reframe the question, instead of asking it after the fact, “Why didn’t they open my email? Why didn’t they reply to my email? Why didn’t they return my voicemail? Why didn’t they play my video?” Instead, you move the question upstream to say, “Before you ever start, why would someone take me up on this opportunity? Why would someone open this email? Why would someone click the link and schedule on my calendar? Why would someone click RSVP for the event?” You’re instantly putting yourself ahead of 90% plus of people who are sending emails every day in the fact that you’re thinking about whom the recipient is and what’s in it for them. That’s a little tip about email and video email. It applies to a stage presentation or a webinar. It applies to any piece of communication. It comes down to who is this for? Why does this exist? Why could, would or should someone participate with it?
I’m curious how long you can make these. I’m thinking of some of the emails I got from past employees I worked with who would ramble forever. You get these long emails. At least you could skim through them. How do you make sure you don’t give something that’s overly long? Is there an optimal length?
I’ll give you a couple of ideas. There’s an inverse relationship between how long the video is and how targeted it is. If you’re going to send an email to your database of 18,000 people or 1,800 people. If you’re going to send an email to a large group of people who the only thing they have in common is they have done business or likely to do business with you. It’s not further segmented in any way, then shorter is better, especially in an initial introduction, unless it’s super customized and in a mass situation, I always try to keep it under a minute for a couple of reasons. One, what BombBomb does is takes the first three seconds of your video and turns it into a looping animated preview automatically and then puts the video duration on it. If I can keep it under a minute, it’s going to play 47-second video or play 32-second video or play 54-second video and it manages that expectation.
From there, as soon as you get up to a minute and twenty, it says play one-minute video. If you can keep it under a minute, in our format it’s going to present better. It’s going to manage expectations specifically for the recipient. They know what they’re signing on for. What you were alluding to is you open up an email and it’s eight paragraphs long and you say, “I’ll deal with this later. I don’t have time for eight paragraphs.” If you get a video thumbnail from me and it says, “Play three-minute video versus play 37-second video.” There’s that type of relationship. The inverse though is if you’re deep in conversation with someone who’s thinking about signing on with you. If I am an agent and I’m in Seattle, Washington and have been working with these clients, they still want a home but they want to downsize because their kids are off to college and successfully out of the nest. They don’t want a condo. They’re looking for a particular type of house in a particular neighborhood and they’re in Europe for two weeks.
The perfect home comes on the market and it’s a super competitive market. If I walk to that house with the BombBomb mobile app and I walk and talk that home and I started out and I say, “Bob and Mary, it’s Ethan. I hope you’re enjoying your tour of the Mediterranean Coast. I know you’re not coming back for another five or six days, but this thing came on the market and you have to see it. Let’s walk and talk it.” You send them an eight or nine-minute video. I guarantee you they’re going to watch that nine-minute video because it is just for them. It’s based on their specific needs, the relationship you’ve built. It is of high interest to them. Some people will rerecord because they get all twisted up in their head about what they look like, sound like and say, “I can’t send that. It’s not good enough. I’m not good enough.” The only time I rerecord is if it’s two minutes and 25 seconds and I think to myself, “I know I could communicate that in a minute and twenty seconds. I know I could take a minute off that message and it would be as useful and impactful.”
I am sensitive to time. I tend not to rerecord my videos, but I’ve sent more than 8,000 of them. I’ve gotten a sense of where I am and what I need to do in these things. If you’re getting started with simple personal videos, whether it’s for an email, text messaging, LinkedIn messaging, Facebook or LinkedIn news feed, wherever you are putting these videos. You are going to have some resistance to what you look and sound like, probably. I’d say that’s true of 90% of people. Out of the gate they’ll be uncomfortable and not like it, but you should post it or send it anyway. You will eventually get your own flow. You’ll get comfortable. It’s like writing but you essentially have to find your voice in writing as well. It’s going to take some practice and part of that practice is getting good at what to say and what not say. You don’t want to send the equivalent of an eight-paragraph email to someone who is not expecting it, does not need it and does not want it.
You do many interesting things with all the work you’ve done with the TED Talk, your podcasting and then your work at BombBomb. A lot of people will probably want to know more if they haven’t seen what they can do with your program or if they want to find out more from you. Is there some way they can reach you?
I’m widely available on the internet as many people are. You can find me at any social network. You can feel free to email me. It’s Ethan@BombBomb.com. We’re BombBomb.com and we’re BombBomb on every social network. I would love to answer any questions anyone has and I’m excited about what we’re doing. The single most gratifying thing to me, and I would expect you to have the same in some format in your work, is when you get that unsolicited positive feedback. It’s typically in the form of a video and an email where someone’s telling you about something amazing that happened to them. It’s because of something they learned through you or one of your team members and the tools you equip them with. It’s such a pleasure to watch a dramatic change in the way people are building relationships and building their businesses.
Whenever I get the same message, I can imagine a video message is even more impactful. It’s nice to have you on the show, Ethan. Thank you.
It was kind of you to have me and I enjoyed it. Thank you.
It was fun. I’d like to thank Janét and Ethan for being my guests. If you missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com and please join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Janét Aizenstros
- Ahava Group Global
- Craig Newmark – previous episode
- Jump…and Your Life Will Appear
- Wholly Living Research Institute
- Wholly Living – podcast
- Rehumanize Your Business
- Ford Saeks
- To Sell is Human
- Stephen Marche
- Ethan Beute’s TEDx Talk
- The Customer Experience Podcast
About Janét Aizenstros
Janét Aizenstros is a Canadian serial entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in metaphysical sciences and EMBA. She is known as an author, celebrity podcaster, speaker, model, scholar, and philanthropist. She has interviewed some of the world’s most recognized celebrities, authors and thought leaders on emotional intelligence. Janét has been featured on numerous media outlets globally such as SUCCESS, Oprah, Huffington Post, CTV, Women’s Post and more. She has delivered keynote speeches for companies such as Microsoft, Innovation Guelph, Mompreneurs and featured by DOVE USA for the #LOVEYOURCURLS Campaign.
About Ethan Beute