Law School to Social Media: Introducing Kenny Eliason
Kenny Eliason is the guy I go to whenever I have a question about SEO…
Or social media.
Or basically anything else having to do with making large amounts of money online.
He’s one of the guys behind NeONBRAND, a digital marketing agency that, in addition to doing incredible work for their clients, serves as an unbeatable resource for other marketers.
Seriously, you should see their blog.
Kenny Eliason & NeONBRAND are Legendary
A lot of people who read this blog (and even more people who don’t) aspire to be like Kenny Eliason and NeONBRAND.
He’ll tell you more of his story in the interview below, but check this out:
NeONBRAND is built on passion, ambition, and knowledge.
They’ve managed online branding and marketing for a crazy array of clients in all types of businesses, from doctors and lawyers, to arcades, photographers, and exterminators.
You can find NeONBRAND offices in 4 cities across 2 states.
Sometimes, Kenny flies drones in the middle of the workday, gives out flowers in downtown Vegas just to spread joy, and has Nerf wars in the NeONBRAND office.
On top of all of that, Kenny hosts 2 meetups where he generously shares his knowledge and insights…and pizza…with other Las Vegans.
[Those meetups happen at noon, which is way too early for me most of the time, but I still drag myself out of bed every once in awhile to attend. They’re worth it.]
Here’s the thing:
Most business owners who think social media is a magic solution for their marketing problems learn pretty quickly that it’s not.
The problem is that hiring a social media “expert” is fairly hit-or-miss.
[By the way, Kenny will tell you how to vet a potential “expert” in his answers below…]
Just because you’ve been on Facebook since the days when you had to register with a .edu email address doesn’t mean that you know anything about marketing on it.
Kenny Eliason isn’t just a social media guy.
He’s not just a SEO guy.
Kenny and NeONBRAND are the full package – he knows the technical part and how to market, brand, and run a business.
You and I are really lucky that Kenny agreed to let me interview him.
Let’s hope that some of his genius rubs off on us.
An Interview with the Brilliant Kenny Eliason
Fun fact: we both quit law school and pursued careers online! How was NeONBRAND born, and is your company today close to what you envisioned at the start?
Good ol’ Law School! It was quite the adventure, for sure. I actually really enjoyed my time there, but it was clearly not going to be the path my life would take. Although, I still use some of the things I learned in law school in my everyday life, so not all was lost…
Before law school, a really good friend of mine had a Digital Marketing company I had used with some of my previous companies. Back then, it was a relatively new concept, that of having a third party manage your digital presence, but I always thought it was a freaking awesome idea. After law school didn’t pan out like intended, I approached my friend and told him we could do some great work together, with him managing the business and me running the creative. After a little convincing, he agreed, and we became full partners in what would come to be known as NeONBRAND.
When starting NeONBRAND, we had a very clear vision: provide the best digital marketing solutions to businesses with the best customer service imaginable. We also had a side agenda: while building a fantastic team of digital marketing experts, we would also be building a team that could create and manage our own internal products. After pushing through five years of business, I can honestly say we have kept focus on the initial vision and our team is now in a place where developing our own products is a real possibility.
What trends do you see in digital marketing or social media that DIY marketers and bloggers should be aware of?
Focus on the consumer. It seems obvious to some of us, but I’m regularly surprised by the lack of knowledge people have when it comes to their target consumer.
Surprising to some, your target consumer doesn’t necessarily want to hear about your product all day every day. They’re interested in a ton more than your product or service. By focusing on the consumer you suddenly become more important to them because they think of you as a friend instead of a potential provider. What makes a good friend? Someone who makes you smile, someone who is there to listen, someone who is respectful, I could go on. These traits, when used in your digital marketing campaigns, will transcend their conscious and lock in a raving fan rather than a casual visitor.
Don’t get caught up with selfless self-promotion. It’s annoying. None of us like being sold to. Provide real value to your potential consumer and they will remember you when the time is right.
It used to be said that it took 3-4 “touches” with a potential consumer before they remember you. Unfortunately for us marketers, this number has gotten exponentially higher due to the massive amounts of content we’re delivered every single minute of every single day. You have to be in front of people in a positive way, all the time (or at least often enough, depending on your industry).
When a business is considering hiring a third party to handle their web presence, what should they know first, and how can they find someone trustworthy?
We obviously deal with this very thing on a regular basis, and it’s constantly on our mind. Our latest epiphany on this subject was related to “questions.”
The number of questions a potential third-party asks you is critical when making that decision. The third-party should really, really strive to understand your business. What makes it tick? Who are the consumers, and what do they like to do? On and on and on. They should ask a lot of questions, otherwise how will they represent you well?
The quality of the questions is important too. Make sure they’re not just sending you their template of questions for “getting to know you.” If they start with something like that, make sure they follow up that round of questions with much more intelligent and focused questions that help them understand you more.
Another component to picking a third-party is doing your own little “background check” on their work product. Most companies offer a “client” page on their website. Do some googling of their clients to see what their online presence looks like – make sure you are comfortable with the work they’re doing for other people before signing them up to do your work.
We recently had a client approach us with a competitor’s bid on doing the same work we were doing. They greatly undercut our pricing and “offered the same thing” as us. Of course, if this was truly the case, our client should switch to the lower cost solution or we needed to reduce our pricing, right?
Upon doing a little background checking ourselves, we found that the competitor wasn’t truly going to be offering the same level of work as us. While offering the same quantity of work, they were greatly under-delivering on the quality. Their clients had incredibly low engagement on social media, with often only one or zero likes on all their page posts. If the client would have gone with them as a solution, yes they may have saved some upfront costs, but the move would have lost incalculable returns on the back side.
Pay attention to what they’re really offering, and make sure they’re dang good at what they promise to deliver.
For people who might be feeling a little overwhelmed with the idea of building a web presence, can you briefly explain the difference between blogging and social media, and perhaps offer some advice on how to get started?
Blogging and social media really go hand-in-hand. Blogging is your pedestal, and social media is your megaphone.
Blogging is a great resource for delivering information to consumers. Do you have to have a blog in order to start blogging? If you define a blog as your own website, then the answer is a resounding no! There are tons of free options to get you started in the blogging world. There is no better time than now, so choose a platform and pick up that metaphorical pen and get to writing!
After you get that blog post up, make sure you tell people it’s there! Pick a platform – most are probably comfortable with Facebook for starters – and then share the link to your post and ask for feedback. Getting real and honest feedback can be a long and arduous process, but all good things take time. Keep writing and sharing and your followers will start to respond. Don’t forget, though: make sure your posts provide true value to the consumer or you’ll be up a creek without a reader!
What’s next on the horizon for you? Any projects in the pipeline you’re willing to share?
We love all things tech around here, so we’re constantly looking at what is next. In the tech world there is a huge movement happening in all industries towards automating processes using machine learning. We are aggressively learning about this new technology and how we can apply it to our marketing practices. It’s a crazy new way of doing things that require a whole new skillset, but we’re on the bleeding edge of something cool and we want to dominate.
Kenny, thanks for sharing your wisdom, knowledge, and pizza. Also, thanks for being a little ridiculous from time to time and letting me battle your drone with a Kool-Aide spoon while wearing armor made out of things found in my kitchen.
If you’re in Vegas and you want to come to Kenny’s meetups, you can find them on Meetup.com.
No matter where you are, if you want to get in touch with Kenny and NeONBRAND, you can reach them directly through their website.
I’m not an affiliate, so if you pay them to handle your online marketing, they’re not going to pay me anything.
If you are going to hire someone to build your online brand, you should look at NeONBRAND first. And, you know, last.
Update as of May 2017 – at the time this article was originally posted, I (Kitty) was not affiliated with NeONBRAND beyond occasionally collaborating on ridiculous blogging projects. In April 2017, I accepted a position at NeONBRAND and now work as their content manager in addition to my other blogging career responsibilities. They’re still awesome – perhaps even more so now that I’m handling their content marketing, and I have not changed the original text of this interview.