Characterized by an approach that’s long-term, more personal, and less transactional, relationship marketing is something James Carbary lives out every day as a LinkedIn community builder, social media influencer, Huffington Post contributor, and host of the B2B Growth podcast.
Because his relational approach matches that of BombBomb and our community, James was kind enough to host me on Episode 248 (Video for Relationships, Not Just Marketing) and again for an online summit for Episode 381 (Top 10 Times Video Says It Better Than Typed-Out Text).
Though we’re connected on LinkedIn and Facebook and spent a good amount of time talking on the podcast, we’d never met in person. And with nearly 700 episodes under his belt, James hadn’t met the majority of his guests in person.
So he hit the road to bridge the digital divide … to turn his digital connections into real relationships (how novel!).
On his visit to Colorado, he stopped by BombBomb HQ where we talked LinkedIn, relationship marketing, face to face communication, and community building.
If you find a relational approach to your business more satisfying than a transactional approach – or if you want to get some powerful LinkedIn tips – watch the recording below.
As a tease, here’s a choice quote: “Community is the new marketing.”
LinkedIn Tips, Relationship Marketing, and Community Building with James Carbary
In the recorded conversation above, James talks with BombBomb’s Ethan Beute about:
- his company, Sweetfish Media
- how he found BombBomb and why we’re “his people”
- what he’s learned through hundreds of conversations with sales and marketing executives
- how to be more successful on LinkedIn
- why he’s traveling the country to meet his online connections in person
Watch the full conversation in the 19 minute, 44 second video embedded above.
Latest Trend and Biggest Takeaway from 600+ Interviews
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As host of the B2B Growth podcast, James has interviewed many hundreds of sales and marketing executives from all kinds of companies, as well as entrepreneurs and influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk. Here are two top takeaways from hours and hours of conversations.
Latest B2B Growth Trend
What he’s hearing about and learning about: Buying Intent
“The technology is there for us to see if someone is searching for a keyword that’s inside of what we do,” James says. “Instead of relying on ranking on the first page of Google, you can identify who has buying intent for what we do and then we can proactively go after them.”
If you’re reaching out to a lot of people to build relationships, but they may be months or even years out from actually transacting, signals like buying intent can help you prioritize your calls, emails, text messages, appointments, and other touches.
Greatest B2B Growth Takeaway
In thinking back on nearly 700 episodes, his greatest takeaway is “an affirmation of my theory when I started the show – that relationships are fundamental.”
His default approach – relationship marketing – has been validated by all kinds of sales and marketing leaders.
“I think there’s power in depth,” James says – and a relational style favors going deeper.
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“I’ve been spending a lot of time on LinkedIn over the past 8 or 9 months creating daily content,” James says. And in that time, he’s developed some best practices.
His top tip: “Being consistent in sharing helpful content that is native to LinkedIn.” He used to use Buffer to load up and shoot out LinkedIn posts in a “set it and forget it” kind of way, but he got a minimal return on that minimal investment.
Now, he’s often getting thousands of views on his posts.
- Write heavy posts, even up to 1,200 characters
- Write it as a post or status, not as a LinkedIn Article
- Use numbers: 4 part framework, 3 step process, 3 things I learned, etc
- Make it mobile friendly – add spacing throughout to make it easy to read
- Reply to every comment – when you “engage with the folks who engage with you,” the algorithm rewards you
- Place links in the comments, not in the post itself
- Provide tangible value in the post, even when you’re linking out – give, don’t tease
As a result of these practices, he’s getting “huge inbound lead flow” from LinkedIn right now.
Community Building By Getting Face to Face
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James put together a lunch in Colorado Springs and a dinner in Denver – bringing together people in his network not just to meet him in person but to meet each other. He’s done the same in other parts of the country.
This is no small effort, so I asked him why.
“As I think about the big goals of what I’m trying to do at a macro level, I want to create community,” explains James. “And when I think about community building, there’s an in-person element that just can’t be replaced. There’s something about us being here right now that cannot be replicated (in a conference call, podcast, video, etc).”
When you’re in person:
- “There’s something powerful there.”
- “The depth of the conversation” is better.
- “More of your personality comes out, so you connect with people at a deeper level.”
Ultimately, James believes that “community is the new marketing. If you can build a thriving community, you’re going to have a business that lasts.”
Though it can sound “fluffy,” this philosophy produces real business.
In conclusion: “If at the foundation of this community are relationships that I’ve initiated digitally and added depth to personally, face-to-face, we’ve got a really strong foundation for a business that’s going to last a long time.”
Relationship Marketing As a More Satisfying Way to Live
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“At the end of the day, the biggest reason I’m doing this (traveling to connect in person) is that it gives me life doing it,” James says.
“As a business owner, I ultimately get to choose how I spend my days,” he adds. “And this kind of conversation – I’ll be energized by it for days and days and days – probably weeks – to come.”
If you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, business owner, or similar, you have this control, too. As James optimizes his life and business, he actively looks for opportunities to do more things that bring him energy and life – and that includes this relationship marketing approach.
In conclusion: “I think there’s a lack of friendship in business. I want to do business with people I like.”
Thanks to James
A big BombBomb thank you for spending the time and sharing your insights, James!
Follow him on LinkedIn right here.
Check out the B2B Growth podcast right here.
Rehumanize Your Communication
If the approach James takes to relationships, community, and business resonates with you, you’ll find more success and satisfaction every day by being more personal and human in so much of your digital communication. Helping you do this is why we exist.
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