#17 Spotlight Marketing – The Best Free Marketing Plan

Welcome to the Effective Ecommerce podcast in this episode. We’re going to talk about spotlight marketing which is a term that as far as I know I coined and it’s a certain type of marketing it’s one of my favorite free ways of marketing and just getting traffic to your website and it’s amazing because it works on multiple levels so the quick version of what spotlight marketing is it’s interviewing people and quote-unquote spotlighting them on your website so this is in the form of an article or a video or a podcast where you interview them and you talk about them and there’s a couple different ways to do this but I want to talk about really quickly why this is so powerful so one you get to build a relationship with someone you get to interview them and you basically get to either over email build a relationship or do it over in person possibly or do it over a podcast or a number of different things you’re building a relationship with a real person which is extremely powerful so they’re going to come check out your website they’re going to come check out what you have to say what you are doing which is what once again extremely powerful so that’s number one you’re building a relationship number two if they like it they’re probably going to link it or share it with their audience they’re going to put a link to it a backlink which means that you get another backlink to your website means you’re going to climb up the Google rankings get higher and higher up there which is we all know from earlier episodes is huge you want to get as many quality backlinks as you can and like I said they’re going to share it with everybody in anybody they know so you’re going to get extra traffic all their friends family any of their followers if they’re an influencer if anyone that goes to their gym let’s say they’re a gym owner or if they’re a dance studio owner anyone that comes to their dance studio will come check out your website and there’s probably even something else that I’m not thinking about where it has some other benefits but those are the three main ones so I want to talk really quickly how I came up with spotlight marketing so I think that might illuminate why it’s so powerful so when I first was launching be dancer this was like almost five years ago I had no idea what I was doing had no idea how to get people to the website and it was this kind of long process to come up with this idea of quote-unquote spotlight marketing so at first what I wanted to do I you I needed to get backlinks to my website so I figured I’d email people just random people somewhat related to the dance world actually and do a trade where they put a link to my website on their site and I put a link from my site to their site and this kind of worked I think it was helpful I think you definitely like Google knew know that I was somewhat serious but it’s not the most powerful method and a lot offset quote-unquote experts I know would say that I’m crazy for doing this that it’s a total waste of time I don’t think it’s a total waste of time but what I found is my conversion rate was pretty low now the next idea I had and I might be getting some of the timing a little bit off the next idea I had was I know I’m going to compile a huge list of dance studios I got a thousand emails of different dance studios and I sent them all a % off coupon and I figured that they’re going to love this they’re going to come to my website % offs pretty huge they’re going to buy some products zero-zero people cared about that no one even responded everyone just said spam trash whatever all right so that was another failure then I started reading books I’m trying to remember some of the books here I might I might it might come to me later I think it was like influencer Robert Child Diniand a few different other ones Oh how towing friends and influence people how towing friends and influence people is great book I highly recommend everybody read it and in that book it talks about don’t think about what you want think about what the other person wants and if you live life through that kind of mentality it’s much easier to get people to quote-unquote do what you want if you try to give them an incentive because it’s something that they want so what do mean by this I finally realized that instead of sending people an email with coupon code and saying hey come buy my stuff which is what I want I would try to figure out what I’m good at what I’m good at and help them out so what Idealized I’m good at is internet marketing or at least I’m better than the average dance studio owner is so I’m good at internet marketing what I could do is I could write blog articles could interview these people write blog article about them and post it on my website and the main reason I did this at the beginning was to get that backlink and I would push really hard for that I’d say hey you know really mean a lot could you put a link from your website to the article so not even your website to my website your website to the article page which still has some huge SEO value and that worked way more I went from zero people out of thousand responding to me to something like a hundred or  people out of thousand responding to me that was a huge revelation so why does it work well like I said it’s what people want it’s people especially these dance to be owners there’s small business owners they’re not good at marketing they’re really good at their craft they’re really good at teaching dance but they’re not good at the marketing and I’m saying hey let me help you out at that thing that you’re not good at let me help you do it better I’m nonnative you some backlinks I’m going to give you an article I’m going to talk about how great you are who doesn’t want an article about themselves on how great there are they are everybody wants someone to respect how great they are so I know I’m repeating myself quite a lot here so let’s see here so you don’t just need to interview dance studio owners obviously that’s my example but let me give you some examples that might work for you any kind of bb so any kind of business that provides a service and wants to get the word out about their product it’s probably open to some kind of an article being written about them so another example I would use is gyms for performance nut butter another example I might use is resellers small mom-and-pop like organic food companies I’d sell my product in there so any kind of business that would potentially resell my product I could definitely do the next thing is interview bloggers or influencers so figure out who the biggest bloggers that blog about a topic related to your niche same thing with influencers and that could be on Instagram that could be on YouTube find all these people in and interview them I did a whole bunch of searching on who are the top YouTube people who are the top Instagram people and I interviewed them on my blog so interview any one of your what I call well not what I call well Kevin Kelly called your thousand true fans so Kevin Kelly wrote this article called thousand true fans in it he said that there was only a thousand people in the world that really loved what you were doing that would still be awesome like if you could get a thousand people that would each be willing to pay a hundred dollars a year just to hear from you just to watch what you were doing you’d make six figures every year easily that’s pretty powerful so try to figure out who your thousand true fans are for your brand who are the people that would shout from the rooftops about how amazing you are I think I’ve talked about it before but for performance unbutters I have a few different people that really love the company they really loved the brand one of them specifically had a tattoo like a temporary tattoo made he paid for it himself put it on his shoulder and ran some different mud races that’s a true fan that’s a guy that I want to interview and I want to help him out I want to scratch his backend help him get famous and then of course it just builds the relationship the next question I would ask yourself is if you could only have one customer in the world who would it be and try to interview them so for me for performance nut butter it would be Tim Ferris he’s Hugh time a huge fan of his he’d be if he liked the product it would just blow product would just do amazing so if I could interview one person would be Tim Ferris now he may or may not be out of my reach so then I try to think about who’s the next person and keep going down the list until I get like the top dog now I say Tim Ferris is out of my reach but for right now he might be but maybe in time he won’t be so I can it’s something I could definitely keep trying so let’s see what else we got here I got a bunch of notes on looking at currently and I want to make sure I don’t miss anything I’ve talked about this in previous episodes but you might want to do list you might want to delist websites or list of the top ten web sites in your niche top ten magazines top ten whatever topped it could be top  thirty top ten blogs podcasts or YouTube channels basically anyone that wants some free publicity some free marketing you should interview them and give them that free publicity so let’s get into some of the nitty-gritty here and this is some of the secret things that originally I actually released a course on spotlight marketing and I might do it again and dot for a very inexpensive course on it but let me give you some of the different ways on how you can these contacts so the key is to create some kind of a spreadsheet I think that’s the easiest way to do it you’re going to want to have the email the website if they have a website their handle if they have like an Instagram or something handle you want to keep it pretty simple if you can do the first name last name etc. then that’s helpful as well so some examples would be first name last name company name email phone website so create a spreadsheet with all of those and if you need to keep some of them blank that’s fine the first thing I would recommend doing is hiring virtual assistant to do a lot of this research for you but here are some tips that you can tell them or if you want to do it yourself that’s fine but it’s so much more cost effective to hire someone for two dollars – two dollars and fifty cents an hour on with virtual assistant and in future episode yeah future episodes I will talk about how to hire a virtual assistant which I think is the number one thing everyone should be doing so I will try to post some of this information in thee-commerce success pack yet so if you haven’t gotten that go to effective-commerce comma and get the success pack but so some ways to do the research social media you can type in hashtags or the key phrases of your company and look at people that have the top number of likes you can use a reseller directory if it’s bb you can use Google Maps you can use forms Yelp yelps another thing Idol I would I would I did the top major sites cities I had my VA type and dance studio and you can also do this by zip code as well dance studio and I just had a compiled a list of every single dance studio in Yelp for all those different things and I also had them put what the rating was so that later I could do like four out of five out of five so later I could do the top dance studios in the United States so for offline you can look at the local paper magazine ads meetups familiar with meetup comma as far as the emails I’ll give some examples actually of all the different emails I send later but don’t complicate the emails you send too much there are ways to automatically insert first names and the names of the business in the title in the body of the email and it’s called mail merge there’s different ways to do this once again you can do it off of Gmail you Cando it using Mail Chimp which I highly don’t recommend doing I avoid that like the plague because people can sniff those out you want the emails to look like real personal emails so the low budget strategy would be to hire virtual assistant to or well the low budget would be to do it yourself which is don’t do it it’s a waste of time to do with that the next step might be to hire a virtual assistant to do it still not the best look at mail merge there’s an add-on for mail for Google Apps which is a mail merge it’s a max of  a day unless you pay a little bit extra a freeway of doing it is downloading a plug oar an application called Thunderbird and then there’s a mail merge plug-in it ‘sit’s kind of complicated to do but it’s not impossible so that’s definitely away that’s what I did at the beginnings if you’re somewhat technical you Cando that so let’s talk about I’m going through my notes again so I want to make sure I don’t miss anything here all right I’m going to talk about the SOP so the standard operating procedure what Idol with it and basically the way it works I get my virtual assistant to compile a huge list of a bunch of emails then I use email merge program to send out let’s say hundred emails from there my virtual assistant takes care of everything let me read to you the first email just so you have an idea of what it would be so we want an initial email might be we want to spotlight your Jim on our blight I read I write for the performance nut butter calm blog and would love the opportunity to interview you about your Jim so we can spotlight your Jim on our blog it won’t take too much time it won’t take too much of your time and it will be free advertising for your Jim we can even conduct the interview over email to make it more convenient for you so it’s very key a lot of I spend a lot of time crafting this email so it’s more convenient for you it’s also because it’s more convenient for me I don’t want to do it over the phone because it’s a waste of my time next I said here’s an example of an article we wrote about a gym before or previously he’s probably be a better way to say it and I link to an article we previously wrote now if you’ve never interviewed gym before you can make one up you can write your first one just as a test if you’re interested please just respond to this email and we can start the process exclamation mark thank you and I look forward to response Travis Mars eons PS there is no cost it’s absolutely free our blinis dedicating to highlighting gyms throughout the country so I answer their question because they probably think this is some kind of scam that I’m gonad I’ve had a lot of dance studios say that to me like we’re not interested because you’re going to try to charge us money and I’m like no that’s not atolls usually nine times out of ten they respond saying something like yeah that sounds great I would love to be interviewed so my next email that goes out and once again at this point my virtual assistant handles all of this is okay great it’ll probably be best just to do the interview over email to ensure I get your answers correct and allow you to have time to figure out the word incorrectly please fill in the answers as soon as it’s convenient for you and we will turn it we’ll turn it into an article I probably should say will turn your answers into an article and post into our website Thank You Travis and Rosie on e psi attached the questions please let me know if you have any problems opening them thanks again I’m excited for this article so I’m building this anticipation right and then I have some different ones depending on what they say and I also let my assistant handle it if they say oh I’d rather dot over the call then I say well this is why it would be better to do it over the thing if they respond and they say sounds great send me an email I say okay sounds great I attach the questions please fill in the answers blah blahblah so finally after a few days or week or whatever they respond to me they respond with the questions filled out and I send them back a response this is awesome thank you for the response I would get the article fully written upend on the website ASAP I’ll let you know when it’s up so you can tell anyone and everyone about it and hopefully if you could put a link to the article from your website it would help the article rank higher in Google and help spread the word even more about your Jim thanks Travis Mars eons so once again I’m trying to seed this idea of once it’s written please spread the word once it’s written please put a link from your site to our site but I’m also telling him why it would be a good idea for them to do it it’s not just why it’s good idea for me to do it so that’s the main stuff that’s the main stuff with that now at this point my virtual assistant will send up the filled in questions and answers to a writer who turns it into an article now if you really wanted to be lazy about it you could just print the Q&A directly maybe do a few edits for grammar etc. but I’ve definitely considered doing that just to automate the process even more there’s a few different writer you can find a writer on Fiverr for $ you know maybe it depends on the word it’s usually $ per hundred words but Fiverr definitely is the way to go so after the writer writes the article they send them back to my virtual assistant my virtual assistant posts it onto our blog we generally try to do a SEO friendly title and we try to do at least  images and in my questions we include the three images so what kind of questions do I ask you know I don’t think I have a list of the questions right here but I try to keep them fairly generic but yet specific sounding what number one might be what made you decide to start a gym what makes your gym different than the other gyms in in seconds describe your gym fours number four what’s the biggest accomplishments you’ve made number five it’s just a bunch of things like that Iman depending on what your industry is your questions might be different but the eye ideas keep them open-ended enough that if they want to talk for four paragraphs they can obviously you want to try to spark some kind of conversation definitely avoid any kind of yes/no answers and then at the end of it I include a little bit of text saying please attach two to three images that we could use for your article and this helps for the SEO value it helps the article just look better as well so I’m going to be doing I’ve been doing this strategy with pee dance for a long time I’m going to be doing this strategy for performance nut butter hitting up all the local CrossFit gyms that I can not not just local nationwide CrossFit gyms nationwide small smaller gyms nationwide mom-and-pop supplement stores anyone that I think might be interested in purchasing from me or spreading the word I’m also going to be hitting up Instagram influencers and company and people that purchase from me that are influencers I’m going to do my best to try to research people as they purchase from me and see if they have a big Instagram following or Twitter following or whatever Pinterest following isn’t always easy to do but that’s pretty much it so you can use this strategy to connect with people to get backlinks to your website and ultimately get traffic to your website I feel like I talked a lot about all this stuff I will add all the templates that include the templates of all the messages that I send as well as the questions that I send in thee-commerce success pack so if you haven’t yet go to effectiveecommerce.com you should be able to find it thee-commerce success pack is somewhere on there or I think if you go to ecommerce affective e-commerce comma slash success pack you’ll be able to find thee-commerce success pack it’s got a bunch of other goodies as well so I’ll add that in there and on top of this as always if you haven’t yet left that five-star review on iTunes this is your time to do it please I’m asking you very nicely it super it really helps out the podcast and if you leave that -star review on iTunes I will interview in chance to win a free one-on-one consulting session I’ve been picking I’ve been picking people and I’ll announce it on podcast that people that win all the time so I’ll probably pick a new one pretty soon even though it hasn’t been a full month yet I enjoy interacting with people that listen tithe podcast because I want to help you out ultimately the whole reason I’m doing this I’m doing this all for free purely to help out you to help you out on your journey of starting anew-commerce business when I first started my e-commerce business I had no idea what I was doing I didn’t even know that podcasts were a thing one of the big first leaps I made in success it was when I found out about Commerce podcasts and I want to do the same thing for you and I know not everyone listening this podcast is going to be hugely wildly successful but I’m hoping you will be and I’m hoping I can be a part of that I’m hoping at some point you’ll email me Travis that effective e-commerce calm let me know what you like about the podcast what you don’t like about it but another way you can let me know is leaving that five-star review on iTunes so that’s pretty much it new episodes every Monday and Thursday and if you haven’t yet go to my YouTube channel you can subscribe I got a ton of videos there you can see me in person if you haven’t seen me in somewhat person yet and I actually all add in if you’re in the Los Angeles area I live in LA and I host some meetup so you can always hitmen up there so I don’t iTunes five-star review effective e-commerce success pack email me whatever thank you guys so much for listening this episode you have a greatest your day and I will talk to you guys next week

  • Everyone wants to get more traffic and back links to their website and in this video I am going to show you a free way to just that well at the same time getting your most valuable customers coming to you and sharing your site with their friends.  This is actually super simple and you will kick your self for not thinking of it before.  I call it spotlight marketing.
  • Spotlight marketing is interviewing your customers
  • explain it
  • How I came up with it
  • Why it works
  • Explain the process
  • Examples
    • b2b
    • Interview bloggers/influencers
    • Interview anyone of your best 1000 true fans
    • If you could only have 1 customer who would it be
    • Travis’ story and how he came to the idea
    • What didn’t work
      • Trading links – too technical for some people
      • “Let’s collaborate” – too much effort for people
    • 1000 True Fans / The Tipping Point
    • Connectors, Mavens, Persuaders
      • WORKSHEET: Find 10 each
      • Who do people in your industry look up to?
      • What publications or websites do they read?
  • Why this works: reciprocity & human psychology
  • Influence by  Dr. Robert Cialdini

Module 3: Finding The Elusive Customer

  • 1,000 true fans/ 1 true fan
    • Who is the #1 person you’d LOVE to interview in your industry?
    • Who does he/she follow on Twitter?
    • Who else is like them, but perhaps more reachable?
    • Scouring “Top 10 lists”
    • Interview your own customers (since they have similar friends with same buying habits)
  • In the internet world, everyone feels anonymous.
  • People have a desire to be recognized and feel special.
  • You offer free marketing, publicity, and the need to feel good.
  • List 10 websites or magazines
  • List 10 blogs, podcasts, or Youtube channels
  • List 10 places your customer shops at offline
  • customer themselves

Module 4: Sourcing Contacts( ?) – BEFORE

  • KEY for spreadsheet (minimum effective dose): Email / website
    • You can get all info from the website
    • MED: ONLY website and email
    • More variables = harder to automate, easier to make mistakes
  • Fields Needed: First Name, Last Name, Company Name, Email, Phone, website
  • Optional: First, Last, Company, Phone
  • Finding Contact Information & VA SOP template
  • Online: Social Media, Reseller Directory, Google Maps, Forums, Yelp, Zipcode
  • Offline: Local paper, magazine ads, meetups
  • Don’t complicate the emails you send, Why just do email / website – might spell names wrong, title, offend anal people, etc
    • Studio names with the word The vs. no the

Module 5: Outreach Strategy – DURING

  • Email Strategy: basic templates and setting up
  • How to not send each email individually: Why Mail Merge
  • How it works in a nutshell
  • The Template: “read off”
  • Solution: Mail-Merge – Google apps can do it (max: 100 in a day)
  • Software (Free): Thunderbird & Mail Merge Add On (higher maximum)
  • Figure out your email software settings (IMAP / POP3) to use for TB
  • Double check data entry (capitalize first names)
  • Make tests emails
  • Once you go through your list
  • Ballpark response rate: it will vary depending on your niche
  • Phone Strategy: calling and following up for people that don’t respond
  • 1st email: welcome, what we do, would you like to be interviewed?
  • 2nd email: here are the questions
  • 3rd email: thanks you, we’ll send you the article when its live
  • 4th email: links, thank you for your time (DON’T GIVE CODE, looks too pitchy & the psychology of it)
  • Use Gmail vs TB (or others)
  • Re email people that don’t respond after you send them questions in a few weeks
    • Do you have any questions
  • read the template AGAIN!

Module 6: Editing And Publication

Recap: video, audio, vs. Text – brief overview

  • Text focus for this course because…..(see below), its easy, more scalable less time intensive, blah blah, outsourceable
  • Content Length: Target 500+ words (minimum 500 if possible)
  • Questions: 5-7 Total
  • VA helps edit, format, and post the content making it scalable.
  • include SOP of how VA formats it? (include screen recordings)
  • give VA access to blog (see if you can set contributor permissions only)
  • How to make your article look good
  • Include the VA SOP – on-site page title, three pictures, H1
  • “if you have experience with this person, please leave a comment below”
  • Hiring a native english speaking writer off Fiverr and Elance to proofread
  • Proofread yourself starting out if you are a native speaker / just post Q&A
  • 3 a week if you can handle it. Everyone should start with one
  • VA only does formatting, image, social media image (check fb for latest dimensions)
  • Automating social media posts via RSS / IFTTT / Hootsuite
  • Emailing them about the post
  • Itd be great if you can link back (refer to Travis’ templates)
  • Make them sound awesome and like they need to share it
  • Feel free to tweak these templates to your needs (Advanced)

Module 7: Tracking Metrics and Performance

  • KPIs of the campaign to know and maintain
    • dont waste time on X, Y, Z metrics
    • because its sales that matters in the end
  • Using Google Docs / Spreadsheets
  • Removing dead emails or unresponsive contacts
  • Call those that are unresponsive (depends on your list size to call or not)
  • But always email first

Module 8: Conclusion

  • Long-term sustainability of this strategy
  • If EVERYONE in your market starts doing this it could be spammy
  • solution is to be the first, and most people prob cant figure this out on their own
  • “You can have everything you want,  if you help other people get what they want.”
  • Total time investment to set up: 2-3 weeks to get everything setup, for people to respond. wait for the writer, excel, CSV to get your first post live
  • But its front-loaded, one-time setup.
  • Biggest time sink = waiting for people to reply to you
  • Step 1: Identify your connectors, mavens, persuaders
  • Step 2: Gather emails / website /
  • Step 3: Thunderbird / send bulk emails
  • Step 4: Send questions /
  • Step 5: Sent to writer format, edit,rewrite
  • Step 6: VA prep for post / social blast
  • Step 7: Present content, ask for links and share
  • Step 8: Measure and repeat

Initial Email

Subject: We Want to Spotlight Your Gym On Our Blog


I write for the Endurapeak.com blog, and would love the opportunity to interview you about your gym so we can spotlight your gym on our blog.

It won’t take too much of your time and will be free advertising for your gym! We can even conduct the interview over email to make it more convenient for you.

Here is an example of an article we wrote about a gym before http://www.endurapeak.com/exertec-health-fitness-center-interview/.

If you are interested please just respond to this email and we can start the process!

Thank you and I look forward to your response,

Travis Marziani

P.S. There is no cost, it’s absolutely free;  our blog is dedicated to highlighting gyms throughout the country.

First name: Travis

Last name: Marziani

Street Address: 23500 Chatfield way

Email ad: travis@endurapeak.com

Phone number: 6614760898

BDAY –  Novermber 4, 1988


Subject – I Would Like To Spotlight Your Gym On Our Blog

Country – USA

State – CA or California

City- Valencia

Okay great for Gyms
Okay great!

It will probably be best to just do the interview over email (to insure I get your answers correct, and allow you to have time to figure out the wording correctly).  Please fill in the answers as soon as it’s convenient for you, and we will turn it into an article, and post it to our website!

Thank you,


P.S. I attached the questions please let me know if you have any problems opening them.  Thanks again I am excited for this article!

OKGR Email Okay

Sounds great!

I attached the questions, please fill in the answers as soon as it’s convenient for you, and we will turn it into an article, and post it to our website!

Thank you,


P.S. Please let me know if you have any problems opening them.

Thanks again I am excited for this article!

Awesome/Response Received


Thank you for the response; I will get the article fully written and up on the website asap!

I will let you know when it is up so you can tell anyone and everyone about it and hopefully if you could put a link to the article from your website it would help the article rank higher in google and help spread the word even more about your gym.


Travis Marziani


The blog hasn’t launched yet, we want to get a few top quality articles in the queue before we launch and I would like to spotlight your gym as one of our first ones.  Here is our website http://www.endurapeak.com/, and it will be attached to this website.  

The point of the blog is to highlight different gyms across the nation for a few reasons

  1.  So that consumers can see what gyms are out there.
  2.  See what makes for a successful gym.
  3.  To get you (and the rest of our interviewees) some free publicity.

I have attached the questions if you want to take a look.  If you do decide to do the interview I will turn it into a full blown article and it will launch with our blog in the next few weeks.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

Travis Marziani

Posting Article

Your Article is Posting Today!

Hi Lisa!

We are going to be posting your article on our blog today, you will be able to find it at this address http://www.endurapeak.com/blog/exertec-health-fitness-center-interview-with-lisa-garcia/.

If you like the article it would be great if you could add a link to it from your website.  This would help the article show up higher on google so you get more good press! It will also help out our blog a lot!

Thank you so much for letting us interview you, and please let me know if there is any changes I should make.


P.S. We have spread the word about your article on our twitter https://twitter.com/EnduraPeak for you, and it would help out a ton if you could retweet our tweet about your article!