Jack O’Brien: Scaling a B2B and B2C business with content marketing

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Notes

Jack O’Brien, CEO of Terrace Physio Plus and Director of Clinic Mastery, shares his incredible story of how content marketing has grown his businesses exponentially.

Jacks philosophy has always been to help people and content marketing has been the tool that has allowed him to do that at scale.

Chris and Jack discuss how content has enabled Jack to lead in his industry, the commitment he has given to content marketing and why you shouldn’t let the fear of success hold you back.

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Transcription

Chris:
Well, good morning Jack, or should I say good evening?

Jack:
Yes, good evening here in Australia. Good morning to you.

Chris:
Thanks for joining me today, Jack, tell us a little bit about your business, just so the audience have some context around what we’re about to talk about.

Jack:
Yeah, sure. So I have two businesses. Primarily I’m a physiotherapist, by trade, and I have a physiotherapy clinic in Newcastle in Australia, which is near Sydney. So that is a B2C business. It is a service based bricks and mortar physiotherapy clinic, and we have four locations spread across about 25 kilometers or 15 miles, here in regional Australia. I also have Clinic Mastery, which is education and coaching for other health professionals in business. So we effectively help other physiotherapists, podiatrists, osteopaths, chiropractors, to grow their clinic. So that’s a B2B business, based entirely virtually and all online with our coaching. And we do a few events as well in person around Australia. So I wear a couple of hats, Chris.

Chris:
Yeah, that’s awesome. I love the congruence between both businesses and obviously been following your journey over the last three or four years, and it’s been incredible to see how both of those businesses have grown. And I want to give the audience a little bit of a flavor of how content marketing has played a role in that growth, I know you’ve done a bunch of different things. So I would love to know, first of all, I think for the audience to get an idea of this journey, is where content marketing became a thing for you. So where it all started or where you got that inspiration from, and then we can walk through the journey about how content marketing has helped you to grow your businesses, and ultimately grow into actually establishing more than one business.

Jack:
Yeah, it’s interesting, I guess when you get a couple of years into something, it’s really hard to know where it began. I bought my physio practice as a one location, two-man band, and I knew really quickly that if I wanted to grow a business that didn’t depend on me, and wasn’t just my hands and my tools doing the work, that I needed to create a brand. I needed to create a reproducible authority in the space so that our clients or our patients didn’t want to just see me, but they were happy to come to our business. I think at the time, and this was around 2015, social media was really taking off, video was a new thing and so we really wanted to be as helpful as possible. Anyone who starts a business gets into it for more than just the service or product they provide, but for the outcomes and solutions that you want for your clients.

And I really just wanted to be helpful, really wanted to be as practical as possible, and in a service space, expert business, give away as much of our knowledge as possible. I don’t really know where that comes from Chris because I think it’s probably a little bit counter-intuitive to most that would put up a paywall or not give away their IP. So that was an interesting evolution but I really just wanted to help from day one. So someone told me that I needed to do video, and I needed to be on this Facebook and social media. So I just did it, just did. And quickly came across yourself on Snapchat, I believe we first met, and I learned so much from yourself and the Content Marketing Academy and it’s been quite an evolution. There was something in me that wanted to help so much that I knew content was the best way to do that, to give it all away.

Chris:
It’s funny because the more that I talk to people about content marketing, the more teaching that we do, the people that find it really easy just get it from the start. It’s like it’s something that’s in them, that they want to teach, they want to help, they want to educate, and it just fits with their own personality, their own philosophy. It just makes sense that this is the way that we should communicate, this is the type of content that we should create. They just get it. It’s just in you.

Jack:
That work philosophy really resonates with me. I think it’s a lifestyle, it’s not a tactic. I know this is all something that I’ve learned mostly from yourself, but it really was the value that I hold really dearly around creating content and desperately wanting to help others. It’s not just a tick the box activity by any stretch, it’s a philosophy.

Chris:
So how did that become a reality? So we take the philosophy or the concept, I guess the main thing here, the main thread of motivation for you is to build a business that doesn’t rely heavily upon you day to day, but something that’s generating leads, generating customers, and all the rest of the systems and processes that go into building a business just like that. What does content marketing look like for your businesses then?

Jack:
It’s taken such an evolution over a couple of years, and there’s a lot of low hanging fruits, I’ve found. When I started to just want to create content, for me the easiest place was thinking about the questions that clients or ideal clients were already asking us, or they were thinking in their heads but hadn’t actually verbalized. So simple FAQs on a website, that was a really good place to start. I remember doing our FAQs page and thinking, why do these need to just be one paragraph or one or two sentences, every other FAQ? What’re the chances we could turn this into a richer video or a richer article for our blog that might be practically helpful, rather than just another useless collection of FAQs? So that’s where it started for us, expanding out those FAQs, and then once you’ve exhausted those 10 or 12 FAQs, thinking of what are the other questions that we can answer? Our reception, what are the questions that our receptionist gets on the phone? Let’s document those, and I’m going to do a video. Every question I could possibly imagine they’ve gone in front of a video and answered it, gone in front of a phone with a camera and answered it. So we started.

Chris:
Yeah, I can remember back actually, it’s quite interesting for me even going through these stories as well and thinking back. I remember you doing video, and it was early. It felt early with video, nobody else was really doing it or talking about it. Although video’s been obviously huge for years, it’s been getting it into businesses, has been difficult I think, and I think you definitely showed us, or you were showing a lot of people that team how to do video. It was awesome to watch you do that. And so you went from FAQs… Let’s just pick the lesson out here, I think, which is really interesting Jack, is that foresight to think, you know what, Why do we need to do it just like everybody else? When we’re doing any of our content really, is what you’re saying, this rule of thumb or this philosophy is to say, when we’re doing our content, let’s make it as helpful as possible. Let’s make it deeper, richer, and more valuable for our customers. Right?

Jack:
Yeah, absolutely, Chris and a couple of lessons that really stood out to me with was progress over perfection, at the start. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I love details, and it was really easy to get hung up on that. So I just decided that we’re going to do this and we’re going to refine it and polish it as we go. But progress over perfection was a big one. And I’m actually re-listening to Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as we speak, so it’s a little bit front of mind, but the concept of beginning with the end in mind really helps me get over things like that imposter syndrome that people might have heard of. Getting on camera in a small… We’re not a large community, where I’m based, and so there was a lot of fear of, what are people going to think of me?

They’re going to think I’m a big shot, or is there ego at play here? And I really had to go, well, what’s the end goal? I want to create a big business so that I can do big well. I really want to help a lot of people, a business that is sustainable, to provide a really healthy profit and passive income for me, eventually, that’s going to take a business doing over a million bucks. I’m going to have to get comfortable with a level of, what’s the word, not notoriety, but fame, essentially, a bit of fame in our own backyard. And so although there were those feelings, I just had to go right, progress over perfection, what’s the end goal here? Let’s begin with the end in mind, and if people think I’m a bit of an upshot, I’ve just got to get over that because I’m holding steadfast to the goal.

And you know, it’s funny, we look back now, Chris, and some of those early videos that I did have really laid a platform. In one of the communities we’re in, it’s quite challenging for me to even go to the local shopping center without someone tapping me on the shoulder and going, “Hey, are you that physio with a beard that I keep seeing on Facebook? Can I ask you a question about my sore back?” And I think some people would shudder at the thought of that, and feel a little bit strange, but you know, now I go, “These are the days that I wished for. These are the days that I believe for, these are the days that I bled for. What a privilege, what an opportunity.”

Chris:
Yeah. I think it’s funny that, because I think that that challenge, it holds a lot of people back, I think, from producing the content, that imposter syndrome. And I think it’s great to bring up beginning with the end in mind as a lesson, a philosophy as well, to say that you’ve got to have an idea that’s bigger than just… In other words, if I do this piece of work now, it might feel uncomfortable, but I know I’ve got something larger at play here. I know what I’m working towards and I have to get through this.

Jack:
The cost is worth it.

Chris:
So when we talk about Terrace Physio Plus, the bricks, and mortar business, how’s content marketing… Let’s talk results, or at least a little bit tangibility around the work that you’ve done, and how that’s helped your business to grow, get more customers. What’s the effect been?

Jack:
Oh, it’s been huge on a number of fronts. Tangibly we grew 3x in about two years, from a not insignificant base, from doing a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year, We grew three times really quickly, and it was largely off content. There was a little bit of paid distribution behind that, but the content was the core philosophy and approach. We grew from one location to five, although now we’ve consolidated to four, without sacrificing on growth. We were able to employ cumulatively, I think it was 27 or 28 people across the space of four years. We’ve become known as one of the preeminent providers of physio in our demographic, in our location. We outrank Medicare in Australia, which is our equivalent of the NHS, for a couple of health-related search terms. The inbound leads that we get are people saying, I saw your video on Facebook, I read a blog article. They happen every day, every week, every month. Just this week, I personally fielded an inquiry from someone who read an article we wrote in 2016, over four years ago. It’s incredible. Sorry, over three years ago. So very tangible and ongoing.

Chris:
Yeah. The time frame’s interesting here, because we’ve done a bunch of these interviews recently, capturing and documenting these stories, and like this two, three, four-year window that people are at just now, and they’re really starting to see the fruits of their labor. In other words, you’ve got articles from three years ago that are driving inbound leads. These are essentially the cheapest leads but also highly qualified leads as well.

Jack:
Yeah, absolutely. It just keeps on rolling.

Chris:
It gets so interesting, I love that. That’s the part of the story that people need to hear, I think, that are just getting started on this journey. Because when they go out and they think they want to do content marketing, they start getting educated, they start listening to stories, they start reading blogs and watching videos, etc., and the hear this, it’s the long game, it’s the long term game, and automatically they think well it’s a lot of work for results I’m not going to get for a long time. And I think they need to hear that story, Jack, where you are starting to see those amazing results coming from your content that you created years ago. However, I think it’s also interesting to touch on your story with clinic mastery, and how quickly content took hold with that company.

Jack:
Yes. So clearly mastery is an interesting evolution for me because it’s a completely different business. It’s B2B, it’s virtual, it’s global. So there are some unique opportunities for me, that I was really, really interested to explore. And so we went all in. When I joined the Clinic Mastery team, which was quite early in its infancy, I joined the team as the fourth partner, fourth director, and we went all in on content, and similar but probably larger results, Chris.

Chris:
Yeah. I think what I remember talking to you about, I can’t remember if this… This has got to be 2 years ago or something like that. How long have you been with Clinic Mastery for?

Jack:
Yeah, I’ve been with Clinic Mastery for that two and a half years now.

Chris:
Two and a half years, yeah. And I remember looking at the analytics, and it went from… Because this is the part that people need to understand too. There’s a case study and a story that I share with people when we’re working with them, Jack, is that, Yep, we hear this about the long gain, getting that long tail, those results three, four years from now from your content, but what’s possible in the short term? And I think your work with Clinic Mastery has shown that, in a very short space of time, three months or so, with regular content blogs you can get results.

Jack:
Yeah, we did, absolutely. We committed to regularly producing blogs and videos. Primarily blogs, written rich content. We knew, that as we measured our funnel, we knew the end conversion that we needed, we really wanted to help 200 clinic owners graduate through our academy, and we just worked the numbers backward from that. How many clients we need, how many prospects do we need, how many leads do we need, how much traffic do we need? And we set the bar there, and it happened really quickly. The numbers were astounding, three times, four times our traffic. Almost overnight, like I said, within three months. And we ended up with more traffic, more leads, prospects, customers than we could handle, the scale. Became a real issue.

Chris:
That’s awesome. I think it’s important for people to understand that it is possible to get results quickly too. Now you and I both know that you’re going to get better and better results as time goes on, but as possible to get those results. I think you’ve, as a side note, just mentioned almost a part of your strategy there as well, in terms of, how do you know what content to create, how much content to create, when to create it? And it’s again, starting with the end in mind, going how many clients do we want? Prospects, leads, traffic, what content do we need to create? And very simply it’s a great way to approach it.

Chris:
So for those listening, Jack, what would you say, if they’re getting started with content marketing today, what would be your advice for people? What should they be doing? What should they be thinking about?

Jack:
Oh, there are so many opportunities, but to keep it really simple, I would suggest really listening to the questions that your prospects and clients are asking you, and commit to answering those richly on a regular basis. Listen and commit. I think if you can do both of those, really listen, you’ll get such an insight into, not just the questions that your prospects and clients are asking, but their real challenges. Look for the question behind the question. We’ve found now, with both of our businesses, that we’ve answered all the superficial questions. We’re answering what people are asking, and we’ve found the low hanging fruit, but as you listen deeper, find their real challenges, the unasked questions, and listen and then commit. Find a flow that works for you, get accountable to someone, and actually create content. I don’t mind whether it’s a video or written, it’s so easy to start a podcast or to dictate a blog, but commit to answering those questions on a regular basis and you’ll find a rhythm, you’ll find a flow. Listen and commit would be the lessons I think.

Chris:
In, in your experience, Jack, what is it that really… I know it was easy for you, you had the intent inside you, the intrinsic motivation to want to help. And it’s going to be there forever for you, no matter what business you go to, you’re going to be creating content. But in your experience with other people, it could be your team members, it could be other clients you’re working with. Why can’t they catch this vision? What is it that stops them from saying, “Oh, it sounds so simple. Answer questions, listen with intent, go deeper, and commit that this is the way that you’re going to communicate.” What do you feel is truly holding people back from moving forward with that?

Jack:
I’ve thought a lot about this, and my answer changes from time to time, but at the moment my perspective would be, I wonder if people are scared of the potential success? I wonder if there’s a fear of, what if this actually works? What if I am able to provide answers to people and they do want to work with me off the back of that? I wonder if people are actually more scared of growth than they realize? And I know for me that I’m so driven to help people, I have such a big picture of what I want to do with my life, and the number of people that we’re going to impact and help, and so I’m just desperate to chase that. But I wonder if so many people are comfortable with the status quo, and they’re scared of the results? Because it’s quite obvious, we know that this works. There’s tangible evidence, if you get this right, the outcome is ready for the taking. And so probably comfort with the status quo or fear of success, I wonder is what holds people back.

Chris:
Yeah, that’s something for people to think about and ponder. I think you’re right. I think a lot of the associated fears and the way that it manifests in their life is because of those two things that… Fear of success or just being too comfortable. Absolutely. Thanks very much for sharing your story today, Jack, it’s great to hear. The great thing about your story as you’ve got the B2B side, you’ve got the B2C side, you’ve got the long term results, you’re seeing the short term results. You’re seeing real growth in both a bricks and mortar business and an online coaching and consulting business, which is incredible. You do your great work, and it’s so good to see your growth. I’m just glad that we’re able to play a part of it and be able to spend some time today to capture and document a little bit of that journey. So thank you very much for that.

Jack:
It’s been a pleasure, man. Thank you.

Chris:
If people want to pick your brain or ask a question about anything that you’ve covered today Jack, where’s the best place for people to connect with you?

Jack:
There’s a number of different places, but probably on Instagram is the best place to get in touch with me at the moment. So @jackdobrien, Jack D as in Jack Daniels the whiskey. My father enjoyed a drink or two. So I’m jackdobrien on Instagram.

Chris:
Are you literally named after whiskey?

Jack:
I’m literally named after Jack Daniels whiskey.

Chris:
Well, I’ve known you for years. I never knew that.

Jack:
There you go.

Chris:
Well, that’s the title of the podcast sorted out, that’s great. Thanks so much, Jack it was really great spending time with you, I really appreciate you and all the work that you do, and all the success to you mate for all the work that you do. Thank you so much.

Jack:
It’s a pleasure. Chris.

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