Curb Appeal

Own Your Content. Short-Term Plays That Become Long-Term Strategies with Anna Furmanov

October 11, 2022 Virtuance Season 1 Episode 4
Curb Appeal
Own Your Content. Short-Term Plays That Become Long-Term Strategies with Anna Furmanov
Show Notes Transcript

Episode Summary

Digital marketing involves the promotion of products and services through digital channels, including social media, email, mobile apps, web apps, etc. Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. And you need both if you want to grow your real estate business.

In this episode of Curb Appeal, our host Rachel Gombosch welcomes Anna Furmanov, the founder of Furmanov Marketing Consulting. Anna and Rachel get into the importance of digital marketing and content creation. They discuss why people fear content creation, the most important steps when getting into digital marketing, and the tools you need to do it.


💡 Name: Anna Furmanov

💡 What she does: Anna is the founder of Furmanov Marketing Consulting.

💡 Company: Furmanov Marketing Consulting

💡 Noteworthy: Anna has 12+ years of marketing experience at big-name brands (Groupon, Blistex, Del Monte Foods) and startups. After over a decade of working in corporate and heading up marketing at two venture-backed startups, Anna decided to create the company Furmanov Marketing Consulting. Now, she helps startups simplify their marketing strategies and tactics, build the right foundation, and get moving with modern approaches to marketing. 

💡 Where to find Anna: LinkedIn |  Website 

Key Insights

⚡ You create value by sharing content. In the era of digitization and social networks, an online presence is important for every business. To grow, you must turn to digital and content marketing because it's valuable for you and your business. Anna explains why it is important to create content as part of your growth plan. "You can't really bring on a marketer without having content as part of your plan. I don't know what that plan would look like; that would be an empty plan; that would be like a plan for failure. Content creation, and the value of content, is so important today for startups and even for small businesses because that is the way that you can share value. "

⚡ Why do people refuse to create content? Although content creation has become an indispensable part of marketing, some people still have a kind of aversion to it. Anna points out that this is because it seems difficult to people, and they are afraid of the reactions of others to their content. "I think people think it's too hard. Two, people are scared to show their true selves. Because with content creation, you have to put yourself out there. You're scared because you're thinking, 'What are others gonna think?'"

⚡ You have to have a foundation. Today, even real estate agents, small businesses, and venture-backed startups get into the digital world and become marketers because it is suitable for their business. Anna advises on the best way to start doing this. "You need to have a good foundation: Who are you [posting] for? What are you going to talk about? What about having some knowledge about your target audience? Where's the value that you're going to share? That's how it begins."

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[00:00:00] Anna Furmanov: If you're just spewing content out for the sake of just, like, let's get all these posts out Monday through Friday, that's not going to actually work. So, coming back to the foundation, being very focused, being prioritized, having a strategy, but for real estate agents that are just starting out, I would just start with one idea that you have, go simple. 

[00:00:55] Rachel Gombosch: Welcome to another episode of Curb Appeal. My name is Rachel Gombosch, and I am your host for today. I am so excited to have Anna Furmanov on the call with us. We have an incredible episode for you guys. She is the Founder of Furmanov Marketing Consulting and host of Modern Startup Marketing podcast. Anna, how are you today? 

[00:01:16] Anna Furmanov: I'm doing great. I love doing this, it's like the reverse because I actually had someone on my show earlier today, and now I'm on your show and I love doing this, I think this is really fun. So, thanks for having me.

[00:01:28] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. Absolutely. I'm, I'm pumped to have this conversation with you because we're, we're gonna be reversing the roles a little bit on real estate agents. They're not used to being marketers, but today we're making them marketers.

[00:01:41] Anna Furmanov: Whether you like it or not.

[00:01:42] Exactly. 

[00:01:43] Rachel Gombosch: Whether you like it or not, we are making you marketers today because it's valuable for you and your business.

[00:01:51] So, Anna, why don't you go ahead and just kick it off and give us the details as far as why content marketing and digital marketing, in general, is not necessarily even just important tailored to real estate agents specifically, but you work with a lot of startups and small businesses. So, why is digital marketing so crucial and vital for small business?

[00:02:13] Anna Furmanov: Yeah. I work with venture-backed startups, they're typically early stage, they're typically, they wanna grow, they need to grow, they have investors that have put confidence in them, they've given, they've raised money, right? They've given them some money to do that, to make that growth happen.

[00:02:31] And you can't really bring on a Marketer without having content, as part of your plan. I just don't know what that plan would look like, that would be an empty plan, that would be like plan for failure. It is content creation, and the value of content is so important today for startups and even for small businesses because that is the way that you can share, just like we're sharing here on this podcast.

[00:03:02] That is the way that you share, it doesn't have to be a podcast, it's how you're sharing value with your target audience. And that's the key is to share value. You're sharing it with them, they, and you un, you know that it's valuable to them 'cause you've figured this out already, you know them enough, you've talked to enough of your customers and prospects to understand that this is going to be valuable stuff, and you're sharing it with them wherever they hang out, whether that's offline,

[00:03:31] you could be going door to door 'cause you know where they live, whether that's online, which is a little bit more efficient, right? 'Cause you could go to the one-to-many model versus one-to-one, going door to door. And so, there's nothing wrong with sharing offline, it's just less efficient. So, a lot of our conversation right now is going to be around digital, and why content creation and tying it to digital is more efficient and more effective, and you really can't grow your business with marketing if you don't do content creation.

[00:04:05] Rachel Gombosch: Why do you think people have such a hard time adopting content creation? Why, why do you think there's such a disconnect in incorporating that into business or even life? Why do you think people have a hard time flipping that switch?

[00:04:21] Anna Furmanov: Couple things I think are happening 'cause I had to get over this hump, right, when I started my own marketing consultancy and I knew I wanted to actually practice what I preach, right? People think, well, first people think it's too hard, it's too hard, and people don't like hard things. It's hard, it's hard to, I mean, it's hard to start a podcast when you haven't done it before.

[00:04:47] It's hard to do anything when you haven't done it before because that initial stage of getting yourself over the hump to actually start that thing that you have no idea how to do is hard, and that's where people procrastinate. So, one, I think people think it's too hard. Two, people are scared to show their true selves

[00:05:05] 'cause with content creation, with put, you have to put yourself out there. You're scared 'cause you're thinking, "Well, what are others gonna think? What are others gonna say? I'm gonna put my content out on the show, what if people hate it? I'm gonna put my content out on LinkedIn, out on Twitter, what if people hate it?

[00:05:23] What are they gonna say? What are the trolls gonna say?" So, people put too much value on that "What are people gonna say," and they, they're scared, they think that if you're gonna share something online, everyone's suddenly gonna see it, which is not true, by the way, I will tell you it's not true, most people don't pay attention,

[00:05:45] most people will not see what you're putting out there, and most people don't care if you're doing your marketing correctly, most people shouldn't care because you're not for everyone, you only wanna attract a certain group of, you know, your niche target audience. So, that's why I think that people think it's too hard, and they ha, just have to cross that hump of trying something that they haven't done before, and people are too scared to show their true selves.

[00:06:12] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. I agree with all of that, and I think another element to it is people think they don't have enough time to commit.

[00:06:18] Anna Furmanov: It's too hard, gonna take too much time. 

[00:06:21] Rachel Gombosch: Right.

[00:06:21] Anna Furmanov: That's right.

[00:06:23] Rachel Gombosch: But if you, honestly, you know, if you take a step back and even for real estate agents take a step back and actually plan out your day, hour by hour, and you'll see how much time you actually do have. I think that was something that was taught to me a long time ago.

[00:06:38] And we constantly say I don't have enough time to do A, B, C and D. Well, have you reevaluated what your day-to-day actually looks like? Have you plotted out, like, everything you've done in a day and how long it actually took you? And seeing how much time you actually do have left in a day if you learn how to prioritize and task manage, do task management, you do have enough time to it. 

[00:07:03] Anna Furmanov: Just stop binge-watching those Netflix shows and get on LinkedIn already. I'm just half kidding, but.

[00:07:09] Rachel Gombosch: Me talking about, you know, Stranger Things, that's me, yeah. I definitely, yeah, I binge, that's for sure, but yeah, I think people, you know, they use the excuse of I don't have enough time to really commit to this, but I think there's also a misconception that it takes a ton of time to create content and engulf yourself in the digital world,

[00:07:35] and it doesn't have to, you don't have to spend 8, 10 hours a day being on LinkedIn, creating all of your content, you can batch your content and then you're good for the next month. And so, it's helping people to reconceptualize what it actually means to develop their content strategy, right? Which we'll get into, what those tangible steps look like,

[00:07:57] but definitely, I can see where it can be a struggle, especially for real estate agents, anyone in the small business industry, startups, where really, it's just a mental shift that needs to take place when we talk about content creation and coming into the digital world.

[00:08:13] Anna Furmanov: Absolutely. You need to have that shift and I will say that it does take time in the beginning, but as with anything, when you're learning piano, in the beginning it takes time when you're learning anything new, but as you do it, it takes less and less time and you figure out those efficiencies and you figure out also, like, how can I get some help with this, who can help me?

[00:08:35] And then, you take some stuff off your plate, but it's really important to get into it, and do it yourself before you involve other people to help with some of the redundant things that you might not need to do every single week.

[00:08:47] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. So, how would you recommend that, you know, a real estate agent, a startup, these small teams, how do you recommend they get started? How do you, how do they start putting

[00:09:01] Anna Furmanov: Just start. 

[00:09:02] Rachel Gombosch: themselves out in the digital world? Yeah, just start, right? Just it.

[00:09:06] Anna Furmanov: Just start. 

[00:09:06] Yeah. Um, I think you, just like when I talk to startups that I work with, you have to have a foundation for anything, like, why are you doing this thing? Why are you even getting involved in any marketing and putting yourself out there and doing content marketing?

[00:09:24] What's your purpose? What's your goal? What are you trying to achieve? So, you have to have a goal, like, I started my podcast because my primary reason was putting together a show that I personally wanted to exist that I didn't see have, you know, it wasn't existing at the time that I started it, anything near that, where I just wanted to bring up modern marketing, plays, campaigns that startups were running.

[00:09:51] I just wanted to get inside of the organization and really ask those questions, like, what are you doing that's new, different, and pushing the boundaries on how people think of, like, old ways of doing things. And that was my primary goal, like, it was kind of selfish, but I knew that so many other marketers would find this interesting, marketers at startups, founders, as, you know, that founded startups.

[00:10:12] And then, it turned into some other goals, right now I'm connecting, I'm networking, I'm connecting to more people, I'm learning about what they're doing, I'm learning about the challenges that they face, now it ties into my business, okay, I, I'm now more knowledgeable than the next person because I have all these insights from the podcast,

[00:10:33] I have this network, I have these startups I'm connected to, I'm starting to build something here, and now people know that I have this podcast and I talk about modern startup marketing, I, very simple name. So, you have to have a goal and you just, honestly, need to start, and I really just think focusing, like, where is your target audience that you wanna share value to them?

[00:10:58] Where do they hang out? A lot of people it's in the podcast, so I thought, okay, I'm gonna try this. And then, I coupled it together with LinkedIn because a lot of customers and prospects on there are on there. And so, my podcast is my main pillar of putting out content, and I have so much content that comes from that because it just takes 30 minutes to an hour to pull out a lot of interesting things when I talk or I bring on a guest to the show, and then I just put it out, distributed out on LinkedIn, and also I have a monthly newsletter.

[00:11:32] So, that's how you start. You need to have a good foundation. Who are you for? What are you going to talk about? What are they having some knowledge about your target audience? Where's the value that you're going to share? What's your point of view that you're going to share? And then, where are you going to share it? And that's how it begins.

[00:11:51] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah, no, that's incredible. And for real estate agents, they've been told, and I had a previous episode on it about developing their unique selling proposition, which is all about really developing their target audience, and what makes them unique in targeting a specific type of person when it comes to selling real estate. And that's really, I mean, that's where it has to start, right? And you're gonna go to those people, and you're gonna identify their problems, and I think a good question to ask yourself when you're creating content is how am I going to solve? How can I answer their questions? And just start putting that out there,

[00:12:30] if anything, like, you don't have to necessarily start a podcast, you don't have to start doing webinars at the forefront, but something really easy for you to start with to get your face out in this digital space is maybe you start making just quick videos where you are simply answering questions that you are noticing your target audience is constantly asking you.

[00:12:52] And it just starts there, it goes back to the whole "Just get started." You've already got the content at your fingertips, you see it every day, which leads into my next phase of questioning is.

[00:13:04] Anna Furmanov: Before you ask me your next phase, let me just really quickly say it is about answering those questions, it is about helping and sharing value, but one other thing that's really helpful is how will you do it differently than the others in the space?

[00:13:21] So, there are other real estate agents that are putting out content, you're just getting started. Why is yours going to be different? How is yours going to be different? What's your point of view on stuff? Where are you going to be helpful in, like, a slightly unique way? And I think that may be the harder thing, putting out content,

[00:13:41] you can come up with a checklist to answer some questions, like how to, but that's boring and that's been done before. So, how are you going to first package it up in a way that's interesting and relevant and, you know, people want to actually read that stuff or listen to that or watch that? And how is it going to be unique enough where it's heading on something that hasn't been head-on before?

[00:14:08] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. What are some unique ways that you've found to stand out?

[00:14:13] Anna Furmanov: Well, I test things. I like to test things, and I'm, like, thinking, okay, the sky's the limit, like it doesn't have to be a show where I constantly just bring out a guest and talk for 45 minutes, and the next one is the same thing. I've tested,

[00:14:30] like, I put out TikTok videos on LinkedIn, three minutes, and I just put that on my podcast as a bonus episode, the TikTok audio becomes then on the podcast is like, this is a quick thing you can listen to and people listen to it and they listen to it all the way through, which doesn't always happen with 45-minute episodes, right, 'cause it's quick, I've done 10-minute episodes where I'm like, "You know what? I really wanna talk on this topic, just gimme 5, 10 minutes to pour my thoughts out on something." I've done that, I invited my daughter into an episode, I was talking to my, at that time, she's seven years old, and I'm like, "Hey, can you, what, tell me what you think about marketing?"

[00:15:14] And she said something hilarious, and I'm like, "This is actually really cute, I think I'm going to publish this." And I was just kind of talking to her, and I'm like, "You need to be on my podcast." So, I love marketing because it's so, it's creative, the sky's limit, it's all about testing. Once you put something out there, you can mold it and shape it and try new things and get signal on what you see is working well and do more of that stuff.

[00:15:42] So, my 10-minute episodes worked really well, my TikToks, people listen to those as much as they listen to the 45, 50-minute podcast episode. So, it's all about testing.

[00:15:52] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. How do you decide, like, the threshold of success for something that you're testing? So, for instance, you might have one video that does really well, and then you try to recreate that, and then it doesn't do as well, and then maybe you recreate it again, third time's a charm, maybe it does slightly okay. How long do you wait to decide whether an effort is worth continuing to pursue or not?

[00:16:19] Anna Furmanov: Oh, this is a really good question, like how, and then the opposite of that question is how do you know when to drop something 'cause it's not working. When is that time to kill something? So, I think that, like, there's a sense that you get when something's not working, when you've done something enough,

[00:16:42] and I don't wanna bring that in because the people that are listening to this episode are like, well, we haven't done this before, so give us something concrete. Like, when you try different things, and you see, like, something performs really well and something doesn't perform really well, then you kind of know which direction you should move into.

[00:17:02] And the key thing there is taking notes on, like, well, why did that perform well? Let's, like, analyze this a little bit so that you can not just keep on pushing content out, but push out thoughtful content that you saw what actually worked well, and you're getting insights and you're getting those signals, and the signals are, they come from everywhere.

[00:17:24] Like, we have access to all these different platforms that give us numbers, right? So, I'm talking about the podcasts and the listenership, right, listens to the episodes. How long did they listen to it? Who's listening to the show, right? We have all of those insights, not who exactly, but like, what's their age and where are they living and stuff like that.

[00:17:45] We have access to those, and we can then say, okay, well that episode did better than that one. So, we should do more content there. And then, you will know if your podcast isn't doing well because the numbers aren't going up into the right, I mean, that's very clear. So, if you're pushing a content effort and it's not going well, you will know, pretty clearly.

[00:18:07] Anna Furmanov: And then, you need to get a marketing consultant to help you out, and figure out what do you need to do differently because it's not working, but my approach is just start something with the feeling of, like, "I feel really good about this, I'm gonna put all my eggs here because I feel so good, and you're gonna do your best."

[00:18:25] That's what I always tell startup clients that I work with is we're going to prioritize your marketing channels and you're gonna go big in one or two, you're not gonna spread yourself thin across 10 because it's usually a lean team, and if you believe in it, you go big there, then you'll start to see the signals of like, "Oh yeah,

[00:18:43] that's where that should work." 'Cause everything works. What I found from talking to startups on my show, as well as, you know, working on my own business is everything works is just a matter of prioritizing and going big instead of spreading yourself thin.

[00:18:57] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. How do we, how do agents, real estate professionals, startups, small businesses, obviously, the bandwidth is limited, right? So, how can they manage to not burn themselves out when it comes to content creation? Because there is a lot of testing, there is a lot of analyzing, there is a lot of starting over and redoing and recreating. How do we manage to not burn out or burn on both ends?

[00:19:26] Anna Furmanov: I think that goes back to prioritize, and just take on as much as you can chew. I think that's the same, right? And have a good strategy, again, go back to, like, why are you doing this? Who are you doing this for?

[00:19:41] Do you understand the value that you're sharing is actually going to be valuable because it's not going to work if you don't start from that foundation level. That's what I found. If you're just spewing content out for the sake of just, like, let's get all these posts out Monday through Friday, that's not going to actually work.

[00:20:01] So, coming back to the foundation, being very focused, being prioritized, having a strategy, how is the podcast going to tie into the LinkedIn, going to tie into your email, going to tie into, you know, other things, but for real estate agents that are just starting out, I would just start with one idea that you have, go simple.

[00:20:22] Think about your point of view, how is it different? Just try to simplify 'cause I think a lot of people overcomplicate marketing too soon, you're not a, you know, $50-million startup company, like, I am a solopreneur, right? So, I cannot be, even though I use TikTok, I put TikTok out on LinkedIn, those videos,

[00:20:44] I'm not actually active on TikTok 'cause that'll suck up all my time, even though it has, it's effective, I can tell you that, it's, it's very effective, it would probably be very effective, but I'm just focused on LinkedIn, just doing this podcast, I'm keeping it small, and I'm expecting to see good results from just those few things I'm doing.

[00:21:06] Rachel Gombosch: Right. And when it goes, when it comes back around to selecting those platforms, it goes back to when we were discussing where your audience is living, if your audience isn't on TikTok, then why are you spending all of your time putting all of this effort and energy into TikTok, right? Your audience isn't there.

[00:21:26] So, why not maneuver yourself somewhere else where maybe your audience is living more on LinkedIn, maybe your audience is living more on Instagram, maybe your audience is on podcasts, maybe they are more interested in webinars, and that's why it's so crucial, again, to build out that foundation from the beginning and identify those key pieces of

[00:21:45] where your audience is at? What are the questions they want answered? What's the different types of value that you can bring to them? How can you stand out? Because that, those are the questions you'll be needing to ask yourself every single time you decide to create a new piece of content, you'll wanna be able to tie it all back to that foundational level. 

[00:22:04] Anna Furmanov: Absolutely.

[00:22:06] Rachel Gombosch: Okay. So, I wanna switch gears and I wanna talk about how agents can take their day-to-day life and turn it into digital content. Some different ideas, give them some tangible, actionable things that they can take away, start doing now, help them be a little creative 'cause again, they're, they're real estate professionals, they're not marketing professionals, but we're here to turn them into marketing professionals. So, let's start generating some ideas for 'em.

[00:22:37] Anna Furmanov: Whether you like it or not, I honestly think that all people in one way or another are kind of marketers, they just don't know it 'cause they're mostly, they may not be active online, but you're in your community, you're walking around, you're smiling, you're talking to your neighbors, you're creating a sense of, like, who you are, what's your identity, you're already a natural marketer. So, it's not really that far-fetched to say, okay, now take that and bring it into the digital world.

[00:23:08] So, when you asked, like, what are some ways that real estate agents can approach marketing? How can they approach marketing, digital content marketing? And really, it's a mindset thing 'cause like I said before, many don't do it because they think it's too hard and, or they're scared. So, thinking about, like, how do you build relationships offline?

[00:23:33] You're already doing this as part of your job. And so, how are you doing that? So, try some of those things, but change it now to an online setting. Some things that really work when you're building relationships offline is probably a lot of things that relate back to adding value, you're naturally probably doing that offline.

[00:23:54] So, marketing is just taking that and, and going digital with some of the things that you're already doing offline. So, how can you provide value? I started a podcast, I'm creating these TikTok videos with quick three minutes on topics I know my audience cares about, and I'm putting that content out, I'm looking to see what works, and that's the cool thing about going digital is you can actually see what works,

[00:24:19] you can tie that back to the numbers and see what works, use your personality to your advantage. So, one of the CMOs that I had on the show, he's an amateur comedian, and he actually said, "Yeah!" And he's pretty active on, online, and he pulls that into his brand personality, and people absolutely love the authenticity of that.

[00:24:40] So, real estate agents, you know that you have to have some kind of, like, a personality that people connect to, otherwise how are you building relationships with, with home buyers, right? So, use that, use your personality to your advantage, and I think another thing to think about is being customer-centric.

[00:25:02] I would say, like, this can be lacking at a company level, but it's a lot easier to do it at an individual level where you're thinking about that person, you've got that person in mind, how, you know, where are they at in their stage in life? What kind of home are they looking to buy? What matters to them?

[00:25:21] Anna Furmanov: How many kids do they have? Like, all this stuff is really being customer-centric, and it, sometimes is lacking when you're talking about marketing, but I think it could be much easier for real estate agents to approach it in that way, as long as you're customer-centric, and you're always thinking about the customer first, the buyer first, you can be really good at marketing because marketing is

[00:25:44] emotion strategy and analytics, you need all three of those, right? And so, the more that you are close to your customer, close to your buyer, understand them, understand what emotions they're going through, the challenge that they're having, the frustrations that they're having, the easier you can create a strategy around how are you going to do marketing, create content for them. And then, the analytics side is, okay, now you're putting out content, then you analyze it going.

[00:26:16] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah, I think another good tidbit of value to bring into this is it really is just, it's your personal brand and how are you marketing, especially for real estate agents, right? So, we talk about, you're out there, and you're building these relationships with your clientele, and that's a real core fundamental piece of the business is building relationships.

[00:26:40] Well, outside of real estate, when you're building relationships with anyone, whether it's professional or personal, it's, stems from your personal brand and just who you are. So, how can you take that personal brand and what you're developing and translate that online, right? 

[00:26:59] How can you bring your personality into your captioning? Think of how you would just talk to someone, whether on the phone or in person, and include that voice in your captioning, in your videos, right? Like, people wanna know, like, if I'm reading something from Anna, I'm like, "Wow, that, that sounds like Anna, for sure." 

[00:27:18] Anna Furmanov: I think if,

[00:27:19] Rachel Gombosch: Don't wanna think that sounds like someone else.

[00:27:21] Anna Furmanov: if you see my monthly marketing email newsletters, you'll see, like, yeah, that definitely sounds like Anna because I've created this, the structure I use, the words I use, the images I use, it all has to kind of look and feel like you, 'cause it's hopefully authentic to who you are. So, and I think that's a really effective way to build your brand. 

[00:27:45] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. What is the most, like, unconventional content piece you've seen from some, maybe more so not necessarily like small startup business, but maybe from like an individual that you've assisted. What's like the most crazy thing? Crazy, creative content piece.

[00:28:05] Anna Furmanov: I, yeah, that's a great question. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. So, I, so, I'm always, like, watching what's everyone doing, and I really actually like the funny videos people put out, it's funny 'cause you think LinkedIn it's so professional, it's so buttoned up, but what actually, what people really also enjoy are entertaining videos. Is LinkedIn turning into TikTok?

[00:28:25] I don't know, we'll see about that, but something I recently saw was, he's in sales and he's like, "I'm just gonna pick up the phone and record myself cold calling." And here's what, and like, trying out different lines of like, "Hey, Bob, hope you don't mind this call, it's a cold call. I'm gonna share some stuff with you,

[00:28:49] but I promise it's gonna be like really pain-free and something, something." And then, the person on the other phone, like, either hangs up, or the person on the other line is going to listen, but it's just the opening liners that this person is bringing into these videos is so funny that it makes you wanna watch all the way through to listen to, like, what actually happens to this phone, this cold call?

[00:29:11] Anna Furmanov: So, this is cool, right? Because this is an unconventional way you, the salesperson who's probably trying to connect to other salespeople is probably, I don't know what they're selling or what, what, right, their objective, their goal. What they could have done is just put on their, like, a LinkedIn post that says, "Okay, so, here's a, some

[00:29:32] line, one, you know, lines that you can open a cold call with," and just write it out. Instead, they know video is engaging. They know that they could create something funny, and people will engage with funny videos. So, they're recording live, picking up the phone, calling somebody and trying out these lines and showing people and, and so,

[00:29:57] that's how people should think about content in unconventional ways. Conventional way, write out some things, right, create a blog post, write, whatever that is. Unconventional, put together TikTok video, or put together a video and make it funny, make it engaging, so it doesn't always have to be just educational, the value can actually come from being entertaining. 

[00:30:18] Rachel Gombosch: Well, that's also a great example of taking something you're already doing in your day-to-day and just translating it online, you know, again, agents listen up, you're already cold calling people, right? I'm sure you're getting an abundance of great content from those cold calls. How hilarious would that be to just record your end of the conversation, and like, the responses you have to give based on what people are saying to you, right?

[00:30:50] It's entertaining, people love to see that, I think a great example of an organization who just does a really good job of providing entertaining content is The Broke Agent. Their content is, it feels like just, I think it's straight entertainment, but it's hilarious. It is so funny because it's relatable for agents, right?

[00:31:11] So, their target audience is agents, but they do an incredible job of everything they post, sometimes it's cringe, like, it's so cringy because you're like, "Ooh, I feel that to my bones because I've experienced that." And I think those are the types of tapping into emotions and tapping into what your target audience is feeling that you want to curate when you're creating your pieces of content is how can I actually get them to feel when they're watching my video, when they're reading my, my content.

[00:31:41] Anna Furmanov: Yes. Make sure it resonates, resin, make sure your content resonates, and if you can hit on that emotional cord, that is, like, the cherry on top. And then, one other thing to mention is like you wanna make sure that whatever content you're creating always has to tie back to your target audience. So, don't make those cold call videos because you're connecting with other agents.

[00:32:02] You can, but just know that you're not, that's not really connecting to the person on the other end, which is the home buyer, right, or potential home buyer, and they might actually be put off by something like that, right, or not care. So, just make sure that it ties back to your target audience. 

[00:32:19] Rachel Gombosch: Right. Well, in that case, it could even just be, like, maybe it's you on a call answering common questions that you get a lot from home buyers, right? These are questions that you hear consistently, perhaps when you are on cold calls is, you know, what does the process look like? I need to be more educated on A, B, C and D.

[00:32:39] And so, this form, right, you're not saying all the funny things you hear as a real estate agent, but it's no, these are common questions that I know you're gonna ask me as a homeowner when I call you, like, I already know you're gonna ask, so here's a video saying I've already answered them. So, I think that's a great, a great place to start. 

[00:32:59] Anna Furmanov: Yeah. One other thing I wanted to mention, actually, when I just started my business, I thought through exactly what you just said, what are the things I want to have handy because I know people will come to me for those things. So, I wrote some playbooks on creating a one-page marketing plan, doing voice, the customer research and creating personas, you know, modern ways to do demand generation, like different playbooks, different articles that I wanted to get down on paper because I knew that this would already be valuable stuff.

[00:33:33] So, putting that together, that's content, putting that together because you already know that this is the stuff that my target audience needs help with, could really be valuable at the beginning, too. 

[00:33:46] Rachel Gombosch: Right. Yeah, no, that's incredible, and it actually leads into, you know, this last kind of set of value I wanna bring is really developing the strategy and the tools to set up, you know, real estate professionals, startups, individuals, solo entrepreneurs for success, when it comes to content creation, getting into the digital age, making sure that their face and their business is being showcased on online platforms.

[00:34:14] So, what have you found as far as tools to be the most beneficial when it comes to creating content? Obviously, it's gonna depend on what you plan on creating, right? I'm not gonna use a podcasting platform to create my Instagram stuff, if I'm not, if I don't have a podcast, but what are some tools that you've found bene, universally beneficial for content creation?

[00:34:41] Anna Furmanov: I like this question, and I don't like this question 'cause I think tools don't matter, I honestly don't think tools matter as much as strategy, and as much as, just, you can write on, like, the back of a napkin what you wanna do and then go do it. So, you don't need any tools, just because we have tools at hand doesn't mean we need to use them in order to make our marketing successful.

[00:35:08] So, start with the plan first, start with your foundation, figure out the channels, figure out the content you wanna put out, and only from there, decide what you need to make it happen. You might not need anything, you might just need your iPhone, seriously, use my, my phone to take photos or to record TikTok videos,

[00:35:32] that's all using my phone, I don't need anything. When I started the podcast, then I started using Riverside, or you, you, you know, SquadCast you're using, or get my microphone, but you don't need any tools in the beginning. So, for me, the tools that have worked well for my business are very simple stuff until I needed something, like, higher quality to make the sound better for the podcast like that. So, 

[00:35:59] Rachel Gombosch: That brings up a, 

[00:36:00] Anna Furmanov: Yeah, that's my recommendation.

[00:36:01] No, no, I was gonna say, like, don't think so much about the tools, think about your strategy, why you're doing it, who you're doing it for, and then from there now you have your plan, do you need any tools? You might not.

[00:36:13] Rachel Gombosch: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I think that brings up, you know, you bring up a really great point that don't buy into you need everything. Don't just hop on the bandwagon 'cause something new and shiny comes out, really take the time to evaluate if it's actually going to help you because the last thing you want is to buy and invest in all of these different platforms and tools and whatever else comes out. And then, a year down the road, you've spent all of this money on all of these different programs, and you didn't use any of them.

[00:36:45] Anna Furmanov: That happens quite a bit, by the way.

[00:36:47] Rachel Gombosch: Oh, I'm sure, I'm sure, all the time, and it goes back to restructuring your mindset of how you approach marketing and that it doesn't have to be difficult, it's really simple, you have a phone, it can just start with that. You've got a notes app, type out your thoughts and processes and what you plan on doing in your notes app, use your phone to take, you know, video, photo if you need to, for, you know, your face to face stuff, whatever you're gonna post, just, it has to start somewhere, but it doesn't have to be all of this complex strategies, yeah. 

[00:37:20] Anna Furmanov: No, I use a lot of Google, Google Docs, so I use Google docs for, like, preparing for the podcast episode, right, like, and then I use Google Docs for like any writing, I suppose, Google Sheets is actually really great for tracking your, if you're gonna be posting on social media. And, and so, what I do is prepare each day that I'm actually creating a post,

[00:37:46] I put it into a separate line, and then I have it for the weeks, right? So, for that week I have, so I really have from week one, when I first started posting on LinkedIn, up until now it's week 116, I have it all written out in there, and then I go back and whatever performed better, I highlight that in green, like, I'm basically telling you what I do in order,

[00:38:13] like, the simple process I take to go through and go back and see what worked well, so I can then analyze and do more of the stuff that worked. If it's like pretty good performance, I highlight angry, and if it's really good, because what you all, what we also didn't talk about is looking for those mini virals.

[00:38:30] I don't believe in the, like, going viral, like, let's make our marketing go viral, but I do believe that after a good amount of time of looking back, getting those insights on what's working, making more good content, you will create mini virals, and what that means is suddenly, instead of, like, five people liking your stuff and commenting and engaging, you're gonna have hundreds of people.

[00:38:54] And that actually happens, these mini virals, and it has to do with the post is really good, the algorithm picked it up that day, and that time that you posted it somebody randomly that has a lot of followers came in and commented and brought way more people than usual onto your post, but that's what you're hoping to get is a lot of these mini virals over time.

[00:39:18] And so, those mini virals in my Google Sheet are like really highlighted all the way across the page, so I go back to them.

[00:39:26] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah, a good point, there is consistency, right? So, it's developing a simple strategy that works for you, that works for your business, that works for something that you can consistently do day in and day out, and that way you can consistently track, create consistent content across the board so that you can achieve

[00:39:45] these mini virals, right? You see, because you've been tracking it, again, not using these big elaborate platforms necessarily, you're just using a Google Sheet, you're just saying this did really nice, this was a fantastic post, it worked really well, let's work on how we can recreate it, track it the next time.

[00:40:04] And so, it, it, it all kind of stems back to adopt something in your workflow that you can consistently keep going and, and stay with, right? You don't wanna take on too much and then drop it in a week.

[00:40:21] Anna Furmanov: Some, somebody actually messaged me, they're like, "Okay, well, I'm launching this podcast, and I just saw that you have 108 episodes on your show. So, what piece of advice would you give someone that's just starting out?" And I was like, "Pick the topic that you will stick with because you're gonna be talking about it for a while.

[00:40:40] So, make sure that it's exciting enough for you, valuable enough for listeners, that you're going to stick with it 'cause this takes a long time." I started my podcast November 2020. And so, I'm on episode 108 now, or 107. And so, it's just, it's the long game, you're playing the long game with something like that.

[00:41:01] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. So, how long did it take for you to really see traction on that particular effort for your podcast?

[00:41:10] Anna Furmanov: Good question. In the beginning, I had, like, my first guest, I had no idea what I was doing, I had a glass of wine, I think I might have mentioned this, I was like, "Oh, my gosh, what am I even doing?" I invited someone that I knew, he's awesome, he was really good on that first episode. And then I recorded maybe five,

[00:41:30] and then I'm like, "Okay, I'm getting the hang of this now, like, this is working." And then, I started to put some content out on LinkedIn to get people. And so, then I could see that listeners were growing over time. So, it takes months, it takes months to see that because as you're releasing episodes and recording episodes, you're seeing the listeners, like, you can't just go off of one or two data points,

[00:41:56] you need a bunch of data points over time. Same thing with social media, you need a bunch of data points over time. So, this, it takes months, could take years to get really good at this. So, you're really, like, when I say long game, I mean long game, you really, and that's why it's so important to have your foundation set and to prioritize and to go big in those one or two areas that you really believe in

[00:42:20] 'cause you're gonna stick with it, you're not gonna be jumping around, oh, I'm gonna try Instagram that week, and then I'm gonna try TikTok another. You're gonna stick with it over a long period of time. 

[00:42:30] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. Marketing is a long game. You're bouncing around, back and forth, testing new ideas, analyzing what works, but overall, it's, you're, you're adopting into the, the long stretch, the long haul.

[00:42:44] Anna Furmanov: So, it's, it's interesting that you mentioned this and maybe you wanted to segue into it. So, it is a long game, but you can also have short-term game, marketing can be a short-term game or a long-term game, and it depends on where you wanna play there because the short-term game, it will give you some result,

[00:43:08] it may not be the results you're looking for, but it, it will give you some results, right? And there are ways to shorten that time to the, the, you know, goal that you're looking for. So, I don't know if you wanted to segue into that, but.

[00:43:21] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah, well, and I think that's important to know of, it's a long haul, like, it's a long-term game, but look for those short wins almost that you can find to help keep you going, right? So, have those short-term strategies in place, obviously, the short-terms add on to create that longer-term goal, those longer-term efforts, right?

[00:43:41] Those long-term wins, but they're also gonna help you to maintain those efforts and keep that hype up around your marketing and what you're doing and keep you going in the long term. So, that's an awesome point to bring up. I do wanna start wrapping us up, unfortunately, I do, and I don't, I want us to keep going, um,

[00:44:02] but I wanna briefly talk about what metrics, as someone getting started into the digital marketing space, the content marketing space, important metrics that you found valuable to look into, to track, and then any additional last tidbits of information that maybe we didn't touch on, that you wanna say, I need to say this before we end.

[00:44:26] Anna Furmanov: Yeah. You're ending too soon. 

[00:44:29] Rachel Gombosch: I know.

[00:44:30] Anna Furmanov: Um, so, in terms of metrics, like, it really depends on the goal that you're trying to, so some, some people, some companies have a goal of increasing revenue. So, if that's your goal, how will your content marketing efforts tie into that?

[00:44:51] How will you start building pipeline, right, of people that are not ready to buy yet, but they're now aware of you, they have learned about you, they reached out to you, you've had some phone calls with them, it's not quite the buyer yet, but your content marketing efforts should touch the people across the entire stream that I just talked about,

[00:45:14] the people that suddenly become aware of you, they're following you, and then they're, you know, more and more interested building a relationship with them and then become a, a buyer of yours. So, it depends on the goal, sometimes the goal is, like, I want more people to come visit my website to see, you know, I'm a legit real estate agent and here's how many clients I've had and they love me.

[00:45:38] So, if your goal is that, how's your content marketing effort tying into the goal of getting more people to visit your website, or how's your content marketing effort getting more people to set up a call with you? It depends on your goal.

[00:45:52] Rachel Gombosch: Yeah. So bottom line, build out your foundation, test, test, test, test, and analyze and track what you're doing, track what works, keep it simple, you don't need, tools can help you, but only adopt tools if you're actually going to use them, and they're actually gonna prove to be beneficial for you and your business, be creative, be unconventional, speak to your audience, speak to what they want. What else am I forgetting? We talked about so much. 

[00:46:21] Anna Furmanov: We did talk about so much. I think one of the things we didn't touch on was the difference between, like, this whole idea of marketing takes a long time, and I'm just gonna sit here and I'm gonna wait for marketing to do its thing while I'm twiddling my thumbs and waiting for this long-term play to pan out.

[00:46:42] And so, the only thing I'll say there is, you should never really be sitting and twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the marketing long-term play to play out. There are things that you should be doing in the short term, right? Like, like, we talked about measuring the signals that something's working,

[00:46:58] maybe it's not yet to your end result, it hasn't reached your end goal yet, but you should be looking at those signals, people are saying they love your podcast, people are saying they love your content, people are, the right people are saying they're getting value from your stuff, from your webinars, from your posts, whatever it is, those are signals, short term.

[00:47:15] And you're analyzing that in the short term and making more of that, but content marketing, when you're creating demand for whatever you're trying to help people with, when you're creating demand for your offering, it does take time, it takes months, it takes years. So, be prepared for that. And if you wanna move faster, 'cause we didn't talk about that, right?

[00:47:36] If you wanna move faster, then you'll probably wanna think more about going outbound. So, we didn't talk about inbound versus outbound, maybe that's time for another call, but going, making a list of, like, who you wanna go after, the people you wanna connect with, start to, like, create relationships on LinkedIn, direct message them.

[00:47:56] That's faster than waiting for people to come inbound to you because you're creating valuable content, and suddenly, people are interested in what you have to say, which takes time. And then, of course, paid ads always works, right? 'Cause you can create targeted paid ads and go after those people you wanna go after faster than waiting for them to come to you.

[00:48:16] So, that's another way to think about, like, how do I move faster? What do I do in this downtime? There is no downtime, you can always do things. 

[00:48:25] Rachel Gombosch: There is no downtime. So, just get started. 

[00:48:29] Anna Furmanov: So, just get started, that's right. 

[00:48:31] Rachel Gombosch: So, just get started. Well, thank you, Anna, so much. Where can everyone connect with you? Where can they download all of the awesome resources and material that you've created for marketing? Where can they listen to you and your podcast? Where can they find you?

[00:48:47] Anna Furmanov: So, great. I'm on LinkedIn, Anna Furmanov. So, you can find me there, I'm there every single week, sharing the value, and I have a podcast called Modern Startup Marketing. So, you could listen to that. And I also have materials, like the playbooks I mentioned, on my website So, you can check out that.

[00:49:08] Rachel Gombosch: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us. This was such a great conversation.

[00:49:12] Anna Furmanov: I can talk about this all day, so thanks for having me.

[00:49:15] Rachel Gombosch: Absolutely. I can't wait for everyone to listen. Thank you, again, so much, I appreciate it.