Podcast The Hemp Revolution

Establishing a Strong Relationship between Your Brand and Your Target Market with DJ Howard

ep 60 DJ Howard

Devlon Howard, also known as DJ Howard, started using CBD to deal with his anxiety way back in college. When his longtime girlfriend got diagnosed with endometriosis, he just couldn’t stand watching her suffer the terrible pain so he suggested using cannabis.

Witnessing how this incredible plant eased her pain, his interest in the space heightened and decided to merge his passion and expertise in marketing to help small companies better market their products to their ideal consumer legally and efficiently.

In this episode, DJ talks share about marketing challenges in the cannabis and hemp industry and how he is helping businesses resolve these to drive sales.

Be informed and be inspired. Stay tuned!

Being able to realize that you have some opportunity, have a mission and a real purpose within this industry is going to do a lot and then just plan it out. – DJ Howard

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Sonia Gomez: What’s up guys, Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado super excited to be here on another rock your socks episode of The Hemp Revolution podcast. I don’t know why I always say that but I do because I always get my socks rocked when I’m on this show. So I’m excited to be here with y’all. I hope you’re having an amazing day. 

And as you know, it is our mission to empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated decisions about how you want to care for yourself, the people that you love conditions you may be suffering from or otherwise caring for this beautiful gift of life that we all get to enjoy. 

I want to give a major shout out to those of you guys who are in the business and have been touring around the events that have been going on over the last couple of months. It’s been crazy. happy to meet you guys in person and big shout out to those of you guys who are in business in this incredible industry. It can be extremely challenging and We are here to help. 

If you’re somebody looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for check us out at medicalsecrets.com and if you’re a business owner budding entrepreneur in the cannabis and hemp movement and you’re trying to break through brick walls and glass ceilings, I’m your girl check us out at theemeraldcircle.com. We are happy to help you with resources, relationships, tools, tips, tricks, whatever you need to succeed in this space. We are happy to help. 

We have another rock star entrepreneur on deck with us today. DJ Howard has spent over 10 years in the corporate marketing industry. His admiration and interest in the cannabis and hemp market began in college helping with anxiety and grew exponentially when his longtime girlfriend became incredibly ill. 

After some trial, they realized cannabis was the only thing easing her pain. From that point on he decided to merge his passion and expertise in marketing with his heightened interest in cannabis to help companies better market their products to their ideal customers legally and efficiently. 

DJ has since left his corporate marketing manager role to focus on his business, Midas & Co. Marketing where he helps hemp companies and solo-preneurs nurture and drive sales with their ideal clients and never fails to amaze me that the majority of the folks that I speak to, in this space have some sort of personal connection to the way that this plant has, transformed their life or somebody that they know somebody, that they’re closely connected to seeing some sort of transformation in them. 

So I’m really excited to hear more about your story. DJ, super excited to have you here.

DJ Howard: Awesome, thank you! Thank you for the intro, and I’m super excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, you’re welcome. Why don’t you quick and dirty. Tell us a little bit about you your background and how you ended up in the canna boom. Tell us some more about this long time gorgeous girlfriend of yours.

DJ’s Journey into the CBD Space

DJ Howard: A few years back, you know, I was working in my corporate marketing gig and just kind of muddling along getting by, I love marketing, but the corporate world was kind of weighing on me a little bit. And then something crazy happened. My girlfriend was diagnosed with endometriosis, which is a terrible, terrible illness that really caused her a lot of pain. 

And as you mentioned, we went through a ton of trial and error before one day when, as my anxiety was on 10 because she was in so much pain and there wasn’t seeming like anything I can do about it. I just said, Hey, just hit the herb one time, it can’t get any worse, right? And magically, it helped a ton. 

It ended up being her main source of medication as she went through that entire journey as we went through that entire journey. So that was really the beginning for me. Besides in college, you know from my own anxiety that was the really beginning of realizing that there was some serious serious medical benefits to the herb. 

And actually, more recently, I ended up breaking my foot and it was I don’t know if anybody out there has ever broken a bone I have broken three broken both of my arms, I’ve broken my hand. And honestly, it really wasn’t that bad but breaking your foot, oh, man, that is a trial you do not know how much weight you put on your feet until you can’t use one as much as you are used to. 

And the one thing that really helped me as I went through my rehab process with that was actually CBD. I went down to the USA CBD Expo in Miami, Florida. I’m based out of Tampa. So I went down there and spoke with a few people and actually got some CBD rubbed on my foot some topical rubbed on my foot. And I just knew then I said, you know what, I can’t do this anymore. I have got to get out of corporate America. This is not where I need to be. I need to be in the world of cannabis in the hemp world in the cannaboom as you like to say, Sonia. 

So that’s really how I kind of got pushed into it got nudged into it, however, you want to look at it, it’s really been a personal journey that has kind of gotten me to this point where I’m at today.

Sonia Gomez: That’s so far incredible. First of all, I’m really happy that your girlfriend found a solution and that I love how you’re like hit this one [inaudible]. 

DJ Howard: Just one time, on like, what what what harm could it do? Right?

Transitioning from Corporate to Cannabis

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, can’t do any kind of harm. So that’s cool. I love that. I love that she was open to that. Talk to me a little bit about the transition from corporate to cannabis. I think a lot of folks are watching on the peripheral of what this industry is doing. And I think many are excited and interested and know that they have a unique skill set that they can bring to the table, but are not quite sure how to make that transition. 

What was the defining moment for you that said, like, I’m out. I’m gonna I’m going to do this full time. By the way marketing in the hemp and cannabis industry is not easy. So the fact that you decided to do that is pretty remarkable because most people can’t make that transition successfully. 

They try, they certainly advertise they, there’s a lot of trials and tribulations, many fail forward moments. How did you navigate your transition? And how have you been able? Well, let’s start with your transition. How did you get your transition and into the space? And what was that determining moment where you’re just like, I gotta do this full time?

DJ Howard: Yeah, so when I was at the USA CBD Expo, I realized that not just me myself but being African American. Being a male African American, I realized there was a huge stigma within my own community about hemp about cannabis. Basically, your grandma will tell you, you know, stop smoking, all that reefer, don’t end up being a pothead. 

So there was like a terrible stigma associated with it. And so why the expo seems so many people benefit from it. It was just incredibly boggling to me that in my own community, we weren’t taking advantage of the same benefits of hemp. So it was really at that moment that I decided, within the next year, I had already started doing some freelance work, but I’ve really decided that within the next year, I’m going to transition out of corporate America. 

I started going around CBD has gotten really big here in Florida. So I started going around locally, visiting different places, going to different CBD shops, talking with the owners, the people, the salespeople there, just figuring out what was some of their struggles. And actually, hope this does not happen to other people but it was a great nudge for me, what really helped with the transition, there’s power in words because I said, within a year I’m going to leave my corporate gig, and I was working at the largest advertising agency in Tampa and they actually laid off a third of the workforce. 

And it was not long after I had that revelation that I was leaving that they were saying, we’re about to lay some people off and I actually was a little bit excited if I’m going, to be honest with you, I was like, Oh, great, now I actually have the time to do this full force. Like, I don’t want to be at this corporate gig anymore. I want to focus all of my time on marketing and helping people market their CBD products to whoever their target market is. And that was really what helped push me it was really that defining moment of realizing that my community could really, really benefit from it and that I could, be gap filling for my community. And then also for CBD companies in my community who were trying to market their products but struggling as you mentioned, because it’s a very challenging space. 

Thankfully, I like a nice challenge. And honestly, the corporate gear got a little boring. So when I got laid off, it was just like the perfect timing the perfect push again, not my hope that that is everyone else’s journey. But I do think that being able to realize that you have some opportunity and have a mission and a real purpose within the industry is going to do a lot and then just plan it out. I had already started planning how my transition out of corporate America was going to be it then I just got a nice little nudge which just allowed me to go full force a little bit quicker.

Humps on Marketing the Hemp Industry

Sonia Gomez: Another rockstar story. Sometimes being fired is like the fate, the best thing that can ever happen to you because, what you can’t do on your own, sometimes God does for you. Not to sound cliche, but like, I had a situation with a boyfriend once where I was just like, going back and forth and back and forth. And I was like, man, how do you break the chain now when you’re stuck and you’re and you’re wrapped up and you’re like, you’ve got so much in it, you can’t breakaway. 

It’s the same thing with a job. It’s like security is comfortable. You’re in a flow, you got your rhythm going and it’s tough to break out of what’s comfortable. And it takes even more courage to not go back to the status quo even in the new environment same shit different day. But what you decided to do was really tap into that entrepreneurial spirit that you had and become a changemaker. So here’s the million-dollar question. What were some of the challenges that you face when you were kick-starting your marketing company in the hemp industry when you can’t do shit on the internet from work today?

DJ Howard: One of my one of my major challenges honestly, the first thing was like you said that the comfort, the stability, realizing that okay, I don’t have every two weeks it’s automatic. I don’t have to think about this check coming through. So really fighting that urge to find that comfort level again with a corporate gig was a huge challenge. But then after that, what I realized is that a lot of companies, a lot of business owners had a very broad target market and they weren’t really hyper-targeting, they weren’t really breaking down their audience into segments to identify, where these people are, where are they shopping? What are they doing for pleasure for fun? Or where are they working, and how they could tap into that sort of information to help market their product better and obviously, legally. 

So that was one of the main issues that I had and then, like you said, being, trying to get people to get out of the thought process of I’m just going to throw ad dollars online and it’s going to work like changing that whole system of thinking that process in people’s minds the way if I just do some Google ads, it’ll work. It’s perfect. The money will come in, and I realized that a lot of people, a lot of CBD companies, didn’t really have a marketing structure. All their sales funnel really wasn’t built out. 

They were just kind of, like I said, throwing dollars what I call throwing dollars at a wall in a dark room. And I don’t like doing that because you can’t see in a dark room you don’t know what you’re doing it. So those were a couple of my biggest sort of challenges but initially yeah, the main the huge thing was stability and fighting the urge to go back to that corporate America gig and really just stick with the entrepreneurial spirit of making it happen just getting out there and doing the damn thing.

Gaining Consumers for His Business

Sonia Gomez: What do you think it was obviously everybody’s trying to do it in house, out of house everybody’s trying to figure out this marketing game you’re getting results or you wouldn’t be on this show you definitely have some things to share which we’ll get into here in a minute when we do our segment of words of wisdom, but I want to find out more from you about what it actually took to succeed there. 

How are you getting your clients? how did you get your first client when you don’t have any proven results in the cannabis and hemp space? When no one has ever seen or heard of you, and all of a sudden you’re out there talking about you’re the bee’s knees to solve, these problems. Did you go to your local market? what was your approach to getting that first customer? And did you get the results right away? Or did you have to go through a couple of people getting pissed off before you finally hit it and started to build a good reputation for yourself?

DJ Howard: Yeah, great question. So with me, I think the main thing was pitching myself going out and pitching myself. And once I pitched myself, a lot of times, what I faced was that, like you said, you go out there and you tell people, yeah, I know exactly what I’m doing. But then you have to show results. So there have been times where I have done work for free. Like I’ve done a couple of projects, not incredibly large projects, but something more small scale where I gave away something for free, whether it was an hour strategy session where we sat down and at by the end of the strategy session, they we’re like, you know what you’re doing like you clearly know more than I do. So I want to give you a shot, I took some cheap work, if I’m going, to be honest, I kind of lowered my pricing for a time so that I could sort of have some references, sort of have some opportunity to say, this is what I’ve been able to do. 

This is the process of how I was able to do it. And then once I kind of really developed a process of how I went about what I was doing, it made it a lot easier for people to recognize and sit down. But there were a couple of times where I did not pick the right client, where it was just not a good fit, where I tried to force it and it really wasn’t working out. Sometimes people think that their way is the only way and their way is the right way and if it’s not working, then I need to find a better way to do it their way and that’s not always the way that I look at it. 

Sometimes people think that their way is the only way and their way is the right way and if it's not working, then I need to find a better way to do it their way and that's not always the way that I look at it. - DJ Howard Click To Tweet

So it was really a matter of doing a little bit of cheap work, a little bit of free work, giving away some freebies every now and again and really just going out there and putting yourself out there, which I think for a lot of people is the scariest part because now you’re putting yourself in a position to be judged by somebody else on the work that you’re doing. 

And for some people, that can be scary for a lot of people actually, that can be a little bit scary. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes and on top of that, when you’re confident in your process and you know that the work that you do is going to bring about results, it makes it a lot easier to one go out there and pitch yourself and then two after you talk to somebody decided, what, this may not be the best collaboration, this may not be the best partnership, you may not be my ideal client, and then three on top of that, which is where I’ve more recently gotten into actually charging your worth not necessarily always going the cheap route just to kind of break in some business.

The more you do it, the easier it becomes. - DJ Howard Click To Tweet

His Ideal Partners and Clients

Sonia Gomez: Man, spoken like a true king right there. I’ll tell you, not everything is perfect. I mean, I even still struggle and I can keep it 100 on this podcast because it’s mine [inaudible] I can keep it 100 right here because I’m telling you what, it is not easy and the landscape is consistently changing and right when you think that you have a map or a roadmap on what’s working something changes, whether it’s compliance or whatever it is something always changes and so you have to stay ready, to get ready and then you have to stay ready just in case something else changes and then you got to get ready again. It’s just like it’s such a roller coaster of emotions and the stress songs. Good Lord, thank you that were in cannabis and hemp because I will be stressed out sometimes I’ll be like, so I’m telling you, man, it’s really challenging because you never know what the challenges are going to be. Sometimes your clients don’t give you the whole story. So it gets super crazy like that. 

Tell me what you need what you want, like, who are the people that you’re looking to do business right now who do you feel like, you know, after you go through, I’ve gone through the full gamut. I’ve tried to help brand newbies and for a while, I was super nostalgic about being able to provide the brand new entrepreneur, the folks who had three to $5,000 a month to be able to invest, I was like, I’m going to help the underdogs I’m going to help them out and get them results and all of this and like some of them I did, and others I did not because honestly, the people who are penny-pinching and being like I only have this much to invest right to my marketing. 

That’s the penny pitching mindset is so hard to work with. Because as a marketer, it’s a numbers game like you have to spend more to make more and the people who are really making the splash here are spending five, six figures a day. And you are up against a lot. And then I realized, Okay, great, let’s try and hit up the mid-tier people who can spend, $10,000, $15,000 to $20,000 a month and see how that goes. And that goes really, really well, right? because they have that mentality where they’re like, they know they have to invest it’s scary for them to invest, but they’re willing to do it to a certain point as long as they can start to see a return relatively quickly within 90 days. 

And then there’s those top dogs who are like, spending five, six figures a day, and they got their thing. Some of them are turning and burning brands, not all of them are working in the highest integrity, because at that point is just about how much can we put in to get how much outright there’s the very little soul of it. That’s not a blanket statement. There are the few who are exceptions, but for the most part, everyone’s on it. Most people are on the churn and burn schedule. For you, who’s your ideal customer? who do you enjoy working with? who are the partners or people that you want to pull into your eco-system so that you because you know you can serve them that the best?

DJ Howard: Absolutely. So I love that middle and I love how you phrase the middle to the like the middle child. They’re right in the middle. They learn from little brother, little sister but they also learn from big brother big sister. 

Coming from the corporate world, I knew that being in the big tail realm was not what I wanted to do because I wanted to have more of an impact with people and I wanted to make sure that impact was felt and feel a little bit closer to the business. So that middle tier is kind of where I really like being at, as you mentioned with sort of the beginners, they do penny pitch a lot. 

Now there are services that I do offer them, I offer audience research and segmentation and kind of just give them the tools to get started so that they can, kind of at least get going and make a mark somewhat because a lot of times they just haven’t started they don’t know where to begin made a YouTube or Instagram yesterday. And they’re just like trying to get it going. Where I really, really liked to work are the risk-takers, the people who understand that, like you said, you get out what you put in and if you’re not putting in anything, you’re not going to yield a whole lot of results. But you also have to be smart about what you’re putting in. 

You get out what you put in and if you're not putting in anything, you're not going to yield a whole lot of results. - DJ Howard Click To Tweet

So really, that sweet spot is those who they know that they have to put in some work, put in some money and not a penny-pinch and be cheap, so to speak. But they also realize that there’s a real strategy involved in it. And that’s not really their expertise. I love helping them because they’re usually very eager to learn. or, even better, they’re just like, you know what, DJ, go do it, just come back to me and show me the results. Let’s meet every couple of weeks or once a month, and you just let me know how things are going and then we’ll run a program for three to six months. So those are really where I like to work because as I’ve told people marketing, it’s not a rich overnight thing, you’re not going to just go make six figures off of your product in the morning unless you go viral and you’re some sort of viral sensation. 

If you’re marketing, it’s a longtail game you really got, you really have to make sure that you are being consistent, you are being very intentional about what you’re doing and understand that over time that is going to yield the results that you want. And it’s not only going to yield the results that you want by making you money, it’s going to retain your business as well. It’s going to create brand champions for you because you’ve created such a wonderful experience that people want to tell other people about their experience with your brand. 

So really, in that middle tier, the risk-takers are what I like to call them, but their strategic risk-takers, not to people who are just like, I’m gonna throw six figures on the internet or at this ad this week, and I expect to make a million dollars. Not that sort of risk-taker, but the ones who are like, what, there’s a strategy involved. I know that this is going to take a little bit of time and I’m willing to go through that process and either learn or just have you explain how it’s going. 

To me every couple of weeks, once a month, that’s really where I enjoy working, or I’ve kind of grown to enjoy working. I’ll be honest, at the beginning, I did love helping folks in the beginning stages. And like I said, I do offer some lower and service offerings for them. But at the end of the day, like you said, you get out what you put in. And if you’re not really putting in, you can’t really expect to get out much.

Progress in the Hemp Business

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I want to find out two techniques from you, and a timeframe that folks should like what’s a minimum time frame that people should expect to be investing into one particular marketing strategy. And there’s never one, right but one particular marketing strategy so that they can get results and I’ll tell you why I asked questions. 

I recently received a text message from somebody who invested $5,000 with me for us to go in completely segment out their entire email list, create custom, follow up sequences, run offers and increase revenue directly through their email channels and improve the conversion of the number of emails they were collecting from the traffic that they were getting organically. They weren’t driving any traffic to their website. It was all just organic search. And we put all these things in place so that we could implement a traffic sale, right? And so we got everything in place. We were 30, maybe 40 days and everything was ready to go hot to try the website was four times faster than it had ever been. 

We started to get higher conversions and collecting more emails. And they came back and they said, Well, we ran the first promotion and we only got one sale. And I was like, yeah, and they said, well, we’re pissed off. We want why did we only make one sale and I said, Well, when we talked about it in the beginning, you even have the traffic. What you have is, you know, a good base and that we’ve segmented out and created communications for, but you don’t have the traffic to support more sales right now. 

That’s the next step now that your infrastructure is in place, and they were really disgruntled about it, right? And for a while, I was like, man, like did I fuck that up? Or what’s the right answer there? And I spoke to one of my mentors who was like, No, people have unrealistic expectations about what it actually takes to be successful. And if you don’t have the infrastructure in place, then you’re losing water out of your it’s like having a bucket with holes in it. How is an African child going to get their five-gallon bucket home with water in it if there’s holes all over the bucket? And sit like their families not drinking water that night. You know what I mean? 

So so that made me feel a little bit better, but I still can’t help but feel bad, even though I know like, I don’t implement any marketing strategy if I can’t run it for 90 days, it takes 30 days to set the thing up, you know, day 30 to 60 you’re doing stuff, day 60 to 90, you’re tweaking it and making it hum. And by the fourth month, you’re like, Okay, we got something here, let’s either kill it or put more money behind it, right. 

And so that’s what I have found but I’m always interested to find out from other folks who are marketing in the space, because, everybody has their own strategies, their own techniques. How do you advise your clients as far as investment of time and investment of money? What should be a real minimum that somebody should expect to invest in the way of time and money in order to move the needle?

DJ Howard: Yeah, great question. So that question is really dependent upon where they’re at in their business, especially from a time perspective, at least to me. So what I do is I kind of take an analysis of where they are, do they have any infrastructure? 

Typically when we’re talking about those sort of beginner levels, they don’t have that infrastructure, right? When you work with more of the mid-tier, they usually have some sort of infrastructure and may need some slight tweaking, but they have something in place. So usually when, if you’re talking about more beginner brands, I say that is a minimum of four to five months, because like you said, it takes a month to actually build out the infrastructure, then 30 to 60 days, you’re actually doing stuff 60 to 90 you’re learning and then 90 to that like, fourth and fifth month, 120-180 you are really trying to maximize on what you’re trying to learn and then you’re trying to maximize and really go full force in what you’re doing. 

What I tell everybody is it takes time to learn what is working well for your brand for your business before you can actually say Okay, now we’re really going to push this actually worked with a lot of clients who, they initially just want to use paid advertising and I let them know like your paid advertising isn’t working because you’re not really sure that it’s even good content that is content that your audience even wants to see. You’re not even sure if you’re sending it directing it to the right segment of your audience for it to be actually beneficial. 

So it’s really dependent. Like if you’re talking about the beginner stage, I would say four to five months, because you have to spend more time getting things set up and actually learning what’s working. When you’re working in more of the middle tier, now we can get down to a three-month minimum, because there’s not as much infrastructure that we have to set up we spend more time in the testing phase to see what’s really working. 

And then we can actually, some power behind what we doing add gas to the fire, so to speak. So that’s from a time perspective, what you’re looking at. And then as far as monetarily speaking, it’s depending upon their goals. A lot of times small businesses are going to want basically to spend as little money as possible to get as much as possible. And that’s really kind of how I got out of working so much with them or at least so intensively with the sort of beginner level businesses but when you get into that, that mid-tier area, what you find is that the more you spend in the areas that you know are working, the more you’re going to get out of it. 

The more you spend in the areas that you know are working, the more you're going to get out of it. - DJ Howard Click To Tweet

I never recommend that you put money behind something before actually testing to see organically if it’s even a good fit for your audience. My strategy is, find out what’s really good content and who is really good content for and then scale and put dollars behind and reach more people who are within that same segment of your audience who may not be following you but distribute that content to them because that’s going to be your hook. That’s going to be how you get them interested or make them aware of your brand. And kind of slowly starts reeling them into whatever sales funnel you have intact. 

So monetarily speaking, it’s really hard to put a number on it, but if you’re talking in that mid-tier range $5,000 is a very, like minimal area for you to be thinking especially if you have big goals and big dreams. Now if you only want to make $5,000 a month, and I hope you don’t only want to make $5,000 a month, then you don’t have to put in as much. More money that you want to make the more money that you’re going to need to put it.

Sonia Gomez: Well, at least this you saying it not me.

DJ Howard: Make me the bad guy.

Sonia Gomez: I say it all time and people don’t like it and that, you know what, I’ve gone through it like you got to spend 5k over and over and over again. And sometimes you got to spend 5k so that you can spend 5k again, you know, I have some clients now who invested 5k over three months, so $15,000 total, and at the end of that they have an audience of one client has an audience of about 26,000 another client built an audience from scratch. We help them build it, from scratch from zero to 43,000 people inside of 90 days. 

Now, what does that do that gives them instant positioning in their marketplace to be able to attract the other folks that they want to collaborate with? Their CBD brands? So they’re looking for distribution? And they are, you know, what store? Do you know that it’s not flooded with requests to carry their products? We’re getting ready to do a whole outreach right now to the stores with and we are sending out the first email that says, Hey, would you like to come and be featured on our platform? And we’re getting nine out of 10 responses with Yes, we’d love to and we’re interested in your product. 

So this these are just ways that you can flip the script on the industry right now that the challenges that most people have, you don’t have to have those challenges if you’re willing to make those investments and it might take a little bit of time, but you’re putting yourself way ahead. The noisier the market gets, you have to have these key differentiators. 

DJ Howard: Definitely need a budget to just test. I tell people all the time when I was working in my corporate gig, we would spend $50,000, to see what’s working well, and then we would go spend like $200,000. Now, again, that’s I’m talking big tier. But still, that sort of gives you a ratio of what you’re looking at, you need to have some money to put aside strictly to understand that I’m going to put this money forward to invest in testing. 

And once I realized what’s working really well, then I can really flood it and throw a lot more money at it, whether your budget starts, I only have $1,000 to test. And once I figure out what’s working, then I can put two, three, maybe $5,000. In or if like you said, you’re more in a $5,000 range, and you’re testing over three, four months, and you’re spending $20,000 to over the next, six months in like $100,000, you’re going to feel a lot of risks, but it’s because you risk and you took the time to invest. 

Words of Wisdom

Sonia Gomez: In this next segment. I call it the words of wisdom. This is where we get to share with our community what we would do if knowing what we know now if we were just getting started, what would we do? But I want to flip this around a little bit and ask you to give some words of wisdom to those businesses out there who are trying to crack the marketing code. What knowing what you know now, what would be three key pieces of advice that you would share to a business owner of any size or maybe in that small to mid-tier range, they’re trying to get their feet wet, they’re trying to feel excited, but they’re a little scared and nervous, but know that they got to make moves, what would be some tips or tricks or tactics, or some words of advice that you could offer that might help them move the needle?

DJ Howard: Yeah, absolutely and I like to flip by the way. The first thing is to you have to start. A lot of people they have like the fear of I don’t know what to do. So I’m not going to start and that to me is the worst thing because you can’t really learn anything until you start doing something. So I would say start if you’re kind of teetering on what to do at least get started somewhere. 

The other things that I would say as far as words of wisdom, really identify what your goal is, and identify a timeline for your goals so that you can set realistic expectations. I think where a lot of times people get upset with marketing or marketing strategies is that they have really unrealistic expectations as far as what marketing should be doing for their business, take a stance of nurturing your audience, take the time to really, really get to know your audience, like the back of your hand like, know where they shop, what they like to do, what they’re interested in, where they’re consuming news or consuming entertainment. 

Just find out as much about them as you can, and then use that information, even see what they’re talking about. Then use that information to target them based on your business, your brand, your brand pillars understand that those people are people and they don’t want to be spammed with salesy ads all day. 

That’s something that I see people do all the time, you really need to take the time to nurture that audience and create sustainable relationships. Because, for me what I tell people all the time, the goal isn’t just to make a sale, the goal is to create a brand champion, that’s somebody who is not only going to purchase from you repeatedly, but they’re going to urge other people to do the same. 

And that’s basically free marketing. Like you don’t have to put any dollars or time behind that, besides the time that it takes you to create an enjoyable experience surrounding your brand with the individual consumer. They’re going to go tell their whole network about their wonderful experience with whatever brand it is that they experienced, and people are going to take their word for it because no matter how many different marketing strategies and tactics and digital platforms are out there, the number one marketing strategy sure-fire is word of mouth referral. 

And if you can get somebody to be a grand champion for you, you will see you a lot of people starting to pay more attention to your brand. And it’s almost like I’m not really sure what I did, but apparently, I’m doing something right. 

So keep nurturing those relationships and create an experience around your brand. That is one that people will want to tell others about and to continue to experience. Those are I mean, I don’t know how much more I can do this all day, Sonia. So you got to know when to stop me.

Where to Find Them 

Sonia Gomez: Well, I’m gonna stop you right now because people have told me you can’t give it all the way. It’s like a girl sleeping with you on the first day. You got the nucky you won’t want to chase the cookie. So why don’t you tell folks where they can find you if they’re interested in finding out more about how you can help solve some of these marketing challenges for them?

DJ Howard: Yeah, absolutely. You can find me on Instagram @djtheeking. That’s two E’s theeking. You can also find me on Facebook. I have a really awesome Facebook group called In The Marketing Mix with Midas and Co. and that’s just a platform for me to talk to people and understand what their challenges are. So if you want to get a little bit more specific about your particular brand and what challenges and pain points you have, that’s a great place to go because I’m always in there giving advice and talking to people about how they can improve their brand marketing one way or the other. So yeah, check me out there.

Sonia Gomez: Amazing! Hey guys, all for those of you who are tuning in all of the links and social media handles will be posted in the blog that is written right underneath this video. Make sure that you check it out along with our show notes and highlights from today’s interview. I’m, I love having fellow marketing conversations because this is an ongoing struggle and anybody who tells you that they got something down the path, and everything is perfect. Every time that they do it is full of shame. 

A lot of what we’re doing right now is to be successful in this space. And I’ll just piggyback off of what DJ just said, you know, is leveraging the power of your network and that often you hear this saying and entrepreneurialism where they say your network is your net worth. 

There’s ways for you to pay to play to leverage other people’s networks. And that is been probably one of the most effective ways that we’ve been a blast in the industry and I’ll give you an example. Influencer marketing is probably one of the most powerful ways to leverage other people’s audiences, especially if you don’t have one of your own. 

Now there’s a couple of key qualifiers that you have to be aware of in order to successfully leverage this tactic, number one is that you have to have a social media presence yourself, it’s minimal, but you still have to have a social media presence yourself, there has to be brand cohesiveness, the way that you look and sound your message to market match visually and intellectually how you’re positioning the words how you position your pictures, how you’re communicating both visually and through your messaging with your customer is so important because that also attracts the brand ambassadors who are going to align best with your brand. 

Everyone is looking to see who pairs and who’s a good match for them. And I’m speaking from an influencer’s perspective. Even though I hate that term, using it for myself, I have a massive audience. And one thing that I’ve done really super well is building engage massive audiences who are begging to buy your shit. And so I work with a lot of influencers and teach them how to do the same thing. I work with a lot of brands helping them get paired with the right influencers, who can move products and integrate people’s brands into their network. 

So you have to be set up with a minimal social media following you have to have some key followers that you’re following as well. You really have to have a cohesive look and feel to your brand so that the influencers are attracted to it and want to share it with their network. This is such a powerful strategy because, again, you multiply over and over and over again, with each influencer that you bring in. 

So you might only have a few thousand followers. But every time you bring on a new influencer, you’re able to leverage their 10s of thousands or hundreds of thousands, in some cases, millions of followers. So that’s a really, really powerful technique. And it is, it is one of many strategies that you can use, but probably the fastest way that you can generate revenue, leveraging the internet because you’re not trying to run ads, it takes out a lot of the guesswork. 

It’s a really great way to build long term ongoing relationships. Eventually, if they see after a certain grace period, usually 90 days, many influencers will move into performance pay. So that’s a great way for you guys to have an incentive to, or to incentivize influencers that you know, for what they sell, they get paid and the volume, there’s no cap on the volume. 

Of course, they’re going to want to be taking your stuff with them everywhere that they go and doing whatever they’re doing. Right. So those are some key considerations for you guys. The secondarily is don’t spend a fucking dime if you’re not willing to get your infrastructure in place first, you might as well just give somebody get walked by and give a homeless drug addict all of your money, because you’re never going to see it again if you do not have the proper infrastructure in place to capture that goddamn traffic and I’m cursing right now because y’all are hard-headed. Okay?

DJ Howard: Yes, say it again Sonia.

Sonia Gomez: So true, man. I’m telling you, like, if you don’t have a website up, don’t call me if you know if you need a website, you can call but like, I’m going to refer you out to somebody who’s really good because I don’t half-assed work, you know, second to that is that like, if you guys are not, if you don’t have a lead capture, if you don’t have something of value that you can give on the front end that doesn’t require them to spend money, man, you got to get this stuff in place. 

This is a new game, it’s a new day and you are up against big money. This is not the industry that we were in 18 months ago. This is today’s industry, and we have a big business, big money and big goals coming into the space right now. And if you were at MJBizCon, you saw these futuristic plans, reflected people have really, really incredible resources right now. 

And if you want to be a relevant company or brand in this business, you have to be willing to invest in the infrastructure that is going to make it possible for you to succeed. Then you can trickle along, but I’m telling you, every dollar every dime, it counts and every one person that visits your site, one out of 10 of those people are going to want to give you their information so that you can follow up and that’s the final thing that I’m going to say to you is, the fortune is in the follow-up. That’s why the infrastructure is so important because you have to be able to capture people’s information, you have to be able to connect with them, and you have to convert them all in the follow-up. That doesn’t happen on a website, people have the attention span of a goldfish, seven seconds or less, it ain’t happening on your website. 

It’s happening when it’s seven o’clock in the morning, they’re sitting on the toilet going boo boo, and they’re looking at their Facebook feed, and they’re looking at, they’re scrolling, you know what I mean? That’s when they’re sitting at a traffic like they’re scrolling. That’s when they’re checking out your stuff and reading your emails. So you have to have the infrastructure in place to capture the traffic that’s coming to your site, you have to have a source of traffic, which is why we say use influence or tap into your network that way. 

And then finally, the fortune is in the follow-up, make sure that infrastructure that you have includes list management segmenting out the people who are taking actions and based off of the actions that they’re taking they’re being put into a specific segmented list that has a specific line of communication that moves them to the next action. 

That’s the board game. Your job in this Monopoly game is to acquire as many contacts as possible so that you can get so that you can follow up with them because at the end of the day, it’s just a numbers game a thousand is going to turn into 100, which is going to turn into 10, which is going to turn into one so you have to have that multiplied by 100. 

So those are my words of wisdom hopefully that is helpful to you guy and you’re not like, this bitch is crazy because I am but I’m just keeping it 100 with you guys because I’m telling you especially after what I just witnessed and MJBizCon what you thought was moving fast is about to have quantum leaps and condensed periods of time. This is big, big, big, big and when we’re talking about bees, this is multi-billion dollar 10s of Billions of dollar size industry. This is not a small game that we’re playing here. So you got to get ready, put your helmet on a strap on those pads and get ready to go to war just like those football folk.

DJ Howard: Great advice. I love the analogy. I’m a big football fan. So I felt that one, Sonia. Yes.

Sonia Gomez: Well, good. Any final words that you have my good friend, I really enjoyed today’s conversation. I’d like to just continue this onward and onward. But I think I’ll just have you come back on the show another time to talk more about it. We can go back to church.

DJ Howard: Yes, no, I would love to we should definitely do this again. I had a great time again, to everybody out there who they’re just trying to figure out where to start, start somewhere test, figure out what works best for you. And go out there and crush it because man, it’s going to be a crazy, crazy next few months in the wide world of cannabis and in the hemp world and you want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of every opportunity that’s out there and every resource that’s out there. So thank you again for having me. We should do this again very soon and take the people to church, preach to them one time not get too tricky though. But hopefully, somebody here to get the word.

Sonia Gomez: Blast! I love that. Thank you very much DJ really enjoyed our time together. And for those of you guys who are tuning in today, thank you so much for being a part of this community. We live to serve you each and every day we think about how we can help you understand the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make more educated empowered decisions about how you’re caring for yourself, the people that you love conditions, you may be suffering from caring for this beautiful life, that we are gifted by our good lord. 

And honestly, for those of you guys who are in business, we really think about you each and every day and how we can continue to create a massive impact in the world. We look at success in two ways. Number one, is the impact and number two is the income and I’ll tell you the secret that no one wants to talk about. Your income is a direct reflection of how you are building trust in your marketplace, and how much leverage you can use to deliver the most value into that marketplace. 

So your impact meter and your income meter should be in direct balance and in and working in infinity type fashion to show that what you do and how you do it is cultivating the impact and generating the income that you need to and that you want to care for yourself, but also to build the life that you love, and can feel really proud of this is an opportunity like we’ve never seen before in our lifetime to create a legacy. 

And if the legacy is that you were there, and you got to see it unfold before your eyes fine. But if your legacy is one that you want to create generational wealth, and impact for this is one of the only things that we will ever see in our lifetime that will provide that type of opportunity, no matter what walk of life you are from. So welcome to The Hemp Revolution. 

Thank you so much for being a part of our community. And when you like and share content like this, you are a part of moving the needle for the world. We’ve impacted hundreds of millions of people’s lives because you like and share content just like this video. So I invite you to do so now, welcome your network of friends and family to join us here if they want to get educated and empowered by these incredible interviews and entrepreneurs who are pushing this industry forward. 

And we will continue to provide you with the most value that we can. Leave your comments below, make sure that you check out the blogs and check out all of the links that we included inside of the written version of this interview. And we will see you guys really soon. I’m your hostess with the mostess Sonia Gomez and this is the hemp revolution. We’ll see you on the next show, guys.

Thanks for listening to another rockstar episode of the hemp revolution podcast. I’m your host Sonia Gomez and just for you, we took notes on this episode along with the links and other resources mentioned inside of today’s show. Get them for free right now by going to theemeraldcircle.com. 

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