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Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. And I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, we talk about four different types of freedom: time, financial, location, and emotional freedom. And my mission is to bring you guests that are doing things on the cutting edge, very innovative things. And my mission is to empower you to give you the education information for you to make your decisions towards freedom.
So today, we have a guest, Steven Lentz, and he is the founder of Ocelot Traffic. And he's going to talk to us all about marketing, sales, branding and coaching. So I'll let him introduce himself. So Steven, welcome.
Steven Lentz: Awesome. Thanks, Chris. It's great to be here. And I really appreciate people who give back to their community. So just a big thank you to you for helping your fellow physicians, I think that's really great, what you're doing.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, we got connected through PodMatch. And I found your bio very interesting, because a lot of doctors and people need to learn about how basic business fundamentals, [they] are not taught. And it's a different skill set. So let's get started, we talk a little bit about your background, your experience, and then we'll go from there.
Steven Lentz: That sounds great. So I'm obviously Steven Lentz, I was a professional firefighter for over 10 years. So I had a lot of interaction with ER Doctors and have a good working relationship with the dark humor that goes in with that line of work. But no, I had a rocky relationship with my own employment and going back and forth between unemployed and back employed. And I got heavily into Marketing and Entrepreneurship and learned that marketing is the lifeblood of a business. That's where all the money comes in. You can have the best party in the world, by party, I mean website, but if no one ever comes to it, you're essentially invisible. Right? And so that invitation is your marketing, whether that's pay per click, or social media or organic content. So my goal and my focus is to help businesses become the number one with whatever they're doing, wherever they're at, organically, because that's what people want and what people look for.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, that's so interesting, because you talk about just the uncertainty, the unpredictability of having a job these days, and people are changing jobs. And really, I think the concept of job security and stability is more of an industrial age thing. But in today's age we need to learn how to market ourselves.
What's interesting is that you talk about marketing. So marketing is a very fascinating subject. You could have the best product or service, but you don't have good marketing and sales, and it's going to fail. So let's talk about, really, what is a marketing market dominating position?
Steven Lentz: A good market dominant position is something that sets you apart from everyone else, something that's unique to you.
Off the fly, it's kind of hard. My own market dominant position is that I get my clients on the front page of Google, immediately. I don't know anyone else who can say that. And not just front page ads, but organically, that’s something that I can do. So whether it's a dentist or chiropractor or something that maybe you do things gentler than your competition, or you relieve pain a certain way or you treat your patients on an emotional human connection as well, like you build relationships. Whatever it is that is, you have to find out what it is about your business, and what makes you unique.
So not everyone can have the same market position, and you want to stay away from things like family owned for 50 years, because no one really cares. As hard as that is to hear and it sounds harsh, but 10 years walking in people's homes tells the truth, that's how it is.
So those little catchy things of like, we only use licensed people are like, if you say, Well, I would hope so. Right? When you hear that, that's not a good market dominating position. Does that make sense? Like, we have highly trained staff. Well, I would hope you do.
That's not market dominant. So market domination needs to have something that's unique to you. That's powerful. That speaks to your clients and is important.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, that's quite interesting, because it's like in today's business world, you can’t have the bare minimum. You have to have a good team idea. One that sets the businesses apart, what you refer to as market dominating positions, or strong brands, strong communities.
So, you talked about organic marketing and, and tell the listeners what organic marketing is, and, and how that's important.
Steven Lentz: Yeah. So you said we have about 20 minutes, and unfortunately, when I talk with my clients, we usually go for about an hour, we really dive into this conversation. So I'm going to try to give you a really basic overview that's not too confusing, because internet marketing is really confusing, it just is. There's so many different ways to do it. And I've done just about all of them. And where I've landed is organic content marketing. And we're gonna talk about Google and how it works. And you will see why it's important, and I ended there. And why I think everyone, especially physicians, should go this route, because it's going to set you apart, and it's where all the traffic is.
So you're familiar with Google, right? You've heard of them before? Everyone goes to Google, right? You have a question? You don't go to Encyclopedia Britannica anymore. You don't go to the library for the Dewey Decimal System. You go to Google. You say, hey, Google, tell me x, right? The example I can give us is how old is the Queen? Right. And when Google first came on the scene, we typed into Google how many bugs are in Africa and Google would say, here's seven websites that will tell you where the bugs are, how many bugs or whatever it is, right? Google just gives you these sites.
And with the advent of Facebook and Instagram, everyone realized that data is the number one currency now. Right? It's not just about providing value, because that's what Google was, Google was a value provider. And now they realize that there is money and value to be gained in the data.
And so now when you go to Google and say, Hey, Google how old is the Queen. Google's going to tell you how old she is, and say Queen is this age. And then there'll be a drop down box, they'll say, Do you want to know how Prince Henry is? Do you want to know where Princess Diana used to live? They’ll try to keep you on Google. That's called a zero click. And 50% of traffic ends in zero clicks, which means someone types in the question, Google, Google answers it, and they don't go away from Google. Right? So Google stole half of the traffic that comes into it.
Now, aside from that, Google's next basic requirement is to give you solid information, because if they don't satisfy your need, right, if Google can't do it, and they don't give you the right content, you will go to someone else, whether that's Bing, or Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo, or whatever it is, you will leave them. So they still want to give you good content, because that's how they keep you there. Right?
Now, everyone knows, if you're like, 97% of the population, you're going to skip the sponsored ads that are on top right, you'll type in your your question, whether it's looking for a dentist, or tooth extraction or mental health, whatever it is, and there'll be ads on top, and the vast majority population skip past that. Now, that's not to say that paid ads don't work, right, because 3% to 5% of a billion Google searches is still a significant amount of search traffic that goes to paid ads. However, 90%, roughly, go to the organic content, from the very first page. So if you're not on the first page of Google, you're pretty much invisible anyway.
As long as you're organic, you're going to get the majority of that traffic and the views. Now, being on the first page is great. But you also want to be in the map pack, right? Because there's a significant advantage there and buyer psyche that goes into seeing, hey, Google says that these businesses that show up on this map pack, are the businesses that they recommend, there’s a level of trust that goes there. So map packs are important, organic listings are important. And then the last part of that is that multiple organic listings are important.
And the reason I say that is because again, we look at Google as a trust engine. It's not just a search engine. It's a trust engine, right? Because we trust Google to give us the most reliable sources that we're looking for. So if I have business A who has one front page listing, I have business B, who has one front page listing, plus an article from Yahoo Finance, plus an article from Bloomberg, on the front page, who do you think is more credible? Business B, right? Obviously.
And so that is where I've landed with all my different marketing stuff like I've done pay per click, I've done social media ads. I've done like I've done all the different things, but I've landed an organic content because it has the biggest ROI and it has the biggest credibility and trust factor when it comes to finding clients and patients and any other sort of customer that you're looking for. So the way that we do that with Ocelot is, we create press releases, news articles, blog posts, videos for Vimeo and YouTube, audio snippets for podcast directories and an infographic.
And then we also do the other side of that, because generally, when you have content creation, you have the creation part, and you have the distribution part. And you can find a business or go to Fiverr and have some someone and you'll pay them two grand to get an article on Bloomberg. That's one article. I'm not joking. Like, it's very expensive for a lot of these high domain authority sites. And a lot of them have different requirements. Like if I want to get my clients on Yahoo, I have to have one, a letter of authorization from them. And two, I need business inclusion documents, like I need it, I have to send them a copy being like, Hey, this is a legitimate business, like not anyone could just post on Yahoo Finance.
And that's partly why they have a high domain authority. And so people see this and like, Oh, this is like SEO? And it's like, Well, yes and no, like, there's aspects of it, right? Like, there's things about keywords and the way that you write that are important to all the different from bots that crawl through and be like, oh what's relevant. But it's more than that, because it's actual content. Because again, going back to what Google wants.
Google's goal, again, is to satisfy the user, and to keep the user on the platform. And the way they do that is by consistent, relevant content. I do x and y, for this location, etc. So the stuff that we write for a lot of our news stuff isn't flashy, like top 10 ways to have a healthier mouth or whatever it is, it's very newsy. Because that's what people want, because it's not salesy, right. You go to my website, or anyone else's website, and guess who they're going to say is the best? Themselves, right? Like, we all know that. And that's why we skip the sponsored ads, because it's people who are patting themselves on the back.
And this is why having those multiple things from other sources on that front page becomes such a powerful, credible source, because it's a third party that says, hey, check out, Dr. Chris, he does x very well, at a very high level, and he takes care of his people. And someone says, oh, I have these other sites that are saying these things. It's on the front page of Google, Google trusts it . Yeah. Why would I go? Why wouldn't I go to Chris? And so if someone else does this it is no brainer.
Right? And that's where all the power comes from. Visible, organic content trumps everything else as far as ROI. And you don't have to worry about the algorithm. Because again, on site SEO, everyone's like, Oh, I have to change this, then the patch comes through, and it's gonna mess up all these things. And what Google really wants is consistent content that's relevant to their users. So we're making content that's out there, I'm not worried about, because it's not on site. Right. Like, it's what Google wants. So that's my spiel. That's the 30,000 foot overview. [laughs]
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I mean, internet marketing has been around since the early 2000s. But what's interesting is, you talk about, one that is organic, so you don't have to pay advertisers, it's all like content and grit through engagement information. And then also you talk about leveraging time, attention and platforms. So, the new oil in today's economy is time and attention and data and information. So you're an expert in marketing, and sales and internet SEO and all of this, and you actually are a coach as well. So I'm really interested in digital marketing, but why do you sell coaching before marketing services?
Steven Lentz: I feel like a lot of people aren't necessarily ready for it. A part of digital marketing is having a really good message. And a lot of people don't have a really good message.
And again, like I hate saying things like that, because it's not nice, and I feel like we're in a culture where nice is important. But I am a firm believer in the truth. And it's like, look like, this is how it is like, people look like, oh, I want to be the best at this. It's like, well, that's cool, but you need better.. You need to understand them and understand yourself better. So that way, you know how to talk about yourself. Yeah. Like, let's, let's get you dialed in that way. But I mean, with what I do with the organic content. I like to joke about this. I have two offerings, if you will, for us. One is normal campaigns. And the other is really expensive campaigns. And that's the joke, because everything's expensive, but like that's that's how it is. I don't necessarily want you to spend the big money to get great results and to do really well, if you're not ready to receive those people.
Right? Like I can, I can make you look really good and put you on the front page. But if your receptionist is terrible, and people are calling in, and you're losing everyone that comes to you, or your website is not right. Like, if you're not ready for them, then it's not going to be right for you. So coaching usually comes first, just to make sure that they're ready for it. But when I talk with people, when they're like, hey, like, I want to get really good marketing, we'll see like, oh, well, are you ready for it? And if they are, then you don't necessarily have to have that. But I think it's important to be ready to have an influx of customers and clients and be able to handle that.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: The other thing is, you talk about how hard work and working hard are not necessarily the same. What does that mean?
Steven Lentz: Yeah. Working hard, it's really easy to get bogged down in minutiae. Like us, it's really easy to fill your day doing lots of little things that feel important and make you busy, right, like you can work really hard and not do actual hard work. I can spend five hours going like I need to make a logo and get the colors right and redo this website and make up like a catchy slogan, and like, I'm being busy. I'm not actually doing work that moves the needle in my business. Right? Like, I've never met anyone who said I decided to go with this company over that one because their color scheme was a little bit better, or they had a logo.
Right, but we agonize over these types of details. And so really, that's that differential. Like the hard work is the stuff that really is important that matters. And working hard is just getting bogged down in that minutia. They're not the same. So that's the quicksand.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: You were a firefighter, and actually grew up in the military. How did that shape your entrepreneurial journey?
Steven Lentz: I was not an entrepreneur at all before joining the fire service. And I was a firefighter for approximately one and a half to two years before my department ran out of money.
They said, sorry, but you and another guy have to go, because we don't have money for it. And that completely shattered my idea of job security, or like the pseudo-government job, like whoever hears of a firefighter being out of work? It’s ridiculous.
And so I was almost immediately hired on to another department, and a year and a half later is in the same boat again. I was out for another two years. And I was like, What is going on? Like, this is crazy. And so I got into everything I could think of, fixed and flipped real estate, I sold vacuums door to door for a hot moment with Kirby, I sold life insurance over the phone, like I did everything I could think of. One, because I'm not a victim, I have a wife and a kid, I'm going to take care of them. And because that's the type of person I am.
Action needs to happen. I'm going to provide for my family. And so within that, I decided that I needed to take over my own destiny. And the way to do that is to be an entrepreneur. Like I don't need to rely on someone else for a paycheck. And so from within there, I got into so many things. Saw a lot of things fail, and it's like, oh, I need to get the basics down and dial in my marketing. Like I've realized through failure where the path to success is. Being blind and having like 30 knobs on a door and only one that opens like, eventually you're gonna get there.
And that's kind of how it worked. And so going into here, now I'm very good at what I do. Like, I get my clients immediately up into the Googler. I call Google that because I think it's funny. But like, that's the result is that we get my clients where they need to be, and at the top of their game, and so that's the long story of how I became an entrepreneur.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, yeah, I love that. After interviewing so many successful entrepreneurs, it's just like being an entrepreneur allows you to take control of your time and your income and give you more say in your destiny and where things go. And so I think a lot of people, with the system in a corporate environment here, being an entrepreneur, is much better.
This has been a fascinating discussion. I really enjoyed it. I love talking to people outside of my niche and just getting so many different viewpoints. How can people contact you, work with you, visit your website and tell them to tell us more?
Steven Lentz: Yeah, absolutely. So you can go to my website, it's OcelotTraffic.com. And the last thing I want to share with all your listeners, especially everyone who's owns a business or practice, there's a thing called the ERTC that's going on right now, that's been going on for the last like year and a half roughly. It's a new addition to the PPP loans. And this is different, because you don't have to pay them back. And this money can be used for anything. It's not just like employee salary. So super important there. And you can get up to 26 grand per employee per W2 employee that you have.
So like, there's one restaurant that just got over 2 million, they have like seven locations that have a lot of staff and so it's like, it's this massive thing, and it's only going to continue for the next couple years. So there's a I think it's 2025 is when it closes. So I found a group of CPAs that are helping people with it. My wife, actually, we have a zero waste grocery store in Kirkland, Washington. And she's getting, I think, somewhere between like, 70 to 80 grand back, and she only has a couple employees. So I want everyone who has W2 employees to know that this program is out there.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Excellent, excellent. Yeah, well for all the listeners. All of Steven's resources will be in the links in the show notes. And, Steven, thanks so much, and we look forward to hearing about your future successes.
Steven Lentz: Chris, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at Chris@drchrisloomdphd.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.