In today’s episode of Marketing Marvels, I’m joined by my friend Andy Theimer. Andy is the founder of GroupHigh, a tool we use every day at Convince & Convert to find and connect with influencers.
How do you know when you’ve found the perfect influencer for your brand? GroupHigh helps you answer that question by compiling a host of data points on given influencers—data you can use to find the ideal match for your target audience. GroupHigh helps you analyze potential advocates, connect, and track your communication, all from a single interface. It’s efficient and affordable, so your team gets the most bang for your marketing buck.
Watch the video for Andy’s demo, and find out if GroupHigh is the influencer marketing tool your company has been waiting for.
Jay: Hey everybody, it is Jay Baer from Convince & Convert. Welcome to another episode of Marketing Marvels. Marketing Marvels is the show where I bring you incredible software that I believe busy marketers should know, love and use. Every single thing that we look at here at Marketing Marvels is software that I personally use, that I personally endorse and you are going to be fired up about today’s episode.
If you want to find out who are the bloggers and the influencers out there on the Internet that you should be working with, who should be amplifying and promoting your content, your company, your products or services, today’s Marketing Marvels is GroupHigh. I use this tool all the time. My teammates at Convince & Convert use it all the time and it is super slick.
If you want to know, for example, somebody in Pennsylvania who is really popular on Instagram and who tends to do a lot of Instagram sailboats (I just made that up, that’s very specific), you can find those people on GroupHigh. You can do it quickly, you can do it easily, you can do it affordably. Then you can actually contact those influencers right from the platform and keep track of all your exchanges with them – all your emails and all the things you’ve been talking about.
It is really fantastic and solves a huge problem for all marketers. Everybody wants to get their content out there now and it gets harder and harder to do that. Influencers work a great deal to do that and GroupHigh is the way to find those influencers.
I could not be more delighted to have my friend, Andy Theimer on the show today. Andy is the founder of GroupHigh. Joining us from home today, Andy is wounded. He has a bad wing, a broken wrist from a mountain-biking accident, but yet he still took one for the team and he’s here on Marketing Marvels. Andy, welcome to the show.
Andy: Thanks Jay. It’s great to be here and good to catch up with you again.
Jay: I was going to show your wound. There we go. Nice.
Andy: Every color but white. I couldn’t even have my niece and nephew sign it when I go home for Thanksgiving.
Jay: What are you talking about? You can’t get a white cast anymore?
Andy: They didn’t have white. I asked for white and they said, “Nope. Neon green, pink, purple, blue and black, but no white.”
Jay: What’s this world coming to? Millennials. What did I miss in the introduction to GroupHigh? Tell me what I left out on the description.
Andy: I think you got most of it. We’ve known each other since the early days of GroupHigh. I was looking at LinkedIn today and saw my first InMail to you back in 2012, asking for your feedback on my very first iteration.
Probably the biggest thing that we’ve added in the past year is really the ability to recruit people into the GroupHigh database, which is something we’ve seen a lot of our brand clients be successful with. They have a landing page that they drive influencers and bloggers to over the course of the year or multi years, at events or just through normal email communication, allowing those people to flow naturally into the relationship circle that’s managed with GroupHigh as well.
Jay: If you do that, if you find your own influencers and pull them in, GroupHigh will still do all the lookups to create the dossier on each of those people.
Jay: That’s awesome. Let’s do that. Let’s show people the software, because I want to get them into the tool.
Andy: That sounds good.
Jay: We need to have some screen-sharing music here on the show that we play while you’re sending setting it up, like a Jeopardy theme or something like that.
Andy: It is true. I was trying to figure out which window I’m sharing.
Jay: We’re good.
Andy: Can everybody see my mouse moving around?
Jay: Yes, I can see your mouse moving around. We’re all good.
Andy: All right. This is GroupHigh. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s organized to be as linear to how most people have built lists and built folders over time, doing this process manually. My background is very much in the PR world. I did this for years with Excel Spreadsheets by creating folders, creating different lists and putting different bloggers and influencers onto those lists over time.
The organizational core of GroupHigh is really designed to work very much how everybody has worked throughout the last 15 years or so when building lists online. As you mentioned, Jay, the one thing that’s special about GroupHigh lists is the data. When you add something to a list, whether from our search or whether an influencer or a blogger comes in through a recruiting web form, they’ll end up in a list. Once in a list, GroupHigh looks up more than 45 different data points, everything from social information—the entire social footprint—to partner data with similar Webmazz, Alexa and other great data partners that we’ve incorporated over the years and also all the content from those influencers is rolled up into their record as well.
It’s really pulling together a 360-degree view of the blogger, of the influencer and all the information and data points you’d want when making a decision whether or not to work with them, how much to compensate them and how much the relationship is worth your time at some point.
Jay: One of the things I found interesting and useful is the data that you put on the system on frequency of publication of publication, because sometimes I’ll use GroupHigh and I’ll find somebody that seems like a perfect match for the project we’re working on, but then you look in your data and find that the person only writes every 30 or 90 days or something like that. And that’s not going to work. They just don’t publish often enough to be viable for this program, so you can kind of rule them out.
Andy: The number one stat that I always looked for when I was doing this manually was, “When is the last post date? Then, “Are they posting 20 times a week and sending out coupon after coupon or are they posting once or twice a day?”
Another great stat we’ve recently added via our partnership with SimilarWeb is the bounce-rate information on a blog. Again, any of the blogs that are showing that 50% bounce rate, it really indicates that they’re producing good content that has a high engagement rate with their audience.
Jay: That’s terrific. Do you want to take a look at one of the profiles for an individual blogger?
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. Looking at the individual blogger, you’ll see what we have in terms of data on the blogger. Not only the primary contact information, but also the social footprint for that influencer.
All that information is looked up programmatically. The location of the influencer and the blogger is picked up as well as the CRM data and capacities of GroupHigh where you can log emails, blog notes and upload media kit attachments. All that information is contained in one centralized area.
You can also see that floating with the globe is also on a number of different lists inside my GroupHigh account and it’s just little things like that that are really important to our clients. Where they have hundreds or maybe even thousands of bloggers across different lists, they’re able to see which campaigns and which lists and folders the bloggers are added to over time.
Jay: One of the things I think is important to point out about GroupHigh is that it really is devoted to bloggers. Now certainly, you can do social influencer identification in the tool if you want to, but the blogging community and going really deep on that part of it is really the specialty of GroupHigh.
You don’t have traditional media unless they are bloggers, so you can’t go get CNN reporters inside GroupHigh, because I think your belief—and I share this belief—is that it’s a different thing. If you want to go do that, go do that, but that’s a different tool, it’s a different project, it’s a different campaign.
Andy: You’re absolutely right. Skipping ahead to how GroupHigh got created, it was really the shortfall of the traditional media database not keeping pace with the online community. The bloggers, the authors and the people that are producing long form-content always have had a special place in my heart. Really trying to facilitate building authentic relationships with those content creators and those bloggers is top of mind for me as well as GroupHigh.
Jay: How many bloggers do you have in the database now? It’s got to be a ton.
Andy: There are millions and millions of bloggers that we index, so cutting away to the search where customers can find new bloggers, we index information very much like Google does. Rather than a Cision-esque approach or many of the other influencer marketing tools, we’ve created a spider that goes out and indexes and crawls and keeps up to date all the information on bloggers across the Internet.
The really great thing about this is we’re able to incorporate so much different data and it’s always up to date, so we’re able to continuously, crawl, continue to add new information and it’s not reliant on a human editorial team to add new influencers to a database or a directory that one is searching.
Jay: Yeah, you see the advanced search there on the left in the column and you can do some really amazing things, like searching for “Did this person have 500 or more Twitter followers?” “Do they publish frequently?” “Do they accept guest posts?” “Are they also on Instagram?” or “Are they in Texas?” It can get really specific. It’s amazing.
Andy: It’s really the way we built it and it’s very unique. I still have not seen anything that allows you to search in this particular way. Again, this goes back to my roots in the PR space, where your best affinity is going to be those bloggers that have written about your company or about a topic that you’re passionate about.
It could be researching where you want to go on vacation next. I’ve been researching Tulum lately down in Mexico as a place to go and running a very specific search looking for travel bloggers as a central topic of the blog, but looking for ones that have written specifically about Tulum.
Then, as you mentioned, there are all the advanced filters. I want ones that have Instagram presence. I want ones that are only one to two authors, so they’re small blogs. They’re easier to build relationships with, they’re easier to reach out and talk to and they’ve written about you very recently, so it’s not like they wrote about you two years ago or wrote about this topic two years ago. They’ve written about Tulum in the last 30 days.
As you mentioned, there’s location. Some really advanced and nice tactics are being able to jump to folks that have done different kinds of content partnerships or product reviews. Also, there are a lot of filters for website technology and ad technology as well.
We’ve seen a lot of clients have really nice success using this to recruit bloggers that are sophisticated in terms of making money by looking at ones that are already running affiliate tags or running different ad tags. It’s an easier intro when you approach that type of relationship, where you can say, “Hey, I understand that you’re already running some affiliate programs. We wonder if you’d be interested in being part of our company.”
Jay: As opposed to having to explain the entire concept of how that works for them, etc.
Andy: As opposed to explaining what affiliate marketing is.
Jay: Yes. That’s smart. If you want to go look and say, “All right, one of these bloggers has written about Tulum. What did they write about Tulum?” how do you do that from the search results?
Andy: The easiest thing to do is to click on the post and explore the content further. The results are already filtered to the Tulum-focused posts, so you’re seeing in real time that the post results will filter right in line with the actual primary blog, so you’ll be instantly zeroing in on those posts that are on the topic you’re looking for and are interested in.
Jay: That’s so slick. Next to each of those you’ve got a little checkbox. What does that indicate?
Andy: The checkbox allows you to grab a set of results and add that to a list, so very much like I would typically copy and paste these blogs from a web browser into my Excel Spreadsheet, with one click of the mouse, I can add them to my Tulum blogger’s list, GroupHigh researches all the information and puts all that information in a list so you can keep it organized and begin reaching out to these influencers.
Jay: Then you can sort by traffic or Instagram followers or any number of different data points.
Andy: There are over 55 data points, I think. I shortchanged myself earlier.
Jay: You mentioned the CRM capabilities a moment ago. Can you show at the actual blog level how you communicate to these folks?
Andy: Absolutely. When you are actually are going to reach out, we typically will recommend changing the columns to a set of columns more focused on outreach and those being the outreach stage, which allows you to custom define or use the standard funnel. You can also customize different stages specifically to how you do outreach, whether it’s new, contacted, approached or in discussion. It’s very much like opportunity stages in a CRM.
You can also rate them over time. Most of our clients are using GroupHigh over time to analyze the effectiveness of the blogger over different projects and different types of marketing partnerships, being able to easily assign values and reminders in terms of how participative they were, the quality of the content and the strength of the relationship – is it somebody I know really well or are we just getting to know each other? It’s an easy way for you to do that.
When it comes time to contact the influencer, we have a series of information built into GroupHigh that allows you to create email templates that you can either connect to your Google Mail account or simply copy the message body of the template over into your email account, no matter what you use and it will track that email back into the GroupHigh system so you can see the activity and when you last reached out.
Jay: That’s good that it pulls the tweets in and everything too.
Andy: Yeah. We’re really just trying to make it easy to write a very personal message and understand what this person cares about, what this blogger has written about lately and have those snippets at hand when you’re actually trying to build that initial relationship. That’s so important.
Jay: It just makes it more relevant to what they’re talking about right now. That’s smart. Awesome. Is there anything else you want to show us?
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. As I alluded to earlier, one of the newest features of GroupHigh is really the recruit module. This was built based on something that we saw a lot of our top consumer-brand clients doing. They would set up a landing page on their website where they would funnel all their bloggers.
They would to go an event or a trade show, they would have a computer set up with this landing page on it and anybody that wanted to work with one of the major brands would fill out this form. They would click submit and that influencer would appear in their GroupHigh account. Well, usually it would appear in a Google Spreadsheet doc based on Google Form, but with this new feature in GroupHigh, which is our newest edition, it can flow right into GroupHigh.
If I click “Submit,” the application completes and just like I did before—it might take a moment to research that information—the information flows right into here. There’s a work flow for approving, rejecting and moving that influencer to a list, but it allows you to see what they’re all about. You can see why they want to work with you, get a good idea of what their stats look like, what their social footprint looks like and then allow them into your bigger GroupHigh database for a marketing project.
Jay: We’ve got to use that for guest bloggers on our site, just like you’ve modeled up there. I didn’t know you were going to do that, but we need to use that.
Andy: Yeah. That’s a great application, in fact. You can use it to recruit, pull in posts and content partners as well.
Jay: That’s really cool. I love it.
Andy: Thank you very much.
Jay: It’s smart, smart, smart. Andy, it does a lot of stuff and it’s really simple. As you mentioned, it’s so logical the way you’ve got it structured and the searches, and the advanced searches and move things to lists and communicating. It’s just really well thought out. I know you’ve spent – and we’ve talked about this – four or five years refining it and getting it better and better. At this point, who’s it for? What’s the best customer for GroupHigh?
Andy: Our best clients are the agencies and brands that understand that building long-term relationships with bloggers and influencers is the way to work through these types of marketing projects. The customers that typically don’t have success are customers that are looking to just insert a quarter and see influencer marketing sort of happen.
The customers that are very successful are ones that understand that using tools like this, where you can bring people in, and you can save the time of having to research and see what their content looks like, see what their reach is, and see how effective they have been at setting up their overall online presence.
By shortening all those research processes inside GroupHigh, we allow the influencer-marketing professional to focus on actually coming up with creative marketing projects, selecting influencers and communicating with influencers on those creative projects. It’s the creativity that can never be replicated at scale, which is probably one of the biggest challenges in our space.
Jay: How are you charging for GroupHigh now?
Andy: GroupHigh is an annual license; so very much like a Cision product, we take a subscription for a year at a time. The great thing about that is that it allows us to include all the training, all of the actual work inside the product and setup with our team to allow you to deploy these web forms, to recruit people, to incorporate messaging into your email campaigns and to drive people to sign up for this information. It also allows us to really focus on working with you as a company to make sure you’re successful with the product.
Jay: I think that’s a great point – that the services are included. It’s not like you buy the license and then you’re going to get charged a whole bunch of extra money for setup and then some more for support. It’s all kind of in there together, because you want to make sure that people use it well and have success with the product. I just think it’s a nice way to package and price it.
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously, the influencer-marketing space has a lot of excitement going on in it. There are a lot of different approaches to how you can do things and we really like to share the stories and the experience that we’ve developed over the last five years working with all the brands you see on the home page of our website.
Jay: There’s a heavy turnout for your screen share. I’ll ask you a couple more questions about you personally.
While you do that, I want to remind Marketing Marvel viewers that if you go to bitly/GroupHigh, you can get a special offer on a demo with Andy and his team and get a full demo of all the capabilities. We just kind of scratched the surface here today on Marketing Marvels. You can get a full demo, use some of your own custom searches and pull up some examples of influencers and bloggers that might make sense for your business.
I’ve got to tell you, we use this tool all the time at Convince & Convert for client work because it’s so simple. We’ve got a lot of big corporate clients that we rely on GroupHigh to get the job done for them, so congrats to Andy and his team.
Andy, how did this happen? You mentioned that you used to be in PR. A lot of people used to be in PR. Hell, I used to be in PR. I started in PR. I was an intern in PR back in the day, but I didn’t start a software company and you did, so how did that happen?
Andy: I was actually mentoring a class of college seniors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and they expressed some frustration over Cision one day and the fact that they couldn’t find bloggers by location. It just dawned on me that I figured that problem had been solved. My experience years before that was, “Yeah, okay, it’s difficult. You have to do the research.”
That was really the catalyst for me starting to build some technology and the early version is even coded by me. I think the earliest version was something I had named Blog-Esteem. It’s sort of like self-esteem, but the idea was that it would rank blogs and save you all the time manually trying to figure out if they were worth reaching out to and if there was going to be an affinity for working with in a marketing capacity.
Those were the early, early days and then we took the bootstrap route as a startup company. We self-funded all the way through and had a really good time actually getting things going.
I missed one notification. I tried to turn most of them off.
Jay: That’s one of the challenges of the Marketing Marvels and live software demos. You’re connected to the Internet and people are trying to bug you all the time.
It is amazing that you sort of bootstrapped this whole thing and you built the software originally yourself and now just how powerful it is and how well put together. It’s really pretty remarkable.
Andy: Yeah, I really appreciate that. Obviously, a lot of that has been eating your own dog food, so to speak. You were kind enough to reply to my email back in 2012 and give me great feedback on what you were looking for at the time and so many other folks out there too.
There was Deirdre Breakenridge, Peter Himler and a lot of other folks in the PR and marketing space that gave me such great advice early on. It was all just by reaching out to the bloggers and the industry thought leaders at the time.
Also, a really powerful way to use influencers or bloggers is just that product feedback. You have to be a little creative in figuring out how to make it worth somebody’s while.
Our relationship over the years is one of the great success stories, I think, of being able to work with somebody and being able to mutually help each other out over the course of a long period of time and I think a lot of brands really can see the value of that.
Jay: I hope so. We’re at this inflection point with influencer marketing where you’ve got people who really understand that it is a long-term play. You’re building relationships that are going to culminate at some point in the future and then you still have a lot of people who treat it in a very campaign mentality and want this thing done in two weeks. They want to treat it like advertising.
You might have success once, but you’re never going to have success long term with that approach and I just hope that we continue to come down on the side of good and not evil, because I get probably 20 direct emails a day from people who say, “Do you want to test out our weird, strawberry milk powder?” and I say, “Um, no. What database are you using that makes me a candidate for this crazy thing that has nothing to do with the business that I’m in?” It’s just people who aren’t using tools like yours or who are using tools incorrectly and they say, “Well, we’ll just send an email to everybody and hope for the best.”
Andy: Yeah, we try to discourage that by the way we built the software from the ground up. There are no campaigns. There’s really no ad scale with GroupHigh as I think I’ve alluded to. It’s more of a workbench for the influencer-marketing professional to expedite the research, the searching, a lot of the tedious tasks that happen and allowing you to build a really nice database where the data is kept up to date of your relationships.
Jay: If you want to export a list of email addresses and then drop it into your Gmail and spam everybody, GroupHigh is not the right tool for you, because it won’t let you do that. You can’t export email addresses en masse like that and that’s to protect you from doing stupid things, among other reasons.
I have one last question for you, Andy Theimer, my friend and founder of GroupHigh, a tool that I know and love and I know Marketing Marvels viewers will know and love. Go to bitly/GroupHigh to get your own demo. What’s a marketing marvel for you, Andy. Other than obviously GroupHigh, what marketing software do you think is pretty awesome?
Andy: That’s a great question. One of the biggest things that we’ve done at GroupHigh in terms of marketing our own company is a lot of content marketing. Kristen Matthews worked with us for a long, long time and really built our entire, amazing content marketing program.
One of the tools that we’ve found to be really essential is CoSchedule. I know there are a lot of tools out there for collaborating amongst the team and lots of different writers, authors, people producing content and promoting that content with emails. It’s been a fantastic tool for us to collaborate on our team at GroupHigh and be able to keep track of when things are scheduled, when things are going out and when we’re going to promote different things. It’s been one of my favorite tools, so I’m definitely happy to give them a shout out. It’s a great tool for coordinating everything.
Jay: Yeah, that’s a great selection. I love the guys at CoSchedule, Garrett Moon and his team from the tech powerhouse of Bismarck, North Dakota. It’s a terrific tool. We use CoSchedule at Convince & Convert and have for a long, long time. It’s what we use to keep our stuff organized as well.
Those guys are blowing up. They’re adding all kinds of new features and our plan is to get them on this same program one of these days, to get our CoSchedule friends on a Marketing Marvels, so you want to watch for that.
Speaking of friends, here’s how to make sure that you don’t miss an episode. We do new episodes of Marketing Marvels about every three weeks or so. We’ve had tons of great stuff on this program and you can go back and check out the archives, because there are a lot of tools out there you probably didn’t even know existed. You’ll say, “Man, I should buy that,” especially coming into the new budget season.
We’ve got a bunch of new episodes that are already slated to roll out here in the next few weeks also, so here’s what you do. Go to bitly/marketingmarvels to make sure that you do not miss an episode. That goes to the YouTube channel. You can subscribe there and then every time we have a new episode, it will send you a notification and you can make sure to tune in or watch the replay, etc.
Marketing Marvels is a production of Convince & Convert Media. We have six weekly podcasts, including Social Pros, Content Pros, The Business of Story, Influence Pros, which is perhaps the most germane to today’s conversation and the Convince & Convert podcast plus Marketing Marvels. We also have, obviously, a big blog, an email and all kinds of other stuff. www.ConvinceandConvert.com/podcast has all our podcast stuff or of course, you can find them on iTunes.
Andy, thanks so much for being on Marketing Marvels. I can’t wait to see you again face to face. Congratulations on all the success of GroupHigh. Ladies and gentlemen, remember bitly/GroupHigh to get your demo. If you care about influence and if you want to find bloggers, that’s the tool to use. You’re going to love it.
Until next time, I’m Jay Baer at Convince & Convert and this has been Marketing Marvels.