About Business Sensei

I have been self employed since 2003 but have been an entrepreneur since I was a young boy. My first real business was a Martial Arts School. It was very successful but not without it’s ups and downs. I opened it at 23 years old and was super successful right out of the gate breaking organization records and doing some incredible things. After an attempt at expanding into multiple locations, I learned several very valuable lessons and have applied them to all aspects of my life. I then went on to become a business coach for hundreds of Martial Arts Business Owners across the nation as well as manage the web design, digital marketing and advertising for multiple companies and brands. In 2014, my first son was born and changed my life. Since then, I made the decision to form Garner Group to create a company around my gifts of teaching, coaching and marketing. I wanted to help impact as many business owners as possible by affecting change in either their mindset or skill-set. I am overwhelmingly blessed to able to share my gifts and talent with multiple industries such as: Martial Arts Schools, Gymnastics Academies, Dance Schools, Medical Supply Manufacturers, Various Online eCommerce Stores and more.

Facebook Killed The Radio Ad

Imagine a marketing world where you can create an ad for TV or Radio and run it for a day to test the results. Then after the results came in, you could change it or tweak it and test it again for another day. And continue this process until you get your desired results.

Then you could pick the exact target market that sees your message. I’m not talking about selecting what channel your ad is shown but quite literally selecting the specific people that are watching or listening to that channel. The TV and Radio stations sell space based on their viewers. But if the station has 1 Million viewers and you are only looking for 200,000 of them that are interested in things related to your product then why should you pay for the entire 1 million viewers? With Facebook, you don’t have to. You literally get to pick, “I want to pick fans of ESPN but only those who like Soccer.” Or “I want to pick fans of HGTV but only those who like Fixer Uppers.” While the TV salesman can tell you that you can show your ad during these topics or shows, what you find is that if you are lucky enough to find an opening you pay a SUPER PREMIUM for them because they only have limited space. This alone generally puts this form of advertising out of reach for the average small business.

The channel matters but in my 20+ years in Sales and Marketing, I have found that, unless you have a bad reputation, the main reason people don’t respond well to your promotion is that your offer isn’t good enough to cause them to take action. With that said, sure, if your message is written poorly or if your video is of low quality or if your printed ad is not eye-catching, you could see a negative effect to the response of the promotion. Think about this. If someone gave you a piece of paper with these words on it… “Free Car to the First 15 people that arrive before 10am tomorrow morning.” Would you care if the paper looked pretty? As long as the paper told you what the offer was and where you could get it, I would bet that it would tempt you to show up to see if you were one of those lucky 15 people. The quality of the offer will always trump the quality of the production.

So speaking of offers, today, a FREE trial is almost expected in the Service sector. So to offer a Free 1 day trial may not be appealing enough for them to act. However, extend it for 14 or 30 days and limit it to a certain date or number of free trials given and now there is a real reason to act. Throw in some physical [Bonus] items and now we are getting somewhere.

In a commerce/product based business, one of the best strategies to employ is to offer a small “in demand” item to begin the relationship. In the online marketing scene this is called a “tripwire” and is essentially the equivalent to starting a relationship by asking someone out for coffee.

For many of us in business we fail to realize that business is not that much different than a relationship with your spouse or significant other. So ask yourself a question, if you were dating, what do you think the chances of getting a yes to a marriage proposal before introducing yourself? Zero right? What about asking for a serious relationship after the first date? Probably not likely, right? So, I’m sure you are getting the idea of where I’m going with this.

When you start off the relationship by giving first, you are more likely to make it to the first date. “Can I buy you a drink?” is a very common introduction. Most would likely say “yes” to that offer even if they aren’t quite sold on you just yet. Once they accept that offer, you can now begin a conversation and see if the relationship could move forward. It usually doesn’t take long to realize if a future date is possible. So by the time you ask, you probably already know the answer based on how the conversation goes.

Landing the date could be equal to landing the first sale. Now that looks different to everyone but it could be selling that first sandwich, selling that first car accessory, or even getting the real estate listing. It’s what you do now that really makes the difference. This is now the time to outshine the competition. Do you buy flowers? Make reservations at a high end restaurant? Open the door…whatever that looks like for you. For business, this is now where you will turn them into a long term customer or quickly show them how good the competition looks. Either way the hardest part is done and now you have to go above and beyond to keep them.

While this article could continue on discussing the next phase of the customer journey, I think it’s best saved for another time. For now, take your time constructing your promotion and remember that above everything else you do, YOUR OFFER HAS TO BE THE CENTER OF IT ALL. Then, create everything else around that.

By | August 9th, 2016|Sales/Marketing|0 Comments


Social media can give you the opportunity to improve your brand identity, reach new customers, and communicate with potential customers. Using these platforms in the right way, however, takes experience.


The Importance of Social Media for Web Traffic

  1. Social media posts can be used to drive targeted traffic. Launching a new product or service on your website is great but how are you going to tell the world about it? I mean without attention your new product or service will cost you in the long run. That’s where a well-placed social media posts can make all the difference. We’ve seen a single post on Facebook drive over 10,000+ visitors in one weekend and posts to Twitter and LinkedIn can take a product or service page that was consistently earning a handful of visitors a day and increase it exponentially to hundreds or even thousands of FREE Organic visitors. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on that
  2. Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO. Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. A killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
  3. If you’re doing it right, social media will lead to real relationship building. Part of what makes things like Twitter and Instagram marketing great is the interaction with your customer base. This would be a great resource for Market Research.  What products are they buying and why? What are they doing on the weekend? What kind of posts do they love to share, and from what websites? This information is priceless and just a few years ago, would take a large firm and thousands of dollars to acheieve. 
  4. Having a quick return on investment (ROI).  Many marketing strategies require big budgets that small and medium businesses simply cannot afford. If you want to air a commercial on television, prepare to reach deep into your pockets. Generating FREE and Paid traffic on Social Media is quickly become the “go to” place for businesses of all sizes. 

Social media, however, has an extremely low cost of entry that makes it easy for you to get a quick return on your investment. It’s completely free to set up accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and most other sites. Once you have your profiles established, you will need to spend some money making your posts more visible to people who might want to follow your business. The expense, however, is remarkably low, even compared to the amount you would spend on a radio ad.

Of course, there’s a lot more to social media marketing than just setting up an account. You also need someone to manage your accounts so you can interact with potential customers, update your business’s information, and take advantage of marketing tools.

“Since we started using Facebook, both FREE and Paid Advertising, we’ve seen a huge increase in our business. The best part is that it is trackable. We know exactly what our ROI is each month from our efforts.” – The Hamms, Small Business Owners

The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Brand Image

  1. You can respond to problems immediately. If there’s a problem with your product or service, you want to know about it right away. With the feedback you get in the process of social media marketing, you’ll be the first to know when there are issues – and you can take steps to resolve them right away. Study after study has shown that consumers appreciate companies that respond to customer complaints (and don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when companies don’t take the time to make things right).
  2. A strong social media presence builds brand loyalty. A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers. It’s easy to imagine why: when you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a corporation and more like what you truly are — a unified group of people who share a vision.

The Right Social Media Marketing Strategy Can Help You Slay the Competition

  1. Your competition is getting social, so you should too. Did you know that 91% of brands are using more than one social media platform? This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on, because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up than it is to get in on the game early. If your competitors get to your potential customers first, they’ll earn their loyalty and you’ll have a hard time winning them over. If you’re active and engaging on a variety of networks, you can gain those friends and followers first and your competition will be playing catch up instead of the other way around.

8. The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field.Some brands may have bigger ad budgets than others, but all companies start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to social media marketing. The people and brands who thrive and go viral are those with the most clever, attention grabbing tactics and the most useful, link worthy content. In short, they’re providing value to their target audience while also showing personality and being entertaining. If you want to get lots of traffic and really increase your sales online, you’re going to have to outwit, outnetwork and outwrite your competition while offering superior products and customer service. Isn’t that what business is all about, anyway?

Hopefully by now you see the importance of getting your company on Social Media. For a free social media audit or a social media Q & A please call us at 912-358-8616 to schedule.

By | June 20th, 2016|Sales/Marketing|0 Comments

The difference between Marketing and Advertising.

Over the years, I’ve seen many people using the terms “Marketing” and “Advertising” interchangeably. They are connected but very different animals. Marketing as the root word implies, is a function that focuses on the marketplace either for a business or a non-profit. So what’s a market? Well, to give you a simple answer, it is the space where your product and/or service can fill a need. Sometimes this space isn’t as obvious as you might think. In 1995 Polaroid Cameras did a study in their European market. When the 18-30 year old bought their camera they would take them to parties and make them part of their entertainment for the evening. So for this age group Polaroid’s market wasn’t in the camera market-space, it was in the entertainment market-space. This was a major insight as Polaroid used this information to create a TV advertising campaign titled, “Live for the moment.” This led to Polaroid seeing their sales double. If you really want to maximize your revenue you have to understand your market. It might be in a different place altogether. Thus how your customer perceives their market should drive how you respond to their needs. In other words, be who your customer needs, not force your brand or product on your customer.

So in the previous paragraph, Polaroid employed a study to find out how their customers in a specific age range was using their product. This resulted in a unique find for them. Only after they did the research did they create an advertising campaign. This campaign was focused on their findings and went straight after their target market of 18-30 year olds. If they were to have just explained about how great their camera is or how many features it has or even given a side by side comparison of another brand, they wouldn’t have come close to the results. This is the power of market research.

Whether you are starting a company soon, are in the start up phase now or are decades in, you can still ask yourself this question. “What is my businesses purpose?” and “Is it defined by my customers needs or by my products or services?” For example, a dance school may specialize in a specific style of dance. They may do well at competitions and even have some students go on to make it in show business. From an owners stand point it would be very easy to advertise, “Best Dance School in town,” or “Learn from the best,” or even “We produce hollywood stars!” But before you go and make that your next campaign, ask your customers why they signed up at your school. The answers might surprise you. In my Martial Arts school, we would ask all of our prospects and customers why they were interested in the Martial Arts. 11 years later, I’ve compiled the data.

  • 37% said they wanted their child to have more CONFIDENCE
  • 22% said they wanted their child to learn SELF DEFENSE
  • 16% said they wanted their child to learn SELF DISCIPLINE.
  • 15% said they wanted their child to have something FUN TO DO!
  • 10% listed many things from gain respect to losing weight to learning how to control anger.
Not even 1% of my students said, become tournament champion or make it into the UFC. Sure we had them, but they were in the below 1% range.

So for me, I always catered my advertising campaigns around these four main topics, Confidence, Self Defense, Self Discipline and Fun. We were very consistent with out new member enrollments and would constantly do surveys to find out what the students and parents needed the most. Eventually that lead to starting an after school pick-up program. When I started the program, we sent surveys out to the students asking if this would solve some of their challenges. The response was overwhelming. We continued this and expanded into a full time summer camp program catering to over 100 children a day. Looking back, it was the smartest and scariest decision we made but the market spoke to us and we listened.

Next time when you are thinking about what promotion or advertising campaign you should run, first start by doing a little market research. Let that determine your approach. And the next time you are asked, what kind of marketing are you doing, explain the research you did and then explain how you applied that research to develop your advertising campaign. Remember marketing is not advertising and advertising is not marketing. Marketing is the tool to develop the advertising. I hope this helps.

Until next time,

Live a purposeful life!

Justin Garner
The Business Sensei

By | January 5th, 2016|Sales/Marketing|0 Comments
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