Episode 010

Spring Barnickle

Chief Marketing Officer of JJ Virgin & Associates

JJ Virgin’s CMO On Personalized Marketing, Content, And Ads

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About This Episode

In this episode of The Content Coalition, we interview Spring Barnickle, Chief Marketing Officer of JJ Virgin and Associates.

JJ Virgin & Associates is a content marketing company focused on health and nutrition. Their mission is to empower and encourage people ages 40+ who have struggled with their weight or other health issues to find life-changing solutions. They offer a variety of state-of-the-art online programs, as well as protein shakes, bars, and supplements.

Spring’s past experience includes writing and creating marketing websites for 15 years, starting a commercial kitchen built around one of the most successful food-based Kickstarter campaigns to date, and ghostwriting multiple books and cookbooks.

Tune in as Spring reveals how they target leads with the use of various lead magnets and offerings to make the customer invested to their brand. You’ll also learn the types of content they produce to support their marketing efforts and much more.

What You’ll Learn

  • [03:10] Learn how Spring got into the JJ Virgin & Associates and a little of her backstory
  • [07:29] The big goal of JJ Virgin and Associates and their upcoming membership site
  • [09:39] How this massive brand manages a fully remote team  
  • [12:45] Learn their exact strategies for targeting leads using “freebies” and more
  • [15:11] Upcoming lead magnets for their upcoming membership site
  • [17:00] Spring’s suggestions for people who don’t have physical products to sell
  • [18:16] The types of content they produce to support their marketing efforts
  • [19:18] 1 actionable thing to implement in the next 48 hours

About Shaina

Shaina Weisinger is the Founder and CEO of Repurpose House, which turns long-form content into optimized videos and images for high engagement social media strategies. Shaina has a background is video production for digital marketing and is on a mission to show content creators the untapped potential and repurposing power of the content that they already have. She has taught about content in many publications including DigitalMarketer, Inc., and Startup Nation, and continuously offers valuable takeaways by interviewing industry experts from world recognized brands such as Godaddy, HubSpot, MarketingProfs, and more through her video podcast, The Content Coalition. She loves to laugh loudly, be obnoxiously competitive on the volleyball court, treat her dogs as her kin, and recover from tripping on or running into almost everything within a five-foot radius. Learn more about Shaina here: ShainaWeisinger.com

Read Episode 010 Transcriptions

Spring: So we do blogs, we do today, we’ll do informational blog and we’ll do recipe blogs and then we do blogs for the podcast as well. And then obviously the fuck ass. And then we’ve got, we’ve got, you know, a variety of different things that are videos that we only put on social media. Yeah. So you have to be following in social media to get them. So there’ll be live Q and A’s and things like that with Jj that, you know, just quit videos and that kind of thing. I’m Shaina, I love dogs. I trip a lot and I happen to have a knack for making pretty sleep videos for businesses. But the more videos  we made, the more questions I got about how video and other content can be leveraged to make a bigger impact in their marketing. I mean, 44% of marketers say that producing content is their biggest challenge, yet content marketing is 62% less expensive than outbound and produces three times more leads. Now I know a lot, but I certainly don’t know it all. So I’ve made it my mission to talk with content, kings, queens and bosses to learn as much as I could about crushing content marketing. And I’m taking you along with me. Welcome to the content coalition.

Shaina: Hey guys, thank you so much for joining us with today’s episode of the content coalition. I am here with Spring Barnickle with JJ Virgin. She’s a CMO and we’re going to talk about some pretty awesome stuff. The video with their content strategy and we’re at traffic and conversion today. So we’re in a little banquet. Rooms are set up, is pretty savvy today. So yeah, you hear some noises and craziness. That’s because we’re here. How would you be here  and happy to be here. Awesome, thank you. So tell me a little bit about JJ Virgin for those who do not know who she is and let’s hear about that. So JJ Virgin and associates is the health side of the brand. She’s got four New York Times bestsellers that she’s done to diets and then to cook books based on that. And so the whole business is based around supporting that community.

Spring: So there’s online programs that support the books and then there’s shakes, bars, supplements that support the programs. But that’s the key for us that like we’re not trying to get out there and compete with everybody who sells a protein shake. We are providing products that support the programs. That’s awesome. That’s a big part of the mission. That’s a huge shift, right? It’s still interesting to market or is it, cause I’m sure that’s unique to how everybody else is doing well. It is. It in some ways it makes it simpler because then you take out all of that. Like I’m not trying to be the lowest price, I’m not trying to compete with everybody else on Amazon. Like I’m trying to do a very specific thing for a very specific set of people. And I think the key to tear our entire success has been that we know our audience and we know what they want, we know who they are.

Spring: And so then I can speak to that very specifically. Now I have  to worry about, you know, what somebody else is doing with your shake or there bars cause it’s not really important. Yeah. Right. I mean, that’s marketing one, a one, know your audience and then you know how to talk to so many and are so many modern tools that they, you know, to take advantage. There’s so many ways to do it and do it well and really get to know them. And I love that. Like I love, you know, and I do try to get in the community and, and we know our raving fans and we, you know, by name and, and see them in person whenever  possible. But at the end of the day, analytics is where it’s at. So you got to prove that it’s working right on. So how long have you been there?

Spring: I’ve been with her. Wow. A little over three years now. What were you having before? I was doing, so for about 15 years, I ran my own business doing websites and that was back in the days I was an English major. I loved words, I loved writing. But that was in the days where nobody hired you to just write copy for a website because it was too new. And so you could either work for a giant agency,  which I had no desire to do or you had to learn how to build websites. So I learned html and I learned graphic design. I built websites. So I did write copy for websites [inaudible] and then eventually it got, so there’d people realized it was really just a great thing to have good marketing copy. And because I did have that background, I knew what, you know, what to tech person was going to need.

Spring: I was familiar with the idea that like your headline should be this many characters or it’s going to look funny, you know, not just because it needs to be effective. So I was able to do that and I did a lot of, you know, marketing consulting but on in a very hands on like let’s guide your brand and find out who your audiences. And again, that was in the days where there weren’t all those analytics, so you had to kind of really read into a lot of information. So we were spoiled rotten at this point. People were just getting into it. Now we’re like, oh, this is so hard. [inaudible] stream analytics, use zip it kissing game anymore.

Shaina: So then were you tailoring to a specific type of client? Like were you doing nutrition and fitness?

Spring: That’s why I feel like everything I ever heard in my life was leading me to doing this. So I had done a lot with food and nutrition was very important to me. I ghost written cookbooks, which there’s Ndas so I can’t say, but that’s all those things go. And I had done, I mean I had done every possible type of website and like swimming pools to real estate, I mean, and everything in between. But my passion was being fit and being healthy and taking good care of yourself  and doing it naturally. And I’d had some really serious health struggles where I had to kind of be like, okay, if I’m going to survive, I’ve got to figure stuff out because doctors are not.

Spring: And, and also I get to define what success is. I’m not going to listen to them about like, here’s what you’re capable of and here’s what you’ll ever achieve physically. That was off the table. And so I really started diving in and I love research. I’m a numbers nerd, but that carries over. It worked really well. So I had, you know, I was happy to read papers and figure things out. And as I did that it became more and more way of life. And then I found JJ and it was like everything that I love, I already knew the food side, everything I loved and had a passion for helping people feel their best. Cause I learned firsthand, doesn’t matter how much money you have, doesn’t matter how well your business is going the day you lose your health, like you lose it all. It doesn’t matter.

Spring: Nothing matters anymore that day that diagnosis happens. And I think that for me, that’s what drives me is like I like to make money.

Shaina: Like mark was saying, let’s be honest,

Spring: but I’m going to make  money like helping people and knowing that what we’re doing is serving a purpose and, and you know, improving lives and lengthening lives and that to me is like, that’s kind of the best. Again,

Shaina: that’s so cool. Right. So you went from then like your own businesses set up straight into,

Spring: and I had not, I moved to San Diego and I was like, ah, I’ll just do some contract stuff on the side. And I was ghost writing a book for someone who was incredibly obnoxious again, will not say who. And I was like, yes. And I was like, I need something to do that is not this person. And I’m just going to do some contract stuff on the side just to be doing something I love because I love coffee and I love, and then she had a need at the same time.

Spring: So I came in doing that and then doing my own thing and I got to the point where I was like, okay, do I want to start back up the marketing? And then right then they kind of had a need for more writing and so it just built. But this is, it’s a testament to how much I love this business and how highly I think of JJ Virgin just as a human being because I’ve never worked for anybody else since I was 24 years old. Wow. I’ve never, and I’ve never done one business all the time for three years. You know, cause that’s not the name of the game. You build a website, you help it be successful and then you move on. So, but it’s been so fulfilling and it’s fantastic because I actually get to build a, a team and stick with them and stick with the community and I am a completionist. So once I have a goal I’m like okay, I don’t know how to say

Shaina: what’s the big goal right now.

Spring: So the big goal right now we’re about to launch a membership site and it’s to try to get people as much consistency as possible and as much community as possible. Cause especially with your health, if you feel alone and it, it’s a really hard to stick to it. Even if you have the best intentions in great information. Like you just can’t do it without. And a lot of people don’t have that. They don’t have family who are saying, yeah, cut gluten and dairy and let’s and test some stuff back. Like they just want what, you know what they’re used to. So I think that’s,  that’s an opportunity we have, we serve primarily women are demographics about 85% women. So it’s an opportunity to really make a change with the people who are kind of the CEOs of their household is how JJ likes to put it.

Spring: They’re the ones making the change, you know, they will make the changes across the board anyway. And so it’s, it’s an opportunity to support them better. So I’m excited. I’m thrilled cause a membership site will allow people rather than getting the individual programs piecemeal, like you get access to all of them at once and then you get a community and we’re building this set of set of health  coaches and it’s all

Shaina: so great. I was just going to ask you a community thing cause that’s really worth, you’re going to get the help and like the consistent like Rah Rah. Yeah. Cause like I’ve done like I’m trying to do the gluten free. Currently I’m Italian [inaudible] that does not work. Very good. Lentil pastas and that helps. But yeah, it’s a lot better now than it was like four years ago. Yes it is. It’s fantastic. Well that’s been the nice thing.

Spring: Like JJ wrote the books and she was kind of a visionary  and she was one of the first, like when she said go gluten free, you know, that’s back when like you lived in La, you were in gluten free, gluten free, and otherwise people were just like, well, is it gluten? And Yeah, and now people understand and there’s other options, but the whole point of the thing is you can’t feel deprived and you can’t feel alone. Right? Like that’s going to kill it every time. And I think that’s the case for every human experience, not just health. Right. Yeah. Anytime you feel like you’re, you’re going without and not getting what you wanted and you don’t, you’re in it alone, you’re going to quit.

Shaina: Yeah, that’s, that’s a true statement for sure. Okay, so then now you are full CMO status. Yeah. JJ Virgin. What is, what, what is your typical role? Like what are you overseeing? Consent, obviously everything, but like what’s your passion

Spring: and when you’re at, when you’re a content marketing company, then the CMO is obviously going to be overseeing everything. But I think obviously we’ve got the, we don’t, we have a small team, we’re all working remotely, which I love live in slack. I mean that’s like, but the trade off is you can work in your pajamas and nobody knows I will take it all day long. But [00:10:00] we, you know, there’s the people where more than one hat typically, and I do that on purpose. I think it’s really important for somebody not to just create content in a bubble or run ads in a bubble. So I try to put people so that they’re at multiple stages of the process. So for instance, our health coaches will help write some blogs, but then they also are in social media answering questions or helping see you with a more technical question.

Spring: So they stay in touch with the people they’re writing for. Right. And so we kind of do the same thing across the board. The person who does our ads helps write [00:10:30] the captions and planned the content calendar because she should know what’s coming. So she knows what’s running to and do all that. So we try to really have a lot of crossover there and keep people on an are the person who does our SEO also runs our store. So we’ve got that intertwined and I think that’s been really key both to let us run really like lean and mean. But also nobody. My goal is to have everyone who works for us saying this is the best job I ever had. Like I would never leave. You know, I want it to be really positive and uplifting and nurturing and I want everybody to be healthy. I wanted them to, you know, to feel really good about where they work in and walk the talk. And then I also want them to feel like they know exactly what to expect. So we do a lot with a sauna. Let’s do a sauna like right there in my life. So a lot of it is just communicating and then planning and watching the numbers like crazy all the time and making change.

Shaina: Right. You all should know at this point that you have to be repurposing your content. You need to be taking your audio, your blogs, your podcast, your videos, and turning them into smaller bite size snippets for social media that are video, that have optimized thumbnails, that are images that say really amazing stats and things that your guests have said. If you’re not repurposing your content yet, then you are behind the game. So that is why I created repurpose house to literally take this piece of your content game off of your hands and to do it for you. So if you know what you should know that you need to be taking all of your existing content that you worked so hard on and  probably spent a lot of time and money on. If you know you need to put that out into the world so that it’s able to be engaged with in the right way for the right platforms, then you need to sign up free purpose. house.com one low monthly fee gets you as many assets as you can handle to put onto your social media calendar and start driving traffic to all of your lead Gen landing pages, websites, blogs, wherever it is that you’re taking traffic that actually gets them to convert. So check out the link in the description. We’ve got a really cool deal for you right there. It’s repurposed house.com but make sure you go through the  link because you’ll get a really cool promo code.

Shaina: Okay, so let’s, Steven, I know we’re going to talk a little bit about like some of the strategies that you guys use for like lead Gen and like the types of content. You guys do a lot of freebies, right? Or at least you have a couple.

Spring: Do we try to do so? That’s an interesting shift to, it’s as I’m sure everyone who does this has noticed, it gets more and more expensive to run an out and get a lead and it gets harder and harder to get a lead who’s willing to spend money unless you’re very specific  with your targeting. So we’ve gotten a lot more specific with that. And if you do that, if you’ve got an audience that you know is going to be willing to invest, then it’s fine to give the thing away free if you’re not and you can’t guarantee that that’s part of it.

Spring: Then I’d rather do something that requires just a micro commitment. So like free plus shipping, anything that gets them to spend a little, and then I find like you, you’ve kind of, you’ve made that initial jump, like you’ve made that shift to where they see themselves as being a customer as opposed to being offended. Right. That you  tried to sell them something that’s on my feet. Well Yeah, wind up being like the biggest customer experience headaches as well. Like they always want the most because they wanted all phrase. So I see we’ve got a seven day stop drop and swap challenge, which is effectively the first week of the Virgin Diet or our online program that goes with that, which is called break break through food intolerance. So they get everything they need, all the recipes, all of that. There’s a trip wire that gives them the shakes, they need to do it.

Spring: But then it’s just a matter of taking them through the first week, helping them see the incredible success because that’s the beauty of Djs programs and other reason I stuck around. They work every time. So that’s nice. Yeah. So and then, and then, you know, give them an offer to go into the full program and continue on. So we do that. And we used to do some longer lead magnets. That’s the other thing that I’m sure all kinds of content marketers that don’t have to tell you people don’t read. It is so sad for me. Very, very sad that people aren’t reading room. They don’t. So you used to be  able to do, you know, give somebody a bunch of recipes, are a bunch of content and it would matter and now it just overwhelms them and they won’t even download. So what we do now is like this micro version and when it comes to lead Gen, so we used to give you, you know, 47 recipes, now you got three that’s [inaudible] song is or cold traffic, right?

Spring: I mean warm traffic, I’m still going to give you the 47 because that’s better and they’re onboard and they know who we are and it makes sense and they’re excited to have it. But yeah, we’ve really changed how we  do legion for that reason. And then the membership site will be kind of that missing piece where you have an opportunity to give them another way in, you know, beyond the core offer that all of that’s leading to. Gotcha.

Shaina: Okay, cool. So, so basically those two programs are going to lead into the membership site or are you guys going to do a different type of like lead Gen opt in type thing to get out and

Spring: we’ve got a whole bunch of lead magnets, so testing I’m sure [inaudible] so we’ll do three tips to do something. We’ll do. We’ll do, you know, like  I said, a small number of recipes, we tried to do something weird.

Spring: We struggle just because we’re on Facebook and basically can’t talk about the thing we do. That’s right. Like I can never say weight loss. I can never talk about us symptom. I can imply that you’re even unhappy and want to change your life or that the way you’re doing it now is bad in any way, but yet still assume that you do want to make a change and that you’ll somehow read between the lines and find it. So it’s a, it’s a lot of, I feel like a good portion of effort when it comes to just designing the  funnels is just about, okay, what can I actually advertise to and what will be successful is not really about what’s best for the people, which is tough. It’s hard. It’s hard to know. This is really what I should tell you, but this is what Facebook will let me tell you.

Spring: And then I’ll wait until the thank you page to tell you the real exactly. So, but so we’ve got a whole lot tested right now. Just you know, tips to cut sugar. Yeah. For recipes. It just depends on what you know, who the audiences and what the plan as. And then that’s typically leading to a free plus shipping offer of some sort or a Bogo.  Something that’s going to be, you know, you got to pay something but you’re getting a fantastic deal. And then getting bonuses that are and are people like hands on and we have physical products that we can do that. I know not everybody gets free so that’s at least they’re investing a little bit in either give the seven day stop, drop and swap. If we’re going to give a Freebie to cold traffic, I do it after they’ve shown a willingness to do the free plus shipping and as part of the phone. Right. And then we use the truly free funnels who go to warm.

Shaina: That’s awesome. So how do you suggest people do that who don’t have a physical product that they can just ship? Like the, the just purchased shipping is awesome because like it’s this my bested like what would be your suggestion to people who don’t have a physical?

Spring: So there’s a lot of people who do this really well. Not necessarily in our space, but I think if you can cold Joseph does this very well. Like he does like the two 99 guide. Okay. And so it’s not that much. It does one 99 you can test like we’ve been able to do higher than that. We actually don’t do as well when we go that low for whatever  reason. I think that because it’s the health space. Sure. And I think people kind of feel like they either one to spend a lot or they want it for free.

Spring: It’s just how it is. Right. You know, if you’re in a different, a different market, different edge that you’d probably get away with a one 99 to, but it come up with something digital that is an obvious piece. Don’t make something from scratch, don’t make more work for yourself. Do you write something? It is a piece of whatever the core offer is. And then give them that for just that small amount. And, and anything you can do to get that is going to translate to  a better customer who’s just automatically more invested from the beginning. I mean obviously financially, but just, you know, emotionally and what you’re doing. So I, you can absolutely do it. That’s awesome. Physical products.

Shaina: Okay, cool. See, so there you have it for all of you aren’t selling things that you ship. Yes. So then what types of content are you guys producing to support the site then?

Spring: So we do blogs, we do two t, we’ll do informational blog, then we’ll do recipe blogs and then we do blogs for the podcast as well. And then obviously the podcast and then we’ve got,  we’ve got, you know, a variety of different things that are videos that we only put on social media. So you have to be following in social media to get them. So there’ll be live Q and A’s and things like that with Jj that, you know, just quit videos and that kind of thing that you get that way. So it’s, it’s sort of, and then at this point, I mean we make a video out of everything cause you can,

Shaina: I love it. Yeah, definitely. So is there any key like, so I love that you guys are, we don’t talk to a lot of people who are in this space where they actually  have physical product that they’re selling. Like we’re doing a lot of agencies and like courses and things like that. So I mean is there, for those people who are listening, who do do physical product, what, what is like one small strategy that you think that they can implement in the next 48 hours that they’re like, that will totally help my game.

Spring: Especially if you’ve already got physical products, but this would work regardless. And it works especially well if you’ve got physical products. I think my, let me back up a tiny bit and say one thing, don’t discount things. You hear  me saying like don’t, don’t do it. If I could go back in time and we never had storewide sales, I would never do it again. So if you’re just getting into offering physical product, don’t do it, give them free things. You build the right kind of customer, you get rid of the people who are sort of such bargain shoppers that they, that they wait for the sale and then you just give them more opportunity to share the love you’re giving them swag, it’s things they want to help them live the lifestyle better.

Spring: Whatever your lifestyle is. It doesn’t have to be, you know, health, diet, whatever related. So that  would be with that caveat. Yes. If you’re doing physical product, the thing I try to do is regularly go in and find who are my best customers and then find your number one product was the thing that sells the best and then find the ones who aren’t getting it and give them some of it. I give them an offer on it. If you can do a physical product and do a sample, give them a sample of it. But you always want to be sure that your best people are buying your best stuff and you would be amazed at how often that’s not the case. So I just go in and quarterly and just find the people who don’t match and then, and then give  them an offer and it’s it, it works every time.

Shaina: It’s, that’s so awesome. And then it keeps the value with your product because you’re not discounting something that you know is worth what you’re selling it for with Allie. And I think that that’s to the right client. That’s important because they know that you’re not cheapening your own.

Spring: Exactly. You you’re not seeing in the store. Well I can, if I wait long enough, I can always get the shake on sale or I can get this program on sale or that kind of thing. It’s, it’s really just about give and, and I think it’s okay to give something, someone something special, but I prefer  to give them freebies with it. And absolutely, if you hear JJ talking to other businesses about what to do, she will say the same thing. Cause they really, that’s when you’re nurturing the rate that’s the right people. Those are the people that you want the right people to.

Spring: It’s not about just getting as many people care about how big your list is. I will regularly prune people off our list because I’m like, it’s just they’re not the right fit for us. I’m never going to be speaking their language and I’d rather they go find somebody else. That’s a good fit. Yeah, Dennis do this.

Shaina: That’s awesome. Well is there anything else you feel like you have been dying to share  that you want to share with the audience about? I think that you as a great, fantastic. I learned so much so I mean I’m stunned, super full. I have a lot to like take on and churn with. So. Awesome. Well thank you so much for taking time. I mean this conference has been crazy and like she’s got her whole team here and she took time out to hang with me and you guys for for 15 so thank you. Have an awesome rest of your show and thank you. You take care of rest of the conference. All right. Thank you. Bye guys. Thank you so much for checking out this episode  of the content coalition. Now, whether you’re listening or watching, make sure that you subscribe to the Youtube Channel and to whatever platform you’re listening to it on, because you’re not going to want to miss out on the incredible things that I’m learning with these amazing content marketing pros. So make sure you subscribe and we will talk to you next week.

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