Joel Lewallen is Owner and CEO of Ephrata Solutions.
Ephrata Solutions is a customer-friendly digital marketing agency specializing in Strategy Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Reputation Management, Listings, Advertising, E-Commerce, and digital video.
Their passion is to nurture businesses and help them grow toward success, and they achieve this by curating effective digital marketing strategies tailored to their client’s needs.
Connect with Joel on LinkedIn.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Stone Payton: Welcome to the High Velocity radio show where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with a Ephrata Solutions, Mr. Joel Lewallen. How are you, man?
Joel Lewallen: I’m doing good, thank you for having me.
Stone Payton: Well, it is a delight to have you in the studio, man. I got a thousand questions. I know we’re not going to get to them all, but maybe a good place to start is if you could share with me and for the benefit of our listeners, mission Purpose. What are you and your team really out there trying to do for folks?
Joel Lewallen: Man Our purpose is to reach small to mid-size companies. And what really took off is back in 2020 when we were going through Covid, one of our friends who owns a restaurant, they’re going through that that shift where the government is trying to not let you guys, you know, close down the businesses. And she was like hurting and she needed customers. And so she asked us, can you bring any customers nearby? You know, bring us bring them to our shop. And one day, you know, after church, I talked to some of my friends and I was like, hey, let’s go. Let’s go to a restaurant. We can support them. And so we did. And she’s like, I’ll pay you anything. Thank you for bringing bringing them here. And we were we were like, I guess I was really baffled. And I was like, I didn’t I don’t want any money. I was I was just trying to help you out. And so that kind of sparked the revolution of like, let’s let’s help people, you know? And so when I built this business, it’s going to be a Christian based company, and our mission is to go out and help Christian like companies, business minded. But I’ve learned from then that it’s just about everybody that we can help and we can target and focus on and grow their business to the next level. And so we’ve kind of revamped our mission, and now we are really focused on entrepreneurs that are wanting to take their business to the next level. And so that’s kind of how we got started on that.
Stone Payton: Are you finding yourself gravitating to certain types of industries, certain types of businesses, or are you finding you can serve a lot of different types of enterprises?
Joel Lewallen: We started off just taking everybody we can get, but then we started to zone in more on the medical industry. And from time to time we’re we’ve got businesses coming up like construction, and they’re like, Hey, you know, you’ve helped my friend. Can you help us, too? And we’re like, Well, I mean, we were going down that one channel, but I guess we can help you. So we we do focus in the medical industry, but if they meet our requirements and they’re really passionate about taking their business to the next level, then by all means we want to help them and to succeed. And and we it’s just it’s crazy. It’s not just the construction, but we’re looking at, you know, law firms, too. We’ve helped them grow and in SEO and stuff. And so our our main focus is, is medical. But at this point, it’s like people are coming knocking on our door like, well, help me, help me, help me. And you help my friend down the street. So we’re like, okay, we’ll we’ll give you a shot to, you know, like, you know, you’re passionate about it. You want to grow your business. Let’s let’s do it. Let’s, let’s build that relationship and take you to the next level.
Stone Payton: Now that you’ve been at it a while, what are you finding the most rewarding about the work? What’s the most fun for you?
Joel Lewallen: We had this one person in particular. He he came to us and he is in construction and when he was only making about 8 to 12 grand a month, he was like, I’m ready. I want to go to the next level. I want to take my business and make like $100,000 a month. And we’re like, Oh, okay. I mean, that’s a big jump. What are you guys doing right now? And he’s like, Well, we’re focused on what we do best, which is construction. We don’t know anything about marketing. We’re just trying to wing it. But we need someone like you to come in and see if you can take take us to the next level, which is what we did. We were transparent. We worked with them, we built a strategy, and now they’re at $83,000 per month. Oh, baby. So yeah, so that’s that’s crazy. But it’s it’s amazing because they’re so passionate about their business and they’re so open minded to hear, you know, different types of strategies, what works and what doesn’t, and that they want to collaborate with us and, and build a relationship with us to take their business to the next level that I just find so much gratitude in that I’m like, You guys are one of those. I don’t want to say few, but one of those few that are like open. To learn and be educated and and know that this is what I do. This is what I studied for. This is what I’m good at. And you’re good at construction. And so together we can both take that business, your business, to the next level. And so that’s, that’s that was one of the things that was just so exciting to see.
Stone Payton: Oh, that’s got to be incredibly rewarding, man. It really.
Joel Lewallen: Is.
Stone Payton: All right. So let’s dive into the work a little bit. What are some examples of some things that you may have done for this client or you might do for another client because it’s in this digital marketing space? Is that is that accurate? That’s right, yeah. So say more about what the work really looks like, especially in the early stages.
Joel Lewallen: Okay. So we actually focus on three types of services that we’re, we’re really good at. One is building websites or website development. And then the second one is SEO, and then the third is branding. And when, say, for example, if we get a new business starting out, we don’t necessarily focus on the high end. We want to get get their feet wet and get them on Google, Google Maps and just really work on reputation management and stuff like that and just get them on phase one, so to speak, just to get the basics done. Then we’ll move on to the next step or the next venture and, and then start doing ads and so forth. And so with every single business that we work with, we have to really sit down with them and strategize what they’re looking for, what they want, and then form a strategy behind that to get them to where they want to go. So it’s not something that we try to put together real quick and then send them on their way. It’s it’s going to be a long term relationship that we’re looking for because we want to bring them to the next level and we want to help them grow to the vision of where they want to be, whether it’s, you know, opening up a second or a third location or more. So that’s that’s kind of what we’re focusing on. So every business that we work with has to be streamlined to what their vision is.
Stone Payton: If an organization chooses not to take advantage of the benefit of a firm like yours that has specific experience and expertise in that domain and they try to do it on their own or they try to do it on the cheap or that kind of thing. Where do where do digital marketing efforts tend to come off the rails? Like, what are some major mistakes? Because I bet you walk in and you see some of the same patterns over and over.
Joel Lewallen: Yeah, okay. So when we when a customer comes to us and they’re like, you know, we want to build a website, for example, you know, we want you to build a website, we’ll say, okay, you know, so what we do is when we sit down with them and we talk to them from the beginning to the end, what is involved in just building a website? Because one of the biggest misconceptions is or misconceptions is that a business will say, I, all I need is a website. But if you have this beautiful website, but nobody can find it because it’s like, for example, in your backyard, what we need to do is we need to take that and put it next to the freeway, for example, right? So that you have tons of views. So a lot of people are like, Well, I just I spent all this money and I got a website, but I’m not getting any visitors. I don’t understand why. It’s because whoever built it didn’t tell you about the aftermath of what you got to do next. And so what we do is when we sit down with the customer, we want to show them from point A to point B to point C, you know, all the steps along the way so that they’re prepared down the road of like, okay, once the website is built, now we got to do SEO. Well, what is SEO Search engine optimization? Well, what does that mean? Okay, well, that means we want to get you on the first page of Google. Oh, okay. So when we show them the outline of, you know, beginning to end, they start grasping. Okay, So there’s more to it than that because even though they come to the website, well, does what happens next? I mean, are they doing a call to action? Are they booking an appointment? Are they making a phone call? What’s happening next? So we want to work with the company or the business to take them through the customer journey, so to speak, to help them see the overall picture of of what we’re what we’re forming as a strategy for them.
Stone Payton: The level of trust that you must have to engender very early on in the relationship must be incredible. How do you gain that trust quickly enough and deeply enough to really serve them like you like you know, you want to and need to.
Joel Lewallen: So what we do is we have a list of things that they have to meet our criteria for. And if they don’t necessarily meet our criteria, unfortunately it’s not going to work out because we want to be paired up with someone who’s passionate and who’s got a drive and a focus to take their business somewhere. And so when we put them through that, I wouldn’t say put them through the ringer, but when we when we interview them, so to speak, to see if they’re. Prime candidate for us. That’s when we say, okay, let’s be transparent. This is everything that your money is going to. This is what we’re doing step by step by step. And by that time, they’re like, Oh, wow, you are. You’re not just taking my money and running and I don’t hear from you after 30 days. It’s like, oh, so I can expect a call because, for example, so this is what we’re doing. So we’ll have a meeting and we show you this is what we’re doing step by step by step and by, you know, for example, SEO, this is where we’re going. We plan to be in three months. By the fourth month, we’re doing this by the sixth month. We’re doing this now by the sixth or seventh month. Now you’re on on the first page of Google. But that doesn’t stop there. Now we’ve got to maintain it.
Joel Lewallen: We’ve got to continue changing keywords so we keep them in the loop and walk them through it every step of the way. And so when we when we’re up front and we tell them that at the very beginning, this is the customer journey, this is what we’re going to do. There are a lot of them are like, Well, nobody’s ever spent that much time on the phone with me telling me this is this is what we have to do. And so that’s when we start developing a trust because they’re like, okay, you’re being transparent. You’re showing us step by step what needs to be done and what’s all involved. Because I thought, you know, I just pay you money and then you disappear and then hopefully something happens. But it’s like, no, no, no, no, no. That’s not where that’s not what we’re about. What we want to do is we want to show you step by step, you know, keep you in the loop on everything and even educate you so that if you decide not to work with us or at one point, you you get so big that you want to have your own marketing department. Now you know what to look for Now you know what to hire. Now you’ve you’ve been down that road because you’ve been educated. You’ve been brought into my world, so to speak.
Stone Payton: All right. Let’s play this out and let’s talk about me for a little bit, because, you know, it is my show right now, gang. If you want to get some really good free consulting, week in, week out, get yourself a radio show. I get to ask smart people about things they know about. So let’s take Business RadioX. Right? So we have this hyper local model. You’re in a studio right here in Woodstock, Georgia. The website is nice compliment, but a lot of what happens here and the way my clients come to me is through other means. They hear the show. I’m out there at networking meetings, I’m around town, but there’s this whole other side to the business. I’m an equity partner in the Business RadioX network and we want to continue to expand that network. So we want people running studios like the one we have here in Woodstock all over the country, and we’re off to a good start. There’s 18 other ones and we’re in 58 markets total in some way. But if we want to go out and begin to have conversations with potential studio partners for the Business RadioX network, like you would sit down with me and my business partner Lee Kantor and have that that similar conversation, we might not pass your test. I don’t know what you what did you say? Put through the wringer, but you’d have that similar conversation. But what are some of the things you’d begin asking us about and what are some of the some of the decisions that we would need to start trying to make early on if we were to engage you to help us grow the the network? Let’s make it a real case. Okay.
Joel Lewallen: Well, what I would do is I would like to first look at how what you’ve done so far in the past in your marketing. Yeah, it’s.
Stone Payton: Not pretty, Joe. It’s not. Okay, I get it.
Joel Lewallen: So that’s one one thing. What I would like to do is I’d also like to look at your website too, and see how much traffic you’ve got going through there. And if that’s if you’ve got great volume going through there, then that’s great because then that means you’ve got prospects coming in. But are you following up with them? We’ve we’ve had a customer in the past where we’ve sent a lot of prospects to them and they just got behind and didn’t follow up on all their emails. And so they’re missing out. And so I felt like I felt deflated. I was like, I’m giving you all this, but on your end, you’re not right. You’re not doing it. I mean, you could be on the next level, but you’re not. So it just like in one sense crushed me. I was like, Ah, I want to help you, but I can’t open your emails and close them for you, you know? Right. So what I would do with you guys is I would like to see where the avenues, the streams of, of avenues, of where your prospects are coming in from. Like how are you marketing Like you may be in social media, but you may not be hitting it hard enough or you may not be on the right platforms where we could find out where. What’s heavy. You know, like maybe you’re finding your prospects on LinkedIn, but not on Facebook. Right.
Stone Payton: And maybe we’re attracting a lot of guests or even clients for local studios, but maybe we don’t have messaging that’s talking to people who may want to run their own business to compliment something they’re already doing in their community. We may not be doing that at all. Right.
Joel Lewallen: Right. And the other thing, too, you just said is messaging, too. Maybe your messaging isn’t correct or getting out the right way. And so we’d have to go through and look at how your messaging is because a lot of people can interpret it. You know, the message short, you know, when we’re on social media platforms, we don’t have the luxury of like throwing out a paragraph because people don’t want to really read it, Right? Right. They just want to see like the one, two, three liners and then keep scrolling some. So if it catches their attention and they’re like, Oh, what is he talking about? Then if they click on it, they’ll be like, okay, so if we want to know if they’re coming from LinkedIn or Instagram or whatever, we want to make sure that the messaging is hitting the right prospects, you know, the right candidates for you guys to help grow. So one avenue would be social media. And then we talked about your website, seeing how that’s working. But we’d also want to see along the lines of your website, is it getting the traffic like SEO? I mean, are you on the first page of Google? You know, are you on the third or fifth page of Google? So if we type in those keywords and we look for you and you’re on the 17th page, unfortunately you’re not going to get a lot. And so we would have to we would want to put that on the first page of Google so you get more eyeballs, more views saying that, and then potentially that’s organic traffic. You want to have those prospects. You don’t want to follow up with them and reach out to them. There’s also another avenue we’ve got. There’s so many strategies and avenues, but just looking at your your overall picture, placing particular ads, whether it be Facebook or even on on Google.
Stone Payton: Does that really work? If you if you craft the right kind of ad and get it to the right people, in your experience, does that really work? Because that’s a whole new domain for me, right?
Joel Lewallen: It really does if you target the right people. Okay. So I like to say the word avatar. It’s the perfect prospect, the perfect candidate, the perfect customer that you’re looking for. If we can focus on who your perfect avatar is, we can create a message and an ad reaching to those people only. So, for example, you don’t want tire kickers, you know, just going around and saying, well, I think maybe I want a podcast show, but I don’t know for sure. And how much money is it really going to cost me? You’re wanting the people that are like, I’ve been dreaming about this for the last ten years. Like my wife’s been telling me every day, get out of bed and go, go do it, you know? And so you’re like, so when they see your message, it resonates with them. And so that’s the type of person we’re looking for is the one that has that drive, that passion. They’re like, I just needed someone to kind of kick me and tell me This is what I want. So when they see it, it resonates with them. They’re like, Yes, that’s that’s what I want.
Stone Payton: And maybe we could pull them into a conversation or maybe if we can’t pull them into a conversation, we can pull them into that website or a subsection of the website that begins to inform and educate them and keep the relationship going.
Joel Lewallen: Yes. So so we always I found that. Free education or education otherwise is the best value. That’s the best way to get a prospect is by educating them and giving them the information that they’re looking for. Sometimes a lot of people don’t put enough information on their website. They just throw up a banner and throw some stuff out there. But it’s not enough for them to realize to make an executive decision on do I want to? Do I want to do business with them or not? But if you can provide enough information without it being cluttered, but provide enough information where they get the point of this is what you do. And this is how simple with the list of little steps, you know how they do it. Then it becomes more of, Yeah, I want to do business with Business RadioX or something. And so one thing I say is like when I’ve looked at other websites, for example, I see there’s a lot of confusion there. You know, you’ve got a plumber who says he’s also a electrician who also is a bowler and who’s also hang gliding. And you’re like, Well, what I don’t understand what’s on this website. Is he a electrician or not? So one thing I would say is like a confused mind will never buy. And when you are elegantly got a clear picture on your website as to what you do and you have it spelled out perfectly with pictures and and so forth or even bullets and stuff, and it really clarifies what you guys do. Then they’re going to be like, I’ve got to reach out to them. I’ve got to reach out to Stone. I’ve got to make this call. I’ve got to book an appointment. I’ve got to get on his list. I’ve got to find out more. And so that’s what we’re looking for, too.
Stone Payton: So how does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a guy like you? Like, do you have to eat your own cooking? The reason I’m asking, I got to believe if anyone has this kind of conversation with you, they’re writing you a check. But. But how do you get to this conversation for yourself? Is it some of these same strategies, or have you found that you have to do something different?
Joel Lewallen: No, absolutely. I follow I have to walk the talk essentially. So I’ve got to when I talk to a customer, I want to sit down with them and I want to kind of get to know them a little bit. I want to ask them a lot of their a lot of questions like, you know, what even got you into, you know, being a bakery, you know, And they’re like, oh, well, this is what I want to do. I’m like, okay, and how’s that going for you? And they’re like, Well, you know, I wish I had more customers. I’m like, okay. And what steps have you done to bring more people in? Oh, you know, I put a sign on the front door and hope people walk by and come in. So it’s like, okay, so where do you want to see yourself in six months or a year from now? Where do you see yourself in five years from now? What kind of growth are you looking for or are you looking to hire more staff? You know, I want to get to know the customer. And so when I do, I’ll I’ll probe and I’ll ask a lot of questions. But it’s in a sincere mode of like, I want to get to know you, because I think if you if you do have this passion that you want, we’re going places. And so I think that’s that’s what I would do with myself with my business, too, is just getting to know my customers, my prospects and just really understanding what their needs are, what their pain points are, and then seeing if I can help them with their pain points.
Stone Payton: I’m so glad I asked because in my mind, right up until now, I viewed your business. I viewed your business as far more transactional and not so relationship oriented. But relationships are absolutely fundamental, critical in your it’s a relationship business, your business, isn’t it?
Joel Lewallen: It is. It’s it’s the key. Without relationships, we’re just like everybody else and we’re beating our heads against the wall fighting competition and stuff. But if we can build personal relationships and make them grow and really show interest, like, you know, we really want your business to grow, we really want to. I’m so passionate. I want to take your business to, you know, 20 grand a month or 50 grand a month. And you’re like, Well, I’ll be happy at 15. I’m like, No, no, no. We’re we’re going to 25 and then we’re going to hit 50. So when they’re like, Wow, you really do have an interest in my business. I’m like, You have no idea, buddy. So I want to I want to really get to know them and see, you know, what what they’ve done, what hurdles they’ve gone through. Sometimes we’re not able to help them, you know? Right. Right. And and and it’s kind of a bummer. But we have to we have to be mature about it. And we’re like, you know, we can’t help you. You know, we’re not a good fit. And so walking away, it’s hard. You know, I would love to say yes to every single person, but we can’t you know, we have to we’re in the business to make money. But at the same time, we’re also in the business to grow relationships. And that’s where I want to take this. This business is with new technology coming out every day, people are getting sidetracked. They’re looking for easier things to do and stuff. And we’re. Like, Yes, that’s great, but don’t let that be the distraction. You know, we’re in this in the long run and we’ve got to get to, you know, five years, ten years, you know, X amount of dollars per month, whatever your vision is, that’s that’s what our focus is on. We’ve got to get you there.
Stone Payton: All right. Before we wrap, I want to switch gears on you a little bit. Hobbies, passions outside the scope of the work that you’re describing. Anything in particular you have a tendency to to nerd out about? My listeners know I like to hunt fish and travel. Like, what do you do outside the scope of what we’ve been talking about?
Joel Lewallen: Man, I so I got two things. One, I’m a beach boy. I’ll be a beach boy through and through. I did my surfing back in the days and I loved it. But now I got, you know, two little boys and they love they love the ocean as well. And oh, cool. I’ll take them there as much as I can. So I’ll be I’m just a beach boy. But number two is I have a passion to learn about technology, about I it is just amazing. Just in the last few months, well, actually, since January, I can do so much and I am I want to stay in the loop on what’s going on. But it’s just amazing what we can do in just the last few months that we weren’t able to do back in November or December last year. Like it’s it’s on a whole nother level. And so that’s one of my hobbies I’m a little nerd is I just study and study and read and read and like, let’s implement them now, you know, let’s practice, you know, on the weekends. Let’s like, you know, make, make avatars and, and changeover voices and text to speech, you know, or text to pictures and, and just have fun. And so that’s kind of what I do is I’m just crafting stuff on on the computer. And and I’d have to say honestly, my, my youngest son, he’s eight years old, Cody.
Joel Lewallen: He’s, he’s kind of like a little programmer, so to speak. And, and he does his coding and it’s fun to say, hey, listen, look at what I did. And he comes over. Oh, is that all you did, Dad? You know, I could have done this, this, this. And I’m like, Hey, give me a break. You know, like, this is. This is really cool, you know, like, I did this. And so he’s like, okay, but that’s kind of like the little nerd in me as far as, you know, technology. I love it. And I want to just keep learning more and more about it. And and I also do that kind of. Geek way of doing that with my business too. I always want to keep learning and staying current with marketing because marketing is constantly changing and just to stay on top of it and and say, Oh, by the way, we have this new thing now. Everyone’s like, We’ve never heard of that before. And I’m like, It actually brings customers in and you don’t have to do anything. It’s all automated. And they’re like, Wait, what? So I’m like, Yeah, it just came out like two months ago. And they’re like, Oh, okay. So I just like to stay involved in technology and stuff as well.
Stone Payton: All right. Where can our listeners go if they’d like to have a more substantive conversation with you, someone on your team about digital marketing or about surfing or. I it doesn’t matter. Whatever you think is appropriate, whether it’s a phone number, email, LinkedIn. I just want to make sure that it’s easy for people to connect with you and begin to tap into your work. Man, I.
Joel Lewallen: Would say the easiest place to find us is just go to sales at Ephrata Solutions.com and we can establish a relationship from there and then we can start working on phone numbers and and so forth and just kind of build a connection and then start answering their questions and stuff. So sales at Ephrata Solutions, that’s Ephrata Solutions.com and we we can start the journey from there.
Stone Payton: All right. Well, Joel, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show this afternoon. Thank you for sharing your insight, your perspective. Keep up the good work. What you’re doing is so critical and so fundamental to helping businesses not just survive, but but thrive. Thanks for investing the time to visit with us, man.
Joel Lewallen: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Stone Payton: My pleasure. All right. Until next time, This is Stone Payton for our guest today with the Ephrata Solutions, Mr. Joel Lewallen and everyone here at the Business Radio X family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.