Mike Mierz of Sled Dog Media

Mike Mierz and his team at Sled Dog Media help creative agencies build outbound sales systems. Sled Dog Media supports companies by building their lead generation funnels and helping them acquire new customers so agencies can focus on their clients.

Mike has been an entrepreneur and sales guy his whole life, using his skills selling his own services and the services of his employers. Now, Mike and his team use LinkedIn, email, and other strategies to help other business owners build their brands and attract new clients.

Mike’s beginnings

  • Mike has always been entrepreneurial. When he was a kid, he knocked on neighbors’ doors to offer lawn mowing services for $5. He didn't have a “real job” until the very end of high school, but since junior high—or possibly younger—he was always making money from his neighbors.

  • After college, Mike studied philosophy and theology because he thought he wanted to be professor. But he realized during school that it wasn't what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

  • He got into the coffee business—specifically into specialty coffee, which is like the high end of coffee, and did so from a craft (rather than a business) perspective. He competed in barista competitions and got to the national level.

  • At that time, Mike had no interest in business but found himself needing to make more money.

  • He started managing cafes and noticed that the guys who fix espresso machines are jerks and not great at their job but can charge a lot of money.

  • Mike went to Seattle, took some classes, learned how to fix machines, and returned to L.A. to start his espresso machine repair company. He offered equipment preventive maintenance to his friends who were shop owners. It was still a side gig for him, more of a craft thing, and still not a business.

  • Mike got hired as an account manager by another company. He didn’t really want to sell, but his boss told him that he’s a salesperson and that he’s going to have his own company someday.

  • He ended up moving up to be the sales manager at that company and selling coffee to all the tech companies in the bay area. He started to realize that he actually likes it. For him, it's really fun and rewarding when he closed a big deal.

About Sled Dog Media (04:43)

  • Sled Dog Media is a marketing company that helps small- and medium-sized businesses, mostly agencies and creative businesses, build their sales from scratch.

  • Currently, their core products are their email and LinkedIn services.

Mike’s business before Sled Dog (05:41)

  • Mike used to work for a company that had old-school sales strategies—driving around town, knocking on doors, walking into people's coffee shops or hotels, etc.

  • Their website was a mess and Mike helped them refine it. He knew that if they invested in marketing, the wholesale business would be much easier and grow even faster. That experience sparked Mike’s interest in marketing, and specifically in digital marketing. He started to learn about how to use organic social media like Facebook ads.

  • Around this time, Mike ran out of the money he had saved up. Some people knew about his background and asked him help with marketing for their company. Mike was able to start an agency, which he wasn’t even intending to do then.

  • Like many businesses, Mike’s first contracts were referrals within his existing network. While referrals are great, they’re not consistent. One of Mike’s friends mentioned cold email as a strategy. Initially, he was super resistant until gave it a shot and turned out that it really works. It was relatively low investment, simple to systematize, and easy to scale.

  • Mike started using these strategies for his own business, then began to offer it as a service to their clients.

The significance of branding (12:17)

  • While a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses are hyper focused on direct response marketing, Mike sees the importance of building a brand.

  • Mike’s previous successes all came about because of branding: using social media to land contracts, networking in the coffee industry on Twitter, and leveraging his network to land a sales management job.

  • If you put out content that actually engages your audience, builds a brand, and builds community, Mike believes that investment makes your direct response marketing efforts that much stronger.

  • For small businesses that only have a couple hundred or thousand bucks Mike recommends putting those dollars into Facebook. For every dollar you put in Facebook, Facebook's going to give you three.

  • To get good responses, he said, “You gotta build a machine, and part of that is getting people to care about who you are, what you're about.”

How to get started using LinkedIn effectively (16:55)

  • According to Mike, LinkedIn is underutilized. Out of the 500 million monthly users of LinkedIn, only 1% are posting content, and then 1% of those posting content are posting video. That is a massive opportunity to stand out and it doesn't take a lot of effort.

  • Mike puts out content on a daily basis and also engages with the content of other people. Unlike Facebook—where if you're a business you now essentially have to pay for your reach—on LinkedIn, you can still get really good organic reach.

  • When you engage with someone else's content on LinkedIn, your comments on any post that's getting a lot of activity will show up in the feeds of people who follow you. That’s extra organic reach.

  • On LinkedIn, you can talk about what you do best and what you're great at. Your headline and bio are important for sharing who you help and how. The headline alone, when done well, allows you to connect with people without saying anything about what you do—your headline does that for you.

  • For your bio, make it sales copy that’s about five sentence long. What are you about: what do you do, who do you help, how do you help them, how do I contact you if I want that?

Mike’s Book Recommendations

Michael Greenberg