In this episode of Rocky Mountain Marketing, Eric Scott shares his insights on trying to stay ahead of your competitors and the keys to finding social media advertising success through social boosting. As a pioneer in the 3D architecture industry, Eric has always tried to continue learning and find new ways to succeed following his passions.
Lots of great tips, tactics, strategies & inspiration on this episode – don’t miss it!
Eric’s website: https://www.vizgraphics.com
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado bass small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back this week my guest is Eric Scott. Eric started biz graphics in 2008. Ms graphics creates high impact 3d renderings and interactive experiences. They’re a full service rendering design and visual marketing agency that provides virtual tours, 3d architectural renderings, interactive sales centers and websites that give the look and feel that your project desires. Eric, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Eric Scott 0:48
Thank you so much, Katie. Happy to be here.
Katie Brinkley 0:51
So let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what your life was like growing up.
Eric Scott 0:56
You bet. Happily, native of Colorado. Hey, Colorado has gotten very popular as it has
Katie Brinkley 1:04
gotten very popular. I guess natives are few and far between.
Eric Scott 1:09
So yeah, my family on my my mother’s side. homesteaded land back in the 1800s in eastern Colorado. So lots of history, have a certificate of some of the first wheat crops grown in the state of Colorado, which is kind of fun and interesting. So lots of history there. But I grew up in buyers, Colorado, which is a little bit east of Denver, not an hour,
Katie Brinkley 1:38
my sister now lives out in deer trail. So I’m familiar with buyers know deer
Eric Scott 1:42
trail very well. Yeah. If you know, if you blink, you might miss it. But buyers is somewhat the same way even, you know, 40 years later, it’s like, there’s newer homes, but like this, you know, the town itself just hasn’t hasn’t grown a whole lot. So nice to go back and just see the roots and, and the history of that, you know, is really intriguing to me.
Katie Brinkley 2:08
Absolutely. It’s only about an hour away. And you can really feel like you’ve gotten away from
Eric Scott 2:12
it all. Exactly, exactly. So but grew up, you know, most of my life in southeast Denver always enjoyed the outdoors, getting up to the mountains as much as possible, and skiing and camping and all the things that I think most Coloradans you know really enjoy and why we stay here, you know, the sunshine is great. And I think for the most part, all the people are great. And we’ve really been able to thrive here just because of how popular it’s been. So, you know, still proud to be, you know, part of this state part of this community. I think, you know, one of my friends always says that, you know, Denver’s the smallest big city you’ll ever find, in that it seems if you run into somebody that’s been here, in a roundabout way, I’m sure you and I talking, we could probably find some similar connection somewhere. Absolutely. Even throughout different schools. And you know, I went to a bunch went to a middle school with a bunch of kids, and then we all split it off to different high schools. I still to this day, keep connections with some of those people, you know, mostly Facebook or whatnot. But people still stay connected here. And I think that’s, that’s one of my driving things is, you know, striving to be connected with folks. And I think that holds true into our business and how we communicate and what we’re doing. So
Katie Brinkley 3:44
absolutely. And as I say, why don’t you take us through your career journey, a little bit started out and the different professional stops that you’ve taken along the way?
Eric Scott 3:52
Definitely. So in high school, I started drafting and went to a, what’s called Career Education Center where Dr. Green his name was pretty much changed my life in terms of what I wanted to do and how excited I got about being able to draw, you know, I’ve always liked to work with my hands and create stuff. And from an early age, I wanted to be an inventor. I think as I got into, well, you got to go through mechanical engineering and things like that. It was, it was a little bit more, I think, technical then where my mind wanted to be creative. So started drafting, hand drafting and high school started using some of the very early versions of AutoCAD because that was, you know, in the late 90s, that was really just kind of starting to come on to the industry. You know, everybody was like computers, what, like, we’re used to like erasing stuff and redrawing it. And now it’s like We can just hit undo. So and it wasn’t an architectural base to begin with, we were drawing, you know, gears and how do you draw isometrics and things like that. So, you know, looking back, that’s really what got me started, I then, you know, just after high school, I wanted to get to work right away. So I went to a two year college Denver Technical Institute for drafting, and then started working at an architectural firm called cap art architects. And from there, you know, I started as a runner, just doing odds and ends, running prints and printing. But slowly, but surely just wanted to get pushed to the more, you know, dynamics of the business and becoming a draftsman or, you know, a crafts person, you know, slowly but surely started doing little plans here and there. And then over the course of 10 years, really, you know, grew myself up to the, you know, the design level with all the principals and was on their team, providing 3d visuals to help us just do better design, I then, you know, after almost 10 years, I was looking to see what else I could do, you know, I didn’t necessarily want to work for another architect. And my passion for 3d was bigger than doing just like construction drawings, which is sort of, sort of the mundane part after the design is complete. And it’s all the necessary information that goes to the city to, you know, get a permit, and obviously, to build, it got a little boring to me little, little too much. So I kept pushing the 3d side and just wanted to get exposed to different product types, different different architecture, and that’s where Vince was born. So pretty much out of my basement, just started, you know, client by client, trying to offer a better service a better quality. And again, the communication was, you know, a big part of that, if we’re communicating designs, and, you know, getting people to buy into a project, it was, it was really a big deal, because not many people could could do it as quick and as efficient. So, definitely learned a lot of things and starting a business. And, you know, the recession was not easy, especially marketing. I mean, folks were, you know, that was the last place, they’re probably going to put their dollars, but you know, in reality, you might have been the best place to put their dollars so that they could promote their project and a different way for people to understand. I think that’s really what drives me is our visuals. And as you can see, behind me, this is a 3d rendering of a townhome project in low height. And with that, you can see it, you understand exactly what it is how it feels.
2d black and white drawings is kind of been what folks have, have gone on forever, but not everybody understands that. And I think a picture, you know, speaks 1000 words. And, and that’s really what folks started to identify with, with working with this is that we were able to, you know, take, take some inspiration, take a little bit of direction, and then really create a presentation that could then, you know, go to the city go in front of public hearings, go in front of their clients or investors to make really important decisions. So that’s, that’s what’s kind of led us, you know, to starting this and then, in the past 10 years, we’ve obviously evolved into a lot of other things.
Katie Brinkley 9:06
Awesome. And I mean, talk to us a little bit about you brought up so many good points, and I didn’t want to interrupt you, but you’re talking about marketing during the recession, and how would what you know, we’re at right now in our economy, how a lot of people might be taking that marketing budget away and reevaluating on where to spend their their money. And right now on I know, on Facebook, it’s it’s a fantastic time to be spending money because a lot of people have been taking their money off of it. So how do you tell this to your clients who are kind of juggling whether or not they should be doing any marketing right now. And the importance of having something visual like this to put behind their marketing efforts is
Eric Scott 9:50
a roller Yeah, I think now it’s more important than any other time and I think in the past 10 years, you know, folks over realize that it’s gotten more important to spend the dollars on marketing. And specifically right now, you know, how do you show a house without, you know, being face to face with somebody. And that’s, you know, by and large virtual tours and renderings and a good website that builds an experience for you. I mean, we think these things are necessary these days, whether we’re in kind of this pandemic or not, but even more so that we are in a pandemic, where folks going to visit your product, where are they going to see you first, and it’s going to be most likely here, you know, it’s going to be on your phone, and sitting on your sofa. So how do you bring that experience? How do you bring the knowledge, the glitz, the glam, the excitement about a project. And that’s where you have to start. So I think folks are realizing that now. And we’ve actually had an uptick in, in business because of it, you know, not to try to take advantage of of a bad situation. But I think there’s opportunities, you know, in every situation, and right now, that’s what we’re taking advantage of. And, and I think our clients are realizing that,
Katie Brinkley 11:19
absolutely, and having like you’re saying, like having a website that works and having all these tools that you can, you know, if you can take someone through a tour of a house, all through their website, one that’s going to be great for SEO, because they’re spending more time on your website, do it once we are out of us pandemic, it’s evergreen, it’s going to be lasting throughout the life of well until you sell the home or the properties, but it’s going to be evergreen, and it’s going to be something that you can continue to use for a very long time. Definitely, how have you and vis graphics, what are some of the marketing tools that you use to gain new clients and customers right now.
Eric Scott 12:00
So we hit social pretty hard, we post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. And we do it you know, three times a week, we have, we have Stephanie in our office and Jesse, they you know, are devoted to coming up with a marketing plan for each month coming up with something to speak to, and then we ride out that whole month kind of on one topic. And we post three times a week. You know, this this month, since it’s Earth Month, we’ve you know, we’re focusing on sustainability, and promoting our clients that are really have been some of the leaders really, you know, thrive home builders that we work with, definitely have been at the forefront of sustainability and green and, and healthy living, you know, and I think right now is a big, big time for that.
Katie Brinkley 13:00
And I think that’s great, too, to have that in your marketing plan in your social strategy plan, having like an overall message for all of the content that are going to be posting one, it’s still it’s still promoting best graphics and your guys’s mission and vision. However, it still is taking a little bit of a social aspect to, you know, that month’s graphic or that month’s posts. So I think that’s great. Having that kind of an idea behind your social strategy is really important. And it helps to break up some of the mundane posts that you might be running across, you know, like, Oh, here’s another graphic that we did, or here’s another tool.
Eric Scott 13:41
Right? Yeah, we could do that kind of all day long. He’s like, here’s a new project, here’s this or here’s that. But how do we bring that to a human level of, you know, the interaction with it? And how can we, you know, put some tidbits out there that hopefully, you know, our clients and you know, folks alike can learn something from so yeah, I think that that’s, that’s our major marketing outlet. We do. You know, we do some emails at the end of the month that we try to tie in the whole social story into that email just to provide a recap. Just in case anybody’s missed it. We blast that out to you know, 600 Plus, folks. And then, on top of that, you know, really it’s it’s relationships, and I’ve been in this industry long enough now where, you know, folks bounce around, you know, if someone’s been in one firm, they’ve most likely been at a couple others. So maintaining relationships, even cap art to this day, you know, my first manager there, Doug Vandalia, Burgie great guy. Just had a ton of respect and continue to, you know, bounce each other some work and give each other ideas and, and that means a lot to me to just just keep connected with folks. So that’s probably been one of our major marketing
Katie Brinkley 15:12
outlets. Like, they always say, no referral is the greatest form of flattery. So, if someone is listening right now, who is in your shoes, that was, you know, 10 years ago, just trying to think like, man, you know, I think I just would like, I really love the 3d side of things and bringing that aspect out of it, that’s what I want to focus on, you know, obviously, in any sort of industry doesn’t just need to be in graphics. But if they’re just focus on what they’re passionate about, what is the single biggest piece of advice that you’d want to give him or her as the journey starts,
Eric Scott 15:45
you got to keep learning, you got to evolve with the times, you can’t, you can’t get stuck in your head and one area, we, you know, we started out with this huge kind of service base, and we’ve slowly tailored it down, tailored it down. So I would say focus on your niche, focus on your niche and, and try to realize what that is, focus on what you’re good at. But I mean, in our industry, with a lot of industries is just continuing to learn. I mean, technology advances so fast. And we keep saying that, you know, some some days just gonna push us out. So how do we stay relevant, and I think that’s probably a big thing that that pushes you forward is staying relevant with whatever it is, you know, whatever industry, but keep educating yourself.
Katie Brinkley 16:42
What do you think that the Biggest Mistakes Business Owners Make when they are trying to grow and sustain a successful business?
Eric Scott 16:50
Well, I think there’s there’s tons out there, you know, maybe the biggest thing is not listening to what’s going on. And that’s why I say that the evolving part I think fits into that is just
Katie Brinkley 17:03
your that the owners and board at Blockbuster Video who would have had that advice when Netflix was coming
Eric Scott 17:09
out? That’s right. And now look at it today, you know, it’s like, even cable, this regular cable is kind of going away. I know. You know, we just do the Hulu. And now when the internet’s down like it has been last day at my house. Meta challenging,
Katie Brinkley 17:28
what is one thing that you think many business owners need to try and do like I know, you said that you and your past boss, that your former company still kind of help bounce clients off to each other and keep that door open. You know, what is something that you would advise other business owners to do and trying to establish those kind of open door referral relationships?
Eric Scott 17:52
I think it’s kind of getting getting into your community a bit, you know, joining some organizations, we’ve had the pleasure of being a member of the HPA Denver, really, probably since the second year or third year, maybe we started when we could kind of finally afford to become a member. But that group of folks has been the biggest driving force of a lot of our business is staying connected with kind of a core group that, you know, has networking events, and, you know, allows you to talk to industry like folks and build those relationships. But I think that’s a, that’s a really good way, I think it’s easy to kind of hide behind the internet and hide behind a facade on the internet. And that’s for us. One thing that’s been beneficial is that we are, you know, good face to face, folks. We’re not just nerds behind a computer, that we really can communicate with you and you know, have a normal conversation without it being zeros and ones are very technical. So I think it’s, it’s important to, you know, join some of those groups and, and get out there a bit.
Katie Brinkley 19:11
So one passion that so many business owners and entrepreneurs have is to build a business around their lifestyle, not the other way around. How would you say that that’s played out in your story and approach to running your business?
Eric Scott 19:25
Yeah, I mean, starting out in my basement when I had, you know, a young daughter and my wife had a full time job. Really kind of fit my lifestyle perfect. It was, you know, it was easy commute down to the basement. You know, when my daughter was sick on those days that she didn’t go to daycare or something it was it was easy to be there but then also be able to do my work. And so I think that really helped me kind of out of the gate to not have this pressure of, you know, employees and And, you know, in office space with rent, and, you know, I could just really focus on what my passion was and kind of let that drive it. So yeah, I think that for me, and really in this time right now, it’s kind of, it’s bringing me back to some of those times where, you know, right now, I think we’ve got a decent work life balance, you know, since we’re all at home together, you know, we’ve been able to do walks and talks and play cards, but then, you know, at 8pm, I could, you know, sit down on my computer and crank out a bunch of work, you know. So, I think our businesses lend itself well to being, you know, out of the house or remote pretty well.
Katie Brinkley 20:44
So, you know, not very many. I feel like 3d architectural firms, probably in the Denver area, what do you like best about living and working in Colorado? Why Why have your business and life here, as opposed to LA or Chicago, where, you know, a lot of other high end graphic companies might might traditionally be located?
Eric Scott 21:09
Well, I think, you know, since we have seen the increase in demand, and real estate here has been a big push for our business just locally, I think just growing up here, I could never imagine really living anywhere else. So I think, you know, I think my personal style really pushes the business and where it would be, but our business is flexible. So we can still work in Los Angeles, you know, we, we do a ton of work up in Seattle, which is another hot spot, we do get a lot of inquiries from New York. So we essentially can live in, to me the best place in America, but still market to those, you know, high traffic, high end areas. Now, when it comes to our competition in those spaces, you know, we kind of have to choose our paths, you know, again, look at our niche and see, does not follow the clientele we want to work with, and the type of work that that we’re good at. So yeah, I think being here, too, is a little more progressive. And, and people are a little more on the forefront in Denver, I feel like so they’re a little more apt to jump into some new technology and different ways to sell and promote. So I love that about Denver.
Katie Brinkley 22:38
I’m gonna backtrack a little bit, because you’ve talked about how you guys are active on social media and how it’s, it’s really kind of one of the only places where you spend a lot of time marketing. So what do you think the best social media channel is for your company?
Eric Scott 22:54
Right now, it seems to be Instagram. So I think maybe it’s just because it’s, you know, the visual kind of platform. You know, we do a lot through whatever we do through Facebook. And, you know, we do boost a lot of posts and things through there, which then goes through Instagram, we’ve been doing, like some fun renderings, like on on specific holidays, and things like we did this green one for St. Patrick’s Day. And we had 1000s of hits on that one. All over the place. And that, you know, I’m not sure if it, you know, directly drives business to this. But, you know, it puts us out there it shows to me. Yeah, it drives awareness, we can have something referred, you know, so. And it’s funny on the on the fun renderings, the ones that are just kind of little inspirational pieces, or something fun, is where we actually get most of our traffic. So it’s nice to be that we’re artists and architects and creators. It’s nice to do it that way. I would say that, that LinkedIn otherwise is is probably the business. The on the business side. Is, is a big deal. You know, I connected, you know, with you through LinkedIn, and so many others, where I think folks just feel like it’s a safe platform to talk a business and kind of leave out, you know, all the Facebook type personal stuff, political stuff, that we can just really get down to a business and understanding what that is. So I think that’s, that’s been a huge benefit to us.
Katie Brinkley 24:43
You talked a little bit about boosting posts to Facebook. What up for any other small business owner out there. Tell us a little bit about why boosting a post for as little as 10 or $20 can have such a meaning media impact for your social page.
Eric Scott 25:04
Yeah, I mean, what I like about is that we can really target those areas. And we we target the high traffic, you know, Boston, Massachusetts, New York, New York, Chicago. And it’s shown that, you know, those areas, people are acting and reacting to the posts that we’re having, I don’t think we would be able to do that if we couldn’t, you know, boost a post and get really specific with demographics. And, you know, things like that. We don’t spend, you know, a ton of money. But I think we, we boost enough posts that we have seen some, some uptick in traffic from.
Katie Brinkley 25:49
Absolutely, and I think that when you, if you have a post, like you said, the St. Patrick’s Day post, where it was doing really well, organically, and then it’s like, oh, wow, this is already doing great, let’s go ahead and just boost it to Seattle, and Boston and New York, because those are the places where we want to try and get our next clients and have awareness, let’s just go ahead and put $50 behind it, and then it can end up going viral from that. So it’s
Eric Scott 26:13
pleasing to me that, you know, literally just by a couple of clicks of a button, you can reach 1000s of people, you know, millions, you know,
Katie Brinkley 26:23
that are the right people. Right? It’s not just as opposed to a television commercial, where hopefully, someone who might need to hire one day will see the URL where you can go directly to people that have the title of home builder, you know, or or anything. So
Eric Scott 26:44
it’s and I think the budget, you know, it’s a lot easier, especially for somebody starting out to, it’s attainable. I couldn’t imagine what, you know, media buys things are these days. Yeah, I mean, could never make it worthwhile.
Katie Brinkley 27:02
Exactly. It’s not everybody has, you know, half a million dollars to buy one commercial, after you do the whole, that just for the spot, not even including the whole flexion behind it. So just having the accessibility to target the right audience, for a small budget is can help so many small business owners and entrepreneurs,
Eric Scott 27:23
and the analytics and data behind it, you know, I think more and more data is king. So whatever data you can capture, I mean, how could you do that for 10 or 20 bucks budget, you know, and really get the feedback that you’re looking for? Absolutely. I think it takes somebody you know, a little more knowledgeable, like yourself to look at the data and read between the lines to see what to do next. But I think that’s part of the evolving phase of, you know, you got to evolve, you gotta be relevant. And I think that is probably the largest way we’ve been able to do that most currently.
Katie Brinkley 28:07
Awesome. Yeah, before we finish up, is there anything that I didn’t ask you about during today’s discussion that you think was important to share?
Eric Scott 28:14
No, I would just say that, you know, as we’ve gotten larger, the team has been everything. I mean, we rely on each other, we’re, you know, we’re somewhat of a family and I couldn’t do it without each and every one of them doing what they do, to support me to, you know, do what I love to do, and get out there and get more business and, and help us thrive. So I would just say, you know, look, look at who’s who’s doing the work for you these days and give him a pat on the back. Because it’s, in these times, you know, I think anything positive we can bring is a big deal.
Katie Brinkley 28:57
Absolutely. Eric, this has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?
Eric Scott 29:04
Yeah, I appreciate it. Katie, this has been great. You can go to is graphics.com. That’s Victor ita zeta graphics.com. You can pretty much see everything we do there. You can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. And yeah, those are those are our main outlets. You can check us out.
Katie Brinkley 29:26
Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for coming on the show today.
Eric Scott 29:30
Thanks again, Katie.
Katie Brinkley 29:33
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com or connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.