14 Entrepreneurs Discuss How Entrepreneurship Academic Programs Will Look Like in the Future

The landscape of entrepreneurship programs is rapidly changing and giving special emphasis to hands-on experience. Obtaining an academic program is important in validating your business concept but many will argue that is no longer the case. The future of entrepreneurship academic programs remains dynamic and there’s need for aspiring entrepreneurs to adapt to the changing environment.

Here what entrepreneurship academic programs will look like in the future according to entrepreneurs and business owners.

#1- With actionable learning

Photo Credit: Reb Risty

The future of entrepreneurship academic programs has been evolving exponentially over the last few years with access to a plethora of low cost and no-cost training online. Entrepreneurs are moving faster than ever, and they want practical advice and training from people who have been there. Going to a 4-year university is not how the modern entrepreneur educates themselves today. They want actionable learning that they can use on the job.

Thanks to Reb Risty, REBL Marketing!

Originally Published at CBNation

Build A Trusted Brand Through Video Testimonials

Customer testimonials are a valuable way to build trust in your brand. To a potential customer, a testimonial is similar to a personal recommendation for a product or service. Videos are also an important tool in your marketing funnel. They are entertaining, engaging and easy to digest. Putting the two together creates a powerful marketing tool to create sincere and entertaining recommendations from existing customers. 

Why do video testimonials make great marketing tools?

The power of a video testimonial goes beyond the idea of combining one effective marketing technique with another. When a video testimonial includes the right content, it is the act of one customer sharing the most important details of a product or service with another customer. A potential customer viewing a video testimonial should feel like an impartial bystander is offering them a helping hand. Consider these five reasons to add video testimonials to your marketing plan.

1. Video testimonials build trust.

A written testimonial provides a thought-out opinion of a product or service. Video allows your customers to see and hear a reaction, which makes it more credible, engaging and authentic. Consider conversations in your personal or business life that seem too important to take place over the phone, text or email. You prefer these conversations be carried out face to face so you can see and hear the other person’s reaction. A video testimonial provides the same type of visual confirmation.

2. Video has a higher retention rate.

While a long written review may contain more information, your potential customers might not finish reading it. Even worse, they may only remember a small percentage of what they read. Videos provide an entirely different experience. Viewers are not only more likely to watch a complete video, but they also reportedly retain 95% of a message viewed in a video, compared to 10% when reading text. 

3. Video is preferred.

Video is the preferred form of content by most viewers. YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the internet with over two billion users. A video engages viewers with a real person to whom they can relate. Then, it uses the powerful tool of storytelling to show your potential customers why your product or service is worthy.

4. Videos get shared.

Since videos are enjoyable to watch, consumers love sharing them. When video sharing extends to user testimonials, your loyal customers naturally become brand ambassadors.

5. Video testimonials convert.

Conversion is one of the most important parts of your marketing process. It’s that magical moment that turns your potential customers into paying customers. When a potential customer is faced with a decision, they have to find a person they can trust. Customers are more likely to trust one another than an advertisement designed to promote your brand simply because it’s a person to whom they can relate. This relatability is only increased when your viewers see and hear a story similar to their own.

How do you make a good testimonial video?

The purpose of a testimonial video is not the same as that of a polished commercial that features professional actors. Your potential customers want to see the sincere opinions of ordinary customers to whom they can relate. Use these tips to teach your customers to make video testimonials.

• Give direction instead of providing a script. Customers reading from a script don’t provide authentic experiences or genuine emotions. Instead, have a conversation about the customer journey and how your product or service resolved the issue. 

• Keep it short. In my experience, the optimal length for a video testimonial is around 90 to 120 seconds. Use the time wisely to give specific details.

• Avoid yes-no questions. When using an interview format, ask questions that evoke emotions and lead to descriptions of how the product solves problems.

• Ask for a testimonial as soon as a project/service is complete. Your happy customers are most likely to create compelling video testimonials when they’re excited about the results of your product or the service you provided.

• Suggest customers compare you to the competition. How do you measure up? Often, before finding a solution to a problem, consumers struggle with disappointments. Your potential customers may be comparing your service to others before making a purchase.

Use these four key areas to create an effective video testimonial.

Providing consumers with guidelines can help them become more confident in creating video testimonials about your product or service. Suggest your customers talk about these four key points.

• Themselves: Your customers want to be able to relate to the person in the video they’re watching. Real people have backgrounds. Your customer should provide a bit of relevant information that makes them relatable (such as age, career or parental status).

• Their challenge: What problem led them to seek your products or service? When the viewer is having a similar problem, they instantly connect with the person sharing the video.

• Why they chose you: Were there other products or services that didn’t measure up to your brand? Did the customer try other potential solutions without success?

• The results: Use these queries to prompt specific experiences. “Are you happy with the product or services provided? Please share specific details about how the product worked to solve the initial problem. Finish with the reason you recommend the product to other customers.”

Video testimonials combine a variety of powerful tactics to promote your brand to potential customers. Videos are an immensely popular medium that provides engaging stories to sell your products or services. Additionally, sincere customers who provide genuine reactions naturally build trust in your brand — and every business wants that.

Article originally posted on Forbes.com

Meet Reb Risty of REBL Marketing in Downtown San Diego


Today we’d like to introduce you to Reb Risty.

Reb, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

I think most of my past employers would say Reb is the ideal employee. I always arrive early, stay late when needed, and do what I say I will do, self-motivated, positive and a good team member. When I pursued my MBA in 2005, is when I realized I had an entrepreneurial spirit. Although the professors and curriculum were very good, it was my fellow classmates that I learned the most from. I majored in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at SDSU. I took a class with Giles Bateman, former CFO for Price Club, which became Costco. He was the professor that challenged me to think like an entrepreneur instead of an employee. It was my fellow classmates, Jennifer, Mark and Erik whom I competed with in a Business Plan Competition and showed me I could start a Company of my own.

In 2008, when the economy crashed, I was laid off from the marketing agency where I had been working for the previous 2 years. At that point I did what any sensible unemployed person does, I started a consulting business, and RebL Marketing was born. Fortunately enough, I found a full time position within a few months, and RebL took a backseat. It was in 2016, when the RebL voice in my head began getting louder.

I was working as a marketing director for an aviation company that I really liked, but the work was not satisfying. When I started in aviation, I was constantly being asked for my advice, recommendations, reviews, and even job offers. I realized there is a real need for someone with my background and outsider knowledge. I did have a consulting client, Pro Back Office that I had worked with for year and saw how successful they had been providing outsourced Accounting and Finance services.

I thought, why I can’t do the same with Marketing and Communications services? With the encouragement of my client and good friend, Jennifer Barnes, I started to focus RebL Marketing on Outsourced Marketing Teams and Services. As I quickly found out, there is a demand for growing companies that are in need of experienced marketing professionals, just not necessarily on a full-time basis. So, I quit my full-time job and jumped in.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

One of the biggest struggles I had to get over first was the decision to actually go out on my own and start RebL Marketing full-time. I had been consulting on the side for years and that was my comfort zone. I wish I could say there is a right time and you know it, but it wasn’t that oblivious. From the time I decided I wanted to run RebL full time to when I actually quit my job was just under a year. There were a number of reason, my employer at the time convinced me to stay longer and give them a chance to provide me with a better work situation. It was like trying to break up with a boyfriend, they kept saying things would get better, but it didn’t. Anyway, the time finally came that made me take the leap of faith and start RebL full time.

The other challenge I’ve had is growth and managing my team. I’ve grown quickly over the last few months and managing projects as well as growing and training my team has been a huge time struggle. Unfortunately I had to let a team member go this week. They just weren’t performing and causing more work for the rest of the team. The person is a nice person, but just couldn’t see what they were doing wrong or couldn’t admit it. This has been tough, but I know it won’t be the last time.

RebL Marketing – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

With RebL Marketing the client gets a whole team or marketing department vs. one full-time employee. We can provide full marketing management at a fraction of the cost, on-site, remote, and when needed.

Unlike more traditional marketing firms that are good on a project basis RebL stays with the client to execute for a long team. This is where the RebL team really shines. We know how to develop, execute, evaluate and adjust. Our goal is to be the client’s marketing team that is proactive verses just doing the marketing.

I’ve been on the agency side and client side. I understand the frustration of being a client, paying a significant amount to the agency to end up doing half of the work or just can’t get what is needed out of the agency. I also understand that clients don’t always understand what marketing can really do. The best approach is to work together as a team, learning and willingness to be flexible on both sides.

I’m most proud of my long-term clients that I’ve been able to grow with and be a part of their success. One client, Pro Back Office, has grown significantly over the last 5 years. Winning SDBJ Fastest Growing award two years in a row and listed on the Inc. 5000. I’ve been with them since they started out of Jennifer Barnes back room office. We’ve also become good friends.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?

Happiness. When you can wake up ready to start your day and your work, that’s success to me.

Contact Info:

Source – sdvoyager.com

Reb Risty – Marketing in the Virtual Universe: 5 Reasons Every Business Should Use Video Testimonials

Reb Risty, Head and CEO of REBL Marketing, is a marketing expert with useful information for communicating with your customers in these unique times. After starting her company in 2008, her mission has been to help her clients clearly communicate their value propositions and boost engagement. The marketplace has rapidly shifted from a digital world to a virtual universe, so online presence is more important than ever before, and video testimonials are a great place to start. As we begin to reopen, Reb has tips for marketing in a cognizant manner.

In her interview, Reb discusses the importance of continuing communication with your customers. She dives deep on the importance of having not just testimonials, but video testimonials from clients. Reb shares some of the reasons video testimonials are so successful and how you can easily start generating your own. It is essential to adapt to the changing marketplace, use Reb’s tips to thrive in the virtual space.

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Feeling Stressed? Try this one thing.

When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. Then other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins come into play too. The endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, whereas the serotonin is an antidepressant. One study even suggests that smiling can help us recover faster from stress and reduce our heart rate. In fact, it might even be worth your while to fake a smile and see where it gets you. There’s been some evidence that forcing a smile can still bring you a boost in your mood and happiness level.

Even if you don’t feel like it, I challenge you to smile…Right Now! 🙂 #smilemore#keepsmiling

Relationship Marketing: Interview with Chef and Owner, Nick Brune

In this video interview, Reb Risty, Head REBL at REBL Marketing speaks with Nick Brune, chef and owner of Eco Caters, about their mission and how they use relationship marketing to grow their business.

Do you find it hard, when you are talking with clients, do they understand what your zero waste initiative? Does that really resonate with them?

You know, I would say especially here in California, we’re kind of at the epicenter of this whole culture as far as the organic scene kind of starts out here. Obviously, we’ve got sunshine 70 degrees for most the year, so it’s a little bit easier, right? So yeah, the culture out here, especially, as driven there. But it’s funny, I’m getting contacted by cities left and right. We’re going to be expanding next year. And I mean, Atlanta, Orlando, Boston, Baltimore. These are cities that, that word is out.

Again, like everyone understands this is not a new issue. It’s not just about global warming. It’s, it’s not this Democratic or Republican thing anymore. It’s like, yeah, this is happening. We’ve got a lot of plastic in our oceans. There’s some things we can do to solve these issues, and we’re just trying to take those steps to actually make those things happen. And I think a lot of people are starting to recognize that, so they’re starting to do the same thing.

Well, that’s good. Good. I like to hear that because I think top of mind, you want to be sustainable, you want to be doing the right things, but I think because we’re such fast-paced all the time-

Absolutely.. people are going and going. Easy button.

Yeah, truly. So, my show, I’m obviously marketing, you’ve got a lot of things going on. What strategies are you using to get the word out to your customers?

In the last 12 years, I’ve been through the gauntlet, you could say. So, we’ve done everything on the digital level, from SEO to pay per click. We are just getting into the LinkedIn world, which is working okay. The email campaigns have pretty much been the best and we’re actually moving those in-house through our Salesforce in-house. And I think the email campaigns digitally have been really a really fantastic connection. Pay per click is obviously, it collects the best data for us, right, to where we can actually know where and what and why to spend.

And Eco Caters SEO, again, we’ve been writing a blog for 12 years about organic food online. So, we do really well just organically on those levels. And even more so, again, with what we’re trying to sell now, these longterm contracts for corporations and things like that, like partner with venues, we’re kind of realizing that relationship marketing is more pretty much our best bet. I’d almost rather spend money on an individual to go make sure that they’re having their two meetings a day, rather than hope for five or six leads a day digitally, I can just see my ROI on it a little bit easier.

Wow, I like that. So relationship marketing. Is that part of your sales effort? What does that mean? For anybody who’s not familiar.

Well, this day, right off the bat, it’s pretty much on me to get out and network and be a part, develop our brand here as Eco Caters and get to know the corporate world and have them get to know me. And then from there, it kind of starts to trickle down into all of our salespeople individually, and through peer groups or whatever it may be. Just getting out there and having conversations. We have that set two, run two mentality here.

So, we are trying to set two meetings every day and run two meetings every day, right. And then, I love that book and that saying, “Never eat alone.” So, if you’re going to go have lunch, you should be having a meeting with somebody. And it works out really well. You get to know people around town, you build your own personal network, and most of the time, it’s obviously going to build your pipeline.

You can reach Nick at https://www.ecocaters.com/

Learn more about REBL Marketing at https://reblmarketing.com/

Power Up Your Customer Acquisition Process In 2020

The customer acquisition process needs to evolve as your business does. Here are three strategies you can implement this year to improve your customer acquisition process and see better results.

To increase engagement rates, integrate video content into your sales emails.

Video in sales content is a powerful medium that captures attention. And it’s effective for conversions, too, with over 60% of people deciding to buy after watching a branded video.

You have to figure out a way to cut through all of the noise – and video is a surefire way to do that. Otherwise, your email could get lost in a prospect’s inbox. The important thing is that you get a visual message in front of your target audience so they are compelled to book an appointment, contact you or make a purchase.

To do that, make sure you:

  • Keep your video between 30 and 60 seconds.
  • Highlight customers’ pain points and how you can help.
  • Don’t forget your call to action.
  • Put the word “video” in the subject line.

Nurture leads through targeted email campaigns.

Leads need to be nurtured. You don’t know where your potential client is in their decision-making process. So, provide valuable information and soft nudges to take action until they’re ready to buy. Decision-makers are busy, and you want to stay top of mind until they’re ready to take action. Maybe they need to learn more or just recently encountered a problem that you can solve. If you’re not reaching out to them periodically, they will forget about you and move on to your competition. This is why it’s so important to familiarize yourself with modern email marketing as a way of retaining leads.

Remember, targeting is key. You’re no longer sending mass emails. Instead, they’re tailored to the audience, and the content within is brief and relevant to your lead. Bit by bit, you’re sharing information with them as they need it, as opposed to bombarding them with a flood of information. This leaves them satisfied, rather than overwhelmed. After all, when you send emails, you don’t want to shove your brand at people. Instead, before you send anything, think, “What’s in it for the customer? What do they really want to know?”

A targeted campaign will allow you to send all sorts of information to your leads over a long period of time. It ensures prospects have what they need to make a decision about your product. Once they buy, they come off that particular email campaign. However, sending new information every few weeks allows each lead to stay connected to you.

Some people need more information before deciding, while some people need more time. The personalized campaign caters to both. Plus, there are plenty of emails for them to click when they’re ready to make their decision. It’s a gentle way of guiding them through the sales funnel so they aren’t forgotten along the way.

Use technology to make sales and marketing more efficient.

CRM stands for customer relationship management. This approach utilizes customer data to make it easier for sales and marketing teams to interact with customers.

The sales team can use a CRM approach to better organize all potential leads, pipelines and contact information in a centralized location. The sales team can also track data based on customer response time and evaluate which approaches work best. By using CRM software, you can automate responses. For instance, if a client does not respond, you can set up your software to send them a follow-up within a few days. This saves time for the sales team and increases productivity.

Likewise, the marketing team can use the marketing automation approach to create better campaigns, with more focused targeting and segmentation. Using a marketing automation approach reduces the time needed to create sophisticated customer relationships.

The CRM approach can be used in tandem with marketing automation software, which enables a team to send personalized campaigns and specific pitches to the right potential clients. Automation tools make tasks easier by having technology assist with repetitive aspects, as well as freeing up the sales and marketing teams to be more productive. By grouping potential clients based on interests and past buying behavior, campaigns can become more targeted and effective. This leads to higher conversion rates, as well as better nurturing of leads.

A CRM approach increases collaboration between the sales and marketing teams, as both teams will share information of what they are doing and planning. This leads to more efficient communication and a better understanding of what each department does.

It’s time to start thinking about customer acquisition strategy differently. It will increase company revenue, streamline efforts and create a better overall customer experience.

Written by Reb Risty for the YEC Council. Link to full article here – https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2020/03/27/power-up-your-customer-acquisition-process-in-2020/#758c53cd24c2

Use Marketing Automation Tools to Keep Communicating with Your Customers

Hi, I’m Reb Risty, Head REBL at REBL Marketing. I’m on the YEC Next Council and part of being on the council gives me access to questions from national publications like Forbes and Entrepreneur. Today I received a question from Forbes on what can businesses do to continue to grow and survive during this time of crisis and down economy?

Keep communicating with your customers

My number one is to keep communicating. Don’t forget to stay in front of your customers, whether it’s through email, your social media, or an e-newsletter. Don’t let them forget that you’re still there and you’re still kicking.

Use Email Marketing Automation Tools

Number two, if you had to let your marketing team go or your marketing agency go, and you’re down to a low budget, marketing automation tools are a great way to continue to help you stay in front of your customers at a low cost and it will help save you time as well.

Some of the email marketing tools that are good for times like these are MailChimp or Constant Contact. They’ll help you to create messages that you can then send out to the masses through one step versus having it reach out individually to every contact in your list.

Use Social Media Marketing Automation Tools

The second marketing automation tool is on the social media side. If you do choose to continue to communicate through social media, there are tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck that allow you to be able to post a message to many platforms versus having to post to each platform individually.

The great thing about these automation tools is they will give you analytics so you can see who’s looking, who’s reading, who’s opening your emails, your posts, and how they’re engaging.


The best thing though is to keep communicating and let your customers know that you’re fighting to get through this just as much as they are and you’re here with them.

Give me a call if you need any help or you have any questions. We are here to help each other.

Thanks, Reb Risty – reb@reblmarketing.com or www.reblmarketing.com

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