This is a question that has plagued us for years and we have spoken to many “experts,” but they seemed to be speaking in another language. We are not the professional online marketers they usually have as students. We are regular small business owners looking for advice we can understand and apply. We decided to ask Claudia Sheridan, a social marketing practitioner who specializes in small and medium-sized businesses like ours. After our initial meeting with Claudia, she was able to explain the various facets involved in digital marketing and how they work together to produce results — in terms we could understand!

1. The Big Picture

Michael & Bonnie: We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years on social marketers. We found that generally speaking, they understood one or two parts of the puzzle but didn’t have a comprehensive picture and certainly couldn’t deliver all the details necessary to make it happen. Typically, they would create and charge us for a funnel and put a lot of emphasis on landing pages but could not get many people into the funnel. Can you outline for us the various different aspects of social marketing that have to be in place to make it work?

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Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact