Word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing today, according to Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, New York Times best-selling author – and Saturday Combine Mainstage presenter.

“It doesn’t matter the size of your business,” said Jay. “But in order to make word-of-mouth happen, you have to do something noticeably remarkable and then pass it along to your customers.”

For example, the writing team with Convince & Convert, the social media strategy and content marketing strategy firm which Jay founded in 2009, publishes a whopping 25 to 30 pieces a month on trends and insights, garnering over 3 million visitors a year. Named the #1 Content Marketing Strategy Blog by Content Marketing Institute, Convince & Convert passes along that expertise to customers.

Jay moved Convince & Convert (and his family) to Bloomington, Indiana in 2014, following a move to the Midwest from Arizona. The main pull to Bloomington? The depth of the startup community and the somewhat open-endedness of Bloomington’s trajectory.

“There were many factors at play for my family to move to Bloomington, including culture, weather, healthcare, cost of living, etc., but I was also intrigued that Bloomington is still trying to figure out what their main focus area is, that thing that they can hang their hat on,” he said.

“From my perspective, it’s the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial community, given the town’s relatively small size. There’s a lot more going on here than you’d expect.”As an investor and advisor in dozens of companies, Jay offers a couple pieces of advice for startups looking to grow: learn to say “no” and have patience.

“The most important word is ‘No,’ – not ‘yes’ – because you don’t want to be spread really thin. Don’t forget that in every single business in the world, keeping your current customers is more economically important than gaining new customers,” said Jay.

“Secondly, it’s likely that one of the reasons you’re an entrepreneur is that you push, move, agitate, and make things happen, but having some degree of patience is key to building a successful career.”

Jay Baer takes the Combine Mainstage Saturday, April 7, at 12 PM. Lunch is included!