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For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser chats with Brent Feldman, Co-Founder and Lead SEO at Matchbox Design Group. From building a customer persona to reaching the target audience, Brent decodes it all. Watch now to get hold of a holistic content marketing strategy to drive your key business goals.
When people listen to your podcast, this can be an extremely helpful indicator that your content is hitting the right audience and that you are developing this relationship over time.
Thank you very much. How are you doing?
I’m doing great.
Good first question. I would say, especially in terms of thinking about the strategy as a whole, it’s good to start with the base level stuff, but also think as holistically as possible. Because you can think on a micro level about what am I doing for a campaign? What am I doing for an individual targeted strategy? Or what is my overall big picture content strategy? So I’ve certainly seen it to where, maybe you don’t think holistically enough, and then there’s pages within the site, you’re not thinking about specific funnels or really deep low-level stuff. But they can just be fundamental to making the whole content strategy work. And so anyway, the big thing about it is that you’ve got to start with a sitemap, thinking about the content on individual pages, digging down deep into the general content of a page. But also when it comes to like, targeted or campaign stuff, using the basic marketing ideas of who’s my audience? Who am I pitching to? What am I talking about on this page? What are my CTAs? Where are they going to go? And we’ve seen it work. Sometimes people start to get too deep, too quick, as they’ll jump into, like, Oh, what is this keyword that I’m targeting on this page? And I feel like that’s a step may be too far down the line, that as long as you back it up, and you can get to the bigger picture, it’s much easier to start articulating that need later on, if you know, the big idea.
Yeah, that’s interesting, because trying to figure out who it is, can start with research. You can always look into analytics data and try to figure out who they are based on their interest types. But creating some of these personas can also start with talking to your customers. We frequently recommend people to do surveys. Who are your customers? What are they interested in? What do they like? What are these people considering throughout the buying process? Also, look at models of potentially other competitors. Who are they looking at in terms of the type of people they’re trying to reach? But the more articulate that you are in identifying who that target audience is, the better it’s going to resonate with them when you’re sending out that message. Because if you don’t know your client, you can’t talk to them effectively.
It’s so interesting that you mentioned the car dealership. They’ve got empirical data right in front of them. If people are coming into the dealership to shop for a vehicle, with no debt, who are these types of people that are shopping there? And then aggregate that data. Chalk it up into what could be considered a more holistic persona, and then start writing in that direction. But that’s one of the ones where you’re like, wow, that pathway to figuring out your persona is probably the easiest of any of them. You have these physical customers. You see the people asking for these vehicles. You see the people that are trying to get in these cars. So yeah, that would be easy to put together.
I’m here. No, but that’s it just using the data.
Yeah exactly. And there are some of those finer points that you touched on there. When you have customers and you interact with them, you get some of that tangible feedback on who they are, that you can chalk up into the persona. What are the activities they like doing? Where do they spend their time? Where are they going to be taking this vehicle? All of that stuff is incredibly important. And also, just one more thing about the auto industry and a lot of industries, there’s plenty of data accessible that’s out there. Whether it’s marketing studies or reports, there’s just so much available data. All you have to do is look for it, and then make sure that you’re putting that into the picture of who the potential client is. And that can be so valuable in serving the purpose of who am I speaking to as a customer?
As far as particular industries, I will say my Google foo is pretty good. I wish I had some amazing research area that blanketed every street. I will research data and sometimes it’s just common terms. A lot of that data is just a Google search away and it could exist on a million different resources or sites. At the same time just searching for it sometimes is the easiest thing. It’s the, let me Google that for you. Like, I don’t know, if you ever use that term.
Definitely top, middle, bottom. Thinking about it in direct relationship to not just your site, but as a whole. How do you identify those customers that are in these certain stages? But the best place to translate that is to your site so that you make sure that you’re serving the right information to that customer at the right point in time. And setting up funnels that have very good CTAs to lead people down the funnel. I would also say that this can extend to your email marketing, and your social media, and extends all over the place. But thinking about those bits that you want to serve and deliver along the process is critical. And not to mention, if you’re getting it wrong, that can disrupt the funnel, or make it irrelevant in general. So anyway, the big thing about establishing funnels is trying to understand the questions that your customers are asking about the product. What are they interested in? What are they thinking about? What are they trying to ascertain from your website, or from your marketing materials about that product to help them decide to get there? And the more you can articulate that and dig in on those questions that they’ve got, that will help eliminate their hesitancy to buy or purchase, or commit or subscribe. All of those things are digging through those questions. And having that sort of relationship with them can make it much easier to have those concrete stages of the funnel and also work them towards a conversion.
Yeah. I would say, as a custom automobile manufacturer, identifying people that are interested in a very high-value product. You have to be catering to that person along with the steps of their journey, as they become interested in something. That could start with something as simple as the general awareness of it. Are there any products in the marketplace? And as they work through that stage of awareness then its interest and once that interest is there, what does the process going to look like for them to build one of these vehicles? What is it going to look like to receive one of these vehicles? What is maintenance going to look like? How reliable is it going to be? What do other people say about it, using social proof and cues from reviews? And then working people towards that end goal of getting in touch. Because at the end of the day, the lead is the most important thing. So after you’ve answered these questions, you’ve driven the awareness. Then it’s really about trying to convince them and get them into the process. So, can I get into a build sheet that may give me the specs of what these individual vehicles are? And then can I choose? Can I be invested in it? And then once you know that people are invested to that point, it’s much easier to work them into submitting their information. Now that you have gone this far and you’ve told us exactly what you want in this vehicle, why don’t you give us your information and let’s have a conversation?
It is. As soon as somebody is willing to start providing any pieces of information. I know that sometimes it’s not the end goal to get somebody to subscribe to a newsletter. That’s not your biggest KPI on the list. But at the end of the day, that little bit of information that a potential customer is willing to give you means that you’ve got an audience who is interested, and you need to start serving them the right things that are just going to move them farther down.
Honestly, newsletters or subscribing to an email list where you update them with information, with news stories, with new product features, all sorts of things. I would say that you can run these things through social. I’ve seen very successful social campaigns. It’s like a stay in touch with us. But you have to be offering the customer that tangible benefit. Just subscribe to our newsletter, I feel sometimes falls flat with people. What are you giving them? What are the people getting out of this? You’re going to receive daily tips, you’re gonna receive tricks, you’re going to see new content, fresh ideas about how to use this product. There are a billion ways to do it. But I feel like offering people something that they’re going to get in return for signing up for an email newsletter list it sounds so basic and simple. Unless there is, sometimes there’s no motivation. It’s like, Fine, I’ll give you my email, but I don’t want more junk.
What instantly comes to mind is the HubSpot model of boilers, and if they have worked to their benefit, everybody subscribes to that model. But like white papers became the centerpiece to whatever the strategy was, and I will certainly vouch for it. I feel like that’s a wonderful thing to do. If you can provide your customer information just like, hey, give us your email address and we’ll let you download this gated content. In a way, it’s a brilliant way to earn that first interaction point and hopefully pathway to converting that customer.
I get sucked in every time. I’ll look at it and I’ll get to like, Yeah, they’ll give me the juicy piece of content that’s on the page. And then they’re like, well download the 101 tips, are easy.
Yeah, one thing I want to share, once you get them on a list or something, and I had recently heard this on, it was part of the ad world conference. And they were talking about the relationship that you can develop that is extremely meaningful through email marketing, that usually doesn’t become part of the journey after somebody purchases on a website. And this was something that stood out to me. And I felt like it was incredibly important. Because, there’s something that you kind of get out of going into a store buying something and that kind of reward like, Hey, I walked out with a tangible product, and not to mention, there’s the interaction with the sales associate, or somebody giving you recommendations on Oh, yeah, oh, my gosh, I own that and I love it, this is how I use it, or whatever. But you don’t get that as part of the E-commerce experience. But here’s where I feel like this is important, the follow-up emails that are coming in, after that purchase, are important for saying, Hey, thank you so much for buying and being a part of what we do or what we believe in. Here are some ideas on how to use your product. Here are some companion products that may go well with that product. And then just like dripping those in, and not to mention dripping them in quickly. If people think that they’re gonna get overwhelmed with emails, like Yes, all right, fine, somebody may just delete those emails or something. But also, if you’re hitting that person at the right time, where the feelings, the sensation of the purchase are right there and very strong, hit them with good feelings of like, also like, hey, we care about you, X customer. Don’t put x customer and nobody will respond to that. But yeah, it is. It’s about building that relationship soon after the purchase is so important. Not the same way as like nuggets of what do you do through email marketing tactics? But I do feel like that was such an important sentiment and something I brought out of that conference.
I did. Yes.
Oh, sorry. It just sparked something for me too, which was watching Rand Fishkin, he was part of the conference as well. He had mentioned the fact that he subscribes to cooking magazines or websites, and they provide and they were like, Oh my gosh, we just tried this new, whatever, and he said that the power of those recommendations is just instant. Yes, I need it, like whatever it is, if you say that it’s good, and it’s because people are putting their trust in these resources and especially people that are delivering this ongoing content and that and it’s really powerful stuff. And this is kind of maybe you know, akin to like, what you see in like, you know, influencer culture but the thing that I feel like people get the wrong kind of about influencer culture is like, okay, yes, this person has a wide audience, but do you know who they’re speaking to? Now you’re talking about, like, yeah, all these recommendations on like, you know, cooking products or maybe they’re, ingredients or something that you know, they want you to buy or something that’s, you know, a chili paste that you’re like, Yes, I need this. Those recommendations are coming across so strongly because you already have like, you know, this strong sentiment towards all of their recommendations. You’re like, yeah, I bought this and it worked out great. Yeah, I’m gonna buy the next thing that they recommend, because it’s really good and I trust them. So anyway, just the power in putting something in an article or in a resource website, whatever, where trust already is established can just absolutely be a catalyst for that buying journey.
Yeah. In general, I feel like influencers do hold a considerable amount of power with their audience. They have a captive audience. I watched quite a few podcasts myself, and I’m a big sneaker fan. I like sneakers, and I watch sneakers buy. So if they love or hate a sneaker, I’m probably going to be like, hey, what, you’re right. Yeah, I’d either love or hate that. So it’s just so funny that as you feel like their interests, your interests, almost just like you would with a social group, those things get kind of adopted in a way. And so I will say, people can hold a lot of influence. I touch on this a second ago, if there’s somebody who is on Instagram, and yes, they might have a million followers or even in the hundreds of 1000s, or 10s of 1000s, sometimes people will drop in products, or they’re like, Hey, let’s send this to this person. But if it isn’t hitting the right audience, at the end of the day, they may have a lot of visibility, but at the same time, that might not hit. But it’s also about what we talked about even earlier, personas, like who are you trying to speak to? Does that person influence or speak to those people? And if so, then yes, maybe it is a really good fit. But otherwise, it can be like a praying spray, sort of approach where you’re just putting in the hands of somebody who has visibility, but it’s not necessarily going to connect. So, at the end of the day, influencers can be powerful and positive, and good. But I feel like you’ve got to be articulate in the search for them. If not, you may just be blasting out there and hoping for the best.
It’s just what you touched on. I wanted to jump in on that too. Oh, the billboards and the traditional media. I had a conversation on my podcast the other day with Jill Gaynor and she was talking about how she helps clients that are looking for traditional media outlets. But she also does like OTT and TV commercials. But she also helps do traditional Media Research, like billboards or something too. But at the end of the day, it’s about and this is ancient marketing stuff, from the beginning of time, have multiple touches with your customer. So like we do live in an era where we have so much data that we can sift through and acquire from our efforts. But sometimes there are basic elements of like, hey, DuckDuckGo hit me with a billboard in my city. And I know it’s funny. Yes, I’m a pretty loyal Googler, subscribed to a lot of products, and I’m just using Google all the time. But at the same time, it was like, you know what, I should look at what is indexing on DuckDuckGo? And I would like to check it out. And so like, it wasn’t until that touch point, and yes I’ve seen a billion articles about it. And yeah, they mean a lot of traditional commercials. But it’s so funny that it was the touch point that got me at the end of the day.
Making it trackable is always good advice. Now I see a lot of people using QR codes more so in traditional advertising, to make sure that their dollar is being spent effectively. I have talked about this with clients and other people so many times, that there is one billboard that I truly admire, and it’s the simplicity, not the trackability, unfortunately. I’ll just call out the company because. Yeah, it did. The whole billboard was just woodenfences.com. They didn’t put anything beautiful, just absolute marketing bliss.
The only fault I would have there is that yes, it’s not necessarily trackable, that’s their main domain. Yes, they could have used a forward slash something and but they could use a different TLT to like say, well this is the one that is on there. But regardless, beautiful, what a nice web address and that is all it takes. Billboard is something I am passionate about. Looking at billboards being overly complicated or in a scrappy font that you can’t read or something stupid, or generalized messages where they are like St. Louis this, by the way, I am in St. Louis, Missouri. But there is nothing that says they care. It’s like, hey St. Louis! Stop it!
Wow. So many things, so many thoughts come to mind. We had a discussion recently internally about bounce rate and is it an indicator that the wrong audience is seeing it? And it had us thinking, is that bounce rate attributed to that or is it that we have CTAs on that page that is meant to be a grab it and goes? Here’s the phone number, here is what I need. The lead generation form may be on another side and then that bounce rate is not necessarily attributed to failure but is a success. Maybe that was the end of the goal. We have tons of lead conversion. We have tons of calls identified through the website by tracking phone numbers. Like was that the goal at the end of the day? The question is good about, is the right audience seeing this content? Another thing that I don’t want to forget to say also is, that we may have some posts on sites that will generate a lot of traffic for great terms, but at the end of the day we know that isn’t serving, those people may not convert. Maybe they are not in the city of the business, they use the services of a local business where the work is being done for. But overall we feel like in aggregate it’s good. They got the information. They came to the site, it raises its profile and interest in pages on the site and traffic in general. But at the same time, you want to make sure that you are trying to get to a lead generation page or that a landing page is hitting the right audience. So thinking about personas again, like who am I directing my content towards? What do I want them to get out of it? What is the action at the end of the day? What is the purpose of the page? So thinking about some of those base elements can help.
At an event yesterday, we were talking about podcasts and the metrics. I am sure you have lots of thoughts and inputs here about connecting with the right audience and the lovely thing about it is that you can look for the KPIs of videos- the actual watch time of this audience. The KPIs can show how engaged those viewers are. When you get people into your podcast, this is something that can be extremely helpful in understanding that your content is hitting the right people and developing this relationship over time. Yet another edition of high-value content.
Wow. Using the tools that are at your fingertips and generally free to better understand the data and how underemployed they are generally, is sometimes shocking. We will never fault clients for this because they may not have the internal resources or understanding of what they are doing or why? We opened an Analytic account recently that wasn’t hooked up to the search console, and I’m like wow, look at how much valuable data you are losing here? And those are the small things. Also, we love Google optimize and it can run simple tests like, what CTA language is going to make the best return here? I feel that leveraging those tools to do simple things, to do things better is Yeah, Measuring and tracking are important, you are right. We can spend a whole episode on this and I can get excited about a lot of things. I will put this out there no shade to Hotch or other tools to do this. We have had great success with Microsoft clarity and it is free too. As a tool, if you want to do inhouse tracking, trying to decode what is going on with UX issues, or figure out where somebody may be dropping off or, by the way, I love the term click-rage, I don’t know if you have ever heard that. Where somebody may be clicking obsessively on something thinking it’s a button or a link when it’s not. Microsoft clarity is a great tool. We have used it a lot recently and it has been invaluable.
You don’t want to talk about GA4?
Every Friday we’ve set up a learning session for GA4, just to dig in. I know we don’t want to dig into the meat and all the stuff about it in general.
Content marketing in general, I just touched on Podcast and I feel like ways to put content out there. I have enjoyed doing the podcast for our agency and being here. I feel that marketing your content through your podcast or getting your content on a podcast, whether that be like an ad or whatever. But putting the content out there through this sort of venue when we are reaching such niche audiences, I think is going to be a continuing trend. We have seen it with television, television subscribers and people have all these microservices that they are selecting. And it is because of the choosiness of the audience. It is also because of the availability of the different content that we have at our disposal. So I see that as being something that will continue for sure.
I do and I will not put myself as an expert or somebody who even knows. But I can’t wait to see what people do to experiment with that format. As in subscribing to the notion that we have to do these thirty-seconds, fifteen seconds, one-minute ads and stuff. I would love to see the format of that change. We have already seen what we are experimenting with. Like UGC-oriented content. Let’s do something different. Let’s use that space differently. But then OTT also in general as we have these web-enabled devices, what kind of clips, messages, links, or clicks, how can they be leveraged in interesting and creative ways? Not just annoying like, Oh great you put a tab over the top of my content. But, what are other ways that that can be utilized?
With brands investing and putting things into the metaverse. Like Nike putting shoes into the metaverse or the people who buy them.
I would say it’s always important to think of your audience. It is always important to be articulate with your approach and make sure that you are putting all the pieces together before you jump into that micro strategy. I feel that is very important. Another thing I would love for people to take away is ranking well and doing SEO in general. It is great for the user experience. Some people think they are enjoying a great deal of success and don’t think it’s for them. But ranking well and doing well and engineering things for better ranking performance can be better for the general user experience. Think about SEO. Think about what you can rank for and why? It can be great for your brand and your customers too.
I would say please check us out @matchboxdesigngroup.com. You can also check out our podcast which is Nix and matchbox. That is on youtube and Spotify. We are working on dispersing that more widely, but for now, that is where you can find us. You can find me on LinkedIn. I will say this has been an absolute pleasure and hopefully we can meet on some other topics at another time.
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