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Mastering the Evolution of Web Design and Marketing: Insights from a Pioneer's Journey

In Conversation with Chuck Peters

For this episode of E-Coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Chuck Peters, owner of 714Web, located in Maryville, TN. He delved into his journey from a computer enthusiast to a thriving web agency entrepreneur and underscored the importance of client relationship management, optimizing sales processes, and aligning SEO strategies with specific client objectives. Chuck’s insights offer a roadmap for navigating the dynamic digital marketing landscape with precision.

Watch the episode now for more insights!

Google Business Profiles can be a game-changer for SEO when leveraged strategically.

Chuck Peters
Owner of 714Web

Hey, hi everyone. Welcome to your show E-Coffee with Experts. My name is Ranmay and today we have Chuck Peters who is the owner at 714Web. Welcome Chuck. How is your day going, man?

How are you doing?

All good. Superb. Chuck, before you move forward, why don’t you let us know more about your journey this far and a bit about 714Web, what you guys are into, and what are your core offerings? We’ll take it off from there.

All right, cool. 2011, let me go back. I’ve always been involved with computers for a kid. the internet, loved it, studied it, read books, and magazines about Google ads and paper collecting SEO and always done websites. I made websites for my wedding. I made websites for special occasions. But in 2011, I was doing a homeless ministry in Knoxville. My wife was pregnant with twins. I realized that for a while we didn’t do something different financially, we weren’t going to be homeless in Knoxville. I decided to take my passion, my side hobby, and try and turn it into a side income. Right away I ordered some business cards. This is all the summer of 2011. I ordered the business cards. I get a few little side jobs. Then in October of 2011, my wife gave birth to our twins, and my son, Judah, weighed seven pounds, 14 ounces. This is after I had already called company 714Web.

Lovely story.

I just put my head down and went for it. I went from friends asking me to help them make a blog, we’re going to create blogs to churches and nonprofits asking for websites, small businesses, and so on. These are clients I still have today. We developed and that went on for a while. Then I went and worked at an agency as a developer. Then I went and worked at another business, maintained a couple of sites, created a couple of sites, and maintained them for about a year. Then I got my first real contract where I needed some help. We went in and did eight restaurant website contracts in 2014, and that led to working with Pauline’s Restaurant. Now we do all the Pauline’s restaurant websites. We do her e-commerce site. Then now we’re growing the team moving forward. Then we ended up making a great connection with a real estate brokerage. Then around that time, we ran to YouGurus. We ran into this YouGurus with Brent Weaver, who educated me on niching down to scale up, which didn’t make any sense at the time. This was the dumbest idea ever, but it was effective and we were able to scale up and hit that seven-figure mark.

At which point I’ve just decided, Man, this whole thing is so much more. It’s so highly impacted by branding. Branding is just so important. That’s been where my head’s at now. Out helping people get their brand together, figure out what their brand needs to be, what it needs to look like, and how it impacts the rest of the business. So anyway, without going down that rabbit trail, that’s the genesis and a short story there.

Later. It’s fascinating how you transition from launching your first website in 2004 to founding 714 in 2011. How has been the journey? Could you share some pivotal points and your being able to track down this journey from being a freelancer to building a full-fledged agency?

I’m going to tell you the only limitations, the only ceiling that you have for anything you’re trying to do or anything you’re trying to accomplish is this right here. This is the only limitation you have. And I had a lot of limitations. So when I started, when I started on this journey, it was a pipe dream. I promise you, it was a pipe dream. I mean, my girlfriend, who’s now my wife of 16 years, said to me, What are you going to do? Can you grow up? I was already growing up. I said, Oh, baby, I’m going to be a web guy.

He said, What actionable steps are you taking today to be a web guy? And the reality is that it was a pipe dream. My father raised me in this world. My uncle was a web developer back when plastic Mac, he could get a green plastic cover MacBook Pro. He would get his Verizon jet pack and his first-generation MacBook Pro and go and build websites. I just thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I was just enamored by it and I had to do this. This is just all these years of having a dream. But then corner by corner, step by step as you get old through life and you learn the things ready. I started just using a lot of GoDaddy free software, the free tools in the GoDaddy account. Then I used Macro Media, and Dream Weaver, and then installed the Apache server on my PC. I just did several things, read books, played around, and tested. Here’s the thing. I had about a twelve-year span where I worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week. If I hadn’t done that, if you want to get somewhere, you got to do something.

I had to do that because I was not qualified at all by any means. Now every single task that I give someone at my agency across the board, I can either do it or I can learn it because I’ve been studying, and learning all of it. I’m not saying I’m going to be better than everybody, but let’s go. Let’s get our hands and let’s figure it out. Let’s learn something. Just my whole life.

Yeah, I’d say this is all just so impressive that 714Web has grown to host more than 100 websites and manage 75 accounts now. Can you share some insights into your strategies for sales and account management that have contributed to this success?

Sure, yeah. Just to update those numbers today, we’re at somewhere around 300 websites with about 180 accounts. This is a big deal to me. This is something I’m very passionate about. I’m passionate about sales. The reason is because the sale is where the relationship starts with the client. We have had clients from the beginning, from way back to 2011. We have built relationships for years with so many people. I remember we probably were in business for, I want to say, seven years before we lost a single client. One of the reasons was that I was passionate about retention. I was passionate about the relationships. Now we didn’t scale up in those first seven years, and when you scale, you’re going to lose clients. But I used to say that our clients would have to die for us to lose them, which wasn’t a great joke. But the point is this, if you engineer your sales process, then you can choose the path that the relationship goes after the sale. What I mean by that is this. If you’re looking for retention, then you need an onboarding process. If your sales process doesn’t include the same systems and procedures that are going to segue naturally to an onboarding process and then segue naturally into an ongoing relationship, then you’re really putting your client through changes to be like, Oh, look, we met four times during the sale and now we’re not going to meet ever again, or I’ve sold you something.

I did a hard close one time and you’re not sure if you’re even… Would you sign up? Because I pushed, and then the next thing, I’m trying to meet with you all the time and you don’t even know who I am. So you’ve got to have a before-the-sale, during-the-sale, after-the-sale continuity that goes through. It’s important. It’s all about people. Inside the company, outside the company, you have to be people-oriented, and people-focused. We’re all digital marketers, developers, and designers, whatever the role is, we are so focused on the computer. We’re so focused on the internet, the technology, and AI. That’s the wrong stuff to be focused on. If you’re going to learn something in your free time, learn about people, learn about profiles, and personality profiles, learn about multiple intelligences, learn about meta-thinking, learn about things that are going to help you raise your ceiling and get ahead in life and move forward. People are it. People are everything. We can’t do anything without people. Who was it that said, he was an incredibly successful person. It was Arnold Schwarzenegger who said people to save themselves may die, and that’s not true.

He said I couldn’t have done anything with other people around me. Anyway, I’ll hold that to say the sales process is all about knowing people and understanding people, having compassion for people, empathy, thinking about people, thinking through the sale, thinking past the sale, thinking about how you can serve them best. If your goal is to serve someone, serve their business, and make their life better with your skills and your abilities or your team’s product or service, then it’s going to fit and it’s going to work and it’s going to be long term. And you can get real value for the real value you offer. You can charge a great price for a great service, so it’ll match.

Yeah, absolutely. We cannot have a leaking bucket. It is entirely process-oriented when we talk about retention. And that is so important to raise business apart from getting new fresh business, which is also very important. But yeah, it is also extremely important to retain those clients who have been there with you.

So the changes in algorithms are constantly evolving. Now we have the AI storm. So how do you approach this ever-changing SEO landscape? And what tactics have you found to be most effective in ensuring that clients’ websites rank well on the search results?

Yeah, that’s a great question. I’m going to boil it down to the essence of what we try to accomplish with this SEO, pay-per-click, branding websites, is we are trying to find out exactly what our clients want and then how we can accomplish that goal for the lowest cost to them and the best results and the shortest timeline. And that’s the goal. SEO has a myriad of, you might as well say art. What I mean is in the art world, you have painting, watercolor, oils, plastics, digital, all these things. Seo is so varied in that same way. We don’t approach our clients with our vast knowledge of the thousands of ways you can do SEO. We go to the client and say, What do you want to accomplish? What are you trying to accomplish? What are your goals?

And if their goal is 30 phone calls a month that are legit leads or potential sales, or their goal is 100 form fills, or their goal is 30 sales on the website, whenever their goal is, give us that number. Okay, who’s your ideal client? Is your ideal profile? Your ideal customer? Of course, we have to have all the analytics.

We have to be in control of the entire digital process and all that information. But once we know what we’re trying to accomplish, then we can strategically find the shortest path to that. What I’ve found recently is, that I’m better off charging people a lesser amount of money to do a Google business profile work. If we already build their website, and that’s the branded website for their Google business profile, then really, honestly, we make a page on their website called the Google, we call it internally, the Google Business Profile landing page and we actually lay that page content out, exactly how Google lays their business profile out. So if you take a Google business profile on Google, from top to bottom, it is certain content every time, right? If you take just that profile and you turn that into a page on a website, that’s what we build on the website. We build that onto the website, and then we send the traffic from the Google business profile to that page on their website with that same content, but more of it. Now, once we’ve done that, when we create our posts, and create our content, we’re creating it based on the topics that are relevant to the customers who are the ideal profile.

So if the ideal profile for my client sells antique red reblock shoes, that’s their killer. They’re like, Look, I got a million in inventory, and I make 30 bucks on every shoe. Sell me those. Then we are writing about Reebok. We’re writing about Red Reebok shoes. We’re writing about these specific shoes. We’re writing about shoe size. We are writing about the things that matter to the people that are wanting to buy the shoes. We’re writing that content in clumps of 10 posts in a category, linking it together. But we’re also posting all that content in Google Business Profile and linking it back. But we don’t leave it at that because we need traffic to these pages for them to put these pages to be relevant in any way. That’s when we get to pay per click, the display ads go in and push some serious amount of traffic to these pages. Not only are they optimized, but they’re also getting a lot of traffic. Here’s the thing. If you do this for a month, two months, three months, four months, five months, and nothing is happening, you’re losing. You can’t just have a checklist and check off all the boxes and go, I did my job.

We’re good. It’s all I can do. No, if you’re not getting… You need to be tracking your metrics. So impressions and then clicks. So often I hear this from people who do SEO and they learn not to say to me on my team, but, Oh, we’re getting a lot of impressions. How many clicks are you getting? I don’t get to click yet. Bro, you can tell me that you got impressions once. That’s it. Because the next time you tell me you got impressions for that keyword, I need to hear how many clicks you got. Don’t come to me with impressions. I need clicks. And by the way, we’re not winning if you got three clicks over six months for a thing we’re trying to rank for. That’s not winning. So we have track. There needs to be tracking. There’s going to be accountability to ourselves. Are we doing a good job or are we just doing SEO? We have to progressively work better toward this. I’ll tell you why this is a collective effort, in my opinion. This is bad doctors. Like bad doctors give good doctors a bad reputation. But there are so many more people in the digital marketing field who are ethical, they’re moral, they’re good people.

They just don’t realize that what they’re doing isn’t helping anything. Then if you sell somebody a ClickFunnel because you’re part of a ClickFunnel thing, and then the client goes, Oh, this doesn’t work. Then that client calls me, Hey, somebody told me to call you. I’m like, I’m going to set you up with a landing page. They’re like, Oh, that doesn’t work. We have to take our activity track it and tie it back to an impact in revenue. And if we’re not impacting someone’s business, then what are we doing? What are we doing? It’s all just art at that point.

Absolutely, Chuck. It was lovely speaking with you and I’m sure our audiences would have benefited a lot from the insights which you have shared. So thank you so much for taking the time and do this with us. Appreciate it, man.

Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.



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