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Matt Fraser hosted John Roy, Director of Web Development and SEO at MedTech Momentum, a full-service MedTech marketing firm, for this episode of Ecoffee with Experts. John provides a rundown of the proper and improper ways to use tales to create a company’s brand and increase consumer engagement. Watch now to create a lasting impression on your clients.
As soon as you go to a website, you should be able to understand exactly what this company is offering. If you can’t convey this message in the first 5 seconds, you’re just losing business.
It’s my honor, Matt. Thank you very much.
Wow, high school. I’m going to even go back further. I’m going to start in elementary school. My teacher had current events board up and she did her best to update it. And at a very young age, my mother put a newspaper in front of me and I started to read it every morning. It was like a daily morning cereal and reading the newspaper. I started cutting out articles that I found interesting and I’d bring them in and the next thing I knew, the teacher was like, You are now in charge of the current events board. So it stemmed from the newspaper to school activities and intramural sports. I would actually go home watching intramural sports in elementary, write up a story and bring it in.
I guess web design and things started early.
The Internet. What?
There was no thought of it.
I stayed involved, yeah, in high school I did stay involved. The newspaper. I then found out that our school offered some vocational activities. One of them was photography and the other was electronics. I chose electronics. I think I have a left side and a right side brain that needs to be fed differently. The electronics and programming side and then I had the creative storytelling on the other side and it kind of fed me through and got me through high school.
Yes, it did. Actually, let me step back. I was taking a class, a video production class, and I would get in front of the screen and there was another gentleman taking the class with me, he was a programmer, and one day by circumstance we were on a project together and he says, Hey, I’ve got to finish up this, this project for another class. So, mind showing me? And he goes, yeah, let me show you. And the next thing I know, he has me typing out programming. And he goes, I’m doing program code. And I was like, I’m changing majors. I was actually going for a communications degree and I switched over to programming. That’s how I found programming.
The teachers showed us how to use it. And I was like, this is the beginning of the Internet here. And you know, there are websites out there. So in my head, there are two things a company is going to need, a database to keep all their information in, all the data they’re collecting in an informative way so they can make wise business decisions, as well they’re going to need a website to engage their end user. So, when the teacher turned to us and said, hey, go get an internship, that’s pretty much what I ventured out to do, was to find a company that needed a website and such.
As fast as possible.
What a tremendous experience. If you don’t know what SCORE is, the acronym stands for Service Core of Retired Exact. I was the CEO. I was the CFO. I’m retired now. Some people know what retirement is. It’s a lot of doing nothing. Waking up, having coffee, and figuring out what you’re going to do. So a lot of these executives got together and wanted to help small businesses that maybe are not capitalized or have enough resources at their fingertips. So score we take them from business plan to actually launching.
Yeah. It’s an amazing organization. It’s free, if you’re a small business and you’re needing a lot of resources, the SCORE may be something you want to look at for help.
Yes. In every 50 states, they have SCORE organizations that will help the local businessperson have a chance to succeed. Because I mean, business is hard enough for a lot of companies, and school to me does not teach me how to be successful. They teach you fundamentals of that and such.
So, of course, being a web guy, they had me look over their website, which wasn’t the best presentation of them. We’re talking about the response. You know, now later is coming Mobile devices. Now, I can show a website or a mobile device. I can’t read my website on this mobile phone. So, you know one of my tasks things was to revamp their SCORE 87 websites. And then of course, as I said, they offered classes to the small business owners. So I was giving about a monthly webinar class, an actual class that people attended. I’d speak on website 101, SEO techniques, and such, explaining what a domain was.
Yeah. So a lot of great questions out of that from the audience. You could tell they were so thirsty for knowledge. You know, I’d remember it as a struggling business. I barely have enough resources to take my idea to fruition. And we talk about business plans and taxation and such. So its prestige was digital marketing, so I would speak to them on that.
Score 87 is the words of a local chapter.
Without a doubt the best decision I made because it became my test bed, it became my experience to talk to that client. Like I said earlier, the school doesn’t prepare you for that. So, now here I am, with real-life experience, real clients, and real struggles and my job was to guide them to the promised land, at least in the digital marketing area.
Storytelling has four superpowers. I mean, ripped the shirt off, CDS, emotional attention, belief, being memorable. I mean you’ve watched a movie that you love and you could tell the story from start to finish because the story was so engaging.
And that’s one of the best examples of storytelling, in my opinion.
You know, Matt. Let’s step back to the beginning of websites and the evolution of websites. It was like placing every piece of information we have about this company or a product and putting it on a web page. So, they were really big to me, like a user manual.
It was not engaging. It was like paragraph after paragraph and you know how that goes after a while. So when you package your message within a story, research has found it makes it 22 times more memorable than just putting in facts, you know?
Our brains since the Stone Age, we’re wired to survive and thrive. So, a story that was going to make you survive your challenge is memorable. Your brain is wanting that rather than attaching useless facts about a product that knows that you don’t see yourself with.
And how to avoid the dinosaur eating you. Yes, and how to not freeze during the ice age. I mean, those would be the stories I would be engaging in the stone age. It’s even true today because I heard a quote a while back that said something about you can take the person out of the Stone Age, but you can’t take the Stone Age out of the person. Meaning the same, survive and thrive theory that I believe in.
That is a great question. Your website should be the Yoda or the Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The user is Skywalker. Luke Skywalker. And he has to defeat the Death Star and Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi to use the force. If you don’t use force, the universe is going to fall under the evil emperor, and everybody’s going to hate life.
He has a challenge. He needs to face that challenge. He needs to meet that guy, that Yoda, that Obi-Wan. He has to be given a roadmap to success. He is warned of what perils face if you don’t follow this cadence or flow. That’s when they’re going to be successful.
The MedTech community is actually a very good example. One of the downfalls to me of storytelling is putting in too much noise. Most medical technology companies are manned by very smart people. Their vocabulary would have you going on Amazon and buying a Saurus to figure out what exactly they’re saying to you. So what a company needs to do is simplify that story to bring it down.
Let’s go back to success. So, the first thing you need to do is develop a buyer persona.
With that buyer persona, you’re getting a fictitious representation of your ideal customer. Who are you talking to? What’s their age? What are their internal challenges? Their external challenges? How are they going to consume your content and what part of the story is going to resonate with them to bring in that? So once you have your buyer persona made, you want to look at your brand messaging, and does that brand messaging convey what you’re putting out to them? Is that going to teach them to how to survive and thrive in the industry next, followed by your brand identity, which is your representation of your company, and your values? Next will fall into actually content marketing. So, it’s your website, it’s your social media. Are we all telling the same story or do we have consistency within that context of marketing and all the touchpoints that buyer persona is going to fit? If it’s B2B, LinkedIn is a very good example. You want to be pushing LinkedIn to reach that B2B customer, if it’s B2C, maybe you’re looking at Facebook, maybe you’re looking at Pinterest as another hub or another touchpoint for your end user with your storytelling. So, you know, any time I get asked, well, what’s the most successful campaign you can think of, Apple comes to mind right away to me. IBM at the time was pushing think, Apple came and they created that countercultural aura. You know you don’t have to be a slave to this, come to our side.
I wish that was that easy.
You know, every great story has a challenge. If it doesn’t have a challenge in it, the story is just going to be just a simple story that’s not going to be memorable. There needs to be a challenge within a story. So, some companies need to be open to being vulnerable. Startup companies can talk about their challenges. Again, their message is felt mostly branded by the end user, so they can see their struggles to come up with a solution. And now here I’m offering the solution to you to help guide you from where we once were to where we are now. So, again, the challenges and anything that makes me fail is the villain in this story, whether it’s a human being or some theory that’s evil.
Guys who aren’t licensed. The guys that are all over business zero forums. People say, run from this company, there’s your villain. You know, we’re certified professionals and we’re here to help your house look better.
If a client comes to us, we walk them through what we call the empty seven frameworks. That is seven steps to get to the promised lands. I touched briefly on that in my earlier answers. Here let’s look at the good big components or the key components of a good story search.
Why does your brand exist? What gap in the market are you trying to handle? What were the perceived early days? You know, whether you’re a big company or are still in a startup, think of some of the magical moments that helped build your company. Again, we want to emotionally tell a story or get emotional branding with the end user. What does your brand offer? What is different from other competitors, whether you are using high-quality material or you’re pledged to being more sustainable, especially in today’s world where we’re talking climate change and such? I mean, is your product going to be damaged? Say it. No, our values are unique from the competitors who are just mass producing these plastic bottles all over the place. Here we have a new water container for you that is sustainable and it’s not going to wind up in a landfill or in the ocean. The next component, of course, is to know your audience. In order to persuade people to choose your brand, you need to know what makes them tick. User research and data help to inform how to tell the story from the design of the product that you offer.
The problem you’re solving. You know, part of storytelling in a brand story is communicating the problem you’re solving from simpler things like getting a better medical implant that’s not going to impact or affect the doctor’s ability to see the spine tumor in somebody. Sometimes metal implants will cause interference in your body that masks what doctors are trying to see so and a company will come along and produce an implant that does not interfere with radio imaging.
I most certainly agree with what you said.
Oh, if you are not using a story technique in today’s world, you’re missing the mark. You’re filling your end user with too much noise. Confusing web design. It goes through everything, social media feeds, what have you. If you’re not telling the story, be consistent along all your touchpoints.
When you get the Car, you don’t aimlessly drive around.
I want to plead the fifth only because we do NDAs with our clients.
We could talk about the dangers of storytelling.
At that point. So, overdoing your story a lot of times, again, we’re working with very highly intelligent clients. Simplify the message down and I think last time I checked surveys you are reading level on your website should be around the eighth-grade reading level.
At one point, it was at a sixth-grade level. But I think something happened to increase.
You know what is funny, especially when we are trying to convey a message to the patient. The ultimate end user of a Medtech company’s product is of course a patient with whatever disability they have. So, when you put long medical terminology, you’re choosing your client. So we have to write to that patient. So, patients can understand, engage, and see themselves as, “oh, wow, I’m having the same problems and wow, they did this, and wow, they’re back to life”. A part of that is the complexity conundrum or what I like to call it is adding more stuff to this story to water down your story and that’s a part of the problem.
Trim the fat out of your story. If your story is five paragraphs long, you’re not conveying a message accurately. People will look at your website. As you probably know, they do a Z pattern on your website and ask you for something that fits in that story. They should be just reading big snippets and calls to action to solve their problems.
The Elevator pitch is probably the best example. It’s funny how we had a webinar one time and the speaker at the time as people step up and say what they do and they like, oh, I work for a big marketing firm and da da da da da da da da. And she got on and on about it. It was just one of the worst things I’ve heard. So they asked me to tell them what you I do. I changed my elevator speech to say, I’m the guy you call if you need to have a very responsive, engaging website and I can see the reaction on their face rather than say, Oh, I work for a Medtech company. I’ve been there for a year and I’ve built a website. No, it’s I’m the guy you call if you need a website. That is going to engage users and then they stop and they tilt their head and next thing you know, they’re either asking for your phone number or your business card.
Sometimes, simplicity is the best.
Yeah. Again, we’re going to reduce it for you. We’re your customer is the star, not your technology. We’re going to focus on the person that has that challenge that needs the guy who gives them a road map to call him to action and to avoid the failure of hiring the bad, the bad lawyer, the bad actor and be successful and live happily ever after.
Yeah, but they’re not around any longer.
Yeah. Again, I hate to be repeating. All right I’m going to try to use a client. So, we have a client that is producing technology that could improve your ability to work out, increase your endurance, increase your performance and take you to the next level of fitness. When they came into our doors, we took a look at their content marketing, and their social media, and it all had this person working out, just people continuing to work out. But the item, the product, or services were never spoken about. Actually, you couldn’t even see the product on the first page of the website. Their opening line was something that someone in some corporate office thought was going to be awesome. But again, We had this kind of what we call the grunt test and it goes back to the Stone Age caveman kind of thing. You know, I was in the military and a grunt to us was somebody that we had enough to defend us. But maybe it wasn’t to be. So if we’re able to convey a message in the top fold of a website, like, again, as soon as you get to that website, you should be able to understand exactly what this company is offering and how to get that product portfolio.
If you’re not conveying that message in the first 5 seconds, somebody is going to think they’re in the wrong spot. And if you continue down and see people just working out and no sign of the product, you’re going to confuse your end user. Who doesn’t even know how they got here or why they’re here and they’re going to click on?
They were in the strategy zone where we were coming up with the headline that will engage that user and termed out early. We’ve taken the product into our photo studios, and video studios and made some really engaging content and we’re looking forward to launching that company shortly. Relaunching again.
Oh, my God. As you said that I was thinking, yeah, Netflix in my head because we used to get them in email and everything.
And then all of a sudden they were like, no, we’re just going to have a stream. Yeah, just pick a movie and watch it. All for a subscriber fee.
Oh, God, they were losing market share before.
But they evolved. In your example of the newspaper, the newspaper failed to evolve. The movie rental place, The Blockbuster, because they didn’t have it in changed to the need of that and you’re not solving my problem. You saw Netflix came along, Solving the problem of having to return videos and rewind stuff here. We’re going to mail you the DVD out.
If you rest on your laurels of yesterday you’re doing your company a big disservice because things change constantly. If there’s anything that’s consistent, it’s changed. Your buyer persona story may change over the years and if you think of it like you’re saying, you’re going to be the blockbuster.
Understand that you’re no hero. Too many clients will come to you because and tell you how many awards we have? Helping somebody survive with how many awards you have.
You know, Always a good measuring stick for your campaign is how much engagement. So, here we are, we’re getting good engagement. In case engagements drop off. Why? then go back to step one again and review the buyer persona. As challenges have changed. Is our product or service not addressing the challenge that they have now?
I actually taught college for a while and my students were talking years ago. It’s like, you’re never going to stop learning. Again, this is resting on realizing, “Oh, I got my degree. I got my certificate. I’m still taking classes today and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years.
I need to be involved otherwise I’ll be unemployed. Right.
On the sidelines and I hate being on the sidelines.
Matt, you are such a skilled interviewer. I knew you before you even reached out to ask me for an interview. I watched this podcast during my research. I came across your guy’s series. I just want to just give you guys kudos.
You’ve really educated the end users, with the research, and your diversity. We’re going to talk about marketing, we’re going to talk about SEO, we’re going to talk about PPC campaigns. So you definitely have enlightened the users. So yeah, thank you very much for what you’re doing.
The news story that’s compelling. End users are going to indulge in your website or your social channels.
Any marketing channel you’re using.
MedTechmomentum.com. I’ll even give out my email John@medtechmomentum.com.
Yes, of course on Twitter, and LinkedIn. I’m on all the social channels you need to reach me on.
Matt, My pleasure.
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