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For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Dawood Bukhari hosted Paul Conant, the owner of Gizoom Marketing. Paul discusses his winning brand strategy and ways to optimize a landing page for lead generation. Watch this episode to drive a competitive edge and deliver a greater value.
Your branding strategy has to say; Here are the people we’re going to serve and here are our differentiating factors.
Dawood, how are you? Thank you for inviting me. I appreciate it. I don’t know what time it is at your end. It’s morning time here in Arizona. I’m excited.
My name is Paul Conant, I own a company called Gizoom Marketing. Gizoom started in 1991. So it’s been a couple of years. I won’t ask you when you were born, but I’m sure it was very close to that time. I got involved with computers at a very early stage of my life. I was in a very lucky stage in my life because computers were just coming out in the 80s, we’ll say, early 80s. Things like the Vic 20, and the Commodore 64, and that’s where my focus was. And today, the kids go to school and they have computer labs. We had math and in math, we would talk about a computer. And in those days, it wasn’t anything like it is now. They didn’t portray it as fun and if you wanted to learn how to use a computer, the first class you would have to take was typing. So the old typewriters, they would teach you how to type. And I was like, “What are we doing here, I already know how to do this”. I didn’t have the proper structure for typing, but it made me happy about computers. I got heavily involved. In the 90s, I started my marketing company. But before that, I had an electronic repair company that I had started. I went to work right out of high school for an electronic repair company and I left started and my own company then went back and bought the company I started with. I think about the things that I did back then I don’t know where I got the nerve or the energy to do it. But that’s what I did. And I bought that company. And then when I was in that company, I had made a lot of technology-type progressions, adding computer software, building it out myself so that I could have these programs that track inventory coming in and out. These were things that weren’t done at the time, it wasn’t available. On the computer, there were internet speeds were dial-up. Do you remember those days, by the way? We have to take the phone and plug it into your computer. That’s the type of thing that we had to do. And AOL would kind of buzz and beep but even like before that we had CompuServe and MCI Mail and that’s how we communicated. So the early onset of that I was very lucky to be in the forefront of that stuff. Because a little bit sooner, I might have missed the boat a little bit later, I wouldn’t have understood it. It would have been a lot easier for me to jump into things and go in a different direction. So I was in kind of a weird time and that in the 80s to get that done. But that’s where I was. So then people would ask me, “Hey, I see all this stuff you’re doing with your company, can you help me do it for my company”? You had attorneys and at this point, it was anybody. I had no niche market whatsoever. Anybody that wanted to talk to me, I was happy. If you cut lawns and you wanted to figure out a way to get your website up, it sounds good. You potter that sounds good, too. So much different nowadays. But that was the early days of it. And that’s how I got into the digital marketing mix. It was mostly self-taught, and by teaming up with people along the way to make it happen.
Yeah, so if a client comes to us now, there’s a much different process than it was back in the day. Nowadays, you have to be very, very fixed on your market. And we’ll talk more about it as I’m sure you’ll have a lot of questions about what our focus is when we build these types of things out. But for me, it’s a differentiating factor. So what makes you different from the guy or girl down the street in your business? So when somebody comes to us and says, “Hey, I want to build a website”, which they do, amazingly enough. People don’t have websites for businesses that have been around for 10 years. New businesses, startups Of course. I’m not a big proponent of building out big grandiose websites on multiple pages with a lot of things going on. I think that at this point, we have to focus on your differentiating factors, your client, customer, patient, and whoever it is. And then at that point, target market those with ads. You could do them with social media, and paid ads through Google. I’m a big believer in Google and feel free to ask me all about that. Because Google is the behemoth in the industry. The amount of tracking that’s done at Google, I think falls, you know, they blame social media for a lot. Social media is like this compared to Google at the moment, but they track it. But that’s the way they do it. And I know, Apple has put in certain things to prevent the tracking, but people are opting in for it. Tracking to me is, it’s not a bad thing. People think that they’re tracking it down to real private type stuff, a lot of the tracking is done just to serve you better ads. I don’t want women’s underwear. I want to know about travel or something like that. Then all of a sudden, I’m getting served these ads that I have no desire to see, so then I am turned off from the content. And that’s another issue altogether.
Yeah. The branding strategy, I think, is often overlooked. I think that it’s good you lead off of that question because that’s the foundation really of where people should start. I don’t care if you are a 20-year-old company, or a two-day-old company, your branding strategy should be the idea. Look, we don’t have Coca-Cola money, Pepsi money, or Nike money. But what we do have is a way to compete against companies that have big budgets. And the way we do that is we set up our core strategies and differentiating factors. There’s so much going on in my mind with the differentiating factor. It has to be economically very solid. So your differentiating factor can’t be, hey, I made blue refrigerators, and then you throw the blue. I’m the only one that makes blue refrigerators. Look how different I am. And people will be like, Okay, great. You know, how many people want a blue refrigerator? But you’re the only one who makes it? So sounds good. We’ll go to you for blue refrigerators. But if you kind of pull yourself back to the days of Henry Ford, right, so Henry Ford in the 20s, made cars. So his differentiating factor was cars were black and there was a reason for that. His differentiating factor being these black cars was an economic reason. So why he was able to? He had to use a particular type of baked enamel paint, which happened to be black. And that’s what they did in their cars. Well, it made him able to produce millions of cars, because it took the drying time down. With this spray, the drying time went from three weeks to three days and brought up his profits by 50%. So that’s a true differentiating factor that you can talk about. You have to find that in your business. So as you start developing your idea, and where you want to go in that direction. Yeah, your branding strategy has to say, Okay, here’s our Look, here’s the people we’re going to serve and the people that we’re going to serve, here are the differentiating factors. My wife’s a dentist, I got heavily into the dental field for marketing for years. I’m pulling myself back a little bit from it more recently, due to a lot of things that are happening in the dental industry. And I’m more into other areas and I will tell you, sitting down with a dentist and saying, Hey, what’s your differentiating factor? And 90% of them would say, we do general dentistry. It’s the same as John down the street or Sally on the road, and you’re like, No, no, no, you gotta give me something good because when we make this website our main focus has to hit your avatar. And that’s another thing. Very few people develop their avatars. An avatar is a person they’re trying to target, right down to the demographics. We’re trying to target females 22 to 62 that make the health care decision buying in the family. They have a minivan. They have three children. You build that avatar out so that they understand their target marketing. And then at that point, you get into you Okay, what would they want? What would that client, that demographic want? What do the branding and the colors look like? What does the feel of the website look like? Do they use mobile phones? All this is all started before we even start a campaign. Now, the problem with that is most people don’t want to go through those exercises to get to that level. The problem is, if they don’t do that, they don’t get the results that they wanted, because their net is so wide that they’re getting in the tire kickers. The tire kickers are an old thing they say from the US. It was an old ad and the day when people had a car and they went, could I kick the tires? Does it have a motor? Those are the questions that are unnamed and that nobody cares about. So you do that in your marketing ahead of time, and you will spend a lot less on advertising your business, and you’ll get better leads from there. So a long, long answer to your question.
It goes right over their head, that’s the problem, the marketing goes over their head. They don’t understand or it’s not relevant to them and they’ll just move on to the next one. And if somebody’s making it very simple for somebody to do business with them, that’s going to be the very best choice for the end-user.
I hope I understand it correctly. So here’s my problem with the price. I never tried to lead with price unless you’re a high-end product. If you’re just trying to compete on a day-to-day, I call price strategy, the wrong price strategy is you’re slow going-out-of-business sale. Because what’ll end up happening is, that you’re never going to beat people on price. I don’t care if you’re making the thing for a penny, there’ll be some fool out there that if they’re paying five pennies for it they’ll sell it for half a penny. I have another story. I have a lot of stories. I’ll tell you this quick story. And this I’ve used in the past to make people understand price strategies. Two brothers have a truck and they decide that they want to go into business together. So what they do is they say, Hey, let’s go into the watermelon business. It’s a great time of year to sell watermelons. It makes sense. They go down to Mexico with their truck, they get 100 watermelons, and they get 100 bucks. They buy 100 watermelons, they drive back to their hometown. They put their truck on the side of the road, and they try to sell the watermelons for a dollar 50. They sit there all day and they don’t sell watermelons. So now they are thinking, we are in trouble because the watermelons are starting to rot in the truck. They don’t know what to do. So one brother got an idea. Let’s sell them two for $1. So the guy goes great, they put the sign up two for $1 and within an hour they’re gone. At that price, they sell all the watermelons. Now they’re so happy we sold them. They’re high-fiving each other, they count up the cash and they got 50 bucks. They spent $100 on it and they got 50. One brother looks at the other brother and he’s like, I know what the issue is. Why? Asked the brother and he goes we need a bigger truck. Think about that for a minute because that’s what people do. They think volume will offset and in some cases, you can make a case for that. You can say okay, yeah, well, maybe they could buy it better if they get a bigger truck. And at the end of the day, that’s the way a lot of business owners make their decisions on pricing without really knowing or following anything about pricing. You may have heard of Groupon. A lot of people go to Groupon because they want to buy that low end but the problem is they don’t have a strategy when they go to Groupon. So they sell on price. And they don’t do anything on the back end to upsell for the additional services. You could use Groupon not just to get leads, that’s the cost of the lead, but then use it in other ways for Groupon. And we’ve targeted that market for years. Some very, very successfully, some very unsuccessfully, depending on the strategy. Price is important if you’re a high-end product and maybe you want to lead with price because that prevents the tire kickers. Because they come in to buy knowing the price. So you have to have a strategy for it but I would say let your marketing team promote that it’s a higher price or a lower price. But if it’s a lower price, please, by all means, don’t try to kill yourself because you’ll, you’ll go out of business within years. I’ve seen it so much, where they price their sites right out of them or they don’t know the costs. They don’t know the KPIs. They don’t know anything. They’re just like, well, they’re charging 100 I’m going to charge 100. Just because they want to go out of business doesn’t mean you should go out of business. And then you have to have justification for that when people come into your door and say,” Hey, Joey on the streets charging 100 bucks, you know, why are you 150″? That retailing factor kicks in there and you tell them Joey’s not licensed. He can charge 100 bucks if he wants and that’s the reason. But I mean, that’s a blatant one. But there are probably 20 reasons why you should get more for your product and if you don’t have those differentiating factors, you have to make them. Is it the services that you offer? Is it the level of products? With dentistry, it’s a big one, because we could do $100 cleanings, but we could also compete against a $29 cleaning. What does the $29 cleaning consist of? Maybe it’s not even the same. List it out and out and show the people all the things that you get for it, and then they’ll be like, “Wow, Joey doesn’t do that”. And that’s your differentiating factor. So those are the things about pricing that are important. I get passionate about pricing because I’ve been kicked too many times with pricing over the years, especially in retail where you have to be perceived as a low price to get the person in the door. But then you have to build up what the benefits of the pricing are and why you’re at that level.
The differentiating factor and why are we different than the others? Websites as a whole have come a long way over the years. The original websites you would put out were these online branding brochures. They were designed in different languages. So what we try to do is keep it consistent with what the client needs. It may not be a different website. We make a WordPress site, and we do a Shopify site. We can do a site with both companies, and you could compete against a million people out there who do the same thing. The difference is the line of questioning that we come up with ahead of time. We care about the branding strategy of the website, as opposed to just throwing something out there for you. If you want a free website, we will not do that for you.
You could go to Wix and get it done. Does it give the message to the customer that you want? So we have a line of questioning, and some of them I get automatically from talking to the client. There’s one recently a fitness company that I got it from as soon as they mentioned what they wanted. I said You know what, I get it. Let me put something together, show it to you, and tell me if it’s right. And they’re like, Wow, you got it right off the bat. I have to tell you, some of them I go around in circles with the owners because I ask them the questions. They don’t know. It’s confusing. The website is confusing, and that is not what we build. And in that case, I have to pull myself back and tell them I don’t think I can help. Because if I don’t understand it, I can’t make the person who lands on the page understand it. So that’s a differentiating factor between us. We have to understand the message, and it has to be a targeted message, or we’re not going to do the website. I tried to do it in the past, and it gets people mad. They don’t get it. I don’t get it. And what I noticed is that since I’ve taken that approach, probably about 10-15 years ago, I do get fewer websites to design. And I don’t like, as a whole, just a website design company, because that’s only a tiny portion of the factor to increasing your business. I like to be part of the design process, getting that set up, and then establishing a marketing strategy for them. It’s all in that plan. That’s the bigger important factor.
After I step back from a company, what I’ll do is, I’ll go back and track the individual and see where they are in that process. And I will tell you, 95% of them will never go and make anything because they’re so confused. And they have such a wide range of things that they want on it that it never comes out right for that individual. That was an eye-opener for me years ago that’s probably saved me a lot of time. And probably the reason my blood pressure is kind of evened out is that you just get frustrated when people have these ideas and don’t know how to articulate them. And they can’t differentiate themselves. And you’re like, “wow, I don’t know what I can tell you; I can’t help you unless we fix that first”.
Don’t be afraid to say I don’t get it. I think that was probably early in the lesson. As a novice, I would take on anybody when we were building it out. Let’s do this. There is software we develop on our back ends that made us realize what works and what doesn’t work for clients. And that was all based on tracking. And I’m a big believer in tracking. So I feel that because of not just Google Analytics and analytics software, we built phone tracking software and URL tracking software, and they have helped me better understand the clients and where I wanted to be. I’ll give you an example. So we built a website for a plumber. It was a great website, it ranked number one for years. It was number one in Google Local for years. We did a wonderful job. So what happened is he came to me, and we’re doing some marketing form, some citation marketing for people who know what that is, and that was really what kept him relevant. And we’re doing some blogs to keep them relevant. No other company was doing it in town. So it was, you’re the only one doing it, and you’re doing it right. It’s a home run for you, and you don’t have to pay a lot. And it was maybe 200 bucks a month, he was paying for this. So he comes to me one day, and he goes, I have to tell you, I don’t need you anymore. I’m like, “Okay, no problem. What happened?”. He says, my wife’s friend does this work, and she feels she could do it better. And I’m okay. Sounds good. I said, May I ask you one thing? Were you not getting leads from us? And he’s like, I don’t know if I was or not? Okay, if I put a piece of code on your website and track the leads we’re doing, can you give us one month? I’ll do it for free. I just wanted to track these leads and see what was going on. And he’s like, okay, yeah, that one month for free sounds good. So I threw the tracking codes on the website. And we were watching the phone calls come in because we put the tracking code on Google. And we put the tracking code on the website. So we knew different calls. With tracking codes, you could do it, so it flips. So if it comes from Google or Yahoo or you put it on postcards, you send out I like four or five numbers, and we track all the calls. And what we found is that our pay per click campaign that we were managing for nothing, he was paying the ad spend separately, was pulling in the most leads. The problem was his wife was answering the phone. Now she was answering the phone, on her cell phone, wherever she was. They had two kids, she was in the grocery store. So we would track and listen to the phone calls. And she would answer the phone, hello, and most people would ask, is this the plumbing? Yeah, what can I do about it? And they were like, we leak and need to get a plumber. And she would tell them, Well, I don’t know when we could get there. And bla bla bla bla, and it was all these negative responses. So for the month, we had 20 phone calls that we tracked through. So I went back then, let’s say, Listen, let’s talk. Let me show you what I found, and I played all the calls. And he was mortified. He says, I can’t fire my wife. So he was letting us go for something that was not our fault. We’re doing a really good job. And he says, I know, but how do I tell my wife this? I want you to tell her. Please, I don’t even want to get involved with that. So we parted ways at that point. But that’s what opened my eyes to people blaming the marketing company, they’ll blame the agency for everything, and that’s not right. But in most cases, there’s a smoking gun with every problem. And when you start doing analytics and tracking, those problems are usually internally to the client. And that’s the reason why my business has shifted from executing the websites to doing pay-per-click and ads to more of a consulting coaching role for business. So when we walk in, we ask the right questions about anything else. But then there’s a series of questions that we want to find out, how do you answer your phone? The most important thing you could do is answer the phone in your business. Another example would be dental offices, which were the biggest eye-opener for dental offices. We found that dental offices would open their doors at eight o’clock in the morning and close at five o’clock. They would answer the phone starting at about 8.30 because they’d have morning meetings, things were going on in the office, and they were busy. And then everything was going through a voicemail at that point between 8.30. They would close around noon for lunch, which was an hour down. And then after one, they would be back up, and the answering service would pick up, and that would be disconnected from the person that’s calling, and they would call back later. Maybe they will get back at five o’clock. They call at five o’clock, you’re close because you want to answer the phone. So we found that this was a huge problem because we were getting fired from the dental agency. They were not getting any phone calls from the work that you’re doing. So, again, tracking code, let’s put it on the site. Let’s put it on all the stuff we’re doing. Oh, we got you 65 phone calls this month. Who will get you 65 phone calls from the work we’re doing and the price we’re charging? And they’re like, wow, we didn’t realize that. What’s the problem? The number one problem we found was that of those 65 phone calls, maybe only 25 were answered, and the rest were going to voicemails or answering services. So what we said is, let’s set up a protocol for how you do this right. Systems and processes in the business. At nine o’clock in the morning, we should have everybody in there at eight o’clock to answer our phones. At six o’clock at night, somebody should be answering that phone. And let’s incentivize that for the individuals that are answering the phone. Because if they pull in a client or a customer, maybe they get a bonus. They track it. And then what we found was now that 65 phone calls or 60 phone calls, in the 20 answered, maybe went to you know, 50 phone calls answered, and more clients were coming in because of it because now people are answering the phone for that. So there are so many strategies in business. For us, I will tell you it’s asking the right questions and building that website. Honestly, I would be more than happy to do it for nothing if I knew that they would get on the systems and processes protocols that we set up and go with long-term marketing. You just can’t market for a month and then figure. Okay, I will get all my leads. And that’s going to last for us here. This industry has changed immensely. And I will tell you, if there was one good thing the yellow page ever did, it was let people know that they had to be in for a year. And why is that? Because there’s the ebb and flow in businesses. Let’s say you are at a dental office, and January, February, and March are your high time, and then it starts dipping in April, May, June, and then into September is your low time. Well, what happens if you’re a dentist and decide you will start advertising in July and jump in with this agency, and you’re like, Okay, great. July, August, September, like you guys, suck. I got no business whatsoever from the ad spend you put in. I’m done with you guys. And the agencies like, okay, well, we did our best, let’s just find somebody else. My conversation would look like you are in July. Let us get the smallest budget possible to build up and retarget and then start pouring ads in November to get our end-of-year insurance. You have to know the business. That is why I say niche your business. I can tell you dentistry in my sleep. I went to courses with my wife, who is a dentist, and I put implants into fake jawbones. I did all this so I would know the business and know the languages of the business. I know this stuff because I was in it. If they understand your business and have been into your business, there is no better Agency you can go to. That is a good factor for making your decision. Is it two kids in a bedroom that has had some success with social media ads and then decide to do dental marketing, or is it someone that lives, breathes, and has been in the business, has been asking the right questions and understands the pain points of the business. That is the agency you want to find. That is our differentiating factor. I won’t go to you and say I am the most proficient plumber or ACA. I understand it from a homeowner’s point of view, but I won’t profess to be the best in those areas. get me into dental and consult with that. We have a dental office now. I know the pains associated with a dental office.If you want to ask me about the retail business, it has been my life. I have lived retail. Those are the things you have to do. If you have been in it, you can compete against other agencies. Why should I hire you? Why are you different from the other agencies? I don’t know what I am up against, but here is what we bring to the table. And at that point, it is not just an optimizing website. It is a whole gammon of stuff. I have connections with Dawood. Dawood is my link-building expert. I am not an expert in Link building. I understand it. I can tell why we need it on a website. So at the end of the day, I am not going to be the one that builds that out for you but I have the people to do it, and here is our success.That is the biggest thing I will tell you. Metadata, URL structure, H1 tags, and all the important stuff to a website. That is the easy stuff. Getting the structure and the standard operating procedures, and that’s the home run.
So, landing pages are a phenomenon that came out maybe ten years ago or maybe a little more. But click funnels have blown that up because they perfected it. A great job. A brilliant idea to show people what needs to be done. Data changes all the time. Viewers change all the time. People and how they interact change all the time. I interact much differently with a website than my daughter at eleven years old. Then my wife does. There are a lot of things that we use. We talk about conversion rate optimization CRL, which is your traffic converting to what you want. To businesses, it might be different. Some businesses might want calls and some businesses might just want like on an Instagram or a Facebook page. You have to set up your KPI. KPI for people who don’t know, the KPI is the key performance indicator of the business. So you do want to be tracking likes when the client calls. And that happens all the time. The client is thinking in their head, I want to track how many people called my business and the website design company is designing a website that’s gonna push social media in likes and followers. And my God what a nightmare that is. Thousands of dollars are spent and they were not on the same page. You may say, “Come on Paul does that really happen”? All the time. Most of the time they are not on the same page, they are not in the same band with what’s going on. So you want to find out in that early conversation. And yeah, does that make the sales process longer and more tedious? Absolutely. If you don’t have the stomach for it then have somebody that does. Just don’t be the salesperson that goes in and; “Yeah we have the next best thing since sliced bread” and sells them something. That’s where people get all confused. These widgie widget builder websites, where they just throw things together and it looks decent, which is amazing that they can do that. But if it’s not structured right for the KPIs, then what’s the reason for it? It’s a nightmare when that happens and the business gets pissed because they are like, “Oh you didn’t do what they wanted, it looks good but I am going to have somebody else do it”. And then they have to go in and tear down what was done and then somebody else comes in and has to redo it for them. And that’s the bigger problem. You have so many people out there with clients, you have to tell the clients that they’re going to get calls, they’re going to get emails; “Hey you are not ranking on Google at number one” and that’s what made us change how we talk to clients. “Hey I just got this email, it says we are not ranking on Google, you guys suck”. And we go; “Wow you are not ranking on Google for what”? And they are like; “Well I don’t know, it just says I’m not ranking”. I’m like, ” Well you are not ranking for Dog Dentist so that’s good, but you are ranking number one for Dentist in local and based on the searches”. “Oh, what are they talking about”? “I don’t know “? It was a generic email sent out to get you to fight with me so that you could go to them. But ask them what exactly does that mean? And then people will say, maybe they answer back those spam emails, or they don’t. Or they say something like, Oh we are not trying to sell you anything, we are just saying you are not ranking. Oh, by the way, we have an SEO we’ll sell you. No that is not what we want. You have to know what people are talking about. KPIs are the best, they crush then, everything you want to do. So send those out correctly and what is important to the business and then market to that. And build the website to that. On landing pages, I love seeing the logo in a certain area, and the phone number in a certain area. The social media Icon in a certain area. Videos in a certain area and the call to action in a certain area. It’s like reading a book. You scan the pages down in a Z format. You build your page like that and you have pertinent information to your targeted market. As long as the headline is right, it speaks verbiage to why you are different. If you have a video of yourself talking out there, social proof of it. Not influencers like the Rock or Kim Kardashian talking about your business, which if you can afford would be great. Some influencers get paid to do it Have real people talking about your business. Ask your clients the people that know and love you. Ask the fans of your business to do a video. On your landing page somewhere, when people see that they are like oh that’s a real person, not a paid advertisement.They are not getting anything. The reciprocity, hey I give you good service and you give me some sort of review. Those on a landing page are good. It has to speak to the reason they landed on that page or as you know, the bounce rate will kick in and you will know how fast they bounce off your page to go find the person who is going to speak to them.
I will try not to talk too much.
I’ll try, but this is hard for me.
Passionate. I think funny. My wife would argue with that. And dedicated.
I would love to deep dive into AI. To me, that is an incredible process. I understand, dumb AI. I want to understand smart AI.
Chicken Sandwiches. I love making fried chicken sandwiches. Or peanut butter and jelly.
A night in. I am a Netflix guy. Sit on the couch and watch Hulu.
Super Pumped. I binged watched the five or six episodes that are out there already. If you don’t know, it is based on the backend of what is happening at Uber. The funny thing is everything you see you can verify. It is all true. I am sure there is a little bit of embellishment along the way, but ninety percent of it is true. It is amazing and funny because it has a lot to do with the technology industry and what they did and how they did it. It’s a good one.
Dawood, thank you. It was a pleasure. Call me anytime. I love talking to you.
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