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Effective Ways to Increase Website Traffic and Conversion

An Interview with Tyler Krause

For this episode of Ecoffee with experts, Matt Fraser interviewed Tyler Krause, the founder of Conversion First Marketing, a Web design and SEO agency.

Tyler discussed several excellent web design strategies and ways to get more traction and conversions on your website. Watch the episode for some deep insights.

We’ve been taught to say I need some SEO, I need Google ads, or I need social. What you really need is the eyeballs of interested customers. That’s what you really need.

Tyler Krause
Founder of Conversion First Marketing
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of E Coffee with Experts. I have a very special guest with me today on the show, Tyler Krause. Tyler is the founder of Conversion First Marketing, a Web design and SEO agency based in Spring Hill, Tennessee. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Colorado Christian University. He has more than 12 years of experience helping business owners maximize their online leads through an intelligent mix of conversion-focused web design, content marketing and SEO. When not wearing his marketing hat, Tyler enjoys spending time with his wife and kids and watching the Minnesota Vikings football team, as he is a die hard fan. Tyler, thank you so much for being on the show.

Absolutely. Glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

So, Tyler, what kind of student were you in high school?

I have two phases of high school. I have a pre-senior year and then a senior year. So, I was a barely B student up until senior year and then senior year started like, that maturity sets in like you turn 18, and you’re like, some of these things matter, and I would prefer to get into a decent school. So, I think I did a lot better in my senior year and tested well, but I struggled with homework that I didn’t think was valuable. So, I was always plagued by just I’m constantly that a person is like if I have if I postseason is valuable, I’m able to get super focused and build a ton of momentum. If I think this is a waste of time, it’s super hard to focus. And so high school, you know, basically felt like that.

But yeah, it's unfortunate, but have you always had entrepreneurial aspirations like when were you younger throughout your life?

Sort of, yeah. So I think I knew that I had like five different jobs in high school at once. Like, so I came from a super hard working family. My dad started a lawn care company for us kids when we were 11 or 12 when we started, and we had a zero-turn mower and you’d put the weed whipper on your lap. And as an 11, 12-year-old, people would see me driving around town with a zero-turn mower, and we could just drive to where all the lines were to cut. And so I remember being like 11 or 12 with almost $200 at the candy store and thinking like, Oh, this is dangerous. And it’s like at that point, I was like. Literally, I’ve arrived. I don’t know where up is from here, but as an 11-year-old just buying Cokes that were $0.85 at the time, it was like, this is great. And so I think I got the bug early because I see how this works. And that was after my parents forced us to take out taxes and for savings.

That's so smart.

And this is for college. So, it’s like that was just the leftover. That was like, okay, here’s your fun money thing.

Yeah, yeah. I worked with a couple of young kids that didn't even know you had to pay taxes. They are in high school.

That’s the brutal first paycheck.

Their taxes were taxes, and I came up with an education system that is failing. I won't go down that road, though. By the way, what did your parents do for a living?

My dad is a retired banker, and my mom’s a schoolteacher. She was a schoolteacher and special ed school teacher for a long time.

Do you think they influenced you? Did that upbringing influence you to go the entrepreneurial route?

Oh, yeah. Yeah. My two brothers both went entrepreneurial as well, so it’s like a season there. My siblings were running our businesses, so they supported me in multiple directions.

Yeah.

But we just had to figure it out ourselves.

Yeah.

A farming community in rural Minnesota. You know, a lot of entrepreneurial influence. But it wasn’t like I feel like what entrepreneurial a lot of stuff is now where it’s like you’re listening to podcasts and trying to make $1,000,000 really quick. It was like that classic, local business, and you just run your own local little thing you’re servicing or whatnot. You’re just trying to put food on the table. You’re just trying to earn a decent living and provide a good service to the community. It was a lot of that mentality. And, like where I grew up, there isn’t a lot of, like, go make millions. No, the entrepreneurial spirit we see a lot now is just like hustle, hustle, hustle and grind it.

Sure, Would I like to make $1,000,000 in a day? Yeah, yeah, sure. But I gotta do it at the expense of my wife and my family. And I have totally expensed my relationships. No.

Well, and I will say, the tiniest piece on this is I would say I was definitely the one in my family that very much saw work smarter, not harder type, which often meant losing focus and don’t put in the effort. And so, they so there was definitely a growth curve there. But I was always one that was like, man, 40 hours a week for somebody else. Seems like an absolute nightmare. But I’ll happily work 80 in my own things that I’m trying to figure out how to be and beat. So, I love that. That game is really fun to me; I just love helping people do it and doing it myself.

So, how did you get started in digital marketing?

My second lawn care company is where I made the jump, actually. So I went to school, I actually became a pastor, a worship leader for a number of years and then I left the church I was at or stepped out of that position. I’ll give you the origin story and try to keep it brief. I was in between looking for church roles and trying to figure out where I was going to go long-term and I had a 16-year-old come up to me in a community youth group that we were kind of helping lead some worship for. And he came up to me and said, hey, I heard you can’t get a job, and I stepped back to be like, listen, I got offers, buddy, you know, not necessarily as the best opening line, but he said something that literally has changed my life at this point. He said, well, would you be interested in starting a lawn care company with me? And I’m like, Thanks, buddy. I was 25-26. It’s like I don’t need to start a lawn care company with a 16-year-old. I’m not in that dire strait, that it’s like I can’t find a job or something like that. And then he said back to me, if you start a lawn care company with me, I can get us number one on Google.

This was a 16-year-old kid?

This is a 16-year-old. Yep. And I literally looked at him and I was like, that’s a thing. Like, that’s a thing you can do. You can get yourself number one. I was completely oblivious to how SEO worked and websites. This is 2010 and I, much to my wife’s dismay, basically said to him on the spot, I mean, we had one more meeting, but I was like, if you can get us number one to Google, I’ll start a lawn care company with you because that was 2010 mobile wasn’t what it is now. And yellow pages were dyeing and it was all desktop searches and people were just migrating to the internet like crazy. And I was like, you can get us number one, we can crush this and we did. Unfortunately, we also started a lawn care company right before three years of the worst droughts in Colorado. So, like the drought years. So, we had great seasons when it was growing and really rough seasons when it wasn’t. But I forever fell in love with digital marketing. I knew really quickly my passion for the grass wasn’t nearly as high as, like, how people convert and like, I feel like I laid down some of the groundwork for like the trust-based marketing that we do now.

Yeah.

In that era, I already had kind of the instinct for persuasion there and we did well, we ranked number one and in the busy season, we would turn away 40% of our leads like it was. We couldn’t keep up with it.

That's an amazing story. I wonder what will happen to that 16-year-old kid.

I bought him out. The man got paid.

Yeah, but where is he today, though? Is he running his business? Certainly, he's got to be doing some kind of digital marketing.

He was not your average 16-year-old at all at the time. He had a very entrepreneurial spirit and was super awesome. He’s still out in Colorado. I don’t know exactly what he does now, but he did guide and stuff like that.

That would be very interesting to see where he ended up. But anyway, when was the moment you decided to start your agency?

Started this agency.

Conversion first marketing. Yeah.

Yeah. Well, okay. So, I sold the lawn care company to join a marketing and SEO agency in Colorado in about 2012-13, I was a part of that for 18 months. That’s where I kind of went from a hobbyist to how professionals do this. And I would study, I would manage accounts by day, and then would study SEO all night. Like I was the first in our agency to get analytics certified. I got AdWords certified. I want to know about the marketing that is actually done here and not just manage accounts. So, I did that and then parlayed that into an SEO director position in Tennessee. Then we moved out to Tennessee to get an SEO director position at an insurance agency. Very quickly, I started to see that I was in a very overpaid, full-time in-house position that should have been a freelancer like I should have been half my salary and just paid as a freelancer to contribute. I got here in July, and in October, I started conversion first marketing, I got my first check from CFM, and it was like in January, I got laid off. I was like, This is just not going to be a position, we continue to staff anymore. And it’s like, that’s a good decision. You shouldn’t.

You mentioned building out positions, roles and hiring. How have you handled that part of growing your agency?

Yeah, fairly new to that at the moment. And we’ve got two hires here, in the UK at the moment. So, I read a book called Traction.

Did they hire you as a freelancer, as a company then, or did they just not do it?

They stopped doing SEO as a primary marketing channel at that point. But I started looking for another job because I was three weeks away from my third kid being born. So, we had just burned all our money to move to Tennessee. I looked at my wife, who is nine months pregnant and was like, okay, so there is an interesting twist here. I don’t have a job anymore. We just burned all our savings to buy a house in Tennessee. We just got a couple of thousand dollars in the bank, and I was like, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to get a job full-time, and I applied in Ramsey out here. And I got some interviews with Ramsey, and I said, I’m going to try to get clients, I’m going to see which one wins. Within about 3 to 4 weeks, it was pretty clear that CFM and freelancing would win that race. So thankfully, it was a total blessing. We missed one paycheck that October, and that month, I got a tax return for the exact amount I was paying myself. I got a tax write-off that month, the only month I’ve missed in nine years.

That's an amazing story, Tyler. That's amazing. So, you've developed a blueprint if you will. It's like a local marketing blueprint. It's probably a blueprint for conversion. I know you call it TOT, traffic, offers and trust. Let's talk about the first element, like traffic. What are the elements of traffic and the different ways that businesses should get traffic to their websites?

Well, where the TOT method came from is that our agency has now served over 80 different niches. And it was like where we started, and it was a race to get a paycheck every month. So, for a while there, it was just like we had to say yes to just about anybody. And so, within that first year, I had some principles I’d been working on.

But within that first year, what I kept recognizing is like when you’re trying to do marketing across multiple niches, which most effective marketers do, they are just like deep into a single niche. They’ve just kind of figured out the offers, and they figured out what needs to be put together for a single niche. And it can be effective in that. If you have to go across the niche. It was very much trying to figure out how local business owners are thinking about marketing and how we need to shift their thinking to ways that get the outcomes they’re hiring us to achieve.

Yeah.

The TOT method as a whole which stands for Traffic Offer and Trust. These are the three components that we’ve zeroed into that you have to get right for a local marketing campaign, or it’s broad, it’s much broader than local. But let’s just stay in that context for now. Those are the three components that you have to dial into to get all those things right. So, each one of them is like a lever you can optimize these three areas individually, and so you can optimize your traffic. And so, when you talk about like traffic, the first T where when your average local business owner is coming to you and asking a question like, hey, can you redesign my website or can you get me some SEO as part of that? Both of those conversations are sub-conversations of can you help me generate more leads? That’s what they want.

Absolutely that's what they want.

Right? But they don’t know how to ask for it. It’s like we’ve been taught to say, like, I need some SEO, I need some Google ads, and I need social, I need this sort of thing and all of those things. It’s like what you need are the eyeballs of interested customers. That’s what you need. Then you have to get them to your offer, and then you have to build trust that you can deliver that offer. So, if somebody comes to me, let’s say SEO, which is my long-time expertise, the thing I have the most experience with manipulating that algorithm right where most of the traffic channels that we have today are the algorithm manipulation. You have to know how to get Facebook’s algorithm to deliver you eyeballs. You must know how to get Google’s algorithm to deliver you eyeballs. TikTok is huge right now, and there are tons of marketers flocking to TikTok because their algorithm rewards small channels and their algorithm is easier to get organic reach much easier than Facebook or Instagram because they’re so saturated. So two ways to just talk about it.

To go back to the glory days of Facebook, you know.

Yeah, I built a channel on Facebook back in 2013 or so. It just used to cost like $0.03 a follower. I had no idea how good the days were either, you know?

I didn't. I wish I had. So, anyway, not to go down that rabbit hole, but you were saying getting traffic, and it's probably key to getting traffic. Because you need traffic in an offer before you can see whether it converts or not. So, I can see why that all works. So, focus on getting traffic, and the right kind of traffic is what you're talking about, the right kind of eyeballs from doing that. Now we could probably have an entire episode just on that, but there are four main channels, and you mentioned one of them, SEO. Are there any others? Sticking to local service ads for Google ads, and we talked about Facebook and tik tok. I mean, there is social media.

That’s pretty great. The other thing I would say is word of mouth and referrals. So that the traffic most people ignore from a local perspective is that most local businesses are already generating eyeballs. They’re downplaying how many people hit their website. Most of the time, when we do an audit with somebody, they’re shocked to find out how many visitors arrive at their website. Even once you filter out for spam, it’s like you have two or three people on your website per day, and that seems small, but if you’re a local business that’s selling a service that’s trying to get a positive return on investment from your local marketing, if you’re the only one generating your traffic, that means a couple of people that you’ve interacted with have come to check you out, have come to look at your marketing collateral and decide whether or not they want to refer you or do business with you or some other reason to work with you. And so, I’m always telling folks that if you have salespeople or the traffic source you are generating right now, just your word of mouth, all that stuff is not a traffic source to ignore. And if you improve the offers and trust in your site, you can usually get a return from just that traffic source before you start saying, I have to go down the path of investing in billboards, radio ads, direct mailers, local magazines, those kinds of things. All of those will generate eyeballs, but I would usually steer people to say, one of the ways that we think about traffic, and this is one of the core tenets of the blueprint here, is that we always build marketing to the least trusting audience as far as trust goes.

Okay, that's very interesting.

Yeah. Because what ends up happening is most business owners build marketing for who they talk to. They build it for folks who say yes. Hey, when I interact with people when I make sales with people that I’m able to build or I’m able to get them this. I can close 90% just get in front of them. Those kinds of statements I’ve heard every day for ten years. So, what we try to say is, what if I didn’t know anything about you in the last company you just burned?

Yeah, if the company had just burned you.

Yeah, sold me a water heater that I didn’t need and broke in six months sort of thing. How would you build trust?

Now, I think people are crooks. They're scammers.

Exactly. You asked a direct question about the for-traffic sources. But if you start by looking at let’s say SEO and PPC help us think outside of people who already know about you, and then you start to improve your offer and trust to that audience. You’ll get that referral and warm traffic source by default. Those people will say yes, all the time because those people already believed in you and then they get to the website or they get to your collateral, and they’re like, oh gosh, look at this expertise, it’s just dripping with things to build trust and so an easy conversion. So, it’s an overlooked traffic source in a lot of cases.

What is the importance of using a marketing persona?

So, a marketing persona is what we call a trust asset. It’s out of the top, TOT traffic, offer and trust. We build trust with things called marketing trust assets. A marketing trust asset is anything that is widely regarded as trustworthy or something that reduces anxiety. What you’re looking for is a visual representation of trust or the way that you’ve built that and set that up. You can always take your trust assets and typically optimize them as your kind of moving those things upward. So, the marketing persona is one of the trust assets that we would look to build, and a remarkable persona is just somebody that your audience would look at and typically immediately regard as trustworthy. That’s what you’re after, instead of looking through the lens of, like does this person look good or not look good? Think of it, does this person disarm me? Does this person build me to a place where I feel less anxiety as a result of believing that this person or thing or entity is affiliated with the marketing that I’m engaged in because it’s like usually right next to your marketable persona is some sort of offer that’s building resistance? It’s like, hey, we can fix your HPLC system and then right next to it, you have a picture of a guy in a jumpsuit that would be the opposite of an effective, marketable persona. If you put a prisoner, somebody in jail, next to the offer, that would destroy it. So, let’s go in the opposite direction. Well, if you’re going to invite somebody into your home, you want that marketable persona to represent somebody who’s probably going to be at your house or in your house. Especially if you’re out working, maybe you’re not even there so who are you letting into your home? And a lot of times, marketable personas are just all about building and viewing it through a level of like what would create the most trust in this individual and sometimes that’s like a cartoon or an entity. So, sometimes it’s an idea.

Like the Gecko lizard, then that's the marketing persona?

That’s exactly right. Yeah, the Gecko decided that a British-accented little green lizard would convey trust who has cute little jokes would convey a ton of trust in Gecko. He has nothing to do with insurance. There is zero quality that he is demonstrating with insurance. So why is he there? He’s there to build trust. Right? That’s the main reason why he was there.

Because you think that’s exactly that’s a perfect marketable persona. So for local business owners, we’re usually helping them figure out the right way to create them.

In other words, it's being more like, some people think a marketing persona is like a customer persona, like your target, your customer persona who you're trying to reach. But this is different. This is more about creating a person or entity or character like Gecko that people can relate to. So, rather than being company-focused, which is what you see. Like, for instance, I worked for a car dealership, and I kept telling the owner that he needed to humanize the business. He didn't listen to me, he needed to humanize the business, and he needed to start to personalize the business that it's not a car dealership, it's him. I started to say to him, and you need to start creating a newsletter. It's like you're going on vacation. Send out an email with a picture of you and your cars. There were so many things I was trying to get him to do that he wouldn't listen to me.

Absolutely. First of all, I want to advertise as a marketer with you that sucks when you’re like, I’m trying to help you.

It was frustrating.

It’s tricky. So, we have a client right now that is a lawn care company. I will tell you just a quick story about this. He quoted in August, probably roughly $500,000 in new business that came strictly from his website. I don’t think he has a single review. So, as far as trust assets go, this man doesn’t have many other things we would categorize as trust assets. He’s a friend of mine. When we went through building his website last year, which we went live within like April of this year, so like we were building it last winter, He would flat out a bit like I gave you guys nothing to work with. Like, we couldn’t get anything. We couldn’t get pictures of his trucks, pictures of his gear, of his mowers, all this stuff. He’s like, I gave you nothing for this. His site has one trust asset on it. I mean, like one. There’s one trust asset, a picture of him and his family, and it’s ridiculously effective. For most businesses, they don’t want to personalize the business, and I’m like, just put a picture of you on it. That’s helpful, and that’s great. But in this case, like you scroll into the site and you look, you see him and his family, and it’s incredibly disarming. You’re just like, this looks like the type of human I want to cut my grass. He’s got a young family, he’s a dad, he’s obviously caring for kids, he’s got two little girls, and so that’s the only trust asset. He’s like, I swear you guys are doing some extra for me, and I’m like, Dude, you got the standard for what we do, and I think that trust asset is really really effective because I mean, we can’t even get many reviews for him and he runs a great business. He just does mostly commercials and doesn’t ask for reviews from many clients that you run into. So, anyways super effective case study for personalizing.

In other words, business owners need to shift from branding themselves as a big company, this big entity that's impersonal and cold and instead market themselves as the person of trust. A real person. Besides painting a picture, I'm thinking of a welcome video of yourself on the site.

Sure, Can I possibly share the screen?

You can, but you will have to describe it to the audio audience

Okay, I will do my very best. I’ll try not to vamp on this too long, but I think I have the perfect sample to just hammer home what we just talked about.

I can even see on your website you've made yourself the marketing persona, with the video that's on there and there's also a picture of your entire team, I believe.

Yes. Take, for example, the idea of SEO and website design and what not, as you mentioned, the car business. And so, the further distance there is from your product or service’s tangible result, the more trust you should come to believe in what you have to build. So, when you go in to sell a car, I can sit in the car, I can drive the car, and I can feel how it accelerates. I get hands-on experience when I’m buying a car. But when we’re asking somebody to invest in SEO services, which is what 98% of business owners are ultimately doing, it is making a gut decision on trust. Because they would struggle to decipher what a great SEO company is from a not-great SEO company. A lot of languages are the same, you’ll see results. It’s like everybody’s got some results or whatnot, but how do I know which one of those is fabricated and which ones aren’t? So, I adopted early on that, like probably my marketable persona was going to be a very helpful tool for people to understand who’s behind the engine that is creating these services, what kind of integrity do they have and what kind of structure they position themselves and is this something I would like working with? All of those things are really useful things to break through, and we try to live it with the trust assets on our site.

So, I can see how it even helps with your messaging, creating your messaging for your content, for your website, and looking at your screen right now, we help you protect what matters most. I mean, that's a pretty short message.

Just a breakdown really quick of like how you can apply TOT in real-time here to kind of talk about the way trust is built sort of thing. When we do website design, we are trying to influence the offer and trust asset combinations, and usually these are building blocks of a website. A website is usually ten pages of individualized marketing components structured together; we just call it a website. A website can be three pages, it can be 3 million pages and so usually, it’s just groupings of offer and trust assets over and over and over again. Let me just break that down quickly. This is a classic example of what most people would probably consider a good website built. This is your average local website; this is the hero section. All we have here is a picture of the courthouse, it’s a lawyer. It’s on brand, It’s on niche and subject matter and so great message. We help you protect what matters most. Great language for an estate planning attorney and so we help you plan for your family’s future. So, here’s our offer. Here’s our call to action. These are trust assets right here. This is our primary offer. And sorry for the audio listeners here. I’ll try to explain it. Call the action is make an appointment with a big yellow button. But behind it is this giant full-screen picture of a courthouse. If you think about this, does that courthouse build any trust in their law office?

No, not really. It just gives me the idea that there is a law office.

Right.

It's an impressive picture, but it doesn't give me any such idea.

Yeah, exactly. So, the picture is a little blurry in there. But when you pulled it up, it was beautiful, and high definition, and the colors are on point. It checks all the points of good design. But what it misses is what we help you protect is not the courthouse.

So, it's a confusing message. This is amazing.

Correct. So, if you’re going to build trust that this company can help you protect what matters most. Here’s what we did for the treatment of this. The subhead line is we help you plan for your family’s future, so you can get back to living in both of these two things are very classic, what you usually call pretty good. So, when we change the image, in the image that we have here is we ended up going with a picture of his family.

He and his family, that is the actual picture of the lawyer.

This is the actual lawyer and his family. Do you see what I mean?

Yeah. Yeah.

So that’s exactly what happens when you take away the trust assets from the language and when you switch it from a brand makes sense. That’s good. But trust asset optimization is like, yeah, but does that image build the most trust?

No, it doesn't. Don't get me wrong. It's an impressive image, it's a beautiful image of a court building, and it's a beautiful landscape shot. Whoever took the picture is professional. It's beautiful. But the difference between that image and the image of the lawyer with his and his is like night and day, is huge.

So, let me keep going with this, too. So that’s trust asset number one. We kept the three badges. Most people don’t even know what these things are, you’re just insinuating that there’s some expertise here. He’s involved in some good things. And then we took this offer, and we went from, we help you plan for your family’s future so that you can get back to living it. Now inside of this offer, we have some more trust assets included. One of the trust assets that we have is hard data or a data list, anytime you can use specific numbers, this is a generic offer, and this is an offer with trust assets in it. So, without a plan, navigating the average probate takes 592 hours and costs $15,000. We bring your family peace of mind in 5 to 8 hours with 429% in savings. That’s the follow-up offer, and this is a generic offer. This is an offer that includes trust assets. Suddenly you can anchor yourself into hard numbers, even if you don’t buy them. At least he’s gone to the extent of using those hard numbers. And you’re latching on to something there when you stack it. We launched this website about a year ago, and he’s having the literal best month of his office career about a year later. And we’ve been rolling with this, and it’s done really well from a conversion perspective. So, I can wrap this up here and say, you can also take it further, up in the top left corner here we’ve got this with no reviews, and once he started to build some good five-star reviews, it was like, Hey, we don’t even need to go into the reviews. We just want to reference five stars. That’s a trust asset, on it. Just like five stars, 24 plus reviews might be higher at this point. So now you’re quantifying the expertise you’ve got, and all of this start to build together. I don’t know why I find this convincing. I just do. And we believe that you’ve signaled multiple things that build trust at a gut level.

Yeah.

So now, the offer looks significantly more believable, and then you can continue to optimize this. So, like, can the call to action be brought even further? Well, it’s like if you drop a little message right underneath, the call to action that says no pressure, we’re just starting a conversation. That’s not an offer. That’s a trust build and so you’re just reducing the anxiety of the conversion. So, it’s like I got a really good feeling about this and no pressure, just starting the conversation. It’s like, Yeah, I’m going to book a free call. So, if you take it back to the top, the first T of the top though if you send a bunch of people who are looking for cars to this website, you’re going to think this call to action, all these trust assets are garbage. That’s because you’ve missed the traffic side of things. The first and last part about it is even if you have the wrong eyeballs, this isn’t going to convert. But if you get the right traffic source to it and the right audience, you’re signaling all the trust for the kind of stuff they’re looking at.

Wow. So, what kind of offers work? For instance, there's an offer there for making appointments, there are free phone calls and free consultations. What about the usage of lead magnets? For instance, I saw on that site a free guide, a child protection planning guide. Yeah. I imagine those help to build trust in authority as well.

Yeah, absolutely. So, if we’re talking about a lead magnet, for starters, again, I know I’m wearing this word out, but if you consider it a trust asset first, that’s just like it’s the first value to your page. You’re just conveying that you have some authority and expertise in it. Even just seeing that it exists is like you’re checking a box like, okay, I see authority here, and it might not be the end all, be all. Now, most local businesses that have some sort of lead magnet or whatnot do not have the infrastructure or email marketing system set up to do as much as they could with those. And that’s our context for a lot of what we’re working with is folks who are like they’re just they’re a two or three man show, or they’ve stood up a new store or something like that. And they are struggling with all of the marketing to-dos. So, lead managers can be really great. If you’re ready to retarget those clients, if you’re ready to follow up with a good email sequence, that’s actually going to turn them from just a person sitting in your email database to somebody who could actually do business with you, then great. But if you have one, put it on a site. It’s a trust asset first, and so it just conveys trust in that aspect. That can be effective sometimes.

Yeah, absolutely. Especially, I would say for longer purchases and for people who are at different stages of the customer journey. For instance, I've heard people say, well, no one's interested in a plumber hiring guide. Well, maybe not right now, at the moment they need a plumber. But what if, like you're at a DNI meeting and you're handing out your business cards? On the back of your business card is a free report, a plumber hiring guide or a consumer hiring guide or whatever, or even a home renovation consumer guide, or home improvement consumer guide that you've created. But that's not for someone that's at the top of the funnel or for the bottom of the funnel. It's for someone or the end of the customer journey, whatever you want to call it. So, I think it's very valuable for people to create those things.

And for starters, you would just be impressed that a plumber who had taken the time to do that.

Well, absolutely.

Right. So, even if you didn’t sign a bunch of people up with it, you’d be impressed. You’re like, oh, this shows a level of dedication from this person. They know their stuff.

Yeah, absolutely. This is fascinating. The fact that you over time created all this, I mean, there are so many aspects of trust that I could talk to you about from having a professionally designed website. It's amazing how many people have websites designed by their neighbor's 14-year-old kid who has no concept. I went to school for this and got in a one-year accelerated program. I know exactly what the elements of good design are. There's a great book called Web Design and Principles of Beautiful Web Design for Site Point. Those are some great books. There are other books out there too, but those two are great. So, having a professionally designed website that's important, isn't it?

Yeah. Well, if I can vamp on this for just a second here, this is what I have seen where most people fail when it comes to website design in general and what you’re doing. I think this is what’s most useful and I’ll be the first one to say that what we’re doing with this is very much still in the lab. Like we are just starting to roll this out. We’ve been doing it internally, our team does it and we’re just starting to be like, how broad can this really be applied? How valuable is this to a broader audience sort of thing? But here’s what I think, if you’re a local business owner and you watch this, here’s here’s where it’s super, super valuable to you in this aspect, when you are going to design a website, you are often probably thinking about the offer and trust that you expect to build and you’re expecting that to lead to leads. That’s what you’re trying to get an outcome. Nobody actually wants a website, we want the outcome of a website. That’s the only reason we would pay the bill. Why would you pay for a website if it wasn’t to get an outcome, get something else from it? So, and what happens is, if you think about this in traffic offering trust, the next time you go to build a website, you need to think, how is my website going to persuade machines? That’s the traffic side of it. How is it going to persuade algorithms to send people to it or whatever other thing that I’m investing in? How am I going to get to it? So, if you hire a website design company that gives a little bit of lip service to SEO, for example. What you’re assuming is that they’re going to get the traffic game dialed in, but most of the conversation is about offer and design. I call it to offer and trust, but the design is what you usually focus on. If you’re focusing on the wrong things when you’re going to assess what you’re focusing on, does it look good? A well-known thing among PPC marketers is that ugly pages convert all the freaking time. They convert it to high levels. Look good is the wrong thing to pursue and so the better thing to pursue is like if my neighbor is going to build my website, they might be a good designer and they might do okay with the offer in the trust portions of it. They might find good stock images or good pieces and try to smash those into a page. Chances are they’re not an SEO expert, or they’re not a social media expert but they know how to create things to get attention on social media platforms and things like that increase your exposure. Just look at it from a, what is this going to do for my traffic? Do I have a real plan in here? And there’s a real expert that understands what’s going to the SEO side of things. If that’s there, then awesome. If I’m going to improve the offers, then that’s awesome. Maybe I’ve got a copywriter, maybe this person’s also a great copywriter, and maybe they’re great at structuring persuasive language. Chances are that’s a big assumption, and maybe they have a good understanding of building trust with my audience. But again, those are usually assumptions. So, what I see people, when they invest in websites, they invest in them from usually one of the aspects they pick a company that’s like really good at maybe offer creation. They pick a company that’s good at SEO, and they’re hoping for the other things inside of those. So, just by looking through these three lenses, your website has to persuade machines. That’s traffic, and it has to persuade humans, and that’s the offer and trust combinations.

It's amazing, like this entire methodology of creating websites, I think, and not trying to stroke ego, but you need to write a book about this. You should create a framework, McDonnell has created his book about creating websites, Story Brand. It's good stuff. Well, if you've created something here that's remarkable. I'm not going to lie to you.

First of all, thank you. Well, I’m ashamed to say that I am running an agency if you dig into my marketing. I’m a guy who’s like running an agency. So, part-time, I’m thinking about creating content and publishing and doing all that.

It's like the cobbler who has holes in his shoes, I understand. But still, I'm on your website, and all the affiliates are doing. I can already tell; you know what I mean? We've only scratched the surface like there's so much more that we could talk about. It's mind-boggling. So, what's one takeaway you would like to give our audience?

Well, okay. So I am starting to share a little bit about this. So, if you do a search for conversion first marketing on YouTube and subscribe to our channel, I do a thing on Fridays called Answer Fridays where we’re just starting to talk about these things and I’m just starting to kind of put them out there. It’s a one-minute video once a week. It’s not a ton, but we’re just starting to talk about it, and I’m growing as a video producer and things like that. So there are areas I’m growing in there. That’s a great place to get more information on it. A primary takeaway, I guess, would just be that the next time you go, do like a basic marketing thing. Just take the idea of like, hey, is this going to increase my traffic or not? So, you talked about B and I, for example, like B and I as a networking group, it is a traffic source. Like you get in front of that traffic source, and you start to build trust, you start to speak your offers, and you start to build trust. And so you’re just setting that thing down. If you’re going to go with a radio, you’re going to go with billboards or radio things, all of these things. You can start to look down each one of these individual levers to go like get a billboard, you know, is that going to get me more eyeballs? Well, a big portion of those eyeballs is going to end up probably on your website at some point or on your social media channels. Like it’s not going to be contained just within that. So, you’re investing in a traffic source, not just to get folks to that offer but also the next set of offers. And so, just thinking about the way the traffic flows through your marketing collateral across the board is a great way just to position yourself as a local business to start investing in the right things. One of the things we’ve started doing a lot and I got lucky in the fact that I had enough of this instinct early to start documenting before and after. But if you are a local business, start taking before pictures and putting them in a folder. A lot of people have good enough phones at this point that you can take HD images all the time. Take the best images, add them into a folder and just call it trust assets. Just call the folder trust assets and all you’re doing is documenting. I get tons of contractors, for example, they have loads of after pictures, but they have no before pictures. And I’m like, listen, if you’re going to build you a great trust asset, I need in a visual snapshot, I need a moment that somebody can look at and go, wow, like you’re trying to get like the instinct, the eyebrows raise, that’s legit. And if I can have a before and after that’s compelling, then you stack that next to an offer that we’re good at what we do with some credentials, like how you know, how long you’ve been in business and whatnot, and that is how compelling marketing, in my opinion. Like you have to have that raw material, you must have the building blocks. So, start documenting your trust assets as soon as possible, all the before everything gets before and then document the change. And then when you talk to a web developer down the road or whoever is going to assemble it, like hiring a great designer, you give them the raw materials, and they’ll assemble it in compelling ways.

Yeah. Sometimes business owners expect us to build websites without materials. You don't ask a builder to build your house without lumber or concrete. Like, we have patience up here where I'm at because it gets so cold. The point of being is you don't, and it's ridiculous. I get so frustrated, and I don't do web design anymore for people. But anyway, the point is, if you're going to hire someone who does websites for you, has those assets, and everybody always thinks to take the after pictures but never before. If you don't take the before there's no point of reference, or there's no plumb line for it.

Exactly.

This is what that was like before, it was crappy, and what we did after, it's like when you don't have a point of reference, it doesn't mean all that much.

And you’re looking for that. I don’t have to go anywhere else to qualify for trust. That’s what great trust assets do. It’s like, if you put a picture, you know, we’re in Nashville. So, it’s as if on my homepage I had a picture with several country stars, and international country stars. I’m standing next to them. I’m in an SEO company. They have nothing to do with SEO. But almost immediately we know that image would convey a sense of trust. There’s something big here and not just every SEO guy is hanging out with Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley or something like that and has that kind of relationship. So, it suggests that there’s something to be trusted here. So anyways, a great trust asset is the thing. It’s like you don’t have to see anything else. I believe it. I just saw the evidence and it makes sense to land better.

Yeah. You mentioned celebrities. My friend, whenever he went to marketing conferences, he wrote the copy that was sold at Ted Nicholas's house, and he met Ted, and for those of you who don't know Ted Nichols, he's a very accomplished business owner, entrepreneur and copywriter. Started a website ice cream shop and just killed it. He's very old now, but anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that Troy had his picture taken with him, and then he went to another conference with Gene Simmons. And Gene Simmons is a very, very smart entrepreneur and he had his picture taken with Gene. So when he's sharing these things as you said, he doesn't know Gene, but it conveys wow, try showing his authority, the association of that thing with that thing or that person with that person. As I said, we just scratched the surface of this. It's been an absolute pleasure having you here. I know we could talk for an hour, if not longer. I'd love to have you back on the show. If our audience wants to connect with you online, how can they do so?

Yeah, well, as I said, check us out on YouTube. Just starting to put our content there and then at conversionfirstmarketing.com.

Okay. And are you on LinkedIn?

I am Yeah.

Okay, cool. I'll make sure you put your contact information in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. It's been an absolute pleasure. Have a wonderful day. Yeah.

You too. Thanks, Matt

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