Jul 15, 2019
How can eCommerce businesses reduce their time to first purchase by 10X?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, WordPress developer and eCommerce expert Jason Resnick shares the process he uses to help eCommerce businesses dramatically reduce the time from first touch to first purchase. And while Jason works primarily with eCommerce businesses, the advice he shares is equally applicable to businesses in other verticals.
From visitor segmentation, to behavioral analytics and content personalization, Jason goes into detail on the process he has used to help one client reduce time to first purchase from 40 days to 8, and for another client from 9 days to 1.
Some highlights from my conversation with Jason include:
Resources from this episode:
Listen to the podcast to learn exactly how Jason helps his client shorten their sales cycles - and how you can too.
Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.
I'm your host, Kathleen Booth, and today my guest is Jason
Resnick, who is the founder of Rezzz. Welcome Jason.
Jason Resnick (Guest): Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Jason and Kathleen recording this episode together .
Kathleen: Tell my audience a little bit about what Rezzz is, and your background, and how you came to be doing what you're doing now.
Jason: Sure. Rezzz is my business, it's what I've been doing for, this August will be nine full years, full time for myself. I am a solopreneur. I don't have a team behind me, but it's a web development business. I've always loved the eCommerce space, and the human behavior behind all of eCommerce. Where most developers and designers shy away from eCommerce so early on when eCommerce was ramping up in the early 2000s, I flocked to it, I was attracted to it. I built my business around helping online businesses, and I call them eCommerce, it could be anybody taking a transaction.
I have nonprofit clients. I have online coaches. I have clients that sell physical products. Basically anybody taking a transaction, to help them get anonymous visitors into being customers, and then customers into repeat customers, and then repeat customers into raving fans. I do that through a number of different strategies and tactics, which most of them revolve around what's called behavioral marketing, or email automation, but also a mix of onsite personalization, that's where my skillset as a web developer come into play.
Kathleen: Yeah. You know, it's funny that you say that about marketers shying away from eCommerce, because I've worked with a lot of marketers in my time. I was an agency owner for 11 years, and of course now I'm at Impact. It's true, I know a lot of marketers, and a lot of them say, "I don't touch eCommerce." It's almost like they're afraid to. I know one or two who do it, and the ones I know who do it have like gone deep, I think because there's such an opportunity, or a vacuum left by everybody else. Why do you think it is that marketers shy away from it so much?
Jason: I think it really stems from there's so much tech involved with it, and it's so close to the bottom line that it's easy, I mean, and this is going to come out bad, but because there is a direct correlation that business owners see X dollars coming in per month, per day, or whatever it is from the site, when you say that you can affect that, they're going to see that result immediately.
Most marketers, and obviously when we build campaigns sometimes those things take some time to build up, and sometimes you have to have those difficult conversations with clients a little bit earlier on in the eCommerce space than, let's say nonprofits, or standard brochure type websites, those things. I think that because of not just that, those difficult conversations that you might have to have, but also the tech side of things, if something goes wrong, if you're the point of contact and you don't necessarily know at a deep level what those technical bells and switches are, then you're going to be like, "Uh." With your hands raised and saying, "I'm not sure. Let's go see what we can find out from the tech team."
I think at least from my experience, that's what customers tell me when they come into my ecosystem. They want somebody that, they may not know all the technical aspects of things, but they do understand that some things do take time, and they just want somebody that can take care of all of it for them. They don't want that ping pong match like, oh this is the host, and this is the developer, and this is the marketing side of things. They don't want that ping pong match, and they kind of just want that holistic point of contact person to be able to say, "Yes, there's a problem." Or, "Yes, this is what we need to do." At least from my experience I think that that's the reason why a lot of people shy away from it.
Kathleen: Yeah. It's interesting because web design, development, et cetera, in general comes with a lot of high stakes, especially in this day and age when so many people find your business by your website. With eCommerce, as you rightfully pointed out, it's like way, way, way higher stakes, because your business is your website.
Kathleen: Your website is your business. Either way you look at it, if you break something, you're breaking the entire revenue stream of the business, not just like, oh our customers couldn't see our website today, or we didn't get another form fill.
Kathleen: Yeah, it's not an inconvenience, it's a major, major risk. I can totally see that.
Now, and I should say, you came with very high marks, because I met you through one of my past podcast guests. This is one of my favorite ways to get new guests, is when former guests reach out and say, "Hey, I have somebody you should talk to." That actually happened in your case when Val Geisler, who I interviewed a few months ago, wrote to me unsolicited and said, "I really think you should talk to this guy." Val, for those who either didn't hear her episode or don't know, is an amazing email conversion copywriter, mostly for B2B SaaS companies. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her, and as soon as she wrote to me I said, "I'll talk to anybody that you think I should talk to."
Jason: Thank you very much.
Kathleen: Yeah. No, that was a good introduction. You do a lot of work, because you're in eCommerce, and what is interesting to me about you is that you're not just a web developer/designer. You work on some of the other aspects of eCommerce businesses, personalization, conversion optimization. How did you get from web design and development into these other areas?
Jason: I think actually it, well my career took me in that path, but I think as a person it was the other way around. I've always been interested in human behavior. I got a minor in psychology in college. For me, and I went to college in the late '90s, and that was the advent of the internet. I mean, I remember going to the computer lab and building my first webpage. That was in like '96.
Kathleen: I remember learning Basic.
Jason: Right. Yes. Me too.
Kathleen: I'm not going to say any more, because then that'll really date me.
Jason: For me, when the advent of the internet came along, that was intriguing enough, because I was actually going for computer science at the time. At that time it was a lot of compiling code, and waiting for things to happen. Yet the web was like, I put code on a screen and I hit save, and I refresh and boom it's there. Hey, that's pretty cool. That intrigued me, but also my human nature side of things, just being perceptive of the world around me and kind of how people interact with certain things, and why they do what they do, and why they don't do what they don't do, always intrigued me.
When the eCommerce world hit, pre Amazon, all the rest of it, people were afraid to put their credit cards in. Even online, let alone cellphones weren't even really a thing at that point in time. I was working for a consulting firm at that time, and we dealt with a lot of startups, and all of them wanted some sort of eCommerce in some sort of fashion. For me, it was always interesting to say, okay, if we use certain buttons in a certain way, and certain text in certain colors, we could create this, I don't want to say an artificial, but a perceptive environment of being safe. Where they can submit their credit card and not feel that they are sending it over and somebody's copying that down and running away with their identity.
For me, that was the genesis of where I am today. I've always just kind of had that snowball effect, and really focus in on that specific part of my development skills. Because as you said, a lot of people were shying away from it, and I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. I had to find that niche, if you will, that sweet spot to really plant my flag in, and fit into a market that I could become known for. That was how I started all that.
Just as the web evolved, now with email marketing, and how much data you can collect on somebody just by asking them a few questions, you can segment, you can promote certain things based around where a person is in their journey and their awareness. You can do all these things and marry things like your email marketing platform with your website with a little bit of code. Now there are services out there that can do this too, that your website can look completely different with two different people. It's all based around what you know about that person, where they came from, demographics, or even just what you know they clicked on in your last email.
That's always been interesting to me because that's like the mom and pop of like the early 1900s, where somebody would walk into the store and you would have all your stuff ready because they knew you came in every Thursday. They knew who you were. For me, having that personalization and segmentation is what allows you, as the business owner, to know where your potential customers are, where your customers are, where your repeat customers are, and know how to cater to them in the best way possible.
Kathleen: You know, it's fascinating that you just brought that up, because I literally just, as we're recording this, this morning published my latest episode, which was a conversation with Shai Schechter, who's the founder of a company called Right Message. That's exactly what he talked about, was his platform that he's built lets you ask your visitor a simple question like, what brings you here today? He actually equated it to the conversation you have when you walk into a shop. Like nobody is saying, "What industry are you in?" It's, "What brings you here today?"
Kathleen: Based on the answer to that, you can dynamically then update the copy on the page. He was seeing like 10x improvements in landing page and CTA conversion rates from that kind of like small amount of personalization. I definitely think there's something to it.
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. I know Shai, I've known him for a couple of years. We've met at some events and things of that nature. Yeah, he's built a great platform. His platform's called Right Message, and I use Right Message as well for some assets of my business. Yeah, I mean it's that idea of, we've gotten away from that broadcast everything to everybody. Now we want to really cater to the one on one. That is what's going to increase conversions, and that's what's going to help you convert non customers to customers as quickly as possible. The more you know about them, the more that you can speak their language, the more that you're serving up the thing that they want at the right time, that's going to help you with your conversions.
Kathleen: Yeah. Now you, as you said, you do a lot of work in eCommerce, and one of the biggest areas of opportunity for optimization in eCommerce is how long it takes from first touch, if you will, with a lead or a prospect, to getting them to purchase. Time to first purchase. You've done some interesting work on shortening that time period, can you talk a little bit about that?
Jason: Sure. Yeah. As you said, any time somebody sees you for the very first time, there's this innate human factor inside of us that, hey, we like this thing. This is awesome. There's this emotion, this euphoria that you get on the human side. What you want to do is, from a technical perspective, is to be able to capitalize on that euphoria, that feeling of good that somebody sees in you.
What you can do nowadays is just ask them a couple of questions, or in the behavioral marketing side of things, see what they click on, what is interesting to them, what do they not click on? Those kind of things, prior to them even being in your email list. When they're in your email list obviously there's more details that you can get to, but with code snippets and things of that nature you can actually change your website around what they're reading on your blog.
What you can do with your own blog, if you will, and I'm sure many of you have seen it, is that you have this "widget" that says, "You may also like ..." Or, "Here's other content that might be interesting to you." Because what you're on, the article that you're reading at this point in time, there is related articles in that same category on that same website. What they want you to do is, hey, if you're interested in this, then go check out this as well. They're trying to move you along in that journey to know that if you have a specific problem, well we have some resources and we know how to solve your problem.
What you can do in the background of things is you can do "lead scoring". If somebody, let's just say on your website you have a bunch of articles around pricing or things of that nature, pricing, let's say you also have things on sales, or marketing. If somebody hits a couple of articles on your marketing side of things but they never look at pricing, then you could potentially change your website around that a little bit more. Make your calls to action to talk about marketing versus pricing.
I do this on my website plenty of times. If somebody comes to me from, because I specialize in convert kit and drip, if somebody comes to me from the convert kit consultation, or convert kit experts they call them, if that webpage, then my services page gets reflected on that. I don't even mention drip, I just mention convert kit, because that's where they came from, so I'm assuming, based on their behavior, that that's what they're interested in. They're not interested in anything else that I do.
You can be mindful of these sort of things, and just talking their language allows you to then get them to the next stage faster. Because if I can echo what they're saying to me, based on their actions what they're saying to me, then just us as humans we're going to say, "Hey, that's what I'm looking for. You know what I'm talking about." What I'll try to do in that respect is to be able to then grab their email address, and then market to them in that end. Talk to them about convert kit. Talk to them about potentially segmentation and those kind of things, or automated workflows if that's what they're looking for.
All of this data really just gets passed over into my email marketing platform and my welcome sequence tailors to that. What that does is, like for my clients, is to be able to then baseline how long it takes for someone to first opt into your email list and then buy from you, because that window of opportunity is finite. Once you go past about 90 days, and obviously this depends on the type of product or service that you're selling, but on average 90 days, then you're not going to convert, or you're a lot less likely to convert. You want to be able to then, especially if you're selling multiple things, sell quickly. You want them to get that first purchase because that's always the hardest, and then get them to repeat buy after that.
With just some small tweaks, and some small segmentation, and intent awareness, because we can dive into that a little bit more. Just based around some of those things you can then shorten that time frame greatly. I have some results where I've done for my clients, take their baseline of 40 days to the first purchase, and gone down to eight. I've had another client where it was nine days down to less than a day.
Jason: It's just a matter of knowing and understanding the actions that somebody's taking, and then putting the right promotion, if you will. I mean, it doesn't necessarily have to be a buy, it could be an email opt in or whatever. Putting the right promotion in front of them.
Kathleen: Let's wind back a little bit. Let's say I come to you and I'm an eCommerce company, and I'm interested in focusing on this time to first purchase kind of metric. You talked about how the first thing you have to do is establish a baseline of how long is it actually already taking people to get from first touch to first purchase? Walk me through exactly what you're doing to measure that. Are there certain tools that you put in place? Tracking tools, what is it you're looking at in order to determine that?
Jason: Sure. I think only one person was tracking this that came to me, which makes my life easier. Most times what I look for is really I look for obviously their customer list, and I take their email addresses. Then unfortunately there's no tool to marry this stuff. I basically take a spreadsheet, an export of that, of all their customers, and then I go to their email service provider and I see when they opted in. Then I try to figure out, based on the dates around them becoming a customer and when they first opted in, and I kind of take a baseline, if you will, "baseline", on what their metric is. Then I have a conversation with the business owner to kind of gauge what their sales team sees, if they have that data, and try to come up with the best possible estimation that they have for this.
A lot of times, I mean there's obviously a percentage plus or minus, but a lot of times it's pretty accurate if you know the data that's there. Because we all know when they purchased their first thing, we all know when they came onto the email list. If it happened to be that ... I try to discount those that have zero day initially, because a lot of times people in the email marketing world, and I'm sure a lot of your audience knows this, a lot of times people will opt in with a different email than they'll actually pay with.
Jason: If they opted in on the same day they purchased, for the baseline I take that away.
Kathleen: Yeah, there's a lot of XYZ@123.com.
Kathleen: Donemail@example.com. It's amazing how creative people get with those fake email addresses.
Jason: Absolutely. Obviously there's some experience factor in there for where I try to come up with that baseline. Then what I do once I have that, then I go into their email marketing platform and I essentially create rules that store when they become an opt in, but also when they actually purchase. Which is just a custom field that really just does some math to say, okay, they subscribed on this date, they became a customer today, let's minus the two, how many days are there?
Over the first month or two of doing that, I kind of gauge whether that baseline estimation that we first did is accurate enough to go off of. Then we move from there more into the optimization, asking certain questions, things of that nature to try to shorten that time.
Kathleen: Let's talk about that stage next. I've come to you, I say, "I need help with this." You calculate those initial baseline metrics. Then what? It sounds like you're using personalization and targeted offers in order to pull people through that customer buying journey. Is there any kind of like discovery process or research that you're using in order to determine what the right offer is, or the right way to persuade them?
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of it is, in my own research anyway, is looking at their analytics first. Seeing what people are actually looking at on the website, because a lot of times it's not what the owner thinks. I want to make sure that I have the data, because for me, I'm a data geek and the numbers don't lie. If the business owner tells me one thing and the data tells me another thing, then we have a conversation to try to reconcile it in some way. That's first things first, is really looking at Google Analytics, or any other metrics that they could possibly have. A lot of people use Hotjar and some of these other tools out there that help you with the customer interaction on your website. I start there.
Then I have conversations with the business owner as well as certain key members on their team, if they have those kind of people. People like marketing, sales, people that are closer to the customer, if you will. Support teams, those sort of things, to really start to get an understanding of, and it's not even technical, it's just what kind of words do you hear all the time? What pain points people are struggling with. What opt ins do you have on your site that actually can map to a product?
Because a lot of people, especially in the eCommerce space, they say, "Hey, we had a discount for this. Sign up on your first purchase." Is that working for you, or is something else working for you when you run a holiday sale instead? I try to gauge what that customer is thinking. Because we can assume that we're putting the best foot forward, but if the customer is coming to you depending on the product or service obviously, they're coming to you with two things in mind. One is their intent, they're intent on solving the problem. Is the page that they're on, or your product, or service, actually going to solve their problem that they have right now? Two, what's their motivation behind solving that problem? I really want to get down to those two things.
It's not scientific in the way where there's actual numbers, at least initially. I want to make assumptions on that, and put campaigns out, look at welcome sequences. Look at all of these kind of things that they're already doing that we can inject some questions, or inject some relative links to blog posts, or products, or whatever, os that we can get a better gauge on what their intent is and what their motivation is without actually asking them.
Kathleen: Now you talked about nurturing sequences, and onboarding workflows, and things like that. I do find it's very easy in this day and age to overwhelm audiences with email particularly. Do you have any rules of thumb that you use as far as like, how soon do we email them and how frequently do we email them? Anything as far as even style of email, because I know there's a lot of different opinions on very designed emails versus plain text. I'd love just on the topic of email to hear your thoughts.
Jason: Yeah. I mean, that's a whole nother episode.
Kathleen: I know.
Jason: Yeah. To answer the first part of the question about how often, frequency, those kind of things. First I have to know what they're doing already. If you came to me and said, "Look, I do a once a month promotion." If you just switch that up to a daily, then your list is going to be obliterated and they're going to be like, "I don't even know who this person is." They're going to get high on subscribe rates.
If you have a pretty regular cadence, say once a week or something of that nature, it's really just throw it out, if you want to add another email. Because for me, my business when I send emails, I get paid. I will always try to mix in emails where I can. For how I like to do it, I try to do it in a human way, not just like let's just keep sending links to podcasts and blog articles, or products, or services, or stuff. I try to have the subscriber opt into those things.
You can do that in a way where if you had, let's just say you had a cadence of every single week on Tuesday you send out an email to your list. You could just send out an email on Tuesday saying, "Hey look, we're going to add another email, or two emails, we're going to have it on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday now, and we're going to talk about this. And if you're interested in that, just click this button." They're automatically opted in. You could do things in a more human way, and it goes back to that whole mom-and-pop philosophy is, I want the subscriber to tell me.
All of this stuff allows you insight into them, into the subscriber at an individual subscriber level. If they're excited to hear more from you, then you know that, hey, well they may be interested in a product or service that I have that's outside of the free level. You could do those kind of things. You can surely incentivize people with discounts and all of those other things. While that stuff does have its place and works, for the long term, creating those raving fans and repeat buyers, it's all based on trust. The trust factor comes in where you're actually genuine with them and, "Hey, I have an offer, I'm going to do this. If you're interested, all you have to do is let me know."
Kathleen: You talked earlier about some examples of results in terms of shortening that time span. I would love to hear a little bit more about that. Do you have a couple of maybe specific examples of it started out at this long, went to that long, and like what led to those key changes?
Jason: Yeah. I mean, specifically with some of those results, the one that's interesting is that one that was almost two weeks and I shortened it to a day, inside a day. That was really based around, it is a digital product company, but they also had a service on the back end of it too. What it was, was the funnel was very linear. It was somebody opts in and we promote this product to you, and it was a flash sale. It was like within 24 hours you can buy this for 99% off. That kind of thing. If they didn't take you up on that, then you go into this long term nurture sequence, which was basically two emails a week.
Out of that it was pitching that same product over and over again, but at full price. It was, I call it a soft pitch. It's more like, hey, you've seen them in the bottom of your emails I'm sure, like in the P.S., like hey, we also if you're interested in this, we have this product. Which worked fairly well, I mean, nine days to opt in to convert to a customer is good.
That was the first step, was to really try to put that in place, which made a huge impact. I mean, that was just, that initial just, hey, let's look at the blog posts that they're looking at, and store that data. How many did they look at? How frequently did they look at? Based on that, let's position that product offering that's that tripwire product, if you will, for the next 24 hours at that discount, that's the product that makes sense for that audience. That shortened it almost to three days immediately, because people were more receptive to that offer because it made sense to them.
Then there were some tweaks we made to the landing page, to the copy, based on some feedback that we got from those people that actually bought the product during that time. We made some optimizations, and that even shortened the time to first purchase.
Kathleen: It's interesting to listen to you talk about this, because obviously the examples are eCommerce, but in my head I keep asking myself, is there anything here that doesn't apply to another type of sale? For example, like a complex B2B sale. I'm not hearing anything that's so specific to eCommerce. It's really just, if I'm understanding you correctly, it's really just about looking more closely at their behavior, and using that behavioral information and those patterns that are created to serve up information that's more directly relevant to their interests. Is that right?
Jason: Absolutely. I mean, it just goes back to business in general. If you go to a conference, let's say you go to a conference with all colleagues of yours, they're in a similar business or industry than you are. You're going to talk to them in a different way than if you're going to a higher level conference where your customers might be.
It's also a matter of awareness of the person that's viewing your online store or your website. Have they never seen you before, or are they intimately familiar with you and they know your name, they know your services? It's that buyer journey that happens with everybody, whether they're buying a pack of gum or they're buying some service that's going to cost them $10,000 a month.
Obviously there's sales cycles, and that all comes into play, but it's the same business. You want to earn that trust. You want to speak their language. If you know the problem that you're proposing a solution for, then that person's going to be more receptive to hearing you. When you hear, that's where the conversion is. It's a matter of just taking them along that journey in a proper way, whether it is a complex B2B or whether it's a transaction where you just pull out your credit card and put it in.
Kathleen: This sounds straightforward on the one hand, the concept is straightforward. Then on the other hand it sounds really intimidating in terms of being able to execute it. Can you talk through how complex this is, and is this something that the typical business needs to hire a developer to do for them, or are there tools out there that make it really easy to do this?
Jason: Yeah. I mean, it's as complex as you want to make it really. I like to try to keep things as simple as possible. I mean, I even, I have a thing on my white board, what would this look like if it was simple? Because we can over engineer everything. Once you start thinking one thing, it leads you to another thing, and you're going down this long rabbit hole, and you're like, "Oh my god, I don't know how I'm going to even do this thing."
What I try to do is, if you come to me and you have decent enough traffic, you have decent enough sales, and we can have a conversation that's around potentially segmenting your audience better, if you don't do all that already. By segment I mean more so than customers versus non customers. If you're actually doing anything in regards to helping your customers move along the journey, meaning are you doing regular email sequences? Are you blogging? Are you doing these other things? If you are, then it's as simple as starting to think about what problems or what products are related?
Let's just say you have a product that solves a problem that, let's say a developer has. As a developer I might have a problem where I need more RAM, or more compute power. If I go to a website and it just says, "Hey, buy this hard drive, or buy this RAM, or buy this monitor." Okay, but if I clicked on a blog post of theirs that talked more about compute power for my computer, and then I went to their product page and then it gave me three products that could help me there, I'm more likely to buy from there because they've already positioned a couple of things based around what I know, and I didn't sign up or anything.
You can just start thinking about the product that you have and what problems that solves. That will help you start to build these things out. Keep it simple. Write it down in a notebook, or write it down in a document. You don't need a overbuilt tool to do all this stuff, at least initially.
We mentioned Shai before. Right Message is a tool that you can build these. You don't need code. They give you a piece of code to put on your website, but you can build these in a visual editor. There's other tools out there as well. Initially it's really just even that widget we talked about earlier about, hey, you might like this content. On a lot of WordPress websites you can build that. There's plugins out there that would help you do that stuff. You don't necessarily need the code for that either.
Keep it simple if you haven't done it yet, and see what sort of results you get. I mean, if you come to me, and usually people that do come to me, they already have this idea, they have the traction. That's why I said it earlier on, it's an established online business that I help, because they have the traction, but they want to increase more sales, they want to increase better brand relationships with their customers. They kind of have an idea that they can do this, they're just not sure what the strategies and the methods to go about doing it.
Kathleen: Yeah. Are there any rule of thumbs that you use for like what kind of improvements that, on average, you think businesses can expect to experience if they go from not being contextual or using personalization to once they've done it?
Jason: Yeah. It's hard, it's really based around what the price point is, to be honest with you. I feel like if it's a sub $100 product and/or service, people are more impulsive and you could probably see a quicker uptick in the percentage based around that. If it's north of $100 thing, then it's going to be a slower growth. You kind of need a little bit more time and data to see what's actually going to work and pull the triggers.
On the other side of that is that those that are north of $100, you could ask existing customers certain things, which I would suggest things like, where were you when you bought this? What problem did it solve? How has it been since? By asking those questions of existing customers, you can help shorten that on the front end of it.
I mean for me it's such a general rule, but I always say you could get 3% to 5% of anybody you talk to, to buy something. Obviously that's a very general rule. I always want to push that a lot higher than the 5%. What I try to do is I try to get the pages in which people are landing on for the purchase like 30% or more. Trying to get the messaging right, trying to get the distractions away from the page, because that's what a lot of eCommerce sites do.
Just case in point, look at Amazon, they don't do a lot of that. Once you start going into their checkout process, the closer to your wallet that you get with Amazon, they remove everything. A lot of people don't even realize it. A lot of customers anyway, don't realize that the navigation goes away, continue to shop goes away, contact us goes away. All of these things go away as you start moving closer and closer to actually paying. Who better than Amazon to follow? Because they have the traffic, they have the data, and they publish a lot of these experiments for people to look at.
I always try to, obviously depending on the price, I try to figure out what their baseline is. I want to always try to 10x the ROI that they put into me for their business.
Kathleen: That makes sense, yeah. I kind of figured the answer when I asked that question might be some form of, it depends, so thank you for humoring me and answering that.
Kathleen: Well I'm curious to hear your answers to the two questions I usually ask my guests. When it comes to inbound marketing specifically, who do you think is doing it really well right now? It could be a company or it could be a person.
Jason: Yeah, I mean, as far as inbound marketing, I'd have to say somebody that does it really well is Chris Marr. He runs the Content Marketing Academy, and he's a marketer that obviously he runs workshops for larger companies. What he does well and how he talks about what he does, it's always it's like the softest sell possible, and then you're just like, "Hey, yeah, I want to go to Chris, because he knows what he's talking about and he gets great results." His methodology and everything he talks about, it makes perfect sense.
For me, I've known Chris a few years now. I've had him on my own podcast. It's just, I don't know, it's simple but yet so highly effective that it's sometimes like, hey, this is easy.
Kathleen: How did I wind up buying from him?
Jason: Yeah. You wonder what's going on. Yeah, if it's somebody, I would recommend checking out Chris Marr if you haven't already.
Kathleen: That's a good one. I'll put that link in the show notes. Then with digital marketing changing so quickly, and especially the field that you're in, it can be very hard to stay up to date on all the new developments. How do you personally stay educated?
Jason: That's a tough one. I try to, because I toe the line between tech and marketing, there's a lot of noise. What I try to do is I try to curate a lot of what I see. For me, Twitter is my home away from home, if you will. I get educated through Twitter, and who I follow there, and really put together lists on my profile that are really targeted to specific people that are knowledgeable in the space. I'll go to Twitter first to just see what people are talking about, and things of that nature. If it comes up one, two, three times more than the first time that I see it, then I'm like, okay, let me see if this is something of interest.
Then what I'll do is I'll sign up to specific newsletters. Some of the newsletters that I sign up to, I may only sign up to it for a month or two and the unsubscribe, but it'll get me the information that I really need at that given point in time.
I really try to reduce the amount of noise and distraction, and so I kind of use that just in time learning strategy where, okay, Facebook's changing something in their ad algorithm or whatever, now while I don't do that, my clients do, so I want to be up to date on what they're doing, at least knowledgeable to have some sort of conversation if they ask me a question. I'll go check out that for a little while. I'll talk to some people that I know in the industry, say, "Hey, what's going on over here? Is this something I should pay attention to, or is this just noise?" It's really curated, and it's more outreach for me than letting it all come to me in a flood. Otherwise, I would never get any work done.
Kathleen: Yeah. I hear that. Who are your top, let's say three favorite people to follow on Twitter?
Jason: Well, that's tough. For business and products, I would say Justin Jackson is probably, he's always interesting to follow because he learns out loud. He tries things. He owns a product business himself, and he's been in the product game for a long, long time, and he knows about that space. In the online world for me, business wise, as far as product goes, Justin Jackson.
Chris Marr I follow. He shares a lot of interesting content, marketing links, and strategies, and that sort of thing. I follow him.
Then one that I've always followed for a long, long time, probably since day one of me signing up to Twitter, is Paul Jarvis. I've tried to model my business after what he does, which is I'm small potatoes compared to what he's able to do at this point. He's always remained small, and he's built his business designed around him and his lifestyle.
That's how I've built my business over the past nine years, is around the life that I want to live, and so if I start going down the rabbit hole of thinking of scaling up, and hiring, and agencies, and growing in that world, while it's attractive, it's not actually what my long term game is. Seeing Paul saying, "Hey, I'm going offline for a couple of months. I'll see you in December." Whatever it is that he does, it's like, oh yeah, that's why I do what I do. He's kind of almost like a grounding rod for me.
Kathleen: That's interesting. I'll have to check him out. Any particular newsletters? You mentioned that you subscribe to a few newsletters. Are there any that have stood the test of time, that you haven't unsubscribed from, that you really love?
Jason: Val's is one.
Kathleen: Yeah, Val's great.
Jason: Yeah. She's one. Another one that I really like is Margot, what's her last name? (Margot Aaron) She's a straight shooter. She kind of pokes, she's a marketer herself, she's a copywriter, but she pokes fun at marketing. She's one that I follow because it's like, hey, here's a headline that you're supposed to read, and here's a button that you're supposed to click, but if you don't really want to, you don't have to. It's kind of like allows me to inject my own personal brand into what I do.
Because as a business owner, I know that my customers come to me, they could get what I do by going to anybody that does a similar thing, but they come to me and they become a customer of mine because there's something that I'm putting out there that they jibe with. My personality comes through in a lot of what I do, my website and all that. I wear being a New Yorker on my sleeve. I'm a pretty straight shooter too.
I try to over communicate in some respects with my clients. They sort of appreciate that, and so I call my clients on certain things, I wrangle them in when they need to be wrangled in, and I challenge them. That is what most of my clients have said that that's why they stay on with me, is because I don't just do what they ask me to do. I help them along the way.
Kathleen: Yeah. That's great. If you remember Margot's last name, let me know, because I'll put that link in the show notes as well.
Jason: Will do. Definitely.
Kathleen: Sounds like a really good one. Well if you're listening and you like what you heard or learned something new, of course I always love it when you leave a five star review on Apple Podcasts. If you know somebody else doing kick-ass inbound marketing work, tweet me @workmommywork, because they could be my next interview. Thank you so much Jason. This was really interesting.
Jason: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.