Episode 312 – The Only Online Marketing Book That You Need For Your Small Business With Bridget Willard and Warren Laine-Naida
Rob Cairns talks to Bridget Willard and Warren Laine-Naida about there book The Only Marketing Book That You Need For Your Small Business.
- Why this book?
- Marketing tips to help your small business.
- Actionable Tips.
- Why SEO still matters.
- Email marketing still matters.
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here and today I have the honor of being with my two good friends, Bridget Willard and Warren Laine-Naida to talk about their book, The Only Online Marketing Book You Need for Your Small Business. How are you today? .
I’m well, thank you. How are you?
Doing well here and how? How are you moron?
I’m good. Thank you. We had some snow today. Finally in, in, in North Europe now it’s it, but it melted.
Would you like some more snow? I can arrange to send you, like, 40 centimeters.
No, no, I I lived where you’re living, and I’ve had enough snow for a few lifetimes. Please send it to California, where they need water.
You Canadians. I know. Let’s ship it. We got big old mounds of snow and door counties that the high schoolers just jump in it.
We could put, we could pack it on trains and send it through Ohio.
You guys, are you guys are too? Much I really love the new book and I I have to for a little disclaimer out there for listeners, I had the pleasure of writing the introduction for you guys for the book, and thank you very much for that one and such a great.
Well, we’re thankful that you gave us your time in the second edition, especially, we felt that it was important to include our peers. Because so often we rely on them as our online collaborator collaborators. Right. So unfortunately two of our peers that we reached out to were very ill with COVID. So I want to kind of give a shout out to Jen McFarland and Jen Miller. They really they’re amazing humans, they’re amazing business women. And unfortunately, they didn’t make the cut. This time, but hopefully next time.
And we had. Sorry, go ahead.
I had to give a personal shoutout to Paul Tobin in there. I don’t know if both you know that Paul is one of my mentors in the digital marketing game and I just had the pleasure couple months ago in January actually. Of sitting down with Paulina’s new house and with him and Nancy and doing that. So you know I’m in really good company.
Oh, that’s nice. Well, we had. We had, we had a son, Adrian. Write a guest chapter in our second book for nonprofits. And so it’s kind of like in the family. That’s great.
I know Adrian really likes who he’s such a smart whiz kid to say the least. So what? Why could you update to the book?
Oh my gosh, why not? First of all, Warren and I were like what? It’s been two years. That’s crazy, and the whole ChatGPT thing, which Ward and I are completely divided on. I find it morally reprehensible and just I I would feel dirty as he would say dirty using using some. Machine to try to be creative that just learns from other machines, but anyway that that’s a whole section. And then I I wanted more. More actionable, like OK. Here is your schedule. This is the part I love the most in our update. Here’s your schedule you got. Do you have 8 hours to work on your business? Then here’s 8 days. One hour day. Just get it done because small business owners. I I love, I love them, I love them, but they often. Won’t set aside money to hire anybody and they want to do it themselves. But their worst enemies is also themselves. Warren, why did you think we needed an update?
Here. Here. Yeah.
Oh, well, I’m not not not as much of a Luddite as as you, Richard, but. You know, on on, on one hand. The book came out like two years ago. And that’s like 10 years in our business. And we, we we followed up the small business book with the book for nonprofits, and we followed that up with the book for schools. So you know, when we did the book for schools, we really had found, I think our stride and then even then we were looking back and going, ah, I want to do what we did for the for the school book we I want. To do this for the small business book. And then at the same time I’ve got the SEO book which my partner and I are updating each quarter, so we’re updating it four times a year. So with those you know in in at least in my head, you know it was, it was a no brainer that we had to, you know, revamp the small. Small business marketing book and and I’m really glad we did because you know the cover needs to be redone. Like Bridget said, we needed to get more people involved and. So I’m much happier with this product now and you know, and now of course, we have to update the other two books. But you know, it was really important that we did that.
No, you did a really good job of it. So one thing I want to jump into and we I think you and I have talked about this one, I’m sure I have with Bridget, why do people need to spend time on e-mail marketing? We need to go to.
Oh my God. I like, yes. And I also feel so convicted because as a small business owner myself with the product to sell, I will tell you that the discouragement is strong. It’s sometimes you get so exhausted just trying to. Get sales or trying to convince people this product is useful for them or whatever, but you have to remember that people signed up for your e-mail list because they want to hear from you and where they want to hear from you is. Their e-mail inbox. Which is one of the best ways to convert leads. Now that’s not to say that you also should be using social media and whatnot so that they remember you and go, Oh yeah, I do have an e-mail. You know whom, whomever, and I need to go. Look at that. You know, people save emails. I I don’t always have time to read Jason Resnick’s e-mail, but I save it. You know, I get an e-mail from Tom Jones and I read it. I get it. I. I love training London cosmetics and every time I get an e-mail, I open it every single time. Even if it’s even if I’m not out of my foundation, even if I don’t need the lip to cheek color, I I love the brand I love hearing from them. It makes me happy. Right. So there’s that. There’s the side of you as a business owner selling your things and you as the consumer feeling happy about getting those things. And then when you add direct mail on top of it, it’s it’s literally a marketing assault. But like, let’s go back to why. Business owner should do it. I think every business owner I know is like, yeah, we should do it, but e-mail is deceptively simple. E-mail marketing is very complicated. It’s all has to do. There’s like Dkim records and all this other weird stuff that should be way easier in my opinion, like as far as like the internets concerned, the most difficult things are. Are the things we think maybe should be a little more automated or a little better onboarding which is DNS records. And anything where you have to verify who you are, like the dkim things and that’s mainly why I use MailChimp. You know, we’ve talked about Paul, Toby, Adrian, Toby. Of course. Groundhog is in my plan. Because I like, I like them as humans. But let’s go back to that right. So like. You get a business owner, they’re collecting e-mail addresses like, let’s just say this in I have as a client. They’re getting, they’re getting e-mail addresses every time somebody books AH hotel. OK. So yeah, they you should use social media. Yeah, they should update their website which I rewrote their website for them. But also like, hey, we have an opening for this weekend or did you know we’re gonna get a new restaurant like just keep keep at the top of the mine but that means somebody has to make an e-mail template. Have to like look at the best practices you have to not make the font 8 point pixel white text on a black background with 1000 pictures in there because it’s not a freaking web page. It’s just an e-mail like stop over designing it and then you get all this. And then there’s people are like, oh, let’s do a newsletter. And it’s 1995 and we’re using publisher to make a, you know, 11 by 17 newsletter that’s double sided. You fold it and you hand it out, which I did when. At triangle lines and kernville stage freight lines literally in 1993. So like what are we doing? Like stop calling news? Just e-mail your people just be a normal person, but people like they. Ohh I do e-mail and then ask to be like a web page and then they get so discouraged they don’t do anything. Warren, what do you think?
Yes, I agree.
You can’t just say yes, I’m just start saying things you don’t agree with.
OK, so I have a different angle on e-mail. I mean I I understand it, I think it’s really highly appropriate because that’s, you know. That’s where you get your permission and and that’s where you can, you know, personalize the message, personalize the offer because people have asked you to now, this works both ways. You know, we had this conversation a couple of days ago, Bridget, about hosting. That you know or you know, as being a good customer for hosting. And I think that goes for everything. You know you have to be a good customer and this means understanding, you know, the limits of the service and what the service can do for you and letting the service do its job. So specifically for e-mail marketing, I think this is where it sort of. You know it. It can go right or wrong. You know, if you, if you understand why people are sending you emails. You know, hopefully it’s not spam, you know, hopefully they’re trying to to give you something personal and then it really works. But for me, you know, I’m a very, very, very small business. So I’m not using e-mail marketing. I’ve used it for clients and it and it works. But for myself it it doesn’t and I’m also a bad e-mail customer. You know, if you’re sending me emails, if I’m on. Your e-mail newsletter. You’re not going to get any love from me because. You know, I’m getting the information that I want from your, from your brand. I’m getting it on social media, which is then another conversation because I think this maybe goes along with what you were saying, Bridget, that you know some companies, they’re putting out all of this great stuff on social media. And then they put it on an e-mail as well. It’s like, well, I don’t need both of these. I just need one. And if I see you putting it on social media, that’s where I’m going to be grabbing it from and then I don’t need your.
So it comes down to doing the right content for the right platform. I think I know when I put out stuff in my e-mail, I do not post that stuff on social media on purpose.
Exactly, yes. Good, good.
Because then I’m just duplicating content and I’m doing what? I call shoveling. So I just don’t like to do that so.
Yeah. Thank you.
But it also brings up a new another point. The customer wants to hear from. You on the platform of the customer’s choice. So even though I am an advocate for not auto posting the same content everywhere simultaneously, if the people want to only get the e-mail and then not follow you on social, that’s up to them, or vice versa. Yeah, but.
I I agree with you.
But you hit on something Rob, about e-mail exclusivity. Because you have to incentivize people to sign up for your list in the first place.
No, no question. And I mean I’ve built my e-mail list for my business is running around 9000 people right now and that by the way with a 60% open rate on a regular basis.
What? You’re a rock star? Send me some of that juju.
- It’s taking too long to get to that. It’s taken time to get to that point and you just gotta keep working in and for those who are not. Like the average. Open right in the service business. It’s like 10 to 12% or something like that. It’s.
Oh, then I can’t be happy about 25.
Not, I mean it’s. Yeah, 25 is pretty good, but but what you have to do is you have to do smart things. Like if you’re doing e-mail marketing, don’t don’t send, don’t do what big brands like Old Navy do and send their e-mail from. Do not reply at oldnavy.com. That’s screens hear from our customers. We don’t want to talk to. You and that’s. Not what I want. I want conversations and I want people to use my e-mail exclusivity to get at me and if they want to hit reply, let them. And let them ask me questions and let them into your space like. Because that makes you a better marketer and it builds that relationship. And they might not buy today, but they might buy two years from now.
And then that that way they’re. You know you can integrate it with help desks, you know. Whatever help, scout. Whatever you’re using. Zendesk, help. So that your customer service people can do that. We did spend a lot of time in the book about e-mail marketing. And one of the things that we felt was important and we we used some screenshots is. Don’t make it hard for people to unsubscribe like I make all my footer. Information really big and fat and bold and easy to read, like my default e-mail font is like 18. Like people are reading on their phones. Because if I keep getting, if I keep getting emails from people and I’m mostly reading on my phone, even though I work at a computer all day. And I can’t read on my phone. I’m out. I’m just gonna delete it. And also, can we talk about when you send it, because I’m going to tell you something else.
When I wake up in the morning at 7:30 and I drink my coffee and I go through my emails. Everything that is sent to me. Is deleted. Unless it’s like from, you know, a bill. Like I’m not. I don’t want your emails. I don’t want that. I don’t want to wake up with a giant pile like I was a secretary for 30 years. I want a big pile of work that I have to do. You know right now like send your emails after 9:00 AM. Not you personally, but like businesses see the Ding.
Right. I actually have mine Bridget. I set mine later in the. Day and the reason I do is most people send their emails in the morning and it comes down to my whole thing about standing out and I don’t want my emails to get lost in the cluster of everybody else. So I choose another time that’s off schedule for everybody else.
Yeah, that’s why I, you know, with social and. With social and e-mail marketing, like, what’s the best time to send it? The best time to send it is when you send it like, but take it. But also think you know it depends on what your business is, right? I used to say Fridays where content goes to die, so this applies to anywhere you’re posting, including e-mail, because that’s how the news cycle works. You know, people bury stories on Fridays, cause nobody gives a crap, but if you’re a restaurant or a real estate agent, that’s a good time because people are looking for houses on the weekends, right? Christine, if, when you think about when people are looking at their phones right before work? At lunch and about 4:30 before they get off. So those are also good times and they don’t be sending anything between 5:00 and 7:00 PM. People are with their families eating dinner and whatnot. If you want to do a late one, do it at 8:00 PM. But why are you sending me emails at whatever o’clock in the morning like you know, the bar is still open? Like if the bar is closing like just be smart about it be the Ding. That’s what I always say. Be the Ding in the e-mail box.
Warren, do you have anything to add to that?
Oh, sorry, yes. I was thinking about that because I find. Interesting that in the mornings when I’m checking my mails and things I don’t really have any emails, but they all seem to come at once. You know in the afternoon and then they sort of continue, but it’s kind of funny because in the morning when I might have time. There’s there’s really not not that much which is interesting. Now I don’t subscribe to a lot of newsletters because you know exactly the reason that I always pick up what I want and I don’t. I haven’t found yet, yet I haven’t found those sorts of services where I’m getting useful like. Actionable emails it’s usually. I’m not getting any or I’m getting too much and I can’t have new information five times a week. You know, I just I’m not able to consume that much. You know, once a week would be nice, but I get a lot of these sorts of and here’s some more information that I haven’t consumed the information from yesterday.
No, I agree. I agree. So what?
It’s nice they send it, but it’s just too much.
The other thing you spend a lot of time in the book on is one year steps, you talk about this landing. Pages which is. One of my big areas of interest. And I think a lot of people don’t know how to design A landing page properly.
That’s very true.
What I always say to people on a landing page is the first thing you need to do. Strip off the header, strip off the footer. You don’t want any of that stuff on the landing page. Because the intent of the landing pages to get people to click on the offer or what you’re doing, what do you? Think of that.
Me or Bridget? It’s a sore spot spot for me at the moment because I have 3 new clients. It’s it’s. It’s all around landing pages and. I’m trying but it’s the concept. Of what a landing page is. Why we need it and why it’s important to have a little information. I’m having a lot of issues with with these concepts. Well I’m not, but my clients are and I’m, you know, I keep going back on this and I’m getting a lot of resistance. So yeah, and we spent time on this. I spend time on all of my classes. It doesn’t matter what class I’m. Landing pages appear because they are so important and they are not understood. So yeah, I think we’ve really got into, you know, we’ve been sold this bill of goods that the website has to be packed with stuff. So you know if we say OK, we’re going to create a unique page with you know, an image, a contact form, we’re going to lose. The header and people look at you like why? Why would we make this thing? It’s like because we. Need this you know. It’s really it’s very, very difficult. I’ve spent the last two weeks with one client. To build a landing page and it’s still not ready because they keep sneaking in extra content and I have to keep stripping it out and. Yeah, we need a whole book on landing. Pages, I think.
Budget how do you feel about landing pages?
Well, you know, as somebody who. Isn’t as technically savvy as Warren. I know that my landing page isn’t supposed to have menu navigation. But I just copy something, I just copy a template that I already have in Beaver Builder and do it. I know it’s not supposed to have any distracting. Navigation, but it also needs to have copy that’s tweetable. It also needs to have 300 words so. I’m a big fan of landing pages. They’re especially important when you’re doing PPC. They’re especially important when you’re trying to AB test your audiences like for a while. I live group. I don’t really advertise very often. I have group social media training available. Because it’s kind of a pita project, but I had group social media training for contractors. Group social media training for franchisees group social media training for small business owners. You know, like and so every. So then that give you different things to tweet. Different, you’re speaking you’re you’re changing the language, not just the words. The way you write it on there. Has to be for that specific demographic or persona like you need to speak to their problems. And then one of my big things that I feel like I do well with my landing pages is once somebody signs up on that form. Because the landing page and a form go together, that’s what you’re trying to do. Is I direct them to a specific? Thank you, Paige. Just for that landing page. So I’m just not just like of one of those. I I hate it when you fill out a form and it just there’s some weird message that says thanks for the submission. Like half the time I don’t even notice that.
I just think I did it. And then right, so so like was one of my clients.
What a waste of time.
He was like your landing page. Your thank you page where I had a video. Hey, I’m going to get back to you. My pricing’s over here, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever and you know, enjoy this video. While we wait to schedule an appointment or whatever, he said. That’s when I saw that. That’s when I knew. I wanted to work with you. Right. It’s that extra touch. If it takes 7 to 10 touches to gain a sale. Then every single part of that process matters. You know, you think about it when you’re a small business, I finally convinced. You know, I don’t know how long it took, but for 9 years I was. Office manager at A at a commercial general contractor and I finally convinced Brighams construction to have swag. You know WordPress, we’re like swag. Of course. But like a light, it’s a it’s a flashlight with Riggins construction on it, and when we return the keys to the property owner, we return it with that, you know, when it’s like really just do this all the time. They know that. But, like with the construction, they’re. Always needing to do tenant improvements for commercial buildings, so why wouldn’t you make that last touch just as good as the first one?
And then with landing pages thank you. Pages are a big pet peeve of mine. Use the space. So if you if you don’t have an upsell on a thank you page is a good idea. Highlighting some good content highlighting another service highlighting what you do. Don’t just say thank you. Like use it and it’s one of the things Amazon does really well. Is they shove other product segments? And just kind of go. That way.
But like the mom and pop store. Or, you know, the Bridget Willards of the world marketing agencies. I don’t have the. Technology to do that like so. Like, yeah, we can say, Oh yeah, Amazon but. So what? So you have to take that idea? Of related I mean woo commerce has a related products plug in for sure. But I mean like so how do we apply it to like professional services. So on my launch with words packs. I mean on my ebook and my content planner I have ohh that. Thank you so much. Here’s how you download it. Hey, if you like this, you might like this book. The only online marketing book Link You also might like Twitter book Link. You also might like he’s being social link like so you can upsell even in text that goes with the thing that they’re selling. You know it doesn’t have to be all complicated programmatic. You know, access to FBI secrets algorithms. It just needs to be. Cognizant, you need to be aware that people like your stuff, they’re going to like more stuff and that’s why e-mail marketing is so important.
No question. So what’s kind of Segway into PPC pay per click advertising, you spend some time in the book talking about that? I personally think. And I could be wrong. Facebook is harder to do pay per click content today than ever before. Warren, what do you think about that?
You are not wrong.
And why am I not wrong?
Oh, I mean, that’s another source board. But I mean it goes well with landing pages because if if you were running paper click campaigns, you you need a landing page, you you must have a landing page for that ad you must have. A thank you page you must give added value at that point et cetera et cetera. So those are connected, I’m old. And and I I know some people get have success with with Facebook ads. I’ve run Facebook ads for a long time. And I I don’t see where the success comes from. It just seems like a really good way to throw money at Facebook, and they have. Google ads make a lot more sense. They are still a black box, but they are still they still give you a lot more value for the money than than Facebook does. In my opinion, there’s there’s so many ways you can break out what you what you were getting from from Google in ways you cannot in my experience. This book. I think they’re both getting more difficult, but Facebook for me. It was always. I mean, it wasn’t a black box. It was more like a a black cloud. So yeah, yeah.
Taking over the podcast here, can you explain to our listeners who don’t know what a black box is?
A black box is it’s a box and it’s black and there’s things inside that you you can’t see. I guess you know. Well, OK, that’s probably the the the non-technical way. If you’re developing.
I mean, what do you mean? Just, I mean, OK, So what do you means by black boxes? You have no idea how it ******* works. OK. That’s so that’s the thing you just put all this money into something you have no idea.
One. Yeah, that’s.
And so I have distinct opinions as well. OK, here’s the thing. It has always had a higher. Engagement rate. When you have ads for certain things and you know people back in the day were like, Oh my God, it’s down to 14%. But that’s still a really high, but lately I I agree with you, Rob. Like I just do boosted posts and I will. I will tell you that. It’s garbage and it’s garbage because. There are so many, even if you’re using, even if you’re only trying to get people in a specific zip code. It’s junk accounts, man. This is the problem with advertising on a social media platform. That is valued based upon the number of users that goes for Twitter meta. I don’t know. LinkedIn might be better. I have no idea because I don’t spend money on that.
Any social media ads their display ads.
But yeah, they’re display ads, they’re boosted. You get the cranky people like take me off this. That’s why. But the thing about PPC and I got banned from stupid Google ads. I don’t know why, but I suspect because it kept. I was using it for my landing page for how to market your plugin and then I used how to mark your plugin.com which redirected to my landing page instead of using Bridget miller.com. And then it kept suggesting WordPress as a keyword, which I think anyway I can’t ever use Google anymore for whatever reason, and the reason is inside that black box. But what we were doing originally was getting insight on what was, what words were used, and then I would. Update the copy on that landing page like oh, that’s how they found us. OK, that’s really good insight. That also gives me insight into blogging topics, because what you want to do is use any of those, any of that feedback to learn and. Improve, right? So if you’re on a podcast right now and a quote is resonates from a post you wrote three months ago or three years ago, put the quote in the blog post and update it like. You should always be updating your things. This is why it’s so that so the learnings you get from PPC now, there’s another reason.
Why people throw money at PPC and I had an interview with Rand Fishkin on my YouTube channel about this whole idea. So these companies that are backed by investors, whether they’re private equity or venture capitalists or the stock market? They are only concerned with growth, OK? And so they will spend an enormous amount of money. For grow. That doesn’t mean that the company is profitable. That doesn’t even mean that people are engaging with those ads. It is. Excuse me? It is. It is a way for them to spend money. To get the numbers they want with the number of uses the number of views, the number of impressions, the number of whatever they’re looking for, the number of visits on their website that signals growth, because what investors want is growth, and that’s why. When you’re paying attention to the Bloomberg or Yahoo Finance, or what, or the stock market they’re like. Oh no. Tesla’s stock is down, up, blah, blah percent. That’s because their earnings report came out and it they thought they would have more growth when they projected it, and now they only have, you know, 96% of that actual number, like is so stupid. OK, it’s all just like this weird little. You know, Shadow puppet game that the economy plays now, if you’re a small business, you don’t have a crap ton of money to just waste spending on that. OK, but but there’s this. Idea that, oh, I should. I’ve 04 hundred impressions on that tweet, Bridget. OK, I could have did a I literally had a client say, oh, you only got 400 impressions on that tweet. And I was like, that was pretty good for how many followers we have. And they’re like, well, I could have paid for that. And so when you compare. What people spend on paid media versus hiring a professional? Who manages their social media? Like me. OK. My level of price and up. It’s less expensive. To pay for views.
I would, I would agree with that and 100% and you know you talked about you being banned off. Of Google for Google ads. Guess what I have problems with Facebook for Facebook ads for myself, not for clients and it’s it’s really interesting. I have an ongoing issue. On Facebook, where I cannot put anything from my own website, it’s been banned for like 2 years. So the game I have to play when they shared the podcast is I have to share the podcast landing page on the podcast host, not my website, and that’s such a pain and it’s it.
Oh my God.
Comes back to why clients need to own their website and their mailing list. It kind of goes full circle, right? So let’s jump into websites for a minute, because I do want to go there and I posted a A tweet a couple days ago and said websites are not fixed or an ongoing project. And the reason I posted that tweet is I’m in the middle of a website redesign a whole color. Background change on my own agency site. Why do small business owners take their website and take once a designer does them. They’re done and they never have to touch them again.
Because they don’t understand that a website is a living, organic breathing thing. Mark, an employee that works for them 24 hours a day, seven days a week without health insurance, or workers comp or payroll taxes. They think, oh, I made this thing and that’s it. It’s a one and done. I paid 1500. I paid 2000, I paid 500. I paid 250. I paid 45,000. It’s done. And I I blame us for not explaining that like, you know, you’ll hear that. You know, you’ll hear that idea of. You have a car. You wouldn’t have a car and then never get your tires rotated and never have an oil changed. You bought the car, so therefore the car should just work. That’s everything has to be maintained. Everything has to be updated like I my snow plow guy doesn’t have the. In the HTTP, he doesn’t know that that’s bad. He probably doesn’t even look at his website, but but my browser isn’t going to let me see it. Because it’s not safe, you know? And so I blame the host for. That, but it’s it goes back to what’s the really problem? It’s the DNS records. Like nobody knows about this stuff. And you’re like I am not smart enough to just go fixing that kind of stuff like you know, but that I know it’s that, you know, it’s simple for the people who know what they’re doing. But like this is the problem is they think it’s a one and done thing instead of no. Now you have a place to constantly update. Oh, you do this service. Oh, you have Facebook now. Oh, you have whatever. Like, well, and then there’s the whole idea of I don’t need a website. I have Facebook. Because people don’t want to pay. This is another problem.
So let me share a story. Since you mentioned that I had a client back when Facebook and Instagram had their major outage before Christmas. Who was making oh, about $10,000 a day by posting stuff on Instagram said he didn’t need a website until Instagram went down and he lost that $10,000 a day. And that was his incentive to come back to me and say I need my website and I need it yesterday.
We all have to be very careful that social media is what I refer to as rented land, and that means you don’t own it and the rules can change on an ongoing basis. So, Warren, what’s what’s your perspective on websites and do you need one and redesign and that whole popurri sort of thing?
Yeah, I mean, just like what Bridget said, you know it it is organic. We’ve had websites for what, 20 years? Almost 30 years we’ve had websites. It seems like a long time, but I think most people who have websites they remember the time before websites. They still use websites for informational purposes. And that translates to similar things like print billboards. The sign on our shop, these things you do it once. That’s it. So there is still that mentality. Why do we use a website to give information? There’s the information now you don’t need to update it. So the idea that a website is. Participatory transactional. The whole idea of conversions, this is still something that most people don’t understand. So I think that’s the problem. Second, it’s very clear. If you want to update this, you either need. To do it yourself. Or you need to pay someone and both of these are red flags. Yeah, most people don’t have. Most people don’t move the refrigerator and sweep underneath it, so they’re not going to update their website every quarter. What on the other hand, I think it is important that the Internet is it’s accessible and inclusive. So as part of any of my courses, I’m also spending time showing people why. They they do need a web presence, but they might not need a website. So if you don’t have the time, if you don’t have the resources, there are so many other alternatives. There’s Facebook pages. You know MailChimp does landing pages. There’s Google business profile. There’s a lot of ways that you can be present and successful. As a small business or as a as a non profit without having a website, but it’s still whatever you want to call it. It’s still a presence. But if you are going to have a website and most most people or most companies do need this, they need a place that they own. Then you have to take care of it. You know, like you, you, you do need to take care of your car or we’ll stop working. You do need to go to the gym, otherwise you will stop working, but it it is a commitment and I think because it’s not real, it’s just something on the Internet that there is that sort of disconnect and. We’ve gone, we’ve come a long way from front page and these sorts of things, you know, building websites we’ve come, you know, light years but. Most of us still remember the time when you had to walk to your television, turn the knob, and then walk back to this and that. That is a a memory for most people who are running websites, so you know you have two completely different mindsets when it comes to. Here is a thing. That I’m going to use to inform people about my business. So it’s it’s it’s a bit, it’s a bit difficult.
Well, I also think that there are a lot of small business, so small business owners. Are like nonprofits, and they like to say how poor they are. But they go on vacation, you know, they go on trips, they drive a, you know, BMW, whatever Mercedes, they have money. They still want to spend it because they don’t think they need to, so if that goes to the to another topic. To be frank, I’m not sure how much we harped on this. We probably should have harped on it a little more is lead tracking. So one of the things I really trained my boss at when I was at Vegas construction is that when you asked somebody how you heard about us, like, how did you hear about us? That’s on my form. I ask everybody, you know, I have a spreadsheet, I know what’s going on the Internet. Is not an acceptable answer. OK, so if somebody says well I I did it on the Internet, just keep asking them. Oh, did you see our website, you know, or whatever? But if they came from the form on your website, you know they saw you from the website, but a lot of times. And this is the thing that people don’t. Understand now Warren talked about all of us who had to bang on the side of a TV for V hold. But there is the millennials. They’re like 40 now, OK. OK. And they take these online things for granted. There’s so many 40 and 30 year old business owners who are literally running their business on Instagram. Which is just a crying shame, because they really don’t think they need anything else, right? And The thing is that. They don’t. They don’t have a form, so they’re not going to have e-mail marketing, right? Like they you have to have a website, you have to have an e-mail. That is from that domain to effectively do e-mail marketing you have to have those landing pages. You have to ask people how they heard about you. You have to keep track of that so one time and when I was working for the advertising agency, we had a lady. And we did her website, of course, because that’s what we did. And she was like, well, I don’t think the website form was working and we were like, why? And she goes well, all like is phone calls. And of course, I wasn’t allowed to talk to the clients at that time. But I wrote a note for my boss right there. Like we’re sitting next to each other said. Ask her how they found the phone number. So websites are part of the, not just the discovery part. You know SEO, not just discovery, not just being found, it’s part of the validation process. I will not work with somebody who doesn’t have a website because to me that tells me that you don’t know what you’re doing. And you are not invested in your business. I don’t trust you. To me, that shows your flighty you know, because it might be a crappy website, but you should have a website. What are you doing?
PayPal or ticket cash in the back? You’re just like laundering me. I’m serious. I mean, I used to work at construction, so I know.
I agree with that. You do need a. You do need a website. So moving forward, the hot topic these days is AI and we can thank Chad GP for that one. I was debating whether we wanted to go there or. Not, I think we do need to. And we do need to open that can of worms.
Rob, what are you doing, Rob?
I personally think AI is good for start stuff. I don’t think AI is the answer to everything because one of the things I talked about in the intro I wrote for the book and one of the things I talked about. My client says you’ve got to make yourself different. And if you don’t, if everybody’s using this same AI bot, how do you make yourself different? Let’s go to Warren for that one.
Well, I. I’ve poo pooed a lot in my life. I poo pooed fax marketing. I poo pooed WordPress. I poo pooed Facebook. I haven’t yet poo pooed AI because I’ve given up pooing there’s a problem and there’s a benefit with with the whole chat, you know, I was waiting for it to go away like Web 3 and NFTS and everything else that you know. Trends on Twitter. But it certainly has its place, and if it’s not going to go away, then we need to see how we can use it instead of it using us. And it’s a good point what you said about, you know it all being the same and this is a problem. However, you know I could also make it. Make a case. For, you know, the benefit of duplicate content, but maybe for another time. I think one good thing with with chat is that it enables you to give you a structure gives you structure. If you’re not able to because not everyone is a writer, not any, not everyone can get their thoughts together. And doing that over Google and and other search engines can take time, so this can this can help you get over that. First hurdle. The downside to the ChatGPT as it now stands, is that. There is no, there’s no sourcing. I don’t know where this information came from. I don’t know if it’s right, and I don’t know. You know, I don’t know the source, and I like this that when I’m researching I can see the source. I can vet the source and I can make decisions based. On the sources of the material, and this is very important for me, whereas chat, it’s OK, I’ve got some information. Is it right or not? I don’t know. I’ve used it quite a lot for a variety of projects. And it’s it came, you know, very, very quickly apparent that you can’t rely on what it says you have to do the research anyway, because sometimes what it’s telling you is not correct. So, you know, if it’s just for time saving, it doesn’t really save you. Like in the long run, a lot of time, maybe a little bit of time, so it’s nice. It’s a nice addition, just like, you know, you know, I was typing on manual typewriters. My essays at university. And it was really nice to get onto an IBM Selectric. You know, that maybe had it had three lines of text in its memory, cause this saved me time and it was wonderful. Did I feel? Well, maybe a little bit, but I got over it. You know the same as CDs. I felt very dirty using them. I missed the, you know, cassette, you know, cassette tapes we always have. I think that sort of problem with new technology. But as long as we use it properly, you know it it should be OK.
I think, yeah.
But you’re talking about something that’s so OK, technology is technology, but AI is artificial intelligence. And So what we’re trying to what people are trying to do is not hire Bridgette and use this stupid machine. To come up with text and then they copy and paste it and use it as is. OK.
But they’ve already done but, but they’ve we’ve lived that people used to hire me to make web pages websites and I would charge them 60 hours to make a web. Right. And then now they use Wix and they don’t. They don’t hire Warren at all. So we’ve experienced that with websites as well.
I I mean, I guess there’s a point to that, but I I will say a couple of things now, before ChatGPT, there’s Jarvis. Jasper, whatever it’s called and I had a I was working with somebody who didn’t want to pay. They’re like we just, we’ll just use Jasper. I’m like. OK. So this was a landscape architect, I mean a landscape designer, landscape architect. They specifically did not want to be referred to as a landscaper. Because the landscaper is a guy with a lawn mower in the back. Of his truck. Who takes cash? Let us not what they do, they are designers, installers, they do hardscaping like it’s a completely different connotation and it’s off brand and the client specifically asked not be. For that word to not be used. But the person who is using it.
Who’s using it?
Didn’t know anything about landscaping for one thing, and then left that in there. And I was like, Nah, dude, you can’t do this. So like it’s garbage in garbage out for. For one thing, it doesn’t replace having brand guidelines and brand voice. And you know, I don’t care about the duplicate content issue, but I do care about what you brought up more in which is it can’t be sourced now earlier this week, there was a story on NPR about Microsoft’s version in Bing. That somebody asked it to. Describe a photo and it said they had misshapen hair and. And you’re ugly and all this other stuff. Because AI. Is learning from the way people write on the Internet. And people on the Internet sometimes aren’t very nice, so there are ethical issues with bullying. You know for for that and not even talking about what is being sourced and who and who is really an expert. Now let’s go back.
A little bit before we talk about the actual tools and who’s doing the writing. Why are we writing? We’re writing to to establish our experience. Our expertise. Our authority and our trustworthiness. It must come from us if. You’re a good writer. That’s why we have Grammarly. Now that’s an assistive technology that I think is good, although I have told Grammarly many times they are not correct.
This is not they’re not set up for copywriting.
They hate it when you repeat. Things. That’s fine. But if like grammar’s not your thing, that’s fine if you if you want to use that as a prompt, that’s fine, but there are issues with. Potentially using an AI to to do the writing and using it as is I think is. Potentially self harm to your brand.
Yeah, you should. You should never just take it as it is and that’s it. I mean, this is crazy, but it’s it’s it’s a tool. But you have to use tools responsibly and otherwise it’s just going. To be a mess. I I completely agree with you, yeah.
I do too. I do too. It’s such an interesting conversation, and it’s how. You use the tool. Yeah, thanks both to you for joining me today. And just so everybody knows if you tweet or share this sold in the next two weeks from the date that’s released, I will. One lucky winner, who I will send a copy of Bridget and Warren’s book to. So please share the episode. Warren, if somebody wants to get a hold. Of your house and has to.
Thanks both to you for joining me. Have an amazing day.
Thank you, rob.