Do you have questions about online business? What the best tracking solution for your budget is? How to get conversions via direct response?
This post will answer these questions and more. Join James Schramko and Will Wang, as they address audience queries about all things business and marketing.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:13:45 — 67.7MB)
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In the podcast:
Get clarity on your marketing strategy with help from James
This is no ordinary episode of SuperFastBusiness. James and his frequent guest, GrowthLabz’s Will Wang, have prepared a treat. Members of James’s audience have sent in their top-of-mind marketing questions, so that James can put Will to the test in a friendly grill session.
Everyone who sent a question gets a free copy of Will’s LinkedIn Lead Generation course, currently selling for $97. The best question gets a special prize – an hour’s strategy session with Will, plus a copy of James’s book, Work Less Make More. And in case that’s not enough, the winner also gets a SuperFastBusiness hoodie, courtesy of James.
Having announced what’s at stake, our two experts dive right into the questions.
Q. Gert of SEOLeverage.com asks: If you could only spend 30 minutes every day on LinkedIn, what would be the 80:20 to focus on to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business?
A. Will would focus on two things. Twenty-five minutes would go to focusing on people he wants to connect with and have conversations with. Not who he wants to sell to, note, just people he finds really interesting, and who he wants to get to know, wants to understand their business, and see if they can get along and just be friends. And he’ll really research the people he reaches out to. So he won’t send out 50 connection requests in that time. He’ll send out a maximum of five to 10.
The last five minutes, he’d spend perhaps shooting a one or two-minute video, put the video up, and write a short caption, and use a couple of hashtags, just to keep the content machine rolling.
The 30 minutes, he sums up, is all about new connections, new friends, and just understanding the people you’re connected to, and having great conversations. Because honestly, why would you want to work with someone who you don’t know? He’d rather build the connections and have a friend first. And then they can look at doing business together.
Q. From Kan: What are some examples of the best conversion strategies you’ve seen or deployed yourself?
A. For Will, it’s picking up the phone. there’s nothing like talking to someone you’re trying to bring on board as a customer.
James agrees. If you can’t convert over the phone, or face-to-face, you’ll find it really hard with a stretched-out automated campaign. So start there.
Q. Kan’s second question: How do you structure your agency and who are your most important hires to ensure that you continue to deliver great work for your clients?
A. Structure is a big one that James has helped Will with a lot over the past couple of years. This obviously changes as your agency grows and as you take on potentially some different services and products.
As for the most valuable person, by far, the most value Will has ever gotten was working with James, and just being able to direct Will in terms of who they actually need in the structure of the agency itself. So that’s external. Internally, Will’s general manager has been instrumental in their growth path for the next two to three years, and also beyond.
Q. Lawrence would like to hear from Will and James about solutions to tracking, perhaps framing the answer for a low, medium or high budget. He’s curious as well if they ever break the 64:4 rule and sometimes post on platforms like YouTube that may not get many sales, just because it doesn’t take that much time to do.
A. Tracking, says James, is complex. In his business, he uses a tool, Wicked Reports, to get a better picture of first and last attribution and customer journey and how long they take and what they’re worth and which channels work well for him. That said, he’s probably just a rank amateur.
Says Will, it’s not an easy question to answer with a one-liner. It’s different depending on how you do your marketing, what your budget is, and what your sales process is. Can you separate everything that you’re doing or build separate funnels with separate channels and all that to really measure what happens? Is it worth the effort? Will doesn’t know. It depends on how much you’re spending. But there are ways of tracking. Will’s team uses Data Studio with Supermetrics on it to bring data in. But there’s so many different models you can use as well.
There’s first touch, last touch, scientific attribution, weighted attribution; there’s just no real one clean answer. It really depends on the business itself.
“Just by not doing something, we can put that energy into something else.”
As far as doing things just because they’re easy, James says that just by not doing something, they can put that energy into something else.
Exactly, says Will. He would focus on the one channel that he’s really, really good at, and that he can control. He doesn’t even bother with everything else, because it’s energy that he can put back into the one channel.
Q. Ray asks, When you have too many options, and you’re getting yourself overwhelmed by too many thoughts or ideas, what is the best way to clear your mind of all the noise and focus on winning ventures or ideas?
A. Will confesses to having entrepreneurial ADHD to the maximum. And the answer, for him, is pretty obvious – it’s having James in his corner. It’s important for him, to just have someone as a sounding board to say, Hey, is this a good idea? Do you think I should do this? He talks to James every week, and at James’s instruction also journals.
People, he says, think coaching is where they would get more input. For Will, he says, coaching is about focus and refinement and carving away stuff, more than giving him extra stuff.
James’s technique with himself is to purge everything out of his head onto paper or a whiteboard. He’d then step away, come back later, and look for the gold. Then he’d take a picture, rub it all away, and be left with just a few things that matter, ignoring the rest.
Q. From Adam: Five-hundred dollar budget, small social media following, no email list, what’s the best way to launch a new digital course teaching something that I’m an expert on?
A. Will wouldn’t spend a cent on advertising. He would, instead, use the $500 to invite people who already have an audience in his space out to lunch. He’d get to know them, he’d tell them about the concept, explain why it helps them, explain why it helps their audience, and offer to do some kind of revenue share or some kind of partnership deal with them, to promote him into their existing audience.
Or for $500, says James, you could send some nice lumpy mail. You could probably send five $100 value courier packages to someone of something relevant to them, something that would get their attention and at the very least get them to read his letter.
Q. Erik asks if the word “free” is negative to use in marketing. Is it ever wrong to offer yourself for free to prove that you can deliver in a long term partnership?
A. Will doesn’t think the issue is the idea of giving something away for free. He thinks the main issue is that Erik doesn’t see the value enough to ask people to pay for it. Unless you’re just starting out or proving a concept, if it’s a service or product that’s going to take a lot of time and effort and you know you can do a good job, you should really be charging for it.
James agrees. Too, free can often attract people with no commercial intent, as with, for instance, a free iPad. Offer incentives that are in line with the thing you offer. Like, enter your email address to get a free LinkedIn course.
If you want to make an outrageous offer, he adds, charge for it, but give a better than money-back guarantee. If you are good at delivering what you can, then you don’t have that much risk that people are going to claim on you. And the worst case is, they’re in a no-risk position for trying your services.
Q. From David: Is it a good strategy to acquire leads by purchasing Facebook or LinkedIn groups with members in it that are compatible with your target market?
A. Says Will, if group members don’t resonate with your new message or your new style of communication, that group is wasted. For the same amount of money, ask, can I build a group that’s the same or better with my own branding and messaging for the same amount that I’ll pay this person for the group? Often, the answer is yes.
Q. An asks: When you’re developing an authority presence for both the company and yourself as a personal brand, do you differentiate them or keep them very similar?
A. Branding isn’t Will’s strong suit, he says, but he’ll give it a crack. He’s always a big believer in building the personal brand, which can encompass many different businesses. People always relate better to another person versus another brand. Especially at the very beginning, personal brand is great. Trying to build both at the same time is hard work. So he would start with personal brand first and worry about the other piece a little bit later on.
“It’s easy to brand yourself. There’s only one you. It’s hard for people to compete with you.”
From James’s perspective, he’s now seeing it’s important to brand yourself personally, because it’s easy to brand yourself. There’s only one you. It’s hard for people to compete with you. Then you can lend that credibility to whatever brand you’re working on, like Elon Musk does with Tesla or with Solar or with SpaceX.
Q. David’s question: If you’re in the business coaching space, and you have zero followers on social media, which platforms would you recommend working on to gain a following in order of preference and why? If you could only pick one, which one would it be and why? And what’s the biggest mistake you see people make on social media when trying to build a following for business purposes?
A. Will thinks the biggest mistake someone can make is to think about social media and the platform first, before looking at the business. He personally has found that I hasn’t needed to do a lot of social media. It’s not how he wants to play the game.
What he does pay attention to is, what are his revenue numbers looking like? Are his customers happy? Are they sticking around with him for a long time? And are they getting results? If they are, everything else is secondary.
“Just get a customer and get them a result. Everything after that is optional.”
James agrees. Just get a customer and get them a result. Everything after that is optional.
Q. Another from David: What is the fastest growing sector in the online business space? And if you were to buy an established business, what type would it be and why?
A. Will doesn’t know what the fastest growing sector is, because he doesn’t care, because he’s not good in that sector. If he was to buy a business, he’d look at one that he knows he can grow really well, that lends itself to his background experiences. Or he’ll look at one that he’s passionate about, or that he’s got a really strong interest in.
Q. Carl is asking about a modern day sales process. What are the different ways or behaviors in which people are now buying stuff, like selling via email, selling over the phone, sales calls?
A. Will finds that the old school way – selling over the phone, talking to someone over Zoom, having a consultative sales process, like the SPIN sales process where it’s all about figuring out what problems they’ve got, coming up with solutions, and being very consultative – that, for him, would never go out of style.
He likes working off long-term principles. If you get good at the principle, it doesn’t matter what system or what platform it is, you can just move across to that. He always wants to have an in-depth understanding of the person trying to buy his product. And the best way to do that is to have a conversation with the person.
“The definition of selling hasn’t changed at all. It’s simply helping someone improve their situation.”
James loves it. For him, the definition of selling hasn’t changed at all. It’s simply helping someone improve their situation.
Q. Bill asks: In an age of paid ads, how essential are SEO and organic traffic? Can I build a profitable business using paid traffic only? Is this wise? If not, what’s the simplest way to get started generating organic traffic?
A. If you have to sell as quickly as possible, says Will, SEO isn’t the right play for you. You should be looking at spending money to get your message in front of people and get them responding in some way. That being said, SEO is a long term game and over the long term, SEO can be very profitable for businesses. So it’s about that balance.
Q. Alicia is a wealth coach who educates and empowers couples to transform their finances to live the best life. When marketing to her target audience, she’s found it difficult to get both partners to say yes to the initial consult. Usually, one of them’s keen and the other one not. So she doesn’t get the consult with them to ultimately turn them into clients. How can she overcome this?
A. Will says, having gotten the first yes, he’d ask the initial partner what they’ve discussed as a couple and what their goals as a couple are, because even between couples, the goals could be quite different. He could then speak to those goals to get the remaining partner engaged.
James suggests making a piece of content that speaks to only doing a consult when both partners are present. He also proposes creating a message that will be attractive for one partner to pass on to the other. Or creating a sort of Trojan horse, with a message for the second partner inside a message for the first.
Q. Jason: Some people can be tired of being marketed to. What methods are used to get more positive energetic responses, and not including case studies and stories?
A. Will would say, if you’re marketing to people who are sick of being marketed to, you’ve got the wrong message. The right people aren’t going to be tired of the message because you’re speaking about things going on in their lives and what they’re thinking about. You only get people being tired of your message if it’s the wrong people getting the wrong message.
Q. Adrian is a Porsche dealer. Is it possible to have a remote team looking after many aspects of their marketing tasks? Do they need a manager and then a team? How do they achieve that? Content and ideas are not the problem. It’s just that he needs help, and can it be done externally?
A. From experience, James says you can get someone outside of your business to do the marketing. He did it for one of his first retainer clients for years.
For Will, it’s the core of his business. They do a lot of the marketing for their clients.
So the short answer is yes, but find the right operator. Make sure that they can prove what they’ve done in the past. They’ve got a track record, they’ve got clients, they understand marketing. Make sure they take the time to understand your business, what makes you unique.
Q. Next is Tim. He’s run low-ticket and high-ticket offers, both with great margins built in. He leans more as a preference to offer low-ticket programs. But less sales needed for high-ticket ones with the same effort make them a no-brainer. How do Will and James feel about it?
A. Will likes high-ticket because it means you can put more effort into serving your customers and give them better results. When it comes to low-ticket, the industry average is two or three percent of people even complete the course, and even less than that get the result. Low ticket, he thinks, can work as an entry point to your funnel or to your business. But he doesn’t think it’s absolutely necessary.
James would go straight for the high-ticket. The ascension model is not how the world works. So Stop pushing people into a lower offering than what they actually need, and start serving people at the highest level you want.
Q. Again from Jason: What’s the best messaging to pivot from being a service provider to running a membership site? How does one explain that they have the right teaching skills to be worth spending money on?
A. Will would do two things. If he were that good and in demand, he would raise his fees. He would say, Look, to serve my customers better, I’m putting more into what we do as a service. Therefore, for new customers coming on board, I’ve got to raise my fees. That means that I can serve less of the market, but I still want to have an impact.
So to do that, I’ve created a membership program for people who aren’t ready for my high-ticket service. In that way, I can still give you the help and assistance that will get you to the point where you can use our services.
Put up your offer page, says James. Get people, go into it and get them a result. Put the results on the page. Have plenty of proof, and then the market can see that and make up their own decision.
Q. Maik is releasing a new vegan family cookbook with recipes, not just for the youngest children, but also for hungry kids in their puberty, difficult uncles and carnivorous dads. What marketing technique is not to be missed when it comes to launching it? Especially interested in the lowest-hanging fruit, since they’re really short on time to set something up big.
A. Will believes it’s hard to change someone’s mind once it’s made up. A carnivorous dad would never buy a vegan cookbook, or very unlikely to. He would go to the people who would actually buy it, which would be the moms or the people who are actually going to use it and cook the recipes for the family.
He would also look at who has the potential for a partnership. Vegan Facebook groups, for instance. He would look at vegan influencers and strike up some kind of partnership deal with them where they promote the cookbook. So launch it to an audience who are already receptive.
Find out who’s got your audience, says James. Make the offer extremely appealing to them. People listen to content. Consider getting on podcasts or vegan Clubhouse chats so you can access someone else’s existing audience.
Q. Stephen: I’ve heard some marketers test upwards of 1000 different variations on a campaign before finding the best version that gets results. If you have an offer that converts and you have the target audience dialed in, how many variations do you typically go through on ads? Do you keep tweaking the copy and or the graphics or the video?
A. The bigger the budget, the more aggressively you can test, says Will. They test audiences first and foremost. That’s probably the most important part. After the audiences, it’s all about the headlines, and then the copy. Then it’s the graphics or the video, and then it’s the other stuff that may or may not be as important in terms of an ad itself. So this is only in context of an ad, a separate testing for funnels and pages and the like.
If they test to the point where they’ve got good numbers, then they keep running tests the whole time. They never stop testing, because you just don’t know what variation would spin up that works really well.
It’s a never-ending process. You’re never going to hit a point where it’s like, this is the ultimate ad, we’re going to run this forever. It just doesn’t happen.
“Always be testing is the mandate.”
Q. Christina is from South Africa and learns from some of the best copywriters in America. How does she know which parts to tone down for the local market? She loves marketing, but wants to pattern the Australians and apply it to the market.
A. Will would write a lot of different copy. He would test to see what works well, test the tonality of how he approaches it. First and foremost, he says, write it in a way that makes you comfortable. So you’ve got to love the product, you’ve got to be a consumer of the product itself. And use yourself as an example and say, would I buy this if I wrote it this way? And then use the data to back yourself up to say, Well, if I wrote it this other way, what do my numbers look like? Is it better or is it worse? And you’ll start to get a feel for the market that you’re going into.
Dial it up, dial it down, says James. Test quite different variations, and you’ll find your answer.
Q. Question from Travis: What referral tactics are working for you right now? And explain the process to implement it.
A. First and foremost is just do a good job, says Will.
“If you get people results, you can’t help but get referrals.”
James would say the same thing. If you get people results, you can’t help but get referrals.
It doesn’t hurt, either, to have an endorser like James. If you get results and can align yourself in some kind of strategic partnership or arrangement where you are the perfect fit for their customers, that is a great strategy.
Rapid fire grab bag of questions from Darren:
Q. What method or approach to marketing is no longer effective that was effective before COVID or the inverse? What’s working now that wouldn’t have worked before?
A. No longer effective, in-person events. Virtual events are now flourishing.
Q. What are good marketing strategies for people that don’t want to do podcasts, or YouTube, or videos, or personal brand, who want to grow their business behind the scenes, don’t want to be in front of the camera?
A. Either get a partner or an employee that you can put to the front or use client testimonials and case studies to put it to the front. Otherwise, suck it up and just do it.
Q. If you lost everything and had to start over again, what would you do to make your first million in annual revenue?
A. Will: A very silly answer – find a service I can sell for a million dollars in profit and go and sell that to one customer.
I would look at what my service or product is, how can I spin something up really quickly that’s high-ticket, how many do I need to sell to get a million dollars in revenue or profit, and figure out a way to sell that one service or one product to a bunch of people.
James: I’d do something around being a middleman, or I’d find someone with a great product or service. And then I’d find someone who’s got the audience and I’d try and make that work and get paid at both ends.
Q. Pros and cons of running a remote-based business versus working in an office.
A. Will’s team have been 100 percent virtual since late November, early December last year. And they’ve been growing really, really rapidly too. So he’s a hundred percent believer in making virtual work, because it’s so much better for one’s lifestyle. In an office, he was just giving his team crap jobs to do very quickly. It was efficient, not effective.
Yes, you can do stuff quickly in an office, says James. But he doesn’t want to go to an office. It’s as simple as that. He’s happy at home. He surfs every day. He doesn’t want to do the travel, the commute. He doesn’t want to be in a place with other people.
Q. Deborah: What are useful methods for identifying what the problem is if the product, which is an online course, is not converting? Could it be the offer, the sales copy, the design, the traffic, or any combination of these? How do you know what to fix?
A. Will says he’d work backwards at each step of the way and look at, where is it falling apart? Is it the sales? Is it the opt-in? Is it getting opt-ins for? Is it the ads? Are they too expensive? Not getting results? He would work backwards. And that will give you or tell you exactly what part you need to fix.
Q. Maree: Facebook’s making it difficult for targeting small audiences and looking at ways to reengage past customers and win back and unopened emails, etc. Thinking of doing a postcard campaign. Any thoughts, tips or other suggestions?
A. Will loves it. James does, too. Next question.
Q. Martin: What are your one to three most effective and efficient things I can add to my daily routine to hit my goals? (He already has good activity, exercise, sleep routine, etc.)
A. Will would:
1. Praise one person. Appreciate one person in your network for something they’ve done.
2. Share one idea with a person in your network that could be helpful. Ask their permission to share the idea with them.
3. Serve your customers and talk to a customer a day.
James says he would spend a moment just to reflect, just think about life, play a movie of what you want it to look like. Visioning, he calls it. You’ll find that your brain will start helping you get towards it. Especially, he’d pay attention to the things that really piss him off. What desn’t he want to do? What doesn’t he like? What doesn’t he enjoy? And how can he edit his life to remove that sequence from the movie? And how can he improve it?
Q. Darren: I’d love to know how to track actual keyword level with which ads or clicks end up in Google as customers or clients.
A. So many different ways to measure attribution, says Will. Use best practice, pass URL parameters through, would be a good one. Keyword grouping would be a good one. And just have a system, be consistent with it. That’ll give you the right answers. It takes a while to get right. Don’t expect your reporting and metric attribution to happen overnight. Companies invest millions of dollars, and they still don’t get this kind of stuff right.
It depends on the business, it depends on how you’re setting up your ads, but pass URL parameters through, report through your CRM, and one source of truth, whatever that source is.
And the prize goes to…
Who asked the best question? That’s hard, says Will. They were all really good. Can he defer to James?
No, not on GrillWill.
Will liked the questions with more strategic thinking. So it would have to be, How can I be more effective? That was really a good question, because there’s a principle behind it. What are the three things that we can do in our day to be more effective in what we do?
Martin takes the prize. He’ll be having his chat with Will, and because he’s been to almost every SuperFastBusiness event, James may hunt him up a special edition SilverCircle hoodie in lieu of an SFB one.
Loved the episode? Let us know. Hated it? Let us know. We’ll gladly consider what you want for future episodes. And expect Will to be back – a talent like his is to good to waste.
If you’d like Will to help with your business, head over to GrowthLabz.com, or mail direct to [email protected].
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