In today’s episode of the Internet Marketing Podcast, Andy is joined by CEO of Sticky Marketing, Grant Leboff to discuss digital selling.
On the show, you’ll learn:
- How communications change and what that means for business
- What lead generation looks like in the digital world
- The models in use today
- The actions you should take
- What customer engagement really is
- How to cut through the noise – where to start
Plus as usual, Grant provides his top tip/key takeaway.
Win a copy of Grant’s book: Digital Selling
As an added bonus, on this weeks show we’re giving away 3 copies of Grant’s book: Digital Selling: How to use social media and the web to generate leads and sell more to our listeners. To be in with a chance of winning, all you’ll need to do is fill out your details here. Good luck!
Full Transcript of the Show
Andy: Brought to you by Site Visibility at sitevisibility.com, this is Internet Marketing. Now before we start today, we have a request. If you are genuinely enjoying what we do here on the show then please leave us a review on iTunes or your podcasting app, because it really helps us to grow the podcast and ensures that we bring you great marketing tips and advice each week. Now today I’m joined by Grant Leboff, speaker and CEO at Sticky Marketing. How you doing Grant?
Grant Leboff: Yes, thanks for having me on Andy.
Andy: So you’re up in sunny Watford aren’t you, the deep North.
Grant Leboff: Absolutely yes the sun always shines in Watford.
Andy: Yes for our non-UK users, Watford is just a bit North of London so it’s not really the deep North at all. So tell us all about yourself and Sticky Marketing and what you do there.
Grant Leboff: Yes so Sticky Marketing is a strategic consultancy, so we work with businesses to make their marketing effective. Most of its digital, but it’s all about understanding the new world of communications and making it work for business.
How Have Communications Changed? What Does That Mean for Businesses?
Andy: Now today’s topic is quite a broad topic I think. One of the things I wanted to start off talking about was communications, Grant, and the way they’ve changed over the years and the way they change and what that means for business.
Grant Leboff: Yes it’s really important for people to understand [00:02:01.02] strategically what has happened, so I always say to people I can distil the communication revolution down for people if you like into one sentence. And the sentence is simply this: for the first time in history, everybody has a channel. Media companies always had channels – that’s how we absorb most of our information – TV, radio, magazines, publishing, books etc. but today businesses have their own media channels and of course individuals have their own media channels too, and that changes literally all the rules of the game.
Andy: Yes of course, social media has been around for a while and that’s really changed things hasn’t it?
Grant Leboff: Yes, absolutely. The fundamentals is this: we live in a world now of abundance of information because essentially, everybody’s putting it out, everybody’s got their own media channel, and in a world of abundance of information, everything in life has a cause and effect, so the direct effect if you like of living in a world of an abundance of information is we now live in a world of scarcity of attention. But that is massive for business, because of course the one thing every single business needs to be successful, is their customers’ and prospects’ attention.
What Does Lead Generation Look Like in the Digital World?
Andy: What about lead generation, I’m just wondering how that looks within the digital world these days?
Grant Leboff: Yes so it fundamentally changes how we generate leads because if you think about information distribution, almost all information was distributed via media, so you got your news from the radio or TV, you would put on music and it will be from records, cassettes, CDs, but they will be put out by record companies, media conglomerates. Your books were from publishing companies. Today the number one form of information distribution is peer to peer. If you think that Facebook is the number one news network on the planet today but information is obviously someone has to publish it, someone has to put the story up on Facebook, but actually those stories spread not because one person on Facebook has 100 million people in their audience, but because it’s shared. So social [00:04:05.06] sharing now becomes the currency of spreading information, but that means there’s a fundamental difference because in the old days, what people would do in marketing is sell to the customer, but what people have to understand today is, your customer is actually your channel, because they are your best to channel to market. It’s the peer to peer sharing.
What Lead-Gen Models are in Place Today?
Andy: What about the models that are in use today. I’m just wondering if there’s any trends recently in the way people are doing lead generation?
Grant Leboff: Well yes, so if you think about it, if you take the traditional purchase funnel, which everybody knows, it’s like the cone shape isn’t it where you shout very loudly at the top at your prospects and customers and you hope to get a little bit of response, and out that bottom, that very small base, you’ll get a few customers. And as long as everything that comes out the bottom pays for all the activity through that funnel, most people pat themselves on the back and say yes, that worked, we got an ROI on our marketing. The problem with that model is twofold. First of all, all the information dissemination comes from the company putting it out, so in other words, you would do a direct mail of 10,000 mailers and that would be the top of your funnel, wouldn’t it? But if your information now is distributed by the channel, by customers, by social sharing, that just doesn’t fit into that model at all, so that model almost becomes obsolete. The other problem with that model is the top of that funnel – by the way that model, that purchase funnel was invented in 1898, which says something because we’re in 2017 now aren’t we? So it says something, but that top of that funnel assumes that attention is abundant. It assumes that if I mail out enough or advertise to enough people, I will elicit some sort of response, but of course in our world today where attention is scarce, and I’m sure many of your listeners will know this, they’ve done the direct mail of 10,000, they’ve done [00:05:58.14] the big advertising and they didn’t get any response whatsoever, or so little they couldn’t make it pay. So we need a different model today because that model just doesn’t reflect the way information is consumed or distributed in a digital world.
Andy: Yes I mean you mentioned the attention of people – I know it sort of ramped up quite rapidly didn’t it a few years ago, would you say it’s levelled out or do you think it’s just continually getting worse?
Grant Leboff: Well I think in many ways it will continually get worse because it’s a direct effect of an abundance of information and channels in which to access it, so of course today we are so bombarded with information that it is very, very difficult to get someone’s attention and then obviously retain it as well, and that means that people really have to understand their information architecture, and I’ll explain that. I mean everybody knows what that is without realising often, but let me explain simple information architecture. This is something that no listener has ever done, ever, right. You never pick up a newspaper and read the body copy before you read the headline. It’s just not how you work. You read the headline and if the headline grabs you, you will then go to the body copy and you know with the way a newspaper is written, at any paragraph, you can stop reading and the story makes sense thus far. That’s how it’s written. That’s exactly the same, people have to think about their information architecture online. So whether it’s social media, whether it’s their website, whether it’s their blog, you need a killer headline which might persuade someone to read an opening paragraph or watch a twenty second teaser video, which might encourage someone to download something else, which means eventually they might want to meet you face to face, download a white paper, read something extensively that you’ve written, but unless you understand that customer journey and the way that information architecture works, so in other words you kind of win attention very slowly over time. And of course a lot of people miss that, so you go on someone’s home page [00:08:00.01] and the first offer is downloading a white paper of 3000 words. Well it’s like, that’s asking me to read the body copy without the headline, no one’s going to do it.
Andy: It’s interesting isn’t it, it’s quite a sort of an established newspapery approach isn’t it, try and encapsulate the story in a headline and then encapsulate it a bit more diffusively in the opening paragraph and then sort of start drilling down a bit in the subsequent paragraphs.
Grant Leboff: Exactly right, and of course everybody that buys is different in terms of how much information they need before they pursue a purchase. So obviously you’re going to have people that are very detail orientated that will want to download the specs and everything else and through that purchase journey you’ll offer that and they’ll be able to do that because they’ll need that to make a decision. And there’s other people that would read a headline and make a decision on a headline, that’s just how they work, obviously it depends what you’re selling and what the purchase price is, but all of those kind of things, so it’s about understanding that customer journey and then of course the important thing for all businesses and a lot of people miss this as well, is looking at the analytics. Because when you look at a website analytics, your social media analytics, whatever, the data will give you quite a of detail on where you’re losing prospects, where they’re dropping out of the purchase journey, which bits do you need to make a bit stickier and a bit more enticing. So you’re iterating all the time to improve those processes.
Is Analytics Increasing in Importance?
Andy: Do you think analytics is increasing in importance as attention becomes a rarer resource these days?
Grant Leboff: Yes because I think that relevance to your customer becomes ever more imperative in order to get and keep that attention and the analytics will tell you what’s resonating and what’s relevant and what isn’t. I think one of the challenges people have with analytics though, and I do understand this, is it can be almost overwhelming, because you could suffocate in a sea of data if you wanted to, so I think it’s a question of knowing what to measure and what not to measure and what’s important for your business, for the drivers of your business, but then really paying attention [00:10:00.08] to that data and I think sometimes what happens is a bit of paralysis. People are so swamped with data they end up looking at none of it, which is a bad idea.
Andy: Yes the paralysis of analysis isn’t it?
Grant Leboff: Yes exactly, so it’s – there’s so much here, I don’t even know where to start and then I don’t do anything and of course that’s a bad idea.
What Does Customer Engagement Really Look Like?
Andy: Now you alluded to this earlier about obviously lead generation and making contact with people and getting interest, customer engagement, which is the next phase, what does it mean these days in a digital marketing world?
Grant Leboff: Well that’s really interesting. It’s very, very important actually for lead generation, so let’s explore that. I read marketing magazines sometimes and there was one particular magazine that I won’t name, did an eight page supplement on what customer engagement is, and after the eight pages you were none the wiser. And I just don’t understand. So let’s be very simple about this. Why is it, before you got married traditionally you got engaged? Why is it, if you lock a public toilet, in many, many countries in the world, on the other side of the world will say engaged? Because essentially, engaged means busy, taken or occupied, so what you’re asking yourself is, it’s all about mind-share. What we’re saying is, how often are our prospects or customers busy, taken or occupied with us, and then you have to have a sensible measure for that. So let me just give you a couple of examples, just so that makes sense to people listening. If you’re a supermarket in the UK, you might decide to measure engagement on a weekly basis, but on the basis that over 80% of the UK population in terms of households, go supermarket shopping at least once a week, measuring weekly engagement would not be ridiculous, because to be honest, if someone hasn’t engaged with your business over a two or three week period, there’s only a few conclusions you could come to: they’ve gone somewhere else, they’ve gone away on a holiday or they’re dead. I mean there aren’t that many conclusions you could come to. Whereas if you’re a corporate law firm, let’s say, [00:12:01.15] measuring engagement on a weekly basis is probably ridiculous, because you wouldn’t expect even your best customers to necessarily engage with you every single week, so you might want to be measuring engagement on a monthly basis or a six weekly basis, or even a quarterly basis, but what you’d be saying is – how often are our customers busy with us? If they retweet something, if they watch something or if they read an article. And of course anything that’s clickable online is measureable, so you know who’s doing what. And that’s really what we mean by engagement, and it’s really important that people understand that, and then they start to measure that in a real and tangible way.
Andy: I suppose it hooks quite heavily into the content creation side of it as well – it’s knowing what to aim for I suppose, what sort of information to give people to get that engagement good doesn’t it?
Grant Leboff: Exactly right, and you’ll know with content creation, you’ve got the content you’re creating to attract new people in, there’s not exactly a fixed line between these, but the content that you’re then to educate your customers and engage them further and maybe deeper learning, which does back to the information architecture again doesn’t it? If you’ve been engaged with a company for many, many months, and they produce a twenty minute video or podcast, you may listen to it. If you don’t know the company – you’ve never heard of them – the chances are you’re not going to commit to a twenty minute podcast but you might read a one minute teaser article or something. So it’s understanding where the content fits, and you’re absolutely right – looking at those engagement analytics will really directly feed into what you’re producing, what’s working, what isn’t, and of course what lead to a purchase as well. Because content marketing isn’t there just to entertain an audience, it’s there to drive business because most businesses, media business being an exception, don’t make money just out of people looking at the content. Ultimately they need to drive people to a purchase so there has to be a commercial element to this and that data and those analytics are very important in that. [00:14:00.01]
How to Cut Through the Noise
Andy: Now in today’s day and age there are so many different platforms you can use, there’s so many ways that we can market online, I was just wondering about cutting through the noise, Grant, and knowing where to start. What are your thoughts on that?
Grant Leboff: Yes it’s a great question, it’s something that people often ask, and there are two very specific areas I’d look at with that. The first one is, do you know where your customers hang out? The one thing in marketing, it’s always been – it hasn’t changed just because the web’s come along, is be where your customers are. So of course there are a plethora of platforms, there are a multitude of places you could be, and none of us have the resources really to be in all of those places, so the thing is – do I know where my customers hang out? For example, if you use a social CRM platform, you can use the email addresses of your current market to understand which of the social media platforms are important to them, and if you can see – oh 70% of my marketplace is using Facebook and Twitter, for argument’s sake, then you want to be on Facebook and Twitter and perhaps Snapchat’s not so important for you. So the first obvious answer is make sure you are where your customers are hanging out as well, and obviously that’s a moving feast – over years that may change. So keep on top of that but make sure, so that’s one thing. Make sure you’re putting the resources and the effort into the platforms that are actually being used by your prospects and customers. But there is one other point that I would make to this which I think is fundamental and people often miss, essentially what you’re doing in marketing today, because if we go right back to the beginning of this chat, today you own a media channel and marketing used to be the art, people may not have thought about it like this but it was, marketing used to be the art of interrupting someone else’s audience, if you think about it. You put an advert in the newspaper because you believed your audience were reading it, or in a magazine or whatever else, but in digital channels that’s not the case. Because let’s say you spend £20,000 on a brand new spanking website today [00:16:03.17] and you launch it tomorrow, it might be the best website ever but it’s got no audience. So today, marketing is not the art of interrupting someone else’s audience, and this goes back to the engagement piece as well, marketing is now the art of building an audience and then retaining it. And therefore, in terms of cutting through the noise, think about this – I want to build an audience, it could be of operations directors, it could be senior partners and law firms, it could be househusbands and housewives. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you’ve got an audience that you want to build, so the question you want to ask yourself is – who already has the eyeballs of the audience? Who already has the attention of that audience and how can I work with them or leverage them to capture some of that audience? So can I interview them? Can I do a webinar with them? Can I do a joint blog with them? How could I work with those people, there won’t be one, there’ll be lots, at all those companies and so Isaac Newton called it standing on the shoulders of giants. Essentially if I can work with someone who’s already got an audience, firstly I get credibility and second of all I’ll get some of the eyeballs or ears of that particular audience and from a standing start when you’ve got nothing, that is the quickest way to build audience in a digital environment.
Grant’s Top Tip/Key Takeaway
Andy: So Grant, we’ve talked about quite a few different things today. If there was one top tip or key takeaway for our audience today, what would it be?
Grant Leboff: So one key takeaway, so it’s something that I quoted in a previous book of mine, but everybody will know JFK gave one of the most famous inauguration addresses of any president of the United States of America, and during that address he very famously said – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. If I’m allowed to borrow his quote, I would say – if you want to be really successful at marketing today, your starting point should be this: don’t ask what your marketing can do for you, the amount of leads it can bring and all those different things, ask what your marketing can do for your customer. [00:18:08.05] If you can create marketing that creates amazing value for the customer, then you’re onto something, then you can engage, you can win audience, you can build audience, you’ll get people to share, or some of the other things we spoke about, dovetails out of that.
Andy: Well Grant, thank you so much. How can our listeners find out more about you and Sticky Marketing and also, tell us about your book.
Grant Leboff: Yes so Digital Selling is the latest book. Of course it’s available at all good book shops and Amazon and all the rest of it. It’s really telling people about how to use the web and social media effectively to generate leads and sell more – that’s the purpose of the book. In terms of me, the best way of finding me is literally to go to stickymarketing.com and there are loads of videos and resources and all sorts of things that people are free to use.
Andy: And Grant’s giving away three copies of his book, Digital Selling – How to use Social Media and the Web to Generate Leads and Sell More. If you go along to sitevisibility.co.uk/grant and fill in your details, you get a chance to win a copy there so that’s fantastic, thanks for that Grant, and thanks to our listeners for listening. The show notes are in the usual place, sitevisibility.com/impodcast. If you’re enjoying the show, leave a review as I mentioned before, you know how to do that. We’re always looking for questions and suggestions, so the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can Tweet us @sitevisibility. If you want to connect with me personally, I’m Doctor Pod on Twitter and LinkedIn. Don’t forget you can have a conversation with us on the Site Visibility group on LinkedIn. Just a reminder again, a chance to win a free book, that’s Digital Selling – How to Use Social Media and the Web to Generate Leads and Sell More – that’s at sitevisibility.co.uk/grant. Well thanks everyone, so that’s all from me, Andy, and that’s all from Grant.
Grant Leboff: Thank you.
Andy: And we’ll see you next time on Internet Marketing.