Monthly Archives: February 2019

The Benefits of Including Video on Your Website

The Benefits of Including Video on Your Website written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Including Video on Your Website

Video has become a foundational element in marketing. Why is video so important? It’s how people want to consume content. They want the ability to listen without reading, to be hands-free, and to just have the content coming at them.

There have been numerous studies demonstrating that the highest ROI for any marketing output is coming from short form video.

Types of Video You Need

There several kinds of video content you should be including on your website. Here are the categories of short form video you need.

1. What We Stand For

This video should go on the home page above the fold. It should be the first thing people see, and it should give them a sense of who you are, what you do, what you believe, and what your brand stands for.

Creating a video like this is one of the greatest trust-building activities today. So much of business happens online, but in the end, we don’t do business with a website or email address; we do business with people. An introductory video like this allows you to establish a human connection that makes your brand instantly relatable to people who land on your website.

2. Simplify Your Benefits

Video is also a great way to simplify the benefits to what you do. Sometimes reading through your products and services, particularly if you work in a complex or jargon-heavy industry, can make prospects glaze over. Video allows you to simplify difficult topics and introduce your products and services in an easily-consumable format.

3. Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ videos allow you to build trust and answer questions in a format that makes it easy for people to engage. Not only that, if you have any sites ranking for voice search, video FAQs are amazing for ranking. Videos answer the question in a simple form, and it’s something that Google really wants to see.

4. Personalized Team Bios

This also ties in with the idea of doing business with people, not some faceless business on the web. Sharing personal bio videos for salespeople, technicians, or customer service representatives allows visitors to put a face to a name (or email address) immediately. Particularly if you have a business where someone is coming out to the customer’s home to offer a service, it’s nice for customers to see a video first that gives them a sense of security and allows them to feel like the technician is a friendly face—even if they’ve never met before in real life.

How to Produce Your Videos

Producing video becomes easier each year. Access to high quality cameras and simple editing tools mean that you don’t need to be a Hollywood editor to create content that looks decent. Plus, the content and intent of the video is far more important than a high production value.

There are three basic ways to go about creating video content:

  • On your iPhone. When you use an external microphone and either a simple lighting setup or natural light, you can get great results on your phone’s camera.
  • In a studio. There are lots places that allow you to rent studio space, with access to professional lighting and video equipment, so that you can film all of your video over the course of one day for a low cost.
  • With a videographer. You can hire a videographer to come to your office and do a day of filming with you and your staff.

Video editing software is fairly easy to use, but if you don’t want to handle this on your own, it’s easy enough to find someone on a site like UpWork or Fiverr who can do basic, inexpensive editing.

You also want to transcribe your videos. Having the words close captioned on the screen is important. When someone is viewing the video on a mobile device or from their desk at work, they don’t want the sound on, disturbing those around them. That’s where captions come in; they can still get the full effect of the content without having to listen to the video.

Why Video Matters

Video keeps people on your website longer. This is not only important for the obvious fact that any visitor staying on your site longer is more likely to want to do business with you. It’s also a known SEO ranking factor. If people go to your site and stick around to watch a video that’s a few minutes long, Google notes that people are hanging around on your site, and that positively influences your ranking.

Google also owns YouTube, the largest video site in the world. They love to show video in their search results. When you optimize your videos by putting them on YouTube and embedding them in your site, you’re giving your video content a shot at ranking on Google for certain queries. If you’d prefer not to host your video content on YouTube, Wistia is another great site.

Beyond benefits with Google, video allows you to tell a story and create a connection in a way you simply can’t with the written word. Storytelling is at the crux of any good marketing effort, and video is certainly no exception.

Video Applications Beyond Your Website

Incorporating video into your website is only half of the game. There are other marketing channels that allow you to harness the power of video. Video ads can help you stand out and drive attention to your site. Video emails are a hot trend right now, and the technology here continues to improve.

Finally, you can create personalized video messages to send directly to clients and prospects. Let’s say you’re a web designer; you can share your screen and go through a prospect’s website, narrating issues you’ve identified and what changes you’d make to improve it. Not only does this give them highly personalized service, it’s quicker and easier for you to record a video than it is to type everything out in an email. We at Duct Tape Marketing like to use Loom for sending one-to-one videos.

Bonus Video Tip

Once you shoot and transcribe a video, you suddenly have a lot of content! You can use the audio from your video to include in a podcast. The written text from the transcription can be turned into one or more blog posts. Video is a great way to capture the initial content, which you can then spin out into a three-for-one deal: video, audio, and text.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of What Local Businesses Need to Know About the State of Local SEO

Transcript of What Local Businesses Need to Know About the State of Local SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Transcript

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John Jantsch: Perhaps one of the hottest things in marketing today is local SEO. In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, we’re going to visit with Neil Crist. He’s the Head of Product and Engineering at Moz, probably knows more about local SEO and the industry insights around SEO than most people.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Neil Crist. He is the Head of Product and Engineering at Moz. We’re going to talk about their annual State of Local SEO, industry insights for a successful 2019. We’re going to be all over the place with local SEO and you guys know how I love to talk about that. Neil, thanks for joining me.

Neil Crist: Thanks John for having me.

John Jantsch: I said this was an annual survey and I think it is, isn’t it? Is this something you do or have done for a number of years?

Neil Crist: You know, we’ve done a number of studies on annual basis. We’ve done local ranking factors, local SEO predictions, et cetera. This is somewhat of a new one in that we decided we wanted to look at the local landscape from a marketing perspective and get points of view on how the local landscape is changing from both search and then more broadly marketing as well.

John Jantsch: Who did you survey then? Just to get a baseline on some of the results we’re going to talk about.

Neil Crist: We surveyed I think roughly around 1,800 marketers, local marketers. These are SMB marketers. There’s some embedded within enterprises but mostly skewed toward SMB.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I know it’s about a third were called themselves small business focused agencies, which is really in our sweet spot for a lot of listeners. These were really the insights from them and being one of them, I’m going to say, that doesn’t mean they’re right.

Neil Crist: That’s good point.

John Jantsch: For context, let’s just start with, because you mentioned the ranking factors. Right now today, and I have to emphasize that today because it might change tomorrow, what are the most important ranking factors for small business as far as Moz has discovered?

Neil Crist: Well, in terms of local specifically. There are number of things that I would touch on about that. I think if I were to take one step back from it, I think to connect it to why we did this study, it really was about this notion that local continues to change in a pretty dramatic way in terms of local search. Part of our work that we’ve been doing at Moz is really diving into an understanding the increasing role that local is playing not just in local search but in every type of search. Right? Local is becoming a core ranking factor regardless of if it’s a local business or not. In our minds, part of this study was really to get inside the heads of marketers to understand do they understand the change in landscape? Do they understand the complexity? By and large, what we found is they understand the complexity, but in terms of double clicking down into the details, they have trouble prioritizing across the 15 plus tactics they could employ to impact local search.

John Jantsch: Let me clarify something. Are you suggesting then that if I’m a national business and I don’t, maybe I don’t even have an office necessarily like I’m a consultant or something, it doesn’t really matter where I work? Are you suggesting that good solid local ranking factors that happen to be with where I am are going to help me rank nationally?

Neil Crist: No, actually I think I’m saying the inverse, the point I was trying to make which is, what we’re seeing is this case where because local is a personalization aspect of any search regardless of device that you’re on, we’re seeing that personalization aspect taking part in determining what shows up in the search engine result pages, regardless if it’s a local search or not. What I mean by that is we have cases today where we have clients, large national brands that have local locations and they’re competing with non local results for their products and their services. Even though we have brands that aren’t local or online market places that aren’t local, they are actively competing in that local search use case. The lines are blurred. Then you enter in a local marketer who now is trying to compete in local but then also has national brands and then also has even non local brands competing for space. It becomes a very active landscape.

John Jantsch: Well, and let’s not forget to throw in the aggregators that are out there doing the 10 best blah, blah, blah in their city. I mean, they’re essentially national lead aggregators and they’re messing up the local results. It seems like Google right now likes them.

Neil Crist: That’s right. I think local data has been a very messy landscape for quite some time. I do think that Google is making good moves towards trying to find sources of truth that it can rely on, which is I think in the longterm going to help in local search. Today that’s not the case, but we’re at least seeing movements in that direction.

John Jantsch: Well, I think ironically they were part of the problem.

Neil Crist: Yes.

John Jantsch: Going from Places to Google Plus to whatever it is, but I think they finally landed, it seems like that. Doesn’t it? With Google My Business, they seem serious this time.

Neil Crist: Yeah, I agree with you. Google My Business I think is a confluence of a couple things. One is with local searches being so close to the intent to purchase, I think Google has really gotten a handle on the monetization opportunities that exist in that local search use case. Right. Also, I think there’s a secondary effort for Google to maintain a really positive experience for searchers that are searching in the local context. Some of it’s having effects that local marketers might not like. Right? One example of that would be you search for a particular good or service and you actually find a business but you never do visit their website, but you actually may end up clicking the call. You may actually end up clicking to navigate and become a customer of that local business, but there won’t be any attribution to the website, right? Those traditional metrics get thrown sideways but when you look at the experience that Google is trying to promote, they’re trying to create a consistent ability for a person searching to find what they’re looking for and take action because it’s so close to that transaction.

John Jantsch: That seems awfully generous. I think what they’re trying to do is control the transaction itself. You look at local search ads and somebody can actually be all the way to a truck coming to their house and not even know who … I mean, they’ll know who they’re working with, but that the entire transaction has gone through Google.

Neil Crist: Without question. I think I was taking the customer experience first point of view, which is an argument, but you’re right. The disintermediation potential there in what’s happening today in certain verticals is absolutely a byproduct. I think for local marketers, I think one important thing to do is understand depending on the vertical that they play in and the geography, right? Because those have a factor as well. Understanding the dynamics of local search, even to the point where I would say, become a customer and search for your goods and services on different devices. Ask questions on Google, look for topics surrounding the area that you work in and that you serve and really start to understand what is showing up in search engine results, and what should I understand, what kind of contents popping up? Are there featured snippets that show up that I should be aware of as a local marketer? Those sort of things.

John Jantsch: Then do repeat the entire process in incognito mode.

Neil Crist: Exactly, incognito mode, even employ friends because we see personalization creating lots of variability in what that search result looks like.

John Jantsch: Let’s talk about-

Neil Crist: Yeah. Go ahead.

John Jantsch: I was going to say, I want to jump to proximity. In today’s world, especially so many people on a mobile device searching for stuff and the maps listing basically takes over the entire screen, for certain types of home service businesses that maps listing has become live or die, I think in some cases. Yet it still seems that it doesn’t matter how many reviews you have or how good you are, all the social signals in the back links, proximity is still such a big factor that you might not have much range.

Neil Crist: Right. Definitely for certain types of searches, proximity wins when it’s tight, when it’s clearly a local search signal. I would say though, the types of content you’re referring to like reviews that there’s some new content types on Google My Business like question and answers and that type of content is playing a factor. There have been some test done within the local search community that’s starting to prove out that. I think one of the studies that we recently conducted probably in 2018 sort of mid 2018 was understanding the relevant or the inclusion of ads within local. We did a broad study across 11 different verticals and across I think a hundred different cities in the United States, the largest cities in the U.S. and we found broad variability in terms of where those monetization efforts were going on with Google.

It really created this situation where marketers may be playing in a space where they think they have some room to gain organic opportunity. Then that space changes the characteristics of that space, changes from week to week and changes the opportunity. That’s why I think for us, we’re spending a lot of time thinking about how do we bring forward the insights and also the changes, the variability I talked about for local marketers so they can start to adapt as those changes occur.

John Jantsch: Let’s talk a moment about, we already mentioned Google My Business, but I mean, would it be your advice that because Google, they added text messaging and posts and question and answer and descriptions now in service listings, I mean, they seem to keep adding things to it and encouraging you to put videos on it. I mean, would it be simple advice to just say if Google seems to be all in on that, we as marketers have to be all in on every opportunity they give us to optimize that?

Neil Crist: I would say I hesitate against saying yes as a blanket answer only because I think part of the calculus here is it depends on the competitiveness of your particular local business and your particular local search landscape. Right? I would always say with any local business, both as part of Moz and as a colleague of folks that own local businesses, I would say without question that you should make sure that your details, your profile is well appointed on Google My Business. Right? It feels like a table stake, particularly given that with the experience of search, keeping you on that Google My Business property for a number of clicks, right? It used to be the website click, the website link was within the search result of the local pack. At some point last year I got relegated down one step and now it’s down another step. If you really want users to interact with the Google My Business profile and a customer end up on your website, ultimately, it’s important that that profile stand out.

John Jantsch: Let’s do a little bit of an offshoot of that. The knowledge panels had been with us for a couple of years. If somebody does, as you said, they know the business they’re looking for in the city, they’re going to pull up that knowledge panel. I’m starting to see knowledge panels show up for local businesses for organic searches. It might be something closely related to their business and maybe because their name has that search term in it or something, the knowledge panel shows up on the right side. I mean that would suggest to somebody, wow, that’s an important thing. How important is it that we’re not just optimizing, but we’re paying attention to what the knowledge panel means to local business?

Neil Crist: That’s a great question. The way that we’ve talked about the knowledge panel and local is if you think about it from just a percentage of the page, just real estate, pure real estate, the idea that you could take actions and earn that space makes it incredibly valuable because it stands out even more so than the traditional 10 blue links that you’d see as well as featured snippets. Right? Dr. Pete Meyers from Moz talks about featured snippets being position zero. I would say also that the knowledge panel is probably just as valuable real estate. I think users that are marketers rather that are trying to gain that space, you know, your Google My Business profile is going to be your first step in making sure you secure that. Then I think it is important to understand if you’re not showing up in that knowledge panel, why? Who is showing up for related searches?

John Jantsch: It’s interesting though, because back to an earlier point, a lot of times that knowledge panel will say people also look for your five competitors listed right here.

Neil Crist: That’s right. That’s right.

John Jantsch: Again, another good thing, bad thing, right?

Neil Crist: That’s right. The one thing that I would say it’s pretty interesting that we’ve seen of late is that does matter particularly in the local spaces, not only other people searched for but this other area around people also asked, right? Just below a featured snippet, the people also ask is becoming a really important signal for local marketers to understand in the clusters of topics that searchers are looking for, like what are they looking for? How are they thinking about the topics that they’re looking for? Then you cross reference that with how close that is to intent to purchase or intent to take action. You can start to build out somewhat of a mapping of the types of content you should be publishing to capture those eyeballs.

John Jantsch: Yeah, it’s amazing. If you really look at what Google is suggesting quite often, they’re suggesting your path in many cases.

Neil Crist: That’s right. That’s right.

John Jantsch: Let’s jump to another really big and contentious topic, reviews. I’ve been saying for a long time, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but that reviews are a ranking factor for a local business. Now, they certainly add social proof. We’re not going to buy from certain kinds of businesses that don’t have nice reviews and a nice aggregate number, but are they truly a factor that gets you in the three pack or whatever we’re calling it these days?

Neil Crist: Well, a couple of things about reviews. We were just taking a look at some data around this. I think some of the latest data we’ve seen is that within a local context that up to a third of decision making by searchers is impacted by whether or not their review is present. I think that’s important to understand. The other piece that we’ve looked at is if you take a broad swath of just the local search experience, whether you’re on mobile or another device, in almost every case, whether it’s a list view, the local pack itself, whether it’s within the traditional blue link structure that we’re used to seeing, reviews are a key component of those results. If you also just eyeball those, you’ll notice that what you see are those businesses that have strong reviews, either strong in volume or strong in terms of number of stars and ratings. While, well, I don’t have a direct signal that I can quote and say, yes, it definitely is. All of these tea leaves come together and seem to illustrate that it’s an important factor.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I think where a lot of folks we work with gets thrown off sometimes, and I don’t have an answer for is that there are plenty of examples. I think it goes back to your point of maybe not such competitive industries, but there are plenty of examples where somebody can type in a search term with a clearly local intent and there’ll be a couple companies you never heard of that have no reviews. You’re like, why did they get in there and I didn’t?

Neil Crist: That’s right.

John Jantsch: That’s a tough one to explain away.

Neil Crist: It is. One of the investments that we’re making at Moz is really trying to provide more intelligence around local search to the point where with certain topic, keyword and question research, we can actually show you and show the marketer and show the SEO expert, here are the results and here are your competitors for eyeballs within a search within a certain geographical context. That type of intelligence I think will help inform what a local marketer needs to take into account. That’s very on really cutting edge stuff that we’re working on but it’s really taking it to that … It’s really representative of this idea that we understand how important local is to the broad search ecosystem and so we’re making investments in that area.

John Jantsch: It used to be so easy. You’d see who’s ranking, you’d go figure out what they’re doing and just do it two links better and you would rank above them but it’s gotten so complex now, hasn’t it?

Neil Crist: Those were the good old days.

John Jantsch: All right, let’s talk about link building as a matter of fact, another big topic. Probably the hardest thing for a small business marketer to do or wrap their head around especially since there was so much garbage for years about how to get links. What’s the best way to get links and are they still as important?

Neil Crist: Within local, we know that link building is important, right? Some of the things that we found in the study was generally a lack of understanding about how to go about building links. Right? I would relate a lot of what link building is in a local context is around community building, right? Within a local context, being able to reach out to local and adjacent and proximal organizations and even adjacent businesses that are non competitive or maybe coop-petitive you might say in really promoting this idea that there’s a better together sort of reason that users or people that are searching on the web should be able to sort of move between sites. I think that’s a really interesting approach.

Link building is also I think on a local basis, I think it’s a confusing conversation to have around creating links between pages and organizations. What I sort of think about is some of the really common use cases which are things like, if your business is sponsoring a local baseball team for Little League, if you’re donating to the local YMCA chapter and taking part in the community, part of taking part in the community is that attribution back to your business. Those are real tactical things that I think local marketers can wrap their head around.

John Jantsch: Well, I think it’s the low hanging fruit and I’m right with you on that. Go get the alumni directory listing. Go get the Chamber of Commerce listing. I mean, these are gimmes and they’re strong local signals. In some cases they’re .govs and .edu and they’re local. Yeah, I’m totally on board with that.

Neil Crist: That’s right. The other thing I would say about that too is there’s not a lot of competition for local link building. If you’re a small business and you’re reaching out to build that connective link between you and another organization, it’s not like some other areas of the web where people are getting thousands of inquiries about links and about building links. Right? It’s a very grassroots activity.

John Jantsch: It’s networking, it is all it is, right?

Neil Crist: Absolutely. Absolutely.

John Jantsch: Okay. I saved the best for last. You ready?

Neil Crist: Okay.

John Jantsch: At what point does this all become pay to play?

Neil Crist: That is a great question. I don’t know if I could prognosticate that. I will say certainly we’ll see and we have been seeing, and I don’t know if I quoted the exact number, but when we did that study on local monetization by Google, we were expecting to see low single digit prevalence of ads across 11 of the top verticals across a hundred top cities in the U.S. What we saw was 35% prevalence. In those verticals whereas we’re prevalent, they were always there. It’s not like they showed up, disappeared, and they were testing. They were becoming a permanent part of the search result. I think without question, monetization is going to spread to all the verticals where monetization or intend to purchase is clear. Do I ever think it will be a pure pay to play scenario? I don’t think so. I just don’t see it going that direction because at the same time I think there still is a function of search which is to be a source of information and if it’s only a source of paid information, I think that becomes a very different place than where we are today.

John Jantsch: Yeah, it is as you comment at the high commercial intent, stuff is pretty darn easy because they’re so good at relevance. That’s probably what makes, I mean, that is the key to Google, isn’t it?

Neil Crist: That’s right.

John Jantsch: Neil, where can people find out more? I know everybody that listens to my show knows about Moz, but the state of local SEO report is available and maybe you can point people to where they can find it.

Neil Crist: It is. If you go to moz.com/blog, you’ll see a link to the report. I believe also there are a couple articles that had been written by folks at Moz referring to and deep diving into certain aspects of the report. It’s a pretty informative report. It’s about 40 pages so a lot to it. I’d encourage folks to check it out.

John Jantsch: From a practical stand point, if you’re a consultant or an SEO pro of any kind, there’s some great sales data in there. What I mean by that is just sales talking points about how you need to be talking about describing SEO, local SEO I think to some of your customers. That was one of my big takeaways anyway.

Neil Crist: Yeah, I would agree. I would even go a little bit further and say, as a local SEO shop consultant, it’s also great data to determine, “Hey, which verticals should I focus on within my geographies that I work in?” Because there’s definitely some low hanging fruit in terms of business opportunity where we know local businesses need more help than others given monetization, given other aspects of search.

John Jantsch: Well, Neil, thanks for taking the time. I’m a big fan of Moz and I appreciate you stopping by the show. Hopefully we’ll see you out there on the road somewhere.

Neil Crist: Happy to do it, John. Thank you.

What Local Businesses Need to Know About the State of Local SEO

What Local Businesses Need to Know About the State of Local SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Neil Crist
Podcast Transcript

Neil CristToday on the podcast, I speak with Neil Crist, VP Product & Engineering at Moz. Moz is the leading industry expert on everything SEO, and in his role there, Crist leads the product and engineering teams in the creation of Moz’s portfolio of SaaS products.

On today’s episode, we discuss the ins and outs of Moz’s latest State of Local SEO Industry Report, a survey that was created with the help of nearly 1,500 local search marketers.

The local search market is in a constant state of evolution, but Crist has his finger on the pulse of the landscape and shares his insights and knowledge with us here.

Questions I ask Neil Crist:

  • What are the most important ranking factors for small businesses today?
  • What role does proximity play in search results?
  • At what point does this all become pay to play?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why local marketers are competing against national brands in local search results.
  • How changes at Google have thrown off business’s abilities to track attribution to their website.
  • Why “people also asked” is a key signal for local marketers to understand.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Neil Crist:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Website Mistakes Businesses Often Make

Website Mistakes Businesses Often Make written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

What makes a great website? A lot of business owners are at a loss when it comes to what their website should be to best serve their business and their customers. And web designers sometimes have their own ideas about what’s most important, which don’t always best serve their clients.

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common mistakes that business owners make when designing their website, and what you can do to correct them if you’ve made them yourself.

Forgetting about SEO

Before you begin thinking about the design elements of your website, you need to start with a solid foundation. SEO is the bedrock of any well-designed website, but a lot of business owners tend to skip over the critical steps of keyword research and solid SEO strategy.

If you’ve raced past keyword research, you’re doing a huge disservice to yourself and your prospects. When you don’t know what search terms people are using to find solutions that line up with your business’s offerings, you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with valuable prospects. When they’re not able to discover your company, you’re not able to make revenue from them.

If you’ve never undertaken proper keyword research, check out this guide for a step by step approach.

Focusing on Style Over Substance

Everyone wants to build a spiffy-looking website. And it’s true that a website’s look does matter to a certain extent, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus.

Your business offers great solutions and a lot of knowledge to your customers and prospects—you want to be sure that message comes across loud and clear on your website.

The first step to focusing on substance is making sure you have a clearly defined value proposition, and that it’s displayed front and center on your landing pages. If prospects come to your site and are greeted by beautiful visuals but no clear description of what you do, they’ll quickly move on to one of your competitors.

The next step is thinking about storytelling as the driving force for your web copy and layout. When you let storytelling guide your web design, you ensure that you’re addressing the needs of your customers and laying information out in a way that guides the customer journey.

Hiding Your Contact Information

Have you ever been to a website, decided that the business offers a great solution for you, and then had to spend five minutes searching page after page for a simple way to get in touch? It’s a frustrating feeling!

Whatever you do, don’t hide your contact information! Make sure your phone number, address, and email are clearly displayed on each page. Consider incorporating a chat element into your site. Make getting in touch with you a completely seamless process. When a prospect wants to do business with you and give you their money, make it easy for them to do so!

Taking a “One Size Fits All” Approach

Through the power of marketing automation, you’re able to customize landing pages for each visitor. You can ensure you’re greeting prospects and customers with information that’s most relevant to them, based on prior interactions they’ve had with your brand.

A huge part of user experience is making your prospects feel special. People want to feel seen and understood by brands from their very first interaction through to the repeat and refer stages of the marketing hourglass, so being able to provide visitors with relevant, tailored information from the start is a way to make a great first impression and start building trust right away.

Ignoring Trust-Building Elements

Trust is hugely important to building a lasting relationship with customers. If you don’t win a prospect’s trust early in the game, they will never convert. And if you do something that makes a customer question your trustworthiness, they will not come to do business with you again or refer you to their friends.

There are some quick fixes you can take to make sure your site is set up to build trust from the second a visitor lands on your page. Having a website with an HTTPS certificate is the first step. HTTPS encrypts any information you’re gathering on your website, so if you’re asking visitors for their personal information or are collecting payments on your site, you have to make them feel confident their information will be kept safe.

Chrome is now alerting users when the site they’re visiting is has not migrated to HTTPS, so your site is being labeled with “not secure” in the URL bar if you haven’t made the switch.

Including badges for SSL is also an important trust-building step. Research has shown that people are more likely to trust and do business with sites that display trust badges.

When you’re designing your website, it can be easy to get caught up in focusing on the wrong elements. Making a pretty site is not the same as building a solid one, but if you don’t know what makes a truly great site then it’s easy to miss the mark. Knowing these mistakes that business owners often make allows you to identify the issues you see in your own site, and pivot to build a stronger site that empowers you to outpace the competition.

Weekend Favs February 16

Weekend Favs February 16 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Castup – Get professional help editing your podcasts and videos.
  • Dashly Popups – Create and test customized popups.
  • Changelogfy – Inform customers about updates to your products and services.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

Why Your Site Must Switch to HTTPS (And How to Do It)

Why Your Site Must Switch to HTTPS (And How to Do It) written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on HTTPS

Every website in the world is carried across a protocol known as HTTP. Recently, though, we’ve seen more and more websites switching over to HTTPS, which is the secure version of that same protocol.

A site that is carried on HTTPS is encrypted, meaning that all of the data and information on the site itself is protected from hackers. Not only that, but the sensitive information that you gather from prospects and customers—whether that’s their email or credit card information—is encrypted, too.

Why Should I Switch?

Every website owner should be migrating their site to HTTPS. Google has put incredible emphasis on ensuring that sites are secure. They recently made updates to their Chrome browser so that HTTPS sites appear with a lock symbol in the browser bar. Those that are just HTTP display the words “Not secure” in red next to the site’s URL. Having warning text associated with your website does not make a great first impression on visitors.

Not only that, Google is making HTTPS a ranking factor, so if you want to ensure that your site is well positioned in Google results (and you do), then you need to be thinking about securing an HTTPS certificate.

Even if you don’t collect any customer data through forms, your site is still vulnerable. Every time someone visits your website, there is a transfer of information between their computer and your site. If your information is not encrypted, it’s there for hackers to see and attack on the backend.

How Do I Switch?

Fortunately, it’s really easy to make the switch to an HTTPS site. WordPress offers a number of plugins to make the change, and most web hosts offer HTTPS certificates to their clients (either for a fee or, more often than not, for free as part of their service).

Hosts like Pressable and WPEngine, who work specifically with WordPress sites, offer HTTPS certification to all of their customers.

If you have a particularly old site that’s built in HTML it might be a bit more work to migrate, but there are plenty of consultants who can guide you through the process.

What Happens After I’ve Switched?

Once you’ve made the switch, you’ve essentially created two versions of your site: one that is HTTP and the other that is HTTPS.

Most hosts will automatically eliminate the HTTP version, so that even if someone types your site’s URL into their browser with “http://” as the start of the address, it will convert to the HTTPS version. However, if both the HTTP and HTTPS sites remain active out there, then you’re still leaving some content vulnerable, and you’re also confusing Google, leading them to believe you have two identical sites.

After you’ve gotten your HTTPS certificate, go to your Google Search Console and update your sitemap in order to instruct Google to look only at your HTTPS site moving forward. Within a week of the switch, Google will have moved away from your HTTP site and will only show the HTTPS version in results.

While this is a technical topic, it fortunately doesn’t take a lot of technical expertise to do the right thing and acquire an HTTPS certificate. A quick call to your web host and an update to your Google Search Console is all that’s needed to get your site compliant and ensure that the valuable information you hold about your business and your customers is all secure.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Klaviyo logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to klaviyo.com/beyondbf.

Transcript of What Sport Can Teach Us About Business

Transcript of What Sport Can Teach Us About Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast

Transcript

This transcript is sponsored by our transcript partner – Rev – Get $10 off your first order

Asana logoJohn Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to by Asana, a work management software tool that we use to run pretty much everything in our business. All of our meetings, all of our product launches, all of our tasks, and I’m going to show you how you can try it for free a little later.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Alan Stein, Jr. He’s a corporate performance coach, speaker, author of a book we’re going to talk about today called Raise Your Game: High Performance Secrets for the Best of the Best. So Al, thanks for joining me.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Oh, my pleasure.

John Jantsch: So in the introduction of the book, you tell a story about your days as a basketball performance coach, where you taught some pretty high profile athletes how to raise their athleticism and mind/body connection. I wonder if we could start there and tell me what that looked like.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Absolutely. For me, basketball was my first identifiable passion. I fell in love with the game at probably five or six years old, and I’m turning 43 in a couple of days, and basketball has been a major pillar of my life since that time, so almost four decades. I had a pretty interesting career where I was able to see some really great players at younger ages before they made it big, kind of the before picture, and I was able to observe some really high level players in the unseen hours after they had made it big, kind of the after picture, and I’ve really tried to curate from both sides of that spectrum and come up with a list of principles, and habits, and routines, and mindsets that anyone in any walk of life, but most certainly business, can apply to their performance.

John Jantsch: So let’s start with a baseline. Are there just a few things or maybe a lot of things that successful people do differently?

Alan Stein, Jr.: You know, I think it’s a small handful. And you could probably expand the list, but they’d probably all connect back to the foundational pillars, and one of the main principles of the book, and I use as a guiding principle in my life and everything I do is to never get bored with the basics. That what it takes to be successful in any endeavor is usually very basic in premise, but it’s never easy to do, and I always make sure to differentiate between the two. Just because something is basic, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. And a lot of people treat those as synonyms, and they’re most certainly not.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I know it’s almost cliché to say, but it’s like, shoot your free throws, right?

Alan Stein, Jr.: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Perfect example. In the game of basketball, one of the most basic components is simply footwork. Your movement efficiency on the court. And when a player puts in the hours to master their footwork, it makes all of the other skills in the game go up. They’re shooting, they’re passing, they’re rebounding, they’re defense because all of that stuff starts at their feet. And lots of times when I’m working with leaders and working in business, I make the analogy that listening is the footwork of business, or of leadership, or of sales because the only way you can truly lead others, or the only way you can sell anything or solve a problem is if you’re listening. You need to listen to your clients, or customers, or patients, or members, or whatever your terminology is, but you have to really listen to make sure that you’re able to solve their problem, and listening is a skill that all of us should and continue to practice on a regular basis the same way elite NBA players practice their footwork, every single day.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and that’s probably a little counterintuitive for a lot of leaders, isn’t it? Because they sometimes, and I’m guilty of this, I feel like people are there to have me tell them what to do rather than listen, and I think you’re suggesting that just the opposite is the skill you need to develop.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Well, it’s both. I mean, you are clearly a subject matter expert and you’re a professional speaker, so people pay you to come in and actually teach and to talk, but my guess would be that in order for you to make sure that you’re delivering the right content on time to the right people, there was some listening going along the way. It may be in the form of a pre-event call or some pre-event questionnaire, or when you’re really getting a feel for who you’re going to deliver to in any capacity, you have to make sure you’re doing the listening.

Same thing in sales. When it comes to sales, and I know we share a lot of mutual friends that are really high on the sales professional list, and they all say that telling is not selling, that in order to really find that good fit, you have to ask insightful questions first to really get the intel to make sure that your product or service is the right fit for them. And if it is the right fit and you ask them the right questions, you won’t have to convince them to buy anyway. They’re going to convince themselves because you’re asking the right questions. And same thing with leaders. When you ask people questions and you listen to their answers, unconsciously you’re telling them that you care about them, and that they’re important, and that you value them. And that’s one of the most important traits of a leader is making sure that the people on their team know that the leader cares about them on and off the court or in and out of the board room.

John Jantsch: And I think it also goes to empowerment too because if they know that you’re going to give them the answer any time they ask a question, why should they try to figure it out themselves? And I think that that’s a habit that we can really get into too.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Oh, absolutely. You nailed that perfectly, and that’s so insightful. And I know in my own journey, when I was a younger coach, I didn’t listen very well because I was too busy trying to show everyone how smart I thought I was, and I wanted to puff up my chest and give the answer to everything. And then as I started to get older and hopefully wiser and more mature, I started to realize that I had that backwards, that you should go through life with your eyes and ears as open as possible and keep your mouth closed until it’s time to really share something of value.

John Jantsch: And I think this actually goes to the heart of what we’ve been discussing. You said one of the first steps, and again, I think it’s early on in the book, you say one of the first steps is you have to first learn how to live in the present.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Yes. And that is one of the most important skills for any human being, but it’s vital for performance in sport or in business. And really the short definition of living present is to be where your feet are. And wherever your feet are, that’s where your head and heart should be as well, and I know that may sound obvious, but in today’s day and age where we have so many digital distractions, that’s not always the case.

You can picture you and I going out to a friendly lunch and I’m staring at my phone the entire time we’re at lunch. Clearly, there’s going to be a disconnect between us, and what I’m telling you unconsciously is that whatever’s on my phone is more important than you are, and that unconscious message, if don’t consistently, is going to erode any type of connection that you and I have. And it’s so important for people to realize, we are always communicating a message, even when you don’t think you’re communicating, you are communicating, and in that instance, I would be communicating to you that my phone is more important than you are. And that, from a leadership standpoint, from a friendship standpoint, from a teammate standpoint is going in the wrong direction.

John Jantsch: Yeah, how am I supposed to feel when I discover I’m two rungs below a cat video, right?

Alan Stein, Jr.: Exactly.

John Jantsch: So it’s almost not even that much work to make analogies in business and sports, is it?

Alan Stein, Jr.: Right.

John Jantsch: You take that full circle, no pun intended, if you were looking at the book. You have a graphic that talks about this circle of player/coach/team, employee/manager/organization. So I want to dive into a couple of the ways or the things that you talk about having to develop. Kind of set the stage for that employee/manager/organization, player/coach/team analogy.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Yeah. I found there is just tremendous crossover. And I’ve lived both because even in my 20 years as a basketball performance coach, I was always working in the private sector, I always had my own training business. So I’ve been an entrepreneur since day one. I’ve never had a corporate job or a “real job” as an adult, so I’ve been able to see firsthand the symmetry, and the alignment, and the harmony between what’s required to excel in sport and what’s required to excel in business. And it just goes back to those foundational principles and pillars.

Clearly, the X’s and O’s and the tactical sides are going to be different, but the principles don’t really change. So really, what it would take to have an elite culture, a winning culture for a basketball team is the same as it is for business, and the only major difference is many businesses just have to do it at a higher scale. A basketball team is going to have a head coach, a couple of assistants, 14, 15 players, maybe a couple managers, whereas these principles could still be applied to a business that has a thousand employees, but the principles stay the same.

John Jantsch: And I think it’s become very common today to talk about ‘my team’ and ‘my department’ and to even talk about a manager as a mentor or a coach as part of their responsibility, so I think it’s certainly not a stretch at all.

Alan Stein, Jr.: No, it’s not. Oh, and I was going to say, what I’ve been really encouraging basketball coaches to do is to make sure they’re learning from entrepreneurs and executives and people in the business world. I mean, what you said, and you nailed it perfectly, this has been going on for decades where businesses will bring in athletes or more times coaches or general managers to talk to their teams, and everyone is always trying to pull from sport to business, but the inverse is very much the same. A smart coach would find a local business owner that’s created a championship level culture, is thriving, and has had longterm, sustainable results and pick that person’s brain for what they’re doing because, again, it’s the same stuff.

John Jantsch: As I said in the intro, this is brought to you by Asana. It’s a work management software tool that we’ve been using for a long time, our entire team. It just allows us to be so much more productive, to unify our communication, to keep track of tasks, to assign and delegate, pretty much run everything from meetings all the way up through our client work, and you can get it and try it free for 30 days because you are a listener. So get started at Asana.com/DuctTape. That’s Asana, A-S-A-N-A.com/DuctTape.

So you break the book then from that point on into this employee/manager/business, or maybe it’s organization, and you talk about things that you need to develop, and what’s interesting is, when you talk about the employee, I think the employee has to develop those, but the manager has to maybe see that as their responsibility to help them, to help some of those, and one of the ones … you have each of those broken into four, five, six different chunks, but I want to maybe kind of riff on three of them.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Sure.

John Jantsch: Because the first one, I think it’s the first one, for the employee, I think is actually the hardest for individuals period, and that’s this idea of developing or helping them develop self-awareness. How the heck do you do that?

Alan Stein, Jr.: Yes. That is a tough one, and it’s also important to note that it’s a continual journey. You never arrive. No one should be able to stick their stake in the ground and say, “I’m 100% self-aware.” There’s going to be varying degrees of it. And funny enough-

John Jantsch: And that would actually indicate you were not, right?

Alan Stein, Jr.: Exactly. Yes. Once you think you’ve arrived, you haven’t. But funny enough, and I know this may sound counterintuitive, many times, the way we need to acquire self-awareness or at least heighten and strengthen it is by asking others, and I don’t mean random people off the street. Ask the people that know us the best. Close family, and friends, and colleagues, and coworkers that really know us because all of us, we can’t see our own blind spots. We can have the humility and the foresight to know that we have blind spots, but that’s why they’re called blind spots because we don’t know what they are and we don’t know what we don’t know. So the key is, once you believe that you have some self-awareness and you’re aware of what’s good and what’s bad and what your dreams are as well as what your fears and insecurities are, then you need to ask other people and see if there’s an accuracy there.

Perfect example. I’ll just use listening because I brought it up earlier. If I believe that I’m a great listener, but you ask the five people closest to me and they all say that I’m not, well then I’m probably not. It really doesn’t matter what I think. What’s most important is the result of what’s going on in real life, and that’s where, if you have the humility to ask those, you can decrease that gap between what you believe is true and what others are seeing as true. And it always reminds me of a funny quote I heard from a comedian. He said, “If the audience doesn’t laugh, it’s not funny.” That’s the definition of a joke. If they don’t laugh, it’s not funny. They’re the judge and the jury. And he said, “It doesn’t matter if I think it’s funny, it doesn’t matter if my comedian friends think it’s funny. The people in the audience, if they don’t laugh, then it’s not funny.” And it’s the same thing with self-awareness. No matter how good of a listener you think you are, if those around you don’t think you are, then there’s a major disconnect.

John Jantsch: In the manager category, the one that popped out to me is servant because I’m not sure managers always view their role as servant.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Well, the concept of servant leadership has been around forever, but it’s really the mindset that, everything I do is to add value to others, is to fill other’s buckets. It’s not in degradation of yourself, you still need to fill your own bucket first in order to fill other’s, but everything you’re doing is trying to raise others up, and that should be a true leader’s mentality. It shouldn’t be for any other reason other than the fact that you’re trying to elevate somebody else’s game, and then collectively elevate your entire organization. But the servanthood mindset, at least all of the elite leaders I’ve been around, that’s one they’ve adopted right from the get go.

John Jantsch: And I’ll tell you in my own experience how that role is both a positive and a negative is when it comes to taking credit for stuff. I think some of the best leaders when good things happen give the team credit, and sometimes not so evolved leaders need the credit.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Very well said. Yes, and you are correct. And I think that usually comes from an insecurity. That they’re not confident enough in who they are as a leader that they feel like they need that credit to puff up their chest, if you will.

John Jantsch: So let’s go to the organization. Again, you had five or six characteristics there, and one that I’d love to hear you expand is role clarity being essential.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Yeah. That one is absolutely vital, and as I work with a variety of different organizations, it’s usually one that trips people up. One, they simply make the assumption that everybody on the team knows with tremendous clarity what their specific role is, and many times, that’s not the case. So it’s so important for every person in the organization to know exactly how they fit into the grand scheme of things, and I’ve always felt that a team or an organization is simply a jigsaw puzzle, and every single person is a different piece with different knobs and different holes that are going to fit together different, and it’s vital that everybody knows what their role is so that they can then embrace that role and star in that role whatever it may be.

And of course, organizations, there are going to be varying levels of roles and responsibilities, and you may play a much bigger role in our organization than I do, but mine is still important because even without my little puzzle piece, we can’t finish the picture or the collage, so every piece matters. And lots of times, people don’t even know what their role is, and then if they do know it, they don’t take pride in fulfilling it because they want a different role, and that’s where we start to see dysfunction.

John Jantsch: You know, I love what you said earlier about the idea that you’re always communicating something, and I think that’s one of the challenges with role clarity is a lot of times, we are communicating role dysfunction, if you will, and that’s where it gets really tough. So it’s something that you not only have to define, but redefine, and redefine, and re-support, and I don’t think it ever goes away, does it?

Alan Stein, Jr.: No, it doesn’t. And you brought up a great point there because this happens all the time. When we talk about communicating when you don’t think you’re communicating. Let’s take delegating for example. So you and I are teammates on our organization and I delegate an important task to you. Not menial work, an important task. A big proposal or what have you. Unconsciously, I’m communicating to you that I trust you, John. I know that you’re competent. I believe in you. I know that you’re going to do this as well as I could do it or maybe even better. You’re the right person to do it. And clearly, that’s going to deepen our connection between each other. That’s going to build trust.

Whereas, what a lot of people do would be micromanage. I hand you an important task and I stand over your shoulder the entire time, which again, communicates now a different message, that I don’t trust you, I don’t believe in you. In fact, I think you’re too big of a moron to get this right unless I’m standing right over your shoulder. So now I’m eroding our connection, and I’m creating more friction and more dysfunction. And I know more times than not, that’s done with great intention. Lots of times when we micromanage, it’s because we’re so particular about the way we want things done, and we have such a high standard of excellence, we want it done the right way and we want it done our way, but we forget that we are communicating that different message, and that’s, again, where our roles will start to get some ambiguity and some fog, and we don’t want that.

And one more thing I’ll say on roles. It’s one thing to have the right people on your team, but you also have to make sure they’re in the right seats on the bus, and for it to be a great fit is, I’m going to put things, your role with our organization are going to be things that you enjoy doing and you’re really good at doing, and the more of your role that are those two things, then the higher you’ll perform. If I give you a whole bunch of things that you enjoy doing, but you’re not very good at, well then we’re all going to suffer because the work is going to be poor. And if I give you things that you’re good at, but you really don’t enjoy doing them, then it’s going to be tough to keep you motivated longterm. So this is where we can shift things around. Especially in a diverse organization.

There might be some things that are in your current job description that you don’t really enjoy, but someone else on the team would love to do those things, and that’s where we can shift around. I’m not really a spreadsheet kind of guy. I’m not a high IQ guy, I’m a high EQ guy. So if a good portion of my job description was to do paperwork and fill out Excel spreadsheets, I’m not going to enjoy my work. But you know as well as I do, there’s probably someone else that loves that. They would much rather do that than interface with other human beings. They would love to just hop on a podcast like yours and work on spreadsheets all day. So why don’t we take that off of my plate, put that on their plate, and everybody wins? I’m happier, they’re happier, and the quality of work goes up. So that would be an example of how we can shift job descriptions and roles around to make sure that the team wins.

John Jantsch: I’m visiting with Alan Stein, Jr. author of Raise Your Game. Alan, tell us where people can find out more about you, your work, and Raise Your Game.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Well, if they’re interested in the book, they can go to RaiseYourGameBook.com or if they want to find out more about the stuff I’ve got going on, you can just go to AlanSteinJr.com, and I’m at Alan Stein, Jr on Instagram, LinkedIn, all the social channels, and love engaging with folks on there.

John Jantsch: Awesome. We’ll have links of course in the show notes. Alan, thanks for taking a few moments to visit with us on The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, and hopefully we’ll run into you someday out there on the road.

Alan Stein, Jr.: Sounds great, my pleasure. I appreciate you.

What Sport Can Teach Us About Business

What Sport Can Teach Us About Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Alan Stein, Jr.
Podcast Transcript

Alan Stein JrToday’s guest on the podcast is Alan Stein, Jr. He is a corporate performance coach, speaker, and author of the book Raise Your Game: High Performance Secrets From the Best of the Best.

Stein began his career as a basketball performance coach for some of the most elite athletes in the game, and has since expanded his work to include corporate training and keynote speaking. He takes the lessons that he learned in sports and applies them to business leadership, performance, and accountability.

On the podcast, we discuss the principles that apply in both sports and business, and how you can strengthen your work team, regardless of the size of your company.

Questions I ask Alan Stein, Jr.:

  • Are there things that successful people do differently?
  • What is the importance of learning to live present?
  • How do you help your employees develop self awareness?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why it’s important to distinguish between “simple” and “easy.”
  • How listening can help you in any facet of business, from leadership to sales.
  • What we truly mean when we talk about servant leadership.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Alan Stein, Jr.:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Asana logoThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Asana! Asana is a work management tool to keep your entire team on track. The Duct Tape team relies on Asana to unify communication, assign and delegate tasks, and manage deliverables for everything from individual meetings to big client projects.

To help support the show, Asana is offering our listeners an exclusive deal. You can get a free, 30-day trial. Just go to asana.com/ducttape.