Specialty: Website Conversion Specialist
Team member since: 2016
Fourth in our team interview series, is Craig Andrews, a transplanted Chesapeake Bay cohort, Marine Corp veteran, and president of Allies4me in Austin, TX, a digital marketing agency that specializes in website conversions by uncovering clients’ next breakthrough that’s hiding in their history.
By consistently achieving a high standard for producing triple-digit gains on key metrics for non-impulse, high-dollar purchases, Craig shares 6 website conversion tips here to get you started. We hope you enjoy his interview.
- Your website should work harder for you than it does now.
- Conversions are more important than traffic. But traffic doesn’t hurt.
- You’re probably selling to the wrong part of the brain.
- Master the fundamentals – because you shouldn’t focus on window dressings when the house is falling apart.
- Some of your biggest opportunities are hidden behind flawed assumptions.
- Inbound Marketing delivers more customers at lower acquisition costs.
Q: With “Website Conversion Specialist” in your title, can you describe what the term means and why it’s so important?
A: If you’re not converting strangers into customers, then what are you doing? What’s the point? Most websites are minor evolutions of glossy brochures from the pre-internet age. But brochure websites are horrible at converting strangers into customers.
Your website should be part of your revenue equation. No, that doesn’t mean you should light-up an ecommerce website. But your website should engage visitors in a measurable way that moves them at least one step closer to becoming a customer.
As a starting point, websites should make visitors want to hand over their contact details. But most websites are poor at achieving that. Getting a visitor to surrender their contact details is a critical conversion for most businesses. And the “contact us” form isn’t getting the job done.
As a conversion specialist, we develop and deploy strategies that increase the percentage of visitors who hand over their contact details. Then we optimize the customer value journey to increase the number who eventually give you money.
Q: With your recent Blog about measuring Digital Marketing KPIs for lead generation, what should clients focus on before they start?
A: One of the reasons people get the wrong results is because they are measuring the wrong things. People get obsessed about organic traffic and cost-per-click (CPC) price and many metrics that don’t mean anything.
Do you really care about traffic? Or do you care about how many new customers you’re getting?
Would you happily pay $10,000 for a single click in Google Ads if you knew it would generate $100,000 of profit?
The purpose of the Digital Marketing KPIs blog post is to focus on the right KPIs. If you hire an agency to reduce your CPC, then that’s what they’ll do. But it doesn’t mean your profit goes up. It may mean they find cheaper words to bid on and focus your ad spend on those words.
Focus on the right KPIs to get the right results.
“As a conversion specialist, we develop and deploy strategies that increase the percentage of visitors who hand over their contact details.“
Q: Can you tell us about your “fishing upstream”, and a couple of things businesses can do to get started?
A: Did you know that salmon quit feeding as soon as they taste fresh water? But most of the sport fishing in Alaska is done in fresh water streams and rivers.
So, how do you get a fish that’s not feeding to bite? You can be like many Alaskan anglers who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of other anglers and beg the salmon to bite on their unique lure.
Or, you move upstream to where they are feeding. Then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to bait your hook.
Baiting your hook with “complete our contact form so a sales person can hunt you down” usually has poor results.
Baiting your hook with “here’s an unbiased guide that helps you solve a real problem you’re facing” works much better.
Here’s an example of what that looks like:
- Many companies want their buildings to be LEED Certified (It’s a “Green” building certification)
- LEED Consultants make money by making the simple complex.
- Banyan Water published a LEED Certification guide in simple language for non-consultants.
- Utility managers, operations managers, and other senior people downloaded the guide because it helped them figure out what they needed to do to achieve LEED Certification. It was written in their language and they didn’t have to pay a consultant for the guide.
- When they downloaded the guide, Banyan Water got their contact details. In fact, this guide generated 83% of Banyan’s leads. It generated 7X more leads than the “Request Demo” button.
- In the guide, they learned that water conservation is the 2ndmost heavily weighted item in LEED certification.
- Banyan Water helps companies reduce water consumption up to 70%.
- So, hiring Banyan Water helps companies achieve LEED Certification.
By fishing upstream, Banyan Water was able to get more leads for their business. They built trust by adding value in the process. This makes it easer to close deals.
Q: Another focus of yours is Inbound Marketing. Wh7 do you believe in it?
A: Outbound marketing is where a company cold-calls prospects. You hunt them down.
Inbound marketing is when your prospects come and engage you first. This is often achieved via blog articles that lead to Lead Magnets. The prospects exchange their contact details for the lead magnet.
The example of Banyan Water shows how Inbound Marketing is done when the lead magnet is a LEED Certification Guide.
We believe in Inbound Marketing because it generated 7X more leads than their presumptive best offer. Inbound Marketing delivered the best sales year in 14 years for a private wealth manager for high net-worth individuals.
Inbound Marketing aligns with real customer journeys. 60% of the buyer’s journey is self-education. It makes the company the facilitator of their customer’s education. They become the natural and apparent solution provider when the customer is ready to purchase.
Q: What are the most significant changes in the ways successful businesses acquire their leads today?
A: The most successful companies are focused on adding value before asking for the sale. They generate leads by offering something valuable in exchange for contact information.
Unless what you’re selling is both illegal and addictive, nobody wants to be in your sales funnel. The most successful businesses understand this and romance leads into their funnel by offering valuable education.
Q: How much time does it take before clients begin to see results from Inbound strategies, and why?
A: You should expect to start seeing results within 6 months. Most companies don’t have enough content to execute on Inbound strategies. So, it takes a few months to develop and deploy the content. That’s when you start seeing first signs of the results.
Q: Can you share your opinion on the importance Social Media is to the sales funnel today, and what about the future?
A: Free organic exposure on LinkedIn is still available for now. But remember the medium. Most people are on LinkedIn to enhance their own career. Make sure your content speaks to that need.
Free organic exposure on Facebook is gone. It was barely a drip as of 2014 when we published A Sober Approach to Social Media. In January 2018, Zuckerberg said the days of organic exposure were over. Sure, there are a few businesseswho can still drive organic views in the Facebook newsfeed. But that’s a select few.
You can look at other networks like Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit. Those networks serve specific niches. Before you invest heavily in one of those networks, survey your current customers. Ask them which networks they use and how they use them.
Currently, Facebook is offering the lowest advertising cost of any platform. With 2 billion users, you can be confident that your audience is there. It’s easy to confuse paid social with social media.
Businesses should explore Facebook as a paid traffic source as opposed to a social media strategy. Of course, you need to remember the context of the medium. People go to Facebook to read stories about people. If you’re running traditional ads on Facebook, they probably aren’t working well.
Q: Free-time, unrelated to work, what do you enjoy doing?
A: True confession. I need to take more time off. I used to build furniture to clear my mind and I’m slowly getting back in the shop to finish a mesquite vanity for the downstairs bath.
In the woodworking community, I’m known as a “Neanderthal.” That means I have a preference for hand tools. Since this is a hobby, I don’t need to focus on production. I’d rather listen to the radio and avoid the constant dust clouds generated by power tools. Hand tools are nice because it’s hard to accidently cutoff a finger. It also gets you closer to the wood. I’m sure that sounds strangely philosophical, but different woods have different characters. You discover that with hand tools.
My favorite tools are my Japanese chisels and my set of Veritas hand planes. Several years ago, I started collecting antique planes. My favorite is an offset plow plane from the Civil War era. It’s an engineering marvel and has the most comfortable grip of any of my tools.