Business Tech Playbook

#15 – Website Help

Feat: Joseph Kibler From Creative 7 Designs

6 months ago
Transcript
Speaker A:

This is the Business Tech Playbook, your source for It help for your business. BJ, as an It personnel, It expert, a person that's lived in the It career for as many years as you and I have, do people often come up to you and ask you questions that you're just not qualified to answer? Like, do you know how to fix my vacuum? Or can you build me a website? Inserts any other things here?

Speaker B:

So oftentimes I feel like it just ends up being facilities, so it's more, can you fix my coffee machine vacuum? Thankfully, that one doesn't happen super often, but why is my bathroom backed up? And the right response is, I don't know, I'm not a plumber. And it kind of comes back to the website conversation. So often people come and say, hey, do you guys do websites too? Well, no, that's too much to me. Websites really fall into It is technology, but it definitely aligns more fully with marketing.

Speaker A:

So to answer that question for you guys, we have Joseph from Creative Seven Designs. That's Joseph Kibler, if I'm pronouncing that correctly. Welcome, friend.

Speaker C:

You are, sir. Oh, thank you so much for having me. Really great to be here today.

Speaker A:

I'm just so happy know people like you are out there so I don't have to do it, you know what I'm saying?

Speaker B:

Exactly.

Speaker A:

Well, I'm your host, Rob Zolson.

Speaker B:

I'm your host, BJ Poet with UTOP Technology and Business tech playbook. Today we're going to talk about websites, technology that goes into It and what you should know.

Speaker A:

Well, I would like to start with questions, but I feel like it's unfair. Normally. I start with it. I'm going to give BJ the opportunity to begin and kick off this game here.

Speaker B:

Well, perfect. Well, and then I will pass the baton straight over to Joe. So at this point, Joe, tell us a little bit about yourself, tell us a little bit about your company and kind of what you're known for.

Speaker C:

Hi, yes. Yeah, I am Joseph Kibler. As stated earlier, we are a 20 year old website design and marketing agency based in Southern California, although most of us have gone fully remote now. Super, super cool. We do websites, design, marketing for professional services, things like that. And also we also get confused a lot with It companies. Just like you guys get confused with us. Apparently we all do it. I often get said, hey Joseph, can you handle our It? I'm like, no, I don't handle it. That's what BJ does. He handles it. We handle websites and marketing. So I actually have a seat in a networking group and they call me the It guy. And I was like, Guys, I don't do it. Sorry, that's not what I don't I don't do your computers and your networks and your email, all that stuff. So I can hear you. BJ, on the confusion that happens between our industries and I'm super glad to be here. Thanks you guys for having me.

Speaker B:

Awesome. No, it's so true. It's funny. People, when we try to explain what we do, they're like, so you do software development? Well, no. Websites? No, not really. It's funny, it's easier to describe kind of what we don't do than it is what we do take care of. So I'm glad you're here and hopefully we can clear up a bit of the confusion for everyone that's listening to us and kind of go into what to look for common things that common misconceptions about websites and marketing and kind of how that is technology, but it's not necessarily like what your It person directly would do.

Speaker C:

Yeah, okay. For sure. So, BJ, there is so much going on in the web and marketing industry, just like so many industries right now. Right. I feel like I've talked to 100 business owners this summer and they've all said, everything is changing. And they've all said, I can't keep up with what's going on. Our industry is no different. I mean, obviously with AI, which is a whole separate conversation, which we will not get into today, but just with the emerging technologies that are coming and the idea that websites can just sort of be this static, left alone entity online, and you're going to hope that it's going to continue to work for you, is gone. I think one of the biggest things for business owners right now, today, and in moving forward, is they got to get out of the mindset that it's a one and done kind of a situation when it comes to their website. Websites are a living, breathing organism now, and they have to be if you want them to work for your business. So a lot of your audience that's listening right now, they may be thinking, well, my website doesn't do anything for me. It's really my online street cred. It's my business card online. I don't really think I'll get business from it. I don't really want to get business from it or expect it. And what I tell people is you need to step back. I want to ask you one simple question. When you want something, where do you go to look? Where do you go?

Speaker B:

BJ I typically go online. It's the oldie Google or Bing. Don't let him kid you.

Speaker A:

He normally goes to DoorDash when he's looking for something.

Speaker B:

Honestly, even anymore, it's as much YouTube as it is even Google or the normal search engine. But watch your mouth, Rob's. Sorry. For those that can't see, Rob's is laughing his face off here at me. But at the end of the day, it's true. So much is changing. Technology is no longer. It's why software is as a service. It's why websites, these things need to be more subscription based because it's changing so fast. Funny short story about that. My aunt, who's very technophobic, was like, my laptop. I bought it eleven years ago, and it should still work because things and why are they making changes and updates like, well, in a perfectly static world where your things are never online. Okay, but I mean, things change a lot in the last ten years. Things change so much in a six month period. The proliferation of AI, as you said, even back in March, was dramatically less. And then when Chat GPT really started launching in February, March, it's just like a vertical climb. It's insane how much things change.

Speaker A:

Excuse me. This conversation we try to point at to our virtual CFO, the business manager that we're speaking to through the podcast, is looking up to see what he needs for a website. So you said that different things that they need instead of the business card, like, you spoke about having a single page that just gives them essentially the digital yellow page that they need. What more should a business owner be listening to that they need to add to their website? If they've just treated it like a business card, what are they missing out on?

Speaker C:

Yes, just continuing kind of that vein of thought and conversation is this whole idea that so many business owners just don't think that their website is a tool and they don't think it's going to generate business for them. But when we step back and we realize, hey, everyone, Googles for everything, now I'm going to say pre COVID. Okay, I'm just going to use that word, pre COVID. We were all doing that anyways, right? We were all pretty much doing that. What happened in COVID is it magnified to an exponential amount to where not only maybe a small example of this might be, let's say, the plumber down the street, I'm just going to use that as an example. Only 50% of his competitors were playing in the online space, pre COVID. 50% of them were still relying word of mouth referrals, whatever, blah, blah, COVID happened. And 100% of all plumbers went online to play in the game. And what happened is that everybody's market share online went way down because now everyone was in the game. And so having that website maintained, ready to go, and ready to bring you business is more important now than it has ever been because people are looking for you. And I promise you, no matter what industry you are, when you're listening to this podcast, people are looking for your services. I was talking just to a national air conditioning company just last week, and the business owners, they've been around a really long time and they said, oh, we're not interested. We're never going to get business from our websites. We get it from referrals, from networking, stuff like that. And they said, It's never worked for us, we're not going to do it. And they have one location, actually, one location in Denver. And I showed them by data. I said, there are 50,000 searches for your services just in the Denver metro area alone that you're not capitalizing on. I'm talking to these people and they're going, well, no, we just don't think it would convert business. I'm like you guys, you don't even know what you're missing because everything has gone that direction now to a point where if you're not playing, you're missing out big time. Big time. That goes for us, that goes for everybody. Where if you're not playing in the online game and maybe you're not doing paid ads or you're not paying attention to your website, you're not maintaining your website, you're missing out on 80% of your market, plain and simple. Yeah, we get a lot of our business from referral networking, so I have to ask sorry.

Speaker B:

Go for it. Rob.

Speaker A:

Oh, forgive me. I'm still thinking, like, how is this different than having a digital business card that we spoke about before? What elements are playing the game?

Speaker C:

Yeah, good question. So, first of all, is your website updated and maintained? Believe it or not, websites require maintenance. Google knows if you're not maintaining your website based on some factors, like that Google may or may not even show your website in search results, or may not even let you show and rank. So doing that, how is it playing the game? It has to tie into marketing. So that's the other thing. So if you have the best website in the world, guess what? We used to be able to launch the best website in the world, right. And within like, a month, that website would be generating business through Google. It would show up in search results. You could actually find Joseph and his company organically. Well, that's no longer the case. And so you have to have that customer journey in place. And that customer journey starts with your marketing, brings them to your website, takes them on a journey to get them to pick up the phone, or at least to fill out an online form to say, hey, BJ, we need it. We need network services, whatever it is that we need and actually reach out. It's a complicated mix of things now. It's not just a website, it's the marketing that goes behind it. It's having the Google my business doing what it's supposed to be doing. It's being in the right social media places that you need to be in. So have the best website in the world is not the only part of the solution. You've got to have other things in play in order to have what you're talking about.

Speaker B:

Rob so kind of what I'm hearing is that the website might be kind of the hub of it all, but there's a lot of other aspects to your digital technology marketing profile for it to really have any.

Speaker C:

Yeah, yeah. We would call the website maybe what we would call, like, the cornerstone. Right. That's like the cornerstone of your online stuff. And it's the business card, if you want to call it that. It's the street cred. Some people say, hey, Joseph, you guys design us a website just so we have credibility online. I'm like, yeah, we could do that, but do you want to get business or do you want to grow? Do you want to expand your opportunities and the things that you can know? And that's the conversation that we have a lot. I think one of the hardest things for business owners right now in our space is there's so much to do in so many different places that they get lost. They just get lost in the weeds. It's like, well, I got to be on 19 social platforms, and I got to be producing this much content and stuff like that. And so what happens is we're not good at anything. They're not good at their website. They're not good at any of their marketing because they're trying to do so much because they feel like they're supposed to be doing all these things in all these places.

Speaker B:

I find that I personally get kind of vapor locked is the way I would kind of like, oh, we need to be doing this and this and this and it's like and so instead of doing two or three things and just being okay, doing that for the time being, I start trying to do 25 different things. And then I'm, like, very kind of stuck.

Speaker C:

Well, yeah, as a result, BJ, it's no yield, right? You're like, wow, I spent all this time in all these places, and there's no actual results. We're not building any meaningful relationships. We're not connecting with anybody. And those meaningful relationships, we want to bring those into transactions. Those take time. But the thing is, and this is something that we've been telling people a lot over the summer, I've been telling a lot of business owners, just stop everything you're doing. Pick like you said, pick the top one or two or maybe even three initiatives or things that you places that you want to be and things that you want to do, and stick to those online. And you need to remove the noise because the noise is just ruining you. There's just so much noise that you're not being effective at anything in the space.

Speaker A:

So again. I love Personas. If we use the plumber as the demo here, let's continue doing that. So I am Olsen's Plumbing Co. And all I've had in the past is putting up a Google site that literally just has my name, my address, and the number if you want to call us. That's all it is, has been a business card. It's not reaching people. It's not doing the phone book, yellow book, or Yellow Pages ads that I'm used to. Instead, I need to get out there. What do I need to be doing? What marketing needs to bring people to my website? Just specifically, we'll pick on a plumber.

Speaker C:

Yeah, let's do that. So obviously there's a whole bunch of planning that goes into something like this, but let's just talk about the nuts and know it's being aware of what's happening on platforms like Google, right, that has the majority of the market share. So we'll just focus on are you Google guaranteed?

Speaker A:

What does that mean?

Speaker C:

There's a lot of service industries where.

Speaker B:

They have to even know that was a thing.

Speaker C:

Yeah, where Google guarantees them the business goes through a background check. The business goes through all of these financial hoops and audits of their books and of their staff and of their offices and of their services and stuff like that to get something called Google guaranteed. This applies to a ton of industries, by the way. Not all. In fact, those of us in this room, we're not Google guaranteed candidates right now, but things like a lot of home services, legal services, stuff like that, they can get Google and the Google guaranteed. They get priority. If you go search for a plumber right now on Google in most regions now, you'll see the Google guaranteed results showing first. It's stuff like that, where if you're not paying attention, Google has changed Google My business. It's now called Google My Profile because they want you to be doing stuff on Google like posting and sharing and getting more reviews and doing all they want. You doing all this stuff in order for you to earn your rank or earn your spot. And that applies to all of us, by the way, some of those philosophies. But the thing is that if you're not aware of what's going on, these platforms, whether it's Google or social media, facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, whatever, you're not going to engage with those opportunities. You're not going to be effective engaging those opportunities. And that's where at least having a conversation with somebody about it is so important, especially if you want to be in business in five years. Like if your five year plan is to still be in business, then you need to be having a conversation with somebody about this because it's getting so crazy. And then we've got the AI war going on, on top of all of this. And I could talk about that. I mean, the helpful content updates, stuff like that.

Speaker B:

It's just I know I totally knew about the Google My business, but now I'm totally wandering down the Google guaranteed since I didn't even know it was a thing until and just elaborate on that.

Speaker A:

Because we're going to get questions about Google guarantee if you submit it. If you work with a partner such as yourself that can submit all this information and get validated with Google and get the Google Guarantee that prioritizes your listings. Again, for the plumbers listening to this, they're just used to using the traditional phone book. You're going to get your spot on the top list of the Yellow Pages, so to speak.

Speaker C:

Yeah, absolutely. And they've been rolling it out to more and more industries. It's been around for a couple of years now and they're getting more and more industries under there. I suspect someday we'll even be under there. Right now it's mostly home related services, things like electrical, financial planning, garage door installation, HVAC plumbing, roofing, stuff like that. So there are other things for people in our industry that we need to be thinking about. But yeah, if we're picking on the plumber and there's stuff like this going on on every platform where there's opportunity for people who will make the most noise, I think all of us have that opportunity. If we could figure out where we can make the most noise and then use our online presence, use our websites, our marketing, to actually be inbound Lead, generating good warm opportunities for us.

Speaker B:

I mean, so much of this is just being aware of and then getting into things first or as early as possible. And so even if it doesn't necessarily take off, okay, well that may not have happened, but now that Google, as you said, Google is a behemoth, and as a result, chances are whatever they do is going to, it's going to drive the industry at some level. And so definitely focus on things that are Google oriented, but then it's learning kind of what's coming down the pipe. And that's why it's really good working with people like Joe and his team and just being kind of aware of what's happening in the digital marketing and website technology space.

Speaker C:

Yeah, I mean, another interesting part of this is the maintenance side. Like you talked about earlier. BJ, when you talked about, hey, it almost needs to be like a subscription based service to keep your website up and stuff like that is people don't realize that this stuff has shelf life much like your It stuff does that you guys do all day, every day. There's a shelf life, and that shelf life is getting shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter. And as a result of that, business owners are getting confused like, what the heck is going on with my website? Why is my website down? Oh, hey, guess what? You forgot to take care of that update or your server, guess what? Your server changed their PHP version. Right? Okay. Oh, I used an acronym, so I will not use that acronym. That's a type of coding for websites.

Speaker A:

Sorry, that's all we need.

Speaker B:

Thank you.

Speaker C:

The place where your website lives changed a version of technology that broke your website. Right. Okay. So hopefully that's a little bit better for your audience.

Speaker A:

Let's ask this as a targeted method. Let's say that again, I'm Olsen's Plumbing. I'll be that persona again. I paid a guy maybe eight years ago to build me a website. He built it. Apparently I have a box in my closet. Some reason the website, it's there, but you're saying I have to have it updating. What can go wrong if I don't touch that box? It's sitting in my closet for the last eight years.

Speaker C:

Well, first of all, if you had your website on a box in the closet eight years ago, your website is not working anymore anyways. I highly doubt it. I actually haven't run across a box in the closet website in probably about that long. Probably about eight or ten years. Yeah. So what can go wrong? Typically it's security vulnerabilities or changes in technology that just cause the websites to stop functioning. So either you get hacked and then suddenly your website's redirecting to less than desirable places or it is feeding viruses to people so you could give your friends a virus if they go to your website, things like that. Or it's just a technology has changed so much that your website no longer functions. We have a whole bunch of old, old cold fusion websites, which again is a type of coding. We have to have a special server for those because they won't run anywhere else. They literally will not operate anywhere else because that technology has been itself life like ten years ago.

Speaker B:

I haven't heard of cold fusion in a very long time. Like you said, about ten years. It always surprises me when I run across the business card websites that haven't been updated or touched, seemingly so. An example. So Flash is a very old coding platform that has completely it's end of life browsers will not play it. So I love going to those websites that have like a Flash plugin right in the middle of it. I think it's been, what, at least three years since it's even been more than that. I'm pretty sure it's been quite a while since Flash was completely eliminated as a Chrome. Will not display it. And it's just kind of hilarious to me that you go to this person's site and you're trying to see if you can learn more about them and it's literally just will not load.

Speaker C:

I think the biggest thing is it's missed opportunity for businesses. I mean, for me, that's what I look at. I really mean it. Do you want to be in business in five years if you're not taking this stuff seriously? This is going to get worse and worse for you. It's not going to get better because consumer perception in this area is insane. Like your website doesn't load like that. They're gone, they're off to the next person. Even so, website speed, website security, website reliability, all of that stuff, if you don't have all those things in place, or you're not sure, a, you're missing out, but B, it's not doing your business any good or any favors. Because even if it is your online business card and that's what you see it as, if you're not taking care of it, your perception is going down. Well. And it's so judgy.

Speaker B:

Well, no, it's true. We so are. And it's part of why really large companies use platforms like cloudflare, so they do content distribution networks. So you're talking about having a server anymore. It's not even about having a server, it's about having your websites cached in local, basically local, they're called pops but points of presence. And so literally you have your website hosted across the entire country. So that way it's super close to whoever is looking for you. And so the server might technically be in Texas somewhere in the middle, but then you're using something like a cloudflare akamai or there's a number of different CDN platforms where literally it's cached everywhere. So that way it loads in microseconds.

Speaker C:

And it has to especially if know, you can find local hosting for know there are a lot of server farms, like in La. For instance, if you're a local business and you just want to have local hosting, that's possibly a good thing for you. But yeah, you've got to be the expectation even of Google and search engines in general. And the public perception is that you're on top of this stuff. You could be the best at what you do. And if your website or your presence is failing you, not only are you missing the opportunities, your business is going to eventually fail. Yeah, we think that we're going to keep referring each other and referring each other, but that's not always going to be the case, I don't think.

Speaker B:

Well, and I think again, there are elements of that and I don't think that should be an ignored element. But I do think that with a technology a lot has changed. I think with the younger generations coming in, you're saying very much a I'll search for it first because what's online is true and they're not going out and asking grandma or their neighbor for help anymore. And so as a result within, like you said, 3510 years, whatever that timeline.

Speaker C:

Looks like, it's going to be very different for businesses. I mean, businesses are seeing that now. It's just crazy. The people I talk to and they're like, yeah, our whole model is changing right now, especially in our space with websites and marketing. Now there's this idea that we push a button with AI and the whole thing generates by itself. It still needs a human being to look at it and optimize it and do some of this stuff because sometimes it's still not to the point where it's quite right, but it's not infallible. And yeah, it just isn't just like your it stuff is not infallible.

Speaker B:

Well, it's funny you talk about AI. The truth is what I've been saying is that AI is great for amplifying a person, but the person still has to know if it's legit or not because it can lie. So we talk about speed. So do you have any tips that a Brian or the plumber? So Olsen, plumbing company. There we go. See exactly. Olsen Plumco so we'll have to have a new website up on that by the end of the day.

Speaker A:

You pump it, we dump it.

Speaker B:

What was that? You pump it, we dump it. Exactly. Nothing beats a royal flush. Are there some tips for Olsen Plumbing Co for either speeding up? Is there something they can take back to their web designer or their hosting team? As an expert, what would you suggest?

Speaker C:

Oh, yeah, for sure. There's a couple of really simple things. The first thing is the host, right? The host is where your website lives online. This is something we got to explain to you. Why do I need hosting? Joseph? Well, because that's where your website lives online. The files, how it grows, how it shows up. Most of the time, speed is just related to having a really low level host. You're paying 295 a month for shared hosting. It's usually not super, super great from a security standpoint, but also your website takes 25 seconds to load. It's not doing any favors. So get good hosting that's designed for your platform. So if you have a WordPress website or whatever kind of website that you have, get the right hosting for it. That will actually serve it quickly. The next thing is just making sure that your images aren't massive. So if this is you're doing it yourself, or even your web designers doing it, a lot of times they look over image size and they're like, oh, you send them an image and say, hey, put this image on my home page. Well, you don't optimize that image, you don't take care of that image. And again, it's going to load really slow. It's just not designed to do that. And of course, we know, I've talked to two people in the last week where the business's website is still not mobile friendly. It's shocking to me that their website is still not mobile friendly. Right. So making sure that your website is mobile friendly, which also means it needs to be fast. Those are the critical things that the people listening to this podcast could take back to their have their web developers just do a quick audit, like optimized audit on the website and go, oh, yeah, that's another thing that's come this year. We have more websites hacked this year than ever before. And it's because you have artificial intelligence getting around the safeguard. It's learning, right? So it's learning how to break through. You've probably seen it in the It industry, too, that these guys are learning how to break into your website. And so it's just really interesting. So, yeah, I mean, I know those are some things from the speed standpoint, security is important, too, but the speed standpoint is really critical because we're an impatient culture. We just don't have time for anything. And so that's really important and that'll increase your ability to use your website to grow your business.

Speaker A:

So getting back. To the Olsen Plumbing persona. I'm the business owner, and I want to know if I'm getting anything back from this. I've signed up with a service similar to yourself, Joseph, and I want to ask them for measurements on what I'm getting back from all of this. Well, how do I have that conversation with my web developer and what are the measurements that I'm looking for to see that my website succeeding in bringing me money? Besides Carol saying she's so busy getting phone calls at my front desk?

Speaker C:

That's a great question. So there are two things to that. One, yes, you could be getting organic inbound stuff from a Goodwill optimized website. So let's just mention that if you have a Goodwill optimized website and you're a local business, you can get business from that just organically. There are opportunities still there for you. Really, there's two parts to this part about tracking, and that is one of the challenges that we have, is we do all this marketing and they don't ask the questions on the other side. So a lot of times it's difficult to quantify what's working, what's not working. So always ask the question, how'd you find us when you have a new customer call on the phone or whatever at the end of the call, once you've booked or whatever, what is going? Hey, just wondering how'd you found us. People say online, that's great, that helps. At least we know that something online is helping. A lot of times, they're not going to be specific like, hey, Google, email, whatever, however they found you. But where I found you on Home Advisor, I found you on here or there. I think one of the things that we need to realize as business owners, us included, is that in addition to tracking, what's coming in that's new and knowing how they came in and how they have found you is that you've got to have your analytics and your other data to go, what's working, what's not working. Unfortunately, now you've got to be paying for marketing in some way to really, really quantify what you're asking me. And unfortunately, now you have to be spending quite a bit more than you used to to really be able to quantify results and really be able to determine where those results are coming from, because, again, it's just gotten so complex.

Speaker A:

How are those results measured? Because Mr. Olsen Plumbing Co is still wondering yes, it's a great way to do that.

Speaker C:

If Inbound calls us what's important to them, then we set up call tracking metrics where we know, hey, we know you got 19 calls from these sources. Sure. And we know whether these sources cost you X, Y, and Z or whether you're not paying for anything or whatever's going on. In order to do that, obviously, there's conversion tracking and stuff like that that gets on our end where we get all the metrics in on what's converting but then again, there has to be a closing of that loop there in the business to where they're closing the loop and going, what's working? What's not working? I'll be honest, most of us business owners right now are probably spending 80% of our marketing dollars are rye in ways that just are not working. And we think that they work mentally in our head. We think, okay, yeah, I do all these things. It's going to work, and we're spending our marketing dollars and the results are getting less and less and less. And that's when we have to step back and kind of go, where do we want to focus? That goes back to what BJ said. This is all about focus when it comes to website and marketing and business growth in 2023. It's about focus. Where do you want to focus? Do you want to do a podcast every week? Is that part of your game? Is that part of how you're going to bring opportunities in? That's part of it. Right. And so that's it in a nutshell.

Speaker A:

You mentioned conversion tracking, and I'm trying to get to basics because we have people that don't know even what to ask. They're not versed in this. They don't know what a conversion is. Can you elaborate more?

Speaker C:

A conversion is a joseph needs Olsen Plumbing and Joseph starts googling around and Olsen's Plumbing ad shows up maybe, or they show up on the map, either on the map or as an ad, and Joseph clicks on that and starts looking around. Right. And I'm looking at their reviews and I'm looking at their website and I'm looking at this. And there's technical processes going on in the background that are seeing that Joseph is doing all this. And by the way, nowadays BJ, you can see that it's Joseph that's actually doing it. You can get Joseph's data before Joseph even picks up the phone. You can get my data and you can know that Joseph look at the reviews and went to the website and went to your Facebook and all this. Oh, and look, Joseph did this. And then and then you can get Joseph's phone number and you can reach out. Hey, Joseph. Hey, Joseph, this is Olsen's Plumbing. Just wondering if you need anything today. Now, that could be either be creepy to Joseph or be like, oh yeah, man, I was just looking at your stuff. I need your help. Or maybe you send Joseph a quick email. So the conversion tracking is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be, and you can actually get data as Joseph is on that journey through the web for you. And then you can figure out a way to engage Joseph and get Joseph before Joseph has even picked up the phone. But we do know that Joseph if Joseph calls, we do know because we're tracking through data that, you know, through all these places. And then he called, picked up the phone or wrote an email through the website or whatever.

Speaker B:

So would you recommend integrating like a website into somebody's CRM? So CRM is a customer relationship management tool where effectively you can track sources and you can run a report on where people came from, that kind of thing.

Speaker C:

I actually just spoke about this yesterday on Alignable. I told everybody in the room we were actually talking about this journey and we were talking about all this stuff and I said the one thing that you need to do is have a CRM tied to everything because that's when you're going to know. And of course now with AI, I'm going to say that again and with some of the other stuff going on, the technology out there is incredible. You're going to know Joseph may not reach out to you, but Joseph, you have all of Joseph's information. You can have somebody shoot Joseph a quick email and say, hey, how can we help? And so it's creepy but it's also very useful.

Speaker B:

Well so something that's useful like if you know Joseph's looking for a plumber and they're stocking your website and they're looking well that might give you a really good chance to even send out a $5 discount postcard. Or it's amazing how technology can drive even going back to that physical touch, it's amazing how the physical layer actually can have a lot of value.

Speaker C:

Yeah. If you can tie and all this of course can be automated now. Right? So you get Joseph's information and then you do what you just said. BJ, it's brilliant. Right? First of all, you start serving Joseph all your shameless ads stuff online, right? So Joseph starts seeing you everywhere he goes, number one. Number two, you have automation in there that sends Joseph that coupon that you're talking about or adds that personal touch or whatever. And then suddenly, yeah, you've got Joseph as a raving fan and he's a client because you've touched him in enough ways that you've impacted him. It works. It works. And using the tools at our disposal now really work. If you're willing to take to put in what it know to make it work for you, make it happen.

Speaker A:

I got two more hard questions for you. We gave you the softball ones. Now we're going to get in the nitty gritty. Know Olsen's Plumbing Cos heard all this on the podcast and they need to go find website hosts. One they can contact you and we'll have you the contact information in the show notes. So check it out in the bottom of the podcast. But let's say that they're in their local area, they want to try someone different. What are some of the things that people shopping for a company such as yourself need to look out for as good companies and bad companies? I get this question a lot personally. Like how do you know it's a good company? Do you know the guy, what am I looking for? Because they don't know what they're shopping for, to be frank.

Speaker C:

Oh, that's a great question. And you know what if on the face of what we do, we're a dime a dozen. We're literally a dime a dozen, right? Who doesn't know 95 people that do what we do? And so picking the right partner is tough. Here are a couple of things. One, you could pick a partner that specializes in your industry. Try to find someone who is like, all I do is plumbers, and that's my specialty, and that's what I do. Do your online homework. Look at their reviews and stuff. One of the things I would caution people on and you know what? We've all been there, and it's not to knock this model, but a lot of times what happens is they're not actual companies. They're a person who is outsourcing absolutely everything. And as a result of that, they don't actually have real control over results and real control over what's actually happening with everything. And so I would say if you're looking for finding someone local that you can sit down with to do your websites, your marketing, whatever, look at the criteria. Do they have a professional team that's employed with them? And again, hey, I was a solpreneur for ten years before I had my first employee, so there's nothing wrong with that. But a lot of times what happens is they're too busy to give you good service because they're busy, because they're good at what they do or whatever. So I think just making sure that they're a good fit for where you want to go is really important. There's a lot of scams out there. So I want to talk about this, because this is the other part of this. We're a dime a dozen, and it's really, really attractive to outsource and say, oh, yeah, I'm going to hire this great company somewhere in some other part of the world, and I'm going to send them my $1,000 a month to do all of my stuff. And you do that, and you're like, Wait. Oh, no website. Oh, wait, nothing's done. You don't have the control that you need to have. Now, I will tell you that almost everyone in our industry has an overseas component. We didn't for the longest time, but to stay competitive, we have overseas employees now as a part of our components. But there's a lot of people out there that will take your money and run. They will sell you something. And unfortunately, they're mostly overseas. And I've seen tens of thousands of dollars go out in these ways. So just be careful, because if you post on your Facebook, hey, I need a website designer, you're going to get 95 people, 100 people that respond to that in 15 minutes.

Speaker A:

I think I came up with a new prank. You know how when you were in college or high school and you had your buddy's cell phone number and you just posted it like in your local, I don't know, bar, grocery store, and then right on there. Please leave a voicemail with your best chewbacca voice with your name and number.

Speaker B:

Suddenly sounds like something you did.

Speaker A:

Robbie I have. And they call in and just fill their voicemail box. They'll get like 50 the next day. Instead, take that same guy's telephone number, post online saying, I'm looking for a website, and add his cell phone number. I guarantee you, you'll get 1000 messages in the next two days.

Speaker B:

Oh man.

Speaker C:

Yeah.

Speaker B:

Or use the term SEO. Like, I need an SEO guy for my website. I guarantee you're going to get 100. Well, I think websites and marketing have suffered some of the similar challenges that it has where it's extremely low barrier to entry. And so if you have a laptop and good at a computer, you can do websites and you can do it. And so as a result, it's taken companies that are really investing in doing a good job a lot more to stand out. And so as a result, that's part of why we're doing this podcast is we're trying to teach people ways to ask good questions so that way they don't get taken advantage of.

Speaker C:

Like at the end of the day, value perception, too. And what we do has been so devalued and yet so those are the things that they really need to look out for. They need to look out for people who are just going to take their money and run, which happens a lot in our industry, like more than you could. I think 50% of our new clients have sent money to somebody and had not had anything get done because they thought that that was a great way. Oh shoot, I can get a whole website for $250. Let's do it. Let's go for it. And then $2,000 later and they still don't have a website for some reason.

Speaker B:

Well, but it goes back to even with it or websites and marketing, whatever the case, we do everything in our power to teach you jargon free ways to make decisions. But some of it just has to make sense. Okay, so you can go to Wix and get a website, but is it going to do anything for are you if it's too good to be true, it probably so as a business owner. So Olsen's Plumbing Co. Mr. Robbie, the chief flusher. At the end of the day, it's like if something feels too good to be true, doing things right costs real time and money. And so at the end of the day, if you get a $200 computer, it's going to perform like a $200 computer. Same with a $200 website.

Speaker C:

Yeah. And there's a lot of gimmicks in the space to watch out for. I'll get you the first page of Google in ten minutes. Right, well, they will probably do that through some backdoor bad method, and then that person's website will be banned from Google forever shortly thereafter.

Speaker A:

One more point to add to this, and again, you probably have done this if I asked Joseph right now, I'm like, hey, Olson Plumbing Co. I'm looking to have you guys do my website, do some marketing for me. But I'm going to ask you a hard question. I want a friendly customer that you've been working with for a while so I can ask them how they like your services. A good reputable business such as Joseph's will say, here's three, here's three friendlies. We've been working with these people for years. Great success. Go talk to them.

Speaker C:

I like that. That's a good ad. Get those referrals and see the kind of work and reputation that they have.

Speaker A:

And use that for any type of service. If someone you're going to get any type of thing from them, ask for that friendly. That doesn't have to be just websites. We've talked about this before for MSPs. If they have a friendly that someone's willing to talk to, that's a little harder. But most of the time they'll still have it. You'll check reviews, you'll do your homework.

Speaker C:

Yeah, I think that's great advice. That's definitely high on the list, for sure.

Speaker B:

You do hear a lot of SEO and so jargon alert, SEO search engine optimization, is that something that's still a big deal or with everything else that's everything else that you've been talking about? Has it kind of made it a little less relevant?

Speaker C:

I am going to be super anti SEO right now. I personally believe that SEO search engine optimization died several years ago because we're no longer doing yes, we're doing those components like you used to do, right? Keywords titles, stuff like that. It really is SEM, which is search engine marketing. You're marketing to the search engine and you're marketing to your market. And it really has completely changed SEO. When people say that to people, I feel like they're just smoking mirrors now. It's like, oh yeah, I do search and optimization. What does that even look like in 2023? To me, that term needs to totally go away. An example of that is, you know, why we write so much content and produce so much content for websites.

Speaker B:

Why is that?

Speaker C:

Well, I'll tell you what we know. People aren't reading it right? We're doing that so that you get picked up in the search engine. So we're really marketing to the search engine. We're not marketing to the people anymore because we want to show up in Google. Like that's the goal, right? And so I don't even like using the term SEO anymore because it's changed. So just there's all of these metrics and things that have to be in place for it to even work. So, yeah, I mean, from an SEO standpoint, you need to see if that's not just looking at your website but your media that ties into that website and the content that's going on and your links and what is your online activity? Are you doing ads? Like there's so much other stuff. Yeah.

Speaker B:

Well then if SEO is kind of, in your mind, dead, google killed it three years ago. Kind of joking because Google kills a lot of tools. But at the end of the day, are there like maybe two to three kind of top things? You would recommend a small business owner or business owner either do or have their web team do or their marketing person to kind of keep them as relevant as possible and at least start.

Speaker C:

Looking at okay, so on the website side, speed, security, accessibility, those three things. On the marketing side, where should you be? Stop all the noise, all the web, all the crazy, all the overwhelming stuff that's keeping you up at night. Figure out where you need to be, who your key partners are and build relationships with those people online. And yeah, I did say build relationships with people online. We're doing that right now. That's what we live in now, believe it or not. We build relationships online. That's how we do things now. And so it's not the only way. Yes, there's still referral networking, there's still handshaking, there's still that stuff going on. But you've got to learn how to build relationships online with the people you want to talk to. And you'd be surprised who ends up being from me, you know, who the best power partners are for me, the people that do what we do.

Speaker B:

That's funny. Well, it's funny you talk about so like here's how much it's impacted of our three of our current employees we've hired off of a discord chat group.

Speaker C:

Hi.

Speaker B:

Yeah, Robbie is one of them. So I'm sorry everyone. So we got a client whose company was originally based in Redlands. So the son of the owner jumped into the discord group and said, hey, is there anyone near Redlands that's looking that does good managed services? One of my team members who's in Texas tagged me. I got a meeting booked with a person and his mom. The company is now based in Pasadena. But I mean, you talk about this tangled web of like I'm not even sure how that our last two major prospects came from Reddit.

Speaker C:

Yeah. Isn't that mind blowing? And I'm sitting here going, where did that even come? Like why? Most of the people listening probably don't even know what Reddit is. Right, right.

Speaker A:

You old duffs.

Speaker C:

I know.

Speaker B:

I feel like I'm going to get called boomer because I'm referring to Reddit and not whatever's, the current new thing.

Speaker C:

Now if you answer an example of this BJ might be like you answer it questions on Quora or even Yahoo answers, believe it or not, people asking it questions. It's just different. It's just like you don't expect that you'd get clients from these places, but you do that Discord story is great. I love that. That is a testament to where we're at in business right now that you tagged in a Discord group, which, by.

Speaker A:

The way, literally Discord, literally a self help group between MSPs. Again, I'm in the space, he's in the space, and I've been on there for a long time. So is BJ. And literally, I'm like, I need time to find a new job. And just talking with BJ back and forth is how we found each other through that group. It was no LinkedIn posting. No indeed job. Hey, I've seen you on here. Let's do an interview.

Speaker C:

Yeah.

Speaker B:

And I've been regretting it ever since.

Speaker C:

You sure have. Yeah. Here we are. Here we are, exactly. We're recruiting talent in different ways. You're getting client in ways you'd never possibly imagine. And I think business owners should really step back and look at this stuff and go, wow. And the fact that people are getting business off of these channels should tell business owners right now they need to start paying attention because it's going to get more and more and more like that and we're going to get away from a lot of these traditional things, like you said, indeed. Even like you said, asking Grandma, we're not doing that anymore. We're headed that way. But see, that's where every business owner or entrepreneur that's listening right now to this podcast needs to realize. They need to figure out what's going to in this whole mess of things that we're talking about, because it really is a mess, let's face it. What are they going to pick that's going to work for them and where are they going to put their energy? And I think every single one of us can do that right now. I'm pushing really hard on a platform called Alignable, which is a B to B platform. It's kind of like LinkedIn ten years ago, and we're getting a ton of business from that. That's something that we step back, we're picking what's going to work for us online, and we're putting our energy there, and we're stopping all of this other noise and this stuff that's just continuously, mostly just taking our time.

Speaker B:

That's interesting. Let's see. I had a question here. So kind of with that thought. You said you're focusing a lot of your effort into Alignable. Is there like, social media outlets that people should be focusing on? Are there specific outlets that people should be looking at when it comes to so to be fair, anything social media is literally anything online pretty much these days. So Alignable some kind of social media platform. Facebook, Discord, Reddit, it's areas where people can be online and collaborate. So I just want to be clear that there's just a ton of different.

Speaker C:

Places that and the list could go on and on and there's so many out there. What is it? Mighty Networks. The list goes on and on and on. This is what I would say. BJ everybody listening right now is providing a service or something. They need to decide and pick or talk to somebody to help them figure out where they fit in in this scheme of things. Because it's no longer just like, well, I'm going to post in all these 15 places and somehow something's going to hit the wall. And we're spending like I said, I think most business owners spend 80% of their time doing something that's not going to be productive for them in the long run. Right now, because we're just distracted by so much. So I would say this, the answer to that question, BJ, is going to vary wildly by industry. I mean, you'd be shocked some of the businesses that have found success on TikTok, you got contracts.

Speaker B:

Sadly, I'm not if you have TikTok on your phone, please, for the love of God, take it off. It's basically like straight spyware.

Speaker C:

I know, right? I know. Yeah.

Speaker B:

I get near somebody that has TikTok on their phone and I leave because it's just not a good sorry, little.

Speaker C:

Bit of a don't. I don't mean did you see the permissions that Threads gets when Facebook relaunched Threads earlier this year? Did you see that?

Speaker B:

I don't have Facebook or TikTok or.

Speaker C:

Just it's a whole nother topic. But you'd be shocked, though, the success that gets found by different types of businesses on all of these different platforms. I mean, you have contractors that have found a way to kill it building houses on TikTok and they're just like they're killing it.

Speaker B:

Right, well and they're making as much money on TikTok as they are doing the construction.

Speaker C:

Exactly. And so we live in this sort of this vacuum of just where can you create I actually coined this a couple of weeks ago. Where can you create your influence bubble? Right? Where can you create that micro influencing thought leadership bubble for your business that's going to help you succeed and get to the next level? And it might just be one platform and where you put your energy there because there's an audience for you. So the answer to that question is complicated. BG I think it's different for every business. That's super fair, I really do. And that's where you need to have an expert or professional helping you now.

Speaker A:

Yes, rob all right, here's the offensive hard question. I've saved it for the on.

Speaker C:

Let me sit down. Let me get my big boy pants on here. Hold on.

Speaker A:

Prepare yourself.

Speaker C:

Okay, I'm good.

Speaker A:

If I don't ask this, we're not doing service to the questions we're going to get from our audience. So for those that are listening and have heard all the advertisements and seen other people do things, what's the difference between a business like yours and something like Wix and Squarespace? Why are you better?

Speaker C:

That's really easy. Collaboration, communication and results, I think is some of the biggest part of it and having a team that knows what they're doing and getting it done. I mean, again, my industry notorious for being unreliable. It's like, hey, we needed this change on our website. Three months later, why is this change still not done on our website? I think it's really that and what BJ just asked me about it is very difficult for you to figure out where you're supposed to be online right now super hard. Where should I be to be finding my gold online or finding my potential? Relationships that turn into transactions I try not to even say the word leads anymore. You've got to look at these as opportunities to build a relationship and turn that relationship into something that you bring value to. And then hopefully, at the end of the day, it's a happy transaction for everybody.

Speaker B:

That's super fair.

Speaker C:

Yeah. You got to put a lot in to get out, to squeeze the lemon right now. I think for most people in most industries, and I think it's important to mention the financial part of it, businesses listening, you have a competitor that is outspending you ten to one. You've got to find a way to do what is needed to get into the pack to really start showing up, because I see the plumbers that are spending 15 grand a month on their marketing, and you know what? They're adding trucks to their fleet, and they're growing, and they've taken that risk, and they're getting that gain. But then I see the ones that are spending $2,500 a month, and they're selling their trucks to the guy who's spending $15,000 a month. And that's happening in every industry. And so that's a tough thing too, for business owners to have to kind of grapple with is to get where you want to go in the online space. That's why you got to look at marketing or websites as an investment and not an expense, for what it's worth.

Speaker B:

I mean, at the end of the day, it's very similar with it. It used to be looked at as a source of just straight expense, but if done right, it's one of the number one investments you can do in your company. So any questions for us, joseph Gosh?

Speaker C:

I don't know. I don't think I it's a new.

Speaker B:

Segment I hadn't thought about until just yeah.

Speaker C:

Yeah, well and you put me on the spot here, so should I ask how's your website working for you?

Speaker B:

It's a great question. I'm talking to you on Monday. To be fair, I feel like we've done a lot of things pretty okay, but then I started looking at our site and going, apparently we're just a bunch of idiots who think we know what we're doing. And so Joe's team has already built us our beautiful website, but now we're trying to figure out how to make it actually work for us, make it as a tool.

Speaker C:

Yeah, we'll talk about a lot of what we talked about today, I think.

Speaker B:

I don't want to be that guy that's being outspent by ten to one.

Speaker C:

Yeah. And that's a tough space that a lot of us are in. A lot of us are in that tough space. But there's something that makes Etop unique. Right? There's something that sets you apart. There are things that you know that sets you apart, and that's where you can find the win. That's where you can find well, if.

Speaker A:

You'Re looking for a website, certainly check out Creativesvendesigns. That's spelt with the number seven. Creativesvendesigns.com. Joseph, thanks again for coming on the podcast. Any last notes before we leave?

Speaker C:

Thanks for having me on. You know, I want to encourage the people that are listening. Don't get discouraged by all this. I know it can be super overwhelming. I will tell you, we're in this space and it's changing so fast that it's overwhelming for us. At times. I would say just bite it off. Take a small piece and start biting it off. Start chewing it off. Do what you can do and make small steps and small progress. Don't try to do it all at once because you'll drive yourself into the ground. I just want to encourage business owners. Just take it step at a time and you'll see it will yield through. It will be beneficial for you, but you got to start walking. You got to start moving down the road on it. But, yeah, don't get overwhelmed by it. Just try to figure out find a partner that can help you plan through this so that you can be here in five years. I don't have a crystal ball saying you're not going to be in business anymore, but you got to pay attention to this because it's pretty important.

Speaker B:

Well, things change, and they change fast.

Speaker A:

Well, thanks again for coming on the podcast. For those that are listening, please share this with a friend. Share this with a colleague. Share this with your business marketing group, like subscribe. Check us out. Businesstechplaybook.com. Etop can help you with your technology. And until next time.

Episode Notes

Please check out Joseph at Creative 7 Designs: https://creative7designs.com/

For more episodes got to http://businesstechplaybook.com

Find more on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-pote-75a87233

This podcast is provided by the team at Etop Technology: https://etoptechnology.com/

Special thanks to Giga for the intro/outro sounds: https://soundcloud.com/gigamusicofficial