YPMS Episode 2: Building an Optimized Website and Creating a Data-Focused Customer Journey with CTO Bill Ferrante

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Show Notes

Casey Stanton
You’re listening to your perfect marketing strategy, the only podcast to teach you what marketing tactics are working right now, how to know which tactics are right for your business and the immediate steps you can take to deploy those tactics to grow your business today. Hey, it’s your host Casey Stanton with CMOx. and I’m here with a really good friend of mine. And guest bill Ferrante. Bill. Where are you calling in from?

Bill Ferrante
I’m from calling him from lovely Idaho Falls, Idaho, and we are in our RV right now. We had the best RV time planning of all time we hit the road three weeks before COVID-19 put the country on lockdown. So we are on lockdown and Idaho Falls.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, incredible. So Bill and I have known each other for years. I don’t know how many years now?

Bill Ferrante
Maybe like seven eight years seven.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, don’t I had a company together for a while called engaged officers and We have effectively kept those companies but separated our partnership just because it didn’t make sense to partner. But we still talk just about every day as if we were partners. Bill’s background is in technology, he has experience.

Bill Ferrante
Well, go ahead, give me the the background of your experience at AOL and kind of how you left corporate America to start your own business. Yeah, sure. Well, I’ll jump a little bit further kind of had like two big chunks of like technology experience. The first one was back when I was like high school, college and work for a company that did a lot of public information database stuff and worked for a couple of companies in there helped start a couple of them. And they’re the risk management division of LexisNexis today, so lots of deep data stuff gonna change over to working, focused on the internet, worked at AOL, worked on the content publishing platform started as a project manager there, and it as technical director of the publishing platform that ran all the websites at AOL and decided I wanted to know Get out of corporate america so that I could focus more on building things and less on doing conference calls and management. I love building. So that’s why I started my business. And we’re we’re lean team, we focus on stuff that we really enjoy doing and clients that we love serving and have a feeling that the topic of the day is probably going to be the thing that I wouldn’t do it.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, absolutely. So before we get into that your client load i think is you’ve got a good marquee there. So you’ve got whole 30, which is if anyone doesn’t know, it’s, it’s like the diet company. You’ve seen whole 30 products going?

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, sure. It’s a 30 day eating program. It’s got a set of rules, and it helps people regain their control over over food and change their life through it. It’s fantastic program and I serve as their CTO, and our team does all of their technical execution work there as well.

Casey Stanton
And if someone listening doesn’t know hold 30 odds are your partner does or your parents do or a friend of yours does. Like whole 30 is everywhere.

Bill Ferrante
Pretty much everybody is like one max two degrees separated from old 30. And my experience. Yeah, that’s true.

Casey Stanton
Yeah. And it’s it’s one of those programs that’s like, going to be around for a very long time led by

maybe one of the most effective people I’ve ever seen on social media.

Bill Ferrante
It’s a solid company. Melissa is wonderful. And yeah, they’re they’re super effective on social media. And if it’s something that interests you to check out, hold 30 calm and you’ll see the rules right on this link to the rules right on the front page. You can get rid and quick.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, we’re gonna talk about why those rules are on the front page here in a minute. And you’ve also got the client, which is Ted calm.

Bill Ferrante
Yeah. So Ted conferences is, is a client. And yeah, just a privilege to be able to work with them. And, yeah, so we’re doing that as well.

Casey Stanton
A couple of cool companies doing great work. You’ve got other clients too, but those are probably some of the most well known. So Bill and I had a company that started together and the premise was that we were your outsourced CTO and CEO Mo. And when we work together with companies, we ultimately found that while what we were offering was effective, on some calls bill was the only person needed on other calls, I was the only person needed. And it was rare to find a call where we were both needed. So the business didn’t make sense to kind of stay couple. And we’ve split and now he offers that same service and in a very similar way, as he’s grown his team, and his capacity and his ability to produce better results. And I’ve done the same. So it’s, it’s cool to see that this premise of like for you what we’re going to talk about today, which is customer journey, it’s just like so core to a long term business strategy. You can build a business around customer journey, and you didn’t build a business around salesforce.com. You didn’t build a business around Marketo or Infusionsoft or Google ads, you built a business around customer journey, and as a result, you can stay nimble and like The thing that matters is not on the technology like, you know, wearing a hat that says I only do this one thing,

Bill Ferrante
right? We were we are aligned with the objectives with the goal, which sometimes evolves over time. But we’re not tied to the tool set. And it’s, it’s a different level of technologist to not be the person that’s just tied to the App Store tied to, you know, a WordPress plug in or, you know, whatever marketing software that you might be tied to. It doesn’t matter to us, we want something that’s going to work correctly and get the job done. And we’re happy to change it out whenever it doesn’t make sense and even occasionally write our own when the tools that are there aren’t getting the job done, which is becoming more and more rare, but it does happen sometimes.

Casey Stanton
So yeah. Okay, so before we dive in the customer journey I want to talk about like, why this matters. I think pretty simply, there’s this growth and complexity in online business, where if you want to sell to people, you have to be able to understand what they want and put it in front of them in a way that they’re going to take action. And we used to be able to do that in direct response marketing by extending like Gary Halbert, like sending a letter to someone, and it was like a four page letter. And then you would take that letter, you tear off the bottom, you’d send a check back to him and he’d send you whatever you you know, you’re like that used to be the way to do things that was the offline. As we go, online technology becomes more and more complex becomes more and more difficult. Although there are tools like clickfunnels or WordPress or whatever that I’ve tried to like flatten that learning curve to make it easier. There’s still a lot of complexity here. And maybe you can set up a website. But what we’ll talk about here is like your website is probably not good enough long term, because you’re not listening to people. You’re not being predictive. You’re not complying with what Google wants you to do and as a result, doesn’t matter how much money you spend on traffic. You’re losing traffic to a poor user experience, which includes a poor PageSpeed. And you’ve focused on that role. It’s like you’re a technologist, but you’re a it’s like a Chief Technologist with marketing. It’s like the chief marketing technologist, right is the marketers role. But then there’s like this technologist role who, who pressed marketing, and that’s really needed. So yeah, what do you got? It was just gonna say, it’s

Bill Ferrante
the only way to effectively get the job done. Because if I don’t understand the marketing side, if I don’t understand why the customer is coming to, or the community member or the audience, whoever it might be, if I don’t understand why they’re coming to the site, or why and it’s more complicated than just a website now, why are they opening your email? Why are they looking at your Instagram post? Why are they clicking on your Lincoln bio, I don’t understand why they’re doing that. Then I’m just an order taker. And that puts a split between me And the person creating the content or driving or driving the traffic or whatever it is, and it limits my value, it means that I can’t contribute to the conversation of how those people are showing up. And I can’t any feedback that I might have about how I can improve a conversion rate, or click through rate is really not founded necessarily on like, what the customer is actually doing. And it discounts a lot of my work and cuts me out of the conversation. So by jumping that to the other side and trying to bridge that gap, which is where we’ve been really strong, we actually become part of that conversation become partners in the process.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, huge takeaway right there that your tech can’t be an order taker. If you’ve got a tech, you’re working with them, you say, Hey, we need this done. And they say, Okay. Typically, that’s a flag that they’re not understanding the reason and the depth and like thinking for themselves.

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, absolutely. And your and your tech can be an order taker, and I would say that the majority of people that are listening to this They’re texts are order takers, that’s that’s what it is. But if you your your growth will always be limited until you can enroll them in your process and in your, in your business to understand what’s happening. It’s a process that happens over time for sure. But once that once it hooks, there’ll be there’ll be in and they’ll get it and they’ll be able to contribute at a much higher level.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, so So talk to me about the customer journey. I think this term is I don’t know. People like to say it, I don’t know if everyone knows what it means, right? It’s like inconceivable. Okay.

Bill Ferrante
So the customer journey is, so people find you in some way. And that could be through through cold traffic, you’re running ads, it could be through a partnership or affiliate relationship. It could be just the organic search or googling for something or they read an article that went to you. Or maybe you listen to this podcast and you click the link, because you found what I’m talking about to be interesting. So there’s lots of different ways that people can find you in that way. But beyond that, what do they do after they find you? That’s the point there is that if all you’re doing is running cold traffic to a single offer, and people are buying things, and then they’re done, you know, you’re actually capturing just the most difficult part of the marketing process, which is getting your lead into your boat. And if you don’t have anything beyond whatever that first thing is, it’s a pretty shallow business. And you’re going to find that you’re always struggling to, you know, work with the Facebook algorithm work with Google AdWords algorithm, like work with all those algorithms. But if you can put the customer into your boat, and then have a journey for them where you’re going to continue to deliver increasing value to that’s where your business This will have a different growth trajectory, it’s a different growth, multiply. And those are the companies that we work with. So that might be a new concept for some people. And if it is, it’s completely worth diving into deeper, we probably won’t spend much time on it because that’s just my norm and my reality and yours. So what I what we do is inside of that journey where people have multiple things where they expect the customer to have more than one offer, where they are moving through a process, what we’re looking to do is see how those pieces connect together, and how they’re communicating with the customer and how those pieces are talked about and presented on the website. Let me just pull

Casey Stanton
this specificity here first. I love your cat.

Bill Ferrante
RV. I don’t know what he wants to eat, does he want to go out and chase bugs? I can’t tell.

Casey Stanton
Okay, so with this product, essentially just the basic idea here is if you have a customer and you bring a customer in and they buy as Bill said, like, that’s the hardest work. The easiest thing to do after that is to keep that customer. That’s why Peter Drucker says that the point of a business is to get and keep a customer. Right? The keeping is the thing. It’s, it’s very difficult in this day and age to go and buy new customers. It’s obviously possible, but it’s expensive, and it’s hard and it’s easier to keep those customers that you have alive. So how do you do that you have product ascension, and there’s product ascension and product D ascension, you know. Depends on your business model. I think it’s often overlooked the product dissension like start expensive and work your way down, start high ticket and move your way down. Instead of start low ticket like the typical marketer says, oh, let’s do an opt in to a $7 product to a $29 product to a $97 product to a 290 $7 product to a 99 997 product. Or instead you could do let’s do a 5000 down to a 1000 down to a 50. And regardless of the route that you go, essentially or dissension, you have to have these products in place so that you can actualize the value of the customer. You can actually help them. And what you’re saying, Bill is that if your business has some kind of a sanction or dissension model, you have to consider kind of the behavior, the reason why like what someone’s doing, and as a result be able to, like facilitate the right discussion with it. Robert Collier says, enter the mind of the customer and have the conversation in the mind of the person. So like, I can do that with marketing, I can do that with the written word. But if I can’t put that in front of them at the right place, and understand that they have that conversation in their head, like I can never write the word in the first place. So tell me how you understand what people are thinking and how you get that message in front of them.

Bill Ferrante
So for us, we’re we’re not typically like creating those offers in those sessions. A lot of the times we’re we’re working with ones that are already existing and and performing at some level, but occasionally we wind up with ones that like, the business hasn’t recognized that like the offers All for the thing isn’t right. And we have to, like call that out with data occasionally. But let’s assume that that whatever the thing is, that’s the ascension, the journey is right. What we’re doing is understood, the person that we want to do is we want to understand like how that thing intersects with the different steps like where are the natural points at which they intersect? And what’s the emotion and what is the journey that the person has happened. And in some cases, it’s helpful for me to step into the process, like as an example with whole 30 I did a whole 30 and by doing the whole 30, I had the experience and I had the feeling and actually had the life transformation and was able to experience Okay, I want more of I want the next step in this process. And by asking the question, and experiencing that, I was able to say, okay, like, I went to the website, the next step, so just in case anybody’s like wondering what it actually is for whole 30 it’s something called food freedom. also wrote a book on it. But you don’t have to buy the book. Like everything whole 30 is available for free, you can consume all the knowledge. And if the book was right, you buy the book. There’s other things that you could do as well. But I had to go back to the website to look for it. And it wasn’t obvious where it was, I had to like I had to dig for it was a couple of clicks in. So that was a problem. And then the other challenge was is that like, all 30 knows that the program is a 30 day long program. They absolutely could have emailed me with the next step as well. And that wasn’t being done when I when I originally showed up. Now this isn’t by by means to say that like the old 30 is doing all these things now. And it’s not just because of me like there’s a content team there. There’s lots of really smart folks doing great work. But this is how you do it in that program in that world. You have to consider the journey. Consider the experience looks the person feeling, where do they when they’re done with that first step, where are they and how Reach out to them with the correct message at the correct time, and give them the next steps to continue to provide value to them.

Casey Stanton
Okay, so to that point, though, so, there’s the marketers fallacy, which is because I wouldn’t they won’t. Right, right. I wouldn’t do that thing. That long sales letter. I’m not gonna read that the 50 minute VSL I’m not gonna watch that right now. Yeah, for that reason, no one else will, which is a fallacy, right? We know that those things, like people consume those things, and they buy as a result. Your experience one off is like, you’re just a dude, like living in an RV, right? Like with a cat, like, you’re just experience isn’t statistically significant. How do you overcome that single data point? Yeah, great question.

Bill Ferrante
So, in in some ways, I feel that putting yourself into the situation is a good way to get your mind in that area, where you can more fluidly ask those questions. The way that I answer them as I look at the data, and I ask questions to the audience to either give clarity on the data or to confirm what I think I’m seeing in the data I’ll ask, I’ll try to ask direct questions. Jimmy didn’t get into like, tactically like how I do that.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, so I want this to get specific but just like

it’s just like really interesting to hear you you like, You call yourself a technologist and you are but like, you really straddle this marketing or like, Product Marketing line. And I think that that’s kind of novel.

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, we’re very I mean, it’s in the product person in technology gets is like by most by most people that are not super tech savvy. Like there is a there’s what’s known as a product person. So like, as an example the Facebook app on your phone wasn’t just like in this is gonna seem obvious, right? It wasn’t just built by a by a programmer or by someone that knows how to like run A database server or an iOS developer, there’s actually a rule that says, what does this need to look like? What does it How does need work? How does the you know the newsfeed scroll? And that rule is called a, it’s called product. It’s a product person. And yes, you kind of hit the nail on the head. That’s, that’s very much where I kind of straddle. And it’s, and it’s knowing how to operate the technology team that actually can get that thing done. That’s kind of where where we exist.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, I’m gonna take note of that, because I think just as folks listen to this, maybe this is a lot to expect out of just the raw technologist, what we’re talking about here, this may be somebody who struggles with technology, and product also maybe marketing. I think, traditionally, we see that marketers drive leads or awareness which whatever like, Oh, it’s it’s frustrating because it doesn’t like actually drive a result necessarily, but we drive leads, we drive awareness, whatever we support the sales team if it’s a b2b or like a product sale. In your situation, though. Well Sorry, some marketers then like step into product to make sure that the product is a fit for the market. So the market is saying like, oh, people aren’t buying this, I should change the offer. Okay. But maybe you should also change what you’re selling, not just like how you’re selling it, but the actual thing, which is the product, and then you’re able to come in on the tech side, and kind of like, I don’t know, we’re like on opposite sides of product kind of pushing product forward, marketers push it forward in one way, tech pushes it forward in another

Bill Ferrante
Right in the product person doesn’t know if what they’ve come up with is working or not without me. So I’m the person that he depends on the level of sophistication of the product person, whether they, some of them can are technical and can write some code and like build their own reporting. And some of them don’t like they need Hey, Bill, can we sit down like we were to launch this thing? I really need to get like some data in Google Analytics, like I know what’s going on. Can you help me think this through and then implement it or I know what numbers I need bill just which is kind of the way you operate right? You’re like Bill This reporting, don’t let it go live without this data so that I know what’s happening. And I can tell you what to do next. So, but that data is what’s absolutely critical. And also like for your audience, like this might sound super complex and just zoom out for a quick second. What I think is a good way to look at this is, these are discrete functions that can be blended together, or they can be separate. But like, no matter what, these are the things that are important for success. How you assemble them is up to you. And the but they have to exist, and you can succeed while skipping one of them and get potentially lucky. But for two, the key to growth is really understanding all of these things and being able to assemble them and manage them. And that’s sort of the next level.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, very cool. So tell me how do you collect this data? What are the tools that are available right now? And like what should marketers Just kind of de facto deploy on any website that they’re running.

Bill Ferrante
Yeah. So I think that the first thing is, and everybody here if you’re not running Google Analytics on your sites like you should absolutely be running Google Analytics. Analytics is, is a sort of infinitely complex topic. And I think that the thing is, is that you either need to find the passion to be like, there’s, there are answers inside of analytics. And if you when you have a question, you should go to analytics and feel inspired with a cup of coffee or whatever your favorite caffeinated beverages should just spend an hour or two getting into it to get answers. If you don’t feel inspired to do that, you need to find the person that is so that you can ask them the questions and they can go and get you the answers.

Casey Stanton
Okay, what’s the process? Like, don’t do things that you hate in business? Because there’s someone who loves it man, Bill, and I share the same bookkeeper. And it’s just like, that person likes it. Like his team likes it right Sean’s team is like down with doing books and man, they drive me crazy. Right is my dysfunction is his function. So they don’t use the exact same thing.

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, same thing. And you know, we talked about this I reached out to them and I upped my engagement with them to like, handle my invoicing stuff for me, which I hated. And they’re like, yeah, so probably got this and they gave me so much clarity and all that stress has gone to that thing with your analytics, do that thing with your data, anything that I’m talking about here. If you try, try it one strike twice. If you don’t love it, go find that person we live in, in a marketplace economy. You can find it or you can find a team like mine If you’re the right fit. You don’t have to struggle with it yourself.

Casey Stanton
Really. Well, while we’re on the subject. I wanted to interview bill for this and I messaged bill and his assistant and then his assistant in Minnesota. work together to book a time. Yep.

Bill Ferrante
And it’s, it’s not because I’m lazy. And it’s not because like, I’m I mean, I’m busy. But scheduling is something that for some reason I really don’t like doing. I like I don’t I avoid it. It stresses me. So I just literally don’t do it and Shannon knows to handle it. And I’m lucky and she’s the best.

Casey Stanton
totally right. And it’s almost like now when a scheduling request comes in. I’m like, you know what? That sounds like fun? Sure. I’ll just make that. Yeah, I’ll schedule that one. Because it’s like one a quarter that I do, you know, and it just because I’m in my inbox before my system is not because you won’t do it.

Bill Ferrante
It’s not it’s not a requirement of my role anymore.

Casey Stanton
Right. That’s interesting. Okay, so Google data.

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, Google Analytics is definitely one. And in our process, one of like, Google Analytics is sort of like the first step in helping understand that and Google Analytics. I don’t know if anybody everybody knows this. But you can actually think it’s under behavior. You can you can blow up you journey so you can see like what pages people are landing on and where they’re going from there and how long they’re staying, and what pages they bail out on. So that starts to give you a hunch to be like, wow, you know, most people exit our site on this page, or most people enter on this page, but leave on this page. Why are they leaving on a page that is like not an action taking page or agree like less of a percentage of people, I would expect that they would exit my site on the action taking page. But that number is less than I expected. That’s the number I want to optimize for. I need to start looking at why people are coming to the site, how they’re landing on that page and why they’re not doing what I expect they’re going to do. And then the next step, there is sort of a couple of things. If if we have the clarity, where we think we know, with some level of confidence, what to try. We’ll try it and we’ll be tested. Google Optimize is a good way to AB test. There’s We kind of get into a little bit about like, technically what’s good Optimizely is another one. Visual Web optimizer is another one. The problem with some of those tools is that the way they operate, if you’re if you’re not a technical person that is better than nothing, because what it does is it will rearrange the content for user. So when you run it, the page will sometimes change on you, if you’re part of the B test. That’s not a great experience. And Google from like an SEO perspective does not love that. What you really want to do is run an entire second version of that page have that component that is static, that doesn’t change, and then traffic splits the both of those. So that’s the proper way to do it. If resources you’re standing doing a B testing on a multivariate, so the ad is sending from one page URL to a separate page URL. Yeah, that that would be that would be ideal for well for level of sophistication that we’re talking about here, right? There’s reasons to do multi variant testing, for sure. But I think that would be a whole nother podcast.

Casey Stanton
Sure. And this seems like for SEO, specific pages, like if it’s like a page that you’ve disallowed in the robots, or you’re hidden from the SERPs for some reason, because you’re driving paid traffic to it, and you’re doing multivariate do that day and night doesn’t matter. Google doesn’t care because Google doesn’t see it. On the flip side, if you’re doing something like your homepage, you want to be that’s interesting testing elements that Google sees, like, things not changing rapidly.

Bill Ferrante
Right? And what I mean by that is like, let’s say that you want to start, you know, let’s say that you’ve got, like a menu with like four options on it. And you want to change the text on those options, or reorder those options or change the style of those options. Well, if you’re using one of these like Visual Web optimizer Optimizely what they what they do, is they the page loads and optimizing loads. And then what it does is it locates the content and it shifts up, it modifies the content in the web browser. So what that can do sometimes is create a weird experience for the user where they’re looking at the web page and the web page changes. They’ve gotten better about it, but it’s not perfect. And that’s like the less optimal way to go about this. That’s a little in the weeds. But it’s worth noting, just to say, if, if you’re, if you have the technical capacity, the right way to do it, two separate versions, if you don’t have the technical capacity, doing it the other way, just to get the data is okay. But the important thing to note here is that once you have your answer, remove it from your sub, we do not leave these things on your site. What will wind up so we’re going to and I’ll keep pointing that out. As we go through these tools. These tools are there for testing when the testings complete, you remove the tool, okay?

Casey Stanton
Because inherently any tool that you use is going to slow down sites. Speed, it’s gonna kind of like bloat the site. Just be understand,

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, you’re adding page weight, you’re adding complexity. And you and you want those things out.

Casey Stanton
So one of the things that I think marketers tend to do is, we do too many projects. We do too many marketing campaigns. We do too many initiatives. We’re doing the Facebook ad, we’re doing the Google ad, we’re doing the YouTube ad, we’re doing the SEO, we’re doing the on page we do like we’re doing all these things, email marketing, social media, like it can be limitless. And what I’m hearing you kind of push towards is just like, it’s not over until you know the data. It’s not over until you’ve reviewed the data. It’s not enough to put a webinar up. You got to know what’s the conversion rate, what’s the traffic? What happened? Why did it happen, take predictions, we’re gonna talk about other tech on how to understand what people are thinking. They actually ask them. And like, as a marketer, we’ve got to stop doing too much and start doing the few things that we think have the highest propensity to win and then focus long enough to get the result and Odds are, you’ll probably have a good result if you stick around long enough. I just think back to Joe Polish talks about this, I just think it’s like such a great example, when he was like a carpet cleaner, and he like couldn’t make any money and he asked some guy who was wealthy Hey, I’m gonna go start a business like yours. He’s like, why saying I’m not making money as a carpet cleaner? Like, are other carpet cleaners making money? He’s like, Oh, yeah, people are really successful. He’s like, well, it’s probably not carpet cleaning, then it’s probably you. Right? It’s probably not webinars that suck. It’s your webinar. That sucks. Right, right. So like, how do you identify? Yeah, yeah, dive into the data, understand what’s going on and actually have an understanding. So talk to me more about how like you pull this together. And it seems more like an experiment what you’re doing.

Bill Ferrante
It absolutely is and, and what I’m what I’m laying out here like is a process that you do over and over again. So once you come up with an idea of what you think might be wrong, from the from, from the data that you’re looking at, you come up with a Experiment. And then you run that experiment. And you see which one one out. And then you upgrade and like that’s your new version for the homepage or that landing page or whatever page that is that’s in, in Tata interior to that journey process, you replace that thing. And then you move back on to data and testing the next step in the process. Now, occasionally, we’ll look at the data. And we’ll see people dropping off at some states that that we don’t expect, and we won’t know why. And sometimes, and sometimes you won’t have enough information to take some level of competent action. And in our experience, like if you if you run, if you don’t know why, and you’re like, let’s just try a new version of it. A lot of times, you’re just burning time, or you’re gonna get a false positive, like maybe it goes up a couple of points or whatever it is, but it might not be accurate for you. Did not get to the root problem. So you’re kind of on like a hamster wheel a little bit just like burning time. So if you don’t have the clarity on why someone’s dropping off, ask more questions like, look more into what might be going on. And some of the ways that we can do that is you can use some screen recording tools. You want to make sure that your your terms of service and privacy policy and everything like explain like what you’re doing with that information. By the way, this is like a quick little footnote. And the best tool that we’ve utilized that we love is full story. com. full story is expensive. And the absence of full story, tools like hot jar are much more manageable. And I’ll give an example of one journey problem that we found using full story. We were our our user sessions were much lower than expected on an e commerce site. And we ran full story And what we found was that there were a lot of dead clicks, which is people were clicking on the on the web page, and nothing was happening. Now sometimes that’s an okay thing, as an example, long wall of text where people are reading an article, click around dead clicks, or no problem that page on an e commerce site, a dead clicked can be really concerning. What we found out was is that, like, icons, menu icons, things that people were clicking on to navigate through the site, the actual click target was too small, it was too tight. So people would try to click a button, and they would miss and not buy and in a way that when you looked at it, you’re like, that should have been a quick, that’s wrong. And when we increase those margins by like, increasing like 15 or 20%, that problem went away. And all of a sudden our time on site climbed. Yeah. And

Casey Stanton
If you’ve ever been on like your phone, and you’ve tried to click on something, it doesn’t work. You’re like, this site’s broken like I’m out and it wouldn’t be broken.

Bill Ferrante
And that’s just bad design, right? Like you had a technical designer, but like didn’t get something right. And you and that like, psychologically, like wears down your user because they tried to click on something, they didn’t get it. And now they had a bad experience, and they’re bailing. And that not only does it create a bad experience for your user and hurt your conversion rates, increase your click through rates and everything. But it also gives a bad experience to the user. And Google has gotten good at detecting that. And at the end of the day, like Google wants to remain relevant in your internet life. And if they’re sending you to lackluster sites, you’re gonna stop stop using Google at some point, like somebody will step up and eat their lunch. So that is why SEO exists. It’s so that Google can continue to create to prioritize great experiences for people so they can hold on to their customer. And if your click targets are too small, and people are getting burned out on your site, you’re gonna pay a price for that, like there’s going to be a penalty for that. So lots of reason to do that correctly. So full story can be really good for like watching recordings. Also like hot jar, there’s, there’s other, you know, more reasonably priced tools out there that will do it as well. And sometimes the answer is will be pretty clear when you’re like dropping it on that journey. And you’ll see a user getting frustrated than leaving, or trying to click something and the buttons broken, or whatever it is. And those answers are obvious. And that’s great. Sometimes it will not be obvious, you’ll want to watch a bunch of those recordings, and you can’t figure out why what’s going on. In those cases, we like to ask questions to people. Hey, what did Why did you come to this page? What were you looking for? Did you not find what you were looking for on this page? And that’s if we really don’t know like, what’s going on? We’ll try to ask open ended questions. Sometimes we even put a field in there let people type things in reviewing them will sometimes give us that second question, which is what one of these options have been better for you on this page? And let people tell us, yes. And we’ll be looking for a Run away. In that case, where it’s like, you know, 80% of people answered, this is the option I wanted and we weren’t doing it. Sometimes it is that clear, sometimes, like it’s a little bit more money. But one of the one of the biggest insights that we got, and we ran that process with over 30, so thirty.com got redesigned. We’re like, middle of the year 2019, I think. And we did this process before launch. And then we did this process after launch. And we’re still doing this process. Now. All of the core pages of the site where people are in a journey, we’re constantly coming back looking at the data and asking questions. And in some cases, it’s not just because the page could be better, but also this external influences. We’ve had COVID-19 we have you know, Black Lives Matter happening. These things are affecting people deeply. It’s affecting society deeply. And unless you’re taking this taking a step back to look at. You know how that’s impacting your audience in your community. Sometimes you’ll miss something. And maybe there’s no impact. But like, it’s important to be looking at those things as well. And making sure that like your tone and your message and everything is like still correct. So you’re, so we’re looking at that data, and then basically making changes to the site. And we restart the process all over again.

Casey Stanton
Fascinating. So you’re, you’re not even just assuming you’re like, one of the things that we can do when we look at data is we can make up a story that may not be true. And assume intentions that people have without asking. And you’re explicitly asking and hot jar has a function to pop up a little kind of like a typical chat box that just says, Hey, what’s up or quick survey questions? Yeah, fill in the blank. And hearing from people directly is critical to understand why they’re behaving how they are. And once that data becomes statistical, like you said, have a runaway winner. You’re able then to take action on it and solve the problem. And make the website the thing that the people want. As a result, I assume that time on page increases time on site increases, satisfaction increases kind of all the markers all the way through to e commerce conversion rates, right successes and transformation through products, that kind of thing. Yeah, absolutely. People stick around longer in your email list. Like it should have lists, everything you get in this idea feels a little. It feels really cutting edge, but also like, next to my gym, there’s like a corner, a corner store and like my wife, and I’ll pop in, you know, pre COVID, who would pop in there. And I remember walking around once looking for something and then like leaving and then the woman at the front goes, Hey, what were you looking for? What didn’t we have? It’s like, it’s a great question, right? And I told her, I’m like, I’m looking for diet seven out because I love that stuff. And she’s like, okay, I’ll get it in for you. It’s like she asked the question, and that’s good business. And you would expect if you were in her position to do the same thing. Why don’t doing that on a website? Why don’t you just assume that you got it right the first time when you built the website, not knowing anything about your customers and their behavior.

Bill Ferrante
Right. And I think that for a lot of business owners, like there’s a psychological thing behind it, too, like the website was so difficult to build, it took all this energy from me to, you know, try to figure out what people needed and to try to get it right. And I spent money and I spent my time working with a programmer and a designer. So I get this thing built. It is done. I am moving on, I’m going to work on my email list or my marketing or whatever it is. And we have a have a saying that we use in the business that we we don’t build websites, we build laboratories, and what we’re trying to get across to people and sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow that it’s not gonna be right on the first pass, and it will never be right. It is markers. Listen to this.

Casey Stanton
You know that your marketing campaigns are never perfect the first time either like this is this is the world we live in the ability to test right?

Bill Ferrante
Right. Absolutely. And the nice thing about it is, is that like, with with, with websites, like we’re not dealing with, you know, hardcopy print, this isn’t a book, you don’t have to do version two, right? We can actually like, test these things, the barrier is so much lower. But there, there is like complexity in the process here. But that mindset set shift to say, we are going to be working this process is critically important. And lots of technology people don’t get to this point. Because it’s hard to explain to a client that what you’re what they’re investing in, is just the first step. If someone’s you know, cutting you a check for like a big project, a big rebuild, and it’s gonna take them one or two months. They’re ready to be done with it the moment they started, and even getting the point across to them that it’s just step one of the journey is difficult, and most technologists don’t bite off that. That part of the conversation, they get to say Hold on, and they move on to the next day. You know, they get their next client.

Casey Stanton
Right? Totally. Yeah, this is while you share the same title, like tech person, as the guy who will take a Photoshop file and build it into a WordPress theme. Like you’re very different than the way that you approach this. Right. You’re, you’re caring much more deeply. I we’re almost out of time here, but I just want just a quick, high level, what is Google changing in 2021? And why should people care?

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, so this was so. So the today’s date, you know, we’re recording this on June 2 2020. And I think it was end of last week, Google put out basically saying that Google does algorithm updates, you know, several times a year, and they basically announced in 2021. We will be doing we will be rolling out an algorithm update and that algorithm update will be focused on user experience, and user experience is comprised of several things. And they put out links to updated documentation. they’ve updated their tools to experience to talk to these things. And basically putting everybody on notice that like, in six months, we’re going to say it’s definitely coming at this point, but start doing the work now. And what they’re prioritizing is user experience we’re talking about, you know, do you have pop ups on your page and all those pop ups easy to clear? Are they blocking people’s actions? Is the page fast? Or is it loading lots of junk? Is it terrible on mobile, when you’re on a wireless cellular network? Like what is the experience like on on when you’re on the site, and they’re going to impact the, you know, your site’s SEO value in the in the index because of that there? And it’s always been a component of it. But this will be a focus. This will be an update that is solely focused on that.

Casey Stanton
So I I think the writing’s on the wall, if your website if you go to Google PageSpeed Insights, and you type in your URL, What’s the minimum number someone should be aiming for right now?

Bill Ferrante
I mean, better. So it’d be. It depends on I think I think it depends, right? For me, I want 100 across the board on things. And if you went and like ran one on all 30 right now, it might be a little on the low side, because we may be running a test at that moment in time. But as soon as the test is complete, we’re gonna pull that thing out. So we’re always aiming for hundreds across the board. That’s, that’s us, because that’s what we’re, that’s what we’re being engaged to do. But

Casey Stanton
so you the Presidents before, you said, like, without pixels without tracking scripts, it’s like it’s 100%. And then like, with these necessary scripts, it’s gonna slow it down for the length of time that you have them and know that Google Analytics is will always be on and it’ll always slow things down a little bit. And that’s just that’s just the the reality.

Bill Ferrante
Right? And the way that sophisticated tech people look at this as they they look at it as a technical budget. So it’s what’s my point? Performance budget, I will allow the page load speed to get to x point, you’re also going to be seeing user experience metrics talking about how fast the first contentful display is. So it’s not just about loading the page. It’s about how fast the first page, like becomes interactive for user. So this is getting way more sophisticated. But like to your point, the objective here is, if you don’t need it on your site, you want to get rid of it. And like, that’s the point. And it’s worth doing a very regular review of those things. Typical internet marketers, if they’re like running on WordPress, or whatever it is, they’re iterating very quickly, and they’re prone to quickly adding something to test something. But then moving on to the next thing and carving out the time to go back and do review on a regular like on a monthly or quarterly basis to say how is like how is my site performance? And have I left something on that said that should not be there. is very valuable to do. Another easy way to like manage your, like beacons avionics, maybe you’re adding a facebook pixel, you’re adding, you know, you’re, you’re finding what he’s paid three quarters or whatever it might be is Google Tag Manager. If you’re not using Google Tag Manager right now, one of the nice things about that is, it’s a little sophisticated, but it is all graphical user interface. And it gives. It’ll give someone not technical, but a way to remove those pixels with a point and click without talking to your developer.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, I was afraid to use Google Tag Manager, and then a friend of mine, she pushed me to do it. And I went from, like, getting a PHP script to say only show this on this page, and you have to put that in the WordPress header and like that kind of pain in the ass approach to being able to deploy a script at a certain time or on a certain page or with a certain experience or push an event to Google Analytics. When you setting up your custom conversions on Facebook ads, you just grab that custom conversion code and you create a new tag and a new trigger. And you can do it in a minute. I mean, it is so fast. There’s a bit of a learning curve to get started, but plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to do that. So I’m on this absolutely. So as we come to a close, some things that are taking that I’m taking away. One is that you’d find a partner in the technology, not just an order taker, build, you care more about the outcomes of technology. And not just like just doing the job that’s been told you. We can always find offshore people on you know, any website that will take an order and do it, but to have someone who will think critically about how the technology works for your customer and for your business, that intersection. You know, you got to find a partner for that.

Bill Ferrante
I’m the white guy. I want you to work without the why.

Casey Stanton
Yeah, good. Next is the website is evolving. It’s not like it’s built and done. It’s like a living breathing thing. So Treat it as such, you know, care and nurture it Give it fertilizer cleanup the tracking scripts when you’re not using it. laboratory clean and do experiments regularly. Yeah, awesome in those experiments, those recording the screen recording tools, full story calm hot jar. I’ve used inspect lint before I like inspect, inspect looks great. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And then you also talked about different kind of pixels that people will probably have like Google Analytics. Yep, Google Tag Manager. Yes, Google Optimize as a form of a B and multivariate split testing. And there’s also Optimizely and VW O. In my experience, the Google products are just like, easier to use. VW, O and Optimizely can be pretty pricey to get started with. So just keep that in mind. And that. Your technologist should be straddling the line of like technology and efficiency and also product like and also marketing it. No longer does this person live in a server room where they’re unable to like speak with anyone and get any sunshine like they need to be given the opportunity. Continue to make the impact across the business because the role of the technologist is like has has the potential for being incredibly high impact. Right?

Bill Ferrante
Absolutely.

Casey Stanton
Sweet. Thank you for that bill. So if someone wanted to reach out to you who would be a good fit to reach out to you? What kind of companies?

Bill Ferrante
Yeah, companies where your if your business is growing. If your business is scaling and you’re feeling held back by your technology, it’s usually worth having. having a chat with us.

Casey Stanton
Cool, great. To get wherever they go with your website throttle.

Bill Ferrante
throttleup.io where we’ve been trying to rebuild the website now for for a little over a year. We’re like the shoemaker with no shoes. But that’s what that’s the price of being busy. So click the chintzy get in touch button there if that’s what it is. And maybe there’s something more sophisticated if it’s if it’s not, but yeah, reach out to us and we’d love to have it

Casey Stanton
Cool, so that’s throttleup.io or I’m sure if you have a lot of land and Bill can pull his RV over to

Bill Ferrante
Your audit and consultation will be gratis. A place to park my RV.

Casey Stanton
Awesome, Bill. Thanks so much for being on dude.

Bill Ferrante
Thanks for having me, Casey. This is awesome.

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