Marketing Blabs – Podcast

Blab #11: Introduction to the Marketing Funnel

Date of Blab

27 October 2023

Blab Host

Categories

Listen Time

00:47:36

In this Marketing Blabs episode, the team chat with special guest Talisa Gill from 10x Marketing. We deep dive into unravelling the complexities of the marketing funnel – that quintessential pathway guiding potential customers from awareness to action and beyond.

Whether you’re a marketing novice or a seasoned pro, this episode is packed with actionable advice and innovative approaches to guide your journey through the ever-evolving marketing funnel.

On this Blab: Tom Haslam (Host), Talisa Gill (10x Marketing), Matt Janaway and Mel Healy.

Blab Transcript

Tom Haslam - (host):

Welcome to Marketing Blabs. This podcast is brought to you by Marketing Labs, an expert digital marketing agency based in Nottinghamshire.

If you're a business owner or marketing professional looking for straightforward, non-salesy tips and advice to help grow your business online, then this podcast is for you. Strap in, because we're about to reveal the things that other agencies would rather you didn't know.

Hello, everyone. And welcome back to another episode of Marketing Blabs. My names Tom Haslam, and I'm the creative director here at Marketing Labs.

Today we have a very special episode for you, where we'll be chatting about the marketing funnel. We're going to delve into the different levels of the funnel, and provide some ideas for how you can improve the user journey to create new conversions and sales for your business.

Joining me today on this Blab, from the ML team, is Matt Janaway, our founder and CEO. How are you doing, Matt?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Afternoon, Tom. Yeah, good.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Ready for it?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, I am. Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

I'm a bit disappointed you've not got any Marketing Labs clobber on today.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, I didn't think about it this morning.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Disappointing.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Changed my t-shirt like three times this morning.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Is that a GAP one?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It's not, no. No. I kept changing it because Leah kept spilling things on me.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Oh, not ideal.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

No. None of them were Marketing Labs t-shirts either.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. And we've also got Mel Healy, our head of content. How are you doing, Mel?

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

I'm good, Tom, thank you.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Excited?

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Always.

Tom Haslam - (host):

As always?

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Always.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Ready to kick it off? And we're also very lucky to have our very first guest speaker today, Talisa Gill, founder of 10X Marketing. She's been running the agency for four years now, an agency that specialises in content marketing, and looking to help businesses transform their content game.

How are you doing today, Talisa?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Very well, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Excited to be here?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Of course, very excited. Very excited.

Tom Haslam - (host):

You've been on a few podcasts though, haven't you? So it's not your first-

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah, yeah. A few different ones. Even had my podcast at one point.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

So, yeah, quite a few. And I do enjoy it, so, yeah, wanted to come along.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Excellent. Well, it's good to have you here.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Thank you.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Thanks for coming.

I suppose we should get started then, shall we, talking about the marketing funnel. So I want to discuss the importance of the marketing funnel, and how understanding that can be quite powerful for business owners and professionals. Well, marketing professionals as well, the more you can understand it...

Have you got anything that you want to start off with, with regards to how businesses can better understand the funnel?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

To better understand it, for me, it's around... Well, it's most simplest form is to serve the right content or message to the right audience at the right time. Ultimately that's what we're trying to do as people come into that sales funnel and have a look at, "Okay, are they in the awareness stage? Are they in the interest stage? Are they in the decision phase? Or are they actually converting into a customer of yours?"

So it's really important to understand what platforms and what marketing you need to be doing at each stages of that, to try and pull people as successfully down the funnel as possible.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. And there's obviously different methods and different platforms that you can use to... at each level as well. But ultimately it's about making sure that you're talking to the right audience at the right time.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Absolutely. Yeah, 100%. And that is that awareness stage, where you need to really understand who your target audience is as a business first off, that's the most important step. To then realise how you can speak to them with the right tone of voice, the right message, at the right time, on the platforms that they're hanging out on as well.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. We talk about this literally on almost every podcast, don't we?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

It comes back to audience.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Audience, intent... Yeah, absolutely.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. I guess the understanding that audience from the start is the most important thing for any business, really. And not a lot of businesses do that.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It's a phase that tends to get missed out quite a lot, to be honest. Which is quite confusing, because it's also one of the most important parts of the journey.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

How many people to you... Well, how many potential clients do you come across and you'll say to them in the first kind of briefing call, "Oh, who's your target audience?" They go, "I don't know."

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

A lot.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Exactly.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

It's amazing how many don't know. But that's probably why their marketing's not working and why they're coming to experts like us for help, because they don't actually understand who they're talking to, where they hang out, what messages they actually need, what pain points they're actually suffering with, and how you can actually help them with the services that you offer.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Pain points is a big one as well, isn't it? Because you... Especially in B2B's, it's a lot in B2B, businesses just shout about themselves, instead of actually creating content or communications that resonate with the kind of problems that their potential customers and clients might have, that they can help them with.

So straightaway the chances of them being able to communicate how they can help [inaudible 00:05:09] our problem are more difficult just straight off the bat, because they haven't really taken the time to understand who their audience is and what kind of problems they have.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. I guess you can get... Well, we understand, all of us here, how to gather information on audiences and things like that, with the right set-ups obviously. But I think a lot of businesses miss out on, let's call it, early business, just because they don't understand that process straightaway. Like you said, they come to us for the advice.

So it's quite important to understand the funnel. Obviously if we're going to talk about the funnel from top to bottom, the first obviously phase is awareness.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yep.

Tom Haslam - (host):

And are there any platforms that you think are the most important for that awareness stage?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

For me, it's social media at the top of the funnel in terms of that awareness stage. It's your avenue to reach as many people as you wanted to reach in your target audience, across all the different social media platforms. And another great thing about social media is how you can deliver different types of content.

An important factor for me is everyone doesn't like to consume content in the same way, even if it is the same target audience. So they might actually prefer to go onto LinkedIn, maybe read an article, they might prefer to go onto Instagram, see something a little bit more visual. They might go onto Facebook to have a little bit of a more Q&A style post, or go over to the likes TikTok for more video style content. So awareness stage is definitely the social media avenue.

A good tip for social media in terms of creating content is we do a lot of social media content and we kind of split the content categories into three different ones. We call it the three E methodology, so educate, emote and entertain. And if you can try and build content around those different three avenues, that should hopefully turn people who is interested and aware of you into people that are actually going to start trusting you, into converting into the next step that you wanted them to take in the funnel.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice. That sounds quite cool, actually. I like that, educate, entertain, emote.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Mm-hmm.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Quite an interesting one. I guess with social as well, there's obviously paid advertisements that you can utilise, but obviously I want to talk about organic quickly. There's lots of ways that you can obviously build that awareness on an organic method, and it's about talking to that audience, again, like we always say, in the right method.

Are there any success stories that you've seen from video? Because I always like to think that video has a larger click-through rate.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah, absolutely.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Higher engagement rates. Have you done many bits of work or projects with TikTok? We're seeing that become more prominent now.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah, absolutely. And we've just started taking on quite a few new clients for the world of TikTok at the moment.

So one actual successful client we had is a client that's in the brick and mortar house industry, and they offer candles, home fragrances. And they are actually going after more wholesale, but they're also going after the end user as well, to go to their website and actually buy the candles instead of going to the likes of Clintons or to a garden centre and buying the products.

They weren't doing much on social media, so we started with the usual platforms like Instagram. But then we realised, "Actually, we can create some really cool content, video content, for the likes of TikTok." So we set them up on there. And the success that they're having, and the conversions through to the website, is sky-high compared to just a static image that's on the likes of Instagram. Which is really nice.

It's about showcasing those products how they can be used in the home, such as they do home sprays, so where can you spray home sprays in the house? And it's just really educating people along the journey of those products, to show how they can utilise all the different collections in the video content side, for them to gain more customers really.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice. And do you do that on an organic basis, or with ads as well?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

All organic.

Tom Haslam - (host):

All organic, nice.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

So for us, we actually don't really touch anything in the paid world of socials.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Okay.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Which is a little bit unique as an agency. But, yeah, I always tell people that we are an organic content agency, so we get people to know who you are, like who you are, trust who you are, to actually come through into the conversion that you want them to, to go to the next step of the journey.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice. So obviously from that awareness stage you obviously get the interest in the actual products or services. I know there's different methods of content and platforms that sort of chip in along that. I want to talk about obviously how SEO plays a part in those two phases, Matt. Obviously we talk about intent a lot.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Mm-hmm.

Tom Haslam - (host):

With social, obviously we see that there's not really as much intent in social. Obviously if you think when you're scrolling on your phone, you might see some... I don't know why I'm doing that.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Pretending. Showing how you do it.

Tom Haslam - (host):

I'm showing everyone how you do it.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It's a shame that's not on camera.

Tom Haslam - (host):

I know, yeah.

I think obviously you'll stop and see something, and you might like it, but you might not click.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Mm-hmm.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Talking about SEO, obviously the intent is there. Which stage of the funnel would you say that SEO falls into?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Well, it can be a multiple. I think... So that's one of the reasons why social media is fantastic for the awareness stage, because it is less intent driven, but the audience is huge. So you're in this position where you can actually reach people who aren't necessarily aware of your services, and then you can gain that awareness. So that's why those kind of tactics work incredibly well at the awareness stage.

SEO can have a part in all of these stages, because it's intent driven. So, for example, creating blogs, content, how-to guides, things like that, they're fantastic for the awareness stage. And you can gather people who are searching for very specific problems, needs, very specific phrases.

So, yeah, SEO has a big part to play in all of those areas, it's just the... it comes down ultimately to the keyword selection. And every different keyword will have a different meaning, a different intent. And you've got to align those with, I guess, your content plan. And not only they kind of content you're creating, but the message of the content, the purpose of the content. And you align that with the keywords.

So, yeah, very much at the awareness stage, SEO can have a big part to play, as well as social. I would agree as well that social is probably the primary channel for generating that awareness. But certainly written content on blogs, bit of YouTube as well potentially, can add into the mix. But a lot of the focus really needs to be on social at that phase.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. Interesting. I think obviously the second phase, obviously interest. Are there any methods or platforms that you think play a part in that sort of second phase of the funnel after awareness?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

So, for me, that is probably where you're starting to bring in maybe some email marketing, the website as well, so blogs, like you just mentioned from the SEO point of view. It's definitely still in the social media side, but I guess you're trying to create interest on social media so people click through to your website.

And then either subscribe to your newsletter, because they might think, "Oh, I'm not ready to buy, but I might actually want to learn more about the business and the services." They might go to your blog to learn a little bit more. So I'd definitely say around that, that stage is where we're bringing in the more longer form content, you could say, in terms of email, blog posts, maybe some landing page copy as well.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. Email's a good one. Obviously every strategy for email marketing is different, but do you have any tips that you know of or you like to give with regards to email marketing?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Oh, I've got loads of tips-

Tom Haslam - (host):

Put you on the spot.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I've got loads around email marketing. And I think it depends what emails you're doing. So obviously there's three different categories for me in terms of email marketing.

So there's just general email campaigns, so it might just be a one-off campaign that you're doing around a certain subject. There is your email newsletter, which a lot of people get on board with to try to push out as much content as possible, it might be a monthly newsletter. And then there's also the email nurturing sequences as well, so getting people to come into a bit of a journey and a workflow, you could say.

That's usually based from them making a certain action on your website, so it might be that they downloaded a lead magnet, it might be that they've entered a certain kind of point on your website and it channels them down into some email marketing in terms of nurturing them.

So that's good tips. I'll always say to people as well with email marketing, "Look at every email as the letter F." So this is naturally what a person does when they look at an email, they'll first off go to your top left-hand corner. They'll go across the headline or the top banner section, they'll go down the left-hand side, maybe halfway they might look across, then they'll go right down to the bottom again. So I'll always try and get the most important piece of information in those kind of three blocks for email marketing.

And again, with email there is pros and cons around doing HTML style emails, there's pros and cons towards more plain text style emails, it really depends on who the audience is. So, for example, I used to work quite strongly for the maritime industry. So a lot of that audience was out on ships, so their internet allowance or degrees were not that great.

So putting a load of media inside of emails didn't really work for them to download those images, it just didn't work very well, they couldn't really see what it was offering. Probably went straight to their, "Let's click delete," behaviour. So I think for those, obviously more plainer text emails were really beneficial, and it looks more like you're getting it through on Gmail or Outlook.

But I think there's pros and cons to both of those, and it's about testing it and trialling it. A/B testing subject lines as well, that's really important and a good tip for emails.

But in terms of email marketing, just some good stats to go towards is a 20% open rate and a 5% click-through rate. They're the kind of industry averages to try and aim towards in terms of that email marketing side.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

As a benchmark, you could say.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. It's good to know, I think it's quite useful to share this kind of information with people.

Are there any particular platforms that you recommend for email marketing?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I've used all different type of platforms. Probably my favourite right now for how well priced it is to what it offers is a platform called MailerLite. So it's kind of like an upgraded version of MailChimp, which I think everyone used back in the day. And I still have some clients that come to me, "I still use MailChimp." But it's not the best, and it's not go the best deliverability aspect, MailChimp.

So MailerLite is really good, you can create automations in there, you can create forms, all different email campaigns, testing. It links straight into your CRMS, all your websites as well, so that's great.

If you're looking for a higher one, I'd probably go for more ActiveCampaign, where you can obviously keep your CRM system inside that same platform as well.

But there's loads out there. I mean, I've used near enough every probably type of one going. And they're all very similar as well in terms of how they work, a lot of drag and drop. And, yeah, very easy platforms. But I'd say if you're starting out, MailerLite is a fantastic one, especially for... I think you get up to 1,000 contacts for free as well.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

So that's a really good one to starting your email database.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah, nice. Well, we'll add a link in to the post, so people can get that.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

There's also I think one other thing here, which is quite interesting. And deliverability is so important for email, isn't it?

Tom Haslam - (host):

Oh, yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

You've got to try and bypass those spam filters and-

Talisa Gill - (guest):

It's getting harder.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

... it's getting more difficult. Gmail have made some changes recently as well, that any senders that sends to any Gmail address without the correct DNS records, it's just going to fail.

But also, I want to add too, this comes in slightly to the podcast that went live recently about vanity metrics, because deliverability is almost like a self prophecy in one sense. Because if your emails when you send them don't get delivered at the rate that's expected, your future emails then they're more likely to fail and hit spam filters.

And one of the things that I don't think where businesses help themselves is when they fill up their list of databases for who they're sending newsletters to. But businesses have got to start thinking about being really careful about who those people are and where they get those email addresses from. Because if you're just getting them from anywhere or you're buying them as a data source, deliverability is going to be poor, and that's going to make it a lot harder in future to get the rest of your emails delivered.

And it's a little bit... There's a lot of vanity that goes into that. It's a case of just, "Let's make my list bigger." Instead of, "Let's make my list better." If you only had, let's say, 500 versus 1,000 but they were engaged and they were delivered, and they were opened, that's going to really help going forwards. The efforts that you're putting in is going to bear more fruit.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Massively.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I get a lot of people come to me, a lot of clients, and say, "I'm trying to grow an email database, and I'm not getting anywhere." And that's normally one of the biggest pain points that clients come to work with us for, email marketing. And that's where I start to introduce the likes of lead magnets, because I think that's the most powerful way to build up your email database.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Creating a piece of content that your audience is going to want to actively put in their information in to access. And that could be anything from a tool, a template, an e-book, whitepaper, a guide, even a podcast or even a webinar that you might want to gate on a landing page. But that is a project in itself, but that's what I recommend people to start with.

If you're wanting to build up that email database, and you are starting from little to nothing, a lead magnet that's really going to reach out to your audience is the best way.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. It's because it's tailored to them as well.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

And you know that it's going to be the right audience that filters into your mailing system.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

And this is why it comes back to audience again, because if you don't know who your audience is and what problems they have, you're going to struggle to create a piece of content that you can use as a lead magnet.

So if you go all the way back to the foundations and really start understanding who your audience is and what kind of problems they have, that's gold dust for this phase. Because if you can tackle their problems with something that they can download and give you their information for, that's going to be so much more successful.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. We've done quite a bit of work on... Well, we've tried to do quite a bit of work on the marketing website, haven't we? In terms of understanding that journey, and getting people to filter through into mailing lists that we actually know that are engaged with us.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

And it's about building that content up, isn't it?

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

I think it's about making sure that you've got the right call to actions at the right stage of the journey as well. Because what you don't want to do is serve somebody a CTA that's wrong for the stage of journey, because you could potentially frighten them off.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Put them off.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

So what we found with our site is that we were asking... Well, there was really only one or two CTAs. And it was a big, big jump from landing on the site as a new visitor to callers list[inaudible 00:20:12]. "Do you want to work with us? Request a call back."

So we needed to put something in that was a little bit gentler, and took them through on a journey step by step. So one of the ways that we want to do that is with a, "Sign up for a newsletter," creating some lead magnets.

Matt, you had a really good example of one that was incredibly successful for Marketing Labs, didn't you?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, the product description template.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah. So that ranks on the first page in all search engines actually for... used to hundreds of keywords actually, we've neglected it quite a lot. But, yeah, I mean, weekly that would generate 50 to 100 sign-ups. Because the content itself was very useful, very helpful, it solved the problem that they faced. But also, more importantly, when they downloaded the template it sort of adds the final piece of the puzzle into the mix. So it worked really well. Yeah, really successful.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I think it's important as well, though, to remember when you are creating a lead magnet and you're getting it live, is just to not leave it and just get people to put in the details and nothing else. The next stage of the puzzle is, again, that email nurture sequence, where you're starting to answer more of their pain points, you're starting to showcase some bit of social proof, or maybe starting to answer obligations that they may be facing as well through those emails.

So I've actually got a series of six email as a nurture sequence that I use for every lead magnet, for us and for clients. Obviously we tailor it, but it's a bit of a method to the magic of how to nurture people through once someone's downloaded a lead magnet to actually get them to want to book that call or discovery call.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. So quite a few interesting points there, with regards to the interest phase.

Moving down the funnel, we're sort of moving to what I like to think a trust phase. So obviously methods that we always recommend, let's say on a website, whether they're looking through the site and they've clicked through from that awareness phase, is case studies. Obviously video, testimonials, things like that. Blogs also help build trust, because they help educate people.

So is there anything that you want to ping in there with regards to that trust phase?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Mainly, again, is we talked about lead magnets, or if you've got a webinar, even a podcast. It's them actively finding that next piece of content themselves, in a way. So obviously they're interested, they're aware of you, and it's actually what are they now doing? What activity are they wanting to place before they actually reach out and engage?

So I definitely think, yeah, websites, video content, case studies. Anything that's social proofing you up is really important for that phase.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. Do you think that... Obviously talk about social proof. Obviously if you've got a team or you're a group of individuals working within a business, do you think it's always a nice touch at the trust phase to tell people what you're up to and that sort of thing?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah. So this is where I come back to the there E methodology for the social media content, where it's content you can use in all different areas. It's around that entertaining category, so it's actually showcasing the business culture, the personality, why people would want to come and work with you, because ultimately it is a... everybody wants to be people to people, don't they? And they like to work with people that they trust. So I think that's very important.

And I think people miss a trick with meet the team pages as well on their websites.

Tom Haslam - (host):

I see that so often.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Because that's your opportunity to really showcase who you are, how you are different, and to show your personality, not just what you do in the workplace.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

We build a lot of websites, don't we?

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

And it's funny, because one of the things that is a very common conversation, where... I mean, you're in this situation where we're sort of encouraging them to try and do the right thing, and to try and think about how you can get people through that phase, and the kind of things that visitors might be looking for.

And actually I would say that's the single most common challenge that maybe you and Josh face, is trying to encourage people to actually use their faces and use their experience. And we get it a lot where they don't even want a photo on the page, and, you see, it's so important.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I love visiting a meet the team page on a website.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Mm-hmm.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. No, I do as well. I think the amount of conversations I have with clients where I'm like, "Look, let's get your face on there. Let's put a bit of a biography about you and your team, and your story, and your history." People like to read that sort of stuff, because it helps build that trust.

And the amount of people, or clients, should I say, that bypass that and say, "Oh, no, we'll just write a bit of information." It's not actually proving who you are. And I see a lot of businesses as well who fail on the photography side of things as well. I always try and push professional photography, because it looks better. But it only takes five minutes to just take a nice photo on your phone, most phones-

Talisa Gill - (guest):

That's it, most phones are good, aren't they, now?

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

And I think it's really important as well, whenever I'm speaking to clients that are more B2B, I'll always say to them, "Who is wanting to be the thought leader in your business" Is there anyone that you may want to push as that personal brand perspective, but to actually become that thought leader?

An inside person for your audience, that you're the one that's giving that knowledge out. And people come and can trust you, and then they trust the business that you're working for.

Tom Haslam - (host):

No, that's a good point. We talk about personal branding quite a bit as well, don't we?

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

It's really important as well for SEO.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Mm-hmm.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Because Google is very much interested in who was behind a website, especially when it comes to rating your content. So if you can link it to an author bio that shows somebody's expertise and authoritativeness, their experience in an area, then it's likely to do a lot better than something that's anonymous, because Google place high value on that.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. We've, not necessarily us, but we always try to not only just have a team page, try and push it through to the author pages as well. And have more detailed information about that individual on the author page. You can then link up all the blogs that that author... or not wanting to call them an author, person has written.

So it's just, again, that phase of building that through, the trust, isn't it, which is quite important.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

The more details you can add, the better, I think.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Mm-hmm.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Like, just go to town. They want to know everything. Do you know, it's funny, because when I'm looking for a service, I behave in a similar way to what you just said there.

So if I'm not looking for a service, okay, I might not check out the team page. If I'm looking for a service, I'm looking to work with somebody, it's probably the second page I visit when I go on a website. I'll check out who the team is, I'll see if maybe I might know one of them, you never know. Or if you don't know them, you might be able to gauge a little bit about them.

And I think, I mean, I know we've really gone to town with ours. We have an individual podcast for every single member of the team, don't we? And in that, I mean, they're 30 minutes to an hour conversation about everything, from what their favourite food is to life experiences, and all sorts.

And maybe that is extreme, but at the same point I think it's a real missed opportunity when there's just a small paragraph about, "Hi, I'm Matt. I'm a husband and I've got a dog." I mean, it's not helpful though, is it?

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. No, I get it.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

And I think it's really the opportunity now, at that point, to show social proof, and show that you are a thought leader, as you say.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice. Trust, let's build it.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I think it's probably the most important stage.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. I think it could be, to be fair. It's up there. Because obviously if you've already built the awareness and you've got them interested, but the you can't keep them, then you've lost them, haven't you?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Mm-hmm.

Tom Haslam - (host):

So it is quite important.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

It's an important point to note as well that trust runs through the entire sales funnel, it's not just a stage in itself. So from the very start of a relationship that you have with somebody, and then through every single marketing touchpoint thereafter, you need to be building that trust. Because it won't happen in one stage overnight, it's from the get-go.

And branding actually plays a big part in that, and the consistency of your branding. So if you've got lots of different channels, lots of different platforms, and you're in different places, then you need to make sure you're being consistent with your look, your feel, your tone of voice. Because that in itself is a big signal for a person looking to work with an organisation that you can be trusted.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. No, it's an interesting point actually.

I think there's lots of different things to consider. Obviously we've talked about three sort of levels of the funnel. The last one is obviously action. Obviously conversion if it's an e-commerce site, they've bought something. Or if you're a service based business or B2B, then they've filled an inquiry form out.

So are there any... obviously anything that you want to add with regards to the conversion levels? Because I know we do a lot of work on e-commerce sites, so obviously product pages are quite important in actually getting them to convert. But from a B2B perspective and from a content side of things, is there anything that you think from there?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I think for me, in terms of that conversion, it's very important as a business to review how they are converting. So is it worth doing some A/B testing? What's working the best? Or is growing on that, and not just relying on the first conversion that comes through. And each marketing campaign will have different conversions as well. What is the main KPI that you're wanting to achieve from that campaign?

But, yeah, it's just very important to always grow with it, test it, measure it. It's so important for that conversion.

But I do think conversion, that the funnel just doesn't stop there. It's about actually nurturing... Once you've got someone converted, it's about nurturing them to be a loyal customer. So are they going to come back and spend more? Are they going to come again?

And then also, are they going to become the kind of the raving fans or advocates? Because refer a friend, especially for me in our industry, is my best lead generator. So I think it's really important to make sure when you have converted someone into a customer or a client, it's to work with them, build again more trust, more loyalty with them so they actually want to refer your services out to other people that they've got in their network.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Social media can play a role there as well actually, in building a community and keeping people within that community. Because you've got people there who are like-minded, with similar interests. They're obviously interested in the same product and services, they've all bought from you. So keeping them together and nurturing that community is great for retention.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm. And obviously I think, we've talked about social media playing a huge part at the awareness stage, it also plays a huge part at the bottom of the funnel as well.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Absolutely.

Tom Haslam - (host):

It's sort of like a top and bottom model. Because obviously you can use social for retargeting, like Mel says, in nurturing that audience, and you're playing them at both stages.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah. And keeping them on board in terms of engaging with you on social media as well is going to be even better for new people coming to that platform.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

I'm interested to learn, are there any tools or any... Let's say when you're at the top of the funnel, when you're building an audience, obviously if the customer isn't aware of what their audience is but you have a good idea of what their business is, based on a conversation, are there any methods that you use for building out audiences, or?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

So my biggest piece of advice and what we offer as our social media management is engagement. Because a lot of people, you'll know you'll create them content and they'll come back and say, "Well, no one's coming to like my page, no one's following it, no one's commenting."

And my question back to them, if we're not doing that engagement, is, "Well, are you doing it back to anyone else in your industry?" And they'll go, "No. I don't do anything, I just expect people to come to me."

And that's why our top level social media package, where we are doing that daily engagement for people, is probably the most successful. Because we will look at who is their audience? And we will actively reach out to those audiences, on whatever platform they're on. So, for example, Instagram, we'll go and find those people, we'll go and have a look at their content, we'll go and like it, maybe comment on it.

And it's really important to make sure you are engaging back to receive it back to you, because it's a two-way street, it's not a one-way unfortunately. It's just not the way social media works, it's a community, isn't it, it's an engagement, it's impressions. So you've got to work at the engagement yourself with the right audience, and who are the people that you're wanting them to come back to you?

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. It's a funny one, isn't it?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Mm-hmm.

Tom Haslam - (host):

I think that people are just, "Oh, I've got my social media page now. Hers my services, here's my product."

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Just shouting into the ethers.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

The broadcasters, yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah. I came across a new lead Instagram a few weeks ago. And they'd got a few thousand followers, but they didn't follow anyone, it were literally zero. And I came across... And I said to my team, I was like, "Is it just me, or does that come across a little bit arrogant for a social media platform where you're meant to be engaging and it's a community, but you're actually not following anyone?"

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I don't know actually, for me it doesn't come across that well. I want and expect a business to be engaging back, even if it's with different partners, clients, audiences. There's so much that you can do on there.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Well, relationships, full stop. The thing about social media is naturally it's an evolution of organic relationships that you'd have outside of a computer or a phone. And all of those relationships, they don't succeed if it's a one-way relationship.

And, for some reason, I think social media, often people think they can just fire and forget. And they forget that actually the whole point of building relationships is that you're actually having two-way conversations.

That is really important, because unfortunately I do do this sometimes. So even though I'm an advocate of this, of doing this, I don't necessarily practise what I preach sometimes. But often with my LinkedIn content I will end up ghosting. So I'll create some content, get five, 10, 20 comments, and I'll actually not often reply to them.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

It's mostly just because I'm busy.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

You need to do that.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

I know, yeah. And we obviously shout about this a lot, don't we?

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

But, to be honest-

Tom Haslam - (host):

Practise what we preach.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah. It's more a case of you just end up getting so busy, and you run around like a headless chicken all day just trying to keep up. And then you just... It seems to sort of take last priority. However, it is genuinely really important.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

And I'm not saying, "Don't be authentic with your replying," because you need to be authentic, because that's the most important thing. But it's also a bit of an algorithm game of it as well, as bad as that sounds.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

There is the trick of the game with the algorithm in terms of the engagement on posts, and it's the best way to work it for the best success, really.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. Nice. We've gone through sort of the funnel there, and we've ended up obviously with conversions and then building that trust again to try and nurture your audience and get repeat business, or whatever that might be.

But I want to talk briefly around blogging specifically first. We talk about people using or utilising the blog as what we like to call the resource area now, don't we, in a way? Because essentially resources, like you say, you can use them as lead magnets.

But the blog side of things, I think, plays a huge part on a number of different levels, doesn't it, really? It helps build the trust, also educates, but then also acts as a, what's the right term, keyword net for your organic rankings in search as well.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah. So there's some really exciting things you can do with keyword research when it comes to the different stages of the marketing funnel. So you've obviously got the awareness stage we've already spoken about, a lot of educational, informative, how-to guides, and those type of things, where people are looking for an answer.

If you go a little bit further down the funnel, and I think people forget about this, you can actually tap into some really useful formulas, keyword formulas, when it comes to looking at things like a category name for whatever your business or industry is, and then reviews. Or a competitor's name, and then followed by the word alternatives, or versus.

I just did one recently for one of our clients that looked at different models of boilers versus each other. And that did incredibly well. And that's obviously much further down the sales funnel than a how to or a guide at the top.

So it's really worth remembering that blogging can work for you at every stage, and specifically SEO content. And that comes back to intent.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Mm-hmm, yeah. We say this every episode, don't we-

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

We do.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

... at some point? But it is so important, yeah, you're absolutely right.

I mean, the beauty as well about blog-type content is... You're right, it's probably better to call it a resource more than a blog. But the beauty about that is, I mean, you can target keywords that you would have no chance of targeting on, say, a collection or category page, or a product page.

We had a conversation about this last night, but, for example, one of our clients was talking about wanting to use SEO and [inaudible 00:37:43] to generate traffic related to gifts under £50. You have no chance of doing that on a category page or a product page. You can optimise the page for those keywords, but the intent isn't the same.

What they're looking for is an authority to say, "Okay, well, I found these gifts from these various places. And these are cool gifts, we think you'll like them." A category page or a collection page just won't do that job.

So, again, you've got an opportunity with something, that kind of content to be able to actually compete there.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah. There's so much you can do with it, it's incredibly versatile. But, again, we say this a lot, but just to remind everyone, it's not for selling. A blog is not for selling. So if you are going to do something like that, where you want to put a collection of things together, like products under a certain or in a certain price bracket, make sure all the products are not yours. Because nobody wants to read that, otherwise they would just go and find it on your product pages.

It has to be valuable to the reader, it has to offer them something that they couldn't of found themselves by visiting your product page. Because nobody wants to read 1,000 words on your collection of bath soaps, or candles, or whatever it is.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I've got a great book to recommend for people that might be just starting out in the world of blogging for businesses.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice, yeah.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

So it's the book by Marcus Sheridan, They Ask, You Answer. So it's a really good way of looking at all the different categories of questions that your audience might be searching for, looking for answers on, that you can start to put into blogs as well. So that's a really good starting point.

And it's actually a framework that I use for a couple of our own clients. Most ones that have seen Marcus Sheridan themselves and want to obviously replicate everything that he does with his success. But, no, it is a really good book to have a look at and read at.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice. I'll have a look at that.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

I've not come across that one, I'll have a look.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

It's really good, I recommend it.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah, I haven't.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Because you can categorise it down as well and answer all of the questions. And one of them is about not being afraid to talk about your competitors.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

So [inaudible 00:39:49].

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Because there's a lot of people that are just so scared that they think, "Oh my God, no, because I'm going to send the traffic their way."

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Mm-hmm.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Actually, no. Actually it shows you as a trustworthy person and a business, that you are actually showcasing what is out there in the market.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Absolutely. And the thing is as well, if you don't do that and all you do is shout about yourself, you lose the trust.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Oh, yeah.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

You've lost them straightaway. Nobody wants to read that, they're there for a specific reason, aren't they? And you've got to cater to that.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice. Some good stuff there. I'll put a link in in the post as well for that book.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah.

Tom Haslam - (host):

I want to talk about, just quickly before we wrap up, we talk about social media and obviously it being quite important at two levels of the funnel. We'll pick a couple off, and we'll talk about what the best method is for each business, because I think there's different...

Obviously I don't know how you work, but obviously when we try and say... clients almost think, "Oh, I need to be on Facebook and Instagram." But they not need to be on Facebook and Instagram, so do you have a sort of, I don't know, tool book or methodology that you use for each platform when it applies?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I think it's understanding who their audience is and what they're selling, ultimately. Because obviously if it's B2B, B2C, there's definitely different platforms that'll work better for you. And I actually classify each platform as a certain, I don't know, topic.

So I class Facebook as a shopfront, because normally it's quite good for an SEO perspective to come into Facebook. But it's not very visual, and it's not really getting much engagement, it's just a, "Hi, you're there," on Facebook, "But I'm not going to really see what else you're doing," unfortunately.

I class Instagram as the clothes racks, it's the more visual platform, so it's how people can easily flick through quite a few images. I class Twitter as a bit more of the customer service special, you could say, because a lot of people use Twitter for complaining or asking questions, unfortunately.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Arguing with people.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah. I class YouTube as the TV channel, so it's a bit more of a longer form content. TikTok as the TV add platform, because you're showcasing little clips to try and tease people into a little bit more.

So it really does, yeah, depend on what they're selling, is it a service? Is it a product? What does it best suit? And then what the audience is actually hanging out on as well, so I think that's important to have a look at that. And that can be determined by different demographics, different age groups, male/female, what are they liking?

Where are they living even? That's even a big point, because there's different social media platforms in different countries, and different cultures there. So all of those factors should come into the decision.

As you can imagine, same as you guys, I get a lot of clients that come to me and say, "Talisa, I want to be across everywhere, on everything. I want to be shouting loud." And it's not a good starting strategy at all, because you're literally just throwing out all different options and hoping one'll stick.

Where you're probably better off spending a little bit more time doing the research around where people are, and what platform could work for you. And actually trial and testing, giving... I always say to people, "I'd rather someone be on one or two platforms and give them a really good go and give them their all, than be across all different platforms, and one platform gets one post in a blue moon and it's just so inconsistent."

My biggest piece of advice for social media is consistency. So whether you're sticking to say, "I'm going to do two posts a week," or you're doing five posts a week, stick to it and stay to it, because that's what the algorithm is wanting. And that's what they'll start to understand and work for you, not against you.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. What about LinkedIn? We have conversations with personal branding taking a big part. Have you started to do a lot more of that kind of work?

Talisa Gill - (guest):

LinkedIn probably is our most popular platform, to be honest. And it's my favourite platform, especially for those B2B style clients. Really trying to showcase people as those thought leaders, so the personal branding side. But also there is the benefit of company pages still. You definitely do get more engagement on a personal profile to a company one unfortunately, similar to some other platforms.

But, yeah, it's a fantastic platform. And it's got so much scope and activity on there now, including the articles, the newsletters that you can create. If you're not wanting to have an actual email newsletter but you've got a good LinkedIn database or connections, go and create one on there, get people to subscribe on there.

When I launched my first LinkedIn newsletter I got around 400 subscribers in 24 hours. You would not normally get that, would you, on an email basis?

Tom Haslam - (host):

No.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Ready-made audience, isn't it? It's amazing.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah. LinkedIn, yeah, it's my ultimate favourite. And I always say, it's the platform right now that's probably the easiest to grow and to grow impressions on. Because it's not the likes of Instagram, where you'll post, it'll be seen in the first 10 minutes and then it's disappeared, you'll never see it again on someone's feed.

I can go onto LinkedIn, and one of the first posts that might appear on my for you page, or whatever you want to call it on there, could've been from two weeks ago from someone. But it just means that it's been engaged with, and it's actually showcasing it to me because it might be something that I'm interested in. Which I think's really powerful.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice. Yeah, some interesting stuff there.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Mm-hmm. One of the things we've highlighted as well there without actually saying it is, just coming back right to the start, is knowing your audience again.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

So there's lots of nuances between all the different platforms, and each one has a slightly different audience or slightly different needs. So, again, if you don't understand your audience right in the first step, you're going to struggle at this phase.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Yeah. Because knowing your audience, will know the messages they're wanting to receive, where to receive it, and at what time as well.

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Exactly. And we've all seen it... Okay, logically it makes sense to do what I'm about to say, but in reality it's not actually a very good thing to do. And it's when you might just continue to use your content across every platform.

So it makes sense to think about doing that, because it's much better from an effort and time perspective. The problem is that content needs to work in a different way on every platform, because the audience is slightly different.

You can repurpose content in slightly different ways, that's great, that's fantastic. But actually just pushing the same content out everywhere is not a good thing to do, in my opinion. Actually, if anything, you'd rather not be active on a channel than do that, in some circumstances.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mm-hmm.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

I agree.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Good point. Nice. Thank you, everyone, for being on the pod. I've enjoyed it. Have you enjoyed it, Matt?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

Yeah, good. Yeah. Excellent.

Tom Haslam - (host):

He sounded-

Talisa Gill - (guest):

That's so insincere.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. I think Matt's enjoyed it, ain't you?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

I have enjoyed it. I can't help... that's just the way I sound.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Mel, thank you for being here.

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

Thanks. I always enjoy it, Tom.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. You love my voice, don't you?

Matt Janaway - (CEO):

That also sounded insincere, by the way.

Tom Haslam - (host):

[inaudible 00:46:25].

Mel Healy - (Head of Content):

And I am insincere.

Tom Haslam - (host):

And Talisa, thank you very much.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Thank you for having me. And thank you for being the first guest, exciting.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Yeah. Yeah, it's been good. We'll get it live, and hopefully we can share all the valuable insights with everybody.

Talisa Gill - (guest):

Perfect. Thank you.

Tom Haslam - (host):

Nice.

So that brings us to the end of this episode of Marketing Blabs. A huge thank you to Talisa, for sharing her valuable insights and experiences with us. Today we discussed the importance of understanding the marketing funnel, the role of content marketing in social media at different stage of that funnel, and also how you can optimise the journey to those all important conversions.

We hope you found this episode informative and helpful in planning your own marketing strategies. Remember, it's not just about creating content, but creating the right content for the right people at each stage of the funnel.

Thanks for joining us today, and stay tuned for the next episode of Marketing Blabs. See you.

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