Compared to what it cost 15 or 20 years ago, its giving people a lot more freedom - Talk Marketing 014 - Nicolai Abela
Compared to what it cost 15 or 20 years ago, its giving people a lot more freedom – Talk Marketing 014 – Nicolai Abela
Good afternoon, Mr. Abela.
Good afternoon Mr. Martin.
How are you, man? You’re looking well.
Yeah, not bad, not bad. Can’t complain summer on the way hey.
Summer is on the way. It should be nearly there now it’s June is it? You’re in Malta, you’re right there on the Mediterranean ocean. I understand you got some ocean this morning, did you?
Yes, actually, it’s a sea, so it doesn’t live up to your ocean expectations.
Okay, it’s still very, very beautiful and blue. Good. Good. So we’re here today to talk about marketing. Thank you so much for agreeing to spend this time with me, with us, with whoever ends up watching this. You’ve made me feel terrible, I feel like I’ve had to bully you into doing this.
But yeah, that’s fine. But anyway, fine.
Okay, good. So you understand a little bit of the format. The idea is that you tell us how you’re qualified to talk to us about marketing. What it is that you do, how you offer value for your customers; how you feel about marketing; and then what are your recommendations for people in the current situation, ie the global pandemic situation and the economic situation and then you are free to go and enjoy the ocean some more, if that’s what you’d like to do.
Most, most, most kind of you, thank you.
That’s okay. So tell us how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?
So tell us Mr. Abella, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?
Well, I’ve been meddling in marketing for around 10 years primarily with, starting off, with my own business. I had my own website, which I launched in 2000. Then, I launched my, my ex wife’s yoga business, which involved using various platforms. I mean, using email marketing, social media, Facebook had just being kind of launched, Seo was starting to become a bit more structured. When I saw that, I mean things were picking up it was just a case of investing in a number of courses in digital marketing in, SEO in
Like some graphic type stuff you do as well.
Adobe courses, you know, you know, bits and pieces of putting all together. So nothing really structured, but basically seeing how the markets developing and adjusting to the market.
Okay, of course, which is what good marketers do. Excellent. So you and I know each other because you attended the Digital Marketing Institute course. When was that, was that 2015?
That was at least, yeah, six, seven years ago no? One of your first courses in Malta.
I think it was the second or third course in Malta.
I think so. The first one was in 2014. No, the first one was 2014, so maybe it was 2015. Yeah, good. Okay. So when did you, because now you offer marketing services, so when did you move into that kind of situation where you’re like, Okay, I can offer this to other businesses now?
Basically, that must have been at least. So that was seven years. So it must have been five years ago, five, six years ago, when I started offering it full time, and there was enough demand and enough clients who needed that kind of support.
Okay. And then interestingly, what did you do before you were …. you ran your own businesses before?
Just before that, I was working in web development as a project manager with a web development company. We set up websites, custom software development. Basically, I saw that just selling websites to people wasn’t the be all and end all, you know, there needs to there needs to be some, I mean, it needs to be a whole process, an ongoing thing. I was pushing that so the web development company started offering more support services and digital marketing to get the website out there, to get the message out . Just having a website, that wasn’t enough. When I launched my first website, in 2000, you just plonked it on the World Wide Web, and you just waited for people to look for your services and use use the website, that’s all it was. There was nothing constructive you could do to generate traffic to the website. But as things developed, more and more platforms were launched, where you could actually actively go out and generate that traffic and get people onto your website. It was an e commerce site, so it was important that I had a lot of traffic coming.
Of course, and what were you selling on the site?
I was selling tourism cruises in Malta.
Okay, cool. All right. And Malta gets, is it 2 million visitors a year?
Something like that. Yeah.
Something like that. Okay, so the population is about 400,000 and then there’s …
Yeah, okay. You’ve been busy during lockdown. That’s good. Okay, cool. So you’re kind of employed in web development, you ran your own businesses, and then you started offering marketing as services around 5, 6, 7 years ago. Okay, cool. So what sort of customers do you work with and what is it that you do for those customers?
Basically, I’ve two types of customers. I have clients who come directly to me who need consultancy, and support with their digital marketing strategy, and I work directly with them. Then I have a number of agencies who bring me on board as part of their team to offer the same service to their clients through them. So in some cases I’ll be presented to the client as one of the agencies team,
right. Okay. And you are more Freelancer than company you don’t employ people necessarily, you don’t have any ambition to employ people, that’s good. Don’t employ people that’s when it gets really difficult.
I’m very adamant about that. Before I worked in web, it was 15 years in tourism. I was a leisure manager and I used to organise activities for English language students coming to Malta. I had a big team. So I’ve been through all the, the frustration of employing people and dealing with all that stuff.
Yes. The thing is, it’s one thing managing people, which is a nightmare all on its own, when you are managing them and having to pay them. it’s just obscene. I don’t know how anyone does it. I was terrible at it, really bad at it. I tell you how bad I was at it is I would, because I read the one minute manager, I would tell people, they’re amazing until they upset me, and then they would leave in tears. It wasn’t good. It really wasn’t good at all. So so that’s cool. So you’re offering digital marketing strategy to businesses. Part of what I’m interested in is, I think people are reluctant to invest in marketing. I don’t think people like marketing. I don’t think people understand marketing, and I don’t think they want to spend money on marketing. Is this something I’m imagining, or is that also your experience? If that is your experience, how do you address that challenge?
Oh, totally. I mean, it’s, it’s looked at, by most, the majority of clients and companies, as a necessary evil, they only do it because they get the feeling that they have to do it. And if they don’t do it, their businesses want to go down the drain. Out of all the platforms and all the channels that they use. It shows up most acutely with search engine optimisation. Because that’s something people really, people don’t understand marketing, as a whole, but they really don’t understand search engine optimisation. So trying to get people to understand the importance, it’s a long term strategy, there’s a lot of work involved, it’s very technical. That’s just the the the pinnacle of of frustration, when it comes to all the channels. Facebook, for example, when it comes to social media, people understand. So it’s, it’s related a lot to how much they understand about the channel. If it’s something they can relate to, then it’s easier for them to get on board and believe in what you’re doing.
Okay. And historically, Malta has always had a big showing on Facebook. Yeah, they were slow to get to Twitter, if they ever did, I’m not sure if they ever did, even to take up Instagram, I think. For some reason Malta loved Facebook from the very beginning. Okay, so that’s good. Why do you think it is then that people don’t like search engine optimisation, specifically. Why don’t they understand it? Because everyone uses Google.
It’s, it’s related to their understanding of it. That’s why they don’t like. If they don’t understand it. They’re not going to appreciate the value of it. They think it’s just the case, okay, I’ll vote if I type something in Google, it just magically appears on the search engine results page. The whole process behind which website shows up is quite intricate to explain to someone who doesn’t have a technical background, it does take a bit of time for them to understand the framework and the algorithms behind how Google ranks your website or your web page. After a while why they just, they just, I mean, it’s like, Whoa, this is too technical for me, Just tell me what I need to do and you put together a package, and you explain to them it’s long term. The thing is, with Google Adwords, advertising, marketing, it’s a question of you pay, and you get, the results are instantaneous. You put 100 Euros onto a display campaign, or search campaign or video campaign, and you get instant gratification, you get the clicks back to your site. You can get back to the client, okay, you spent 100 euros, 10 cents cost per click, these are your clicks. With search engine optimisation it’s just a long process, obviously, depending on how good the site is, on your competition, on the latest algorithms, but it does take time. By the time you start getting results, clients are like, okay, we’ve been doing this for six months, and nothing’s really happening, and you’re like, yeah, but it’s on its way, it’s getting better. You give them the reports, the reporting, again, the reports are very complex, you know, and just printing out a report, even even from something simple, like Facebook, just printing a report from that, you need to explain it to the client. So unless they’re understanding the value behind what you’re giving them, they’re not going to be happy, spending more and more money on it. It’s always much easier to give a client, to set up, a social media campaign for clients, or a Google AdWords campaign, and give them the results in a couple of days, rather than to set up an SEO strategy over a number of months and start giving them results in six, seven months.
Yes. Okay, good. And I think you’ve got a particular issue. I’m agreeing with your 100%, that the hardest thing to keep people investing in is search engine optimisation. Because there is so little feedback for so long and it takes an amount of time to get to where you need to be, which is really in first position, because everywhere else is not worth having even. Okay, good. Right. So I agree with you 100%. You’ve also got a particular issue there, which I remember in 2014/2015. So if you are a digital marketing lecturer with the Digital Marketing Institute, like I was, you turn up, and you just have a go, and see how it works locally. Now, thankfully, the first time I went to Malta, I did the second three days, I think, and somebody who worked for me that the first two days. So he turned up the day before the course was due to start. And he went on Google, and he did what we do as digital marketers, he starts looking for search volumes and all this sort of stuff. The first issue is, you couldn’t at that time, I don’t know if you can now because Malta is 500,000 people, you couldn’t actually select Malta as your target market, because it was wasn’t recognized by …. I think this goes on a lot for Maltese people, I’ve heard of people traveling on holiday …..
I think I think it’s related to the size of our sea, I think that’s how Google defines it were important enough.
Yes, yes, yes. Now, we know, like we were saying just before we started Malta are ridiculously over, what was the word we used … over represented in these chats. This is the 14th chat, three of them have been with Maltese people, that’s to do with the amount of time I’ve spent in Malta. But the thing is, so that’s the first issue, Malta doesn’t turn up as a market. And then you start looking at the search volumes, and they are just not there, because the population is not there; but they’re also not there because the population is so small. The thing about marketing, the thing about search engine optimisation, is that you only go to a search engine, if you don’t know and you don’t know anyone who knows. Now, because there are 400 – 500,000 of you, who doesn’t know somebody who does something, do you know what I mean? So locally, in a population that small, it’s not likely to work. So I’m taking it that you’re talking about clients who have more broader markets than just Malta? Or are you talking just about Maltese clients?
Broader markets, plus websites and sectors which are a bit more high volume or a little bit more tailored to Google search. For example, when it comes to real estate, the trend is that people do spend time looking for real estate through Google.
So okay, volumes are there for that for that sector. So it does pay them to be ranked on first page, yes, but it’s correct what you’re saying we have such a small population, the metrics and the forecasts that you get for for Google are obviously limited.
Very limited. Yes. Okay. But then that brings me back to Facebook, because I’ve got some experience, I delivered a course to a property company there in Malta, one of these ridiculously fast growing property companies, the fastest growing I would imagine. It was interesting, because I went with my digital marketing bag of tricks, think about this, think about that, think about something else. About, I’m not even joking, 20 minutes in, they’re like, yeah, we just do it all on Facebook. So this goes again, to how, how effective Facebook have been with the Maltese population, and how effectively people have used it to market themselves in Malta. There were these huge groups with like, I don’t know, a significant percentage of the population, certainly the population who were looking for property, and they were all in these Facebook groups, and essentially, all you needed to do was market yourself in those groups, and that might be all that you needed to do. So it was an interesting three days from there. Once I realized that they had it down pat, and actually didn’t need to know anything. I mean, we had good fun, it was a good course, they really enjoyed it, it might have given them some new ideas, but they already knew what they were doing. Okay, interesting. So what is it that you mainly do for your customers?
Mainly, it’s mainly social media.
Google Adword. campaigns mainly, and then, then it’s SEO, and email marketing.
Okay. So it’s actually pretty broad, because I had the sense from speaking to you, when we’ve had other conversations that there was much more Facebook going on.
Yeah, I mean, the majority, the majority of it is Facebook and Instagram, totally. Like I explained before, it’s something that’s, that when when somebody, it’s the first conversation, people have with you. It’s like, yeah, I need to be on Facebook, I need to get get myself out more, be more visible with my Facebook page. I want ads out there, I want an ad campaign, that’s the first thing they ask you for? They don’t come, they don’t approach you with an open mind, they already know that they need to be on Facebook.
So you cater for the demand, then obviously, you look at who they are and what they’re selling and you try and tailor the strategy according to what they’re trying to achieve. Obviously, I push Google AdWords as well, so those are the the main driving forces of what I offer.
So do they come to you looking for a strategy, because that wasn’t my experience, what we had to do as an agency, is we had to present as the tactics, so we had to present as an email marketing company, or a search engine optimization company or a social media company; and then we couldn’t even charge them for the strategy. Once they came, we kind of had to give them the strategy and explain to them about integrated marketing, and how all these things work together. It works best if they are all working together. So are people coming to you looking for a strategy or are people coming looking for Facebook advertising, Facebook marketing, and then you develop them from there.
Possibly the clients that you’re talking about, the clients I’m talking about, maybe mine are a little bit smaller? So it’s not like they’re putting out to tender out and they’re getting a number of companies and seeing what’s going to happen. Basically they approach me directly, they see what I’ve done, word of mouth, and it’s like, yeah, look, I’m looking for a Facebook campaign, I’m looking for …. you know, and then you kind of have to, not upsell, but you broaden it out and you tell them – Look, if you’re going to be doing Facebook, and you’ve got this budget, you might like to spend a little bit on Google AdWords, because what you’re doing would really work good on on display, or you need to be there on search. You try to give them an integrated strategy, you know ….
And then obviously, it’s always, it’s always – every client is, that’s the fun of it, that’s what keeps it interesting, is that every client is completely different. So you can’t really tell a client totally Facebook is totally gonna work for you. So it’s kind of like, look, okay, you’re set on Facebook, let’s get 30% of the budget and put a little bit on Google Display, and see what that gives us. We review after a month. Okay, that kind of worked let’s put a little bit more on on Google Display, and maybe try a little bit of Google search, you know, and then you kind of build them up towards using a kind of multi channel approach.
Good. Okay, good. Yeah. I don’t know, we weren’t dealing with tenders and stuff like that, I think I think it was …. people, businesses, when they come to look at marketing, if they’re coming to the first time, will have a sense of what it is they want. Whether that be some Facebook advertising, or some email marketing, or search engine optimization, they will have got it into their head, this is the thing that we want to do. So we would have to present as all those things, so that we might be in front of them when they actually come to do it. Now, I’ve got bit of a bee in my bonnet about this as well because for me, like I would have told you when we did that course, all the way back in 2015; it has to be an integrated approach. These different platforms achieve different things at different points in the process and you need to cover off all of those points, the customer journey and the different steps on the customer journey. That’s why, certainly, what I tell people now, I don’t know how evolved that was when when you were on the course in 2015.
You did push on that, yes.
So the issue I’ve got is the issue I’ve got is with these people on Facebook, no, they’re not on Facebook, they’re on YouTube is where they are, but what they’re telling you is that the only thing that works is Facebook advertising, and that’s all you need to do. Now, I don’t get that. For me, Facebook is I mean OK, a couple of chats ago, I spoke to somebody who does really good YouTube advertising and he told me that, and convinced me that, YouTube stands alone. If you’re going to do one thing in marketing, YouTube will do it for you because basically, if you can get your videos in front of people, and you get through those first five seconds, then they stay and they watch, then you can communicate some story, some message, some call to action. He says you can do the whole thing with YouTube. Now, you and I know that you can also do the whole thing with AdWords, PPC on Google, because then you’re putting yourself in front of people at the very best time. I don’t understand how it works if you’re just doing Facebook advertising. Do you know how that works?
In what way Martin? It works? It depends on what they’re looking for. If it’s just clicks to their website, or brand awareness, the client can just use Facebook. I don’t think there’s any hard and fast rules when it when it comes to digital marketing nobody really knows exactly what’s going on. Things are changing so, so, so quickly, that what works for this client might not necessarily work for another client. So it’s not a question of YouTube is gonna work for sure. Some some clients set up, their business structure, their profile, it doesn’t lend itself to video. So what do you do? Video, it does take a bit more time and investment to get going properly, rather than just getting a Facebook campaign going, so each each digital marketing platform caters for a different type of client, a different kind of company. I mean, budgets are different. It’d be great if everyone had, you know, had a really decent budget and you could try all these different channels, find out which is working best, you know, reallocate to take advantage of the channels, but it’s not really a reality when it comes to dealing with a client.
No, it’s not.
You can’t really say okay, Facebook, just using Facebook is not the way to go or using every single channel available is the way to go. I have every different structure in place, I have clients who just use Facebook, I have clients who don’t use Facebook. So it’s, it’s really so varied. Applying, or making statements like, okay, only YouTube can work or only Facebook, it just doesn’t apply to the way I deal with my clients.
Okay, so good. Really good. So, I think you’re right, the ideal is that you test every single marketing opportunity, you assess, which delivers the best average customer value, at the lowest cost per acquisition, that is the gold standard of digital marketing. That’s what you do. In reality, like you say, it doesn’t work like that, you don’t get exactly the feedback that you need to make those decisions, you don’t get the authority or the budget from the client to exercise all those things. So the only real answer in digital marketing, and I’m sure I would have told you this 100 times on the course, is test, do it and see what happens in a meaningful sense.
Good. What I’m saying is slightly different. Yeah. What I’m saying is that some of these platforms, very few of these platforms, will stand alone. Like PPC, if you were going to do if, like, you know, clearly there needs to be search volume, there needs to be budget, all of that stuff needs to be in place, but if those things are in place, then you could just run PPC campaigns for a customer and know that they will get some success. Absolutely. That will happen. Yes, this guy was saying you can do the same with YouTube, to the point where he was doing this on a what’s the word, a reward basis, or an outcome only basis and he was investing in the ads. He goes to his clients, he has to be very confident that this is going to work for them, he tells them, YouTube will really work for you and you don’t have to spend a penny on this. I’m going to invest in the ad content, I’m going to invest in the clicks, I’m going to invest in the whole thing, because I know that this will be successful for you. I think the way that model works is it probably ends up costing them more than it would if they were funding it themselves because he’s obviously carrying the risk. Okay, so that’s good. I don’t understand these people who say that Facebook, do Facebook and you’ll be successful, those are the people I don’t understand. I don’t understand because for me, Facebook is a stupidly well targeted form of display advertising. Absolutely, you’re right, it’s first prize if you want very targeted impressions – Facebook. If you want some clicks, you might get lucky. Do you pay per click on Facebook?
You do sometimes, hey.
Okay, so they’re also motivated to get you those clicks, so clicks and impressions and clicks, I get it. I don’t understand how and why these people say that Facebook is the one thing that you need to do, the one thing that will …..
I mean, it can get you the reach, the impressions, the clicks, the views. So it’s a very, one stop shop, which people understand, people have access to and they, they know that locally a lot of people are on Facebook. So in Malta, if there’s anywhere you start from it’s Facebook.
Right. Okay. And that’s obviously the other criteria is that the market is hugely Facebook driven. How is that? Is that still the case? Because my personal experiences that Facebook is much less … personally, I don’t engage with it anymore, and a lot of people I know don’t engage with it anymore. So it seems to me like it’s on the wane. it seems to me like the Facebook audience is going away, and I don’t know if that’s the case in Malta still, or is it still ….
I don’t think as much, it’s still it’s still pretty strong. I mean, when we are saying Facebook, we’re saying Facebook and Instagram, because obviously, when we market on Facebook, we’re hitting both both platforms. Now it’s still strong here and and clients still believe in it.
So even if you’re trying and you’re trying to push people and I say look, with Google we can get a lower cost per view, we can get a lower cost per click, they still want Facebook. So even if you want to, if you want to try and sort of move them towards more Google AdWords because they don’t understand it as much, you know, it’s just harder to get them on board with it.
Right? And that’s specific to Malta. Okay, I’m really interested in this. So we’re going to go on if that’s okay.
So the issue is, the issue with marketing is you want to land the right message, on the right person, at the right time.
So the way I think about the two platforms is Google, the visitor there is self qualifying, they are interested in this.
The time is defined because they have taking action now, so you want to meet them now. So Google, if you’ve got a lot of time, then search engine optimization will work. If you haven’t got a lot of time, but you’ve got some money, then PPC will work, because Google is delivering the right person at the right time, because they’re self qualifying.
Okay. They’re already on their way to looking for you.
So yeah. So I talk to people, when I talk to people about search engine marketing, PPC, or SEO, I’m telling people these are motivated buyers. They’re not dreaming about owning these training shoes, they’re looking to see where they can buy them. So that’s the way I talk about it. In that sense. Facebook, if you’ve done your targeting, absolutely can guarantee you, not guarantee you there might be some wiggle in it, but the right person?
But it can’t be the right time, and then I suppose it just needs to be all the time; and then I suppose what you’re trying to do is motivate those people, motivating, pushing those people towards the time. I don’t know.
Yeah, it’s creating the desire. Yes. So so you’ll be on Facebook, and you’ll be swiping away and motorbike helmets would come up, and it’s like the latest range. And it’s not like, No, I don’t need a new motorbike helmet. But it comes up. And you look at it. And it’s like, oh, yeah, maybe Okay, let me click through, let me have a look. It starts the whole process of you maybe wanting a motorbike helmet, which is not as effective as someone who’s actively looking for a new motorbike helmet, right. But it gets the click, again, to the website. When people don’t have a website, which is set up for conversion tracking, and they’re not really monitoring their conversion rates, that click is enough for them. If they can get more clicks to their website, in their little head, they’re happy. There are certain things that yes, in an ideal world, when you’re setting up all these campaigns, you’ll have all the conversion tracking, and they’ll be able to track this campaign to this sale. They’ll know exactly what every cent they’re putting into marketing is getting them back sale wise, but most of the time, that isn’t the case. People have websites, which have been developed years ago, and they are not on good terms with the web developer, and and trying to get conversion tracking and getting pixels into the website and changes into the website isnt possible. A lot of the websites are poor when it comes to usability and customer experience and the whole setup, they’re just a disaster. So you get the clicks to the website, but then the website isn’t optimized for the conversions.
Okay, yeah. Okay.
So there’s a lot, a lot of different factors. In an ideal world, you tell them, look, this website is crap, it’s not going to convert. Before you start investing in campaigns, sort out your website, because any money you’re going to be chucking on generating traffic to the website is going to be a waste of time. You tell them that. No, no, no, no, we still want the campaigns, we want more traffic, and then we’ll sort out the website in due time. You get everything going, you start generating traffic at really low cost per clicks. I mean, when COVID hit, cost per clicks, I mean, they just dropped like, crazy, crazy thing, less than point .004 of a cent per click, you know, which is unheard of. But if these people don’t have a website, which is good for for conversions, then you know, it’s not going to get them the sales they want.
Okay, so that was going to be my next question, which is, how technical are you getting with this? Are you doing lookalike audiences? Are you building audiences from remarketing type stuff?
So you are doing all of that stuff?
Yeah, I mean, everything we can do to get that audience. The thing is, the sticking point tends to be at the website, right. So everything we can do to get more traffic at a lower cost per click, we’re doing everything we can, everything that’s available, we’ll, we’ll use all the tools. But, in the end, if there isn’t a marked increase in sales, then it’s not really getting getting them anywhere. So unless you have control over the whole journey, then the sticking point is, is usually when it comes to the website.
Right? So there’s like a legacy thing happening here isn’t there? Where the sins of the past are coming to bite people in the bum. You can put all of this, all of these pixel tracking analytics, you can put them on any website, but the issue is them having access to the back end of their website to do that and they don’t have that necessarily.
Yes, there’s a lot of different scenarios. The web development team isn’t isn’t on board with these things, they’re not responsive, they may be a bit too technical to understand the UX of the website, it needs an update, you know, so, you know, there’s a lot of different scenarios. Ultimately, if they don’t start with the website, if their ultimate goal is sales, we’re talking in relation to an e commerce site …
If they don’t start with the website, they you really shouldn’t be starting with the the tail end of it.
So does this go to I mean, how, like, so for example, will they have access to their domain? So you could rebuild the website? Not necessarily,
There are people who have access to the domain and there are people who don’t. There’s so many different scenarios that it’s always very frustrating when it comes to websites, always.
But what do you do? I mean, if people want the traffic, and and you can give it to them? Obviously, you tell them, you make it very clear, I have no no issues in highlighting their bottlenecks. So if it’s the website, and the website isn’t going to deliver that, you tell them look, I can get you X amount of traffic, based on your budget, we can use the channels, but once that traffic hits your website, what then?
Yes, yes, yes. And do you want that work? Do you want to be rebuilding websites for people or not really?
Okay. All right. So this is really interesting because nobody’s talking about this. So this is interesting, because nobody’s talking about this. This was also my experience. I mean, I haven’t been proactively marketing The Effective Marketing Company since 2014. I haven’t taken on a client, well, I did take on one client, but I haven’t been looking for clients since 2014. But this was often the issue for us. I mean, the worst thing that could happen is that somebody would come, and they would have a coded website, where someone’s actually coded the thing in HTML, or Java or whatever, custom coded websites were a disaster because nobody knows about that apart from the person who coded it.
So yeah, so it’s interesting,
But it’s different, it’s different. Everybody has a WordPress site,
So it’s not exactly that difficult to get a site re resorted or restructured or even just setting up a new website. It’s not rocket science. You go online, you find a good template, it’s gonna cost you $50, and you get someone who knows what they’re doing to take the content from your old site and put it in a new site, which, ultimately, you’ve chosen, specifically for your sector. So it’s already thought through, the whole process, how the website should be structured, what type of page layouts you should have, how the cart system should work? It’s all been done before. There’s no, there’s no business …. I haven’t had any clients ever, who’s just come up with something so avant garde so off the books that’s it’s like, oh my God,5 we won’t find anything similar online. I mean, it’s all been done before.
Yes, yes. Yes. Okay. So that’s good. But the point is, the point is that there is this issue, that people don’t have access to their website, because their developers are not interested. They’ve got too busy. They’ve gone away. So that is the issue. Yes, that’s what nobody’s talking about that issue. I can imagine that because, you know, I’ve just picked things up after six years, I had to dig around for my passwords, I had to dig around, access issues, my accounts, the whole thing was kind of a mission and I always made sure I had access to those things. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 48:02
It was a mission for you and you live in this environment. Imagine someone who has no idea what a domain registrar is. So they come back to you and say, Okay, do you have access to your domain? Yes, yes, I have access to my website. No, no, your domain. Okay, that isn’t for your domain. So then you have to go through the process of explaining what the domain registrar is, and how that links back to their website, and how hosting, having a hosting service is different different to paying a subscription to a domain registrar. So imagine what a minefield that is for someone who has no technical background. It’s very time consuming, just explaining it to someone. The biggest issue they already have, they’ve already been screwed up by, or screwed over by someone in the past.
They’re being charged 1000s for a website, which they have no access to. When people didn’t understand, let’s say, 10 years ago, when people didn’t understand about websites a lot of companies were charging crazy prices, because people didn’t really understand. They were charging, depending on their perception of what the client can afford.
You know, which just sucks.
It does suck.
Yeah. I think that becomes part of the reason why people don’t want to invest in marketing because very often they do something, whether it’s a website, or whether somebody was supposed to run a campaign or somebody was supposed to do something; it’s almost like the process of going through suppliers or agencies, teaches them not to trust marketing suppliers or agencies.
The web designer thing, I mean, I’m amazed, you know, this guy on YouTube or Instagram, where he goes up to people in really flashy cars and says, what do you do for a living? Have you seen that thing? They’re driving like the Buggatis and stuff? Why don’t they all say we’re web developers? Because every web developer I’ve ever known has been too busy to talk to people, or take on a client, or do the work they’ve agreed to do already. Yeah, and that’s gone on for already 15 years, and the industry is only 20 years old, you know, so
There’s an inherent distrust of people who, you know, service websites who develop websites because in the beginning they were on a bit of a roll. I mean, I would see how long it would take to set up a website, and it isn’t that long.
No, it isn’t that long.
Oh, it isn’t that long. The other thing is that these people are, and I used to work in the IT industry, so I know exactly how this works; because they are technical, because they’re geeks, they just dismiss people, you wouldn’t understand, you don’t know, you wouldn’t understand so there’s that issue going on.
Which for me has worked to my advantage. Because I’ve been able to come in as a kind of translator.
I can take the time to explain to people, you know, what’s going on. I believe that if you educate people, and they understand a little bit more of what how you’re trying to help them. You’re, you’re you’re bringing on board a long term client.
That’s what I think as well.
You know, you’re not just there to make a fast buck and sell them a website. Yeah, this is your website. Here’s your invoice. I’m out of here.
That was the approach before, you know, quick buck. Okay, this client is a big corporation, we can charge him three times our usual rates.
No. Okay. But this hadn’t occurred to me that the was this legacy issue, but it’s come up in these conversations. Like when I spoke to Jim, I think in the third one of these that I had, he’s like an amazing marketer and he’s been around as long as I have. He’s been running his own businesses, his whole career. He was all over SEO, when it started, like insanely all over SEO, they started on PPC, they went to SEO, he rode the wave of everything at the beginning, and rinsed it and did amazingly well out of it. His issue, I think, was that he never sustained any of those things, but that’s okay, as well. He says that the issue is now that he will set set up, for example, his P ixel on Facebook, and then he’ll go back six months later, and it will have all changed, and he won’t know how to do it anymore. And so the issue is, what’s happening, which can’t be good for the industry. What’s happening is people get it working themselves, or investing themselves into a rut. Like, like, Lord knows, I’ve come back to like, I haven’t been on the tools for the last six years, I come to look at these things I don’t understand how they work anymore. So they are already too complicated. They change too often. I don’t think there’s really major changes in the industry, there hasn’t been a major change, I don’t think since YouTube or since Twitter. But they are fiddling, they’re tinkering with it all the time, they’re moving where the switches are, which I think is an issue. So what they’re doing is like people must be, I wonder what I mean, I wonder what the data would be where people are working themselves with their marketing into a situation where it just couldn’t possibly work anymore, because they don’t have access to their website, they don’t really know how the different platforms are working all the time. So if you’re not a full time marketer, and you’re not on the tools every day ….
I think it’s it’s the nature of most things. I don’t want sound philosophical, but it’s the nature of most things in life. I used to be able to to take my motorbike to pieces and put it back together again. Nowadays, I can’t even change the oil on my bike without taking it, or the brake pads, without taking it to a mechanic and plugging in and resetting all the sensors and diagnostic. So things are becoming increasingly complex.
Right and manufacturers are Were, like good marketers, that they want to increase their customer value. So whether it’s more technical or not, you have to have the software to plug it in to be able to access it to be able to do anything or invalidate the warranty already.
The thing is, it seems to me and I don’t know if this is the case, I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems to me that marketing has worked itself into a really, really difficult situation. That’s the way it seems to me. People don’t like marketers in the first place. They don’t trust marketers. When they do invest, they get bitten. The big players are as bad as the very small players, because Facebook, you know, the reason I don’t enjoy Facebook is because they made me a liar, because in 2009 2010, I was telling people spend money and build yourself an audience, because what you’re buying is the right to speak to those people forever, or the ability to speak to those people forever, and then, of course, in 2014, whenever it was, Edge Rank came along, and Facebook were like, well, if you want to speak to those people pay us again, do you know what I mean, it’s like, so that’s why I’m not a fan of Facebook. I think, I don’t know if it’s because I’m bitter, because in 2008, 2009, 2010, we were making hay, the sun was shining, and we were making hay on these brand new platforms. It seems to me that they’ve done such a good job on closing the door to anyone who isn’t prepared to pay. So what they’re doing now is just helping themselves to significant portions of people’s marketing budgets. And that would be fine, but I don’t know if they are still delivering value or not. I don’t know.
From my end when I when I compare what’s available and what they’re all offering as a return on the investment, it’s it’s not like Facebook is charging 10 times as much as Google, or any other, I mean, they’re all pretty in line. I think it’s the nature of marketing is that you need to invest in it, whether it’s time or money. It needs to be invested in. Yeah, I mean, if you want to engage with new customers, and have an ongoing conversation with them, and have more visibility and more reach that there is a time and cost element. So I just think the way people are spending their budgets has changed but if Facebook came in and started charging, but not delivering, it would have been a dead duck from the word go, but there was value, they did give clients results. So that’s why it’s still around and still people are still investing in it.
Okay, good, but all those results …. So this, I suppose goes back to my question before which is can Facebook stand alone? And I don’t personally, I don’t believe Facebook can stand alone, like YouTube can or PPC can. If people’s expectation is so low, it’s just wrong. When you invest in your marketing, you are not investing in having clicks, you are investing in acquiring new customers. So if that’s people’s expectation, is that they will just get clicks, I wonder what percentage of Facebook’s customers are in that situation where all they are getting is clicks. I’ve seen it in the nine years that I was running Effective Marketing properly, people have no idea how far gone they are, how far away they are from actually making money. Do you know what I mean? So it might be that Facebook is delivering something, but they’re not delivering the thing that they should be delivering? You know, and I’m not saying that there’s not value in having people aware of your products, I’m not saying that there’s not value in people clicking through to your website, these are all steps on the journey, but it has to get to the end of the journey. You know, it has to get to the point where you know that you are paying for customers, and you’re right it’s time, and money, and energy. If you’re proactively marketing, you’re effectively in the business of buying customers and I think businesses need to know what they’re paying for those customers because they they’re not going to be profitable if they’re paying too much for those customers. You know, that is probably the biggest risk in their business. I don’t know.
But I don’t think we’ve ever been in such a good position to inform clients exactly where every cent of what they’re investing in with regards to marketing is going. I mean, years back, it was all about selling space in magazines, and newspapers, billboards, banners in airports. So I mean, what will be selling then? I mean, what were we getting back to the client with an idea?
What we were doing, because I was there, so I know. What you were doing is you were taking them out, getting them stupidly drunk, and hoping that would convince them to invest their advertising budget with you again next year. Do you know what I mean, so? There is no, you know …
Did it feel good from I mean, doing, not getting the drunk bit, but getting someone to invest four grand on a billboards on a busy on a busy road for a month or two? And then when they get back to you, and it’s like, Okay, what are the results? What did I get back from that? Yeah, you couldn’t give them a straight answer. You could just give them a look, kind of, yes, sales have gone up but was it because of the billboard? Or was it because of the newspaper articles? Or because the banner at the airport? Or, you know, you just didn’t know it was everybody fumbling in the dark, really.
Everyone was fumbling in the dark and that was fine. It feels bad now, you’re asking me how it felt at the time, it felt amazing. If I made that sale, and it felt amazing. I was very happy. I probably wasn’t there a year later to go back and try and make that one sale again, or justify why it went. You know, what buyers and sellers are playing the same game, you know, so buyers would know not to ask those really difficult questions like what have you actually delivered? Because they knew there was no answer. You got a great lunch, that’s what happened. You know, I miss that corruption. Corruption is coming up in these conversations, increasingly, as we talk about 80s and the 90s. Okay, good. So the point is, what’s the point, the point is that it’s never been so transparent. I’m with you, it’s never been easier to actually calculate your cost of customer acquisition, it’s never been easier to actually realize what part each of these platforms are playing in your sales process, or the buying process, what should be attributed to which platform. It’s not as easy as they would have you believe and people aren’t looking for that information, still, I don’t think, in lots of instances.
I mean, granted, Facebook does allow people to get their ads, out there. I mean, just clicking on boost post does get them a certain level of reach. I mean, if they want to do it properly, they need people who know what they’re doing.
But you have to give it to them that they do allow people to click on a button, have a very easy user interface, have their credit card plugged in, and push that button and get these ads out.
Yes, yes, yes.
Oh, so it’s not like they’re trying to make it so complex that the average person can’t do it.
No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that it is much more transparent is much easier to achieve this stuff than it’s ever been, but it’s not quite as easy as they would have you believe. Secondly, people, customers, businesses, aren’t educated or motivated to go to that degree to understand that thing. Like you say customers are happy if their get more visits to their website, that they need to be more demanding than that of businesses like Facebook. If Facebook were being a little bit more honest and saying to people that we are a display platform, we are the most targeted display platform that has ever existed. If you know who buys your products, by their age, by their location, by their marital status, by their income, by how many times a year they travel away from their home, or how far away from their home they are. They have stupid, stupid, stupid insight type stuff. Facebook are the most targeted display platform that has ever existed in the history of the planet, certainly, of civilizations that we know about. That would be one thing. I don’t know if that is quite what they’re saying. I don’t know what they’re saying anymore. And I don’t know what the feedback is. I know that the Facebook feedback, is it called Facebook Insights.
There’s a spreadsheet there that is an abomination. If you want to understand what’s going on with your activity on your campaigns, I don’t know what it’s like, I haven’t done paid advertising on Facebook for six years. The feedback was an abomination that spreadsheet was the worst spreadsheet ever conceived by man. I don’t know if it still looks the same. I know the one behind the pages still does. So yeah, it’s interesting.
It’s really interesting. My personal direct contact with, I speak to Facebook on a weekly basis, they call me and we go through campaigns I get ….
I got a guy from from Dublin, you know, very nice chap. The feeling I get is that they’re genuinely interested in helping my clients …
Spend more money. I
I’ve got to be honest, Google, Google, sort of rammed that down my throat, not Facebook.
Google are like, you know what you if you spent an extra 15 euros a day, you’ll be able to get three times the amount or lalala. So I find Google a lot more money centric. I mean, Facebook, I find them, you know, genuinely, that they’re not so interested in me spending more money, but more about seeing the value of what they’re offering that’s my personal experience. But I know you have an inherent dislike to Facebook, so I won’t be able to change your mind.
I have a inherent dislike of corporations basically and Facebook are a corporation, I also don’t particularly enjoy Google. This is the trouble. The trouble is that in Google, for example, they are the gatekeeper and they are the poacher. they’re telling you what it’s going to cost and they’re taking the money and you know, they’re running the auction. Yeah, so I don’t particularly enjoy Google and I’ve never, ever had an experience where I’ve spoken to somebody at Google, at Google you can only speak to somebody who’s taking money, and I’ve never had an experience where they haven’t said spend more money. Do you know what I mean? It’s like, yeah, it’s poor. Right? This has been really interesting. I think we’ve got to the end, but I think we could probably do another one in the future.
That’d be cool. Is there anything you’d like to say that you haven’t said? No? Okay, cool. I know the
I think it’s a kind of mindset, I don’t look at Facebook and Google, I look at them like other people look at their phone. It’s a tool, they provide a service at a cost, which is what most most companies do. You know, so in the end, I’m paying for that service, and they’re giving me a perceived value. That value, it’s worth investing in. So yeah, I do tell my clients according to my experience with Facebook and Google, that, you know, for, I mean, the cost of entry of, I mean, I get a lot of small startups, and they want to get things moving. When I look at what it cost to get things moving 15 or 20 years ago, and getting your your name and your product and your service out there compared to what it’s costing nowadays, it’s giving people a lot more freedom. They’ll be working a nine to five job, and they’ll have this little dream of setting up, I don’t know they want to do, they want to cook cupcakes. I have really small client, what she does, she puts together party gifts. So if you’re having a birthday party for your kids, or whatever, she puts together, those little gifts that you give to the kids when they come in, or when they leave. She’s doing this because she’s been through a tough time, and she needs to subsidize her income and just by using Facebook, she’s been able to get this off of the ground and it’s given her quality of life and it’s helping her to literally make ends meet. Without this, or in another reality if it was like 10 years ago, this would not be happening she would be stuck in that rut of not being able to get this, this idea off the ground. You know, you know, you have to look at the whole picture, you know.
You do and I think I’m probably a little bit guilty of being, too down on these things. I think you’re right. It’s never been more transparent. Running your own business has never been more accessible. I think, to go back to what you said at the beginning, is that people need to, like you said that, what did you say? That marketing is, what was the phrase that you used, the less of, not the lesser of two evils, a necessary evil.
What I think is that sales and marketing is essentially the function of a business. So when you run a business, you need to know that you are in the business of sales and marketing. What you do, you have to be good at it, but that is secondary to being able to find and win and keep customers profitably. That’s actually what being in business is. People don’t get that, they think that that it’s a necessary evil. It’s a million miles away from the truth, which is actually, it’s all it is, you know, business is selling and marketing yourself, or marketing and then selling yourself.
And anything that helps them achieve that faster, easier, is just going to help more people ….
More cost effectively, that’s the thing.
I think if people understood that they’re in the business of buying customers, and they could see what they’re spending on their customer, and they could see people like you and I come in and actually make a positive difference to that number and affect the profitability of their business, then I think this whole issue would go away. But it’s not going away. I’ve got a list of things that stop people from marketing. I think it’s the jargon is an issue. I think the not understanding it is an issue. I think the in the UK, we’ve definitely got a you’re not supposed to be seen to be trying issue. You know, so in the states is different, like everyone loves a trier in the States. In the UK, it’s a little bit embarrassing if you’re a trier. So there’s that. What you’re telling me today is that there is this, there’s the technical issue, it’s all too technical and changes too much and then you’re telling me today there’s this this legacy issue where people have invested and they can’t leverage that investment anymore. They’ve completely got mired down because it’s got broken. Man, this has been interesting. I knew it would be that’s why i bullied you into talking to me.
Equally. It was fun. A lot of fun.
I was fun. Alright, cool.
I had no idea where I was going. But you know, yeah, this thing’s good. It’s good. Yeah.
And I think the message I want to get out to people is absolutely you have to be marketing, and absolutely it’s actually easier than you think it is. and more fun than you think it is more accessible than you think it is, once you’ve seen the bullshit, once you understand the bullshit, then it’s perfectly navigable.
Do you know that’s that’s kind of my lesson that I want to give to people. So hopefully, they will have taken that away?
It’s It’s not rocket science. And what I do and what we do, anyone can do. We just do it, we just do it faster because we have the experience. That’s all.
Martin Henley 1:13:30
I mean, we’re not we’re not Einsteins, you know, we’re not we’re not some some super geeks, we are on the pulse of everything that’s happening, you know?
Yeah, well, I think the value that you and I offer is, like we said before, it’s about testing everything. The thing is, we are constantly, well, not me for the last six years, but you certainly you are constantly testing everything so you have that experience of what works in what situation that you offer to a client. I think that’s the value that we offer.
Okay, good. Thank you so much, man. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this. I’m going to bully you into talking to me again in two or three months time.
I’m sure you will.
Yes. And I’m interested in your strategy. Like how, what that looks like and how you arrive at that and how you motivate people to to invest in that. That’s what I’m interested in. But for now, I’m going to let you go. Are you going back in the ocean again this afternoon?
Back in the Mediterranean Sea, I’m afraid No, no oceans here mate, we can’t all be as lucky as you. The Indian Ocean is it?
Yeah, it’s the Indian Ocean, it’s the Indian Ocean. Yeah.
Can’t be bad. Okay, cool.
I think it’s the Indian Ocean. It might not be. I don’t know. I’m gonna look it up next time we speak I’ll have the answer for you. It might just be some sea. I don’t know.
Haha there we go. We’ll be playing on the same field then.
Cool. All right, man. Thank you so much. I will speak to you again very soon.
Okay mate, have a good one.
Cheers buddy. Bye bye
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