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O: Hi and welcome to Marketing Speak! No, this is not a mistake. You will hear from Stephan in just a minute. But before we start, my name is Orion Talmay. I am the host of Stellar Life podcast, and Stephan is my husband. In this episode, we’re gonna reflect on the last 100 episodes of Marketing Speak. Stephan’s gonna share all the most amazing tools and tips and tricks and all the best of the best marketing advice that he has collected from the last 100 episodes. I really hope that you will enjoy this episode. Stephan is a marketing genius. He is one of the top SEOs in the world. He consulted for big companies like Chanel and Zappos and many, many more. Beyond teaching marketing, Stephan is very spiritual. He’s very much into self-development, and so you can check out another aspect of Stephan on his podcast, The Optimized Geek, where he shares tips about biohacking, life hacking, relationships, spirituality, sexuality – everything that can optimize your life. Hi, Stephan! Welcome to Marketing Speak.
S: Hi, my love. It’s great to be on my own show, and to have you as the host. It’s awesome, and I’m excited to do this episode.
O: Well, I’m excited too. Let’s start by you sharing a little bit about why you started this podcast and what is the most important thing that you learned from running your own podcast and talking to a lot of marketing experts – to many marketing experts?
S: It’s been a really amazing journey, having this podcast, and for one thing, it opens incredible doors to be able to have the kind of caliber of guests that I’ve had. I have a pretty big network from the many years of public speaking that I’ve done, but to have the kinds of powerful conversations in an hour-long format has been amazing. I’ve been able to really expand my knowledge base and enhance the businesses of my listeners by going in-depth into these different topics that we cover – everything from Facebook advertising, YouTube advertising, different aspects of SEO, content marketing, conversion, and really go deep. I have some really great conversations with folks at conferences. We’ll chat in the hallways or at networking events, receptions, and so forth. But it just by necessity can’t go that deep because we’re not spending an hour typically in the hallway chatting about the topic in-depth, so that’s I think one of the most valuable things I’ve gotten out of this podcast – is that depth, as well as breadth, and be able to fill in areas of knowledge, where I haven’t covered certain aspects. Like for example, YouTube advertising – I knew very little about. To have a whole episode dedicated to that has been really eye-opening for me.
O: Yeah. Our lifestyle is pretty unique, where we travel a lot. We go to so many conferences, so it’s almost like you take all this time and money that you invested in travel and conferences, and you really bring people the best guests ever because you’re not just going online looking for guests. You actually – you’ve been in the conference. You had a conversation with them. Maybe you shared the same stage, and so you really handpick the best of the best. This is why your podcast is so high-level. What do you do to keep the level of your podcast – to keep high standards?
S: One of the things I do is, as you said, I handpick the guests that I wanna have on. These are typically people, who I know – who I’ve heard speak, or if I don’t know them, I at least know of them by reputation. Maybe I’ve read some of their writings, some of their books or articles. These are people I handpick. It’s pretty rare that I’ll take on a guest, who just reaches out and fills out the form on the Marketing Speak website. That said, I’m open to that, but typically the best guests are ones, where I’ve handpicked them. As you said, we’re traveling a lot, going to conferences all over the world. Right now, I’m in London. You’re back home in Santa Monica. I’m heading home tomorrow, as you know.
S: I had a great time at BrightonSEO, which is Europe’s largest SEO conference. I taught a full day SEO training, and then I did a regular session in the main conference. Yeah, I’m always on the lookout for amazing guests. I was just talking to [Philly Wise 0:05:45], who used to work at Google, about having him on my show.
S: He’s happy to do it. Whenever I get the opportunity, I’m getting the best people. Also the topics that I think are the most salient and relevant to people.
O: Yeah, and we have a trip coming up to go to India and speak at – what is – Affiliate Summit India?
S: India Affiliate Summit, yeah. I’ll be keynoting there in just a few weeks. Yeah, in fact, I just shot a video from the roof here at the building I’m in.
O: “Hey! I’m in London, and I’m gonna be in India in a couple of weeks.”
O: “What’s up?”
S: I’m gonna be speaking about the 7 biggest SEO mistakes that affiliates make. Here are a couple of them. Blah blah blah. I just shot a quick video on that. In any event, I would love to continue to offer super high-level content to my listeners – stuff that they’re not going to hear from stages, because I know how to extract the really good stuff. People tend to hold back on stage, not necessarily deliberately, but because they know their competitors are in the audience, and so they are guarded with the information that they share, and I tend to be able to extract out more than they would normally give from stage, just in my disarming approach of asking questions and probing. Because I know a fair amount about various aspects of digital marketing, not just SEO, I can go pretty deep.
O: I know that somebody stole your presentation and presented it as their own. Can you share a bit about that?
S: That was awhile ago. Hopefully it doesn’t happen that often these days – I just happened to be in a session taught by a couple of former black hat SEOs. It was a workshop on SEOs. This was at the Web 2.0 Expo years ago. Yeah, it was my content, and I didn’t start to get the gist of what was happening until maybe 10 or 15 minutes into the session. One of the slides had a list of tools, and one of the tools was a very unique tool that was my tool. It wasn’t something that was generally shared in PowerPoints. I’m like, what the heck? I raised my hand, and then one of the black hat guys said, “Okay, before I take this question from this guy. I have to tell you…” The audience was packed with maybe 400 people in this room. He’s like, “This guy’s an SEO, and he’s gonna try and sell you something probably but go ahead, Stephan.” I’m like, “I just wanted to thank you for the shout-out for mentioning my company name there on the slide.” They panicked and then admitted to the entire audience that they had stolen my entire presentation because they were drunk the night before, and they didn’t have a presentation yet. So they were, “Well, let’s just use Stephan’s. Let’s just find one of Stephan’s. He’s got great PowerPoints online.” At that time, I would share all with my PowerPoints, as we were kind of naïve in that way. It was a full workshop PowerPoint, and they just put their own brand on it. They didn’t give me credit.
S: Yeah. That was the last time they spoke at that conference. I ended up teaching the SEO workshops from that point forward at that conference. I don’t have any hard feelings about it because black hats cut corners. It’s just their nature, and it wasn’t personal. They’re still well-known and respected in the industry. They didn’t try to hide that they did this. They admitted it to the whole audience in another conference at SMX Advanced a couple weeks later. I’m on a panel with both of the guys that were presenting the workshop, and they admitted again.
O: Oh wow.
S: In fact, they kind of poke at me. One of my tips was “Here’s how to get free Forrester research reports just by searching on Google,” and I gave the search query “file type: PDF, etc. etc. Forrester research blah blah blah.” One of the guys are like, “Yeah, and you can get great PowerPoints that way, too.” I’m like, “Dude, you just walked right into that. Why don’t you tell the audience what you mean by that?” and he did. He told everybody at SMX Advanced what happened a few weeks earlier at Web 2.0 Expo, so we had a lot of fun with that. Yeah, I don’t hold any grudges. Information wants to be free, and if people…
O: Information wants to be free, but how would you protect your intellectual property?
S: Yeah, I guess, putting less information out there in the clear and at least having people opt in for things, having membership sites, and that sort of stuff. I do have a membership site, where you pay $97 a month to be part of that. I have some opt-ins require that you provide an email address in order to get them. They’re not just available through Google searches. I still have plenty of information for free that I post to my Search Engine Land column and to my blog and so forth, but not all of it. I’m more selective. I don’t post every single PowerPoint I present at a conference anymore.
O: Stephan, you mentioned that you have a membership site and some courses. Can you share a bit about that?
S: Yeah, so I have about 6 courses that I’ve created over the last year. I’m really passionate about online marketing – SEO in particular, of course, but other aspects too, like conversion and authority building. I created some courses because not everybody can afford to work with me, so I wanna spread my knowledge further and help people who are smaller businesses. That’s why I created the courses and the membership site. The membership site includes weekly jam sessions with my SEO consultants. I have a private Facebook group and all that. I just want to serve more people, and so that’s been a way that I can do that.
O: It’s so good for people because somebody like you that consult for such big brands. Your knowledge is top notch, like one of the best in the world. Before we start diving into more of SEO and marketing and previous episodes, where can people find your courses, your membership sites?
S: That’s all on stephanspencer.com. I do have a lot of white papers and checklists and guides there as well. Stephanspencer.com, and then click on Resources. There are some past presentations as well that have been recorded by the conferences. Those are good as well, and of course, there’s also – if you’re interested in up-leveling in other areas of your life, like relationships and peer group and mindset and health and biohacking and that sort of stuff, my podcast, The Optimized Geek is another great place to go. That’s optimizedgeek.com.
O: Yeah, that’s amazing. What’s the difference between white hat and black hat SEO?
S: A lot of people think it’s about ethics, and I’d say it’s more about risk than ethics. Black hat is high risk, and if you are running a business, that you can’t afford to torch your domain and start over again, you better not play in the black hat world. Things like private blog networks, PBNs are very dangerous. Buying links, building low quality links, or just not caring about what the SEO is doing – is just asking to have your domain name torched.
O: What can be the penalties for using black hat SEO?
S: There are two types of penalties that Google will dish out: algorithmic and manual. Manual pe nalties are called manual actions. You can find out if you have one, by going into Google Search Console and looking in the Manual Actions section. If you don’t have one listed there, you don’t have a manual action, so that’s the good news. Google has become a lot more transparent over time in sharing this kind of information, whether you’re manually penalized or not. If it’s an algorithmic penalty, it’s very difficult to tell for sure if you have been penalized. You can maybe correlate the traffic drop-off date with a known algorithm update. See if they correlate or not. If it’s been more of a gradual decline, it may or may not be an algorithmic penalty. It’s hard to know, and you need to hire an SEO expert to ascertain what’s happening, whether you’re doing thin content or low-quality link building or if maybe somebody did some negative SEO against your site. Negative SEO is where you get hit by, say, a competitor or somebody who wants to hurt your business, and so they’ll do stuff like buy links or build low-quality links on your behalf and hurt your reputation in Google and get Google to not trust your site anymore.
O: Have you ever done black hat SEO?
S: Never. Never. I had no interest in it.
O: I know that you had people that did that and came to you for help. What can you share, like case studies of how you helped somebody that was affected because they did black hat SEO?
S: Some folks just don’t know that they’re doing black hat SEO, and they just hire an SEO firm that doesn’t tell you what they’re doing. The companies that have come to me – they’ve gotten hit with Penguin penalties and Panda penalties and Fred and other penalties. They didn’t know they were crossing the line, so it’s not like they had any kind of malicious intent. But yeah, I’ve helped companies with a number of these algorithmic penalty situations – gotten them out of Panda and Penguin.
O: What happened when you get hit by a Panda or a Penguin? What happen to your company profits?
S: It can really drop. It can tank, and that’s really unfortunate when that happens. But it’s potentially recoverable, if you know how to fix it. It’s not something that you wanna try and figure out on your own typically because if a company or an agency or an expert such as myself has already worked with others to get them out of the penalty box. You kind of just shortcut the process by going with somebody who knows the road ahead, who’s crossed the land mines in the battlefield before. That’s what I have helped different client with. It’s not that typical that I’ll work with clients, who’ve been penalized, but I’ve had a handful of ones, who over the years have been penalized. I like to have different kinds of challenges to keep my brain stimulated in different kinds of challenges, different kinds of ways of addressing SEO.
O: What are some of your favorite SEO episodes or tips that you learned on Marketing Speak by conversing with your guests?
S: Some of my favorite SEO tips. Well, first let me tell you some of my favorite episodes covering SEO. I just recently interviewed Bill Hunt. That was a previous episode, and I’ve known Bill for a long time. He is also an SEO author. He co-wrote Search Engine Marketing, Inc. Very smart guy. Very technical. We got into some really geeky stuff in that episode. I’ve interviewed Rand Fishkin, who is the founder of Moz, formerly known as SEOmoz.
O: And your co-author?
S: Yeah. My co-author on my first two editions of The Art of SEO. The book started for us, when Rand and I met up in a speaker lounge. It was at SES Toronto, and I had just gotten done speaking a couple of weeks earlier at SMX Advanced. Rand came up to me in the speaker lounge at SES Toronto and gave me a hug, and I didn’t even know the guy. I knew of him, but I’d never spoken to him before. He came and gave me a hug. I still remember that, and I was really touched by that. He told me that, “You brought it. You really brought it at the last conference in that session Give It Up,” where I shared some of my best secrets. I’m very sharing and giving.
O: Yes, you are.
S: I was sharing the best stuff out of the panel of seven people. Yeah, my stuff was all killer – no filler. That’s why Rand came up and started talking with me and had hugged me. We, in that conversation, decided that we’d do a book together. Originally it was gonna be The SEO Cookbook, an O’Reilly book. We didn’t have O’Reilly as our publisher yet, but that was put together with the help of Danny Sullivan over the course of the next couple of days. Yeah, we had a publisher and an agreement – just informal – that we would do a book together called The SEO Cookbook within a couple of days of having our first conversation. It’s pretty cool. Ended up turning into The Art of SEO, and we ended up getting a couple more authors on board over the next 10 months or so, so that we could finish the book and have something that was comprehensive and keeps growing every time. Each edition has grown by a couple hundred-plus pages, so now we’re at almost 1000 pages. Pretty crazy.
O: If you have not heard about The Art of SEO, it’s one of the best SEO books out there. It has been taught in universities, and it is just one of the most advanced books about SEO. The Art of SEO. Get it today, if you need to learn more about SEO. I know that some people think that SEO is dead. When we went to Traffic and Conversion Summit – I don’t remember which year, but they were kind of leading with the idea that SEO was dead, but then giving sessions about link building and SEO. They just did not call it SEO. What do you think about that?
S: Yeah, I think that’s pretty silly. It’s essentially click-bait, but in a live conference environment. It’s not true. Maybe traditional SEO is dead. Traditional – meaning, like the old school form of SEO, where you’re looking at keyword density and KEI scores (keyword effectiveness indicator scores) and things like that. That stuff just was never important, and yet for years, people were focusing on the pagerank scores coming out of the Google toolbar. Those were always manipulated by Google, because they knew that only the SEOs were watching those. Yeah, old school SEO – that’s dead, but SEO is here to stay because it’s all about – not manipulating, but more influencing the algorithmic results in Google. It’s kind of like the editorial versus the advertising in a magazine or a newspaper. Everybody knows that the advertising was paid for, and so they don’t trust it. The same idea applies to the Google results. When somebody looks at the ads, they know those are paid for obviously, and the organic results – that’s an implied endorsement from Google. If you have some influence over what results are displayed, then you have an advantage. You have a competitive advantage. Who wouldn’t want that? If you don’t understand how the search engines work, how can you possibly have that kind of competitive advantage? Your competitors will have it over you. If you fall behind in the latest techniques, tools, strategies for SEO, you are quickly a dinosaur because this thing is advancing at such a faster and faster clip. It’s the law of accelerating returns. The law of accelerating returns applies not only to SEO, but to technology and life, because every 18 months, computing power at least doubles or the price of the same computing power halves. That’s Moore’s Law. Metcalfe’s Law is that the power of the network is increasing exponentially with the size of the network as more and more people are getting online and more technology is added to the mix and all of our various devices – everything from our refrigerators to our dishwashers and so forth – are coming online, and we’re gonna be switching to IPv6 IP addresses. Essentially every grain of sand on the planet will be able to have its own IP address. It’s just a huge gamechanger, and this speed that we are seeing is – it’s hard for us to wrap our heads around. Let’s take just a real basic analogy here. I think it will really drive this point home. The last 100 years of technological evolution would fit into the next 20 years at today’s rate of change. But because it’s continuing to accelerate – the rate of change – that it would actually fit into the next 12 years. If you think back, what was happening for people 100 years ago, and you time-travel back 100 years and you have some of your various devices, your iPhone, your microwave or whatever, and you bring that with you back 100 years. You tell people and show people what life is like – they’ll think you are an alien. Well, imagine 12 years from now, and having that same amount of change. It’s hard to fathom, but this is applicable to SEO as well. It’s more important than ever to stay up with it, because it changes so quickly. I know that’s ironic that I have a book because books don’t change quickly. Every couple of years, we come out with a new edition, but we try and focus on the tried and true stuff that’s more the best practices, and not the flashing-the-pants sort of stuff. Yeah, it’s challenging to keep up.
O: Right. People come to you because you keep up with the speed of change. How do you do that?
S: Well, not only do I speak at a lot of conferences, I attend a lot of conferences. I go to sessions. I hang out with interesting people in the hallways and networking receptions, and I ask them powerful questions. If you come with more powerful questions, you’ll get more powerful answers. People tend to think about the answers being most important, but it’s actually the questions. You can change your life just based on the questions that you ask. The quality of the questions determine your destiny. I ask powerful questions, when I go to these conferences, and I’m going to conferences all the time – multiple conferences a month. I’m a lifelong learner. That’s one of my top five strengths. I took the StrengthsFinder assessment – StrengthsFinder 2.0. It’s under $20, and it gives you such insight on how you’re wired and your top strengths. All my team have gotten tested as well. Then you can know how to best collaborate with these people because you know their strengths. They know yours. One of my top five strengths is learner, and I am soaking it up like a sponge and looking for ways to repurpose it, repackage it, innovate on it, expand and evolve. That’s just how I operate, and then I share that with people through this podcast.
O: What I love about that the most is that the shift in perspective, where if you go to a doctor and you test for something, you’re usually testing for what’s missing, what’s wrong. What a beautiful shift it is to test for what’s good. What is your strength? What is your advantage? It’s just so powerful.
O: Who was on your show.
S: Yeah, she was – great episode on my show.
O: I had a drink with her and a really powerful conversation.
S: Yeah. Yeah. She’s awesome. She’s really brilliant. She keynoted at Traffic and Conversion Summit, which is how I got to know of her, and then we ended up getting to know each other more. You got to know her as well through other speaking and other conference opportunity. That Fascinate Test is not about how you see the world, but how the world sees you, which is a very different but powerful way to understand a person and their makeup – either yourself or one of your colleagues, your boss, or your direct report, or what have you. Another test that I’m really big on is DISC. You can take this test for free on tonyrobbins.com. Yeah, it’s just a great assessment to tell you how attentive to detail the person is, how steady they are, how outgoing they are, how much of a hard-driving person they are. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn a lot about people that you test. I have all my staff go through these assessments. Even candidates that are looking to get hired by me, to be part of my team – I’ll have them take these tests.
O: When I did my DISC assessment, one of the Tony Robbins coaches analyzed it. He said that my DISC assessment was very, very similar to Tony Robbins and that he rarely sees something like this, where super high D, super high I. I was like 99 on both. That was a good compliment.
O: Yes. That’s amazing.
S: It’s not just a compliment. It’s part of your gift – part of your nature. What an amazing thing that you get to leverage that in your life and in your business, and that’s in part why your podcast is so amazing, Stellar Life. You’ve had amazing guests. You’ve had Sally Hogshead on. Have you?
O: No. Not yet. I had some other good ones.
S: You’ve had some amazing guests on Stellar Life like Michael Gerber (author of the E-Myth), Alison Armstrong, Dr. John Demartini (who was in the Secret), Dave Asprey (of Bulletproof Diet and his new book Head Strong, Bulletproof Coffee guy).
O: I just had a Bulletproof Coffee this morning. I made my coffee with brain octane oil. Yeah, I feel great.
S: Yeah. Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oil – that’s what brain octane is. It’s very good for you. People don’t understand the difference between different oils. Some oils – you do not want to cook with. Some oils are unhealthy, and some oils are essential. You will die without them. You can learn all about that sort of thing from Dave Asprey and also Udo Erasmus. Yeah, I’ve had him on my other show, on The Optimized Geek. That was a very recent episode.
O: Yeah. Before we dive more into marketing and YouTube and Twitter and all those things that people here are listening for, I just wanna remind you guys, how important it is to – if you want your business to be successful and you wanna really implement the best tools and tips, the first thing that you need to do is take care of your body because when your body is in better shape, when your mind is sharper, when your relationship at home are better, then your business is better as a result. What do you think about that?
S: Yeah, it’s so true. If you get yourself…
O: I’m sorry. Especially in marketing conventions, I see people that are brilliant, but they really neglect other aspects of their lives.
S: Yeah, it’s crucial. Your best resource is your resourcefulness, and you have less resourcefulness if you are not operating at 100%. If you’re tired, you’re sleep-deprived – you think this is a badge of honor that “I sleep four hours a night and deprive myself of sleep,” or whatever – that kind of nonsense. You’re costing your business a lot of money and lost productivity and lost focus and so forth. You’re taking years off your life. Some of this has far-reaching repercussions beyond just lost revenue. Your family is gonna be without you. You’re gonna have less life span because of your lifestyle. It’s not just about being a better marketer because you get yourself into a peak state and into a flow state before you start working, and you maintain that flow state for longer because you’re using different tools and stuff. That’s all great and valuable, but do it for the people that you love because you show up more powerfully in your life, and you are a model for your children and for your coworkers and of course to people that report to you. If you neglect your body and you don’t show up powerfully and really give it 100%, there’s a ripple effect there.
O: It’s so powerful. It’s such a beautiful thing to share. Thank you for sharing that. Let’s go into paid advertising versus SEO.
S: I think they go together like peanut butter and jelly because SEO will help you with that implied endorsement effect that I mentioned earlier. Because if Google doesn’t rank you high organically, then people wonder “Why is this company not showing up for this keyword?” especially if it’s a brand keyword, if it’s your company name or your brand name, and you’re not showing up number one, or your listing is not very powerful in how it shows up. You don’t have site links, which are the additional indented links underneath. If it’s not a very compelling value proposition in the title and in the snippet, that sort of stuff reflects poorly on your business. Not just that, but if people don’t find you for competitive keywords that aren’t your brand name, then you’re not even in the consideration set because they’re looking for – whatever the item is, and they’re seeing the competitors. They’re not seeing you. They don’t even think about you. They don’t wonder why you’re not there. They just don’t even consider you as one of the options. That’s why SEO needs to be part of your strategy, but paid search helps to augment your SEO and fill the gaps because you can’t rank number one for everything. This gives you an opportunity to hand pick those keywords that you wanna rank very highly for, and you just pay for them. Granted, there’s no implied endorsement that comes with it, but you get the visibility. This is a fuller strategy that you can implement. There’s not just paid search that you can do. Paid advertising also includes Facebook advertising, includes Twitter advertising and LinkedIn ads and all these. There are lots of opportunities to advertise on the internet. If you augment your paid search and your SEO with, let’s say, Facebook ads, which is one of the things I’m doing, then you can go laser focus on people with a particular set of demographics and psychographics and sociographics. People who have liked certain books, certain authors, certain events, certain thought leaders, who have liked certain topics – you can laser target these people. They have certain demographics like income level and certain gender, age range, all that. There’s so much you can do with Facebook targeting; it’s amazing. Also retargeting – you can do across multiple platforms. Retargeting is where you’re basically following people, stalking them on the internet. They’ve been to your website, so now you start advertising to them on Facebook. You start advertising to them on sites that are part of the Google display network. They just keep seeing your ad everywhere because they’ve been to your website. That’s another great opportunity.
O: We talked about how fast life is changing, and the rapid acceleration of technology where 25 years ago, your marketing was “Let me put an ad in the paper or in the radio or on TV,” and that was your marketing. Now there are so many social platforms. You need to have tons of followers on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. Wait a minute, what about LinkedIn? It’s almost like this focused ADD, where you need to be so good at so many things. For somebody who’s listening to you right now, they need to focus on just a few things in their business. What’s the first thing in their business they need to focus on? What are some of the social platforms they need to focus on?
S: The thing that I would say focus on first is to focus on one thing, because we get spread across so many different things that our attention gets diluted, and we don’t actually accomplish anything in particular, or it’s very, very hard and very slow. Carl White gave me this great analogy, where, if you are building bridges across a river and you’re building five or ten at one time, it’s a very long time before you can send any cars across any one particular bridge. You need to finish a bridge; that needs to be the focus. There’s actually a book called The ONE Thing. It’s all about doing one thing and saying no to a lot of other things. Warren Buffett famously advices to make a list of 25 things that are your most important priorities, your biggest projects, your most important projects, and then you take the top five. Those stay. Then the top 20 that are underneath it are must-not-dos. You’re not allowed to touch those projects until the top five are done. If you wanna get anything accomplished, you need to focus.
O: My love, because I know you intimately, I know that you are building about something between 100 and 200 bridges every day.
S: That’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but okay, I do.
O: You do a lot.
S: I do, but I also have a team, where they are empowered to be the champion of these different projects. I have somebody, for example, who is championing my second edition of Google Power Search. Jem is handling that. I’ve got another person, who’s championing my other book that’s near completion here of Geek Revolution, which is the self-help book. Tricia has been spearheading that. I am not focusing my attention across project managing all these projects. I have people, who are – it’s their baby.
O: That sounds really good, but I know your to-do list. You have about 3000, 4000 things on your to-do list.
S: Sure. I’m prolific with ideas, so yes. You have to…
O: You’re a bit different because you are a genius. You’re literally a genius, and you somehow have the brain capacity to remember a lot more than the average person. That’s why you operate on such a high level.
S: Here’s the thing. Your brain is meant to be a factory, not a warehouse. If you’re just good at collecting information and keeping it in your head, you’re missing out on the big opportunity. You need to be a factory for ideas and creating new stuff, inventing, and I’m very good at that. The reason why I have 3000 things in my to-do list is because I have a trusted system. That’s one of the keystones of GTD, of getting things done, the productivity methodology from David Allen. That’s another great episode by the way -is the David Allen episode on The Optimized Geek – all about this amazing approach to productivity. I have my trusted system, so I don’t have to keep that stuff in my head. It’s in my trusted system. I’m trusting that it’s in that system and that I don’t have to keep it in my head. I can forget it, and I can focus on inventing stuff – being that factory. Without that distinction, people will clutter their heads with useless information, that’s not how their brain is meant to work – to just store information like it’s a warehouse.
O: What are the social platforms that you personally are focusing on? What are the marketing avenues – is that the right word – that you are focusing on?
S: What I focus on is a little different than what the average person is focusing on, or average company. I’ll tell you a bit about what I’m doing that’s not typical, and then I’ll tell you some of the stuff that I’m doing that is pretty typical. I’m a power user on Reddit. Many of our listeners are not active users on Reddit. I have 20,000 link karma points. If you’re not familiar, as a listener, to Reddit’s link karma system, that’s how they know how influential you are. If you have a high link karma then you have a much better chance of hitting the front page of Reddit. Reddit’s front page is the front page of the internet; it is one of the top 10 most popular sites on the internet – something like that. It’s huge. It is a social network. It requires that you get a lot of upvotes, and that’s why you get high link karmas because you get a lot of people upvoting your stuff if it’s good. I have a power user status in Reddit, and I didn’t have to do that myself. I have a power user on Reddit, who does a lot of that work for me and got that account from zero to 18,000 link karma points within three months. She got me from zero to 18,000 link karma points within three months, with this brand new account, and that’s an asset that I own. If she moves on to another opportunity, that’s fine. I’ve got this asset that stays with me. She hit the front page with that account of Reddit within those first three months, three or four times. That’s a pretty cool asset and opportunity to get lots of reach. Another social platform I focus on is Pinterest – number three social network on the internet. A lot of people neglect Pinterest; they’re focused so much on Facebook and Twitter and maybe LinkedIn as well. They don’t think about Pinterest. It is highly skewed towards women. If women are a major target market for you, this is a must social platform. I had one of my team build up my Pinterest account. I have some really great pins organized in a very effective way into pin boards. One of my pin boards on infographics has over 1200 infographics pinned to it. I’ve got thousands of followers on Pinterest. That’s a social network that I’ve put some focus on. Where I spend a lot of my energy in terms of advertising is Facebook; I fill up my webinars primarily with Facebook ads – and my email lists. Email marketing is really important, by the way; that’s really a crucial part of your marketing strategy. Continuing to build your lists – that should not be neglected. I fill my webinars with Facebook ads and with email campaigns – to my list. I also do organic stuff on Facebook; I do Facebook Lives. You get at least 2X the reach if you do a live video versus prerecorded one that you upload. By the way, if you posted your video to YouTube, and then you’re trying to post that to Facebook, it’s gonna get buried. Facebook does not like YouTube. They do not wanna drive traffic to YouTube; they wanna keep people within the Facebook platform, so you need to upload that video natively. If you do not have control of that video – let’s say it’s somebody else’s video, and you wanna post it to your Facebook and add some commentary around it, then what you need to do is write a blog post or maybe find a place that is a good venue for it, if your blog doesn’t have a lot of authority. I would post to The Huffington Post, for example, and get that to that YouTube video embedded into that HuffPost article along with my writeup about it. Then publish that to my Facebook, and that will get way more reach. In fact, sometimes, if it’s a great article, you’ll get the Huffington Post actually promoting it. In fact, before I even had a chance to talk about that post on my Facebook, it got promoted by HuffPost to the Facebook audience and had 1200 likes in the first day. Then the next day is when I went and posted to Facebook about it and got even more likes. Just knowing these nuances can make a huge, huge difference. It all starts with having an influential platform, an influential account that you can broadcast from. If you don’t have the reach, if you don’t have the social status on that network, you’re gonna be buried. You’re gonna be invisible. If you don’t have the knowledge to build that yourself, hire somebody, whether it’s an agency or an expert like myself or whatever. You need that help to build that kind of social capital that you can leverage on these platforms.
O: What are some tips that you can share about conversion and selling more through your website?
S: That’s a great question. It’s all about a few things – having the irresistible offer. It’s about having social proof, and it’s about not violating the three-second rule. Let me walk through each of those one after another. Let’s start with the irresistible offer. If you are trying to get only the people, who are ready to buy your product or service – if that’s all you’re appealing to on your homepage, you’re doing it wrong. There is this concept called The Stadium Pitch that was created by Chet Holmes. He would talk about having this imaginary stadium full of your exact target audience, and you’re in the middle of the stadium with a microphone and you’re able to talk to all of them. Let’s say that you’re selling medical malpractice insurance, and the stadium is full of general practitioners, medical doctors. You don’t just talk to them about medical malpractice insurance and how your insurance is the best, because only, maybe, 3% of that whole stadium will be interested in buying that from you at that moment. Most people are just not in the position; they’re set with their insurance, etc. You’re neglecting 97% of the audience. Maybe another 3% could be convinced that they need it, so that might leave you with 93%, 94% that you cannot reach. They’re tuning you out. If they’re tuning you out, you’re missing out. Imagine now a different approach, where you’re talking to them about – these are the latest trends in medical technology and how this is going to affect your medical practice over the next 10 years. In order to not go obsolete, you need to know about these coming five trends. Everybody in the whole stadium is wrapped; they are paying 100% attention to you. Let’s take the listeners to Marketing Speak as an example. I have an irresistible offer on the homepage for Marketing Speak; it’s 10-Point Checklist for Successful Facebook Ad Campaign. I would guess that the majority, maybe not 100% of the stadium but the majority of the stadium would be interested in that. If I were to instead have a “irresistible offer” about an SEO technology platform – I’m trying to sell them on my technology platform or WordPress plugin, then now I’m only speaking to a sliver of that stadium, and I’m missing out. Try and make an irresistible offer that reaches and appeals to 100% of that stadium. The second thing, after you’ve got this irresistible offer – of course, you’re gonna have that tied into an opt-in, so they have to supply their email address in order to download it. After you have that, you wanna look at social proof. What is social proof? It shows that you have been preselected by others; others have vetted you and found you to be of value. That social proof could be in the form of client testimonials or from industry experts, who are providing testimonials, praise quotes. It could be from logos of clients. It could be logos of media outlets that have covered you. I’ve had TV appearances recently. I had 11 TV appearances last year, for example. I have “as seen on” logos, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News on the homepage of my site, before you even start scrolling, so it’s above the fold. I also have other social proof in the form of testimonial quotes from clients, below the fold on my homepage. That’s just another really important aspect of conversion – is the social proof. The third piece is not violating the three-second rule. That three-second rule is this: within three seconds, I, as a first-time visitor to your website, need to get what’s in it for me and what my next action is – almost instantly within those three seconds. What’s in it for me? The radio station that all of your visitors are tuned into is WIIFM – what’s in it for me? They’re not thinking about anybody else but themselves or their company, when they go to your website. They don’t care about your products, your services, your company history and all that; they care about how it applies to them, how it can help them with their problems, with the solutions that they need to their problems. Focus on them and make it immediately apparent within three seconds without them having to scroll, why they should care about your website. The other thing about this is that it’s gotta be obvious what the one single next action is for them to take. If they have to figure out that, “I need to choose from these 10 different options.” That’s the paradox of choice. The more choice you give them, the more inaction you get, because their brains hurt from all that deciding. They don’t wanna make the decision. Just cut it down to one thing, and especially when you’re doing paid advertising, landing pages. One thing – you strip away the navigation. They can’t get to your blog and start reading your blog post. There’s no social media chicklet so they can go surfing around your Facebook and Twitter and all that. They’ll never come back. You gotta get them down a tunnel of just the one thing. “I want you to do this, and then do this and then do this.” If it’s to buy a tripwire product for $7, like a book that’s free plus shipping, or if it’s to download a free white paper or sign up for webinar or whatever. You don’t give them multiple options. You have the one thing. That’s a really important thing for your website especially your homepage, to have this three-second rule, to not violate that. There you go. There are some conversion tips.
O: Thank you. This was a powerful, powerful interview. Thank you for sharing this amazing knowledge and sharing a bit more about who you are with your listeners.
S: Thank you for being on this podcast as the host for today and for sharing…
O: Getting out of my comfort zone.
S: Sharing your life. That’s right. It’s a little weird to jump onto somebody else’s show and be the host, but you’re very flexible. I really appreciate that about you – one of the many things I appreciate about you.
O: I love you.
S: I love you, too.
O: I know that you just recently launched a 5-Day Challenge. Here is my question. What is the one next-step action our listeners should take right now?
S: Wow, that was really smart. I love that. I wasn’t even thinking about the 5-day challenge and directing people to a single next-action. Yeah, that was genius. Thank you.
O: You’re welcome.
S: My 5 Day SEO Maximizer Challenge is completely free, and there’s some amazing training on there. Each day has a different video challenge. You watch the video; it’s no more than 15 minutes. Some are shorter – 10 minutes long or whatever. Just watch the video. You’ll learn what the challenge is, and then you post evidence of your challenge that you’ve completed to the Facebook group. We have a private Facebook group just for the SEO Maximizer Challenge. Each day, there are some bonuses for doing the challenge – unadvertised bonuses, and they’re gonna be awesome. It’s definitely worth your while to not only learn the stuff that you’re gonna learn. I go through stuff like how to use Answer the Public to identify questions that you can use as fodder for your keyword strategy. Answer the Public is an amazing free tool. Just so many things that I walk you through, but yet it’s not overwhelming. This is a really great opportunity to up-level no matter what your level of expertise is in SEO.
O: It’s simple. Yeah. I was a part of the co-creation of that simplicity.
S: Yes you were. You coached me on the videos, what we should do to focus it on something that’s much more attainable, because people are busy and you can’t do a whole lot. But what’s the highest value, most impactful thing that they can learn in just a few minutes – 15 minutes, of them watching the video and then taking a fast action to apply that new knowledge, because passively learning stuff only takes you so far. If you actively apply it within a short timeframe of learning this, then it goes into your muscle memory, and then it sticks. You start getting a benefit right away from it. Many people, for example, haven’t even set-up their Google Search Console, which is an amazing free tool. You don’t start collecting data in this tool – the keywords that are driving traffic to your – organic traffic…
O: Stop. Let them figure it out for themselves, because they have to go take the challenge. Where should they go? What’s the link?
S: Spoiler alert. Stephanspencer.com/5daychallenge. All the links to these different tools and things we talked about, including the 5-Day Challenge, we’ll add to the show notes page on marketingspeak.com.
O: Wonderful. Thank you so much, my love. This was a pleasure.
S: The pleasure was mine. You’re amazing, and I’m so grateful to have you in my life. I’m the most fortunate man ever.
O: Stop it. Continue. Stop. Stop. Continue. Stop. Okay, thank you all for listening.
S: Yes. Apply some of these knowledge in your business. Do something that’s going to move the needle for you and get that new knowledge into your muscle memory.
O: Thank you so much for tuning in to this unique episode of Marketing Speak. Keep listening, keep expanding, keep learning, and keep evolving. You are unique and special, and you have the capacity to accelerate and succeed in any area of your life. This is Orion signing off. We’ll catch you on the next episode.