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Episode 83 – InboundShots 001: Is Blogging Dead? Is SEO Dead? Outbound Calling?

Welcome to Episode 83 of HubShots! Or is it InboundShots Episode 01?

Welcome to HubShots, the podcast for marketing managers who use HubSpot hosted by Ian Jacob from Search & Be Found and Craig Bailey from XEN Systems.

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Recorded: Wednesday 26 April 2017 | Published: Friday 05 May 2017

Listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/hubshots/083-the-crossover-episode-inboundshots-001

This week we have a special episode – the crossover episode!

We chat with our good friend Moby Siddique from Inbound Buzz.

It’s a long chat – so we’ll be interested in your feedback on ideal episode length .

The full transcript is below.

In this cross-over episode we discuss:

HubShots Episode 83

Ian: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the first episode of InboundShots,

Moby: the first crossover episode of InboundBuzz and my good friends from HubShots. I’m Moby Siddique.

Ian: I’m Ian Jacob.

Craig: And I’m Craig Bailey.

Moby: And thank you for joining us.

Moby: So we’ve been meaning to do this ever since we were in Boston, right? So before we kick off I just want to say, and this wasn’t planned or anything, but Inbound with you guys was fantastic. And I only kind of mention it because now even the guys from the HubCast are talking about Inbound coming up, just being a couple of months away. So I’m sure in the coming months we’ll talk about it a little bit more, but I just want to say doing it with someone, doing the Inbound with someone, I think really puts you in good stead. So I just want to publically thank you for that and hopefully everyone can join us next time.

Craig: Yeah, I totally agree. It’s much better as a group.

Ian: Absolutely.

Craig: Loved it.

Ian: All right, Moby, what are we talking about today?

Are Blogs Dead?

01:10

Moby: So this is the dead episode. And I don’t mean because of the dead air or anything like that, but we’re actually going to be talking about a couple things that people proclaim to be dead or things that have changed. So the first thing we’re going to talk about, “Is the blog dead?”

Moby: So before we kind of jumped on, we all jumped onto inbound.org and we looked at the most common sort of topical bits of content that are out there and there was a really cool one around the blog being dead. And I’ll quickly just frame it, and then we can all jump in. This content agency in the UK called 55 and Five put out a post. And it sounds a bit clickbait, and it kind of is, and they said, “We’re proclaiming that the blog is dead.” So all they really did was they removed the word “blog” from the URLs and they turned the website into what they call a “content destination.”

So I’ll kick it to yourself, Craig. What do you think of that? Do you think that is a smart move? Should we all now be proclaiming the blog is dead and turning our websites into content destinations?

Craig: So no, we shouldn’t. But I think the distinction that you made when we were chatting before the show is really around is the blog a separate entity and whether it’s something that’s tacked onto the actual site. And that was a good point that you made and I think that is the distinction. Should we be doing that? No, it should be integrated. And that’s, I think, the key thing that came out.

Craig: So it’s not about the format or whether it has the dates or whether it’s got a category or even if it’s got a sidebar. Because we’ve seen this trend where we move towards the blog post just being a single page, full width, that kind of thing. That’s all good. It’s still a blog post in my mind, it doesn’t have to be called a “blog.” Yeah, but the fact that it’s integrated is kind of the key piece, I think, isn’t it?

Moby: Yeah. And we’ve probably seen this with all our clients, right? I think gone are the days if you’ve got a website, we’ll tack on a blog and we’ll put our news there and we’ll put our blog there, actually integrating that. Is that what you’re finding with your clients, as well?

Ian: Absolutely. And I think it just depends what niche you’re in as to what you call it. So in some niches where we operate in it might be the knowledge base, for example. It could be news and updates. So it just depends. And so we’ve kind of gotten away from calling it the “blog,” even though it operates as a blog. But really key is what information is it giving and what information is helping that end user solve, right? Solving for the problem. Remember?

Moby: Solving for the problem, yeah.

Ian: I think that’s really the key. It’s like, “What are we helping people do?” Because at the end of the day I always think, “Is it giving the information that I need to feed what I need to be fed?” So take, for example, I read a car blog every day, right? This one car blog. What do I do? I go and look at the latest information that’s available. It is a blog, I don’t really care that it’s called a “blog.” I think it’s called, actually, “latest news on cars.” That’s what I look for because that, to me, is what I’m after.

Moby: I like that analogy. If we draw parallels to that to service and consumer-faced industries. It’s easy for media publishers because that’s all they do.

Moby: But what that car blog doesn’t have, it doesn’t take three-quarters of the fold that says, “We’re the best blog and we’re great because we have more topical news than ever on da, da, da,” and then hear some news.

So funny enough when we saw this article and were looking at it, it reminded me of another trend I’m seeing. And I looked at my own website, too. If you talk about having the best customer experience, if everyone has it, it means nothing. So above the fold I like the idea of actually having maybe not a slider, actually having answers to questions your consumers have. I’ve seen some websites where you can tell they’ve done this strategically, where they have like the top four questions that people will ask them.

Like I saw a lawyer client that a client of ours were looking to kind of compete against, I like what they’ve done, “Do I have a case? What are my upfront costs?,” etc. They’ve obviously thought about that. And then later below the fold, this is some of their USPs.

So I think the limitation and the danger of following a thing like “the blog is dead” is you still have to make money. We still obviously need to make money, as well. So in the hierarchy of needs we need to have answering those questions, and then having what we do. So when people are ready at the bottom of the funnel to make a decision, we’re there for them.

Ian: Yeah, agree. So the blog is not dead.

Moby: It’s not dead. I guess the main takeaway there is embedded in your site [Inaudible 00:05:25] appendage as an ad-on that you can cut as easily as you added.

Ian: Yeah, absolutely.

Is SEO Dead?

05:32

Moby: So what’s the next thing that’s dead, what’s the next thing that we had?

Craig: Well, “Is SEO dead?,” of course is the question that always comes up, isn’t it? Where every week there’s a new post I’ll see on “SEO is dead.” I’m never actually sure what they actually mean. And I think this often comes up in another way, it’s kind of, “SEO a scam?” And the answer is always part of, “Well, what is SEO, what’s your definition of SEO?” Because there’s definitely some really spammy sides to SEO, as there is to any kind of marketing. Is that dead? Probably, it’s probably becoming ineffective.

Moby: But what doesn’t help is… It’s funny, right? We all run agencies, consultancies, whatever you want to call it, and we get e-mails. I know you guys get e-mails. I know you get e-mails.

Ian: Every day.

Moby: You’re worse than I am, I get once a week. But it will have something like, “Do you need SEO? We’ve noticed your…” “Dear business owner.” At least find out my name if you’re going to spam me. I don’t think that helps because everyone knows these are being fed out of content farms out of India or Philippines or whatever it is. I don’t think that helps.

Craig: I think that’s right, and this really is insert any activity. Is it no longer working? Well, it’s probably dead, right? And why is it no longer working? It’s because it’s been either exhausted or overused or it’s just become such a low value exercise. Spam e-mail is so low value, e-mail itself can be high value. So it’s not like e-mail is dead, but it’s low-value e-mail is dead. And we call that spam, right?

And so any activity that provides no value is therefore ineffective and then should be dead. So you can insert anything into the “is dead” category.

Ian: I’ll use another example, right? Whenever people say, “I’ve been told I need to use SEO,” I always asked them, “What is the end goal?” For us, it’s all leads and sales, right, at the end of the day? “What has SEO helped me to achieve with my leads and sales or do I just want to be number one for workwear,” for example. Right?

I had a client that wanted to be number one and he wanted to tell the whole world he was number one. I said, “Did that convert to any sales and put money in your bank account?” That’s really the end question that I always ask people.

Craig: Vanity target

Ian: Yeah, “Is it vanity or is it something that’s actually driving our business forward?” So I think that’s really a key when I talk about SEO to people, is that what we think or you might think are the things that you need to rank for might actually not be the things you need to rank for. It’s actually trying to figure out what’s going to bring the business that we’re after.

Craig: So this is really, again, this case of solve for the problem, right?

Ian: Exactly.

Craig: So what’s the problem you need to solve?

Ian: Exactly.

Craig: And is SEO really the hammer for that nail? In many cases yes.

Ian: Yeah, and possibly. And I always say to people when we use this strategy do some paid advertising and see what’s working, see whether it’s converting. Once you’ve got that data, then you can be better armed to go, “Well, okay. We know that this converts, this doesn’t convert. Okay, let’s go and start optimizing for this over here because we know that’s going to bring us business.”

Moby: Yeah, I like that. I think there’s a couple of sides to SEO, as well. The problem with a lot of these spammers and a lot of the “cowboys” that a lot of people have been burnt by is they operate under the technical… Like when I summarize it if someone asks me that question I sort of say, it’s an oversimplification, but the answer I give is SEO is less of a science now, it’s more of an art. And that’s great for business owners and people with creative minds and marketers who don’t know about all the codie stuff and all the technical stuff. I’m not saying that isn’t important, it is still important. But how many times are you going to run a detox check and check your internal links and how much value is that going to get, that effort?

So maybe three or four, maybe more, maybe five, six years ago if you paid an “SEO agency,” because I don’t believe in an “SEO agency only, I might have contrarian views to that, but maybe four, five years ago it was maybe 70% of what they did was all technical stuff. Right?

Ian: And a lot of people are still doing that.

Moby: But I don’t believe that’s the case anymore.

Moby: How many times are you going to do that? Maybe you pay someone to do that in the start to make sure the house gets cleaned in the back and the website and that sort of stuff. And you might not need to check it again for three months. But the rest of it, the 70% or 75%, should be fueled… And not to go into this too much because we could go off on a huge tangent here. Is understanding your personas, what are they actually searching for. You touched on this. What are those commercial keywords? What was the other example you gave?

Ian: Workwear.

Moby: Yeah, workwear. Maybe it’s industrial workwear. That might be 10% of the search. And this is a bad example, but people searching for workwear might just be looking for B2B supplies or trying to do a project or something.

Craig: Exactly. I think a lot of what you’re talking about though is part of what an SEO agency does, and this probably comes more around to the definition of what an SEO agency is. If I think of Siege Media and Ross Hudgens, he probably calls himself an SEO agency, but he does a lot of that stuff. A proper SEO agency will that persona, “What is the problem we’re trying to solve? Who’s the target audience?” That’s all SEO.

Moby: Yeah, sure.

Craig: If you look at the really great SEOs from the last 10 years, they were doing all of that. It wasn’t just the keyword stuff, again, all that spammy stuff that’s no longer effective. They were doing all of that stuff that we probably put under the umbrella of inbound marketing.

Moby: Yeah. Content marketing, whatever it is, yeah.

Craig: And even the PPC testing keywords, good SEO agencies do that. But they don’t call themselves an SEO agency or a PPC agency, but that’s part of their SEO arsenal, I guess. So I think that’s alive and well.

And so probably, to your point when you’re saying “just an SEO agency,” it’s probably the definition, isn’t it? Maybe it was just that limited. Because there are SEO agencies that just think, “All we do is some on-page stuff.” It’s not a full picture. They don’t understand the funnel, they don’t understand the customer journey or any of that. You need all that as part of SEO.

Moby: So call it whatever, but I guess the toolkits are different now.

Craig: Actually, that’s a better way of putting it. The toolkit is different, it’s much more mature now, it’s advanced.

Moby: So keeping that in mind, if that is sort of the toolkit, and I think we’ll all have a crack at this, what is your best SEO tip?

Ian: That’s a good one.

Moby: And there’s a lot, there’s a lot. But if you had to give a hack, Craig, what would be yours?

Craig: Okay, so I think it’s a case by case and it does come back to solve for the problem. Because quite often we’ll go into, say, a large… Often the larger the customer the less they’ll put any SEO of any consideration into, say, on-page optimization. So we’ll go into, say, some large B2B companies and they don’t have basic things like page titles, headings.

Craig: Yeah. So there’s just some simple technical on-page stuff. So my tip for them is, right, let’s get that in order. For another company, let’s say it’s a very agile, small business where they’ve got all of that technical side, that’s when personas might be much more a piece.

So there’s no kind of best tip overall, it’s really a case by case for me. I don’t mean to dodge the question, but that’s kind of how I see it. It’s solve for the problem is the best SEO tip. “What’s the problem you’ve got at the moment? Oh, you haven’t even optimized your pages.” That’s the best SEO tip.

Moby: Yeah, sure.

Craig: I don’t know, what’s your best tip?

Moby: My best tip would be… So one of the beauties of the way I do my podcast, as you guys know, every six weeks I’m interviewing someone. So today we’re doing a crossover, so I have the good fortune of talking to you gents. But I spoke to Tim Soulo, the head of marketing from Ahrefs.

Ian: Okay, yeah.

Moby: You heard that one?

Craig: Yes.

Moby: And it’s amazing, I get to speak to people infinitely smarter than myself and you’re always learning from these guys. And he said something that was really cool. And again, I’m not dodging or fluffing the question, but one of the things he said was the problem with a lot of SEOs or tools or whatever is they all look at the surface stuff, but they don’t look at the level down.

So, for example, all things equal, what’s that? Like for instance, this keyword, how many people are searching for it in your locality? This keyword, how many people are searching for it? What they don’t do is actually look at the competitor who is ranking for that keyword and seeing what other keywords they’re ranking for. They don’t go down to that level. They might do, “Okay, cool, what’s that actual competitor doing to rank for that keyword?” But that’s where they usually will stop. They won’t go and say, “What other keywords are they’re ranking for that are homogenous groups that you can target?”

So that was pretty cool, I really, really like that. But the other really killing thing was how he said the SEO tools are broken. That was really cool. He was saying, “You know what? If you’re relying on Google AdWords Planner as your SEO research thing, you’re not really doing SEO, forget it.” We all know that, right? But even tools like Ahrefs, he didn’t say this directly, but even tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. You might search for something, and we’ve found this with clients, you might have, for instance, okay, let’s say we sell microphones, right? A particular type of microphone, a black microphone, whatever.

Ian: For podcasting.

Moby: Yeah, there we go, that’s a good one. Thank you for saving me, I obviously don’t know much about microphones. I’ve got two in front of me. A black podcasting microphone, you’re specifically looking for a black podcasting microphone because up until now they’ve all been white, whatever it is. Right? And you might find there’s only 0 to 10 people searching for it. And even the tools, even the $150-dollar tools. But you’ll write content for it, you’ve done your persona research, and this is what Tim was getting to, you’ve done your persona research, you’ve identified that this is what they’re looking for, actually there’s a subset of people looking for these. And you base that on your “SEO strategy.” You ignore the tools to an extent, you actually focus for the problem, the problem with the consumer.

Because when we’ve done that and then you go back to the, in Google Analytics, you look at landing page reports. The tools say there’s only 10 searches, but there’s been 50, 100 people landing on that page. And I was like, “Shit.” I went back and I looked at my own stats, I’m like, “That is so true.”

So what he’s essentially saying is there are huge limitations in these tools now that aggregate and sample data. So my tip would be ignore those tools, start with what those problems are, and see whether you have answers to those problems in the form of an article.

Craig: That’s nice. Can I just build on one of those? Because it might have even been Tim that was going through this when I was reading one of his articles. This whole idea that we used to think a couple years ago about ranking a page per keyword. So it’s kind of like this keyword or whatever, map it to that page. That’s very standard. But these days that’s not the case, it’s really about all of these keyword variations we want to capture with this one page.

And going back to your point about competitors, that’s often what you need to do. You say, “Oh, well, they’re ranking number one for that page. But, oh, that only gets 10 searches.” No, actually all the variations combined, it’s that long-term effect, it’s going to make the combined overall search volume of all of those all go into that one page. So it’s less about just one keyword that your competitor is ranking for, it’s like this whole keyword topic that they’re ranking for on a page. And I think that’s a bit of a mind shift that we’re seeing companies now starting to embrace and understand.

Moby: Can I ask a question on that? So when you do that, when you’re picking, because you still need to put a keyword in the header. Right? Or the title. So you’re picking the best of the bunch, best of the batch. What do you do then? So say there is 100 tents and they’re all very different. What do you use then?

Craig: Well, they’re going to be around a theme. Right? So Ahrefs I think you can do this, you can actually look at a page and see how it’s getting traffic from all the different keywords. Now they’re going to be around a theme, so it’s not just one. There might be a head-turner that has, say, a larger search volume. But all the other terms, which are variations, they haven’t actually targeted or optimized their header for that. But because the content covers that topic, Google is smart enough to know that even though the page title is not optimized for that variation, the content itself answers that question in a very useful way so it provides value.

So that actually comes back. That part of your process is really about the content that fills out. So you’ve got a keyword, a head term, but then you’ve actually got variations, you’ve got a keyword theme. And so then you’re trying to answer all the questions related to that keyword theme in the actual content.

So that’s probably just building on that topic that you went from, but yeah, that process, for sure.

Ian: Look, I think I would say Voice Search. Like I look at the way we interact now and how easy it is for people to communicate with devices to get the answer they’re after, be it from your phone or from your desktop computer, from your Apple Watch. Like people are talking to devices. You look at Amazon Echo, people have got them in their houses, they’re talking to it and asking it questions.

So think about what does it look like if people ask questions. So is the content actually answering those questions or are you still writing for people reading it? That’s my big tip.

Moby: Don’t write for a robot.

Ian: Observing, think about what you do. It’s like you don’t type in a keyword when you’re talking, right? I’ll say, “How do I find natural deodorant?” And that’s really what we’re after.

Now leading onto that, we’re going to do the creative top 10, right?

Craig: We’ll do it after that.

Moby: Yeah, save it, save it.

Ian: So I’ll save it.

Moby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So this is my favorite one.

Ian: No, no, no. That’s it.

Moby: This is my favorite one because I think this challenges the convention of… Splintering off into another discussion, the thing about Inbound, and we were talking about this before, we love Inbound because us as practitioners, it codifies what the journey is like in terms of what we do, how we actually fulfill that buyer journey and the different tactics and strategies you can hit them. It codifies them in the whole point of attracting, converting, delighting. So it does great, right? It’s great for us.

Is Outbound Calling Dead?

20:15

Moby: It’s great for people coming into the marketing industry, as well, because it codifies what they need to do and it’s a great way to start with your personas and go on from there. Like we love HubSpot, right? I feel like I’m getting in trouble for saying this. The problem with sweeping statements, like in that Inbound… My god, I’ve probably made so much money off inbound just by stealing all their ideas. But the problem when they make sweeping statements like, “Okay, outbound calling is dead.”

Ian: Cold-calling, yeah.

Moby: “Cold-calling is dead.” Right? There’s problems with that, because I don’t think it is. I can’t remember if it was Ian or Craig, one of you guys was saying some of your most profitable clients have a huge outbound division. So what say you gents on that? Is cold-calling dead?

Craig: I’ll let you go first, Ian, because I’ve got quite a strong opinion on this.

Ian: No, I don’t think it is, to be honest. I actually think that cold-calling has its place. And I’ll use a particular customer of ours. He has a very finite industry that he operates in. He knows the people that he wants to target or the businesses he wants to work with and he has used inbound really successfully to reach a lot of those people. But he’s at that stage where he goes, “Well, I know who I want.” And generally people who have downloaded or they’ve had interaction with him, actually he’s having a conversation or he’s calling them up, he’s sending them something physical. So he actually uses that calling as a very good technique to connect with people.

So I don’t think it’s dead and I think being in a very targeted manner, like inbound is, it actually has its place in the whole ecosystem.

Moby: It’s helped him target, hasn’t it though?

Ian: Totally.

Moby: That’s the thing, it’s helped him target, “I know exactly who I’m going after.” What did you call it before? You called it inbound sales or something, inbound tele-sales.

Ian: Yeah, it’s like cold-calling the inbound way.

Moby: Yeah.

Ian: Right? And I think that it has its place. Like you just think always at some point in this process when you’re dealing with a business or a company about a product or a service, you’re going to have that conversation, right? It could be that you put a form in or you might have actually even seen it on Facebook, and then you get a call from someone. You’ll be actually like, “Yeah, okay, I’m quite happy to talk to you about that because I’m interested.” Right? Because I always think, like if people ring me about something and I have a genuine interest in it, I’m happy to listen to them. I’ll give them a minute or two. I won’t say, “No, I’m not interested,” and be off with them, but I’ll actually give them time because that interests me. And I think it’s the same with everything else.

Moby: Craig?

Craig: Okay, so I totally agree. Outbound calls and targeted cold-calling, I’ll define that in a second, is alive and well and it’s very effective. And to your point at the start, which is the inbound movement in some way has done a disservice in positioning outbound calling as bad and ineffective. And we know from reality, or real customers, that’s not the case. However, what has changed is that targeting, which you mentioned.

So we’ve all had those experiences where we get a call and someone just starts selling us something that has no interest or has no value to us. That, of course, I just don’t know how that continues, that can’t be effective. Is that dead? Well, it’s not dead, but it should be. I think it’s ineffective.

Ian: Yes.

Craig: But as to your point, when someone calls for something that is of value and they’re not just trying to sell but they’re trying to help or provide value, that’s very useful and very effective.

And so yeah, we have customers, because we’re mainly dealing in mid to large B2B companies, and, in fact, all the successful ones have outbound sales campaigns, sales reps often cold-calling. And by “cold-calling” I mean the person that they’re contacting they’ve never touched before, they’ve never experienced the brand or anything, so this is the first contact. So they haven’t even seen the website and then getting a follow-up call. They’re getting a cold call, but it’s targeted because it’s to that person, and let’s say it’s a CTO in a bank with a piece of software that is solving a problem that CTOs in banks have. Right? And to get to the CTO is often through a series of cold calls through gatekeepers to get them. But then when they get contact to them and they do talk about the problems, and then talk about how they can solve them, that will often lead to meetings.

So we know it’s effective. And then the question you got to say is, “Will the CTO of a bank, are they actually googling, ‘How do I solve this problem?,’ and going to a site and downloading a white paper about it?” Possibly, but probably not in many cases. So when those cases, when they’re not doing that, and how do you reach them and a call does it in a very helpful, value-intended way, outbound calling is very effective.

Ian: You know one of the best ways I’ve had? I’ve had a few of these actually, where they basically say, “Look, I’m not trying to sell you anything, can I just send you some information, and then we’ll talk later?” I’m like, “Okay, sure, send it to me.”

Moby: Yeah. Yeah.

Ian: Like all the barriers go down, I’m like, “Yeah, sure. What have I got to lose? Tell me what it is.”

Craig: Right. So now we’re getting on to the way to do that.

Ian: Totally.

Craig: That was an outbound call. Was it effective? Yes, because of the way you did it. You didn’t just try and sell them, “A limited time offer buy, can I put you down for 10 widgets?” It’s like, “What?” Yeah, providing value.

Moby: I’ll say something different because you guys have answer it really, really well. I think there’s something to be said about the art of the sale. So I’m not a salesperson. I’m not.

Ian: I don’t think any of us are.

Moby: I don’t think we are. We’re doing a podcast and obviously we’re giving value and doing it an inbound way.

Craig: Can I stop you there? How do you define sales there? Because Brian Halligan and many others will tweet this, selling is providing value. Whereas selling before was trying to close a deal, selling now is about providing value.

Ian:  Always be helping.

Craig: So when you say you’re not a salesperson, well, maybe you aren’t by the old definition, but by the new definition perhaps you are.

Moby: And sure, you’re right. Like, “Am I offering value?” And I do it, I’m sure we all do it from time to time, I have to play that function. And you’re right and I think that puts you in a good state. I think the next level is where you have someone who’s dedicated to sales and that’s all they do, the art of the sale. So our head of sales, he’s magnificent, he’s great at what he does. He knows the psychology of sales, he knows the entry points, the entrance point, and exit points. And not to say that I don’t, he does it a lot better than I do. But working together, the marketing and sales team working together.

Ian, you mentioned a point that I think is quite powerful and quite telling. You speak about they’ll say, “Can I e-mail you something?” I think that’s great because it’s the path of least resistance.

Ian: Yeah.

Moby: People always take the path of least resistance. Now do I really want an e-mail from this person? Not really. But would I rather the e-mail or a five-minute conversation? Just give me the e-mail. The thing is if I’ve been targeted right, if I’m the right persona and that piece of content is interesting, the beauty is if you use something like HubSpot, right? I think we didn’t mention it because it’s so obvious, but let’s state the obvious. If you’re using something like HubSpot, someone has clicked that link, so you know that they’ve clicked that link.

Ian: That’s right.

Moby: So you’ve targeted them, so you know that they’ve spoken to someone.

Ian: Okay.

Moby: You know that they’ve clicked on something. Now for the rest of their natural-born life if they come back to your website, you can target them with smart content.

Ian: Okay.

Moby: They’ll jump around, you can give them more content.

Ian: Yes.

Moby: And I love the rule, I can’t remember where I heard it, but be helpful, be helpful, be helpful, then sell.

Ian: Yeah.

Moby: So you might e-mail them something that is helpful. Then you might remarket them not with, “We’re so fantastic,” but, “Here’s another piece of content. Here’s another piece of content. By the way, we’ve got a special offer.” You do that compared to someone else who’s just trying to call you at 6:00 and you’re like, “Look, I’m not interested,”

Sorry, it wasn’t a quick answer, but I just wanted to add to.

Craig: It was great.

Ian: Yeah, that’s a good question.

Craig: It’s a good topic.

Moby: So speaking of smells and deodorant, this was something that you guys came up with.

No Pong

29:07

Ian: All right, I’ll kick this off because my good wife shared this with me. It’s a product that’s called No Pong, right? It’s pretty good looking.

Moby: You keep talking, I’ll take it to the camera.

Ian: Yeah, take it to the camera.

Moby: For our video viewers.

Ian: So it was No Pong and what has happened, so she said, “I reckon you should try this out.” Obviously she thinks I smell.

Moby: It was your birthday last week, too. Is that what you got it for?

Ian: No.

Moby: Happy birthday, by the way. A public happy birthday.

Ian: And so anyways, I researched it. And I think actually I was with Craig when I was researching it and I went, “Okay, here’s this product.”

Ian: “I’m going to try it out.” Right? So before we were recording our podcast we were preparing, I researched it and it just looked like such a product that only females would use. So I’m like, “Okay, well, I found somewhere in the FAQs men can use it.” I’m like, “Okay, cool. I’ll give it a try.” Right? So I think I bought about four or five, I’ve given Craig one, I’ve given my mum one, I’m using one. And to be honest, it’s a fantastic product.

Moby: So for the audience, explain it. How did that work as opposed to normal deodorant?

Ian: Look, it is deodorant.

Craig: It’s an anti-odorant.

Ian: Well, it’s an anti-odorant, as they call it.

Craig: Go to nopong.com.

Ian: And so it’s an Australian product, that’s why we love it.

Moby: It’s flat, it’s in a little tin.

Ian: It’s in a little tin, and I’ll explain to you why it’s in a tin. They have a subscription-based program where every month they’ll actually send you one, I think it’s $7.95. And I think it works great. It is a bit different, like you’ve got to use your fingers to apply it, so that might put people off.

Craig: Okay, can I say what I think?

Ian: Yeah, go on.

Craig: What I think the differentiator for this is is because I love this product, right? And I just had a flash that in years to come this will be the thing that we regret ever talking about. But anyway, I’m going to talk about it. I think it’s a great product, but the problem it solves is not that I smell. Well, no more than other people, that’s not my problem. The problem I have is that deodorants give me a rash.

Craig: It doesn’t matter what I use, a sensitive, no-alcohol deodorant, I always get a rash. And after a couple of days of wearing it, I get a skin irritation. So that’s my problem. It solves this problem because I can wear it every day because it’s all-natural, it’s made from organic and blah, blah. You can read all this, the story, on their site. That’s what it solves. The packaging and etc. is just a nice bonus, they’ve done that really well. But it’s a really good product and I recommend it to everyone. But the reason we’re raising it is because everyone should be using this.

So we have this creative top 10 segment that we normally have in our podcast, so we thought, “Why don’t we have a creative 10 for this product? How would we promote it better?” Because it’s an excellent product and yet there’s so many opportunities.

Moby: Yeah, it is an excellent product.

Ian: There’s so many opportunities, yeah.

Moby: Can I start? Because I don’t know if I’m going to have more than two ideas. All right?

Moby: So when we were all talking before the podcast you guys said “No Pong” and I had no idea what you guys were talking about, and then you mentioned deodorant.

Ian: But someone that had no idea, this is interesting because we’ve both used it for a couple of weeks now, you just heard about it. So this will be really interesting actually. So go on.

Moby: So you guys were just talking amongst yourselves, were talking about what we were going to be talking about, and you guys mentioned all about No Pong. And like, “Okay, whatever.” A part of me did think… Because we both have international listeners, I don’t think Pong carries across Australia, but it’s a colloquialism of ours that means smell.

Ian: Right.

Moby: So a part of me thought, “All right, surely it can’t be about smell,” like, “What a pong.” But when he said, I’m like, “What is No Pong?,” you’re like, “It’s a deodorant,” I cracked up, I couldn’t start laughing because I hadn’t heard that in years. It is so kind of colloquial ocker in a way. But then you look at this thing, right? So I’ll jump into my idea. My idea is a creative execution thing.

Craig: So the question is, the top 10 creative ideas, how could we increase sales of this product?

Moby: Yeah. So I think I had a slightly contrarian view to what you were saying before. Craig, you were talking about how we should change the name. But I think you go full throttle because it’s so colloquial. You’re right, it’s a different product, own the name. But then it’s quite funny, this is a funny thing. They have a positioning problem, in my mind.

So it’s called No Pong, but it’s very feminine and I think you mentioned, Ian, on the website it’s very female. I’m looking at the site now, it’s very [Inaudible 00:33:59]

Ian: Yeah.

Moby: So you would think if you had to pick a persona, it could be unisex, but it would probably lean towards male. So my thing would be own “pong.” Right? A creative execution could be, and I was just thinking of an ad, right? This is my idea, is a creative one. You might have a bus shelter. And if you can imagine a dude sitting right at the end of a bus shelter and everyone else… And it’s exaggerated, right? There’s like eight people sitting on the other end and underneath it says, “Pong.” Right? That makes sense right away. Underneath the next panel the split screen is, “No Pong.” And either you go the Lynx route and you have women on him, but you’ll have to be like that, or either you have people shaking his hand, taking photos of him or whatever.

Another idea was at the airport. You can travel with this thing.

Craig: Yeah.

Moby: Right? So it’s slightly different, but you guys will get the point. One would be like… You know the whole thing with United Airlines right now. Let’s talk about newsjacking, right? The guy got dragged off the plane and everyone had an uproar about United. You could kind of play off that.

Ian: Yeah.

Moby: You could have the alternative and you have someone being dragged off. You know what I mean? And there you see aerosol cans on the bottom. He’s being arrested by, whatever they call them in America, TFA or whatever it is, TSA. And then you could have one with No Pong and he’s getting through, he’s got a red carpet.

Moby: So I don’t know if that counts as two ideas or one.

Craig: Can I jump in on that? Because you’ve actually identified personas, like the bus stop example is around someone that’s got a problem with smell. And I think you’re right, the “No Pong,” yeah, it’s really addressing that. But there’s different personas, because I’m not that persona. My persona is skin irritation. The other persona you’ve just highlighted is travelers, which is actually a really good fit and you could target exactly for the traveler. It’s not be aerosols.

Ian: That’s true, yeah.

Craig: So that’s actually a really nice targeting piece for travelers. Going back to your idea about No Pong, yeah, there is something Australian about it. It’s like give us the Aerogard and the thongs and the…

Ian: And the No Pong.

Craig: I can definitely see that becoming part of the vernacular, the No Pong, if it became a big enough brand. But I actually wanted to rebrand. Or not actually change their brand, but have another brand. Exactly the same product, but targeted different, more premium. I think the “No Pong” thing works for a certain demographic, but for me, when you first gave it to me, I was like, “I don’t know. I don’t like the name. And is it for girls?”

Craig: It was a hard sell. I was like, “I’m not going to use that.” But then I used it and it worked so well I now love it. But I’d love to see it rebranded kind of in a premium way and a cool name, like it could be called Zero or Zero Smell.

Ian: Zero Pong.

Craig: Zero Irritation.

Moby: That name suits the current positioning that they have.

Craig: But a premium kind of brand, definitely one targeted for guys versus targeted for women. You could also maybe it’s for kids or teenagers, as well, that kind of thing. So yeah, that whole branding piece, I think there’s so many different ways. And you wouldn’t have to rebrand the whole product, you could just run test sites, you can microsite test that as another brand.

Moby: So can we say that’s at least three ideas?

Craig: That’s at least three.

Moby: Because I really want to get through 10.

Moby: Okay, so as a recap, we’ve got changing the brand; a creative angle, owning “Pong;” and the personas, defining personas.

Ian: Look, I think, from a purchase perspective, what I did love was the packaging it arrived in and the card that was in there. I’ve had no e-mail follow-up or retargeting. I’ve visited the site a few times, I’ve told quite a few people about it. So even in terms of, I think, one e-mail follow-up, be retargeting people or retargeting like-audiences of people that have bought No Pong, which would be, I think, a great way. And I’m pretty sure looking at the people on their Facebook and probably the people who’ve bought, between the two you could actually get a really good return on that.

Craig: Well, that’s a couple of ideas there.

Ian: Yeah.

Craig: I’ll say another one, which I think is content around the specific problem.

Craig: So back to myself and my own problem, skin irritation, that’s got to be a big problem. I’m not the only one. And if you look in the supermarkets at all the different deodorants, there’s always that “sensitive” or the “no irritation.” It’s a big market, right? None of them solve it, this one does. So I think content around that specific problem point and just providing that content. You don’t even need to promote the product, you just, “Have you got a problem with deodorants giving you skin irritations? Here’s how to solve it.” I would read that, I’d click through to read that, and then you just retarget to me or whatever. So I think there’s a content piece there that they could get into, as well.

Moby: I just thought of one, just real quickly while you guys are drawing up the rest of yours. Is if the female market is already doing quite well, like if they’ve carved off that and they currently own the female… I don’t know how long they’ve been around for, but if they currently have some sort of following or some sort of market penetration into that particular audience, they could extend it to their partners. Right? In a fun and novel way. Everyone kind of jokes, it’s like, “Someone gave me deodorant, what are they trying to say?” Right? But you could have gift packs, so you could have his and hers.

Craig: That’s great, “No Pong for him, No Pong for her.”

Moby: Well, I was thinking ping-pong. Right?

Craig: That’s great.

Moby: I was thinking of having a “ping” and having a “pong.” So the “ping” is black or the “pong” is black or whatever it is, and “ping-pong.” So you get a black and you get a whatever. [Inaudible 00:40:04] because his wife is also taking it, as well. And it’s quite a novel execution of utilizing these existing market penetrations.

Craig: I reckon that’s a great idea. In fact, just going back to on the website, when you choose it you just go, “I’ll get the No Pong for him,” or, “the No Pong for her.” Exactly the same product, just different package. They’d almost sell twice as much, I think. Because that was the key thing, I was like, “Is this for me or is this for women?”

Ian: Yeah, I struggled.

Craig: What would be funny is if they contacted us and said, “No, it’s just for women.”

Ian: I can guarantee you it’s not because I looked at the FAQs, I dug it out somewhere. But even that was really hard.

Craig: Just putting that on the site, having two, you’d almost sell twice as much even though it’s exactly the same.

Moby: Okay, No Pong, if you guys are listening, can you tell InboundShots is looking for a sponsor? Real problem we’re trying to solve here.

Ian: But what I didn’t really see on the website was there was nothing… I went looking for an “about” page because that was my reaction. And a lot of it is on the home page. I think what I didn’t see was I kept seeing pictures of, I think, the owner demonstrating how to put it on and apply it, and pictures of other women, but I didn’t see any shots of men. Then I went onto the Facebook, I kind of saw some scattered shots of men, but I struggled. Because I struggled with this with you, it was like, “Is this for us or is it not for us?”

Ian: And I had to really go looking. So having an “about” page would be really good.

Craig: When you look at the site, there’s so many opportunities there.

Ian: Absolutely.

Moby: Along the website there’s a dude sniffing a girl’s armpit, that’s great.

Craig: Yes. That kind of actually put me off.

Craig: And that’s why I’m thinking like a premium brand wouldn’t do that, use totally different set of imagery.

Moby: They don’t think they are yet.

Craig: But the thing is it’s such a good product.

Ian: It’s a fantastic product.

Craig: It’s an excellent product just waiting to go gangbusters. I’ll give you another idea. So as good as that packaging is, one of the things you’ve got to do is you’ve actually got to use your finger to put it on.

Craig: Which is kind of a bit weird at first, but it’s actually fine once you get used to it. But I think some other packaging options, maybe like a stick applicator or that kind of thing, could be good. It’s the kind of thing that I can imagine, yeah, you just want to pull out of your bag and put on and don’t want to get it on your fingers. So I think some packaging options there.

Moby: I’ll admit it kind of sounds a bit gross, but it’s no different to roll-on, really.

Craig: No.

Moby: Really. You know what I mean? I’m sure everyone is thinking the same thing I thought listening to this, thinking it’s like two fingers, putting your fingers in something that looks… This is really going to turn you off, I hope you’re not eating. Something that looks like toe jam, like with two fingers. Disgusting, right? But no. Like there was one image, and I don’t think they do a proper job of answering that particular… I can see you’re looking at FAQs, but the particular job of application. Where there’s one sort of image there that…

Craig: Well, I was going to say in the morning I get out of the shower, that’s when I put it on, and then it’s just like I put a little product in my hair. It’s kind of just part of the routine.

Ian: You’re right. And you know what’s interesting, is that on the home page it kind of has the three easy steps, which is, “Buy, apply, smell fresh all day,” right? But if I go to the “directions” page, I don’t see any of that visual content that tells me how to use it. It kind of talks about what the ingredients are and the tips, which to me was, yeah.

Moby: All right, that’s got to count for another idea.

Ian: Yeah, that’s definitely another idea. And again, it was really hard, actually. I had to really dig hard to find out if it was suitable for men. And I think I mentioned this a few times, but even just now when I looked in the FAQs I actually didn’t find it there. I think it’s actually in “help and support.”

Now look, they’ve got a great following on Facebook, they’ve got like 20,000 people that have liked their page.

Craig: Really?

Ian: To me that’s a massive market that can be utilized.

Craig: Yeah.

Ian: And of all of the people that have liked the page, how many people have actually bought the product? Or have they been like us where we were unsure, so we bought a few? Well, I bought a few mainly to give away. I know you, following using it, you bought a few more.

Craig: Yeah, I just bought a whole ton.

Ian: You bought a whole ton.

Craig: I’ve got one in the car, I’ve got one in my bag, got one in the office. I’ve got it everywhere, it’s great.

Ian: Yeah. And the best thing about these that I really like is that it doesn’t look like deodorant, right? You could have this anywhere and it looks classy.

Moby: Yeah.

Ian: If you put something on top, no one is going to know it’s your deodorant, they’ll just think it’s tobacco or mints, right? So I think definitely you can do that. You have to be aware, it only withstands heat of up to 30 degrees, Craig, so don’t keep it in your car.

Craig: Oh, I did not realize that.

Ian: All right, what else have we got?

Craig: You’re right, 30 degrees

Craig: I think on the site we’re just going into some of the technical aspects. Yeah, there’s a whole lot of targeting that they can do on the site with content. And I don’t think they’ve done any keyword research around that whole market, whether it’s deodorant or BO or anything like that. So just there’s a content piece there on the site that they could be working on. They could get a lot of organic traffic around this.

Ian: Yes.

Craig: The other thing is an influencer. All you need to get is one or two key influencers to use this and talk about it on Instagram or something like that. And I could just see this exploding, you just need to get the right person. Can you imagine if The Rock, you got Dwayne Johnson. Because he would love it. Of course that would never happen.

Moby: He could sell pot-pouri that would be a problem. But I know what you’re saying. Know those personas.

Craig: A few influencers.

Moby: Yeah, find that influencer and go after that market, absolutely.

Craig: And then those targeted, we’ve touched on this at the top, those targeted pieces. And I think the travel one that you raised is a really good one. I hadn’t thought of that, but that’s a perfect persona to target and you could do that in a really niche way. So yeah, that’s a nice one. A few others may be there, but yeah. People are going to say you talked about it on your own for about 20 minutes.

Moby: Yeah.

Ian: Well, I think that’s a good way to end.

Moby: That’s a good way to end.

Moby: Well, one thing I’ve learnt is you guys have listened to the most metrosexual inbound marketing podcasts on the Internet, so yeah, it’s been fantastic. Any closing words from you guys?

Ian: I’d love people’s feedback as to whether you enjoyed this and whether you enjoy the conversations we’re having and is it valuable to you, did you learn something. [Inaudible 00:46:50] everything. We were talking about books today, is there one thing that you can take away from this conversation and implement in your business or in your marketing that’s going to change the way you get a result? If you can do that, then we’ve done well. If you haven’t, let us know.

Moby: And if you stink, you know where to go.

Ian: Nopong.com.

Moby: Nopong.com. Seriously, they owe us something. Seriously, this is just crazy. But you’ll find in the respective show notes of both our podcasts the video version, so definitely check it out. Yeah, and we’ll join you next time for another episode of…

Ian: Another crossover episode of…

Moby: Inbound Shots.

Ian: Until next time, see you guys.

Moby: See you.

Craig: Catch you later.

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About the Author

HubShots: A weekly podcast for Marketing Managers discussing HubSpot and Inbound Marketing. Hosted by Ian Jacob and Craig Bailey.

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