A SEAT at THE TABLE: Conversations with Today's Top Industry Leaders

Turning Your Website into a Sales Generating Machine

October 19, 2022 Matthew Stibbe, CEO, Articulate Marketing Season 9 Episode 18
A SEAT at THE TABLE: Conversations with Today's Top Industry Leaders
Turning Your Website into a Sales Generating Machine
Show Notes Transcript

One of the biggest marketing challenges that companies face is differentiating themselves from their competitors.

Unfortunately, most companies  think the best strategy is to make themselves look as much like everyone else - or as much like the market leaders - as possible.

Their website adopts a similar look.  Their logo follows the same style.  Promotional material looks like what everyone else is doing.

The thinking is that what works for one will work for all.  The reality is that customers see a group of companies that all look that same - and so you don’t stand out or catch their attention. 

It makes it very difficult for customers to see why they should take the time to see what you offer.

But can you really take a product or service that seems more like a commodity than a one-of-a-kind and make customers see it as not only different - but maybe even better?

I’m Jane Singer and thank you for joining me and being part of our international community that now spans over 100 countries.

Today I’m speaking with Matthew Stibbe, CEO at Articulate Marketing, a UK marketing agency specializing in the technology sector.  He’s created marketing strategies, content and campaigns for clients including Microsoft, Google and HP.

Before that he founded and was CEO at Intelligent Games, a 70-person computer games company where he designed games for LEGO and produced two games based on Dune.

Even if you are not a technology company, Matthew offers a lot of best practices that are applicable to any B2B company.

In this episode Matthew talks about:

1. How using an educational approach can differentiate your product in the market.

2. Turning your company website into a lead generating machine.

3. How a B2B company can stand out - even in a very crowded market.

And a lot more…

Another challenge that companies face today is finding the right talent for those difficult to fill positions.  Most companies that have tried to fill positions on their own have found that it often ends up in weeks or months of frustration. 

A lot of successful businesses have solved this problem by partnering with Asianet Consultants, which helps companies fill those often difficult-to-fill positions in Asia.

Since 1988 Asianet has been working in partnership with its global clients to help them make the right strategic hires.

Let’s find out from Matthew how we can position our products to stand out - and win customers.

Helpful Links:

Connect with Matthew Stibbe:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewstibbe/

Articulate Marketing’s website:  www.articulatemarketing.com

Matthew’s blog about modern management:  www.geekboss.com

Learn more about Asianet Consultant:  https://www.asianetconsultants.com/

Visit A Seat at The Table's website at https://seat.fm

[00:00:00] Jane Singer: [00:00:00] Matthew, I'm so delighted to have you on a seat at the table.  I think that what you talk about B2B marketing is so important today for companies in a very competitive marketplace and specifically B2B because consumer products assume that they have to do marketing and advertising, but B2B that's always been something on the back burner.

[00:00:20] For a lot of B2B products,  they're definitely more commoditized than consumer facing products. So it can be very difficult to identify points of differentiation.  Based on your experience,  how can companies that are in B2B create what you refer to as thought leadership content,  particularly without being too controversial. 

[00:00:43]Matthew Stibbe: [00:00:43] Well, okay. Yes. Lots of things to unpack there.   I think you're right to say that B2B companies feel like they don't have to do as much marketing as consumer companies.

[00:00:55] And I think that that is a mistake.  And I think the [00:01:00] reason that they do that is they believe that the virtues of their product are self evident. Right. Okay. Product or service self-evident.  And they perhaps think that they've got an incumbent or captive market often that they've grown to a certain size.

[00:01:15] Through in the services sector through, you know, the founder's network or through,  if they've got a software product or an app or something,  these are the worlds I deal with.  That you can get your first a hundred thousand, 10,000 customers sort of on a wave, but then you run outta steam, you know, what got you there, won't get you to the next level.

[00:01:35] And, and suddenly you are faced with the challenge of marketing, as you say, differentiation and thought leadership, I think is one way in which B2B companies. And I, I think especially services companies, but actually increasingly, manufacturing and, and product companies can position themselves. There are other ways, of course, right?

[00:01:53] The stupidest one is price, right? Only one company in the sector can be the cheapest. Right.  I say this as half I'm, [00:02:00] half Dutch, not even the Dutch, like a Dutch auction, so price is a bad place to go.  There are others you can target, you know, vertical markets or particular company segments and so on and so on and so on.

[00:02:11] Jane Singer: [00:02:11] So how do you do it? Yes. How do you do thought leadership? 

[00:02:15]Matthew Stibbe: [00:02:15] I think that the first fundamental thing is look very carefully at what it is that your customers need to know, want to understand often ask during a sales process, how, what adjacent problems or issues do they have to the core thing you solve?

[00:02:34] So people wake up in the morning and they want to widget. So they call widget ink to, you know, your company to get widgets. Fantastic. What are they using those widgets for? How do they decide which widget company to go to? How do they decide what, you know, how do they evaluate them? What, there's an awful lot of information required to choose widgets or to go to it consultancy or to go to a software company or whatever.

[00:02:55] You're in your B2B business. And then,  you do this, [00:03:00] what I would call business anthropology. You try really hard to understand your customers in their native environment, not when they're thinking about you and your product, but when they're thinking about the world in which your product or service exists, and then try to help answer those question.

[00:03:16] Right. So, you know, the old mantra for sales is always be closing. And I think the new mantra is always be helping. Right, right. Trying to understand and answer those questions very often. The expertise that you have when you are, a B2B in owner manager. Marketing manager, whatever is very product specific, but that knowledge is transferrable to this outside, looking into the business questions, challenges, needs jobs to be done.

[00:03:45] So if you can understand those questions and then take your knowledge, your expertise, the things you know about and use that to answer those questions. I think that is the first step to thought leadership. It doesn't require profound thoughts. That can [00:04:00] help. It doesn't require controversy. Although some companies enjoy that and it can help,  there's a difference.

[00:04:05] And I think there's, since you mentioned it, let me talk a bit about controversy. I think there's a difference between being controversial for the sake of it.  Being objectionable  and having an opinion, having a position, taking a stand believing in something. So, you know, for example, you might have an opinion.

[00:04:26] Well, I talking about political issues, I'd articulate where a B Corp we are. Committed to net zero. We are offsetting all our CO2 emissions. You know, we have an opinion about that and we're proud of our position on that thing. I have clients who on the same questions, personally, very similar opinions, commercially.

[00:04:47] They don't want to express them. That's fine. I think you make a considered decision, but they have very strong opinions for example, about how their product fits into the marketplace, why their product is better and why you shouldn't be taking this approach to something. [00:05:00] That's that's a good place to start with thought leadership.

[00:05:04] Is that what you have an opinion? Why? Unpack it, explain it. And don't, don't take a polemic viewpoint on it. Explain why you believe that. What has brought you brought you to that position?   There are some ways in which you can do this cultural anthropology.

[00:05:17] And I could talk about that, perhaps.

[00:05:19]Jane Singer: [00:05:19] It sounds like what you're saying is that for companies that want to take perhaps  a more measured approach to this, that they should look towards being educational. Then as you're pointing out there's people who are customers or potential customer. Who have questions about how they address certain issues.

[00:05:39] And those are issues that your product can help solve. So you can take a tact of trying to be more educational advisory and so forth. as opposed to having  to do something that really takes a company out onto a limb that may be further out than they may feel comfortable is is that. . 

[00:05:57] Matthew Stibbe: [00:05:57] Yes,  I think  positioning [00:06:00] educational  one place on the spectrum and controversial.

[00:06:03] On another end of the spectrum. Yes, I'm, I'm probably more in favor of being educational than controversial. And I think on a fundamental level, marketing is about helping people make good choices for themselves.  It's about communicating what you do in a way that helps people. I mean, ideally put your best foot forward, ideally to come and choose you, but choose you based on a good decision.

[00:06:24] There's no trickery involved in this, right. Education is a big aspect of that.  I hesitate to use the word educational though.  Not because I disagree with the principle, but that sort of sounds rather preachy and didactic. And you know, I'm going to tell you and  it implies the other person is ignorant and there's a difference between being ignorant and seeking good answers to your questions.

[00:06:49] Right. And I think you have to come to. Idea of thought leadership and content marketing and educational marketing, and always be helping, all  those sorts of ideas with both some confidence in what you know, [00:07:00] and your ability to help, but also some respect for the people you're talking to and sort of respect for their, their needs and requirements and their intelligence.

[00:07:08] I think too much of our public discourse. Assumes theother person is really stupid.   

[00:07:13] Jane Singer: [00:07:13] Oh, absolutely. It's really shocking. Actually, when I hear companies tell me that the consumer doesn't know  I think that, well, you might be actually rather surprised at how much people know about a myriad of things.

[00:07:27] And I also like the fact that you talked about advertising marketing can no longer be trickery. And I think it started out in the old days. Coming up with those phrases or ways of putting things forward. The whole idea was how do you, in a sense trick people into buying. And I think that people are well past that.

[00:07:48] So you're right to bring that up, that companies need to be thinking, as you said about being helpful.  

[00:07:53]Matthew Stibbe: [00:07:53]  And a good example of, well, a bad example of trickery. Okay. And a good model instead of that [00:08:00] is,  the lead capture signup page, which is something we do as a content marketing agency, where, you are promised quite a lot, but when you actually fill in the form, you don't get very much, there's not a lot on the other side of that value exchange.

[00:08:15] And  I've always believed that,  if you're going to offer somebody something in return for their contact details, it has to be valuable. It has to be interesting. I mean, ideally it wants to be something they would pay for, but you are willing to give it away for free in return for the ability to start a relationship.

[00:08:30] And it should be the perfect, it should be the solid foundation for that relationship. Look,  you've come to my website. You've looked at a blog. You've clicked on a call to action. You've filled in a form on my landing page to get some white paper. Thing  when you get it, you should be going, this is amazing.

[00:08:47] These guys are brilliant. This is really helping me solve a problem. I want to talk to them more and get more stuff, right. I you think about in your life, how many emails you get in a week and a month that are sort of [00:09:00] Vous, right? Content free. And then. Some emails you get from some newsletters that you've signed up to that you, you open quickly read with great joy and pleasure or value, and you are interested in reading that and, and you want to be, if, if you know, perfect spectrum, you want to be on the high value end of that spectrum all the time.

[00:09:23] And that's the that's, that's the journey. That's the destination of the thought leadership journey is for your potential customers to see you as offering value before they offer commit. Yeah, I think that's really important. The value side is so important these days now, how, as a B2B company with products that at least superficially appear to be less differentiated, how can you differentiate and stand out from the crowd?

[00:09:51] In addition, of course, to, as you were saying, providing information, providing thought leadership, are there other ways that companies can [00:10:00] stand out and differentiate themselves?  This is I'm spending more and more time thinking about differentiation. And a lot of our clients work in sectors where they are one of, you know, a dozen or even a few hundred companies that, , if you look at their website objectively look like they do the same stuff.

[00:10:19] Yeah. Okay. I mean, you know, if you, we, we do a lot of work with it, support companies. So there are probably 500 to a thousand good Microsoft partners in the UK who can come along and sort out. It. And how do you, how do you differentiate? Well, there are lots of ways of doing this, of course, but I've seen,  one company, one way of doing it is to specialize in a vertical.

[00:10:41] So,  if you are the best it company for dentists, and there is one in the UK that ha it has 80% of the UK dentist market. Wow. Use them for. It support right now.  I wouldn't have,  if I was a regular it company, I might have one dentist or maybe a cist practice or something on my books.

[00:10:59] These guys, [00:11:00] then we don't, we don't want anyone else. We just want dentists, but. If you were a dentist practice, who would you go to? You'd go to the one that knows you, your sector, your problems, your challenges, your software, the best. So sector specialization, and really telegraphing that like be the most valuable provider, most expert familiar, reliable.

[00:11:21] In your market. So that's what one obvious one.  Another one, I think another way of doing this is the sort of Subaru model, which is understand what one product feature connects with one really good product demographic, and then sell that. Right, right. Really focus in on a thing. 

[00:11:40]  They talk about safety to millennials, with kids, and that's enough of the market for them. And  it's a clear message. 

[00:11:47]  A, another thing that you can do. And I think this is something that apple historically has done,  is find an emotional connection, right?

[00:11:55] You take the product benefits and features, and then you communicate them [00:12:00]  in a way that. Talks about something of a higher value. So that in the nineties and the whole thing, different campaign apple was talking to creative people, creative individualists, as distinct from, you know, suited and booted corporate clients.

[00:12:14] That was the positioning they wanted. And the positioning then talked to the kinds of things that people did on apple computers. So there was a kind of credibility and truth behind it with page maker and all this sort of creative stuff. So I think finding an emotional truth. To communicate. The, the product truth is quite is, is, is a good way of positioning.

[00:12:33] I sometimes talk about finding a McGuffin, so like a product feature or benefit that you can put a name to. We've got this thing, right. You know, the articulate marketing framework, right. There's thousands of marketing agencies, but we've got this. Articulate marketing framework, TM, and that you can, , build some emotional truth around that and create some sort of sense of scarcity and expertise around that so that there are some ways of doing it, even if you're in a very, very commoditized market.

[00:12:59] The [00:13:00] last thing I would say , is how to avoid running with the herd. I think the first step to differentiation  is being different, right? Don't be like that. So if everyone is zigging, you need to zag. So, you know,  it grinds my gears a lot that we do a lot of work for B2B tech companies.

[00:13:14] And so many of their websites look like every other B2B tech company. There's a lot of blue. There's a lot of. Font. There's a lot of com really big cliches, those sort of network diagrams with dots and lines that symbolize data, right? One in five. It companies has that image somewhere on its website.

[00:13:33] Absolutely crazy. So you want to have a website that looks different from everybody else. You want to turn a voice that's different from everybody else. You want to talk in a different,  just feeling, sounding different. You might alienate some people. You don't need all the people to buy your service or product.

[00:13:49] You just need some people and you will build a stronger, deeper, more emotionally engaging connection with the people who are going to buy you by being different. You'll gain more by being different than you lose by [00:14:00] not being the same. So  I think this, you know, take that bold step and stop looking over your shoulder at all, what your competitors are doing and start looking at and paying attention to what your customers want and what your customers need.

[00:14:10] Oh, gosh, now I'm lecturing. That's got very educational there. 

[00:14:14]Jane Singer: [00:14:14] I think you brought up two very important points. And I think the first one of course is to narrow your focus and to really find that one thing that you can be great at, or that you can be famous for. It's a very difficult discipline. But I think you're right.

[00:14:30] That the companies that have really made it very big, always do that. It's a consistent tactic or strategy that companies do, but it's one that people always worry about, right? Because you always figure, well, I want to cast the widest possible net so that I can get the most fish. So  I think  it's great that you brought that up and, and you're absolutely right about Subaru as being the safety vehicle, apple, initially, as you said, being for creatives, other people, other companies have done [00:15:00] similar types of tactics and you know, that leads into what you also said, which is about companies, always wanting to follow what everybody else is doing.

[00:15:09] So it's difficult. It takes a lot of guts to be able to strike out and do something D.  

[00:15:15]Matthew Stibbe: [00:15:15] Yes. So courage is at the heart of it actually.  And that weirdly we find when we work with clients that, I mean, because B2B tech is a very rational place, right? They like people like data in our world. If you do the work and look at all, you know, you show one of our clients, look, here are your, the 10 competitors.

[00:15:35] You've told us your biggest competitors and they're all like this, right? So we. If you do this, have this kind of design, this kind of branding, this kind of communication, this kind of tone of voice without changing what you sell, who you sell it to, we can make you look different so we can make you stand out.

[00:15:53] Right? And, and so a little bit of research, a little bit of work can actually inform and en [00:16:00] enable people to be courageous and take. Bold steps, probably outside their own comfort zone because they, they look at the, their website and their communication and they, they think of it in terms of what their competitors are saying.

[00:16:11] They think of it in terms of what they've learned on their journey. So the second thing that I think is fundamental here  is really get inside the mind of the customer, right? What are the pain points they have? Why are they buying your product? What is it that motivates? 

[00:16:27] And finding, identifying the 3, 4, 5 real validated pain points and then identifying what it is about what you do that maps onto those. That is how you find the differentiation. Those are the things that you want to talk about on your website. And  I remember  if you'll forgive me a little bit of  a boring old, marketer story.

[00:16:48] I used to do,  a lot of copywriting work for Microsoft. So we were doing,  a launch campaign for Microsoft, small business server, 2003. So that dates the conversation right about 20 years ago. [00:17:00] And we had,  one way mirrors and we were interviewing small business owners. What are the problems you have with it?

[00:17:06] What works? What do you need? What doesn't work. And, you know, they talked about things. Knowing what my colleagues are up to shared calendars, being able to email people easily. Right? Good email. But the thing, the number one thing they all talked about these small business owners was I am terrified that I'm gonna lose data.

[00:17:23] I'm gonna, you know, my whole business is on my laptop. My whole business is on John's computer. On Jane's computer. It's. You know, if that gets stolen or flooded or broken all my sales data, what they wanted was confidence that their core business data was being backed up. So this tiny, tiny feature of small business server, this backup application ti it was like 5% of the feature set was the most important thing for them.

[00:17:49] So we just pushed it up. The, the things we talked about, sleep at. Small business servers backing up your data, but we would never have figured that out if we'd just talked to the techies in Microsoft who wanted to talk about [00:18:00] SQL server and exchange server and all these cleverness that they had done all that's fantastic.

[00:18:04] But this was the thing that was bothering small business owners. So we were able to talk to that and it really worked.  So  this validated needs of your customers at the is, is the way to transcend what you've been doing. So. 

[00:18:17] Jane Singer: [00:18:17] That's such a good point and you're right. You need to do that market research.

[00:18:22] And yet it's very difficult because you ask customers and they're not really thinking about your product from that point of view. So you're right. It's a discipline and you need to be able to do it regularly in order to gather enough feedback. I mean, if you're a huge company like a Microsoft, you have a dedicated department that can do that.

[00:18:42] And  you have the opportunity. If you're a smaller company. You would need to put forth a tremendous amount of consistent effort to tune into this. 

[00:18:52]Matthew Stibbe: [00:18:52] Up to a point,  I think it's on a sliding scale.  I, my hypothesis is most small businesses and by small, I mean, under a hundred, hundred 50 [00:19:00] people don't do anything they don't.

[00:19:02] Right, right. They don't talk to their customers at all, except for sort of transactional sales kind of way.  And I think that's the trick that they're missing. And one of the things that we bring as an agency, any good agency branding agency marketing agency will bring is, Hey, we wanna talk to our customers, you know, we wanna, we will go and ask them the dumb questions that you think, you know, the answers to.

[00:19:22] Right.  But you know, if you run a small business and  you don't have a, a fancy pants agency to do it for. You can just ring them up and go look, I'd have to talk to you. Can you just tell me at what, you know, what's what's in your mind, why did you choose us? What were you thinking about when you were, you know, who else did?

[00:19:36] And almost certainly when you do that, you will find that the things that they were trying to solve and the, the jobs they had to do were not the things you are selling your product or service on it's something entirely different. And, and depressingly to your point. , you will find that they spent very little time looking at your website, reading your product literature, thinking about that, you know, it's just another retched [00:20:00] job they have to do in a very busy life to choose your B2B product or service.

[00:20:04] And, you know, they want to get it done as quickly as possible with as few regrets as possible. 

[00:20:09] Jane Singer: [00:20:09] That's very true. It, it really is. And we've done research on our products as well, and it's. Almost staggeringly, amazing to find out the things that people really love about your product or stuff that you think is just  things that you could either you're thinking even of eliminating them.

[00:20:28] Right? Cuz you think, oh, nobody cares about this and things that you think are wonderful, that you're putting so much into that are really your Magnum Opus. And people just look at me like  well, It's okay. And you're thinking that is just okay. But this other thing you think is wonderful, but you're right.

[00:20:47] You have to ask because otherwise  you're sort of working blind.  

[00:20:51]Matthew Stibbe: [00:20:51] And I'd make  a subtle distinction here as well, which is you don't have to give them everything they want. Interesting, right. [00:21:00] Yeah. And  I've run software businesses and things where we've talked to customers and they've said if only your product did this thing, right.

[00:21:08]And they've got some edge case that you can spend quite a lot of money solving for. And ironically and I've  with turbine HQ, we solved some problems for some customers and in, in the process made the rest. Application so complex for the majority of our customers that we alienated more people than we helped.

[00:21:25] So don't surrender your judgment about what you are doing to your customers. Right. But do understand them. I mean, and  the other, perhaps a more positive thing to say about talking to your customers as well is not only will you understand their, their pain points needs ambitions. Which are the Bri to the marketing mill.

[00:21:43] That's what you need to market to people, but you may also find some, some things that you are doing badly, not as well as you could do things that could improve that would make your product or service much more appealing. Much, you know, I sometimes in marketing, I talk about anti objection [00:22:00] messages, right?

[00:22:00] So there are things that if only they knew you didn't have to put a credit card in on day one, your signup rate would double. If only they knew that it was, you know, you could change your plan at day, whatever the, whatever the thing is, that's worrying. Them, you can't see that until you ask them. So there are ways you can.

[00:22:17] And  we, this also comes into customer service. We've started doing NPS score for our customers and clients now. And you know, it's nice to get a pat on the back, but the thing we learned from are the comments people give us because they highlight things. If we just change our service or communicate this a bit more clearly, or do this a bit better.

[00:22:37] It makes a big difference and it's usually stuff that's not that expensive or difficult to do. It's just, you never thought of it. 

[00:22:43]Jane Singer: [00:22:43] Yeah. I think that's a very good point. And it's interesting how many surveys ask very fixed questions. And you don't always get to the heart of it, right? You don't understand a hundred percent.

[00:22:56]Where are those areas of friction? Like you say things that [00:23:00] if only people knew that they didn't have to, for example, as you said, put a credit card in to sign up, or if only they knew this, but it's very rare that you see, even on companies that do surveys that they ever have, like a box that says other or.

[00:23:17] They don't ask you why you left and didn't buy, right. They'll hound you to with follow up emails,  all the automated,  email sequences to come back and buy, but nobody ever says, why didn't you buy.  

[00:23:30] Matthew Stibbe: [00:23:30] I think surveys for sure. You need to give people space to say their thing, but  for the marketing purposes,  this sort of business anthropology, I think, needs to be done face to face or person to person.

[00:23:42] I think it needs to be, it needs to be a conversation, not a script or question. Now, I think that's quite important because if you, if. Go to it with a structure and a survey, you are informing that with the same mindset that is informing your product and service design. It's [00:24:00] your set of assumptions because you are not thinking about the things someone is gonna tell you, because if you knew them, you put them in the survey.

[00:24:06] It's about, it's the serendipity that you're looking for. It's the unexpected discoveries. And you can only have that  in very candid, sort of safe, trusted, friendly. Look, I really wanna know what you think. How did you come to choose this? What, what are the things right?  What were the problems?

[00:24:20] What were the jobs you were trying to do?  I think  that, and people love to talk about themselves. 

[00:24:25]Jane Singer: [00:24:25] Now you talk about the fact that people have, have a website for their business, but they're not really using it as effectively as they can to generate more visitors or more leads or signups.

[00:24:39] What do you see happening there? I mean, how can companies do better? 

[00:24:43] Matthew Stibbe: [00:24:43] I well, let me tell you a little story. 

[00:24:46] Okay.  I had a blog in 2006 that very quickly got a lot of visitors.  At that time there weren't many blogs out there and so people only had mine and a few others in there.  They finally came and [00:25:00] read mine   and probably over the years that blog has north of 10 million visitors. Wow. Okay. It's been there for a long time and gone through different stages and journeys.  Okay. Now my regret, my deep and abiding regret is I didn't put a newsletter sign up on day one.  If I had converted 1%, which is not a bad conversion rate, of my visitors to sign up to my newsletter

[00:25:29]I would have an audience now of  a hundred thousand plus people who I could send out.  Here's the latest thoughts of Matthew and here's the latest thing we're doing at articulate. And  I'm on this podcast this week, come and listen to it. I would have this built in audience of people who knew who I was and were waiting and interested here, what I had to say, goodness me, that's quite a  high threshold there and I didn't do it. So now I have a mailing list of a few thousand people,  maybe few tens of thousands of probably.  

[00:25:58] So my abiding [00:26:00] regret turns into a lesson for people, which is your website is not a shop window that you can look in, but  you can't touch it's a shop door, come in and have a conversation. It's probably  a bar or coffee shop door, come in and have a chat and have a coffee. Right? It's the start. It's the place where relationships begin, where you begin to build that sign up engagement, download, interact loyalty.

[00:26:25] So it turns from a visit to a relationship. So this is fundamental. And I think so many B2B companies think their website is a shop window. It's a brochure, it's a PDF on the web, on the internet. You can look at it. And this is where we tell you how fabulous our productal service is. And then you click on this button and fill in the contact form and buy from us.

[00:26:48] Well, right. Oh, I've got news for you. If the only interaction you've got on your website is a phone number or a contact form, you are going to get a signup rate of less than one in a thousand visitors. But [00:27:00] if you've got a rich website with fantastic conversion offers and high value content and the type behind landing pages that is targeted for your audience and offers real in insight, value, thought leadership before commitment, your conversion rate for B2B should be in the range of 2% to 4%.

[00:27:16] So you can convert two to four people out of every a hundred visitors and get them into your CRM and start building that relationship with them. So that can be the start of building  that database. If I was a B2B salesperson, I would rather have a hundred thousand people in my database who knew who I was than 10,000 people in my database who knew who I was.

[00:27:37] That's that's the price. That's the value of making a website a door, not a window. 

[00:27:42] Jane Singer: [00:27:42] Right. That's such a good point. And I think that,  touching on what you had said earlier, is people look at what everybody else is doing and assume that they know better and do the same and say, well, if these other guys are doing it, this must be the right way.

[00:27:57] So I'll just do the same thing, but I'll put [00:28:00] my name on it.  

[00:28:00]Matthew Stibbe: [00:28:00] Yeah. Everyone, else's website's got a contact page, so we should have a contact page. Right.  And then  they say to me,  we don't want to spend money on our website because we don't get any leads from our website.   But because you've only got a contact page, of course you don't get leads from your website. Right. I mean, of course you don't.  You've designed it to put people off getting in touch with you.  Why do people go to a contact page? Nobody wants to do that.

[00:28:21] Either you fill in a contact form and a salesperson phones you five times a day for the next week, which is a pain in the neck, and you don't want the sales contact or you fill in the form and you get ignored. Right? These are the two most common outcomes of filling in a contact. Of course, people don't want to do it.

[00:28:36] Right. But if you can start building the relationship and  well, all of this stuff  is to me self-evident but I keep having this conversation with clients . If you take your website and you redesign it to make it prettier, it's like buying a car, repainting it and hoping the car will be faster, right?

[00:28:56] The appearance of the car makes no difference to the [00:29:00] performance. The design of your website does make a difference in the sense that if it's not user friendly, if it's not easy to navigate, if it doesn't load quickly, if it doesn't have a good user experience, there's lots of things you have to get right with website design, but the colors and the fonts and the logos and the artwork

[00:29:14] I'm not saying they're - unimportant, but they're secondary. A website is there to build a connection with people. It's not there to look pretty. And I think most people think that  they're just going toredesign their website and it's going to be better. And  it never is unless you change the mechnanism. 

[00:29:28]Jane Singer: [00:29:28] Yeah, that's a very good point.  I think people have a lot to think about on the B2B side and it's difficult because people, as you point out who tend to be in the B2B space, haven't prioritized marketing as a fundamental part of their business in the same way that people who are in consumer facing industries do so they have be convinced of the value.

[00:29:50] And then also start to learn how to apply it. So it's a bit of a journey. But you're pointing out. I think all the reasons why we need to do that.  

[00:29:59] Matthew Stibbe: [00:29:59] I'll give you  [00:30:00] an example of a company that I think does all this really well. Okay. So we have an accountancy firm who look after our accounts.   And they are called.

[00:30:09] The wow company. Right? Okay. So it's the most UNAC accountancy name you can imagine.  Most accountancy firms in the UK are named after the founders, you know, somebody's surname plus somebody else's surname, two dead. Oh two dead white guys from the 19th century, typically   and.  They're all like that.

[00:30:27] And every accountancy firm goes, well, we want to look like Cooper's and light brand or whatever, whatever, whatever. Right. and then the wild company comes along and they come, they, they have their website, bright primary colors. And you know, we are the accountants that you need right now. We've got your back.

[00:30:40] So they've got this messaging that's about being friendly, responsive business, mind, it's supportive, not, we are very good at adding up figures and preparing balance sheets. And then they run this, , bench press report. Every year they go out and they survey marketing agencies and they compile a report that helps me as an agency [00:31:00] owner, benchmark myself.

[00:31:02] So it's really high value thought leadership content that they put a lot of work into doing. And in the process of that, they are talking to four, 500 marketing agencies every year. They're getting data about what really marketing agencies care for. They're primarily consultant work with consultants and marketing agencies.

[00:31:19] So zigging, when everyone else is zagging. Differentiation in, in how they communicate and how, what their, their visual and their tone of voice, their style, high value content value before commitment, building relationships with perspective customers before they ask you to sign up and,  Listening to customers.

[00:31:39] And, if you think accountants are boring, if you think accountants are all highly commoditized, the wow company is the answer that says they don't have to be that way. And if an accountant can be differentiated and you be and targeted and specialist and expert and highly valuable any  B2B company.

[00:31:56]Jane Singer: [00:31:56] That's so interesting Matthew and thank you for sharing so many [00:32:00] interesting things with us. I've learned a tremendous amount from you and it's given me a lot to think about, I'm sure everybody else is feeling the same way right now. How can we connect with you? Where can we find you?  So I'm on LinkedIn.

[00:32:13] If you Google ma or search on LinkedIn for Matthew St. I'm, there are only a few of us out there. You'll find me.  On,  my personal blog is geek boss.com and I blog about management and things there.  That's sort of my opinions about stuff.  That's not the blog with millions of views. That blog is now on articulate marketing dot.

[00:32:34] And that's, that's our company blog and there's lots and lots of articles about SEO and positioning and tone of voice and messaging and all these wonderful things that we care about.  And there's a lot of webinars there as well of just me talking about that stuff. All of that is free. You don't even have to fill in a form to get it, do come and have a look.

[00:32:50] So all of those have contact forms.  You can, if you fill in the contact form on any of those sites, it'll reach me. It comes through into my inbox. I'd love to hear. Well, [00:33:00] that's wonderful. I'm going to put all of those links in the show notes so that people will absolutely have the correct URLs and email addresses and so forth.

[00:33:09] And I wanna thank you again for taking the time to share so many insights. It's been my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.