Bullhorns & Bullseyes Podcast

What Is Funnel-Driven Storytelling?

Guest: Josh Donnelly
March 12, 2024
Play Video about Josh Donnelly Episode 15

Episode 15
Ever hear of the marketing concept known as “funnel-driven storytelling?” This week’s guest, Josh Donnelly, founder of Donco Marketing, demonstrates how storytelling can be used to guide users through the marketing funnel and create a more intentional user experience.

He, Curtis and Tom also discuss the collaboration process between designers and copywriters and how to best align approaches to develop website page concepts synchronously. The approach maps closely to Tom’s often-expressed advocation for starting with the ‘why’ and ‘how’ in storytelling and how it can help differentiate a brand. But it also highlights Curtis’s emphasis on using analytics to optimize designs, including his RACE methodology for marketing.

At the end of the day, it turns out that all three were using different vocabulary to speak the same language!

  • Focus on the benefits of a product or service rather than the features when using funnel-driven storytelling.
  • Speak the customer’s language and address their needs and desires — rather than your own!
  • Use the why, how, what framework in storytelling to engage and persuade.
  • Utilize analytics to measure the effectiveness of designs and optimize for better results.
  • Follow the RACE methodology (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage) to guide marketing efforts.
  • Collaborate and continuously improve to create effective marketing strategies by studying outcomes, not just creativity.

DoncoMarketing: doncomarketing.com
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@buildingonwordpress


Tom Nixon (00:03.128)
Welcome back everyone. We are somehow managing Curtis to come right into my wheelhouse, which is we’re going to talk about some form of storytelling today. I’m excited fired up.

Curtis Hays (00:12.798)
Storytelling is your wheelhouse, Tom. So yeah, it’s good to, I think we’re gonna connect storytelling to some of my, Bailey Wick, you know, in the design and dev world and WordPress and all that. So we got a great guest today.

Tom Nixon (00:27.164)
Yes, I’m hoping that we get a blend of art and science, which is typically where you and I sort of overlap, right? Is the if it were up to me, I would just sit around and tell stories all day and I wouldn’t do any marketing. And I’d be a novelist, which I’ve tried my hat at. But when we’re talking about working with clients, we need to affect outcomes and not just tell stories. So you have a guest that you’re going to invite on somebody who you’ve collaborated with already and unbeknownst to me, I have to.

Curtis Hays (00:33.147)

Curtis Hays (00:38.952)
I know.

Tom Nixon (00:54.319)
So we’re going to get to the man behind the curtain. Why don’t you introduce our guest today?

Curtis Hays (00:58.854)
Yeah. So we have Josh Donnelly with us with Donco marketing and, uh, Josh is a designer developer recently met, uh, working with, uh, a new client that we got and found out Josh was the man behind the scenes that helped, uh, build that website and is currently managing everything. And we got to talk in, um, and, uh, really just kind of hit it off. Feel there’s a lot of alignment in the way that we approach things from.

a WordPress perspective, the way we approach strategy with clients. So great to have you on the show, Josh. Thanks for accepting the invite.

Josh Donnelly (01:37.322)
Yeah, of course. I appreciate you guys having me on. I’m excited for today.

Curtis Hays (01:41.382)
Yeah. And you’ve got a channel of your own, I think on YouTube, you do some, uh, some WordPress training. Uh, I think you’re a cornerstone, uh, user, right? So there’s a different frameworks with WordPress. We are an elementary shop mostly know you use cornerstone. Um, and, uh, to those who don’t know, they’re just the tools you use to do building and make it easier to build. There’s usually not one that’s necessarily better than the other. It’s just.

Tom Nixon (01:41.504)

Curtis Hays (02:10.682)
You learn a specific technology and that’s the technology you use to build. And so it’s awesome. You’ve got a channel and you’re teaching people how to use that and, and other aspects of WordPress and, and that’s what we’re here to do is to teach, teach people about marketing. So. That’s great.

Josh Donnelly (02:26.506)
Yeah, no, I mean, I love this kind of stuff. You know, we were talking about this, you know, the podcast like this, right, where, you know, it’s real people who are doing real work that are able to actually talk about how they’re doing that work and their unique perspectives on that work. I mean, that’s that is what good podcasts are made of. So I’m excited to be on today because this is I mean, to me, this is why podcasts exist and where they really shine, you know.

Tom Nixon (02:52.028)
Well, hopefully ours included. So, well, before we get into the topic at hand, which of course I already said I’m dying to get into just is there anything that either we left out in the introduction or how would you describe what you do on a day-to-day down-to-down basis?

Josh Donnelly (03:07.35)
Yeah, no, I mean I think Curtis really nailed it at the end of the day, you know, my focus is building websites But my agency we do video work. We do creative work We do a lot of that which supports the website storytelling experience, right? So that’s a lot of what we’re gonna get into today but really, you know the meat and potatoes of what I do is Build the site and then support the site with the content that helps make that a robust site so, you know a lot of times I’ll generalize myself is like

a brand manager, brand director, I kind of help build brands, but I do that in the digital space, right? So, you know, with a focus on, you know, the website, which is the front door of the brand, right? It’s the first interaction that brands have with their audience. And so that’s where that’s where I shine.

Tom Nixon (03:53.648)
Awesome. Well, let’s have you explain however you want. I was going to say in layman’s terms, but feel free to get nerdy if you want it. Describe what you mean when you say you take a funnel driven approach to storytelling or funnel driven storytelling.

Josh Donnelly (04:08.862)
Yeah, yeah. So this is my background is in marketing. So that’s really where I got my start. And so the marketing funnel has always been sort of in the back of my mind in anything I do. And as I started to get into the web space and started to get into UI UX and sort of merged all of those skill sets together, I’ve always kept the marketing funnel sort of as the backbone of anything I do. And so I’ve kind of I don’t want to say I coined this, but I kind of came up with this

term which is funnel driven storytelling and it’s not so much focusing on the verbiage itself. I mean that’s where copywriters like yourself Tom, that’s where you guys shine. It’s more structuring a page intentionally to sort of coincide with the marketing funnel, right? If you want me to nerd out on that, I mean I can go into detail on what that funnel driven process looks like.

Tom Nixon (05:05.736)
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So for those, if anyone’s unaware of what the marketing funnel is, we’re talking about taking users from unaware to aware from aware than to interested desire and ultimately action. Right. So I’ve often said there’s a content marketing funnel that aligns with the sales funnel. And, you know, it should be conducive for the content to serve in that capacity. So is that what you’re describing when you talk about building a page? How does it work?

Josh Donnelly (05:32.394)
Yeah, absolutely. So, funnel-driven storytelling is essentially architecture versus, like I said, versus just verbiage, right? But it helps guide, like, what words are we putting where and why are we doing it and is there intention behind that? So, to recap what you said, when I talk about funnel-driven storytelling, I typically focus on sort of the bare bones marketing funnel. So, at its core, like, let’s talk about that for a second, right? At its core, the marketing funnel is…

awareness, somebody has to know you exist in what you exist to do. So awareness, consideration, preference and action. So let’s just break it. There’s more complex versions of the marketing funnel out there, but let’s take that in its simplistic form. Now that is true for, you know, traditional advertising, digital advertising, any sort of sales process. They got to be aware of you. They’ve got to know what the considerations are, what’s the benefit of what you’re offering.

preference, what are the options of what you’re offering, and then purchase or action, what are you trying to convert, what are you trying to do? And so, my thought was, if that’s true for traditional marketing, why is that not true for storytelling? And one of the things I realized is like, go listen to any conversation you have with a friend when you’re telling them about something, right? And you will use some form, right? Albeit, maybe not even intentional, you will use some form of that marketing funnel, right?

they ask what you do and you’re like, well, you know, brands need copywriting. And so, okay, awareness, you just told them about brands need copywriting. Then you tell them why they need you. Then you tell them, you know, they come to me when they’re looking for more narrative, blah, blah. Right. And so you start to really, that’s how you tell a story. If you’re just like, you know, grabbing dinner with a friend and explaining what it is that you do. And so the same thing is true. Yeah.

Tom Nixon (07:16.004)
I would just if I could just interject real quickly, Josh, if take it out of the world of marketing, any story that you tell starts with, hey, did you hear about or are you familiar with or you ever run into that type of thing like you’re first trying to establish is the person you’re telling the story even aware of the topic that you’re about to tell them. And I think that’s an important consideration because that translates to this marketing funnel. Nobody’s going to care what you sell if they’ve never heard of you.

Josh Donnelly (07:38.026)
Yeah, man.

Exactly. And that’s a hundred percent true. And so, you know, part of this structure came about because like I would, we, we would sit down to design a website, right? And typically when I design a site, I start with the homepage, cause that’s where we start to figure out what’s our design language, what is our storytelling, you know, all of those kinds of things. And I’d realized that if I just left it up to the client to kind of, you know, Hey, this is what we’re thinking in terms of what we want to include on our homepage. You know, it would just kind of be this like, you know,

put this value prop here, put this thing here, put this thing here. And it’s like, but nobody has context to what that value prop is or why is this thing, you know, this one’s too, too nerdy. Let’s explain it as a benefit versus just a stat or something like that. And so it’s funnel driven storytelling sort of came from this concept of, okay, this, the process is pretty disorganized when you’re putting together a homepage and you’re, you don’t have sort of this intention or purpose behind what you’re building.

So it’s a guide. It’s not a template. It’s not one size fits all. It’s not, you know, hey, I just copy paste from client to client. We fill in the blanks and we got our story, but they’re guide rails. They can be switched around. The order can move. It depends on the client. It also depends on how familiar the audience is with the product, right? If you’re selling, you know, paper towel, you don’t have to do as much explaining to the customers what paper towel is. You can focus more on why your paper towel is better than the competitors, right?

But if you are in the golf simulator space, not everybody knows what and how a home residential golf simulator works, what it is, and how you can use it. So there’s a lot more explaining that needs to be done in that realm. And so at its core, funnel-driven storytelling focuses first on the page that you’re working on. So let’s say the home page. And focuses on answering those questions of awareness, consideration, preference, and action. And then it also.

Josh Donnelly (09:39.486)
sort of blends into what is our navigation, our user journey throughout the site? What does that look like? And that should sort of help answer some of those questions as well. Maybe on a deeper level, different than the homepage does, but they guide the user through that process. So, you know, you see a lot of navigations, they’ve got the homepage, of course. Maybe you have the about page, because that’s part of the consideration process, right? Preference, that’s maybe the shop page, or the compare our products, or things like that.

And then action, that’s going to be your action buttons, the cart or the checkout or whatever that experience is, whether it’s e-commerce or, you know, contact us form some sort of lead gen. And so you’re always trying to use this concept of storytelling, again, how you’re explaining your product to the customer to take them through the page and then also through the site.

Tom Nixon (10:30.664)
Yep. Curtis. And then, so you and I have collaborated on webpage design and we are constantly evaluating this chicken or the egg process, which is should Tom write the copy first or should Dan and Curtis design the page first and which is the chicken and which is the egg. So, I’m curious what you’ve learned working with Josh so far that either changed your process or validated your process because I have something.

when you’re done to validate something that my approach perfectly maps to yours, and I didn’t even realize it. So Curtis.

Curtis Hays (11:05.734)
Yeah, I think it validates our approach, though it be slightly different. And I think oftentimes we look at these projects, you know, in stages or milestones. Like there’s clear start and stops with deliverables in between. And in reality, there’s not, there are these overlaps in the stages of a development process where we have to come together.

and blend things. So for example, we typically would break out a project starting with wireframes. So we understand the structure and that’s where we’re gonna do some things like understand who our audience is, what are we trying to explain or share with them? What do we want them to do once they’re on this specific page? So we would build a wireframe, a blueprint basically of what that’s all going to look like, which allows you then to write.

Now it doesn’t have to be a hundred percent complete in our case, but at least you have a structure that says, okay. Which is still based off of your sort of why, how, what methodology that we’ve talked about in the past, but at least you then have a structure to fill in the blanks because oftentimes we’re working with a client who’s responsible for writing content and they’re like, where do we even start? Like, what am I supposed to write? Am I supposed to write headlines? Am I supposed to write long paragraphs? Like.

What, you know, so I think from a design perspective, the wire frame helps them know where to sort of fill in the blanks. Then you, then you layer the design on top of, you know, maybe 75% written copy. That’s based off of a wire frame and now you can design and you’re going to make some iterations and changes basically from that. So that’s our process, which I think sounds similar to what, to what you’re doing, Josh, but maybe, maybe clarify.

how differently your approach might be in that process. Because you might speed it up a little bit. Sometimes our process, it could actually delay it and take longer because you’re iterating so much, say, in that wireframe stage. But usually, it’s easier to make a change in a wireframing phase than it is in a design phase because there’s so many more sort of elements within that area that you now maybe need to change.

Josh Donnelly (12:58.839)

Josh Donnelly (13:35.683)
Yeah, no,

Josh Donnelly (13:50.834)
In my experience with clients, a lot gets lost in translation between my vision when I’m putting together a wireframe and them interpreting white boxes with black outlines. What I started to do is what I call visual wireframing, which is actually starting to put together some of the recommended design. It’s not usually final in any sense of the word.

Josh Donnelly (14:20.138)
Let’s use the real button colors we’re recommending. Let’s use the real button styles we’re recommending. Is it a rounded button? Is it, you know, are they squared off buttons? Let’s use the imagery that we’re recommending. Maybe it’s not final imagery, but what’s the style we’re going for? Is it lifestyle with people? Is it more abstract? So kind of placing that in to help sort of shape the page and communicate the design and the style to the client. And then we go from there. And typically,

Tom Nixon (14:41.996)
Thank you.

Josh Donnelly (14:47.638)
because we’re basically skipping over the barbaric piece, we’re already, I call it 30% of the way there when they say, yes, this is looking good, then we can start implementing that into the staging build and kind of speed things along. So it’s not like it takes a huge jump in terms of efficiency, but for me, I just found that it was easier to cut out that stage of just wireframes and jump right into a little bit of the design. And honestly, just to sort of…

piggyback on this concept of the funnel driven storytelling, that is where that really shines, right? Because to your point about, you know, handing it off to Tom and he knows where to put copy in and things like that. Funnel driven storytelling really, it’s not just thinking about those four stages of the funnel, awareness, consideration, preference and action. It’s actually designing the page to support those, like very intentionally to support those stages. And again,

Like I said, things can move around. They don’t have to be the same. But I mean, like let’s talk through some of those, the specifics there, right? You know, awareness, this is typically your hero section. This doesn’t need to get into the nitty gritty of your product and all of the details and all of the specifics, right?

Tom Nixon (16:00.064)
Amen. Sorry. I just preach brother.

Josh Donnelly (16:04.054)
Well, hey, see, there you go. And so we save that for further on down the funnel because you can scare people away, right? So in the hero section, let’s focus on positioning, which is awareness. Someone somehow found your site, whether it was through search, whether it was an ad that they saw, a friend recommended it or they clicked the wrong link, but they’re on your site, right? Somehow they made it there. So tell them why they’re there, right? If you sell paper plates, then let’s tell somebody.

Curtis Hays (16:04.17)
Thank you.

Josh Donnelly (16:33.418)
You don’t have to say the paper plate company, but let’s give them sort of this abstract positioning statement, right? You’re going to laugh at this time. I’m sure you could come up with better copy, but you know, let’s say something like better picnics with better plates or something like that. And now you have this like, you have this positioning statement. So somebody knows that I’m on a site that sells plates. I don’t know if they’re paper plates. I don’t know what they are, but they’re for picnicking. So I have a frame of reference, right?

Then… Yeah, go ahead.

Tom Nixon (17:03.872)
Can I pause you there? Can I pause you before we move on to there? Because I got to explain why Curtis is laughing because I don’t believe your flies open. I think you’ve touched on something inadvertently that maps exactly to my process, which is you said the word why so in a previous episode or anyone who is not yet unsubscribed for my email because all I ever talk about is why how what my preferred nomenclature is you lead with why right? So this is what I referenced earlier when I said it maps to your process because

Curtis Hays (17:04.131)
So, yeah.

Josh Donnelly (17:09.165)

Tom Nixon (17:33.368)
Why is that your why not why you’re different as the brand or the product. It’s the purchaser’s why. So when you’re at this moving from unaware to aware, right? You’ve identified only that you have a problem, right? And you’re just now coming to terms with the fact that there may be a solution out there. And now you’re starting to go out and find possible solutions to remove a pain point or achieve an aspiration. It’s all based on why.

Josh Donnelly (17:41.667)
Thank you.

Tom Nixon (18:02.708)
You don’t even know perhaps if there’s paper towel even exists in the world, right? Or that all you know is you want to have a great picnic. And if something screws it up, you want to be able to clean it up quickly. Let’s just say right. So that’s where I’m at. I’m living in the in the hero section where I said communicate to the reader, the viewer, the visitor to the site. They’re why everybody else is going to be talking about themselves and they’re going to be boasting and they’re going to make claims and they’re going to say 600 sheets to a package, right? And by now get to all this stuff in the

Josh Donnelly (18:06.905)

Tom Nixon (18:32.244)
The user’s not there yet. So that’s why I wanted to pause there. And if there is another reason you were laughing Curtis, but that’s kind of why I’m like you lead with why you’ll get a chance to demonstrate your how, which is your preference and right. Consideration. That’s going to be the next section that you’re going to hit on. But Curtis, is that why you were chuckling? Yeah. So, yeah, just, yeah, different, yeah, different vocabulary, but same language. Exactly.

Josh Donnelly (18:35.911)
No, that’s…

Curtis Hays (18:47.138)
Oh, totally. Yeah. I mean, he said the word why, and then it was like, OK, we’re all speaking the same language here. Ha ha ha.

Josh Donnelly (18:56.17)
Yeah, I mean, it really is. And honestly, sometimes that’s how I explain it. I all, you know, that was unknown to me, but I typically say, you know, the whys and the whats, and that’s how we have to explain this to our audience. Right? And I assist with copywriting, but typically this is just the framework, right? It’s like this section needs to be abstract, needs to position us, and needs to answer that question of why and what. What industry are you playing in? Okay, it’s the, you know, the paper plates or paper towel or whatever.

industry, right? And then what sets you apart, but just high level, get people excited about it. Give them a chance to bounce. If they were like, I was here for like cars and I don’t know how I ended up on a paper plate website. Cool. Like you can leave then, right? But the people who want to be here to learn more are going to continue scrolling the page or navigating deeper into the website, right?

Tom Nixon (19:46.22)
which is in my next section then I’ll be curious to see where you take it from here is the house section, which is okay. A sense of calm has gone over the visitor because they’re like, I found the right place. This person gets me. They understand my pain points. Now, are they the person that’s gonna solve it? Let’s find out. So, now, they continue to scroll maybe or continue to click and read and now they wanna know cuz now they’re at the consideration phase and they’re trying, you’re trying to move them to the preference phase and this is where I like to bring how language which is

we’re faster or we do it better or the competitors are very high tech or high touch. All of these things that differentiate you from a field of competitors is my next section. Where do you take it in the funnel? Same place.

Josh Donnelly (20:29.15)
Yeah, exactly.

Josh Donnelly (20:58.242)
heavy stock, your paper plates aren’t gonna break under the weight of your steak, right? It’s like we have strong plates that are, you know, 90% post-consumer products. Like whatever your benefits are to the consumer, let’s lay those out very simply in the first part of consideration, right? And then let’s get into more of the how those things set you apart. So I typically use the first part of consideration.

Tom Nixon (21:18.676)

Josh Donnelly (21:26.782)
as like a summary. Like if you didn’t have any time with this person, the elevator pitch concept, if you only had those like 60 seconds to talk to somebody, let’s give them the three, maybe four, like high, hard benefits of your product. If they continue scrolling, let’s give them a little bit more detail on why those benefits are better than the competitors, right? And that’s where you start to answer those questions.

Tom Nixon (21:50.405)
Yeah. It’s funny. I’m old enough actually, Josh, to remember when Chinat paper plates came out. Do you remember Chinat? So, the way they advertise those on TV, they were just show somebody holding one with one hand and they would show somebody else holding those flimsy, you know, paper plates with one hand and of course, the food falls off on that one and the Chinat holds up, right?

Josh Donnelly (21:56.778)

Tom Nixon (22:09.376)
That’s all how that’s how we’re different than what you’re already using or what you might otherwise be considering. It’s not what they didn’t say. Look at there’s three slots in here and the mashed potatoes go here and the hot dog goes right. It was all how and then that was the selling point and that removes the competitive field from consideration because those old style paper plates couldn’t do that. So but they first needed to be aware that they had a problem, which was wait, is there a better way to do this than the way I’ve been doing it since the 60s?

Josh Donnelly (22:26.477)

Josh Donnelly (22:30.443)

Tom Nixon (22:39.168)
than there was.

Josh Donnelly (22:39.826)
Exactly and what you’re saying is also focusing on the benefit, right? So again, you’re not talking about the nerdy specs. Some people might care about that and we should save that for a deeper page That’s more of the detail on why you’re better and might go into the kind of materials and the science you’re using to make better Structured plates. I like going with this paper plate example

Curtis Hays (23:00.519)

Tom Nixon (23:00.592)
Yeah, those are my what’s by the way. So, that’s when people are like, well, okay, I’m sort of convinced. Prove it. How do you do this or what is it that I’m buying? That’s the what’s. That’s when people are already past consideration. They’re getting ready. They’re at preference already and they’re getting ready to take action. That’s where you hit them with the what’s but continue. That’s my approach.

Curtis Hays (23:17.798)

Josh Donnelly (23:18.206)
Yeah, no, exactly. And, and no, I completely agree with that. So years ago, I worked for Apple in retail, right? This is when I was going through college. And it was like in the heyday of Apple, right? I started just pre iPhone. And so it was like, this is when Apple was like, you know, they are a behemoth. But this is when their retail stores were just like, nobody could beat them, right. And one of the things we did, we did have employee stock purchase plans, which was nice. So

Curtis Hays (23:38.634)
I hope you got stocked then, Josh. Did you get stocked then, Josh?

Curtis Hays (23:46.556)
Excellent, excellent.

Tom Nixon (23:46.576)
Nice. And you’re still working.

Josh Donnelly (23:48.366)
But yeah, right. So clearly I didn’t get enough. But one of the things that they always hit home on, right, and this is everyone looks to Apple is like sort of the gold standard of things. And it’s really annoying. I feel like I can use them a little bit because I have some experience, you know, sort of inside. But I so and so I do I use them as an example. And sort of they play in two parts to this funnel driven storytelling process. One is they always said

Tom Nixon (23:52.716)

Josh Donnelly (24:14.434)
Never sell the features, always sell the benefits. So exactly what you’ve been saying, Tom, you know, that is the focus. The goal with Apple computers was like, if somebody walks in, and this, think about what makes Apple computers or iPhones or whatever so great, whether you like Apple or not, it’s that they’re simple and your grandma knows how to use her iPhone, right? And so with Apple, it was when somebody comes into the store and says, I’m interested in a computer or an iPhone or whatever.

Tom Nixon (24:17.984)
Thank you.

Josh Donnelly (24:40.926)
You don’t start with, well, let me show you the one that has 2.66 gigahertz dual core processor with the block. Like immediately all those grandmothers are like, I don’t know what you’re saying, right? But if they walk in and they say I’m looking for a computer and you say, well, what do you do with your computer? Oh, well, I have grandkids and I love, you know, taking pictures of my grandkids and blah, blah. Well, let me show you the one that’s going to be able to hold 2.2 million photos. And you walk them over to that one because you just spoke her language. Instead of telling her hard drive size, which means nothing, you told her that it can hold 2 million plus photos.

Tom Nixon (24:50.316)

Josh Donnelly (25:10.398)
and videos and it comes with iMovie so you can edit your own movie like whatever those things are that speak her language, you’re talking the benefits versus trying to sell numbers stats processors and all of that kind of stuff. And if you’ve ever been in an Apple store, it doesn’t mean they steer away from those stats. They have processing speed and hard drive space, but they never they never lead with it, right?

Tom Nixon (25:32.616)
years, they did that with their advertising, which is so brilliant. They changed agencies for whatever reason. I don’t know but I’m thinking back to the commercial around Christmas time around the holidays and what they would always do dating back to when they launched the iPod, they would never show the product. It was never about the what it was. What what lifestyle you’re gonna achieve if you have this thing and we’ll figure out you’re gonna want the thing because this commercial is gonna be brilliant.

They would leave with things like they would show the guy who was just constantly on his phone and all the trappings of the holidays are happening around him. And you’re watching this and you’re like, well, that kid’s not even paying attention to the family. He’s just sucked into his phone. And at the end, he turns on the TV, he gathers the family around and he shows that he’s been actually filming everything and it’s created a movie, right? And the family all comes together. They don’t even show you the phone. They don’t tell you that it’s got a video camera on it or that it’s got video editing capabilities on it. None of that. What it’s like. This is why people use our devices.

And then to your point, yes, to me, the why that’s to me, it’s the why, right? And then the how is like, are you going to buy it? It doesn’t come with an instruction manual and you’re going to figure it out on your own because it’s so friggin easy. The how is way easier than a Samsung or a galaxy or any of that other stuff. We don’t even tell you how to use it. And then the what is oh, by the way, it’s got a camera. It’s got all these software. They never sell you either in store or in their commercial. So Curtis, am I showing my age with that reference? Do you remember that commercial?

Josh Donnelly (26:25.538)
They’re selling the outcome, right?

Curtis Hays (26:53.434)
No, I do. I totally remember. We’re not that far off in age. So yeah.

Tom Nixon (26:55.944)
Yeah. But I like to show mine. Like I got my bald head out, you know. So anyways, so yeah, I got you. Alright, so I use Apple as an example too. And I think sometimes people roll their eyes because they’re like, well, I’m a bit boring business to business professional services brand. What’s that have to do with me? But the principles apply, don’t they?

Josh Donnelly (26:58.146)

Curtis Hays (27:01.182)

Josh Donnelly (27:03.105)
I’m right there with you.

Josh Donnelly (27:16.874)
Yeah, without a doubt the principles apply. And honestly, you get to look at Apple who does these things at scale. There’s no reason that you can’t take the same concepts. Don’t copy out. There are things that Apple does. They have awareness out there that a little business doesn’t have. So they can go right into talking about the benefits of an iPhone without telling you where an iPhone is. You know, with our paper plate example, someone might know what paper plates are, and that’s great. Most people probably do.

But if we need to, if it’s a new product or a new industry, we need to explain it a little bit more. So you take what Apple’s done at scale, and then you make that fit to your industry, your scale, and your story. And to add to that Apple example, and to what we were saying earlier about the marketing funnel really applying to how we tell any sort of story in any way, shape, or form. And honestly, I think it’s in more pieces of our life, whether we know it or not.

is Apple’s retail stores. Now, I don’t remember if I learned this while I was there, if I just sort of like connected the dots after the fact. But if you look at any Apple store, which companies have been trying to retail companies have been trying to copy and replicate for years. But you look at an Apple retail store, and it’s actually built to be a marketing funnel, right? It’s more of a sales funnel, but it’s a marketing funnel. The front of the store.

The glass windows that they have in the mall or in the downtown scape, whatever, those glass windows are awareness. They kind of tell you what you need to focus on. So I remember when the iPhone came out, it was like giant, like, you know, five foot iPhones in the front and had like cool headlines about what it could do, the benefits, right? So now you have awareness and you step foot into the store. There’s literally, if you’ve been in an Apple store, there’s typically one center artery, one main aisle that you walk down. You can kind of branch out on the sides.

but you go down one aisle and that’s the funnel. And on your left and right when you first walk in are the products. So now you have consideration, they’re telling you what you can do with these different products as you’re walking through the store. And then this is gonna date me a little bit. But as you’re walking to the back of the store, we used to have, when I worked there, the registers before everyone checked you out just anywhere in the store, the registers used to be at the very back of the store. And that was also intentional, very intentional by Apple. As you’re walking.

Josh Donnelly (29:32.066)
through the store, you’re going through that marketing funnel, awareness at the front, consideration as you’re seeing the products, preference as you’re deciding which product. So you go to the computer section, you’re like, all right, this is the one I want. And I know I want a laptop. Now, which of the three do I want? Once you get there, then you start heading towards checkout. And again, dating myself at checkout, they used to have software. So that’s where you could kind of add things on. They don’t have software in the stores anymore. And then you check out at the very back of the store.

And again, very intentional. Once you check out the last piece, if you guys have seen like sort of the reverse marketing funnel where you go through and then there’s loyalty, right? It’s like after purchase is loyalty. Everybody else who’s still stuck in that sales funnel in the Apple store now sees a happy customer walking past them holding their bag of goods. That’s a loyal, happy customer. And you’re like, well, whatever that guy just walked away with, I want to buy that. Or I want to, it kind of creates an experience for you. And so even Apple is using this concept.

in their stores. So why can’t we apply this to what we do in web design, in storytelling, in UI, UX, right? And that’s kind of where my, where this concept sort of came from.

Tom Nixon (30:39.772)
Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree. And the best part too, Curtis, is we don’t have to just like set it and forget it. There’s measurement tools to see if this is even being effective and we can measure how far people are scrolling down a page where their eyeballs are going, where their mouse is hovering. Some of the stuff we talked about with Dan, right?

Curtis Hays (30:56.87)
Yeah, oh, definitely. I, you know, the, the point of this podcast is to tell stories and, and case studies and share examples that people can learn from and a really good example in working with Josh and, and this client we, we started working on together is to take some of that analysis, come back and say, you know, Hey, this is what we see users doing from the initial analysis that we’re collecting. And in this specific case, it was there’s forms on the website.

So that the act that we want people to take the conversion point, once they come into the website, was either fill out a form or call the office. There’s like, I think five or six locations for the specific business. There’s a lot of actual choices somebody could take on the website, but our hypothesis was based on regionality of these users, that it was difficult for the users to find the location to call. And the preference that we saw from the user data was to call.

and not fill out a form. So the form was easy to get to, but we didn’t feel like the phone number was easy to get to. It was actually like three clicks to get to a locations page where all the locations were. And then even another click into the specific location to get the contact number. So I said, hey Josh, this is my hypothesis. This is what we think. We talked through some things, he ideated, on mobile now we’ve got a dropdown in the hamburger menu.

So you click the hamburger menu, he listed out each of the locations with a phone number in one week, we increased phone calls by 86% and our conversion rate went to 140%. We went to a, I think it’s like a 6.8% conversion rate on this website. So that’s the, that’s where I think just tying this all together is, and something we talked to Dan about of like, you can create a beautiful website that looks really good.

But does it really function for your target audience appropriately? Are you properly, again, you know, like you could create a beautiful store. Like in the example we were saying with Apple, but does it create an environment that makes you the top selling retailer in every single mall in America where your store is, right? So we’re here in Detroit, Somerset. I think, I think the Somerset location, right, was the top selling Apple location in the country, if not the world, maybe.

Josh Donnelly (33:15.758)
Thank you.

Tom Nixon (33:22.267)
it’s like a ghost town. By the store and it’s like a ghost conclusions. Maybe it’s not there were people coming out, Mac store or the Apple store know, it’s like, wow. Um

Curtis Hays (33:23.438)
Is it even there anymore? I don’t even think that Microsoft Store is there anymore. Yeah, I don’t know. Yeah.

Josh Donnelly (33:24.182)

Curtis Hays (33:33.978)
Right. So I think this is where I get excited about this is being able to take that data, have a hypothesis, you know, especially once you’ve gone through that process, we talked in the beginning with the wireframing, with their design, you, you have thoughts about how this should be for your target audience, then observe what those users are doing and say, could we iterate from this, implement those changes?

And then keep measuring and say, Hey, could we improve it even more? Or did we get it wrong? And we should do something different. So, um, you know, I think these methodologies help because allow us to like look at through these types of things in a different lens and, um, and really help, I think from an outcome perspective. So, um, the last thing I’ll say is there, I have a similar methodology in marketing, which I’ve been following for the last 10 years, which is race.

I’m sorry. Yeah. So it’s R A C E reach. So that’s your awareness. Get them to the website. So a is act, then convert, and then engage. And that engage is the loyalty piece you talked about, Josh, where like you have buyers, get them to subscribe to your newsletter, get them to share on social media, get them to write a review about your product on your website, like

All those things that now you’ve got that customer and it took you so much to get that customer, how do you engage them? So that, that race is a methodology that I’ve been using for at least the last 10 years.

Josh Donnelly (35:12.086)
And I think that’s important, right? Like you spent all that money acquiring the customer, let’s actually use that customer in a beneficial way that’s beneficial to them, right? Maybe you’re sending them certain things, but that also makes them a voice for your brand, right? I think that’s incredibly important. And real quick to what you were saying, Curtis, about using analytics to sort of prove out these designs that we’re putting in place, I couldn’t agree more. I do think there’s benefit in, like one of my concepts is like build quickly.

Tom Nixon (35:27.924)

Josh Donnelly (35:41.986)
Dog food it yourself, like use it and see if it feels right. Is it a fumbled process trying to get to checkout or understand what’s going on? And we need to remember that we have more context than the average customer because we know our brand. So does this make sense to somebody who doesn’t have a frame of reference? After you dog food it, then analyze it. Now let the public use it and see what’s going on because I do think there’s benefits in making design assumptions and building pretty sites, right?

You can create beautiful experiences. People like beautiful experiences. People gravitate towards beautiful experiences. And there are trends that you can follow without being too trendy. There are trends that you can follow and design that help create those experiences. But then you need to analyze and then prove the things that you’ve designed out. And so that’s where, like on the client site that you were just talking about, Curtis, I think it’s a pretty good looking site, but there were things that needed to change to improve.

certain end goals that we didn’t originally have in mind when we built and designed the site. And so it’s like you got to use analytics to then drive further action on the site and optimize what you built. And I think all of those need to come together and work together as one.

Tom Nixon (36:58.372)
absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s why I like working with Curtis so much because it’s the blend of the art and science of storytelling. It’s both and I think you need both. Last question for me, Josh is you mentioned your bald head. Looks like you shave hair that actually exists up there. Do you have something within reach that would cover such a bald head?

Josh Donnelly (37:13.838)
Should it? Barely.

Josh Donnelly (37:19.85)
Well, I had to raid my daughter’s dress-up bin, but there we go. I got my hat. I needed to support Curtis’s look there. But I feel like this wouldn’t have, I don’t think I would have had much authority talking in this podcast wearing this hat, so. Heh heh heh.

Tom Nixon (37:24.402)
There it is.

Curtis Hays (37:24.582)
I’m going to go.

Tom Nixon (37:29.28)

Curtis Hays (37:33.391)
I love it.

Tom Nixon (37:33.504)

Curtis Hays (37:39.163)

Tom Nixon (37:39.244)
That’s why I waited till the end for the big reveal. So, alright. Well, cool. This is great. I was hoping to learn a bunch of new stuff but I’m sort of glad that I just learned new vocabulary for the stuff that I already advocate for. I’m going to apply this though because I like your sort of vernacular in for some people that might resonate more than the why how what because it’s all rooted in outcomes, which is what people want typically.

So, uh, thanks again. So to learn more, you can either hook up with Josh on LinkedIn or visit donco marketing.com we’ll put that in the show notes and, uh, just thank you for being here, Josh, and for educating our listeners.

Curtis Hays (38:13.382)
Yeah. And Josh has got a YouTube channel. I think it’s called build on WordPress, right? If you go on YouTube building on WordPress. So check out his YouTube channel. He’s got some great tutorials there. Subscribe. Um, check that out. I think for me, Josh, um, as well as you’ll appreciate Tom, you know, kaleidoscope is all about team Lance and finding other like-minded individuals to work together, to collaborate and, uh, and, and improve.

Josh Donnelly (38:19.277)
Building on WordPress, yep.

Curtis Hays (38:42.466)
Not only what we’re doing, um, you know, in the professional world and marketing and share that, but supporting clients, you know, this end goal it’s, it’s to help the companies that are asking us to help and consult on that. And so, um, Josh, just, you know, want to appreciate you, uh, and thank you for joining the podcast today and sharing your, your thoughts and experience. And, um, I think a lot of people are going to find that value. And I, I certainly.

am and excited about future projects and working and collaborating with you with.

Josh Donnelly (39:13.834)
Yeah, no, of course, I appreciate you guys having me on and letting me nerd out for a bit with you guys here. I love this stuff, so keep on doing what you’re doing.

Tom Nixon (39:20.905)
we will. We’ll have you back sometime. I’ve just now realized that I’m running short on paper plates. I don’t know why it’s driving this but it’s like I feel like I have this need. So, I’m off to go do some preference shopping. Alright. Thank you both. We’ll see y’all next time on Bullhorns and Bullseyes.

Josh Donnelly (39:23.38)

Josh Donnelly (39:26.838)
See, there you go.

Josh Donnelly (39:32.986)
There we go.

Listen anywhere:

We’d love to hear from you! podcasts@collideascope.co

Additional episodes:

Dan Corcoran Episode 11

Episode 11: The Art & Science of Effective Design

Tom & Curtis are joined by Dan Corcoran, an expert in UI and UX design, to discuss the importance of graphic design in their work and how it intersects with analytics and user-centric design.

Episode 9

Episode 9: For All Intents & Purposes

Unlock the power of "why" in content development and SEO as Tom and Curtis delve into messaging hierarchies and search intent.

Tom Nixon Curtis Hays Jpg.webp

Episode 4: Going Meta on Bullhorns and Bullseyes

In a very "meta" episode, Curtis and Tom discuss the meaning behind "Bullhorns and Bullseyes." What are some examples of "bullhorn" tactics, and what are some examples of "bullseye" methodologies?

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