Bullhorns & Bullseyes Podcast

Tricks of the Trade

Guests: Tom Nixon & Curtis Hays
April 16, 2024
Play Video about Episode 20 Tom Curtis

Episode 20
In this very special episode of Bullhorns and Bullseyes, Curtis and Tom take turns sharing their personal “secrets” of their own particular crafts — Tom in content development and Curtis in lead-gen and analytics.Tune in to hear their “takes,” and feel free to adopt our tricks and apply them to your own trade!


  • They’re a secret! You have to listen or watch to get them!

Tom Nixon (00:00.915)
to another exciting episode of Bullhorns and Bullseyes. Um, I’ll tell you why I’m excited, Curtis.

Curtis Hays (00:08.458)
Yeah, tell me why you’re excited. I’m excited for today too, but tell me why you’re excited.

Tom Nixon (00:11.963)
Well, we’re keeping secrets from each other because we don’t know what the other ones got planned for today. Uh, and we’re going to share some secrets with our listening and viewing audience.

Curtis Hays (00:22.178)
This is true. I do have a few secrets. I hope you’re not planning to quiz me though at the end.

Tom Nixon (00:28.375)
No, no quizzes. Um, I just hope I remember what my secrets are. If I get through this, I got to remember three secrets. You’ve got three secrets. These are what we are calling tricks of the trade. And what we’re going to do today is we’re each going to share with each other. Three things that we think we do a little bit differently that might be of use for our listeners and they can apply them to their own marketing strategies as appropriate in wanted.

Curtis Hays (00:32.395)

Curtis Hays (00:55.358)
Yeah, I have three ready to go. I would say my three, they’re not unique just to me. I would say that there’s maybe, you know, let’s just say 10% of agencies or consultants like us that might be doing the types of things that we’re doing. So they’re not totally unique, but I think people find a lot of value in them because I would say the majority are not doing the things that I’m going to talk about today.

Tom Nixon (01:23.431)
Yeah, same here. So, these aren’t really secrets because if you follow me on LinkedIn, I talk about the same three or four things over and over again because I still see companies making the similar mistakes. So, if I can help in any way, that’s what I’m here to do. So, I don’t know exactly when your birthday is but we’re gonna say whoever was born earlier in the year gets to go first. So, my birthday is September 1st. What’s your birthday?

Curtis Hays (01:31.01)

Curtis Hays (01:49.463)
Oh, that’s funny. I didn’t know this, yeah. So I’m October 1st.

Tom Nixon (01:53.475)
Oh, wow. Okay. I guess it means I get to go first.

Curtis Hays (01:58.45)
Yep, yep, you get to go first.

Tom Nixon (02:00.551)
All right. I’ve uh true to my own fashion in ways I have actually branded each of my secrets. Um the first one is called Pick A Person. Pick A Person is a writing technique that I have adopted from others who kinda introduced me to this concept.

Originally, I’ve seen it intended for people who are suffering from either not writer’s block, but idea block. Like I don’t know what to write about or another manifestation of this could be. Um, well, I could write an article, um, about topic X, but if I do it, um, to sort of, um, amateurish or naively, or I approach it, you know, so that the.

typical audience would understand it that I’m gonna look silly amongst my peers because that’s way too basic. So the pick a person strategy is to literally pick a very specific person and write an article to that one person. So in my own life, I’ve heard people espouse and talk about the benefits of journaling.

as a stress reducer, anxiety reducer, and I’ve always resisted it. It was funny because I’m a writer. I’ve always resisted it because it just felt weird writing to myself on a piece of paper, but then someone said, well, don’t write to yourself. Write a note to your daughter who was just born about 16 years ago now and then the words just flowed out of me. It’s like I’m going to write this. So maybe as if this precious girl of mine is going to read it 20 years from now.

It’s so, it was very easy to kind of talk about my day, talk about her day, what I learned from her, what she’s learning from our, me and my wife. And it just became super easy. So the pick a person strategy when you’re writing a thought leadership piece of content is to think of your ideal client, maybe, and think in terms of what that person knows, what that person needs to know and write the article specifically for that person. And then what you’re ultimately doing is you’re writing a piece of content that will appeal to.

Tom Nixon (04:06.099)
more of your ideal client. You’re not trying to impress your peers. This isn’t a peer reviewed paper. Usually this is something that’s going on LinkedIn or your website. And if you write for that one person, you’re going to find it easier. And I think it’s going to hit the mark with your intended audience better. That’s number one.

Curtis Hays (04:24.63)
I feel like that it’s going to end up being more personal too, and just the way that your mindset is, which is going to make likely a reader connect with it more so, right? Yeah, and they’re going to want to engage with that content. Sorry, go ahead.

Tom Nixon (04:36.727)
that’s true. That’s another one of the, yep, that’s one of the other outcomes. Absolutely. Yep. No, I was going to say that’s exactly that’s another one of the outcomes that I failed to mention. So, that’s a great point. Alright, so that’s my number one. What is your number one?

Curtis Hays (04:48.011)

Curtis Hays (04:51.57)
So my number one is stop tracking website conversions and start measuring offline conversions. Yep, yep. So.

Tom Nixon (05:04.688)

Curtis Hays (05:12.03)
I would say you still want to track everything. And it’s not that we don’t. But the key with this and the key word there is measuring is the measurement part. So there’s the tracking, which is the collecting piece of the data, which you want to take a look at. But as you know, we work with a lot of clients that are in the B2B space or even professional services that could be B2C. And it’s, they’re doing lead gen. And the sale happens offline

And if you’re just tracking website conversions, you have a high likelihood of getting something wrong. And what you’re doing is, if you’re measuring those conversions, you’re likely informing the ad platforms of those actions. And.

When you’re doing that, if they are not the audiences who you are targeting that are actually leading to a sale, then those algorithms within those platforms are going to go and potentially find more of the wrong audience, more of the wrong type of people, right? So, um, you know, let, let’s say you’ve got, uh, you send, you got three campaigns, you get a hundred conversions from one campaign.

That’s website conversion, so that’d be a form fill or a phone call. 10 of those are qualified for become clients. You have another campaign. It’s only 50 conversions. So it looks like it’s not doing as good. You get 15 qualified and then three clients, 25 conversions in the next campaign, eight qualified, five clients. Which one performed the best? Now you might say, I’ll stop you. Just, just hold on Tom.

You might say it’s the one that got the most clients, but the wrench and the whole thing and the two pieces that most agencies or companies aren’t measuring. Do you want to take a guess on the two numbers?

Tom Nixon (07:15.902)

Tom Nixon (07:19.611)
uh return on uh marketing spend. Total sales against yeah total revenue against your marketing spend.

Curtis Hays (07:22.314)
Well, so that’s the outcome, but how do you measure that number?

So your revenue.

Curtis Hays (07:32.622)
Spend, right, yeah. So like, if you look at it on its face, you say, well, let’s say you started with the first number, 100 conversions, that was the best campaign. But in the end, that could not be true, it’s possible that’s not actually true, again, because you have these other metrics, how many were qualified, and then another metric, how many did actually become converted. But in, say, the 50 conversions, 15 qualified, but three clients, maybe you had a client in there that was three times the revenue of any other client.

for whatever reason. Now that could potentially been the best performing campaign because it brought in the most revenue. And then depending on how much it costs you within that campaign is then really going to tell you either that ROI and then all of them combined is your marketing efficiency ratio. So that’s really when you get into measurement and performance based marketing that like I would challenge most companies if you’re currently working with an agency or you’re doing advertising.

You can’t be basing performance, the effectiveness of performance based solely off of conversions. Sure. You want to look at conversion rates and those types of things for other, uh, potential metrics, but yeah, whether or not they’re effective or not, as soon as you dive into what happens offline and you connect sales and ROI and MERs, the whole world opens up to you and the game changes. So.

Tom Nixon (09:00.975)

Curtis Hays (09:01.974)
That’s, and we started this about two years ago and I just, the, the transformation that’s happened with so many clients, it’s, it’s just been incredible.

Tom Nixon (09:12.575)
Well, I guess you applied this. I don’t know if you stated it explicitly, but also the attribution link often gets broken. That chain gets broken in B2B because there’s a lot of decision-makers. There’s a lot of considering parties and they pass off emails. They go into private meetings and they have conversations and you can’t track with absolute certainty where the trigger was or why they chose you. So, um, yeah, I know you’ve preached this in the past, but getting that offline conversion data into the system. So in other words, this client came to us.

We don’t know what the path was. We don’t know what they clicked. If it was an email or what it was, it’s just as important as the, uh, conversions that you can see. So, um, all right, good stuff. All right. My number two is also branded and it’s, I’m going to call it, go ask it on the mountain that might sound familiar. That’s right. Go tell it on the mountain.

Curtis Hays (10:04.692)
It’s a country tune, isn’t it? Like an old folk song?

Tom Nixon (10:08.083)
Oh, is, I don’t know. I don’t well go tell it on the mountain is this is this is go ask it on the mountain. What I mean by this is a common mistake. So now I’m talking about writing marketing copy. This could be website copy, advertising copy, brochure copy, just brand messaging in general is that a common practice.

Curtis Hays (10:12.478)
Oh, okay, so what was this now? Go what?

Go ask it on the mountain. Okay.

Tom Nixon (10:32.051)
it was for a consultant or an agency or a person internal to the firm to go, you know, assemble a team of leadership, get them in a room. And then let’s have this conversation about why we’re different, why we’re so great, why companies or people should hire us. And that’s as far as they go. So then what results from that is something that ultimately the C-suite puts its stamp of approval on everyone fluffs each other up. This is great. This sure sounds like us, but they leave one important

piece of the equation out of it. I’ll ask you, since you made me guess, what is that missing ingredient when they do it that way?

Tom Nixon (11:10.007)
Glad you got stumped. This is the secret.

Curtis Hays (11:11.314)
Oh, they haven’t asked, so it sounds like they’re asking stakeholders within the organization, but they haven’t asked their target audience. Yeah. I’m learning something from you, Tom. All this time I’m spending with you, I’m learning something.

Tom Nixon (11:18.027)
Exactly. So it’s who else?

Tom Nixon (11:25.083)
Right. So this is like something I always insist on, as you know, when I’m doing this kind of works, I need to talk to the person or persons who you are trying to influence, whether it’s you’re trying to get them to become customers, you’re trying to get them to refer clients to you, whatever it is, if we don’t hear from them in their own words, without the leadership in the room, what makes them.

consider a product, what motivates them to buy a product, what are the motivators and demotivators for preference? Why did you choose this company, even if it wasn’t ours, against that company? So, you know, in the olden days, they used to call this focus groups. They still do focus groups. I represent a market research firm, and they are still doing old-fashioned, excuse me, old-fashioned focus groups. You can do surveys, you can, now you have access to so much data out there in terms of third-party reviews.


Tom Nixon (12:19.543)
We got to remember to delete this.

You have so much access to data now, third party reviews, online, public reviews, Google reviews, Yelp, all of this stuff is formed. You can get the data. My recommendation and my preference is to actually talk to real people and have them express it in their own words, hopefully in person or at least on video like this so you can see nuance like body language and facial expressions and you can really get into the emotions and beyond the data, beyond what the clicks are telling you.

And then again, don’t just ask the stakeholders. That’s a starting point, but it should not be the end point because if you do, you’re going to be this preacher preaching on the mountain to nobody. And nobody’s going to come hear the sermon. What you want to do is go ask the congregation, what would you like to hear? And then you formulate your copy all around them and you, you understand their why and you communicate the why back to them, right? Well, you always talk about why, how, what the why is it? Why you exist? The why is what is the ultimate person?

who you’re asking on the mountain, what is their why? And then you can shape the copy around that and lead with that. And it’s authentic and you’re not going to have to guess if it’s right. Um, it will be right. And even if the, again, that C-suite doesn’t feel like it’s right, it’s data informed and it should be right. And you should have the courage to say, that’s not what I thought our message should be, but it sure sounds like it is based on who we’re trying to reach.

Curtis Hays (13:48.702)
I was really confused by this in my early career. I brought up Simon Sinek before and it was, you know, that was all the craze 10, 12 years ago and, um, trying to take that why, which is your own brand’s purpose for existing and put that out in your marketing and it falls flat.

Tom Nixon (13:56.747)

Tom Nixon (14:10.507)
Yep. Well.

Curtis Hays (14:12.198)
Yeah, in a lot of cases, especially in the type of work that we do, professional services, like they don’t care, like those, you know, you’re a consumer, you’re just not resonating with them. So.

Tom Nixon (14:22.811)
Yeah, it all in a perfect world, the company’s purpose aligns at some point or intersects with the customer’s purpose. And so that’s the magic. You’re trying to find that you’re not just saying here’s why we exist. You know, so many companies as he suggested have mission statements on the homepage. Nobody cares about your mission statement. They really don’t. Um what they do is they care about their own personal problem or aspirations and they’re trying to figure out should they consider this website, this company, this person among the many that they’re going to consider. Um for hire and

Curtis Hays (14:29.023)
Right, right.

Curtis Hays (14:36.95)

Tom Nixon (14:52.511)
I would submit to you the company that expresses back to that person. This is what hurts you. I understand it. This is where your pain is, or this is what your lofty aspiration is. I understand it. I’m communicating it back to you. Those are the ones that are going to resonate and those are the people of the among those considered, those are going to be the stickiest. So go ask it on the mountain people. Curtis, you’re number two.

Curtis Hays (15:14.87)
Go ask it on the mountain. I like it. My number two is, man, I wish I would have come up with fun names for mine like you did yours. So in advertising.

Let’s say you’re doing LinkedIn, let’s say you’re on Metta, you’re doing Facebook. We all lean towards wanting to set up what’s called click campaigns to send that traffic to our website. Because our website is that, it’s part of that funnel, right? It’s like we just think, like we built this great website, we’re gonna create landing pages, we’re gonna send this traffic there, and then that traffic is gonna fill out a form, and they’re gonna come into our CRM and great.

And you’ve really got to stop that in some cases. And so what we’ve been doing the last couple of years in LinkedIn, in Facebook is utilizing lead gen forms. And so we never, I shouldn’t say never, but it pretty much is almost never when we’re doing a campaign that is a lead gen campaign where we need to collect somebody’s information and send that information to the CRM.

We are making it as easy as possible for the user to get that information. And it is not easy for a user who’s on their phone inside the LinkedIn app to click a link on an ad, an image ad, a carousel ad, whatever, here’s a download button, here’s a register for a webinar button, and they get sent to out, maybe out of the app.

Or inside natively the app and it loads the browser natively in the app, whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn. Here you potentially have a slow loading website. They’ve got a five or six questions to fill out and all that information. Or the majority of it likely is inside the app that they’re signed into already.

Curtis Hays (17:22.178)
So just make it so much easier for them and utilize the lead gen form. So say I’m in LinkedIn and you’ve got a great webinar that you want people to sign up for, got a perfectly targeted audience. When they click that register button, you keep them inside of LinkedIn, their name, their title, the company they’re with, it all auto-populates. And if you do have a custom question, you could still put that custom question there that they could type in really quick.

Or maybe you have work email, because you want their work email, but oftentimes in LinkedIn or Facebook, you’re gonna have their personal email. So you could get their work email, and that could be a custom question, and then have them submit. And you’re gonna see your conversion rates on form submissions skyrocket. When we do LinkedIn, you can sometimes see 80 to 90% bounce rates of sending people to your website. But we could see

conversion rates inside the platform itself. So do that, it is way more successful, way easier on the user.

Tom Nixon (18:30.303)
That’s a great one. Great one. I mean, as a user, I can verify that it’s a clunky experience often, especially if the site’s not optimized for mobile that well, right? And I hate typing on my phone. So it’s like, all right, if you’re asking for a bunch of open ended, I might just bounce out of that just because it’s too cumbersome. Come back later, forget about it, whatever. So I love that.

Curtis Hays (18:51.214)
Right. Yeah. Sometimes it’s a justification for like, again, it’s like, we spent all this money on the website and we have a designer, we’ve got landing page templates. So why aren’t we utilizing them and you just have to get out of maybe an older mindset, right? That yeah, there was a, there still is a purpose for landing pages. It’s just maybe not so much in certain lead gen campaigns.

And I would advocate for, you could still use landing pages, but make it later in the experience. Like trigger with your CRM, an email that goes to somebody who signs up through your LinkedIn form, that then there’s a link in their email that they could visit later, maybe from their desktop or something like that, that takes them to the landing page with more information. And maybe there’s a second form they fill out to get even more information or to register for another thing. So there’s always a place for them.

I just think when you’re advertising in these ad platforms that you consider lead gen forms.

Tom Nixon (19:54.419)
Yeah, I think whatever you can do to reduce or remove the friction between what you want the customer to do or the person, the prospect to do. I’m thinking of, um, I’ve rethought gated content as well. Um, there is a place for that, but I think if you’re trying to get your best ideas in front of a prospective audience, give it to them, just give it to them. Um, and then there are other ways to follow up and track that. What I would already consider a conversion.

even if they haven’t given you anything. So anyways, uh hope I didn’t steal your number three. My number three is somewhat related. I’ve got a brand name for it. It’s called Give Up the Goods. So, give up the goods. Now, I’m talking again about thought leadership content writing and I’ll use my favorite example, my law firm and attorney clients because they’re they are um

Curtis Hays (20:28.403)
No, you didn’t.

Tom Nixon (20:48.947)
because of the way their mind works though and because of what they do for a living. So, you think of an attorney, if they are writing a legal abstract or they’re making some argument in court, they’re gonna run through chapter and verse all of the reasons, right? That you should agree with me and at the end, there’s gonna be this handy dandy like closing argument that says, if this is it and you want to leave the jury or the

mediator or the judge or whoever with your best argument at the end. That’s great for practicing law. It’s really bad for writing thoughts, leadership content these days, because nobody reads that way anymore. Um, everyone there right now, think about the last article you wrote and remember, or I’m sorry, read, uh, and remember how you read it. Um, did you read it word for word at the very beginning? And did you read every single of the 1200 words until you got to the end and said, Hmm, what a great article. Or did you look at the headline?

like, this is interesting. Did you read the first paragraph? Yup. Then did you scan all the way down and say, okay, how long is this article? Okay, let me go back up to the top. Let me skim. There’s a header. What is the section about? What is the section about? Then if you’re really into it, you’re like, this is a really good article. I’m gonna go back up to the top and start over, right? Or you’ve made the decision that, no, this wasn’t a very good article and you bounce. So, when I say give up the goods, I think early and often, you should give the value away and the takeaway

the opening and before you even get to the second header, you need to tell the reader why you’re reading this, what you’re gonna get out of it, and why it’s important to continue reading. So, starting at the beginning. So, as you mentioned, you’ve got an audience member. They’re very busy, right? Somebody who you want to read this article is either already working. They’re getting email. Um they are on LinkedIn. They’re on Facebook. They’re killing some time and at some point or another,

This article is going to enter their awareness and they’re going to have a split decision to make, delete the email or keep it for later or read it, keep scrolling on LinkedIn or stop and say, what’s this about? Right. And that split decision is happening within two seconds, maybe. And you’ve got to make the case in two seconds. Whoa. This article is for you. Stop what you’re doing. And this is why you want to read it. And by this, I mean the headline.

Tom Nixon (23:10.431)
headline has to be super clear or super evocative or hopefully both because the first thing to do is to do what I call the pattern interrupt and you’re wanting to interrupt whatever they were doing. You gotta get them to stop. So my own way is I my headline is very short, very sweet and very I think and tend to be evocative like oh wait what’s this? I’ll give you an example in a minute. The second thing they’re gonna read is either

or the meta description that’s showing up in their feed, right? So you’ve got like maybe 50 to 166 characters to say, this is who this article is for. I’d be very clear. This is what it’s about. This is why it’s important and what you’re going to get from it. That’s a lot. All of that stuff has to sort of be baked into, I think the subhead or the opening paragraph or the meta description that your web team is putting in and that’s going to be visible to viewers. Within the first 100 words.

Curtis Hays (23:42.902)

Curtis Hays (24:02.754)

Tom Nixon (24:09.267)
You have to have given up the goods already. You have had to say, this is the big takeaway, not at the end because people aren’t going to get there unless they get, they take all those other steps that I just mentioned, right? They got to stop. They got to click. They got to scan and then they are going to scan first. It’s so you want to make sure that at every opportunity, you’re not asking them to read the entire article. You’re asking them to skim the article. The skim is what’s asking them to take a second look and maybe skim a little closer in that if the article is written well.

Curtis Hays (24:18.293)

Tom Nixon (24:38.643)
you will have earned their attention and they will go back and they will read the entire article and say, this is good. Right. It’s so give away, especially my attorney friends, give up the goods. Don’t bury it in the dramatic clothes. Give it up early and often. What do you think?

Curtis Hays (24:56.074)
Well, I think we were trying to validate this yesterday and maybe we’ll have a follow-up, but, uh, we were talking about featured snippets yesterday and something that, that I wanted, I will. So, um, what you’re talking about, Google’s aware of and knows that this is a user behavior. So what featured snippets are is say I go to the search engine and I ask a question. Um, like what is SEO? And.

Tom Nixon (25:05.151)
Yeah, explain what that is. So for people who don’t know.

Curtis Hays (25:26.178)
There’s going to be a featured sort of in a maybe grayed outline box, an answer to your question. You don’t have to go to a website to get the answer to that question. Google’s going to give you the answer. But it’s not Google giving you the answer. Google used a search result to give you the answer. Sometimes then you’ll see right below that, people also ask. And then you’ll get other similar.

or related questions that are underneath there that you used to be called like FAQ snippets or we use schema markup to try to get Google to recognize this content on a page. But Google has gotten smart now and knew that, hey, there’s really good content out there on websites, but they’re not using technical markup. So I need to be smart enough to read that content, understand. And I mean, have you ever like done a search, clicked a result, gone to a website and like

Chrome browser is actually highlighting the answer and took you to that place on the article. Like Google did that. It wasn’t, it wasn’t the website administrator set something up for that to happen. Google’s doing it, taking you right to the answer, but it’s buried halfway down the page. So our theory here is in that, it isn’t even a theory. We’re, we’re, we’re gonna prove this to be the case. But in order to be that featured snippet, you do have to have at least.

a page one ranking. So you do have to be in the top 10 search results for the phrase. So you have to have a good article that covers the topic. To have that featured snippet, you have to have the best, clearest, concise, compelling, whatever, answer to that query. And then Google could put you as the featured snippet.

And so, you know, we were taking a look at one of these for one of our clients and saying, Hey, who is the featured snippet now? We currently have like a third or fourth ranking organically, but if we wrote a better answer to this question, we got it up on top of the page, could we now get the featured snippet, which would basically move us immediately into the number one position and drive more traffic.

Tom Nixon (27:36.051)
without paying for it. Yep.

Curtis Hays (27:38.59)
Um, the other takeaway I have from you with this is I think that opportunity to blend the SEO part of it with the creative, um, sort of engaging piece for a user. Right. So oftentimes in the SEO world, which is my background, you’re trying to fit a keyword, you’re trying to put a statement or heading in a certain way to get it to rank.

But does that really move the user, intrigue them to want to read more, right? So there’s this, there is this blend to the, the sort of technical aspect as well as the creative writing aspect to it. And I think there’s this opportunity for you and I to collaborate further on that. And the use of what is maybe a title or H1 heading where you can have more of the technical aspects and then the.

Tom Nixon (28:25.341)
Oh yeah.

Curtis Hays (28:35.03)
teaser or sometimes we’ll use what’s called an eyebrow, which is a heading that’s above the main heading in smaller text or it’s below to entice that user, right, to read further and get to that next paragraph. I don’t know, what do you think about that?

Tom Nixon (28:49.473)

Tom Nixon (28:54.239)
I love it and we will have to collaborate on this some more. II promised an example. So, I’ll give you an example since you brought up SEO. Here’s the old way of doing it, right? 10 best 10 SEO best practices you should learn today. Okay. I don’t do SEO. So, I don’t care, right?

Curtis Hays (29:00.318)
Okay. Yeah.

Tom Nixon (29:14.227)
Let’s say that’s targeted is let’s say that’s my article and I want my clients to read it, right? Or people like my clients. Well, none of my clients are going to read that because my clients ask, what is SEO, right? Um what if the article was headlined instead buyer beware colon game over for SEO. Okay, now I’m like I’ve heard of SEO and now this person I’ve heard that SEO is like

Curtis Hays (29:25.184)

Tom Nixon (29:42.035)
Whatever it is, it’s like the most important thing in the world. And what if the subhead said why small and medium sized businesses. Should stop optimizing on search engines and do this instead. Whoa. Okay. This goes against the grain. I’m interested now, by the way, I own a small business. So it sounds like this article is written for me. Right. And then in the very first paragraph, we say something about the game is completely changed for pay per click advertising.

Um, so co so small mid-sized businesses that have historically tried to compete using search engine optimization, there is a better way now to compete for online traffic. If you’ve been doing it the old way, consider this the new way. Your next headline is preview. Try to get the preview snippet or whatever it is. Right. So, but

Curtis Hays (30:32.268)
Right, right.

Tom Nixon (30:34.551)
nobody’s gonna I don’t think this you know we’ve been buzz feeded to death with the 10 things blah right these listicles and I think people are starting to ignore it especially if they’re too generic

Curtis Hays (30:40.43)

Curtis Hays (30:45.338)
And that’s because the search query itself is SEO best practices. So we’ve just been writing for the query instead of writing for the user. Because the user doesn’t go and write the heading that you’re suggesting, which is more of like, you’re less likely to have a user that puts how to do SEO differently, right, or those types of things, right? If they’re in the education.

Tom Nixon (30:53.959)
Yeah, exactly.

Tom Nixon (31:09.279)
Right, yep. Yep.

Curtis Hays (31:12.638)
they’re trying to educate themselves or say what are the trends in 2024, they’re going to type, you know, top 2024 trends in SEO. And so that’s been the struggle, I think, is just trying to get it to rank, not necessarily get a user to read. We’re going to see this shift in Google interpreting search results and content

content to users that entices user to read versus what contains the right keywords.

Tom Nixon (31:51.091)
Yeah, exactly. Well, and I just wanted to

Curtis Hays (31:52.534)
So yeah, I mean, an AI allows Google to do that and a number of other things. It’s not just going to be a one-to-one keyword match.

Tom Nixon (32:00.515)
I just want to, before I hand the baton back to you for your final one, wrap up my, uh, what I just, uh, shared in that example ties in all three of mine. So I keep hearing from clients, prospects and friends, Hey, Tom, we want to do SEO. Like, can we hire you to do SEO? And they’re small business owners. Right? So I’m hearing from, I didn’t go ask them, I didn’t go ask it on the mountain, but they’re freely, um, you know, offering that this is something that they want.

And I can almost guarantee so that was go ask it on the mountain. The article that I just shared was giving up the goods early, right? And then I’ve already forgot what was my oh pick a person. So, the article I was writing is specifically designed for a very specific person. Her initials are DH if she’s listening and she is always asking me what can we do to improve our SEO?

Or how do we get clients for SEO? And I can all but guarantee you that search edge and optimization is not the path of least resistance for her to get more business. Um, so I wrote it for now you would read my article as an SEO expert and be like, oh my God, this is so basic. I’m not writing this for Curtis, right? In fact, and I have to have the courage so that the agency that I’m competing with, they all read this and I have to have the courage to say it’s okay. If it sounds too basic to them.

it might even sound wrong to them. I don’t care. This is what I think based on who I know needs to read this article. So, I wrote it specifically for that person. So, there you go. All three in a nice tidy bow.

Curtis Hays (33:38.014)
And this is the art of, or I should say, this is the blend of the art and science of us working together. Because I’m in this similar boat where I did SEO for a long time. And if a client today wants me to do SEO, I kind of say like, well, you don’t really need what I do. You need what Tom does. You need a writer.

Right? Like the types of things we used to do from an SEO perspective, just like I said, you don’t do the schema markup like you used to. It’s just not as effective as it used to be. Where it was very technical things that you were doing to get ranked. It’s like, no, you want to win today, you need a good writer. You don’t need a good technical person. But that leads me into my third thing.

Tom Nixon (34:24.699)
a good writer, a good writer. Okay, you do need a good writer. Just pointing, I’m just pointing out that you do need a good writer. So, for those of you that are running to chat GPT to say, here, write this for me. Just so what? Yes, cuz so is everybody else.

Curtis Hays (34:30.231)
What’s that?

Curtis Hays (34:34.43)
Yes, you do need a good writer.

Curtis Hays (34:40.138)
And that could be a whole other topic. Because there was just an algorithm update that came out that attacked the chat GPT content. So, yep, we can come back to that one. So, and for those listening, we are gonna have an SEO expert on soon. So I put out a survey on LinkedIn, SEO was the top ask for topic. It’s coming. We’ve got a guest.

Tom Nixon (34:50.946)
Yep. Okay. Put a pin to that. We’ll come back.

Tom Nixon (35:04.675)
Okay, see, I told you.

Curtis Hays (35:08.642)
who’s very knowledgeable and will be on, so stay tuned for that. Okay, my third one. So, really in this world, you gotta pay attention to your tech stack. And I think a lot of marketing agencies or people in marketing don’t really understand what that means. But.

We have moved to not just a highly digital world, but a highly technical world of marketing, and there are lots of disciplines that are involved in that. And so what we’ve done as an agency, and this is really just happened naturally because of my IT background is to make sure that we had a good, reliable tech stack that was repeatable.

across all of our clients. So for example, we only design and develop with WordPress. Like I had to pick a platform and get really, really good at that, right? We only use Google Analytics for our analytics. There’s Adobe Analytics, there’s other analytics platforms out there. No, we had to get certified and get really, really good at that one thing.

Curtis Hays (36:35.518)
Most of our clients use HubSpot and Salesforce. Well, this last year we got certified in HubSpot. I’ve had a background in Salesforce and HubSpot for over 12 years since pretty much those platforms have come out. So we stick in those veins. And I think when you, first of all, if you’re an agency,

Make decisions about what you’re gonna stick with and what your tech stack looks like. Like your hosting provider. Make sure it’s a good hosting, but don’t try to support websites on 10 different hosts that have different control panels. Like how are you gonna train a new person that comes in on how to operate all these different control panels and how the backups work and how you install certificates and all these things? You gotta pick a platform and stick with it. So.

And then you document those processes. You can depend on those processes. It’s all repeatable. You can roll it out. And if you’re a company and you are selecting a vendor in these places, there are questions that you, I think really need to ask to know whether or not, um, number one, are they a good fit? So do they have, uh, you know, experience and competencies with your tech stack?

What CRM are you using? What’s your website built in? What additional platforms are you using? What future needs do you expect to have? And does that agency have those competencies that you’re gonna work with? So you can trust that they can deliver and meet the needs that you might have. And if you have gaps, that might be okay. You still might select that vendor, but maybe there’s another vendor who you could bring in to fill that gap.

So, yeah, I mean, just to summarize again, you know, just if you’re an agency, pick them, stick with them, figure out what you’re good at, standardize, create processes, create documentation, train your people that way. If you’re a business, you ask for those things from your agency and make sure, you know, you’re in a good place.

Tom Nixon (38:25.879)
I love it.

Tom Nixon (38:49.427)
I’ve even got the branding for it. So, uh this one is gonna be yeah. Okay. I’ve got well, you’ll just get the invoice. It’ll be a surprise. Um so, the third one is ask the tech expert, right? So, if you’re looking to hire, make sure you’ve got an expert and if you’re gonna be the tech expert, you just be the tech expert, okay? So, that’s that was free of charge. The other two are double though. Um what was your first one?

Curtis Hays (38:52.342)
Well, you should brand these three. I don’t know how much I’m gonna have to pay you for that.

Curtis Hays (39:17.17)
The first one was on our tracking, so the conversion tracking, but don’t track measure.

Tom Nixon (39:27.003)
Okay. That’s, that’s it. Yep. All right. How about measure what you treasure? What you really treasure is the sales. Don’t measure the vanity metrics. Measure what you treasure. And what was your second?

Curtis Hays (39:33.942)
You have a gift, my friend.

Curtis Hays (39:41.986)
The second one was the forms, the LinkedIn forms, meta forms, stay away from landing pages.

Tom Nixon (39:51.923)
I’m gonna have to workshop that one. I’ll get back to you on that. Yeah, it is. Yeah. All right. Well, this was good. Thank you for sharing your three secrets. I love it. Hopefully, people got value out of all of our secrets and all of our tricks of the trade. We will be back next week with a actual expert. Whether we are or not, that remains to be seen, but we are definitely the co-hosts of Bullhorns and Bullseye. So thank you all for being here and we’ll see you next week.

Curtis Hays (39:54.494)
Yeah, that one’s gonna cost me money, isn’t it?

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Additional episodes:

Episode 12

Episode 12: What is Marketing Attribution?

Tom & Curtis discuss the topic of marketing attribution, the methodology of attributing a purchase or lead to its source in a marketing campaign.

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Episode 5: Aligning Sales and Marketing

Fractional CMO, author and frequent podcast interviewee Aimee Schuster joins our pod to break down her view of what ails many sales and marketing departments in organizations today.

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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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