In this episode we speak to Lorenzo Luiso of Brick Digital about straightforward actionable tips you can take right now on your website and for your business to boost your website and profile when people are searching for your services in your local area.
John Lawley (00:06): Hello and welcome to the Simplified Marketing podcast. My name is John Lawley and I run a web agency. This is the podcast that aims to help you grow your business, and today we’ve got one of our best guests back, Lorenzo from Brick Digital, so hi Lorenzo.
Lorenzo Luiso (00:24): Hi John, thanks for having me back on.
John Lawley (00:28): We’ve got you back on popular demand, because the last podcast that you appeared in was one of our most listened to episodes, so well done. There’ll be some kind of a certificate, an award, through the post. What we thought was, we’re going to try and give our listeners a lot more value at the moment, especially with all the disruption due to the corona virus.
John Lawley (00:49): A lot of very worried businesses out there, people trying to find new ways to do business, so different value that we can add, especially if they’re looking into what they’re doing on their website or marketing online. So who at the moment, is doing well? Or do you have any case-studies of people who are actually benefiting from this at the moment?
Lorenzo Luiso (01:09): Well, I think benefiting is probably a bad choice of word for it at the moment, but they’re doing well, because they have innovated and worked on it. We have a couple of clients, one in the event industry. Obviously corporate events, all types of events and gatherings have been canceled, but what they did was, very quickly came to us and said, “Well, we have formulated this new offering, which is actually an online stream of a virtual conference, where people can be interactive.” They put it all together and packaged it very quickly, within about a week of lockdown being announced. Then we worked with them to produce a new search marketing campaign, new pay-per-click ads for it, and drove people to this new landing page.
Lorenzo Luiso (01:49): Since they’ve been getting inquiries from that, from corporates who are looking to keep running their conferences, because communication is just as important now as it was before lockdown, if not even more important, and they still want to run them. What they do is, they run this offering for the client and they actually keep their conferences and events going. That’s been a great example of it, because other event companies might’ve thought, “Well, let’s just bury our heads in the sand now everything’s being canceled. There’s nothing we can do.”
Lorenzo Luiso (02:14): That’s a great example of innovating, but also just producing that offering, would have done nothing for them, but it’s how they then came to us and how we worked to market that, which has then led to, them actually to be able to evolve a bit, and innovate through this lockdown.
John Lawley (02:27): That does seem to be a big thing, because a lot of the people I know that we’ve spoken to in our circles, it’s almost a 50-50 mix. It’s almost, “I’m going to shut down and weather this thing out, stop spending anything at all.” Then there are a number of people who are thinking, “Do you know what? Actually, I could still be doing this and that, I could change my processes, I could change the way that I’m working, but I don’t need to be close to people to actually work.” Is that going to be a benefit to people who have continued doing marketing during this time, do you think?
Lorenzo Luiso (02:58): I think massively, and it’s purely a case that the people that have continued to do marketing, and there’s been a lot spoken about it on LinkedIn and other publications, and the social media, where people are mentioning the Google ads for example, the cost-per-click in most industries has dove through the floor now, because it’s got so low, because so much of the competition have said, “Right, pause our ads. Let’s save costs now.”
Lorenzo Luiso (03:20): But that has meant there’s less companies bidding for clicks, which means that, the cost-per-click has gone down. That’s worked in a lot of companies’ favour. By innovating and then still pushing into their marketing, and actually thinking, “How can we use this right now?” Has worked in really well.
Lorenzo Luiso (03:37): Another great example is an accountancy firm we work with, who have instead of just continuing as they were, they’ve kept in contact with their clients, they produced a lot of great information on corona virus and the business grants. All the offerings by the government and actually pushed that on their website. Then we worked with them on another pay-per-click campaign, which is focusing on just helping businesses get the information they need. And by doing that, driving this traffic to a targeted landing page of an accountant who are nearby them, who are offering free advice for actually at that moment, and then being able to convert them into new inquiries and new leads for their business, because once again they have kept pumping into their marketing and considered, “This isn’t a time to just stay stagnant. We need to do something different here.”
Lorenzo Luiso (04:19): It’s very much, I think, you’ll find when you’re speaking to people. It’s very much about, added value at the moment and where we can add value, because the majority of us aren’t looking to spend massive amounts or sign new contracts. It would be great to start those conversations with just adding value to somebody, or hopefully, obviously with the aim that after this, there will be a chance to do business in the future.
John Lawley (04:41): I found that’s really important isn’t it? I quite like the accountant idea, because this is something that we’ve worked on with various different accountants together, I think. You can actually see, if you’re looking at the analytics of their sites, the background number of hits that you get on a standard day is holding out quite average. All of a sudden, you see that the government are trying to put out help packages for different businesses, and the hits to their website just skyrocket overnight. As long as, they are putting information out there for people to consume, and the right information.
John Lawley (05:13): I also noticed as well, talking to different people, what do you recommend? … because there are certain people who are just … obviously being quiet, but other people are trying to open up new methods of communication, but are scared of say, email marketing, or are scared of say, Facebook and things like that. I mean, can people go wrong? Or is it just a case of, “If you don’t talk to your customer base, you just disappear”?
Lorenzo Luiso (05:37): Oh yeah, I definitely think that’s the case. If you’re not talking to them now, then their mind is so clouded, and as I said, it’s less about selling to them, if you’re talking to them, but more about just communicating, or adding some sort of value. What we’re doing as a business is literally just staying in communication through email, and calling clients, but in those emails, actually offering them free added-value services that we find from other partners and clients, that are say, offering free advice on accountancy and the furlough scheme.
Lorenzo Luiso (06:08): We’re pushing it out to our clients and just saying to them, “This is not an email from us selling anything. We’re not upselling. We’re not talking about our services. Here’s something that we think will be useful to you. Run with it and see if you like it.” But that’s what, I think it’s all just about communicating, regardless of what medium it’s on right now. It’s making sure that your existing client base, and your previous one, knows that you are still operating or aren’t, or at a reduced service. Just simple things like that, keeping them in the loop.
John Lawley (06:35): It did feel a bit like if you think back to the GDPR deadline, and all of a sudden, everyone wanted to send you an email saying that they were looking after your data a lot. Then, in the last few weeks, I’ve never known so many different organisations that really care about me, and want to look after me. Even the ones, I haven’t been using, but they’ve got my email address.
John Lawley (06:56): I suppose that method of like you’re saying, short information, but this is useful for you. “Here’s the accountant’s details, they’re talking about this.” “This is a service which will benefit you, it’s not necessarily selling me.” It seems to have been working quite well, because you’re keeping in regular contact. People maybe have time to consume more emails, let’s say, and use the web a lot more.
Lorenzo Luiso (07:20): Exactly, they’ve got more time. Even myself, you’ll find yourself, you’re consuming content, whereas in the past, you might look at, like an email and say, “Well it’s not really relevant right now. I’ve got a million other things to do, I’m not going to click on that link. I’m not going to with that article.” But I find myself bothering now, because we’ve got a bit more time on our hands. So you’ll find that other people are consuming content at such a higher rate. People that aren’t working at all, maybe their business has shut down and they’re now looking at other ways to improve the business. They’re going to be consuming this content, and really buy into it at this point. Whereas, in the past, they might have been too busy for it.
John Lawley (07:53): What’s been working well? What are a few different action points that people can put in place pretty quickly?
Lorenzo Luiso (08:01): Well, what I think is important for businesses at the moment, is those ones who are maybe slowed-down, or even had to shut down, or cancel business operations, maybe like some of these events companies that just basically have got nothing, no work to do at the moment, it’s about finding ways that they can use their online presence. These tips that I want to talk about, are very much about how they can do a few things to keep them busy A, and B, meaning that they’ve come out of this with something useful and tangible.
Lorenzo Luiso (08:31): One of the biggest things that I’d like to talk about and probably people that have seen the other podcast, and know I talk about a lot, is local search and Google business listings. Now, they’re the easiest win for most businesses, but one of the ones that a lot of businesses don’t understand or don’t use. The ones that use them really well, are usually working with an SEO agency, because SEO agencies or experts, they know the value of them.
Lorenzo Luiso (08:55): Now, for a small business owner who might be watching this or listening in, don’t be thinking, “Right, I’ve got all these time on my hands, what can I do?” Well, the first thing I would say, is to get a Google business listing, if you don’t have one already. Fill-it out completely. If you do have one, make sure it’s filled-out completely. Lots of pictures, a logo obviously of the company. If you can, get pictures of yourself at work, and faces really do sell businesses these days, because there’s so much stock imagery around.
Lorenzo Luiso (09:24): Then also, pictures of your work, and then making sure that, as I said, it’s complete. That means, when you see the offer to write a description, it says 750 characters. Don’t do what a lot of people do and get turned-off, and think, “God! I’ve not got the time for that.”
Lorenzo Luiso (09:37): Right now, we really do have the time for it, so write a full description, and make sure that description includes the services you offer, the locations you serve, and all of those things. Then go through that listing, that Google business listing. It’s totally free, fill it all out. Now once you’ve done that, make sure that everything on it is exactly correct, i.e. your website address on it links to your home page on your site. Make sure that’s all linked up.
Lorenzo Luiso (10:02): That follows onto my second point. One of my best tips I could give, which in a way is to do with the Google business listing. Now, Google business listing, we all know, appears in that map section at the top of Google when you search, if you’re looking for plumbers in my area, or pipe bursts at this time of the year, and you’re looking for somebody nearby. That will pop up, but that’s actually, in a way, influenced by your website.
Lorenzo Luiso (10:24): Now, what a lot of people don’t realise, is they might fill-out the Google business listing, and they’ll put their address in, whether they’ve got a shop, or if they’re just an office, they’ll put the address in there and not consider that on their website, their address is actually Tweets. They might say, “Free and we’re close” and then they might go straight in with the county and then just with the postcode. Then on their website, they detail the address even more. Now, this is somewhere that you can really … it will have an impact on where your Google business listing appears, and also where your website appears when somebody searches locally.
Lorenzo Luiso (10:55): Make sure that your name, the name of your business, the address of the business, and the phone number are precisely the same on your Google business listing and on your website. If it’s in your footer, have your business name exactly the same as it reads on your Google business listing. It’s sat there in your footer, beneath it, the address exactly the same, and the phone number exactly the same.
Lorenzo Luiso (11:17): Now that helps Google link them both together, and tie them together, and see them as, “Okay, well that website is definitely associated with that Google business listing. They are the same people and we know exactly where they’re located.” So if they are plumbers, we know people around that address that we see there, they should be seeing them in the Google map listings.
Lorenzo Luiso (11:35): They are two of the biggest points that I can say right now that people can do. You don’t need a web developer, you don’t need an SEO agency to do that. You can go ahead and do that right now.
John Lawley (11:46): Attention to detail then. Making sure those links are precise, and across the board.
Lorenzo Luiso (11:50): Absolutely, attention to detail, and it’s one of those things that will pass by when we’re busy all year round and think, “Oh well, that doesn’t really matter.” Or, “I’ve had a few calls from Google and that.” They do all right, and you just get a bit lost, and you never really think about those finer details. Well, now you can, and just check, and you will find that most people will find errors, and it will make a difference when they fix those errors.
Lorenzo Luiso (12:11): Now, following on from that, getting more reviews. This is a great time, as I said, we’ve got a lot more time on our hands, as the business owners. Also, clients and past customers have a lot more time on their hands. So, if they had just used you to lay a new laminate in January, why not get back in contact? Either on the phone, or however you communicated in the past, and say to them, “Do you mind writing a review on my Google business listing?” Or, “Writing a review for our website, a testimonial? Getting those kind of things compiled right now is going to help you in the future. When people visit your website or look for you on Google, the more reviews you have, that will influence how much exposure you get on Google.
Lorenzo Luiso (12:48): It’s another thing, those clients have a lot more time on their hands now, so use that, because there’ll be prepared to actually spend time writing you a nice review. It will give them something to do for 10 minutes, while they’re trying to waste the day by. For some people, that’s how it is. I know for me, sometimes it’s like, I’m just trying find things to do to take up my time. That’s another important thing you can do now.
Lorenzo Luiso (13:09): All of this is, as I said, it’s very much about getting found on Google and obviously that traffic is important. So the final thing for that, which I would say is, creating more content for your website. Making sure that your website reads perfectly well, and that it actually explains what you do. A good tip for that is to get somebody that doesn’t know you, jump on a Facebook group in your local area. For me it’s like “Abbots Langley Matters”, this is one I always see coming up. You can jump in that group and say to them, “Hello everyone. I’ve got this website, could somebody please just give me 10 minutes of their time to review the site? And I want you to come back to me with exactly what this company does and where it serves.”
Lorenzo Luiso (13:50): Now, once again, they have got loads of time, so use it for a bit of peer feedback. They might take a look and then come back to you and say, “Well, you’re a plumber” or, “You’re a gutter cleaner in the area.” Then you actually think to yourself, well actually, we do drain unblocking. We’re experts at doing this. We do drain jetting. If they can’t understand that through your website, then the customers who come to you can’t either. That might be a reason why your website has never brought you a new booking. Those kinds of things. It’s simple peer feedback, and the reason I think … this makes sense all year round, but right now, people have a lot more time to do it, and they’ll give you better feedback.
John Lawley (14:27): And people love to give you their opinions, I’ve always found, so that’s a great way of getting around, and also as well, getting your name heard to the local area as well.
Lorenzo Luiso (14:36): Exactly, and it also helps a long technical thing in SEO, it’s not something you should worry about, but if you get 100 visitors from your target area to your website in a day, you will find that your website ranks higher in that area in general. So it will help by posting it in a Facebook group, but once again, it’s not promotional, you’re just doing it to get help, and like you said, everybody loves to share their opinion.
Lorenzo Luiso (15:01): That’s what I would say are some great tips for people to go ahead with and get done now, so it’s get your Google business listing updated, make sure those finer details are perfect, the name, address and phone number, are the same across all of them.
Lorenzo Luiso (15:13): Gather the reviews, keep that communication going with your past and existing clients. Then also, get some peer feedback on your website messaging, and what it really says about you as a business. They’re the tips for getting found.
Lorenzo Luiso (15:28): Then one of the things you can actually do on your website. Now this is one thing that I wanted to mention in this podcast, we mentioned it, was actually looking at if 500 people visited your site, and you’re getting one of those convert, it’s actually about increasing that to three or four, or five people converting.
Lorenzo Luiso (15:44): Now, a lot of us think our website is great. We all think that our website does what it should, and that it’s easy to navigate, and that it tells you exactly what we do and how. It doesn’t, most of us, because we’re looking at it, and we know the business. One of the things I see the most, which I think cripples conversion rates, is contact forms that are just a contact form. It says, “Contact us” and then your name, your phone, your email, and then the message. It says, “Your message.” That is not relatable at all for most businesses.
Lorenzo Luiso (16:15): Let’s go back to the drain unblocking company. If you were to have a contact form that just says, “Contact us” what’s going to happen when I fill-in my details? Okay, I’ve got a drain to unblock, but I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen after this form is press submit. A lot of the time we get that, “Thank you” message comment like, “Right, do I just wait for a phone call, or an email? … which I don’t really trust, if it’s ever going to come back.”
Lorenzo Luiso (16:37): One tip that I think is great and usually wouldn’t just give this away, but in the circumstances, this is useful for people, is to have not only a call to action, but actually show that there’s a process behind your contact form. It could be, “Request a call back” above it and then it says, “Enter your details below and we’ll call you back within 24 hours to discuss a survey of your drains.” “Perfect, I know what’s going to happen when I fill-out that form.” It could even be a case that they have drop-down boxes that say, “Tell us more about your issue, and then we’ll get in contact.” They can select, “I’ve got the drain in the back bathroom is blocked” or, “The toilet’s overflowing.” Maybe that would be more of an emergency thing that you wouldn’t be filling-out a form for. But really showing the customer that there’s a reason why they’re giving you all these details, and what’s going to happen next, and what your business … Also, it just shows you’re more professional, if you have a process as to how you follow up clients.
Lorenzo Luiso (17:29): I know it sounds to a lot of business owners, small business owners might think, “Well, that’s Pie in the Sky stuff” that it’s really not that important, it really is, because I, as a consumer, when I go on a website nowadays, I want you to just give me all the information. I want to consume it quickly. I hate filling-out contact forms that just say, “Contact us.” A part of the time you don’t even hear back from that company, because they don’t even realise how their contact form works.
John Lawley (17:54): That is a really good point and very valuable. I must absolutely agree. Just adding a little bit to that, I think, from my own experience, a lot of the tradespeople as well, will be using some form of back-office system. A lot of these trades nowadays use a thing called ServiceMate. Actually ServiceM8, you can create the actual quoting forms directly through there, and actually integrate it into something like the WordPress website. It doesn’t take very long to do. So when you’re clicking on the contact form, you’re actually filling-out the details of what actually that booking needs to be. “I live at this address, we’ve got this problem, and these are my contact details” That then goes into their CRM system straight away.
John Lawley (18:35): You can do that with other forms on websites of course, but knowing that it’s a back-office system, that they will actually get the stuff, and they will actually then respond to your inquiry, and they’ve already got the details to quote you the price. It just takes you that step further forward doesn’t it? Of you actually getting the job?
Lorenzo Luiso (18:51): It does that, exactly that, and also it just makes you or the person as a consumer, just feel like they’re working with, or they’re looking at a company that really knows their stuff, and really has a plan for … They know then you’re organised. You have a way of doing things here. You’re not just going to take my inquiry. You might give me a bell and see if you want to come round, or is it a big enough job for me. At least if you define that in the contact form, you know how to approach the customer.
Lorenzo Luiso (19:16): Also, the customer feels much happier when you call them up and say, “Oh yeah, I heard that your back drain has been blocked for a week. How can we help you out? Let’s come along and do this. This is what our process is. Now that you’ve gone in contact we have your details.” You could even say to them, “At the moment, because we’re social distancing, we have a process. You leave your key outside [inaudible 00:19:33] we call you 15 minutes” all like that. Just proving you have a process, and just taking some time to write some blurb around your contact form, or changing it from a contact form to a, “Request a call back” form. Or like you said, literally asking them for the details of the job, so it’s a quote form. They’re actually getting a quick quote, or requesting a quote. That makes such a difference to businesses and how well they convert on their website.
John Lawley (19:56): Even it’s stopping the time-wasters as well is part of it, isn’t it?
Lorenzo Luiso (19:58): Yes.
John Lawley (19:58): … because you can then just call back, “It’s X amount of pounds an hour, so do you want us to do this or not?” It’s almost the first question answered, as to whether that person is serious or not.
Lorenzo Luiso (20:09): Exactly. Yeah, definitely. I think that’s my biggest tips around it, is that, things that people can actually do here, now if they have access to their website. If they don’t, they can start to plan this out, and pass it on to their web designer. They’re not massive tricks, or massive things to go ahead and do, but they will make a difference in their quick wins, which will start to help these businesses.
Lorenzo Luiso (20:31): Also, when you start to do this kind of stuff, you actually find, “Oh, actually, our website doesn’t say anything about these services.” You start to realise and see the holes when you take a deeper dive into this stuff.
John Lawley (20:41): Amazing, well, thank you very much, Lorenzo. We’ve taken up a lot of your time there, but I’m sure there’s another follow-up episode from this. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of questions about how to actually implement these different things. Thank you very much for watching or listening, if you’re on iTunes or one of the podcasting services.
John Lawley (20:56): Don’t forget, we are recording this at a safe social distance via Zoom, but if obviously you have a better recommendation for a different video conferencing software, we would love to hear from you, and maybe that’s another podcast in itself. Don’t forget to like and share the show, and keep listening. We’ll see you next time.
Speaker 1 (21:12): That’s all for this time. But don’t worry, we’ll be back with more soon. Stay tuned for new episodes and on marketingsimplified.co.uk.
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