Content Strategy: How GoodbyeCrutches.com Went From 3,000 to 70,000 Monthly Visitors

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ecommerce content marketing with Tom Schwab

Tom Schwab is the CEO of GoodbyeCrutches.com. Goodbye Crutches sells equipment for people who can’t put weight on one foot or the other. Tom came from the corporate world and started a medical supply business. Over the last 4 years he has taken his business from a regional player to a national leader using inbound marketing and the HubSpot tool.

In this interview, Tom shares at length what they did to grow their blog from 3,000 visitors per month – 2000 of which was from paid traffic – to over 70,000 visitors per month, with almost no paid traffic.

There are two key points in this interview:

  • How to get your buyer personas correct.
  • How to map out a content strategy that pays very close attention to the needs, wants, and fears of your buyer personas.

Listen now and you’ll hear Tom and I talk about:

  • (01:15) Introductions
  • (06:45) How much traffic are you getting now?
  • (09:20) Tell us about your content strategy.
  • (13:45) How did you define your personas?
  • (15:35) How did you come up with your blog post titles?
  • (21:05) How did keyword research play a role?
  • (24:15) If you were starting over today, what would you do first?
  • (27:55) How have you optimized for SEO?
  • (30:15) Tell us about how you nurture your leads?
  • (32:15) How do you nurture your newest customers?
  • (38:15) What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making with inbound?
  • (39:55) How does inbound for B2C differ from B2B?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

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Transcript

Trent:
Hey there bright idea hunters, welcome back to episode number 173 of the Bright Ideas podcast. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast where we help marketers to discover ways to use digital marketing and marketing automation to dramatically increase the growth of their business. So if you are a marketer and you are looking for proven tactics and strategies to help you increase traffic, conversions and profits, well you are in the right place.

That is kind of a big promise, so how do I make good on that promise? Obviously I don’t know everything there is to know but the good thing is I know lots of people who have achieved extraordinary results and they are kind enough to come on to the show and share with you and share with me the exact strategies and tactics they used to get those results.

So listening to an episode is kind of like looking over the shoulder of someone who is getting the results that you are after and simply modeling their behavior. On the show with me today is a fellow by the name of Tom Schwab. Tom is a very successful marketer that you probably never heard of. I was referred to him by a prior guest and without that referral I probably never would have found him and I am so very happy that I did because this interview absolutely rocked.

Tom runs a company called GoodbyeCrutches.com and as you might guess they sell things for people who got broken ankles or can’t put weight on one foot or the other. Now I actually broke both of my ankles way back on my dirt bike back in 2009 and I used a product very similar to what Tom sells and I got to tell you it was an absolute lifesaver. I mean crutches totally sucks.

So in this episode Tom is going to talk to us at length about what they did to grow their blog form a approximately 3000 visitors a month, of which 2000 came from paid traffic to now a whopping 70,000 visitors per month almost none of which comes from paid traffic. The most important – if I was to boil this interview down into just two concepts, it is about getting your buyer personas correctly and then mapping out a content strategy which pays very close attention to needs, wants, desires, fears etc of those buyer personas.

Obviously there is a lot of detail in that and in this interview Tom and I are going to go through that in painstaking detail. So I encourage you to have pen and paper ready because like I did you are going to get some really bright ideas and you are going to want to run away and put those into action into your business.

But before we welcome Tom to the show a very quick announcement: In addition to the BrightIdeas.co blog we also have an agency, it is an inbound marketing agency called Groove Digital Marketing and we have a library – in addition to a very popular blog where we write extensively on inbound marketing and things related to it we also have a library of premium content and you can get to all of that; and it is all for free at GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/resources.

So with my little commercial out of the way it is time for us to get the interview rocking so please join me in welcoming Tom to the show.
Hey Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom:
Hey Trent, thanks for having me here.

Trent:
No problem at all, you came highly referred from Dan Moyle so I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to do this interview with you. Before we get into all the nitty-gritty details of how you have used inbound marketing to build your business (or maybe it is businesses but I am sure we will get into all those details in the podcast) let’s start off with you because I am sure my guests don’t know who you are yet. So who are you and what do you do?

Tom:
My name is Tom Schwab, I live in Kalamazoo Michigan, yes it actually does exist. And after doing the corporate world I went off and started my own business and ended up taking it from a retail player to a national leader using inbound marketing and Hubspot as a tool.

Trent:
Fantastic, so what is or what was that business?

Tom:
Sure, it started out as a medical device business where we were selling orthopedic implants to doctors and hospitals and had a customer that finally said enough with the metal, I can make anything work, I use you because I like you and your guys but help me find a way to keep my patients off their heal and foot.

With that we went out and started to look and found some different solutions out there. If you have ever seen the knee rollers or the knee walkers that people use, that is one of the solutions that we have and there are some other ones that is like a hands free crutch that a lot of the troops use for lower leg injuries.

Trent:
Okay.

Tom:
So we started with that and originally it was just a small sideline business here that we had in South Western Michigan. When the economy started to change, the manufacturers wanted to buy back the distributorships on the medical side. So we looked and this and said, “Hey we see a lot of potential in this market here. Let’s go ahead and focus on that.” We took the jump about four years ago and started a company called Goodbye Crutches.

It was actually a customer that gave us the name because they told us our regular name was stupid and they came up with that one and I have to agree with them [laughing].

Trent:
[Laughing] Alright so it is GoodbyeCrutches.com?

Tom:
GoodbyeCrutches.com, it is one of those companies that you never want but if you are on one foot we can definitely help you out.

Trent:
I have actually (I think we talk about this in the pre interview) I broke both of my ankles in 2009 on my motorcycle and I became intimately familiar with the scooters that you put your knee on and it is a whole lot nicer than using crutches I’ll tell you.

Tom:
Well it sounds like you got a higher lifetime value than most of our customers.

Trent:
[Laughing] This is a very timely interview because at Groove we’ve recently brought on another client that I am going to insure they listen to this interview just as soon as it is recorded because I see what I perceive to be some similarities. Before we get into some of the specific questions I want people to understand the magnitude of the results that you got and then we are going to explain to them how the tactics and strategies that you used to achieve those results.

So your web traffic went – you told me – from 3000 visits a month to 70,000 visits a month on a website about how to get rid of crutches?

Tom:
Yes and it is even worse because of those 3000 visits I was probably paying for 2000 of them. We were building our business on pay per click and I looked at it and said that we’re making money here but we are not building a business, we are just doing arbitrage where we are spending 50c on a pay per click ad and with that we get a buck back in profits. The price of the pay per click kept going up so I said there is got to be a better way to do this.

That was about four years ago and I read Inbound Marketing by Brian and Darmesh, and at that time there wasn’t a whole lot of people using it for ecommerce but we hacked it together for probably six months to prove the concept and we did it with free tools. And then find out that it really, really did work and that we could do it a whole lot easier with tools that were designed for it.

I always say that I could do inbound marketing with free tools, it would just end up costing me a lot more.

Trent:
Yeah, and that is your current traffic volume, around 70,000 visitors a month?

Tom:
Correct, our Q4 is always the biggest time for us.

Trent:
Because more people slip and fall down on the ice or why is Q4 so big?

Tom:
Exactly, it is a combination of the elective surgeries go up with that weather and I say that as I am looking at snow out of my window. The other thing is that for elective surgeries people a lot of times will put them off until the end of the year and start using them before they have their deductible med.

Trent:
Okay, that seventy thousand is that all from organic, that is free traffic for you, you are not using paid search for that?

Tom:
Correct, of that I’d say there is probably less than a thousand that’s paid. The only really thing we pay for anymore is our own name because other people bid on that name. So if I bid on it also it drives their price up.

Trent:
Yeah, okay, so here is the first, what I consider to be, really important thing that I want to understand about how you made this massive transformation in the amount of traffic you are getting. Your product appears to be relatively simple.

So what on earth did you write about to get that much traffic and that much of the right kind of traffic? Because I think – and I’ll put this under the guise of content strategy – getting the strategy figured out is, I think, one of the most important things that you have to do early on.

First of all, do you agree and second of all, what does the strategy look like behind your content creation?

Tom:
Sure, I would agree with you a 100%. The first probably six to nine months we didn’t get nearly the traction that we could have had because we didn’t have the right strategy. You talk about the product being simple and I’d agree with you but the problem was we were writing most of the content ourselves in house.

And I always say I am the worst person to write my own content reason being is because I would write about the product; I’d write about the specifications, what made it different from other ones; and nobody really cares about our product.

I had a customer that told me that we were like Preparation H and I said what do you mean by that and he said, “No it is a compliment,” he said, “nobody wants your product but if you’ve got a problem you want relief, you want doctor recommended all of this. And I am like, “That is the strangest compliment I’ve ever gotten.”

When our traffic really started to take off is when we started to use writers that matched the buyer persona. So for example I can write to Woody our working dad buyer persona pretty well; that person that is probably thirty to fifty years old; is trying to do it all while recovering on one foot. But once we started to hire writers that knew our personas, then the content really started to take off.

For example, our writer that does Mary the motivated mom for us; she is a stay at home mom, three kids, in Nebraska, wonderful writer, she has written a couple of books, used to do radio copy. But she starts writing these blog articles about how to cook after foot surgery, how to put kids in a car seat after foot surgery. When she started to talk about the problems that the personas were having, the solutions, that’s when it really started to connect.

Not only was it content with context but it started to build the trust so much that we saw that the conversion rates went up higher. If you can talk to somebody’s problems then they know that you understand them and you build the trust, that is a natural way to start going on and go farther down the buyer’s journey.

Trent:
Alright, all of this content – I am trying to find a blog, I am on the site right now and I can’t find a link to the blog. Is that where this content is being published or are you just creating pages.

Tom:
No, it is on our blog. Ecommerce is slightly different, we did some AB testing with Optimizely and one of the things that we found is that when we put the blog toward the top header that it actually hurt our sales. So our blog right now is down in the footer.

Trent:
Yeah, found it.

Tom:
So we look at a blog to really bring people in top of funnel.

Trent:
Yep.

Tom:
When you talk about blogs that you are going to follow, chances are you are not going to follow the Goodbye Crutches blog long term. You may go there while you are recovering but it is one of those things that you’ve got a question, you find the answer on our blog and then you might read a couple of blogs but chances are you are going to start going and drilling down to the products.

For ecommerce it is a little bit different where the sales cycle is quicker so you don’t want to do anything that slows them down from getting to the checkout. What I figured out what was happening is that when it was up on the main navigation, you’ve got somebody that is on a product detail page wanting to make a decision.

The worst thing you can do at that point is to give them more options, give them more information. You start to frustrate them with your education as opposed to helping them with knowledge.

Trent:
Okay, let’s go back to the strategy. So you went through and you defined these personas. Let’s talk a little bit about the personas because I would imagine it would be relatively difficult to do a research survey with people who have broken ankles or maybe it is easy to do. How did you define Woody the working dad, both from a demographic and psychographic perspective?

Tom:
Really we used our customer service people for it. They have the best sense of talking with people. Most of our sales come from online but occasionally we do talk to the people. Probably 30% of the time we have some kind of discussion with the person. That could be a question after they get the product; a question when they are sending it back because some of them are rentals or a question when they are placing the order.

Our customer service people already knew these people and they would start to talk that this was this type of person again. So once we started to ask them what the different personas are and put words to it, they really filled in all the gaps with it. It has been an ongoing process, we are always testing it, we’re asking different questions of our customers when we do talk to them to try to define more and more of it.

Really we weren’t as focused on the demographics as much as we were the psychographics. What did they fear? What did they aspire to, what were their biggest frustrations? Where did they get their information? Who did they trust?

Once we have all of those things, then the content really came out of it. At that point it was really easy to figure out what kind of authors do we make; what kind of blogs do we do; what kind of pictures are going to resonate with these people.

Trent:
Alright, that all makes sense, so now you’ve got these personas defined, you’ve documented as you’ve just described the psychographics, how do you go from that to coming up with a list of blog post titles to write.

Tom:
Sure, really after you get the personas defined the next thing you need to do is figure out the matrix (not the movie). You go ahead and across say the top you list all the different buyer personas you have. We’ve got five and

I always tell people start out with three.

That would catch most of the people. So you got the buyer personas across the top; then go ahead and start with where they are in the buyers journey. Are they in the awareness, are they in the consideration or are they in the decision?

Start looking where you need content, where are your gaps at? We always start closest to the decision point or closest to the sale which will be in the decision area there. So that is where we started making content. And really we would stop and we would look each month or each quarter whenever we were running a campaign and we would say, “Okay what is the campaign for this month?”

Then we would look and say, “Okay it is for Mary the motivated mom in the decision making process.” “Okay, what is one of her big questions or frustrations?” And we would just take it from there and say, “Alright, our campaign is going to be around there. So it may be The Motivated Mom’s Manual to Doing It All on One Foot. That is one of those things that’s sort of a high in the funnel where she is not even aware of all of our products.

But that is one that really connects. Once you have that as the author, you start with the author and once you write the author chances are you’ll probably get ten or twelve blog posts out of that and just with different questions. Questions to us always seem like the best thing that connects. From the author then we get the blogs with the call to actions we always go ahead and tie those back into the offer.

One of the things when we first started out was we were just making content. And every piece of content has to have a purpose and connect to something. Because if not, it does you no good to attract someone if you don’t have the next step to engage and [enlighten] them so your point of strategy is so important. Before you publish anything you should know what your strategy is and to definitely know what your personas are.

Trent:
And folks, just so that you understand what Tom was referring to when he said author, author is in his case (correct me if I’m wrong Tom) but an ebook, something that is going to be downloaded by the site visitor in exchange for their contact information. That is what you mean, right?

Tom:
That is correct and for us it could be a checklist, it could be a tip sheet, it could be an ebook. Those are the things we typically do for authors.

Trent:
Do you have a sense of which of those types of authors as a rule of thumb convert better between checklist, tip sheet and ebook?

Tom:
It is not so much of a conversion standpoint, it really where they are in the buyer’s journey. If they’re at the decision standpoint a buyer’s guide works really, really well. But if they’re early on and they are just starting to get ready for say their surgery, then we look at it and say a tip sheet or the Foot Surgery Checklist: Don’t
Forget a Thing – Have Your Greatest Recovery Ever.

Those things so it is really hard to say which one caused them to convert, which one caused them to become a customer. We could do attribution reports with it but really what we are trying to do is have something for them at every step. And ecommerce is a little bit different because you don’t always take somebody through all three stages of the buyer’s journey.

Sometimes somebody can just come from the awareness stage and within that same visit become a customer. So ecommerce sort of breaks a lot of the rules of inbound but what we want to make sure is that no matter where they are in the buyer’s journey when they find us that we got something that is of value to them and can engage them.

Trent:
Alright, so this is all making perfect sense so far and I hope the audience agrees and hopefully you guys are taking notes. The next thing that pops into my mind when I think about this Tom is getting your content found. So did you do keyword research and if you did can you talk about how you did it and what you looked for?

Tom:
Sure, probably the best keyword research that we started with was on the product. That is sort of bottom of the funnel when people are looking for the product by name. After that we started to look at why would the people need the product. That is when we started to filter out from there. Google used to provide you a lot better organic information; probably within the last year they really filtered down on that; on what they would show you what people where looking for.

But that is always a great tool. Some of the other search engines still provide that so you can actually see how people found your site. And a lot of times with that if one person found our site with some crazy keyword there is probably other people that were doing the same so we would always make sure that we put those in and also long tail keywords.

I am amazed, even when we started out, when we didn’t have a decent Moz score, if we could answer a person’s question to the word we could get found. There’s the old thing, answer the question – it was written on numerous tests of mine in college, *inaudible* politicians and I think all marketers should learn that too. Just answer their questions is probably the best place to start.

Trent:
I’m glad that you brought that up because it reminds me of an interview that I did recently and you probably know her, with Krista Kotrla from Block Imaging.

Tom:
Yep.

Trent:
She can be found folk, at BrightIdeas.co/165 and I think that that is one of the best interviews I’ve done. The big take away from the interview with Krista is her expression – because like you Tom they didn’t get it right in the beginning and they didn’t get great results in the beginning but once they realized that questions equal content (that is an exact quote of Krista) things really took off.

All they did for their “keyword research” was think about what questions are our personas asking and then they wrote blog posts using those questions as the title and then answered them in the body of the post. They are getting 70,000 or 80,000 visitors a month now in a very obscure niche.

Your keyword research, did you use tools and did you look at search volumes and competition or did you just think, “You know what,I know that this list of questions aka keywords is what these personas are asking so we are just going to write and answer these questions.

Tom:
In hindsight we probably would had better results earlier on if we would have had a strategy behind the keywords.

But honestly most of our content was driven off of customers questions either in our emails, in our customer service that they would put up there. And really going back to, “helpful is the new sexy” which is a Dan Moyle quote –

Trent:
It is yes.

Tom:
We were just trying to be helpful. So from the standpoint if we heard a question and we didn’t have a blog post on it we would go ahead and answer the question.

Trent:
So if you were starting today, you had no content at all so you do your personas just like you did in the beginning. What would be the next step, coming up with the same matrix of awareness consideration and decision and each column for the personas and then you’d start at the decision level and you would create offers that were buyer’s guides that addressed the questions people would be asking there at the decision phase and then you would create blog posts that related very, very closely to those buyer’s guides and start with that?

Tom:
I would and from the standpoint too, it is sort of an educated guess when you first start of who your most valuable customers are. Most business owners have a sense of which persona is the most valuable and so what I would do is start with the decision standpoint and run a full campaign on that. Then with that same persona, with what you have learned from them, work your way up in the buyer’s journey with that.

Keep filling in the different squares in that matrix. And then always be going back and saying, “Okay, we haven’t done a campaign for this persona at this part of the buyer’s journey in fifteen months. Let’s go ahead and do another author at that point.” It is really a series of campaigns where you have a system in place and really can just keep churning it out.

That is the wonderful thing about it is that once you have the system in place for that really it is just a question of how much time and effort you want to put into it as far as how often you want to launch a campaign.

Trent:
How many blog posts per month do you publish or per week whatever?

Tom:
It depends and I say that it always depends. Typically we are at two to three a week. Over the summer we had a lot of interns and some extra help and we knew that Q4 was our busiest time so what we wanted to do was push it really hard in Q3 and so at that time we were launching a campaign every month and with that we had a blog post going every day. So while we were launching a different campaign we always had some blog posts from the previous month’s campaign; sort of a long tail into there.

But typically for a campaign you are looking at two to three blog posts a week and two is like the minimum, if you are not blogging at least twice a week the search engines will not give you the love.

Trent:
And how about the length of your posts, is there any rule of thumb?

Tom:
For us we do 600 words and I can’t say that there is any science behind that other than Google likes that and we’ve seen more and more of our visitors go to mobile to the point right now where the majority of our visitors are on mobile and just from myself know that trying to read something on a smaller screen makes it seem like it is a lot longer. So if we have something that is going to take us 1200 words to go through we’ll probably break that up into two blog posts.

Trent:
Okay, have you ever put any great deal of effort into SEO from the perspective of link building?

Tom:
Yes and no, link building as just a way to do it; I think too many people have gotten punished by that. That being said, if there is a place where our customers are we want to make sure we could be found there. So we don’t just guest blog for backlinks but if we know that our ideal buyer persona is on a site we will make sure that we have some guest blogs there because really it brings value to that site, to their customers and it also brings it back to us.

When we look at that we get a lot of better conversions to customers based on where that is. It is more of a strategy to make sells and the links come out of it.

Trent:
Folks, just to show you how effective this content marketing or inbound marketing can be for SEO while Tom was talking I Googled a phrase, “How to help the recovery of someone on crutches” which happens to be the title of I think it is their most recent blog post.

In the search results Tom’s blog comes up number one, number two, number three, number four. Top four results! Top four results for that one particular phrase; all different articles, “How to help the recovery of someone on crutches. How to help someone recovering on a broken ankle. Being the greatest caretaker to someone recovering on… How to help a friend recover after Achilles surgery.”

So all that to say (and this is something that I tell my clients over and over again) the great thing about investing in the production of content is that you are building this incredibly valuable asset that will work for you years after you have published the posts.

Tom, Marcus Sheridan is famous for talking about a post, “How much does a fiber glass pool cost?” And he says that post has now brought him in, I think it is at the latest count, around $2 million in sales and can directly attribute to that one post. Do you have a rock star post like that where you have been able to say, “Hey that post earned us this much in sales?”

Tom:
We don’t share how much it did on sales but our rock star was a guest post by a doctor and he wrote it out of his frustration and basically the title of it is, “The importance of staying non weight bearing on crutches.”

We threw in crutches because of the keyword with it but that one continually gets an incredible amount of traffic, an incredible amount of links because every doctor, every frustrated surgeon that sees somebody come in with the bottom of their cast black starts to link to that.

That has been a God sent for us. And jumping back really quick to what you were saying when we were number one, two, three and four, one of the benefits that I didn’t foresee in this is that you really become seen as an authority. Recently we were interviewed by a reporter for the Wall Street Journal that was writing an article. She didn’t know where to get the information about this industry and every time she Googled ours came up.

So she decided, well they must be the experts on it. So we got the free public relations out of that. We started to go overseas now, we’ve got a distributor in Canada and have signed one up in the UK and Australia. All three of those came to us through our blogs that they kept seeing us pop up over and over. They realized that we were the leader in the United States and that they wanted to work with us and work with them in their country.

Trent:
Fantastic, alright, let’s talk about lead nurturing for a minute and in maybe ecommerce it doesn’t apply but in my world it certainly does. So we talked about top of funnel which is generally the awareness stage and then there is the consideration stage which I refer to as the middle of funnel and then the decision stage which is called the bottom of funnel.

When someone downloads one of your top of funnel offers what type of nurturing do you do, just describe what happens after that?

Tom:
Sure, one of the qualifying questions that we like to ask is when will they need our product, when will they be off their foot because that really dictates how fast we nurture them. “Do you need it yesterday? Do you need it next week or next month?” Because we’ll give them the same nurturing but in a faster cycle with that and really what we are trying to do is we’ll ask open ended questions, “What is your biggest frustration?” because 80% of the people give the same 20% of the answers.

So you can put them in different workflows and that is not always an automated system but boy is that ever an effective system. But what we are trying to do is build trust, build communication, build top of mind, because if no one else is doing this and we are the only one that cares that says a lot.
We’ve heard that from a lot of different customers that we were the only ones that followed up with them so they figured if we were that responsive early on, we’d be responsive later on. As far as ecommerce goes probably the biggest nurturing that we have is abandoned cart nurturing. So if somebody starts to check out and they don’t complete the process, there is a reason there, people aren’t just checking out for fun.

So we want to make sure that we follow up and ask if there is anything that we can do, give them other options. Just to make sure that they don’t go away frustrated.

And then the final, most people think of the sales process from beginning to end and really it is not. Even with us where there is not a huge lifetime value you really want to start nurturing the people after they’ve become customers. And that can have a great impact on the lifetime value of them, on your net promoter score. So that is something that we really, really focus on; is the post transactional nurturing.

Trent:
Tell me about that, how do you do it?

Tom:
Sure, when somebody buys a product from you they’re excited about it right? When you get your new iPhone you’re telling everybody about it for the first four weeks or so but then it but then it becomes old. So what you want to do is stay top of mind. Give them tips on how to use it.

When somebody is waiting for the product that is when they read an owner’s manual or going to watch a video on how to use it and that cuts down so much on the complaints and the questions afterwards because before UPS or Fedex brings it to them, they’re ready for it.

Then after that giving them tips, there’s not rocket science. It is just basically what previous customers have told you about it. Share that would other people and really tap in to them, it is amazing once you start to engage with those people. It starts a conversation and a lot of times you’ll get user generated content back and that could be comments that you could use in the blog. It could be pictures that you could use in your next campaign.

We’ve done that and we’ve tested it with the net promoter score, that question of based on zero to ten how likely are you to recommend this company or product to a friend or colleague, when you go ahead and nurture those customers after being a customer, if you interact with them you have a much higher net promoter score. And we look at that as lifetime value because most of our customers aren’t going to be buying from us routinely.

Trent:
Hopefully not [laughing].

Tom:
We always say one time in your lifetime on our product is enough but while they’re on that they are a rolling billboard, showing the world that they don’t have to be condemned to crutches. We want to make sure that when they are talking to these people that they are talking to them not just about the product they are on but the company that they got it from.

Our net promoter score, once we started tracking it, has been amazing and I would encourage anybody, if you want to improve you company start tracking the NPS.

Trent:
Tell us, are you using Hubspot to track it? How do you actually track it?

Tom:
Yeah, I use Hubspot and I know you can do it now with Survey Monkey, we did it before that and there is a blog article – I’ll share the link so that you can share that with your listeners but basically what it is, is it is a very, very simple email with no branding on it. It just comes from our director of customer care. It is one simple question, we ask them the question and there is numbers 0 – 10. And we go ahead and have the number 0 – 6 hyperlinked to one landing page.

0 – 6 in the vernacular is referred to as the detractor, those are the people that loath you, 7s, 8s don’t care about you and 9s and 10s are promoters. If you click zero through six it throw you to a landing page that basically says, “I’m so sorry we disappointed you” but there is a workflow where we get notified and we can follow up with those people. 7 and 8s go to a different page and then 9s and 10s, the promoters, they go to a third page that shows us all cheering and jumping up and down.

Then we follow up with those people, if they said that they want to promote us, well shame on us if we don’t put them in a workflow that shows them and helps them promote us.

Trent:
And so how do you track your overall net promoter score? Do you have a number somewhere, could you actually look it up and say, Trent, right now across the entire business it is a 7.7 or 8.3 or what have you?

Tom:
Yeah we look at it on a month to month basis because that is where data is. So we look at what the net promoter score was for the month and then our year to date that. It is not an automated thing so with Hubspot what we have is we have different lists, we have list that has the promoters, detractors and neutrals. That promoter score is basically your number of promoters minus the number of detractors divided by that total number.

Trent:
So you are just using the count on each of those lists to do that math equation and figure out the score?

Tom:
Exactly, we do that once a month. Typically we run about the 83 – 86.

Trent:
Okay I get it, I am asking this because I want to be able to do the same thing and I use Hubspot as well and I’d like to be able to set it up for my clients also.

Tom:
You have another site where you coach people on how to use inbound for ecommerce. And folks you can get to that at InboundforEcommerce.com. Tom, the clients that you work with, and don’t mention anybody’s name of course, but what are some of the big mistakes that you see people making early on in their inbound marketing journey?

Tom:
I would have to say the biggest mistake is trying to take the principles that Hubspot teaches with B2B and apply them to B2C. Because over the last few years with the tests that we’ve done we’ve seen that a lot of those can actually be very, very detrimental to your sales process.

Things like putting the blog prominent on your homepage, Hubspot will tell you that that’s the way to do it and if you are B2B I would totally agree with you but if you are ecommerce, I can show the data that we’ve tested with different companies and we can show that it actually hurts that.

There’s different rules that apply for ecommerce and that is where we really help people with the coaching and the consulting so that they can do the best practices in order to maximize not only their traffic and their leads and the conversions but to maximize the sales and the lifetime value.

Trent:
From a content strategy perspective do you think that this matrix that you described earlier with a row for each of the stages and a column for each of the buyer personas. Is that any different for B2B versus B2C?

Tom:
Yes, because B2B, what you are trying to do with a longer sales cycle, you’re trying to move them from phase to phase to phase. Most of the time you move them from the awareness to the consideration to the decision and then you hand them off to a sales rep.

Trent:
Yep.

Tom:
Well in ecommerce it is not like that. What you are trying to do is just capture them at each place and send them in there. I saw a proposal or a blueprint that was written up for one of our customers and somebody had done it for them and it was picture perfect Hubspot technique. And it talked about when somebody comes in at the top of the funnel, at the awareness, send them these emails, work with them here.

They had this whole process where an ecommerce customer, they were going to nurture them for probably three months, now that works for B2B but if you think about it for B2C or ecommerce when was the last time you spent three months deciding whether or not to buy something online?

Trent:
Never [laughing].

Tom:
Yeah, you’re not going to have that so the rules for ecommerce are different from B2B. You really have to look at it from a customer standpoint and we teach the techniques and the best practices that we have learned.

Trent:

Alright terrific, before we wrap up Tom, my goal with this interview was to give someone who has not started yet with inbound marketing literally a roadmap to follow and I think we’ve done a pretty decent job at least at the high level on making good on that promise. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you about that would be relevant and important before we conclude this particular interview?

Tom:

Based on what you said there I would just like to give one piece of wisdom and I learned this the hard way. Everybody wants to start using the tools, want to post a blog and I was guilty of that.

The problem is that if you just start with the execution, the tactics, you start throwing shells every which way and some of them hit, some of them don’t. You don’t know what works and what doesn’t. If you start and spend some time really on the strategy and knowing exactly what you want to do with the personas, what your strategy is behind that, then the tactics all fall together.

It makes sense, and even when new things come in, when they talk about, “Well should we do Facebook marketing, should we do this, should we do that?” You’ll have a strategy to look at and say, “Well this is how we are going to test it and this is how we are going to optimize it.” It is almost if you think about it in the military terms, you better have a strategy before you just start hitting beaches or before you start shooting shells because you can do more damage than good.

Somebody said the battle is won before it is started. And I would say probably with inbound marketing the same way. If you have a good strategy you will have excellent results, if you have no strategy you will get results but you will never know how good they could really be.

Trent:

I would agree with you completely. Alright Tom, thank you very much for making some time to come and be on the show with me. What is the one easiest way for folks that want to get in touch with you? What is the one easiest way for them to do that?

Tom:

Sure, they could go ahead and email me at tom@inboundforecommerce.com. That is my email and I always got my phone on with me and I look forward to connecting with people because I always learn as much as I share.

Trent:

Alright Tom thank you so much for being on the show it has been a pleasure to have you here.

Tom:

Thank you Trent.

Trent:
Alright to get to the shownotes for today’s episode head on over to BrightIdeas.co/173 and if you enjoyed this episode as much as I did and you would like other people to have the benefit of hearing it please do me a favor and just head over to BrightIdeas.co/love where you can just click your mouse and there is a pre populated tweet ready to go.

So that is it for this episode I am your host Trent Dyrsmid. Thank you so very much for tuning in. I look forward to having you back for another episode soon, until then take care. Bye-bye.

 About Tom Schwab

 Tom Schwab is passionate about using an Inbound strategy to attract, engage and delight eCommerce customers.  Starting in 2010, he was one of the early merchant users of HubSpot.  In under 3 years he grew his direct to patient B2C business Goodbye Crutches from a regional player to the national leader.

In addition to running his e-commerce business, Tom is the Principal Consultant at Inbound for Ecommerce, where he coaches and consults high potential business owners on how to win using an Inbound strategy.
Tom’s home is in Kalamazoo, Michigan but he lives online leading the eCommerce HubSpot User Group and hosting the daily show Inbound Movement.

 

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  • Tom Schwab

    Trent, I trust the listeners of the podcast enjoyed our discussion as much as I did. In this fast paced and ever evolving realm of Inbound Marketing their are no experts – it’s growing to fast! There are some amazing people doing creative things that we can all learn from. Thanks for the podcast that brings them together.

    • Hey Tom,

      You’re very welcome..and thanks for being on the show 🙂