Grow Your Professional Firm With Cold Email and LinkedIn Content with Marc McDougall

Stephen: Hey, Mark. How’s it going, man? Glad you’re on the podcast today. 

Marc: Hey, Stephen. Good to be here. Loaded up on a full tank of coffee and ready to go. 

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. I got my, my, reverse osmosis water over here. Yeah, so man, I really do appreciate it. I think LinkedIn is a pretty cool place.

That’s where we met. I saw one of your video posts and I loved what you were doing because a lot of times the content on LinkedIn is very, I dunno, I like the inspirational stuff. Sometimes I post inspirational stuff too, but I think some of the best content on there is like “how to” information, like, how do you do this?

Demonstrating something that somebody can literally walk away and go do something with. And that’s what I saw with your stuff. It’s, you are basically analyzing someone’s site and going through it and making pointers to it. And, and doing that. So I think that’s really cool.

What made you ultimately, how did you come to that style of content creation? What was it that prompted you to do that? 

Marc: Oh yeah. Really, it’s being an avid consumer of content. I spend most of my life on YouTube, just watching all this, all the random stuff on there. And when I came to LinkedIn and I saw what there’s, I don’t know.

There was a lot of, as you said, vapid inspirational content, which, okay. It’s nice every now and then, but it’s mostly useless. I was like, man, people don’t want to consume this. Do they? 

Stephen: I think there is an element that they do. But at the same time, the balance of it, I think is important.

And when people are doing it, just because they have nothing else to do, that’s where I think it falls short, but still, the “how to” information, that’s the coolest stuff. Cause you’re giving away your secrets, so to speak. and people really get to see how you work and then they actually get to utilize some of the stuff, even if they don’t really want to hire you.

Marc: They get something out of it. Yeah. I like the “how to” content. My favorite type of content is not “how to,” but how it happened. So it’s like describing someone actually in the moment trying to build a business. Yeah. The podcast startup that came out a couple of years ago, that’s the kind of stuff I really like.

And I think people really like that because it’s really human. And they get to cheer for the underdog. And they’re seeing what actually happens inside the black box, which is building a business. But how to come second to that? Because I don’t know, I’m a little afraid to open up the kimono and show everyone the reality of my daily life just yet.

We’ll see. 

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. I think I got like Gary V talks about it. Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve ever followed him at all. I watch him sometimes. He does a lot of the inspirational stuff, but he talks about document instead of create. And, and I think that’s an interesting perspective too, because if you’re documenting something, that means you’re learning something and that’s a good way to make content. It’s basically like pumping out the stuff that you did the day before.

Marc: Yeah. And it’s useful stuff. People can learn from your mistakes and to some degree feel inspired by you pursuing things despite your failures. Yeah. 

Stephen: Yeah, totally. And then one of the things that stood out to me, which kind of resonated with me is you have a degree in computer science, like you have a programming background, right?

Marc: Oh yeah. Yeah. I think that’s one of the things we share in common. 

Stephen: Yeah. And that stood out to me too, because, and then I said, it’s interesting that you have a degree in computer science because you’re in marketing. And then you said you weren’t really a marketer. But aren’t you? You’re giving advice on copy and you’re doing, you’re doing, website reviews and helping people do have better conversion. That is marketing, right? 

Marc: Yeah. And in retrospect, if I said that, I’d like to retract it formally, obviously I am, by the nature of being a parent freelancer, which is a loaded word nowadays, but I have to do everything. I’m sales, marketing, and the technician. I’m admin. I have to do it all and you’re right.

The stuff I post on LinkedIn, it is ultimately marketing and getting inside the brains of potential customers. At least I hope I am. We’ll see. 

Stephen: And then to talk about that computer science side of you, is that a piece that you’re using a lot with your clients? Or are you mostly doing the website conversions and the copy reviews?

 Where do those two, how do you, where are you bridging those two things? 

Marc: Yeah. So I’m really fortunate to have the computer science background. I think choosing to study computer science in college was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Completely lucky. I did not think to myself, yes, eight years from now I will need to know how to code X, Y, and Z. I’m gonna get a degree. No, I was just like, computers are cool. Yeah. Let me get a degree, but it enables me, too, now that I’ve understood the principles of design it enables me to come at problems from a holistic point of view, as opposed to, I can help you get half of the way there by designing a SAS site that converts. It’s now, hey, I can actually solve the problem for you by designing and deploying the site for you completely. And it’s just a contained experience for them. 

So, I prefer to do the whole thing, but my favorite part in terms of my competency is actually the design, the design side of things, and like the design, and when we talk about design, are we talking about the visual aspect, or all, or like the design of the copy and the layout or all the above?

I like to say the user experience, but what does that mean? It’s another one of those words that has a million definitions, but like the holistic picture of what it looks like for a new customer, to discover your brand and then try and engage with them in some way, usually through a trial or a demo or a white paper download.

I like to design that experience. From wireframes through actual visual designs. And then of course, a large part of the experience is using the site as well. So the development does make its way into UX. 

Stephen: Cool. Yeah. One of the things that I was really interested in hearing your take on was, LinkedIn is totally saturated with advice for startups and whatnot to build their company, to market themselves, to build content. But then on the flip side, there’s all these like service providers out there that are trying to also build their brand. And they’ve traditionally built their companies on networking referrals, word of mouth, one-on-one sales and stuff like that.

I’m curious, how do you use some of the marketing stuff that you’ve learned working with your companies, like, how do you go about growing your business and what are some of the tactics that you use? I’ve looked at some of the things that you’ve done and we’ve talked about it, but I’m just kinda curious, what are some of the things you’re using to grow your business?

Marc: Yeah, that’s a good question. So, I’m doing a mix of all of it. Let me take a step back. I’m posting on LinkedIn daily. Content that’s relevant to people who might be considering redesigning their SAS site or they’re having a conversion rate issue, whatever, that’s the main shtick, posting that with the assumption that at some point in life, the future, three years from now, I might have carved a little spot in their brain where they’ll think we actually need conversion rate optimization help now.

So, I’m going to, I’m going to leave a mark. So that’s a long term play. There’s no chance I’m going to convert anyone from LinkedIn in the next couple days, unless they serendipitously decide they need to redesign. So how do you balance that with actually growing a scalable, service provider business and not completely go broke and bands are, for me, a cold email.

I’ve been on the cold email bandwagon for probably four years and I started out sending really shit emails. The hello, sir, madame emails. Everyone’s received them, yeah. I went back and looked at them recently and it’s so cringy, man. So cringy. But now that I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, I’m doing really weird stuff.

Stephen: I remember the one that you were talking about. I think that you involve some sort of… 

Marc: Yeah. Oh man, I’ve retired that one. I don’t do it anymore because I think people were getting a little sick of that little dude, but I’ve been doing some crazy stuff lately, man. And I’m finding that like we were talking about before the show, there’s so much utility in just doing something novel.

That helps you stand out and completely zagging when people are zigging, that gets you that phone call. So I get most of my business through cold email outreach, just saying, Hey guys, I’ve got an idea for your business to help you get more conversions. Do you think there’s an opportunity, packaging that message up in an interesting way?

So they actually read it, that’s been my bread and butter for actually building something while the long term stuff happens in the background, the LinkedIn videos and that. 

Stephen: Yeah. So I want to get back to the LinkedIn videos. But I actually think cold emails are pretty cool. I use them myself, even though one of the big things that I try to help my clients with is to build inbound traffic.

I still think cold email is really interesting, yeah. I find that a lot of companies just find that it’s one of those things that they would never do. There’s a stigma to it. But what I think is interesting about it is that when you email somebody out of the blue and then you go through that whole process of getting the response, handling the negotiation, getting on the call, you, you learn how to go from nobody, they didn’t even know you existed, to now they do. And then potentially they hire you. And I don’t know about you, but I think there’s, I get excited about that. There’s parts of it that I don’t like, because it, you have to send quite a few of them sometimes to get the traction. But on the flip side, you really learn a lot about what people want in that process that I don’t know that you would always get right from a referral.

Marc: Yeah. It’s like referrals are kinda like Chicos in a way. 

Stephen: Yeah, because they already know all about you, you might not have those same discussions with them, that you would in an email just cause it’s like, you’re just, again, like you’re just taking somebody from somebody that doesn’t even know you all the way to the customer.

And I just feel like you learn so much about your own marketing and your company and how to talk about your company that you never would have to necessarily do from just a referral. Cause a referral comes in and says, Hey, X said you were really cool. Just tell me how you work and let’s do business. 

Marc: That’s a good point. Yeah. Cold email forces you to distill your message such that you can deliver it quickly via an email, write a single email and then package it in a way that’s funny and novel enough to actually get them to consider you.  

Stephen: So, how do you go about putting your emails together? Like what’s in them, how many do you send?

Really there’s actually a few things that I had asked you about, but like where do you start? You got, you write a sequence upfront. You’d like two or three emails, four emails, five emails. Like how, where do you, how do you put that together? 

Marc: So, I’ll give you the nuts and bolts, but I’ll start with a quick high level picture.

I used to subscribe to the idea of an R mentality where I don’t know if I should be focusing on just three people. And sending them highly personalized campaigns or focusing on a mass market campaign and just doing something novel. And now I just do both. I do the mass market campaigns and I do the highly personalized emails to a specific four or five accounts.

Stephen: And do you do that based on, you really want those four or five, and so you’re going to spend a little extra time on it? Is that how you make that? 

Marc: Exactly. So, I do a lot of research. Not a lot of research. I initially just do some cursory research and if it seems like they’re a company that would be a really good client for me, they’re going to get the lion’s share of my time when it comes to a personalized campaign.

So yeah, I can’t really put a lot of people in that bucket because it takes so long. You’ve got five accounts within those five accounts. There’s probably 10 people throughout the management hierarchy that I want to start a conversation with. And I have to learn about them, and I’m already at 50 people.

I can’t even do 50 people, I guess that’s way too many, so I have to keep it small. And then on the other side, that is, oddly enough, the larger campaigns where I’m doing mass market stuff that tends to get more responses because I’m finding that when you increase, actually scratch that, projects on typically to do are done strategically throughout the year.

So if I’m emailing more people, it’s much more likely that I bump into someone that happens to be considering a strategic project, like a site redesign. Whereas if I’m only talking to five companies, they’ll probably be really interested in chatting with me, but it’s not in the budget for Q3. It’s not the budget of your Q4.

That’s a really easy way to waste a lot of time, but again, I’m going to be their go to guy two years down the line when they’re considering it. 

Stephen: And how do you keep that relationship open with them? Just so that you’re top of mind. 

Marc: Yeah. It’s difficult, but once you…, I’ll give you a quick example.

I’m prospecting one company now, or I guess one account, I can’t sound so cold. But it’s just like a group of people within a particular company. And I’m having conversations with middle management and people that are on the sales floor, making calls daily. And low-level marketers are just like doing cold email, like me, and I’m chatting with them and I’m like, Hey, how do things work in your company?

And I’m learning about them, I’m learning what they want and what was interesting to them. So every now and then when I see an article or something that’s interesting to them or yeah, like the other day, I bumped into a YouTube channel that I know one of my prospects would actually really like, and I was like, Hey Matt, check this out.

This is, you’d be really interested in. Yeah. And watching Mike’s content. And he might not even respond to me, but little things like that add up. And then the newsletter, of course, I’ll just go over it over time. I’ll just say, Hey, do you mind if I pop you into my newsletter, you’ll get weekly tips for conversion optimization.

They’ll be like, yeah, sure. Whatever, dude, because I’m Moi, I’m not some unknown entity anymore. I’m the guy that I’ve had a couple of chats with. 

Stephen: Yeah, that’s good. I should be better about that, too. Do you use a CRM to remind you to send it, stuff like that? Or? 

Marc: Now I just use Excel.

Stephen: Oh, to keep track of it. Yeah. 

Marc: I’m that guy. Yeah. 

Stephen: Sometimes I know I should be using a CRM. Everyone says how cool they are, but sometimes I’m just like, don’t you just keep, aren’t you just keeping track of people. And, I said… 

Marc: over engineering, he gets so lost in the details of a CRM that you forget to actually talk to someone.

Stephen: And that’s my problem, man. I’m such a detail oriented person. If there’s too many options in something, I’ll spend too much time, like messing around. 

Marc: Oh yeah. 

Stephen: So going back to the emails then, so like how do you, so again, let’s talk about the ones that are more like mass, you’re sending, like how many, when you start a campaign, how many are you going to commit to sending?

Marc: Yeah, I try not to send more than, there’s no hard limit, but I’m usually sending about a hundred a week to the mass market campaigns. 

Stephen: And then how many are Follow ups, I should say, Oh, 

Marc: You mean how many steps? 

How many total? 

Stephen: Because if they don’t, if they don’t respond, like how many reply or respond or follow ups will you send?

Marc: Yeah, it depends on the campaigns. Some campaigns are, I’m just trying to get people to join my webinar and only one followup, but for the ones where I’m pretty certain that I can provide some value, they get eight followups over a period of nine months. It’s not like you’re not getting an email every day.

It’s like you get one email every two weeks from me for the next nine months. And it gradually increases in distance between the emails so that you don’t just turn into that asshole that’s spamming people. 

Stephen: And you plan all those messages out ahead of time. Or do you add them in as you go. Oh, 

Marc: I plan them ahead of time.

Over time. I’ve learned how to follow up effectively to make it fun. More of a, I’ve been the recipient of follow up campaigns and I know which ones I respond to. So that’s kinda how I design my followups. I’ll think to myself, would this piss me off if I opened it, would I think they’re just trying to get to the top of my inbox or would I be like, that’s a clever way of following up.

And I only send the ones that are, that’s a clever way of following. 

Stephen: One of the follow ups I did was I sent two articles about something. Do you think that’s good, and I didn’t even have a call to action, actually. I just said, Hey, here’s a couple of articles. I thought you might be interested in it.

Marc: I like that. But not for the mass market ones, because I found that there it’s no persona. Yeah. You know what I’m saying? 

Stephen: The person is just, what the heck? 

Marc: Yeah. there’s no specific persona. The persona is not specific enough. it’s maybe VP marketing, VP sales, and the people are very different.

So I don’t know what article would resonate with them. So I just, 

Stephen: For me, I’m hitting a target person. Like I’m always hitting like the owner of, cause I, I work with service based businesses, so I’m always hitting that owner. And I happen to know that most service-based owners want to be thought leaders.

And so the articles are about thought leadership, yeah. Okay. So you give your stamp of approval for that follow up. 

Marc: Yeah. I’m not a thought leader, I’m always telling people, try it, experiment. I don’t know. It might work. If you’re getting positive responses from customers, go for it.

Stephen: There was one person that responded and then I, I had another experience which was interesting. Which is, one person responded. He wasn’t angry. but he was just like, why are you emailing me? And it was actually kind of a cool experience because I emailed him back and I didn’t do anything defensive.

So I had a short exchange with him and I was like, Hey, give me some feedback on, why this didn’t, Why did this rub you the wrong way? I can’t remember exactly what I said, I didn’t do. I didn’t defend myself in any way. I just said, give me some feedback. And he gave me like a half page.

It’s, let me explain exactly why. And I was like, cool, man, that was, I appreciate that. And so that was, I think that’s the interesting stuff that you learn when you do cold email and that you might not ever do, or you might not ever experience, iif you didn’t do that, those kinds of, yeah.

Yeah. Cool. So then one thing you also do, I noticed, is you do a weekly webinar. Oh yeah. Yeah. Is that still something that you’re doing? 

Marc: It’s every other week? Because it is very draining. Like I’m actually redesigning someone’s site live in a zoom call or it’s not a zoom call. It’s like a broadcast thing.

Crowdcast. But it’s really draining to do that with 10 or 12 people watching you and judging you. So I only do it once every other week now. 

Stephen: But that seems like one of the…, in terms of content, because in the beginning we were talking about how you post content and you were saying that you didn’t think that would get you a customer immediately.

But I guess I had to challenge that a little bit. Like how do you know that? What, why do you have that perception and why not record those sessions and use some of those sessions as content as well? 

Marc: I actually do, but I can see why you would not see them. But every Monday I do what’s called messaging Monday where I just take the redesign I did the previous Wednesday and publish it as a PDF, but I don’t post the video though. You’re right. But the hypothesis behind people not hiring me from the content marketing I’m doing is usually the kind of projects I’m doing. All right. Think about it like this. If you run a SAAS company, your site is like the lifeblood of your business.

It’s not changing unless there’s a very compelling reason to do so. And usually that’s the CEO or someone. Yeah. High up in management really wants to change it for some reason, unbeknownst to most of the other people in the company. Okay. I can’t convince anyone to change their site. It’s just too hard of a battle.

I don’t have a multibillion dollar marketing campaign to convince people or influence folks to do something. So I can only show what’s possible in the hopes that one day they, when they’re ready, they’ll reach out to me. So that’s the hypothesis there, but I’m open to being wrong. 

Stephen: Yeah. I just think, coming from the business owner standpoint, like business owners, always, especially if they’re suffering some sort of pain points.

So they may, or may not think anything is wrong with the site, but even me, I’m not running a SAAS company, but even when I saw your stuff, I was like, is something wrong with my site? It’s just like it triggers something in the brain. And if you were a SAAS company and you didn’t think that your site was performing, I could see those videos as being like something that agitates that, that part of your brain that says maybe there is something here and now you’re the guy that’s positioned to do that. And I think that is being a thought leader, too. You’re out there explaining kind of simple concepts to people and, showing them step by step, how to think it through.

Marc: That’s a good point. Yeah. Maybe I’ll, well, I’m not going to say, maybe I think it would be very useful. To put some of that stuff as little snippets on LinkedIn as well is what I’m trying to, I’m trying to reposition my content. So it’s actually a lot more actionable and useful for people. And I don’t know if you’ve ever interviewed Patrick Cortez on the show?

Stephen: I haven’t interviewed him, but I know what you’re talking about. 

Marc: Okay. He does the stuff that I do live on the webinar in his LinkedIn posts and that gets a ton, a metric ton of engagement. So I can imagine that. Posts from my Android. They perform similarly. But have you noticed? 

Stephen: No, I’m just kinda encouraging you to do it because, I think it totally could. And then I think also, if you were to put some headers on those videos so that, if somebody was scrolling by,they  could see exactly what you were doing without having to, I know you’ve got that banner that kind of shows up, but sometimes those are hard to see on the video. If you had a banner at the top, I think it could potentially grab more attention. 

Marc: Yeah. Yeah. I’m pretty sure you’re right on this. And obviously your videos get a ton of engagement, and you’ve got some banners. I just, Oh man. It’s one of those things, I just don’t like them. I don’t like the banners.

They look like Instagram memes to me and I’m too proud to put a banner on there, ego. 

Stephen: Yeah. Maybe there’s like a different way of, maybe there’s just like another creative way of doing that. All I know is I just like to speak to that. Like I experimented with this and the banner makes a huge difference.

And so does the first couple of lines in the post. If it’s a text, if it’s a text post, it just makes the hugest difference because, and not only the banner, but what the banner says and how long it is, because if you think about people are just scrolling by, and there are quite a lot of videos now, so it’s gotta just really resonate.

I know what you’re saying though, but I think, at least for me, I resonate with what you’re saying with some of the banners I see and I don’t like him either, but it’s usually the ones that are overdone. Like they’ve got emojis on them and all this stuff. But I think there’s some, some of them are tasteful.

Do you, are you saying you hate my banners as well? 

Marc: No. I think yours are actually really clever. Cause you’re always talking about, you always have a very polarizing banner, which is what gets me to stop. It gets me to stop scrolling. 

Stephen: Exactly. 

Marc: I just have a personal vendetta against them, I just, they just look tacky to me, but they’re effective.

Stephen: Yeah. They are, especially the ones that, and this is like another tactic that I learned from somebody else. But yeah, the ones that are polarizing or they hint at some sort of loss. 

Marc: Yeah. 

Stephen: There’s the ones that are like, Hey, you’re going to get five cool tips. Those are always cool too. But when somebody feels like they’re going to lose something, they’re more interested in stopping.

So like for you, like you could do something like, I know you’re not going to do it, you could say, see “you’re missing out on conversions.” But here’s the, I guess this is the cool thing about marketing in that, you are a brand, so you have this aversion to these titles for whatever reason, I’m not sure.

But that’s what’s cool. It’s so how do you incorporate something like that, but not do that exactly. And if you were to be creative about it, I don’t know exactly what that would be. You have that on the side, like that comes in and then goes away. It’s just, it’s not quite in your face.

But if you were to figure something out, it would make you stand out, 

Marc: Right? Yeah. That’s a good point. Yeah. I think the problem with my banner is that the text is perhaps too small, yeah. Because it does the same effect. Like it quickly explains the utility of watching that video, but it’s not in your face, like a banner at the top would be.

Stephen: And that’s just, I think that’s the key with these newsfeeds is like people aren’t going there to see you or me really. So it’s got, it basically has to stop them in their tracks. And then the other thing I noticed too, is that I’ve gotten this feedback, people like the written form of it, almost reiterated.

Cause some people won’t actually watch the video until they’ve read the copy I’ve done. Some people have said that in my posts, and then I’ve seen, I’ve seen other people do polls and other people ask those questions. So they like the whole thing, the video just repeated in the text.

And that helps too. And then also the other thing too, is how long it is. 

Marc: Yeah. Yeah. 

Stephen: When it’s, when it goes above a minute, people, especially if they don’t know what it is, they just go by it because it’s like, Oh, I gotta invest, two minutes or three minutes or four minutes. Some people do really long ones.

Those are the main things that I’ve noticed is like having the text, having subtitles, obviously having a good banner and keeping it super short. Cause the other thing too is like with yours, yeah, some of the cool, you give a lot of cool stuff, sometimes the really good nuggets can be, they can be, you can do those really quick. 

Marc: And I have a tendency to ramble 

Stephen: And I’m just brainstorming.

Marc: No, this is good. This is really useful stuff. I’ve noticed I get a lot less engagement on the videos when they go past the one and a half minute mark. Even if they go past one minute. One of my, I think my strawberry video, which is the one, the most engagement, was like a 42 second video, and it was weird and it got people to stop.

So what you’re saying, the principles make sense, and it’s just useful for me now. 

Stephen: Yeah. I know. It’s funny, this stuff. It’s not funny. It’s fun to think through and it’s kinda like a game, so I have fun with it. 

Marc: Oh, absolutely. We got to, if you’re doing it every day.

Stephen: Yeah. The other thing too is I’ve been, I’ve been focusing a lot more on trying to create some content that isn’t just those individual videos. Cause those do take awhile. Like, how do you do those? Do you do them all in a batch or what do you do? 

Marc: Yeah, I do several different batches. So I’ll do 10 videos sitting here.

10 videos, walking, 10 videos, just organically throughout my day. And then I’ll sprinkle them together. A little weird thing I do is when I’m recording them, sitting here, I’ll actually change my shirt in between videos. So it doesn’t look like I’m splicing them all together from one day. When in reality, I am so sorry for anyone that’s been watching my videos and is listening, I have duped you into the implication of that, okay, I’m recording and uploading daily. 

Stephen: Yeah. That’s one of the things I do with the green screen, too. I can just, I can swap it out real quick and… 

Marc: Yeah, that gives people, like you said, they’re going to look at it and immediately judge it. And if they see I’m wearing the same shirt and speaking the same kind of way, they’re going to think, Oh yeah, I watched that yesterday. 

Stephen: Yeah, no, yeah. That’s for sure. Especially with the banners, like if you keep doing the same color, then people notice that. 

Tell me a little bit, like exactly how you help your customers. 

Marc: Yeah. In a nutshell, I’ve changed my LinkedIn tagline. 

Stephen: That was a cool post, by the way.

I liked that one. Yeah. Where you were talking about how you changed your line based on what people say or what somebody told you. 

Marc: I sat on that for weeks. Sat on that for weeks. I sent out surveys to probably 50 or so potential customers of mine. 

Stephen: Interesting. 

Marc: Just asking them if they could describe what they think I do, what problem I solve and only one person got it.

Stephen: Interesting. 

Marc: They all thought I was a sales rep, wow. So I was like, alright, I need to nip this in the bud. And I asked them for some feedback. And then of course we arrived at what we have today, but it was hard to change it. Cause I was really invested in the attack. 

Stephen: Isn’t that fascinating. We get so invested in our own marketing. And me too, man, I get really invested in those taglines and they’re hard to change. And it’s, it’s kinda, bizarre, behavior. That’s why I thought it was cool that you did it and explained why and how you did it. So what did you do? You emailed them and said, this is what I do. What’s a good tagline? How’d you go about? Like, how did you get their feedback on it? 

Marc: Oh, I just had some conversations via LinkedIn. Just some direct messages, there’s like a handful of people that I’m regularly talking to on LinkedIn. Like I said earlier, there’s a couple of cats, a couple of accounts I’m focusing on consistently.

So I’ll just hit them at the end and be like, Hey, would you mind filling out the survey, it will probably take you 30, 40 seconds. And then most people are pretty receptive. And the people that responded, I was like, all right, cool. How would you package it? This message. And I would just give them the raw, “This is what I do, and this is how I help people.” And then over time, everyone designed my own positioning statement for me. 

Stephen: I think that’s how you should do it. I still need to do that. There’s something that I think keeps people from doing that, like going out and actually doing that research is not easy, I think. Partly because you’re so invested in it. Like you don’t, you almost don’t want them to tell you something different. 

Marc: You don’t. Yeah. There’s that, there’s the ego there. And it’s also difficult, especially on LinkedIn to actually start a conversation with someone in the DMs, because everyone’s terrified of that obnoxious sales pitch.

I’ll add someone on LinkedIn. And then I’ll just say Hey, thanks for the add. Maybe a couple of weeks later, I’ll be like, Hey, interesting posts or something. And people are always just, you can tell they’re cringing behind their desks. I’m like, Oh, please. 

Stephen: Some people will accept me and then say, I’m not buying anything right now. Don’t worry. 

Marc: You don’t even know what I’m selling. 

Stephen: Pretty bad. I’m not going to do anything, but, okay, but you didn’t tell us, I didn’t explain it. Explain what you do. Yeah. 

Marc: Cool. The tagline is I design SAAS sites that turn traffic into subscribers. That’s it. So I’m a designer by trade, but the problem I’m solving is one of conversion rate optimization.

If your site’s not generating as many customers as you think it should be based on your traffic numbers, that’s the kind of person I’m looking to talk to. Yeah. 

Stephen: And that involves messaging. And then just like the format of the site and such. 

Marc: It involves a lot of stuff. Messaging is a big part of it.

So whenever people end up working with me, the first thing they do is the clarity call, which is like a paid discovery session. It’s quite an involved session, but I’m just asking them about their goals and what they want to do and how the website got to where it is today. Then if we end up working together on a project, I’m interviewing customers, I’m talking to them mostly.

That’s where the bulk of the time goes. Refactoring their messaging, trying to tighten up their copy a little bit. They need more long form stuff. I have some copywriters that reach out to you. And then in severe cases where something really heavy handed needs to be done and get the conversion numbers back up, I’ll say, Hey, look, we just need to redesign the site.

We need to just completely revamp this thing. And we’ll start with a very customer centric approach. We’ll do the wireframes, get the messaging, And then we’ll redesign that bad boy. 

Stephen: Cool. Yeah. Cool. And then, how do people get a hold of you? 

Marc: Oh, you can check out clarityfirst.co if you want to just learn more about what I do. The main thing I have on there is my newsletter, also I’ve got a little 12 day course.

I’m thinking about changing it to a video course because I’ve just gotten so comfortable with video, but it’s a little thing that will help you get some more conversions, just some low hanging fruit stuff. If you want to check that out and then, yeah, hit me up on LinkedIn, if you ever want to have a chat.

Stephen: Yeah. Cool. One thing I did like about your site is you’ve got video on there that explains a bunch of different things. 

Marc: Yeah, no one ever watches them though. 

Stephen: I did. I watched that one where you pointed to the corner for 60 seconds. I think it was the one, 

Marc: that’s a good one.

And that one is for the webinar. 

Stephen: Yeah, I like that. I think those things are, that’s why video’s important. Cause it shows your personality, shows like who you’re getting involved with. 

Marc: Yeah, especially for someone like me and I’d imagine someone like yourself as well, where you’re involved in a very long term relationship, a service relationship with someone. If you’re an asshole, they’re not going to want to do business with you and they need to know if your personality is going to match with theirs, so the video helps just totally dismiss that objection immediately. Yeah.

Stephen: Yeah. And that’s why I think video is so important. I think I would say sometimes I can tell the videos don’t go as far, like the reach, like the number of views. But if you mix that, like if you mix the video with text, your text, ones can go a little bit further and can penetrate further out into the network.

But then the video, the videos back it all up when people see it once they recognize you. So if you use a combination it can work pretty well. 

Marc: Yeah. They have noticed your text posts or they get a lot of engagement as well. 

Stephen: And I have a lot of people say that they like texts better.

So I think having a combination is good because they do tend to have a further reach. I think more people, I don’t know exactly why, but anyway, 

Marc: It might be a commitment thing. People don’t want to have to watch a video. 

Stephen: I think that’s part of it. I know some people just like the videos, but then there’s people that just don’t want to watch them.

I think a combination is good. Cool, man. I appreciate you diving into the cold email and talking about your services and giving us some tips on that stuff. And so it’s been an honor to get to know you and I appreciate you coming on the podcast. And, I look forward to continuing our, back and forth, and maybe we can help each other out sometime.

Marc: Absolutely, appreciate it. 

Stephen: Alright, man. I’ll see ya. 

Marc:  Take care.

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