Often, company executives measure the success of their marketing efforts by looking at the number of impressions they receive. But this number only tells part of the story. Wes Matthews, the Co-Founder of High Level Marketing, explains why it’s important for companies to track their marketing efforts all the way through the entire lead generation process.
[00:00:00] Seth: Hello, and welcome to the Bad Marketing Advice podcast. This is the show where we invite marketing professionals to come on and tell us about the worst piece of marketing advice that they have ever received. I am Seth Resler. I am the founder of Community Marketing Revolution. We produce branded podcasts for organizations.
[00:00:25] If your company has ever thought. Creating a podcast to engage with customers or maybe even clients or, or even as an internal communication tool within the company, please go to communitymarketingrevolution.com. See if it’s right for you. Send us a message. We’d love to talk to you about your podcasting needs.
[00:00:43] On the show today, our guest is the co-founder and chief growth officer at High Level Marketing. High Level Marketing is a nationwide full-service digital marketing company. They collaborate with businesses on everything from digital marketing strategy to design and development, to analytics and [00:01:00] optimization to content and performance management. The company’s revenue is $20 million and it has over a hundred employees. Wanna welcome to the podcast Wes Matthews.
[00:01:10] Hi Wes. How are you?
[00:01:12] Wesley: Great, Seth. Thanks. Thanks for having me. How are you?
[00:01:14] Seth: I’m good. I’m good. Thanks for being here. This is great because you actually went out and started an organization that specializes in digital marketing. Tell me about the origin story. How did this start?
[00:01:24] Wesley: Yeah, your intro. I appreciate it sounds really fancy, but the entire time you were speaking, I kind of giggle cuz it’s, you know, really we set, I set out a mission to just be a transparent marketing company that builds websites and that was effective. Right?
[00:01:37] Cause I think back in ’06, ’07, I had moonlit for a web company locally in Ann Arbor. That didn’t do a great job with the customers I brought into the door. And that’s putting it very loosely and I thought to myself, like, there’s gotta be an easier way to just do better.
[00:01:50] It’s either you can do really crappy work or good work. I wanted to do good work. So I had this mission to start my own company that would be tailor fitted around entrepreneurial small [00:02:00] businesses, because most small businesses, right? Let’s use a plumber roofer. They’re really good at plumbing, really good at roofing. Like where do they go? Especially back in ’09. And this is still true today, the yellow pages? Like who’s leading and helping these businesses.
[00:02:13] And I love entrepreneurship and I loved helping these companies. And that’s really how the company was started.
[00:02:17] Seth: Got it. So when you first sit down with a customer, you know, one of these organizations or businesses that you’re talking about, what is the initial conversation like? What do you talk to them about?
[00:02:27] Wesley: For the most part I mean, if people are proactively reaching out to us, it’s because they don’t have a good, they’re not having a great experience with their existing marketing company. So at the core, we do websites and we do an organic search and paid search. So really at the end of the day, it boils down to is the business getting leads or not getting leads.
[00:02:43] So if we’re having a conversation with a customer, we’ll say, are you happy with your existing marketing company? And it’s a yes or no, or I don’t know, answer. Right. It’s those three things. So the conversation is, you know, well, what are you currently spending? What are you doing? What’s your expectation? And we try to close and fill [00:03:00] in the gap.
[00:03:01] You know, over the last 12, 13 years, we’ve developed some really great technology that allows us to, you know, identify, let’s say a plumber in your area to let them know how many leads they should be getting and how much they should be spending. So it gives ’em like a lead cost.
[00:03:14] And then that kind of gets their, you know, oh, wow. Like I’m way outta scope with the current company I’m working with or we’re dialed right in. But at least it gets the conversation, it gives the business owner a little context as to like what we do and how we approach our work.
[00:03:27] Seth: You know, one of the things that it strikes me about what you’re saying is that I think we’ve seen an evolution of marketing from an art to much more of a science. I mean, I think once upon a time, it was like what you see on mad men where it’s Don Draper, who just goes, Hey, here’s a cool drawing and we came up with this cool slogan.
[00:03:42] And now we have a lot of measurement points you know, talk about some of the science of marketing and, and what you do in that arena.
[00:03:49] Wesley: Yeah. So I mean, to me, and, and again, I’ll get to like later on about the worst marketing advice, but, I feel that yeah. With all the tools and everything available today in like Google [00:04:00] search, it’s relatively easy to understand like who your customer profile is and how to get in front of them. And then also how to convert those leads.
[00:04:09] So, you know, you talk about the Don Draper or med men, you know, we can literally take the data and make it a reality to the front end. What looks like a website looks like SEO, but if you strip all that away, we know the mathematical equation what’s gonna happen on the back end in terms of the volume, how many people are coming, how many people are gonna click, how many people are gonna grab the offer. And, and really it’s a simple math problem at the end of the day.
[00:04:32] Seth: So how do you market a marketing agency?
[00:04:35] Wesley: Thankfully, we kind of eat our own dog food. So if you Google search SEO, website development, that kind of thing, we pop up organically. We do have BDR strategy. So we still have people outbound calling.
[00:04:46] We get a lot of leads that come in through the website. We have a lot of leads that just come in through our organic optimization, our own marketing campaigns and paid search. And quite frankly, we have over 2100 customers. And we get a lot of referrals. I mean, we [00:05:00] have a lot of happy customers that want to help their friends or family, their colleagues.
[00:05:04] And we’ve been doing this now since. Yeah, like about 2009 is really when we started to get going. So we’ve been around for a while and, you know, people just have kind of heard from us and, you know, we’re in that unique spot where we’re not the largest agency out there, but we’re not the smallest. We kind of live in the middle and, and a lot of people still love that one to one that white glove service that we offer.
[00:05:22] Seth: Now I hear you talking about a lot of inbound leads. A lot of people who find you either because it’s through Google or referrals or other places like that. But it sounds like you’re also doing some outbound. What advice do you give your clients? What is the proper mix of inbound versus outbound?
[00:05:39] Wesley: I’m like a 40, 40, 20 guy, right? Like I think 40% of your leads need to come in from digital marketing and or marketing efforts. I think 40% need to come in from just good old fashioned traditional sales efforts, right? If you’re a salesperson for that organization, you, you still need to self generate. Right?
[00:05:57] And then I think 20% of that [00:06:00] can come from a BDR, which is like a business development individual who’s setting up the sales team for appointments. So if you really break that down 60% provided by the company by way of BDR or digital marketing? 40% coming in from the salesperson.
[00:06:14] So I think the idea of having a salesperson, just relying on leads coming in from that organization all day. That’s not a, that’s not a recipe that I desire to, to execute. I still want hungry sales people out there that have a wide network.
[00:06:27] Seth: I’m glad you to hear you say that because I feel like we have held up for a number of years now, inbound as the holy grail, and don’t get me wrong. It’s great if you can get it. But I think this expectation that there’s gonna be a hundred percent just incoming leads is not realistic.
[00:06:43] Wesley: It it’s not, I mean, look, it, it can be achieved, but it’s at a cost. Right. You know, so I think it, if you have good sales people that are performing and they’re able to work their network and get self generated opportunities, those are typically the ones that are gonna get the, you know, the, the leads coming into the organization that, you know, as [00:07:00] long as they have a high close ratio.
[00:07:01] Seth: Got it. All right. Well, let’s get to your worst marketing advice. What’s the worst piece of marketing advice that you’ve ever heard?
[00:07:08] Wesley: So fortunately, I’ve worked with a ton of clients over the years, and I think the worst advice is, look, I, I live in the world of digital marketing. It might be foreign to some, but there’s a term out there in digital marketing in the world. It’s called impressions.
[00:07:20] An impression is when so— when your ad is shown to somebody. Maybe, maybe not. I’m not still really sure if it is, or it isn’t. But the idea around a company or a small business paying for impressions, I built my business on results in leads.
[00:07:38] So for me, some of the worst advices, well, Hey, and I’ve heard this a million times through my customers, or even us doing some, some marketing, it’s Hey, you paid X amount of dollars. We got you 200,000 impress. Like, can you believe that we got you to appear 200,000 times yet that resulted in zero leads. So for me, I have to retrain and educate [00:08:00] small businesses to let them understand, like you need to trust, but verify to really understand what those impressions mean and who are they targeted to, and really what’s the work to get the lead out of those impressions.
[00:08:12] Cuz more oftentimes than not, people are just being charged for impressions that don’t equate into leads. And then they’re, you know, they’re not happy and they’re blowing their budgets.
[00:08:20] Seth: So it’s really just measure it all the way through. I mean, if you’re just measuring impressions, you’re kind of stopping at a point and you really wanna connect it all the way back to the sales and the revenue that are coming into your company, if I’m hearing you right.
[00:08:30] Wesley: Yeah. And that’s where I think a lot of digital marketing companies have gotten a bad rap. Because they’re not all bad. There’s probably the 80-20 rule. But when you work with a digital marketing company that keeps results and leads at the number one, like that’s what you, that’s what you wanna look for. You know, impressions to me mean nothing. Leads are everything.
[00:08:49] Seth: What is your take then on, and I realize that your specialty is digital marketing, but on traditional marketing methods where there isn’t a pixel that can track it all the way through? I mean, you know, I [00:09:00] come from like radio and television in those worlds. Does it make you less likely to use those tools?
[00:09:04] Wesley: No, not necessarily. Because think about it. I mean, if you have a billboard or a magazine ad, you can always put a URL or QR code. So you will know based on analytics. For example, if you and I invested and put a billboard in Michigan, that said something. We would know how many downloads, how many people went to that unique URL.
[00:09:23] So we could call it anythingwewanted.com/ put a custom name on that domain name. And we would know, and we put that nowhere else. The only spot that that’s gonna be is on that billboard. We would know how many people visited that landing page. How many people downloaded the offer, how many people filled out the lead form.
[00:09:40] So we could actually gauge that marketing effort, even though it was originated through a traditional marketing source. So I’m a big believer and again, that’s where that goes back to the impressions where somebody might say, Hey Seth, like a million people drive up and down the street every day, right.
[00:09:57] We want to track that, you know, I, I would, and I would have [00:10:00] a ton of customers that would just throw a billboard up there with no, no accountability or no way to track. And that’s where we try to help ’em change. Throw a QR code on there, throw a custom landing page on there, let us help you track that and test it right. And always modify change and tweak for the better. But you know, that that would be my recommendation. So you, you absolutely can do it and make in effectively too.
[00:10:20] Seth: Got it. So there are tools out there. There are ways you just gotta find the way to measure past the impressions and all the way back to whatever your ultimate goal is. Well, good.
[00:10:30] Wesley: Yeah. I, I dunno what the, I dunno what the statement is, but it’s you know, what gets measured gets done. Right. And I think if you can’t measure in digital marketing and you’re spending money, don’t do it.
[00:10:40] Seth: That’s good advice. I love that. We always start with bad advice and we always wind up with good advice. Well, people are looking for ways to do it. They can check out High Level Marketing. What’s the website, where do you want people to go? \
[00:10:50] Wesley: W-W-W dot High Level Marketing, H-I-G-H level marketing.com.
[00:10:54] Seth: Easy enough. So if, if people wanna talk to you more about their marketing efforts, they can Wes Matthews co-founder [00:11:00] and chief growth officer at High Level Marketing. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing some of your wisdom with us. I really appreciate it.
[00:11:05] Wesley: Thanks Seth. Appreciate it.
[00:11:07] Seth: I am Seth Resler of Community Marketing Revolution. We produce branded podcasts for organizations. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, you can go to our website, which is communitymarketingrevolution.com.
[00:11:17] Thanks so much until next time. Thanks for listening.
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