Brendan Hufford will give you some very different insights in to the world of SEO – Search Engine Optimisation and it can add to the customer experience.
Tony: Hi, this is Tony Winyard with episode 8 of exceeding expectations.In today’s episode, I speak with Brendon Hufford. A wizard on SEO and if you’re not familiar with SEO it stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the way the Dark Arts- some people will say- of getting a website to the top of the search engines. Brendon does it; do the dark arts. He does it in accordance, ethical way. How to get your website on the first page of Google and on to the first few results that Google shows. It gives a ton of great information and is someone we can clearly learn a lot from please welcome. Brendon.
Well, here we are for another edition of exceeding expectations and today I have a man by the name of Brendon Hufford. How you doing Brendon?
Brendon: I’m great, Tony, how are you?
Tony: I’m very good; thank you. I’ve just found that you’re just outside Chicago?
Brendon: I am.
Tony: Is that where you held from? Have you always live around there?
Brendon: Yeah, I actually grew up in upstate New York. So if people are familiar with that, kind of on the East Coast, and then I moved around a little bit. Then round high school, I moved out to the Midwest, and then back to New York for college, and then back out here to start my career.
Tony: What is it that you do now?
Brendon: Right now, I’ve done a lot of things. Right now I do SEO, Search Engine Optimization marketing for clients to help them get more leads and more business from their websites.
Tony: Is that something you’ve been doing for how long?
Brendon: I’ve been doing it for myself for a long time. I started taking on clients about two years ago. Then a little over a year ago, I was asked to lead the team at an agency here in Chicago. I have both the… kind of work I do on the side, more consulting, smaller sized clients and then I have the stuff I do at work. That is the like bigger brand, kind of SEO. Yeah, it’s really cool. I get to lead a team, I have a whole team that I work with, at the day job, and I love where I work, I get to do the same thing across my whole life, right? Like there’s a lot of people that have like a day job, but then they also have something on the side. Like both of my things are the same thing and it creates this flywheel effect like when I do better at my day job, like my personal clients get better result like I just keep getting better. From somebody who lived like a double life for 10 years of having a day job that was very different from what he was doing on the side. It’s really wonderful.
Tony: Well, so now I’m intrigued. What was it, that double life that you used to live then?
Brendon: Yeah, so Tony, there’s this terrible thing that we let 18 year olds do. They’re not able to drink at 18 in the United States, but for some reason, we send them off to college, to get filled up with debt and just make a decision about what career they want to do for the next 50 years. It’s like, why are we letting 18 year olds make those uninformed, terrible decisions, like they’re probably not going to do that thing. I got to college, and everybody was like, “Hey, man, you like school, you should be a teacher.” I was like, “cool, I’ll be a teacher” and I just decided… at 18. I went through school for it and I did it. I was a teacher. I was even a principal for two years out of the 10 years that I worked in education. Then eventually, I was just like, I want to have a little bit more alignment in my life. So I quit teaching. I literally ended the school year on a Friday and started working at click studios, the agency that I work at on a Monday.
Tony: How did that come about?
Brendon: I had been building a lot of things on the side. I was doing a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it’s kind of how it all started. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art if people are at all familiar with watching the UFC or anything like that. Brazilian jiu jitsu, the martial art, that’s like a lot of grappling and the chokes, there’s no punching or kicking. It was a martial art I was really passionate about and I was just sharing it online and in all these forums and eventually I was like, I’m answering all these questions, I should just make a website about this. I didn’t know anything about it. I made a website.
One day, some guy emailed me, he’s like,” Hey, if you write about my product on your website, I’ll send it to you for free.” I was like, all right, that’s the thing. This was like, way before anybody knew about influencer marketing, or you know, is before Instagram and any of that. It became kind of an influencer in the space. I ended up starting my own apparel review website. Then eventually my own apparel brand. I just kept scaling up, right? Like, why don’t I have a whole website about reviews where I can make money and, you know, gave advertisers and sponsors and affiliates and stuff. Then I saw the money I was making for other people and it was like wow!, well, if I’m making them all this money, why don’t I have my own brand, and I can make this money for myself?. It just kind of kept scaling just one thing from the next.
Tony: Did you kind of teach yourself SEO?
Brendon: Yeah, I don’t-to be honest, I don’t- I think most of the people- this is a very strong opinion. I’m a man of strong opinions. I think most people that say they do SEO don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just reading blog posts about SEO written by people who write about SEO, on their SEO blog about SEO, and they don’t,(Laughs) it gets very robotic and kind of insular where we’re all just parroting each other. Nobody’s actually trying new things. Very few people are trying new things and very few people are working with clients. They’re not actually putting it into action. The only case study they have is the SEO of their SEO blog, which could not be a worse real world example. Because it is such a weird-it’s like talking about the success of your YouTube channel. That’s all about starting a YouTube channel. Of course, it’s going to be successful. You’ve never tried- it’s a very weird or like podcasts about podcasting. No offence- any of those things we’re like, “Don’t use that as your core case study.”
Yeah, I taught it to myself. I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there around it. I went through all of those struggles trying to do all the things the Guru’s told me to do and they didn’t work or they wouldn’t scale. They scaled terribly, and I burned myself out a bunch of times. Now I have the good fortune of not only doing it for myself. We teach a course at the University of Chicago for a graduate degree, and around SEO and analytics and marketing. I get to teach this stuff the right way but I wouldn’t say I’m self-taught because like, you know, I didn’t just sit in a room and like think these things up. I just invested my education, I found the really smart people that were doing it for clients, not just talking about it. I invested in their products I invested in their time and kind of learned it from that.
Tony: You mentioned that you’re teaching this to people in the university are you also still working as one or are you just teaching?
Brendon: Oh, no, I’m still.. yeah. I’m still working. I have a big stable of clients at click studios that I work with. Then I have a kind of a smaller set of more like intimate clients that I work with personally. Yeah I don’t think you can teach things. If you’re not still doing them to a certain degree, right? I think you still need to have some sort of involvement. Otherwise, you just end up parroting what other people try to talk about. For example, I have a website, I started a website about teaching the business, online marketing to photographers, I had a bunch of friends that were photographers, a lot of my personal clients are photographers. I never realized they weren’t good at online marketing. I made this website for them and a lot of what I see other people putting out, because they’re retired photographers who teach the business of photography. I guess kind of like my competitors, but not really, they’re grasping at straws. They’re trying to talk about use this strategy or use this strategy. I know they’ve never tried it, because they haven’t been running a photography business for the last 10 years. How do you know if Instagram is a good tactic for photographers? How can you talk about these things? if you know for wedding photographers, if you haven’t ever done it in your own business, and you don’t take on clients, my unfair advantage is that I still have active clients in these areas, so I can see what they’re doing, I see what’s working for them. when I talked about it’s done from an informed place. Most of what I teach at the university is literally just me doing what I’m doing right now, Tony, just getting up and telling stories and sharing examples. It’s not a theories or, you know, whatever else it’s very personal.
Interviewer : What type of clients are you working with?
Brendon: Good question, so personally, I have kind of the spread-I guess, personally and professionally, I have a whole spread of clients. All the way from local businesses like window washers, wedding photographers and interior designers, all the way up to big Global Cycling brands and startups that have raised you know, 100 million dollars in venture capital and things like that. it’s quite a range. I love it, because it’s, each one of those has a very unique problem to solve and a different way to win. SEO is not like one formula for everybody. what’s really cool is working with that spread again, kind of like what we’re talking about here is like, the relationships are very different and what they need and want from you is very different. creates a kind of – everyone has their own Rubik’s cube to solve, so to speak.
Tony: Guess that gives you a lot of variety, which makes it less tedious. Like some people don’t really enjoy what they do. Clearly, you do enjoy what you’re doing. Is that as a result of working for so many different types of people?
Brendon : So I think it’s a result of a couple things. It’s a result of the work being very aligned with my skill set and my personality. For instance, I am just naturally a very competitive person, I like to win… in search, because there’s only one person can rank first for a topic or a keyword, if I’m winning somebody else’s losing right and I like. I like Client Services, I guess is my second unfair advantage. I like the punch in the teeth. nature of these businesses. It’s not like Oh- it’s not like I’m running like a subscription company where it’s like, “Oh, four people canceled their subscriptions bummer.” When somebody cancels working with me, or somebody doesn’t have budget for next year, because whatever it didn’t get approved, like that’s a punch in the teeth and I have to like, take the punch and keep moving forward. I’m well suited to that. Probably just from my jujitsu background, like being just humbled on a daily basis by other people.
I think that the third one is- my wife observe this the other day she kind of pointed out to me because she’s smarter than me. I definitely married up. She pointed out to me( Laughs) we were talking about high school sports and she liked didn’t care.. in high school about sports. She did them but like could not have possibly cared any less about it. I on the other hand, cared a lot. I was- Tony I was really bad. I was really bad at sports. In high school. I was the worst person on the rugby team, the worst person on the hockey-I was the worst kid that still made the team. I never got cut but I never played and my wife, her name is Liz, she’s like, “Why don’t you just quit? Why don’t you just quit doing it?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” She’s like, “I think that’s why you are how you are. Like, you’ll just keep doing it and keep doing it until you find your fit. you find your thing.” Like, I just kept playing sports and now into adulthood, I found I’m getting really good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Like, I found my thing i’m really good at it and I’m going to keep going and that’s the same skill set that applies to my work. It wasn’t always this way. Teaching was not this way for me. I just had to build my life very intentionally with looking at like, what the actual work was like not the money, not the results, like what is the day to day work look like? And am I good at that? I think we’re all happier when we’re good at our work right. No matter how much we get paid or
Brendon: No matter what freedoms that affords us like, it’s better when you’re good.
Tony: Yeah and do you have a preference for the teaching side, the business side or both?
Brendon: I mean, I think I’m always going to be a teacher, I’ve put in my Malcolm Glad well, like 10,000 hours being up in front of people. I was not a confident young man in high school or college and just being up in front of people so much, especially being up in front of 14 to 18 year old teenagers, that you are there literally walking in every day, like sell me this, sell me this because I do not want it I they hostile group that I was trying to sell something to eight hours a day, every day. I love I don’t know that there’s nothing better the thing with SEO is it can be kind of like sorcery. It’s kind of you know, people act like it’s some sort of mystery. It’s not that hard. It’s not that even very complicated. It’s just hard to scale. it’s hard to do well so there’s a bit of client education that goes along with it and I love that. I love building those deeper relationships and being able to educate my clients and things like that. I don’t know, I think that it really good goes hand in hand. I think that all around and if we look at like how I do my work? how I build links for clients? I make content for clients, it’s teaching its relationships, it’s education. I think it all together really nicely for me.
Tony: Far as over delivering is concerned, is that easier to do on a in a business relationship than it is in the school relationship?
Brendon: That’s a good question so over delivering in a school relationship, for me, really looked like just caring about my students. It’s the same in a business relationship. I just care about the people and I care about the work. students, especially in areas where I taught right on the south side of Chicago in in Gary, Indiana, or two of two areas where kids are typically in an environment that is going to hinder them from being successful. It’s done environment they’ve chosen to be into, it’s just the cards they’ve been dealt. Being possibly for some of them, the first teacher that has ever looked at them and be like, this is the same Hit man, the same this is now what God has for you. This is not what I see for you. This is not what your future should look like, this is not it, what you’re doing right now is not it, I’m going to help you fix it. And I’m going to help you when you hate me and I’m going to help you when you don’t want to be help and eventually after a month or two, you’re going to get it that I’m not going away. I care, I love you, and I’m going to help you whether you want me to or not. That’s the kind of like, that’s what it looked like there and now in doing Client Services and I guess the bridge between them was me starting my jujitsu company and over learning to over deliver for customers who my clients pay me a lot of money. Each customer was a small amount of money.It was still reverse engineering, how can I over deliver for every single customer make this the most amazing experience I’ve ever had buying a product like this, and figuring that out? thundefineden just I just continue to scale that up. I mean, when your clients when I have my SEO clients paying me a ton of money, I can really over deliver for them, because I’ll just reinvest that back into their experience with me into our relationship, you know, and they’re kind of Yes, they’re paying for their own like they’re paying for it, I guess but I would love that there’s plenty of companies Tony, I’m sure you paid a ton of money to that have not invested in their relationship with you. how? I what kind of not that it’s not like comparing but like what kind of car do you drive? Do you have a car?
Tony: Yeah, I have a VW Volkswagen.
Brendon: Awesome. Do you feel like Volkswagens ever invested in their relationship with you
Brendon: You’ve given them a ton of money,like you would think that they could just throw like for every like what a Volkswagen revolutionary thing just said, for every person that buys a car, we’re going to take $300 of this in over the next three or four years. We’re going to we have their address we have they’re all this stuff. We’re just going to systematically just do stuff. We’re going to figure out do they have kids and on the month before school, we’re going to send him a backpack for their kid to go back, not a Volkswagen backpack, nothing branded. Just Hey, we know your kid is starting school this year. Here’s we just want to make sure they had a backpack. You would buy Volkswagen for the rest of your life, your children would buy Volkswagens like that type of stuff I’m obsessed with and I think it’s “A” really cool but “B” just like the right thing to do by people, you know.
Tony: What kind of things do you do to over deliver for your clients?
Brendon: When I was doing the jujitsu business? A jiu jitsu uniform. If you’re not familiar with jujitsu? It’s similar to in the martial arts sense. It’s similar to judo. Yeah, so the uniforms, you’re familiar with Judo?
Brendon: Great ,So the uniforms are, you know, thick, they’re meant to be ripped and pulled in and not fall apart. If you do that with like a karate uniform, you tear it in half within a week. I grew up doing karate, so I know this. They had they’re very thick. They’re very big. They’re bulky. So what I would do is I would buy these big kind of white boxes, I felt like everybody, Amazon, everybody shifts in brown boxes ownership in a white box, because I want it when you see it on your doorstep, I want you to know that that is the box you ordered, right? I got obsessed with packaging, and the experience so when you order for me order on the website, it’s all pretty standard, straightforward. Immediately you get an email.
I pretty much just not stole but will maybe in like an Austin Cleon is a writer, he has this book called steal like an artist, which is based off of kinda like I think it’s a Picasso quote about like stealing and then like making it better. I stole an email I had seen from a guy named Derek Silver’s, who had a company called CD Baby.
Tony: I know that one’s Yeah.
Brendon: Yeah when you order the CD from him, he sent you this insane email of like, how it was coming off of a velvet shelf and floating down a raft and all that, you know, they put it on the CD, baby private jet to your doorstep. Yeah, I’m like, I’m going to do that too. I got so many replies from that confirmation email. It just went out automatically in my system. Like somebody who replied to that, and they were just like, that’s the funniest thing and I made it on brand for me, very kitschy, my brand was very much about like kids in the 80s and 80s cartoons and all of these, like a lot of like anime stuff. It’s all in there and if you were on brand, and you bought this stuff, and then you get this email, you probably became a fan for life. It started with the email, and then you get the package and the white box. It’s got a little sticker on it. And it says, like, wait, before you open this, go to this web address on your phone, and you will load it up. it starts automatically playing the theme song from Karate Kid, and it has like a personal thank you for me so this is before you even opened it. You’re opening it the theme from credit kid is a song called You’re the best. you’re opening the tab that you see first I like hand wrote a note on every single one because I’m insane. I didn’t have a ton of money, but I had time so I’d hand write these things. I hand wrote like, you’re the best so you hear it in your ear and then you see it and then you open the top. Sometimes I would draw custom pictures like illustrations for people and at least like a giant handwritten note on the inside. They see their uniform in here. It’s wrapped in one of my big brand colors was orange, terrible decision Tony, most people do not like orange probably should have researched that first.
It was an orange tissue paper, orange confetti paper ,there’s trading cards in there and action figures, things that they didn’t even pay for, but like things that were unbranded for me that you would put on your desk and it would remind you forever of this purchase you made and all these things. They get it and they finally have opened their uniform I have, I literally have a folder on my computer of all of the people who posted a picture of their open box on Instagram, On Facebook, everywhere because they were just like, this was it was like Christmas morning for them. They were just like this is the best president is better than the presence open on Christmas is amazing. I just like became obsessed and I saw a lot of that from the ideas from a company called Johnny Cupcakes. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them to clothing company, but they inside of their store looks like a cupcake shop and I was in one of them in Boston if source everywhere.That was in their Boston store and people kept coming in thinking that was a cupcake store and they were livid when they found out all they sold was this T shirt.
It’s such a like they give you when you buy something from their store, they give it to you in a little box that’s reminiscent a like a Dunkin Donuts, donuts, whole box. All of these things I don’t know, I just I guess I say all that to kind of lead up like it’s in my podcasting to have a podcast called the entrepreneurs and coffee podcasts. I do I like overdue research on people I’m going to interview and I was interviewing a guy named Corbett Barr and I asked him a question. I heard on another podcast and my research, a story he told about when he was like 20, something happened when he was 20. I asked him about on my podcast. and he literally pause there just as pause beat of… he says, Wow, you really did your homework in like, instantly, like i’d over delivered. Like our relationship was two levels deeper than anybody who you know who else’s podcast he’d ever been on and like that was important to me. I try to do that same thing now. Sorry, so long as answer ever to your question.
Brendon: I try to do the same thing now for my client, my SEO clients. One of the ways that I do that is I’ll send them a, we operate on contracts so it’s not like month to month, we know the SEO takes time and to see really good results. we have a set number of set, timeline of contracts, six months, 12 months, 1824 months, whatever. I’ll send them a box, that it’s just like a big flat box and wooden box, really nice wooden box and it has three kind of slats that open on the top There’s three kind of compartments and the first compartment says kickoff. Then the second one might say like three months, and the last one says six months. The kickoff, they open it and there’s a note from me, and a bottle of wine and it’s like wow. Then when we’ve been together three months, sometimes they’ll forget they have it, they’ll just put it in a closet and they’ll I’ll just say, Hey, open that it’s been three months, we’re killing it, open up that middle thing and like, hope you’re having an awesome day and then there’s like another bottle of wine in there. There’s something else cool in that middle one and they’re like, wow, I remember how much I love this guy and then it’s six months, which is the time that most contracts are ending. We’re kind of going just month to month, I really want to short up that relationship. I want to over deliver so not only my over delivering in my services, and we can talk about that too. Just really surprising and delighting them so it’s six months. It’s like, hey, look like I sent you this box six months ago, I’m confident that I stuck a note in here six months ago that I know we were going to kill it. I know that this strategy is going to work. I’m just I got a note in there that says Like, I know this worked, right, didn’t it? It has worked and they’re like, wow, yes. Like they love that confidence. They love working with a professional that knows what they’re doing and is confident in executing on that. The fact that I was able to it’s been sitting in their closet for six months, and I predicted that what we’re going to do is going to work amazingly and it has that means a lot.
Tony: I get the impression and from the way that you’re over delivering to the clients, you’re working with your therefore getting quite a few referrals.
Brendon: Referrals are an interesting thing for me. I get Yes, like most of the work most of I do get a lot of referrals. referrals are not always the best fit. Just because I’m sure you experienced the same thing. Right. You’re a wedding DJ, right.
Brendon: Like, how, what is your experience with referrals?
Tony: Usually, it’s good because they’ve usually seen me working so they know exactly what it is I can do. If it’s someone refers me who and then the person they refer me to hasn’t seen me working, then it can be done. It can be a different experience. Yeah.
Brendon: Got it so the best ones are the ones that have like, they’ve seen you actually in the act and it’s like, oh, so I did this event. They saw me there the person that was running the event was like, yeah, you should hire him to and then they do they’ve kind of both seen you. With SEO like they can’t really see what I’m doing. Yeah, so sometimes I get referrals and it’s just, it’s really well intentioned, but it’s not a great fit. Right? Just because they don’t the other person. You know, the referral doesn’t mean they know what SEO is that they value me as a person like all of these things. Now, some of my best clients, I’ll be really honest with you have come through from referrals, right, a lot of my best clients have come from referrals. I think that’s a really great way to work. I think it’s really helpful, I just think you have to be have a really good, strong system, I was just reading something this morning from a guy named Brendan done, who is just as really smart person that does a lot of education for agencies and freelancers and stuff. He was just talking about having a really good sales system. I don’t do any sales, I don’t cold email, I don’t cold call. I don’t even compete with the people who try to rank for like SEO terms, right? I’m not trying to rank for like, Chicago, SEO agency, or Chicago, SEO consultant, or anything like that. Because those leads just tend not to be very good.
It’s a lot of work to rank for those so I don’t try and a big thing is just like having a really good onboarding process or really professional sales process so that they look at you when they’re going through it and they know through the process before you even get into working together like am I a good fit for working with Brendan or not? That’s been really helpful for me and kind of filtering those referrals.
Tony: I would imagine, I mean, I’m no expert on SEO, but I would imagine people that come to you, what they want is to get on page one, ideally in a fantasy world to get to the first position on page one. How are you able to over deliver on those kind of expectations? great. so I think the best way that I over delivers is maybe let’s do two ways Number one, I’m going to educate them, I’m going to help them understand that ranking number one for the term they think they need to rank for is maybe not as important as they think. If you want to rank number one for can Koon wedding photographer, that’s super important to your wedding photographer in Cancun. I say to you, there’s only 30 people that search that every month. You’re like, Oh, well, I’m kind of obsessed. I really want to be number one for Cancun wedding photographer, I’m like, cool. That’s going to be a ton of work, you’re going to put thousands of dollars into that. And it’s maybe going to bring 10 or 15 people to your website every month. Yeah or what we can do is we can say, here’s a venue by where I live in Cancun, and 600 people per month, search for that venue plus wedding photos. Have you shot at that that venue? They’re like, Yeah, absolutely. I’ve shot there. 100 times. Cool so you have a lot of photos of the venue. Why don’t we put together an Ultimate Guide to getting married there and all throughout the guide is your photos, and your personal advice on everything they need to know. Don’t go up on the roof. Anytime past September don’t have your wedding on the roof in the pictures -Look, the pictures look nice but what you don’t see as it’s freezing, you think it’s Mexico, but it’s super cold. So don’t do a wet like, there’s nowhere else they’re going to read that advice. And as soon as they read that advice, it’s like, boom, this is my person. And it’s more traffic and that education is like they’re like, well, I thought I just ranked number one for Cancun wedding photographer, my problems were solved. It’s like, No, no, there’s way better ways to do this.
And they’re not going to expect to go to someone who they think is just simply doing SEO to start advising them about putting a pamphlet together or you know, booklet togetherness. Yeah, okay, I can see that.
Brendon: Yeah, or even not even that, but like, let’s make it like, let’s make a whole web page about it. Let’s make a 6000 word guide, the Ultimate Guide to getting married at this venue, and then you’re going to rank for that too. So the 600 people a month that are looking for wedding photos at that venue, if they go to Google, they’ll see you first your guide. And then if they click on Google Images, they’re going to see 20 of your images mixed into their, they’re probably going to click like if your images are the best images at that venue which you believe them to be.
They should stand out and you should get traffic from that. They should be able to see your photos and the Google images for that venue. Most people that something I’ve learned just working with photographers, most people, there’s a strong decrease in like location based searches anymore, and a lot more for venue based searches. People already booked their venue and then they’re like, well, I want somebody who’s shot here before. I want somebody who’s played here before. I want somebody who knows the venue and is not you know, knows how to navigate? Well, the plugs over on the east wall Don’t work too well. So I learned that last time so already, you can bring that expertise and that’s kind of helping them leverage their unfair advantage. A lot of they can tell a good SEO from a bad SEO by Do they have that kind of knowledge? Do they are they willing to put in the strategy is the is the strategy just will rank your number one for $99. Like the runaway please run away because that person has no idea what they’re doing. If they’re giving you a price before they even know the effort. That’s like you quoting a price before you even know what they want. Just be like, Oh, it’s $100 and they’ll be like, well, we don’t even know what we want doesn’t matter. Again, like you’re an amateur like I don’t know you’re doing. Yeah, that education part is really, big for me.
Tony: You go about things in a very different way to I mean, I’ve spoken to many different SEO people over the years, and you clearly go about things in a very different way.
Brendon: Yeah, so a big part of the over delivering, for me has always been stealing from other industries, right stealing from I mean, that’s what I do. I never want to go to- I don’t I wouldn’t I wouldn’t I’ve never been to an SEO conference. I don’t know why I would want to learn just what other SEO people are doing. I want to learn the secrets of like, how do real estate agents. What is their client experience like? What is your client experience, like as an attorney? I want to go to those conferences, I want to go to those meetups and I want to steal that stuff I want I that’s why I stole like Derek Severs email and the suffering Johnny Cupcakes and all of these other things. When I was doing podcasting, I wasn’t really listening to other podcasters I was listening to professional interviewers, I was listening to late night TV I was looking at one of the things I did was, you know, trying to just set up questions ahead of like, people are like, well, I don’t want to do questions ahead of time on a podcast, because, you know, I wanted him to be fresh and it’s like, No, no, you want a great conversation, you want them to know what you’re going to ask so they can have the best answer. They’re not stumbling, they’re not doing any of these things. Now with SEO, the big thing as far as over delivering, like, a big thing that I’ve leveraged that I’ve taken from other industries is using video, sending video updates every single month, you can use soap box or loom or any of these free things, just setting up a deck, going through it, that’s all visual, talking through it, letting them know where you’re at what you’re excited about what the big winds are, were just kind of monthly reporting every single month and I do that over video, sometimes we’ll do it together but a lot of times I like doing it for video, because you might consume it at two in the morning, You might want to watch it on to x. I mean, I talk fast. I don’t mean to sound like a used car salesman. It’s just how excited I get about things but like I, you might want to watch it at two x speed because you got-you only got five minutes, and it’s a 10 minute video and you we can’t do that on a call. Just trying to take from as many other industries as possible and then just always try to I would say the biggest industry and people are probably going to just you’re nodding along with me now as I’m saying this, like the biggest industry I’ve stolen from his education, of just everything is going to be teaching and everything is meant for you to understand I don’t want you I never want to get an email from a client that’s like, I don’t know what you’re doing but it’s working great. Because the problem is, as soon as it’s not working great. You don’t know what I’m doing. you don’t even know that I’m working and I learned that early on. Right? I learned that was one of my first clients, they were like, Hey, we don’t know what you’re doing. We don’t really understand this, we think that the results of might have actually been because of what we’re doing and I didn’t have enough of a relationship with them to have the time and space to explain that the fact that they wrote one blog posts was not what what got them the results during those six months. Yeah, as much as I can take from other industries, I really do, especially when it comes to client experience and any industry just because in SEO, it’s worked a lot It’s 100% on retainer. Any other industry where they have retainers, I’m always like interested in that.
Tony: So when you meet with a potential client, how I’m just trying to think, how do you set the expectation levels for them?
Brendon: I try to set the expectation levels with, here’s what the goals are, here’s what your goals are. This is just classic, like, I guess like sales want to one of we did a discovery. Right? We talked about what your goals were. Now when I’m talking about what I’m going to do, I’m going to use your language back to you. You said your goals were this, here’s how we’re going to meet them. I give them the strategy i put it in a visual form of like, here’s what I’m working on every month for the next six months, here’s what we’re going to do, here’s how it’s going to work. Here’s why I think it’s going to work. If we’re seeing it’s not working, here’s what I will change and I want them to know that like you’re not paying for my hours, you’re not paying for a page one ranking, you’re definitely not paying for links. That’s something I ran into early on clients would be like, send me all the links you made and it’s like, it’s not what you’re paying for. That’s muddying the waters, if you pay me $1,000 a month, and the strategy only calls for two links this month, in your uneducated client brain, you’re like I paid $500 on link. That’s crazy. Hey, it’s against Google’s Terms of Service to sell links, like links are a part of my strategy, because they have to be.Like, it’s not, you’re not buying links off of me. As I’m not that type of like those in the SEO industry the people that sell the links are the sketch balls, like we’re not those people You’re paying for the strategy so I give you the strategy and then I give you the monthly reporting did my did my overall keywords go up? Great,did page one keywords go up overall, like the number of them good, we want to see the rising tide and that’s a big place that I can’t the rising tide raises all boats. I want to focus on the rising tide I don’t want to focus on Well, I’m not I was number one, because then you get those crazy emails at 2am. That’s like I just googled myself and I’m number two now Why? Well, your competitor just got four links from the New York Times, I can’t control that. You’re number two now because they got some really good links, and it’s going to take some time. That’s the thing like you’re running sometimes, you know, I am very competitive but we have to realize, we’re running a race. What we’re trying to do is run our best race not necessarily like we want to win but if somebody else comes in and they’re running their best race to like, it’s not enough to just like sometimes holding even and not losing ground is a win. You have to educate the client on that, as well.
Time is absolutely flown by I can’t believe how fast is gone and I want to be respectful of your time. Before we finish, is there any- what is your take on over deliver? What would you about the whole concept? What do you think about it?
Brendon: I got asked the other day about what the future of SEO is. I think the future of SEO is in this is I would argue for Everybody listen to this, no matter what business you’re in, please steal from at like, steal from me steal from the stuff I’ve stolen from others, right by the book by Austin clan called steal like an artist, you know, make use of everything you’re learning here. Like, I think the biggest thing about the future of SEO is going to be client education. Google’s changing a lot. The Google there I did a Google search the other day for a keyword that my client wants to rank for and we’ve created this great content around it. And they’re like eight on page one. What Google’s done is at the top, there’s an advertisement, there’s a featured snippet. There’s an info box and then there’s five related questions. Above the fold, the fold is what you have to scroll past. It’s what you see on the screen when you initially load. above the fold, there is only one link, it used to be in the past like the top five or above the fold. Then there were five more below it and maybe some ads. Google is doing so much to treat it like a social network now Google wants to keep you in Google until you click an ad. They know you’re not going to get annoyed and go to being nobody goes to being unless you’re like micro and father and like No offense, I’m probably just really offended. somebody that’s like I love being brings great, it’s fine. It’s good. If it works for you. It doesn’t work for everybody.
My point is Google’s trying to keep you in Google to see that ad revenue go up like they can pretend they’re about self-driving cars and Google Glass and the future, whatever they’re an advertising company to what they are how they make 99% of their revenue. They’re going to keep you in Google and I have to educate my clients about that. My clients are like what you know, I’m sure this client is going to ask like, Hey, I’m ranking number one, how come I’m not getting anybody to this article and said, Well, look what Google did. I want to tell them that now that their ranking eighth, so they can see, like, wow, he’s pro-actively searching. He’s pro actually and I can just shoot off a quick two minute video half saw this today. i just want to share it with you. This isn’t we’re not going to change strategy right now but this is going to inform us going forward, I just want to let you know we’re monitoring it, this is really important to us your work and the work we’re doing together super important. Want to make sure you saw this, we’re going to see more and more of this in the next six months, Google might back off from it. Because it’s a bad experience and people are getting frustrated and clicking away from Google. For right now, this is what we’re dealing with just want to give you a heads up hope you’re having a great day. That’s that’s it. Those little quick videos, seeing my face, hearing my voice and like that’s very much over delivering because their inbox is full enough as it is. They don’t need a 500 word email from me with 10 screenshots. Like any chance I can over deliver their with more education. I just think in every industry, every example you could give me, everybody who’s listening to this podcast, and all the other guests you’ve had in this podcast, Tony, I really believe they could win more they could over deliver by better educating their clients, not on their services, but just on what the clients want. Right? Like what are your clients want, they want an amazing event that they’re going to remember for the rest of their life They’re not going to remember that every single song they hear, they’re not going to remember every single dance they do, they’re not gonna remember every single second of that, but they’re going to have this strong feeling of did you add to the event or subtract from the event. We want to make sure that we leave them with this, like they had an amazing event. The more you can help them have that amazing event by educating them better and possibly more, even in areas away from your core services, that the more you can over deliver, I think
Tony: By doing those personal videos, I mean, there’s nothing that’s far surpasses any email, you know, such a personal service that you’re offering someone and it’s obvious that when they see the video as well,
Brendon: totally and what if you, Tony, there’s a thing called a bungee Bojorro. B-o-j-o-r-r-o Oh, it’s an app on your phone, you can hook it up to your email list. When you get a new lead. If somebody ops in on your website, you can literally just fire off a quick video from your phone. Hey, what’s up This is Tony, I just saw you opted in on my website. This is not a pre recorded video like hey, Lisa, like just say their name. make that connection right away. I’m gonna let you know I’m going to read through your whole email and every all the stuff you put on the forums. First one to let you know I got it. Hope you’re having a great day and you just fire that off to them. And instantly they’re like, Oh my gosh, this guy just sent me a custom video. What? It’s amazing. It took you 15 seconds.
Tony: Yeah, that’s a different level. Absolutely different level. Yeah.
Brendon: Yep. I’m over. It’s funny because I don’t like I’m, I’m a Google search guy, right? Like I’m, it’s Google primarily is an index of words, not video, not images. You think that I’d be super focused on words but the way to over deliver to the way I do my work is words, the way over deliver to clients is definitely with video.
Tony: Oh, Brendan, this has been fantastic. Before we go what you mentioned about the podcast, do you have said tell the listeners a little bit more about your podcast?
Brendon: Oh, yeah. It’s called the entrepreneurs and coffee. It is very much my two favourite thing talking business drinking coffee and if you go to just because you’re probably like me, you have no idea how to spell entrepreneur, probably a bad idea to put a word in the title of your podcasts that you’re bad at spelling. People can check it out. It’s just the letter E, E, and coffee all written out. He and coffee calm takes you right to the podcast. But half the episodes are me just kind of sharing my business journey and things. I’ve learned things like I’m sharing right now. Then the other half is me interviewing people kind of similar to this as well, just people that I wanted to talk to and people I think can be helpful, and others in their business journey.
Tony: Fantastic. Well, there’ll be a link to that in the show, as well as some of the books you mentioned and the app you mentioned. I’ll have links to all of that in the show notes as well.
Brendon: Wonderful. Thanks so much for having me on. Tony. I hope this has been helpful for everybody listening as well.
Tony: There’s been some amazing information you give it I mean, really amazing information. I think people are going to be thrilled with some of the things that you’ve given them to think about so yeah, thank you very much, Brendan.
Brendon: Wonderful. Thanks, Tony for the opportunity.
Tony: Next week, episode nine we hear from Jim Cerone, aka the perfect host. Coincidentally, he also lives just outside of Chicago. He is a wedding, MC and DJ and extremely well respected in his industry. Thank you for listening once again. I would love it if you are able to subscribe. Even better if you could leave a review and do get in touch if you know of somebody who really goes out of their way to over deliver to their clients. Thank you very much and I’ll see says
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