It’s the Message That Matters – Ep 007

What matters most? The big things or the little things? Does the appearance of your website really matter, or is it strictly the quality of the content that’s important? In Episode 7 of Marketing Podcast Weekly, your hosts Rob Booker and Jason Pyles talk about unattractive websites that still make a lot of money, despite their lack of aesthetic appeal. We also talk about the wise investment of focusing primarily on rich, high-quality content generation. The pinnacle of success is having the right message and knowing what that message is. Listen to Episode 7 to learn more!

Marketing Podcast Weekly is an audio show where we offer free strategies for marketing, especially for those marketing in the retail trading industry. Thanks for listening!

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Full Episode Transcript:

Rob Booker: Mr. Pyles.

Jason Pyles: Good morning Rob.

Rob Booker: So I have a question for you.

Jason Pyles: Okay, I’m ready.

Rob Booker: What’s more important, the big things or the little things?

Jason Pyles: That’s a great question because …

Rob Booker: An age old philosophical question.

Jason Pyles: Yeah, because I know how … When you’re trying to get things done there’s that whole analogy with like the pebbles in the jar where they show you that if you put the big rocks in the jar first then you could fit all the little pebbles in. But if you do all the little pebbles first then you can’t fit all the big things in. Right.

Rob Booker: Oh, my gosh, I didn’t even think of that. Where is this jar? Just kidding. That’s actually really cool.

Jason Pyles: Yeah, I always thought that was a neat analogy because it really speaks to my way of doing things because I’m a bit of a procrastinator. So like if there’s a big thing, I’ll be like, well I’ll get to that, but I’m going to do this little easy thing first thing, and I fill up the jar with little things. But so in that case I guess it’s more important to knock out the big things, or the big things are more important. But really they’re all important. Right.

Rob Booker: Really they’re all important. Well, we welcome all of you to the marketing podcast weekly. I’m Rob Booker, that’s Jason Pyles, the producer. We are so happy that you join us week in and week out. And we’re glad to bring these episodes to you. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button on iTunes and leave us a review. That would be great.

Jason was just in the middle of arguing that the big things were more important, and I was planning on having maybe a little mini marketing debate and telling you taking the opposite side of whatever you took. But I have no … I got nothing. I can’t do it. I can’t argue with it.

I, in fact, think that if you get the big right things done, the little things don’t matter, and for that reason a lot of really ugly web sites make a lot of money.

Jason Pyles: Yes.

Rob Booker: Then good design marketing people get upset about that. That’s not to say that design is unimportant. It just means that good design isn’t always necessarily what would be the most hysterically pleasing. It’s what would come off as being the most authentic. I think the striving for authenticity, which may be as an end result impossible to ever achieve but striving for it is one of those big things, Jason, and it’s way more important than what kind of theme you download for WordPress.

Jason Pyles: Are we naming names right now, Rob, because I have a great example of this?

Rob Booker: Yeah, do that around here.

Jason Pyles: Okay, good. Well, what comes to mind immediately as you’re describing this is the Ain’t It Cool News website by Harry Knowles. Harry Knowles is the pioneer of Internet film criticism in many ways, and he started this site back in about 1996 called Ain’t It Cool News. And basically that dude just gets on there and does stream of consciousness movie reviews, and he doesn’t put a lot of images.

If you go look at his site, it’s like …

Rob Booker: I’m looking at it right now.

Jason Pyles: Yeah. If you look at it, it’s mostly text. There are very few pictures, and he still says to this day, the reason for that is because the pictures slow everything down, the load time. And to him it’s really just about content and putting the content out there that people want and he still does that, and it’s not really an overly attractive site.

His reviews aren’t super clean or anything like that, but he cranks out a ton of content and people love that site that has so much traffic.

Rob Booker: I love the site too. What you do is you immediately understand that what this person has put his time into is producing great content.

Jason Pyles: Yes. Yes.

Rob Booker: That’s so cool. Now there can be ugly websites and bad design accompanied by stupidity. I like saying that word wrong. But you can be stupid and also have bad design, and then you’re not getting anything. You’re breaking the jar and then the pebbles and the rocks are falling all over the floor, and you’re not making any money.

Jason Pyles: Yes.

Rob Booker: Another good example of this is one of the smartest people in the world is Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Speed the Movie. Just kidding. Not really. Antifragile. He’s one of the most celebrated financial philosophers and just philosophers in general in the world today. I don’t necessarily love the guy.

His website is all text, and he has a thing on his website that says, if you’re thinking about suggesting that I improve my website, please save your breath or something like that. But his website is just, his website. Please refrain from offering honorary degrees, awards, listings in the 100 most and similar debasement of knowledge that turn it into spectator sport.

Jason Pyles: That’s funny.

Rob Booker: I just think it’s great.

Jason Pyles: Obviously, he’s getting a lot of feedback along these lines in the past, and yes.

Rob Booker: His website, but I can get lost in his website because it’s filled with links that mean something. There’s something to do with it. I have, at times, thought about just taking down my beautiful WordPress site and putting in its place a website that is just Times New Roman text.

Jason Pyles: Do it.

Rob Booker: I know it’s so tempting. It’s so tempting because it’s easy to update. I can just throw stuff up there whenever I feel like it. I can move an image around it. I’m not dealing with WordPress. There’s something really cool about that I think.

Jason Pyles: Yeah, there’s a freedom to it. When people decide just you know what I’m done with clothes. I’m just going to go no clothes ever. All right. Kind of like that.

Rob Booker: Get the big things right. There’s an article I think in last week’s New York Times magazine about how other people in other cultures take vacations. We think it’s in the New York Times magazine. And there’s these people in the Ukraine or Latvia or whatever, and they just go like to a cabin. They go up, they take the family to a cabin in the woods or whatever, not referencing the movie, but I just thought I’d say that for you, horror movie aficionado. They all go up there naked. They all go to the cabin naked like the whole family.

Jason Pyles: Oh, wow.

Rob Booker: I don’t think I could have done that. If you’d grown up and your whole family was naked all the time.

Jason Pyles: Yeah. Well, you don’t have to do as much laundry. I mean there’s that.

Rob Booker: But there’s something about the naked approach. There’s something to this idea that you strip down, and especially in the world of marketing, you let people see on the inside. We are constantly beset on all sides by marketers who want to appear to be something. It’s the old thing. I remember driving around with my mom. I had this little magazine around when I was 12 or 13 years old, and I would deliver these magazines too.

All I had to do was get these magazines and put them inside of stores wherever I could, so people could pick them up and read them. It was all about circulation because they were selling advertising. We would talk about realtors or whatever as we were driving around, and she’d say, well, why a realtor even though they’re unsuccessful will buy a really nice car, and I’m like this is blowing my mind, like why would they do that. And she’d say, well, because they want to appear to have been successful. And it’s like, no, they’re just appearing to like spend money they don’t have. And she’s like that’s very smart. You shouldn’t spend money you don’t have. No, you want to hire a realtor that has sold a lot of real estate.

Still to this day that just persists. I have a friend, who I would consider him a pretty good friend. I like the guy, and he’s in the business of financial education. His business does 15 to $20 million a year in revenue. He does a major annual conference, and at the conference this year, he bought and had delivered to the conference a McLaren, which is, the one he bought was probably like $300000.

Jason Pyles: Wow!

Rob Booker: He pays cash for them. He takes stacks of money into the dealer, and he pays cash for it. He has this gold McLaren delivered, and it’s sitting in the conference room, and people go crazy for it. They go absolutely crazy for it. He appeals to the millennial crowd. He’s really big on social media. And they go crazy about it. They love it. These trappings of success they love it. Like they just can’t get enough of it.

When he’s doing these videos … I like him. He’s a friend of mine. He’s really good to his parents. He’s so good to his mom and dad. He’s done a great job. I don’t have any … I’m not saying anything negative about him. He’s my friend. When he goes overseas and he opens up these schools with Pencils of Promise or on his own, he opens up. He just funds the building of entire schools.

He’ll do a ribbon cutting ceremony at the school and he’ll have who ever’s with him take Instagram videos. He’s got like a million followers on Instagram, and he’ll have whoever is with him take an Instagram video. But out of the corner of the Instagram video with my friend, Tim, you’ll see these women that are wearing like Pencils of Promise shirts that just appear to be models, like traveling with them.

I’m not saying that that’s what he does. He has been accused of doing that before like someone accused, said that his fiancee was a model. He doesn’t take anymore pictures with her, so either she’s very private or they broke up or whatever, and I hope they’re okay, and I hope [inaudible 00:10:37] But anyway it would always be out of the corner of your eye, or one time he went down to Columbia to do a private training seminar for like $50000 for somebody, and he did a video from the hotel, and out of the corner of your eye you can see some woman take off her bathing suit and jump into the pool that is inside of his hotel room.

I’m like that kind of stuff, people are like that’s the guy that I want to teach me because he’s got all the stuff that made him successful. He’s open. He’s very public and very honest about the fact that the money, most of the money that he makes now is from education that he trades a very small account and just very successfully. But the money he’s making from education just absolutely dwarfs the money that he’s making from trading.

Some people could call that inauthentic or whatever you want to call it, but it’s a big thing. This big thing that he’s getting right is that appearances matter for his target audience, his ideal customer. The appearance matters and that’s the big thing for him. Then everything else that he does is kind of his Instagram is beautiful but his website is kind of mid 2000s WordPress, like it’s not, it’s not about that.

We get caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter. We get trapped in a cycle of refining and improving and optimizing things in our marketing that don’t really matter when it is purely and simply the message that matters most. If you’re running a Facebook ad, it’s the message that matters. It’s not necessarily the image.

The other day I did a video in front of a whiteboard and the audio is kind of crappy and the lighting is not really good, and I took the video with my iPhone and I did my best to record good audio with a microphone but it didn’t do a great job. Then I attached that to a Facebook ad and I ran an ad on Facebook. I’m generating leads from that video for 70 cents a lead, which in my industry is unheard of.

I used to try to run Facebook ads and I was spending like $6 or $7 per lead person per person that came into the website, and now it’s 70 cents, and I’m just scratching my head thinking well why is this. Jason, why is this? The answer is it’s the big thing mattered, the message mattered. Then like the quality of the video, nobody cares about that. If you’re talking about something that people really want, if you’re solving a problem that people really have, and they’re desperate to solve it, then you’re going to make money from that.

I have two friends in the world of Facebook advertising, not friends but, Dan Henry and Kat Howell, and I’ve spoken about both of these on the podcast before. In Facebook advertising is so big that it bears repeating. These are two people that don’t necessarily have the fanciest websites. In a lot of cases, Dan Henry’s website is a mess, and that’s not a criticism. I know he would take it as one, and he would get all offended and whatever else, and that he’s such a drama queen. But he is so dramatic.

He’s like one of these guys that makes up controversies just so he can argue about it on Facebook and then attract attention. It’s brilliant. Anyway they don’t have spectacular websites or anything like that. They have authenticity and they have a message, and the message is I will solve your Facebook advertising problem, then done, done. Nobody cares after that. They don’t care if you look the best or seem the best or they don’t care.

Other people that are trying to look like they’re doing great at those things are not as successful.

Jason Pyles: So Rob let me underscore something here because we’ve been getting at this, but honestly when it comes down to it, if you don’t have all of your focus time and attention on all the distracting trappings that surround your message, then if the only thing you have left that you’re doing is the content then that’s where your focus goes. So it reminds me of like that whole naked analogy which is for a person like me, who’s not as fit as I’d like to be if I were walking around naked, then I would really focus on my personality in order to attract friends and stuff.

I’m just saying that if you don’t have to focus on all the little things then you just have one sole focus and that is the message.

Rob Booker: Absolutely. To be great at marketing take off your clothes.

Jason Pyles: That’s right.

Rob Booker: Right. So everybody knows that all porn is free. Like everybody knows that pornography is basically free and people go out there on the Internet. There used to be a huge industry for it, and Playboy magazine it almost shut down or I don’t know. But a few years ago, I knew a woman and she was running a monthly subscription service for her own pornography. Like to be successful at marketing take off your clothes, and it’s like, how in the world is this person running her own little business in a world of like it’s free everywhere.

She had a social media presence, and then she had a private website, and she engaged with her audience, and she just dropped the …

Jason Pyles: Quote-unquote.

Rob Booker: She dropped the persona.

Jason Pyles: Sorry.

Rob Booker: She dropped the persona, and then she had this whole business, like she made like $10000 a month running her own thing in a world where everything was free, but she … I don’t know. She had this like social media presence that introduced her to people, and she shared everything about her life, like everything, her family life and everything. And then there was this other website off to the side where you had to pay to get access.

It’s the same story over and over, or this guy Brad Campbell, I don’t know where this guy is. He’s probably on the run. I don’t know where he is. He ran Facebook ads that went to this pretty ugly looking landing page, and it said, watch me and make a Facebook ad, and then you watched a video, and he was making a Facebook ad. The audio was like [inaudible 00:17:03] like not a great microphone, sitting out by the pool. He was just talking with, it was like a loud echo in the background. He just went through, and he’s like I don’t even use the power editor.

I don’t even use all the fancy stuff. I’m not here to do blah blah blah. Then while you’re being distracted by the bad audio or the bad video or whatever, he ends up making this ad that generates these leads that then generates these sales, and he’s walking you through all of this day by day in a video and he’s using a crappy old email auto responder program to do it. And then at the end of it on day six he says, for $6000, I’ll spend a day with you.

I’ll write all your ads, and we’ll see if we can do the same for you. And then he generated. He got like 30 customers, 30 times 6, I think is, carry the one the rabbit goes around the hole and down the thing. He makes $300,000 or whatever, and then he just, that’s it. He just disappeared for like 60 days and wrote ads for people.

Jason Pyles: That’s wild.

Rob Booker: It’s completely insane. It was a six page website. Then when he was done when he got the customers, he took the website down. I know this because he lived in Arizona, so I reached out to him. I was like, what the fudge muffin are you doing. Once again anybody who’s trying to build the whole website and build out the whole thing has got to just get, you’ve got to just, it’s got to drive you crazy to see people doing this kind of thing. But time and time again it’s the message that matters. It’s that big thing that you get right.

Then you just have to use the media and distribution methods that are available to you to get it out there.

Jason Pyles: Yes. One other thing on this, Rob, like for most people I know for me, it’s really time, like my most precious commodity that I have the least of is time. I’m not a rich man, but even when it comes to money, I have less time even than money. So like what you’re talking about here is if you’re not spending all the other time on the other stuff then your time goes specifically to content generation and being prolific.

Rob Booker: Yes. There’s a commonly held belief that I think I agree with it. If you are a marketer and you are prolific in your marketing, you will get more business. If you are a marketer and you are trying to get it done perfectly, right, you will make less money. That getting great at marketing has a lot to do with producing a large volume of material and learning from your mistakes as you go, logging your mistakes and logging the reasons for it, and making mistakes.

That means fail fast. Develop a product, launch the product, fail, learn from it, launch it again, fail at it, launch it again and don’t give up. There’s a lot to be said for that. When we first started podcasting, I was in my son’s bedroom with a pretty much a garbage microphone, and some of those episodes are still the most popular ones.

They get downloaded more than ever, and those are episodes that maybe didn’t have the highest production quality, but may have had a super high content quality. The other thing to understand is that if you get another big thing like product market fit, the right product for the right market, it almost doesn’t matter what your marketing does at all. It’s not about marketing.

Back in the early 2000s when I started out as a currency trader and a terrible one at that, there were four or five individuals in the United States that were starting brokers. There was Glenn Stevens who built, Drew Niv who built Forex Capital Markets, Todd Crosland who built Interbank FX and a few others.

These individuals literally could have had a band of shouting monkeys throwing poo in their marketing department at the time, and they were going to grow like crazy. The reason is because everybody wanted to do that kind of trading, and they ended up, in some cases, with fantastic marketing people, and it just made it all better. But what they didn’t understand at the time was that a product market, that they were offering a product that everybody wanted and that’s the same for Facebook people who teach how to do Facebook ads right now. It’s just a hot industry and you could be a monkey, and you could be selling, I will teach you how to do Facebook ads, and as a monkey you would make $15,000 a month selling that course, even if you were just barking into a microphone.

It’s because everybody wants to know how to do this. It doesn’t even matter in some cases what your content is, Jason. As long as you make the claim in a believable way, there’s an industry right now that it’s just wild, Jason, like guys that were making $10,000 a month two years ago are making a million dollars a month, easy.

I bet Jason Hornik is making 3 to $5 million a month.

Jason Pyles: Wow!

Rob Booker: Because he started out early and he learned how to do it, and he’s offering something that everybody wants. So that’s the other thing is if you can find the right market, if you can find the right product for the right market that’s insane, that’s a goldmine, and you can basically not know anything about marketing, and that’s a big thing. It’s a huge thing.

Jason Pyles: Yes. Yeah.

Rob Booker: I guess one thing to say is if you’re really struggling you’ve got to ask yourself a couple questions, one, have I taken off all the clothes? Have I revealed myself fully? Do I appear to be authentic? I really mean it the way I said it. Do you appear to be authentic? I know that’s terrible. But some people are just really good at appearing to be authentic. But do you let people in? Do they feel like they know you when they see your videos flashing through their Facebook feed or whatever? If they do, you have a higher chance of getting through to them to talk to them about your product. Or are you producing enough content that people are seeing you in a lot of different places.

The definition of a celebrity is someone you see everywhere. Are you producing enough content for people to see you, know you, like you? Well, then you’re going to have a chance to tell them about your product, or do you have a product market fit that’s just one in a million? Are you lucky enough to be in an industry that’s growing fast or can you pivot? Can you change what you’re doing now to fit what’s growing and get in on that action?

In that case, it doesn’t really matter if you’re an expert or if you have a great website or whatever else. So those are things that matter. I would suggest, Jason, that everybody that’s listening think about what are the ways that you’re wasting your time on content development or the way it looks or whatever, and you’ve taken the focus off the message. In what way can you get back to doing that, and that should make a pretty substantial difference.

Jason Pyles: Yeah. I agree with you 100%. This is amazing. This is a really good episode for me Rob because I’m the kind of guy who will like, okay, first I got to dust and then I got to make sure the blinds are exactly the right angle for the lighting, and then I got to get showered and then I’ll get to work on this. But I know knowing you all the years I’ve known you Rob, so listeners know this. Rob Booker is a kind of guy that’s like boom it’s done, next. That’s what you do.

Rob Booker: That’s really funny. Thank you. That’s why I think we’re a good team though. You get the details right.

Jason Pyles: That’s nice.

Rob Booker: When we did our first podcast, and this is a great wrap up to this episode because I think it gives credit where credit is due. When we did our first podcast, the trader’s podcast together. I don’t know if that was your first podcast that you ever did. It probably was not.

Jason Pyles: Well, I mean as far as I’m concerned, yes. Yes, it is.

Rob Booker: All right. What we did was we made content together and then you got the details right. We were the first podcast in that, we were one of the first podcasts, end of sentence. We were also the first podcast in the world of financial, the trading world, the investing world, and you got the details right. We had the message for a market that was hungry for the content, and then you got all the details right. And that’s why the downloads are numbered in the millions now and it’s not even the most popular podcast about trading anymore. It’s not even that, but our back catalog stands up against anybody else. The quality of it stands up against anybody else.

I hear all the time people that say I just finished listening to all 500+ episodes of the podcast.

Jason Pyles: I can’t believe when they do that.

Rob Booker: I know it’s great. I hear from people all the time that say that. Once again success to me isn’t anything that is the pinnacle of success. Having the right message, knowing what the message is, striving for authenticity, and then getting those details right. When you can do all of those things together, it’s a powerful package. And anyway, so it’s been a pleasure speaking to you about the subject which I had not prepared before we spoken [inaudible 00:26:52] once again.

Jason Pyles: Rob Booker right there, like let’s crank out this episode.

Rob Booker: Let’s just crank this episode out. All right. Where can we hear more about movies? This is plug time.

Jason Pyles: Well, speaking of terrible websites, I have a perfect example of terrible website., we cover new stuff that’s in theaters, Rob. Then I got a right there. We cover horror movies, and that’s it.

Rob Booker: Is it now an acceptable criticism to say to somebody, your Movie Podcast Weekly website is not ugly enough.

Jason Pyles: I guess, so, yeah, like after hearing this episode, it’s like man maybe this is even too fancy right now.

Rob Booker: It is really nice. Don’t forget to support the podcast also. Movie Podcast Weekly is brought to you by the people who make Movie Podcast Weekly, and you can donate to the podcast. You can even become a member. I think I may have done that. I don’t remember. But best movie so far this year. Once again I love asking this question.

Jason Pyles: You know what I’d have to say, Wind River. You haven’t seen that. Oh my goodness.

Rob Booker: Wind River, what the …

Jason Pyles: Yeah, that’s a crime film. It’s pretty remarkable. What’s her name. She’s beautiful, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner. It’s one of those like murder mystery like procedurals and it’s incredible.

Rob Booker: Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to this. That’s great. Did you like Baby Driver?

Jason Pyles: I loved it.

Rob Booker: I loved that movie.

Jason Pyles: That’s your kind of movie, I think. That’s fun.

Rob Booker: It is, definitely, my kind of movie. I just saw my son Robbie. He came out for the weekend, and he lives in Northern California, and he’s like I just loved to have that movie combined, the audio and the visual was just so intertwined.

Jason Pyles: Yeah, the soundtrack on that’s incredible. I love it.

Rob Booker: Yeah. Really. I’m glad to hear that. You can find Jason once again at it’s all part of the Movie Podcast Network. And don’t forget to subscribe and donate and keep that podcast going, and we will see you next week dear listeners. We love you all. I’m Rob Booker, that’s Jason Pyles, and this is the Marketing Podcast Weekly.

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