Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Here host David Vogelpohl sits down with guests from around the community to talk about the biggest issues facing WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the original recording.
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David Vogelpohl: Hello everyone and welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast on WMR. This is your host, David Vogelpohl. I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to you here every week on Press This. As a reminder, you can follow me on Twitter @wpdavidv, and you can subscribe to Press This on Red Circle, iTunes, Spotify, or download the latest episodes at wmr.fm. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about what business owners are really looking for when building websites and joining us for that conversation. I’d like to welcome to press this. Mr. Irwin Hau. Irwin, welcome.
Irwin Hau: Thanks for having me.
DV: Excellent. Excellent. So glad to have you here. Where are you joining us from here? Today?
IH: I was gonna say sunny Melbourne in Australia but it’s actually quite cold today. So cold Melbourne, in Australia.
DV: Cold Melbourne. I liked that. I liked that. You know the one time I went to Melbourne. It’s no right after I left it was this new store because a few years ago if you ever been to that, or at least south of there, I guess was where I was. I don’t know. I just remember seeing like videos of kangaroos jumping through the snow
IH: was not that cold today, which is great.
DV: Excellent. Well thanks for joining us for those listening. What Irwin’s going to talk about Aaron’s from a company called chromatics. But he’s going to talk about his 13 years of experience discovering what business owners and marketers really want beside belts and optimizations we’ve all been there. That client asking for that thing and it sounds weird and wondering like what they’re really going for. There. But Eric Irwin is going to share his thoughts around the common motivations behind stakeholder asks examples of how stakeholders often ask for the wrong things to achieve their outcomes. They wouldn’t do that and how your team can create a more collaborative approach that delivers. This is really neat. Alright, or whenever they ask you the same first question I asked everybody else, which is to briefly tell me your WordPress origin story. When was the first time you used WordPress
IH: Good question actually, I did do some digging but in my head 2000 A night a friend asked me to help him with use a website and back in the day. There’s a few tools out there but you know, blogs were all the rage and were perceived to be the right choice. I landed on WordPress, it was easy to use. Everyone seemed to be making websites in WordPress and a couple other names and stuff but I was doing some looking WordPress now makes 40 plus percent of all websites in the world and so glad I made that choice early on, but I’m not gonna lie. I pretty much stumbled across it. And I fell in love with it. And I haven’t fallen out of love with it ever since and the rest is history.
DV: What were you doing in 2008 that your friend felt confident that you could help them with a website?
IH: I’m not gonna lie I actually got I just got made redundant from an ad agency. And I was sitting at home with nothing else to do having come from digital. And he said not only trying to give you a break, but which I really appreciated. That was actually the start of this whole business or entrepreneur kind of a journey. So he really gave me up for a shot. So I really, if John if you’re listening. I owe you one buddy. So thank you so much. That’s it.
DV: It’s fantastic. It’s always great to have his people in our lives. And of course 2008 would have been an exciting time although you probably didn’t recognize it at the time, but we just come out of shortcodes and widgets hitting core and other elements and you know, really progressing WordPress to be even more than a blogging platform. But that would have been a crispy with days with all that. Can you tell me a little bit about chromatics and we helped you?
IH: Yeah, well, chromatics is a business I’ve been running like you mentioned for the last 13 years. We’re actually a web conversion design agency in simple terms where we do web design web development with a real focus on using User psychology in technology to drive for greater sales conversion. And so after 13 years, we’ve picked up a good 80 Plus awards and mentions and we’ve got a nice team of 12 in house just helping us out shared insights.
DV: Oh, that’s excellent. And congratulations on the girth over the years and web conversion sounds like a wonderful niche to focus on or at least focus your efforts around. And you mentioned the psychology of marketing in the psychology of the user kind of visiting you’re experiencing the site they’re getting some of your these words in your mouth, I guess a little bit, but you mentioned that word psychology. It really has me thinking about the psychology of stakeholders. And so I could see where you might be using these skills creating you know, a web experience leveraging how people think and what motivates them with how you deal with your clients. I’m wondering if there’s a connection there, but maybe I can kind of kick into my first question around the kind of topic du jour which is what’s really on these business owners and stakeholders minds clients minds. What do you think are the common motivations stakeholders have when making it out of a web optimization team?
IH: Well, I think people usually come to me and we get that many leads through multiple channels of various business we run our projects is just one of many we run a neon bright which is a conversion copywriting agency and rundown consulting and wouldn’t help calm and also we’ve got a new startup coming up called conversion. And I see that theme of conversion coming through but the question we always get no matter which channel we get personal statements like we’re embarrassed about our website that doesn’t really reflect that site doesn’t reflect the awesomeness of our business. Or the fun. What I’ve realized is Oh, they’ve realized is during COVID, you can’t go offline. So everything’s gone online. And so I now need to depend on my website a little bit more. The other one is, maybe they’ve been now operating their business for so long, and they realize it’s time to scale. And referral partners can only sort of go so far and so they need to push into digital marketing. So their website needs new traffic methods. And that traffic method really, really relies on a website if you think about it, or their website says advertisements being you know, a while 1954 I got this first website and now I really have to upgrade it because I realize it’s not just about having a website. It’s having a website that actually works.
DV: you’re talking a little bit about how the different motivations you felt that people were coming to you for this project. So and one of the ones you mentioned was that people might be embarrassed about their site. And I’m just wondering is that like, actually the motivation behind that like what’s deeper than being embarrassed? Like, what are they really asking for?
IH: Yeah, so the embarrassment comes because firstly, they think they need to look a bit better to see in a style on someone else’s website and it’s better. I think they want to win an award. They want some fancy functions or the next shiny thing but at the end of the day, it really comes down to maintenance, really, they want more business, they need more leads. They need to focus more on the business side of things in the purpose of what the website does, because I don’t think anyone woke up out of bed going, oh, I need a new website. I think the real pain points I actually do want to make more money and get more leads. I need more turnover, more revenue, more customers. And so it’s just trying to give them that mind shift to go well, let’s start with the end in mind. Let’s focus on even business outcomes first, and then make choices that match that business.
DV: So to your point, like it’s not like they’re sitting like they’re thinking like my website, I don’t like the design. So I just want it to look like something I like really what they’re asking for, of course, is something that better represents the brand and helps them achieve their financial outcomes. So they’re not sitting on a call with you thinking about spending money, because they want something that’s pretty, they want something that converts and of course, this is where we get into the client kind of self prescribing the solution is they talk to the expert in that but I can talk about that a little bit. I like some kind of fun examples even but we’re gonna take our first break.
DV: Hello everyone. Welcome back to Press This WordPress community podcast and WMR, this is your host, David Vogelpohl. I’m speaking with Irwin out of chromatics. What business owners employers are really looking for your site builds or when right before the break we were talking a little bit about some of the common motivations and you talked about people being embarrassed about their design, depending on their site needing to scale and thinking like well, what is the real root business motivation they’re trying to go for here? And I kind of had this kind of bridging statement where I was like, Well, okay, fine, if they’re coming to you almost these prescriptions of being embarrassed about the design, they’re kind of implying that they kind of think they know what’s wrong. And so I’m just wondering, maybe you can give us some kind of clear examples of as stakeholders might be making that might be countered in it.
IH: Ya know, I think a lot of the time websites are visual tools. And so every comment that we usually get, the first round is usually more to do with visuals, you know, what kind of colors what kind of effects, what fonts to use, branding and all that it’s very important, but you have to see your website holistically. So we’ve kind of worked out there’s kind of 67 key areas to look at. When you look at a website, you’re gonna have to consider all 67 without breaking a sweat. If one can only see the first one, which is just design. We have to look at design, in line with development like the CMS platform, how easy it is to obtain for the customer. how user friendly is for the marketing manager to do what they need, but also for the user to interact with. Can they find what they’re looking for? How secure is the site or faster this Does the site SEO implications of what you’re choosing, but unfortunately, even based on all those points, the user only sees what the customer in this case only sees the first part of the design. And so they have to look deep and given we have even talked about those business problems that you’re using to solve with, which is really, how do we get more profit to our customers? It’s having that mindset shift.
DV: And so the client comes in and they have a preconceived notion of what’s important and you had mentioned design I remember for my agency days I ran an agency ended up you know that around I do the genome show every now and then, but we were full service and we do marketing and so we do paid search organic, and we’d have people come in and ask for organic and Emily are you doing paid and they would say no and I was like okay, do you want leads tomorrow or three years or six months from now? Tomorrow? Sounds great. I like awesome. Let’s try that first. And but it was really the salient point that we just come up over and over and over and over and over again. And we would you know, kind of direct people in that other way. But like when someone comes in and their focus is on the design and the colors and making it pop or dynamic or whatever. How do you think about like getting them to think about the situation differently? I mean, isn’t the customer always right? How do you how do you convince them? Maybe going down the wrong path there?
IH: Right. We always start by talking about sometimes people when they bring us in, or you don’t really sound like a web designer or web developer. Is someone like a business coach, or a psychologist, you know, because you’re asking business questions. And so the thing we love sharing at the very beginning of every call, is do you know that one formula that pretty much summarizes how you get going to get customers in a really simple way. And so we usually share with them that traffic times conversion rate equals customers. And if you understand that principle now helps to separate the SEO, the AdWords the paid with the website and then if you understand how traffic times conversion rate equals customers, plays into Wait a minute conversion rate, I didn’t say that word website, I said conversion rate, the conversion process, which really if you think about it in simple terms, it’s just really the sales process. The websites is usually the start of that and so we normally try to make it as clean and simple so people understand who is playing what, which part. We segment, each section, and we kind of go well, we just we’re just playing this part. Now the web convergence site, if we can undo or Nola block this or unblock this bottleneck I think you’re gonna get a more likely chance of getting customer and then we usually challenge it more. It’s your sales team. What’s the rest of the sales process like? And once we’ve established the understanding and the flow of how traffic comes to you to come to your website, and talk to your sales guys, you have a proposal company a couple meetings in between, and they sign up. And that’s pretty much it. Once they understand that process. Then we can kind of start and usually kind of takes the focus away from what’s pretty and now on to how does business. And so that’s usually how we go about it. So yeah,
DV: I like that kind of clarifying position of like traffic times conversion or at people’s customers and I could see where that would really help to set the stage for more difficult decisions later when the client might be saying we need this giant video on the page and you’re like, yeah, the page might slow down and I can cost this conversions and then they’re like, Okay, maybe I need to think about that a little differently. Or maybe I can live with a shorter video. There’s something you can do that but I can see where that can be really clarifying and helpful kind of later in the process. Now you talked a little bit about how some of the feedback you’ve gotten in how you do your interviews is, you know, maybe a little surprising for people that have worked with web designers in the past. And I’m just curious, like, what your recommendations would be on how teams can what teams can do questions to ask for assistance to have to get the better understanding of those needs, from their stakeholders, like what is that consultative or psychology type approach? What are some examples of how you all do that?
IH: Yeah, well, I think firstly is a mindset shift for the designer or the developer. For a moment, you can’t be a designer developing Can I have to act like the business owner, think like the business owner, and what problem do you think they come with? And it’s usually not a design one or a coding one. And at the end of the day, it’s more to do with the business and so it’s having that kind of mindset shift, firstly, for yourself? I think so
DV: Sorry, I was just gonna say Do you feel like the mindset shift is away from like, I’m building a web page and what kind of web page Am I trying to build to thinking about it from the business owners perspective, is that the mind shift you’re gonna think
IH: Yeah, well, actually, sometimes I even say to actually even say to the customer, I’m going to pretend that I’ve owned your business with you. I’m like your virtual business partner. What decisions would I make? Because if I owned your business, I wouldn’t actually think about colors. I would think about again, business outcomes, and how that changes things and how often you know, go to that bottom line, and I’m gonna help the profit line, the the turnover line, the that sort of thing. So it’s a real mindset shift in that way.
DV: So sitting in there from their perspective, you know, it’s interesting the from their perspective, we talked about the obsession with design elements. One thing that really stood out to me as I thought about the clients perspective, was they ended up showing that website to their friends, a lot of the times, especially small business owner and family, and like the design actually is a reflection on them as a person in a lot of ways and that made me really think differently about how clients, you know, obsess over design and how important that is because it is reflection on them as a person and maybe it shouldn’t be but like it is, it’s really interesting, but I don’t know I felt a lot of value in that approach to working with clients and stakeholders of any other areas. Getting inside the head to better understand their needs. I really like to pretend you’re the guy.
IH: Yeah, no, it’s really not your point. Because you can’t say to someone, actually, thanks for your design opinions. I’m just gonna throw them up and let’s go to conversion. I think it’s important to number one, acknowledge what they like and say, not in still incorporate it into the peace. But like a dance. You can’t both lead one has to lead. So I usually say Well, are we leading leading by the purpose of the website which is this conversion by the way, there’s two types of conversion I should actually say. In all these polls, when people are not ecommerce, add to cart and buy those shoes instantly. Now our product takes six months, one year, two years before anyone considers us. There’s a relational conversion and there’s transactional conversions. But at the end of the day, it’s still convergence on building confidence, selling confidence.
DV: Yeah, no, I mean, I think it’s really interesting. Obviously, to your point, especially if you’re trying to keep your clients you can tell them that was a horrible idea. I didn’t like that notion of the dance. And you know, because you need to keep the client happy you can keep them coming back and buying more and I definitely have taken the conversions only matter approaching the stakeholder who is all about design, it did not turn out well everywhere, and I can I can attest to that. I do remember that experience quite quite specifically. And realizing it wasn’t necessarily my main for your realization, but it was a huge part of understanding that there’s more to it than just the conversion. There’s the relationship I have with the stakeholder, the client or whatever it is, being cognizant that hey, it is important, but I’m never gonna give up engines. Core values is designed better. So like it definitely matters. But to your point, the design is going to do its job. It’s got to meet the needs of the business. I have more questions on the stakeholder side because like, you know, how do we help them ask better questions and make better asks, but we’re gonna take our last break, and we’ll be right back. Time to plug into a commercial break. Stay tuned for more pressing this in just a moment. Everyone welcome back to press this the WordPress community podcast and the DMR. We’re talking about what business owners really are looking for with site builds with or when, how, or when, or right before the break. We were talking a little bit about how to build teams can get a better understanding of the needs of the stakeholders, you know, sitting in their chair, you said pretending to be them, all these different ways of training, get a better understanding there. But I’m trying to curious like, how can we train these clients? How can we train these stakeholders to make better asks, I really liked the formula and approach you took earlier but any anything else in that vein you you’d like to mention?
IH: Well, we always try to focus more on the purpose of the website and understand not making what’s on because you have nothing to do. You’re here to because you want to try to get someone’s attention. And you want them to take action. And then we usually focus on what is the action points that you want people to take. And so we know, usually list them down. It’s usually the usual suspects of phone number, email, Contact page, about a chatbot or whatever it is. And then we kind of continue to keep drilling. Well, how do we get people to focus on doing that? How do we keep focusing on getting people to that point? But also just seeing things from the customer specific the target market specifically, but still with the business in mind? Because the thing we get the most is people go, Oh, you know, UI UX as a UI UX. Let’s make it look user friendly. And let’s help use it. But you know what the best user journey is sometimes David, it’s, I’m gonna jump on your website. I’m going to find your pricing, get that pricing, learn everything you need. I’m gonna go to your competitor, and I’m gonna sign up with them. That’s a great user journey for me. But that’s not this business outcome. At the end of the day, it’s as much as it is important to you what UX still remember the website, what’s the conversion points, the action points, and then making sure work decisions. Just bring everything back.
DV: That’s to me, consulting with someone comes to you with an ask that you feel might be counter you may be perhaps could be countered to the objective or not supported or that maybe getting in the way of something else. That’s more material. Do you like put the question back to the client and say, What are your thoughts on the effectiveness of that suggestion or asked to achieve our objective? Do you try to train them that maybe the objective might not be the right thing? How do you how do you typically approach it when they may come in with an assets counter to what you’re trying to achieve from a business perspective?
IH: Yeah, for sure. Well, at the very beginning because we’ve we’ve set the stage for what is the purpose of the website? why did why did you think engage with us and and what what would a successful campaign or successful website look like if we had, so we always do that in the very beginning? Everything that is thrown out, including my design team, including myself as the strategist, including, you know, a third party, I come back to the weird read the very beginning. Again, I don’t force an agreement. I said, do you agree with us that this is what we’re trying to do to achieve and that this will be the shining light? This is what’s going to guide us to be successful? Is this true and everything else to not be secondary? Doing? Yes. So maybe we can refine it. And we do that before we move into this. So if they suddenly come back and say, Well, I would like jumping on my homepage, because my competitor does that and it looks really animated and dynamic, and has movement. I’m saying, Well, the key sounds like a fantastic idea. Number one, does it agree with what we kind of established at the very beginning? Number two, does your target market even want this stuff? And so really, there’s the purpose that sets the scene. There’s an understanding of the target market, which I guess is, you know, part of that is always challenging. The client doesn’t see it as that because else it’s just opinion versus opinion, in my opinion, this is their opinion or who’s right, maybe they are correct. Maybe jumping into it would actually be the correct answer, but I just want them to make sure that we’re all on the same page. That is no you versus me, it’s actually us versus the purpose that we had set up. And that usually ends up being a fantastic outcome and also helps I know third parties as well. They operate or they will get a copywriter or photographer or videographer or someone else is involved in the website processes.
DV: Yeah, it’s a good point. It helps abstract out the personal opinions and relationships. I’m guessing you all are doing quite a bit of AV testing to along the way.
IH: So we have a bit of a framework that we have ourselves already that we already know works, because a lot of clients come to us Oh, do you specialize in b2b or b2c? And I’m saying and I usually say none, none of the above. We focus on b2b Ah, isn’t that a human? We look at the human psychologist. I don’t really mind if you’re a business or consumer, or if you’re is 70 or seven years old, or whatever language you speak, as long as I can use human psychology principles and think more about human behavior. I think we’re in the right place.
DV: Right? Well, if I was your client, or when I would tell you to ship the dancing kitty website every single time. Any case, this is awesome. Erin, thank you so much for joining us today.
IH: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
DV: Of course if you’d like to learn more about what Erwin is up to, you can visit chromatic chromatix.com.au. Thanks everyone for listening to Press This the WordPress community podcast on WMR. Again, this has been your host David Vogelpohl. I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine and I love to bring the best of the community to here every week on Press This.