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Win The Hour Win The Day
Ross Dunn Podcast Recording
[00:16:59]Kris Ward: Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of Win The Hour, Win The Day and I am your host, Kris Ward, and today in the house we have Ross Dunn from Step Forth. Is it Step Fourth marketing? Is that what you go by, Ross?
[00:17:12]Ross Dunn: Step Forth Web Marketing.
[00:17:14]Kris Ward: Step Fourth, web marketing. Oh my heavens. Okay. So Ross is the man and he is going to enlighten us in all kinds of things today.
[00:17:22] We’re going to talk about the seven biggest mistakes you are probably making right now on your website. And we’re going to get into all kinds of conversation about that. Ross, welcome to the show.
[00:17:33]]Ross Dunn: Thank you very much. I’m pleased to be here.
[00:17:34]Kris Ward: Okay. I don’t normally dive into the past a lot because I’m all about, let’s get to it. Let’s give our audience, our listeners, like, you know, you guys, you think all the time I get spectacular testimonials from you. And I read every single one of them and you guys always compliment me on the solid and tangible takeaways. So, you know, I’m all about that. But I do want to just back up for a second cause Ross
[00:18:00] has been really frankly, doing websites before they were barely invented, honestly. And you wouldn’t know that because he started really young. He’s a young guy, but he started out. I’m telling you as if you don’t know Ross. He started out in a whale watching company in BC, in Canada, and then that company Ross wanted your help.
Do you know how to build a website and they needed a website? Correct? Okay. And that’s how your journey, your career, your passion began?
[00:18:30]Ross Dunn: Yeah, all my training was adventure tourism. I was going to create my own business like that. And, yeah, I sorta well accidentally pivoted in many ways.
[00:18:39]Kris Ward: Well, that’s a whale of a story, Ross, if I do say so myself, there you go. All you people are a good dad joke for you. Okay. So I’m just going to highlight. Cause I think it’s pretty spectacular. The stuff that you do. And, yeah. So let’s start with Competitor Intelligence. That’s one of the things that you guys are spectacular at. So why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you think people are doing wrong with that?
[00:19:09]Ross Dunn: Sure. So, when you’re looking at…okay, so oftentimes we work with a client to determine just which competitors are doing well and why, like what’s going on. We try and get that secret sauce and we have that ability to do that. When we’re doing this, they give us suggestions and the competitors they choose are often a little bit strange.
[00:19:33] And we have to, because we’ve done this enough times, we beg, why did you pick them? What is it about them that you chose? And oftentimes it’s like, well, I’ve heard they’re doing really well. It looks like they’ve got a nice office, you know, this and this and that. And I liken this to betting the farm on a 50, 50 coin toss like it just, or with, with worse odds, really?
You don’t know what they are truly doing. Debt up over their eyeballs. They’re not doing anything properly online and you’re going to base your entire marketing strategy on that.
[00:20:05]Kris Ward: Cause look grown up, right? They look like grownups. Okay. Yeah. And that’s so important. Cause I know I’m reading your stuff here and it’s spectacular competitor intelligence.
[00:20:14] We are competitor ninjas. We go in the back door of your competitors and come out with the blueprint, outlining the secrets of their results. Like wow man. Okay. So what you’re saying, and I think we’ve all been privy to this. And I think social media is the monster that also feeds this. Like you go, oh, their website is pretty or they look grown up or he looks really polished or she looks like she’s, you know, all these declarations of how much they do.
[00:20:37] So you think, well, I am going to trust what they say and let’s follow suit with that. But that’s based on nothing other than like somebody like in grade nine, looking at something in grade 12. Oh, they have it all together.
[00:20:49]Ross Dunn: Or buying a new car just because it looks cool.
[00:20:51Kris Ward:]Yes, yes, yes. Or we’re buying a new car because that person that works in the office looks really successful and they’ve got the same car.
[00:20:59] So you think, well, I’ll get that new car. I’ll get their car and surely everything else will fall into place. Right. Okay. So you’re saying that we’re uneducated and misinformed. And we just go to, you know, some of that we deem to be a successful competitor, but we’re not basing that on anything tangible, like no, no metrics of any sort.
[00:21:20]Ross Dunn: No, exactly. And so what are you truly measuring? I mean, if you focus on overall traffic, it’s like assuming every person walking through a door at the local mall is going to buy. And that’s not effective most of the time. They’re not, some of them are just going for a walk. So I’m them, we’re getting warm because it’s cold outside.
[00:21:39] You never know right. They’re surfing the net. They’re checking out the website. Well, no. What is it about that? What is your ideal client and what are they doing when they get to the site? And we can look at these competitors, we want to determine what they are focusing their marketing on? Are they doing a lot of content?
[00:21:56] Is that content getting shared a lot? And we’ll get into authority building in a bit. I’m sure, what are they really, really focusing on? And of course, by identifying the competitors, we’re looking at how well they’re entrenched online and are they entrenched under phrases, you know, everyone looks for keywords phrases that are actually driving our high intent. These are people who are likely to come to your site.
[00:22:25]Kris Ward: Okay. So, all right. Before he started geeking out, cause he does need to be controlled sometimes. I see it in his eyes. Okay. I think you brought up at a surface level some really valuable points. So you’re right. Just because everybody walks through the door, the mall doesn’t mean they’re fine.
[00:22:43] And so even then, I would’ve thought, okay, let’s take this at a very raw level. We look at their website and go, they look like they got it together. And now you’re taking one step further and saying, well, what if somebody really does look at their numbers and the traffic to, oh, but they got so much traffic.
[00:22:57] Well, maybe they’re doing research or sometimes, and I never even thought of this because I’m so not a numbers person, but somebody mentioned, oh, like, oh, somebody is on your website for a really long time. Yeah. They could have just left the browser open. No big deal. Don’t get excited. Right. Even if you’re smart enough, which I probably wasn’t to look at the numbers. Now, we still don’t know what those numbers mean or why they’re there, or like you could be shopping on Amazon to be standing in a store doing price comparison.
[00:23:25] Hey, can I get this cheaper on Amazon? Doesn’t mean I’m buying, it means I’m already standing in his store and I want to have it in my hand, but is this a good purchase? Right? So there’s a whole bunch of different ways to be looking at this.
[00:23:]Ross Dunn: Exactly. Yeah, it is. It’s a rabbit hole as I probably well explained.
[00:23:46]Kris Ward: Okay. So really noticing that, you know, be mindful who you’re emulating and why, and you would argue that most of the time you’re chasing, you know, you’re emulating the wrong person.
[00:23:58]Ross Dunn: That’s right. And our job is to make sure that we are choosing the right ones when we’re doing our analysis so that we can come up with the blueprints of their success and work with that to guide the rest of the marketing.
[00:24:11]Kris Ward: Yeah. That’s my big thing in life that makes me sad. No matter what you’re doing. What breaks my heart. And I’ve done this so many times and I’m sure you’ve, maybe you guys can relate is; when you are working so hard, but you’re chasing the wrong thing. And I often liken it, comparing everybody at one point in their life wants to lose five pounds.
[00:24:30] So I always compare it to like weight loss and fitness, because we can all relate to that. So it’s like when I see somebody and they’re skipping meals and they’re hungry and they’re exercising and trying to lose weight, and then they have what they deemed to be a healthy fruit drink. You know, for whatever.
[00:24:43] And it’s really like a frosty, it’s like 1500 calories, but they’re chasing the wrong thing in there. It’s so disheartening because they’re working so hard, but they’re chasing the wrong thing. And that’s what you’re telling us is like, we have this, you know, these dollar signs or whatever in our eyes thinking, oh, this is the mountain we need to climb. And we’re basing it on nothing, just a mountain in front of us. Right.
[00:25:05]Ross Dunn: Exactly. And I’ve been guilty of it myself. It’s just, it’s human nature. It’s like, oh, that guy looks cool. He must be doing well.
[00:25:12]Kris Ward: Yeah. Yeah. Yes. I know that the internet is a very seductive and mean monster. I’ll tell you that.
[00:25:21] Okay. So. Another thing that you guys talk about is Optimization Boost. And for you, you talk about, this is like adding rocket fuel to your car. Like, you know, it really supercharges your results. So what are you talking about? What does optimization boosting all about?
[00:25:38]Ross Dunn: Sure. Well, we want to make every page of your website crystal clear to Google, you know, it needs to present all the right signals that way
[00:25:48] when Google goes to the page, it knows where you want it to. You know, it’s very, very clear. And now one of the biggest mistakes people make is they over optimize those pages. They’re obsessed over writing for search engines versus paying attention to who’s going to read it.
[00:26:04]Kris Ward: Let me, sorry to interrupt for one second back up. Just so we’re all clear when you mean optimizing, do you mean using keywords? Yes. Okay. Yeah. Just start at a basic level. So what you’re saying, is it over optimized the page? So I might go and do research and say, here’s my 50 or 60 keywords I could be using. And now I’m over. I’m just like a drunken sailor. I don’t know if that’s even politically correct anymore, but let’s throw that in there.
[00:26:31] You’re just getting all crazy and you’re trying to optimize for everything. And you’re trying to use too many keywords.
[00:26:37]Ross Dunn: That’s right. Yeah. You’re just obsessed with making it something that Google will like. You’ve read about all these articles that are often way out of date. And you’re just trying to clog that page with words and really make them show up and make it no brainer that you’re going to get a ranking for that.
[00:26:53] Well that’s no, these days you’re right. For users. It’s wonderful. Google’s gotten advanced enough that you don’t have to think about that stuff as much. You really just write really well. And Google has the brains to figure out what you’re talking about. We just go in and tweak it a little bit to make it a little clearer for them. And there’s different ways.
[00:27:12]Kris Ward: Okay. So what you’re saying is do what you do. Be you. And if this is the nature of your conversation, like in, as we talk about building your team and outsourcing and leveraging your time and efficiency and productivity, if that comes up in our natural dialogue, writer, articles, do that, do our blog and don’t get crazy, run out and find 47 different ways that we can say time management or productivity or systems or team building.
[00:27:40] Right. Okay, so just be you, and it will take care of itself because Google isn’t a dummy. They have gotten by without our help this far. They’ve been struggling, but they’ve been figuring it out. And so they’re going to know where to put us. Is that what you’re saying?
[00:27:7]Ross Dunn: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Just really be clear and just write naturally. Write something that everyone would want to read.
[00:28:06]Kris Ward: And I guess also what you’re trying to say, cause Ross is a much nicer human being than I am. I guess what you’re trying to say is like, look, we’re not going to outsmart Google. So not only does it look natural when it’s saturated and key we’re overstuffed, but then also we’re using, like, if you talked about again, let’s go back to fitness.
[00:28:27] Cause it’s silly. Then I would probably talk about whatever losing weight or something. If I was a fitness instructor, I’m not going to use 50 different words in one article to dictate that our dialogue just doesn’t actually follow that way. So then that is also a flag to Google.
[00:28:43]Ross Dunn: Exactly. Yeah. And they’d look for unnatural, freezing and birding because there’s a lot of artificial, intelligent writers out there, literally programs that will write the words for you and the whole page. And they’re looking for that. They don’t want to see that. They want to see actual value.
[00:28:57]Kris Ward: Okay. Okay. So, like everybody in life they’re looking for meaningful relationships. Okay. They’re looking for sincere, meaningful relationships with people with substance. Okay. Okay. I got it. All right. Okay. All right. This is, I’m learning a lot here, Ross.
[00:29:17] Okay. Excellent. All right. So then, we talk about… you tend to talk also about ad empowerment, your company, you talk about it like being a buffet of ad options based on your likes, budget and goals. You make sure the audience knows where you are and what your problem is solved. Because that’s like deciding to me, I think one of my mentors explained to me it’s like going to Vegas to make sure you can lose the money. That’s what she always said.
[00:29:46]Ross Dunn: Yeah. And which ones you choose? I mean, they’re not all created equal. Some of these ad platforms are going to be a complete waste of time for you. If you have a small budget, you’re going to want to put it in places that are really clever or your sure to get
[00:30:00] legitimate traffic that is likely to be high value. Some of the ad platforms are based on just getting you out there and branding. Well, branding is very expensive and it’s probably not in many people’s budgets just to do that. Now, one of the biggest mistakes they make at this one, just cringes is it’s a Google trap.
[00:30:23] We’ll do the marketing for you, says Google. Pay us and we will handle it all for you. You know? So your ad campaign, we’ll set it up, we’ll manage it, all this stuff. Sounds wonderful. It’s Google, they’re working in your stead and it sound tastic, but you really want to give the Google Fox, uh, keys to guard your henhouse.
[00:30:43]Kris Ward: Okay. So let me ask you about this. So I remember checking that out quite some time ago, a number of years ago. And here’s the thing, because it does sound like to us, it sounds like the opposite. It sounds like. If your bedroom is in my house, why don’t I like, like, it sounds like you’re you’re in then, like they can’t help, but favor you if you’re paying them, you’re paying to play.
[00:31:07] And then, but I did remember calling once about Google ads and of course I got like a staticky line and I was bounced around. And then you very quickly go as you speak to different people at varying levels. Less English than the last person you realize, oh, this isn’t the establishment. I thought it was.
[00:31:24] So you figured that out quickly, but it does sound very seductive. Like if they’re the ones in charge of Google and they are Google, if nothing else, aren’t you sort of buying favoritism on some level?
[00:31:36]Ross Dunn: Okay. No, and that’s a very common misconception. It’s not going to help at all in your organic rankings.
[00:31:42] Those are the ones you don’t pay for. And it’s also not going to lead to a very profitable campaign. I know many people have used what they called Ad-words Express. I don’t know what they call it now, but it’s paid or this free system Google offers. But they do find, you know, they get some visibility and they get some business.
[00:31:58] They’re like, this is great. I don’t have to do anything about it. So be it. But when they get it managed by someone who actually puts the time in. They can triple their profits for the same amount spent. It’s okay. They’re just, don’t put that much time in, I mean, you can think about it from a pure legal perspective.
[00:32:15] How much trouble would they get? And if they spent a lot of time optimizing everyone’s marketing campaign, Because it would be like conflict of interest, favoritism trouble.
[00:32:28]Kris Ward: Okay. That reminds me, let us pick on the banks for a moment. That’s kind of like if you’re going to get, do your retirement investment or even, maybe even your insurance and you go to a bank and then you’ve got a person sitting at a desk that handles…
[00:32:42] Like really the bank is dictating, handles all these accounts as far as your mutual funds or investment goes versus going to a specialist. That’s all they do because they’re educated on it. They’ll meet with you, your needs. Whereas the bank is going by the banks dictation, and they’re just handling thousands of accounts.
[00:32:57] So I think what you enlightened me on today, Ross is. I was thinking, well, I knew it wasn’t a plan, but I can see why it looked like a plan. But what you’re, what you’re saying is really, you just got a bunch of low level gatekeepers handling mass volumes of work versus somebody like yourself would say, okay, let’s sit down to have a strategy.
[00:33:15] Let’s look at your stuff. You’re not one of thousands. And we’ll figure out who you are and what you want versus just you pay me monthly. And we go in and tweak some things around. Okay. All right. That was enlightening because then you can see where we get fooled, like their Google. Right.
[00:33:36]Ross Dunn: And it’s not so bad for people to think that they’re going to get us some leverage by being with them.
[00:33:33]Kris Ward: Yeah. Yeah. I can see me, got that. Okay. So, so, so far the theme of our conversation. Just stop looking at all this stuff at a surface level, like be mindful, whether you’re prepared to act on it now or can’t afford to do so, or whether it’s a priority. What have you just to make sure you’re just not following blindly or following the masses and saying, oh, well, this makes sense.
[00:34:00] So these are all. You know, that it really was, you know, used to say back in the day, I don’t know if people talk with this anymore, but your webpage is really your storefront and we really have to be purposeful like you are in a storefront white displays and what happens. And we want to really make these decisions strategic.
[00:34:18]Ross Dunn: Exactly.
[00:34:20]Kris Ward: Well, there you go. Let’s wrapped this up. He said exactly. We’re done. No, I’m kidding. Stay, stay. I got him to agree with..
[00:34:25]Ross Dunn: Nothing else to say. You’ve done it. Perfect.
[00:34:29]Kris Ward: I’ve done it all. Okay. So I know this is one of your favorites, I think is, Authority Building. Yes. Okay. Tell me what we don’t know, but authority building.
[00:34:38]Ross Dunn: Okay. Well, It’s critical to show Google that you’ve earned the right to rank. Okay. Now what does that mean? Well, how many billions of websites are out there? How many may be competing for the same spot you’re trying to get? Google wants to prove it wants to provide all of its visitors the best experience possible.
[00:34:58] They want to show the best websites. So you have to earn it. You can’t just get there willy-nilly. You have to earn the right to rank. Now authority building is about, it’s about building those votes of confidence. And that can be a whole bunch of things. One is creating phenomenal content that people want to share love,
[00:35:19] And like, you know, they’re, they’re like, this is fantastic. I’m going to tell everyone about this. It could not be written any better than this. They stop buck stops there. They don’t go looking for any more content. And what happens there is because of those social shares, because of all this amazing signals coming in, Google sees, wow, they can see this.
[00:35:39] They can see how many times it’s shared and how many people are talking about it. In the comments, some people were talking about it on social. That rubs off on you. It’s a vote of confidence and more of those adding up over time, become this incredible authority. It’s a lift, it lists your business up and it shows that you are a thought leader in your market that you have earned the right to rank.
[00:35:59] And that’s why we think authority building is everything. You know, once you get the base created authority building is how you really push your way up into the results and continue to stay there. It’s also the cement that keeps you there. So you’re not moving around so much in the room.
[00:36:15]Kris Ward: Heaven help us. He makes us sound exciting. Okay. So, I know for you, you’re talking about how this gives your business some real muscle that we would really like you get in shape. So you have clout impact and stability for your business. So I think what I’m hearing for you, and I know for us from this is, this is the first time we’re taking content seriously, right?
[00:36:34] In the past I’ve written blogs just to say I did. And they were at surface level, and now I’m writing these big freaking blog of Google likes because it’s thought of more words. And I think what I’m learning is instead of, cause I know I hate it when I like let’s say, oh, one time there was our scrolling and Google and there was this thing.
[00:36:53] It was like the seven things you should, whatever, seven things you clean your house. Major things you should do every spring for your house. Like they made it seem like, okay. And I just bought a house and all this other stuff. So I was thinking, oh, maybe these were like, whatever important things like to protect drainage or so it doesn’t like serious house stuff.
[00:37:11] Right. And then it was like, Change your thicker blankets to your thinner ones. And I’m like, what the fuck? Who can figure that out? Right? The tells that you figured that out a 10 year old would be like, you know what? This blanket is now too heavy. I was, I thought it meant meaningful how stuff. And I thought this is so dumb.
[00:37:30] But, so I hate those superficial ones that are just ridiculous, but they say seven things and they’re all like so basic. So, but then of course, when you are time sensitive and you’re rushing you, all these things to do you think, okay, I’ll whip something up just so I can have a blog. But if I write something that is really delivering content and people are like, this is like, you should read this because this might change your perspective on whatever it is.
[00:37:55] I’m presenting to the world that. Were you I guess, showing up to the date analogy, you just got to show up and have some meaningful conversation on that first date to get a second date.
[00:38:08]Ross Dunn: Yeah. And oftentimes I hear, well, all my competitors have written that content. Okay, well, let’s look at why all that content looks good.
[00:38:15] How can we do better? You know, let’s just make this amazing. The biggest mistake people are making is they’re writing content that’s Oh, so dry. And so basic, like how many words do I have? Do I have to write 500? Okay. It’s okay. If you’ve ticked off all the boxes and you’ve made this an amazing ultimate article, what would be like to call them ultimately, if it’s not then?
[00:38:38] Well, it depends what you’re trying to achieve. Are you just trying to fill in the blanks? Hmm, how much help is that going to be? Or do you really want to make it a mover and a shaker, evergreen content, that kind of thing. A cornerstone of your website, there are different intentions.
[00:38:53]Kris Ward: Okay. So what, is there a magic form? I know you just said there’s not, but is there a parameter of which we should fall into for many words in an article?
[00:39:04]Ross Dunn: Okay. There’s tons of different research online, but the simple fact is you write until you believe it’s worthwhile. Post it. Okay. If it’s not..
[00:39:13]Kris Ward: Got it. I got it. Okay. I remember, I remember in university, I think I actually told you this story.
[00:39:22] I remember in university, like I had a race, you know, I was in school. And so it was like one of my first big essays. It was something like 25,000 words, which I felt at that point, if I knew how to talk about this, that volume, I should have, I’d be teaching the course, but anyhow, and my boyfriend at the time worked for the university newspaper.
[00:39:37] So he was all about. You pay for every word. And so often him and my friends, we would proofread each other’s essays and stuff. And he took a pen and went through my work because the howevers and then therefore is because I was like, I’m counting the words, right? He’s like, these are just fillers. You need a tighter argument.
[00:39:55] And I’m a pretty strong person, but I think I teared up like, buddy, listen to me. I don’t have 10,000 words of content. Right. So I think what you’re back to the essay days is to stop trying to just make it stretch because you have to make it stretch. Sorry. Yeah.
[00:40:16]Ross Dunn: It’s one of those things that people often over… well, you’ve told me before we’ve talked before about sales. There’s a certain point. You just stopped talking.
[00:40:20]Kris Ward: Yeah, you’re right. Okay. Oh my heavens. We have learned lots so far. Okay. All right, Ross, we’re almost at a time. We could talk to you. We should make this a three-part series. We could talk to you all day.
[00:40:32] So tell us what’s one last thing you think people just don’t know that they don’t know or they’re missing the boat on?
[00:40:40]Ross Dunn: Well, one of the fundamentals, when people come and talk to us about their marketing and how excited they are about working with us or how, why they’re confused. Let’s say this better.
[00:40:49] They’re confused. Why they’re not doing better. Oftentimes they don’t even know what they’re supposed to track. They don’t have a success dashboard. They have no way to know what is working and what isn’t, because they haven’t set any baselines. They don’t even have analytics set up on their website.
[00:41:06] There are tons of tools out there. Hell, there’s one in this great free tip here too. If you just type in Google search console online, if you’ve got a website, make sure you have access to your Google search console. It is Google’s backdoor. It’s everything they know about your website that they want to share with you.
[00:41:22] And if there’s any issues that they can alert you to, they will, but that’s the only place they’ll do it. So if you’re not logged in there, you won’t know what’s wrong with your website. If there are any problems, that’s a simple, big, big step that could have amazing implications for your website. But on top of that, just determine, you were talking about a person just staying on a page.
[00:41:44] Is that a good client, a potential a prospect? No, but if they go to each one of your service pages and they seem to spend a little time on each one, that’s all trackable by the way, in analytics it’s yes, a little technical, but it’s not overly just takes a little bit of learning and you’ll know. Which one is good, and those are the kind of people you want to target. And a good marketing company will pick that out.
[00:42:08]Kris Ward: Okay. Okay. So we’re going to put that in the show notes, but just in case, I want to repeat that Google search console. It’s free. Check it out online, checking out on Google and they’ll send you the right place. They’ll die. Direct you. Okay. Ross, you have been a blast.
[00:42:21] Thank you so much. You’ve given us some really powerful things to think of where can people reach out and find more of your brilliance?
[00:42:27]Ross Dunn: Well, thank you. www.stepforth.com or just stepforth.com will take you there. So that’s S T E P F O R T H.com. And there’s a bit of a walkthrough.
[00:42:41] If you’d like to, there’s a top, there’s a free inquiry and just, I’ll not do a strategy call with you and walk through what you’re doing right. And do it wrong. And I just love meeting new people. So yeah. Give it a chance. I’d love to talk.
[00:42:54]Kris Ward: Well, thank you so much, Ross. We appreciate you and everyone else, we will see you in the next episode.