October 24th, 2023
With Greg Merrilees, an entrepreneur and Founder & Director of Studio1Design.com – a world-leading Australia-based website design and branding agency that helps you convert cold visitors into hot leads and sales by designing good-looking websites. Studio1 has transformed over 2000 websites for some high-profile online marketers and brands, including Sylvester Stallone, Frank Oz (The voice of Yoda), Gary Goldstein (Produced Pretty Woman), GRIT BXNG, BookVIP, Numerologist.com, James Schramko, and many others.
In our conversation, Greg shares some tips and secrets when it comes to having a great web design and a high performing website for your business, including some common mistakes that most people make in designing their websites and the must haves for website conversion.
Takeaways & quotes you don’t want to miss from this episode:
- How long should you keep your photos on your website before you update them?
- Why is email marketing important in website conversion?
- “Reciprocity is all about leading with value… the more social proof, the better.”
- Understanding audience and brand positioning for entrepreneurs are a must for designing your website.
“If you think about your cold traffic to your homepage, you want to make sure straight away that they understand that you are the trusted, experienced authority in this space…”-Greg Merrilees
Check out these highlights:
- 04:05 Greg shares how he got into the world of design.
- 17:01 What are some of the primary mistakes people are making with their website?
- 28:20 The “must haves” for people when it comes to website conversion.
- 47:58 One thing Greg wishes more business owners knew.
How to get in touch with Greg on Social Media:
Special gift to the listeners: Take a FREE Quiz to to discover how to convert more of your website’s visitors into hot leads and sales.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below:
GGGB Intro 00:00
Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®…
Greg Merrilees 00:04
Number one is to understand your audience, understand what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night, what their pain points challenges are aspirations and why they would say yes or no to you, you know. So, understanding your audience, if you don’t have an audience, even if it’s just not a paid customer list, but a lead list, like survey them, just ask them those type of questions. And that can be quite helpful. From that point, I would say, positioning of your brand like you’ve got to make sure it resonates with your audience and represents your offer as well in the right live.
GGGB Intro 00:37
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:05
Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving online information entrepreneurs throughout the US and the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®. I am super excited to introduce my new friend, Greg Merrilees. Welcome, Greg.
Greg Merrilees 01:31
Thank you, Heather. It’s so good to be here. I love your podcasts. I just listened to about half a dozen episodes. And now it’s in my recurring list of podcasts to listen to, I think it’s really cool.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:40
Awesome. Well, I love that. Well, there’s definitely other people on the podcast that you should know, because they’ve got your clients. So yeah, we should talk about that separately. But thank you, I love my podcast as well. And I love my guests, and you’re gonna be one of them. And I’ve really been looking forward to this. For those of you that don’t know, Greg, Greg and I, there’s a couple things already that I love about Greg one, he was like the most patient patient person ever and connecting with me because I flubbed him off like twice accidentally, I think once like kids were sick, I can’t even remember what happened the other time. And anyways, he was still very patient with me, we met and right away, I loved his energy, you have a very generous approach and your personality, which I really appreciate about you. And you’ve got a great area of expertise that everybody that you and I serve needs to know about and has the opportunity, I think to improve in, myself included. So this will be super fun, because I get to ask you a whole bunch of questions. And we’ll get to learn today about the world. And for those of you listening, stick around because you will learn a lot from Greg, he has worked with some really top notch clients around the world. These are named brands that you would know their people and names that I recognize. So this will be a fun conversation. If you’ve not crossed paths with Greg Merrilees before, Greg is the Founder & Director of Studio1Design.com, a world-leading website design, and branding agency based in Australia with 30 people who are passionate about designing really, really, good-looking websites that convert cold visitors into hot leads and sales. Greg loves sharing knowledge about website design, branding, online marketing strategies, conversion principles, and loves to share case studies of his client’s websites to show you the results they are getting from applying Studio1’s design philosophy. Now you guys are everywhere online, we’re going to talk about you know where people can connect with you at the end. I know you’ve got some amazing resources, can’t wait to share those. So with that, welcome, Greg. So happy to see you again.
Greg Merrilees 03:54
Yeah, thanks for that. Yeah, I’m excited. Let’s go.
Heather Pearce Campbell 03:57
Awesome. So take us back a little bit in your journey. How did you get into the world of design?
Greg Merrilees 04:04
Yeah, sure. So, look, I’ve had my business since the year 2000. So quite a while now, but what we did initially was we designed T-shirts for the wholesalers that supply to Australian retailers, right and then ground I would say 2011-2012, the retailers went vertical, they went vertically integrated. They cut out the middleman which was the wholesalers, which are our clients and at the time, we had like six full time designers in house, we had an office had a young family. My wife was also in the fashion industry, she got squeezed out of the industry, borrowed 100k just to stay afloat, and it was going down big time. Right. So yeah, so I had to think well, you know, I’m pretty much unemployable. But that time you know, I’ve been in business for a while so I decided to just look online for opportunities and guess what saved everything podcasts. I found podcasts, right so yeah, and I just resonated with them. I learned so much from various marketing and business growth podcast and there’s one in particular think I get, which had two co-hosts, one from New York, Ezra Firestone helps businesses with E-commerce. James Schramko is a business coach in Australia. And they said on their podcast that their logo sucked, right? And I thought, Oh, wow, there’s an opportunity. I’m gonna design a new logo, just to say thanks for their awesome free content, sends it to them. And luckily, they loved it. And then, you know, as soon as New York accent hot, dang, you know, this makes us look like a fancy softball team. It was really cool, right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 05:32
Oh, my gosh, that’s funny.
Greg Merrilees 05:35
And yeah, he decided to hire me to design further bits and pieces for his brand in and then attended to his website. And because he, at the time, coached a lot of other businesses and had an agency for E-commerce, we started designing for their websites. And then James Schramko, the same thing. We designed all these things. And I guess, you know, we were pretty good designers, which is great. But what we didn’t understand at that point was conversions and online marketing and how the whole online marketing space works, right? So we had a lot to learn, even though we’re good designers. And so over time, we just kept learning more and more. And then as we learn more, and we’re designing these websites, we’re being coached by James Schramko, and Ezra Firestone on what gets results for their clients. We just embraced everything. And from that point, it just grew from there. And Ezra had me on his stage in San Diego and James and he stayed in Sydney, and we just yeah, learnt and shared a whole lot of knowledge about you know, what will convert online? And yeah, now, we’ve grown to almost 30 people at the moment. And yeah, the rest is kind of history.
Heather Pearce Campbell 06:41
That’s amazing. So there’s a couple of things I love about the story. And I know we’ve got some mutual contacts in common James Schramko, being one of them. So I was on his podcast had James on mine, and then another mutual friend, right, Garrett, who came on and talked about SEO, super fun, and it makes the world feel smaller, which I love. But the piece of your story that I really enjoy is like, you have this hunt to do this thing, right out of the blue, like kind of this little unknown, like a test case scenario, and look what it has evolved into.
Greg Merrilees 07:17
Totally, yeah. And if you’re just thinking, from a listeners perspective, if you do really appreciate you know, somebody that you want to learn from, or want to connect with, don’t just send them a free ebook or something like that. Like, really try to think what’s unique about your skill set, and go that extra mile to put in the effort to build that relationship? Because business is all about relationships, in my opinion.
Heather Pearce Campbell 07:38
Oh, it’s so important. And the thing that I love that you did is you had a skill, you recognize there was a need, like they said it and you were like, huh, I could solve this problem they’re having this is the whole point of is this right? Like I could solve this problem that they’re having. And it’s about connecting with the right folks who are having that problem. In the early early days of my Legal Website Warrior business, even before I had a pre website, right? I knew who I should be helping. And I just started with email, like, Hey, I think I can help you with this. I have seen your online business, you’re the kind of people that I support, or the kind of business that I support. Here’s what I think you’re missing. And I was enrolling some of my top clients, even without a website without any digital presence essential to us. Yeah. And so I think the other thing that people need to remember is, it’s like, know who you’re here to serve, and just go do it totally. Right. You just gave us like the best example of that. And it ballooned into this amazing thing where I know you’ve had a whole steady stream of work from them, and then developed your own clientele. And it’s just grown and grown.
Greg Merrilees 08:55
Exactly. And I guess you have to do good work as well.
Heather Pearce Campbell 08:59
Do good work is a given, right? You better be doing good work and go learn how to do good work, and then come back and listen? Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Greg Merrilees 09:09
Exactly. Yeah. And I guess the other lesson is just to always lead with value with any relationship, you know, in business. Yeah. Don’t think about what you can get from it. Think about how you can serve. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 09:20
I love that so much. Well, and you’ve also, I mean, I think the thing that some people will really relate strongly to about your story is that business is a journey, and it does not always go our way. Right? We’re doing one thing one day and some of us we end up having to totally shift gears because of circumstances completely beyond our control.
Greg Merrilees 09:42
100% yeah, and look, there’s always challenges in business, especially when you’ve been in business for so long. Yeah, we had an issue recently with a team culture issue and I guess, totally my fault really, because I wasn’t putting enough effort into team culture. You know, I think going through the pandemic as well. I kind of lost interest in business, business was going well, everybody wanted to improve their online. That was good. But, you know, being locked down. We’re in Melbourne in Australia, which was the world’s most locked down city. 250 something days at the time was crazy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 10:11
Right? So that sounded hard.
Greg Merrilees 10:15
Yeah, it was hard. Yeah. And so I kind of lost business or thinking about selling the business, I was trying to step out of it. Same type of thing, as far as wasn’t involved with the team so much, you know, just put the general manager in place to take care of everything, but it’s really my fault, but it affected our team culture. And then it was, at one point, we had the design team leader, like the design manager, he created like, put this up. We’ve got five people in Australia and the rest in the Philippines, right? And he created a thread for the Philippines language Tagalog, and it was a toxic thread where he just kept posting negative things about myself and my general manager. Yeah, it was terrible. But it’s because I guess I wasn’t putting enough effort into the team culture, right. And so within a few months, we had a few designers leave, and it’s like, whoa, what’s going on? And so we figured out from them that he was saying all these negative things. And basically, what we did was, he got caught, my general manager was on a call with him, and he posted something in this slack thread, this secret slack thread, and my manager saw it, but he wrote it in Tagalog, but he had the word Sally in there, my General Manager. And he just denied it. So I’m just saying, you know, like, we’re just letting you know, letting them know I’m talking to you. But what happened was, he shot down that slack thread. Now we don’t have access as a business owner, you don’t have access to secret threads until somebody closes it down. And all of a sudden, Sally was doing a search for a project name, you know, like, whatever, it was a click up project thread that we use. And all of a sudden, it showed up in this secret thread. So she popped it into ChatGPT translated from Tagalog to English, and realize it was all these negative comments. So yeah, we had to, like just end that situation. So he’s gone. But yeah, but since then, the biggest lesson was, you know, it was my fault for letting the team culture run away, basically. So since then, we put so much more effort into team culture. And we now have, like, everybody, once a week gets if they adhere to our team culture, they get a bonus. And then they have to nominate the next person. So each week, that’s fun. And we have designer of the month and Dev of the margin of the month, and all these things that just help uplift everyone. And we’ve just booked a like a 20-room villa in the Philippines in their little Boracay, you know, beach resort, and we’ve invited the whole team that’s in November later this year. But the point is, we’re putting effort into team culture, because it’s so important. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:43
Such a great example of the continued learning journey that we face in business, right? Because as we go along, our level of leadership has to rise at each stage, and we’re going to face new challenges. It’s just baked into how business goes. And it’s, you know, you highlight a really important point, actually, the guests that I had right before in a separate conversation, who’s all about helping people build team talked about her word was the vigilance that you have to use in protecting and hiring in accordance with those core values? Yeah. And it really is, you know, certainly there are times and issues in life that come up, where we are going to be less vigilant in our business, because life demands that of us. Right? And yes, what we have to understand is we’re gonna have new opportunities for learning and growth when that stuff comes and you know, new AHA cars and new things that we get to try in our business. So anyways, really poignant story that you shared with us. Back to the website, design space, because for folks, I think there’s a little bit of like, people get both really excited about websites and new websites, and especially, you know, at a launch phase or an upgrade phase of their business. And I think there’s a whole bunch of like, trepidation that can come along with like, thinking about that process, right. It’s a big process. Yeah, sure. Yeah. Can you talk to us a little bit about the client journey from your perspective? And what you notice about that, and what you’ve seen?
Greg Merrilees 14:24
Totally, yeah, so I mean, for us, we have a very detailed process for bringing on a new client and our process is we want to know as much as we possibly can about the client, their business, their target market, their offers, their marketing, what’s working, what’s not working, etc. And so to do that, we also want to protect our time right? So you know, as far as understanding with websites, how they should work for your business, you really should have a strategy baked in and with our strategy, it’s all about trying to educate people a little bit first with blog with content like you’re doing now this Broadcast. And then also on your website as well, you need to make sure that educates people on your process and things like that, who you’re a good fit for, who you’re not a good fit for. And so what we do is, we have like a get a quote, type thing, we also have like a 15 minute, you know, free little call thing, right? But then that’s just all about qualifying. And so from there, we want to make sure they’re good fit, we want to protect our time. So we just send them a ballpark estimate. From that point, we outline everything, our action plan, the whole works. And then they can decide if they want to take it further. If they do, we send them like a 40 question questionnaire, which is quite detailed. But that’s to figure out all those things that I mentioned before, because we want to really get them the best result possible. And you can’t possibly do that, unless you know everything about what you need to know to design a website that converts, right? So basically, we’re sending the ballpark and then they jump on this questionnaire, they fill it out. And then we have a call for an hour, an hour and a half when we record that call. And that’s where we strategize based on what they’ve said the way they’ve answered the questionnaire at the end of that they’ve got an action plan. And then we send them a proposal, and they can decide if they want to proceed or not. But that’s kind of our way of figuring out where they’re at to see if they resonate with us, we get to know each other on that call. It’s the first time we’ve probably spoken in forever. So it’s to me, that’s like the journey piece that we need to know before they come in, basically. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:30
Totally. Well, and it is super important to work with somebody who goes through that level of effort to pull that information out and really learn about your business. Most of the folks that you work with, I imagine, already have a website, right? They’ve been at it for a time and things are just not working the way that they want them to be or need them to be. Can you share with us? What are some of the primary mistakes you see people making with their website?
Greg Merrilees 17:00
Yeah, sure. I mean, apart from the fact that, you know, I guess if people are starting now, they might design it themselves, which is fine, or they use a template, which is totally fine as well, when you’re starting out. But once you have an offer that converts a business that’s semi successful, you might still be in the six figure range, or you might be seven figure range. But at that point, you need to be represented in the best light possible. So I would highly recommend having a website professionally designed, but that’s just one thing. So don’t design it yourself, if you’re a serious business, because you’ll be leaving money on the table, essentially. But apart from that, I would say that they tend to write the copy of themselves as well, which, you know, there’s all sorts of problems with that. So we don’t offer copywriting but we do work with…
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:45
People are listening. I’ve done both of those things. And by the way, I’ve done both of those things. Not I got lots of help with my current site, but like iterations before that different websites, right. I mean, I’ve walked the whole journey. So I’m laughing and part of me is like crawling back into the hole like, Yeah, I did that. Oops, yeah.
Greg Merrilees 18:05
But yeah, and so to write copy yourselves, you know, people just tend to make it all about themselves instead of what’s in it for, you know, how they can solve the the visitors problem, essentially, but that’s part of it, and then not having a strategy as well, you know, just expecting people just to reach out through their contact form or whatever, you know, that’s okay. But you’re not really providing enough value and clarity around how you can help them essentially, and then not segmenting. So for instance, what you do on your website, it’s really good. If somebody wants to apply for your catalyst club, I see you’ve got a lot of questions that you ask them, right. And that’s a good filtering system. So you don’t want to waste your time. And yeah, I think things like that not filtering and not figuring out who’s a good fit and who’s not. I think that’s a big mistake, as well. But that’s just from a strategy perspective. And I guess, in general, a lot of businesses don’t have a strategy on their website, I just think contacts me, right. Totally. Yeah, yeah. And then there’s other little things from a design perspective, you know, they might have a color palette that doesn’t appeal to the target audience. They might be using crappy photos and videos, I would say, get a professional photo shoot, you know, and I know you work with a lot of coaches and personal brands and things like that. So they probably already have a professional photoshoot, but other businesses that are too scared to put themselves online, and they want to hide behind their websites.
Heather Pearce Campbell 19:33
Oh, and so this is what is fascinating about this space is I work with so many expert based businesses, people who are like really legitimately good at what they do. And the number of those folks especially the ones I will say that come from the more traditional world so they offered like professional services and they’re branching into online space or going more into like online education. You know, getting a lot bigger online. Yeah, I’ve caught some of those with like, old portraits of themselves where I’m like, I know you in real life because I’ve seen you on Zoom like this is not gonna fly, get updated is a thing. We have a really hard time even experts like putting themselves on their site in a meaningful way.
Greg Merrilees 20:26
I know. And it’s hard because everybody ages right. But yeah, I think you should have your photos no older than, say three to four years old maximum.
Heather Pearce Campbell 20:37
Oh, I know. Totally. And once you change over, it’s funny because every once in a while I still catch like, oh, I still have that old photo attached to my like scheduler or whatever you need to meet. Yes. Yeah, it’s I go, I gotta fix that. I know.
Greg Merrilees 20:50
Exactly. Yeah. And then other things like, people don’t do this so much these days. But image sliders and parallax effects where, you know, when you’re scrolling things slide in, they fly and they think it looks fancy and all that, but it just ruins conversions. You know, these things take time to load. They’re taken away control down your site. Yeah, they’re distracting, you know, video backgrounds are distracting as well. And they put a whole lot of text over the top of the video. Nobody reads the text. They’re just watching the video, but the text is probably more important than the video. So there’s just little things like that. And if they do use video on their website, they use a YouTube embed instead of like a Wistia or a Vimeo, right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 21:31
Greg Merrilees 21:32
And so they use YouTube, somebody clicks on the video, and they click on the YouTube logo, or they go at the end of the video, there’s other recommended videos.
Heather Pearce Campbell 21:41
Taken anywhere they can use to be able to make that go away. You can’t anymore, folks, so people can be taken anywhere off your video off your site.
Greg Merrilees 21:50
Heather Pearce Campbell 22:12
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Heather Pearce Campbell 23:55
Well, what I think it really comes down to is people like slowing down and walking themselves through like every element of the potential client or website visitor journey, right, which just takes a lot of time. And for some people thought and energy if you’re not really like if you’re not into, design user experience type of stuff. You just need to get help with this, you guys. Yes. No excuses. And I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of sites where people have worked with quote unquote, professional and it’s still not working, doing what they want, right? What do you what do you say to those folks who are like, Well, I tried that I hired somebody and went through the whole thing.
Greg Merrilees 24:41
Yeah, so we just picked up a client like literally this week who she invested a lot of money in her website designed for across all of our brands, and she’s an authority. She’s an author and she’s got a really really nice looking couple of websites. They look beautiful, right? And it’s really unique branding and I loved it. I told I loved it. And yeah, I met her at this personal training place that I go to. And I said, Look, it sounds awesome. I love your site. I said, but I’d love to help you with the strategy piece. So we jumped on our call and talk through it. And yeah, just explaining what was missing from a conversion and strategy perspective. It just clicked and made sense. So yeah, we also had our copywriting partner on that call. So basically, she’s got a beautiful looking website, but it’s not getting her the results. Yeah. So we went through it all. And we gave her like, I think it was five or six different strategies based on the different offers that she has. And that’s the piece that was missing, as you know, you’ve got a warm up cold traffic, and depends what they’re there for what their intent is. But yeah, there’s different ways to do that. And you also want to cater to warm traffic as well, and just give them the thing that they’re there for. So yeah, there’s a lot of strategy involved. That’s missing. And yeah, so we’re just, she’s just hired us to start working with it. But yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:55
I love that. Well, in a very short period, you just demonstrated the complexity of like, multiple kinds of traffic hitting your site, right, what it like, and following each one through its path, it’s yes, there isn’t always a one size fits all right?
Greg Merrilees 26:10
Not at all. Right. Especially, having so many different offers even just a book funnel alone, you know, like, that’s something like, if you just sell books on Amazon, you don’t get the lead, they do. So you want to offer a free plus shipping or an audio version or something else that yeah, collects leads, and then you have a funnel to build trust with that audience. And sure, they may or may not buy a book, but the end goal is use it to get them to buy your services based on the program or whatever. Right? Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 26:40
So totally. Yeah. I’m curious, you raised this before we went live, right? And so I feel like there’s so much we could talk about in the context of web design. I mean, you’ve already named a few things like looking at the customer journey, looking at the copy, like you sounds like have a copywriter on your team, right? Because it’s a partner. But yeah, a partner. Yeah, that you work with, or get support from and, like, there’s a lot of elements, the visual elements, like the photography, who you work with, for your portraits really makes a difference. I used to be a photographer. Yes. I used to cringe, because I come from the legal space and law firm websites were like, pretty much the most atrocious things, you know, even 10 or 15 years ago, still pretty bad. Let’s be clear, still pretty bad. Yeah, it has only been in the last, I’d say handful of years. But even really, just last couple years, that I’m seeing law firms do interesting things with their websites. It’s taken a long time.
Greg Merrilees 27:49
Very true. Yeah, we’re white labeled for somebody that does marketing for a lot of law firms. And yeah, we designed about three law firm websites a month and they’re terrible.
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:00
I’m so sorry. All the bad ones. Yeah. But no, I hear you. Yeah, I love it. So on the flip side, like we all know, like, Okay, we’ve done some things wrong. You know, we need lots of help with this. But what are some of the must haves for people when it comes to website conversion? Yeah, absolutely.
Greg Merrilees 28:19
I think number one is to understand your audience, understand what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night, what their pain points challenges are aspirations and why they would say yes or no to you, you know, so understanding your audience, and I would, you know, if you do have an audience, even if it’s just not a paid customer lists, but a lead list, like survey items, just ask them those type of questions. And that can be quite helpful. But then yeah, understanding your audience is one thing. From that point, I would say, positioning of your brand, like, you’ve got to make sure it resonates with your audience and represents your offer as well in the right light, like, for instance, if you have a low ticket item versus a high ticket item, you’d want to have a design that represents that price point. For instance, you know, you don’t want it to look too expensive if it’s really low ticket, for instance.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:06
So just connect for people.
Greg Merrilees 29:09
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and vice versa. But then also making sure you’re different to your competitors. That’s probably another mistake. People look at their competitors. They want to copy them and it’s like, Don’t copy them. And don’t try and be like Apple, like everybody says.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:23
Greg is saying don’t copy them. And also, you know, “legal adviser” here also saying don’t copy. There’s reason. Don’t want to just be copying people. Exactly.
Greg Merrilees 29:37
Exactly. Yeah. And you know, Zig, where your competitors zag, and you know, it’s like, yeah, don’t be anything like and you want to stand out and be memorable. So yeah, if everybody’s using blue, don’t use blue even though it’s a trusting color.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:51
Right. Yeah. Also, I know it will. And that is true. When I even on my latest site. I’m not saying it’s perfect. I probably need to sit down with you and be like, how do I improve this?
Greg Merrilees 30:00
It was pretty good. Yes, pretty good. Yes, I’m good copy good pages and strategy. So it’s not bad. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 30:05
Thank you. I’m sure there’s room for improvement. But I did not want people to hit my site and go, lawyer. Yes, yes, yes. Like, I wanted them to have an opposite experience, you know, like just a very different experience. And you having reviewed and worked on legal websites, you know what I’m talking about, like, oh, it’s like, I just, totally, I just wanted it to be such a different experience. And so that was a fun thing. Because I also felt like, it gave me the opportunity to be go, like really wide open with like, Okay, what is the experience, I want them to have unit. And it’s like, I wanted them to have a sense of adventure, about their own business, about their own journey through business and a sense of adventure about working with me, right. So it was like, just, you know, anyways, I think it can be super fun to go through this process. And like, really think about, like, how can you duplicate and it’s not really like, you can exactly duplicate it. But my goal with mine is, I want people to have an experience with my website that feels similar to the experience they might just have with me in person or over zoom or whatever, right? Like, a life certain things, even though you can’t always do that perfectly through a web page.
Greg Merrilees 31:29
But even just your brand positioning, right, that’s amazing. The brand name, you know, the Legal Website Warrior, it’s so different to everything else. And it says that you work with online businesses just in the brand name, like that’s a lot different to insert business. Person’s surname, law firm, LLC.
Heather Pearce Campbell 31:47
Greg Merrilees 31:49
Exactly. So your brand positioning, yeah, is really, really nice. Yeah. Like way more memorable. Yeah. And then another thing would be just the strategy. We’ve already touched on that. But yeah, always leave just some general rules, always lead with value with your marketing strategy, have a strategy for warming up cold traffic, and then just make sure you have a clear pathway based on their needs. And there might be different pathways. And so you might need to segment your audience based on your different offers, you know, you might have a free course, a program a cutting, a one-on-one coaching or whatever, you might have different audience types, like we have E-commerce, we have SAS, we have service businesses. And so we just want to send people down to different, you know, landing pages talking directly to their pain points, challenges, etc.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:37
Oh well, and I remember because long before you and I met, somebody else had introduced, actually, a member of my mastermind group had introduced me to James Schramko work inside and I had gone there to check out who he was and what he was up to in the world. And I remember being like, Oh, this is cool his client journey. And I don’t know if you design this, but he had like, the three options, right? Are you at this level in business? or this or that? You know, and I remember thinking, like, that’s awesome. So clear where you fit, right?
Greg Merrilees 33:07
Yes. He learned that from Brian Lubeck. We did design that but yeah, it was x ask method, which is all about segment.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:15
Yeah, totally. But yeah, just one example of a way you can do it, like just asking a question of where you know, somebody fit.
Greg Merrilees 33:21
Yeah, totally. And then what it’s really smart, what he did was on after they select one of those options, you have like a landing page. In that case, he had a temporary landing page where he’s talking specifically in detail about the thing that they selected that might be, you know, I’m struggling with my team or whatever, right now. He’s got one membership as a solution. But he’ll do like this little in between page where he’s talking specifically about how he helps people.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:47
That particular problem. Yes, exactly. Yeah, it’s like having multiple pathways into the same solution. But you’re speaking to that person about their journey.
Greg Merrilees 33:57
Correct. Yeah, that’s exactly right. And it’s way more effective. Yeah. And so from there, he also has a little bit of social proof in relation to helping people with their team, right. So and then from there, it just takes them to the one landing page, which is to join his membership, but at least he’s talking directly to that pain point.
Heather Pearce Campbell 34:14
Yeah, totally. No, I love that. It’s a great example. Give other examples of websites where you’ve like made some tweak or done some upgrade where it really dramatically changed the results. Can you walk us through one or more of those? Yeah, absolutely.
Greg Merrilees 34:30
So there’s one sax school online teachers people saxophone, right. started his business on YouTube, right. And you know, I think he got up to a million YouTube views or something like that. And yeah, check it out if you want saxschoolonline.com And so what we did was we helped him segment because he has people that are like beginners or advanced etc. But then also, we introduced a like a think was $1 trial or something like that, but he had a really strong money back guarantee. I think, yeah, whatever it was 90 day money back guarantee. So all these risk reversal type of things. And so as a result, and he was the type of person that designers website himself before this point, right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:18
So I’m on the site, by the way, for folks listening, we’ll pop this link over into the show notes as well. But it’s great. It’s cool. Yeah.
Greg Merrilees 35:25
Yeah. Awesome. And so since the website went live, now, it’s about a year and a half since that one went live, but he’s grown his team or used to be just him. But he’s got a whole range of teachers now that, you know, teach sax. But he’s added in the first I think, was six months 25k, like new emails, like opt in people, and then 1000 new students as well. And he’s grown his YouTube channel as well, which is, you know, 10 mil, which is probably because he has email marketing strategy and all the other things, there’s like a whole ecosystem of trying to amplify your brand, basically. Yeah. So that that was pretty cool.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:00
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I mean, actually, the word that you use ecosystem, right, it is like our online websites, like are often a primary platform, but they are part of this bigger ecosystem of like other resources, third party platforms that we have to borrow to, like help post and share our content. And so yeah, really thinking about how those things all interconnect and relate and like, what the journey through them is really important.
Greg Merrilees 36:27
Yeah, exactly. And email marketing is super important. You know, that’s why we do encourage everybody to have a lead magnet of sorts to just get people on your list, and you don’t want to sell to them. You just want to keep providing value and helping them until they’re ready to buy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:42
Totally what I mean, I’m on the site, I obviously I can see how clear and like well laid out is. If you were to highlight for our listeners, some of the like obvious changes that you made to this site, like how would you summarize those?
Greg Merrilees 36:57
Oh, it’s not linked to the before.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:00
Greg Merrilees 37:01
I mean, look it you know, like we even down to his photoshoot, like we…
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:07
Great, even that top photo is like really, you know, makes it.
Greg Merrilees 37:11
Yeah, I think I changed it recently, I chopped his head off, which I wouldn’t have had but anyway. But the point is, yeah, look, it was everything from the color palette to just the visual hierarchy as well, like making sure above the fold, you might notice there’s what we call some impact metrics. I haven’t got it open right now. But it’s essentially.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:32
It’s like 10,000 students how Yeah, 10,000 plus 20,000? Community 90,000. Right. So it’s all of those social proof or whatever. Right?
Greg Merrilees 37:43
Exactly. So and that’s what we encourage, you know, for everybody. So if you think about your cold traffic to your homepage, right, not everybody visits your home page first. But they generally end up on your homepage at some point. And what you want to do is make sure straight away that they understand that you are the trusted, experienced authority in this space. So just having those what we call impact metrics, quickly gives them some numbers that they can read to go Oh, yeah, okay. They’re the real deal. And so yeah, that’s without scrolling, because a lot of people don’t scroll, right. Yeah. So we want to just make sure about the fall, let them know what’s in it for them and prove that we’re the trusted expert to help them.
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:21
I love that. I love that.
Greg Merrilees 38:23
That’s just one thing we could go on.
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:25
Totally, well, you’re right. It’s about the clean design. It’s the color choice. It’s usually visuals that really tie in to the experience of the site in the right way. Right? There’s plenty of white space that allows your eyes to flow down in a way that’s very, I mean, but if you don’t work with somebody who knows, design and knows, like, there’s a lot that goes into actually achieving an outcome like this unit, I mean, so and I think a lot of people if you don’t work with somebody who’s really, really strategic on conversions, and let’s be clear that not everybody in the website design space really gets that they know, that’s the point of a website, but it’s not like they know how to optimize for that.
Greg Merrilees 39:10
Yes, exactly. Exactly. And then another thing I would suggest, you know, to get a good result is you need to think about how to psychologically influence people. And by that we just use rubber child in his book Influence, which is amazing, right? And what it does is it just talks about the things like reciprocity or authority, like social proof, like in consistency, scarcity and unity, right? And all these things baked into the copy the visual elements, things like, let’s just say authority, right? Like if you’re a lawyer, you might want to wear a suit or whatever. You don’t want to be wearing a t shirt like I am, right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:50
Unless you’re there and you don’t want to look like a lawyer. Are they gonna love that? Yeah, there you go. Find me in a suit on my website, but You will find me at the top of a mountain, right? Or you will find nice. Yeah, I know.
Greg Merrilees 40:05
Beautiful, yeah, which represents your brand and how you want to be represented out there. And that’s that brand positioning. Yeah, completely different to your competitors, which I love that. But in general, you know, just, yeah, using professional photos and professional design can help. But yeah, that’s just the authority, praise reciprocity. Reciprocity is all about leading with value, essentially, social proof, the more social proof, the better. Whether that’s video is or like video testimonials or case studies, having an individual page for a case study can be really, really helpful. The more case studies, video testimonials, written testimonials, reviews, whatever you’ve got, put it all on your website. You can’t have enough, in my opinion. And then for liking, it’s all about putting your personality out there and the way even on social media, when you interact with your audience, you know, be likable and helpful and all that sort of good stuff. Yeah. And then consistency is just all about your brand voice, the look and feel across everything needs to be consistent. And scarcity to me is and he says this in the book as well. It’s not just about having a limited amount of seats or limited time or get in quick. It’s not that it’s more about what is unique about your business, that scares that they can’t get anywhere else. That’s what you want to put into your main messaging.
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:23
I love that whole blue ocean strategy, right? Yes, totally.
Greg Merrilees 41:28
Exactly. Yeah. And unity, you know, just letting people feel part of a tribe. You know, that might be if you’ve got some really good clients, people look up to date, oh, I want them because I got good clients. It’s like, yeah, right. You got Lewis Howes, and all these amazing people.
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:43
Right. And I say, I think somewhere on my site, like join, yeah, join the legal website for your client list, right? And then you see all these amazing faces, and you’re like, why wouldn’t I be on that list?
Greg Merrilees 41:55
That’s right. Totally. Yeah. So that’s unity. And, you know, it’s just one aspect of it. But all those things are really important for helping psychologically influence others to want to be a part and take action.
Heather Pearce Campbell 42:08
That’s such a great demonstration of like, the level of thought that can go into creating something that should represent you, your business, your work online, right. And the difference. I mean, I can explain like, even though I’ve got room for improvement, still in my current site, I do love it. And people are very clear when they show up like whether it’s for them or not for them. Right. And the difference between this site and my last night, even though I put together last night, I liked it fine. It mostly did its job. It’s like, this is a much truer representation not only of myself, but of the experience that I want people to have. And like, the difference that I love in that is like having a feeling of almost joy about the way you’re presenting your business online. How many people have you spoke with I’m sure this happens every day of your life. Oh, don’t look at my website. It’s really not up to date. It’s not a good, like, shame. Totally all these like excuses and explanations for why they have, you know, and, and it’s like, why, like, you have to be online these days, you have to take care of that real estate, like do it in a way that feels fun and expansive for your business. And just get the help to do that. Right.
Greg Merrilees 43:31
So yeah, exactly. I would say if your website hasn’t been updated for four years or more, you really shouldn’t be considering updating.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:39
Yeah, totally. And yeah, the other thing you mentioned that I think is super relevant is this idea of consistency across your site. Because I think the other thing that I see is people’s sites, or certain portions of the site will evolve over time. Then you start sort of like really Hodge podgy stuff where you know, like, oh, they clearly had an assistant or somebody in their business do this, which is very different than this over like a bit. You see that a lot. Right?
Greg Merrilees 44:08
Yeah, exactly. So we often tidy up those things. Yeah, get in and do all that fix it clean re normal, though. It happens organically over time. But yeah, totally. But yeah, just on that, you know, the end of the day, I guess when an assistant does a landing page, they’re not thinking about all the things we’ve mentioned before the psychological drivers and the good copy and all that sort of good stuff, but then it’s the visual elements as well like the other thing we want to make sure is people have a conversion focus design right and so that is using the psychological drivers having just like you’ve mentioned before, like in the sax school online, it’s having that clear space and drawing the eye down the page, you know, and, and even the copy as well you want people to read the copy. Now I’m a designer, but copy is more important than design, right? So but the design needs to give the copy wings and enhance the copy, you know, so working together, copy and design, you’ll get a way better As a result, if they’re both working in harmony, then you know, like, you just have really good copy and no design or crap design. It’ll work better than good design should copy, but put them together and you’ll get an amazing result. Yeah, so just gonna make sure the design doesn’t ruin the flow of the copy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:17
Totally. So true. Yeah. And I’m like, I’m looking at that you’ve got great examples on here, like designed for all sax players at all. Like, there’s some things that you know, stand out, like right before the start trial designed for all playing abilities enjoyed by all sax lovers. Right? The lots of bold, lots of simple clear messaging, I think people left to their own devices can really overdo it over stops, and oh, you know, the mean, tried to, like put too much into their site and, and do some of the lifting in ways that they probably shouldn’t be doing. True. Yeah. So many ways we can get this wrong. Yeah. So I know, you just said if your site’s has not been updated in four years, because one of my questions is like, How does somebody know if they’re ready for a redesign? Right? So one is just clearly time like enough time has passed that you’re not feeling like it’s very representative of your business or your new level of growth or something else? What else would you say? Yes, time that somebody’s ready.
Greg Merrilees 46:20
Is it converting?
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:23
PS1? Is it doing its job? Yeah, exactly.
Greg Merrilees 46:26
But look, we’ve actually got a checklist. And I’m happy to do a checklist just for your audience. If we want to create a custom URL, we could just do studio1design.com/ whatever you want. Heather, perhaps or…
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:38
Totally, Heather, Grit, That’s another one that gets used a lot.
Greg Merrilees 46:42
Yeah. Okay. Let’s do grit, no worries. So vote studio1design.com/grid, I’ll get that ready. By the time this goes live. It will have 50 things that across six areas of your website, including not on your website, but things like your analytics, having a look at your Google Analytics, your heat maps, your video users, if you have we use a tool called hot jar.com, which is really good for user insights. But it’s really, this 50 thing checklist will let you know, you just have to add, so does your like yes or no. does your website have this this blah, blah, blah, right? And we find that a lot of you know, businesses that we redesign websites for have a score of around 15 to 20 out of 50. So yeah, there’s a lot of things on average that there’s room for improvement. Yeah, but that’ll give people a good insight on what they think, you know, they would need to focus on the most
Heather Pearce Campbell 47:36
Yeah, totally. Oh, that’s awesome. So if you’re listening, we’re going to share that link and others at the show notes page, which you can find at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast, find Greg Merrilees’ episode. And I’ve got a couple of other questions out of respect for your time. What is one thing that you wish more business owners knew?
Greg Merrilees 47:57
Oh, okay. I would say business is a slow game, right? Like, it’s not a sprint. You’re constantly learning. You know, I’ve been in business for 23 years, and I’m still getting things wrong, you know. And I would just say, it’s just an incremental, like, there’s no quick fixes. You see all these courses, and, you know, all this stuff on social media do this quickly. Blah, blah, blah. That’s nothing’s quick, a good business, a solid business that lasts the test of time, and most businesses don’t last five years. Right. But you want a good solid business, take your time and just incrementally improve forever. And just constantly, so. Yeah, don’t just it’s Yeah, I don’t think it’s, there’s quick fixes out there. Because there isn’t for a successful business.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:43
So true. I mean, one of the things, one of my goals actually in launching this podcast was to get people to think about the long game like COVID was coming, I could see it on Verizon, nobody was talking about the impact it was going to have on all these small businesses and I just thought, oh, people need to be reminded of the perseverance and the the you know, the business planning and really just the mindset that it takes to play in the business game for a long time and often not what you’re being sold. Yeah, yeah, totally. And then really quick where for folks that are listening are like okay, I like this Greg guy, I need to go check out his stuff. Maybe I need a website redesign. You know, you’re in the expert space, you’ve not touched your website for a while or you’ve done it yourself or you had somebody not very skilled put it together and you just maybe you’re experiencing the website shame that we just talked about. And you want to five over visit Greg, Greg, Greg, where do you like for people to connect with you or find you online?
Greg Merrilees 49:48
Sure. First, start check out our website Studio1Design.com. That’s the numeral one like number one. But I would say like I’m not a huge social media person. I’ve got a team that does that for me, but I just put Failure to hibernate. And so I’m gonna say if you’ve got a question, email me, email@example.com.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:08
Love it, perfect. And I know maybe someone on your team if they’ve got questions that they want in person, you know, help with or they want to explore what it looks like to get your help you offer that 20 minute call, we’ll share the link to that as well.
Greg Merrilees 50:22
Exactly. And really, it’s just got a homepage, it’s the first call to action above the fold scheduling strategy call. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:29
So I love that that sounds like a great resource. What is one, we’ll just call it action step that you would like people to go do in relation to your website, obviously, we’re going to share that resource, the 50 things checklist, right? And go check that out. Folks. If you want to increase conversion on your site, we’re going to share that again at the show notes page legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast go find Greg’s episode. But what is one action step they can go take today in regards to their site?
Greg Merrilees 51:00
Again, send your website to five older people maybe, you know, 70 years plus, and just see if they understand what your offer is and what your website is all about.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:14
I love that right? Either that or like 10/5 graders.
Greg Merrilees 51:18
Yeah, even. That’s a really good point. Yeah. 10 years or younger. Yeah, it’s like, what do I do? Yeah, yes, yeah. And just see if there’s enough clarity on there to explain what you do and what you want them to do next essentially.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:33
I love it. Such a great yeah, such a great ask, Greg. Super fun to connect with you. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you over the last few calls and super excited for the folks that are going to take action and get to learn a little bit from you. I am personally going to go get your 50 conversion sync question. I don’t need a million new clients. Right, I need a steady trickle of the right ones. So you know, I have not in the past and a ton of focus on this. But I know I’ve got room for improvement. So I’m super grateful for you. Thank you for the resources and maybe we’ll have to do this again sometime. Part two.
Greg Merrilees 52:11
Yeah, you bet. Thanks so much, Heather!
Heather Pearce Campbell 52:14
GGGB Outro 52:17
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.