Creating Customer Loyalty

With James Hipkin, an accomplished, forward thinking marketing and advertising professional who, over a 40-year career, has worked with clients in digital marketing including Sprint, Apple, Wells Fargo online bank, Nestlé, and Toyota. James brings his talents to now serve small business clients as well, who appreciate his practical, no-nonsense approach. He has the scars and many valuable and entertaining stories to share. James makes marketing fun and practical. But he never loses track of what’s important: marketing, done well, creates value for customers as well as the business.

James is an inventive problem-solver and motivated team leader with creative vision and bottom-line sensibility. He cuts through the noise and with a plain-spoken style, helps business owners understand how they can use their website and digital marketing to grow.

Join us for this entertaining yet informative conversation as he talks about what 6-figure businesses can do to get the websites they need to be 7 and 8-figure businesses.

>Subscribe to Guts, Grit & Great Business on Apple Podcasts

Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:

  • On which purchase is the most important purchase in the client / customer journey.
  • “… the fundamental principles haven’t changed. It’s still all about relationships.”
  • How to build relationship equity (to create loyal customers).
  • The importance of building business on “real estate” that you own — your website, and your email list.
  • “Don’t try to boil the ocean. Pick one or two things that you know your audience relates to, and do them really well. Don’t get caught up in the shiny things syndrome.”

“When you create value that works with what the audience is trying to accomplish, you’re going to be getting a sale for the right reason.”

-James Hipkin

Check out these highlights:

  • 07:11 Learn about the bell curve of interest.
  • 07:50 James shares tips on mapping the customer journey (successfully).
  • 10:22 James explains the “Hub and Spoke” Strategy.
  • 24:42 What are micro-transactions?
  • 27:03 James said that the relationship equity is when the value that is created goes beyond the functional and transactional benefits of the product or a service.
  • 29:21 The five ways loyal customers contribute value to the business.
  • 40:09 James addresses why there is a disconnect in the customer journey when it comes to (most) professional services.
  • 46:48 Tips to increase website engagement.
  • 48:46 Where NOT to put your call to action on your website.
  • 53:02 You may book a free six seconds or less website audit with James at

How to get in touch with James:

On social media:




Twitter: /

Learn more about James, by visiting his website here. You may also book an appointment with him here.

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 to expect today …

James Hipkin  00:24

The strategy that I’ve come up with which my customers have found to be very, very helpful and useful as well, I call it the Hub and Spoke strategy. And the analogy is the wheel, one of the most fundamental inventions, but if you think about it, you know, you’ve you’ve got to the hub, and you’ve got spokes. These these things are nice, right? But unto themselves by themselves, they don’t have much value. The power comes from the connection. So in the if you think about it, the Hub and Spoke strategy, the website becomes the hub. And that’s the fulcrum through which all things radiate. The digital marketing channels that you’re going to be active in are the spokes, and your content and messaging strategy is the rim that holds it all together. Digital marketing tactics in isolation or expensive noise.

GGGB Intro  00:48

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  01:32

Alrighty, hello, I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving online entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. and around the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business™. I’m super excited to welcome James Hipkin today. Welcome, James.

James Hipkin  01:57

Heather, I’m really happy to be here. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:02

I am too. Before we were interrupted, we just had to edit a segment out we are talking about the importance of websites and web presence and marketing to small business owners really of any kind. And I am amazed constantly how many small online businesses I encounter that are apologizing for their website. I’m sure you’ve had this experience, right. So this is going to be a great conversation because people need help in this department. And they need to understand how do you do it right. How do you design and build a website the right way? How do you tie that into your overall marketing strategy? Right? There’s a lot to think about. So for folks that don’t know, James Hipkin, James, over a 40 year career has worked in marketing and advertising at a high level. Since 2010. He has built his clients businesses with digital marketing. James is an accomplished forward thinking marketing professional, his clients included sprint, Apple, Wells Fargo, wells, Fargo, online bank, Nestle and Toyota. They appreciate his practical, no nonsense approach. He has the scars and many stories to share. His stories are always valuable and entertaining. His humor and infectious good natured approach to marketing are fun and practical. But he never loses track of what’s important. Marketing done well creates value for customers as well as the business. That’s a great intro, James.

James Hipkin  03:34

Thank you. And it has the added value of being the truth.

Heather Pearce Campbell  03:38

Right? Well, and I love people who can bring some fun to their work and who are also practical, right? We Oh, yeah, we need the no fluff get right to the point nuts and bolts of what works and what doesn’t. And especially as a small business, we don’t have time or money to spare,

James Hipkin  03:55

And especially in the digital marketing space. Because, you know, folks who are, you know, have expertise that they’re trying to share, and they’re trying to use digital marketing. It can get very overwhelming very quickly. Yes, because there’s so many shiny things flying through and the squirrel ran by and you know, your brother in law is telling you, you should do this. And your friend down the street says My cousin is doing that. And oh, my God I had all this wonderful success with and it just gets overwhelming. And this has been for our customers a real problem. And so I kind of sat back and tried to think of a way that I could bring some sanity to all of this because it’s the online, not going back in the bottle. Now if a pandemic has done anything, it’s accelerated the growth of online activity and and it’s accelerated the importance of having a strong online presence, regardless of your business category.

Heather Pearce Campbell  05:06

Well, that’s right. And the you know, it’s I think people and small businesses included. But entrepreneurs, even solo entrepreneurs, they feel the need to be everywhere, right? We’re told you need to be everywhere, you need to show up and be in all the conversations and all the places that you’re, you know, all the places that your clients are online and, and yet, being able to put together a cohesive strategy to make that actually happen, I think is tremendously challenging for the average small business, right? It’s, it’s one of those things they don’t want to have to think about. They want to outsource they want somebody to solve that problem for them.

James Hipkin  05:45

Yep. Right. And but you said something very important in that in that last sort of question. And that’s they want to be where they’re on the channels where their customers are. And I want to put a big underline under that. Because that really is the key to all of this, rather than being inside out, talking about yourself, and, you know, thinking that you have to do all of these things. Put your mind and put yourself into the mind of your customer. And they will tell you where you should be, they will tell you what it is you should be talking about. Because with all respect for all of the wonderful things that your audience does, they are nothing more than a the perception of the average person out there. And there’s that tendency to be all focused on themselves, versus really understanding who their best customer is, what’s their journey from, I have no interest in this whatsoever. Therefore, I don’t even see what you’re doing through to I have a problem. And I need to start considering what my options are through to focused prospecting. And this creates a bell curve of interest. And that first purchase is at the top of the bell curve. But when we map a customer journey, we don’t put the first purchase at the end of the customer journey, it’s about two thirds of the way through. Because the first purchase is not the most important purchase. The second purchase is the most important purchase. Because when you can get them to buy from you twice, the chances that they will buy from you a third time are exponentially improved. And that’s why we put the first purchase two thirds of the way through the journey. So if you map that journey, understand who your customers are map the journey, what are the problems that they’re trying to solve? You will be most of the way towards thinking about a digital marketing plan. Don’t be in tic toc if your audience is over 40. And they don’t even know what tic tock is. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  08:08

Right. Right.

James Hipkin  08:12

Understand where they are. And your opinions about particular social media challenge. Channels are unimportant. Yeah, it’s about where are your customers and then be very focused on what is there’s an acronym that gets used in digital marketing. I wish I could say I invented it, I didn’t pass. And it stands for problem. agitate the problem, solve the problem. And that when you’re thinking about online marketing that works in the ads that you’re creating that works in the organic social media that you’re doing. And it very much works as the driving strategy behind the copy on a website. Right? Start with the problem that you’re solving. And then use all of your characteristics and expertise and credentials as reasons to believe as reasons that your audience can believe that you can in fact, solve their problems. But don’t lead with it.

Heather Pearce Campbell  09:18

Yeah. Well, and you’re right that speaking to the problem, and I think so many people get this step wrong, right? They speak to the problem in the way that they think about it or their industry lingo. They don’t speak to it in the way that their clients think about it or speakers, right?

James Hipkin  09:37

That’s right. And so the the strategy that I’ve come up with, my customers have found to be very, very helpful and useful as well. I call it the Hub and Spoke strategy. And the analogy is the wheel, one of the most fundamental inventions but if you think about it, you know, you’ve you’ve got up the hub, and it’s nice and you’ve got a spokes.

Heather Pearce Campbell  10:01

For folks that are not watching the video, he’s holding up visual examples of tastings.

James Hipkin  10:07

The point is, these these things are nice. Right? But unto themselves by themselves, they don’t have much value. Yeah, that’s right. The power comes from the connection. So in the if you think about it, the Hub and Spoke strategy, the website becomes the hub. And that’s the fulcrum through which all things radiate. The digital marketing channels that you’re going to be active in, are the spokes. And your content. And messaging strategy is the rim that holds it all together. Digital marketing tactics in isolation, are expensive noise.

Heather Pearce Campbell  10:45

Oh, my gosh, and people who are listening who have tried that, right there, they’ve lived the pain of that experience, the number of entrepreneurs, I’ve talked to you that threw a bunch of money, for example, at Facebook ads, or, you know, tried some singular tactic, because they were told that’s what they should be doing. 

James Hipkin  11:04


Heather Pearce Campbell  11:04

Only to just have it operate like a big black hole with no real results.

James Hipkin  11:09

Exactly right. And the challenge is that there is nothing inherently wrong with Facebook ads, or Google AdWords or any of the other choices. And if they’re connected together in a cohesive way, you have, you will have a very powerful success. I have one customer, he sells a specific kind of orchid. Not orchids in general, not housing sites in general and specific kind of orchid. And he came to us with a really poorly performing website. And and, you know, first first thing, we got him onto a platform that actually worked for him. And then I talked to him about the Hub and Spoke strategy. And he and his wife concentrated on just two things. His audience is older, and are very active in Facebook. He has beautiful photographs, all these beautiful plants. So it’s a great medium for that. Yeah. And then he had an email list. So we built a new website for him. He focused on building his organic social media, his people. He focused on building his email list. He more than doubled his business in the first year. And he has subsequently tripled his business from that point.

Heather Pearce Campbell  12:32

It’s amazing and what an example like what a super super niche, right. Yeah, you know, easily here businesses that tightly knit. So James, I want to back up, we jumped right in and I want to hear more about your Hub and Spoke strategy. But talk to us a little bit about about your background, why websites why marketing? Tell us a little bit about your roots and your start in business.

James Hipkin  12:56

Well, my startup business I have a somewhat checkered past. I graduated from college with a music degree and corporate America wasn’t exactly knocking my door down

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:07

Right. Music as in like pedagogy or what? 

James Hipkin  13:10

I do composition and theory. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:12


James Hipkin  13:12

Classical music. Hmm. I played the tuba in orchestras. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:17


James Hipkin  13:19

But I was very active in the music scene. And I spent six years out of college working in the Rock and Roll industry touring with major recording artists, people that you would know about. And then at the at the ripe old age of 30. I got a job in an advertising agency. My mother was very happy,

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:42

Celebrated through a party.

James Hipkin  13:46

And that’s how I got involved in started to get involved in marketing and advertising was through that, deciding that I didn’t want to be on the road anymore. I didn’t want to live that life was too crazy. And so I got this job in advertising because the piece I enjoyed most about what I was doing in the past was the the marketing and and I had a strong influence from a committee. I work closely with a Canadian band and the leader of the band was a very strong influence on this. His name is Geddy Lee. He’s the leader of a band called rush. And this Geddy Lee is an extremely smart guy. And they were one of the very first music artists to vertically integrate. They own their own publishing, they own their own record company. They own their own sound and lights. And vertically integrated right from the very beginning. Very smart, young man, very entrepreneurial, very entrepreneurial, and very, very successful. And it was a listening to him talk about marketing and talk about positioning. And we’re talking a heavy metal rocker here right so the I mean, very, very smart. And that’s what opened my mind to this. And that’s, that’s where it all started. And I spent years in marketing and advertising of for four different countries and three different continents. And then I got, I was running the digital group and had an agency in San Francisco, and my largest client was Toyota. And it was that was really super interesting. But I was getting a little bit older, you know, and it was time to think about the future. So I bought a vendor, because I kept seeing that websites were being considered an online brochure. And I was thinking about them as a tremendously wonderful opportunity to create mutual value, to create value for customers, as well as value for the business. So I had a different perspective on it. And that was 10 years ago. And that’s what we’ve been doing at Red eight interactive all this time, is, is focused on building the best possible websites, typically for large corporations. And then four years ago, we started developing a product for smaller businesses. That’s called innately that’s the underwriting strategy, underlining, thinking that the passion is there to, to use this knowledge and experience to help business owners take full advantage of the online space, because as we said at the beginning, it’s not going away. It’s becoming more and more important every day.

Heather Pearce Campbell  16:47

And it’s evolving. And we and having an online presence, a website strategy is not a set it and forget it strategy, right. Yeah. So it’s a little reminds me actually what you’re talking about, like, you know, web 1.0 just a placeholder, a brochure, like a place that, you know, somebody could show up and get some information about you, but very little interaction, very little client experience. You know, you and I connected through LinkedIn. And I’ve talked openly on my podcast about how much I love LinkedIn as a way to really make meaningful connections if you use it the right way. Right. Right. And a lot of people don’t, but it went through a revolution, right used to be a just a placeholder for resumes, essentially. And then, you know, for anybody who has spent any amount of time on LinkedIn, it, it went through a massive change where people understood Oh, my gosh, I could be using this is an entirely different way to speak directly to my clients and provide value first,

James Hipkin  17:49

Right. And LinkedIn is a great example of something else as well, Heather, and you talked about how things are always changing. And being sensitive to that and open to that. Imagine if the brand Rolodex had decided that they were going to evolve and became LinkedIn.

Heather Pearce Campbell  18:12

Right. And the funny thing about that I think you and I spoke before is scheduling. You know this, this interview. And probably like I said to you, I say to everybody put me in your Rolodex like, right, the original old fashioned list of names and connections. I remember as a kid looking at my dad’s Rolodex on, you know, he had hundreds and hundreds of contacts in his Rolodex. But yeah, you’re right. What if, what if they had evolved?

James Hipkin  18:41

Right? And and being that’s so important to business owners today is that you can’t get caught up. You have to understand the difference between principles, because the fundamental principles haven’t changed. It’s all still all about relationships, yes. And people by people, that’s right, that the media that you get to choose from has evolved and changed. But the underlying principles are the same.

Heather Pearce Campbell 19:11

I love that.

James Hipkin 19:12

You know, I had a, remember I had a, I got called up on the carpet, I had to go down to Los Angeles to meet with the the Toyota corporate folks, the legal department was upset with something we were doing. During lawyers, they said that, you know, we needed to put terms and conditions in the banner ads that we were running for a lease offer. You’re a lawyer, you know about terms and conditions…

Heather Pearce Campbell 19:37

Yes, I do.

James Hipkin 19:38

and I said no. And they would What do you mean, you said, No, you can’t say no to us. We’re the lawyers. And I said, Well, I’m saying no, not gonna do it. And it got into it. So we ended up in this meeting in Los Angeles with the Chief Marketing Officer myself, and like a bunch of lawyers All dressed in suits are looking very official. And they explained why I had to do this. And I just looked at them all. And I said, No. And they said, Well, how can you say no, I said, Well, you’ve got no backup, you can’t defend your point of view. And I can defend by. And they’re like, how would you defend your point of view, and I opened my briefcase, and I poured out on the conference table, a briefcase full of direct mail packages. Now, you go through these, they’re, they’re Toyota, they’re all of the competiting brands, etc. They’re all lease offers, you go through and you find terms and conditions on any of these outer envelopes. And they looked at me and I said, a banner ad is, is a digital outer envelope. It has one job, and that’s to be clicked. An outer envelope has one job, and that’s to be opened. We walked out of the meet, and they shook their head and go, Hmm, okay, carry on. And we walked out and the chief marketing officer turned to me said, I’ve never seen that happen before.

Heather Pearce Campbell  21:09

Yeah, that will. And the interesting thing about the legal world, especially, I’ll call it the traditional legal world, right, is you get a lot of No, you can’t do that. Yeah. And often, there needs to be somebody inside the business saying, here are our goals. How do you help us meet these goals? Right, in a way that’s reasonable that that respects the law tries to meet the you know, what is absolutely required of us, but also allows the business to operate?

James Hipkin  21:41

Exactly and and what I did in that circumstance. And the reason I told those story is that I went back to basic principles.

Heather Pearce Campbell  21:50

And mechanism has changed, the principles have…

James Hipkin  21:53

Media that we’re using to deliver has changed, but the principles underlying it have not. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  22:00

That’s right. 

James Hipkin  22:02

And that’s so true in so many things. When you think about it, though, the overwhelming choices you have in digital marketing, go back to basic principles, who is your audience? Where are they? What is the problem they’re trying to solve, and then start using these spokes, as ways to get your message out to your people and get your people to come back to you right into your work and create value for them and for your business?

Heather Pearce Campbell  22:31

Yeah, well, and you know that what you just said about the the nature of business being that relationships are essential. I think there are a lot of industries and people within the industries that are changing and that are fearful about what’s to come because of everything becoming digitized, you know, automation, robots, AI, all of this stuff. But at the end of the day, I don’t think it I don’t think the nature of people will change that they want to do business with other people. They want to hire experts that they like, they want the relationship that comes with that. No, I can trust Yeah, that’s right. And I just don’t know that that can ever be severed in a meaningful way. Because we’re humans, we’re pretty slow to change, actually.

James Hipkin  23:27

That’s right. And that concept of, I mean, I’m sure a lot of your audience are familiar with marketing funnels, and probably many of them are using marketing funnels. And that’s awesome. marketing funnels is as old as marketing. This is not a new thing. You know, it’s about attracting the right people into the top. And then, but the piece that often gets missed is the mid funnel activity. They go right from Hi, my name is to Hey, do you want to go home with me? Right? No, it doesn’t work like that.

Heather Pearce Campbell  24:07

Well, and even to your point about thinking about the bell curve, and that the first purchase is two thirds of the way along that curve, right? Right that way along their journey along their journey. That’s right, that there’s so much that needs to be done at the front end, right. And people try to quantify this like, oh, you know, it’s it takes on average 17 touch points with a client before they’re going to really engage with your stuff or become a client or whatever, right? Yep. The point is, whatever your business whatever the path you have to nurture.

James Hipkin  24:41

That’s right, and and create opportunities for what I call microtransactions. And you want to think or if you’re thinking about it in terms of the funnel, the microtransactions at the top of the funnel are very low cost. As low as people move through their journey, and are moving through your funnel, the microtransactions increase in value, you know, an example might be at the top of the funnel, if they were to like a Facebook post, that’s a very low cost microtransactions. Further down, if they were to exchange their email address for a lead magnet, that is a richer micro transaction a little bit further down, maybe they book a call with you to find out to hear from you. But at that point, they’re not going to book the call, the first time they hear about you, they need to go through this process, they need to you need to earn their trust. I use the acronym TTV. For funnels traffic trust value. And there it’s in that order starts at the top with traffic mid funnel is about building trust, the bottom of the funnel is about creating mutual value. Yeah, it’s not about selling stuff. It’s about creating mutual value. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, I did a lot of work in relationship marketing. And one of the things that we observed is 90% of loyalty problems can be traced to a flawed sales process. Yes. Because people think that the people in the marketing department think that they’re they have a brand. But their customers think that they have a product with a name. And that the distinction between those two things is very important. Because you’re just buying a product with a name and the competitor comes along and his his product is shiny or lower cost or whatever. Well, I’ll try that. That’s right. A brand is developed through the what I call relationship equity. And that relationship equity is when value is created that goes beyond the functional and transactional benefits of the product or service.

Heather Pearce Campbell  27:10

Right? The client has an experience with your company. Yes.

James Hipkin  27:15

Yes, it creates a brand starts to get created. That’s when you’ve moved beyond a product with a name. Yeah. You know, and that these these are all things that are, you know, good news, much easier to do in the digital world, if you go about doing them than it used to be back in the late 90s When I was doing this with direct mail packages.

Heather Pearce Campbell  27:42

Right, interesting. Yeah.

James Hipkin  27:44

So it’s a lot easier to do. But the underlying principles haven’t changed.

Heather Pearce Campbell  27:50

Yeah. Well, and it’s, you know, when you think about the importance of developing trust in those early days, even with those small micro transactions, I think I’ve witnessed businesses who do it right, right. And you’re really clear when you see a business doing it wrong. Right. And, you know, being in the legal side of the world, I hear about businesses doing it wrong, because people become really upset or disgruntled about the experience they’re having, and generally looking for money back or trying to recover from that scenario. And it’s, you know, it’s interesting to think about the businesses that do it right. And their ability to continue that relationship, because I think one of the other biggest missed opportunities we have in business, generally, is our lack of follow up with first time buyers.

James Hipkin  28:45

Exactly right? Because they’re at the top of the interest curve, they’re at the top of the bell curve, just because they bought from you once doesn’t mean their interest disappears, right? That’s when they’re really open to reinforcement. Have I made a good decision? Am I being valued for more than just this transaction?

Heather Pearce Campbell  29:03

Right? But what does so many small businesses do? Turn around and go looking for the next customer? That’s right that of how to continue to take care of one

James Hipkin  29:14

And there’s a business reason for doing this. Loyal customers contribute value to the business in five ways. I love this. And this is this is proven I that was originally documented by a gentleman named Reichheld, who worked with the bain Consulting Group, he wrote a book called the loyalty effect, which is really really old now. still valid. And basically what he said is there are five ways that loyal customers build and I’ve tested this with my bank clients. I had visa as a client for a long time. You know, a 5% improvement in loyalty can increase the net present value of a customer base but anywhere from 20 To 95%. And when we worked on the loyalty programs with Sprint, over a five year period, the last four years, we were generating 20% growth on revenue on a $2 billion base of business without changing market share. And it’s because the longer you keep them, the more return you have on the investment required to acquire them. The longer they’re with you, the better they understand how your product or services work, therefore, they’re elastic, less expensive to maintain. The longer they’re with you, the more loyal they are, the more likely they are to buy other products and services from you. The longer they’re with you, the more they understand your value proposition, you don’t have to bribe them, they’ll pay full price, happily. And the longer they’re with you, the loyal customers advocate for you, right, they become a driver, they bring in other people who’ve, oddly enough look just like them. So that that’s five ways that customers drive value. That’s how we were able to get those kinds of numbers to generate by focusing in on best customers.

Heather Pearce Campbell  31:23

Yeah, well, you know, even focusing just on one of those, right, looking at the cost that it takes to create a new client, you don’t continue to take care of that client, you’re basically walking away from that sunk cost, right. And there’s so much more potential left there. And that piece at the end about they become advocates for your business, it’s like, for clients that have come back year after year, you know, their businesses are growing, I’m having to provide them with, you know, different legal services as their businesses grow. You know, I had one recently and I speak regularly, like you, I get on podcasts, I educate entrepreneurs, you know, I watched for speaking opportunities, and I’m regularly invited to, to groups to share about legal stuff. And I had a client come. And he’s got a high end mastermind or something that he runs full of my people. Right? He says, Can I pay you $3,000 to basically come pitch to my let me think about that. Right, just a short presentation. I mean, I jokingly you know, pitch meaning that I have no doubt that I will create relationships within that group, because they are the type of people that I care about and serve online. Right. But it literally is my standard presentation where all I’m doing is showing up and educating them on their business, right. And all of this is an example of what you’re talking about when clients become advocates for you. They continue to pay you, they have no problem paying you and they’re introducing you to other people who are going to pay you

James Hipkin  33:04

And they’ll be happy to buy other things from you. Yeah, you know, and that’s where, you know, email marketing becomes such a vital that there’s only two digital things that you as a business owner actually home. It’s your website, and your email list. All the rest of it is rented land. And they can change the rules with and they won’t control.

Heather Pearce Campbell  33:30

Yes, third party platforms,

James Hipkin  33:32

Third party platforms. Yes, it’s rented land businesses a couple I don’t need a website, I have a Facebook page.

Heather Pearce Campbell  33:41

Right now one of my clients is building the inside of her business, which is largely based around a membership group right inside of third party platform. And I asked her, Okay, you’re developing your own website Alongside this, right, like you’re redirecting people back to. And she was kind of like, well, I was like, no, no. Well, like, Yes, you are. Yes, you are going to do. For that very reason. I’ve had other colleagues and friends who did build their entire businesses based on a third party platform just to have Google wake up one day and say, Oh, we’re gonna get rid of Google Plus. Yep. Right. Yeah. Something like that. Right.

James Hipkin  34:25

There. You know, suddenly, Facebook well, people back in the day, you could build a business on on Facebook, and it was organic. You put a post on your group, and it went out to all the people. It doesn’t work like that anymore. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  34:41

No, it doesn’t.

James Hipkin  34:42

If you get 10% of them, see what you post. You’re lucky.

Heather Pearce Campbell  34:46

Right? You’re gonna pay now. 

James Hipkin  34:48

You’re gonna pay now.

James Hipkin  34:49

Yeah. And they didn’t they didn’t consult with any of us before they change these rules.

Heather Pearce Campbell  34:54

No, they don’t and we make them billions of dollars every year. All of us are, right? Yeah, it is really such an important point that you’ve just raised, you have to have a home base that you own, right? 

James Hipkin  35:09

And you need to work with people who, who you can trust. I see this frequently. Because of ignorance, they’ll have a website, and there’ll be out paying for a third party service for membership. And they’ll be paying for a third party service for Click Funnels or something along those lines. And they’re paying for they’ve got all these third party. What they don’t realize is that a well built website can do all of those things for one cost.

Heather Pearce Campbell  35:40

Yes, so take us back to your hub and spoke system, right? And walk us through, what does it look like, for a small business to design an effective system?

James Hipkin  35:51

Right. And that’s where using the website as your hub, and this can be a difficult conversation, particularly if you’re in brick and mortar retail, trying to convince them that no, in fact, your storefront is is a spoke, it is not the hub of your business. Interesting. And you know, you need to be thinking about the storefront as a great place to build your email list and send people back to the website for more information about their products and services. And they’re, they’re going to go to the website to find out if you’re open during Presidents Day, or whatever it is that they’re etc. You know, when we build websites for restaurants and and brew pubs and things like that, the number one thing that were there is their, their hours and their address.

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:38

Even that point in, it’s interesting, you raise that, obviously, I live primarily in the online world of business. And I’ve you know, I’ve had a virtual legal office for years. But the, for those that do have a brick and mortar component, it’s like you even look at what COVID has done to the restaurant industry. Right? Right. Even in, you know, 2019, the number of restaurants that did not have online menus or place an online order right. Now, you cannot be a restaurant and not have that functionality built into your website in some manner, even if it’s through a third party party ordering platform, right?

James Hipkin  37:20

Right. That’s right. And and it’s you know, that’s becomes the reality. So the website becomes the hub. And that’s where you can push value out to your customers and prospective customers, you can solve their problems, you can give them a path to follow so that they can get the information that they’re looking for, when they eventually do sign up with you. It’s for the right reasons. Right, they’ve made it, they haven’t been bribed into doing something they haven’t been tricked into doing something, they’re there for the right reasons. And you can use the website to push content back out to them to be create value instructional information, you know, how to use the product or service better, you know, innovations that have come along. The the strategy I typically try to recommend is 7020 10 70% of the content should be focused on creating just value around your product and service. 20% of the content should be curated content, or you found content that other people have published that you think would be a value to your piece. And then 10% is more sales oriented and your products and changes that you’ve made in your product, etc. But when you take that posture, that 10% stops being a sales message and starts being more valuable information. Yes. Yep. And that’s where you get such high conversion rates out of existing customers, because you’ve earned it.

Heather Pearce Campbell  38:58

Yeah, you don’t at that point you don’t need to sell. That’s right. Right. You just talk about this other solution that lives over here.

James Hipkin  39:05

Right. Part of the flow of valuable information that you’re sharing with your customers.

Heather Pearce Campbell  39:10

Yeah. Oh, I love that. The ratio I think is really helpful, like even from a visual standpoint and breaking that down on your website, because you can think about especially different industries and the typical websites that you see within those industries. And I just think some get it really wrong. I’ll speak first about legal right. I come from the legal industry and I used to be a professional photographer alongside my legal practice in the early days. So like you I had kind of an artistic bent, you know, that I nurtured for some time and it drove me crazy. The websites I would see in the legal industry and how how impersonal they were and the lack of information or guidance or you know, like it was a placeholder People would show up and get a name, get the firm name. And it was like they didn’t even have to do any marketing.

James Hipkin  40:06

Right? It’s funny that you bring that up because professional services is one of the areas where there’s a fundamental disconnect between the customer journey and outside in versus inside out.

Heather Pearce Campbell  40:21

Why is that? You think?

James Hipkin  40:25

Hubris I think has a lot to do with it. But the reality is, you know, pressure surfaces, people, I Yes, I know my website’s old, but I don’t get any leads from my website. Right? Right. And I said, Okay, so. But the problem is, you can’t see the null set. You can’t see all of the people who heard about your firm through word of mouth or saw something in social media, or however they heard about it, and they went to your website to confirm that you understood their problem and could solve their problem. Yeah. And when they get to the website, and they get this, and they see nothing but a bunch of smiling faces in blue suits.

Heather Pearce Campbell  41:10

Maybe smiling, not even always smiling. 

James Hipkin  41:12

Yeah, there you go. Above a bunch of faces was something up there anyway.

Heather Pearce Campbell  41:25

So one of my colleagues, but it’s true that there are many who are doing it better these days, let’s be clear, there are many who are on the right trend. And we still need to catch everybody up. 

James Hipkin  41:36

Right. And that’s an interesting thing. I, the vast majority of professional services, they do not understand the objective of their website. Now, primary objective is not conversion, the primary objective is confirmation.

Heather Pearce Campbell  41:52

And I think continuing to create that know, like trust factor, right?

James Hipkin  41:58

Give them that clear path that you can, I am, you know, if you’re one of these, and here, we have some information for you, if you can get them to click on that and go to that next page, then you’re you’ve supported their journey, and you’ve built relationship with them. That is a micro transaction. And it builds the know, like and trust. And if they get to that page, and they get valuable information and valuable content that speaks to their problem. That’s the mutual exchange of value, which brings pulls up the relationship equity. Yes, you know, you’ll see a lot of these things that I’m talking about, they all cycle with each other. And it’s and they’re not. They’re not complicated ideas. They’re fairly simple ideas. But they’re fundamental principles, and they work.

Heather Pearce Campbell  42:51

What’s the primary question people should be asking themselves about their website? Like, I know, you do this website audit? Right, right. What is one thing that that anybody who’s listening right now should either ask themselves or look at? Like, what’s the lens that they should look at their website through? What’s the number one thing? Do you have to choose just one?

James Hipkin  43:14

It’s a great question engagement. And the reality is that the average website person has an attention span that shorter than a goldfish isn’t that depressing, you have six seconds or less, to engage folks. And keep in mind, part of that six seconds is the time it takes your website to load.

Heather Pearce Campbell  43:35

When many websites do not do very well, right?

James Hipkin  43:41

Any websites do not do very well. And then you’ve got a number of things that you have to do, am I in the right place? That’s about branding, that’s about consistency, and color, palette, consistency, and font, etc, then give me a benefit oriented reason to stay. Which is about leading with the problem you’re solving not with all of your features and attributes. Give me a benefit oriented reason to stay and then make it crystal clear what I should do next. And one of the one of the manifestations of that last set, last point is navigations that have 678 choices in them. No more than four.

Heather Pearce Campbell  44:27


James Hipkin  44:28

Three is even better. And it’s hard. I know it’s hard. But you’ve got to put yourself in if you want to engage folks that come to your website. You need to be focused on that. David Ogilvy, an old ad guy from New York used to say the essence of strategy is sacrifice.

Heather Pearce Campbell  44:53

What’s left out yeah,

James Hipkin  44:54

Yes, stuff. You got to leave stuff out because you have to understand that journey if you understand that journey, and When you create value that works with what the audience is trying to accomplish, you’re going to be getting a sale for the right reason you’re going to be building a relationship so that they answer you. Engagement is the number one thing that you should be thinking about. And the vote and recognize sad reality, you have six seconds or less to accomplish a whole lot of things. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  45:27

Yeah. Oh, yeah, think about I mean, I think you can think about your own experience visiting a website that didn’t work properly or didn’t load effectively, or, you know, you get there and you’re confused about, like, what should I do next? Or there are things you know, you just have no interest in wasting. It’s a little bit like starting a bad television show. You know, I always joke with my husband, who I will say, doesn’t always choose good shows or movies to watch. He thinks he does. We have different tastes, it turns out, but I always tease him like, Well, that was three hours of my life, I’ll never get back. Right. But the same on a on a smaller scale goes for like visiting something that frustrates you, you know, but it happens. So

James Hipkin  46:11

And it does happen, because they’ll get, you know, a designer will show up. And I’ll see this when I’m doing website audits. I’ll see a website. It’s really pretty. And it’s not effective. But it’s not effective, because it’s not useful. Because they’re busy people. Right? There’s a reason it’s six seconds or less. They’re busy people. And they’re there for a reason.

Heather Pearce Campbell  46:38

So what are the one one or two top tips you have for increasing that engagement, whether it’s from a design perspective, whether it’s from a functionality perspective.

James Hipkin  46:48

It’s mostly about messaging and recognizing, you know, the past thing we talked about before? What’s the problem? agitate the problem, solve the problem? And then give them a clear, call that where should they go next? Make that crystal clear? Yeah. And then things like your features and attributes become reasons to believe they can.

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:12

Reccur much later.

James Hipkin  47:14

They reccur later, because you can’t really convince them that you are the best choice for them until they’ve actually engaged with you. And they’re not going to engage with you. Because you’ve told them that they you’ve been in business for 20 years. They don’t care. No, they want to know if you can solve their problem.

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:33

Yeah. And if you’re describing their problem in the way that they relate to it,

James Hipkin  47:37

That’s right. Now, if they have that engagement, and then you tell them that you’ve been in business for 20 years, well, that’s support that’s reason to believe this justification for me to take the next step. Testimonials are very powerful for that, especially video testimonials. You know, brands that I’ve worked with those icon maps that you see, those are all great reasons to believe in great support for what it is that you’re want, why you’re a good choice, but give them a path.

Heather Pearce Campbell  48:14

So aside from missing the boat, on, on messaging, right, which has to be the core of everything, and not providing people a clear path, a call to action, you know, what’s next, one of their primary like, like most frequent website mistakes, do you see?

James Hipkin  48:33

Eye tracking. Most people are right handed, most people track from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner. I see so many websites where the call to action is in the lower left hand corner, which is the least I tracked spot on a web page. They’ve got a beautiful picture of a model.

Heather Pearce Campbell  48:57

Everybody’s going to their website right now like looking at it like what what’s on my lower left.

James Hipkin  49:04

A beautiful picture of a model on the right hand side and the model is looking off into the looking thoroughly off into the distance away from the headline. And the headline is over in the left hand side and the call to action button is sitting down underneath that. Okay, if you look at well built e commerce sites, they do photoshoots Zappos was famous for this. They do photoshoots and they pose the model so that the models eye tracking is in alignment. The art director sets it up so the eye tracking is looking at the call. They’re looking at the Buy Now button.

Heather Pearce Campbell  49:40

Interesting because all the details

James Hipkin  49:42

Because people it’s all subliminal. Yep. We did a website for a he was a former New York State Senator. He didn’t get reelected. So he was he was a lawyer. He put a shingle out and said I’m going to be a lobbyist. And I’m going to help New York state businesses understand on how to work with the state government, because I have years and years in the legislature, and he was very well qualified for this. And he wasn’t getting any traction. And he came to us and we said, well, your website’s all inside out, all you’re doing is talking about yourself. You’re not telling people how you’re going to solve their problem. And all of your call to actions are in the lower left hand corner. So we found a nice piece of stock photography of a statue and clearly government situation, but the statue was looking, we put a statue on the left, we put his benefit statement on the right, we put the call to action button down underneath it, we cleaned out all of the other stuff. He called me up the other day, and I asked him how he was doing because it’s been a couple of years. I said, he said, Do I think you think, do you think I should refresh the website? And I said, Craig, is your phone ringing? Because I can’t get it to stop.

Heather Pearce Campbell  51:00

No, you don’t need to do anything. 

James Hipkin  51:02

No, you don’t need to anything. I’d love to take your money, man, I really would. But

Heather Pearce Campbell  51:10

Well, and that you know, what a great testimonial. That is how many people are sitting here going, Man, I wish I had a website that had my phone ringing off the hook. What you know, what I started with it at the beginning of our conversation was what I hear most often. Because I work with folks who all need to have strong digital presence and, you know, a primary website that works and is functional and does all the right things. But how often they’re like, oh, you know, this one is eight years old. And it’s an embarrassment at this point. And you know, and they haven’t touched it, they you know, somehow are still running their business with, you know, something that is not making their phone run off the hook. But they’re so busy trying to do things in other areas of the business. Right. Right. But it’s a lot of like, apologies for an old or non functional or ridiculous website. So talk to those people. What what gets somebody like that to move and make a better decision?

James Hipkin  52:12

Well, I think one of the things that we could do, I offer a free six seconds or less website audit. And if it’s a great opportunity to have a conversation around these kinds of topics, you know, I tried to be gentle. I tried to be kind.

Heather Pearce Campbell  52:34

And I’m sorry, we need to be direct, right.

James Hipkin  52:36

But but we’re clear in terms of the things because I know, in my gut fundamentally from years of experience, that these things that I’m talking about work, and absolutely, it will make their business more successful. So if somebody is interested in taking advantage of that, they can go to And that will redirect them to a Calendly link. And they will be able to book a free six seconds or less website audit. And I would be happy to talk through what they’re doing right what they’re doing wrong and how they can improve things in terms of their website, and in terms of their digital and online presence.

Heather Pearce Campbell  53:20

That’s amazing and very generous. If you’re looking if you’re listening, definitely put this on your list of to do’s especially if you’ve got a website that you know is not efficient. I will include that link as well as any others that James would like me to include at the show notes page, which is James where else are you online? Like obviously people should be taking advantage of that. Are you on LinkedIn? Are you other places where you’d like for people to connect with you?

James Hipkin  53:52

I am on LinkedIn. And like you I believe it’s a very underutilized and powerful platform where we can have real serious conversations about things. Our website is That’s Little bit of a pun there for the English majors, the end like we take care of you. And our little tagline is websites without worry. Which of course is www right? You can take the boy out of the English class you can.

Heather Pearce Campbell  54:31

Word so fun. And so

James Hipkin  54:33

I but it has the you know, that’s what we’re all about is websites without worry. Yeah. Because we know that these these small businesses, they they know they need to have an online presence. They want it to be better, but they don’t want to be a webmaster. And we’re a full We’re a full service proposition. We take care of it for you.

Heather Pearce Campbell  54:53

Yeah, it’s amazing. None of us should be our own webmaster.

James Hipkin  54:58

There’s that too.

Heather Pearce Campbell  55:00

Take that off your plate. Yes. Well, James, it’s been such a pleasure to talk to you about your experience and your knowledge and the importance of this topic, particularly for small businesses. Anything else you want to leave people with today?

James Hipkin  55:17

I think the last thought, and it builds from one of your very earliest questions. And where we talked about the overwhelming thing. Don’t try to boil the ocean. Pick one or two things that you know your audience relates to, and do them really well. Don’t get caught up in the shiny things syndrome and all the other stuff that’s swirling around, pick one or two things, do the really well. And watch the benefits flow.

Heather Pearce Campbell  55:53

Hmm, yes. Well, and how I got a sigh of relief. I think, you know, people breathe when they hear that that can be done and it doesn’t take boiling the ocean. James, so great to see you today. Thank you very much for coming and spending some time with us.

James Hipkin  56:10

It’s been my absolute pleasure, Heather. I’m looking forward to our next conversation.

Heather Pearce Campbell  56:14

I am as well Thank you. Goodbye.

GGGB Outro  56:21

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 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.