I bit the bullet and posted a long case study around a low traffic site we worked on where traffic (for a very low traffic site) had increased about 4x.
There are a lot of tips and takeaways for consolidating and organizing your content – it’s a long case so shortcut to the related tips here. But there are lots of caveats, too.
And so I’ve been sitting on this email for a few days.
I have an aversion to using the traditional website cred markers: client logos, case studies, testimonials, certifications, featured in logos, even portfolio items or awards.
Happy to see others do it, as a consumer, appreciate that context, and we often insist clients do it for conversion rates or EAT.
For me though, it’s easy to talk myself out of. And it’s not a humility thing, it’s an ego thing.
I think, “the case study isn’t good enough.” Or “anyone could get this with a little effort,” or in the case of a testimonial, “they’re just being nice,” or in the case of an award one time, “we didn’t deserve this,” or in the case of well-known client logos, “well, we knew someone there.”
There’s also the very real law of (traffic) numbers, that is, traffic either goes up or down. Stay in search long enough, and you’ll eventually collect some wins. I’m reminded of a sarcastic tweet I once posted:
Self talk here now – in reality – you do the reps and eventually get more consistent results.
Lots of things require work and smarts and time and experience and then these little indicators start to show up. At a certain point, you cash in.
Last week we also had a client launch a series of offers, all which sold out almost immediately. They have a large IG following, but had never done anything like this. They took a great, lean approach:
- push an Instagam Stories poll asking what kinds of paid offers followers would be interested in
- craft a few offers around responses (in this case one-on-one consults, ongoing advice, and a workshop)
- discuss pricing and constraints, write up copy, post it
- push a link in IG profile where people can sign up and pay (Calendly + Stripe)
It all happened so fast, we ended up scrambling to add a second workshop date, and then a wait list after that one sold out that was up to 200 emails by the end of the week.
We helped with some of the planning and technical stuff, but they did the heavy lifting: cultivated the expertise, built the audience, validated and crafted the offers, executed on the launches.
And now, if they choose to continue on this path, a whole new world opens up. Money aside, the value of the exercise is hard to measure.
The depth with which they’ll understand those in the audience looking to pay them for services, the related interactions and insights of providing lots of consults, workshops, retainers, will be like going from writing letters to conversing in full-color HD.
There are levels of depth to credibility. You build good will over a period of time, but you’re really only doing a handful of things to grow at that point.
You add shallow cred markers: logos, certs, testimonials (too many and it looks like generic or like you’re trying too hard). You pick up a couple case studies worth sharing, or if they’re irrelevant to a group, they go ignored.
A credibility signal I’ve been thinking about lately is podcasts, and how it operates as communication and content, or content as communication.
I’m not sure you can deeply understand an audience without getting very close to them, interacting frequently in different ways, listening, hearing, to really get where they are. And I don’t think you can do that without frequently communicating.
I recently got interviewed by Liston and Philip on Offline, talking about SEO for consultants. And even just that exercise of hearing what questions they thought to ask, what good communicators they are, as I bumbled through responses, I could tell their understanding of their own audience, people like them, was incredibly clear.
Those feedback loops are like an engine to increase understanding > communicate > discuss solutions > communicate > increase understanding.
There are lots of tools to do this – podcasts, psychographic analysis of keyword research, products where you’re paying attention to responses at points of validation, watching clients/customers transform based on inputs, revise products to better account for related and uncovered needs.
The credibility that comes with doing those things for years is just a whole different level.