162 – Information Overload

Discussion – Information Overload

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So… it’s another foray into the Watertight Marketing book by Bryony Thomas. This time to talk about the subject of information overload. The idea that the messages that we put out might not be exactly what your clients / customers / audience are wanting to hear, or are just too frequent.

I should say that this is one in a series of podcast episodes. They work as single episodes well enough, but if you were wanting to hear the previous podcasts then these are the links to them…

How much information is just the right amount? What kind of information is it desirable to receive?

You know how this goes… You have an inbox and it’s overflowing. You have almost no time in the day to deal with nonsense, but you do read your emails… some of your emails. But which ones? Which emails make the cut and get opened and which ones fall by the wayside, their only purpose in life was just to add a tiny amount to the carbon footprint?

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Building WordPress websites, you need to advise your clients about ways that they can interact with their customers or audience. They need to have a little understanding in terms of how they can market to the world. Perhaps you’re not the person to teach them all of this, and yes, there might be people out there who are heaps better at marketing than you are (this is certainly true for myself and David), but that should not stop you thinking about this subject and offer your clients some thoughts as to what might work, and certainly what does not work anymore.

We talk about how our tolerances for constant marketing are perhaps a function of the life that we lead and even where we live. Moving into the subject of what kinds of marketing really don’t work for us as recipients.

In my case, and just thinking about emails, I find that if you’re going to get opened if:

  • you are from a real world friend
  • you are from a company that I have a actual interest in… perhaps a company that I recent bought something from
  • I can see that there is some self interest in opening the email… perhaps I can get 30% off a product that I’m engaging with

Emails will be hitting the bin if:

  • you are sending me too many emails… even if I did at some point sign up to get emails from you
  • I have no idea who you are
  • you are representing a company that I no longer have an active interest in hearing from

The list could certainly be longer than that, but you get the idea.

This podcast is not just about emailing people though. We also talk a lot about other ways that you can send out your marketing message. The primary one that fits in the WordPress space is of course the good ‘ol blog. Writing posts that will in some way resonate with your audience and allow them to have faith in you.

I think, honestly, this is easier to say than it is to do. You also don’t really have control over who reads it (SEO aside). So I can see why this often comes as secondary to nurturing an email list. But, if you can write content that really does help, and you can do it on a regular basis, then I think that you’re on to a winner.

The problem is one of time. Writing good content can take ages. You have to do the research, write the post, edit the post, source some images and all the other myriad of things that you need to do such as keyword research. But, I can tell you for a fact that this can work. I have a few clients who have dome this and who have been able to make great inroads in their market as a result. Carefully written, helpful content. Targeted at the things that people are already searching online for.

There’s heaps more that I could say, but then, that’s what the audio podcast is for right. So go and have a listen and then posts a comment, or react in the WP Builds Facebook Group.

Mentioned in this episode:

‘Watertight Marketing’ by Bryony Thomas

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley. Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there, and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 162 entitled information overload. It was published on Thursday the 16th of January, 2020 my name's Nathan Wrigley and I'll be joined in a few moments by David Waumsley because if you're a regular listener to this podcast, you will know that every week we do a podcast, but we alternate.
Some weeks we do interviews with plugin or theme developers, and then on other weeks we do. Discussion episodes as we call them with David and myself, and today is one of those. So that's what we're going to be talking about. The interesting subject of information overload, but I'll come to that in a little bit because a few bits of housekeeping.
First. If you wouldn't mind heading over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe over there. You're gonna find all the ways that you can communicate with WP Builds and interact with our content. For example, you can join our Facebook group of over 2,300 word pressers. It's very friendly in there, and lots of questions being asked, and I might add being answered by nice a word pressers like yourself.
well, there's also options on there to sign up to our email lists and to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player. Another link to check out would be WP Builds.com forward slash deals over there. You're going to find a whole ton of WordPress specific coupon codes for notable themes, plugins, hosting, all of that kind of stuff.
So yeah, go check that out. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week. And the last one that I want to mention is WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. Please head over there if you'd like to get your product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience. We've had plenty of people do that, and one of them that's doing it right now is GoWP.
GoWP is a white label WordPress maintenance company for agencies with their pricing. It makes doing maintenance yourself seems silly. One of their most popular features is the visual validator tool. It does visual checks on your site after plugin updates, so they know if something is broken immediately and can fix it before you or your client notices.
Do yourself a favor and go and check out GoWP at gowp.com and we thank GoWP for helping put on the WP Builds podcast. Okay. Today, the main event, if you like, is the podcast discussion between David Wamsley and myself. It is a another in the series of episodes following the book, watertight marketing by Bryony Thomas.
This one's called information overload and it's all about. Whether or not we're putting out the right marketing. So a good example would be how often do you actually open emails from companies that send them to you from people that send them to you? There's a good chance that certain senders will get opened every time.
Perhaps other senders, less so. And you might even unsubscribe from certain lists. How do we get our messaging right? But it's not just about email. So for example, it's about the, the thorny problem of trying to get. Your clients potentially to write engaging, interesting and SEO purposeful content. Now, I should say at this point that neither David or myself regard ourselves as experts in this anything box, in fact, but it is nice to chat it through in the same way that your clients probably aren't experts at this, but they're probably looking
To you for some guidance. So we've taken our take an hour sort of lead from Bryony Thomas's book and be interesting to see you what your thoughts are. Please join us, make some comments in the Facebook group or at the bottom of the post and let us know what you think. Anyway, here we go.
David Waumsley: [00:03:54] Today's discussion is called information overload.
And again, it comes from the watertight marketing book by bio ne Thomas, where she gives us 13 leaks where businesses can lose business or clients. And we've been talking about each of these in turn, and we're now up to, I think, Nathan, I'll be number seven. We are,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:15] yeah, I think it's number seven in our series, but because we did a kind of preamble podcast, I think it's the eighth one that we've done.
But the first one was just about what we were going to do. So yeah, normally
David Waumsley: [00:04:27] I just run through the leaks that we've covered. I could do that very quickly, but we're actually into a new phase. So what you have to imagine, if you haven't heard our discussions before, is that we're working through an imaginary funnel starting from the narrowest point where the.
We have the customer on board up to those who are not aware of us, and we've been working through where you can lose people through these leaks. So we've had forgotten customers, people who are with us, who don't know what we do. We've had poor onboarding, no emotional connection, no gateway trial to our product though.
Critical approval,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:02] no proof.
David Waumsley: [00:05:03] These are all things where clients are evaluated. The thing that we're selling now, we're moving into awareness and information overload. So this is really, I guess what most people think of marketing, getting your message out there,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:17] making people aware of what we do. Now we stress that.
we had a really long conversation. Before we pressed record, I mean like approaching nearly two hours, I think. And, we wondered really freely, didn't we? And we ended up in all sorts of blind alleys, so it could be quite, could be quite rangy this wand. we're trying to be a little bit mindful of things which we've, we've want to talk about in other topics and not try to overlap quite so much.
So, we'll, we'll, we'll see where this goes. It's an interesting subject, information overload.
David Waumsley: [00:05:48] I think I should probably just cover the things that she puts in the book, which is she's making, I think she's making the point. And this book goes back to 2014 where I think kind of sales funnels and the idea of doing a lot of digital marketing was still fairly new to people.
So I think she's making the message here that you've got something to sell and, and really this book is all about those. Purchases, which need thinking about need time to process. So, so she's saying that you need to give little sound bytes of information that's useful to people to catch their attention rather than try and explain everything all in one go, because there's just too many marketing messages.
So she's really talking about something that I think we all know about, a little bit about. Content marketing. Really, I think she's introducing with this.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:32] Mmm. Mm. It's, it's not an area that I have a great deal of expertise in. like you say, the book is potentially a little bit, I mean, four years.
Goodness. It's all five years. It's not that long is it? But in, in internet terms, I suppose it's a bit of an age. We've had a lot of new ideas, fresh, new ideas come along since this book's been published. But yeah. okay. I'm looking forward to it.
David Waumsley: [00:06:53] Yeah. And she gives some, I mean, how useful tips from the books really is for is to let people know that you see it.
What won't be useful is some engaging content or takes five minutes for somebody to consume that might be related to your product. And that is pretty much content marketing, isn't it? So in our examples of businesses, that's the kind of thing she does. So blog posts and any kind of other content marketing, any videos where it might help somebody and effectively
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:21] where.
David Waumsley: [00:07:22] As individuals, we're in that aren't we trying to get clients? Some of us are doing that. I mean, this podcast is partner that isn't it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:29] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, we are creating content and I suppose it adds to the, the information overload, you know, associated with this podcast is probably a tweet. I'll certainly be sending out a tweet associated with it.
So that's, that's clustering up the internet a little bit. And then there'll be an email that goes out to the list saying, we've produced a new . Podcast episodes. So there's some more information we've added to the internet and, yeah, so it goes.
David Waumsley: [00:07:55] Yeah, no, I was coming from a different angle at Chandler, so I was just saying that she's talking about the idea that you need to get into little soundbites of what you sell to people rather than trying to percent the wholesale in one go.
So I see. And I think just what I mean. So, yeah. But yeah, she just stopped as well. Talking about something like 3000 marketing messages, the average individual gets a day.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:19] Is that mostly subliminal? I mean, we're talking about people who are, I guess, walking down the street and are witness to the McDonald's slogan on the outside of
McDonald's plus the advertisement that's on the side of the bus stop and things, because I, I can't imagine myself receiving directly targeted at me 3000 messages. It mostly, I presume is just stuff that's in the environment.
David Waumsley: [00:08:42] Yeah. I think it's one of these kind of phony figures that's just going around some of these kind of stuck with it and said, that sounds good.
We'll use that. Yeah. I feel it is one of those figures where, I don't know how you could possibly count, but it must be included in all those kinds of things. Subliminal messaging that you'll see in through just, I guess if you look at the label on the tee shirt or something, maybe that's classed as advertising.
I don't know.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:04] Do you know, it's interesting though, because I think the environment in which you live, and by that I literally mean your location on the planet. I think it's directly impacting this one because whenever I go to, let's take London as an example. I mean, I don't go there frequently, but maybe twice a year I'll go there.
And I am, I am keenly aware of the amount of information that I'm being given by just walking a hundred yards down a typical London street, whereas where I live, like literally my house is surrounded by all the houses. There are no, Well, the bus stop is literally a sign attached. It's a small sign about, I don't know, about 12 inches square attached to a lamp post.
and there, there just aren't, we just don't have these messages at all. There is, you know, the, the population densities is really low. So the, the, the, the return on the investment of putting. Those messages out in the environment in which I live would be ridiculous. It would be absolutely not worth doing.
And so when I go to places like London with higher population densities, it is amazing how, how crammed and overloaded the typical, the typical walk down the street is. It's extraordinary to me how bright neon, colorful, engaging, noisy it is. And I'm kind of tuned my life because of where I live. And you know, it wasn't a conscious effort that such that where I live is normal.
And when I go to London, I can only take so much of it. And after a few days I get fatigued. And I wonder if part of it is, is this, you know, just the overload that every, every normal person is subjected to every minute of every day.
David Waumsley: [00:10:40] Yeah. Do you know what I've already noticed? I can't watch TV any longer.
So when we go on our travels, we hardly ever turn on the TV because it's got advertising. Now, I'm used to this, you know, for all my life, I was used to TV and watching the adverts, but because since we started traveling and we watched everything on, on our laptops, you know, something that's prerecorded with all the advertising gone.
Now I suddenly can't watch TV because I've moved away from it. Yeah. It's the same as I'm living in a village now where there's really, there's no billboards or advertising going on here. And even when I even, I mean Goa at the moment, and even when I just moved to the place that we were live in last year, that the high street hardly has anything gone.
It's still classes. A village is still seems bustling. It still seems like there's too much advertising going on. So. Very relative, isn't it?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:31] And I also suspect that, yeah, the, the, the, the sort of psychology that you bring to bear on life will also determine how much of this you can cope with. But, I mean, presumably this, this idea of 3000 marketing messages a day has, has some semblance in reality.
and if that is the case, good grief. How on earth do you. How on earth do you make what you do stand out? It's amazing. Just as a complete aside, when I was a child, there was a radio program which my parents would have on an I by proxy, listen to it. I wasn't really concentrating, but it was called letter from America by Allister cook.
Did you ever listen to that? I,
David Waumsley: [00:12:07] yeah, I think
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:08] so. Yeah. It was on radio four on a Saturday morning, and it was this, it was this, British guy who'd moved to America and been living there for most of his adult life. And he, he would write this hour long piece every single week about his life in America. And one of the, one of the interesting things was, was about advertising and about how, The, the advertising, the prevalence of advertising in, in the United States in particular, is really different. They're allowed to do different kinds of things than they are in the U K so as an example, the United Kingdom on, I don't know who passed this legislation, but once you reach the end, the boundary of a town and you enter, let's call it just the countryside, for want of a better words, you are.
Absolutely not allowed to P to position, advert adverts in that environment. It's completely against the law. And the same on things like motorways, you know, big, long roads, big high speed roads. It's just against the law. You cannot advertise on them. whereas in the United States, those same laws don't apply.
And, and when I. I have been to, for example, places like, France and America. It's just really interesting, the different approaches they've got to where they position the things, how frequently they're allowed to position the things, how tall they're allowed to be, how, you know, how, why they're allowed to be.
So, as an example, in America, a lot of the adverts are very high up. You know, they build great, good gantries. and then they aluminate them with light. So that you can see them at all times of day and night, and there they are. And people like McDonald's and taco bell, they're allowed to have very tall poles with their logo on the top so that you can see it.
Presumably you can just see it from miles away and decide as you're approaching the town that you want to go to taco bell or whatever. It isn't. And we don't, we don't have that kind of stuff here. So it's just, just a very different approach. And sorry, I went completely off
David Waumsley: [00:13:58] off, off, but. It's kind of relevant.
And I also think this chapter in this book maybe is not getting to what I think is the main message here. Cause she's talking about providing information that's relevant to what you do that's going to be useful for someone to find. So that's very much the switch Roundup we've had in marketing from the old advertising that people, it's the difference between push and pull, isn't it?
So digital marketing is about pulling people in through what they are looking for. Because they're the ones who were in charge of searching for what they need out of life on the internet, where offline. It's all been about pushing messages out to people as frequently as you can and putting things up.
Billboards. I think that's what this kind of. This whole information overload is supposed to be up out, but it's not. Maybe that's maybe not the best term folk, because I think, you know, she suggested in some ways that you get into more of the digital marketing, so you contribute to the online overload.
But I think she's seen it as a contrast to the billboards. You know, the kind of.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:00] Yeah. I think we're getting well, much to the terror of an awful lot of people with the, the technologies behind figuring out where that messaging should go, becoming, really sophisticated and to some extent a little bit scary.
You know, you only have to take the, the example of something, a platform like Facebook, which has absolutely masses of data on you. Which isn't a complete gold mine for a marketer. You know, you can, you can figure out that somebody is clearly into, Oh, I don't know, knitting or is into buying or browsing for expensive cars or whatever it might be.
You know, whatever your hobby is, in a way that has never been possible before. And so the, the ad. Platform that Facebook has become increasingly popular because they can really target this stuff. And whilst I find that a little bit creepy, I think, I think it's quite nice to, to at least see some things that you know are relevant.
And also, you know, the idea that, that, that people will be moving their ad spend away possibly from just . Billboard posters and what have you, and moving it into online is, is I suppose just the direction of travel. That's how it's going to be. If you can, if you can get the same amount of return on the investment from a quarter of the investment that you've made because it's targeted at the right people, that that from a business perspective is all for the good.
But from a an end users perspective, there's an awful lot of people who have. Very dubious opinions as to as to whether, you know, people should be able to mine this data and figure out what it is that you like.
David Waumsley: [00:16:38] Yeah. And, and you know, I mean, this book is all about essentially what the same message is for most of digital marketers.
It's about trying to,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:16:46] well,
David Waumsley: [00:16:47] you know, when we started with websites, that was fine. Everybody wanted to claim their place and people were looking for things, and that was great. SEO worked. But there was that fundamental flaw with websites. About 70% of the people who would come would do nothing, can never return.
So everything has moved in marketing, isn't it? To how you can always be there with the right information at the right point in somebody's buying journey. And that's kind of what we're trying to do all the time, isn't it? Why we want people's email addresses? Well, we want them on social media and kind of dripping all these little chunks of information that people constantly.
That might hit the right time for them to get them introduced to what it is that you sell.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:28] Yeah, and I think that that always struck me as the, I don't know what the right word is here. The, the, the sort of the, the pinnacle of advertising. If you can sell, if you can put something in front of me at the exact moment that I need it.
Then you've won the race, you know, again, using the example, let's imagine that I was into knitting, which as it happens, I'm not, but there you go. That's for another day.
David Waumsley: [00:17:54] The a, I could imagine it though.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:56] Yes. Yes. Thank you. Yeah, that's very good. The, you know, if I was, yeah. Literally at the point of embarking on knitting a new jumper and you stick an advert in front of me for your shop, which sells fine woolen materials, you know, balls of wool and so on.
It's just the perfect moment. And I guess, I guess these platforms are allowing us to do that, but the problem with the information overload is that. That's never going to happen, or it might happen on a happy coincidence. Mainly advertising, especially internet marketing, just very often feels like a much more blunt instrument.
Just bludgeoning the internet with your message till till the point where you know you've somehow pushed it into my inner parts of my brain where I can't forget who you are. You know, you, you just w you're just a name to me now, and I'll never forget who you are because you've pushed that message so hard and so often.
David Waumsley: [00:18:51] Yeah, exactly. Well, this is what we suffer with, but I think it's, you and I are different to most people out there because we do this, we were talking about earlier, we sign up to a lot of things, not even sure if we were going to be interested in that, just because a friend has told us there might be some kind of good deal on this software or this kind of marketing tool.
So I think we get bombarded. Due to the way that we behave cause we're, we're not like most people. I still look, let's put it this way, I've just got into. Trying to do the marketing for clients now.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:26] So when I
David Waumsley: [00:19:27] feel that they can only think, as advertisers are trying to push their message out, I'm trying to get them into the idea that they might look at this book and that they might consider a new way of chunking out content.
So they're always available. So I've started to, get into that, but. It's still a real difficulty for them to, to understand that the idea of putting out content.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:52] So if you were to describe the, the kind of content that, that you're trying to persuade them to start producing and also the kind of content that you're trying to dissuade them.
Is that a word dissuade? Yeah, I think it is. I'm trying to stop them. Let's use that. Trying to stop them producing. What, what are they, what are the, the sort of typical things that you think are modern, marketing approach online ought to be? Well, I
David Waumsley: [00:20:18] think, yeah, so the, the client I've got now, and I can't reveal what it is, but they, they have some product which is high cost and.
I, you know, I think up until the point where I talked to them, they only had the idea that they would have a Facebook page where they were put out how they're developing this product and what the new thing is in the range and stuff. But while I've tried to get over to them recently is that needs to put out content that's going to meet people who might potentially buy those who live the same kind of lifestyle.
They might buy their product because it fits in with their lifestyle. So there'll be. If you're like answering questions about things that they'll be interested in, which is travel in their case. So not directly marketing. So that's largely what you're trying to do. But also of course, there's the other content about, and this is a tricky area.
I don't know if it's good to advise people. We see a lot of people doing it in software where they have comparison charts or they write blog posts where they say, which, which page builders should you buy? And they're including their own. Within that review,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:19] right.
David Waumsley: [00:21:20] Because I try to meet, aren't they? The, what the actual searches are, because big search is out there generally, you know, what is the best of this?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:28] Yeah. It feels to me as if, where like some product that I bought, fairly recently, I, it would satisfy exactly what you were just talking about. I went to look at them product and then this one particular website came up and they'd got a load of content, which was. Whilst not particularly salesy and a little bit tangential to what I really needed.
it kinda gave me a whole load of confidence about the fact that this company knew what they were doing. Look, they've produced lots and lots of articles about this specific thing. they've covered every which angle. So I know that in the future, should I experience a problem with what I've bought, I can always come back and troubleshoot it on their website.
But also it kind of, it kind of spoke of. Well, they're really into it. And whilst the, the production of those blog pieces was probably horrifically boring, it definitely worked in the sense that my, my Google search, which was not sales related, I wasn't talking about buying, but I was probably using words like, quality or best or whatever it might have been.
And it got me to their website and I was browsing around aimlessly for a few minutes. And then in the end. Few weeks later I went back and bought a fairly high cost item from them, so it worked. you
David Waumsley: [00:22:45] told me about, you know, a product that done well because they put the time into create all those articles and I'm doing the same for somebody.
I'm looking at their SEO and trying to work out what phrases people are looking for that's connected to it. This is the, the book doesn't mention anything like that in general terms, but that is the way to probably research, isn't it? To see what actually people are typing in and see whether you can realistically compete for those key terms and help people.
And, and you know, through that they've, you've pulled them rather than pushed your message out to them. You've pulled them in with your content and they get exposed to your brand. And I think that's the ideal these days, isn't it?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:26] Yeah. I mean, increasing. I mean, you only have to look in the real world to see that a lot of people literally while away, many, many hours a week.
Just trolling the internet, don't they? I mean, it's, I know that you're living in Goa and I don't know what the, the propensity to have a mobile phone out is in that part of the world, but certainly in the UK, you know, in my house and on the street and in town, you see people, take town as the example.
You look at a cafe or something, and I would imagine that one 10th, maybe 20%, maybe 30% of the people sitting with their coffee. Ah, just you using the internet. You know, and they might be looking at the news or they might be, in my case, looking for this one particular product. And it's just, I think if you can, if you can produce a piece of content, which sounds author, well, no, which is authoritative, and it comes across as, not disingenuous.
You know, you really are writing this to be helpful. You're not writing this to be helpful to your SEO. You're writing this to actually be helpful, then it's a win. Most people who are searching for a product, you know, it's a sort of self-serving thing. You want, you want to find something quickly. But in my case, you know, especially if I'm buying something slightly more expensive, I am willing to spend, you know, half an hour, an hour trolling the internet to see what the rivals are, how to maintain it, how it gets fixed, what the aftercare possibilities are, et cetera, et cetera.
And so getting this content out there in an authentic way is good, but it's so. Tedious, and I think that, how many times have you advised people websites, that you've, you've handed over to the client, you've, you've settled the blog for them, they've insisted on having a blog, or you've kind of advised them that it would be a good idea and then you go back in few months time to see how many posts they've written.
And I'm sure the case is always a few at the beginning and then it just dies off because the real world takes over. But keeping that going. Is probably gonna help in the end. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:25:31] Well, because I think in my case, most won't have the budget in the first place to do the measurement of what success they're having.
So most of them won't even know if they have had success with one of their articles and which one and why. And I think that makes it even harder because it didn't have a name in the first place. They just thought, I must put out content. Right. Generally the easiest thing is to just talk about something.
They want to sell because they're still, I still think the majority, at least with the clients that I see, their mindset is still very much in the mass media mindset of advertising out and . And the, and the kindness, slightly arrogant belief that people will be interested in what they're producing rather than what I think most digital marketers know, or the mantra really is that people on the web, searching to be better versions of themselves.
And you have to match that, don't you?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:26:23] Yeah. That's an interesting one. Continent. It's been a, it's been a long time since any client said to me, why aren't I on Google? I think maybe, hopefully. Those days are over where people have a like a fierce misunderstanding of how Google works. You know, in the past I think people thought, well, I have a website.
I should now be on Google. You know, I should be ranking very well on Google because I have a website. Whereas now I don't seem to get those questions. I think most people don't understand that there's a little bit more work involved, but nevertheless, doing that work can be. A little bit uninteresting, but I have some stories, which I'm sure I've shared in the past, so I won't share them again now of of if you are dogged about this stuff and you really do write good content.
I think the rewards can be amazing. You know, if you're selling, things, which are, you know, two or three pennies each, maybe not, but if you're selling items, which costs thousands and thousands of pounds, and there's real intricacy and, and, difficulty in understanding how that thing really works, yeah, why not go to town on it?
But it's, it, the problem is a lot of the people that I. I'm employed by, you know, that I freelance for, they're just, it's just one person. There's just, just that person, maybe another person. Neither of them have, got the, the time really to, to create that content. They don't have the budget for that content.
So they start off with good intentions, right? The couple of blog posts, and then life takes over. We've all been there. It's the story of new year's resolutions, isn't it? Make all these new year's resolutions, and by the 14th of January, apparently, which. you know, a couple of weeks, most of them have fallen by the wayside.
Very few actually stick. And it's the way with this.
David Waumsley: [00:28:03] Yeah. And it's a leak. But I don't think it's an essential leak to many businesses. Like we're saying, if it's your local plumber, they're probably not really going to gain too much by putting out to the, the global internet all information about how to do certain.
things were there, I don't know. But they pipes or whatever, so they're not going to gain much from it because ultimately the people are going to pick a plumber gun to look for local people, look at a picture of them and make a decision that they're quite happy to have them in their home.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:28:32] I agree. I think, you know, there are certain high ticket items where the more you can put in with, certainly the more that it will return the item that you were talking about.
Earlier, which you didn't say what it was, is a perfect case in point. You know, it's, I know what it is that you're on about. So it, it costs an absolute arm and a leg, and, and the, the key word, competition by all accounts, from what you've said, is pretty low. So, total, you know? Yeah, absolutely. Just, just wondering in terms of.
How you experience all this overload and, and how, like, as an example, my, my main point of overload because I'm not a heavy Twitter user and I, I use Facebook, really just, just interacting with groups and so on. My main experience of internet marketing and therefore overload is in my email. And I do receive an awful lot of stuff in my email inbox.
And I was thinking about this before we, before we actually, I didn't say this to you earlier, when before we'd recorded the call, but I was trying to work out what it was about a particular email. that makes me open. It. And I was looking and I was thinking, is it the title? Is it the subject line that gets me?
Is that the first thing that I'm interested in? And the answer that dawned to me was, no, it really isn't. It's about who it's from. So the like, the first criteria to jump through is, do I actually know you, you know, is this Sarah Jones who I actually know in the real world, or John Smith, who I actually know in the real world, if it passes that test.
It's going to get open. That's the first barrier. Once that barriers, you know, so if like David, if you wrote me an email, I'm going to open it without a shadow of a doubt. Then I then hit the sort of the company type of email and the, the emails that I'll open. Or from companies that I care about. there's something, again, like I said it a minute ago, something self-serving about it.
If I open this email from this company that I care about, there's a, there's likely to be a benefit to me. So an example might be, I don't know. last week I bought a set of speakers. I didn't, but let's say much in the, I did. and I get an email from that company. Well, maybe that's like a followup email.
Maybe that's something that would be helpful to me. I'm likely to open it equally. If a plugin that I have bought and paid for and have vested interest in, if they email me, I'm likely to open it. But if Runden plugin company somehow. Sends me an email and I've got no real interaction with this particular company or a, or a brand, selling me dishwashers or whatever emails me and I've got no interaction with that company.
That's pretty much like you're going to fail the test, not just that. It's, it's, you know, I'll, I'll accept a few of those in my inbox and I'll delete them without opening them. But if they keep recurring and they keep coming into my inbox, I'm immediately gonna open it and go straight. For the unsubscribe link, I'm going to look strung.
I'm going to scroll straight to the bottom, find the unsubscribe button, and do it. So I think not, it's not always about the clever subject line. I think it's mostly about the interactions that you've had with these people in the past. Whether or not there's a benefit to you, whether or not you are perceived by the recipient as being worthwhile, a good entity, you know?
So yeah, that's my thoughts on that.
David Waumsley: [00:32:10] Yeah. Yeah. Nice. The emojis that may be open,
but that was a thing, wasn't it? Emojis,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:19] they open rates. That just crept into my inbox. I'm going to open my inbox very quickly whilst we're talking and scan down so I can fit about 20 emails on my screen at any one time. Three of them have got emojis in the subject line and
David Waumsley: [00:32:33] I
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:34] don't like it. Don't want it.
Yeah. It's a real objection. That's ridiculous, isn't it? But yeah, so the point I'm trying to make is if, goodness knows, this is probably the hardest challenge you're ever going to face, but if you can, if you can somehow build that relationship. Build that trust. Become an, I know you're a company and you're not going to be a real friend to the people receiving your email, but if you can be the friendliest company in their inbox and deliver content, that's a value from the get go.
And I think you're likely to get opened. And also to add to it, if you send an email every single day. In a sequence that I was kind of, not that insurer I was going to be signing up for anyway. I just think, yeah, forget that. That's, that's the, it feels to me, those days have passed.
David Waumsley: [00:33:29] You've reminded me of something I mentioned that I wanted to do, which is very relevant to this, but I don't know when I'd get to do it.
But that was, I wanted to do a little email sequence, which was, a five minute, how you can improve your website. Something that I could give to existing clients if they wanted to do a bit of DIY, but something to give out to people who wanted to improve their website in the hope that they might come one day and get used to me and think, well, I'll just do a rebuild with this guy.
And I think that's fine. I think, well, I could be wrong. This could be a total fail, but if I get it together, at least when you sign up for that, you're being told that you're going to get these five minutes every week. Yup. So you already decided, and I think that's what you're pointing out. The fact is that often when you sign up to something, they flood you out with information about how you can use their product and you really, you only signed up because you didn't want to forget about their product.
And this is just way too much suddenly.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:22] Yeah. And also the, the frequency with which they arrive, I've noticed, and, and I'm only making this connection as, as I speak. I hadn't really noticed it, prior to this, that companies that do exactly what you said. So you mentioned a week. To, for my personal taste a week is too often I, I, the companies who email me maybe once a month, I am more likely to look low to, sorry to open those.
and the, the companies that email, like as I said to you earlier before the call started, I signed up to a, a subscription service the other week. And I, when I say I signed up, I signed up for a free trial and they hit me every single day. For the last two weeks, so now I'm on an email 15 or something like that and, and I probably opened the first two after that point.
That I could detect that the value was almost zero and the other, the other 13 are just sitting there and at some point in the very near future, I'm just going to open one of them simply to, to unsubscribe. So I think the frequency is quite, is quite important. And who knows what the capacity for different human beings is there.
But I, my personal take is that every week is. Probably too much, but I make no use of this. But I'm assuming that this technology exists that you know, if, if for some reason, David, you gave out those emails and you detected that nobody was interacting with them, you know, if you could, if your active campaign or whatever system you're using could work out that, well, actually, I've sent them for every week for the last four weeks, and.
None of them have been opened. I think deploying some technology so that they then went on to a different list, which in, you know, engage them far less, maybe once every two or three months might be wise. Because clearly you're not, you're not making any inroads with them. They're not opening your stuff and you're just going to annoy them.
And surely it's better to be, better to be on their list and sending infrequently than to be on subscribed from their list. because you've sent it far too often at the beginning.
David Waumsley: [00:36:30] Yeah, I'm sure people are doing that. I think that's happened, you know, with in fact an email solution, like active campaign that I've got where they seem to, I bought their product and they seem to flip me too much initially because I bought it and I was going to get around to looking at it, but somehow their emails have become very useful.
Their subject lines have actually been along the lines of something, Oh, I am interested in this new. Are the new thing that they're doing or something that I could use and my relationships changed. So I wonder whether, I imagine they're smart enough to look at the figures and know when to drop people out if they see there's no opens or I haven't clicked on the link for long time.
I go into another list. I'm sure where the emails come less frequently. So I'm,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:12] but I bet a lot of Pope folks do
David Waumsley: [00:37:13] this very well, and . We can't really judge our own reaction, can we? Because they'll be looking at the overall numbers, so
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:20] yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:37:21] But yeah, but yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:23] it does. But the inbox for me, like I said, is, is the single most likely place to be overwhelmed and annoyed.
by people. So I think it is worth getting it right. but like I said, subject lines, contrary to what most people would tell you, that the subject line for me is, is not the, the, the S the Supreme gatekeeper. It's who you are really, what kind of level, what kind of relationship I've got with you. If I've bought something from you recently.
like I said, I'll probably open it if I know you personally, I'll definitely open it. If I, you know, have the Vegas hen, the I not really interacted with you at all, and you're sending me a clearly a sales email. It's not even going to get opened. I'm not even going to try to explore what content you send me.
It's just gonna kinda hit the Ben and up to the carbon footprint.
David Waumsley: [00:38:11] Let me ask you this then. So if there was a cut, my lead magnet was the one that I was planning where, or the gives you an indication that you're going to get this series of emails. Do you think that's likely to put you off because you know you're going to get those emails or do you think that will set the expectation right? So you'll be more likely to open the emails?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:38:31] Yeah, it's a really interesting question and I think the answer is you're not going to like this. It's a bit of both. That's really not helpful as it so. If it, so let's say for example, at the minute I'm doing quite a lot of, cycling, right? So I'm really interested in bikes.
all the, all the stuff surrounded by bikes is, is kind of forcing itself to the front of my attention. So if I went to a bike website. And I was told explicitly, look, we're going to give you 14 emails. One a day. I'm telling you how to improve your cycling technique, which believe it or not, there is a thing.
There is a way to ride a bike then. Yeah. All right, that's fine. That's really useful to me. But if I went to, I'll, I don't know, a different website and they said, we're going to send you sales emails. About bikes showing you the latest bikes? Probably not. Mm. Cause I can kind of, you know, there's not really a lot of added benefit to that.
I can browse your website to find the price of your bikes and what color they are and what sizes they're available in. And I can do that on my own terms. So it's really about what the messages that's going to be coming in my direction. There's a really. There's a fascinating web. I think it's a website.
I'm sure it must be a website, but I don't interact with the website. It's called Jack's flight club, and it's this guy called Jack. believe it or not, and he must've, I guess at some point, worked in the travel industry, but he, he spends his entire day. Trying to find cheap flights, and when he finds a cheap flight, you know, a flight, let's say for, it could be anywhere going from London to Bangkok as an example.
If he suddenly discovers a cheap flight, he just wax it in an email and sends it out. Right. so supremely useful, like completely spraying, like he has no conception of whether I want to go to Bangkok or not, but that's not the point. Just putting the, the, the email out there and. It's got a headline, which tells me it's London to Bangkok and it costs this much.
So the subject line tells me if I want to interact with it or just delete it. So mostly I delete them, but occasionally a destination will pop up and I'll be thinking, Ooh, Ooh, I might be interested in that. And so I opened it. So I think it's very much about whether it's of interest to you. and the, the truth is I'm not going to be interested in everything.
It's not failure. it's just the way it is. But I think frequency is crucial. and I think in email overload is a real thing.
David Waumsley: [00:41:05] yeah. Also interesting in that that, you know, really, he gives you the information in the subject line so you don't need to open it, which is probably maybe not so great for him, but, but probably he's working more these days because I think what used to work was trying to entry, you know, as we see in Facebook, people are masters right.
Tell these partial stories and you'll never guess what happened next kind of thing. You know, it's, you know, you know, they usually get click-throughs, but I wonder if we're a, particularly with emails, whether we, if I see something like now, obviously it's fairly likely that I will just ignore it now because I'm, I'm trained to ignore it cause you use it.
That's not the value there. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:46] I put out this, WP Builds deals email and. How long I'm gonna I'm going to pitch it now very quickly. it's, you go to WP, Bill's dot com forward. Slash. Subscribe and one of the boxes is for this alerts email. And, and it's exactly the same thing. If I hear about a WordPress deal.
Yeah. Then I will just literally write a plain text email and the title, the subject line tells you what it is and how much is off. And my intention with that email is, is simply that you, if you detect that the subject line is of importance, then obviously I would like you to open it. But the, the intention is that if the subject line is not of interest to you, you delete it.
And I'm making it really easy to know whether it's, you know, so let's say for example, that, Oh, I don't know, ACF, offer 50% off for one day only. Well, I put that email out and in the subject line, I say. 50% off for ACF today only. And that's the whole point. If you don't want it, don't, don't open it.
You know, there's nothing, nothing inside that email of any interest apart from that. And if you open it and you can find out where to click and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I think that's, I think that's good and honest and worth, worth doing that way. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:43:05] Well, certainly, I mean, I, my own sense is other than how many of our audience will feel the same, but I feel that because websites that got devalued, we have to learn.
This has to be part of the service package that I at least I have to offer now, this kind of content marketing and to some degree, I did a little bit of that for somebody. I was writing their blog post in order to get the kind of SEO for them. And I feel this, this is a whole topic I need to learn more of, but maybe not.
You know, maybe that's just me, but it does feel like we, it's just part of the package, isn't it? Now with a website. Yeah, I know. Yeah. It's now what we have to learn about. Hey, look, can I go into a bit of a topic that I am interested in? And that is, if we need to be taking her advice about putting out these useful bits of content for our business, which is also genuinely kind of high ticket price.
What kind of content are we going to be putting out our blog posts on that?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:05] Do you know what's interesting is that. I got this so wrong. I put out, I'm thinking back, Oh, at least a decade ago, and it was a Drupal site with my business on it, and I've mothballed it years ago, but I just wrote called just so basic a mistake.
I wrote a load of technical content, like how to do things with. Drupal. So if I'd have been using WordPress at the time, it would have been about how to do stuff with WordPress. And, and it feels to me like I, I completely missed the target there. You know, I just shocked completely. There's like somebody who notched my elbow or something when I fired the arrow.
because it feels to me the content I should be writing is, is content that. My clients would like to use . That is not largely about how to interact with the website. I mean a couple of them, but most of my clients don't really want to interact with WordPress. So the stuff that you're talking about, how to, how to write a decent blog posts, SEO of those blog posts, all sorts of things like that.
You know, the marketing side of things would be useful. Those kinds of posts would be far more useful than the technicalities of WordPress, I think. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:45:16] Yeah, well, you've done it twice. I mean, you did it with Drupal and look what we're doing now,
but you know what? I think it's great because I mean, you know, we're doing this kind of indirectly, it'll help with our perceived authority in the subject, and that's useful, but it is very indirect. I do, you know what I, what makes me cringe a lot, but it probably works still, is the amount of articles, you know.
By people who build websites on how to choose a web designer. You know, just think, I'm really, it is nothing more than, you know, you know. What they are, but yes, yes. Not me. And, you know, I wonder about those. I wonder if they fool anybody at all or, cause I obviously I look at them quite cynically.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:04] Well, no, I think, I think that's right.
I do, I do struggle with writing, you know, that is to say. Advising my clients to write lots of these blog posts just because I a, I know that they're probably not going to keep it up, which is very, again, cynical of me, but also, I'm, I'm never sure what the, what the return on those things is. I think it's such a long game.
You've got to do it so well, especially if you're in a competitive field. Like, you know, if you're selling socks to the, to the population of. Bristol exclusively, then that probably wouldn't be too difficult to pull off. But if you are, you know, selling widgets to the whole of the United Kingdom, man alive, it's difficult.
Really difficult. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:46:49] I think this all requires a bit of lateral thinking, and I think this is why a clients struggle to get this idea. I, I still think, you know, we've, I've, we've talked about this before. When they think they want to blog, they really are trying to put a news outlet about their company.
They just want to tell you about a meeting that they had in the new range. They're going to introduce. They don't really think laterally about what other things do their visitors. What are the other interests and what do they need help with that isn't about selling my product directly? I think, you know, that's hard for people to get into that mindset.
We didn't know. We've lived through that whole age of me that we've grown up through mass marketing and that's effectively, that's only a very short period of our history, isn't it? It's only really since we've had radio and TV.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:38] Yes. Really. I think we're quite lucky to have been born into an era where the
Internet wasn't around. I don't know. It's going to sound ridiculous, but having a very different perspective, you know, the day when print was King was real in my life. And, and it's, it is quite good to have that as a contrast. How less power, less busy it was and how less frenetic it was. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:48:02] But it took me, I don't know about you.
It took me a long time to understand what digital marketers were talking about. Yeah, no. In terms of offering value, it's really, I think, still one of the biggest challenges for clients to get them onto this idea of doing this kind of work
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:16] and what also, you know, we're in an era where people with tiny amounts of small change can actually advertise effectively to people who really want to have their, their product.
Put in front of them. You know, before it was only the large corporations that could afford to do this, and it was a lot of wasted money because most of the people didn't want it. But now everybody's able to get in front of an audience because of platforms like Facebook. So whilst it's scary, on the one hand, it's incredibly powerful and useful.
On the other.
David Waumsley: [00:48:50] Yeah. And I think one of the most frustrating things for me always cause you want to help your clients when they come into you and you often, you can see that they have an opportunity to, to kind of compete with the big boys because of that. Because it is so cheap, but it is going to be time consuming.
And then they're going to have to take some time out to do something that doesn't feel directly what they're used to doing in terms of advertising and their business. And there's always frustrating though. It can't get them to get so excited because they just can't switch around the mindset from what we grew up with.
Mass media.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:23] Yeah, yeah, indeed. and then of course, there's the whole problem of what kind of content you produce. You know, whether that's a blog post, which is what we've largely talked about, or whether you going to go off in all sorts of different directions and produce things on Twitter or YouTube.
But it feels to me like that might be the, might be the domain of the next episode.
David Waumsley: [00:49:44] That was a beautiful segue. Yes. Oh, do you like that? Oh yeah, I loved it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:49] Okay. It was completely by accident, I promise.
David Waumsley: [00:49:53] Yet next week we're talking about how to deliver content
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:56] actually won't be next week. It'll be the week after next because we, yeah, we put these out right every so often.
So yeah, that was a really interesting chat. Like we said at the top. Really rangy and, you know, I think that's what I like about these chats, that they just go off in all sorts of random directions and, but in offset, I think for this week. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. We will knock it on the head in that case.
All right.
David Waumsley: [00:50:16] Bye. Bye.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:18] Well, I hope that you enjoyed that. Always a pleasure to chat with David Waumsley. Really interesting subject. As I said at the beginning, it's not something which David and I feel that we're particularly expert on, but it doesn't stop us talking about it because I think it's a subject that your clients are going to want to talk about as well.
How to get their marketing done correctly, so emails and blog posts and so on and so forth, and what is too much. How much information is information overload. The WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by WP and UP. One in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness, WP and UP supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community.
This is achieved through mentorship, events, training, and counseling. Please help enable WP and UP by visiting WP and UP.org forward slash give. Okay. We will of course be doing another podcast episode next Thursday. They come out every Thursday and also on a Monday we put out a weekly WordPress news where I sum up in about 20 to 30 minutes in audio form, what's happened in the world of WordPress, and then following that.
Every Monday at 2:00 PM UK time. We have a live version of that news. We use that news as a sort of template for our discussion, and I have some notable WordPress's on live on video chatting. You can find [email protected] forward slash live or in our Facebook group, which is WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook.
So I hope to see you at some point within the next seven days, and for now, I'm going to fade in the cheesy music and say, bye bye for now. .

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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