175 – Having a system for ‘Word of Mouth’ marketing with Jason Resnick

Interview – Having a system for ‘Word of Mouth’ marketing

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Today we chat with Jason Resnick, a seasoned WordPress pro, who has been working with WordPress and eCommerce pretty much when it all started out!

We’re talking today about ‘word of mouth’ marketing.

Now, most people when asked about word of mouth will probably see this as something that happens organically, something that you don’t really have all that much control over. After all it’s happening in situations largely outside of your control. You can offer a great service and hope that people are going to mention your name when they get asked the question… ‘Who would you recommend to build my WordPress website?’, but it’s little more than hope, right?

Well Jason is here to tell you that you can leverage word of mouth marketing. Take it on as a sales channel and make it work for you, if you know what you’re doing and how to incentivise the people who are going to be your word of mouth ambassadors.

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The bedrock of the entire process might be summed up with one word… trust. We trust our friends and often trust the decision that they make. So… I need a new car, and I know that a friend of mine is really into checking out the latest cars. Well, I’m going to talk to that friend and listen to their advice, and whatever they say is going to take me closer to any buying decision that most adverts that you see online. Think about it. When was the last time that you made a, let’s say reasonably expensive decision, without thinking about what people you know have done? It’s likely not all that often. This is perhaps why all out Facebook Groups are full of people asking, what’s the best widget for this or sprocket for that? People want to find other people who they can trust and as soon as you’ve worked out who to trust, you’re going to ask them about their opinion.

Jason brings some interesting data to the table to show explain why we need word of mouth marketing. People simply don’t trust advertising. They have grown weary of over inflated hype and half baked promises. I’m sure that you can indentify with this. But, the data shows that we do trust our friends and contact and, to a lesser extent, reviews. This is what makes word of mouth important, although the audience is likely much smaller, it’s easier to make meaningful connections through word of mouth than it is with more ‘remote’ advertising techniques.

But wait, this whole thing might be starting to sound like a sales scheme, get all of your friends on board and make them your ambassadors. Use them as a sales team. No, that’s not the point!

There are clever ways of doing this, such as offering some money off your existing clients project if leads that they refer actually close.

Jason describes how it is that he encourages his contacts to refer more work towards him.

It starts with a simple ‘recommend me’ message as a P.S. footer at the bottom of select emails. What I mean by select, is that you deploy this message in the emails of poeple who you think are in a position to refer high quality leads to you. You don’t spray it out to everyone, so it’s not 100% automated, there is some leg work that you’ll need to be doing. Jason works on the basis that you do this every 5 to 7 emails. Not every single one that you send out. You’ll need to decide upon which email recipients you’re going to target in this way.

Maybe word of mouth is so effective is because it’s the antithesis of all of the automations and impersonal marketing that we’ve all been subjected to since the dawn of the internet. It’s about being more human.

Jason then goes on to explain about his ‘5 pillars’ which he uses as a cornerstone for this whole enterprise:

  1. the P.S. message
  2. the warm outreach
  3. the milestone happiness
  4. vendor relationships
  5. following up

All of these pillars have crossover points, but they also have unique moments where they’re best to be deployed.

It’s all in this week’s episode and so go have a listen.

Remember that you can post comments below here, or in The WP Builds Facebook Group which is very friendly place to go I might add!

Mentioned in this episode:

Jason’s website: https://rezzz.com

Jason’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/rezzz

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Transcript (if available)

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Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there, and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 175 entitled having a system for word of mouth marketing with Jason Resnick. It was published on Thursday the 16th of April, 2020 my name's Nathan Wrigley, and before we get stuck into the podcast, let's just do a little bit of housekeeping.
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Okay. What have we got for you this week? Well, this week I'm chatting with Jason Resnick. Jason is based in the U S and he's got this idea of a word of mouth marketing. I kind of feel like this is something that everybody needs to pay attention to, and what I mean by that is it kind of feels like we've, over the last few years, gone a little bit down the automation route.
Too far, everything has been automated. Everything's been made super slick and easy to do. But. I wonder sometimes if we're thinking about the person who's receiving this stuff, is it enough just to be able to put in a little code, which . Types in their first name and their last name and adds a salutation, that kind of thing.
Do we need to be a little bit more thoughtful about this? Well, Jason Resnick has his five pillars of a word of mouth marketing, and honestly, some of it is just absolutely wonderful. It's so refreshing to hear somebody talking about the personal touch, so I would highly recommend it. I hope you enjoy it.
Hello there. Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Thanks for getting so far in and, staying with us until the interview section today, all the way from the United States. I have Jason Resnick. Hello, Jason. Hey, how's it gone, Nathan? Yeah. Good. Thanks. Jason's on the call today. We decided a little while ago that we were going to talk about kind of word of mouth marketing.
It's not a subject that I have a great deal of experience in, so this is all going to be a bit fresh to me. Maybe some of the questions that I ask won't be exactly on message, but hopefully between the two of us, we'll manage to navigate our way through it. Do you want to just, first of all, tell our listeners, Jason, a little bit about you, your background, your relationship with WordPress and so on.
Sure. as you said, my name is Jason Resnick, better known as res with three Z's online, and I've been at WordPress since about 2012 full time. I've been dabbling in WordPress probably since about. 2008 in some form or fashion. But when I started my own business, I was very much a generalist. I was doing Ruby on rails projects and PHP projects and, and things of that nature as well as WordPress.
But what I found out was that I was getting burned out, chasing my tail constantly, relearning things that I hadn't worked on for several months. And so when I got to that point. I basically looked at my entire business, both from an internal perspective, but from a client perspective as well. And I found that what my clients were really needing was a solution that they weren't always consistently in their website.
Like for hours on end every single day. So they were looking to me to build them a solution that they could manage a website that they could put products on content, on, update at will, but not necessarily all the time. And so WordPress was the solution. I came from an eCommerce background. I've always loved working in eCommerce.
you know, just the problems that we solve as far as e-commerce developers are go. and, you know, just case in point, when I first started, this was the early two thousands as, as, as old as it sounds at the turn of the century, if you will. the, the problem was just having somebody put in a credit card.
And now we don't even blink, right? Like it's just, Hey, here's my, here's my card and send me the thing. So the problems that exist as from a developer standpoint are definitely unique and a lot of human behavior. And so for me, that I've always been attracted to that we're in a lot of developers repelled from that.
and so I planted my flag working on woo commerce sites. and we'll commerce, subscriptions for WooCommerce sites. and that's, that's been my bread and butter, so to speak, of the business on the services side for, the better part of a decade. Okay. So you've got a real, real interesting and rich heritage.
Yeah, that's great. So we're going to try navigating the subject of, kind of like word of mouth marketing is not the right word. Is there a, is there an actual noun to describe word of mouth marketing or is, is that what it is? Yeah. Well, so here's the, here's the funny or not funny thing, but when you ask somebody, anybody that's providing services, development, design, writing, marketing, those sorts of kind of services, you say, what's your number one lead generation tactic or strategy?
Chances are they gonna say word of mouth. and then I always follow that up with, Oh, that's, that's interesting. Well, what, what are you doing to make that happen? I would say nine times out of 10 they say, Oh, it's, it's really just by chance. Yeah, no, it's by accident. Or, you know, there's nothing that I'm doing.
It just happens. And so when you add marketing to the end of that. You're actually defining a strategy that results in somebody sharing your service with someone else that they know that they have a trusted relationship with. So adding marketing to it means that there's some intent. There's actually a strategy put forth that you want some.
Expected results. All right. And so when I talk about word of mouth marketing, I'm actually talking about some strategies that I've implemented in my business that has worked for me since 10 plus years. and so it's basically a system of, of five pillars, if you will, in my business that have worked for me for a long, long time, that continuously bring me in leads and referrals into my business every single month.
Okay. Let's get into those five pillars in a minute. I'm just interested though, the kind of word of mouth always feels to me as if it's more small scale, if you know what I mean. It feels like it's more cottage industry. And the reason I say that is simply because, you know, one person has to speak to another person and that that feels like a much more intimate relationship.
But I presume though that this, it can scale. It could go up to agency level and beyond, you know, up to enterprise level because. presumably people are willing to endorse brands. You know, this is my favorite bank, for example, even though I'm not really talking about a particular person at the bank, I'm just talking about the bank.
So it works on any level. It's not just one to one freelance style. businesses. Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I mean, it definitely, I mean, look at Apple. I mean, one of the biggest brands, and, and people love their iPhone. They love their MacBook, they love their iPad, right? And they talk about these things. And even just as a Mac convert myself, you know, I was very much a PC driven developer and I'd throw Linux on it and things of that nature.
And, but when somebody that I trusted said, Hey, you should just go get a Mac. And this was years ago. I haven't looked back since. And so because of that relationship that I have with that person that recommended me to Macintosh at the time, or Apple and, and so that was just. It's that trust factor that you have with somebody else and it's, it can happen at scale.
Now the thing is, from my business, I realized I wanted to say small. I'm a solo operated business, right? And so for me, I don't need a thousand leads coming into my business every single month. I don't even need the leads that I do get into my business every single month, to be honest. But what it does is when you put certain systems in place, now you have a pipeline that have highly qualified leads into your business because they know what you can do because they've learned about it from somebody else.
And it's specific enough to, for them to be able to be closer to the buying decision. Right. So you don't have to educate them. You don't have to, they're aware of their problem there. They've sort of considered other people, and now if they're, my experience is they're talking to five or six other people and they've only gotten one recommendation and that's, you.
Well, they're already leaning towards you because of their friend or colleague or somebody else. I think, I think, I can't remember the phrase that you used earlier, but it was something like the, you know, my word of mouth is important to me, but it's completely by accident. You know, it's chance, I suppose in, in a sense, if you don't have a process for monitoring.
How people are, right. You know? In other words, if you don't ask the new client, well, where did you hear about me? Or have some sort of process to see if the word of mouth is effective, then you are going to be misled, I suppose, into thinking that this is all just completely not a chance and you can't do anything to nurture it and improve it.
Yeah. I mean, what's funny is that when, and you tell me if you found this to be your expanse as well, is that a lot of times when somebody is. They say, so-and-so mentioned that you do this, and so they'd name drop because they, well, their perception is if they name job, then they're going to get a better experience because I already helped them out.
They were a client. I want to keep them happy, those sorts of things. So chances are good that you're going to know where they came from in the first place. But I most certainly ask anytime somebody comes into my world, whether it's via email. Whether it's through my website, whether it's through a phone call, I will reach out and say, before I dive in, would you mind letting me know how you heard about me?
I would just love to know so that I could reach back and say, thanks. And it's all as simple as that. And I've never had somebody say, well, I don't want to give that up. Right? Like there's no reason not to. And so for me, it's been. A unique experience to see where people come from, and then I just put it in my CRM so that then I know I can do some reporting on that to see where all my referrals are coming from, where am I second and third tier referrals coming from and so forth.
So the, the craziness is, is that we often think that, you know, word of mouth marketing, if we ask for a referral. Seems a little bit salesy, or you know, used car salesman like, or something of that nature. It seems like we're bugging them. Right. Well, the crazy thing is I'm such a data geek. I went and did a little bit of research on this, and what happens is, is that 75% of people don't believe advertisements.
So if that's the 75% right? So if that's the case. Then how do people market? How do businesses market? Well, 92% believe recommendations from friends. 62% will actually look for reviews before purchasing. So with those two numbers there, well, if you spark inspiration to someone, and that's really what word of mouth marketing is, sparking someone to.
Refer you, right? Yeah. To nudge them along to say, Hey, I can do this. If you know somebody, I would appreciate an introduction. And that's really all it is, is just word of mouth. Marketing is sparking the inspiration for somebody to refer you. And by doing that, you're creating a, you're making them a connector.
And the win win there is that, even if it's. A past client, or maybe even a colleague, right? So if you know, I've woo commerce developers that I refer work to all the time. if I don't have the bandwidth, but I know that they can take care of them. So I'll just refer them to the work and it creates, makes me feel better that the lead is in good hands.
And it also creates this moment in time where bleeds says, Hey, Jason was able to S I'll refer me to somebody else and solve my problem. Maybe next time I need some work, I'll go back to Jason. Yeah. D D do you incentivize the people who are, spreading your message, if you like? So the people who, who you hope will be your advocate and I are going to go out to the world and in some way, spread the good, the good news about what you do.
Do you offer them anything in return or do you feel that's maybe a step too far and then it suddenly like crosses a boundary somehow. well, I haven't, I, you know, I just look at it from kind of two sides, right? So I understand if we're specifically talking about, let's say a client or a past client, right?
somebody that it don't have a relationship outside of the project that we're working on, per se. So, in that case, I've never had to incentivize somebody to share. My name with them, I just create an experience with me. Right? And so what I mean by that is I try to look at my business from my client's eyes a lot of times.
And am I creating this experience that is unique or am I creating moments in time that are unique. Or am I just another developer that they've worked with in the past? And so by creating a unique experience that's good, provides value, does something differently in the marketplace that's going to create that moment in time that when somebody, when they, when the client, if you will, here's that somebody else needs, will commerce work.
My name pops up. But I do see the other side of the coin there is that. To generate more referrals. People incentivize discounts and things of that nature. I just, I feel that almost when you do that, you're just incentivizing the referral. To get the discount so the lead isn't going to be as good. now that's just my assumption.
but I've heard of, I actually had a conversation with somebody on Twitter about this a couple months ago, and what she did was to just ramp up her business. She was just inside of a year, I believe, working, and she was a designer, and what she did was she wanted to build up a portfolio. So instead of doing spec work.
What she said was in her contracts, she said, this is going to cost X dollars. but on the back end of it, if you refer me clients and I close those clients, I will give you Y dollars back on your project. Nice. So I thought that was super smart because she's not incentivizing the referral. She's incentivizing the close.
Right. So now those leads are going to be a little bit more. A bit higher quality. Yeah. And if it actually, you know, there's, it's a nice quid pro quo, isn't it? You get, a new client say, and the person that your advocate also gets a a benefit. I suppose at some point you get straight into the murky waters of like affiliates and things like that, don't you?
And whether these people become . so persuasive and so useful to you referring people that they are almost an affiliate to you. But, I suppose that that is part of the part of the subject. with this, it all seems like you don't really have much control over it, you know, and you don't really have too much.
It sounds like you've got a much more strong handle on it than, than I ever had. But because you're talking to people that you've worked with and you've then. Just ask them in some polite way to go out and if you feel inclined, please refer people. That's, that's where your contact with that whole process ends until the phone rings or somebody knocks on your door and says, I would like you to build me a website or what have you.
So it's kind of like a gray area. You don't know what they're going to say. You can't, you don't have control of that messaging. You can't be sure. What words are they going to use to describe you, whether they're going to promote you in the way that you see fit, promote the actual things that you want to be promoted for.
So it's interesting from that point of view because the, the, the conversation is totally out of your hands. Well, yes and no. Yeah. so here's the interesting thing. So when I first realized that word of mouth was my number one lead generator, I actually didn't know that. Word of mouth was so prevalent for me until somebody asked me what my number two lead generation tactic was, and this was back when I spoke at WordCamp.
New York city. And after the fact, they asked me and I said, well, number two, why do you want to know what the number two? And then they said, well, I'm presuming that word of mouth is number one, so I'm curious what you're doing else. Right? And so I was like, Oh, that's a smart question. So I didn't know at the time, and I told this person that, and I just came up with whatever my best educated guess was.
But when I went back. It was actually vendor relationships and vendor referrals. So I had, you know, built a relationship with prosperous and Brent and the team there, and a couple of other different plugins and things, and Pippin was one of them. And so. They were referring me work. So they weren't past clients.
They weren't leads, they weren't colleagues. They were people that I was working on their platforms and just interacting with their support team. And because their product base and their platform base, well, they were actually referring me work for the custom stuff. They were only concerned about their product.
So. At that point in time, I said, Oh, so my number one and two are also word of mouth. So that's interesting. Right? And so what I wound up doing then at that point in time was, okay, how do I spark leads to do this? Right? How? Because that's my number one. It's at that point in time, it was more by chance and things.
So the first thing that I ever did was add a P S at the bottom of particular emails. Email is something that, I mean, all day long, it's how I communicate weekly status updates, things of that nature. And so what I did was add a P S at the bottom of. Basically milestone emails, some weekly status emails, things where there was an emotional high attached to it.
And the PS really only stated, a simple sort of a template, if you will. Right. I was just to say, Hey, look, you know, I really enjoyed working on this so that we could accomplish, fill in the blank. If you know anybody else that has a similar fill in the blank, that's the problem, if you will. I wouldn't mind it.
E introduction to, and I can take it from there. So basically in that sentence there, identifying the solution and I'm at that identifying the problem. So I'm sparking the thought in their head that, Oh yeah, Jason is looking for people that have this problem. And he can solve it by this. So rather than knowing or really not knowing what they are talking to or who they're talking to rather, and what they're saying, my hope, right.
Or my intent there is that they're only going to be talking to subscription, WordPress, subscription commerce developers . That, or people that are using those two plugins and they are looking for custom development work. And so that once I started doing that netting that PS on particularly emails, that's when I started noticing.
A higher quality of lead coming into my business because prior to that, it was anybody in end of the body that needed a website. Right? But I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to just build websites. I wanted to do a specific task. And the second thing that I did was because of the vendor relationships, kind of sparked a little bit of a warm outreach.
Thought in my head now, warm outreach. I mean, we're all familiar with cold outreach. Just these random emails that you get from someone that you have no idea who they are asking you for something all to their benefit. Well, warm outreach is reaching out to somebody who you do know, that you have a relationship with.
They understand who you are and what you do, and just sparking. Saying, sparking that inspiration, if you will, to say, Hey, I have some availability in my schedule. If you happen to know anybody and it's a similar format to the PS that has this problem, I can help them with this. What might it eat? It. And instruction, and it's just a friendly kind of casual email that you send maybe once a year to your colleagues, your past clients, things of that nature that then allows them, while it may not be an immediate reply, it allows them to then be aware like, Oh.
That's all right. I did hear somebody talk about this a week ago or six months from now. They say, Oh yeah, you know what? I haven't emailed back. I think there was this guy named Jason, right? And so it just triggers this little thought plants a seed in their head where they then can refer you work. And I'll tell you, I still get emails from those emails that happened like last year.
Six months ago. 12 yeah, 10 months ago. And it's funny when it comes through because it's like, Oh, this does work. Yeah. That's interesting. Do you, do you take the approach that, so you said that you, you said carefully selected emails or something to that nature, so in other words, you wouldn't deploy this technique as the footer for want of a better word, of every email.
Are you manually picking these people based upon certain criteria that you've put in your own head? Like, okay, I've got a strong relationship with them. I really trust them. I trust them to say the right thing and and be an advocate for me in a way that I would like. Or are you, are you kind of much more autoresponder about it?
No, it's all automated. Everybody's going to get this email and so on. So, I'm guessing you're referring to the PS that aren't attaching at the bottom. Right? So the, I do not do it on every single email and it is semi-automated. So, to, that's just the longer winded version of it depends. But what, what, what it is is so.
We all have clients that we love to work with, the types of projects, the types of clients, those sorts of things. So what happens is, is that you only want to put this PS, which you're asking for a referral on people. Into communications with those types of people, right? Because what happens is, as businesses surround themselves with likeminded individuals and like-minded businesses, so if you're working on a project that you can't stand and you dread working on, and, or even just the person, like you just don't vibe with the person, then don't go ahead and ask them to send their friends.
Because it's just going to be the same, right? So you want to first identify who it is that you want to get referrals from. second is, is that okay? Yes. I am selecting specific emails. I don't put it on every single email because what happens is if it's on every single email, then they get blind to it.
Just like we look online, we're blind to the sidebar. We're blind to ads. We're cause we're seeing them all the time in the same spaces. So I don't want that to happen to these specific one-liners that are going into my emails. So I will look at specific emails that I'm sending. And then throw this PS on the bottom of them.
It's maybe every fifth or seven emails just saying it was interesting. Is it quite a lot? Actually one in five I thought maybe it would be far less frequent than that, but that's quite interesting. Yeah. Cause so it's going to a lot of people like, Hey, I've tried this before and it doesn't work well. Yeah.
If you send out this 1520 times, you may not get anything back, but all you need is just that one time that happened, and then it's thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars in revenue into your business, potentially for what, an extra two minutes. Right, right. That you attach on the bottom of an email.
So for me, I send emails, you know, like I said, I always have at least one email that goes out to a client every single week. we have launch emails, we have feature deployment emails. I take a look at all of those emails that are going out, and then I decide which ones those are going to have those specific asks on.
Okay. Yup. Yeah. That's interesting. So it is a, it's a very, it's not labor-intensive, that's the wrong word, but it's not automated. There is a process by by which you, you vet them based upon your own criteria. That's good. This is sort of slightly going off piece, I think, but I think it's quite an interesting segue just for a minute.
Do you, do you kind of think that the . The fact that word of mouth is so powerful. and, and yet, the, the real world communications seem to be a posed, shall we say to a lot of the technologies that we're building. So we're building, as a society, we're building all these automated systems. you know, you don't need a human being to, to find anything out anymore.
You don't need to research in an encyclopedia, cause Google can do it for you. You don't need to write letters. Because and communicate with your clients because your CRM will do it for you and your autoresponder will do it for you. Do you think that the word of mouth is so powerful? Just because it's the antithesis of that it's real actual people exchanging real actual time with each other.
I think that plays into it for sure. Because I mean, look, business isn't new, right? All of these things that you mentioned are, but if you think about what, you know, back in the day when somebody just went in a walk out and bought vegetables from the grocery cart at the corner. You know? And so, you know, it was, Hey, where'd you get those?
Oh, over here. Right. And so business is, is not new. And it has been the same for growing your business in an inorganic way for centuries, if not millennia at this point. So the thing is, it's, it's, I look at it like, I think a lot of people want the mom and pop. Experienced mom and pop shop experience, especially when they go and hire a freelancer, a solo operator, or a small agency.
Right. Cause I've had leads tell me that they much rather work with me than a full blown big scale agency. They just feel the experience is better or that they're working with me knowing that I'm the person that's actually working on their project. So from that case. They'd love the experience, right?
They told me that. And so how can I create that experience in a way that just amplifies that? Right? And so for me, I think that the, the, the personalized, you know, communication, whether that is automated or. You know, from your own hands, whether it shows up in their, their virtual inbox or physical inbox.
I think all of those things play into it. Just even in automated emails be human, which is what I'm all about. I'd automate as much as I possibly can. but you know, when I, when those automated messages come out, it's still my voice. Yeah. It's just a point in time that I know that it's going to happen.
Like my onboarding sequence, like I have a email that's on my onboarding sequence that goes out 20 days after we've started working together. Just checking in with them to say, Hey, we're almost out a month. Just want to know if you have any questions. Yeah, I think that's really kind of a very powerful observation.
This little mom and pop store, but kind of really rings home to me. even though I'm browsing online in amongst international brands, I still kind of want to not buy from Amazon. I still kinda want to buy from the guy down the road, even though sometimes the pricing is slightly different. Yeah. You, you mentioned earlier about these kind of five pillars is what you called it.
It feels like maybe. We've touched on possibly a couple of them, but if not, if you can go through those, that'd be interesting. Sure. Yeah. So the five pillars is, one I mentioned, I mentioned two of them, the PS and the warm outreach. Yep. I touched a little bit on the milestone happiness, vendor relationships and following up.
Now all of those things are kind of, they all cross breed each other, but it, they're very strategic in. Where I put them into the business. Right. And so, you know, I touched upon the milestone happiness, and that's more of just, Hey, instead of just sending an email on your launch of your website or feature or whatever, which is what a lot of people do.
Think about the client. You know, before we jumped on the call here is that, you know, you said, Hey, I, you know, I share a bottle of wine, right? So if you know, and I shared a story with you that, you know, I had a client who loved baseball, so I got him in his son baseball tickets, right? When that milestone is reached, think about the client and their, what you know about them and create that experience for them.
I'd rather than, Hey, there's an email that is also the same email that you get from me every other day. So this is a milestone. It's supposed to be special. It's supposed to be a unique in the course of the engagement, right? And so. Make it such, make it something that's a little bit more of a, a moment in time for them.
Vendor relationships. That's really just, you know, that was not strategic until I saw that it needed to be. But for me it was, Hey, I'm working with, you know, in the WordPress space is plugins that you use on daily basis. People may have relationships with the plugin developer or not. You may have relationships with their support teams or not, right?
Just think about, especially in the support world, right? They're human beings on the other side of that chat widget, it's a don't just be patient with them and be nice to them, essentially be human. I realize that if you're having a problem, Chances are they know about it, but you know, just be human and create, you know, a nice sense of inexperience rather than just jumping down their throat and saying, Hey, why isn't this working?
I need this working and my client, blah, blah, blah. Right? Like that's kind of what we need jerk to. That's our reaction to it. But just in the drip and ConvertKit world where I've sort of shifted my business a little bit more. Yeah, email is important to my clients and things, but just. While I'm interacting with those support teams.
I know that Evan from drip, you know, a whole bunch of other people from ConvertKit have referred me work just because, and from their support team, not necessarily, you know, sales and marketing of those, those companies. It's literally the support team who field the questions that they get from their customers every single day.
So the same thing in the WordPress world. But the plugins and things of that nature, once you interact with the support team, create that experience that just, it's a relationship. You're going to be using those products. So. Yeah. Allow the opportunity to naturally happen. Yeah. I think that's the both of those points.
You know, the milestones and the vendor relationships. Just touching on the, the vendor relationships, one, I, I've how many times, I'm sure that people are listening to this can equally. feel that this may be something that they've done. You've got to the end of, let's say, the end of a project and you've handed it over and you've, you've literally taken no time to do the human thing, which might be to, to make that phone call or to some way make it seem special.
And instead what you've done is you've put something so brief, so perhaps even templated together and just fired it off because to you, it's just another point. It's just another thing. Tasks that you need to get off your, your list. And yet the experience of that from the other end is so bland and uninteresting.
You've, you've turned what could have been a golden moment into a really depressingly banal moment. And, and it would be. Right? So it's not easy to do because you have to snap yourself into that. But on the moments where I've tried making a difference, it has absolutely paid dividends. You know, I've made an actual phone call and and gone through the website launch process with them.
You know, handholding. It definitely makes a difference. But the milestone one also, that's, I think that's really ingenious because it never really even occurred to me. They were milestones. To me, they're in my system as, okay, I want to get to this point and then I'm going to either receive some payment or I'm just going to, you know, tick that off as finished and then move onto the next one and, you know, wipe my brow and be thankful that I've managed to pull it off.
But the, the opportunity at that point to turn that into a meaningful experience for the customer. I just think that's, that's really cool. I'm just wondering if you've got any. Insights of the kind of things that you could do at those moments, because I'm kind of drawing a blank. I'm thinking I could, I could maybe phone them up.
The, the idea of giving a bottle of wine to me that that feels like quite a nice thing to do. But you know, you mentioned giving away some, some baseball tickets. I just think they're amazing, but I suppose some people say, Oh, but that's quite costly. The time thing is it has no cash value attached to it.
Just time, but I'm wondering if you've got any thoughts about about what make, what would make good milestone treats, for want of a better word? Yeah. I mean, if you're, if your client's a coffee or tea drinker, good point. Instead of, instead of sending them a gift card to Starbucks, which may be $25 maybe $20 even less, order them.
Just a, a coffee or tea, right. Like the actual thing. Yeah. Just making for them to go out. Maybe they don't even last Starbucks in the first place, but just create that moment. It could be, you know, anything from, I always try to kind of. Take it from the client's perspective, like what is their interest?
Right? And the milestone, obviously, look, if, if it's a milestone where you get a payment of a few thousand dollars, you know, I look at it like I could spend 50 or a hundred dollars to give back to this person. And like I just look at it from that perspective to say, Hey, look, if there's a way in which it just creates that moment in time for them that's important to them, and it actually is meaningful to them.
it goes a long way. If they have a logo. I, you know, you could create custom stickers. Yeah. For them. Right. There's plenty of those types of services out there. you know, custom coasters for their desk, you know, like, look at some of these custom type of things that, you know, and see what could be important to them, right?
Like, especially on like the launch, right? Like, you know, the baseball tickets thing happened at launch, right? So that was a little bit more of an investment on my side, but, you know. Even on just like, Hey, this was a big problem. I knew that, you know, as a developer, a lot of the things that I build in or helping manual processes and saves a boatload of time.
So what I'll do is I'll say, Hey, you know, I'll find a good restaurant in their area, let's say, and say, Hey. I just saved you 10 hours every single week. Go spend 10 hours at lunch. Right. and so just, I try to take it from the perspective of the individual that I'm working with to try to see what could be memorable for them.
Yeah. I just think that's really nice, right? Human. also the minute you mentioned T at the beginning, it got my. I was just immediately starting to think, how would I know that they drank tea? but I presume you, you kind of, you're asking these questions. My bottle of wine that I would give away was a generic thing because my experience is that most people cherish and bottle of wine.
They quite like it. So in that sense, it requires very little effort on my part, bottle of wine. There you go, job done. But now I can see that that's a little bit more, more thoughtless than it should have been. Do you, do you actually somehow. Extract this information from your clients about what they like, you know, kind of probe them as you're doing the project and see what they see, what they might like as a gift going forward.
See, I hate small talk. So I use small talk in that research thing, right? And so for me, I have my, the way that my business works is we have a weekly scrum call, I call it, and it's not the agile scrum methods and all that. It's just basically a touch point every single week for 15, 20 minutes, we'll go over the tasks, that we did and what's up next week.
Right? And so during that call, I learned a lot about things. Oh, sorry, I'm two minutes late. I went to . Go grab a cup of coffee. There you go. There you go. Right. and like, Hey, how was your weekend? I pay attention to what they say. What do they keep saying? What is important? If they say that they went to a networking event.
Every other weekend we went to this conference, went to that. Okay. Obviously, their professional world is very important to them, but if they say, yeah, we went Apple picking with the kids, we, you know, we took a day trip with the family, you know, those sorts of things. Then family is important to them, and so I just pay attention to the two, three minutes of.
Should a chatter at the front that then, then I just make note of that and I say, okay, yeah, this is what they did, so that then when I do reach those milestone points, I can say, okay, let me look, let me kind of just things together. Come up creatively to give them something that's a unique, do you know what I, I am.
I am. I know that this will work simply because I see it in Facebook. People post photos of the actual stuff, the, which has completely surprise them. It's like, look, somebody sent me a, Oh, actually, one thing I'm thinking of is somebody. Carved a piece of wood, and I can't remember if it was their company logo or something, but they'd had a piece of wood, which they could just hang on their wall and it was, you know, it was a thing.
It was a real object. And it's so, so taken aback where they, that they posted this. On Facebook and the person that I'm thinking of doesn't post stuff like that on Facebook. So it was clearly a, a unique moment. And what else it teaches me, I think, is that it's still not being done a lot. So there is great scope for impressing people because if it suddenly became that every body did this, then it's value.
Diminishes greatly. But if, if you're the only person doing it, it's value is tremendous. And I would like that. I would like it if somebody sent me a piece of wood with my logo on it because, all right. I didn't ask for it. I may not necessarily need it, but it was just nice. Absolutely. I mean, I got, I got, why I mentioned coasters before.
I'm looking one of the, my logo on it. Every time I, I put my. Water on there or my a coffee mug on there. I think of that person, that individual who gave me that. And so it's just, just that moment in time that, you know, Hey, look. Yeah. Okay, great. Yeah, and I do like the bespoke nature of obviates as well, you know, because.
A great thing in those sort of like the 1980s and seventies in this country, was that people at Christmas time would receive free calendars from the companies around. And I always thought that that was a bit a bit generic and a bit meaningless because there was no personal touch to that whatsoever.
But if you clearly demonstrate that you've done something out of the ordinary and it wasn't ticking a box in, in an Amazon shopping cart and pressing. Pay now. It was actual thought, actual time, actual endeavor. That probably counts way more. Yeah. I mean, you know, to be honest with you, when I first started out, it was just, you know, at the end of the year I was writing out.
Holiday cards, right, right. And people were like, this is, I'd never got this from a contractor before. And what did it cost me? The cost of a stamp, right? Like, and maybe the cards. Right? And so that wasn't a lot, but you know, you, if you start somewhere, like you said, it's not done all, all over the place. And now that the freelancer world, is starting to
The freelancer market rather is starting to become more widely accepted in business and people are using freelancers and contractors, the small agencies a lot more than they did 10 15 years ago. You're going to have to try to stand out and how do you stand out? And that is basically injecting your own personality and creating experience for your clients.
Yeah. Have you ever come across services like, Bongiorno and. Dobbin, things like that, which kind of offer you the capability to send. I mean, obviously a bespoke of video is an easy thing to do, but this makes it even more easy. So you can just essentially click a button on your computer, it records you, and then you add your email address and it just sends them the video.
I've used that quite a bit, but that's normally been, I'm at the point of, I've one year as a client and I haven't really deployed it as a. Milestone thing or in any way, you know, in, in any way like that. Yeah, so I use bone Juro pretty heavily in my business. I do that for a lot of different . Spots of when somebody comes into my business.
One, I, you know, when somebody hops on my newsletter list, you know, this is more for the developer and designer who's trying to learn a little bit more about the other aspects of the business from not their skills. kind of like what we're talking about today. when somebody jumps on my newsletter list.
They get one. Wow. Good for you. That is impressive. It's not, it's not always immediate, but maybe a few days later. But, you know, it's, it's something that I, you know, obviously there's. It depends on how busy I am. Right. But, you know, I try to get just about everybody and, you know, as the move through with, you know, what they're checking out, what they purchased from me, things of that nature.
Yes. I, you know, there's longer ones and shorter ones, and you know, it's, it's all automated in the sense that I get pinged through bone Juro to say, Hey, this person took this action. And then create a video. and so, you know, I, I like that. I think that's, you know, for me, I, in fact, I had a gentleman come on my list, I think it was about a week and a half, two weeks ago.
I sent him a bone Jarrow he sent me one back and we went back and forth two or three times. Nice. And while it was, it probably we could have. Tried to figure out a time and place to have a 15 minute chat. This is said and done in a matter of a few days, and we learned a lot about each other, and so it was pretty cool to use that in a way that's, you know, a little bit.
Smarter, smarter, and creates that level of engagement that I think a lot of people are wanting. Yeah. I think that just just distilling it, that kind of sums it up. It's that level of engagement that people are wanting and the, the real world seemingly is a, is a . Which is growing more and more distance as the, as the years go by, everybody's kind of sucked into their automated systems and their Facebook and you know, Slack channels and all of that.
And stepping out just for a moment and doing something normal, traditional, this kind of thing that you could have done a thousand years ago, communicating with your voice is, is really, is really interesting. And, and turning that into a marketing channel is, is just such a, such a, a no brainer thing to do.
Jason, we're at a time, so I'm just going to ask you if it's okay. Feel free to alert us to your, you know, your website or Twitter handle or whatever it is that you, you feel is the best place for us to reach out to you. Sure. he could go to my website. that's with dot com or I'm always open to a conversation on Twitter, at Rez.
That's probably the social platform that you go into. Find me being the most responsive to, Facebook is something that I rarely open up. If. If I do, but, LinkedIn is also a way, you can find me to find me. Jason Resnick there. So is your Twitter handle also with three? I'm going to say Zed. what we say here?
Yup. Yup. Absolutely. Okay. Thank you so much. That was a really interesting talk about something that I, I have been totally schooled on. Thanks a lot. Yeah, no, thanks for having me. And, this was sort of the pleasure and I was honored to be here. Well, I hope that you enjoyed that. It was very nice chatting to Jason Resnick, as I said at the top of the show.
Very nice to have the kind of human touch brought back into it. And some of it, as he said, is semi-automated, but a lot of it requires you to do a little bit of spade work and to actually do some purchasing of items and going out and talking to people. And yeah. All of that, and I think maybe we've lost that.
Obviously at the moment. We're in this kind of lockdown period, and I think people will be very interested to return to this. Once all of that is over. 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. So please help enable WP and UP by visiting WP and UP.org. Right. I hope that we see you at some point during this week. We will obviously be back next week for our Thursday podcast, but don't forget on a Monday, we have two things every Monday at 7:00 AM UK time I've released the WP Builds weekly WordPress news.
It's about 25 to 30 minutes of me explaining everything that I've discovered about WordPress in the previous week, and also at 2:00 PM UK time, I'll be joined by some notable guests to talk about the WordPress weekly news. And that will be live. It's a video thing, so you can join [email protected] forward slash live.
So there's tons and tons of things happening, but you know, if you can't make it, no worries. If you can, great. Maybe we'll see you here next week. As always, I'm going to fade in some cheesy music and this week it is an absolute slam dunk for cheesiness. The cheesiness is literally oozing out of the sides.
I hope you enjoy it. 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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