“It takes a combination of experience, skill and neurosis to end up being a conversion scientist.”
It became increasingly apparent that (Brian) a computer programmer/entrepreneur does not make a very good employee.
Brian embarked in what would be the beginning of his conversion science career with a company he started called Soft Reality in the 90s.
“I am doing what I love doing. It is a very high growth area.. there’s always this challenge of creating value, creating something new, and that’s really what I love to do.
I mean who doesn’t want to get more money from the traffic that they’re getting on their website?”
A presentation by Bryan Eisenberg – Author of the book: Waiting For Your Cat To Bark, (he) was the first mover in the space of conversion, and (taught) how you can look at a website through the visitor’s eyes instead designing a site you think is pretty or you think is effective. You stop and you look at how visitors are acting on the site. That’s the core of conversion.
That was really a breakthrough for me. That’s when I said, I really need to be in this business. Number one, because it suits my talents and number two, because this has to be a place where I can generate a value proposition that’s going to make it an easy sell, “easy.” Building business is never really easy
Amazing business school here in Austin (Texas) called The Wizard Academy. And I recommend anybody look it up wizardacademy.org, and it is essentially a place where they try to do on purpose what natural artists do accidentally in terms of communicating, writing, generating images and things.
“Was finding that partner that was a great match for my skills.
He really brought that operations piece to it. While I’m still using my talents to communicate and bring people into the fold, and educate all the things that I think a business should be doing online. He’s (Joel Harvey) really taken what we do and refined it into a value proposition set of services that we’ve finally target a particular kind of customer, and allowed the company to grow. He’s really put us on a growth trajectory. So today, our value proposition is very straightforward.
Traditional advertising says that we need to convince people that they need our products. Inbound marketing or this educational oriented marketing, we have so many tools now to reach out to people and teach them something. And by educating them, you’re making them better consumers of your product. So you’ve got a good product and good value proposition before long, it’s going to be very natural for them to say yeah, this makes sense.
Of the many skills you can develop to become successful online one of THE mopst important skills you can develop is writing. Ultimately, writing is an amazing skill to have in almost any business. So find the kind of writing that you like to do. and DO IT!
Launching a new service called Cascade Content. It’s a concept that came out in my book. It’s at CascadeContent.com, And our goal is to make it easier to produce high quality content.
We will pull the key elements out of the subject matters, brain, and produce the content, the blog post, the info-graphs, the reports, the white papers. Read more here: CascadeContent.com.
Brian Massey – The Conversion Scientist
James: Welcome back my friends in yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about a very special guest today. He’s name is Mr. Brian Massey. He’s otherwise known as the Conversion Scientist. Brian comes to us from ConversionSciences.com where he teaches the art of Conversion Science to businesses both large and small by helping folks convert more website visitors into happy customers. Brian is also the author of the Amazon Best Selling Marketing book title, Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Formulas of The Conversion Scientist.Brian: That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it?James: Yeah. Brian also speaks at events around the world and contributes his expertise to websites like Search Engine Land, ClickZ and the Content Marketing Institute. So let’s say hello to Brian. Brian, how the heck are you today sir?
Brian: I’m doing very well how are you?
James: I’m doing well. Thank you for asking. Hey listen, I want to thank you sincerely for coming on the podcast today and actually this was pretty short notice. And I’m really super, super psyched for you to share with our peeps some of the science of online conversion, are you up to it?
Brian: I am up to it and I love what you’re doing here so I’m glad to be participating.
James: Awesome. Thank you. I appreciate it. You can kind of, like dive right in and if you can maybe just give us a little history about Brian. Would you tell us about Brian Massey? Where you came from maybe? And a little bit about your journey that took you here to where you are today.
Brian: Well, it takes kind of an interesting combination of experienced skill and neurosis to end up being a conversion scientist. And in my history, I was trained as a computer Scientist love programming, came out of college year with Computer Science degree. Ah but during college, I co-oped with IBM, and I got to see one of those sales guys with their blue coat and a red tie. And I was like, hmm, I could do that. That’s pretty cool. So I actually went in to corporate sales and in technical sales out of college with Texas instruments selling semiconductors.And I went up the chain to the highest level of my incompetence there. I got involved in part of the business that wasn’t really technical and didn’t suit me well. So, I left there and came back and started more of an entrepreneurial phase. I started a company in the 90s called Soft Reality. It closed in the crash of 2000-2001 and I found myself wondering what was next. Well, I got into corporate marketing.So we had learned, running conversion sciences, we… I’m sorry, running Soft Reality, we had worked on what makes a website communicate well, and that took me naturally into the marketing side of things. But as it turns out, a computer programmer entrepreneur does not make a very good employee. So I would go in and do a fantastic job of building out these intelligent marketing systems for websites. And then they would say, all right, now, I just start putting a quarter in the machine and that didn’t suit me.
In 2006, I started Conversion Sciences. I thought it did the best job of bringing all of my strange interests together, the technical side, the entrepreneurial side, and the marketing side, and dubbed myself, conversion scientist, put on a lab coat and began the long slow process of building a brand for that company in building business for that company. So I don’t know what else you do with that combinations of skills other than make yourself a conversion scientist. And I strongly recommend that you create a niche for yourself if it’s something that you can easily explain.
James: Yes, so have you felt that you’ve kind of found that niche now? Are you doing what you love doing?
Brian: I am doing what I love doing. It is a very high growth area so I was a little bit ahead of the curve. It took some patience for me to wait for the market to catch up with us. But I mean who doesn’t want to get more money from the traffic that they’re getting on their website.
James: Absolutely, well-said. So you kind of went over not being the model employee or I shouldn’t say not being a model employee but just having issues with working for other people. Could you expand that on a little bit like what are some of the challenges you’ve faced in. What made you finally turn the corner to want to become your own boss?
Brian: Well, I think that my interest is in new challenges and building things. So in running my own company, I get a constant flow of new and interesting businesses that are coming to us. And we service all kinds of businesses from E-commerce companies to business to business companies to lead generation companies. We just talked with an online gaming company. All those have different challenges and really require us to shape our service offering according to the needs of each individual.
So there’s always this challenge of creating a, creating value, creating something new, and that’s really what I love to do. When I think working in a corporate job, there were these times when we got to build but then there were always these times when you’re maintaining. And it’s what the business wants, that’s what we do. It just didn’t suit me very well. So it was, it took me a few times to go through it, to accept that I was, probably needed to give into my entrepreneurial callings, and strike out on my own.
James: So what would you consider was your big breakthrough? Was it one point in time where you’re able to… when do you turn the corner, I guess?
Brian: For me actually, it was, I saw a presentation by Bryan Eisenberg who was the first mover in the space of conversion, and how you can look at a website through the visitor’s eyes instead designing a site you think is pretty or you think is effective. You stop and you look at how visitors are acting on the site. That’s the core of conversion. And that really brought all the things together because there’s a technical side of it. You have to setup some analytics on your site. You have to be able to go in and look at those reports and divine hypothesis from them.
And then, you get to work on design and lay out to create the creative pieces, writing copy. We deal with images. We deal with video. You never know what’s going to cause someone visiting your site to feel more comfortable taking action. So it was really that moment. It was that, there’s amazing business school here in Austin called The Wizard Academy. And I recommend anybody look it up wizardacademy.org, and it is essentially a place where they try to do on purpose what natural artists do accidentally in terms of communicating, writing, generating images and things.
That was really a breakthrough for me. That’s when I said, I really need to be in this business. Number one, because it suits my talents and number two, because this has to be a place where I can generate a value proposition that’s going to make it an easy sell, “easy.” Building business is never really easy. At least, it hadn’t been for me, let’s say. So that was the big breakthrough. And the generosity of the companies that employed me either laying me off or firing me was also, I really appreciate that.
James: Awesome, awesome. Yeah, I, Bryan Eisenberg. Conversion trinity?
Brian: Conversion trinity is his most recent thing.
Brian: The book that was really foundational for me was Waiting For Your Cat To Bark.
Brian: He like to… yeah. If you like to understand how to look, how to understand what your visitors are expecting. It’s a fantastic book.
James: Yeah, cool, cool. Yeah, and kudos to those folks that do gives us our marching orders and almost force us to follow our, passion, and dude, I’m so happy for you because you do sound comfortable in what you’re doing right now. I’ve, I’ve looked into your work. You absolutely are doing what you were meant to do. Congratulations for that.
Brian: Thank you, thank you.
James: Yeah, cool.
Brian: I feel fortunate.
James: Yeah, man. So tell us about a day in your life, like present day, you touched on having valuable proposition, maybe a mission statement. I just want to hear how you approach going to market with your business and you are successful. So you are providing value and Big Value Big Business. That’s what it’s all about here.. your business can grow to the extent of the value that you provide. So tell us a little bit about your value proposition, your mission statement either personally or for your company or both. And what kind of plan do you follow to communicate that on a consistent basis?
Brian: Yeah. Well, probably one of the most important things that happened in my business was finding that partner that was a great match for my skills. So as you might imagine, the amount time that I spent exploring the down line marketing space, reading other blogs, researching test results, and just basically being curious. That doesn’t lend itself as much to a business that is operating on a high growth, high profit trajectory. So I met Joel Harvey. He very quickly became my partner in the business.
And he really brought that operations piece to it. So the business, while I’m still using my talents to communicate and bring people into the fold, and educate all the things that I think a business should be doing online. He’s really taken what we do and refined it into a value proposition set of services that we’ve finally target a particular kind of customer, and allowed the company to grow. He’s really put us on a growth trajectory. So today, our value proposition is very straightforward.
You hire us. We have a package that is 120 days 4 months. Our goal is to find more money than we cost during that 120 days. And if we do, we think you’re going to keep working with us.
So that simple value proposition, I think cut through a lot of the things that I was leading with, things that we still do but really added complexity to value proposition. Doing analytics, analysis, doing personas where we need to do those things, all important pieces. But we really do have a value proposition that communicates clearly.
So I spend my time educating the audience because it’s still a new market even though your conversion has been an important part of every transaction since the first transaction, the oldest profession. We have a value proposition that allows people to comfortably come in and say, oh, I get what these guys are going to do for me. Let’s hire them and see if they can find some more money for our business.
James: All right. Was I right to giggle in that oldest profession? Was that, intentional?
Brian: Yeah. There’s a conversion there as well.
James: Yes, there is my friend. Right on, right on. So tell me about the education piece? I love to hear that. I love your style, lab coat and all. I’ve hear some in other programs talking about the lab coat and, you actually do wear it. You’re wearing it now at the interview. You wear it on stage? But, and please answer those questions. But do you… tell me about the education piece. You do travel around? You do give talks. Education in our space is at the core of value whether you’re educating someone about something that a problem they have, and you’re educating them with the solution. So that is a huge word, and just tell me how you approach and what you pour into it, and go.
Brian: Yes. So the traditional advertising says that we need to convince people that they need our products. Inbound marketing or this educational oriented marketing, we have so many tools now to reach out to people and teach them something. I mean it’s very easy to write a column, text and put it on a blog. It’s very easy to generate videos. It’s very easy to create images, digitally. We don’t have to break out the cutting boards and the canvasses and the paints to do the sorts of things online.
We’ve got great outlets for all of these. We’ve got Instagram for images. We’ve got Pinterest for long form images. An info-graphs, it’s just a, a golden age. So inbound marketing says, what we want to do is to use these tools to make our prospects experts in our field. Make them experts at essentially choosing us or not choosing us, and that’s what the education is about. So helping them understand what the value proposition is on different approaches we might take conversion, helping them understand is and isn’t affecting their website.
And it’s all done in whatever medium we want to do it. We like to spread it out and mix it up a little bit. Sometimes, we’re doing text for people who prefer text. We might do reports for people who are very methodical and want to know all the answers and short blog posts for the others, videos for those who are impatient and like the visuals. If you mix it up, you’re going to reach the largest number of people.
And by educating them, you’re making them better consumers of your product. So you’ve got a good product and good value proposition before long, it’s going to be very natural for them to say yeah, this makes sense. I need to call these guys. So it sounds less self-serving than it actually is because it is. And your content should be self-serving. It should provide ways for them to find you and consider buying your product or your service as a business. But otherwise, it’s a hell lot of fun and it’s a great way to refine your game and refine your own message when you’re in sales situations with the client.
James: That is a perfect explanation. One of the best I’ve heard, and the perfect equation for value added success. Thank you very much for that.
Brian: My pleasure.
James: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, it’s great, eloquent and right on point. I’m just switching gears a little bit I like to take it down maybe to a quazzi-personal level, and I kind of tried that dig out gold nuggets and I often ask if you had a close family member that had a small business online, say even a service business, and they were trying to expand and grow, and getting some traffic. But they want to increase their conversion. They want to attract and keep more customers. What will be the first thing… once you give them a check up from the neck up, what would be the one of the first things that you would, you would do to help them expand?
Brian: Well, there are number of things. But probably the first one would be… practice writing. Even in this digital age and we can record things like we’re doing here. We can video things and we’ve got all these visual tools we can use. Ultimately, writing is an amazing skill to have in almost any business. So find the kind of writing that you like to do. There are plenty of people that say, I just don’t like writing. But you know that they’re going to be off telling stories or something and enjoy that. How do you get that into your soul so that communicating by the written word and the written words within these other medium, how do you foster that?
The other thing I would suggest is a hook for your business is invaluable. So I’ve given hundreds of presentations. I am in 10s of thousands of places on the internet and I am inevitably in my lab coat. And I’ll tell you after of hundreds and hundreds of leads of comments said, yeah, you presented it this show. I don’t remember what you’re talking about but I love the lab coat.
James: Love it.
Brian: And it’s a good hook because it compliments what we do which is bringing science to websites and looking at the website scientifically rather than using myth or superstition or gut reaction which a lot of marketers do when they’re building a website, a webpage or launching a product. If you can find that thing that you can go to over and over again, that you can use, and images that you can have fun with and copy we talked about, the things we’re dong in the labs and they mythical machines that we use to analyze web pages in our copy, it’s fun. And it’s sort of thing that gets remembered even if they don’t remember exactly what you taught them. So I think that, those two things are the things that have really, really helped me over the last, actually it’s been seven years now.
James: So get a hook, no matter how big or small it is with something that’s going to, that people are going to remember you by.
Brian: Yeah, it’s a mental tool that allows them to hang impressions on it…
James: That’s a…
Brian: When they see my name, they’ll, put a lab coat in there and then they can say, he was smart. He was entertaining. He looked like an idiot, whatever they decide.
James: No, it works. It totally works.
Brian: Yeah, well and I have to tell you. Every time, I go out on stage on that dog gone thing, I still have this twinge of, am I being a little too kitschy here? Am I, is this too gimmicky?
James: No, dude. No. if, actually if you didn’t wear that, I think you’d get called out because I think it’s expected.
Brian: Yeah, that’s what I’ve learned. So…
James: That’s great. That’s great. And the other piece that you brought was invaluable that some, the communication portion, learn to write which you are communicating. Learn, practice it and stay consistent with it, I think.
Brian: Yeah. Yeah and have fun with it.
James: Yeah, yeah. What you like to write about is got to be obviously, if you’re in the business, and you’re not happy about the business you’re in? You can’t find anything to write then you’re in the wrong business.
Brian: That may well be true. I’ve never thought of that.
James: You know what I mean? So there’s got to be something that, that you can write about. If you’re doing something day in and day out, there has to be some other redeeming quality that you can expand on and communicate. So, awesome! That’s great. Thank you very much for that. Another personal note, just your mindset, Brian, what gets you up in the morning get you going as far as any rituals for productivity, accountability, things that keeps Brian moving in the right direction?
Brian: Well, I probably, for me, the most important thing the thing that gets me out of bed is stuffed that’s do quite frankly.
James: Yeah, like all of us. Yup.
Brian: But I think running my own business has one huge advantage and that is that I get to set my own schedule, so. We have an office, and our employees come to the office every day. But I don’t feel compelled to sit in a cubicle from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and do that day in and day out. And that freedom that I can get up in the morning, and if I have a spurt of creativity, I can bang out a blog post or I can do a client proposal, that sort of freedom for me, in my personality, is just really important.
That may not be true to everybody. I mean they may really enjoy the interaction. But I would, my recommendation would be negotiate with your boss or find a business where you can have some of that flexibility. The flip side is that I do end up working long hours. I just don’t tend to work them in a cubicle from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday, and that helps keep me be sane.
James: Awesome, awesome! How about a business resource? Do you use or subscribe to Mastermind? Do you have a peer group? Or read religiously any blogs? Or subscribe to podcasts? Any author that you read all the time, keep up to date with, how do you keep informed and inspired on that way?
Brian: Boy, that’s a hard one. I read very widely and I am more of a topic-oriented, hunt-and-seek sort of a guy, Jody called it yak shaving there. In real life where you go to try and find a pen in your junk drawer, in the kitchen, and you end up reorganizing it. You meant to do one thing and you find yourself on a trail and down on a rabbit hole that leads you to something else. I tend to do that on the line myself. So I really can’t say that there’s a place that I go to. I’m generally starting with my social media audience and what they think is interesting, and diving down on those things.
The other conversion companies in the space, I checked them out regularly because they’re running tests and reporting results and things like that. New ideas where always looking for new sources of hypothesis. But I really can’t say there’s a great resource to go to other than… If you want to know what I’m interested in, I have mailing list called For Further Study, and I bookmarked the articles that are interesting. And once a week, that list of articles goes out to your inbox so that would be the best way. If you’re really curious about what I’m reading, that’s where I bookmarked things I’m reading.
James: Sure. Our listeners are always looking for other forms of inspiration or other resources and that’s perfect. So can they sign up for this resource on your website, on the Conversion Scientist or Conversion Sciences or both?
Brian: They will be able to sign up for that on Conversion Scientist, so. Sorry to do this to you but we have a blog site which is the Conversion Scientist at ConversionScientist.com. And then, our main site with our services at Conversion Sciences. So you’ll be able to sign up for further study on Conversion Scientist the blog.
James: Perfect. Now, and actually we talked earlier and we want to give both equal time because they’re both equally valuable in resource. And on that note as we wrap things up, this went way too quickly, parting shots. We have an idea where to get in touch with you. But give us any current projects you have going on? Any events you’d like us to be aware of, projects, events and lastly, again, how we can find you? And we’ll wrap it up.
Brian: Well, we are launching a new service called Cascade Content. It’s a concept that came out in my book. It’s at CascadeContent.com, all one, all together, no spaces or dashes. And our goal is to make it easier to produce high quality content. So the issue in a lot of businesses is they’re selling, especially business to business orientation, they’re selling a technical product with a lot of issues and they need to go to this process and making their prospects experts in their products. And so it becomes difficult to pull the key elements out of the subject matters, brain, and produce the content, the blog post, the info-graphs, the reports, the white papers.
So what Cascade Content does, is it allows you to take a webinar that you’ve done where they have prepared a presentation, your subject matter experts come on, prepare the presentation. Submit that to Cascade Content, and we will use what’s in that presentation to generate a report, a white paper. If it’s a long presentation, we can generate an EBook, an info-graph, and then the blog posts and social media posts that go with that. So that’s the thing I’m building now. And one thing I’ve learned is I’ve always got to be building something. So be interested in getting your audience’s feedback on that. They can upload a webinar for an analysis, absolutely free at CascadeContent.com.
James: That’s fantastic. So it’s basically a content repurposing or redirecting?
Brian: It is. It is.
Brian: It’s passed that subject matter, expert issue. We don’t have to interview and spend a long time. We’ll just take what’s in the presentation and repurpose that, yeah.
James: That’s great. Now, do you custom tailor the content per platform that it would be distributed on?
Brian: In terms of per platform, what do you mean?
James: Social media versus, maybe a LinkedIn versus more of a social site like Facebook or…
Brian: Oh, yeah.
James: A slide share versus Instagram, or Pinterest or…
Brian: Since I’m in conversion… Since I’m a conversion guy, what we do is we actually produce a landing page for each of the items of content and then, we’ll produce social media posts that are targeted at Facebook, Linked in, Twitter, G+, whatever niche, social networks your prospects tend to be on. And for an instance, if you can attach an image as you can pretty easily with almost every site but Twitter, we’ll include an image with that from the presentation and do a post on that. So yeah, they are customized for the channel. Emails another, email, I believe is the largest social network on the planet, and if you’re not good at email, you should be. So we’ll produce emails that we’ll drive traffic back to that landing page, and generate the leads that content is supposed to do.
James: Awesome, awesome. So tell us one more time how we can find Brian Massey?
Brian: You’ll find me, first and foremost, at ConversionScientist.com. That’s where you’ll learn what I find interesting. It’s part of my post teachings, info-graphs, everything can be found. And if you’re interested in knowing if you’re website could be generating more revenue from the traffic you’re already getting? Come to ConversionSciences.com. And you’ll learn about the services that we provide and how we can help.
James: Great. Brian, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and I look forward talking to you again real soon.
Brian: Thanks very much for having me.
James: Okay, brother, have a great day.
James: All right, I hope you enjoyed the chat today with the Conversion Scientist, Mr. Brian Massey. Please visit Brian at ConversionSciences.com to learn more about the science of conversion and how you can turn even more websites visitors into lifelong customers.
You can find the show notes and the highlights of this interview at BigValueBigBusiness.com/Episode008 or just go to BigValueBigBusiness.com and type Brian into the search box for easy access. Hey, do me a favor if you don’t mind
While you’re there, could you please take a second and leave me a comment. Either comment about this interview, about the podcast overall or tell me what you would like to hear us talk about. Any questions, challenges that you may have with your business, I’d love to be able to find the expert that would have the answers you need and have them on the podcast. So talk to me over at BigValueBigBusiness.com. And last but not the least. I really hope we brought some big value with your day. You take care, and I’ll be talking to you real soon.