Room 301 Podcast S2 01: “Selling Fire to The Devil”: Optimizing PPC Ads for Maximum Efficiency & Reach

Posted on: March 14, 2024


Pete Bingham


Welcome, digital marketers, to Season Two of our marketing podcast, Room 301.

We're back for a shiny new season with a brand new format, a spring in our a step and... we're also excited to introduce the Room 301 Challenge! Each episode, we'll be talking to two experts from different ends of the digital marketing spectrum to get their perspective on a range of marketing topics.

This episode we're looking at how PPC and design teams can work together to optimise PPC ads for maximum reach. So whether its designing landing pages, or performing market research, how do different marketing disciplines collaborate to achieve marketing success for their clients? What can we learn from each other. And... how do we sell fire to the devil?

Tune in and find out. It's time to step into Room 301...

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Some of the resources, tools and blog posts mentioned in the podcast.


  • Photoroom – Background Removal Tool
  • Hotjar – Create heatmaps and study user behaviour
  • MS Clarity – Create heatmaps and study user behaviour (but FREE!)
  • SEMrush – Online marketing tool

Podcast Transcription

Rob Twells 


Welcome back Room 301. A new series. Series two, got a new format for this series. So the format is we have two different experts on the podcast, two different opinions, two sets of viewpoints, one subject, and I think that'll offer a really good conversation and a good debate. The topic for podcast number one is optimizing PPC ads for maximum efficiency and reach. And I've got our Head of PPC on the call today Irena and our Head of Web Design, James so – Irena, do you want to introduce yourself first? 

Irina Holliday


Yes Rob. Thank you. Uh, thank you for having me, first of all. And, uh. Yeah, my name is Irina, and, uh, I've been working, at, The Digital Maze for about a year and a half, and, uh, I've been doing all things paid, uh, for over 17 years now, which, uh, you know, a bit of a scary number, to be honest. And, uh. Yeah. Um, it's something that, uh, you would say, I live and breathe. So here I am to share my opinion, 

Rob Twells 


Mr. Walsh. 

James Walsh


Yeah. Hello. Thanks for having me on. Um, I'm similar to Irena in that I've been around the block for quite a while. The only difference is I stopped counting at 15. Um, but, yeah, I've been in the design game for a long time, and once it became more than half my life, I stopped counting. But yeah, now I've been in, uh. So I've been. I've been with TDM since its inception, but before that came through Boom Online. So I've been in and then I've worked a couple of other places before that. I've been in the design game in employed roles for about. Yeah, probably about ten, 15 years, something like that. So my bread and butter is what I do every day. So I'm just here to be a little bit of an alternate opinion from the paid side, because I don't do paid ads, but I do experience them and we do help to create their visuals. So hopefully something interesting for me to say. 


Brilliant. Thank you both. Well, I'm going to jump straight in. We've got a few questions to go through. And like I say, two different viewpoints on on each question and each sort of, um, part of this topic. And a bit of a reminder we are adding something new to our podcast this season. It's called the Room 301 challenge. So a bit more on that later, but we'll be covering that off at the end. Uh, something you don't want to miss? Um. Pretty jovial. A bit of fun at the end. So, yeah, stick around for that, right. To kick things off. So if you were to try and sell fire to the devil or heaters in the desert, where would you begin from a PPC point of view Irina?. 

 Irina Holliday


Excellent question. And, uh, the answer is probably I would begin with the client himself. So I would go to the clients and, uh, I would, I would just, you know, have a conversation with them, you know, I would talk to them. Uh, first of all, what are they currently doing? Uh, at the moment to sell the fire to the devil. Uh, who are their competitors? You know, what are they doing? Just, you know, have a have a sneaky peek in some, uh, you know, in some tools like SEMrush, you know, and, uh, have a look. Uh, what are they currently doing? Perhaps in Google or, uh, on Facebook or any other platforms? Um, and, uh, yeh just have this conversation with the client and ask them who is, you know, who is the perfect, uh, sort of customer from, from their point of view because, uh, even though they are selling essentially fire to the devil may be the devil is not the one who will make the purchase. You know, maybe, maybe the devil has a friend that lives on the other side of hell that could be freezing. And then this friend might be thinking like, I should sell some fire to the devil. And this is when this company comes in. So, you know, there are lots and lots of things that are sort of, you know, coming into play here. Um, yeah. I hope this answers the question. 

 Rob Twells 


What’s your view on that, James? 

James Walsh


Well, I think they're trying to sell something to people that they either already own or have more than ample supply of. So there's the real challenge, isn't it? Is your, I guess, that it's a metaphor for being in a crowded market. Right. So when we talk to clients on the web side, you know, we do get people in crowded markets quite often. And because they're seeing success in other places, they want to follow that or they're trying to move into that market. Um, and the main thing we always want to do is I just want to say, well, what's different about it? Okay, so let's use that fire metaphor and flog it into the ground:

So the devil's got fire. He's surrounded by it, lives in it and it's just everywhere. Okay, but why would he want to replace it? Maybe he's not even thinking of replacing that. So as we're coming to this person who doesn't necessarily think they need or want this product, but we can put a proposition out that says, hey, maybe you do. So like perhaps this fire burns a different color, maybe there's some copper in it. It's green. It's interesting. It's different. Or like maybe it's more efficient. It burns for longer and it's hotter. So therefore his heating bills will go down, which are probably astronomical. 

Um, so it's about USPs, isn't it? It's like, what is the different thing about this product? And sometimes that's a physical thing, like the things I just mentioned, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's more of a value-based thing or a morals-based thing. It could be an ecological point, but we just want to draw out of the customer or our customer, not the devil. He would be their customer. You know. Forgive me if you lose. If I'm losing you. Um. Why why why replace that fire? And if they can't answer that question, then they're in trouble. Because it's okay. Well, then there's no real honest answer. If you can't say why they should do it and you don't have a reason why they should do it, other than I'm selling it and I want them to buy it, then you wouldn't buy yourself either, would you? So it's examining that, finding what that angle is. Usually there is one. And if there isn't, it's a challenge that's kind of impossible to meet. So it's finding the different factor, find that. And I always wonder with design that's easy for us to do because I can just write on a big page. I'll look at it so I can show this thing. I can put that in a hero video, or I can put it, you know, in, in some little like, dropdowns I can do with any, any UI elements we need to use to display that we can. How the hell do you do that on a paid ad? Like when you maybe you've got like the small bit of the title tag on Google next to add. Like what? How do you do that kind of thing over there? 

 Irina Holliday 


 Uh, so, uh, do you mean sort of how do we how do we sort of transfer this, this message of, like, uniqueness into the ad?

James Walsh


Yeh coz you've got very little time to do that. You've got very little space to do it in. 

 Irina Holliday 


That's you know, this is very true. And actually now we have a lot more space than we used to have because Google ads used to have. Yeah, they used to have a one headline, uh, which was 25 characters, I think, and they had two description lines, 35 characters each. So now we have lots of room to play around with, uh, you know, and then, uh, and then there is also, of course, other platforms like, again, Facebook and Instagram, where you can play around with, uh, you know, with a little bit more sort of conversational text and, you know, like maybe insert some emojis, like, I don't know, smiling devil emoji or something. Um, because why not. Right. Because you want to, you know, when, when you're on a certain platform, you want to communicate with people in the language that they use there. Um, you know, you want to be sort of, like I said, more conversational. And besides, when you're, uh, on Facebook and Instagram as well, uh, you can use the, you know, sort of visual assets as well, whether it's, you know, whether it's in an image, uh, you know, just a picture of a product or is a some nice sort of banner design by yourself. James, or… Or perhaps it's a video. Perhaps it's like, you know, some, uh, user generated content, like, I don't know, devil is, like, chilling by the, by the fireplace. And it's like, oh, God, look at this fire. This is the best one I ever owned, you know? So, uh, sort of things like that. 

James Walsh


How do you cope when there isn't assets, though?

 Irina Holliday 

Um. Another very good question. And uh, usually again, this is a conversation that we have with the client and we just sort of trying to convey the importance of like, you know, how important it is to have, uh, you know, have a high quality content because, um, let's be honest, the content is very, very important nowadays because when you're sort of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or whatever it is, like TikTok and whatnot, you need something that will stop your thumb from scrolling. You know, you would need, you would need to see something that would make you, you know, that would make it stop in your tracks, that grabs your attention, and you would be like, okay, this is interesting enough for me to stop and pay several seconds of my precious attention to this. So this is usually, well, not usually, always the message that we are trying to, uh, you know, try and pass over to the client. And, uh, this is when, you know, we're either sort of talking to, you know, some third party sort of freelancers who are, you know, who are specializing in creating that sort of, uh, you know, like either images or videos or we're talking about user generated content, etc.. So this is, uh, you know, this is very important. And I would not, um, not sort of bargain on, uh, you know, on the, like, lower quality content…. 

James Walsh


So it’s not enough to have a USP. You have to be able to prove it, don't you? You have to be able to say like, yeah. 

This isn't something I worked on, but I've got a, a friend of mine who's, um, worked at the client recently, obviously naming no names or companies or whatever, but they, they make quite a high end, uh, furniture item. That's a specific as I'll go. Um, but it's all it's all handmade in the UK by, like, really talented carpenters and, you know, it's like dovetail joints and all that stuff that gets people who own Nick Offerman books excited, but… They can't prove it because they like they don't. They make them one at a time and then they go like straight out to the customers. So they don't necessarily have like a showroom to take shots in. They don't go to the customer's house in photos. So these are really like expensive items that are probably worth the money, but they're being trounced by like just cheaper things that have got like loads of really good 3D renders and all this kind of stuff because they look higher quality than they are. So it's like a competition that can be really difficult.

Irina Holliday


Yeah. See though, in that case I would probably, you know, I'll probably suggest to the client to try and get, you know, some of the, some of the pictures of the furniture from their customers? 

 James Walsh 


Or just like maybe getting their phone out whilst it's being made and making little Instagram reels of somebody that's like smoothing off bits of wood and, you know, like all that kind of stuff. But because it's it, we've all got one of these these days, aren't we (shows phone)? So, you know, it's all doable. That's the most boomer comment I've ever made. Everyone's got a smartphone. 

 Rob Twells 


I've got a pool of questions in front of me. And one of those is, how do you communicate the importance of investing in good quality visuals, whether that's photography or video? Um, especially from our point of view, we’re an agency, we have a variety of different clients, we've got different levels of budgets, and we've got a lot of budgets. Um, haven't got a lot of budget, but, um, nevertheless, it's very important to have a good set of quality assets to support paid campaign. So how do we go about communicating the importance of that? 

Irina Holliday


Yeah. I mean, uh, pretty much what I just said, you know, that, you know, we need to we need to really emphasize to the client, and we need to basically put them in the, you know, in the customer's shoes, if you will. So, you know, just have a think like, what exactly would make you stop scrolling and just, you know, the pay attention to the video, uh, you know how to how to make it, you know, how to make it catch your attention from the first couple of seconds, because that's literally all the time. You have a couple of seconds, sometimes even less than that. Um, and, uh, you know, these, uh, the content like that is very, very important. And, uh, you know, just to give you an example, I saw, um, uh, I saw the Instagram account of, uh, of a local restaurant, which supposed to be absolutely amazing, but unfortunately, their Instagram account grid just, you know, just didn't look great at all the photos. Just, you know, that they were not, they were not professionally taken. They just, uh, you know, the lighting was not great. So, uh, unfortunately, the food that actually was really good simply did not look appetizing on their Instagram account. 

James Walsh


Food photography is really hard too. I know a couple of people who work in the biz like, um, and like, you see all those videos about all the fake food that people put out, but restaurants can't really do that. It's like, you know, you're selling like a Burger King thing. You can fake it like nobody can. Nobody can eat the burger in that advert unless you want to break your teeth. But restaurants can't do that. Like they can't make fake. Yeah. So the challenge there is particularly acute, I think like to get somebody who can take good food photos in the moment. It's hard. Yeah. 

 Irina Holliday 


 Yeah. What about, what about the sort of web design side of side of things James. Like how important would you say this sort of thing is?

James Walsh


Because sort of we we can the way I like the metaphor I use with clients is that we essentially are designing a frame. You put the photo in it. So we are trying to bridge the gap with being able to provide photography service and videography services these days. Um, which is something we're moving forward on. But in a lot of cases there isn't anything the client budget to pay for that. So they have to kind of have to do it themselves. And it's something where you'll talk to people upfront and they agree with you. They know it's important and they already know it's important. And if they're if they don't possess good imagery already, they're probably looking over the fence at the Joneses and saying, well, how are they doing it? In fact, that's the wrong metaphor. Let's pick up the devil metaphor. So Satan's over here. I'm selling fire to Satan, I suppose in this case fires a website. I'm twisting the metaphor again, but he's looking over at Beelzebub Agency and, you know, they he's got there with his high end DSLR and all this and... So they know they know they need better pictures of the fire, but. Yeah. The thing I want to kind of do is bridge that gap of difficulty for people. So saying, look, you don't necessarily have to have that because something's better than nothing. And that restaurant example, something maybe wasn't better than nothing. But I think with products that isn't like something people are going to eat. Um, it's you can take something with your own phone, get your lighting, just take a little bit time, watch some YouTube tutorials. But even now, more than ever, there's tools everywhere for taking what you've done and making it look sharp and making it look better. You've got loads of AI background removal tools. So if you don't have like an amazing lighting set up, but you can get a reasonable picture of your product with shadows everywhere in the background. Um, Google “AI background removal”. There's going to be something doing that for free or very close to free. You know, you can improve that stuff for very, very cheap. Now, obviously I think the the better route is a professional photographer and a professional editor. And if people can't find the room in their budget for that, maybe they need to question why they don't think that's worth that much money. But in terms of just getting them to start getting them from nothing to something, I think encouraging people to do it themselves, it's something we've done in the past is write a little bit of like an art direction sheet for them to give to somebody in their business who maybe there's a photography student or somebody who's just a bit of a keen eye with a camera. So we just trying to push them over that line. You know, we, we can also come in an art director and, you know, with a photographer there, but it's it's trying to just reduce that difficulty gap. Because if we just say to them look this is really important. You should do it, you should do it, you should do it. And they already know that. They just don't know how to get started it that's that's what we try doing. It's not always successful. Um, we don't always manage it. But in the cases we do, I think the client website goes from like 80% as good as it can be to 100% as good as it can be, because we can't, you know, you make the most ornate frame in the world, and you just put a child's finger painting in it. No offense to anybody's children. It's not exactly the Mona Lisa, is it? 

Rob Twells


 That was a good segue if we ever needed one. So AI, you know, it's it's I know we implement AI very, very successfully in your team within the business and  I've seen how it makes, um, what we do and elevates it and seeing how clients react to that as well. Um, but from a PPC point of view, how are we sort of looking at AI, um, to improve the effectiveness there? Or, you know, are we looking at it? Is it something we think we're looking at right now, or is it something we just have our eye on for the future? Yeah. 

Irina Holliday


 Yeah, there is something there's definitely some things that we are keeping an eye on. And, uh, there is, you know, there are several things that I have used AI for already. For example, you know, not not to like, for example, if I, you know, if I need to write an ad copy, I'm going to, you know, ChatGPT and I'm not asking to write an ad copy, but, you know, this is a good sort of place to start because, you know, I can, you know, I can get a little bit more of, um, a bit a bit more of a structure to their copy, you know, so like, for example, uh, like, like James said, like, if I need to, if I need to pack the, you know, the big message into small text, maybe, you know, maybe I take this big message and just go to chatGPT and say, like, can you just shrink this, this message a little bit for me

James Walsh


Yeah, I know, I’m known to ‘waffle” and sometimes its nice to have somebody who can cut that down for me, you know?

 Irina Holliday 


Yeah, yeah. There you go. Um, another another sort of, uh, example that I had in mind is, uh, you know, like when you're sort of writing the ad copy and, uh, you know, again, to, to jump on the metaphor about selling the fire to the devil, um, you know, you may want to sort of, uh, you know, you may want to look at the reviews of what, you know, what customers are saying about this fire, like, you know, are they, you know, do they like that? It's durable. Do they like that? It's, I don't know, colorful. Uh, do they like that? It's, uh, I don't know, uh, burning, burning with sparks or something like that, you know? So what exactly what exactly do they like? Or maybe. Or maybe look at, uh, you know, maybe look at something that customers say. Almost, almost made them not want to purchase it because maybe they thought it will be, I don't know, it will be burning for like only 30 minutes or so. Or maybe it will be, I don't know, it will be way too expensive for what they're getting. Maybe they thought it will be low quality. Why am I saying about all these things while we're talking about the AI? All these reviews, you know, if you have them from any sort of platform, it can be Google Reviews, it can be Trustpilot, whatever. You just take all these reviews, you back them in, I don't know, ChatGPT and and you ask like, can you find me similarities between these, you know, between these reviews and you're basically just finding sort of, you know, almost pain points, you know, like what made people buy this product and, you know, you're sort of, uh, this gives you a better idea of what, what sort of things that you need to make accent on in the ad copy and what made them almost no buy this product so you can challenge this point in the ad copy. Almost. So just, you know, just to say, like how far I burns, like, I don't know, ten, 15 hours at a time. It's beautiful. It's bright, it's different colors, etc.. So, uh, yeah, that's uh, just a couple of examples, but, uh, yeah, this is definitely something that we're keeping an eye on and definitely something we will be using a lot more in the future. 

James Walsh


We do the same. So like when you talked about feeding it. So wherever that's come from. And then summarizing that. Like I think those are where its strengths are, is in keenly summarizing things that would be very hard for a human to intake and you know, and note and, and take everything of value from that. We use it to sort of assess designs based on lots of different designs and data from that as well. So it's without going into too much detail, it's essentially like live something that would be a heat mapping tool like Clarity or Hotjar gives you, you know, but it's trained on loads of things that we've already done that we can apply that like instantly on an image. So I know where the attention is going, but without going into too much detail about that and just sort of agreeing with Irina that the places it's useful are in cutting some of that really difficult grunt work that we're not designed to do. Like, I'm a designer, I'm not designed to think mathematically or process lots of data, whereas, you know, Irina’s better at that, but perhaps isn't. You know, she can look at a spreadsheet and see all the numbers and do but frankly do stuff that boggles my mind. But I'm not not trying to insult you, Irena, but I'm guessing, like reading through a load of customer sentiment isn't a strong suit for you. You would need. Whereas the AI can go right? Well, I can read all of that and and bring all that together. Yeah. So you sort of using it to augment a part of you that's not that good at that job. 

 Irina Holliday 


 Yeah. Also it all depends how bored I am as well. 

James Walsh


 Yeh Fancy sitting down for two hours and reading all these customers reviews?. But yeah, like I wouldn't I think the thing is that generally AI products are promising miracles and delivering something lower than that. Um, but like from a creative side, I've sort of settled into, like having gone through all of these things and looked at what people are offering. I've sort of settled into we shouldn't be using it to create things, but we should be using it to give us ideas or to augment things we aren't very good at or to fix things that are broken. So like some of the AI tools in Photoshop that remove I was talking about background removal and things earlier. That was a skill and a progress process that took hours sometimes before. And it's drudgery and it's exactly the same output. So like, why do that the hard way? You know, so that's where I think it's, it's application is. And for anybody who's sitting there going, well how can I use that in my day to day? Those are exactly the ways you should be doing it. Like trawl through your Facebook and your reviews and your comments, copy a lot of them in a spreadsheet like Irina says to see what people think about you and summarize it. You know, as a business owner, you probably don't have time to read every single comment everybody says about you, but these things can do that for you. 

Rob Twells

 No, I agree. I agree with both viewpoints and I know I've seen some really impressive stuff from all the teams in our business in terms of how we utilize AI in a in a way that benefits the client, but also does it in a, in a safe and ethical way as well. And I think that's really important to have that, have that balance and still be keeping an eye on the future as well. I should probably add that there is lots of resource around AI, PPC effectiveness, um, design. I know James wrote a really comprehensive blog recently, um, on all things design that there has on our website, which is And just in keeping with the thought around the future where the marketing landscape could go, what are we experimenting with in terms of platforms? What sort of creative skills do we think, um, are going to be the difference in 2024 and beyond? 

 Irina Holliday 


Yeah. Um, there are so many things, uh, you know, obviously there are a lot of, uh, a lot of new platforms out there that, you know, we're we're kind of really wanting to kind of start advertising on or already kind of started advertising on, uh, for example, uh, you know, Pinterest, even though it's been a while, uh, it's been around for a while. Uh, there are other platforms like, uh, uh, I don't know, let's say Spotify and there are platforms like, uh, you know, perhaps you wouldn't even think of them straight away when you, you know, when you think advertising like, I don't know, Quora, Twitch, uh, Reddit, uh, you know, you name it. And, uh, I think, I think the main, um, the main sort of things that we need to, uh, sort of start thinking about and something that, uh, I, I want to believe, I think like that. And I encourage my team members to also, uh, you know, do that. Uh, I mentioned, you know, I mentioned a few minutes ago that, you know, if you are on Facebook or Instagram, keep things like nice and conversational, but, you know, you need to think of a tone of language when you're switching between the platforms. You need to think of a creative you're using on a different platforms. Uh, because, uh, if we are thinking of audience, uh, in TikTok versus the audience, let's say on Reddit, this will be a completely different approach. Like, you can't just take a message and a video using a TikTok and just whack it on Reddit, like, people are not going to take it well. So, you know, you need to you need to sort of learn to adapt. You need to think, uh, you know, you know it. You need to think of a bigger picture. You need to you need to think of, uh, you know, a different sort of content and tailor it to, you know, as many, you know, as many platforms or, uh, you know, as many sort of interests in these platforms as humanly possible…

James Walsh


For anybody, uh, watching and not just listening. This is the audience on Reddit. This is what it looks like. Take note. That's. Yeah. Beards, headphones…

Irina Holliday


You know, I'm also on Reddit, so 

Rob Twells


 I'm also on Reddit. 

 Irina Holliday 


We’re all on Reddit.  U2 

James Walsh


Yeah. Everybody's a closet Reddit user. That's that's true. And nobody ever shares their handle and goes ooh that’s me! Yeah, it's such a difference, isn't it? Like every other social thing. Oh, add me on so and so. Nobody's out there going add me on Reddit. 

 Rob Twells 


Why is that? Why? Why would I need to change my creative for, say, Instagram versus Reddit when I suppose we kind of just proved that maybe the audience is not as maybe, um, different as what we may assume, so to speak. 

 Irina Holliday 


Yeah, I mean, the audience is certainly diverse, but I think that people that go to Reddit, they go there with a certain mindset, you know, so, you know, they expect to expect to see a certain type of content there, if you will, uh, you know, so they if you, uh, you know, if you can, if you can do something like very sort of careless and maybe slightly salesy on on TikTok, on Instagram, don't ever go salesy on Reddit right now because I've seen a things like that going very, very wrong. Um, so yeah. Um, but, uh, yeah. What about yourself? James? I don't even know if it even applies to yourself. Yeah. 

James Walsh


 I mean, as  a web designer primarily for the last 10 or 15 years, it's… we are focused on an audience for a specific site. So that audience has got there somehow. Um, so generally, we are adapting to them. You know, we do user experience research. We want to learn about audiences. But in terms of like broader areas where things are different, like through my career, I have obviously done design for all sorts of different things, like motion graphics, have done, um, illustration done, print work, that kind of thing. There's certain expectations you need to have, but I guess we're just trying to we're just trying to make sure the square peg goes in the round hole, or the triangle hole, or the oblong hole or whatever. Um, we're not necessarily thinking about a tone of voice all that often. I mean, we have taken to jumping away from dummy text in our designs. Well, we in our initial things we send over, we try and echo a tone of voice the client would want to see. So. But that's for a client. That's for an audience. It's not for, you know, we're not doing a design to go and Reddiit, to go on, uh, TikTok, to go on whatever. Um, we know we there are designers out there who will be making social stuff day and day out, and they will be thinking about that, though, you know, they'll have their Figma file open or their Canva, um, login open. They'll have their TikTok thing, their Instagram thing. There'll be subtle differences, no doubt, but it doesn't really apply to me that much. So I guess in that sense I'm quite lucky. I just get to focus on an individual group of a demographic, a target audience, rather than huge swathes of people in one go. Um, but yeah. Oh yeah. 

 Rob Twells 


So just moving on to landing pages. I think landing pages is a sweet spot between PPC and design. Both got a very, very common interest there for sure. Um, yeah. Best practice. And I'm very interested in the not the difference of opinion, but sort of what do you look for from a PPC perspective and I suppose from a visual perspective in your view, James, what do you what do you look out for if you could, if you could put a best practice? To get to that. Um, we'll start with you Irina. Um. 

 Irina Holliday 


 Yeah. So from PPC point of view, um, you know, there are some obvious things that obviously obvious to, you know, you, me, James, all of us that, uh, you know, you need to make sure that if we are talking about the fire once again, we're coming back to a fire to the devil. We're talking about the fire in our ad. We need to make sure that we're talking about the fire on the landing page. Like 100%. We do not, you know, we do not send people to the homepage where you can buy, I don't know, fire, ice and whatever when we also don't don't send people to the page page with the ice because you know, you are you're trying to sell something that people already have in abundance, you know? So, uh, you want to reduce this friction as much as possible and you want to make the purchase as simple as possible. So, um, I will say a couple of things that I personally think that should be on landing page. And, uh, you know, I hope I'm not going to tread here on your toes, James, but, uh, you know, I, I personally, I personally think, like, it should be as simple as possible to complete the checkout. Perhaps, you know, you have the landing page. You just need this one simple big button to say bye. And that says, you know, and obviously you do. You do want to, you know, you do want to sort of showcase the product. You want to show the reviews you want to show. Um, the, uh, you know, the sort of trust signals, uh, you know, real reviews, maybe real photos with real reviews from real people. Um, and yeah, just a very sort of easy, easy way to purchase and checkout, I don't know, Apple Pay, Google Pay, whatever, just something to make it super simple. And, you know, it's in as little number of steps as humanly possible. Um, because like I said, this is something that they probably don't need, you know, probably something that they already have an abundance of. And, uh, you know, you just want to, like I said, make the checkout as simple as possible and, you know, just reduce this, you know, reduce this friction, reduce this, you know, necessity, like to make them, you know, come to the website and think, like, what do I do here? You know, so you want to show them what exactly they need to do on this page. Um, so yeah. James, I hope I didn't steal too much from you. 

James Walsh


To be fair, that's a really good because actually, you spoke about the, the, the parts of it that I wasn't really going to speak about that much. So I think that's hopefully complements my answer quite well. Um, so what I'm thinking when we're thinking about this. So things like a landing page or I guess this kind of stretches to any anything we do, but landing pages can be particularly guilty of some of these things. So if you type into Google, “what best conversion rate strategies for my landing page”? I don't know if you can hear this, but I'm tapping my desk to make keyboard noises. Probably not. Um, you're going to get listicle after listicle after listicle that just tells you, here's how to do this. Have a FOMO counter. Do you have a thing that follows a mouse? There are so many little toys in the toy box that are there that you could use. And I think people see these and think, oh, they're guaranteed to work. You know, using FOMO is going to work on people using getting in people's face, whether there's a kitchen sink approach that you can do to that. But you need to be thinking about the product and the brand and your position in that. So a really good example of this, right? So say somebody got, you know, a relatively high end fire that they want to sell to the denizens of hell, all seven circles of it. And, um, but they're not picking up too many sales. And, I mean, the site's a little bit. It's not really reflecting the quality of the product, but they really want to push the go. Actually, no, we just need to sell, sell, sell short term. And so they may be going to put a FOMO counter on there. It's going to be like, you know, five hours left on this sale, which is nonsense because it's just going to repeat over and over. Or maybe they've got like, you know, if you move your mouse up towards the X, something comes up and says, oh, don't do this. Pop ups and all this stuff, right? That can work, that can get you sales and you will find it does, but it's short term. And the damage they're doing because they've got this high end product, they're selling it like a low end piece of rubbish. So. The fire to the devil. If you strip it away. That metaphor is Apple. It's just Apple. They sell people the same product every year, with a few minor differences that look sparkly and interesting. This year's iPhone ain't that much different to last year's iPhone eight, that much different to the iPhone before going all the way back and their masters at it. They focus on quality of product specifics, why that thing is so good, what it does for you and their pages are so simple, so clean, which is, you know, that's their brand, that's their look and their feel. If you try and emulate Apple, I'm not saying that's going to work for you, but the core of what they're doing is they're respecting their brand. And saying, we are a high end product. We are only making a few changes this year, but they're groundbreaking and they'll change your life. And that's how they present it. And it does generally end the page with 1 or 2 buttons that just say, buy this. And that's that's the approach. Like it's to think about what you're selling. You know, if you're selling, buy it high. Now, buy it low, sell it cheap, pilot high fire, then by all means, go that route. Throw those FOMO things in. But you've got to think about are these strategies working for the long term as well as the short term? And we often do this with clients on the website, even if it's not a landing page, like we've had clients who wanted things to flash and stuff like that because they're desperate for it to get attention. And it's like, that isn't the way that is going to achieve any product. You're going to go from looking like Holland and Barrett to the bargain store next door with, you know, Day-Glo stars with marker pen on. So it's just being cautious of all the advice that's out there, particularly when we're talking about I earlier. So many of the bad articles you will find if you Google your problem these days are naff. In fact, to go full circle back to something else, stick the word Reddit on the end of your Google search because you might find actual experts talking about actual problems 

 Irina Holliday 


 I actually do that all the time. 

James Walsh


 Just be wary of a world that claims to have solved every problem. 

 Rob Twells 


I was literally just about to say. I mean, one of the things that, you know, for me on a landing page or a product page, whatever it might be, looking at actual. I suppose this counts as UGC (user generated content) like actual user reviews that you can believe in are authentic or I really, really, really yeah, you know, really look for that. And part of the reason, part of the way I do that is appending “Reddit” to the end of my searches. So if I'm really interested in a product or something, just 1s maybe it's  “Yeah, well, what about this moisturising cream? Reddit”

James Walsh


I just don't believe Amazon reviews at all anymore. No, 

Rob Twells


Because someone called John from Texas rates it like, but I know I'm buying the shelf. I just believe it instantly. Um, but no, that authenticity and the feeling that somebody just like you just sat there and wrote that and not been paid to do it. 

James Walsh


What you're actually finding is ten years of Irina’s, uh, side Reddit accounts that are viewing products for her customers that that's that's the Strat. You've just revealed our secret sauce.

 Irina Holliday 


You just gave me an idea, James. 

James Walsh


 Don't tell everyone the plan. 

 Rob Twells 


Well, look, thank you both for answering the questions that I've come up with today. Um, we're going to round the podcast off with something we've coined the “Room 301 challenge”. Now, part of the reason this, this podcast is called Room 301 is because of something called a 301 redirect, which is sort of an SEO term redirect. Different pages. Blah blah blah. We can go into that in on another day. But the challenge here, and it's to pose a bit of a thought experiment to you guys. What is one thing within the sort of marketing world, so to speak, that you would redirect or get rid of if you could? 

James Walsh


 So 301 redirects permanent, right? So that'd be like something which is an irreversible change. 

Irina Holliday


 Now coming back. Um. This is going to be highly controversial, but I would say, uh. The new consent mode because it's just proving to be such a pain. Obviously, we're still in a sort of very much of a grey area here thanks to Brexit, and this is actually something that I'm planning to write my next blog about, so stay tuned. Uh, but, uh, yeah, it's, um, it's proving to be a bit of a headache. You 

James Walsh


Would you redirect us back to our cookies and and all that kind of stuff. 

 Irina Holliday 


 Yeah. I mean, I understand why it's been implemented. Uh, but, you know, I also understand that it's going to, you know, it already is becoming increasingly difficult to, you know, to measure the success properly. And, uh, you know, when and if this comes to the UK as well as, uh, it is now implemented in the EU, I believe. Um, so, yeah, we just, uh, we just need to be ready for that. And, uh. Yeah. Um, I'm not a big fan of what I see, so this is why that’s my choice.

James Walsh


I’m so glad that I'm in more of the full on full end design side, because I used to work in a bit of, I was a bit of a jack of all trades for a while, and it did code and we were building like WordPress sites. And like any time something like this came up, it was just such an inherent challenge. And like I mentioned earlier, I'm a designer. I only think with that side. Yeah, that's my left. That's right. Um, I like just knowing that there are other experts in the business who deal with this stuff is like reassuring because, like, it's the kind of stuff, like, if that email had hit six years ago, I'd be like, oh, that's ruined my month. Like, that's ruined my year because I wouldn't. I know it's it's tough for you guys, but I wouldn't have a hope in hell of solving it. Whereas I think you guys have the skills to actually do it. You know, just to blow a bit of smoke for a moment. At least people know what they're doing there on this side for me. 

Yeah. If I was going to redirect something, though, it's a. It's a bit. It's more esoteric. It's more like an idea. So, you know, just to immediately ruin the concept, use something non-physical and non tangible. Um, I would redirect younger designers away from things like Dribbble. Uh, recent graduates etc. from. Yeah I'm not saying don't go on sites like Behance or Dribbble. So for those who don't know, these are the main areas you would go to find examples of other really good work that people are doing. By all means, put your stuff on there. But the problem that they have is they create a bit of an echo chamber of what design looks like, what is good UI, what is good UX, and most of the things that are on there that are showcasing on there are generally designed to look good on there to win eyes on there or something like as well, or other watering websites go. You're learning how to make something to just wow, that audience and I spoke about audiences earlier and that's not the audience you're going to be paid to make design work for. So I would look at that, put your own stuff there, get involved in the thing, but don't focus on that. You want to learn adaptability and you want to learn empathy, like executing on design. You should be able to do that. That's basic, right? That's the part of designing you'll get better out with practice and practice and practice. Every designer should be able to execute. Doesn't matter the tool: Figma, Webflow, Photoshop, Illustrator those are the things you can learn with time. You can sit down and learn those in a month or whatever. Empathy and adaptability are much harder and are the things that will keep you in the game for longer and will help you survive. Things like the AI that's coming in like other changes, and you will be that designer who can jump into that and make that work. Figure out how that works. How does that work for that other audience? So I want to redirect you from trying to win this crazy little weird fight that's going on in Dribbble and hands of who can look best, who can get featured on Dribbble. My clients don't know what Dribbble is. They've never heard of it. They want to see what we've done for clients in their sector, how that worked for them. Did you know what that did for them? So being able to empathize with other people in different sectors and different walks of life is what will get you through those conversations. Ta da! 

 Rob Twells 


 I love that. Well, look, thanks for coming – it's a really good perspective, a really good debate on, on on certain, uh, topics, which is obviously centered around PPC and maximizing the effectiveness there. But obviously, you know, in my opinion, who isn't a specialist, more of a generalist. Um, you know, any form of marketing doesn't work if it is only one set of specialist work and it has to have a different perspective, different skill sets, and it all comes together to create a cohesive strategy that works. And it certainly works for our set of clients. So yeah, it's been good to get two different viewpoints and get the debate going. So thank you all for listening. We'll be back again soon. Our website is TheDigitalMaze.Com for anybody who is interested in our services. Um, yeah. We'll see you again soon. 

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Pete Bingham

Head of Design & Content

My name’s Pete and I’ve been a designer for over 20 years, creating for web, print and more. I’ve written plenty of blog posts on the importance of good design, UX and creative content over the years. My other passions include walking in the Peaks, illustration and reading.

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