I would like to thank the wonderful Karen Adamsbaum, CIC, for having me on her podcast Risk Intelligence.
What's riskier than ignoring your website for years and walking around with a brand wedgie?
I believe that every CEO should provide their biz dev/sales team with tools that don’t suck. Your team is out there busting their ass trying to bring in business, only to be undermined by the outdated website.
Firms that do great work deserve to have a robust and trustworthy brand with a distinct visual identity, messaging that differentiates and positions the firm, and a credibility-boosting website that gets you noticed and hired.
PS – If you need new coverage or need to evaluate if you are properly covered with insurance, Karen is the BOMB! 💥 Contact Karen Adamsbaum at https://linktr.ee/kareninsurance
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to the podcast, Risk Intelligence, with your host, Karen Adamsbaum. She will be sharing her knowledge of uncommon insurance questions, coverage explanations, claim scenarios, and interviews with brokers, clients, and colleagues to discuss various topics in the insurance industry.
Karen Adamsbaum (00:27):
Hi, everybody. Welcome to another edition of my podcast called Risk Intelligence. And today, I'm excited to have Tracy O'Shaughnessy.
And Tracy and I met at a networking event over the summer, I would say it's early summer, and we just hit it off. You just know when you meet somebody and you talk to them that you're on the same level, you have the same sense of humor. And that's exactly how Tracy and I were, was, still are. And I wanted to have a podcast with her. So thank you so much, Tracy, for joining.
Thank you, Karen, for inviting me. This is going to be fun.
Karen Adamsbaum (01:08):
Yes, yes, yes, yes. So what Tracy does is really, what I think, unique, and this is why. Have you ever came across a contractor who you know is really, really good. And then maybe a friend says, “Hey, do you have a guy who can do a roof,” or what have you. And you say, “Yeah. Look up the website boomboomboom.com.” And your friend calls you a couple of days later and says, “That guy, he's good. I was like … Because his site sucks.”
Karen Adamsbaum (01:51):
And that's exactly where Tracy comes in because her tagline is basically, you're so good at what you do, now you have to let people see that, seed into how good you are. If you have a front face that is horrible, you're not going to be able to show your good work. So, Tracy, I'm going to have you just explain to our audience here what it is that you are specialized.
Yes. So I run a branding firm called Branding & Beyond. And my whole goal is to get firms that are amazing at what they do, but not so good at managing their brand and developing it, and making sure people understand it, and fix that. Because you could be fantastic on the inside, but if people can't see that from the outside they're going to bounce.
And like your example, Karen, when you give somebody a referral and then you have to couch it in information like, “Yeah, but don't go to their website. It's really bad. They're really, really good. I promise, I promise. They're amazing,” but they might not look at like it. And you don't want your referrals to have to jump through those hoops, because a lot of times they don't have that much give a damn to do that. So you shouldn't have to expect that.
Some people have reputations that can get past this. Like we have a firm in town, they've been around probably 40 years and they do kick-ass work and everybody knows them. Their website sucks and it doesn't matter. But most people don't have that kind of cachet behind them.
And one thing that happens a lot these days is you have an out-of-town company looking to build in your town and they need to find resources. So they go to Google, and they search and they open up a lot of tabs. And then they go through those tabs and they're like, “No, no, no, no. Okay. No, no, no, no.” And they're making a decision like this. And you could be the perfect solution for them, but they're going to bypass you because you don't look the part.
So I come into companies and they know they need to fix some stuff, but they don't know how to do it because that's not their thing. That's my thing, so yeah. So I go in and I find the goodies that exist, no matter how non-sexy the company thinks they are. Concrete, a lot of people don't think concrete's … I happen to love concrete.
But to the right people who need that we can find ways to find all the goodies within your company, combine them, wrap words around them, wrap visuals around them, create that personality of your business. Then apply that to your website and make your website super clear, super credible, and super consistent. So they see it and they feel it from the outside, so they call you.
Because the main goal is to get on that list to get called. And once you get called, then your awesomeness can take over. But prior to the call, you don't even know that job exists and they're searching for you and dismissing you just based on your digital footprint. And we can fix that.
Karen Adamsbaum (05:09):
Everything that you said was so spot on and it really lets you understand what it is that you do. Now my question to you is, when you meet with a client, what is the expected turnaround time?
It depends on the complexity of the firm. I mean, if it's a simple form and you've got a simple business model, it could be anywhere from six weeks to eight weeks to turn that around. It depends on what we need to do. It's like asking how long does it take to wash dishes? It depends on how many there are. How long is a piece of string? It depends.
But for me, it depends on the complexity of what we're dealing with. So if we're with an HVAC firm that sells electrical and plumbing and has these three divisions with all sorts of services. The website is 280 pages and it's a hot mess, that's going to take a little bit longer. And that was a real project actually.
Karen Adamsbaum (06:16):
[crosstalk 00:06:16] longer than someone who's got a more simplified service, that we just need to clean it up. We need to make the messaging super clear on what your value prop is. I don't want to get jargon in there. What the outcome is that you provide.
Karen Adamsbaum (06:30):
Make sure that's super clear and they know who you are, what you're all about, why you're awesome. What's it going to be like working with you, and here's how you contact me, here's what you buy, whatever it is. That can go a lot quicker.
So complexity, if you've got a board that you've got a lot of people, we've got to have a consensus, that's going to take longer.
Karen Adamsbaum (06:52):
If you've got one owner or two people, we can make decisions really fast.
Karen Adamsbaum (06:57):
Okay. That makes sense. Like any other organization, if you think about it.
Yeah, pretty much.
Karen Adamsbaum (07:03):
It's all about the complexity of what we're trying to message, what you're trying to sell. If you sell a bunch of different things to eight different verticals and we've got eight different types of customers, that's going to be a little bit more difficult. Then if you've got one main customer, and you're willing to focus on that ideal customer and let go of the rest, which is really hard because you're like, “Leave the money on the table.”
Karen Adamsbaum (07:29):
And you're like, “[crosstalk 00:00:07:30].” Let's just focus on bringing more ideal customers in and selling your high-profit margin, your product that makes you super happy to deliver, that you're really good at, let's focus on that. And then some of these other things will just happen. But when you try to sell eight things all at once to eight different verticals, it gets complicated.
Karen Adamsbaum (07:48):
Right. Yeah, you got too many spoons in the pot.
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes.
Karen Adamsbaum (07:54):
So was it you? I think it was you that you have this line, it was a brand … Wait, don't tell me, brand wedgie?
Karen Adamsbaum (08:04):
Yeah, tell me about the brand wedgie.
Okay, a brand wedgie. It sounds awful, but actually, it's an amazing thing. So when you have a brand wedgie, that means you've outgrown your brand and things are kind of don't fit anymore. You're all uncomfortable, got some panty lines going on. It's not cute, but it's a sign that you've grown and you've evolved. That is the beautiful thing, that you are not the firm you were five to 10 years ago, so that's the good news.
And now we need to focus. Rebranding is exactly what's fixes that problem. So we come in, figure out who you are, who your clients are, what you sell, what's unique and different and awesome about you. What's your market like, how do we position you in that market to not be a commodity?
Karen Adamsbaum (08:50):
Because that's a thing that a lot of firms have a problem with, is they're selling themselves the same way all their competitors are. So there's the sea of sameness, it's bland, it's boring. We don't want to do that. So we want to figure out you and position that and message it, and visual identity and get that out there, so your ideal clients realize, “Finally, I found the firm who's going to help me.”
Because I want to jump over you, put my arm around your customer and look back at your company and figure out they need you. How do I get them to realize … What do they need to see, feel, read, hear, whatever it is, to realize you're the perfect match?
Karen Adamsbaum (09:33):
And to stop looking at everybody else and call you.
Karen Adamsbaum (09:36):
That's what I want to do. And so we have to figure out what that is for you. And each company that's a unique answer, but it's the same process to get to your unique answer. And we build your website and do some marketing, and then your ideals are like woah.
I want them to have a response when they finally find you. And they're like, “Oh hallelujah. I can stop looking. You are that person. This is going to be great. That's the outcome I want. Here's my money.” And they just throw money at you, that's we want.
Karen Adamsbaum (10:07):
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:10:07]-
We don't want them getting a price and fighting on price, we want them to know you're the one.
Karen Adamsbaum (10:14):
You could tell that you love what you do.
I do. I do. Because I'm really tired of really amazing companies getting bypassed because they don't look the part. And then you have these newbies coming into town who might be packaged better, getting projects, when you're the one with the history and the experience.
Because not only does that suck for you, but it sucks for the customer because they made a decision based on what they could find online. They might've bypassed you or couldn't even find you maybe, and that sucks for the customer and I don't want that. And I don't want that for you either.
Karen Adamsbaum (10:52):
I want to fix that.
Karen Adamsbaum (10:55):
Well, I mean, it makes sense because the brand wedgie, the outfit doesn't fit. And here you are, you're coming in and you're like, “All right, out with the old, let's get you situated. That fits you a little bit better.”
Karen Adamsbaum (11:11):
Yeah, good stuff. So tell me about you, and tell me a success story.
Okay. Well, we will go to Fred, one of my favorite clients. He's the one, the HVAC, that had electrical and plumbing. He came to me … Actually, it's a double story. He calls me and I answer the phone and he said, “I have talked to four of your clients already and you're my new person.” “And you are …” I was like, “What? Who are you?”
And he had found me through searching other clients. And he ran into one of my clients, found my information in the footer. Researched me, called clients, interviewed them, decided I was the person. That there is branding. Right there is he made a decision on me before even meeting me. So that's what I want to do for my clients.
So getting onto him. He was like, “I wish I would have done this five years ago. I wish I would've done this five …” “Okay. It's all good, we're going to do it now.” He created a website by himself because he had been messed over multiple times, wasted tons of money. And he was like, “Screw it, dammit. I'm going to get WordPress, could do it myself.”
And he built this 280-page monstrosity, which he agreed was a monstrosity, I mean it totally was. Because he didn't really know it was doing. On the building side, as well as the search engine side, as well as the messaging side. You go there and it was this just throw up of everything he does. And they have a ton of work that they do. And it was all thrown on the homepage where you look at it and you're like, “Oh.”
Karen Adamsbaum (12:52):
Oh my goodness. Wow.
[crosstalk 00:12:54]. Only was he getting business from referrals, and they were strong referrals. Trust me, they're really, really good at what they do. Their website looked like it was a dude in a truck, not a $7 million company with three divisions.
Karen Adamsbaum (13:10):
So I went in and … After I got over the hugeness of this website-
Karen Adamsbaum (13:14):
… and having to go through all of it. I talked to him and I got an understanding of what they really stood for, which was, “If it's not broken, we're not going to do anything. If it's broken, we're going to fix it. And if it needs to be replaced, we're going to replace it.” No BS, no weird upsells. None of that crap.
So one of his main problems was he's right next to Fairfax, Virginia, where multimillion-dollar homes. But he had barely any customers over there. He was like, “Why?” And I'm like, “That's why. Look at your website, that's why.” They're going for more credible-looking companies. And I'm like, “You don't look the part. You don't look like the bad-ass firm you actually are.”
And so I investigated the target market he wanted to go for. And I researched him, talked to all the people in his company, talked to a bunch of customers. Really pulled out what their core values were, what they stood for. And I rebuilt his website and his brand messaging to be who he really is.
And the key thing is, one, I never met him in person. Spent a lot of time on zoom. I didn't change the company at all. I just found what already existed and wrapped it in words and visuals and built this new website. So now people that are in that area that he wants to get to that have two, three, and four HVAC units, perfect customers, come to his site and they're like, “Oh wow. It's no jargon, no BS. He's going to fix it if it's broke, the whole thing. And he understands time is important to me. He's not going to waste my time, he's not going to do … I can trust these people.”
And now he has tons of business, from people right there. So it's a lot more efficient for his team because the neighborhood is right there.
Karen Adamsbaum (15:15):
The county is right next to them. So they're not wasting a lot of time driving to these other places that might be more price shoppers and that kind of thing.
Karen Adamsbaum (15:24):
Yes [crosstalk 00:15:24].
So we researched his ideal clients, found out what they really wanted, found out who they really were, the company and built a new website. That's nicholsandphipps.com, which I can give you to put in the notes.
Karen Adamsbaum (15:36):
Oh, very good.
The website, I'm very proud of the website. And he has three different businesses and I've rebranded all of them.
Karen Adamsbaum (15:45):
All right. So what's the website again?
Nichols, N-I-C-H-O-L-S, and, A-N-D, P-H-I-P-P-S.com. It's a long one, nicholsandphipps.com. We went from 280 pages to about 100. Because he has so many divisions, there's lots of content. And then we've been doing for the last three years, two blog posts a month. So now he's got 80 some odd blog posts.
And his search engine rankings went from being in the doghouse, because a lot of the content he built wasn't so great, and now he's got tons of natural rankings. We didn't spend any extra money on SEO stuff. I just built the site well. With the content marketing on top of that, he's doing good. I mean, minus the COVID hit everybody had, he's in a really good position.
Karen Adamsbaum (16:49):
Excellent. Excellent. Well, that is a crazy success story, and kudos to you and you love what you do.
Karen Adamsbaum (16:57):
I mean, you [crosstalk 00:16:59] love what you do and you have a gift.
Karen Adamsbaum (17:04):
You definitely have a gift.
Karen Adamsbaum (17:05):
Well, Tracy, I just wanted to say thank you again for taking this time to do this podcast. And brand wedgie, I love it.
Yeah. And if you're feeling it, if things are a little too tight, it's uncomfortable, let's fix that.
Karen Adamsbaum (17:22):
There you go.
But it's a sign of good things. You've grown, that's a good thing.
Karen Adamsbaum (17:27):
That's true. Well, thank you, Tracy.
Thank you. Thank you so much, Karen. I really appreciate it.
Speaker 1 (17:36):
Thanks for listening to the podcast, Risk Intelligence. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and connect on LinkedIn by doing a search on Karen Adamsbaum.
Tracy O’Shaughnessy Founder / Lead Brand Strategist of Branding & Beyond
Tracy and her team help firms in and around the B2B building trades look and sound credible online and off.
She has been in the industry since the early '90s and is tired of seeing fantastic firms struggle, blend in, and get bypassed by prospects who judge them solely on the outdated information found online.
Branding & Beyond's mission is to solve real business problems and build the brand foundation clients need to get noticed and hired.
You can find Tracy on Linkedin and here on this blog.