I was really excited to be able to land an interview with one of my ‘online mentors’ in the early hours of this morning and I wasn’t disappointed with the outcome.
First, a little background about Neil;
- Neil’s first venture was at 16 where he started a job board (similar to Monster.com or Seek.com.au)
- That venture ultimately failed, but taught him how to generate traffic to websites
- He then formed a consultancy company.
- Ultimately – the difficulty with the consulting business was the inability to leverage his time.
- He then formed Crazyegg which led to the development of KISSmetrics.
If you want to read a little more about Neil (and while you’re there have a look at a kick-ass contact page) go to Quicksprout.
I for one am all for using data to improving my business results. The main reason why I was so excited to have Neil on the show is because I use his Crazyegg solution in my own business on a regular basis.
What does it do? Crazyegg tracks user actions by monitoring the mouse movement, clicks and scrolling on webpages.
That helps business owners and marketers understand the visitors actions while on their website. Allowing them to make iterative improvements to increase engagement and generate more leads and sales.
So, some might say Google Analytics does a similar function. However, the real advantage with Crazyegg is that it provides the information visually, instead of just raw numbers that you glean from Google Analytics.
We then discussed a few different techniques and tests we’ve both run, including testing of long and short copy to see which created greater conversions. Neil suggested trying a video at the beginning of a long copy page, as some will watch the video then buy immediately, whereas some will skip the video, read the long copy then make a purchase.
I’ve not used KISSmetrics for either of my businesses, so this was a great way for me to put Neil on the spot to see if they were relevant to me and also just how they can be used.
Instead of measuring the metrics with your website as the primary key – KISSmetrics measures actions and events with your users as the primary key.
That’s a really subtle but powerful difference.
As an example; say someone comes to your website and has a look around. Google Analytics will tell you how they came to your site, what they looked at, how long they were on the site etc…
KISSmetrics takes a different perspective. It looks at what asset you own or campaign you’re running that brought that user to your site. It then tracks them to see if they come back at a later date, and if so by what campaign. Did they buy from you on their first, second or third visit? Did they get a free product from you first and later bought several products from you.
This is powerful stuff – and puts you in the drivers seat when it comes to having knowledge of your target audience.
You can also discover the lifetime value of a client, which becomes even more important for your advertising and marketing budget. Neil covers just how this can work with KISSmetrics and why it’s so important for businesses to analyse.
Neil’s advice to us as business owners?
“Figure out what is moving the needle – what’s making you money and what’s losing you money. Double down on the things that are making you money.” – Neil Patel.
Full Podcast Episode Notes;
Steve: Hello, and welcome to The Typical Business podcast. I’m Steve Fitzpatrick and I’m really excited about this show today, because we have our very first guest and he’s Neil Patel. Welcome Neil.
Neil: Thank you for having me.
Steve: Neil, I wonder if you could first tell our listeners a little about you and what you do?
Neil: Sure, so, I’m I serial entrepreneur. I started off years ago, around 11 years now, and started off with my first website which was job-org, a replica of Monster.com, it failed miserably but while doing it I learned how to market my own website. Then from there, got into the internet marketing agency that I started, helped other companies and getting them more traffic. Then from there I did a few software companies, because I realized that Internet marketing wasn’t scalable. So, I started creating software solutions typically around the analytics base and that’s where I am today with my current venture Kiss Metrics.
Steve: This is one of the reasons why I really wanted to get you on this show because this episode theme is how businesses can get better results from their website and I couldn’t think of anyone probably more approachable then yourself but also someone who’s really got the runs on the board with your history. So, you mentioned that you started with, I think, a job advertising board, something similar to Monster. Was that when you were 15 years old or something like that?
Neil: Yeah, I believe I was 16 at the time so close enough but, yeah, that was my first real Internet company that I at least say, right.
Steve: You know I love that Neil because there’s just something in you as a person and if anyone’s listening that want to read a little more about you they can go to your blog at quicksprout.com and read up on this. But your story and what you share about some of the things you learn in business is just, it captures my imagination because all those things that we go through as business owners. Would you care to share sort of one of your lessons that you learned about that job board first, that then sort of made you swing into developing Crazy Egg, which was probably your first and current successful ventures?
Neil: Sure, so or what you’re asking is how it took me from how I went from Crazy Egg to Kiss Metrics?
Steve: Sorry, how long from when you went through the Egg, I think you started your first online business and then you moved into a bit of consulting work and then I think you were talking about how you struggled to make that scalable and go more into the software and I think you developed Crazy Egg before Kiss metrics, is that right?
Neil: That’s correct. I developed Crazy Egg before Kiss Metrics, and the whole purpose of Crazy Egg was how companies understand people actually engage with their websites, because you have all these analytic solutions like Google, Omniture and so forth and so on. They tell you numbers but a lot of people don’t understand it, right? So we try to show them all the visual representation.
Steve: I love that about Crazy Egg because exactly what you’re saying about the numbers. I’m one of those guys that gets into the numbers, and especially when you look at them a lot it’s easier to translate but for a lot of my clients when I show them a heat map it tells them a story in an instant that I’ve probably been telling them for months. So, could you explain to our listeners a little bit about what Crazy Egg does and how it can help them in their business?
Neil: Sure. So, Crazy Egg tracks mouse and click movement for your website, as well as scroll movement and other elements to help determine which aspects of your webpage people are engaging on and what they’re not. The overall purpose of it is you use it as a business owner, you make tweaks to your website to make your website more useable and user friendly, and then you keep on making tweaks and retest it on Crazy Egg, right . The overall purpose of it is to help you make a user friendly website or web application, whatever it may be.
Steve: And through increasing that usability you’re also likely to gain more conversions, more inquiries, have a happier visitor experience if you like, all those kind of benefits.
Neil: Yeah, it helps to get many more inquiries, hopefully boosting conversion rates, boost revenue, things of that nature, right? The overall goal for a business is to make money and we’re big believers in what we’ve seen from customers using Crazy Egg because we have well over 100,000, and it shows that hey, if you use this solution to make your website for the user instead of based on what you want, you’re likely to do better.
Steve: So one thing that I found interesting Neil is, one of my clients as an example; They had spent over $100,000 on an offline campaign and the marketing agency had told them to use certain headlines and when they developed their new website they put these on their homepage and they had these widget boxes with those headlines and the headlines were, to me, really dull and boring. I just thought that I bet there’s no one taking any notice of these but they had billboards and newspapers ads and all the rest of it running for I think about 18 months. So I put on your Crazy Egg heat map tracking and I told the story off my website where after I was telling him I don’t think these widgets are really working and I was looking at analytics at the time, I just can’t see anyone clicking on this. When I did install the Crazy Egg heat mapping, which I have to say is also wonderfully easy for anyone who wants to do it, I was then able to sit down with them and show them that no one clicked on these widgets at all and they turned red in the face and the marketing agency representative was sitting there as well and just had nothing to say. I mean it’s shocking to think they spent $100,000 on that campaign which probably was just money down the drain. Do you have other examples like that, Neil?
Neil: I actually have a ton of examples but sadly I’m not able to divulge customer…
Steve: Yeah, I imagine there’s probably more testimonials and things on the actual website?
Neil: That’s correct and its more so testimonials and not necessarily stopping people from the blunders, but showing what changes they made and how its actively increasing the conversion. Example could be showing you that people are clicking on a headliner image that’s not linked and you make it a link and it helps boosting conversions and things of that nature, right, so.
Steve: OK, another thing that I found more recently was, and I didn’t even think about Crazy Egg for this application but, you have your confetti view, which has other broken metrics. One of those is how long it took them when they arrived at a page to actually click on something else and I was testing recently something very long copy versus some short copy and I had a lot people sort of say to me; now that the long copy’s not going to work in Australia, Australian market doesn’t like that, they want the short copy. When I went into Crazy Egg, again I looked at the confetti tool and I could see that people were actually spending 12 to 15 minutes before clicking off that page which told me I had a pretty good engagement rate and it just adds one of these extra things to consider I guess. Does that sound right to you?
Neil: It does; right? You can end up learned a lot from it from the long sales pages to any type of design you could end up figuring out what works for you. So when you used it? How’d you find out the long page sales copy converted? Was it low, bad overall?
Steve: We’re still running tests using visual website optimizer, but one of the things with the data for us we’re in a research heavy market in that particular business and so, you know, it’s more I’m very keen to make sure people are engaging and if there engaging and reading the message, that’s what’s important, at least there not bouncing off the page and going that’s too long. The ones that are reading are probably my interested target so, you know, we’ll try remarketing it and things like that but I just found that really interesting because I hadn’t looked at that before.
Neil: Yeah, I test long page sales copy with Crazy Egg as well on my own site, on my long sales copy for eBook and what I ended up finding out is similar to you, not everyone’s scrolls right? Because we have that feature and it shows how long, how many people actually go into the very end with that add to cart button. So what I ended up doing is I popped up a video that explained the copy, a short three minute video on how to call to action right underneath the video and I did this above the fold. That boosted conversions quite a bit. I think it was like 20 something percent.
Steve: And were people watching the video, Neil, and then continuing to scroll and read additional information?
Neil: No. What people are doing is that they would either watch the video and click the call to action button or not watch the video and go see the text and then click the call to action. But I pretty much end up doing that because then it will appeal to both audiences. I got quite a bit more people to the checkout page.
Steve: Yeah, I think that’s great because for me, my eyes always in the detail. I want to read long copy because that’s how I function, but there’s plenty of audience who’s the opposite and they just want to get to the point and if it’s short and sharp in the video. I just think that’s really cleaver and it’s a great tool. But moving on from there, Neil, one of your next ventures, and I think this is probably where your very focused at the moment is in another application called Kiss Metrics. Can you explain sort of in a nutshell what Kiss Metrics is?
Neil: Sure. So the way we see the world changing on the web is, its very people-centric based right? Now with the social web, Facebook, everyone is basing decisions on other people. So when you look at old web 1.0 analytics, is what I’ve been calling it, they are showing you data based off of visitors, page views and all this kind of stuff but the reality is people using multiple devices, multiple computers and if you’re not tracking the individual person you can’t maximize how much money you make off of them.
Steve: So you are now turning a person, and I’m going to use some software engineering terms but, your now using a person a saying they are the primary key.
Neil: There they primary key but not only that, we’re saying the web 1.0 analytics are saying hey, someone comes to your website, they click a call to action and that’s it, it’s done. They buy or they don’t buy. We’re saying it’s not just people but people only need time to buy but there’s multiple phases that can end up happening where you can monetize the user. Such as it could be them buying a product, it could be them coming back and buying again, it could be a monthly subscription, it could be them going signing up for a free product and then a paid product three months later. It could be they signing up using your solution and then paying for virtual goods or currency, right? The possibilities are endless. So what we’re saying is not only being to track people but because your able to track people, which is what we’re doing, you can track the whole lifecycle of that person and figure what they’re doing, not just on the frontend of your website but also your backend. So you can figure out the real ROI of your customers because if your spending money on the advertising, could be Google Ad words, and someone makes a transaction but your spending $20 to get them there and they only make a $30 transaction in which your costs $20 on the product, and then you spent $20 to get them there you in the hole $10 right?
Neil: So, the way we look at it is..
Steve: They might have a lifetime value.
Neil: Yeah, they may have a lifetime value that’s much higher, because they may come back ten more times and keep on buying. So it’s like hey, in that case you can keep on ramping up advertising and spending if you know you’re going to get your money back in six months, a year, whatever it maybe. It’s the overall goal about optimizing the lifetime value of the customer which is what normal analytics aren’t doing and that what we’re trying to do which is why were customer centric analytics.
Steve: That just sounds like the next generation of where we need to be. You know, I remember listening to one of the owners, I think it was Mitchells which is one of the biggest media buyers in Australia, and he was saying currently the spend offline advertising to online is something 30% online, 70% offline; but he says by the time 2020 rolls around, he thinks it’s going to be 80% online, 20% offline which makes this even more important right, because people are going to all sorts of websites now and getting all sort of information from social media, from our tweets, from our Facebook campaigns, our search engine campaigns, remarketing, all those sorts of things. To have your software follow that person and understand the lifecycle of their buying pattern, that’s pretty incredible.
Neil: Thank you and yeah, and that’s the goal we’re trying to get at for everyone because then you can…
Steve: It’s also, from a business owner I have to say, it’s awesome. From a consumer point of view, it’s a little scary because its, you know that marketing intelligence is just becoming quite amazing.
Neil: And from a consumer standpoint, if they don’t want to be tracked they can opt out at the track, right, depending on age ranges stuff like that, specific information isn’t being passed through because it’s illegal. You don’t want to be tracked in specific ways. It’s all about fine tuning things and business owners need to be aware of this so they can abide by the laws. If they know there having a ton of minors on the site they shouldn’t be passing that data over into the analytics solutions, so in that way they are not collecting data on 13 year old girls, which would be inappropriate.
Steve: And so, I mean, that’s kind of summed up one of my questions which was what is the difference between Google analytics and Kiss Metrics, but I think you’ve summed that up because, I mean Google analytics is probably a, I don’t you, you could call it a beta phase of Kiss Metrics. It’s kind of the baby version. It’s almost like comparing analytics with Urchin Stats I suppose, very different in their functions in just the in-depth analysis. Does that sound right?
Neil: Yeah, to some extent Google analytics does a great job of giving you the basic metrics out there. What we try to do is give you the advanced but were not going to give your time on site count or we’re not going to tell you which browser or country your user is coming from.
Steve: So most businesses would run both, is that what you are saying?
Neil: That’s correct. We do not replace Google Analytics. We more so add different data. If you want to know what your churn is, true conversion rates, lifetime value of your customer, things like that, we can help you kind of get then information and Google can’t.
Steve: Neil, is Kiss Metrics a valid application for your typical small business or is it more the medium to large scale and particularly maybe even small business but ecommerce solutions?
Neil: We have a ton of small businesses that use this. We also have startups, people who are one or two men shows all the way to enterprise companies who are using this so it’s pretty much for any size company. Our core audience is e-commerce, software as a service company, subscription based companies, and then mobile based companies. I would say those are our main customer segments’. We don’t service too many gaming companies, we don’t really service too many publishers unless you have a subscription. If you have an ad based business and that’s how you monetize, were not the best solution. You might as well continue using Google. But if your software has a service, a subscription or a e-commerce kind of company, were a great solution for you.
Steve: So one thing, Neil, I think being as part of your email list, I got a free offer a little while ago, I think this is also different to Google right, is that I subscribe and I set up this free offer, to be perfectly blunt, I shouldn’t have done it at that time because I was so busy and I didn’t really get a good amount of time to invest in setting it up and having a look at it, but I had someone from your office actually email me and say look, can I help you set up the campaign? Do you provide that sort of service? Does someone have, not necessarily and account manager, but just more of a support desk I suppose in making sure that there goals and there event tracking and that sort of thing are all set up?
Neil: Yeah, what we call it internally is customer success; so we have a team that just goes out there, reaches out to all customers and helps them succeed. That’s our goal. If we can make our customers more money, they’ll keep on paying us.
Steve: Which, can I just say thank you for that? I don’t know how many times I’ve had issues with Google and you cannot get an answer from anyone. I think that’s excellent.
Neil: Yeah, thank you.
Steve: So Neil, if you kind of start to wrap up , I know were running out of time. First of all if you could just tell us where do people find these solutions if they want to find out more where do they go?
Neil: They go to Kissmetrics.com K-I-S-S-M-E-T-R-I-C-S .com. Crazy Egg is C-R-A-Z-Y-E-G-G .com; and then I blog at Quicksprout.com Q-U-I-C-K-S-P-R-O-U-T .com.
Steve: Thanks very much for that Neil. It is one thing that I need to close with as well, part of what our podcast does is we encourage users to take one action point at the end of the podcast, one step that could help them actually get more successful in their business or become more profitable so what would you suggest as a business owner whose sitting there maybe he’s never looked at Crazy Egg, never looked at Kiss Metrics, what would you tell that business owner to do?
Neil: Business owners it’s all about fine tuning your business right? So it doesn’t have to be Crazy Egg or Kiss Metrics, what you need to do is figure out what’s moving the needle, what’s making you money and what’s losing your money. Double down on the things that are making you money and get it to a granular level. Don’t just be like oh marketing is making me money. Go look at every single marketing channel, look at the lifetime value of the customers, you got to get your tracking right first because once you have all this data in front of you, you can figure out what to do next that way you’re not just going based off your hunches saying hey let’s do this with our company. You can do that and you spend 3 months doing what your guts tell you but at the end of the day in many cases you’ll just end up wasting your time and not get anywhere versus if you sat down, spend a week, a few days or a month depending on how busy your, if you can’t put as much time into it each day or each week, get all your tracking down right first and then start making decisions based off of data. It doesn’t matter what you want or what I want. All that matters is what your customer wants. So start making decisions based on the data you’re getting from your customers.
Steve: I think that is excellent advice. I absolutely agree with that. Neil, it’s been a pleasure having you on as our very first guest for the Typical Business podcast. I’d really like to thank you on behalf of all our listeners for sharing that information with us and yeah, I look forward to seeing a little bit more from you on your blog and hearing a bit more about your successes in the future.
Neil: Cool, perfect, thank you for having me.
Steve: Thanks very much, Neil. I appreciate you coming on and we’ll hopefully speak again.
Neil: Same here.
Steve: Cheers, thank you.