Small Biz Buzz—117—Josh Collins—Using Experience Architecture to Connect with Audience

Small Biz Buzz hosts Crystal Heuft and Scott Martineau are joined by Josh Collins, who works for an agency called Streetsense, is a TEDx alum, a speaker, and an expert in experience architecture. He will be discussing how he helps businesses design and create by leveraging experience as a strategy.

“Essentially what we're talking about is serving our audience from awareness to advocacy, and everywhere in between,” said Collins. “Experience design, experience architecture really is about accessing empathy to understand where your audience is, how they experience your brand, your communications, and what they might offer, how they respond.”

This leads to the idea of feedback loops, and learning to design intentional feedback loops that allow businesses to understand what those experiences are as quickly as possible. All small businesses intend certain things, but many times, those intentions don't deliver. Without feedback loops, and without really thinking critically about that, small businesses end up talking to themselves more often than not.

“At the end of the day, it is the responsibility of everyone wanting to become a great brand, everyone wanting to grow their business, to make connections that your consumer, your audience never forgets,” said Collins. “That's how you get them to advocacy.”

Click play for more.

Transcript:

Scott (00:13):

Welcome, everybody, to this episode of the Small Biz Buzz. I'm Scott Martineau.

Crystal (00:18):

And I'm Crystal Heuft.

Scott (00:19):

We're totally pumped today to have Josh Collins with us. We're talking about a topic that I think is maybe a nontraditional topic for small business owners, but one that has, as I've observed the most successful business owners in the past, there's something that they focus on and do that makes a huge difference. We're going to talk about some new terminology today, and how we can make this concept accessible.

Scott (00:44):

But first, by way of introduction, not only is Josh a TEDx alum, a speaker, but he's also an expert in experience architecture. We'll get into what that means. His responsibilities on a day to day basis, he works for an agency called Streetsense. They focus specifically on helping businesses to design and create experiences, and to leverage experience as a strategy for growing businesses and creating success.

Scott (01:12):

We're just totally excited. We're going to jump in and talk about that today, as well as a really important thing about how to create really solid feedback loops for our customers. Josh, welcome. Thank you for being here.

Josh (01:21):

Yeah, man. Thanks for having me. What a gift.

Crystal (01:24):

We're so excited to have you, Josh. I know I met you back in January. You were thrilled to learn one of our terms that we throw around all the time at Keap, TOFU.

Josh (01:35):

Yes. TOFU. I love it.

Scott (01:38):

TOFU.

Josh (01:38):

I love it.

Crystal (01:40):

It was funny. Everyone was like, "What does TOFU mean?" I didn't realize that was a Keap term really, because we use it so often. But it did make me laugh. Happy to have you, Josh.

Josh (01:51):

Yeah. That's that's [inaudible].

Scott (01:52):

Top of funnel, for those who don't know, top of funnel.

Josh (01:55):

Top of funnel.

Scott (01:55):

Josh, where does this slight accent come from?

Josh (01:59):

Funny. I was wondering if it's because I'm congested or what? I don't know what's going on. But I am located just outside of Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. Maybe that's what you're picking up on. I'm not sure.

Scott (02:11):

Well, we think everybody outside of Arizona has an accent.

Josh (02:16):

Yeah, totally, totally. That makes sense. I have often gotten away with people saying, "Oh, really? I would expect people from Tennessee to sound a lot more twangier. You don't seem ..." But that's interesting. I love it.

Crystal (02:28):

I know. I always get jealous, because in Arizona we're known as the no accent. But when I've traveled abroad, everyone thinks we have a total accent.

Scott (02:38):

Well, they're all wrong.

Josh (02:39):

That's right. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Crystal (02:40):

My Canadian relatives, I make fun of their accent, and then they tell me it's the same as when we say huh in America. I guess that's the case.

Josh (02:51):

Eh?

Scott (02:51):

Crystal, if you could go into your Canadian relatives' accent for the rest of this episode, I would appreciate it.

Josh (02:57):

I love it. Yes. But thanks for having me. What a joy, it really is. We've been planning this. We're trying to coordinate schedules for a while, so I'm glad it's finally worked out.

Scott (03:06):

About a decade ago, when we invented lifecycle marketing, what we did is we basically looked at the most successful businesses, and we tried to put into a framework the things that we saw them doing. There was a distinct psychological shift for the business owners where they, instead of thinking about their sales and their marketing, it was a shift to, "I need to think about the lifecycle of my customer."

Scott (03:29):

That's actually why we call it lifecycle marketing. It's a shift to start to say, "All right. From the very first time that somebody begins to interact with my company, all the way through the time where they're a fan who's referring all their friends, how do we intentionally design an experience for them that just works, and that we're clear where they are in that funnel, in that lifecycle, and what needs to happen next?"

Scott (03:51):

I'm really excited to jump into this. Maybe to kick it off, Josh, I'd love to hear your, maybe we could start with just definitional things. What is customer experience, and what is experience architecture? These are big words.

Josh (04:04):

They are kind of big words. I love this topic, because essentially what we're talking about, language I would bring to it, is serving our audience from awareness to advocacy, and everywhere throughout in between. Experience design, experience architecture really is about accessing empathy to understand where your audience is, how they experience your brand, your communications, and what they might offer, how they respond.

Josh (04:35):

Certainly that introduces the idea of feedback loops, and learning to design intentional feedback loops that allow us to, as quickly as possible, understand what those experiences are. Are they fulfilling on the promise that we want them to? Certainly as a brand, as a small business, do these ... We all intend for certain things, but many times those intentions don't deliver. Without feedback loops, and without really thinking critically about that, we end up talking to ourselves more often than not.

Crystal (05:10):

One thing I wanted to throw out there is, when we're thinking of customer experience, whether you build it or you don't, there's a customer experience. They're already engaging in an experience.

Josh (05:20):

Yes.

Crystal (05:20):

So it's whether you've put the time to build one that works for them, or whether you haven't, they're already in the middle of a customer experience when they're working with you or checking your website out. Where exactly does the experience start?

Josh (05:34):

That's just the evolution of what we've seen over the last few decades. This technical revolution, this digital revolution, however we want to frame it, used to think that you really did control your message. Any brand continuing to think that they are, at the end of the day, in control of that, they're going to miss the opportunities to connect to the consumer, because consumers are out there talking to each other.

Josh (06:03):

The largest way that we can learn about our products and services is still through referrals. It's still through talking to our neighbors. "I had this great meal," "saw this great film," "read this great book," and sharing that. That's still the greatest power. So to harness that as marketers is the opportunity, certainly today and moving into the future.

Scott (06:24):

So your point, you're saying to business owners, you don't actually control your message. I think some might say, "Well, what do you mean? I get to control what I say." What's the point you're trying to make? Is it that we get to control what we say, but we don't necessarily control the dialogue that happens between those who are referring, and that listening better, we can tap into that?

Josh (06:48):

Yeah. It's a little bit of a nuanced position, I think, certainly. But what I realize, at the end of the day, is we certainly can intend to have brand values, and we do oftentimes. We create these pillars of our businesses or our brands. We hope that all of our efforts are delivering on them.

Josh (07:10):

But at the end of the day, the opinion that matters the most is our customers'. They're the ones that are experiencing these different things, these different points of contact, whether that's through email marketing, whether that's through social advertising, paid, whatever we're talking about, whatever channel or medium we're really talking about. Does it resonate? Does it connect? Does the assumptions we're making as a small business, do they ring true? Is there congruence between what those pillars are and what we hope and what our audience is thinking? Many times, we just make the assumption that they are, but we unfortunately fail to ask. We fail to create feedback loops to just ask.

Crystal (07:52):

Perspective is the only reality. I always just remember that, because you can write a message, and you know exactly what it means to you and probably the other 15 people in your business, or two people in your business that read it, and you both were vibing and got the same perspective on the message. But someone else could read it and get an entirely different message. So perspective really is the only reality. If you add enough of those up, eventually it controls the message, because you're changing to make sure that what you meant to say is coming across for your audience.

Josh (08:23):

Yeah, perspective is a great word to use there. I also talk about context. I talk about venue too. I've got a background in live entertainment. Used to work with bands, touring, entertainers that you guys would love and listen to. Traveled all over the world, doing that. Obviously, when you were beginning to think about crafting or building an experience to connect with this audience, one of the first things you start with is context. What's the venue look like? Are we in an arena? Are we in a theater? We in a small club? Really thinking through that context is going to help define how you create the content to connect with that audience.

Scott (09:01):

I want to jump back into feedback loops and dive in on that. But maybe to kick it off, I'd like to maybe take something that's a little bit more accessible, the concept of customer service. I think that's something that business owners have been trying to deliver great customer service for a long time. How would you say that customer service and customer experience are different?

Josh (09:19):

Customer service and customer experience, to me, fall underneath ... They're very similar, but they're different in that customer experience is something that you design very intentional. You can think through that. Customer service is typically you're in a different frame of mind. You're a little bit more responsive.

Josh (09:36):

In other words, you've got the customer coming to you many times, unfortunately, with some kind of complaint, some kind of challenge or some missed expectation. That's the opportunity where you clearly don't have to think about awareness as much, but you're really able to think differently about, "Okay, how did we miss this?" if it's a negative experience or something like that. "Okay. How did we miss?"

Josh (09:58):

Now, ultimately, as a brand or small business, you want to be listening to both things, but UX, user experience, experience design, thinking through that is, "What's our ideal? What do we want to have happen? What do we want to see at each stage?"

Josh (10:15):

If you're thinking, mapping that out, doing some kind of experience mapping project, you go, "Okay," like I said earlier, "from awareness to advocacy, what are all those touchpoints? What do we want to convey? How do we want to connect emotionally through those touchpoints?" Customer service then is responding, at every single one of those touchpoints, as you get feedback on those touchpoints.

Crystal (10:37):

So, if you were a small business listening to this, how would you know if your customer experience isn't working? If what you've designed is not working, what would be some of those symptoms or things you can watch for?

Josh (10:49):

Yeah. What a great question. You're going to see that show up in lots of ways. Let's talk very practical. What's your homepage abandonment rate, things like this? What's your email opt-in rate, opt-out rates? Very tactical things like that are great tools to look at.

Josh (11:10):

Let's say you've got great deals that you think, let's say you're a small business, you're a retail shop or whatever, and you've got, "Oh, we got this killer deal. It's going to be huge," but your redemption rate is really, really low.

Josh (11:22):

Those are great signals. Those are great things that, again, if you pause for a second and go, "Man, let's ask why." All of those things are great ways to think about missing the experience that you want to create.

Scott (11:37):

We've talked on this podcast even before about ... Let's maybe just ... I'd love to shift then to how do I go about actually designing an experience? I think you made a great point earlier, which is let's start with the context. Your opening comment too I thought was fascinating about customer experience is really about empathy. It's about being in maybe the mind and heart of your customer to understand what they want.

Scott (11:59):

I think I really appreciated the framework of understanding, through this whole journey, what is it that my customer needs to know and understand, and maybe believe, which is a little deeper level of understanding. Then what do I want them to feel in terms of the emotions? Then what actions do I want them to take? What I want them to do?

Scott (12:22):

I'm curious if ... You don't have to necessarily agree with that, but I'm just curious, how do you go about this process of starting from this ideal experience that you're trying to create, and what are the steps in trying to design a customer experience?

Josh (12:39):

Yeah. I am a bit of an idealist. When it comes to your typical, I think, patterned male responses, I tend to be toward one end of the spectrum. I'm a fairly emotional guy. Myself, empathy is huge. High EQ is a huge value to me too. So to me, it really does start with empathy in thinking about the problems essentially that your audience are looking to solve.

Josh (13:12):

At their core, their core being, what are they wanting, whether it be connection, whether wanting fulfillment, transformation. What are those core things that ideally your business or your process or your service is designed to solve? Thinking that through a little bit, you can often come at it, but I really do love Maya Angelou's quote about, "People will forget what you said. They'll forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."

Josh (13:40):

At the end of the day, I think that is the responsibility of everyone wanting to become a great brand, everyone wanting to grow their business, is making connections that your consumer, your audience never forgets. That's how you get them to advocacy.

Josh (13:59):

When you're thinking about how do I even start, I always tell people, the first thing to do is ask. The first thing to do is start asking. When was the last time you asked how you were performing at X, whatever X may be? When was the last time you sent a survey and just said, "Hey, tell us how we're doing. Here's our intention. Here's our mission. Here's our vision. Here's the things we value. How are we doing at performing against those?" Very simply, it can start with that.

Crystal (14:29):

Some people get scared to ask that question, but in anything I've ever done, asking that question just leads to major growth opportunity for you as a company, as a solopreneur. Anyone I've ever worked with that asked that question gets to major growth.

Josh (14:44):

Well, it's interesting because when you think about how many of ... Think about, certainly, the kind of cultural moment we're in now, where we're experiencing peaceful protests all across the nation essentially saying the same thing, going, "You've not been listening." Essentially, there's all kinds of nuance to this, and room for the dialogue and room for the conversation, the needed conversation. But in a way, they're saying, "You haven't been listening."

Josh (15:18):

To take the intentional step to just ask opens up that dialogue, and out of that comes all kinds of opportunities for growth, opportunities for engagement, advocacy, flipping even. Sometimes you might've had a failed experience, or you maybe did not deliver on the service that you had hoped in the way that you want. But by asking, and by providing those mechanisms through intentional feedback loops, you can oftentimes convert those maybe users who were about to cancel on you or whatever, and you can convert them actually to become your best advocates, your best brand advocates, especially.

Crystal (15:55):

I also feel like there's been times ... We do pretty frequent surveys to our customers, as well as we have lives, where they can come interact with us live all the time. Through those, we find out what we can actually work towards, and what they're looking for. That allows us to deliver better value to them, and make sure that our users feel connected to us, and that we're authentic and really want to give them the tool that they need to support their business. I think it's just so strong to ask those type of questions.

Josh (16:25):

Well, and it doesn't even have to be necessarily a situation where you've messed up. It could just be realigning priorities, realigning expectations. You could have somebody coming in going, "We thought that your solution," or again, "We're trying to solve a problem. Your product looked to be the perfect solution. Somehow we just misaligned on a couple things."

Josh (16:47):

So if you have these feedback loops along the way, whether that's your customer journey, whatever it is, engagement opportunities along the funnel, you can right-size some of those opportunities. It's all part of the healthy, I think, holistic strategy of engaging, not just your current audience, but your future audience as well.

Scott (17:07):

I think it's a great ... I love this concept of the fear of asking customers. Because I think most business owners probably intuitively think, "Well, yeah. It would make a lot of sense." We've called out the fact that asking might uncover problems that will be uncomfortable to solve. What are some other fears that you think keep people from asking customers?

Josh (17:29):

I think shame. I think shame of missing the boat. I get it. If you're a small business owner, you have a small team, you've bootstrapped this thing, you're a solopreneur like you were talking about, or something like that, all of your passion is going into this thing. So if you think about it on a scale of 1 to 10, you are a 10 on that scale about your product, your business, your solution.

Josh (17:52):

But your audience, the ones that you want to connect with, they're 1s, maybe not even a 1, maybe a 0.5. They're somewhere clearly at the other end. When you invite feedback, you open yourself up, which at the end of the day, that's vulnerability. Oh my goodness gracious, does Brene Brown not have a thing or two to tell us about vulnerability these days? That's something we're all afraid of. So that makes perfect sense, but I think ...

Josh (18:19):

Another great fear is just you're afraid you can't fix it. You're afraid that you may [crosstalk 00:18:25]

Scott (18:25):

[crosstalk 00:18:25] not have the time, right?

Josh (18:28):

Yes.

Scott (18:29):

You may not have the [crosstalk 00:18:29]

Crystal (18:29):

The bandwidth.

Josh (18:29):

You don't have the resources.

Crystal (18:31):

You may not have the cashflow. You might not even know exactly what would fix it.

Crystal (18:35):

I actually like ... I always see our product managers. If they see someone asking for something, they ask them, "What's the use case for this? How would you use it?" I always love when they dive in like that, because it's one thing to say, "Okay, we'll give them exactly what they want." But sometimes by asking further questions, you even find out, "Okay, well, we can't design it this way, because if we did that's not exactly what they're trying to solve for. We need to consider all these other things." So I think ask, and then ask follow up questions, because you really want to understand where is it coming from, and how can you fix it.

Josh (19:10):

I'll tell you. I think that's the biggest challenge in designing feedback loops and then thinking about experience design is because most of the time we design toward what we are unconsciously already biased toward. Right?

Crystal (19:24):

Right.

Josh (19:25):

So we don't necessarily design and ask open ended questions. We'll ask follow up leading questions, because what we want is a good response. You know what I mean? If we ask questions that lead to the good response, then we pat ourselves ... back with, "Yes, I did it. I did it. Good. Okay. This is what I'm wanting to do, and I just got feedback saying I'm doing it well. Great." Okay.

Scott (19:44):

Is it or is it not true that the service is amazing, and that my existence is validated in your eyes? That's the underlying question that we just package in different ways, right?

Josh (19:54):

Exactly, exactly. I know it's hard, but that's also the gift though, I think, of understanding your business or your passion that you're bringing to the world as a business or solution. That's part of the gift that's wrapped up in that and going, "I get to make people's lives better because of what I'm offering here." If you don't believe that your product is really making people's lives better, then I kind of go, "What are you doing?"

Crystal (20:20):

Right.

Scott (20:21):

Let's talk tactics here. Let's say that I get over the emotional and mental hurdles of not ... I'm ready to actually reach out, expose myself, ask questions, to really understand the thoughts and feelings of my clients. Tactically, what have you found? Surveys? You have quantitative, you have qualitative approaches. What's a good first step for somebody that maybe is just getting into this world?

Josh (20:44):

The first good step, I would say is, is build some kind of automation, specifically around email. That's often the lowest hanging fruit. You capture ... You have some kind of design funnel or gate to either your content or your service or your trial, your free trial or something. You have something to where people are giving you permission to continue to talk to them.

Josh (21:09):

It could be that, over a period of time, they lose interest. Well, why? Help us understand. Many times you can look at that workflow. This design is simple. "Hey, just checking. It looks like you haven't opened up an email from us in three weeks," or whatever it is, understanding your sales cycle, understanding your particular business' workflow there dictates when that needs to be. It might be a week. It might be three weeks. It might be six months. "Hey, you've been on our list. We've loved you, but we're seeing you're not open up any of our content anymore. Are you still interested? Is there anything that we could do that we haven't?" Sometimes those are just really, really the easiest steps to do.

Scott (21:49):

Yeah. That's great. There's times when ... Another fear, we didn't talk about it, but another fear is like, I've got a list of a bunch of customers, and I don't really want to go ask all of them at once, because I don't have time today to even listen to everybody.

Scott (22:05):

So I like what you're talking about with building automation, it does two things. One, it creates consistency in your experience, so that you always have that touchpoint. Two, it also can spread out. If you're hitting everybody on a specified number of days after they signed up for your service, or something like that, there's a little spreading of that lovely peanut butter.

Josh (22:26):

I think that that's important as a brand strategy. It's important to develop ... That should be at least a piece of the content mix.

Josh (22:37):

But I think annualized surveys are really, really helpful too, especially around year end, year beginning. Those are such great timing, great cultural timing moments to connect with your audience. That gives you the ability to connect with them beyond just the transactional level.

Josh (22:53):

You can really even open up, "Hey, this is who we are. This is what we care about. This is what we're thinking about as we're going into this new year. It's causing us to pause and reflect, and wonder how we've done. This is who we aspire to be." You see that kind of stuff with Patagonia all the time. You see that with big brands that are going, "We are going to be focused on our mission, and we're going to change when we realize we haven't been, and we communicate that publicly."

Crystal (23:16):

Yeah. I feel like too, more and more, as technology becomes easier and easier to use, I feel like when you're looking at ... For a long time, we basically were saying follow up is so important for small business. But when I'm looking at it now, and why I love lifecycle marketing, is it's not just about follow up anymore. It's about follow through.

Crystal (23:37):

Customers want to see you from start to finish. They want to know that you hear them, and that they have a quick touchpoint with you if they, it. So I love, Scott, when you're talking about the lifecycle marketing, that it goes all the way to creating fans, and beyond that really, and making sure that we're constantly communicating with your customer. They need it, and they expect it these days.

Josh (24:01):

Yeah. I think Scott and I, we share a lot in common when we're talking about this. We might use slightly different language around it, but it's certainly thematically in parallel with each other. Because our audience, your audience, if you're listening now, your customers, one thing that unites us is we all understand what it means to feel like we are the means to someone else's end. You know what I mean? Used cars salesman get locked into being a joke for a reason. You know what I mean? That's not trying to hate on any used carsmen out there. But it is become its own thing for reasons.

Josh (24:38):

I think all of our audience inherently know, they have that button, they have that mechanism inside that gets tripped when they know, "Someone's just trying to take advantage of me," or, "They're saying this now, but they're not going to follow through it. It's not congruent."

Josh (24:51):

I talk about being in integrity. Your brand is not in integrity with itself, both organizationally, internally, and externally with your audience and all your marketing and everything else. Your customers see it. Your customers know it. They feel it. They reach out, and you don't even bother to respond. They'll send you a message on Facebook, and they don't hear back from you.

Josh (25:12):

These kinds of things happen all the time. So when we talk about designing feedback loops, yes, we should. But we have them already. There are feedback loops in front of us all day long already. We just, most of the time, we really have a hard time paying attention to them.

Crystal (25:25):

Definitely.

Scott (25:29):

I wonder if we could play a little brainstorm game here, and just think of a few tactical things, not that listeners need to think about trying to do all of these things, but even just some ideas that might help somebody get into the action of getting feedback. My experience is once people get into the action of it, if you're not already, it becomes very cathartic, and it'll grow from there.

Scott (25:51):

I think we've shared one concrete idea, which is put some automation in place somewhere in your customer journey, or in multiple places, that give you an opportunity to reach out and get feedback. That can be very simple. It could be a formal survey. It could be just an email that says, "Hey, how are we doing? What's working for you? What isn't?" It could be an invitation to have a deeper conversation.

Scott (26:13):

Obviously, if you can get on the phone with a client, and carve out enough time to do that, you can do what Crystal's recommending, which is you can start out at the surface level, and just start digging and digging. "Tell me why. Why is that important to you? Why that? Why that?" until you get really down to the root of those thoughts and feelings.

Scott (26:30):

What are some other tactics that we can share with our listeners? I've got one I can share thinking as well, but [crosstalk 00:26:37] Josh.

Josh (26:38):

Another great one that we see, and certainly we do a lot with our clients at Streetsense, is social listening. It's just running brand audits, and thinking about social listening, leveraging tools that are available out there. Certainly there's a whole range and whole host of those.

Josh (26:55):

But when people think about, or they are talking about us, again, we're very rarely in the room when they are talking about us. What are they saying? What's the nature, the makeup of what they're saying? Great tools will generate things like word clouds for you. It gives you a visual picture then, okay, what's the sentiment of what these conversations that are happening? That's another really great low hanging fruit that can be done.

Crystal (27:21):

Tactic for me would be put them in the room with you. I know one of the first things we started really working towards when I started at Keap was getting, Scott, you, Clate, all of our product team in front of our audience, so that you don't have to do live. We do live, but you can do ask me anythings. Get them talking to you so that they know you want to hear them.

Josh (27:45):

I love that.

Scott (27:46):

Yeah, I think the lives ... I'm sure everybody's seen lives by now. If not, you're probably living under a rock, but I'm not sure how many business owners have seen that as a tool for feedback. So I think it's a great point, Crystal. What ends up happening is you have this ability to ...

Scott (28:01):

In some cases, you can even be sharing your attempt at your message, and then gauging how it lands with people. I think if you open up, I'd imagine a business owner sharing with their audience, "Hey, here's what we're thinking about. This what we're doing. What works in this? What else can we be doing?" in a way that lets people give responses.

Crystal (28:23):

Totally.

Scott (28:23):

One other thing I really like to have business owners do is, and you can do this maybe in an opt-in form, when you're trying to collect a lead, you can do it later as a customer, but just ask people what their biggest problem is. You mentioned this earlier, Josh, about really getting to understand the problems. A simple question.

Scott (28:42):

People, I think ... I'm always surprised at the level of willingness people have to give you information. So that's one, you just get information, period. Two, I prefer to do things, at least you can do sort of ...

Scott (28:58):

You could, for example, on a form, have a dropdown that says, "Which of these are your biggest problem?" But you can also have open ended questions too, where you allow people to say, in their own words, what it is that they want to do. From a marketing perspective, there's nothing more valuable than being able to crawl inside the head of the people that you're trying to serve, understand what are the thoughts that are already going on inside of their mind. So that's a simple ...

Scott (29:23):

The tactic there is just put that question on an opt-in form. If you're giving away some, if you have some lead magnet or something you're allowing people to opt in, ask them, "What's your biggest problem with," whatever your arena is. Then take the time periodically to go evaluate those things. Create categorical buckets so that you understand, okay, are the top five problems that my people face, and this is how they talk about it. I think that's a huge success. I've seen when people do that.

Josh (29:47):

Yeah, I love that especially because in the beginning, you may not know much about what those are, but I think over time, you might find, as you really hone in and define your audience, you might start to see themes. You might say, "Okay. Our product is really designed or our solution is really meant to solve this kind of problem." So you might have three or four or five, six common ones of those. As opposed to an open ended form, it could be a radio form. Maybe you have those that are ... You have them select which ones those are.

Josh (30:21):

Well to your point, again, if they select which those are, and they give you that information, what a goldmine to leverage later down the road. If they don't eventually purchase, or maybe your sales cycle is six months, and again, you can trigger some kind of communication to go, "How is this problem working for you?" again, because you have that data. You can tailor, and you can contextualize your messaging directly to that.

Josh (30:47):

All of those things are going to reinforce value that, "Oh, they listened to me. They took what I said and they actually responded to me. That's fantastic."

Scott (30:56):

Exactly. Yeah. I'm glad you drew out that distinction, because while an open ended response does give you that nuanced understanding, a select pick one of these specific things ... Maybe the first step, if you feel like you're uncertain about these problem buckets, would be just ask people so you can get the details. Once you start to see the patterns, then you can come back, and you can put the patterned responses as options, with people still can give you verbatims. Then to your point, that's obviously the sweet spot of what Keap allows people to do. But now imagine coming in ...

Scott (31:30):

My wife has a business helping moms to not yell at their kids, for example. When she asked the question, "What's your biggest parenting problem?" If I say, "My biggest problem is my kids aren't listening to me." If then she was to start to follow up with a prospect that said that that was their biggest problem with something completely different, it's just a mismatch in the experience, versus that content being just nailing exactly what it is that I know that prospect is got the biggest problem around.

Josh (32:01):

Yeah, absolutely. I think when we miss that ... I think, Crystal, you were talking about this earlier. We see that in onsite engagement, time on site metrics, session duration. You thinking about, "Okay, we would expect somebody to land on this page. If this page is really connecting with them and aligning with what they're looking for, then we would expect this kind of behavior."

Josh (32:23):

When that behavior is not happening, then that leads us to understand, "Oh, we're probably missing it somehow." We can think through behavioral flow. You can think through that experience design, that funnel path, so to speak, and make adjustments as needed.

Scott (32:37):

Love it. Just to clear up a couple of terminology things. Dusey made a good note in here just from a verbatim standpoint. Technically, what we're talking about is if you have a form, and you're having people opt in, and you want to ask a question, verbatim just means give them an open-ended text box where they can type their answer in, versus there being a checkbox or a little radio button where they can select the answer. That way, they have the ability to type whatever it is that they want. Then you can evaluate it later.

Scott (33:05):

My last question, and we're getting short on time here, but my last question is I want to just talk to our audience a little bit about taking a step back. We've talked a lot about, conceptually, we want to understand the context that our prospects and customers are dealing with. We want to empathize with them, understand their problems. We want to hear feedback about how what we're already trying to do is resonating with them. We want to take their words as much as possible, and integrate that into the way that we then talk to our other prospects and customers.

Scott (33:39):

How would you instruct people on ... What does it actually look like to design an experience? Let's assume I've opened myself up to this feedback. Have you seen it to be successful to actually visually represent this somehow? What have you seen successful in terms of designing experience?

Josh (33:57):

Yeah. There's all kinds of ways. I think visual is helpful, because you can do experience mapping process that really walks through, okay, we would expect somebody to first engage us here. What would that look like? Is it a digital touchpoint? Is it a physical touchpoint? Is it an in-store environment? What are all these things, and think through. Then what's the outcomes? What's the outcome? What would we want to have happen at this point?

Josh (34:24):

At every one of those touchpoints, or every stage, so to speak, of the engagement or funnel, that's what you're looking at. You're looking at identifying what's our hope. What does that look like? Is it a digital, or is it a physical? Then what kind of outcomes could we get from that?

Josh (34:40):

Then thinking about ... I think the other great thing about experience design is trying to go, "Where are the opportunities for disconnection, and how do I mitigate those opportunities for disconnection?"

Scott (34:52):

We recently created a process we called our lifecycle marketing strategy session. Let's go ahead and put it in the show notes, because we allow people to do a ... We first have an assessment, which allows people to essentially evaluate their customer lifecycle, and essentially self-assess where you feel like you are. Then we have an application process where businesses can apply to have a strategy session, where we actually go through this entire customer journey, and allow you to basically document what plays you currently have in place for your customer journey, and visually see the gaps, and pull out some new plays that you could put in those places. It just seems like a relevant resource for somebody that wants to move forward in this.

Scott (35:35):

I really appreciate, Josh, how you helped us see how what we might think of as just marketing metrics, like what are people doing on the website, are they taking the offer, they're really about an experience.

Scott (35:48):

I hope that our listeners today, if something rings out in your ears, it's that you are creating an emotional experience for your customers, whether you like it or not, and that emotion is the primary driver of action. We like to think it's the logical part. It's really not. There's nothing logical about me walking into an Apple store and paying way too much money for a phone. It's an emotional experience that's been created. I do have to use my mind to logically justify it, but it is about creating emotion.

Scott (36:17):

I think we've given our listeners just great insight for anybody who has not yet been thinking from an experience design perspective, and thinking about the absolute value of tapping into your customer base for feedback loops. Josh, I appreciate your thoughts and contributions in our discussion today. I think people have a goldmine and some pretty cool, simple tactics too, that they can go implement right away.

Josh (36:39):

Well, thanks guys. Crystal, Scott, thank you seriously for having me on. I appreciate it. Certainly invite any listeners out there, come hook up. Find me on Twitter, LinkedIn. Look me up. [inaudible 00:36:49] sixsteps268, S-I-X S-T-E-P-S. The number's two, six, eight there. So @sixsteps268. You can find me basically on any platform there. Josh Collins on LinkedIn. Love to connect with you, and certainly always willing to have great conversations about how to better engage with our audiences.

Crystal (37:07):

He has great positive social content. It always makes me happy seeing your posts.

Josh (37:13):

I love that. Thanks, Crystal.

Crystal (37:14):

Yeah, of course. Thank you so much for being here. Scott, another doozy. [crosstalk 00:37:18]

Scott (37:18):

Another doozy. All right. Yeah. We're going to call that a wrap for this episode of Small Biz Buzz. Thanks, everybody.

Speaker 5 (37:24):

Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show, and leave a five-star rating. It helps keep the show going.

Speaker 5 (37:30):

And, if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com, and get started. More business. Less work. That's Keap.

Speaker 5 (37:41):

Hey, everyone. Today's show is brought to you by Beauty and the Boss by Maisha Hagan, the source for professional development for your inner boss lady. Maisha Hagan offers virtual one-on-one coaching, training and workshop experience gained as a multimillion dollar director and executive. We're not being paid to say this. We just believe in what Maisha and Beauty and the Boss can do for you. Take your growth to the next level with Beauty and the Boss at bosslady.com. That's bosslady.com.



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