Next up in our interview series is Louis Grenier! Louis is a Dublin-based digital marketer who previously founded a conversion optimisation consultancy called Slices, before recently moving to work for Hotjar. He has also started a digital marketing podcast called ‘Everyone Hates Marketers’.
Louis has an interesting perspective on marketing and one that focuses on building value and relationships over buzzy marketing ‘hacks’. It’s very refreshing and I think you are going to enjoy this one. I know I did!
#1. First, could you give a quick overview of your background and career to date? Also, one fun or interesting fact about you would be great (if you like!).
I’ve been working in digital marketing for the last 5 years but read plenty of books on the subject before that. Marketing is about understanding people to provide them with what they need, which is something that I love.
My first job in marketing was with a mobile marketing startup, I then launched my own business, burnt out (that’s an interesting fact, isn’t it?), and finally joined Hotjar as their Content Strategist a few days ago.
#2. Any digital marketing plan should be an integrated one, but that said, what is your ‘favourite’ digital marketing channel for building traffic, and why?
Building genuine relationships with people. In the age of growth hacking where everybody expects instant results, building relationships with people is the best way to grow your network, get new opportunities, be featured on an authority website, etc.
I always advise marketers to focus their attention on activities that will still work in 5, 10, or even 50 years.
#3. How do you think the average SMB is doing in terms of their online presence, and what could they be doing better?
A lot of SMB owners suffer from the fear of missing out. They are scared of missing out on the next big thing, are looking for new ways to get new customers every day, and are not spending enough time on just a few tactics to build momentum.
It’s ok NOT to be on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It’s ok NOT to copy what your competitors are doing.
Marketing requires discipline: come up a simple strategy using the book Good Strategy / Bad Strategy, focus on your attention on a few marketing activities (maybe SEO and building partnerships), and stick to it for at least six months.
#4. What has been your favourite role or large project to date, and why?
The digital marketing podcast “Everyone Hates Marketers” that I started a few months ago has been by far my most favourite project. Why? It enabled me to build connections with interesting marketers while learning A LOT in the process.
It’s also the first project where I take things really slow. I only focus my energy on releasing a new episode every week: I don’t spend much time promoting it because I let my guests do it for me.
#5. What are your top tips for driving traffic and conversions from a website perspective?
Narrow down your audience to the smallest size possible until it feels really uncomfortable. For example, my podcast is for digital marketers, working in tech, who are sick of shady marketing.
I know what you’re thinking: “But… I will miss out on so many opportunities.”
That’s not going to happen. You must start with the smallest audience possible so you can serve their interests perfectly. When somebody matching your audience description lands on your website, feeling that the copy has been written EXACTLY for her, she is much more likely to convert.
#6. What are 3 top metrics you feel SMBs and startups should be monitoring to track the ROI and impact of their digital marketing campaigns?
- Number of leads generated
- Number of incremental customers generated
#7. In terms of your specialist area within digital marketing, where are most people going wrong and what pieces are they missing?
My specialist area… That’s a tough one already. It’s difficult for me to pick one as I wear many hats but let me describe the biggest mistake most marketers make…
They don’t talk to people.
That sounds like a really simple statement, I agree, but think about it: digital marketers are spending hours in front of their computers, looking at endless spreadsheets, measuring everything they possibly can.
If you’re a marketer, you must take the time to talk to your customers (and potential customers). You must take the time to meet them face-to-face (that’s the best scenario), talk to them over the phone, or at least send surveys – all of that on a monthly basis.
You won’t believe the amount of value you’re going to get out of it.
#8. What are your biggest digital marketing no-no’s? Any stories of where things went wrong?
This is my specialty. Here’s an excerpt from my podcast “About” page:
- promoting an online webinar with “only 50 seats available” to push people to subscribe
- writing poor 300-word articles just to rank on Google with no consideration for people
- using bots to automagically “engage” with people on Instagram and send automated direct messages on Twitter
- using buzzwords that don’t make any sense and that have NO meaning (“best-in-class”, “client-focused”, “disruption”, etc…)
- using cheap stock photos
- following competitors every move instead of focusing on customers
- using the latest hack to take advantage of a loophole that will be fixed in a week
- interrupting people with huge popups or videos playing automatically
- sending emails to a list that don’t give a shit about you
- inviting people on LinkedIn just to spam them 10 minutes later
- using your personal details against your will and sending to third-parties so you can be spammed in return
#9. Finally, your plans and goals for the future and what you plan to focus on over the next year or two?
My personal goal is to make Internet a better place using good marketing. I’m very lucky to be working for Hotjar now as we share the same goal.
My focus for the next two years will be:
- to help Hotjar change the way digital experiences are built and improved by ‘Democratizing’ User Analytics and Feedback
- to keep fighting bad marketing with my podcast
Thanks for the interview Louis!
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