For our last show of 2020 we talk recap the year and talk about what your focus should be in 2021.
What’s In This Episode?
This is our last episode of 2020 as the Creative Juices team is taking a short hiatus. We will be back in 2021! In the meantime, find out what your focus should be on in the new year by listening to this episode.
Josh: Today we want to share some of the lessons we’ve learned in 2020 that will drive our focus, and hopefully also your focus in 2021.
Welcome to Creative Juices, the show where we help you feel personally confident about your online presence.
I’m your host Josh and today I am joined by Julz.
Julz: Hey Josh!
Josh: How you doing?
Julz: Good mate.
Josh: We’re getting towards the end of 2020.
Julz: We are, and what a year it has been!
Josh: Absolutely hectic!
Julz: Can you… can you hear the slight tiredness in my voice?
Josh: Man! It has been a hectic year…
Julz: It has been!
Josh: …more hectic for some than others and I just want to say that man, we’re grateful to be working with allied health clinics!
Julz: We are!
Josh: We’ve seen allied health clinics grow, pivot, change, everything!!
Julz: All the roller coaster of it! It’s been a roller coaster. Yeah.
Josh: So this entire year, some people have been calling it a write-off, but in our experience we’ve actually seen some pretty big wins for a lot of our clients in allied health. Like I mentioned, this whole year has been a year of pivoting. That would have to be the most used word that we have used over the last few months, that it’s all about pivoting, that all of the restrictions came in and most businesses in the entire world realize that oh crap, we need to go online! And so, that’s…
Julz: Or they were online and realized they were five years behind.
Josh: So there were entire business plans re-looked at.
Josh: Entire online strategies re-looked at. There were new people hired, agencies fired and hired.
Julz: New technology, new software, new… you know, all of that!
Josh: I mean, I just want to say one thing. How great would it be to be the owner of Zoom this year?
Julz: Should have got the shares, right?
Julz: And Afterpay.
Josh: The shares of Zoom have skyrocketed! Insane!
So we’re going to chat a little bit about 2020, and then moving into 2021. I do need to mention that for Creative Juices we will be taking a bit of a hiatus.
Julz: Yes. We’ve got a lot of work on actually. So all of those people that are wanting to get ready for 2021, those planned out people have already booked us out. So, we’re going to be head down, tail up going hard.
Josh: Absolutely! So our focus for a time, we’re going to be taking a break from this episode until 2021.
Julz: And we hope that you guys manage to get a break as well.
Josh: Absolutely! So what we’re going to do in this episode, we’re just going to look at hey what are some things that we’ve learned over 2020, and also what can you the listener look forward to for 2021. And we’re going to help you work out what should you be focusing on. What’s new in the online space…
Josh: …so that you can at least think about it over the next few months before 2021, while you’re Christmas shopping.
So to kind of start us off, Julz, online, what are some of the major trends that we have seen over the last year?
Julz: Yeah, I guess it kicked off as a pretty standard year actually, just like going right back into like January and things and then obviously Covid hit. So I think that people had a plan in their heads of what they thought they were going to do with their marketing and things like that, and then obviously with the lockdown, the big trend went Telehealth. I mean, we know that there was a massive, massive push for that and I think we found that it worked for some and it didn’t work for others.
Josh: Absolutely! Well the government like released all of these grants to get everyone on Telehealth.
Josh: All the allied health clinics.
Julz: Absolutely. So that was definitely one big trend. For sure. We noticed a lot of… throughout that time… people requesting… well looking harder actually at their SEO.
Julz: And I know we’ve talked extensively about SEO and search engine optimization and things like that, and you can check out all those previous podcasts and things like that, but I guess what we found at the end of the day was this greater misunderstanding of SEO…
Julz: …than I’ve probably realized. And I think moving forward, our role will be a little bit of like that educating as well.
Josh: Absolutely! So like 2020… like it was a lot of small business owners delving into the unknown.
Julz: Yeah and… yeah.
Josh: Yeah. And SEO is a convoluted…
Julz: Well, it is! And then you know, the term gets thrown around so loosely and it’s one of those like we’ve mentioned, buzzwords that people pick up on and then they throw your way, but they really have no understanding of what SEO is. And to get into the depths of it, yeah. That was a steep learning curve for us as well, and trying to manage people’s expectations around it and things like that too.
Josh: Yeah. Absolutely! So…
Julz: Because all of a sudden, like you know, sorry the online space became the most competitive space out of all of it! Nobody’s walking down the street. You don’t have that… you no longer have that… what do you call it… privilege of people seeing your shop window and things like that. All of a sudden everything is online.
Josh: And that’s one thing that we notice particularly with Google Ads, because it’s more pronounced there.
Josh: Suddenly everyone decided to hop on Google Ads because they’ve recognized that oh man I need to focus online!
Josh: And then, the amount of turbulence that that created as every single competitor, it seemed like, was hopping onto Google Ads and it’s the same as SEO. It’s the same as everything!
Julz: Yeah. I mean even now, you’re still seeing the effects of that as people coming out of lockdown and the turbulence that you have experienced with different clients.
Julz: Oh yeah! Melbourne! Yep.
Julz: So that’s probably one of them. One of the other ones probably about midway through the year, maybe just after midway through the year was a big push for shops.
Josh: Yeah. Online shops.
Julz: Online, e-commerce. So we had a number of requests coming through for them, and yeah. I guess we spoke about that in a previous podcast, just about counting the cost of actually running and owning an online e-commerce store, and are you going to do it well and all that kind of thing.
Josh: And then even bigger than that, I think one thing that’s highlighted for me dealing with a lot of Google Ads is that a lot of people don’t understand the value of online. So even the benefits of having a website. Everyone knows that they should have a website but everyone also wants it for like a hundred bucks or a few hundred bucks.
Julz: Yeah! No I think I saw a comment in Clinic Mastery’s channel the other day from Ben saying how it is often the first point of contact that a patient will have with your clinic, so…
Julz: …what impression are you giving?
Josh: And if it’s the first point of contact for a patient, then your website is the thing that will most likely convert that patient!
Julz: Yeah, yeah.
Josh: And so where the disconnect is, is that the average… let’s say a Physiotherapist client, usually the average lifetime value of that client sits at around a thousand bucks, 800 bucks or whatever. Now I guess the question that we’ve been asking a lot over the last year is, well is a website… like your website will be paid off after like how many clients? Eight clients or whatever. 10 clients like….
Josh: Easy! Worth it!
Josh: But it’s all of this unknown particularly for small business owners. And I guess I’ve got a question for you Julz.
Josh: You mentioned like Telehealth. There was a big push for Telehealth which… also a big push for going online, but for Telehealth you mentioned that the results were kind of varied. Why do you reckon that is?
Julz: It’s definitely down to the service, and this was definitely the feedback that we got from different clinic owners. Obviously like psychology and things like that took off, you know, books are full, full. You can have a chat over Zoom, it’s as easy as, but for those other kind of osteos and podiatrists in particular, some physios managed alright, but for those really hands-on kind of clinics, it’s just the barrier.
Julz: It’s that that human touch barrier where it’s like you’ve… it’s anti-Covid you know what I mean? There’s no social distancing when it comes to hands-on therapy. So…
Josh: Yeah, absolutely! Like osteopathy and all of that, massive drop-offs for Telehealth.
Julz: Yeah. So there’s probably a push into… I think they managed in a way to consult but the… the actual physicalness of, yeah not being able to… you kind of have to explain how to foam roll and things like that over… it’s more difficult.
Josh: Yeah. And I think that for me, that highlights one thing and most particularly it comes back to what your service structure and what your business plan is. Like if like yes, Telehealth was something that was being pushed really hard but it didn’t really work, so why do you… why would you focus on Telehealth if you are in those hands-on things?
Josh: Is it a vanity exercise?
Julz: Well no. I think that people… it was a new thing and I think that people had to explore it.
Julz: They had to go down that road. I don’t think people had a choice at the time and so… but I found that there were those clinic owners that were like you know, at the end of the day I’m just going to focus, keep the main thing, the main thing and keep my eyes on the prize for that, and they came out on the other end doing really well actually.
Julz: And I think that that calmness amongst business owners, that there are two different types of people in the world, but there are those that can deal with pressure pretty well and those that can’t or don’t. Don’t manage so well. But we found that the ones that keep a cool head, keep their vision higher than what is being focused on immediately, those are the guys that came out really well.
Josh: Yeah. Absolutely! So let’s get a bit more specific, and I want to ask you when it comes to the actual approach that we have taken towards online, like websites, marketing all that kind of stuff, what would be like some of the major changes or focuses that we have learnt during 2020?
Julz: I think that we came into the year still heavily emphasizing performance, security, user experience, things like that. And I think throughout the year it kind of shifted into maybe a little bit more content focused. You know, what am I actually putting on my site?
Julz: What is the wording? What is the photography? How is this… how’s my business being represented? And so there was this kind of shift and a push more towards that kind of content heavier focus, quality blogging and content and um…
Josh: Yeah. Absolutely. Like… so at the start of this year Google released an algorithm update called Burt, and it was all about language and your wording and content. They also delayed releasing their major update which was the core web vitals, which is happening next year.
Julz: Just back into those trends, and this is a big one that I think we need to touch on as well is that pushing out of August-September, coming into September-October, even November, huge push, huge trend for careers and join our team pages. It seemed like when restrictions eased, clinics were pushed to capacity as everybody needed to you know, get their therapy done and all of a sudden all these clinics are pushed out to 100-110% booking capacity, and they’re desperately looking for staff.
Julz: And new people to come on board. So we have… we’ve changed our design of our join our team pages. It’s still a work in progress because you know, we’ve got a lot of clients now thankfully. Thank you! And you know, there is this push, so we are updating those pages. So that was probably another little design trend that shifted out. Less about like basic content or a paragraph and apply online, now it’s like we want to get an intro video into your team, and you know, we want to hear from you why would I want to work at you know, this place? What’s your vision? What’s your values? What do I get out of it and so, a bit more extensive, a snapshot into the culture of the business.
Josh: And well it kind of goes along with what we were talking about with the focus on content.
Josh: It’s like we want that similar approach to every service, every condition and enjoying our team. It’s the same thing!
Julz: Yeah, and the flip side of that actually is the feedback from the clinics is saying well, if I want to get the best practitioners on board, then my website needs to be up to scratch, because if that’s where they’re applying and it looks like crap, then why would I want to join a place that looks super average?
Josh: Yeah. Absolutely!
Julz: You know… I wouldn’t. You know… it’s not like you’re going to jump on some place that’s just built some weird HTML kind of index PHP website that’s like 1990’s. I mean it doesn’t sound like an up-to-date kind of cool place to work for!
Julz: So it’s got to represent!
Josh: Yeah. Well it’s like the website is really your storefront now.
Josh: Particularly through Covid times
Julz: So I’ve seen a big push too, for people to lift their game and it’s actually made people look at what their practice looks like.
Julz: Across the board.
Josh: Absolutely! So let’s look at 2021.
Josh: Based on what we’ve learned in 2020, what should be the focus for next year? I mean, we have a few focuses which we’re going to share which will apply to our listeners as well, but do you have any like predictions or main focuses that you think we should be focusing on for 2021?
Julz: Look, I know that we bang on about performance and security and things like that all the time and that’s a given. Let me be frank and blunt. If your developer and the person that you’re approaching to redo a website potentially, if they are not bringing this stuff up and there’s some really quick ways to test if they pull out quality work, even if you want to run it by us. Some of you have portfolio items… I’ve done this before and looked extensively into how they build sites, and if they’re not set up correctly then… you know, the foundations are just… what are you working with!!
Julz: So, for me, I’m kind of moving on from that to be honest. Like it’s just a given. If your site isn’t structurally sound, set up properly for SEO, if it’s not secure, if it doesn’t have a CDN, all these kind of technical bits and pieces, if your site map is crap, you know… it’s like that’s just a given these days! It should be part of the process!
Josh: I mean it should be…
Julz: It should be, but it’s not!
Josh: It’s not!
Julz: And so…
Josh: So, we’re assuming that that foundation is built.
Josh: If you’re listening to this and you’re like… well, I don’t know about that, we have heaps of resources.
Julz: You can test your site…
Josh: …and podcasts. You can test it, all of that. But, like what we’ve noticed particularly this year is that while Google was like yeah, you need to push the performance and the security, they’re also kind of…
Julz: Looking forward!
Josh: Yeah. They’re looking forward and they’re evolving their systems into something totally different, which is what we want to focus on too… as well, right?
Julz: Yeah. Like I feel like we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on our performance and security and things like that, those ranking factors that Google pulled in a couple years back.
Julz: But the industry is shifting now, and I think that a lot of people are going to be playing catch up real hard, real soon, as in next year, when they do release this final update. I think it’s going to rock the digital world!
Julz: And people aren’t going to know what’s hit them… I mean… yeah.
So moving away from that because I feel like we’ve nailed down that side of things… and yeah… and so, it’s now coming into what you mentioned before about those core web vitals and digging into going okay, what does this look like for Google and how does this apply to our website builds, our current clients even? And what does it mean for us moving forward? What are we going to suggest and do? So, I know that even this morning we were talking about cumulative layout shift and for us in total transparency, that means that elements on the page when it’s loading is shifting around, and we don’t want that to happen. So, we found a small bug where it was shifting between desktop and mobile, and so we’re going to go through all of our sites and tweak that to make it work so that that CLS doesn’t happen. These are the little tiny things that are going to help. Google will be able to read that page better. And then I guess, a totally different aspect of it would be… well from your perspective, would be landing pages. I know that we’re shifting our model on that.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely! So what we’re kind of looking at is all of this… it’s got to do with serving up the correct content to the user. So like we don’t want elements to shift because we want users to be able to have a good experience. The other thing is our approach has been making a whole load of condition pages. So it’s particularly for like for health clinics. It’s like you go onto the page and it’s like these are all the conditions that we help with and overall that’s a good approach, but what we’re looking at is, we we’re looking at transitioning a lot to just landing pages.
Julz: So what that means for people out there, they’re not necessarily public. They’re not in the main menu. We’re making a data driven decision on this because we found that some of these pages have got extremely low traffic but they convert really well…
Julz: …when it comes to search intent.
Julz: You’re targeting that kind of thing, right?
Josh: Yeah. So the approach is like let’s not have them all in like the main top level header kind of thing, because when people get onto your site, if you’re a physio they’re not going to go oh I want to go with this physio because look at all of the conditions they treat!
Josh: No! They’re on your site because they have a condition that needs to be treated.
Julz: And they know that you treat it!
Julz: That’s what physios do.
Josh: Absolutely! And so, while some of the condition pages may still be relevant, the majority of those condition pages we’re going to be converting to landing pages, and just driving Google Ads. And so, the Google Ads will be focused on “are you experiencing lower back pain” and then having a landing page for lower back pain.
Julz: Yeah, and then expanding out the user experience on that page, so there’s no exit intent and things for people to get away from that page. We’re really nailing in on conversion, driving well primed people who are ready to convert to well optimised…
Josh: We’re trying to match the user intent with the content that they’re actually landing on. And the other thing is that if you end up over populating the header with all of these conditions, it’s just making it a lot harder and a lot more confusing to actually drive people to where you want them to get to.
Julz: Yeah, exactly! Exactly! That makes me think about… that’s a great point about people wanting to find that uh…
Josh: The user intent.
Julz: Yeah, yeah, the user intent. So back onto the more of the organic SEO I guess, if you will, and the content creation, I think there’s been an approach of what do I want to put up on my website?
Julz: And it’s a selfish thing, and it can come across that way. Whereas, I think it really needs to shift in 2021 to… um you know, what do my users want, what do they need, what are they looking for, what are they asking about, and creating content around that!
Josh: Well if Google’s heading down the way of user experience, and their goal is always to show the most relevant information to the user based on their intent. And so, that’s another thing we’ve noticed in 2020, like this year, a massive focus for us has been on making sure that all of the local SEO stuff is all set up so that you’re actually serving up your services and products to the people who can make use of that service.
Josh: The local guys!
Julz: Exactly! Exactly. And I’ll say that on like a design front, because you know, there’s a big emphasis on design and things like that. Everybody wants a pretty website!
Julz: Whatever… which is fine, but as a graphic designer like my past is in graphic design, so I love great design. You know, it’s something that I froth over, but what I am finding is that trying to pair that with Google, there are certain things that search engines like, and there are certain things that they do not like. And so, matching out that design with the technicals, it’s a fine balance! Yeah, so I guess it’s coming down into sharpening up, like from my perspective, what really makes our website stand out and appear to be different, the foundations will be the same, but it’s coming back to the branding.
Julz: So, if you’re unhappy with your branding, maybe look at a refresh for 2021, and an update for you know… your colour swatches and things that are going to pop and stand out and not just fade away into the oblivion of stock photography.
Josh: Like an example of what you’re talking about is that like one of the major ones we’ve seen is that Google doesn’t like titles with bad contrast. So all of those sites that you see with massive images filling the whole page and then like a text overlay, in many cases we find that Google goes there’s not enough contrast between the text and the image. And so one of the approaches we’ve taken with a lot of our websites over the last year has been the… like a minimal, more of a minimal approach, because where we’re going, we want Google to like this, but it’s also like a double-edged kind of sword, where it’s like we also want to be able to focus the user towards where we want them to go, and the only way to do that is with white space.
Josh: If you fill that white space with all these other little things it just gets overwhelming. It may look pretty, but it’s not driving the conversions.
Julz: And from a design perspective, we were taught, you know, in university, where do you want that person’s eye to be drawn to?
Julz: And so, art directors and advertising agencies will actually pull back their artwork onto a wall, stand five meters back from it and go where’s my eye going? And if they can’t pinpoint an actual… anything on the page, then they need to go back to the drawing board.
Julz: I guess that’s the call to action, right?
Josh: Absolutely! So if we were just to recap for 2021 in terms of what should you focus on, and what are we going to be focusing on, it’s going to be matching up user intent with content. So like landing pages, local SEO, making sure that you’re actually reaching the people who would engage, looking at your design. Like focus people towards where you want them to go and then the given is that everything is technically set up correctly.
Josh: Is there anything else?
Julz: Well to add to that, one of the… one of the focuses that I’m going to be working on and we’re working on this at the moment is creating a model that’s going to keep users on the site longer. I think this… I can’t stress this enough! When Google can see that a visitor to your site spends a long time hanging out there, what that says to the search algorithm is that this content is really valuable.
Julz: And so there’s a few methods that I’m implementing into our… I don’t know… a model if you call it that, that’s going to really drive that.
Julz: Now I’m talking epicness from like logins, to courses, to you know, just drawing people back in through quality content. We’ve already got a couple clients lined up that are heading this way, so I’m really, really excited about that, and we’re right in the middle of development, and we should be ready for that next year.
Josh: And one of the major reasons for doing this is because we’ve come across so many people who are redirecting people off their website to external sites, external resources, and it’s like your website’s suffering because you’re pushing them away!
Julz: Away! Yeah, exactly! So we’re working on retention, keeping people in there, on there because what it does is yeah, exactly what I was saying! If a person can land there, stay there, Google’s like oh yeah! This is a good site. Yeah, there must be some quality content going on here!
Josh: Absolutely! So, if you can in 2021 focus on I guess, one thing, it would be asking the question how do I keep people on my site for as long as I can, because I don’t want them to go to other websites? So write long form blogs, write great content!
Julz: It’s the most valuable commodity. We’ve got nothing else but people’s time!
Julz: And so Google knows that.
Josh: Absolutely! So are there any other things you want to mention for 2021?
Julz: No that’s it.
Josh: Okay, I’ve got a personal question. Let’s end off on this and then we’re going to take our hiatus until 2021. Julian what would be one of the standout things that you have learned this year personally?
Julz: One thing?
Josh: One thing!
Julz: Oh man! There’s been so many! In terms of business, I’ll go business for that. I think that has been internal processes and looking at… really looking at what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and tweaking that out. So it’s been awesome having a different perspective of Em, my wife coming in on board more so this year, and picking up on a few things that I have been doing, and it’s forced us to re-look at our systems and our processes. And I guess the fruit of that has been better build times, quicker build times, better communication. Yeah, higher retention rates… yeah.
Josh: Working smarter not just harder!
Julz: Yeah. Both. It’s been a big year!!
Julz: What about you mate? I gotta ask you!
Josh: Well, one thing that I’ve learned is choosing who you listen to and to learn from. I’ve been very… because of everything that I do in life, and as well as being a father in that biggest lesson I’ve learned is choosing the voices you listen to. So, being able to sit in like with this team learning from you guys and then even outwardly it’s like looking at coaches, mentors, that kind of thing.
Julz: Yeah! Cool.
Josh: Absolutely massive! You can grow a lot quicker with the help of someone else who can objectively just speak into your weaknesses and strengths.
Julz: Very good. Very good.
Josh: Absolutely! So that’s us I guess…
Julz: I guess it’s Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Josh: Absolutely! So yeah. Again, we are going on a hiatus. You will hear back from us in 2021 and in the meantime, you can still test your site for free on our website. If you’re questioning well am I set up correctly, do I have what it takes to grow online in 2021, just reach out to us and yeah! Have a great Christmas…
Julz: Stay safe!
Josh: …and have a Happy New Year!