Joe Balestrino has over 20 years of expertise in Internet marketing. He specializes in digital marketing, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising. Joe explains how Google AdWords has evolved dramatically over the previous 20 years. He offers advice for individuals on a tight budget and discusses the difference between internet marketing advertising and how to ensure your landing page is effective.

Talking Points:

{01:10} Joe’s deep domain expertise and marketing experience.

{05:45} The minimum budget for an organization to gain traction?

{09:25} Common mistakes made with google ads. 

{11:25} Increasing leads without increasing traffic

{13:30} Negative keywords

{19:45} Comparing SEO, Pay per click, and Social Media Marketing

{22:00} Creating effective landing pages

{32:30} Advice for the next generation of marketers

Resources and Links:

Connect with Tom Finn

Welcome to the Talent empowerment Podcast where we support purpose-driven transformation and share the great stories of CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all backgrounds. So, you can borrow their vision, their tools, and their tactics to lift up your organization, your teams, and of course, your community.

I am your host Tom Finn, and on the show today we have Joe Balestrino. Joe, welcome to the show, my friend.

Thanks for having me, Tom. I appreciate it.

Well, we are thrilled to have you. And if you don't know, Joe, let me just take a second to introduce him to you. He's an Internet marketing expert with over 20 years of experience. He's got expertise in digital marketing and SEO and pay-per-click and a ton of other deep domain knowledge. He owns agencies. He's worked for agencies; he's done a ton of work in consulting. He's been a freelancer and of course, a guy like that with deep domain expertise and talent has authored a few books and guides on Amazon that will help you get those and download those as well, and he can help you with your digital marketing, and the marketing of your business online. He's a wealth of knowledge and I'm thrilled to have him on the show today.

Joe, with all of this deep domain expertise, what are you most proud of in your marketing experience?

What am I most proud of? I guess if I had to put it on one thing, I think it's my ability to still be in marketing after 20 years that I haven't gotten burned out, that I still find it exciting that I still do it. You know, every day, all day, it's something like when I was younger, I never thought I would come across something that I would love as much because you know a lot of times a job is just that. It's just the job you put your hours in and then you're done. But I find marketing to be something that's challenging. It's never the same day, you know, and it's always something new and something new to learn, something new, to discover something new to try out, or a new client to bring on so to me. That’s something that I'm really proud of.

And so, what changed in the last 20 years, right, a little bit, a few things have changed. Is there, is there something that you remember from the early days that is so wildly different today?

There's so much like ranking in Google, you know, back in the day, Google would just update every three months, sometimes longer. So, if you had the number one spot, you know you would be locked in for the next three months until there was another update. And so, you were good as gold until that next update, but if you were in a bad position, then you would have three months to kind of get yourself together to try to figure out what you did wrong.

So that you can then try to be in a better position the next time an update is rolled out, so things like that like updates, link building, how you rank websites back in the day I work with publishers now where they want to get into Google News and they want to rank their content and back in the day it was all about uploading, you know thousands of URLs on a site map and just let Google Crawl it, even if those pages weren't on the website. And they would just rank. Now it's like it's got to be a certain number of clicks. And as content gets buried deeper within the website, it doesn't rank as well because you know the user can't navigate to it.

So, if the user can't navigate to it, Google's not going to rank it. And so, like all of those things have kind of changed over time and some of them, you know, some of those things make sense, but back then you were, you know, you were living in the moment and just trying to make sure, you know, you did whatever keyword stuff you had to do in the footer, or you'd hide your text a little bit to try to get that keyword, relevancy in. But nowadays, you know, Google's way more, you know, way smarter now.

Yeah, well, well said. I remember those days when you tried to hide things in the footer and get credit for hiding them in the footer. So now that we sort of pivot towards today, and the modern-day here. We are in 2023, As we're recording this episode, what does somebody do for Google ads today? For example, how do you get engaged with Google ads? Give us a couple of pro tips that somebody could use if they're a leader of marketing or a leader of a small business.

So, Google ads have changed a lot and especially recently when Google changed how it looks at match types. You had the exact phrase, broad modified, broad, and now Google has done away with the modified broad, and exact is not really exact.

So, there's a lot there; and you know people Google's pushing doing more broad matches. But a lot of people don't really understand how Google works. They take all the keywords they think they should rank for. They should show up, dump it into one ad group, and then they wonder why, after a couple of weeks there's no performance because it's not set up that way. It's not structured the way it should be. Or they're just reliant on, you know, and everybody knows that... Most people know that ads are an auction, so whoever's willing to bid the most gets that highest spot.

But then there are other things that Google has like Pro Max and Discovery. There are other things that you can test and try, even in my own business where I've been on keywords where, you know 15 years ago they were $25 a click, now they're $100 a Click. Transferring over to something like Discovery will get me clicks a lot cheaper. I can't narrow in and focus as much as I would like to, but it's still the results that are there and it comes down to, you know, testing and being willing to spend money to get that data and a lot of smaller businesses that come across. That they'll sell homes for thousands of dollars, but they want to spend $30 a day and it's kind of hard-to-get data, engage what works and what doesn't work when, when, when you're thinking with, you know, small budgets.

So, what do you think the minimum budget is for an organization to gain some traction? It's obviously not $30.00 a day from your example. What does it look like?

It depends on what the product is with the services which you stand to make, right? If you're running a house cleaning business and your average sale is 40-50 dollars, then you know maybe a 5/10-dollar conversion rate is valid. But if you're a software company and you know the lifetime value of a customer Is $10,000; then you know, starting with a $ 50.00-a-day budget doesn't make sense because those keywords are probably going to be more competitive and you're not. You don't have a large enough budget to compete in that market space.

So, it all comes down to how much you stand to make and what's lifetime value. So, if you have a service-based business, you know and you spend $100 a day, and you spend that for 30 days, but on average you know the person that you bring in generates that monthly spend and you know generates that monthly Revenue for you in one month. I would typically say one month or half of that what one customer would bring you into ads. So, you can get data.

Because a lot of people don't understand that. You know, there are probably 100 different ways or thousands of different ways that people can search for what you offer. But there's only going to be a portion of those that actually, you know, bring your business. But if you're not spending enough to find out what those keywords are, because if you have, let's say you have 50 keywords and your budget only allows you to get 2 clicks a day, you know for the next 30 days all those keywords could just get one click and at the end of 30 days you'll say I spent this much money, but I didn't get any results and it's because your budget was just too small; usually what I tell customers is if you have a small budget focus on one service, one product. Spend as much as you can, and that one focus. And then as you're profitable, then move on to the next service business instead of trying to take a small budget and spread it across every service or every product that you have.

Yeah, that's great advice. So, I think what I heard is… Look, if you've got multiple offerings, whether you're a product or a service company and you've got a smaller Budget for your Google ads, focus on one thing, and that way you'll get really narrow and deep on that one thing, and you'll be able to see more revenue as a result of your expertise in that one.

Yeah, especially if you're limited by, you know, you're limited by budget, but to also be, you know, if you're, if you're a law firm and you know you want to generate X amount of cases and cases, you know, a certain amount of leads and you know, you're in New York City and there's a lawyer every 2 feet from you, then there's a lot of competition.

And so if you want to compete in space. You have to have the budget or focus on a service that's either very specific or that it's a business that you either want to do the most work in, that generates the most revenue, or change the focus maybe you're in New York City and the competition is fierce, but maybe in Queens, it's not as fierce, and maybe, you know, changing your location or changing, you know, the practice area that you're focusing on is going to be a better way to do it than try to go up against, you know, bigger law firms that have larger money.

Yeah, that's great advice because the law firm’s example is pretty straightforward. We can visualize a large law firm in New York with lots of cases and make good revenue and income for the firm. You've got to sort of scale it up, is what you're saying when you're playing in those deeper, richer markets.

Yeah, absolutely

Are there common mistakes that you see people make in advertising on Google?

You know, outside of the budget, it's just not setting up keywords that are aligned with what they do. So, like an example, again with lawyers, you may do corporate counsel services and you may do, let's say you're a big law firm and you do a personal injury, you wouldn't put personal injury and any kind of litigation or anything like that all-in-one ad group, because then you're not speaking to 1 audience.

You know, like if I do SEO and pay. I wouldn't put my SEO keywords in my paid search keywords in one ad group and then send it to the homepage because I have specific pages that talk to each and the reason for that is not only to rank organically for those individuals but also you know somebody looking for SEO services got different needs than somebody looking for paid search. Right. If somebody's running paid search and spending money, they're run up against different problems and issues than somebody doing SEO.

So, being able to have those individual pages allows me to focus on the keywords that go to those pages, which allows me to focus more on those keywords in an ad, right? If you have too many things, if I'm doing web design and see on paid search and I try to cram all those keywords into one ad, it's not, you know, resonating with one particular audience because you don't know which headline is going to show when they search. If everything is more specific, I can tailor that message specifically to the pain points. I know people have paid search or pain points. I know people with SEO and those ads could speak to those topics individually. Now I get a better click-through rate to get a better-quality score. I get a better chance of converting and doing all those, even though they take some time, you get a better performance out of that.

Yeah, well, well said. So how does somebody increase leads without increasing traffic or is that an impossible equation?

You can increase leads if you're doing paid searches by just cutting out keywords that don't convert or convert at too high of a cost, right? So, you have to have an idea of what your cost per acquisition is or what you're willing to pay per lead. If you're saying I'm willing to spend up to $25 to get a lead because you know I closed four leads. So, for every $100 I spend, I get one lead… one good lead that comes. Hurt. Then I can say, OK, I stand to make $500.00. And to me, that's a good model.

So, then anything that's converted over that, let's say I have keywords that converted at $50.00 or $75 or $100 or maybe they went over $100, and they never converted, then I would get rid of them. And I would also look at the keywords that those keywords generated; because there's a section called search terms where whatever keywords you have in your ad group generate other searches that are more specific, right?

If you're bidding on SEO services, somebody may search for who has the best SEO services so you can see all those searches there and you can start finding keywords that are... Or searches that are being conducted that don't pertain to your business, maybe somebody's looking for certification, you show up certification, now you add certification as a negative keyword or somebody's looking for training or courses. Well, if that's not what you offer, then you add those as negative keywords.

And as you do that you're cutting where money is being wasted and now funneling more of that money into keywords that are converting, and you'll convert more once you find out what the negative keywords should be or cut the keywords that are converting to high or not at all. Now you're pushing more of that budget 2 keywords that are converting and you'll get more of those conversions.

Yeah, I love this idea of negative keywords, right? You're really trying to identify what people are clicking on that creates zero value for you and you're trying to eliminate them ultimately so that you can zero in on the actual product market fit and your actual customer is the right way to think about negative keywords.

Yeah, I think negative keywords are just, you know, things that Google thinks and you know, that's why Google's gone the route with, you know, making exact, not exact to get more of a wider audience. But when you go wide, you tend to create a lot of irrelevant traffic, and so is part of whoever is managing the ads, is to go in there and just get rid of those keywords that are not relevant and while you're going through that, you may find keywords that are relevant that maybe should be in its own ad group, or can be added to your account because they're good and they're converting at a, you know, reasonable cost per conversion. And so, looking there is one place to go to get insights, and there are a lot of other places you can look at the time of day, the day of the week, locations, and demographics. Do you know who converts more, men or women? What ages are they converting at?

I had a customer once who ran a power washing company or did run a power washing company. And I'll tell you that story in Florida. And when I interviewed him, I said, well, who's yours, who's your target demographic? Who calls you mostly? And he said, well, it's the older people cause, you know, I do power washing and people go on the roof and they don't want a power wash because they're older. I said that makes sense, I said, but for the 1st 30 days, 45 days, I'm just going to, you know, see what Google tells me. Because I like to know what customers think and sometimes customers don't know what they think and don't know what they don't know. And so, after about 30/45 days, I realized that he was partially right, right for his customers were older people, but it was the generation before the children that were calling and booking.

So, when I started seeing that data, I was able to spend more money on those that were younger and still spend money on the older generation but cut back on how much I get in front of them because they were converting at a high cost. And then over, you know, the course of several months, he was getting more leads and I think six months in he wound up selling his business. Because he had enough business and somebody was interested in acquiring, you know the business, because once we homed in the keywords that were generating and we homed in on the audience, then it was just the process of making sure we were maintaining everything. And then it was just, you know, running as is.

So that's a great story and it leads to another question that's sort of playing around in my mind, and I think it's probably playing around in the minds of everybody else as well, is Google and Google ads. Now the Holy Grail is this the only way to generate business for small and medium-sized companies anymore?

I would say not really cause you to know in my opinion Google Ads has gotten more expensive and you have to be very meticulous with what you do and be willing to spend money to make money. I have clients that spend 30, 40,000 dollars a day. I had a client for years. I was spending $300,000 a day, so it's not impossible. But I guess the saying that I tell everyone that I speak to is whenever you're doing online advertising, or any kind of advertising is not to put all your eggs in one basket. Is to try things you try things, especially when things are going well right cause.

Usually, people want to do things when things are slow, they don't have money and then they want to generate business and it's hard to do that. But when business is booming, maybe you have a seasonal business, like lawn care or pest control or something like that, where the warmer weather sparks a lot of business. Then you start trying to do other things. You try Facebook ads; you try other social media. You try, you know Angie’s list. You try all these other things. Some people out there still do Craigslist ads, which is surprising to me, but they still do it because it generates some kind of business.

But if you're not constantly trying to evolve and grow because the idea is if you spend a certain amount of money in a channel and you hone it in and you know if you spend X amount of dollars, you're going to generate X number of leads which generates X amount of revenue. Then you can think well, if I throw more money, if I double my money, hopefully, it's going to double my revenue and I don't know any business that just wants to stay where they are. Everybody wants to grow and so keeping track of all those things and knowing what’s working and what's not, then you know where to throw money.

But if you're not testing Facebook ads… you know, as many times as I say I hate Facebook ads. I'll never do Facebook ads again after a couple of months, I go back to Facebook because I'm thinking there's something I'm missing that I'm not getting from my business that I'm not hitting the right audience, or my edits are not right then. So, for me, I'm not a social media guy. I'm more of, you know a web guy, you know, digital Mark SEO, PPC, stuff like that. But I still think there's value there.

So, I would try everything, TikTok, eggs, everything. I've seen a lot of case studies where we think that TikTok is for the younger generation, but they're still older people that are there and people are making money. Get In front of that audience. So, I would say don't be closed-minded. Into that.

Yeah, I love the way you said that and what I took away from it…have a diversified funnel of various angles that you're working within various markets. So don't just look at Google as a one-stop shop. You've got to be involved in other pathways so that you can generate leads and generate revenue. Is that Sort of a way to sum it up?

Yeah, absolutely. I think it would be a smart business decision. I had a client once who was getting all his leads from Yelp and then for some reason, Yelp suspended his account. He freaked out and he came to me, and he said, I don't owe my business dried up because I was getting all my leads from there.

And so, then he wanted to do SEO, and paid search, and then as soon as you Yelp got in. You know, back up. Then he stopped doing all those other things. It didn't make sense to me. It's you. Didn't you learn your lesson when, uh, when you lost all or your ability to generate business? So, I don't think anybody should want to be in that situation.

So, diversification is the key, but I want to go back to a point you made. You said digital marketing and SEO, pay per click, that's different from social media marketing for those that don't know what the differences are. Can you give us a high level of how those two are different?

So, SEO and paid search usually focus on keywords, right? And they're keywording that people are searching for something specific, right? So, let's say, I'm looking for SEO services, so I'm going to Google SEO expert because I know I need an expert. That's why I'm going to Google. If I don't know that I need an expert or I'm still in the early stages of looking. For an expert. I might Google questions to ask an SEO expert or our SEO person. And then that's the different part of the funnel, but there's still around. Keyword or social media you're trying to target people based on their interest, either something they're interested in, a group that they follow, or you know based on whatever data is collected on them.

Like, look-a-like audience where you, you know, say people who are interested in this are also interested in this or you upload a list of yours. Tax to say, find people that are similar to this, and then Facebook will go out and find people who have things in common that might be interested in your product or service.

So, for me, it's more passive trying to pique interest and Google has something like that too where like discovery ads and Pro Max but with Discovery Edge you can still target people, either by Interest in websites they've visited or by keywords.

So, somebody Googled Google ads expert and they went to the discovery section of Google, and they would then see an ad, but they would be scrolling through their feed. But to me, social media is more of a passive thing where you're trying to stop what they're doing in order to interrupt them with an ad to try to get them to try out your service or product.

Yeah, we've all seen it on social media. We're flipping through and here. Comes the ad that says “hey, stop scrolling” right? I mean, that's kind of the classic hook or something of that nature where they're looking for Us to watch the next 30-40 eighty seconds of a video, whatever it might be. Click the link below. Right, which is one of the actions they want us to take, and then ultimately end up on a landing page that has some sort of additional information.

As we go through that funnel component. Are there tips or tricks that you've seen that create effective landing pages for people?

Minimal distractions, right? Especially if I'm paying for traffic. When I do any kind of audit, SEO, or paid search audit, I always look at the landing page. Because I want to see what's there. What are we asking the user to do? Right. Too many distractions. They may not take any action, or they'll take the wrong action. If you have a phone number, that's cool, but if you have a phone number or form web chat, social media icons in the corner that pop up that say sign up for my newsletter, it's a lot.

And for me, a marketer, where I'm spending money to drive people, I want them to do one pick one or two actions. It's usually a phone call or a form or, sometimes just a phone call. If you know depending on or just a form depending. But I like to always move social icons to the footer, distractions, and pop-ups. If your e-commerce site or any kind of business. And this I'm old school and for me, you know, hitting somebody with a pop-up when they're on an e-commerce site that says take 20% off... my perspective is you're telling users already that your product or service is overpriced because you're giving me a discount before I even get to see what the product is. You're already telling me it's all over expensive…

So, I tried to educate customers on my way of thinking and how I see things and try to get them to see, and I'll share case studies or anything I can find online. That's not from. Me only so they can see. Like what other people think. But ultimately, it's up to the customer. But I tell them if we're spending money. To send people. What's most important to you? Is it a phone call? Is it a lead? Let's make sure that that's prominent. That's the only thing that they can do so that we can get what we're here to do, which is to either drive more leads or to buy more products.

Yeah, it sounds like there's a lot of complexity here and you've run your agencies. You've been a part of different agencies. How does that whole agency model? So, if I'm sitting out there and I'm thinking hey. Joe, gosh, you've got this stuff nailed. What are my options to buy, you know, as a consumer? Do I buy social media packages from one company? Do I buy Pay-per-click and paid ads and search from other companies that are doing everything holistically from a marketing perspective?

I think it's tricky right? For me it depends. When people want to hire me as a consultant, it's because I specialize in certain things, and they just want that specialist that will work with the team that they already have or if you want somebody who. Has everything that you need. Then yeah, it makes sense, right? If I'm doing SEO and I'm doing call tracking and I'm doing paid ads, it makes sense to be working with me on that part.

But if social media is important for you and other aspects to grow, then obviously you want to work with a company that can do all of these things. It’s just up to you what your needs are and what your business goals are, right if You're starting small, then maybe it makes sense to work with a freelancer or a contractor to get the ball rolling and then branch out yeah, and it all comes down to what your needs are as a company.

Do you want somebody who is flexible and available outside of yours? That is more, you know, has more one-on-one access or are you OK working with an agency where you know maybe a day or two before somebody gets back to you or there's high turnover or you may not be working with the same person week to week as long as you're. OK. With that and then if it meets your needs and you feel comfortable with it, then you know if you know it, it just comes down to what? I've done both, so I can't say that one is better than the other. It just comes down to, you know, your individual needs and wants.

Yeah, it makes sense. Every company is different. They're looking for something different depending on the time of their growth and where they are in their business cycle.

They're going to be looking for various products and services that are different, but what I think I heard you say is there are options out there. There are tons of deep marketing expertise whether you want a consultant to come in and help you with one specific thing. Where you want to go abroad with an agency or firm that can help you with lots of different components.

This sort of leads me down this path of you Joe, and who trained and influenced you where, where did all of this come from?

I have no idea. I will, I mean, I do have an idea. I'm an old dude. So back in the 90s, the Internet was, you know, new. I would go to the Public Library and while everybody else was playing games, I was trying to figure out, you know, how does this thing work, what's web design, and what is this website stuff? And I kind of played around with that.

And not to drag the story out, but you know, eventually, I downloaded some... I got a computer, I downloaded some software and I taught myself how to do web design, from learning how to web design. I was ranking for keywords like affordable web design. I started getting clients and then clients were asking me how I got, how did I rank for that? And I'm like, I don't even know what you are talking about. I didn’t even know what that was. And then I started learning about marketing, which is interesting because even today most people don't think about what happens after they build a website.

Like they say, oh, I need a website and they just build it and. They don't think like that. How am I going to use my website for marketing? Like what do I need SEO-wise? What do I need for a landing page and stuff like that? And then from there, I started getting involved. And learning about SEO and then I started a podcast in 2004 that talked about everything that I learned about SEO.

So anytime I did a test or built something or tried something, I would share it on the podcast or write a blog post about it back in the day we had forums where people would come and chat and ask questions, and we had a community. And so that's how I kind of started. And as I started sharing that information, then you know, big companies I worked with Ziff Davis Reader's Digest, and they would just, you know, because you know SCO was new back then and you couldn't really learn it anywhere, right? It was just about what results did you produce for yourself? And could you do that for them? And then that's kind of how I kind of got involved and that's why I'm still doing it today because it's still as interesting if not more interesting now than it was back then.

Yeah, it sounds like you're self-taught, that really is what you're saying. You start in the library right and go after. And figured it out yourself.

And that's, you know, that's how I wound up getting a corporate job. Like I'm not, you know, I don't have a bachelor's degree. Right. When this came out, there was no place to learn it. You couldn't go to school and learn SEO like Google's not giving you a course on that. Right, Google doesn't want you to know how to do SEO.

So, I taught myself to do this and then. The results that I brought would go on my resume and then that would, you know, I got in front of some big companies like MTV and VH1. I worked for institutional investors and some Seth Davis classes USA, stuff like that. and

So, the experience was enough to get my foot in the door, and it's just by just learning and understanding what I'm doing and how it impacts… I'm not into coding so much and like super technical stuff. I know enough to rank websites. And improve performance for customers and that's kind of what I like I do.

And I think you said something really important there. Just a second ago, you were talking about how you have to look at the entire process of the customer journey, not just build the website. You've got to look at how you're going to interact with that person and that customer, how they're going to flow through your website, what the landing pages look like, how it all connects to socials, how it connects to paid. Right. And all of this has to work collaboratively together. Otherwise, you typically don't get the best results that are the way you see the universe.

I mean, there's nothing more discouraging than having somebody come to you after they had a website built and said, hey, I think we talked about this once before, where back in the day, flash was a big thing and flash is just a big video file and people would spend 10s of thousands of dollars to have a flash site design and then come to me and say, you know, optimize this and I can't; because Google only reads HTML, so the text elements have to be cut up now into HTML and that's going to cost you more money.

So, it's just like thinking about planning out the whole process like OK, you need a website, but what do you need the website to do? It's like if you have the software, you could have CRM software and that's one thing. But the CRM probably does 15 things individually, so then you would have 15 pages for each one of those things individually because the software answers those questions. Maybe the social media scheduling it does phone tracking, maybe it does email marketing like all of those things, and then you build out individual pages, so now you're bringing in traffic on that individual section. Not just the thing as a whole.

But a lot of people don't think about that until they've already built the website and then they decide, oh, I need to market it, but I don't have the page just to market it. Now I have to take a step back and then, you know, if you're on a limited budget or it's just frustrating in general to feel like you've made a step forward just to take two steps back because you didn't plan, you know, far enough ahead.

Yeah, well said. So, I think the takeaway, for their friends, is to plan far enough ahead. If you're rebuilding your website or you're looking at landing pages, make sure you're incorporating all of the other components in paid search and certainly social so that it all flows together into one cohesive look and feel.

I wonder if you know; you talk about how. You're self-taught. I wonder if you were speaking to the next generation of marketers. The young people out there are doing great work. How would you suggest that they teach themselves today in today's market?

There are so many tools, but back when the Internet came out, they were there, there weren’t all the resources there are now. I mean, even now I go to YouTube all the time to learn stuff, whether it's about other people's perspectives on how they run ads or their perspective on SEO or digital marketing. You know the younger generation that's grown up on the Internet has a wealth of information at their tips. They can take courses they can, you know, book it. It's amazing.

And to me, it’s just learning as much as you can from as many different people as you can. The worst thing you can do is be stuck in your mentality of thinking your way is the best way of doing things because you could always learn something from someone or even from yourself. Like if you make a mistake, I don't see it as a mistake. It's like you learned a lesson. You got value from it because you learned like, OK. If I do this, this doesn't work.

An example was years ago when WordPress first came out. WordPress had this full. A button that when you started WordPress would be checked too to not have search engines index WordPress. So, by default WordPress would block Google and any search engine from crawling.  Rachel Ray came to me and said, we need an SEO expert because none of our blog posts are ranking, and we don't. Know why and this was 15 years ago, and I knew right away this was probably the case.

So, I looked at the code. I saw it said no index and I said sure I'll take a look for you. And I just went right to the settings right away. It took me 5 minutes. And just to uncheck that box and all the pages started getting indexed and it was… to them it was a miracle and to me, it's like the more you know, whether it's, you know, a mistake or you know you learn something the hard way. It's still information because as you progress in your career. Your knowledge is what's going to bring your business is going to bring you money.

People will hire me for coaching because I'll share my 20 years of experience in Google ads. So, to them, it's worth it. And so, to me, you know, knowledge to me is power. The more you can learn, you know, the better off.

I had a friend of mine tell me a story one time that went a little bit like this. You know, there was a ship that couldn't get out of the port and all of the mechanics were down in the engine room trying to figure out what they were going to do to get this giant ship out of the port and mailing and they called an expert mechanic who was very well known in the area for being able to fix anything. He had a $10,000 visit fee and he said, I guarantee that I will fix whatever the issue is During my visit, or you get your Money-back and if I don't fix it, I'll. Give you the 10 grand back.

So, he has a $10,000 visit. Fee and he shows up and they say we need your help. And there's all these mechanics standing around. They say we need your help. We need your help. And he takes a big hammer, and he looks around and he's walking around and he's kind of putting his hands in between things. He takes the hammer and pounds one of the screws and it shakes the whole ship. And everything starts working.

And he says you don't pay me to come and swing the hammer once. You pay me for my 30 years of experience and understanding of how to get this thing moving. He gets his 10 grand ships and goes out to sea, but the moral of that story is I think is what you're saying, Joe. There is expertise and deep domain knowledge that individuals like yourself have, and you don't necessarily pay for the one-click button. You pay for deep domain expertise.

Right. And that that comes into, you know when it comes to hiring people when people work with me in Google ads, I have a minimum and you know, if my minimum is more than your monthly budget, I'll say look, it's not even worth it because you I'm going to charge you more per month than you're paying in ads and well, why I was paying you to know $200.00 a month of management fee and that's the problem you want expert results for a low price, but no expert is going to charge you a low price because they value their time and their experience.

So, you have to value their time and experience. If you went to a doctor and the guy says, well, nobody ever says get me the cheapest doctor there is, right? Nobody wants the cheapest doctor. They want the best doctor, and the best doctor is not cheap. But people don't think like that when it comes to marketing. They think cheaper is better. But no expert is going to charge you a low price.

Yeah, fair enough. And we'll leave it there, Joe, because that has been an outstanding conversation around marketing. And I thank you so much for being on the show.

Before I let you go, I've got one more question that I want to ask you and it's really about being purpose-driven. Do you feel like you are living the life you want to live as a marketer?

I mean, as I said earlier, I love what I do. It's fulfilling. There's nothing more exciting than doing a monthly report as much as I hate doing them just, the whole process of doing them. But when the results are there, they are there when you have a job, everybody looks for the PAT on the back of the boss. Well, you did a good job, Joe. Good job, you know. You know or try to fight for a raise.

When you work for yourself you're looking at data all the time and you're trying to make the right calls to get the client the best results you can, there's nothing more satisfying. And being able to see those results, I take them like a little kid, and I go and make a case study. I share it on LinkedIn. I put it on my website because to me that's validation that you know not every month is going to be a selling month for every client.

But when you have those big wins, there's nothing more gratifying for filling than being able to deliver great results for clients, and for me, that's the best I can do. And when I worked in a corporation. It was a struggle to climb up the corporate ladder because it was all these, you know, red tape and bureaucracy and all these other things going on there. We don't have the budget yet.

We value you, but you know we can't give you what you're worth. And to me, it's like at the end of the day, if I can get great results for my clients, then I know, that’s job security. They’ll stay because they've gotten good results. And for me it's just, it's good to know that, you know, it validates me that yeah, I know what I'm doing and I'm producing results for clients.

Yeah, we'll leave it there, Joe. Where can somebody find you if they want to track you? Down and get a hold of you.

My website joebalestrino.com is pretty simple, there you know you can contact me. Check out my case study, recent blog post, and stuff like that there. There's a whole bunch of information there and it's the best way to reach me, yeah. Great.

We'll put that in the show notes for everybody. So, if you're driving, you don't have to take that down. We'll put it in a clickable format, and you can download it right from the show notes. Thanks so much for being on. The show was a thrill to have you.

And thanks for having me. I had fun.

And thank you for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. I hope you transform your business by leveraging technology at speed and enabling innovation at scale. Let's get back to people and culture together, we'll see you in the next episode.

Tom Finn
Podcaster & Co-Founder

Tom Finn (he/him) is an InsurTech strategist, host of the Talent Empowerment podcast, and co-founder and CEO of an inclusive people development platform.

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