Audience Based Design: From T-Shirts to Top-Tier Websites with Greg Merrilees

Episode Notes

In this episode, Greg Merrilees discusses the journey and challenges of transforming his business from T-shirt designing to top-tier website and brand creation. He shares valuable insights on understanding the audience, leveraging AI in design, the importance of mentorship, and effective strategies for getting client referrals.

  • The common mistakes people make when designing websites for themselves rather than their audience.
  • Greg’s bold move that pivoted his business from T-shirt designs to high-end website creation.
  • How to build trust and long-term relationships with clients through strategic design offers.
  • Leveraging AI tools in the design process to enhance creativity and efficiency.
  • The importance of good mentorship and how figures like James Schramko have influenced Greg’s approach to business.
  • Practical tips on improving your brand identity with cohesive visual elements and strategic design thinking.

Whether you're a budding entrepreneur, a seasoned business owner, or someone interested in the power of good design, this episode is packed with actionable advice and inspiring stories. Tune in to learn how to elevate your business through thoughtful and audience-focused design.

Check out today's guest, Greg Merrilees:




Watch on YouTube
The Lean Marketing Podcast

Weekly conversations on marketing and business growth - sometimes solo, sometimes with your favorite experts and thought leaders.

Tune in and subscribe on your favorite platform:

Greg Merrilees: [00:00:00] So I find the biggest mistake is, People may just design their website themselves, which is fine, that's fine, but they design it for themselves instead of designing it for their audience.

And so if you skip that first step of understanding your audience I think that's the biggest mistake. You really, you want to make sure, you understand what ticks, you want to know them on a deeper level, understand their pain points, their frustrations, cause they don't really give a shit about you.

They only care about what's in it for them, right?

Allan Dib: Greg, welcome to the show. Such a pleasure to have you on. You're probably one of the leading people that I would think of when it comes to design, when it comes to graphic identity, the way that people present themselves. And so it's a real pleasure to have you on. You're probably a more unusual guest because a lot of the guests that we talk to are usually in direct response marketing.

And a lot of times I've felt certainly in the past. As direct response markers, the visual elements have been very much secondary. And in fact, a lot of the visual elements is direct response [00:01:00] markers are just downright ugly. There's big red fonts, these weird, junked up pages and everything like that.

I think that tide has started to shift a few years ago, but I'd love to hear from you, first of all, maybe if you could introduce yourself, a bit of your background where are you from? And and then we can go from there. for having me.

Greg Merrilees: Yeah, no problem, Allan. Yeah, well, thanks so much for having me, buddy. It's great to hear you. Yeah, great to be here, I should say, but I think we connected, I don't know, maybe five, six, seven years ago in James Schramko's community. Yeah, which is pretty cool. yeah, reason I joined that community is because before I joined that community, I've had my business since the year 2000.

And we were primarily t shirt designers, right? And what we found I think it was about 2012, 2013, the clothing industry was going vertical, which meant the retailers were squeezing out the wholesalers and they were going directly to China for their own manufacturing and all that, right? and our clients were the wholesalers, so we had to pivot and we thought, well, let's go directly to the retailers.

The problem with that was they wanted to [00:02:00] pay 90 days later and then take a, 5 percent off if they paid in 90 days. It's like cash flow was just a mess, right? That's when I discovered podcasts. And one of them was James Tramco and Ezra Firestone's podcast. And they said on their podcast and I saw that as an opportunity to design them a free logo just to say thanks for the awesome content, right?

And they love the logo and I think Ezra in his New York accent, you know, said, Hot dang, it makes us look like a fancy softball team, you know? And just started building the relationship with both James and Ezra is like an e commerce legend, you know? He helps other e commerce businesses at smartmarketer.

com. But he also has a 50 million e commerce business himself, right? And so he started getting us to design for him and then for all of his clients. So we learn a lot about what works in e commerce and then James, I hired James Schramko as my business coach. And then we designed for him and then for some of his clients in his community as well.

And so we started learning about not just e commerce, but the service businesses, SAS businesses, how to design [00:03:00] for coaches, all that sort of stuff. Right. So we learn a lot from being in the field. And so we really pivoted about a decade ago now from t shirt designer to designing for online businesses and designing all of their websites and branding essentially.

Allan Dib: I love that. Stefan had relayed that story in a previous episode where you had just been, you know, really bold, really, you know, you'd heard someone on a podcast that you respected and you'd spoken up. created a logo, created a t shirt, sent it into them. so many people wait to be either invited or being paid or being offered something of value before they will create an exchange of value.

And I think one of the real lessons that, people like yourself You just create value. You see opportunities and you just are bold about it and just do it. And, I've said previously that, you know, I've hired people who've been like that, who've just, said, Hey, I read your book.

I noticed this and that in your copy or your website, here's a revised version, and they've gone ahead and [00:04:00] kind of taken a risk being bold and And just done work up front, delivered value up front. And I think that's a real commonality that I've seen among successful entrepreneurs.

They're willing to kind of put themselves out there, be bold about, just putting value up front and not waiting until there's an equal exchange of value.

Greg Merrilees: Couldn't agree more. like hiring James Schramko as my coach, because I'm pretty much unemployable. I didn't want to go back to getting a job, the industry I was in was sort of going downhill. And so when I hired James as my coach, he said, well, that worked with me.

I Why not do that to other podcasters, you know, and other business community leaders. And so we did, I sent free logo designs, but it was in the form of not just their logo. It was turning their, pretty much their slogan. So what I would do, for instance, like lead pages, right? Yeah, the Clay Collins the owner back then, I don't know if he still is, but there's these testimonials on his website.

One said, you know, you're my secret weapon, right? And so what we did we had a slogan, which was your [00:05:00] secret weapon with a little logo with lead pages, just a very small logo. And so I sent that to Clay Collins, right? And and we did this with a bunch of marketers and it really worked.

So what it did was we built trust with those people and then they would. refer us to their clients. So James just said it worked for me, do it for other podcasters. So yeah, that's what we ended up doing.

Allan Dib: I love that. James was an important mentor to me too, as well. And he's a common thread with a lot of people in our industry. One of the things about James is first principles thinking that sit that mindset to, you know, he'll ask why. three, four, five times. Hey, I want to get to 10 million in revenue.

Why is that? Well, you know, I want to get to half a million in profit. Well, okay, could we do that without 10 million of revenue or, you know, just really getting to the heart of the matter and thinking about simplifying things. So I always think of James in those terms as this is the person that is going to help me simplify and systemize things to right down to the core level.

Greg Merrilees: [00:06:00] Couldn't agree more. I think one of your superpowers is similar to his, like you're really good at simplifying things, right? So he can take the complex and he can assess, everybody's business and just give them one thing to do next week.

That's going to get them the best results. Yeah.

Allan Dib: totally. And just really getting to the core of a matter. I love that. So in terms of visuals what are you seeing as things that people get wrong most commonly? for example, when I'm talking to people about their marketing and their marketing plans and things like that, often target market is one of the most critical things that almost everything is built on.

And so from a visual perspective, I appreciate good design, but I'm certainly not a designer. I was on Chris Do's podcast recently, and he's got a real big creative design community. And we spoke to some of his community, but what do you see as some of the biggest issues that people have with design and what are the sort of easy fixes?

Greg Merrilees: Yeah. So number one, it's probably [00:07:00] similar to your first book. You've got to understand your audience, right? And you call it the before phase, those three squares at the top of your one page marketing plan, nine square thing. So I find the biggest mistake is, People may just design their website themselves, which is fine, that's fine, but they design it for themselves instead of designing it for their audience.

And so if you skip that first step of understanding your audience I think that's the biggest mistake. You really, you want to make sure, you understand what ticks, you want to know them on a deeper level, understand their pain points, their frustrations, cause they don't really give a shit about you.

They only care about what's in it for them, right? So if they come to your website and your website messaging is all about, how good we are and all that. Well, they're not going to believe you for a start. They're very skeptical. And so everything needs to be designed and written in you know, to appeal to your target audience, to essentially get them to convert.

And so I think that's, yeah, probably one of the biggest mistakes initially is they don't think about their target audience and they just design something that's all about them and, you know, in a color [00:08:00] palette that they like and things like that.

Allan Dib: Hmm. So with what's happening with AI and things like that, now you can go into a, like a logo creator type of sentence, and it'll spit out a thousand logos. So lot of people in design, a lot of people in your industry rightfully concerned, , and similarly, people like myself who write, you know, I write emails, I write books a lot of people have said, , aren't you concerned about, generative AI and all of that?

And to me, I think that's just going to make, Real creatives stand out more, but how are you thinking about it? How are you working with the technology? Do you see it as a threat? Do you see it as an opportunity? How are you feeling about it all?

Greg Merrilees: Yeah, look, we love AI. Like we're using it in so many ways in our business right now. Everything from analyzing our sales calls to, repurposing a podcast interview like this, for instance, into little chunks of social media. But then from a design perspective, we're using mid journey.

We're using ChatGPT to help us write copy as well, right? Just on a [00:09:00] kind of, not a high level, but enough to guide our clients essentially. Cause we don't offer copy. We work with copywriting partners, but when we do design, we want to. Just guide them on here's what we're thinking and then they can decide if they want to hire a copywriter later.

But from a design perspective sure you can use AI to, to create a logo and that's fine. And there's a market for that. But what we try to do is think, right, who is our ideal target market? And it's usually a business that's. Maybe doing between half a million and say five million per annum.

Now don't want to do it themselves, right? And they're not big enough to have their in house design team. And so they don't want to use AI that they want to trust in a an expert out there. And so what we try to do is position ourselves as that expert and we make sure. All the messaging and all the segmenting on our website is it going to appeal to our ideal target market?

So we don't really care about all these other AI tools that can create websites for, 100 a month, whatever it is, right? There's all these tools, but they have their place in the market. I mean, there's always been designer [00:10:00] logos, stock logos and things like that. Now AI is doing it quicker and probably a little bit more unique, but realistically We don't see that as a threat because when clients come to us, they want to trust us as the expert in our niche.

And so we've got a pretty detailed process for not just designing a logo, but designing an entire brand. And it all really comes down with understanding your audience and then, the strategy involved in creating the brand. as well. And then obviously when we get to the website design, there's a whole lot more that goes into that.

Allan Dib: So in what way are you using AI in your design process? Are you using mid journey to create like a prototype or say, Hey, here's 10 different options and what way should we go? Like, what's a smart way of, leveraging that in, in your workflow?

Greg Merrilees: Yeah. We don't like using stock images for instance, right? So if for instance, we're designing a website and we need some imagery, we'll go to Midjourney or ChatGPT to create some just placeholder images. But sometimes the client may think it's good enough and that's fine if it is, but we really want to encourage our clients, depends on what the [00:11:00] business is, of course to use real photos of either themselves, their team.

their products, their services, etc . And so sometimes Midjourney can just help guide the client on what type of image and in situ we're looking for essentially. And it's really good for, , marketing graphics as far as social media and blog posts, images and things like that.

So we do use it for them as well. Yeah.

Allan Dib: really lack is just photos of you and your team and your stuff, because everyone's kind of got those cheesy stock photos of people shaking hands or high fiving or whatever, and they're always perfectly diverse groups, you know, just so I think investing in good photos of yourself, your team, your facility, your processes, I think it's just a Great bargain.

So you work on the whole identity in terms of your website, your logo, your colors, your typography, all of that sort of stuff. Typography is something I've been fascinated with. And when we were doing our rebrand, I think I almost went [00:12:00] cross eyed looking at font pairs. Cause I'm like, I want a serif font for this, but I said, whatever.

And then. trying to pair fonts and Googling fonts and making sure they're web safe and all of that sort of thing.

I've worked with branding and graphical people and they range the gamut from kind of, let's hold hands and sing kumbaya right through to just, all right, here's the technical drawings or whatever, like they vary massively, like in terms of process.

Greg Merrilees: Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, I get it. You can go to the extreme with, you know, creating a brand. And just call it guacamole bullshit because to me it's unnecessary. All we really need to do is understand the audience, understand the business they're offering, things like that, and then create all of the different elements to make it a cohesive looking brand that we think is going to get them the best result.

So we have a long call with them. We have given them a 40 question questionnaire that really dives deep into understanding the their [00:13:00] offer, what they've tried, things they like and just a whole range of things before we get to this stage.

But when we get to this stage we want to draw out the main words that we got from, speaking with them and the initial briefing stage. And so then we put together a mood board that we feel is going to appeal to their target market and represent, these words, for instance, welcoming, calming, comforting, professional, trustworthy, friendly, elegant, relaxed, warm.

So that's what this overview represents. Then we go into The color breakdown the sort of the percentages of color we want throughout the website. And obviously we want a call to action color to be contrast to the palette, but also complimentary. And then we gave them some logo design concept direction,

and then, the font.

So you were talking about font pairing before. Sure, we want the font pairing to represent the brand. We also want it to, look good when they are paired in single fonts. And obviously, the larger headline font to represent the brand. And the smaller fonts, we don't want it to be as fancy as the larger fonts.

We want it to be quite legible, so really quite [00:14:00] simple for the secondary fonts. But yes, just a little bit of font direction. And then some backgrounds that represents the brand. There's a little bit of a star effect throughout this. It just really, once again, represents all those words at the start, which is, more warm and inviting, essentially.

And then we give them some photo direction for their products, and that's what I said, they've already applied that to their live website. And then photography direction as well for the individual products, and then some icons and illustrations that we're going to use throughout the webpage, and then just various graphic layouts for the webpages and all of their text.

Social media as well, right? And then just various product layouts. and then page layouts as well. So these are just ideas that we've collated and put into a cohesive look and feel, and then when we get to the actual website design after the client, proves the mood board that's when we start designing the website to represent the mood board.

But obviously with all of the uh, psychological drivers, conversion focus copy and all the other things that we put into a high converting website design. But you'll see the look and feel matches [00:15:00] that mood board essentially.

Allan Dib: So how do you go about the situation where design is so subjective one person might look at it and say, oh, I, I like it, that another person is I don't like it or whatever. With something like that, is it just client preferences, what's guiding the way cause I see part of the value of someone like yourself is someone got really the leadership, the guidance, , because I might see something and I might say, you know, I like it or I don't like it, or I like this font or whatever, but in reality, I have no idea what makes a good design?

You know, when you see it, but what actually goes into it is much, much different.

Greg Merrilees: Yeah. Well, we offer unlimited design revisions because we don't exactly know what the client wants. We know what we think is going to get them the best results. So we're going to lead with that. And then we give the client opportunity to give us feedback and then we'll either revise the design or completely start again.

obviously the reason we do that 40 question questionnaire and then have like a hour and a half call, before we start designing is because we want to eliminate [00:16:00] the guesswork. We want to be as close as possible by the time we start designing. But if they really want to complete switch in direction for the brand, that's why we start with the mood board as well.

Now our brand director has 20 years of experience traveling the world, used to be a fashion designer. So really understands how to range products and everything from color palette to what works in for a specific niche, right? So. there's a lot that goes into it, and, at the end of the day, you can't control if a client's going to like it or not, but that's why we offer unlimited revisions.

Allan Dib: So about that in terms of running a business like yours, which is a design business. You know, I remember I started my first business, it was sort of more like a marketing agency. We're not an agency now, but in the beginning, and it was like the business from hell for me, like, because I'd you know, to me it would be like okay, let's put the opt in box there.

And then the client be like, okay, make it blue, move it to the left, move it to the right, up, down. And I'm like, I did not want to do this ever [00:17:00] again. You know? I we did that in the early days and I'm like, this is the business from hell. So How do you make sure that you stay in control?

, what's your business model in terms of the way that you charge price position and all of that? Because this is something that can really get out of hand as a designer. Someone may want, changes forever the scope creeps all of that sort of thing. How do you handle that from a business point of view?

Greg Merrilees: exactly. And it's something that we've learned step by step over the years, right? Like going from a designer myself to a business owner where I don't design anymore has really taken probably a five year transition just to do that piece, right? But then from there, It's building a solid team and it's investing in your culture to make sure everybody's a good fit and everybody's on the same page and have the same mission to produce the best results possible for the client.

And it's whatever it takes to get there. Now obviously it needs to be profitable. So what we do is we have a lead team in Australia. We have 27 people on our team currently there's about [00:18:00] six, yeah, six in Australia as the lead team. And that's everything from the brand director to the design director, to the general manager.

to me, to our social media person, etc. Right? So then we have the Filipino team and that's, we also have a design team leader in the Philippines. Same with the dev team leader, plus all the devs and all the designers, right? And so it's just something that you have to grow very, very slowly, very carefully to make sure Project by .

Project. It is profitable. And so we have dashboards. We have a really good project management system as well, run by a really good team. And so, these things have just taken years to evolve and we're still evolving. We're still, getting better at delivering a service and making sure our clients have a good experience, but it doesn't always go smooth, but yeah, it needs to be profitable every step of the way.

So that's why making sure your metrics make sense from a financial perspective is super important. And yeah, we're just constantly trying to adjust and improve.

Allan Dib: So it sounds like you've taken a real systemized approach to design, which is, kind of counterintuitive to a lot of [00:19:00] designers. I know a lot of designers you know, I mean, they are creative sort of brain and they're like so you, you've taken a much more systemized approach and sort of almost built like a design factory to some extent, you know, is that?

Greg Merrilees: Exactly. Yeah. And there are things from a factory perspective that we try to put into our system. So, every design we design is custom. However, there is a system to you know, the page layouts. Like most of our internal pages will have the same layout. It's just a different look and feel, right?

We have a whole range of uh, Page structures in our system that designers follow and then some of them there might be like a batch of blog page designs or other service pages, whatever the case is, e commerce page designs that are so similar that when it gets to the dev phase, they just start with a previous design we've done for somebody else, and then they just customize that to suit the new design.

And so therefore, at every stage, we're saving time, because every stage from design to dev is essentially systemized, even though it's still a [00:20:00] custom service.

Allan Dib: And from a business model point of view, I mean, you've probably seen and tried all sorts. What do you think works best for someone who is in a design space? Because there's everything from charging on an hourly basis, on a fixed project basis. There's even people who are doing now kind of, unlimited on a monthly basis.

Like, so there's all sorts of business models. what's been your experience and journey and sort of. pricing, packaging all of that.

Greg Merrilees: Yep. So look, over time, every time, we get a new client project, what we want to do is get the client a good result so that they refer us to others. Right? And we've got a whole system around referring as well. But with every project, what we're trying to do is you know, put that back into our marketing and to prove that we get results.

So we're trying to always level up. As far as pricing structure, we charge by the project, but we also have a designer, what we call designer on tap, which is designer on tap. com. And that is a monthly design service, right? Where we'll do X amount of graphics for them per [00:21:00] month for a fixed fee. And that can just be ongoing.

But yeah, so the other option is because our, you know, pricing for some clients may be expensive. So we offer them, it might be a, every two weeks, we charge this amount until the total amount has been completed, which is still project work, but it just breaks it down into recurring more easy to manage you know, fee for the client basically.

as far as a freelancer, I mean, you need to build your reputation first. That's probably the biggest thing. So that's why, yeah, I say every website that we design, we're very results focused and we put that back onto our website and we have a whole page of results like you do on yours, Allan, where it's just reams of, you know, testimonials and case studies and videos.

And yeah, and that is something we have case studies separate to that as well. But the more you can show you get results, the more you can, you know, charge for your services, basically. And yeah, that's what I would be focused on if I was a freelancer.

Allan Dib: Yeah. I've seen more and more sort of the rise of kind of the solopreneur people, particularly in design and creative services where they are doing that [00:22:00] recurring monthly fee, but they're taking on multiple clients and kind of just having a really simple business where it's just them doing the work.

delivering I mean, you've obviously gone a different route where you've got a big team and you've gone to got real systemized processes and things like that. What do you think the decision points are for someone who's in kind of a design or creative services, whether to do, hey, I just want a simple business where I just do the work and deliver it and make a good living versus building using quote marks, real business, but I think they're both real

businesses, but

Versus going with us something more scalable. What have your thoughts been around that and what's made you go the other way?

Greg Merrilees: Yeah. it was me, I would just be thinking, right, how much revenue will it take to employ the next team member to take away the stuff that I don't like to do?

Allan Dib: Yeah,

Greg Merrilees: Because if you love designing, keep designing and grow your business as a design business and maybe get on other designers, maybe support person and things like that.

But yeah, for me, I love designing, but I [00:23:00] also love with a passion growing the business and learning, you know, how to grow a business. Like that's just been a never ending learning stream for me. And, you know, I'm still learning, but I do. I love that more and that's my passion. So that's why I'm not on the, tools for design, but I still have a really good design eye.

So I like to get involved just to give direction. Right. But yeah, I would just say for somebody that's, you know, you've just got to make a decision on what you want. If you want to be a designer, just keep designing. But if you want to grow a business, then keep designing. Yeah. Learn as much as you can from coaches and podcasts and YouTube and wherever else you can get it and just think, how do I grow my team?

Can I afford to put on the next team member? But I would say do it slowly. Don't do it quickly because if you grow too quick, I think you're going to come into all sorts of problems.

Allan Dib: Well, because the business of designing is quite different from designing itself. Right. Which is, you know, counterintuitive for a lot of people who are just starting out. And I think that's the challenge for a lot of people where they're working for someone. They're like, look, I'm really good at what I do.

So I'll just start my own business. But you find [00:24:00] that a lot of the things that you have to do in business is. People management is systems, it's processes, it's not the actual core thing that you do, which is a surprise for many people who are just starting out in business. And it's a big challenge.

So how did you cross that chasm between from being, Hey, just solo preneur designer to first employee, second employee, like who did you hire first? How did you scale? How did you get to 27 people?

Greg Merrilees: Yeah. So I hired a coach because the coach had been there, done that. I think James Schramko, who was my business coach for 10 years. He had, I think 90 something people on his team at the time and he still worked from home and surfed twice a day. It's like, well, how do I do that?

You know? And at the time, yeah, we had, an office in here in Melbourne. We're in the same city. And he came to my office and we're in the boardroom and he said, well, why do you have this office? And I said, well, all my clients are local. I've got the team out there. You know, I had six full-time designers.

And he said, well, what if we show you a better way? And that's when I signed up for, you know, his silver circle at that point. And so he just [00:25:00] taught me one step at a time to, right. Okay, Let's find you your first Filipino designer, right? And it was like, oh, how could that possibly work from a different country?

How can I design? They're not in our office, all that sort of thing. I can't watch over them, blah, blah, blah, right? And you just have all these doubts. And I think just hiring a business coach to step you through just, Stage one, hire the first person and then stage two, which was hiring a support person you know, to handle like our support email basically.

And just taking all these roles away from me that I thought I had to do. And I, you know, nobody else can do it as well as me. That's the myth that most business owners have. They think they're the best at everything. And so yeah, it was just slowly realizing with James's direction that, okay, now you've got a little team from the Philippines.

Then we put our Australian team who are full time employers on as contractors. And then I stepped away from the office and I started working from home, but I still had a mini office for the designers. And I said, right, we've got six months and then you'll [00:26:00] be working from home. And then. Two of them lasted and I've still got one today, which is, you know, 10 years later from that phase.

But then James said, right, okay, now you need to implement some marketing. Let's, think about your target audience and what would be a lead magnet would work for them. And then we just tried various lead magnets and then we need to raise your authority. So he had me speak on his stage and then Ezra's stage and all these things that just help raise your authority, right?

And it's just all these things, step by step to build a real business. And yeah, it was. Honestly, thanks to James that we, yeah, grew to this size. Yeah,

Allan Dib: Amazing. Amazing. So many roads lead back to James. He is an

Allan Dib: mentor. want to double click on something that you said, which is hiring that coach. I have found. You know, in so many areas of my life, that is just such a cheat code, even outside of business, you know, just finding someone who has, who knows their stuff at a deep level and just paying them to show you the path and avoid all of the pitfalls.

It's just such a [00:27:00] cheat code. It's just impactful. Some of the best money I've ever spent has been on coaches, James included. Just to guide me through stuff that I was not an expert in, stuff that I would have messed up a million times over.

Greg Merrilees: same. And they just help you get there quicker. I know you do strength training three times a week. So do I. And I do that with a coach, right? I had no idea how to do that. I'd be too scared to go to the gym. Don't know how to lift weights properly. And with a coach, you just get there so much quicker.

And I think in business, it's the same lesson. I think everybody should hire a coach.

Allan Dib: I 100 percent agree. It's so it'd been so impactful. And I've also seen the impact from our work with clients. We coach people on marketing and it's just been so incredibly impactful. You mentioned earlier, you had like, a method for referrals to talk me through that.

Cause a lot of people like, feel like referrals. I'll just do a really good job and hope that people will refer me new business. Right.

Greg Merrilees: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I'm just thinking like with your first book, it's that discover phase, right? Which is, you know, the before phase, like figure out where your clients hang out. And I think I've [00:28:00] heard you say that and really for us, a lot of our clients listen to podcasts, right? So one of our number one ways of you know, getting more business is to get interviewed on podcasts.

So what I did was I was interviewed on somebody's podcast which was Tim Reed's Small Business, Big Marketing. I don't know if you know that podcast, but it's very popular in Australia.

And so what I did was created this little landing page, if you like, for requesting me to be interviewed on, somebody else's podcast. And we give them a commission as well.

If we get a sale that comes from them, right. And , that's what we offer them, whether they take that or not, it's up to them. But we will actually listen to their podcast and we'll only send this to them, you know, via LinkedIn if we think they're a good fit, right?

If we think what we can deliver to their audience will be a good fit for their audience. And then we just have a little bit of social proof on this page. But essentially what I'm trying to say here is this is a whole podcast a case study based on one of the interviews I did,

and so, what we did for [00:29:00] him was first of all, had an interview on his podcast. So I've got the whole interview on this landing page. They can listen to the whole interview. From there what we did was, we got really good response from that. So we did a webinar for his audience which was amazing.

We got more leads and sales from that. And so he. Ended up making five figures from the interview we did. So he ended up hiring us to design his website. That's his nice testimonial about the website we designed for him. But then from there he made an ad for his own podcast. I didn't ask him to do this, but we put the ad on this page as well.

Which then attracted more people to come and work with us. So that was just a little case study, just how. Doing one interview led to all these benefits for his clients. And sorry for him. And so he wins, his clients win, or his audience should say, and we all win.

So it's like a win, win.

So this is our strategy. And then obviously we've got some interviews that I've done on past podcasts. And then we show them some of the work we've done as far as website design and some social proof as [00:30:00] well. And then we just have this little section showing people how we give back with every.

website that we designed. But that's kind of it, right? That's our number one way of getting referrals basically from those type of podcast interviews.

Allan Dib: how do you do attribution? Like, how do you know someone came from Tim Reed Podcast or whatever. Yeah.

Greg Merrilees: So let's say this podcast interview, right? So we're going to send people to the studioundesign.

com forward slash lean. Yeah. And they'll be able to take this quiz, right? And when they take this quiz there's 50 questions basically asking them across seven vital areas of their website. Do they have this on their website? Yes or no. Yes or no. And at the end of these it'll give them a score out of 50, right? And so then they will enter their, first name and email.

And then we know that came from you, essentially. Plus every form on our website, we always ask, how did you first discover us? And that will also make sure we capture everybody that came through you. So yeah that's how we know

where it came from. Yeah.

Allan Dib: really cool.

Because I mean, you know, attribution is definitely more of a [00:31:00] challenge on a podcast where you're like, Hey, go to this URL or whatever, and you don't know, did they come from there or there, but you create a custom kind of landing page for each each podcast

that you're on.


Greg Merrilees: Exactly, yeah. And then we also display a little funnel. . Basically what we do after the thank you page is we offer a free webinar, which is really just going through all the principles that we use to design high converting websites.

And we have case studies in there. And then we offer a free call and get a quote, et cetera. So just. displays a sort of mini funnel on how to warm up a cold audience.

Allan Dib: Love it. Love it. Very clever. And then podcasts are they your primary sort of, traffic stream or are you running paid ads or what

Greg Merrilees: we, yeah, we do paid ads as well. We have a paid ad strategy. One of our services is white label. So we found that through our paid ads, we get a better result advertising for our white label design services, which is really where other marketing agencies hire us to design for their clients when they either don't have capacity or [00:32:00] they want to expand their offering.

we literally send paid traffic to that, but then we also have a referral program as well which is for, All of our clients, obviously you want to do a great job for them and, , ask them for like a testimonial. I think you call it something else. it's really, understanding that, if they have a good experience with you you want to make sure that they tell the world about it.

Right. So we're in our automation. We have really good system we use active campaign, a lot of automation in there, but essentially we. Invite them to join our referral partner program and yeah, we just sort of talk on this page, how it works, how the tracking works, you know, why join the program and you know, what is our offer and all that sort of stuff.

that's just what we do to try and entice more of our existing clients to refer others to us. Plus we have a link in the footer of every website we design. It says who designed this website. We don't just put design by Studio One. We want to create a little bit of curiosity to have them click through.

That's why we write who designed this website. But yeah, so there's a lot of little things we do to, make sure existing [00:33:00] clients refer us to others. If they have a

Allan Dib: That's cool.

Greg Merrilees: of course. Yeah.

Allan Dib: So obviously in a formal referral partnership or a white label situation, obviously, you know, someone's motivated in referring you for profit, but what have you found in terms of people who are podcasters or someone who just you, are they motivated by the referral fee?

Or is it just that, Hey, I want someone good, reliable that I can, you know, refer them to and, get my clients a good result or whatever. what's the breakdown between people who are like, Hey, yeah, I'm doing it for the referral fee versus I'm just doing it for, you know, I just want my client taken care of or

my listeners

Greg Merrilees: of them don't. Most of them don't want the referral fee, but we really encourage them. We'll pay them regardless because we just really appreciate it, you know? But yeah, most of them just want to do it because they love the work we do and we do good work and they want a good referral partner if somebody reaches out for a website.

So they don't care as much as we care. We want to pay them. Yeah.

Allan Dib: often found that. because getting paid for a referral offer, like [00:34:00] their status, like if you refer someone to something valuable, that value is sort of associated with you. And that's kind of the payoff for a lot of referrers. It's like, Hey, thank you so much for referring me to Greg.

He did an amazing job and all of that. That's probably the biggest payoff for most people versus the referral fee. Which, you know, of course is a motivator for some, but often you'll find, like if my friend referred me to a chiropractor and I found out that he was incentivized, I'm like, did he refer me because there's really a good chiropractor or did he refer me because of the fee, right?

Greg Merrilees: Good point. Yeah. Yeah. It's a bit, there's a bad taste in your mouth when you find

Allan Dib: yeah. Yeah. I mean, not necessarily even a bad taste, but like, it just gets you wondering, was the referral genuine or was the referral, , obviously completely different when it's a bit part of the business model. Like I know my insurance, a broker, I know he gets a kickback regardless of what, you know, what I choose or whatever, right?

And I totally understand that. That's the business model versus someone who just made a referral and you're like you know, I don't know. So often I find the real [00:35:00] payoff is the status that someone gains from referring to someone, to something or someone of value. So often that's the case.

That's awesome, Greg. It was a real pleasure. Pleasure have you on. Where did people find you? Find out more about you? Is there a lead magnet you want to, you want to send people to? And that quiz looked pretty valuable as well.

Greg Merrilees: Yeah, exactly. So yeah, go to studio1design. com forward slash lean. And yeah, that's obviously the name of your new book, Lean Marketing,

or if you have a question,

just email me, greg at studio1design. com.

Allan Dib: oh, perfect. Thank you so much, Greg. Appreciate you being on. You've been very

Greg Merrilees: Thank you, Allan. Absolutely. It's been a real pleasure. Cheers.