Jen Carroll

Episode Transcript

Jen: Welcome to another episode of Meaningful, Measurable Marketing with the Data Dames. I’m Jen Carroll…

Annalisa: And I’m Annalisa Hilliard. 

Jen: If you like what you hear today, there are several ways you can connect with us. First way is on our website at You can also find us on Twitter. I’m @jencwriter…

Annalisa: And I’m @ahilliardm. 

Jen: We’re both on LinkedIn, as is Data Dames Marketing. In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the difference between website marketing, website design, and website development. Those are all terms that people tend to use interchangeably…

Annalisa: And they shouldn’t.

Jen: And they should not. So, we’re going to talk about why. 

Annalisa: We’re going to “edumacate” you. 

Jen: Nice. Oh, and she’s playing with the new soundboard. So, I think we should talk about how we’ve leveled up very quickly with our technology.

Annalisa: Three episodes. We’ve gone from amateur to pro.

Jen: Uh, not sure. 

Annalisa: Pro-ish.

Jen: Pro-ish. Yes. So, first episode was on an iPad, and I’m sure you’ll if you go back and listen to our introductory episode…

Annalisa: You probably laughed when you listen to it.

Jen: You’ll know it right away.

Annalisa: Or you just turned it off immediately because the sound quality sucked.

Jen: Except for my mom. She loves us. 

Annalisa: She’s our biggest fan. 

Jen: She listened anyway.

Annalisa: Of the three people that listen, she’s the biggest fan. 

Jen: Um, yeah. So, the first episode: iPad. The second episode, we went with all those online reviews

Annalisa: Blue Yeti mics. Way to go.

Jen: And we discovered…

Annalisa: It’s not the way to go. 

Jen: No, no. In fact, I feel like at some point we should, we should blog a little bit about this because I’m kind of irritated by the many blog posts I read about “how easy it is to podcast.”

Annalisa: But anyway, we were guided towards a professional.

Jen: Yes, thank you, Connie Collins

Annalisa: Yes. She introduced us to Logan Miller at Sweetwater. And he, after asking us a couple of questions, got us hooked up with the right gear and here we are. 

Jen: I know. What is the right gear? 

Annalisa: We are using the Rodecaster Pro, and SE mics. Not sure what the model number is, but yeah, you probably don’t care. 

Jen: Yeah. So, we’ll move on. So, today, we want to continue with our regular segment, which is our small business shoutouts because that is a very important thing right now. Today we want to shout out to Deli Ohio. [applause] Oh yeah, there we go again. We are friends with the owners of, I guess maybe we need to like make a, what do they call that when you…

Annalisa: Confession? 

Jen: No, not a confession. Like, I don’t know. I can’t think of the term right now, but yeah. We’re friends with the folks at Deli Ohio, and we think they’re awesome. And Deli Ohio makes, of course, delicious food, but it’s all locally sourced. And the thing that we’re most impressed with is how, even though it’s been really hard to keep their doors open right now during the shutdown and the pandemic, they have continued to support local charities with the proceeds of their sales. 

And there’s another. That is Rachel Vandernick of The Vander Group. She’s actually not even local to us. She is in Philadelphia, right? 

Annalisa: Local to my heart, though, because I’ve got family there, and I’m originally from Pittsburgh area.

Jen: What we really love about what Rachel is doing is that when she gets referral business, she gives a portion of her first month’s invoice to, you know, to the organization that referred her. 

Annalisa: Well, she offers a couple of ways.

Jen: Right. Some, a certain percentage, uh, just cash, but even better, if you are willing to take a gift card from a local small business, she’ll give you an even higher percentage. And so we are really impressed by that. In fact, we want to steal that idea. 

Annalisa: Yes. We’re going to steal it. 

Jen: Rachel, you’re awesome. We’re impressed. 

Annalisa: And Rachel is an SEM, so she does a paid search, as well as content.

Jen: Uh, no, she doesn’t do content. She does what you do. She does SEO. 

Annalisa: I know it was one of us.

Jen: But Rachel, where we’re really thankful to be connected and partnering with you on some projects. 

Annalisa: So, alright. Let’s move into the actual meat, eh? 

Jen: So, maybe the first thing that we want to do is define website marketing, website design, and website development. 

Annalisa: So, we actually came up with an analogy a little bit because we just thought it might be easier for people to connect that with what these different areas do. 

Jen: So, website architects versus website interior designers versus construction companies. 

Annalisa: Let’s assign the roles here. We’ve got the architect, or the blueprint maker, as the website marketing team. The website designer is the interior designer. 

Jen: And the website developer, of course, that being the one discipline that’s left, is the construction company. So, I think most businesses go into the process of either creating a brand new website or redeveloping their existing one with the thought, I need a website developer.

Annalisa: Yes. Or they’ll say, I need a website designer–which they may mean developer.

Jen: Right. And that, and again, we’re back to those interchangeable terms, but our premise is, our thesis for this podcast, is…

Annalisa: Always start with website marketing. And here’s why. You have the blueprint, which we assigned to the website marketer, to kind of provide the big picture vision. Before you get into the details of the website. If you just start jumping into the details, you kind of get lost in the weeds a little bit, and it’s easy to do. I’m the first person to spend three hours looking at fonts.

Jen: Yes, you are. 

Annalisa: And you know, that stuff is important, but really you have to tie it into your marketing goals and your business objectives.

Jen: And one thing we promised with this podcast is that we would always bring it back to the two terms, meaningful marketing and measurable marketing. So, when you have a marketing plan, you have to realize that your website is a tool, one of many tools in your marketing toolbox.

Annalisa: An important one. 

Jen: Yeah. Actually, it may potentially be one of your most important tools. It could be your central tool, but it is nevertheless a tool. And if it doesn’t serve your business goals and objectives, if it doesn’t serve your marketing strategy, then it’s not functioning at full potential. 

Annalisa: Right. So, I guess starting with the why, right? Starting with why do we have this website and what are we looking to get out of it? 

Jen: Yeah. What’s the purpose of your website? What happens when you don’t look at your marketing objectives and goals? What happens when you don’t look at the purpose of your website is some key things can get lost. First of all, you often overlook website function. Maybe we should define what we mean by website function. 

Annalisa: Yeah. So, example. We worked with a team of designers and developers who pretty much had a website that was ready to launch. Then they brought us into the process, and we were giving advice about it. It was an eCommerce site, or at least a portion of this site was e-commerce. So, I started by looking at some analytics to see how they were performing, what their profits have been over the last couple of years, and then what they were hoping to get out of the redesign redevelopment. But it was a little late because they already had the design in place and the development was, like I said, almost wrapped up.

Jen: Yeah. And the part that they were asking us about was one of the key revenue sources for their business. That’s pretty major. 

Annalisa: Right. So, one of the major purposes of the website, right? And they didn’t really have that planned out well in the design.

Jen: Right. So, people literally could not seamlessly look at the products and then buy them, you know, in a simple one-two-step process.

Annalisa: Calls to action were kind of buried. It made the visitors do a lot of work to get to the point where they could learn about the products and then purchase the product. 

Jen: Right. And that’s not only a loss of functionality, that’s also really losing sight of objectives, business objectives, and goals with this tool, this website.

Annalisa: Yeah. And recalling another example that I had early on… A company that brought me in to do marketing stuff and they had their website set up and they weren’t doing any redevelopment work, but they had their website set up. And they wanted me to track two different buttons at the top of the site that kind of split their different personas, different ways to travel through the site. And they wanted me to see, you know, which path most of the visitors were taking. And after having worked with them for a while, I got to thinking about, are they, are users taking a certain path because of the design, the way that the website is set up? What if it were set up a different way? You know, you’re kind of forcing your visitors into a certain thing instead of thinking about your goals and your objectives first, and then building the design and developing the site around those goals and objectives.

Jen: And I think that gets to the heart of one of the places that businesses so often get off track, and that is in web design. They’re so focused on the aesthetic appearance, how their brand looks, if they like how the page looks to them, that they’re completely forgetting about the site visitor. They’re either established customers or potential customers. And that things like user experience, things like page layout and design, are actually marketing functions, not necessarily the domain of the designer or the developer. 

Annalisa: Yeah. I mean, it’s very rare to come across a developer or a designer that uses Google analytics or any other analytics platform regularly to guide them in their everyday work. Website marketing, on the other hand, that’s a key piece to informing strategy. And so again, a designer or developer might have some ideas, a client might have some ideas of what they like, but when you don’t involve any data, then you run the risk of completely missing designing and developing around your objectives and goals, and then kind of having to work backwards. And a lot of times that causes, you know, having to double up on the work.

Jen: Right. To be honest, loss of time and loss of money. We, Annalisa and I, have talked a little bit about how often clients have approached us or approached designers and developers with the hurry up, I’ve got to get this, I’ve got to get this launched immediately. That kind of approach can lead to a lot of work post-launch.

Annalisa: Yeah. And honestly, I mean, again, depending on the data, which is why you have to look at it, you could lose a lot of [search engine] rankings. You could lose a lot of traffic, you could lose a lot of value in redeveloping your site. And, a lot of it has to do with the lack of planning and the lack of looking at analytics prior to the redesign to kind of help inform that. 

Jen: And that goes back to what we said right at the start. Our thesis is, to use that very academic word, our thesis is you always should start with a website marketer before you even contact a website designer or developer, or before you even identify who those people should be on your team. It always should be the website marketer. 

Annalisa: Another thing I think, that is something that we often see, is that clients will have certain expectations. Like, if I redevelop my site, or if I update the design, it’s going to perform better, but that’s not necessarily, that’s kind of magical thinking, that’s not necessarily the right approach. Because you can’t just shoot an arrow in the dark and hope to hit the bullseye.

Jen: Right. And I feel like maybe we’ve talked about this before on the podcast–but I know you and I have definitely talked about it in conversation–is coming at marketing from your own perspective. The fact that you think, you know, if this resonates with me or if this is how I would approach this, or this is what I would want, then that must be what everybody wants. And unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Which is why you need, even with website development, you need a data-informed process. 

Annalisa: Yeah. It’s almost like internal blinders. I mean, a lot of times we look at our own business and we think we understand it a certain way. 

Jen: And not to say, you don’t know. You absolutely do. 

Annalisa: For sure. But it is from your perspective. 

Jen: Right. And so that’s just one perspective. 

Annalisa: When you ask your clients, they might see it differently. They might see it from a different perspective. And so it is really helpful to have an outside perspective. 

Jen: Well, data is so, um, what’s the word I want? Data is completely unbiased.

Annalisa: Well… 

Jen: Yeah, no, that doesn’t go well.

Annalisa: That’s kind of a whole other podcast.

Jen: Okay. I will put that in our podcast list. Yeah. Is data biased? 

Annalisa: We might have to have a guest on the show for that one. 

Jen: Deal. But it does give you an outside perspective on what you think needs to happen with your website.

Annalisa: And just as you are the expert in your services and your products, we’re experts in digital marketing. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’ve seen a lot of different industries and how they play out online. And, you know, every client is going to be unique to some extent. So, it’s really helpful to bring in an expert outsider, an expert in marketing and analytics, to give you guidance, to help advise your strategy.

Jen: I think it’s a good time to, you know, think about the pressures that either a one person marketing team or someone who leads a very small marketing team can have. Marketing is very fast paced. Marketing is multidisciplinary. There are a lot of tools. There are a lot of things going on with marketing. And when you look at the importance of your website to your marketing strategy–with all of those other distractions and things going on, maybe even expectations from your managers, or from the company CEO–why it’s so important to consult with marketing experts who can bring some perspective, but who also can devote the time that it takes to make sure that your website is focused on your business objectives and goals. 

Annalisa: Looking at details. Looking at the design and the development and saying, Hey, does this make sense from a marketing perspective? And does it speak to, or does it satisfy all of the business objectives that we’re going after? 

So, saying all is a bit much. Obviously, a website is a living, breathing thing, just like your marketing. And so it’s evolving. There are cycles. There are different campaigns. But when you launch, obviously, there are certain things when you’re redeveloping and launching a new website, that are key, kind of backbone things to look at.

Jen: Yeah. And that’s a really important reason to bring in some outside marketing perspective, again, before you even talk to a designer or a developer. 

Annalisa: Right. So, I think that’s that sums it up. 

Jen: All right.

Annalisa: There we go. 

Jen: Again, she’s playing with these, this little Rodecaster here. Just to summarize, our view is that whenever you’re getting ready to build a new website, or you’re getting ready to redevelop a website, you start with a website marketer. The website marketer is that person who’s going to help you build a blueprint. They’re the architect. They’re going to help you, they’re going to help ensure that that website not only is meeting your business objectives and goals…

Annalisa: From a design standpoint, but also from a functionality standpoint.

Jen: From functionality. And that when you involve a web designer, you have already moved to the interior design portion of the process. And the website developer being the construction company, um, they’re basically putting the code together that will deliver the…

Annalisa: Structure, or the finished product. 

Jen: Yeah. Deliver the finished product that you want. And when you fail to bring the website marketer in at the beginning…

Annalisa: It’s like forgetting to put a bathroom in the master bedroom. 

Jen: So American, right? And that means that once the website is launched, you may immediately find that you’ve…

Annalisa: There’s a big piece that needs reworked right away.

Jen: Right away. You might find that you need to…

Annalisa: Just like in that example, actually, the one that we came in kind of too late, when they launched, they did see their sales drop and they were concerned. 

Jen: Obviously yeah. 

Annalisa: Kinda like what we predicted would happen. 

Jen: Yeah. Unfortunately. 

Annalisa: Well, thanks for joining us. We’ll see you in episode four.

Jen: Hopefully there were a few tidbits that you could, you can take away and use.

Annalisa: I was already saying goodbye. 

Jen: Oh, alright. Well, I guess I’m the one, as usual, dragging things out. So, we are the Data Dames of Data Dames Marketing. You can find us at You can find us on Twitter at @jencwriter

Annalisa: @ahilliardm. 

Jen: And find us on LinkedIn. 

Annalisa: We’ll see you next time. Well, will see you? No, we won’t see you unless you send us a picture of yourself.

Jen: We would like that. Send us a picture…

Annalisa: As long as it’s appropriate. 

Jen: Get friendly. Thanks. 

Annalisa: No, don’t say thanks, like you’re getting off a phone call. [laughter]

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