3 HUGE Lessons I Learned From a Noah Kagan Webinar

This article was originally published as a guest post on

I recently attended a webinar given by Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe, and I learned 3 huge lessons that I was able to implement immediately and that I felt I simply had to share so that you can benefit from them too.

First off, special thanks to Noah for offering a free webinar! Unlike most webinars that are really big sales pitches for a particular product or service, this one was about 95% useful information and 5% soft selling, primarily at the end. Sure he mentioned the sumo tools, but you can use them all for free (which I do) without ever paying for the pro versions if you don’t need the extra features. So free information + free tools = pretty darn good deal!

Getting back on topic, the webinar consisted of Noah looking at websites and giving his recommendations of what could be improved to make each more effective in communicating its message and achieving its desired objective. There were lots of good tips, but these 3 really resonated with me so much so that I’ve chosen to call them lessons instead of just tips.

Lesson 1: Clearly communicate what you do or sell above the fold.

Sounds pretty simple, and it is. Unfortunately many people don’t do it. Instead they try to be witty, mysterious, coy or just plain confusing, resulting in the visitor having no idea what they actually do and probably bouncing.

Sometimes they’ll make you scroll down the page before revealing what they do or sell. The problem with that is that it assumes that people will be interested enough to scroll. While there are different opinions as to the importance of “the fold”,  I think everyone would agree that if a visitor isn’t interested in what they initially see on their screen, they probably won’t spend more time on the site.

Here’s how I applied this lesson to our own website. The first screenshot is of our original homepage. The second one is post update.


digital marketing homepage


digital marketing homepage after

Onrush Digital is a digital marketing agency. Our core areas of expertise are content marketing, seo, social media and marketing automation (and we also build websites). So that’s pretty much what we do, and we did state that (pretty much) on the original page. But even though we list all the things we do, is that really what our target customer is looking for?

Our target persona is either a CEO/Owner or a CMO/Marketing Director of a business doing at least $1m in revenue that does not have an inhouse marketing department or staff. When that owner or CMO goes online to get marketing help, is he or she looking for content marketing or social media, or any other specific skill; or are they looking for help in getting specific results, like driving traffic, increasing their exposure and generating leads?

I think they’re looking for results. When they scroll down they’ll find out what disciplines we use to get them those results (i.e. content marketing, seo, etc.). They might not even know what exactly content marketing is. But they do know they want more exposure, more traffic and more leads. That’s what they’re buying.

On the second homepage version we give them exactly what they’re searching for in their face. Results. That should get them interested enough to watch the video and scroll down to learn more.

Lesson 2: Focus on 1 action you want your visitors to take.

If you could pick one action that you’d want your visitor to take, what would it be?

You might want them to purchase a product or give you their contact info. Or you might want them to read a blog post or watch a video. Whatever it is you choose, make it so crystal clear to your visitor that he practically is drawn to that action.

Studies have shown that if you tell someone what you’d like them to do, there’s a good chance that they’ll do it. The technical term is “call to action”, and every piece of content you create should have one. If you don’t include a CTA, you’re leaving the decision of what to do entirely to the visitor, in which case he might do something other than what you want, or nothing at all.

On the first version of our homepage (not including the top nav bar) there are a bunch of things the visitor can do: download an ebook, schedule a consultation, watch a video, click on the links (in yellow). There’s nothing wrong with the visitor taking any of those actions. But there’s also an old Talmudic saying that teaches, “if you try to grab everything you end up with nothing.” Too many choices could result in overwhelming the visitor and cause them to run. (Personally, when I’m overwhelmed with information, my brain tends to shut down.)

You need to decide what the one most important action is that you want your visitors to take. In our case we felt that while it would be great if they’d schedule their free consultations, if someone has just landed on your homepage they probably won’t be ready to meet with you just yet. They’ll need to learn more about you and what you do first.

On our revised homepage we chose to drive visitors to watch a short video that introduces them to who we are and what we do. We felt that the video would build rapport and make them feel like, “hey, we can work with these guys”. At the end of the video we included a CTA link to schedule a free consultation.

Lesson 3: Offer a personal challenge to get emails

For the majority of visitors who will NOT be ready to contact you when they first visit your website, the goal is to get their email address in order to be able to contact them or nurture them until they are ready to become a customer. The accepted way of doing that is to offer them something of value in exchange for their email address (and name). The initial offer is usually a piece of contact like a whitepaper or ebook.

The ideal offer with the highest conversion rate will be something that the recipient can implement immediately and see positive results. Noah suggested offering something that personally challenges you, which should in turn impress the heck out of the user and greatly increase the chances of conversion.

The offer that we’ve implemented (which I think was the example that Noah, although I honestly don’t remember) is that we’ll review your website and send you 3 specific tips that will improve your site and help you generate more leads. And we’ll send it to you within 24hrs.

We use the sumome list builder and scroll box (free versions) to present the offers. Here’s a screenshot of the scroll box:

lead magnet


It’s a lot more work than just creating a report or ebook, because we’ll have to look at each website and provide good tips for each one. But would you rather get 3 personalized tips or an ebook? We obviously think you’ll go for the personalized tips.

Providing personalized tips also gives us the opportunity to form a relationship with each individual visitor and potentially explore the option of working together by asking followup questions. We’ve already given you actionable advice and proven that we care about YOU. That’s a great way to start a relationship!

Why not see for yourself? Fill out one of our forms and we’ll send you your free tips within 24 hrs!

PS — Thanks again to Noah Kagan for an awesome webinar!

Why Marketing Automation Fails for Many Businesses, and How It Can Work For You

Speak to any company or business owner about marketing automation and they’ll get all excited. Marketing automation usually refers to software that automates marketing tasks, like lead nurturing and email followup.

The benefits of marketing automation are clear (here are just 2 of them):

– it saves your marketing and sales team time they can then use to find and close new business

– it helps nurture leads through their buyer’s journey until they are ready to purchase, providing the sales team with more qualified leads to close.

For most business people the word “automation” equals salvation from tedious and repetitive tasks and routines. It means that they can focus on closing deals instead of a million preparatory tasks.

There are great (and pretty pricey) tools such as Hubspot, Infusionsoft and Marketo that provide companies everything they’ll need to integrate marketing automation into their businesses.

So why do so many business fail at marketing automation?

The main reason is that they think that the marketing automation tool will actually do their marketing for them. They’ll invest in one of the major tools and spend the time setting it up and integrating it with their website and current system. And then they’ll wait for the magic to happen…and wait…until they get fed up and throw in the towel saying that marketing automation just can’t work for them.

Here’s their mistake. Think of the marketing automation tool as an engine. It can be the best engine in the world, but it won’t do a thing without fuel.

Marketing automation tools make it easy for you to blog, but they don’t write the actual content for you. The tools will make it easy for you to search engine optimize your content, but they can’t create the right titles or use the right keywords for you. They’ll make it easy for you to setup an automated email workflow, but they won’t write the emails.

Content is the fuel that powers the marketing automation engine. Marketing automation software doesn’t create that content for you. Only you can do that (or pay to have it done).

Companies invest a lot of money in building the marketing automation engine, but then either leave it empty or fill it with low grade fuel that makes it sputter instead of roar. You can use the most sophisticated marketing automation software, but if your blog posts suck, no one will want to read them, give you their contact info or view you as an expert in your field. If your social media posts are lame, you won’t get traffic from social media. If your followup emails are badly written, you’ll lose leads instead of nurturing them.

Should businesses invest in marketing automation?

I think most B2B businesses and B2C business with longer sales cycles should definitely invest in marketing automation. But before they invest in a specific marketing automation tool they should budget for content, without which the tool will be useless.

At Onrush we don’t require our clients to purchase one of the pricey marketing automation tools mentioned above. Our plans include building the marketing automation engine and providing the fuel (content). That doesn’t mean that the large marketing automation software providers don’t provide value. But companies that aren’t able or willing to make a large upfront investment in marketing automation software shouldn’t have to. They can still automate their marketing and get the content they need to make it successful at a reasonable price that won’t break their bank.

Your Phone Number and Contact Us Link May Be Losing You Money

One of the most blatant errors I see on business websites is the absence of an easy way to contact the business. Isn’t it the dream of any salesperson to have a new customer or client call or email them directly with an inquiry? No long hours of prospecting or cold calling required. It’s like a deer running to a hunter and saying, “here I am!” I can tell you’re getting excited just thinking about it!

Clearly, having a phone number and/or “contact us” link prominently displayed on every page of a website is a requirement (unless there’s a reason why you specifically don’t want potential customers to contact you). Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you. If they have to search for contact info, they might just bounce to your competitors site. Online attention spans are notoriously short.

Simply having your phone number and contact us link is not good enough from a lead generation standpoint. You will capture the “low hanging fruit” — prospects who are ready to engage in a sales call and make a purchase. But what about the prospects who might not be ready to contact you just yet?

Research shows that buyer’s make 70% to 90% of their buying decision before every speaking with a salesperson. Read this post for more statistics that point to the same conclusion. Buyers engage in a decision making process before finally reaching their decision to buy. A big part of this process is online research. When buyers do contact a salesperson they most likely have already decided that they need your product or service and that you are someone who they are considering buying from or hiring. They’ve most likely researched the product or service and your major competitors. Now they’re ready to discuss specifics and close a deal.

If your prospect has already gone through their decision making process and chosen to contact you, then having your number or email link is good enough. But if that prospect has come to your site for the first time to do their research as part of their process, they’ll most likely leave your site without contacting you. They might return to your site when they are ready to talk, or they might not and go elsewhere instead.

The only way to increase the chances of getting those prospects to return is by creating a relationship with them and then nurturing that relationship until they are ready to buy.

How do you convert that prospect into a lead that you can nurture through the buying cycle?

The first step is to get their information, usually a name and email. How do you get that info? By offering them something of value in exchange for that info. It could be an ebook, whitepaper or whatever you can offer that would convince your prospect to part with some of their contact info. Once you’ve got your lead in your system, you can send them automated emails to help them make their buying decision.

There’s a lot more to discuss regarding how to set up this lead generation and nurturing system, and we’ve created our own ebook called The Digital Marketing Blueprint for companies that are serious about creating their own system.

The main lesson here is that by not having a system in place to capture and nurture leads who do not immediately contact you, you are leaving money on the table. You don’t want to do that. So set up a lead generation system on your website and stop those potential customers from getting away.