Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 5:09

why digital marketing? Or why marketing in general? You know, I know both your, your parents, your, you know, you could have been a physician, you know, follow in their footsteps. Yeah, I agree. I agree. So why? Well,

Melih Oztalay 5:24

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that our family is in business to begin with our history is in business. And I think the other side of the equation is I have always taken a liking to technology. You know, I, you know, I can go back to the 90s, the late 1970s, when I was in high school, and we had eight and a half inch disks, you know, to run our backups on our mainframe. So, you know, that there was always this affinity to technology. I’m an early adopter, which doesn’t, you know, that also plays into this, probably why I ended up starting the, the Internet Group in 94, when I saw the value and the, and the direction that the internet can bring and how big it can become. It didn’t take me long to just adapt and move on. You know, that. I mean, we live in a world that changes. This is, you know, this is what I like, like change.

Jeremy Weisz 6:21

You know, we were talking before you hit record here about, I was asking a couple different industries that we can talk about, specifically, because you’ve worked in so many different ones. And I figured we would start with insurance company, and some of the things you did with them just to, you know, give people some color on what you do.

Melih Oztalay 6:41

Yeah, you know, over all these years is you imagine, you know, you gain knowledge and experience through a lot of different industries. And I can tell you that, as a marketing agency, I don’t like the idea that we’re niche in one industry, that doesn’t make any sense to me, because I cannot take on a client in the same industry, with, you know, if I already have a client in that industry, that’s just a conflict of interest. That doesn’t work for me. And it’s interesting how so many industries want to work with a market in which he said he only knows industry. I don’t know, I find that interesting. But from my standpoint, I like the broad scope. I like working with businesses in different industries, and I, and that certainly plays into what we’re going to talk about now. So in Michigan, we had a business like, I’m not gonna mention the name only because they’re no longer in business, for a lot of other reasons. And they launched a new brand back at the time, that was focused on high deductibles. And the project had a $14 million budget. We were the lead agency to come in and talk about, you know how we’re going to get this off the ground, we had a creative agency that was working with us in terms of its brand, we had us executing a variety of elements, we actually brought in the canned Erickson for this. And they helped with a lot of the nutritional elements, because Texas is so large, how do you get reach the audience that you’re looking for? And so basically, we’re running, we’re at that time, this is back going to 2007 2008 timeframe, you’re dealing with banners, essentially, we, you know, running specifically into the Texas market and hyper, hyper targeting areas. And essentially, just to kind of give you some rough numbers going back to those times, we drove 20,000 visitors focused on your 25 to 35 year olds who really don’t think they need insurance. And in four weeks, we had a 20% application response rate. And that was pretty awesome, predominantly on banner advertising, although we did content marketing back in those days as well. The real impetus came from the banner ad impressions that we were running, and I think for 2007. That was a normal timeframe, as far as what you’re doing and the type of strategies that you would employ. And so the insurance industry, you know, this was an interesting one. The twist wasn’t that, hey, let’s target anybody who wants insurance. The twist in this case was it had to deal with the 25 to 35 year olds, and together with a creative agency, we actually came up with a theme that was focused around your music, essentially, the entire theme of the campaign and the brand. And its branding was around music. And so we use that to target the younger crowd and get the response that we were looking for.

Jeremy Weisz 9:46

Why do they want to target a crowd that just is hard to? Hard to reach for? I mean, like, you’re 25 you’re invincible do I’m fine. But if you get If you can do that, and really get the response from the hardest to reach people that saying,

Melih Oztalay 10:06

Great. I look there, why they wanted to target that age, that age bracket, the progress with you, they use their own statistic statistics and analytics for the insurance industry come up with the you know what it is that they want to do. And so when they are looking for high deductibles, with a low insurance premium, this age range made sense. And you can kind of get the idea. This is the age range where they don’t need a lot of they’re not going to be using the insurance much. Give them a loaded, low premium, and a high deductible, because they’re not going to be using it but rather use that money, you know, with the way that insurance companies run their investments. And so I kind of get it.

Jeremy Weisz 10:56

I guess, you know,

Melih Oztalay 10:58

what we got? We made it happen. Yeah, the other thing

Jeremy Weisz 11:01

I want to point out is, you know, the this is timeless fundamentals, right. So when we were talking about that driving, you know, a banner to a application or something like that, we’re talking about human psychology, and humans taking an action on something. So exactly what was the kind of the thought process of the music if you want to just think back and walk me through? Okay, here’s how the music LinkedIn, and how did you get, you know, psychology wise, the people who maybe think they’re invincible aren’t going to sign up for health insurance to click through and take an action that you want?

Melih Oztalay 11:40

Yeah, so let me clarify one thing, when we, when I said music theme, I wasn’t referring to actually having new, although we had some background music on a variety of things that we did. We even had green screens, to actors and you know, had music with that as well. But the branding theme was focused on let’s say, records, right, and record play, and CDs, and those types of things. And each category of of insurance had different levels, right. And so we reached level, we did a different type of music theme that fell into that silo, so to speak, and different coloring schemes and different graphics, graphical visuals, but I think it all came down to something you just mentioned, when you when you talk about marketing, you are talking about people’s psychology, you’re talking about color psychology, right? You’re talking about visual psychology in terms of what’s gonna grab their attention, especially when you’re dealing with the Internet. And irrespective of the technology, sometimes you do have limitations of what you can or cannot do. I’ll be it. I think 5g is going to change all that. And we’ll we’ll be free to do more. And when human psychology is important, you know, so how do you grab their attention. And then when you’re dealing with advertising, you’re talking about running tests, right? small snippets, this test to see what’s working, what’s not working. Some cases, you’re going to switch it all around, in some cases, just to make one little tweak will change the layout, right, you’re going to change the colors, you’re going to put different graphic elements in one spot and versus another spot. And, you know, we’re in the United States. So we read left to right, we need to understand that whatever is on the left side, and at the top tends to get more attention. These are all things that play into marketing and a lot of it, you know, you can go to school for it all day long at the end of the day. You know, until you start living it and seeing how it actually plays out in real in the real world. This really comes down to experience and gaining that experience of figuring out how are you going to make this work. Going back to what I said earlier, I think what was important here is that while in one case we work with insurance companies, we worked with manufacturing companies we work with financial Institute’s, we worked with franchisees and franchisors with the automotive industry, especially car dealerships. There’s been a number of industries and the interesting thing is being able to take some you gain from one industry, the knowledge and experience you get you get from one industry and being able to take that and apply it to another industry, and it does work. So when you’re doing you know, when you’re taking that knowledge and experience and applying it someplace else, to be prognosticator, you’re making things a little bit more efficient and effective when you’re using when you’re able to use that concept again. And that’s where I think this makes sense. You know, this keeps things making fun, especially when something new comes around and I got to figure out how to use it. How do you apply it? Does it work? Does it not work? Keep going,

Jeremy Weisz 14:57

you know And speaking of that, you want to from insurance companies, there’s also a company he worked with that was couples who have problems conceiving. So talk about what what are the things you did in that industry. So that particular

Melih Oztalay 15:13

project, they I think the interesting thing about this was, it’s a brand new, it’s a new brand. Nobody knows. They’re there, it’s never, it’s never been on the market. And while the client had a lot of operational issues, fulfilling orders, in the beginning is a lot of startup problems, so to speak. Our job in a very short period of time, normally, I would have loved that, quote, unquote, six month planning period on this project. But we had no planning period with roughly 30 days or less training, make it all happen. And there were some issues with the client in terms of wanting to get to market quickly. So without a lot of planning that we would like love that had basically we came up with an omni channel marketing strategy, driving people, primarily social, don’t question about that, but from different sources, applying content marketing to the mix, as well, in running some ads, what was interesting about this, and I’ll mention statistical person, then we’ll move on to the psychology side of the equation, we drove little over 800,000 visitors to the website at four months. And that was amazing. The amazing part about this was the fact that when you go back and you analyze that first period, what we learned was that in social media marketing, there is a compounding effect. Assuming that you manage, you maintain your level of activity. So the number of people did not change on this project, the budget and change on this project, the amount of content advertising, and shares that we did, and social media made note did not change. But one month to the next, it was exponential about the amount of traffic that we were able to secure during that time frame. And I have to admit the concept of what we did, which was based on a five point social media marketing strategy. We’re using marketers, social media marketers, using brand advocates, and then using social media influencers, i Those are three different levels of people. We were able to pull this off, what I didn’t expect was the exponential results. I mean, I was doing that, you know, the reason I came up with a strategy originally because Google hummingbird back in 2013, caused me some grief, and I lost a large client because of hummingbird. The client didn’t blame us, but they decided not to play Google’s game. And it’s a long story. But once that happened, I did come up with a different strategy that did not include Google. Both from an organic standpoint, as well as from a pay per click standpoint, my strategy focused on social media marketing. Because I mean, go back to the days of your, you know, 300 baud modems that were connecting to bulletin boards, that was social media marketing back in those days, you know, and so, social media marketing is definitely the core strategy for most businesses. In in, in a lot of key, I should say, in almost all cases. But we came up with a strategy. And while we tested it, and came up with some ideas of what the results would look like, what shocked me was the fact that we had an exponential result, exponential compounding effect, that was mind boggling and amazing.

Jeremy Weisz 18:47

I want to talk about influencers. Right, and you mentioned advocates and influencers. And that has a huge effect. And also, they already have their, their own audiences that they deploy to that, you know, talk about the how do you approach? What’s the best way to approach some of these influencers? And I don’t know if there’s specific deals for each person or when you actually launch it, everyone kind of has the same scenario as far as we’re going to pay you or not pay you just approaching influences in general, because I think it’s a little bit of a black box for some people I get, yes, this sounds like it would work. I’m not sure how to even go out and approach someone. And what are some of the offers and talk about that?

Melih Oztalay 19:38

Well, I think a lot of it has to do with, you know, what industry are you in and who’s your target audience? If you’re in b2b, you’re not going to want to, you know, be the sea influencer. And they may have a million followers. That’s great, but so what right, but if you’re a b2b, you might be talking more towards that. An influencer, who runs his own podcast like, you know, you’re talking about and has a following of, let’s say, only 100,000 people, but those are the 100,000 people that are quality and are your target audience. So? So that’s the first question that we have to ask that. And then the next scenario is that there’s a few different approaches on how do you get to influencers. The first one is the fact that there are agencies nowadays that you can go to. So I’m going to fast forward this to today’s world, and that you can talk to agencies who understand the different types of influencers out there in different markets, and make the recommendations of let’s say, five different influencers that you can interview and talk to, and so on. So the other one are websites where you can just do your own work, it’s basically you figure it out, as far as what influencers make sense to your business, the demographics that you’re trying to target, your geographies that you’re trying to target, etc, and figure that out. And of course, the third option is that you may have heard of people and you just approach them directly, I don’t know that there’s a reason to not go direct to an influencer, I will mention a fourth option, kind of, you know, even behind beating around the bush, so to speak. And that is that you might want to very early on in this process, start following an influencer, that you really want to have, you know, represent you and just develop the relationship with them directly. No, and what I mean by that is follow what they’re doing comment on what they’re saying, you know, what, what they’re saying, engage with them share their content, they need to see that you’re in, you know, you’re involved with them, once they get to see that, that repetitions there, whether it’s, you know, daily, or even a few times a day or weekly, that’s when you’re gonna start to be able to reach out to them and get their, you know, ask for something. At that point, it could be free, because they’re seeing that you’re helping them right. And they’re gonna say, Okay, I’ll help you too. So you kind of, you know, barter your exchange your services, so to speak, or your efforts labor outwards. But that tends to take longer, and is more sweat equity. I think the first three options are better. In other words, go with the agencies, you know, find somebody or find your do your DIY type websites, where you can identify the influences that you want to move on from.

Jeremy Weisz 22:36

Melih, you know, we’re talking about conversion optimization, CRO, and you know, so I want to pull up a few. And we have not looked at this ahead of time, we we talked a lot, I’d love to have you break down what you’re seeing, as far as the website goes, and you know, how does this relate to conversions on a website, whatever you want them to do? So I know, we’re talking, you’ve worked with some telecom companies, I figured I’d pull up a few and just talk through a little bit about what you’re seeing, you know, what you’re seeing is good. And maybe, again, it’s all a test. So we don’t know about the data. But what would you test on these pages. So I pull up if you are listening to this, only, there is a YouTube video on this. But we’re looking at Ring Central website. So I’ll just have you walk me through and I’ll navigate around where you tell me and what you’re seeing.

Melih Oztalay 23:29

Real quickly, one thing I’d like you to do is reload the page, because I’m curious if we get any pop ups that this is going in, or popovers, pop ups, whatever you want to call them. Because these are areas that you can embed your call to actions. And so well, let me just be clear about one thing, let’s define something Conversion Rate Optimization, or what we call CRO in the world of marketing, not not Chief Revenue Officer. But rather, conversion rate optimization is about taking your existing traffic coming to your website, not talking about spending more money on driving more traffic, take the existing traffic and figure out how to increase the number of leads or sales that you’re getting from it. The best way to approach this is to figure out what are your calls to actions, what’s going to get that person to take it to the next level that you have to get them to a decision making stage within what during their visit or multiple visits, and get them to reach out to you. So one thing I will tell you is that in our CRO program, we have an artificial intelligence tool that is tracking the person’s journey. And we get reports on that. That we’re able to identify whether things are working or not working. And we’re taking people through various stages and the AI tool helps based on that visitors journey, which may not be the one time but could be multiple times that they’re coming to your website, determine what is it that it’s going to put in front of them as the call to action. And of course, you set up multiple types of calls to actions that are possible during this process ahead of time. And that in turn is going to figure out whether or not you’re going to get them to try and become a lead or a sale. The other element of this is running a B testing. And I don’t think that you can get away from that you certain pages are going to react better in one situation versus another situation, you need to know what pages are working on what they’re not working. And so I’m going to practice what we’re going to say now about this website, around these few topics that I just mentioned. And so number one, when you talk about website design, in today’s world, whitespace is important. RingCentral has done a great job using whitespace. Without, you know, a lot of unnecessary and distracting content. Very simple. You know, they’re trying to reach out using people’s faces, which I think is important. We did this with a car dealership once before where car dealerships tend to take photos, for example, of just the car without a human being. And I think that’s wrong. I think they need to have the human being involved in that car, or with that car in order to sell it, especially online. But here we have humans interacting with us. I think that’s important. But what I’m noticing is we don’t have a lot of activity in terms of I mean, we have a chat bot. That’s okay. And some people like to engage with chat, but some people don’t. We do have a view demo that sticks out on the right. I’m questioning whether or not that needs to be on the left in the in the middle. This is where I would run an A B test. The demo on the top left is, you know catches my attention. But the view demo on the lower left does not I would suggest running an A B test and see which one of these based on location and background makes sense. The C pricing makes sense or whatever does it do you want to do the demo first and then go to pricing. And this is where Google Analytics comes into play. You figure out what the flow is of the of the people that are that are coming to your website, and whether or not you know, the location, color schemes, etc. Make a difference based on where people are at. So I, you know, popped off the top of my head, that would be the first thing that catches my attention. How do we take that view demo and see pricing? Because those are your primary call to action and figure out whether or not they’re sitting in the right locations? Got it?

Jeremy Weisz 28:00

Yeah, and as we scroll down, I don’t know if there’s any other, you know, looks like they have some elements here. Are there anything else you would think of testing? You mentioned? Like movement? I don’t know, if you are referring to like some kind of video here as opposed to they have a static image? I don’t know if there’s anything else you agree.

Melih Oztalay 28:19

Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, people do like video. And we’ve seen a growing number of people moving towards video, right? I mean, so Instagrams section where they have, you know, the videos or YouTube. These are good examples of where YouTube video is primary player in trying to get people’s attention. You know, looking at the rest of the website, I think everything about their homepage is about that top section. And I would just play around with some new ideas in terms of that demo that pricing and whether or not there should be a video there or

Jeremy Weisz 28:57

not. Yeah. And we’ll go to the next one. But I’ll just quickly click on the just to see what does it show when we have the pricing and the and the demo. So we can see that the pricing pages kind of like a standard pricing page comparing plans. And the here’s the demo page here. I don’t know if there’s any comments on that.

Melih Oztalay 29:25

Yeah, the only comment I have is not the demo this demo page. But the pricing page is too complicated. I’m a I’m a consumer, I don’t know the difference between RingCentral MVP of the top versus RingCentral video, right? And down below I have a whole flurry of list of services. And some of it makes sense, right? You might be able to figure it out. And some of it might be like well do I really need it? It’s like the list is it’s like they put too much information at this point in front of people

Jeremy Weisz 30:00

Yeah, I have to really sift through. And now I’m spending time trying to figure out are these four plans which one’s the best and they’re not, you know, we’re talking like $7. Of I know, right. So just give me something of start with, maybe you’re saying and don’t give me everything

Melih Oztalay 30:20

correctly. So they want they did two things over here is, you know, and I understand what they try to accomplish the most popular on the left, and put that in, in that orange color to get people’s attention. And they put best value over there on the right, but the best value doesn’t stick out. Because that’s not really a strong tech that maybe that light blue just doesn’t grab people’s attention right away. And then, of course, like I said, we have these tabs up at the top, and I’m not sure whether or not I should check on them.

Jeremy Weisz 30:50

Honestly, until you point that out. Really, I didn’t even realized that was there. So I didn’t even see those tabs, I just saw I was just scrolling down. So I had

Melih Oztalay 31:02

my ID wouldn’t have known

Jeremy Weisz 31:03

these things. Until you pointed that out.

Melih Oztalay 31:07

So I agree. I’m not saying it’s wrong, right. But I would definitely suggest doing an AV test on this. And just bring down the distraction and focus on you know, something that’s going to take people right into without a lot of thought process to become a client, then you can upsell them if you wish later. But you’re trying to upsell them upfront, when they don’t know what it is that they want to buy. And I just bring it back.

Jeremy Weisz 31:37

Yeah, no, I love that. So the next one I pulled up here is, which I guess does something similar.

Melih Oztalay 31:49

So walk me through how you’re sending data. So they have a chat bot as well. What I’m seeing over here, and look, we did a lot of work on color psychology, we’ve done it a few times on a few projects. And I’m a little concerned about the color scheme over here. There’s something not quite right. That’s it’s like I the colors are distracting to me. And number two is we have a distracting top of the above the fold page, I got the colors. And then I’ve got those lines all coming in from the left on the right. All these things are distracting me before I can even read keep personal and business calls separate. I I suggest keeping it simple. Apply kiss, right. That’s the first thing that causes comes my way. And there are no real call to actions here because of the distractions. The distractions are taking people away from the court element that you want, which is to get them to sign up. Up to $75 off of what? Right. So because there’s I mean, I It doesn’t jump out to me that I can click somewhere in there. Get started for free. Well, yeah, but and it says, you know, it takes me a little while but then I realized there’s $26 a month there. I just think this is a clear A to B test method, come up with a completely B version that’s so far away from this. That reduces the distractions. Let’s see if that does any better. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz 33:42

yeah. And you could see in the Ring Central, you really can’t have two color schemes. You have orange and blue, and white. Here. If you’re looking at we’re looking at UC a try free at the top, which is blue button, then you have a purple button to get started or free. And then there’s different colors like purple and blue coming in. And

Melih Oztalay 34:06

the black at the top sticks out, right? Mm hmm. So another

Jeremy Weisz 34:11

color is saying babies basically test just maybe the try free at the top is just purple. So it’s consistent with the try free in the middle or whatever. Just the color scheme. There’s a couple different colors going on. Yeah,

Melih Oztalay 34:27

I mean, it’s interesting that you pick these two because Ring Central, it’s easy on the eyes, I can focus on the content without the distractions. Right. And the only AV test they I think that they may want to try just as view demo and pricing. The other thing that we found in their case is that their pricing page is a little busy. I think they could narrow that down and focus on something just to get people started. But grasshopper is wildly distracting.

Jeremy Weisz 34:57

Yeah, and I’ll just click through Yeah, it’s always obviously, maybe this is working for them. And it’s doing amazing and maybe not, but it’s just a test. And then so here’s the if you click on the Get Started Free button, here’s what we see, as far as this goes. Obviously, this is much, it seems like much

Melih Oztalay 35:20

easier. Yes. Yeah. Scroll down a little ways, though. Let’s see what we got here. She’s gonna choose a toll free number. Okay. I mean, it’s, this is what we’re talking about for the homepage, right? Keep it easy on the eyes, keep the distractions to a minimum. And you just said something, I think is important to mention. We’ve come across this. I mean, that was I, I’ve come across this many times, especially with other CEOs. They’ll tell me oh, we’re doing great, right? So they’re saying, okay, look, we you know, we’re getting 20%, or whatever the response rate is on the website. And then they’re saying, well, we don’t think we need to change this. I said, Well, what if that 20% was 30%? What would you do that? Right? So how well they’re performing is really dependent upon whether or not they’re running through the various testing methods to figure out whether or not their base that they have right now that they’re comfortable with that they seem to think there’s a success is really a success, maybe you can bump it up by percent. And but that requires somebody to sit down and do the analysis, and interpret the information, come up with a new idea. And then run that AB testing, as well as other call to actions that, you know, you can find out whether or not you can bump it up by five or 10. More.

Jeremy Weisz 36:40

Yeah, it’s worth a test. And like, you can see the Ring Central buttons are blue. And then the grasshopper buttons are kind of all over the place. As far as what they’re, you know, it’s blue on the homepage, it’s purple in the middle. And then when you click through to the get free, it’s green. And so the green definitely sticks out. So that just makes me think, well, maybe they didn’t choose green because it blends in too much with the rest of their site. I don’t know. But it’s interesting that they’ve thrown in a year ago, you know,

Melih Oztalay 37:13

the homepage reminds me I was is to be go to Adobe’s colors, color wheel, the color schemes that they provide you and they give you some ideas. This is what this reminds me of somebody, you know, a starting color. And then from there, they use the color scheme, we’ll have some sort that gave them Okay, these are the other colors you can try and use with this color. And they basically apply them all. Yeah, I back off on that. I really,

Jeremy Weisz 37:39

yeah. So first of all, um, I just want to say, you know, Melih this has been fantastic. I love kind of hearing and following your your marketing brain at work, as far as that goes. And I just want to point people towards where they can find out more, learn more, they can go to To learn more, are there any other places online that we should point people towards?

Melih Oztalay 38:09

I would suggest reaching out to me on LinkedIn. I am a big LinkedIn fan. I’ve been with LinkedIn for since 2005. I have 16,000 really close friends. But by all means, I would say reach out to me on LinkedIn, that’s the best place to find me. And obviously our website is full of information, full of knowledge, a lot of experience in terms of its content, and it’s different sections. We are coming out with a new website hopefully within the first quarter. It also will show a new brand and new colors for us. We basically decided to kind of get freshen things up so to speak.

Jeremy Weisz 38:51

Awesome. Everyone check out Check out Melih on LinkedIn. Check out more episodes on Inspiredinsider and Rise25 And thanks everyone.

Melih Oztalay 39:02

Thanks Jeremy. It was great being on your show.