How Meaningful Marketing Can Drive SEO

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This is a podcast episode titled, How Meaningful Marketing Can Drive SEO. The summary for this episode is: <p>In this episode, we’re talking about how meaningful marketing can drive growth for your company, but just as important: it can improve the lives of your customers. Joe Karasin, the CMO of Circle It and, breaks down the differences between entering a crowded market and coming in as a creator - while never losing sight of the customer’s needs.</p>
When you align content to customer needs, you can make a big difference in someone's life.
01:00 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome back to Page One or Bust, your ultimate guide to getting on page one of search engines. In this episode, we're talking about how meaningful marketing can not only drive growth for your company, but just as important, it can improve the lives of your customers. That's why we're talking to Joe Karasin, the CMO of CircleIt and He breaks down the differences between entering a crowded market and coming in as a creator. One thing stays the same across both strategies, having empathy for the customer by putting yourself in their shoes. You don't want to miss how Joe's humanizing approach can improve your SEO, but first, a word from our sponsor. Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started creating content that ranks for free @ demandjump. com today. Now, here are your co- hosts, Drew Detzler and Ryan Brock.

Drew Detzler: Welcome to Page One or Bust. This is your host, Drew Detzler. As always, I'm joined by my co- host, Ryan Brock.

Ryan Brock: Yo, we're doing wonderful today. How are you Drew?

Drew Detzler: I'm doing great, because today we are joined by the Chief Marketing Officer of CircleIt and, Joe Karasin. Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe Karasin: Hi guys, glad to be here. Nice to meet you both.

Ryan Brock: Great to meet you. Before the show, Joe and I were talking about his Dropkick Murphys hoodie and the associated Music Roulette. It's making me want to go home and watch The Departed tonight.

Drew Detzler: I'm going to join you there. I love it. Well, before we dive in, Joe, let's introduce you to our listeners. Why don't you go ahead and tell us a little bit about CircleIt and and how you became the CMO?

Joe Karasin: Sure. Two separate companies under the same umbrella organization. So, how I became the CMO here? I was a freelance SEO, basically a search engine marketing consultant for a number of years. In the process of freelancing, I met a gentleman named Art Shaikh, who is the CEO and founder of both these companies, and started working as a freelancer with him as they were both tech startups. We started to see some rapid growth. The company ended up getting a series A round of funding, so that was fantastic. Then, he offered me the position to come in. Initially, head of growth marketing was my original title. Then, that has morphed into a more of an oversight of every aspect of marketing for the company. So, that's how I became a CMO.

Ryan Brock: Let me ask you a question because your story strikes me as a little bit unusual. Joe, maybe your mileage varies here, but I don't think it's super common for me to meet a CMO who got there via the SEO pathway-

Drew Detzler: Right.

Ryan Brock: ...who started focused on SEO and became CMO. Does that seem to jive with your experience that you're maybe a little bit of a unicorn here?

Joe Karasin: I don't have a horn or anything. No. So, I guess maybe I'll backtrack a little bit and give you an overview of where I got started. So about some odd years ago, I ended up getting into SEO on a weird track also. I actually never majored in marketing or studied marketing my entire life, which I know is not uncommon. So then a friend of mine, his father is a pretty prominent person in the Metro Detroit Area where I'm from. He got into some legal trouble, and they needed somebody to learn how to bury the news story that kept coming up every time he looked up his name.

Drew Detzler: Awesome.

Joe Karasin: So this is my friend who came to me and said, " Hey, my dad's in trouble. I don't know how to do this." He said, " You're really good with numbers and data. Can you learn how to do this?" because I guess he was looking it up and that's what he saw. The correlation was numbers and data and search engine optimization, kind of just tangentially related to his searches. So, I said, " Sure man. I guess I can help."

Ryan Brock: I have to tell you, Joe, I have done two of those projects over the years. I've been in your exact shoes. It's Saturday. I'm hanging out outside. I get a phone call from someone who I will not mention or even suggest anything about. Suddenly, we got some work to do to make somebody's accomplishments stand out. Let's just say that.

Joe Karasin: Exactly. Through the years, I started just picking up skills as I went. I started doing, we're not supposed to talk about it on this, but paid search, and then inaudible.

Ryan Brock: Talk about it. So, we've all done it.

Joe Karasin: SEOs don't want to talk about paid search, usually.

Ryan Brock: We talk about paid search all the time, probably more than we should.

Joe Karasin: Oh, nice.

Ryan Brock: So maybe not on this podcast, but it's a weekly conversation over here.

Joe Karasin: Like I said, they go hand in hand, right?

Drew Detzler: Yeah.

Joe Karasin: In a lot of situation. So, I fell into doing that. Then, what happened was his father started recommending me to friends and colleagues and said, " Hey, this guy does good work. He can help you with this and that." So over the years, I just started building up my skillset. I had and started working on social. I feel like I was one of the first few people I knew that were doing Facebook business pages back when those still mattered and really building that stuff out. Then getting into the paid social game, and lead generation, and all that stuff. So, I've had this long stretch of different career experiences that almost gave me the tools I needed to then step into a role of CMO, where whether it's SEO, PPC, OOH advertising, television ads, I've been able to build those skillsets out. So, it puts me in a unique position. I wouldn't say unicorn, but unique position to do these things.

Ryan Brock: I've been in the content marketing agency for 10 years. It sounds a lot like my experience there. I had room to go dabble and sell. " Yeah, we'll sell this to you and I'll learn how to do it and blah, blah, blah." Drew, what brought you into marketing? I don't know if we've ever talked about this. Why marketing, of all things?

Drew Detzler: Because I didn't know what else I wanted to do. Isn't how every marketer gets into marketing?

Ryan Brock: Cool, yeah.

Drew Detzler: Because I can't sell, that's why. Data and analytics, it's funny that you say that, Joe. I got into it through data and analytics, and then figuring out what worked was a lot of fun and doubling down on that. It's funny that you ask me that question. Then, I went into data analytics. I like what you said, Joe, around your friend saw you as being good at math. Math and data, and he correlated that to SEO. All of those things of which are things that the people avoid because they're hard to understand. In SEO's case, you can never really understand it in our opinion.

Ryan Brock: Not fully.

Drew Detzler: Not fully.

Joe Karasin: That's funny because one of the things I really love to do and that I'm very hands-on with is our written content creation. That's one of my major focuses. I also then took on a PR role as well, so doing more responsive PR type things through inaudible and stuff like that. I love pitching. I love writing. It's interesting that you talked about that kind of left brain, right brain. I like both. I really enjoy both. I've met people who are very much like that, that do enjoy both. Then, I've met people who are very much on one side or the other of the equations. Interesting breakdown of what marketers are and how marketers come to be, so to speak.

Ryan Brock: I don't think we've ever really talked about that on this show, but it's fun because Drew's one of the only people I know who's a marketer and has taken marketing classes in school, which is like-

Joe Karasin: Oh, okay.

Drew Detzler: They might have been on my schedule. I don't know how often they were extended.

Ryan Brock: ... "Who has time for marketing classes?"

Joe Karasin: I was a political science and philosophy double major.

Ryan Brock: Philosophy, me too. English.

Joe Karasin: We were talking about writing. So, I think some of the best writers ever were philosophers.

Ryan Brock: Well, you're talking about learning how to organize thoughts and to produce an argument, or at least a statement in a way that leads the reader along from somewhere distant from you in your opinion to understanding your worldview, and maybe fighting themselves within it. You need some philosopher. I need to do that, I think.

Joe Karasin: Yeah, absolutely.

Drew Detzler: Agree. All right. Well, I'm going to yank you back to SEO experience here, especially with DigitalWill and CircleIt. So, it seems like they're two different situations. They're in two different places here. So, one of the things we wanted to talk about today was the different approaches you have to take in and around SEO and content with them. One being in more of a crowded market and one being more of a creation.

Ryan Brock: I want to add to that. Joe, just before you start telling us this story. At DemandJump and over the years, we've been in these shoes before. The difference between entering a crowded space and trying to stand out versus entering a space for everyone's having a conversation, but it's different from the one you want to have. They're so different, but they're also so challenging. So, I'm really excited to hear these stories.

Drew Detzler: Sometimes it terrifies people into just paralysis. They don't know where to start. So, I'm interested to hear how you're attacking both of those different situations through content and SEO. Maybe we start with DigitalWill in entering a competitive space. How do you stand out in that competitive space?

Joe Karasin: We're lucky in one sense that no one really has developed what we would consider a truly digital will product. That is something that I think is very important to state upfront. The uniqueness of the product itself is something that does help. It's explaining that uniqueness, and it's cutting through the stuff that isn't a digital will that's claiming that it is. That I think is where you run into some interesting keyword issues. You run into some interesting conversation issues as you go through. Currently, and I'm not a guy that likes to call out competitors or anything. There's products out there that are claiming that they're a digital will. What they do is they take information that you would put into a legal will, and then they give you a PDF document at the end. They charge you out anywhere between $99 and $ 150 for this.

Ryan Brock: Sure. Commoditize quick.

Joe Karasin: So here's some papers, what do you do with it? That I think is where, that's where the problem is. So, what we do is different. We have smart technology built into our platform. So, not only will you give us that information but when your death is confirmed, that information then gets routed to the people that it needs to get through. So we handle the execution of your will in addition, which is not done by any other product or service out there. Who that is-

Ryan Brock: Is that being done by a human being or is that being done by technology?

Joe Karasin: It's a mix. So the AI handles the routing of everything to your executors who are people that you've listed, so the people that you have trusted. My wife, for example, would be an executor in my digital will. So if something happens to me, she knows that this goes to my nephew. This goes to her. This goes to my dad, that kind of stuff. So it makes sure that, that stuff gets handled that way, but the actual execution is handled through this process as opposed to the sort of very slow process that you see in probate and other situations.

Drew Detzler: Got it. So, it's a true digital will as opposed to just creating your will digitally?

Joe Karasin: Exactly. That is a good way to do it. I call it online will versus digital will. So, you can go fill out. I could create an online will in Google Box and not pay anybody. What's going to happen after I do that? I'm going to throw it in a drawer or on a file on my computer, and guess what? The password in my computer is on the paperwork that you now don't have. Whereas, this sort of has asset management component that updates passwords and then gives the people that you need to have it, the access that they need when they need it.

Ryan Brock: This is tough because it's like you know that you need to reach people who are looking into how to make a will. If I were in your shoes, I would be more interested in looking into like, can I figure out what people are searching for when they're trying to make the experience of burying someone easier? That's so dark to say, but it's like-

Joe Karasin: No, no, no.

Ryan Brock: ...that's the value here, right?

Joe Karasin: Our thing is literally called death tech. There's nothing darker than that. I'm fine with that.

Ryan Brock: There is something light about saying, " I'm going to do this because it's going to make it easier for my loved ones or my executors after the fact. That's an interesting value prop that I don't even know how you begin figuring out who's into that. Who's searching for it? How do you find them?

Joe Karasin: Well, you find them easily by finding out people that are searching for estate planning, that are searching for creating wills, that are searching for things that other providers already say that they're providing but aren't. So, you can really harness those audiences. There are millions of these searches every year. The nice thing is our solution is global. Most of these are US specific solutions that are out there. We can handle this for anybody across the globe, which is-

Ryan Brock: Wow.

Joe Karasin: ...something that also is not done. It's one of those things. 70% of Americans don't have a will. It's even higher. If you look internationally, it's probably closer to 90% of people don't have one. A lot of times, it's an accessibility issue. It's so expensive upfront, you have to give an attorney $1,500 to $5, 000 to prepare your will and you can get all those things in order. Whereas with DigitalWill. com, it's a subscription service, $ 999 a month. Then the other thing I've noticed too is that within search, when looking into the search data on this, a lot of people don't think they need one because they don't think they have anything to leave. If you're a renter for example, you don't have a house to leave anybody, the bigger assets that people think of. Most everybody's got a PayPal account with probably some money in it. Most everybody's got online banking, most everybody's got emails, and social, and all these different things that need to get dealt with. When my mom passed away some years ago, dealing with all that stuff was hard. You don't know where these things are. You don't know how to find them. Those things all need to be spelled out for people, and that's what our platform does. So, finding the people that are looking for this isn't really that hard because these people are searching for this on a regular basis. If you google estate planning services, you're going to see it. Every estate planning attorney is paying for search ads and all kinds of stuff to get you to generate a lead that way. What we're saying is, you can search for that and it's fine. Don't get us wrong, this stuff obviously needs to be done. We just found a smarter, better way to do it. Technology can now be in this space and really handle this problem that a lot of people have.

Ryan Brock: We've talked about this before. Our methodology that we're espousing, pillar-based marketing, which for new listeners of the show, we see it as the evolution of organic content in SEO. It's a different way of thinking about building authority around topics and networks to search behavior rather than keyword lists. It works really well. It does amazing things, but it also leads us into situations where we'll be working with companies. They're trying to sell something that has nothing to do with software, but then we find ourselves needing to write about Excel spreadsheets, for example. It's like we have to do it because this is the conversation that the audience is having. So, I think that to me is one of the signs of somebody who's willing to actually meet customers where they are and solve a problem. It's like we don't want to talk about our competitors. We don't want to talk about Excel if we're selling something different and better, but we know we have to. It's even better when you can beat Microsoft at their own game and get on page one for Excel and beat them out. It's just an interesting story. It's one that I'm familiar with. The idea that you have to be where your customers are. Question for you, is there a channel element to this? Do you guys ever talk to lawyers, or attorneys, or are they just the competition?

Joe Karasin: So grander vision, we don't consider attorneys our competition. That's something that we want to get out there on the gate. The next evolution of our platform is going to be an attorney marketplace because there's going to be people that have very complicated estates. You're not just going to have a house, a car, and a couple of things to leave your kids. You're going to have accounts that you want to divvy out. You're going to want to have educational stuff set up for your grandchildren, whatever the case may be. So you're going to have a more complicated estate plan. We want to partner with attorneys on that to help them navigate this, and then our technology will take care of the rest for them. We don't consider attorneys our competition. The competition that we have is really kind of limited to these, I just say PDF generators is really the best way I can describe the other tools that are out there. It's funny because obviously I'm talking about being in a crowded space, but there really isn't anything like us. It's just that the terms and topics that we're focused on are things that do have established actors in the space that are fighting for the same territory. You talked about building authority around a topic. That's really the focus of the content that we produce for the website is really educating and owning that space for people, but letting them know what is the difference between what we're doing and what everybody else is doing.

Drew Detzler: I love that you guys are talking about those kinds of things, and building that awareness, and getting some traffic around those topics. It sounds like we think about things very similar and the idea of a network of content around a topic. You mentioned, it's not just online wills or digital wills, it's the topics that they search around that integral topic there that you guys are also creating content around. So, I'm interested in how you're educating your audience around some of those outside topics and what are some of those pieces of content you create?

Joe Karasin: So, one of the biggest ones right now are for whether or not I like the stuff or not, is crypto and NFTs. How do I leave that to my children? How do I leave crypto to my kids? How do I leave crypto to my grandkids? Your traditional will just doesn't have that component built in. They really don't. The lawyers are among the slowest to adopt, and I know this because I worked in marketing legal services for a good chunk of my career too. So, I know that they're slow to adopt certain solutions and technologies and that our industry is very slow. So being able to have content built around that, having content built around what happens to my social media accounts when I die? They don't really make it very clear. It's not a topic that Facebook, and Instagram, and Snapchat are out there talking about, but it is something that, do they have a policy in place, do they not? How do we do that? Then, cloud storage is another big one. So cloud storage is something that you're paying for with photos, and videos, and memories. The kinds of stuff that you would leave to your children is stored in the cloud. How do you access the cloud account? How do you get in there? How do you make sure that the people that you want to have the access to this have it?

Ryan Brock: Now do you stop it from getting just deleted from existence when your payment stops going through?

Joe Karasin: Right, exactly. Your credit cards and everything are eventually going to get turned off and then everything that you had is gone. Then on top of it, one of the biggest problems that you run into is, " Okay, so I have all these subscriptions." Everybody's got 5,000 subscriptions. Let's say I can't get into access your credit card or turn off a subscription, it's going to keep eating away at your stuff. Netflix isn't just going to assume you're dead because you haven't watched in a while and just shut you off. They're just going to keep collecting your money. Granted it's only 14, 15 bucks a month or whatever, but that adds up over time if you're not able to manage it. So, there's a lot of these things that come up that people just don't have, they don't have the ability to take care of. That's part of the problem that we're solving. So, that's another issue that people search for. So, those kinds of things are top content topics that we tackle when we're creating things.

Drew Detzler: I love that. Those are great topics. I'm alive and kicking, and I know I'm paying for some streaming services that I haven't watched in over a year. So, I know it adds up.

Joe Karasin: I think I still see Paramount Plus on my bill every month and I'm like, " Well, I haven't turned that off yet?"

Drew Detzler: I don't even know how to cancel it.

Joe Karasin: I can't remember the last one I watched, last thing I watched on there.

Ryan Brock: The process of doing SEO and organic content for DigitalWill, you were describing this credit marketplace. To me, it sounds a lot like experiences I've had where a marketplace exists but there's no analog to what we're selling. It looks like CircleIt, you're also characterizing as being something that has no direct competition. Can we shift to CircleIt and talk about what's different about your approach with CircleIt and how does it contrast to what you're doing with the DigitalWill?

Joe Karasin: Yeah. So DigitalWill as a product, it's easier to explain than what CircleIt can do. It's very straightforward. Everybody has an idea of what estate planning is, and wills, and trusts, and things like that. You might not know the ins and outs, but you at least know when I say, " Do you have a will?" People are like, " Yes or no." They know. CircleIt is a product that there's no real direct competition for it on a full. There's individual things that CircleIt does. There are companies that exist that kind of do it, but also same thing. Greeting cards, for example. Greeting cards are pretty much dominated by one company, Hallmark. They have paper cards. They now have online cards. You can send a card with CircleIt to the future. So let's say I'm a cancer patient, and I've got kids that are entering high school. I don't know if I'm going to be there, but I do want to be there for them. So I'll create a greeting card with a video message attached, letting them know how proud I am of them when they graduate, and that will be delivered for their graduation.

Ryan Brock: Wow.

Joe Karasin: So, that's another kind of different solution for problems that people have. Everybody wants to be there for their loved ones in the future, no one can guarantee that they're going to be. So, you can also do flowers and gifts through CircleIt, and you can send those to the future. I've done that for my wife several times when I know I'm going to screw something up and I know... I'm joking.

Ryan Brock: Predictable.

Drew Detzler: Quarterly send, love it.

Joe Karasin: You think about it like a '90s sitcom, like the dumb husband. How often does he forget his anniversary or forget that it's Valentine's Day? That's a whole plot of a story. We can help that. "Hey, just schedule it ahead of time and you don't have to worry."

Drew Detzler: I love that.

Joe Karasin: There's sort of a fun element to CircleIt as well. Taken as a whole, CircleIt also then provides the ability to store memories, create ancestral profiles, so you can learn about your ancestors and your loved ones. Again you can think of, a lot of people think of, " Oh, well like Ancestry." You can do that or some of those things, but it's not really like you don't have to give us a pint of blood to figure out your story. The thing that we always tell people is that DNA doesn't tell your story. Your memories, your traditions, that's what tells your story, your experiences.

Ryan Brock: You have no idea how close to home this is hitting right now. I bought 23andMe tests for my whole family for Christmas. The funny thing is just like all the stories we've been told by our elders in light of the DNA, they're all pretty much made up, it sounds like. We're learning that like, " Oh no, we came from this place, not that place. This person came over here at this time or whatever." I could see the value in having some clarity around where these people came from that maybe hasn't made it through the game of telephone over the last 300 years or however long.

Joe Karasin: Right. How long it takes a couple generations to lose oral history forever. Somebody won't know that story in a few years, but we'll be able to preserve that story for you. So those kinds of things are what we're doing. Like I said, taken as a whole, there's nothing out there. There's not even anybody who's claiming that they're doing it without doing it at this point. What we've done is something completely unique and different. So, that space is wholly new. One of the things that we talk about because a lot of people look at CircleIt and they go, " Oh well, it's like a social media app," which it's not. It's a healthier alternative to social media because it's very private, very secure, and you connect with your family and loved ones. So if I had children, I don't necessarily think I'd want my kids on Instagram, on Snapchat, on these other platforms, but I'm fine with them being on CircleIt and sharing their accomplishments online with my dad, and my sister, and her son. People that we love and are going to support us. So, it's a completely different situation than what DigitalWill does.

Ryan Brock: So let's talk about organic then.

Drew Detzler: Exactly. How are you attracting?

Ryan Brock: Are you targeting genealogy people? What are you looking at?

Joe Karasin: So we look at people that understand that life is not forever. That's the best way I can describe it. Cancer patients, those that have Alzheimer's and the caregivers that take care of them, the baby boomers, and grandparents, and moms. Moms are a little different. Moms really want to preserve stuff for their kids over the time, so they're a little different. Those are the kinds of people that we're looking at. So, what are they looking to do? For a cancer patient, how do I make sure my kids are okay when I'm gone? That sort of stuff. It's a little bit deeper. We actually really created and pushed new search terms that are gaining volume over time.

Ryan Brock: Oh yeah, that's fun.

Joe Karasin: It was funny. When I first came into this and I was listening and learning about it, I talked about my mom earlier. So, my mom died of cancer years ago. She left me a letter that I still keep with me all... Not all in my pocket, but it's in a special place. It's not going anywhere. It goes with me, wherever. I heard about this technology and I'm like, " That's exactly what my mom did for me years ago. How that works?" So, we are able to recreate that experience for everybody. I'm thinking, " Okay, so what was going through my mom's head when she did this? Why did she write me this letter?" She wanted to make sure I was okay. She wanted to let me know that I was loved, and she wanted to be there for me and she knew she couldn't. So, how that person thinks is really kind of like you have to think about search intent. What is a person thinking there? So with the messaging that we craft in our content, we're able to explain to people how you can be there for your loved ones even after you're gone. That's a very powerful way to encapsulate it, and then that is how people identify with it.

Drew Detzler: So, I love it. I love what you're doing, and I love that we think the exact same way about this. I would love even if we didn't think the same way, but we do. So what are some of those space creations? What are some of those topics that you've coined that are starting to gain some traction?

Joe Karasin: So future messaging, how to send a message to the future. Most people don't even think about that, but it's a digital message in a bottle. It's like, " I put this out there in the universe." There's all these stories out there. Somebody who found a message in a bottle that was written back in 1946 from a guy that was over in the war and wrote to his wife. It floated across the Atlantic Ocean and ended up on Long Island or something. It's capturing that experience. People are really searching for that. That's not really the way they're doing it, but what they are doing is they're looking for ways to send messages to the future. Another good dumb husband one, I can say that because I'm dumb husband too. It's like my wife will text me while I'm at the office and it'll be like, " Hey, can you grab something from the store on your way home?" How often do you think I remember?

Ryan Brock: If you remember to go, I leave at least one thing off the list every time I go to the grocery store.

Drew Detzler: Oh yeah.

Joe Karasin: So at this point then, what she does is she can schedule that text to arrive when she knows I'm not going to be focused on work. When I'm getting in the car, my phone will go off and go, " Oh, okay. She needs me to stop at the store." I'm much more likely to remember to go when I'm en route, rather than when I'm at the office and then all of a sudden I've had to put out 10 fires in an hour, that kind of thing. So, how to do that? So sometimes it's like how to remind somebody to do something. There's all these different things. One of the spaces that we really did really well with, I kind of alluded to it a little bit earlier, is the healthy alternative to social media. That was one that gained a lot of traction really early on. We were hyper focused on creating content around that because the privacy built into our solution. We don't have ads in our platform. We've never sold anybody's data and we never will. That's another thing. We build trust with our customers by doing that. So, we talk a lot about privacy. Now granted privacy's not a space that we created, but by creating this-

Drew Detzler: It's huge.

Joe Karasin: There's a nexus between the lack of privacy in social media and the lack of healthy things that are done there. So, being able to exploit that and open up this conversation was really big for us. We went from a little under a million downloads to a little over 5 million in a year. That was solely due to that, but that was a big part of the conversation the way people were finding us.

Ryan Brock: How do you use data? Or maybe I should say, do you? I assume you do, but do you use data to prioritize these various approaches? Because like you said, moms, I even consider myself in that audience. I made an email address for my son when he was born. I've been emailing him for the last three years with things, and then will continue doing so as long as I can. So, I'm someone else who I don't know what I searched for or what I would've searched for around then, but I would have been there. Do you think about it in terms of, " Well, our population that is potentially terminal, or older, or whatever. They're potentially a better customer, so we're going to target them"? Are you trying whatever you can and seeing what sticks, and then picking an angle after that, or doing a spread shot? What is your approach?

Joe Karasin: So the data we look at, we look at retention. We look at how when people come in, are they responding to different modules within the platform? Who's sending cards? What kind of cards are they using? Are they sending holiday cards? Are they sending birthday cards? Are they sending cards to the future? How far out are they sending them? So we analyze all that and we figure that out. With DigitalWill, it's a little different. The data that we analyze, there's a little less, I don't want to say expansive. I guess it's not as granular because at the end of the day, do you have assets uploaded? Yes. Do you have executors added? Yes. Do you have beneficiaries added? Yes. Okay, great. Then we start to see, we're thinking about user adoption, user retention, that kind of thing. With CircleIt, has more retention based stuff. So, we analyze that and see what's going on. We look a lot at the content that we've put out. What's resonating? What's pushing downloads to the platform from there? So, there's this piece of content that we created about this caregiver who was taking care of her dad, who then passed. Then, also now her mom. Is that pushing the needle because that's identifying with that community? Are we moving the needle with this other content that we're writing about police and firefighters who are doing this stuff for their kids because they know that they may not come home that night from work? Those kinds of things. So the content that we've created around that, those spaces are what we use to determine what is bringing in users and then bringing in not just downloads, but people that are actually resonating with the technology.

Drew Detzler: Yup, because that's the end goal, right? Bringing them in is one thing, having them stick is the end goal.

Ryan Brock: Well, this story is I think why I love organic content marketing among any other aspects of marketing, because guess like you want to grow your reach. You want to grow your bottom line, and there are many, many tactics available to you to do that. This is one that also lets you as a marketer, make someone's life better objectively. Even before they buy from you, you're providing value and you're doing it in such a broad way. This is just an awesome story because I think it reminds me that when you're writing stuff and you're helping people, you're measuring it in clicks, and downloads, and leads created or whatever, but there's this other unmeasurable quality of SEO where it's just like you just brought somebody something they needed. It could be anything from figuring out how to accomplish something with a piece of software to how to reach their children in the future, which is just so powerful. So, this is an awesome story and I'm very grateful for you sharing it, Joe.

Joe Karasin: You brought up something that I think is really important, especially now in marketing is the need for first party data. The removal of third party cookies and things like that. Providing that value upfront is so crucial to getting people to trust you with their information.

Ryan Brock: Yes.

Joe Karasin: That is like you said content marketing upfront like that, giving them something that they feel is like, " Wow, that's really important, or powerful, or helpful." That's the magic of what we're trying to accomplish through our organic content efforts.

Drew Detzler: Exactly, trust. How do you get them to trust you by answering their questions and actually genuinely helping them, what you guys are doing. I love what you guys are doing both at CircleIt and DigitalWill. I appreciate you sharing it with us, Joe. Before we let you go though, we'll have a little fun with what we call our lightning round.

Ryan Brock: Lightning round, the hot seat.

Drew Detzler: We need a ding, ding, ding. We need some sort of a bell that goes off.

Ryan Brock: Air horn.

Drew Detzler: Air horn, there it is. Listeners will love the air horn. We'll make sure it's really loud too. Joe, what is the last thing that you searched?

Joe Karasin: I searched for upcoming events in the Chicago area.

Drew Detzler: Love it. Any good findings?

Joe Karasin: Yeah. Chicago Restaurant Week is going on, which is great. So they have some really good deals, had some really nice restaurants. My wife's mother and sister are visiting right now. That's why I'm at the office instead of at home. I'm joking. They're in town, so I was looking for things to do with them. So, I was looking at different places to go eat and things like that.

Ryan Brock: I'm a Chicago Amboy too. I didn't know that you were up there.

Joe Karasin: Well, I'm originally from Detroit or Metro Detroit. I can't say I'm actually from Detroit, but we moved to Chicago last year for my position here.

Ryan Brock: Same. I'm from Indiana, but I would tell people that I'm from Chicago because I'm in the region.

Drew Detzler: People are like, " Oh, you're from Detroit?" Then I go, " Yeah." They're like, " Oh." Then, I'm like, " No, I'm from a town called Canton, which is in between Detroit and Ann Arbor, almost equidistant." Very different upper middle class suburb as opposed to actually being from the city.

Ryan Brock: Yeah, for sure.

Drew Detzler: All right. Joe, over your career, have there been any marketing myths that you've been able to bust?

Joe Karasin: Oh, it's a good one.

Drew Detzler: It's a tough one.

Joe Karasin: I wouldn't say that I necessarily busted anything. I don't really consider myself a trailblazer in that sense. I think that one of the things that I've focused on and that I think I've helped make the case for has been taking an omnichannel approach to marketing. I think that everybody likes to be multichannel, but to really be omnichannel and put the customer at the center of that marketing effort, I think that's something that I've really focused on through my career. It's served me and those I've worked with really well.

Drew Detzler: Love that. All right. Last one and then you're off the hook. What's your best prediction for SEO trends in 2023?

Joe Karasin: Oh, man. I'm sure people are probably going to throw this one out there too. I'm going to try and do a little bit of a hot take on this. I don't think everyone needs to be as worried about ChatGPT as they think they need to be.

Ryan Brock: Agreed.

Joe Karasin: Okay, cool. I'm glad that everybody's on the same page.

Ryan Brock: I just did a webinar on this and I was like, " The machines are not as good as you all think they are." Not at this, anyway.

Joe Karasin: Well, and that's the thing. I was just quoted in Search Engine Journal on the same topic. It's like, yes. I think it's a great tool. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great. I also try to remind people like, " What happens when you Google a question? You get answers. So you can create your content through ChatGPT, but then it's sourcing web content. So, you're essentially committing plagiarism.

Ryan Brock: Exactly. That's what I say too.

Joe Karasin: You're going to need people to then actually clean that content up before you publish it, unless you're just being unscrupulous. I think CNET's allowance of that is going to come back and burn them over time.

Ryan Brock: Google has said that it will. It will. It's going to be an arms race and Google will win, until somebody else decides out how to inaudible.

Joe Karasin: You don't think Bing is going to... Their use of that is.

Ryan Brock: It's cool to see them trying. It's cool to see them trying.

Joe Karasin: inaudible You got to hand it to Microsoft when they try to innovate because they really...

Ryan Brock: Good job, kids.

Joe Karasin: I think that. On a more agreeable trend, I think more and more companies are going to move into using headless CMS, which I know a lot already are. We are currently. That kind of stuff's on the technical side. That I think is something that's going to be more and more ubiquitous as time goes on.

Ryan Brock: Lightning round over.

Drew Detzler: There it is.

Joe Karasin: I got hammered by the questions.

Drew Detzler: Joe, thank you for being an awesome guest today. Before we let you go, again we love what you're doing over there. Is there anything you would like to tell us, what's going on next?

Joe Karasin: So get ready for DigitalWill. com's big debut. We're actually doing the wide release coming up here in just a few days. When you go into the app store, you'll be able to search for DigitalWill and you'll see our app there, download it, go ahead and use it. Everybody who downloads it gets a 90-day free trial, so you get to use the technology prior. So, stay tuned for that. You can follow us on social to know when that's going to happen. Anybody who wants to ask questions or connect, find me on LinkedIn, very easy.

Drew Detzler: I love it, Joe. We'll be sure to link it both in the show notes as well. Thanks again for being a great guest.

Joe Karasin: Thanks for having me guys.

Ryan Brock: Great story, Joe. Thanks.

Drew Detzler: Great conversation with, Joe. Ryan, outside of my made up word of inaudible, what did you take away from today's conversation?

Ryan Brock: We got to remember that you can sell something, and you can even find ways of selling that thing that are great for your business. If you can also put something good into the world and solve a problem for somebody, why wouldn't you want to do that? I think that seeing businesses that want to focus less on growth at all costs and more on let's find our people where they are in a moment of need and let's help them. That is so cool to me. Obviously, when we're talking about things like what happens after we're gone. That story is going to have a little bit more gravitas. Even if I'm talking about sneakers, and then people are trying to find the right pair of shoes. If I can help them with that and in doing so drive a sale, rather than just put an ad in their face when they're not looking for it. I feel like I can go to bed at night feeling good about myself, feeling like I've actually contributed something to the world that's decent. I think that if done right, SEO has the potential to do that. It's been done wrong a lot, but I love hearing stories like Joe's because it shows you that if you actually care and try to align the customer need and provide need, you can make a pretty big difference in someone's life. That's cool, I like that.

Drew Detzler: I completely agree, and I love what they're doing over there. Everyone should take a look at both CircleIt and DigitalWill. com. With that, I think it's a wrap.

Ryan Brock: Good episode. Air horn sound.

Drew Detzler: Peace.

Speaker 1: Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Know the exact content to create, to increase first page rankings and drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started for free today @ demandjump. com.


In this episode, we’re talking about how meaningful marketing can drive growth for your company, but just as important: it can improve the lives of your customers. Joe Karasin, the CMO of Circle It and, breaks down the differences between entering a crowded market and coming in as a creator - while never losing sight of the customer’s needs.

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