Writing quizzes is pretty hot right now. So we asked entrepreneur and Quiz expert, Josh Haynam to join us to share everything he knows about quizzes for the 141st episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. In this episode Kira and Rob asked all their questions about what copywriters need to know before creating great quizzes. Here’s what we covered:
• the story of how Josh and his partner built a business on quizzes
• some of the struggles he faced in starting his own company
• the moment Josh and others knew things were going to work
• why quizzes are such powerful tools for engaging your audience
• how quizzes can change the person who is taking it
• what the best quizzes have in common and why they work
• examples of people and companies that are doing quizzes right
• best practices for following up your quiz to engage your audience
• the tools Interact has created to help writers create a quiz
• the mistakes people make when creating quizzes
• what his ridiculous daily schedule looks like
• what he does to meditate for an hour and a half *really*
We also asked Josh about how Interact got traction—the content strategy they followed as they grew, how he listens to customers to figure out what’s next, and what the future holds for Interact. To hear it all, click the play button below, download the episode to your podcast player, or scroll down read a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Interact <– sign up here
The Copywriter Club Quiz
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Intro: Content (for now)
Note: we’ve talked about quizzes before. Click here to hear our interview with Chanti Zak about how she’s built her business around quizzes. Also, that link to Interact is an affiliate link. If you sign up for a paid account, we will earn a dollar or two (at no cost to you).
Rob: This podcast is sponsored by The Copywriter Underground.
Kira: It’s our new membership designed for you to help you attract more clients and hit 10K a month consistently.
Rob: For more information or to sign up, go to thecopywriterunderground.com.
What if you can hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You are invited to join the club for Episode 141 as we chat with entrepreneur and quiz expert, Josh Haynam, about co-founding Interact, how copywriters are using quiz funnels for their clients and in their own businesses, why quizzes are such powerful marketing tools, and what separates a great quiz from the merely good quizzes. Welcome, Josh.
Rob: Hey, Josh.
Josh: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Kira: Yeah, great to have you here. And as a sponsor at our conference for copywriters in Brooklyn this past March, which already feels like a long time ago, was not that long ago, but great to have you and meet you at the event. So, just to start, can you tell us a little bit about your story and how you ended up building Interact?
Josh: Yeah, yeah. It’s a long story. Interact itself is a long story. It’s been in business for almost eight years, which is, like, an eternity in the software world. We’re basically, like, grandparents at this point. Yeah, I got my start as an entrepreneur when I was 15, so I’ve been running companies for 11 years now. And Interact was born out of an agency that myself and my co-founder Matt used to run. We would build websites for people and run all of their digital marketing. And we’d charge them a lot of money, and the end of the day, really all they had any interest in was the size of their email list, so how many contacts were coming in, and could they market to those contacts? And that was, kind of, frustrating for us because we spent all this time building out these interfaces and all this stuff, and they would just want to know the number. So, we actually stumbled across the quiz idea by accident, because one of our clients asked for a quiz to be built, I think, it was, ‘What’s Your Sales Persona?’ Which now, everybody builds very similar quizzes to that. But at the time, we did it custom, we put it on his website, and it converted just way, way, way better than our other websites we’d built. And it was much easier. And it was a simple process to create the thing.
And then, kind of, digging into that, we just realized this makes sense, like, if you just ask people about themselves, and you give them a personalized product offering or a service offering, then it converts a lot better, and you get a lot more opt-ins because the quiz has an opt-in form in order to reveal your results. So, that’s where it started, that was 2011, so a very, very long time ago. And no one really cared at that point. It worked really well when we would do it, and when people would buy into it, but no one bought into it. So, the first 3, 4, 5, 6 years, things were really, really slow for us. The idea of doing a quiz for marketing hadn’t caught on, it wasn’t interesting. The old stuff was still working, so it was like, ‘Why would we spend all this time and effort doing something new when we can just continue running our ads, continue doing our same newsletter blasts?’ All that type of stuff.
But then in the last couple of years, things started to really shift to where a lot of that old school stuff started to die off or become too expensive or new data laws started to make things more difficult, and that’s when people started turning to us, and then in the last couple of years, it’s really, really taken off to the point where there’s like 75,000, 80,000 companies using Interact to this point. So, it’s gotten really, really big, and I believe it’s like 12 or 13 million leads that have been generated to the platform at this point as well. So, kind of, a very, very slow build, and then all of a sudden, it just started to catch on. And that is the very, very high level view of how Interact came to be.
Rob: That’s amazing. And we’ve got dozens of questions about quizzes and how copywriters can use them, but before we jump into all that stuff, I’d love to hear a little bit more about the entrepreneurial journey. It’s something that… I think, a lot of us like to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs, but starting a company is obviously not an easy thing to do. Keeping it going for eight years, like you guys have, is a phenomenal accomplishment. Tell us, maybe some of the hardest things that you’ve had to deal with as an entrepreneur.
Josh: Oh, gosh, how long do we have? Yeah, it’s really hard. The first four or five years money was absent, is the way to put it. So, myself and Matt lived off of pretty much nothing: bounced around different apartments, worked out of apartments, worked out of whatever space we could get. Did whatever we had to do, so we did a lot of consulting work for our clients. So, we’d be pulling like 14-hour days and then going home, and just living in the tiniest place imaginable just to scrape by. And, I think, specifically, some of the things that are really hard and weird is, there was a point at which I was actually living in a walk-in closet, which is part of what you get to do as an entrepreneur. But I was being interviewed because we were growing really, really fast. So, I’d go and I would do a podcast about the success of this company, and how it was growing like this… by leaps and bounds, but there’s still no margin, we’re a bootstrapped company so there’s no money. So, I had to go home to my walk-in closet, and I’m like, ‘This is the weirdest life that I just never thought I would be here.’ One minute they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re amazing, you started this thing.’ And then I’d go home to my closet and like, ‘What is life?’
Rob: That’s so amazing.
Josh: Yeah, so…
Kira: I mean, some walk-in closets are quite big, though.
Josh: No, no you-
Kira: Was is it in New York City wal- in closet or where were you?
Josh: In Oakland, Oakland, California. Yeah, I mean, you had to jump from the end to get into bed, so yeah, it was bad. It’s just ridiculous. So yeah, I think, that was the hardest thing was just, like, financial stress on its own is stressful, right? But then when you couple that with you’re running something, and then at that point there was people working for us, so then you have to balance that or you have to think about that, it’s like, ‘Well, if we go down, then we have to let these people go.’ And then we had lots of initiatives that we tried that involve bringing people in that didn’t work, and then we had to let the people go. So, during those years where things were rough, we went through rounds of layoffs, and bringing new people in, and laying off again, and we just couldn’t get anything to stick. And that really wears on you when you just keep trying and you keep trying, keep trying. And it’s like you’re trying to climb up a, like, a rock, but it’s just so slick that every time you grab something, you just fall right back down, and that was really what it felt like for years and years, literally. So, that was also really, really hard to, kind of, have that mentality of the long term, you know, I believe in this, I think, it’s going to work and to keep going.
Rob: When was the moment where you realized, this is catching on finally, after years and years, this is it? Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?
Josh: Yeah, that would have been probably beginning of 2017. We launched a new partnership program, and I sent an email to Marie Forleo, I sent emails to like a bunch of people, but I sent an email to Marie Forleo, and she responded and was like, ‘Oh, I like this idea.’ And I was like, ‘This is different.’ Because for years I had been emailing people about the idea and trying to get them on board, and no one ever responded, or if they did, there was just questions, on questions, on questions, and nothing ever went anywhere, but she was just like, ‘Cool. Let’s do it.’ And that was the moment when I realized something had changed in the market, because we were doing the same stuff, we were trying the same things, but all of a sudden, there was interest.
So, that was the beginning of things getting better, but then it took, like, another two years for things to really get better, coming into last year, and then this year. So, it’s, like, you have these inklings of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but then you’re not actually out of the tunnel yet, which is also a weird state to be in where you’re like, ‘Oh, this is going well, but not that well.’ So, you still have to have that belief in it and keep going.
Rob: I would love to dig into a lot more of the business struggle in that work, but since we are a podcast about copywriting and marketing, let’s talk a little bit about quizzes, and what it is about quizzes that make them so engaging, why are they such great tools for building lists?
Josh: Yeah, and I think this one is something I’ve been preaching for literally eight years, and I’ve been saying the exact same thing that entire time. And what it really boils down to is two elements. So, one element is that people like to talk about themselves, that’s just a human thing. There’s this Time Magazine article that I’ve quoted, literally 1000 times that says, ‘You get a release of dopamine, basically, like taking drugs, when you’re talking about yourself.’ We just like to talk about ourselves: self-expression. I mean, I can go on for days about this, literally, because it goes down to, like, a biological level, like, in caveman times, right? This is getting really tangent, but in caveman times, you had to be connected to people in order to survive. Therefore, there was this natural biological thing where you felt good when you were talking about yourself to other people, and that’s wired into who we are as humans.
Josh: So, that is the most meta description of a stupid internet quiz, ever, but that really is what it’s about because we like to express ourselves. The other thing that we like is to understand ourselves. And this one I fully buy into because at a personal level, it’s changed my perspective on things: being able to understand why I do the things I do, why I say the things I say, why I make mistakes, learn from things, and it really, really, really all boils down to understanding yourself. There is nothing more powerful than knowing why you do the things you do because if you want to change, you have to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. And a quiz actually can help you in that. Like, if you’re doing something in copywriting, and you want to, let’s say, improve your, like, writing, right? So, understanding what kind of writer am I, is the baseline for actually improving that. If you don’t understand where you’re at, you can’t move forward, and so, that is the other aspect of it.
And if you think about, like, the self-help industry, which is enormous, it’s really just self-awareness, self-understanding, knowing yourself, and then once you know yourself, then you can improve yourself, and those are the two elements. So, that’s why when you see something on Facebook, that’s like, ‘What’s your copywriting superpower?’ You are just drawn to it. And then once you’re drawn to it, and you start answering the questions, you’re drawn more to it. And then it can actually be really helpful, because it’s telling you your type, once you know your type, then you can utilize that. And it’s useful to you, and it’s useful to the person who created it, because they can be more helpful to you, based on who you are.
Kira: Can you tell me more about that transformation? If you have any examples of stories that have been shared with you from people who have taken the quiz or given the quiz, but how have people changed or grown by taking a quiz?
Josh: Yeah, I mean, it really comes down to knowing where your strengths and weaknesses are. So, a really great quiz will have both of those in the results, and you’ll know, these are things you can capitalize on, these are things that you should work on. And specifically in copywriting, if you know, like, humor is a strong point of yours, utilize your humor more, because it helps you connect with the reader, helps you improve you’re writing. But then maybe it’s like, you’re not so great with the factual stuff, based on what you told us. Then, you know, ‘Hey, I should probably add in more concrete details.’ Because you can’t just be funny all the time if you want to get people to convert, so that’s a specific example from this industry where you can play to your strengths, but also recognize your weaknesses and improve those.
Rob: So, talk to us about what makes a really good quiz. I’m guessing that there’s an average length, it’s maybe better than others, or there’s a certain type of question that you really want to make sure you pepper in to get the right information. But what do you see people doing with the best quizzes that are coming through Interact today?
Josh: Yeah, so there are a ton of similarities. There’s a lot of quizzes made on the platform at this point, but all the best ones look pretty similar. And there’s, kind of, two sides of it: there’s a design element, and then there’s the content side, then, I guess, there’s the specifications. So, specifications-wise, we say seven questions, that’ll take two minutes, which is the sweet spot where people will be invested, but they’re not going to drop off because it’s like, ‘Why am I spending so long on an internet quiz?’ And then you would have four to six unique outcomes, so usually, these are personality quizzes: What type of something are you? So, what type of copywriter? What type of web marketer? Whatever you have in there. Do you want to have four to six types so that it’s unique to each person? And those are the general specs. The way the questions are formatted is probably like, you’ve seen where the question itself is just text, and then the answers are images. And then the images can, kind of, exemplify what kind of quiz it is. So, you use images that makes sense for your industry, and either show professionalism, or fun, or whatever it is that you’re trying to convey. So, those are really about it for the specs.
Josh: Then, on the design side, It’s pretty simple, you just want it to match whatever you have in terms of your brand identity. You want people to be comfortable with what you have, so in that regard, it’s really just match it up to what you already have. And then the content is really where it gets interesting. So, there is, kind of, a general rule, which is that, the more you know, the more you can ask. So, what that means is, if you know your audience, if you understand what kind of people are out there, then you can target your questions to ask the things that are already on people’s minds. And if you do that well, then you’ll draw people in a lot because the premise, if you zoom out a little bit, with a quiz is, you, as the creator are able to connect with people on a more personal level, in a way that you can’t with other kinds of content. Like, if you’re just writing something, you’re mostly guessing, I mean, you can do your research, your voice of customer data, all that kind of stuff, right? And when you’re writing stuff, obviously, copywriters are really, really good at this, you can get that voice in there, and you can speak to people as who they are.
But when you’re able to ask questions, and actually dive into, like, who is this person? And then those questions are actually relevant to the types of things that those people might be dealing with, then it’s like, ‘Whoa, you get me. And if you get me, then you can probably help me.’ And then when I read my results, and it says, like, ‘Here’s the ways I can help.’ Your like, ‘Okay, cool, this person cares, this person understands.’ So, that’s not really the concrete answer that people want, based on conversations that I had. But that is why I say because, I think, if you don’t understand who your people are, and what kinds of questions they already have, then just don’t do a quiz, just go figure that out first. And then you write seven questions that figure out what type of person it is because that connection, is really, really the selling point of what makes quizzes work.
Rob: Yeah, so it’s a lot like any copy that we would write that, obviously, we want to understand who it is that we’re talking too, before we start talking to them.
Josh: Yeah, exactly. If you don’t know who it is, then shut up and then figure out who it is, and then you can start talking. And that’s the premise of asking questions, right? It’s like, if I sit down with you, and you’re the type of person who’s really into sports, and likes sports and cars, and then I start asking you about, like, beauty products and that kind of stuff, then you’re going to be like, ‘What the hell?’ Or vice versa, like, if you don’t care about sports, and I’m just like, ‘Oh, who’s your favorite sports team? And who do you root for? And have you ever seen this thing?’ You’re just like, ‘Okay, well, this is dumb.’ And that’s what bad questions can do, which is like, ‘Obviously, you don’t get me.’ And just like answering questions about yourself can be really positive, if somebody asks you questions that don’t relate to you, that can be really negative and really off-putting, and it’s the opposite of creating a connection, it’s creating distance, because it’s like, ‘Well, obviously, you don’t know me, so why would I want to work with you?’
Kira: Hey, we’re just jumping into the show today to tell you a little bit more about The Copywriter Underground. Rob, what do you like best about this membership?
Rob: So, this membership community is full of copywriters that are investing in their businesses and taking what they do seriously. Everything is focused around three ideas: copywriting and getting better at the craft that we all do, marketing and getting in front of the right customers that you can charge more and earn more, and also mindset, so that you can get out of your head and focus on the things that will help you be successful at what we do. There’s a private Facebook group for the members of the community. And we also send out a monthly newsletter that’s full of advice, again, on those three areas, copywriting, marketing and mindset. Things that you can mark up and tear out, put them in your file, save them for whatever, and it’s not going to get lost in your email inbox. Kira, what do you like about The Copywriter Underground?
Kira: So, I love the monthly Hot Seat Calls where our members have a chance to sit in the hot seat, and ask a big question, or get ideas, or talk through a challenge in their business because we all learn from those situations. And then, I also feel like the templates we include in the membership are valuable, because who wants to reinvent the wheel? And Rob and I end up sharing a lot of the templates and resources we use in our own businesses, so I would definitely want to grab those.
Rob: So, if you are interested in joining a community of copywriters that are investing in their business and in themselves, and trying to do more, get more clients, earn more money consistently, go to thecopywriterunderground.com to learn more. Now, back to the program. So, can you think of a brand or company that’s doing this really well with their quizzes? Give us an example or two.
Josh: Yeah, yeah. Let’s see. I was just looking at… I’ll give a couple examples. Well, there’s two main industries we work with, it’s a lot of creators, and it’s a lot of e-commerce brands. So, on the creator side, there is a woman named Jenna Kutcher, who is a rising star right now she’s really killing it. And she’s got this quiz, it’s, ‘What’s Your Secret Sauce?’ And she sells to marketers, she sells to entrepreneurs. And if you’re in that kind of industry, that’s really important to know, what sets you apart. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a marketer, there’s a billion of you, well, not a billion, probably less, but there’s a lot. Half a billion marketers, everyone thinks they’re a marketer, so maybe there’s 8 billion marketer… I don’t know. But she’s helping people figure that out. And her questions are hyper relevant, they actually make sense to the people taking that quiz, and just really draws people in. And conversion rates are off the charts, and it’s doing crazy well. So, hers is a great example, in that industry.
On the e-commerce side, there’s this brand, and I love this quiz because it’s about deodorant, which I think is hilarious. But it’s, ‘What Type Of Deodorant Is Right For You?’ And they ask same type of stuff. And you never realize how many aspects of deodorant there are, until you start answering this quiz, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I never thought about whether I like sandalwood or oak. Maybe I should think about that.’ So, I think, they do a great job as well of just asking you those questions that you would ask yourself, but maybe they don’t even know you have those questions. If you can do that, then you’ve just knocked it out of the park because now you’re getting into the subconscious of what people care about, you’re asking questions about things that people didn’t know they had questions about, and then you make them think they’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is amazing. Okay, here’s my money.’ So, that’s what those do really well, both of those examples.
Kira: And what do you recommend after the quiz results are delivered? What should that look like from that point moving forward? What works best as far as, you know, number of emails or how frequently they’re sent so that that momentum continues?
Josh: Yeah, I think, at a minimum, it’s like a five to seven email sequence that is parsed out based on which quiz results someone gets. And then the cadence is usually like 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, something like that, so every few days. And you basically just piggyback off of which quiz results they got, you just keep using it. You can keep using that quiz result for months and months. It’s like, ‘Based on your result, here’s recommendations. Based on your result, here’s a webinar.’ All this stuff that just ties back because it’s so memorable, it’s crazy, memorable, like, people will remember which Disney Princess they are for, like, well, forever.
Rob: Yeah, I’m still Merida, it’s never going to change-
Kira: Which one are you?
Rob: Merida. Isn’t she the Scottish princess?
Kira: I think so, yeah, I don’t know. Okay, I have to take that quiz. I don’t know.
Josh: So yeah, but people don’t forget because, I don’t know, it’s just because of all this stuff that’s going on, right?
Kira: It’s important.
Josh: Yeah. So, you can keep using that. And that makes it really easy too because it’s like, ‘Okay, we’ll just write emails to each of these results, pop them in there, keep that sequence going.’ So yeah, minimum, like five to seven, and then, you can expand it out from there.
Kira: Can you talk us through the process, if I want to create my first quiz for a client or for my own business, and I have not used your platform yet, can you just talk us through the tech side too. So, I think, it could be overwhelming to copywriters who haven’t done it yet and haven’t used to your platform yet.
Josh: So, we just released a new system that’s been in the works for eight years, no it’s not, not actually, but it’s, sort of, been in the works for eight years, which is basically democratizing the content of quizzes. So, there are now 1500 quiz templates, and they are very specific. And there’s, like, another few hundred added every month at this point. And then we’re, kind of, doing, like, a curated thing, so the best stuff rises to the top, and it’s all sorted out by industries, so there’s like 53 Industries. You can get really, really specific with what industry your client is in, and then it will show you the top converting quizzes in that industry, and it’ll automatically sort them for you. So, that takes care of the content piece, which is real, real nice, because then you can just improve what’s already there, you can just use your copywriting skills to, like, change the title and the description and, like, two of the questions rather than having to do this whole thing from scratch, which takes forever. I’m not going to lie, it still takes me like… I don’t even like doing it, it takes forever to write a quiz.
So, we are getting rid of that part, so that you start from the end, and then you can modify it rather than starting from the beginning and having come up with everything. You can still start from the beginning, that’s totally an option. But that’s the first step. And then the second step is just connecting it to your email list, which is a one click integration. And then once you connect your email list, you just select from drop downs, which sequence, which quiz result goes to. You map those up, just drop downs, it’s, like, if you get this result, then go on this sequence, this result, go on this sequence. And then you can get more granular, you can actually map individual questions to sequences. So, like, if you answer A on question one, send them this specific email, which is kind of crazy, and most people don’t actually do that. But it’s in there, if you have something like that that’s really specific.
But that piece is quite easy. You just sign into your email marketing program, we have, like, 17 native integrations, so anybody that you’re using, Convert Kit, Drip, MailChimp, whatever, just sign in, select your stuff, and then connect it up. It’s all done on our end, so no tech. And then for actually using the quiz, you can just use a direct URL, which just creates a landing page for your quiz, or you can embed it on your site with an iframe, so same stuff as a YouTube video. And so, yeah, that’s, kind of, the three-step process.
Rob: That’s cool. And I’m really interested in maybe going a little bit deeper on this, the ability to segment your list using quizzes, and the variety of answers that they get. I know you guys have set up the tool in Interact so that it’s really easy to do, but are there any best practices around that? Do you see people adding to more than one segment at a time through a quiz? Or is it best just to limit to, like, two or three segments that each person is fit into once? What do you guys recommend?
Josh: Yeah, I think, the best place to start is just have a segment for each of your results, so if you have four to six results, then segment out into four to six different follow up sequences. And that way, it keeps things a little simpler. You’re not like cross, cross, putting people on too many lists, and then they’re getting inundated with emails, whatever. So, keeps it really simple, it’s almost like a upside down tree. So, it starts with quiz, and then it branches out into these four to six different sequences. And then you’d segment out into those four to six segments, and then send the emails from there. You can get more advanced, like, the classic example of connecting up a question to a specific segment, or a tag would be if you were to ask somebody, ‘How big is your current email list?’ And you wanted to segment out based on the size of the company, then that would be a second level segment, and that would work in conjunction with which result they got. So, if you’re, like, the result one, and you answer zero for the size of your list, then you can be segmented twice, and that actually makes a lot of sense. So, there are examples like that, where it’s not too much additional effort, but typically, it’s just based on the quiz results.
Rob: So, this seems like a really cool tool that almost any copywriter could add to their arsenal of tools, things that they do for their clients. Are there any industries that you think a quiz would not work for? Or things that you’ve seen, tried that just absolutely fail, and we should avoid?
Josh: Yeah, I mean, I think, people try to use it as an assessment tool a lot which can be fine if it’s like, ‘What’s your wellness IQ?’ Or something like that, because then it still applies to you as a person. Where people get really tripped up is, like, when it stops being about an individual. So like, ‘What’s your company’s IT infrastructure IQ?’ And you’re just like, ‘I don’t want to tell you that, and also, this is boring.’ So, you have to remember that it’s for a person. And if you write it for a person, then you can’t really go wrong. It’s when you start asking people about stuff that doesn’t actually matter to them, then you really start falling off.
Kira: I’d like to hear more about you, and how you’re run your business since you’ve been at it for eight years, with this business, or more. How are you spending your time today now that it’s taken off a bit? And maybe you’re out of the cave, and you saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and now you’re hanging out in the light and having fun, so what does it look like today? What do you spend your time on? How does your schedule look like?
Josh: This is a funny one. I’m well known in my circles for having a ridiculous schedule. I wake up at five in the morning, I meditate/pray for an hour and a half, and then I work out. And then I work for a couple hours, and then I go to Muay Thai, and then, watch Thai boxing, and then I work for another couple of hours, and then that’s pretty much it. I meditate a lot throughout the day and talk to a lot of people. And most of my work is talking to people at this point. I think, there’s so many ideas you can get from people, so much you can learn. I’m always just trying out new experiences, learning different things. I’ll go to museums to get inspiration, I will talk to people that are further ahead than I am, get advice. Yeah, that’s, kind of, my schedule.
It’s designed to put me in the right head space to make good decisions, and figure out what, kind of, vision we want to have and where we want to head. It’s very, very, very different because there is not a lot of stability in it, like, I’m not coming in and working on the same project that I’ve been working on for three months. Almost nothing is lasting in terms of what I do, because it’s all about figuring out what’s next and where we want to head, and listening a lot to understand where we should be going, and then supporting the team that’s running everything. And being in a really good headspace to think clearly and be helpful to everybody, as they’re figuring out what we need to be doing.
Rob: So, will you tell us a little bit more about your meditation practice? An hour and a half seems crazy long to someone like me who struggles for 10 minutes. What do you, and how are you doing it so well, so effectively?
Josh: Yeah, I mean, and it, kind of, changes all the time like, actually, right now. And that hour and a half also includes some reading and journaling, so it’s not straight meditation. I also do a lot of five minute increments throughout the day, just a really quick breath meditation. It’s, like, a breathe in, breathe out kind of thing, and just get to a, kind of, a mental emptiness, and leaving space for mindfulness to, kind of, come in. And it is a practice and it changes all the time. Well, I guess, it doesn’t change all the time, it’s just it goes in waves, like, there’s times where it will be very, very centering, and there’s other times where you sit down and close your eyes and 30 minutes later, you’ve just wandered in your mind for 30 minutes, you’re like, ‘Well, that kind of sucked.’
But it’s a practice in that, not every day you go to practice, you’re going to be performing at the top of your ability, but it’s over time, you, kind of, build that up. And I come at it from a faith based perspective as well, so there’s that aspect of it that builds up as well. And then over time, it just becomes really a part of my identity in terms of needing that source of centering. So yeah, it starts out really small, though, like, I started with three minutes, and then, kind of, build up. And I actually find a lot of value in those three to five minute segments throughout the day before a meeting, before whatever.
Kira: Can you talk a little bit about marketing and what you’ve done to grow the company. You mentioned reaching out to Marie Forleo a couple of years ago, and you got your in, and that was pivotal for you. Even though copywriters are selling a service, and it’s different from what you’re selling, we still have to market and become authorities in what we’re doing. So, can you just share a little bit about what you’ve done to put yourself out there, and put your business out there, and what’s worked, maybe what hasn’t worked?
Josh: Yeah, so what’s worked really well is content marketing. We have five or six hundred pieces on our own blog, and we’ve done another few hundred guest posts, and then we have a partner network that’s done another 400 or 500 pieces, all around the same aspects of building up content or building up quizzes, how that works, and now the whole thing connects in different industries and different use cases, all that kind of stuff. So, that’s the main driver of everything for us. Actually, it’s pretty much the only driver of everything for us: It’s just content education, helping people understand better what it is you can do with the tool, how it works, and that comes from all sorts of angles, like, you can come at it from the angle of asking good questions, of helping people understand themselves, and that stuff all goes into all these branches. And that’s really what we do, is to try to help people understand better, and then they come and sign up for the tool.
Rob: So much good stuff. If I’m a copywriter and I’m thinking, ‘Okay, I want to get started with a quiz. Maybe I want to start offering it to my clients in their niche.’ What are the things I should be doing to get started to do this well, so that I’m not just figuring it out, but I’m actually hitting the ground running?
Josh: Yeah, I think, the best way is just to learn from others. What is it, great artists steal something, something, whatever. Great artists steal, I think, is what it is-
Rob: Just steal, just steal…
Josh: Copyrights don’t matter. No… Don’t steal other people’s stuff. But we have a running database of quizzes, it’s just tryinteract.com/quizzes. Hopefully I’m saying the URL right. And it’s just all the quizzes that get made, that are filtered based on people giving us access to actually show them on that page. So, you can go there and just look in your industry and see what people are doing, and then compare that to what the client is interested in. And that’s the best way to start. And then all those quizzes are actually in the platform too, so you can use them. So, once you find something that matches up with the client, then you just go use that actual quiz.
Kira: Josh, you mentioned that you do a lot of listening, and just to hear and find out what’s coming up next, what are you listening for? Is it more of a pattern? Or is it just you get this gut feeling, somebody told you something and you know, ‘Okay, that’s going to be the next project we work on.’ I guess, do you have any clues as to what you are trying to hear?
Josh: Yeah, I mean, I think, it’s a good question. I think, it’s active listening, so you ask a question, it sparks something. You ask a question, then you shut up and listen. Listening is a lost art because you can’t talk while you’re listening. You basically just ask a question, you let people start talking, and then once they, kind of, dive into things, you have to be active, because then it’s like, ‘Oh, you said something interesting, tell me more about that, help me understand what that means for you.’ I mean, you just keep going down that that path, and you’ll get to the root of the issue, right? For us, how we ended up deciding on this whole templated based system is, the root of the issue is time, that’s the reason why people just never used this before. It’s not that they weren’t interested or that it wasn’t cool, or whatever, it’s just, there’s too much time, and time is money, and it’s a trade off. And if it doesn’t work, then I’m going to be bad at my job, because I spent all this time on this, so getting down to that, because the initial thing they’ll tell you is like, ‘Oh,’ I don’t know, ‘it’s complicated.’ Or, ‘Not super interested,’ whatever. But what they really mean is, ‘I don’t want to spend time on it.’
So, that really is it. It was, like, asking questions, and then really paying attention to what people are saying, and then being active in you’re listening so that you can continue asking more questions, more questions, diving into what’s behind the answers. Then you have to talk to enough people to really get good data sets, you can’t just go off of what one person says. But you start to notice patterns pretty quickly, especially if there really is a big issue. So, it’s, like, active listening, and egolessness because if you start fighting back and you’re like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t take too much time.’ Whatever, you just have to drop all of that. Be like, ‘Cool. I’m just listening to what you’re saying.’ And then you can take that back and improve.
Kira: Yeah, and I’d love to know, because you’ve been listening so much, what the future of online marketing looks like to you?
Josh: Well, we’re betting on the fact that it’s empathetic: It’s about listening, it’s about understanding, who is on the other side of the internet is what I always say. We’ve gotten away with not really understanding who’s on the other side of the internet for a long time. And we have these conversion rates that are point one percent, we’re like, ‘Oh, that works because we spend X amount of dollars, and it converts with this then cool.’ And it’s like, well, that’s really weird and different from real life where you wouldn’t try the same message on 100 people and hope that one of them responds. Why are we not trying to understand better, and the definition of empathy is literally just listening, and then reflecting back, which is what a quiz does. So, I think, it’s going to be much more personal, empathetic. Brands are going to start trying to better understand who it is they’re selling to, and why people buy, so that they can be more efficient. And then on the other side, people are going to be tired of getting stuff that just doesn’t apply to them. And being more savvy around, not just buying into whatever messaging is sent their way, and they’re going to want to be understood.
Kira: And what’s next for you and Interact?
Josh: Yeah, Interact, I fully believe is going to really grow into something really big, just because of where things are headed. So for us, it’s really about scaling up from here, doing some of those same things: understanding why people use our product better, understanding better how they’re using it, what the benefits really, really are for them, not just at a product level, but at a career, job level, all that kind of stuff. And then from there, I think, our plan is to 10 X in the next five years, which based on growth recently, should be totally attainable. So, bringing in good people, doing more listening, understanding, and then building out from here.
Kira: And if one of our listeners or all of our listeners want to create their first quiz, where can they go to get started?
Josh: Yeah, the URL is tryinteract.com, and then it’s always free to start, and then once you connect up your list and stuff, you can start paying for it, but you can test it all out for free.
Rob: That’s very cool. And we have a quiz on our homepage, and we use Interact for that. We don’t do a great job, I think, of segmenting our results from it, so we’ve got a lot of things we can improve, but it is fun to have a quiz.
Kira: Yeah, Josh, how often should we update our quiz? We have our quiz up there, it’s been up there for a while. So, it’s, like, every three months, we should get a new quiz?
Josh: There are people who have had the same quiz for six years, and, I think, that-
Rob: That’s going to be us Kira.
Josh: Thing is, right? Because it’s dynamic by nature, it’s automatically more dynamic than any other lead magnet that you’d have, like, if you had a download or an e-course or something, those things are literally the same for everybody, but a quiz, because it’s got this built in logic to it, is actually different every time you take it, if you answer it differently. So, it’s got a built in dynamism, I don’t think that’s a word, it’s dynamic by nature. And that allows it to have a much longer shelf life than most other lead generators.
Kira: Alright, so we’re going to leave it up for a while it’s in good shape. Thank you so much, Josh, for jumping on with us, and sharing more about your story and Interact. It’ll be really fun to follow you as you grow the business.
Rob: Thanks, Josh.
Josh: Yeah, thanks for having me on.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by The Whitest Boy Alive available in iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, and full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.
Like what you've seen so far?
There's plenty more where that came from. Sign up for The Copywriter Club email newsletter today and we'll send you the unpublished Doberman Dan interview (plus several other awesome resources) in addition to regular updates about what's going on in the club.The only way to get these resources is to drop your email in the box and hit "gimme!".