Dr. Karl Blanks Answers Our Questions (Specially for BizzTeams.Com)
Dr. Karl Blanks, a Co-Founder at Conversion Rate Experts, one of the most specialized and most successful companies in the Internet Marketing, gives us his replies concerning his company's activities and his own look ahead: what is waiting for Internet Marketing in future.
Karl is a former rocket scientist, with a PhD from Cambridge University, England. He co-founded Conversion Rate Experts (CRE) to show businesses how they can profit by applying scientific techniques to web marketing. He has helped to grow web businesses in many highly competitive industries, working with companies such as Sony, Vodafone, 888, SEO Book and SEOmoz — plus some fantastic less-well-known businesses.
Please tell us why you decided to go to SMX Munchen 2012. What are your goals of attending this show and what do you expect from it?
Germany is important to us—several of our first clients were German. And I've spent a lot of time working in Germany, so it's always nice to visit. The SMX team always put together a great event. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and meeting new ones.
We have found some interesting info on the web. Is it true that you are a former rocket scientist, with a PhD from Cambridge University, England? Why and when did you decide to plunge totally into Internet Marketing Strategies? How could it happen?
My transition from scientist to marketer happened in 2001. A local entrepreneur gave me the opportunity of running his telecoms company. The company sold most of its phones over the web, and I soon became obsessed with web marketing, and with exploring new ways of applying scientific and engineering principles to it.
You are a co-founder of Conversion Rate Experts, a Google-authorized consultancy that shows companies how to convert their websites' visitors into customers. What key advantages of your business strategies can you name? Why should businesses go to your company and not to your competitors?
We focus on one thing: redesigning pages to give large, measurable increases in profit. Our average annualised increase is 136%. All of our activities—our recruitment, our training, our processes and our methodology—are focused on this one thing.
How did you become the first-ever authorized Google consulting partner in Europe for the Google Website Optimizer service?
It was Google's idea. Someone from Google read one of our articles and invited us to partner with them. Until then, we hadn't planned on doing consulting work.
Cooperation with what famous companies can Conversion Rate Experts boast of?
Apple, Google, Sony, Vodafone—and some great smaller businesses.
Richard Young, an SEO at Bronco Ltd and SEO/SEM Consultant at Confidential, says the following about you: “Karl is a top dude, and what he doesn't know about increasing conversion rates online is probably not worth knowing.” Do you agree with such a pro in this field?
Haha. I'd be crazy not to.
At SMX Munchen 2012 you are going to speak about Winning Strategies and KPIs for Search Marketers. What are the main winning strategies on the search markets nowadays? Do they change with the lapse of time?
The web's most successful companies are built on strategies that most smaller companies are unaware of. That's what I'll talk about.
Are there any changes occurring on the Paid Search Markets today?
It's getting much more competitive, so companies now have to be so much more sophisticated. Five years ago, only the cutting-edge companies were split testing their landing pages, but now it's becoming a matter of life or death.
Can you describe an image of a successful Internet Marketer nowadays? What personal qualities should he or she have to remain in the stream?
In internet marketing, the winner takes all (or at least most) of the profits. There are a wide range of skills needed for Internet marketing, but whatever you do, you need to be the best at it.
Now we would like to ask you several personal questions.
Your desk book? - The Dip by Seth Godin is great—as long as you actually follow its advice. People you hold up as an example? – I love the old direct response copywriters like John Caples, Robert Collier, Bill Jayme, Maxwell Sackheim and David Ogilvy. In the past few decades, marketing has been hijacked by bluffers who try to avoid accountability. Thankfully, the web has brought a renaissance in measurable marketing. It's exciting. Mac or PC? – Mac. I use a MacBook Pro with a 30-inch Dell U3011 monitor (which I love). I've just upgraded to the new iPad so I can see my iThoughtsHD mind maps in high-resolution. iPhone or Android? – I'm writing this on my iPhone 4S with SimpleNote, which is synced to Notational Velocity on my Mac. (It's much better than iOS's notes app.) Two great apps are iThoughtsHD (for mind maps), Camera+ (for taking photos in burst mode) and Downcast or Instacast for podcasts. Favourite social network? – Hacker News. Favourite non-alcoholic beverage? – Coffee. The best country to live in? – I've enjoyed living in many places—including Bodenwerder near Hameln, where I worked for a few months. I'd highly recommend finding an excuse to spend a few months in New York. The web is starting to feel like a country, isn't it? I feel I have a lot more in common with Hacker News's community than I do with people in my home town. Advice for dummies? - Buy a Syma S107 helicopter "for your kids." They're about €20 from Amazon, and they're incredible. Also, if you have even the slightest interest in growing web businesses, you should visit http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com and get our free reports (via the bright yellow button). They contain some priceless recommendation.
Thank you very much for providing the interview! We are sure you’ll show your best at SMX Munchen 2012 sessions! Good luck!