Ian Garlic, CEO, authenticWEB (Orlando, FL)
Ian Garlic is CEO at authenticWEB. He started his career in marketing about 15 years ago as a consultant for one of the world’s largest information companies – back when good video production required hiring high-end, expensive, technically-savvy videographers. When Google purchased its video competitor, YouTube ten years ago, Ian saw opportunity, left the information company, and started authenticWEB. As a video marketing agency, authenticWEB crafts journey-stage-specific, people-story videos designed to reach “the right customers at the right time.” The goal: to engage potential customers with emotionally riveting content to “earn their love.”
For each client, the agency develops 10 to 100 video packages from micro content to 15- to 20- minute mini-documentaries. The different types of videos they produce include:
- the overview video (most people’s commercials),
- service commercials (covering the different services provided),
- how-to videos,
- process videos (explaining complex processes so people understand what happens at different times),
- topical video blog posts (including social),
- videos covering frequently asked questions,
- About Us videos (Ian notes that “About Us” is the second most useful page on a website, an important page for conversion, and that people usually go from the “About Us” to making contact with a company), and
- video case stories.
The most effective video case stories involve interviewing a client’s customers and searching for that gem of a story that will evoke a positive response in viewers. Ian says there is no way of telling who will give a good interview and who won’t. From raw footage, authenticWEB parses different edits and formats for different clients at different stages of the customer journey. Ian develops videos content to help customers identify a client’s business as an “authority” and “a new best friend.” The agency’s clients include attorneys, doctors, dentists, and other agencies (because agencies often have a hard time marketing themselves).
YouTube: The Next TV
In this interview, Ian elaborates on the increasing importance of YouTube in marketing outreach – he likens it to “the next TV.” YouTube videos need a “to be on point, perfectly messaged, and . . . delivered at the right time.” A website only gives you a piece of the interaction data. YouTube gets all the interaction data: including total and percent view time. That kind of feedback facilitates cross-platform video and content improvement.
Online video production does not require the same high-end equipment used in the past. Ian notes that today he does his own videography and that he travels “light.” The production process is simpler, so that the focus stays on story and editing the story for the audience. Ian recommends reusing content. He explains, if you drive traffic to your YouTube videos, YouTube will increase your rankings.
YouTube’s search engine is second only to Google. A Google search will start a well-indexed video at the exact moment in the recording where the answer to the searcher’s question is provided.
Some people think they can buy YouTube followers . . . enough to get their own URL. Ian reminds us, “You can’t buy love.” Purchased followers won’t necessarily view your content, so view time is sacrificed.
Ian also discusses some of the advantages and disadvantages of some of the online production tools. He can be reached on Linked in or on his agency’s website at: https://authenticweb.marketing/.
ROB: Welcome to the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Kischuk, and I’m joined today by Ian Garlic, CEO at authenticWEB based in Orlando, Florida. Welcome to the podcast, Ian.
IAN: Rob, it’s great to be here. Thank you for having me.
ROB: It’s excellent to have you here. I think you’ve got a very distinct perspective that our audience will enjoy. Why don’t you start off by telling us about authenticWEB and what your superpowers are?
IAN: We’ve been around for a little over 10 years. We are a video marketing agency. We do some other stuff too, but it’s all around delivering people-story video. We’re really good at finding that story, understanding how these videos have to be crafted depending on where they are in the customer journey, and then crafting them to deliver and get a response. We create anywhere from 10 to 100 video packages for clients, and then ongoing we create video, do video SEO.
Really, what we do is, like really good marketers, we help connect the client’s story to their prospect’s story and make them the authority. When someone walks through the door, they feel like already they’re their best friend and the authority, and that’s what the video does for our clients.
So that’s what we’ve been doing for about 10 years. We’ve worked with all sorts of professionals. We work with attorneys, doctors, dentists, and we’re working with actually a lot of other agencies now. We have a lot of other agencies, which is fun, because the agencies have such a tough time marketing themselves. I have that problem. It’s nice for us to help other agencies market themselves.
ROB: Fascinating. I think I heard you say 50 to 100 video packages. That sounds like a lot. Is that different formats for different platforms, different edits? Or is that just that much content? How do you put that together?
IAN: It’s a little bit of all of it. It’s different edits, different formats. You’ve got to consider where they are in the customer journey. One of the things we’re known for is our video case stories. People fly me around to interview their clients to get that story out. I don’t try to make people cry, but I kind of do. When you can ask the question the right way, you get that emotional response from your customers, and you have this powerful tool.
We get these 30-minute interviews with their customers, and parts of that story need to be used in different ways, in different parts of the journey, from early on, just to get attention and awareness, to longer form customer stories. We’re doing some 15-20 minute ones, like mini-documentaries. And then pulling micro content, little clips out of there.
Plus, we make essentially 9 to 10 different types of videos. We make your overview video, which is most people’s commercials. We make this thing called a service commercial – because most of us have different services, and we want to have a little commercial for each service. How-to videos, which are important, especially on YouTube. Video blog posts, where someone’s discussing a specific topic. Under that video blog post, I consider a lot of social posts. We just call it video blog posts. Frequently Asked Questions are a big one.
The core videos that we make besides those are micro content, but besides that, we’re really known for video case stories and About Us videos. That’s the second most useful page on a website. Most people throw up either a bio or some funny video, but really it’s a converting page. If you look at your analytics, it’s not only going to be in your top three or four pages – it can be out of there depending on what you’re doing, but it’s top three or four pages. But where people usually go after that is some sort of contact. So really having a converting video on there.
And then process videos. We make a lot of process videos because people don’t know what happens at different points. The more complex it is, the more people need to understand what’s going to happen next and how this is going to look.
When you add it all up and you do all the different points and all the different variations, it really quickly adds up to a ton of content along the customer journey.
ROB: I’ve talked to people where they feel like they’re intimidated to ask their customer to be on this sort of video. What have you found in terms of overcoming that fear? Is it ever really well-founded, or would people be surprised that more of their customers are willing to get on camera than they might ever expect?
IAN: They’d be surprised. There’s people you’d think would be great on camera that aren’t. It’s a numbers game. There’s people you’d think would be poor, but have these amazing stories. One of the other things we do is audio interviews like this and then make them into videos with pictures, so it makes it a little easier.
But it’s the timing of asking, it’s how you’re asking. One of the things I always tell people is never ask for a testimonial. I don’t even like using the word “testimonial” because that’s when people really freeze up. If you’ve done an amazing job for someone and they’re really, really happy and you ask them for a testimonial, it’s like, “Oh my God, these people did such a good job for me. I’m really nervous about screwing this up for them.” They get nervous. So, I always tell people to ask someone for their story. Talk about something specific that you know is important. That will help.
But this is the number one piece of advice I can give for anyone’s marketing: install asking for those stories into your process at different points. People want to know what the onboarding is like. What is it like right after the sales process? What’s it like if you have a strategy? What’s it like a year after you’re done with your project? Ask along the way. And you can ask the same people multiple times. You’ve got to dig for those, though. You’ve got to make it a habit.
ROB: You mentioned you have been at this for a little bit. I think you said around 10 years. Talk about the difference in – I think there used to be a perception of video as being expensive, and it’s probably still more costly than some methods of marketing. You mentioned I think a little hack in there of being able to take audio and turn it into a video. But how has your production process changed with the advance of different production equipment and tools over your time running the business?
IAN: When I started 14-15 years ago now in marketing, I was in New York, and I would hire high-end videographers. I saw that, especially when we came online, we didn’t need that high-end production. Now, I think production value is very important, but I see it inflate a lot because people are like, “I need this gear and this gear and this gear.” I’ve definitely trimmed down our production gear. Especially since I travel, I like it light. [laughs] I would say that’s the number one thing. It’s gotten lighter and easier to set up.
There’s a lot of cool things you can do now, especially with B roll, to make it interesting. So, it’s easier now to – everyone can have a gimbal, everyone can have a slider. There’s a few of these other things – you can get a nice 4K camera inexpensively. So we’re doing a lot of that stuff still, but as far as the production process, we tweak it, but for the most part we’ve just been improving how we get the story, how we edit the story, what parts need it.
I would say the biggest evolution – I started really in video around when YouTube was purchased by Google. That’s when I was like, “Hey, this is going to be a big thing. This is going to be huge. You’re going to have this search intense, and people are going to be able to find things on Google and find your video right at that perfect moment.” At that point, we still edited really well. We had a process for editing, but our editing process has evolved and evolved and evolved because now there’s so much content out there. Your video needs to be on point, perfectly messaged, and needs to be delivered at the right time.
Those are the things that we constantly improved, adding more copywriting principles into our video process and that type of thing. Those are the big ones, and then post-production has definitely evolved. We’ve evolved the post-production side and we’re constantly talking about that. What can we do to make this look different, be exciting, be entertaining on the post-production side?
ROB: There’s a lot of acquisitions that show up as sort of interesting. What do you think it was about Google acquiring YouTube that really made you sit up and pay attention?
IAN: (A) It was Google, and (B) video was just happening. There was this idea that you can get your face and your voice in front of someone using video. We can do that, but now Google was not going to let YouTube – that was doing okay at the time; it was having these moments – it wasn’t going to let it go away. Then when they started blending the YouTube videos into the Google search results, that’s when I was like, this is going to be a game-changer.
If you get a video thumbnail into the Google search results, you can be anywhere on that page and people are going to click on it. They’re going to recognize your face. They’re going to recognize your voice more often. I knew that was going to be the game-changer. Google wasn’t going to let that not happen.
ROB: In hindsight, the acquisition price was significant. I think it was around $1.5 billion or so. What I think is interesting there is there’s actually a cohort between them, Twitch, and Instagram. All of them, I think, were around $1+ billion in acquisition and all of them are probably right in the middle of what you do every day now.
IAN: Yeah, for sure. Look at the YouTube acquisition; at $1.5 billion. Of all the acquisitions, that was a steal. It’s the second most used search engine. We’re putting all of our time and effort into YouTube because it’s going to be the next TV. It already is. My son watches it. He’s 6 years old. He knows exactly how to navigate it. My niece wants to be a YouTube star. She asked me all about the stats, and she’s 10 years old. “What’s the view time? How many subscribers does that person have?” At 10 years old. Other stuff will come and go; YouTube is not going away, and if anything it’s an essential part of our life.
ROB: Just got to keep her away from the comments a little bit – but we probably all should stay away from the comments.
IAN: [laughs] For sure, for sure.
ROB: Ian, what led you down this path to start authenticWEB in the first place? What were you doing before, and what made you head in this direction, which can be a little bit intimidating at times for some people?
IAN: When I first moved to New York, I was still getting back into working in a hedge fund. Worked for one for a little bit, didn’t like that. I worked simultaneously in commercial real estate. I was trying to decide – and I worked at one of the top restaurants in the world, actually, as a bartender. Just like, “Okay, what do I want to do when I grow up?” type thing.
I was looking at the theme, and the theme was always marketing. I loved marketing, and I always loved digital. I’ve been on a computer since I was like 6 years old, which is a big deal because I’m not a millennial. [laughs] It all made sense.
So, I went to work for one of the largest information companies as a marketing consultant. Loved it, but the advent of Google and YouTube I knew was going to be a huge thing, and also, I saw them not spending time getting to know the client story and really making good marketing. Everything looked and felt the same. It really did an injustice to especially the smaller people with the smaller budgets, because at that point it was who threw the most money at that search channel or whatever.
Now, we separate it out and go, “I can serve and connect people with their perfect clients, and when they do that, they’re going to love their business so much more. When people walk through the door and they know them already, they’re going to love their business.” That’s really cool when I get that phone call. It’s like, “Man, you’re right. People feel like they know me when they walk through the door, and it changes how we run our business,” which I always love.
I knew we could do it better, so I started the agency, and yeah, it was easy since then. No, I’m just kidding. [laughs] Not easy. It’s always this endless cycle of – you get the improvement, everything’s awesome. It’s a rollercoaster. We improve with systems and stuff over the years. Spent a lot of money on consultants, spent a lot of money on a lot of information, and it really improved and created all of our systems. That’s helped a lot, but there’s always things that are going to come up.
But I always know, too, all I have to do is go look at LinkedIn one time and look at jobs and I’m like, “I cannot imagine having to go to a job.” I mean, I guess a lot of people aren’t going to a job now, but I cannot imagine someone telling me what to do. [laughs]
ROB: [laughs] A couple of looks at a job posting and maybe whatever some people have to wear to their office when they go to offices and that’s enough?
IAN: Yeah. I just look at LinkedIn for a few minutes and I’m like, “Oh no, I could never do this.” I could never go for another job interview. I’m officially unemployable.
ROB: I think I heard you speak a little bit about discoverability within YouTube and video. You could sort of call it SEO, with YouTube, as you mentioned, being the second largest search engine. We’ve talked a good bit about the evolution of SEO for web on this podcast; we haven’t really talked a lot about the evolution of search on video. Is search on video still fairly understandable? Are there hacks that people used to use that are busted and gone and bad tactics to listen to if you hear them?
IAN: Yeah. There’s hacks, but unlike a website – a website you kind of get some interaction data. YouTube gets all the interaction data. Yes, keywords are still important – matching up the keywords, understanding the keywords, going for the longtail – but getting that view time – that’s why I talk about getting that reaction, getting them to take action. Total view time and percent view time are huge, huge things. So really understanding those “content hacks” of getting the view time is super important.
Those are the big ones. I actually had someone the other day like, “I think I’m going to buy followers so I can get my own” – because when you get to I think 1,000, you get your own URL. I’m like, “But if you go and buy followers, on a percentage basis you lose that view time because they’re not going to watch your videos. You’re going to have these followers that aren’t watching your videos and aren’t interacting and you’re going to lose that visibility.”
Those are some big ones. I would say those are the big things. And then always be reusing your YouTube content. One of the things I see so much that people don’t do is they don’t use their YouTube content in other places. You can email it out on a regular basis. If someone has seen it before, they can see it again, as long as it’s not just a straight-up ad, if it’s informational. Send that content back out. Those are the big ones because if you’re driving traffic to your YouTube videos, YouTube is going to reward you with higher rankings.
ROB: Got it. In some ways, Google may have seen this on YouTube first, because now in search they’ll look at where you land; if that site is running Google Analytics and you stay there longer, they’ll consider that as a search ranking factor. But it may have almost been inspired from the video realm.
IAN: Yeah, the scroll and everything. It’s a lot of the same stuff, I’m sure of it. They can’t actually tell what you read, but they can tell what you scroll through. Also, now with YouTube, they’re now indexing inside of the videos, and if you add the different parts of your video into your description with links to it, you can actually get indexed for that exact moment inside of Google, which is pretty cool. So if you answer one question in there, Google could pop it up and show – I’m sure we’ve all seen this now – where it starts the video at 3 minutes in because you answered this one question I just googled. That’s another little bit of a hack I think everyone needs to be doing.
ROB: That seems true certainly across really almost anywhere Google is doing structured meta data. They don’t collect that data for nothing, and if you see them start to add that sort of meta data – they do this for recipes, for song lyrics, for your sitemap – they’re going to use it at some point if you give it to them, it seems like. It’s great that that makes sense on video as well.
Ian, you’ve been doing authenticWEB for a little while now. If you were starting over today, what are some things you’ve learned along the journey that you might do differently if you were starting fresh right now?
IAN: I would’ve niched down faster and harder. People fight the niching down, and I think it’s more important than ever. I would’ve gone into paid ads for us faster, I would’ve been emailing my list more, and I would’ve spent more time on my sales through onboarding systems. We did a lot on our backend systems. I was always big into that. Within a couple years, we had it down to almost an assembly line. Obviously, there’s art inside of there, but it allows us to fix things when they go wrong. But I didn’t spend enough time on my sales and onboarding systems, and I’ve really nailed that down and it makes such a difference.
ROB: What made you realize that you needed to focus? Was it outside feedback? Was it one day where you realized for the bajillionth time you didn’t have quite what you needed? How did you come through on that?
IAN: All of the above. I’m constantly looking at the business as a whole. Yes, I’m the technician and I like to know a lot about marketing. I love it. I have a podcast, the Garlic Marketing Show, and I’m always learning stuff. We just did the Giants a video learning from 40 experts’ techniques. But really working on the business as a whole is a constant, constant struggle. Not a struggle, but it’s exciting. It’s like, “Hey, what can I tweak here? Where did this go wrong and how can in fix this?” That’s a big, big thing.
I’ve been in masterminds. We’ve had consultants. I’m still in a lot of groups. I talk to other agency owners all the time. And that’s another mistake I made, too: thinking early on that I needed to do this all on my own and that everyone was my competition. Now I don’t even view people inside that do the exact same thing as my competition. It’s the same thing I told my clients Day 1, and I didn’t listen to myself. We all want to work with someone slightly different, and if you market yourself right, you’re going to get that person. The more of a community you can develop around yourself, the better you’re going to be.
ROB: That part definitely makes a bunch of sense. Ian, you’ve been in this for a while; there’s always talk about new platforms, new exciting things. What is coming up for authenticWEB or maybe video marketing in general that you’re genuinely excited for and think is worth paying more than a little bit of attention to?
IAN: I still think it’s YouTube. Honestly, I think using YouTube – here’s another shift that we did. Once again, it wasn’t in production, but it was a distribution shift. I’m always looking at how we’re distributing the videos. YouTube used to be the platform that we’d put on the website and people would watch the video there. Now we’re really trying to drive people onto YouTube as a whole because we want to get them into those suggested videos. We want them to watch more of our content. They want to watch video content.
And when you’re a professional, if you’re an agency owner, if you’re any type of service business, and you get people to see your face and hear your voice on a constant basis, that is the best marketing out there because you get that mere exposure effect. They will trust you more and more. YouTube is going to keep evolving it. They’re getting better and better and better. They’re changing around the algorithms, and it’s hooking people more and more and more.
I think TikTok is evolving, and if they don’t completely screw with it with the government, I think it’s got some legs now. But as far as really marketing a business and becoming an authority, I think it’s all-in on YouTube. The other part is it’s really hard to get spammed on YouTube because there’s no messenger or anything. LinkedIn feels like it’s gotten almost too spammed. I think people are going to have a tough time killing YouTube.
ROB: Sure. It’s certainly 5 to 10 requests a day that are straight-up pitches for business, at least, in my experience.
ROB: Are there any platforms – you mentioned TikTok; TikTok seems promising but early for both paid and organic. YouTube is pretty mature for both. Are there any platforms that are maybe not primary for organic content that you still see as being pretty effective for paid, even if that gets into ad insertions in other digital formats? How are you thinking about that?
IAN: I honestly think TikTok for B2C, almost everyone needs to be there. If you think that moms and dads are not there, they are. They’re watching their kids and then they’re getting hooked. I think organic-wise – they have this crazy algorithm, too, that’s so good at suggesting stuff for you. I think it’s a great place also to test.
But as far as other platforms go, then moving back to webinars, I think webinars are coming back. Using Zoom in a different way, using more of this course work, and we’re going to figure out new ways to have groups on and have smaller groups. I think webinars are making a resurgence because so many people are now used to being on Zoom for a little while, where they weren’t before and they couldn’t really pay attention. Now they’re used to it and you can really control the messaging there.
ROB: Got it. I heard you mention Zoom, and I was wondering – is Zoom especially good at the webinar thing, or is it simply that the average person’s familiarity with Zoom at this point is so common that it’s not even worth trying to force them to learn something else?
IAN: I think it’s the latter. Everyone’s on Zoom all the time. I remember with GoToWebinar, you have to download software and whatever, and some of these other webinar platforms are really glitchy. Zoom, yes, it had a shutdown recently, but for the most part it’s pretty smooth. I think other things will evolve out of there and we’ll get used to them, but Zoom works well for livestreaming. I personally use Ecamm, which I love, but Zoom is easy for people to use. I think that’s the big thing.
ROB: I’m not as familiar with Ecamm. For those who aren’t, what does Ecamm bring to the table that’s worth paying attention to?
IAN: I’ve been doing a lot more livestreaming. The algorithms are really paying attention to the livestreaming. Plus, if you do it right, Ecamm allows really high quality, almost like a TV show, to your livestream. You can add text overlays really easily. You can do different scenes, you can do an intro. You can essentially be your own TV show manager with Ecamm.
I loved it. It does really, really cool stuff and makes your livestreams that much more interesting. You can pull people in, pull people out. The other day I was on a livestream with Gino Wickman from EOS and people were making comments, asking questions. You can instantly pull their questions up from the comments onto the screen, which is really nice interaction. I do love things like Zoom and livestream because of that. We’re seeing this hyper-personalization.
And that leads into the other one, stuff like Bonjoro that make it really easy to hyper-personalize videos for clients and send them to them right away.
That’s where I’m seeing things going, this interaction – because you get that feedback and then you get improve your videos and improve your content and get across a few different platforms, getting that feedback and improving your content constantly.
ROB: You’re talking about that live TV show. One thing I just started playing around with a little bit, and I wonder if you’ve seen this and how it compares – have you seen this package called Mmhmm? It’s very hard to pronounce.
IAN: Yes, I have seen it. I haven’t used it yet. I have seen it. It’s similar to what Ecamm does. I think it has a few different features. But yeah, that’s the kind of thing I think we’re going to see more and more of, because you’ve got to keep them engaged. Those tools allow you to add that to your livestream videos. It’s not just the livestream; you can keep them engaged and do a lot of those cool things.
ROB: Right. The tools just keep on getting more impressive. Certainly, at the beginning of this pandemic, some good news was it was filmed from a home, but it was filmed with a real production team behind it. But the tools keep on getting pushed down and simpler, and you start to be able to imagine producing this Daily Show-looking production just with you and a pretty simple piece of software. It’s shifting. It’s remarkable.
IAN: It is. That’s where we have to get better at the content, which is great for everyone. It has to be more about the content, understanding who you’re talking to, getting niched down and super specific about who you’re talking to. It’s not just about having video.
ROB: That’s true with search, that’s true with video, and it’s true with the production quality of the video. Everything seems to keep coming back to content and all the little tricks. You can play a trick on TikTok and get somebody to loop your video one more time than you thought by lying to them, but it’s all going to catch you in the long run unless you make good content. It sounds like that’s what you all at authenticWEB are focused on doing.
IAN: Yeah, always making it better and better, figuring out better ways to get it, better ways to deliver it. That’s what we do.
ROB: Brilliant. Ian, when people want to find you and authenticWEB, where should they go look for you, other than sending a spammy LinkedIn request?
IAN: You can send me a LinkedIn request. Just don’t make it spammy. Tell me who you are. Tell me you heard me here when I was talking to Rob. That’s a great way. Or you can go to authenticweb.marketing, check out our website, and hit me through the form there. Seriously, if you want to open up a conversation and text me on LinkedIn, go ahead and do it. Now, I do get a lot of LinkedIn messages every day that are 90% spam, so if I don’t respond to you for some reason, I apologize. Feel free to follow up and say, “Hey, I just wanted to make sure you saw this.”
ROB: Fantastic. Ian, thank you for joining us on the podcast. Thank you for sharing that journey and so much excellent knowledge, especially thinking about how to go deeper on YouTube and realizing that that ship has not sailed, that game is not over, and good content can still win there.
IAN: Yes. It was great. Thanks for having me on, Rob. I appreciate it.
ROB: It’s a pleasure. Be well.
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