Q&A with Bill Leake from Apogee Results

We will start the week off with another speaker Q&A session with Bill Leake, CEO, of Apogee Results. ApogeeResults.com is one of the largest independent Online Marketing Agencies in N. America, with a strong focus on PPC, SEO, Display, and Converting all that traffic into profitable dollars for its clients, who range from high-growth startups to household names. Led by Bill Leake, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant and Dell veteran, ApogeeResults.com has built more Inc. 500/5000 winners than any other company in the industry by focusing its client efforts on provable and meaningful results.

1) What do you think is currently a hot trend in optimization or conversion?

We’re seeing more and more of personalization with our clients. Once you learn something about your website visitor, how do you tailor the content you serve up from that point forward to what you’ve learned? This could be on subsequent visits, or even on the current visit, if you have the appropriate data-base driven dynamic site infrastructure in place. Things like varying landing pages based in the geographic signals given by an inbound IP address, for example, can give significant upticks in conversion rates. Figuring out early in the process whether someone is single, married, male, female, or where they might fit from a personal profiling can make a HUGE difference in what content you should show them.

That being said, this is pretty advanced stuff, and one mistake we see is that people jump right to this “last mile” without having first poured the foundation for success. What’s most important is to first cover the bases:

  1. what are your business goals
  2. how are you going to measure them

and then do your first, most basic conversion work, usually with a heuristic, best practices approach combined with some simple A/B testing.

2) What would you say is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to optimization?

Gosh, there are so many mistakes that it’s hard to single out the BIGGEST one. I could talk about lack of statistical significance in tests (testing MORE things than the data allows. Or about failure to test ENOUGH (particularly variety). Or we could spend an hour talking about how people screw up their persona projects. I think I’m going to settle on the single biggest mistake being the overbearing focus on ONE thin layer of the integrated marketing / sales funnel that is the web form. It’s very easy to optimize web forms while HURTING revenue. Conversion needs to be though of holistically, and as a part of the broader demand generation function, and even more, as part of the broader marketing / customer communication function. Sometimes I don’t want to “get the form, fast” and sometimes I do. Sometimes I actually want a lower conversion rate on web pages, so that I don’t waste the time of sales w/ unqualified prospects. Focusing on CPA (Cost per action / cost per form) metrics in the long term isn’t much more advanced than is focusing on CPC (cost per click) metrics on PPC ad copy.

3) Which speaker(s) are you most excited to hear, beside yourself, at Conversion Conference East?

Definitely Mike Volpe of HubSpot. Not only is he a stand-up fellow, but he’s the one person on the list who has successfully implemented best practices of conversion optimization across a considered purchase funnel. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of people who can give a rousing and perhaps even inspiring speech about conversion. I fear I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people who can not only communicate conversion well, but have actually done it successfully on their own behalf. He’s that rarest of breeds, a do-er who can also teach (The exception to the old saying “Those than can, do, those that can’t teach.”) Hubspot is an inspiring success story to all folks wanting to build a conversion optimized, marketing & sales aligned, revenue generation machine

4) What’s your favorite restaurant to visit while in New York?

It’s not high brow, but New York is one of the few cities in N. America that has a markedly different (and in my book superior) pizza tradition, topped only by the establishments in New Haven, CT. I’m a traditionalist, so Lombardi’s at 32 Spring Street ranks highly in my Pizzaria SERPS. Around since 1905, they are one of several outfits claiming to be America’s first pizzeria. I can’t vouch for that claim, but I will sign an affidavit testifying that their pizza is great. My only pain point with them is that they have multiple tasty pie options, and yet I seem to only order claim pizza every time I visit, because this delicacy is so hard to find elsewhere.
More about Bill

Bill Leake,CEO, of Apogee ResultsBill Leake, CEO of Apogee Results, draws on a deep expertise in both business and marketing to help increase revenues for a wide range of clients. He has been involved in driving provable revenues through Internet marketing techniques since the early 1990s when, as part of the management team at Power Computing, he built the first company to sell $1 million of product over the Internet.

As CEO and founder of Apogee Results, he has guided the company from inception to its current position as the largest search engine marketing company in Texas, one of the 20 largest independents in North America and one of the fastest growing companies on the Inc. 500 / 5000 list.

In addition to leading Apogee Results, Bill also serves as the president of the Austin Interactive Marketing Association, and as a judge in several prestigious internet marketing competitions. Bill is a sought after speaker in the online marketing sector, having been featured at ad:tech, Search Engine Strategies (SES), MarketingProfs, Search Marketing Expo (SMX), Online Marketing Summit (OMS), Integrated Marketing Summit (IMS), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi), and others.

Before founding Apogee, Bill was President of Journyx, one of the earliest SAAS (software as a service) companies, which grew to become one of the 500 largest software companies in N. America. Prior to Journyx, he held leadership and executive positions at several public and private venture-capital backed firms, including Trusted Information Systems, Haystack Labs, Power Computing, and Dell. At Dell, Bill worked in the Office of the Chairman on several key strategic initiatives. Before Dell, Bill worked as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company.

Bill received an MBA with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and his B.A. from Yale University.

See Bill Live!

Bill will be speaking with Justin Rondeau, from TemplateZone in a session titled “Social Success: Using Facebook as a Landing Page & Converting in the Social Eco-system ” at Conversion Conference East 2011 in New York City. See the full agenda and read more about this session.

Want to save on your Conversion Conference passes? Follow Bill on Twitter and request a discount code!

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