Marketers use popups because they are so effective at gaining a user’s attention, however, they can create a user experience nightmare if implemented wrong. We review some of the best ways that popups, modals, and even slide-ins and banners can be used effectively in a way that supports your business objectives while being useful and supportive to your site visitors. We also review some thoughts about what marketers should give away versus what they should charge for when creating a customer relationship, as well as what’s upcoming with Kadence products.
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Timestamps & Links
- 0:00 Introduction
- 0:20 The Kadence team summer plans
- 3:39 Popups that miss the mark with their audience & why they miss
- 6:56 Popups that are useful for the audience and how the site owners implemented them
- 9:56 Taking the customer journey into consideration as a whole
- 16:04 What can you give away, what should you give away vs. what do you charge for? Ben’s philosophy on scary generosity
- 19:15 Ben’s rules for popups
- 24:59 Kadence Conversions
- 27:22 What’s upcoming with Kadence Shop Kit, Kadence Blocks, and more
Transcript for The Kadence Beat Episode 8
Kathy: Welcome to episode eight of the Kadence Beat. This is the podcast about creating effective websites with WordPress and Kadence. And it is now mid to late April. And it’s starting to get hot in Texas. So I bet it starting to get nice where you guys are, where I’d rather be. What are you guys going to do now that summer’s on its way? What’s your big plans?
Hannah: I love summertime, everything summer. And I feel like April is actually such a tough month because you get these like trick days where it’d be like 75° and sunny. And then the next day it’s like 40° degrees and snowing. And you’re like, what the heck? It’s a mental battle all of April, but summer is coming. And I’m so excited. I live in Idaho for any of you who don’t know, I’m a big runner and I’m doing a marathon the end of July. I absolutely love getting out and running when it’s warm. So yeah, I’ll be doing lots of that. Super excited.
Ben: I definitely echo the April weird weather thing. We had snow yesterday and just four days ago it was like 70 degrees and nice outside. So that’s definitely a thing where you’re like, “Oh, it’s here. We can go outside.” And then, oh, it’s snowed last night. But it’s definitely changing.
I started mountain biking just a couple of weeks ago and that’s been super fun to get outside. I’m also very out of shape.
Hannah: Biking is hard. I didn’t know until I started, it’s not like normal biking. It’s really hard.
Ben: Yeah, where I’ve been going is like, there’s a path that goes straight up this mountain. And so I just go and I peddle until I can’t peddle anymore. And then I walk and then I peddle some more and then I get to the top of this place. And basically by then, I’m ready to puke. So I spend 10 minutes just trying to get my body under control. And then I have the best 15 minute ride down that mountain that like cuts this trail, just like does a whole bunch of cuts. So the way that it keeps me going is that I end by going downhill. So I’m just so happy by the time I get back to my truck about the event that I forget all about how miserable I was going up the mountain.
Hannah: That is the realest feeling. Every time I’m running up a hill, I’m like, why do I tell myself I like this, but it’s the downhill… it’s so worth it.
Ben: Yeah. Well, and I’m a big backpacker. So like this summer, I’ve a couple of trips planned. I’m really excited. I’m going to be in the Madisons this summer which is a mountain range in Montana. And every time you go backpacking, the first mile is like, everything about it is miserable.
And your body’s just like, this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever decided to do. Once you get past that initial pain and suffering, it just all gets better from there. And then you somehow want to do it the next weekend. But yeah, in July I’m going to be in the Madisons with you, Hannah. So that’s going to be awesome.
Hannah: Can’t wait.
Kathy: Wow, that sounds awesome. And we’re going to see some pictures I’m assuming, on the Instagram account?
Hannah: Yeah. Yeah. You’ll see them for sure. I’m running out of any content to post or I need to get outside and do something fun.
Kathy: Oh, that’s great. I will live vicariously through your fun travels through the mountains because I really, really miss the mountains. I do live on a hill, you know, if it snowed, I could slide down the backyard. It’s not mountains.
Hannah: That counts for something.
Kathy: Yeah. My daughter is trying to get me to take her to a horse show in Colorado this summer. So I might see a mountain or something there. Not sure yet, but yeah. Fun times, exciting.
Well, I figured today we could start talking about, well we’ve alluded to this a couple of times on the podcast in the past, when we have talked about poor website design and the use of pop-ups, or modals or any kind of call to attention that gets in the way of our experience of a site.
I love to call out the Williams-Sonoma/Pottery Barn brands because they all do it. I’m not even on the site yet. It’s like I might be following a link to look at a KitchenAid mixer or something like that. And then boom, popup before I can even look at anything, and I’m sure you guys have had some experiences like that in the past. Hannah have you had a recent pop-up that has annoyed you?
Hannah: I’m sure that I have, I can’t think of one off the top of my head but, I usually, because I just exit them so quickly.
Kathy: Of course. Well, Yeah. Big brands, small brands, website owners, across the board use these because they work. But I thought because we’ve had some great experiences with popups and we’ve also seen a lot of Kadence users use pop-ups very well, we could talk about ways that you can use these attention-grabbing devices in a good way that contributes to a user’s positive experience. What do you think?
Ben: Yeah, I think that’s great. I think for me, one of the most annoying things. is like taking over the screen right after the homepage loads. So you haven’t had a chance to even read anything yet or see anything, or it’s not even on the homepage, just anytime you land on the page and then you’re hit with a pop-up. There’s a clothing company. I don’t even know how to pronounce this, but I just got some pants from them. V U O R I.
Ben: Vuori? Yeah. Uh, you got me some pants, some shorts from them, which turned me on to them. Yeah. Cause they’re awesome.
Hannah: Wow. Incredible. I that’s actually shocking if you don’t know Ben side note, his style is… he’s come a long way. And he asked for Walmart shorts for Christmas, and I was like, I’m not buying shorts from Walmart. So I bought him the Vuori shorts. And this is a proud moment. Sorry. Absolute tangent.
Ben: Okay. Yeah. So because of you, I went on their website to find some pants cause I wanted some pants. And they hit you with this pop-up the moment you get there, doesn’t matter like which page you land on and it’s asking you, and if you want so much off and you have to put in your product preferences and your email address to get the discount code.
The fact that it does it before I’ve been able to even know if I’m on the right site, like that’s what drives me crazy. It’s like I would, because I came here with the intent to buy and I already, cause my sister gave me one of your products. I already like know I like your brand. I’m not going to sign up because I haven’t even had a chance to make sure that I’m on the right website.
That to me is like bad use case. Like if you would’ve just waited even five seconds for me to like, verify, Hey, this is the site, this is, this is what I’m looking for. I would have been like, yeah, I’ll take that 10% off. Cause I’m, I’m here to buy and you can go and have my email. And now. I’m questioning whether or not I want to buy from you. Already. And I’ve just landed on your website.
Hannah: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Something I found to be very attractive with popups is pops that hone in specifically like better directed at me. So for example, whenever COVID had just happened and people were quarantining and all these companies were giving discounts to healthcare workers.
Well, I’m a midwife, so I am a healthcare worker. So if I went to a website and I got a pop up, that was like, healthcare workers receive 20% off, I would be like, oh, wow. Yes, I will do that because this is speaking to me. And obviously you don’t want to exclude people from what you’re offering, but you also want to make people feel like they’re in. And like you’re speaking directly to them and not to other people. So even if you’re like, are you a mountain biker? Perfect. And then you’re like, yes, I am a mountain biker. I guess I will take this discount because it feels like you’re speaking to me.
And that’s something that I can appreciate. And it just makes me feel like seen and known. And, and then, yeah, I’ll probably give you my email.
Kathy: I’ve seen some really good uses of popups, like on sites where I already have an account and let’s say I just paid my bill and then they pop me up, “how happy are you with our service, or our product or whatever.” And then obviously they’re trying to get their NPS score or whatever. but they’re giving that pop up to me after I’ve just done something, I’ve just added new payment method or I’ve just upgraded or something like that.
So I’ve done something I’ve taken some kind of action and then they give me a pop-up, and I thought about this. Obviously they’re not trying to sell me anything, but they’re trying to investigate how their market, their customers, view their particular brand and view their experience.
And I thought that that could be also used when there’s a negative situation, when there’s a negative interaction with a brand, say for example, somebody is canceling their subscription. Obviously that’s a good time to pop up and say, optionally, please let us know if there’s a problem that we can help solve, or why are you canceling so that you can understand what is happening when your customers are churning out of a relationship with your brand.
But those types of pop-ups where they occur. Immediately after an user has taken an action and that it almost feels like part of that journey. That to me is one of the best ways to use a pop-up because you’re actually you’re getting information, but you’re triggering that pop-up based on an action that a user has taken that makes sense.
The worst is I’m on an airline site and I’m booking a ticket for a trip that maybe I don’t even want to go on. And they popped me up and they want me to take a survey and it’s like, I’m not even done booking yet. And they’re already asking me for feedback and that timing of it just, it gets in the way of my experience.
These calls to attention obviously work, but what types of questions to site owners ask themselves before they decide they’re going to use a pop-up and their experience?
Ben: Yeah. I mean, to me, I think you’ve got to be thinking of. Your customer journey as a whole. Popups and just serve a purpose for your customers and for you, and not as like, okay, I need some way to get emails. You need to be thinking m website is designed for what, is it designed to get subscribers?
It’s like, what’s the overall goal of my website. And then I want to, I want to put popups or slide-ins or things like that into that strategy. But it needs to compliment the strategy of the website. Not like I have a website and I don’t have any emails and everyone says use pop-ups to get email. So I’m just gonna throw a pop-up in everybody’s face to get their email.
It needs to be like part of your strategy. And then you can be really specific about how you want to use it. if someone’s coming to your website and you want them to download this like content thing you’ve created, let’s say it’s a PDF, or maybe you’ve got, a discount code or maybe you’re offering a free, you know, whatever it is for free.
Usually you’re giving away information for free, then that call to action, that take, should be on your website and not just in the pop-up. You want to make sure it’s not the only place they’re going to see it. Right? It needs to be part of your banner or maybe right under your header or whatever. It needs to be the direction of your website.
And then you can go, well, hey, the customer has an opportunity to see it here. And if they’ve gone to a couple of pages, let’s hit them now. They’ve invested, they’re interested. They’re looking around, now let’s hit them with a pop-up and say, Hey, do you want to download this free thing? Maybe you’re going to give it, let’s say 10 to 12 seconds on the page before show them. So they’ve had time to like, actually click on your already- in- content call to actions, which are much less aggressive toward the user. Where it’s like a pop-up is just extremely aggressive way to say, Hey! And that can be really powerful, but it also can be really off-putting. So I think you have to think through the strategy of create user journeys for your website. If they’re coming in to this landing page, this is the focus and I’m going to create a user journey. And then I’m going to think about when, and if I should have a pop-up show up in that user journey.
Kathy: So really, the overall goal of any web page should be just one particular… You’re trying to get the user to have to take one specific action. Your brand might have a number of different things that it’s trying to do, but that one page should have one specific action and a pop-up can be a part of that communication. But it almost seems like if you had a page and you have a call to action as a part of that page and the user still hasn’t taken any kind of interaction with it, then a pop-up might make sense rather than just boom pop up because we know it works.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, cause I think what we don’t know is, while it might convert, how many people are rage-leaving your site because they’re annoyed by it. Or just have this like undertone of like, I don’t really want to interact with this company because I feel like every time it’s this big ask, they’re just throwing things in my face.
So I think you, you just want to be careful with like, something is like all encompassing on the page as a popup.
Kathy: Definitely. I just had a pop-up experience, actually researching pop-ups. Like, what other things might marketers be saying about this? I was on this site and it was talking all about pop-ups and of course it gave me a pop-up for the ultimate guide for pop-ups. And so I’m like, all right, I’ll bite.
What do you got? And I filled out the form and never got the ultimate guide. Was just like, Hey, I’ve gone, I’ve read your content. And then at the end you give me a pop-up, I interact with that pop-up, and then I don’t get what you promised me? I’m not even going to say who it was or anything. Obviously, these things need to be tested.
You need to make sure you just got a conversion, but I didn’t get what I wanted. And if you email me now, think going to be really be mad. So it’s really important to understand that the pop-up in itself, the conversion in itself is not the end goal. There is an experience that happens after that pop-up that you have to also think about, that relationship with that customer that is just starting.
One step. That is the first step. Now if your conversion intent is to get an email address. Now you have a relationship with that customer going forward. So the pop-up is just one small part, but it seems as you go across the internet, it seems like it is the, the most important thing.
And I’m sure some marketers somewhere following those metrics closely, seeing how well these things are converting. What happens to the customer? Are you, can you really put yourself in their shoes?
Ben: To me, like the pop-up should be the extra. And your website should be doing the converting and the pop-up should be like, we’re going to use it as an exit intent to like, we’re all, we’ve almost lost this person. So let’s try one more, , not as like our goal is for you to land on the site and then we’re going to throw a pop-up to you.
So we can try to capture email as quickly as possible in this journey. yeah, I think you, your website should try to capture email and to that extent, We need to be, as site owners, we need to be a lot better at figuring out what our customer wants, that we can give them for free. just making it so appealing that I’m like, “ah, I just have to.” I like, I gotta figure out what this, what this piece of content is or what this, you know, I want this free thing, whatever it is, like we’ve gotta be better at being able to deliver on things for our users right away. , and coming up with whatever that is that we can, you know, potentially give them, even if it’s, you know, access to product or things like that. Like finding things that are, that you can give away, um, I think is, is like, Your first step, like if you’re going to end up with a pop-up somewhere, it needs to be like a value.
So what can, you know, what can we give away? What can we afford to give away? Or what can we create to give away? And I think that’s a big one. Like we just don’t think so much about like creating stuff to give away, but I think it needs to be, uh, a big part of a marketer’s job is like, here’s this brand, how are we going to create something to give away? That’s going to be really like powerful to their visitors.
Kathy: A lot of marketers don’t have an idea of what do I charge for versus what do I give away. And I know even in the WordPress space, that is a big question. And I’ve talked to a number of people who are like, well, if it makes the web a better place, or if it really helps the user create better content that makes the web a better place. That’s something we give away for free. But if it’s going to save them time to do that, then that’s something we charge for. Do you have any thoughts about that?
Ben: It’s tricky to create a rule. I like the sound of what you said in terms of, you know, if it makes people the web better, but I’m not sure that I subscribed to like a hard rule.
I think more than anything, I want to be scary generous with my products. Like I want to be always on that edge of, “I think I gave too much away and now no one’s going to buy anything.” And that’s pretty much where I’ve always tried to stay is where people continually come to me and tell me your free stuff is too good.
Like you have, you have too much that you’re supporting too much that you’re doing that you’re never getting anything from your customers. That’s where I want to live. I want to live in that area where it’s uncomfortable and people will come to me and tell me you’re giving away too much.
I, more than anything, want to create relationships with users where they honestly choose to buy the product because not because they’re chasing. Hey, I finally get this thing to work cause I’m going to buy a premium.
Whereas like the free version didn’t really work. It kind of worked. I want them to buy premium because they’re like, I love this company so much that I’ve got to support what they’re doing. And on top of it, they’re going to give me all these benefits that just add to my experience. I don’t necessarily need them, but they are convenient.
That’s just my general, especially with Kadence, where I want to live. , But I think that each brand has to figure that out for themselves. I think in each situation it’s different. Software’s a lot easier obviously to give away than raw product where you’re like that cost me so much to make
Kathy: Shoes. Yeah, Nike’s not going to be giving away shoes so that you buy hoodies necessarily.
Hannah: It’d be cool if they did, though.
Kathy: I’d line up for it.
Hannah: I would totally sign up.
Kathy: Well, it’s worked well for Kadence because there are so many free elements to Kadence that really have not only made the web better, made websites better, made my website better because it just got scary fast. Your scary generosity made it scary, fast. But it also has helped so many more people come into the WordPress space and start using blocks in ways that they couldn’t have before.
So I’m really happy that you shared that perspective. Let’s get back to to pop-ups, and Ben, you had some general rules that you use when you’re thinking about how to use a pop-up modal or slide in or something like that effectively.
Ben: Yeah, I think my number one thing is it’s got to be valuable to the user. So if I’m going to interrupt their browsing experience, if I’m going to do this thing, it needs to be really worth it to them. And by that it’s got to offer them something. It’s got to give them something. That rule and alone, like makes me go, Nope, not gonna do a pop up, a lot of the time cause I’m just like, I can’t come up with something that is really worth interrupting their experience. but obviously that’s, it’s like for me, it’s a good standard to think through like, okay, I gotta make this offer better.
Kathy: That’s definitely a very good rule. A 10% discount isn’t necessarily valuable to me, but you know, 40% off today only is. Right. So where that line is, is obviously going to be different for each user. It’s going to be different for each brand, but that value is something that can be tested, that you can try 10%. And if it’s not really working, try it 40% for just today. And does that work?
Ben: I think with value it’s tricky. It is like generally valuable to the visitors. There’s always going to be visitors. Like that’s not valuable to me, but you could give them a car and they’d be like, I don’t want a car. Okay, my second rule is don’t do it the second they reach a site. Let people actually know that they’re on the right website. So I would try to target visitors after they’ve viewed a couple, especially if I’m going to go all the way to a pop-up where I’m going to take over the screen. I want them to have at least viewed a couple pages or exit intent is a really good way, to target with a pop-up because even on the first page.
They’re leaving, so you’re going to throw an offer at them. And it’s not interrupting their browsing experience. They’re already leaving. And then I think the other one is after reasonable delay. So if they’ve been on your page for 10 to 12 seconds, that’s a pretty long time to be reading and scrolling and browsing, that feels a lot safer than the instant you land on the site. Three, don’t make them hard to close. I think it’s just speaks so poorly of you as a brand. If you’re hide the close button, it’s like the fastest way to get someone to rage-leave your website. It’s like, how do I get out of this pop-up and it’s not like instantly clear. So make it very clear, very easy to close out the pop-up.
Kathy: Or if it’s being shown like a pop-up that’s intended for desktop, that ends up being shown on mobile, and then you can’t even find where to tap it to click to close it.
Ben: Yup. Or you make the close so tiny that you can’t tap it, Yeah. So, I think that’s a big one. Number four, keep the content in your pop-up simple. Focus on making the offer as clear and as transparent as possible. So. this is the offer. Don’t give a long 10 steps on why this offer is so great and all that stuff.
Just, this is the offer. And do you want it or not. Ones where it’s like the pop-up comes, especially on mobile and it’s way bigger than the page and you kind of gotta scroll through the pop-up , yeah, don’t do that. So keep it really, really simple. Keep it clear. And too, make it offer needs to be valuable and make it, you’re choosing to interrupt, so own that.
Hey, I’m interrupting you because this is so good. So in your language, in the way you present. Own the fact that you’re doing a pop-up and that you think this offer is worth a pop-up, by just clearly communicating you should do this, make it hard for that person to be like, I want to exit. Five, making sure it’s relevant to the user.
So you want to do a pop-up on a sale, you’re doing like, Hey, check out this sale. If the sale is for women’s clothing and you’re showing the pop-up on men’s clothing, that is just silly, like make it as relevant as you can. And there’s a lot of easy ways to do that like excluding pages and popups and things like that. Make sure that you’re doing whatever you can to make sure that that pop-up is relevant. And I think if you’re getting started, like focus on one particular page where you want that pop-up to show, now you can have it track on different pages, but then let’s say I wanted to show on my services page only if they’ve been on two other pages or whatever, and, you know, kind of focus in on like an offer based on that services page.
Six is popups can lead the visitor. So don’t just think about them as an email collection. I think there’s times to show suggestions, or like Kathy, you were talking about, on an event, a person adds something to cart, showing them a product that bundles with that. It’s a great, like after an event.
So think about your customer journeys. Not just like, when am I going to give them this pop-up but also like, can I do things that’ll help move them along in this journey? And then seven is consider a slide in or a banner first. I think pop-ups are aggressive in just the way that they get attention.
And there’s just times where you could get a really good result by just simply showing your offer in a banner on your website, whether that’s even a sticky banner or just something in your content or doing a slide in, where if you’ve got a blog post that’s doing really well and you’re like, Hey, I want to get, try to get some of that traffic onto my other blog posts.
Like maybe you have a slide in that comes halfway down the page that just slides on the side said, Hey, you might be interested in. And then you list off two or three headlines that are really, like, oh, I want to check that out. I want to see what they have to say about that. So there’s my rules.
Kathy: Okay. Well, these weren’t carved in stone, but they are definitely good rules to go by. Um, and I think that. Just these guidelines and thinking through how you’re using popups, not just looking at other sites and saying, oh, well they’re doing this. So obviously it must be working and we should just copy that.
But being really intentional about the tools that you’re using, not just pop-ups and sliders, but any kind of attention seeking device, realize that the user is going to have a specific experience of those and these guidelines and rules are just kind of a good way for you to start thinking about how this fits within a journey rather than just something that you’re doing, because.
Hey, well, I guess it works. So obviously Kadence has a product called Kadence Conversions that helps you make very effective slide-ins, banners, as well as pop-ups. And it also gives you a number of different tools that allow you to control how those are shown so that you aren’t obtrusive that you’re not just popping up on every single page, that if a user has seen your pop-up before and closed it out, that you can not be obtrusive to that particular user.
So Kadence Conversions just had an update recently as well. So, if you haven’t yet looked at it, I will have a link in the show notes. Ben you added some new things to Kadence Conversions, with what Gravity Forms?
Ben: Yeah. So with Conversions, you can use different forms. You can use any form or any block you want to inside of like your conversion element and it has built in analytics. So you can kind of track how many times this was shown versus how many times the user interacted with it, let’s say converted with it.
And, so I had users who were using Gravity Forms as the form in their conversion. And they wanted to be able to track when Gravity Forms submitted successfully. So that was one of the, one of the recent things we’ve added is conversion analytics will track when a Gravity Form converts inside of your conversion element.
Kathy: Excellent. And this just underscores how connected our dev team is to what users are needing. That we’re constantly taking a look at. Feature requests are coming in or problems that users are having, and definitely have user concerns as a part of that development workflow. So thanks for that. And you have some new updates coming out with with Blocks Pro that’s coming like really super soon as.
Ben: Yeah. So, a lot of focus for Kadence Blocks Pro has been on dynamic content and interacting with things like Advanced Custom Fields and Meta Box. So in the latest version, there will be a relationship meta, basically source. So you can source dynamic content through a relationship that you’ve created between, let’s say a post and another custom post type.
So you’ll be able to say essentially, in this current post, does it have a relationship field, is it connected with a different kind of post and if so, use that connected post as the source to get this custom field. So it just allows for some more advanced dynamic content when you’re building out templates and adding in hooks into your page with elements. And then there’s also a new block for dynamic content that’s basically just allows you to pull in fields that might have its own text styling. So currently you can pull in text fields using the Advanced Text Block, but this would allow you to pull in like a wysiwyg or something like that, that you might have like header paragraph list in and it’ll keep all of that and then output it.
And with that block, then you can even style the color for what’s going to, you know, even though this text has markup in it, what’s going to be the color for all that markup or the topography and things like that.
Kathy: Excellent. Great. So that’s coming very soon and then you’re working on the Kadence Shop Kit for WooCommerce, and that’s coming out in May. That’s going to have templating and we talked about that a little bit on the WooVisions podcast with Bob Dunn over at Do the Woo. I am a host at that particular podcast and Ben and I took over.
So that podcast is coming out, I think next week sometime, but that was a lot of fun. Thanks for joining me on that.
Ben: Yup. That was a lot of fun. And I’m excited for Shop Kit and what’s coming. I think it’s going to be a big update with a lot of things for all the different elements that we add in that.
Kathy: Excellent. Yeah, I’m very excited. I know a lot of people have been asking for templating with WooCommerce and bringing that to the WooCommerce community is going to be huge. And you are going to do a beta version for Kadence Blocks 2.5 sometime soon, something interesting coming with that?
Ben: Yeah. So toward the end of April, we’re going to try to release the beta version for 2.5, which has a, kind of a rewrite for the Row Layout block, where it’s going to use scripts CSS allow you to have layouts that are multi row and allow the section block within those layouts to kind of move freely around so you can pull sections out and in.
And, so it will have some performance, optimization, big time for the Row Layout block, as well as just a lot easier way to create grids using Gutenberg.
Kathy: very exciting. Yeah, that’s going to solve a couple of my issues. So some stuff that I’m trying to do too. So that is very, very cool. Thank you guys for joining today. And, for talking about pop-ups. I know this is something that a lot of people are using as they’re building out sites.
And I really appreciate the conversation about how to do that more intentionally. So, Hannah, good to see you as always,
Hannah: You as well, Kathy. Thank you.
Kathy: Yeah. Looking forward to your travels over the summer. Um, I’m going to be living vicariously through all of the fun stuff that you’re doing. And, um, we will talk to you guys again soon.
Thanks for listening to the Kadence Beat.