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Accelerate your eCommerce Growth

An eCommerce Podcast Hosted by Brett Curry

Welcome to the Spicy Curry podcast where we explore hot takes in eCommerce and Digital Marketing. We feature some of the brightest guests with the spiciest perspectives on how to grow your business online.
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Ezra Firestone’s Top 7 eCommerce Growth Strategies for 2022
Episode 1
:
Ezra Firestone

Ezra Firestone’s Top 7 eCommerce Growth Strategies for 2022

No one knows more about eCommerce growth than my friend Ezra Firestone. Arguably, no one is a more interesting interview than Ezra either. This episode does NOT disappoint. Ezra bootstrapped growth for Boom from $0 to $40mill + per year. He also recently bought another high-profile eComm brand (more on that in the show).This episode is straight fire. Here’s a look at what we dive into:

  • How Ezra is approaching email marketing and email list growth in 2022. I’m guessing you’re missing his email strategy - even if you consider yourself an email marketing pro.
  • How BOOM is approaching front-end offers.
  • Why you should consider inventing a holiday and how BOOM has done that.
  • Growing your SMS list.
  • Plus MUCH, much more!

Mentioned in this Episode:

Ezra Firestone

   - LinkedIn

   - Instagram

   - Twitter

   - Facebook


BOOM! by Cindy Joseph

oVertone

Zipify Pages

Smart Marketer

Blue Ribbon Mastermind

Klaviyo

Postscript

Attentive

Dan Kennedy

Jay Abraham

Native Deodorant

Northbeam

John Grimshaw

Molly Pittman

Train My Traffic Person

Transcript:

Brett Curry:

Welcome to the Spicy Curry Podcast, where we explore hot takes in e-commerce and digital marketing. We feature some of the brightest guests with the spiciest perspectives on what it takes to grow your business online. Season one is built on the old business adage that it really takes three things to succeed. One, have something good to say. Two, say it well. And three, say it often.

Brett Curry:

Today, my guest is none other than the e-commerce legend himself, Ezra Firestone. If you're serious about growing your e-commerce business, then you have to pay attention to Ezra. And arguably, there's not a more interesting interview than Ezra Firestone. He bootstrapped Boom by Cindy Joseph from zero to now, $40 million a year in growth. He now owns and operates Overtone, a $25 million a year e-commerce brand. He also co-founded Zipify Pages, Smart Marketer, and he's the mastermind behind my favorite e-commerce mastermind, Blue Ribbon.

Brett Curry:

This is a wide ranging discussion. We talk about things like cold plunges and samurai swords. But yes of course, we spend most of our time talking about e-commerce growth strategies. We look at Ezra's really unique approach to email marketing, and how much of his ad budget he's dedicating to growing his email list. We also look at SMS marketing. And we look at how to invent a holiday, and what that looks like. And then we're also looking at how Boom is crafting and creating front end offers. You won't want to miss a minute of this show. I hope you enjoy my interview with Ezra Firestone.

Brett Curry:

The Spicy Curry Podcast is brought to you by OMG Commerce, Attentive, OneClickUpsell, Zipify Pages, and Payability. All right, I am absolutely stoked out of my mind for this next guest, and personal friend of mine. We do some work together. I always count it a joy when I get to talk to this guest. And so, to have this uninterrupted time to dive in deep on strategies, it's going to be amazing, and I'm glad you get to listen in. And so if I look at, man, if you need tactics, if you need strategies, if you need help for how to take your e-commerce business to the next level, and if you need to get a little bit spicy, you need Ezra Firestone.

Brett Curry:

And so today I've got the man, the myth, the legend. He's flexing if you're watching the video. Got Ezra Firestone on the call. We're talking about eight top strategies to just blow up your business this year in a good way. We may not get to all eight, we'll see how it goes. But with that intro, Ezra, what's up, man? How you doing? And welcome to the show.

Ezra Firestone:

Brett, the Fury Curry, I'm fresh out of the cold plunge, dog. One minute, 30 seconds, 32 degrees. My whole body is red, I'm shivering, I'm shaking, we're podcasting. Happy to be here man, thanks.

Brett Curry:

It's hilarious. You hopped on the call and I was like, "Oh no, something's wrong with Ezra. He just doesn't look right." It's like, well, you just got out of a 32 degree bathtub. Of course, your body's in shock. But I appreciate taking the time to do this. And man, it's just always, always fun to chat.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah, man. And just watching your journey, I seen you come up in the game from back in the day, when you had an SEO agency. You know?

Brett Curry:

Yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

From way back. I don't even know if it was 2008, 2009, it was a long time ago. 2010, whatever it was. And then to watch you rise to be one of the most prominent voices in the e-commerce world, and also to have a top 2% advertising agency, maybe you guys are top 1% at this point, I mean, you run all of our stuff. So it's been fun to watch your journey and just happy to be on the podcast.

Brett Curry:

Dude, thanks. It's been so fun to grow. I credit you and your community with a lot of that growth. And your approach to having fun, and doing what's right, and being extremely successful, and that blend, is awesome. Your motto, for those that don't know, is "Serve the world unselfishly and profit." And actually before we get into tactics and strategies for this year, and there's some amazing ones, can you talk a little bit about that for those that are new to the world of Ezra Firestone?

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah, I mean, I think that's a description-

Brett Curry:

... Yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

I think it's a description, not a statement. It's how I have seen things work. That when you are in a role of service, unselfishly with the goal of serving, you do profit by the very nature of serving. And it may not be monetarily. Maybe it's spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, energetically. But my goal is to serve. And I find joy in the act of service. I think there's a lot of value, and fun, and enjoyment, and good. And also in business, if you can truly serve a community, you will be profitable. And so I think that's just a description of how it goes. And also it's what I'm looking to do. I'm looking to serve the world unselfishly and also profit. I want to take care of my family. I want to take care of my community. I want to put resource towards causes in the world that I find noble. And I need fucking money to do that. Right?

Brett Curry:

Exactly. Yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

And the way going to get that money is by helping a group of people out with solutions to problems they have.

Brett Curry:

Yeah, I love that. If you look at, what is leadership, what does it mean to lead a company or to be a CEO, it's really serving. Serving your team more than commanding and dictating.

Ezra Firestone:

100%.

Brett Curry:

And how do build a brand, how do you build a business? It's serving a community. It's serving the needs and meeting the needs of buyers. And so, yeah. I love it. So it's really, really just-

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah. And then just because you're serving a group, doesn't mean you can't sell them stuff.

Brett Curry:

Exactly.

Ezra Firestone:

Selling them stuff is also serving them.

Brett Curry:

Because people want to buy stuff, right?

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

They want to have those needs met. And retail therapy is a thing too. So one of the greatest acts of service you can do, is sell a good product to the right person.

Ezra Firestone:

I'll tell you what dude. You and I both know that this last six months have been the most intense and stressful on the personal side of my life, with some health problems of some family members. And I done fucking discovered stress shopping, bro. I had never done that. I'm not a guy who buys shit that I just don't need or want. I'm willing to buy things. I have a lot of money, and I didn't come from money. I now have more money than basically everyone that I know, and I'm not against purchasing things. But I usually purchase things that I really like. I'll buy a nice espresso machine, or I'll buy a nice skateboard.

Brett Curry:

Which I've had espresso from that espresso machine. And you pull a mean shot of espresso, my friend.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah. I will spend money happily on things that are enjoyable and that I will use, but I don't just buy frivolously, until now, dude. I bought six pairs of the same Chelsea boot. When I turned around, I was like, "What? I have lost my mind, dude." This is stress shopping.

Brett Curry:

Why did I buy this?

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

I think one time I was on a call with you and you just recently bought like a samurai sword or something. I don't think it was actually a samurai sword, but it was some kind of sword.

Ezra Firestone:

A katana. Yeah, it was a Japanese katana. I use it to chop wood for my sweat lodge. So that was actually a useful tool. It's good for chopping kindling.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. That's awesome, man. Super fun. So people are buying right now. The economy's pretty hot, and certainly there are some issues too. But people are buying stuff. So let's dive in. You recently wrote a blog post, which I'm going to link to, so you can see this in the show notes, talking about eight top growth strategies. And first of all, for those that don't know the journey, talk about Boom by Cindy Joseph and how it's grown.

Ezra Firestone:

(singing)

Brett Curry:

Because you guys are set to do about 40 million this year, right?

Ezra Firestone:

So I started this brand in 2010. Took me to 2014 to make my first million dollar a year in total revenue. By 2016, I was doing 17 million. This last year, I did 42. This year I think I'll do 47. Top line revenue at about a 25% EBIDA margin, so maybe making six or 7 million a year in profit on that.

Brett Curry:

Which is amazing. Amazing.

Ezra Firestone:

I got about 30 employees at that company. I also own Zipify Apps, about a $10 million a year software company. Also a couple million bucks in profit on that, maybe about 60 employees there. And I just bought a company called Overtone Color, which has about 20 team members. It'll do about 25, 30 million this year. And I got Smart Marketer too. And I'm just a guy. I didn't go to college, I have no special skills, other than that I'm a good communicator and I'm willing to put my foot down and do the work, and ask for help when I need it. And I think my story shows that if... I'm a complete failure in the eyes of the school system. They labeled me a dumb kid, and someone who was not going to be successful. And I think for anybody who doesn't fit into the mold, who maybe is dyslexic, or maybe has some reason why the general society is telling them that they can't be successful, the internet opens up an opportunity for us.

Ezra Firestone:

And there's skills that we can develop. Advertising, direct response marketing, landing page optimization, copywriting, product development, podcasting, social media, that can support us in taking care of our families. And I didn't come from resource, and so I wanted to create that. And I've been able to, and I've been doing it now for 17 years. I got pretty fucking good at it. I made every mistake you could make. I didn't pay my taxes, I did all the stupid you can do. But I did it when I was younger, and earlier in my... And I didn't have podcasts like yours to learn from. I had a bunch of creepy dudes on an internet forum who were shilling fucking gambling and porn. That was when I got into the game.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Online marketing was a bit of a dark place back in those early days.

Ezra Firestone:

You didn't want to say you were an internet marketer. It wasn't good.

Brett Curry:

No, no, that was not prestigious. No one looked at that highly. For sure.

Ezra Firestone:

So yeah. So I've been doing it a long time now, I'm really good at it. And I've been talking about it since about 2011. I was one of the first people to start blogging about e-commerce. And by the very nature of being one of the first, I became popular. Not that I was anything special than anyone else, but I was the first to do it, and so I got real popular. And I've stayed in that space of documenting my journey. And I got a bunch of people who think it's cool, and follow what I do. And I'm pretty good at it, you know?

Brett Curry:

Yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

And I've been able to successfully train and educate, and bring up in the game, thousands and thousands of internet entrepreneurs over the years. You being one of them who I've impacted.

Brett Curry:

Big time.

Ezra Firestone:

Not that I did anything for you, other than show you what I was doing. So yeah, so I like talking about this stuff.

Brett Curry:

It's been so amazing to watch that progression as well, and getting to see behind the scenes, seeing you operate with your team. So I've been to your house and I've hung out with the inner circle of Smart Marketer and Boom. And of course we were on calls, and our agency serves you and stuff. So I've seen you in a lot of different capacities. And man, you're the same leader behind the scenes as you are on stage. You care about people on stage or one on one. You're extremely smart and strategic, and you get marketing, and you understand human in nature, and you take massive action. All kinds of stuff we can break down. So it's been really fun to observe that and get the front row seat of that as well.

Ezra Firestone:

I can also do a cool poker chip trick. Look at this.

Brett Curry:

Is that right? Oh, look at that.

Ezra Firestone:

Wait.

Brett Curry:

Look at that.

Ezra Firestone:

Hold on. Damn, that was not cool. I dropped it. Hold on.

Brett Curry:

We're going to try this again. So if you're listening, just take my word for it. He's a great poker chip-

Ezra Firestone:

My hands are frozen. My hands are frozen. We should probably get into tactics.

Brett Curry:

Do not attempt a poker chip trick out of a cold plunge.

Ezra Firestone:

People are going to be like, "Enough of this bullshit, dude. You should talk about some tactics." We should talk about some strategies.

Brett Curry:

Exactly. So here we go. So let's dive in. One thing that we've seen you guys operate on, we're running this on YouTube for you, but you're buying more email leads. So talk about that. So this is top strategy number one, buying more email leads. What does that look like, and why?

Ezra Firestone:

Dude, nobody's talking about email. Everybody's like "SMS, video ads." This and that. Well guess what has always been since I've been in the game, about 25 to 40% of my business? Literally since '05, dude. Emails.

Brett Curry:

Email. Email.

Ezra Firestone:

I've been sending motherfucking emails since 2005. And it is to this day, it'll be 36% of Boom's total revenue this year.

Brett Curry:

It's crazy.

Ezra Firestone:

And nobody-

Brett Curry:

Email touches 36% of all purchases through Boom.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah, it's last click, dude. It's last click for 36% of my purchases.

Brett Curry:

It's awesome.

Ezra Firestone:

So why would I not be putting so much energy in growing that list? Nobody does it. Everybody just runs top of funnel video ads, conversion ads, and they hope that when somebody comes to their website, their onsite popup, or their card abandonment, or their exit intent, are going to capture the email lead for them. Great, do that. But also, you know what I'm doing? Gated content. I'm doing giveaways. I'm doing all kinds of different straight up lead generation campaigns. One of my best ones, is we use these things called pre-sell articles, which are basically articles that are story-based, like, "Five makeup tips for older women." Or "Seven makeup tips for women who wear glasses." Or "How to overcome perfectionism in your fifties." Or whatever kind of content that our community is interested in, that leads back to our products.

Ezra Firestone:

And we use those in our email auto responders, we run ads to them, we mail them to our email list. We use them everywhere. At every stage of the sales process. What we also do, is we gate them. So we put an opt-in front of it, and it says, "Hey, enter email address here to get our five makeup tips for women over 50." We run ads to that with a conversion objective for the lead event, the lead event fires on the thank you page. They enter their email address, guess where they get dropped? On the same pre-sell that I'm running at the top of the funnel.

Ezra Firestone:

But now we have their email lead, and we put them on a automation sequence, to warm them up and try to sell them. And if they don't buy, we put them on our bucket list. I also run giveaways every six weeks. And basically those are my two main top of funnel lead gen strategies, is gated content and giveaways. But I'll do Facebook lives, and I'll do other things as well. But if you just do gated content and giveaways, you should spend about five to 10% of your total marketing budget on email lead generation. Because some people take a little longer to warm up than others. So if you're only running conversion ads, you're going to miss out on growing your audience in a way that could be beneficial for you.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. I love this so much, and it's something that we've observed you doing, and something we're talking about now with other clients. That, if you can grow that email list, and if you're properly running email marketing, you're going to be able to convert that at a really high rate. And so gated content, so information people want, and/or giveaways, great ways to drive that list. And I was looking through some of your notes here. Looks like over the last 12 months you spent about 200,000 buying email leads that have then generated 750,000 in sales. So about a 375% return on add spend. That's not bad. But that's not like-

Ezra Firestone:

And that's with excluding anybody who was already on the list, dude.

Brett Curry:

What's that?

Ezra Firestone:

That's with excluding anyone who was already on the list. So those are new leads.

Brett Curry:

Just strictly new leads. So that really changes the game, because you could be looking at those campaigns and thinking, "Well, I just drove an email sign up. I didn't make a sale there, so it's not really worth a whole lot." But then you've got to look at that whole picture. What did those email subscribers do for you over the next six to 12 months? And in your case, it's a 3.75 X ROAS, which is amazing.

Ezra Firestone:

Pretty sweet. I mean, not that everyone's going to have that result, but it's worth doing, still, nonetheless.

Brett Curry:

Exactly. So, all right, awesome. So strategy number one, buy more email leads. I'm sold on that idea. Idea number two, launch new products. So talk about how Boom is approaching launching new products.

Ezra Firestone:

So to have a successful e-commerce business, you have to get your repeat customer rate up. Ideally over 30% of total revenue comes from repeat customers, people who bought from you once before. The best way to do that is to sell them more of what they already bought, if it's consumable. Or to introduce new items that they might want from you. And by the way, if somebody knows you, likes you, trust you, you're putting out content, you're engaging them, you've delivered a good product, they're going to probably want to buy whatever else you have to offer if it's tangentially related to what they bought in the first place.

Ezra Firestone:

So what we do is we send a customer survey every six months to our two X buyers, and we give them a bunch of stuff, like "If we were going to add more colors, what colors do you want? If you could wave a magic wand, what products would you have us create?" We have a 20 question survey. We say, "Hey, five people who take this survey are going to win $100 gift certificate to the store". We get a couple thousand responses. Based on that, we figure out what products to make next, based on the desire of our community.

Brett Curry:

That creates your product roadmap.

Ezra Firestone:

As an example, 50% of people wanted a mascara, 46% of people wanted a lip gloss, and 53% of people wanted an additional color of Boomstick. We released all three of those products last year, based on that information. They were our three best product launches ever. We just released the Boomstick color last week, we sold 15,000 units in 18 hours. 650 grand in revenue in 18 hours.

Brett Curry:

Whoa. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Say that again. You sold what?

Ezra Firestone:

We sold 15,000 units in 18 hours, dude. We sold out. 650 grand in 18 hours. Now of course I've got a mature company, but the point is that this process gets better over time. So when you're developing a new product, you're doing it in desire to your past customers, in relationship to their desire. And for us, you have componentry, formulation, and secondary packaging. So componentry is like, what is the component that it's going to go in? Well, the Boomstick, we already have that. That's great, we'll reuse the component we already have. The formula is, what is it going to be, why is it going to be that way, what are the benchmarks other brands are doing that we want to meet? We go through a bunch of iterations, we send it out to our best customers to test. It takes us about six months to a year to develop a formula.

Ezra Firestone:

And then our secondary packaging, is what is the box, what's the write alongs, what are the inserts? We get all that together, we run a photo shoot for it. And then we do an early bird. "Hey, we're going to launch this new product. This is what it is. Get excited, sign up for it to hear about it first." And then what happens is, as they're signing up, and as they're posting on social about it on the thread, we're finding out what they want to know. They're asking, "Is it hypoallergenic?" And we're like, "Oh shit, we don't have hypoallergenic on the sales page. It is hypo allergenic." So we add that to the sales page. The questions they ask, they become the FAQs that we put on the... So we use the pre-launch as a way to build out the marketing material. Build out the FAQ, build out the sales page.

Ezra Firestone:

And then we launch it, run ads to it, do emails to it. And then it becomes part of our ongoing marketing. Put it in bundles. And you can do this too with products you already have. So you can reformulate them to make them better than they already are. Based on feedback, you can change the componentry or packaging, make it more sustainable. You can bundle it with other items to make a kit. So you can renew and make better products you already have, and relaunch them, as well as introducing new items. But for us, we are aiming to introduce four new items a year, which is once a quarter, which is hard to do.

Brett Curry:

That's aggressive. That's one a quarter.

Ezra Firestone:

It's hard to do when you're making them all from scratch.

Brett Curry:

It's hard to do, yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

But it's a huge, huge part of the business. So yeah, it's really important to continually making the products better.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. And it's interesting that it's also fairly risky, too, to launch a new product. Will it go well, will it not go well? But the approach you're taking, it really eliminates a lot of the risk. You know that if you deliver a good product, which you guys do, you know how to do that, you're delivering exactly what someone is requesting, and exactly what someone wants.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah, and they also then can become a new top of funnel sales processes. So we can run top of funnel ads now. So for our mascara, I mean, that's our second best seller of all time, and we can run it at the top of the funnel because everybody's interested in mascara. And we didn't have one before. So we couldn't run ads for it at the top of the funnel. So we were missing a customer acquisition funnel there that we were able to add to the business.

Brett Curry:

Love it. And so then this actually directly ties into it. So this is strategy number three. Create more front end offers. So talk about that and how that's evolved for Boom, more front end offers.

Ezra Firestone:

I think that's mature business strategy. For Boom, we did 10 years where we had one front end offer, which was our Boomstick trio.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Boomstick.

Ezra Firestone:

And all of our social proof, all of our sales funnel optimization, all of our pre-sales, all of our video ads, all of our email sequences, everything was about that front end offer. Just make that as deep as possible. Have marketing assets for it, loyalty assets for it. Just really work on that and scale that. And that's a lot easier to go deep rather than wide. And a lot of people have a thousand skews, and they can't do that. Like with this product, this brand, I bought, Overtone, I got a hundred skews. So it's hard for me to have one front end funnel.

Ezra Firestone:

But for low skew e-commerce, it's easy. You just pick whatever your widest and best seller, and most relevant seller is, and just focus on that. But once you scale that, now you got to start introducing new front end offers. There's only so many people who are interested in a multipurpose blush stick. Some people aren't interested in blush, but they're interested in mascara, or lip gloss, or brow gel, or whatever. So we've now introduced a bunch more products to the... You're right, my voice is kind of frozen. It's funny, I sound like a frog.

Brett Curry:

You're good, dude. Hey, you're so you're bringing the fire, even though I'm feeling cold for you.

Ezra Firestone:

I usually have such a rich, deep voice, man. Anyways, it gives us the ability to have more fish hooks in the sea.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Love it. Love it. Let's go on to the next one, and this is related to number one, but this is now strategy number four.

Ezra Firestone:

By the way, another front end funnel is one of those lead gen funnels, too. Even if it's leading to the same product.

Brett Curry:

Yes.

Ezra Firestone:

It's a new top of funnel way of getting people in the mix. That's a new funnel. It doesn't have to be a new product.

Brett Curry:

Totally. And so looking at that, and what we've observed, working with Boom, working with other successful brands, is that a lot of them have one to three really successful top end funnels that they just push hard on, almost forever. And then with some tweaking and changing, and then you've got all your backend stuff as well. So, yeah. Really, really good. So let's talk then about strategy number four, growing your SMS subscribers. So diving into text based marketing. So, tips or suggestions you would give there for growing that list and utilizing SMS?

Ezra Firestone:

I mean, the 80/20 of SMS is this. Have the collection at checkout, where you're collecting people who check out from you, who click the little box to be collected. And have a two step opt in. First, get the email, second, incentivize for the SMS. So they come to your site, you say, "Hey, get 10% off, entering your email address". They enter it. "Hey, by the way, do you want an extra 5%? Give us your SMS". Klaviyo lets you do this, Postscript lets you do this, Attentive lets you do this, et cetera. Those are your two main ways to collect. And that's 85, 90% of the value. You can do other shit to collect, but it's not worth it. Just do that. And then when you send an abandoned card email and they don't open after 18 hours, slide a text in there, via Klaviyo. So connect it to your email logic, and do your-

Brett Curry:

Is that usually the way you do it, where you'll email first? And then if there's no response there, then you text?

Ezra Firestone:

Always. Yeah, because SMS is more expensive. So we'll use it as a... And you can only do this if you're using Klaviyo, because it talks to it. You can't have Attentive in Klaviyo, because they don't talk to each other. So if you're using Klaviyo, Klaviyo's a little more expensive for SMS, but if you're doing it the way I do, it doesn't matter, because you're only using it as a... You know? You're using it as a way to capture the people who aren't responding to email. Instead of just blasting them with both, and spending the money for that. So, if they don't respond to the card email, we'll slide an SMS. If we go purchase email, they don't cross-sell, we'll slide an SMS. And then once a week, you broadcast your bucket list with a piece of content or a sale. That's it. That's all you need to do. Have an opt in pre purchase, have an opt in at checkout, use it in your automation sequences, do one broadcast a week, your solid potato salad, you have 85% of the value you can get from SMS.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. You really go beyond that, it's just going to be tiny little gains. And potentially a difference-

Ezra Firestone:

It's not worth it. It's not worth it.

Brett Curry:

Not worth it. Not worth the effort.

Ezra Firestone:

Just spend your energy acquiring more customers.

Brett Curry:

Yeah, totally. And so those weekly broadcast on SMS, are you doing a mix of promotions and content?

Ezra Firestone:

So those will be content. The best piece of content from the week will drop via the SMS. And then if we're running a sale, that week, we won't send content, we'll send about the sale.

Brett Curry:

And your best piece of content pulling from the way Boom is doing it, it's based on blog, is that right? So you're writing blogs weekly or something?

Ezra Firestone:

We send three pieces of content to our list every week. Maybe it's a long form article, maybe it's a user generated content video, maybe it's a recap from a Facebook live we did. Whatever. We're sending content every week, at least three pieces, long form written articles, videos, user generated content. We've got a whole social media content engagement system. And so whatever worked the best that week, we'll drop to the SMS list. And then every six-

Brett Curry:

Nice. So you're emailing that content initially. So you're emailing-

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah, we're emailing that, we're posting it to the blog, we're posting out to social, we're amplifying it. We're doing the whole system. And then the best shit, we drop to the list, which links over to the blog. And we drop to the SMS list. And then every six weeks we're running a product launch or a sale. So that sixth week will be a promotion via SMS.

Brett Curry:

Got it. And anything you can say about response rates, metrics? How is SMS working in comparison to email? I know it's just designed to be a compliment to email, but anything you can say about stats, performance?

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah, I mean, SMS gets better response rates, but you have smaller lists. And you get way more unsubscribes. So it's-

Brett Curry:

And you got to be really careful about spam related stuff.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

People get pretty hot on-

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot you got to worry about with that. But basically it works really well, and you should use it as a compliment, and not instead of... And you should do what I'm talking about, which is basically 80/20 it.

Brett Curry:

Not really standalone. You're not going to just be like, "Hey, SMS is my one strategy."

Ezra Firestone:

Some brands do. Some brands do. But I think if you ignore email, what are we doing?

Brett Curry:

Right. For most people, it's just a beautiful compliment, and a way to really increase the effectiveness of email. But it is a compliment. Awesome. So now we're going to move into strategy number five. I actually love this one. I love all of them, this is all gold. But this is something that was kind of an aha moment for me. I first heard about a strategy like this, it was made be Dan Kennedy back in the day, maybe Jay Abraham. I go way back, man, looking at marketing stuff. But you're talking about inventing a holiday. So there's this idea that people need a reason why. They need a reason why I should buy now, they need a reason why your product is better. And sometimes an invented holiday is a great reason why you should buy now. So, talk about invented holidays, and talk about what you're doing at Boom.

Ezra Firestone:

So excuses to communicate are important. And we take everyone we can. We communicate on Earth Day, we communicate on Animal Friendly Day, we communicate on National Dog Day. Because people like that kind of shit.

Brett Curry:

They do. People like it.

Ezra Firestone:

And everybody has a dog, and everybody likes the earth, and so on and so forth. And we do too. And so we are always doing emails like that. Like, "Hey, it's Earth Day. And you know what? We care a lot about sustainability. And these are our most sustainable products, for these reasons." And whatever. And so we're constantly mailing on using the fake or created holidays as a reason to communicate on social and on email. And so we made up our own. We made Pro-Age Month. We are the first people to say pro-age. Now it's a commonly known thing. Now you've got a million knock brands, but we spent 40 million over six years, popularizing the concept of pro-age, back in 2010. And now Allure is stealing it, and it's like we have penetrated the mainstream with this.

Brett Curry:

It's awesome.

Ezra Firestone:

We've entered the zeitgeist with this concept. And so now it's a thing. And so we want to claim ownership of that, because we do own it. You don't never own an idea, but we created that movement. And so we created Pro-Age Month. And the month of August is Pro-Age Month. And we tell pro-age stories, and we've got a logo for it. And we are claiming our rights to the pro-age movement. The pro-age revolution that we started in 2010. And a good way to do that, was to create a holiday around it.

Brett Curry:

Create a holiday, create a month, and people love that. And it's such a great conversation starter and connection point. And if you think about one of the big components of building a brand, is just building that connection and that community. And sometimes odd or unusual holidays do that. And inventing your own holiday, I think it's brilliant. I think more people should look at it. And I think a lot of brands lend themselves well. Maybe it's not pro-age for you, and Ezra owns that anyway, so back off, really. Seriously.

Ezra Firestone:

I mean, whatever. You could say pro-age if you believe in that. What I find, is most people say pro-age and they don't actually know what it means. Which is hilarious. They'll be like, "Pro-age..." this or that. And then they'll have anti-aging skin drops.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. "But cover your gray, and no more wrinkles." Yeah, yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

You've missed the point here.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah. But inventing a holiday, pure gold, I love it. Anybody can do it. And so highly recommend that as well. So we're getting tied on time, so we're going to have to maybe move rapid fire through some of these or just save some of them for the blog. But number six is, list products on Amazon.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah.

Brett Curry:

What are you guys doing there for your brands? Talk about that a little bit.

Ezra Firestone:

Amazon will make up 20 to 30% of a good brand's sales. And you're going to miss those customers if you're not over there. And our-

Brett Curry:

Because some people only buy on Amazon. That's just it.

Ezra Firestone:

I mean, yeah. And we waited 10 years to put our products on Amazon, because we could fill the demand that we had with... Our supply chain could barely fill the demand we had from direct to consumer. But once we beefed up our supply chain, and we realized that adding to Amazon wasn't going to cannibalize our direct to consumer platform, we added our main product on there, and it just crushed. It just added 10 to 15% of incremental sales.

Brett Curry:

Immediately. Yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

So now we're adding every one of our products, once every two months, onto Amazon. You guys are running all of our ads over there, doing all of our A plus lists. All we do is do the customer support, and create the assets for the page. You guys literally do everything else. You run all the ads, you optimize all the pages, you handle all the seller support. You do fucking everything for us. So it's great for us, because it's a channel that really works, that we don't really have the expertise for, that you just do for us. I mean, we pay you for it, but probably not what you should get paid. Because I think you give us a deal. But-

Brett Curry:

We do. We do. But, gladly. We gladly give you that deal, for sure.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah. So it's been really good for us.

Brett Curry:

Yeah, it's been amazing, it's been fun to execute on our end for sure. And one thing we noticed with you, we noticed this with native ... as well, client, friends. And we don't run their Amazon, but we observe. We run their Google and YouTube. Is that there's some expectation that when you launch on Amazon, there's going to be some cannibalization of your store's sales. And certainly that happens some, but this has been mostly incremental growth for you guys, right?

Ezra Firestone:

100% incremental. There's been no cannibalization whatsoever. Which is crazy, because I was sure there was going to be. We sell it at the same price, and some people just like to buy over there. And I think what was happening was a lot of people were seeing our ads on Facebook, going to buy on Amazon, not finding it, and then buying knockoff brands. Because they only buy on Amazon.

Brett Curry:

Buying something else. Buy knockoff. Yeah, we experienced that. That'd be a topic for another podcast. The copycats and the people that were...

Ezra Firestone:

...

Brett Curry:

... really leeching off of your brand name on Amazon.

Ezra Firestone:

Nightmare.

Brett Curry:

But yeah, nightmare for sure. For sure. But we're getting there. So yeah, big believer in Amazon. And what's interesting to me, and this is where Boom and Overtone are set up perfectly for Amazon, is that success on Amazon in the long term, and I think even right now, is based on building a brand. So taking the community building aspect, the brand building aspect that you're doing off Amazon, and do that on Amazon, that's where you see long term success. It's not just hacking the titles and the keywords, and the bullet points, to try to inflate your ranking, or using super URLs, or some other strategy to hack your ranking, but building a real brand.

Brett Curry:

And that's what you guys are good at, and that's what we're helping you with. And it's working. It's working on Amazon right now. So let's talk, and this will probably be our final concept for the podcast, and I'll push the final one, people to go check out on the blog post. But the seventh strategy for growth, is advertising on television. TV? What? Come on now. So what are your thoughts on TV? And this has been fun to watch too, but what are your thoughts on advertising on television?

Ezra Firestone:

I think it's really only for very, very, very mature brands. Because the minimum that you need to do it is 350 grand. Minimum. Just to test. And that's a two month test. And you also have to produce television quality ads. Now we were able to use user generated content. We spent 50 grand on a TV commercial produced by a fancy agency, and at flopped all crazy. And then we made our own ad, based on UGC that we had. And we crushed. So we're much better direct response advertisers than these TV agencies, it turns out. Which we should've known, because we've been fucking running direct response ads for 15 years. Makes sense we would know what would work, versus what they produced. Even though what they produced, it was a whole... We could talk about that another time. It wasn't very good.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ezra Firestone:

But it's hard to tell how successful TV has been for us. We've spent about half a million dollars over the course of six months, and I think incrementally, it has been successful. But we're having Northbeam, which is a company you hooked us up with.

Brett Curry:

Shout out to Northbeam, Austin, and the folks there.

Ezra Firestone:

We just turned it off, and looks like sales are down 15K a day since we turned off TV. We'll see. I think TV is great for omnichannel presence. If you're spending three, four, 500K a month on social media ads, you should add in TV at 10, 15% of your budget, to reach more people, and reach the people that you're reaching on social in a different area. And for us, we just turned it off to see how it's going to impact whether we run it or not. And so we're still trying to figure out the attribution on it, and how well it's working. But our sense is that it worked pretty well.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. And that's a great way to test it. Turn it off, see what the impact is there. And it also helps tremendously to have a tool like Northbeam, third party attribution. Brilliant stuff, check it out. And we're seeing some similar things. So first of all, I got my start in TV, radio, print. So I still really like TV. I'm still involved in local TV just a little bit with a friend of mine. But I love this strategy. I think it is for bigger brands. But yeah, if you're spending multi six figures on Facebook ads, YouTube ads, then TV may be something that you check out. But along a similar vein, we're testing now, we tested it with Boom and with a few other clients. Creating some awareness, we call it awareness layer YouTube campaigns.

Brett Curry:

And again, you kind of need something like Northbeam in place, to really see the impact of this. But the idea there, is as well we're just going for low cost engagement, low cost views. We're seeing CPMs for some of these awareness level YouTube campaigns at six bucks, five bucks, which is crazy low. But there's something to be said, and this is marketing 101, old school stuff. If you talk to the right people enough times, with a right message, so right message, right market, right media, you're going to get results. And so obviously you got to be ready for it with budget, and you have to have the tracking in place to really make good use of it. But I love that you guys are testing TV. And I also love the fact that it wasn't the super duper polished stuff that worked. It was what we do. The UGC stuff that did well on TV, too.

Ezra Firestone:

Yeah. It was UGC. And we started doing video view advertising on Facebook, when iOS 14.5 happened, because Facebook lost all its data. So we started running video view campaigns to all the audiences that we used to run conversion campaigns to, to let Facebook build up some data of the people who watched most of our videos. And then we would follow up with those people and run conversion ads to them. And now we're doing that with YouTube as well. And I think that strategy post iOS 14.5 on both networks, where you spend a thousand bucks a day at our scale, running video views, or maybe 10% of your overall spend, is a great strategy. We're doing it at Overtone too.

Brett Curry:

Yeah, that's awesome. Well, this has been amazing, Ezra. So that's seven of the eight tips. Hey, to get that eighth tip, check out the show notes, go check out Ezra's blog, smartmarketer.com, and get that final one. But Ezra, as people are listening, I know we got some super fans-

Ezra Firestone:

I'm cold, man. I'm cold. That's what's going on.

Brett Curry:

You're cold. Then yeah, you need to go warm up, dude.

Ezra Firestone:

I do. I need ...

Brett Curry:

Get your robe, get your blanket, go sit by the fire, or something like that. But for those that are listening and thinking, "I need more Ezra Firestone in my life." How can they connect with you, where should they learn more about you? Where should they do that?

Ezra Firestone:

I'm on Instagram @ezrafirestone, I'm on Twitter @ezrafirestone, I'm on Facebook, Facebook.com/MeetEzra. I'm on smartmarketer.com, which is a blog that I have, I'm on zipify.com, which are my apps for Shopify. But you can find me on social media. I'm on YouTube, all the social media networks. Whatever ones you use, I'm there. You can Google me on there or search me on there. And yeah. Thanks for hanging out, hope it's been some kind of helpful. Appreciate you, Brett. I love that you're between two ferns over there.

Brett Curry:

That's a hilarious show. And you're not the first person to say that. They're like, "Dude, are you between two ferns here? Are you Zach Galifianakis or what? What are you doing?" I'm a little more courteous to my guests and a little more on topic, but that show is hilarious.

Ezra Firestone:

It's awesome, dude.

Brett Curry:

But another plug that I'll make here as I'm sitting between two ferns, is, do check out Smart Marketer. Molly Pittman, John Grimshaw, running that with Ezra's leadership, Ezra started it. But some amazing resources there. Train My Traffic Person. So if you got in-house media buyers, you need to send them through Train My Traffic Person. You get to learn from me too, I'm a faculty member there teaching YouTube and teaching Google. But check that out, smartmarketer.com. Highly, Highly recommend it.

Ezra Firestone:

Thank y'all.

Brett Curry:

Awesome. Ezra, appreciate it, brother. This has been amazing, thank you so much. And see you next time.

Ezra Firestone:

Talk soon.




Disruptive Innovation in Marketing with Miki Agrawal
2
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Miki Agrawal

Disruptive Innovation in Marketing with Miki Agrawal

I’ve never met anyone quite like Miki Agrawal.

She’s incredibly creative. No really. She once hosted a “funeral for a tree” at an old cathedral in NYC hosted by comedians and actors. It drew a crowd of thousands, generated millions in free press and helped shed light on the toilet paper waste that her company TUSHY can help solve. 

She understands trends in marketing. She knows how to grab attention. So much so that she was banned by the NY   transit authority from running subway ads. Which led to a PR fight that she won…and in the end, got more press and attention than if they hadn’t been banned. 

She’s also warm and kind and FUN. 

She’s created multiple 9-Figure businesses and has garnered some pretty incredible recognition. She was named "Fast Company's Most Creative People", “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum and INC's “Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs”.

She’s also the author of #1 best selling books Do Cool SH*T and Disrupt-HER.

In this episode we unpack Miki’s wacky, impossible-to-forget and wildly successful marketing strategies and tactics.

Here’s a look at what we cover:

  • How Miki was banned from advertising on the NYC subway and turned that into a huge PR win for her brand THINX
  • How to use Accessible + Relatable language 
  • How to create ads that are both effective and “fridge worthy”
  • How iteration is perfection
  • How to start with play to create great ideas

Mentioned in This Episode:

Miki Agrawal

   - Website

   - Instagram

   - Link Tree to Resources


TUSHY

   - Website

   - Instagram


Thinx

   - Website

   - Instagram


Wild

   - Website

   - Instagram


“Do Cool Sh*t” by Miki Agrawal


“Disrupt-Her” by Miki Agrawal


“Zero To $100 Million” on Mindvalley

Cap Con 5
Ryan Daniel Moran

Toto

“Funeral for a Tree” by TUSHY video on YouTube

Butt Con by TUSHY




Transcript:

Brett:

Welcome to the Spicy Curry Podcast. We explore hot topics on eCommerce and digital marketing. We feel feature some of the brightest minds, with some of the SPT perspectives on what it takes to grow your business. Season one of this podcast is built on the old business adage that, what it really takes to succeed is three things. One: have something good to say. Two: say it well. And three: say it often.

Brett:

My guest in this episode is Miki Agrawal. She's the founder of TUSHY, but she's also the entrepreneur behind several other wildly successful companies. I don't know anyone better than Miki at the, have something good to say and say it well, aspects of growth. And so just a couple of accolades. Miki was named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People. She was also named by Inc Magazine as one of the Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs. She was also my favorite speaker, and she's also one of the favorite speakers that most of the events that she attends.

Brett:

We're going to dive into some crazy wild stories from her entrepreneur journeys. We're going to learn why she was banned by the New York subway from running ads there, and how she actually overcame that and then ran some pretty powerful ads on the New York subway system. We're going to talk about how she creates events that are just, blow your mind. Like, they had a funeral for a tree, and there's a reason why they did that and got millions of dollars in free press. And she talks about how to craft things that are both artful and fridge worthy, but also effective. And so, I think you're going to absolutely love this interview. And so, lean in, buckle up and enjoy this interview with Miki Agrawal.

Brett:

Over 81% of consumers are opted into text message messages from their favorite brands, and that's where Attentive comes in. Meet Attentive, the company helping thousands of innovative brands connect with their customers through personalized text messaging. Attentive's text marketing platform lets you grow your subscriber list, interact with customers in real time through two-way conversations and drive the war revenue. Brands who use Attentive see $55 in sales for every $1 they spend. See what Attentive can do for you, at attentivemobile.com/omgcommerce. Attentive: drive sales with text message marketing.

Brett:

All right, well today I am abs absolutely thrilled that my guest is Miki Agrawal. Now, I was recently at an event, CapCon 5 in Austin, Texas. My good friend, Ryan Daniel Moran was the host. And there was a star-studded lineup of speakers. Amazing, blow your mind speakers. And I got to say, Miki was probably my favorite. And I hope that some of my other friends that were speaking don't hear this, because I don't want to hurt their feelings. It's just that Miki was amazing. And so, Miki is the founder of a number of really transformative businesses. Most recently, TUSHY. Also, THINX and WILD. She's also author of some amazing best-selling books. Do Cool Sh*t. Disrupt-Her, which I'm actually in the process, I've gone about halfway through it right now. And even though it has "her" in the title, Disrupt-Her, instead of disruptor, it's for dudes too. Right, Miki? And so, I'm actually getting a lot of value out of it. And so, we're going to talk about growth and having an amazing marketing message, and thinking differently and all kinds of great stuff. So Miki, welcome to the show, and how's it going?

Miki:

Yes. I'm so happy to be here with you. And just, the thing that I just can't, I'm just so like, I love is that you have eight children, and you're sitting at the table with 10 people every night for dinner. That just blows my mind.

Brett:

Yeah. The level of noise at the dinner table is sometimes crazy. And we do this thing called highs and lows, where everybody goes around and tells their high of the day. You have to have a high of the day, you don't have to have a low of the day if you don't want to, but it is required to have a high. And the noise level is crazy, but it's also super fun.

Miki:

I love that you do that. That's beautiful, that's amazing.

Brett:

Yeah. So, part of what attracted me to you, Miki, and why I was so thrilled to chat with you afterwards. Is one, you're a master marketer. And the way you craft messages and the way you get attention, it's mind blowing, which is awesome. But you're also like, you believe in strong women, right? And I've got six daughters and I just, I want them to conquer the world. That's probably a weird thing to say, but I want them to just do whatever they feel led and whatever they feel passionate about doing. And so, love the energy you bring and the inspiration you're bringing to young women as well.

Miki:

Six daughters. I mean, it's just, yeah. Like, I think about the food bill just for that dinner, just for those meals, just now. It's just [crosstalk 00:05:10].

Brett:

The food bill is crazy. So I'm happy to talk about that with anyone offline. Yeah. So, when you include groceries and eating out, it's a median household income. It's a lot of money, yeah. But grateful to be able to do it. I wouldn't have it any other way, but it is completely [crosstalk 00:05:28].

Miki:

I love it.

Brett:

So yeah, it's awesome. Well, let's talk about a few things. So if you would Miki, give people kind of just the quick background on you. Because we're going to dig into some of the specific messages that you use at TUSHY and things like that. But give people the background. Like, how did you become this, because not only were you my favorite speaker at CapCon, but I've seen, you were voted best speaker at Inc and Fast Company, and some of these other big events. Everybody loves what you have to say. So really, how did you get here?

Miki:

Well, I'm one of three children, and the interesting fun fact about the three of us is that we are all born within one year. So I have an identical twin sister. The third sister, who's 11 months older. So we're actually, we're Irish twins.

Brett:

Yeah, Irish twins and identical twins [crosstalk 00:06:18].

Miki:

Irish triplets.

Brett:

Okay.

Miki:

So we're twins, plus Irish triplets, yeah.

Brett:

It's insane.

Miki:

Yeah. And then we grew up to a Japanese mother and Indian father. So my mother's from Japan, speaks with a thick Japanese accent. My dad is from India, speaks with a very thick Indian accent.

Brett:

I'm doing the audio book of Disrupt-Her. And you do the Indian accent for your dad, an it's just amazing. You do such a good job, yeah.

Miki:

But yeah, his most, the thing they always say is, he says, when he meets somebody, he goes, "Very good vibes". Or, "Very bad vibes." And immediately, because yeah, he can sniff people out just by "their vibes".

Brett:

By "their vibes", okay, I love that.

Miki:

By "their vibes".

Brett:

That's awesome.

Miki:

Yeah. And I grew up in Montreal, Canada. In French Montreal, in the south shore of Montreal. In a town called [foreign language 00:07:12]. And it's like, I grew up in French, like literally, we were the token Asians in the most French neighborhood ever. And so, it was really beautiful to grow up in this true mosaic of cultures. Japan, India, French, American. And then of course, Canada attracts so many, I mean, every culture, every religion, and they're all celebrated. And so of course, growing up in a household of just diversity and then going to school with just all diverse kids, I think we just learned to question everything. And to look at things from different angles. To be like, oh, this is how the Indians look at it, this is how the Japanese look it, how the French look at it, and the Americans look at it, this is how the Canadians look at it.

Brett:

It forces a fresh perspective, rather than just everybody being the same.

Miki:

Totally. So it's a mosaic versus melting pot thinking. And I think that that mosaic thinking creates beautiful picture. When you think about a mosaic image, and it's just this, all these colors and all these textures, and all of the different historical context of things, creates a different frame than just a single pain. So I think I was very blessed in just being born where I was born, to be given the various perspectives. To not just be like, okay, this is the way it is. It's like, wait, is this, or should I question it? And is there a better way, or is there more thoughtful way? Or that kind of thing.

Brett:

When did you realize that, hey, I might be an entrepreneur? Or have you ever? Like, is that really a conscious thought? Like, when did you think, hey, I'm going to build companies? And not just companies, but wildly successful and disruptive companies.

Miki:

Yeah. I mean, I think I'm just genuinely unemployable. I think I'm just like, you're not my Indian father. That kind of vibes. Where like, anytime someone told me what to do, blood would rush to my head and I would just get really frustrated. I would, I don't know, get triggered or something. But no, I think I just always beat to my own drum. And I think because of this questioning, because of this philosophy of looking at things from different perspectives, I think I just always had different ideas that I wanted to put out in the world. That entrepreneurship, when it was introduced to me, I remember, I'll never forget. I met my very first entrepreneur, standing in line in New York City when I was 22 years old, at this Armani party.

Miki:

I was invited to my very first VIP door, or whatever. [crosstalk 00:09:47] And I was like, oh my God, I'm so cool. It was like, Armani. You know, whatever. Back when it was really cool to go to those things. And I remember standing in line, and in front of me was this gentleman who I'd met. And his name was Graham, and he's now since become one of my dearest friends. But I met him randomly, standing in line in front of me then. I was 22, and he was in his mid-thirties when I met him. And I was like, "oh". Like, "What are you up to?"

Miki:

And he's like, "I'm an entrepreneur."

Miki:

And I was like, "What do you mean?"

Miki:

And he is like, "I have my own business." And this is, by the way, in 2001, when entrepreneurship wasn't a school thing. Nobody was getting invested in, it wasn't a thing. I mean, Facebook wasn't even there until 2006.

Brett:

Now it's super trendy. Everybody wants to say entrepreneur, stamped that on their [crosstalk 00:10:33].

Miki:

Now, everyone. But back then, nobody. It was doctor, lawyer, investment banker, management consultant. Going to work for a company. Becoming a whatever at a company. Becoming a person who starts a business was just not even in the lexicon, in the zeitgeist of culture back then.

Miki:

And he was like, "I'm not in firm."

Miki:

I'm like, "What do you mean?"

Miki:

He's like, "I have my own company."

Miki:

I'm like, "Well, what do you do?"

Miki:

And he's like, "Well, I started a company called treehugger.com."

Miki:

And I was like, "Oh, that's cool."

Miki:

And he's like, "And I sold it." I think he sold it to Discovery Channel, whatever.

Miki:

And I was like, "Wow!" And then he, the next day, invited me to this brunch with a bunch of other entrepreneurs. And that's when it was my big ding, ding, ding moment. I can start my own company, I'm going to do that. And I think in life, we just get given these gifts of chance meetings. And either we kind of get opened by it or we close to it. And I was sort of just blasted open by the possibilities of that. And I think that's what really put me on the course of this new way of thinking and being, and then carrying forward.

Brett:

That's amazing. And I do want to, let's give kind of a brief overview of some of the companies. Just to give people some texture and some more context. So your mind was blown, and you're thinking, I could do my own thing. And then you have, and you've been wildly successful. Really at, essentially, everything. But can you give a quick rundown of the companies, and what they've done?

Miki:

Yeah. Well, I will first start by saying, one of the biggest stories that changed the course my life was when I was 22. After that time, 9/11 happened, and that was a huge turning point in my life.

Brett:

Yeah, because you were an investment banker, working down on Wall Street, right?

Miki:

Yes. The World Trade center was my subway stop every single morning. And it I was working at Deutsche Bank, in investment banking. I call it douche bank.

Brett:

Wow. Someone was asking for that, honestly, right? Deutche Bank, it's so close to douche, you're going to make the jokes, yeah.

Miki:

Know what I mean? Yeah. So yeah, when I was there, yeah, 9/11 happened. I was supposed to be there, and 2 World Trade Center was my subway stop every single morning. And I would walk upstairs to 2 World Trade Center, at the cafe there. And I would get tea with my girlfriend, who worked on the 100th floor. And then I would walk across the street to my office, directly across 2 World Trade Center. And then 9/11 happened, and it was the first day of my life, the only day of my life that I slept through my alarm clock.

Brett:

That is crazy and amazing.

Miki:

Yeah. And 700 people in my girlfriend's office died on that day. Two people in my office died. It was one of those, just like, you can't make this shit up. Like, this is not a real movie, that kind of level of unfathomableness.

Brett:

Unfathomable, yeah.

Miki:

Yeah. And so that single experience, again, it's those moments that I kind of really recognize as these turning points in my life. And that was a big turning point in my life. Where I was like, wow, I could die tomorrow. And when you're 22, you don't think about death. I feel like we start thinking about death after we have children, in a lot of ways. And I'm just always making sure I'm not going to die. Do you know? And I'm sure, with your eight children, I don't even know how [inaudible 00:13:50]. You know?

Brett:

Yeah.

Miki:

But death, it's just not a thing, when you're a kid, when you're 22, you're just sort of like, whatever.

Brett:

You're usually not thinking about it at all, yeah.

Miki:

Just not thinking at all. But then, because I had this near potential death experience, and people around me died, and I was just sort of like, wow, this is a real thing. And I really felt my mortality in that moment. And it was like, wow, I got to make every single day count.

Brett:

Got to do something, yeah. We're going to blink and we're going to be 70, right? And so, what are you going to fill your time with now? Yeah.

Miki:

That's right. And so yeah, for me, it was, I wrote down three things. The first was to play soccer professionally, the second was to make movies, and the third was to start a business. And that sort of set me on sort of a total path after 9/11,.I played soccer for the New York Magic, I worked in the film industry for a couple of years, and then I started my first business, which was in the restaurant space. And so, my first business was born out of a stomach ache. We know that famous thing, necessity is the mother of invention.

Brett:

Yes, so true.

Miki:

Yeah. So the first business was born out of a stomach ache, and I couldn't eat pizza anymore. It was my favorite comfort food, but I just couldn't eat anymore because it made me bloated and gassy, and just so gross feeling after I ate it. And it was full of bleached flour, processed cheese, sugar-filled sauces, processed toppings, it was all that. And so yeah, I basically started New York City's very first gluten free alternative pizza concept. And 17 and a half years later, we're still in business. Almost 18 years this year. In November, 18 years.

Brett:

Amazing. And it's called WILD, correct?

Miki:

Called WILD. Just go to @eatdrinkwild on Instagram. We have a couple locations in New York City, and one in Guatemala.

Brett:

And [crosstalk 00:15:42] for surviving the pandemic. I couldn't imagine owning a restaurant during the pandemic in New York City. That had to been just absolutely brutal. So grateful, yeah.

Miki:

It was nuts. My partner Walid is incredible, and he's such an ingenious person. He has lots of [inaudible 00:15:57]. Where actually what we did was, we opened up, on Seamless Web, three restaurants, out of our restaurants. So during the pandemic, not only did we have our regular standard fair, but we opened up two different restaurants, working out of our kitchen. So basically, we made tacos and we did burgers, or whatever, so that people could order from us multiple times a week.

Brett:

Oh, super smart, super [crosstalk 00:16:24].

Miki:

So, take away. And not just have our gluten-free pizza stuff every week, but they would have tacos one night, and different stuff. And so we just opened three different restaurants under the same roof during the pandemic. And then we got the outdoor cafe seating. And that, our business all came back. And it was actually incredible, because it felt like a bit of Europe being in New York, with all the outdoor cafes everywhere, and people walking around with the menu. It was just, it was very romantic, very beautiful. So the rest restaurants was the very first business I learned. I think I learned so much of the thesis around people and psychology in my restaurants, that then led to building Thinks and led to building TUSHY. Both now valued over nine figures, well over nine. And so I, what I learned at WILD was, when I stood outside my restaurant for almost seven years, handing out little pieces of pizza, just handing them out.

Brett:

That's how you grew the business, was samples, yeah.

Miki:

Exactly, yeah. And getting people to try. And I would also test. Like, if I said healthy pizza, people wouldn't come. But if I said, farmed fresh, healthy farm to table pizza, people would be like, oh, what does that mean?

Brett:

Yeah. Nobody wants healthy pizza. That sounds cardboard.

Miki:

Exactly.

Brett:

But farm to table pizza, interesting. And so, you were testing out those messages as people were walking by?

Miki:

AB testing, literally like email, subject heading.

Brett:

I love that.

Miki:

You know? And it was such, seven years of, it was genuinely like double PhD in human psychology and what led people to come closer to attract them, or to kind of move them back. And it was a really interesting thing. Just by standing, literally person by person, like hand to hand combat, just really getting to know people.

Brett:

Fascinating.

Miki:

And that experience led to this thesis, understanding, that again, built THINX and TUSHY. Which was having a best in class product. Like, if someone bit into it and they're like, Ugh.

Brett:

It doesn't matter, yeah.

Miki:

[crosstalk 00:18:30] my underwear. Like tight now, I'm wearing my period-proof underwear. It was so amazing because, I started my period today, I went to my bathroom. You're like, I have six daughters, don't worry about it.

Brett:

So, it does not bother me in the least. Like, yeah, this is a common conversation around my house, yeah.

Miki:

Yeah.

Brett:

Think of the podcast first, though. First to confess on the podcast, which I embrace this, I welcome, this is awesome.

Miki:

First of all, every single human being is here because of a women's period. So, you're welcome. You know?

Brett:

Yes.

Miki:

[crosstalk 00:18:59] Be more uncomfortable. Yeah. So today, this morning, I went to the bathroom and I was kind of like, there's a little bit of blood everywhere. And so I basically sat on my toilet, used my TUSHY bidet, washed myself clean, And then put my THINX underwear on. And I was just like, ah.

Brett:

You're like, this is amazing.

Miki:

I solved my own problem twice. Just now, in this moment. And that's when I was like, yeah, this is why these businesses are doing well. Because genuinely, they truly, truly, truly solve problems that we face every single day.

Brett:

Authentically solving the problem, not just identifying a problem and kind of addressing it just for a cash grab, but you authentically solve the problem.

Miki:

Needed it, yeah. Which is why in my book, Do Cool Sh*t, I talk about the three questions I always ask myself before starting any business. The first question is, what sucks in my world? That's to start with me, a problem in my world that sucks. And then question number two is, but does it suck for a lot of people? Because if it just sucks for me, then I'm kind of a diva or whatever, and who cares. [crosstalk 00:20:04].

Miki:

And then the third question, which I think is the most important. Which is, can I be passionate about this issue, cause, or community, for a really long time. We know the saying, it takes 10 years to be an overnight success. People don't want to sit in that discomfort for a really, really long time, and then they quit or decide to leave early, and they don't kind of get through it. I think about the entrepreneurs, I think about the musicians, I think about the actors, I think about all the people in my life who've made it. And they've made it because they've kind of grinded for a really long time. And they made through it, and they just stuck with their passion, they stuck with the thing they truly believed in. And so I think, yeah, what sucks in my world, has sucked for a lot of people. Can I be passionate about this issue? I think the passion piece is the most important. [crosstalk 00:20:49]

Brett:

It's super important. And this is something I think you may have shared at CapCon already with somebody else. But, tactics without the underlying passion are worthless or it's going to be short lived. Tactics only work for so long. Like, you've got to have that passion and that drive to push through all the messy and confusing and heartache and suffering that you have to go through as a business owner. And so yeah, the passion is super, super important.

Brett:

Now, why do you think you're so attracted to difficult things to sell? So we'll start with pizza first. So, selling healthy, gluten free pizza. When you started the business, gluten free wasn't trendy. Like, gluten free wasn't a selling point. It's not something you want to stick on all your labels. Because people were like, what are you even talking about?

Miki:

Yeah. And no one was talking about farm to table, no one was talking about [crosstalk 00:21:36], no one was talking about seasonal.

Brett:

None of that.

Miki:

This is in 2003-2004. I mean, it was still super nascent, all of those conversations, it was extremely different.

Brett:

Yeah. And when you started THINX, which is period-proof underwear, no one was really talking about periods. Or, not wanting to talk about it. And maybe some people don't want to talk about now. [crosstalk 00:21:50] But yeah, you just got to get over it. But then also TUSHY, a bidet. I still remember so many conversations just as stuff started to get in the news. People were like, "Oh, bidets are nasty."

Brett:

And I'm like, "How is it nasty to use water to clean yourself versus dry paper?" But anyway, you're choosing these categories that are difficult. Like, it's new to people or taboo to people. Why do you think [crosstalk 00:22:13]?

Miki:

Well, it's a culture shift that I'm interested in. I think from a creative perspective and as a creative challenge. Like, how do you change people's behavior, is the hardest change to make. And then how, how do you utilize innovation and creativity to do that? And so I think from a creative kind of person's perspective, it's like, wow, this is a really fun challenge to tackle. How do you get someone to change their behavior when it comes to food? When it comes to habits? Daily habits that they've been doing their whole lives, not even their whole lives, but for generations. To get them to try something new, and not only try it, but adopt it fully. I mean, that is why Toto hasn't made it to America yet. That is why the tampons and pads, which were invented by men, which is fine. But not that fine, cause they're made for women. So it's just, it's like, those are the most pervasive products in the world, because it's taboo. And so, how do we enter these conversations in a way that's artful? In a way that's accessible, and we're using the best in class product?

Miki:

And I think those, my thesis that I learned from the pizza, from the restaurants was that was that, was the three prong. Prong number one is best in class product. It has to be a best in class product. It has to be a big day that, when I clip to my toilet, it actually feels good, it looks good.

Brett:

It adds to the appearance of your bathroom. Like, it makes your bathroom feel better, cleaner.

Miki:

It makes it more upscale and cool. It makes people want to bring you to their bathroom when you're having a dinner party. You know like that? Or when you're wearing THINX, like when I'm wearing my underwear right now, I feel really sexy in them. I feel really taken care of in them. I know that I'm protect, I know that this product works. So, best in class product. The pizza, when I eat it, it tastes the most delicious pizza. It doesn't even taste gluten and free, it tastes the most delicious pizza you've ever tasted. So, best in class product, no question, that is baseline. Second prong, to really shift culture, is art. Using art to really challenge conversations.

Miki:

And I talked a little bit about this at CapCon. When I remember putting our first TUSHY ads up, or our first period ads up, out in the world, whether online or offline. People's first reaction were like, wow, that's so beautiful. And then their second reaction's, oh my God, they're talking about poop, they're talking about periods. Like, oh my [crosstalk 00:24:49]. But their very first reaction was leaning into the art and the beauty of that. And I think that, that opens up people's hearts and minds. Art just does that, and for everyone at every level, does that. It opens, art just gives people something to lean into. And I think when they're leaning into something, it makes them be curious. And so the first thing is, can we design from a lens of art? So, we hired all artists, we hired all creatives. I think art is such a beautiful lens to shift people's perspective. I mean, that's why people go to museums, people look at magazines, people look at nature as art. And a place to go and really open up our souls, open up our perspectives, change the way we look and see things.

Miki:

And I think that really lends itself to giving people the space to question their existing thinking. And I think that's all we need to do, is give them that space to question, and they can make the decision for themselves. And so then, that's the artfulness, the best in class innovation.

Miki:

And then the third part is the accessible, relatable language. I think we so often want to be so heady, and so clinical, and so technical, and so medical, and so academic, and sound really smart. And make everyone feel we've been and doing all this patent pending work and whatever. And it's just like, people don't care. They want to know, does it work? Does it make me feel good? Does it support me and does it support my life? Like, what's the point of this? Like, I don't care about your terminology.

Brett:

Patent pending.

Miki:

And like, I don't care about high sounding or smart. Like, whatever. And then, I tested all of that. That was all tested. I learned that, the more we speak from our space of truth, the more we speak from our place of that lit fire inside. We talked about that at CapCon as well. The more we speak from that real, true, authentic place, people respond. Because it's real, it's true. It's not coming from like, I wonder what they want me to say? And I'm just going to say it that way. That doesn't feel good, to receive that kind of inauthentic message. Like, imagine if you're receiving a text message from a best friend. And you can tell when they're being inauthentic or they're authentic. You can tell when your sister or brother is being authentic, you can tell when your wife or husband is being inauthentic or authentic.

Miki:

And so it's just that, can we write copy, can we text, can we write our messaging in the same way as we're texting our best friend? And I think that is such an important way to think about messaging to people. Because we're just being bombarded with advertisements, with so much people shouting at us. And we don't want that. We want authentic truth, we just want that juicy truth. And I think that truth is really what, that truth, coupled with art, coupled with the right beautiful aesthetic, the right innovation that you would want to use where, on a daily basis. That together, creates change, creates culture shift. And I've seen that time and time again. Across Wild, across THINX and across TUSHY. All three of them share the same philosophy of best in class product, artful aesthetic design across every touchpoint of our brand, and accessible, relatable language across every touchpoint of the brand.

Brett:

I love it so much. And really, when you combine all of that, plus you go back to the starting point from your first book, Do Cool Sh*t, it has to be addressing something that sucks for you and sucks for a lot of people. Right? So it's got to be that. And so then, when it's addressing a real issue, and then you've got the artful design and best in class, and it works. And you got the accessible, relatable language. All that comes together and it just works.

Brett:

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Brett:

What's so interesting and what was so powerful for me. And I remember talking to the guy that was sitting next to me at CapCon, and I made a couple comments about this. I've been in the ad world for a long time. So there's the brand building space of advertising, which is interesting. There's direct response, which I followed and studied for a long time. And I've worked in the infomercial space and stuff. But you have this ability to create stuff that looks beautiful. Like, you just want to look at it. It's an ad for a bidet, but you want to look at it. But, it also kind of makes you say, I'd like to try that. Like, I would like a clean butt too. I would to do...

Brett:

Because I think sometimes people, they go too far into the art. And it's abstract, and like, I don't even know what you're trying to say to me. Or I'm talking about patent pending, and all aloof, and who cares. So, how do you strike that balance and how do you create something that's fridge-worthy? As you'd say, artful and fridge worthy. But also, that connects and makes you say, I want to buy that underwear. Or, I want to buy that bidet. How do you do that?

Miki:

Yeah. Well so first, just to quickly unpack the word fridge-worthy, for those who don't know what that term means. Fridge-worthy simply means the idea that, you know when you walk into your home, and you go to your kitchen and you see your fridge? You go out, before, you go to grab a beer or whatever from your fridge. You see your fridge, and on your fridge are emblems of your life. You see pictures of your family members, of your eight children in your 10 person family.

Brett:

They take up the whole fridge, exactly.

Miki:

Yeah [inaudible 00:31:16] all over. You have invitations to weddings, you have little postcards from family members, you have little pictures of nieces and nephews. Or whatever it is, right?

Miki:

Hi, Stan.

Miki:

And my challenge to my team has always been, can you create something so beautiful, so artful and so personal, that it can make the small real estate on your fridge? That it can really make that small personal space on your fridge, that it can take up that space. That you can make something for TUSHY or THINX so beautiful, something so cool, that it can live in your home in some way. And so we design from that lens. And from that lens that, again, hits you personally and makes you feel something.

Brett:

It does cause you to shift and think differently. Now it's not just about, well, I'm going to choose blue. Like, you're thinking about everything differently.

Miki:

Yeah. Like, what is it that's going to make, how does it make me feel? And that's a different lens to creating.

Brett:

For sure.

Miki:

Yeah.

Brett:

So then, how do you blend fridge-worthy then with some true sales power, or some power to make people say, I want to buy this.

Miki:

So I always say to my team, in the art of it, I still need to know. I mean, it depends. Like you said, there's top of funnel stuff, where you want to create intrigue and mystery. And that kind of stuff is like, if you look at our TUSHY Bellagio spot that we just shot. I just shot this ad, where I finally figured out, where my friend is this genius rigging person. And he rigged 10 toilets with bidets on them, with our TUSHY Ace bidets on them. That we can play them like a piano.

Brett:

Like the Bellagio fountains?

Miki:

Bellagio fountain.

Brett:

I got to see that, then.

Miki:

I'll share, I'll text with you right after this. It's crazy. And so basically, it plays. So we made this like, (Beethoven's 5th). And just this wildly weird thing. And we don't show you very much about it, but it just says at the tagline at the end. Which makes you mysterious and makes you want to click and see what the hell this is. So there's that mystery and intrigue, which hooks you into wanting to know more.

Brett:

It's a curiosity play, yeah.

Miki:

Pure curiosity play, pure top funnel. Just stuffing people in. And then we spend the rest of the time, really converting them to the bottom, bringing them down the funnel. Educating them on the product, the value propositions and all of that. So that's the one strategy.

Miki:

The other strategy for top of funnel. I always think about prospecting. I always think about, how do you get people to both fall in love with our brand, with our ethos, with our playfulness, with our just [foreign language 00:33:56], with our love of life? They can feel it in this thing, but they're also understanding, what is the product? How does it work? Why do I need it? So it really answers those questions. And maybe like, why do I need it?

Miki:

Like, we just shot another commercial with the singing toilets, with the kind of the playing toilets. Where, it's this very Wes Anderson, weird thing. Where it's like, five people laying, they stick their heads in the toilets at once. And they're laying on these, which kind of represents the heated seat. And then all of a sudden, we start spraying. Like, I start kind of smushing ice cream on this guy's face. And then, this one woman takes a chocolate cake and squishes it in her white glove. And then she smacks it on the ass of white pants on this guy. So it kind of represents all taking a shit, basically, the chocolate looks like shit. And then the sprays go off, and then we get clean. And it's this debaucherous clean thing. And then we press the blow dryer, and then we're getting blow dried. So you're seeing the value, of how it works. Like, you're seeing, we press the remote, and then the nozzles go off and it starts spraying. It's clean. And then you press the dry, then it just blow dries it. So you see slow-mo, the hair blow dried. We walk out frame. So you're kind of, you're getting the idea of what this thing is. But you're still intrigued, tickled. You feel good vibes, you feel "very good vibes". You know?

Brett:

You're probably laughing. You're probably like, I can't believe I'm watching this. But it's also product demonstration in a really fun and creative and crazy way, which is super cool.

Miki:

Yes. And so, it's a lot of things. And I always look at, what are our best performing ads? Our best performing ads are the edutaining ones. Ones that are hilarious, and the ones that educate. Tells you, why you need it, how it works and how to use it.

Brett:

Yeah, totally makes sense.

Miki:

You know? But in a really simple, easy way. And so, yeah, it is an art and science, and they have to go hand in hand. And, creative and marketing always do sometimes have this natural tension, but I think it's a good tension if you have the right leadership.

Brett:

It's a healthy tension.

Miki:

A healthy tension, yeah.

Brett:

Love it. So one thing you talk about a lot, and I remember you showing these examples. That, you'll use actual statements from real customers. And you also talk about campfire stories, sharing campfires stories as a team or whatever, to kind of stir up creativity. So, can you talk about that a little bit? Like, how do you use customer statements in your ads? And then, what about campfire stories?

Miki:

Yeah. So, I always think like, our best advocates are our customers, our users, who love our products. It just, it makes so much sense. And so many times, companies are scared to, they don't want to bother their customers. But if customers love it, and you're asking them, hey, just fill in the blank. THINX is blank. Or, TUSHY.

Brett:

This is my favorite, yeah. Just fill in the blank. TUSHY is, fill in the blank.

Miki:

Fill in the blank. TUSHY is, blank. Just fill in the blank. And within 24 hours, we got 1000 responses. For things specifically, it was, THINX is Mary Poppins in my pants. THINX is strength, freedom and dignity for all women. TUSHY is...

Brett:

One of them was, eye candy butt bliss. I wrote it down. I got the thing.

Miki:

Yeah, eye candy butt bliss. It's like, TUSHY: you could eat off my butt hole. You know? And just like, my rusty starfish has never been so clean. Stuff like that, where it's crazy, hilarious, random.

Brett:

Especially when you know that it was a real customer that said it. It's like, okay, that's super fun. And I'm now totally entertained by reading this.

Miki:

Yeah, by real. And we always say, name of the customer, from a real pooping human. And so, we now use these campaigns, as actual campaigns and taglines for our company. Because our customers know what's best. And we don't have to oftentimes scratch our heads to ask ourselves, what creativity can we use? We can literally just reach out to our customer base, and they'll give us, and they're delighted in giving it to us. And if they see it in the world, they'll be like, oh my God, that's my line. And they now feel even more connected.

Brett:

And then they totally will put that on the fridge. They will totally put that piece, and share with everyone they know.

Miki:

And they'll share it with all their friends, tell everyone they know. And it engages people, attracts them. The same thing with PR. I talk about that a lot. Like, we do a ton of inbound marketing, inbound PR. And we've gone viral so many different times. And it's because, again, studying the psychology of people. Like, how do you create intrigue? How do you create mystery? Where, they want to complete the storyline. So often, people are like, send press releases, and hope that the press will write about them. But it just never works. It piles up on people's desks. Versus, you send these mysterious boxes where you have to assemble this thing. Or like, unscramble a riddle. So recently, we just launched our TUSHY Ace, part of our electric bidet seat with the most beautiful remote in the world.

Brett:

It's the heated seat, right? Which by the way, if you've never experienced a heated toilet seat, it is pretty magical, it really is.

Miki:

Heated seat, warm water, blow dries your butt. Best blow dryer on the market. It's not like where you have to still use toilet paper, because this is a nice strong blow dryer. And it looks an Apple product. It's the most gorgeous remote. Our design, it's just, it's the most beautiful product. And so, we were launching this. And our team, we were like, okay, we are going to create mystery around this product. And so, we put together these deck of cards. And these deck of cards that we made, we made actual TUSHY deck of cards, designed by hand, by my designers. And we had this instruction sheet for the press. And we said, pull out all the royal flushes.

Brett:

Nice. Royal flushes.

Miki:

[crosstalk 00:40:03] And so, they'd pull out the royal flushes. And they had to unscramble the royal flushes, based on the riddles that they were given. Like, for the diamond royal flushes, this is the riddle. And you had to unscramble it based on the different words. The letters that appeared on the 10, jack, queen, king, ace. There was a letter hidden, that then unscrambled based on the riddle. So then, it made the press have to work hard to actually unscramble and send the responses. And then once they get the TUSHY Ace product and install it, they're going to feel they've accomplished something. Like, they actually, they feel so much better.

Brett:

And they're so engaged, and you've delighted them.

Miki:

They're so engaged.

Brett:

You've just made their day in so many ways.

Miki:

Instead of just sending them a product, review it. You're almost like, dance monkey, dance. Versus like, let me bring you into this fun, mysterious story with us. And we're going to be surprised and delighted together. And we're going this extra mile for you, to make you just regale in the delight. And I think that, that is what people want in life. They want to be just surprised and delighted. They want to be regaled. And like, "Oh!". And giggle. They want their heart to flutter.

Brett:

They want magic, they want mystery, they want excitement, they want to be kind of caught up in something. Right? Not just reading.

Miki:

Who doesn't want to be caught up in this ,"oh', moment. And it feels so good and it just enlivens our being.

Brett:

So, how did that work out? How was the press' reaction to that?

Miki:

Well I mean, this one, we just sent them out actually last week, so we're still underway. But guess what? The fact that we had almost, I think it was like 20 press asked for these cards. Because first, we were like, we're going to send you a mysterious package. Are you willing to take it? We need your home address, because we're COVID times. And so we had, almost 20 press gave us their home addresses, to send them the mystery packages. And so that already means that they're hooked. And we did this before, for THINX. Where we had people go and smash bricks, and they had to open the bricks and look for these invitations. And 80 people showed up to our event, after they smashed the THINX. 80 press RSVPed. We had another event, where we poked a hold in eggs, and put these mystery scrolls in them. And then all 20 press showed up to our event, because they wanted to crack open the egg and look at the scroll. And we said, you can't open them until you come to the event.

Miki:

So it's just, creating the mystery, creating the intrigue. It's human nature that, when they start something, they want to finish it. They don't like incomplete story lines, they like to complete story lines. And when there's an incompletion, there's still this intrigue, this mystery that keeps you wanting more. And so, we're in that storyline right now, with the TUSHY Ace, and I'll let you know how it goes, but I feel very confident.

Brett:

Yeah. That idea of opening and closing loops. Once a loop is open, people want to close and they want to figure out. They want to solve the mystery. That's why cliffhangers work, and all of those things.

Miki:

And in relationship and romance. When you're romancing, you're seducing. It's the same kind of storyline. It's so much fun, that game.

Brett:

Yeah. And I know you've got to go, so I've got two quick things. But I also want to mention, just briefly. You talked about two stories, two events. Because you're the master of doing these just crazy, off the wall events, that also work. So, one was ButtCon, and one was the Funeral for a Tree, for TUSHY. Are those outlined in one of your books? Because even if nothing else...

Miki:

Not yet.

Brett:

They're not? Oh, dang it. Okay.

Miki:

Not yet, but my next, maybe. I might have a Do Cool Sh*t sequel, and talk about TUSHY in that.

Brett:

We'll highlight that, or I'll find the story, that I can put. Anyway, I'll let the audience [crosstalk 00:43:41].

Miki:

I'm happy to share them really quick. I can share them over the next couple minutes, no problem.

Brett:

Okay, just do it quickly over the next two minutes, yeah.

Miki:

Sure, yeah. So again, it's all about creating unorthodox events, unorthodox gatherings. That make people go, "Huh? What are you talking about? What is this?" So we held two kind of events before COVID happened. And we're going to now resume them once COVID's now finally, hopefully at bay. But one of them was called A Funeral for a Tree. And the other one was called ButtCon. The Funeral for a Tree is, we actually held a real funeral for a dead tree at the Judson Memorial Church, which is the biggest memorial church in all of New York City. In Washington square park. We had a 400 seat capacity, and we sold out. And we had a 25 part choir. We had Matthew Morrison, the actor, is one of our dear friends, playing the reverend. We had his wife, Renee, who is one of my best friends as well, who played Maple, the wife of the dead tree. It was just the most wild experience. And the people who came...

Brett:

People were reading eulogies. Which, I got to hear one. It was hilarious. Just super funny and well done.

Miki:

I mean, it was just comedy. It was sad, it was beautiful, it was inspiring. It was all of the above, and people left so inspired to save trees. [crosstalk 00:45:14] And to do it by buying TUSHY, by doing all kinds. You know? But it wasn't a marketing...

Brett:

It didn't feel like a sales pitch. It didn't feel a, "Hey, here's your coupon for TUSHY." As you walk out the doors.

Miki:

For one second. It didn't feel like. It just felt TUSHY opened my eyes to these important things. [crosstalk 00:45:31].

Brett:

We are killing a lot of trees because of toilet paper, and here's how we can help solve that.

Miki:

That's right. 50 million trees are cut down every single year because of toilet paper consumption. 30 million cases of urinary tract infections, hemorrhoids. All these health hygiene issues, not to mention planetary issues. All these things could be alleviated by just using a bidet, using TUSHY, under $100 product. You know? But we didn't even say any of that stuff at our Funeral for a Tree event. That was, we just put on this amazing event, brought to you by TUSHY. And people just were like, this was the most inspiring theatrical event I've ever been to.

Brett:

You get an insane press on it.

Miki:

[crosstalk 00:46:07] Amazing press. And same thing with ButtCon. We held this event called ButtCon, which was all things butt-related. We had butt lift surgeons, we had anal reconstructive surgeons, we had anal porn stars, we had cake sitters who makes money on sitting on cakes as a living. We did a class on making money on your ass. I mean, just crazy things. Like, we had Kim Kardashian's physical butt trainer, came and showed us how to do butt exercise. We had twerking champions doing the twerk, teaching people how to twerk. Just name. We had gut doctor, Dr. Mark Hyman, who is one of my dearest friends. And he did a whole gut and butt session on how poo the right poops, and what the right poops look like. We had, again, every walk of life in the realm that touched the butt, or gut, or the poop space was there. And we had 49 press, of the top, top, top, top, top press came to the event. Because they were like, what the hell is ButtCon? We had to see for ourselves.

Brett:

They said, "What are you doing?"

Miki:

What are you doing here?

Brett:

And the press you got from both those events, to pay for that kind of exposure would be almost impossible. But you got it because you did some crazy stuff.

Miki:

Yeah. It was truly, again, another reminder that just, what you put in. When you put in, like, if you build it, they will come. And you have to build spectacles. Again, things that surprise and delight. Things that make people go, I need to go and see what this is about. And that's the most important thing.

Brett:

I love that, I love it. So I know, you've got to go. So just kind of in closing. If people are listening to this and they're like, I need more Miki Agrawal in my life. And so, where can they, one, go to find your books? But also, just experience your marketing. Because hopefully, this has opened your eyes a little bit. Like, you need to pay attention to what Miki is doing from a marketing standpoint, you're going to learn a lot. So, how can people get more Miki in their life?

Miki:

Yes. Well first, you can also always come check me out on Instagram where I answer most people's questions pretty directly. Like, people have questions, I'm pretty good about responding. So Instagram, just @mikiagrawal. You can also go to mikiagrawal.com. If you subscribe to my mikiagrawal.com page, you'll actually get one disruptive move every week to do for yourself and for your business. So it's 52 disruptive moves. So that's just on mikiagrawal.com. And of course go to helloTUSHY.com. Check it out, get a TUSHY bidet. It's the best gift of all time. Holidays, it's the gift. It's just the best gift you can do for yourself. I mean, period, end of story. From a health high hygiene, confidence, feeling sexy, feeling good perspective. And then you can also, oh, if you want to learn about the strategies. I mean, definitely, Do Cool Sh*t, Disrupt-Her, check out my books. But then, if you want to actually learn about all of my tactics, of all of my strategy and building my companies from zero to $100 million plus, I built an actual course called Zero to a $100 million on Mindvalley.

Brett:

Mindvalley, I'll link to that in the show notes.

Miki:

If you go to my link in bio on my Instagram, I link to a free masterclass, a one hour masterclass which goes into a lot of these campaigns. But then, it also links to the quest, the Mindvalley quest, Zero to a $100 million. So, definitely check it.

Brett:

Beautiful. Got to check it out. I got to check that out. I got to watch that. And I'm going through Disrupt-Her right now. I absolutely love it, I highly recommend it. I like the audio version. I'm an auditory learner. And you narrate the books, so I get to listen to more Miki as I'm driving around. So that's been awesome as well. So Miki, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for doing this. I've been inspired, and got some new ideas cooking around in my head. I know other people have too. So, really, really appreciate it.

Miki:

Yay. I was happy to be here.

Brett:

Awesome, thank you so much. And as always, thank you for tuning in. We'd love to hear from you. What do you think about the show? What do you want to hear more of? Less of? Let us know. And until next time, thank you for listening.

Brett:

Are you a D2C brand spending over six figures a month on paid media? If so, then listen up. My agency, OMG Commerce, and I have worked with some of the top eCommerce brands over the years. Including Boom, Native, Groove, Monan, Organifi and dozens more. And every year, we audit hundreds of Google, YouTube and Amazon ad accounts. And we always find either significant opportunities for growth, or wasted ad spend to cut, or both. For example, are you missing YouTube ads? Whatever you're spending on top of funnel Facebook, you should be able to spend 30 to 50% of that or more on YouTube, with similar returns. So if you're spending 300,000 to 400,000 a month on Facebook, you should be able to easily spend a 100,000 to 150,000 or more on YouTube. Visit omgcommerce.com to request a free strategy session, or visit our resource page and get some of our free guides loaded with some of best strategies for YouTube Ads, Google Shopping, Amazon DSP and more. Check it all out at omgcommerce.com.

The Creative Process to Supercharge Your Facebook & IG Ads with Nick Shackleford
:
Nick Shackleford

The Creative Process to Supercharge Your Facebook & IG Ads with Nick Shackleford

Nick Shackelford was a pro soccer player for the LA Galaxy turned online marketing super star. You’ve probably seen him featured in FOUNDR magazine or speaking on stage of the wildly successful event he co-founded - Geek Out. 

I first met him when we both spoke at Ezra Firestone’s event in Denver several years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since. Nick is a master of media buying. He knows how to build agencies. And he has a really fresh take on creatives. We go deep into his creative process in this episode. Here’s a look at what we cover:

  • How a lack of diversity in your ads could be killing your results.
  • Nick’s agency’s creative process. This is pure GOLD.
  • How to use Amazon reviews to jump start your creative process - This strategy is so simple, so effective, you’ll kick yourself for not having used it.
  • How a tool called Monkey Learn can help you key in on the right words and hooks to use with your audience.
  • Why audience targeting is nearly dead and creative is KING.
  • How Nick uses Creative Strategist and why you should consider one too.
  • How to work with the algorithm rather than against it.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Nick Shackelford

   - LinkedIn

   - Twitter

Geek Out
   - Website

   - Events


Konstant Kreative

Structured Agency

Design Pickle

No Limit Creatives

Penji

Video Husky

Chubbies

Facebook Dynamic Creative

Josh Durham

Groove Life

Aligned Growth Management

Necklet

Monkey Learn Word Cloud

Luca + Danni

Northbeam

Triple Whale

James Van Elswyk



Transcript:

Brett:

Welcome to the Spicy Curry Podcast, where we explore hot takes in e-commerce and digital marketing. We feature some of the brightest guests with the spiciest perspectives on how to grow your business online.

Brett:

In this episode, we talk about the creative process that will supercharge your Facebook and Instagram ads. My guest is Nick Shackelford. You've probably seen Nick on stage at one of your favorite e-commerce events, or you've seen him featured in Foundr Magazine or in a host of other places online. More about Nick in just a minute. In this episode, we talk about the fact that audience marketing is nearly dead and why creative is almost all that matters. We talk about how Nick uses creative strategists and how you should consider using one too. We talk about how Nick use Amazon reviews to kickstart the creative process. This approach is so simple, so effective, so powerful, you'll kick yourself for not having used it before. We'll also talk about a tool that you can use to choose the right words and the right hooks for your ads. Plus, we'll unpack Nick's entire creative strategy. So lean in, buckle up, and please enjoy this interview with Nick Shackelford.

Brett:

The Spicy Curry Podcast is brought to you by OMG Commerce, attentive, One Click Upsell, Zipify Pages, and Payability.

Brett:

Well, I am absolutely geeking out about this episode and this guest. That was a little bit of a pun, you'll find out more about that in a minute. But, longtime friend of mine, absolute rockstar in the space. If you're paying attention to digital marketing at all, you've probably heard of this guy or seen this guy or you've heard the name. And so, today I'm absolutely thrilled to have Nick Shackelford, aka The Shack, on the podcast. And we're going to dive deep into really several things related to marketing. And if you've been listening to this season one of the Spicy Curry Podcast, we're really talking about three things, right? Have something good to say, say it well, say it often. Regardless of what changes in the online world, you've got to do those things. And so we're going to talk about what's working now, what's not working now, how to crush it like Shack does.

Brett:

And so a couple of interesting things about Shack for those that may not know, he was a professional soccer player for the LA Galaxy, and then decided, "You know what? I want my field to be online marketing rather than running around the soccer field." And so we actually met. We met at Ezra Firestones event, right, Shack? We both spoke at Ezra Firestone's event. I don't remember where that was or when that was. Was it maybe Denver, I don't know, three or four years ago?

Nick:

It was. It was Colorado.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. And I just remembered two things about you. One, you had an amazing strategy for influencer marketing on Facebook, two, you were rocking a killer hoodie, and three, you just had this swagger about you. And then as I've known you over the years, you always have a killer hoodie on. So what is the secret to getting great hoodies?

Nick:

Oh man, I actually am wearing one of them right now. This is an appropriate hoodie when you're just working at home 24/7. So this is [inaudible 00:03:41], which is another e-commerce brand that if you guys are in the space, they definitely do some interesting things. You should definitely talk to Davies. He's a smart, smart guy as well.

Brett:

Would love that intro, let's talk to him. You look like you're ready for a mountain expedition and/or you're ready just to chill at home and be super cozy.

Nick:

I like options, so the fact that I'm able to do both at a will is what I want to play with. But no, what you do, it's been fun to watch the growth of this, especially with the people that are doing it for a long time, because sticking with your theme of say it often, those that are usually saying it often are able to continue to be around because they've been preaching the same thing consistently. It might change a little bit, which trust me, I think 2022 so far, I mean, we're only 19 days into it. But yeah, there are a lot of things that have changed over the times, but we haven't stopped saying the same things, right?

Nick:

We talked about this at GeekOut. You came and you were like, "Hey, this is the consistent stuff that you have to do." And it's shocking... Maybe it isn't shocking, maybe it isn't. People forget what they have to continually do, and so reminding them over and over and over, they just might not be ready to hear it. So I always say, you always start with the basis so everybody's at the same page, but then you can get really to the nitty-gritty stuff, which you do so well, so I see you, brother, on this.

Brett:

Love it, man. Love it. So let's do this, we're going to dive into all the stuff you're doing right now on Facebook and Instagram and other platforms and what your creative genius is. And got an episode in season one here with Justin Brooke, my man, talking GDN, but I know I've seen him publicly say, "If you're not paying attention to Nick Shackelford, you're missing out, because Nick or The Shack knows what he's talking about." So tell me about GeekOut, or tell the audience. I know about GeekOut. I spoke at the last one in LA, and it was fantastic. I had so much fun, so much fun connecting with your group, with your audience. I could really nerd out or geek out. But tell me about that event and kind of what's ahead for this year.

Nick:

I absolutely will. Yeah, I was very fortunate you made it out there. GeekOut started five years ago now, and it started with the fact that I couldn't go to my partner and tell her, "Oh, babe, look at these campaigns. Oh my gosh, isn't this great?" Roll her eyes, she just didn't really care as much. And then [inaudible 00:06:04] James, he felt the same way. So we were geeking and nerding on all these things. We have a different vibe about ourselves, and what I mean... I literally have to explain this. We have the ability to deliver content and aggregate a room of people that want to learn, make money, and continue to build their business, but still feel open to talk about, "Hey, my employee just sued me," or "I'm going through this issue with my partner," or "I'm going...." these really intimate things that you don't feel comfortable expressing unless you're in a room that's safe and comfortable.

Nick:

And it just started happening organically, because I'm that way, right? I'm okay with things being very public. There's a couple things that I don't want to have super public, but I'm pretty much 99% out there on every channel because I do believe building in public builds relation, and there was no better way for us to do this except doing it in person. So this started, again, five years ago, and I remember we did it in Las Vegas literally on a couch. We thought we were renting a mansion, of course. Like all things in Vegas, you thought it was, and we figured what it really was. We got there, and I remember there was a putt-putt. One of the selling propositions on Airbnb was, "Oh, use our little putting green, and it was amazing." It was two holes, and I'm like, "Oh my God, what are we're going to do?"

Nick:

So we had a good run, but the thing that we never lacked was the quality of content. And so we've ran it back. We've done Tel Aviv. We've done Barcelona. We've done LA, Miami, New York, and we're gearing up for this year. We will be the only event that will do, I think, double digits of events this year. We're planning for 10. I think we'll probably, knock on wood because of where the world is currently at, get about six. And the first one starts in Dubai right before Affiliate World, and then we'll bring it back in for San Diego and Miami. Brett, I think I told you this before, it's the one business that I have that makes me the least amount of money but brings me the most amount of happiness, because you truly get a seed connection, and it's something that we've really, really gotten away from in the world for the various reasons that all of us are experiencing together, but it's just become way more important to me.

Brett:

Yeah, it was just phenomenal. I can't wait. I've been talking to my team about it. I've been bugging you for dates, because I'm blocking these out. I'm coming to speak at as many of these as I can or attend those that I can't speak at. It was just an amazing place to be, other like-minded, super smart marketers. I know you've had this experience. You were talking about talking to your partner. You can't really talk about ROAS. She doesn't care, right? I can't talk about ROAS to my wife. She glazes over. But you become acutely aware of how many acronyms we use in this space, right? ROAS, LTV, AOV, CLV. It's never ending, but this is your people. You can geek out about any of those things, but you can also talk about deeper stuff, people stuff, preparing for exits, buying companies. It's an awesome group, testament to you and to James, but just high level people, man. I would put it on the short list. If you could only attend a couple events this year, make sure one of them-

Nick:

[inaudible 00:09:22].

Brett:

... is GeekOut. I can edit this out later if I need to. Is there a rebrand coming too? Is it going to be GeekOut, is going to be something else? Or should we talk about that?

Nick:

Yeah, absolutely, we should. It's going to be called a GeekUp for two reasons. One, we have to level up, and so adding in that geek element is something that we still want to keep. And two, there was already a trademark called GeekOut Events. So as much of the branding I want you guys to be like, "Oh wow, that's so clever," I'm like, "Well, we kind of got into a situation."

Brett:

We're geeking out and leveling up. We're geeking up. This is amazing. Yeah, that's [inaudible 00:09:58]. Well, its going to be... I don't care what you call it, but GeekUp is super cool too. So if you attend only a few events, make sure one of them is GeekUp. And so I'll link to everything in the show notes. You can google it and check it out and stuff like that too. So fantastic, man. Any other notes on the event itself?

Nick:

Well, okay, so the segue into what I'm focused on a lot right now outside of the three businesses is we started GeekUp because it was about sharing and learning and getting that feedback of what's happening, and that led me to Konstant Kreative. We have almost our first year under our belts, and it's purely content because... Dude, you're a YouTube guy. You do good YouTubes. We don't do YouTubes, but we do a lot of Facebook, and we do a lot of Instagram, and we do a lot of TikTok, and we do a lot of Snapchat. And I used to be such a big teacher and proponent of strategies and hacks and tactics. I'll raise my hand here, I was one of the biggest people talking about various hacks and strategies 2017, '18, '19. 2020, I got a little quieter. 2020, I got real quiet. In 2022, I'm on that same quiet band because it just isn't as sustainable as it once was. I don't want to say we did this on purpose, but I like to think I did or had a feeling, my spider senses, for the new Marvel movie, which is fantastic, is tingling, and I was like, "Dude-

Brett:

That is a good movie. And actually, quick side note, the new, or new-ish, depending on when you're listening to this, Spiderman movie got us into the whole Marvel series. We watched Spiderman No Way Home, and then now we're going back to the beginning. We're, I think, three movies into the... It's like 30 movies. If you do chronologically through the Marvel series, it's nuts, but my family and I, we're going through it all, so it's super fun.

Nick:

Oh my God, I am not a movie person, but I will watch though. It's culture. It's so culture. Okay. What put us into this position was understanding that content was never going to leave us, and so we put so much time and effort into building. We weren't first to do it. There's Design Pickle. There's No Limit Creatives. There's Penjee! There's Video Husky. There's so many other people that do this content on demand thing, but we had to do it ourselves, because arguably, I've never gone through a pandemic. I'm 31 years old. I didn't know what would happen if I couldn't understand how much revenue was being driven by each one of our employees across our entire company because I didn't know what I needed to go potentially [inaudible 00:12:26] so I didn't know what loans I needed to go get.

Nick:

I needed to know that I could do a dollar earned or average per each one of our employees contributing to the bottom line. Sometimes in just an agency space or sometimes in business space, you have admins or project managers that might not directly tie to bottom line. We know they impact it, but we don't really know what they drive. Designers are another one. Editors are another one. Copywriters are another one. Unless you're in this performance tower, you know each email or each thing you write, you get dollars back on. If you aren't structured that way, you're like, "Dude, I don't really know how much money's coming in from these people." So we actually built this service and fed it to ourselves. And I think the term is dog feeding ourselves.

Brett:

Yeah, so this is a Google term. So it's called eating your own dog food. They borrowed it from Purina or Puppy Chow or something like that, where literally that company, they would eat their own dog food. It's a metaphor for using your own stuff, right?

Nick:

Okay.

Brett:

You believe in your product so much, you use it. Yeah.

Nick:

Oh, so thank you. I actually didn't know where that was coming from, and I'm glad you [inaudible 00:13:29]. We built it for ourselves because content... If you're like, "Nick, what are you about right now?" it's content, and it's volume of content at a cost effective rate. Listen, before the pandemic hit, a lot of people didn't really open up their mind to the quality of support, quality of company building that you can do offshore. I'm not saying outsource. This is a complete different thing. Outsource to offshore is completely different. Offshore are full-time your employees, your people, your values, your systems, your processes. Outsource is white labeling. You don't know what's going on. They're delivering you something, you're going to wrap in a bow, you're going to deliver. So I'm going to be very clear on that.

Nick:

This was something that when we started to understand quality of talent allowed us on the agency side to operate at 35, 40, 55% margin at times on various months, you can do the same exact thing on a content iteration, say. The only issue that a lot of people don't get right when they're like, "Hey, I need a performance editor," or "I need a performance creative person," it's because they themselves don't know what they want. Here's why. There's a subjectivity in this that everybody can't get away from in the romanticism toward a brand they own or towards the content that's being shot. I'm sure you experience this, or do you?

Brett:

Absolutely. Totally. Yeah, yeah. Sometimes we are our own biggest enemy, or often the brand owner is their biggest enemy in terms of getting creatives that work, creatives that actually connect and compel and move people to take action. Yeah, sometimes we're romantic about what we think that structure should be or what we think that message should be rather than focusing on... Let's not do something that's completely off brand, of course, but let's do what works. And sometimes you have the brand, or sometimes the agency gets in the way of that.

Nick:

It's so true because we're hired to do two things. Now, if you're hiring a branding agency or hiring a shop that needs to be really up here and be oh, really meta on things, God bless. I'm not in the space to where I can afford to create something that doesn't drive revenue. You're in the same boat. We have to validate the costs that we have for a lot of our partners. And so when you have this subjective idea of what happens, and I'll get into what testing, what we're doing now, what 2022, at least the bets that I'm making in this first quarter on how we're building out our testing and how we're building out our, at least our internal content structure. And actually, I'll fucking go into all the things, because I think the more that this information gets out there, it might actually spark some interest on your side, and you might have some interesting feedback for me too, so-

Brett:

Totally, totally. We're going to talk about one thing really quickly, and then I want to dive into the specifics.

Nick:

Okay.

Brett:

Actually, two things really quickly. What'd you say the name of the company was, the content company?

Nick:

Oh, Konstant Kreatives. Sorry.

Brett:

Konstant Kreatives. Awesome. We'll link to that in the show notes as well. But I could not agree with you more, right? I think in fact, back when we first met in Denver at Ezra's event, a lot of people were talking about hacks and here's little tricks and tips and things you can do to make Facebook and YouTube and all that work. And certainly, there's always going to be some hacks, but success is way more, way more about having great creatives, sticking to the fundamentals, and just being relentless, relentless on testing, relentless on looking for new angles, and then really just being consistent in what you're doing and doubling down on what's working. And so love that you're doing that. I got to learn more about your company there too so I can refer some people to you. But yeah, so let's dive in there. What is your process then for finding the right angle and getting that... Because you talk about volume of creatives too, right? You got to be testing pretty frequently, especially on Facebook. Not as much on YouTube, but especially on Facebook and Instagram. What's your process like?

Nick:

This is something that we think is an ongoing debate, kind of ongoing analysis. Let's think of it this way, you used to go to optimize campaigns at an ad level or an ad set level or even the structure of the campaign level, and we're having to do a lot of this before we even get to the campaign launch. What I mean by this is, before the conversation of cancel culture or before the conversation of inclusion really was being had, a lot of the ads that we saw were generally white males, white females across every brand, across every company, thin, thinnish, and you didn't really think about, "What if [crosstalk 00:17:49]

Brett:

Which is really just silly. But you're right, that's just the way it was. Yes, it was crazy.

Nick:

Yeah, it was silly. Listen, I'm not ignorant to who I am and what I am, but when you look at brands that are buying this, brands don't have this data. You can't run a quiz to be like, "Hey, what do you... " I guess you could, technically, but I don't know how it would come across us. "Who do you identify with? Or what do you identify as? Or what race are you?" You can't necessarily ask that, but that's the type of [inaudible 00:18:17] that you have to get done. Say, when we give a shoot or when we give content for others to see, "Hey, what do we need?" We usually recommend, "Hey, we need two different races and two different genders, and we need sizes of those genders to be appropriate to what we actually think is our customers buying."

Nick:

It's a great example, the Team Chubbies. Chubbies makes unbelievable male board shorts. I think they get an underwear too now, but makes male board shorts. And if you watch the progression over time of who was used in their content, fit male, white or black, fit male, white or black, little thicker, white or black, little dad bod, white or black, little larger, white or black. Do you know why? Because they're looking at all the-

Brett:

That's their audience, right? How many fit dudes are out there? Right? Most of us have dad bods. Not you, you're a former soccer player, but yeah, dad bods are everywhere.

Nick:

These are the frat guys that are buying it. And they literally... I've listened and watched the progression of this, and they're like... I'm sure that some people want to aspire to look great, but there's a point where you can get turned off by this, and you're like, "That's not really who I am." So it's this progression, this conversation of the testing begins at the inclusion of what's in the content. That's just a side note. I went on a tangent. I apologize there.

Brett:

Yeah, but I love it. I'll just, I'll key in on that. And so it's a side note, but it's important. A buddy of mine runs an athleisure business and they sell a lot of leggings. And so their models are very diverse, Latinos, African Americans, whites, every race, but also normal looking people, right? These are not all 98 pound supermodel. It looks like normal people, but they're joyful and they're smiling. And they are killing it because people look at it and say, "Well, that's me. That's my body type. That's my style." And it's so needed right now, so I'm really glad you brought that up.

Nick:

It's so true. And it kind of goes down to the typical structures that we run if I were to get a little technical in this. We still launch with dynamic creative. We still launch with... Dynamic creative is probably the first step. If we don't have a full hard belief, and this is the campaign structure, if we don't have a full hard belief in any one direction, whether it's like, we know this is worked in the past, but we're just trying to iterate on the value prop, or we're just trying to iterate on the USB, the box opening, we're just trying to iterate on a specific thing, we will still let Facebook choose or dictate the direction we need to go into up into-

Brett:

So by dynamic creatives, you just mean you're... Explain that for people that don't know the Facebook platform well.

Nick:

Thank you very much. So when launching a campaign, there's DCT, dynamic creative testing, which is a tool that you let Facebook choose. Essentially, you're going, "Hey, we don't want to impose any campaign restrictions to force spend," let's say on an automatic budget campaign, an ABO. You go, "I just need you to spend all my budget on these specific creatives that I, the media buyer, have told you I want you to spend on." And CBO can do that too with a little bit of limitations, but that's easiest communication I can give you on that. The dynamic creative testing [crosstalk 00:21:11]

Brett:

You're basically saying, "Hey, here's our creatives, and Facebook, you go wild and you find the winner."

Nick:

Exactly. We are not imposing a restriction on where money can be spent. We're letting the campaign dictate that. And that is... It's basically taking away the bias that we have of letting Facebook say, "Hey, we have this algorithm, we have this info, we have these consumers, and we're going to run this type of campaign on it."

Brett:

Yeah.

Nick:

Now I will have some of my media buyers look at me and go, "Chef, I won't always run this route," but that's the baseline that we start with, because if somebody has pushback on me, say, let's say David or Scott have a conversation, they're like, "Nick, I actually believe that's not the best use of this campaign, because we're only trying to compare two main concepts." And we'll say, Bernie says, "We'll use the athleisure brand here." We want to understand which color way of these leggings are going to be the one that hits or which price point of these leggings are going to hit. That doesn't need to be dynamic creative tested. That needs to be controlled and tested equally across the board. So that to me has probably been the biggest change. Before, I would launch all with minimum campaign budgets or some sort of structure where we're going audience testing, kind of put that after the fact, because it's not as impactful unless it's going to be purely based on the content or creative and the structure when you go live with it.

Brett:

Yeah. I love that. And so really, I mean, if you look at what is our job as advertisers, whether we're agencies or in house or solopreneur, whatever the case may be, our job is to make great creatives, but to feed the algorithm, to let the algorithm, whether that's Facebook, YouTube, or Google, let... The algorithm's smart. And in the long run, the algorithm's going to do a better job than you are in a lot of ways, so how can you feed it and give it enough creative so that it finds the winners? Or how can you do a very specific test? Like you were talking about, right? I'm testing two creatives, because I'm trying to find is it black or is it pink on the leggings that are going to hit, or is it this price or that price? That type of thing, a controlled test, but either way you're trying to say, "I don't know the answer here on what creative's really going to work, but we're going to find out." And then once we find out, then we're going to go all in on that, so-

Nick:

Because you and I both have these conversations with brands that talk about, "Hey, what's your brand book? What's your stance? What do you stand for? And they have the idea of who they want their customer to be, but it's not always what Facebook will agree to be or Google will agree for it to be. You have to let the replies come in. You have to let the data speak for itself. And I'm shocked. And I don't know if this is in your portfolio, we have about 116 brands right now, 117, I believe. The amount of post-purchase surveys on where you've heard from me or what information they're gathering is probably less than 15%.

Brett:

Totally, a very few of our clients are doing them. I think you've got to do it though, because you're going to be surprised by the answers you find out.

Nick:

Exactly, especially understanding touch points now the attribution is dropping a little bit, touch points and understanding where these people are coming from or how much I should be allocating per channel. We had a very, very intelligent brand, I'll say maybe 2020s, called Rove Concepts, which are a large... It's a larger retailer. It's a furniture, so purchase path takes a lot of time. You got to include your partner. A lot of it is generated interest on Facebook, but a lot of it is actualized on Google, XYZ. And these guys were making... This is the first company or brand that came to Jake myself and goes, "You know what? I understand that we gave you these [inaudible 00:24:37] a platform. I don't know if you guys are actually impacting the bottom line because it shows Google having way more conversions than you guys." I'm like, "Heck is going on?" I'm like, "Well, okay, I get it. I'm sure there's... It's an expensive piece. There's thousands of dollars. Can we just put surveys on the back of this? Or do you have this already live, or can you share this information?"

Nick:

A lot of what we started to see was, although that might not have popped up in the platform, a lot of it was saying I heard first about you on Facebook or Instagram, yet the conversion value, all the revenue was coming from Google. And I'm going, "You can't tell me to stop or that's going to be lowered." So we did a hard test turning off paid social, top of funnel. What do you know? Numbers dropped. Yeah, we wouldn't have been able to cover [crosstalk 00:25:22]

Brett:

Yeah, it's so true. I was just talking to a buddy of mine, Josh Durham, who used to be the head of growth at Groove Life and at an agency, and he talked about the same thing, doing those post purchase surveys and realizing that, man, 70, 80% of customers are going to say, "Hey, I first heard you on social, I first heard you on YouTube," or something like that. And I love Google, right? I'm a Google guy, but search and shopping sometimes takes the credit, especially branded search. You need to run it, but branded search often takes credit for a sale that, really, Facebook or YouTube generated, right?

Nick:

Sure. Preach to the choir [inaudible 00:25:59]

Brett:

Yeah, yeah. So, hey, I want to circle back to creative really quickly, and then we can talk attribution again in a minute, because there's some important notes there. As far as creatives go, what is your process? How are you guys coming up with hooks for the actual creatives, and what types of creatives are you launching with? I just want to give people ideas on what should they be testing next or how should they go about their creative process, or how should they talk to their agency to get them to do things more like you guys? Can you talk about your creative process a little bit?

Nick:

I can, yeah. We have one baseline process that we run with or usually use outside of if someone already gives us [inaudible 00:26:39]. Say a brand was coming to us and they already really had, "Hey, we know who our girl or guy is. Here's what we've learned outside of optimizing and looking at the current campaigns," we start with this process where we begin on Amazon, we begin with Reddit, and we begin with competitors. We don't go to the own brand stuff just yet, because we don't want any biases coming in from marketing messages that consumers might be regurgitating back. If you look at Amazon, there's very honest reviews at one star, two star, and even the three star, very honest reviews that use layman's terms that are common, that they're looking for solutions or points. And a lot of it on Amazon, actually, they don't really care about the brand itself. From the experience, from the information I have, they're not necessarily going to Amazon to find Lulu Lemon, they're going to Amazon to price shop. They're going to Amazon for the efficiency and the effectiveness of getting that product as quick as possible.

Nick:

You're not going there looking for a specific brand. You're usually typing in the product in which you need. Hydration packets, coats, clothing, that's the things that you're really searching for, so you usually get people that don't really about crap about who the brand is or what, and they're not going to hold back from you, because it's pretty anonymous at that point, or what have you. So what we started to find out is, before a brand would come to us and before they're like, "I don't know what talking points or hooks or explanations that need to be in this piece of creative," we go to the Amazon reviews. We probably export between 50 to a hundred. We drop it into a word cloud.

Brett:

So you're looking at the actual reviews from those customers or from competitors and from that category as a whole?

Nick:

Correct. Thank you very much to the clarification. We do not go to the brand own yet. We go from the competitors of the same exact product. So if I'm selling leggings, I'm going to the number one competitor with the most amount of reviews, similar in the legging side. I want to know why this product is winning. I want those five stars and four stars, isolate those by themselves. And I want those one stars and two stars, isolate them by themselves. I use three as a lever if I don't have clear messages of things to say or not say based on the four and fives, and the ones and twos.

Brett:

Got it.

Nick:

Four and five might be skewed.

Brett:

Right.

Nick:

One to twos might be skewed, but the threes might you my answer if I don't find it in the two buckets tracking with me.

Brett:

Totally. And this is brilliant by the way. I absolutely love it, yeah, because you're looking for real pain points, real motivators, real things that customers care about, and you're looking for their language, which just makes all the difference in the world.

Nick:

Because we are going to do market stuff. We're going to try and be cool and cute and playful. We'll do our best to not, but we sometimes fall into these categories. And I'll use one brand for this called Necklet. Necklet created a latch system that's magnetic that allows for stacks of jewelry to not get tangled. Brilliant. For women, or men, mainly for women that are wearing necklaces that don't want it to be tangled because they want to wear multiple, it's absolutely brilliant. It's genius. And the mechanism is a magnet on the back. What is it solving? Is a magnet strong enough? Is it latching? Does it pull your hair? These things are questions that the brand might not necessarily know. But guess who's going to know? The people that are buying it and the people that are leaving those reviews on Amazon. They [inaudible 00:29:51] will tell you exactly how feeling, whether this is a dumb concept or not.

Nick:

So we found out a lot of this. No matter how beautiful it might look, no matter how the feeling of joy might be portrayed, the mechanism is still the most unique value proposition for them, so we better go speak specifically towards. That, to me, was after we got from a competitors, put it into a word cloud. I think the easiest one you guys could use is probably Monkey Learn. It's called monkeylearn/wordcloud. I think you have to potentially set up an account. It's free, but if anybody else has a word cloud generator that is better than that, please hit me up. I'm always looking for more tools.

Brett:

Monkey Learn, and you're looking for... And this is like a word cloud builder?

Nick:

Yeah. So it's called Monkey Learn, and then it's a forward slash word-cloud or wordcloud. I'm not sure exactly on [inaudible 00:30:36], but I can pull it for you right after this. And that way, I'm able to aggregate all my star reviews. I would say it's easier if you... The more, the better. The more, the more accurate. Drop it into this word cloud, and it's going to generate and pull up the most commonly used words and tones. And that way, now here's your messages. Here's your information. Here's the things that you need to use. This, Brett, I'm telling you, this thing has allowed processes. Because if you don't know where to begin, that's where you go right away.

Brett:

Yeah, because if you don't have something like this, you're just going to begin with that discussion around the boardroom. It's going to be virtual, right? But you're talking to the client, you're talking to the brand owner, you're talking to the marketing director, and you're like, "Well, hey, our customer is this, and they believe this and they want that." And that's valuable, but this is amazing, where you're saying, "Okay, let's see what the people, the real customers are actually saying, and let's aggregate that. And let's look for tone and let's look for actual words." Yeah, just absolutely brilliant. I love it.

Nick:

The next step that we take from is... Say we already have this, say somebody already has this understanding, the next step that we have here is, where are you lacking? Where do you think your brand or your audience has not been addressed? This is usually right where we get in the conversation of inclusion, usually where we get in the conversation of, it seems like we're over indexed on a certain demographic, a certain gender, certain size. That, to me, is something that we really, really spend a great amount of time. We're very fortunate. We're in LA, so we have a melting pot of people to pull from, and that's something that we know, as a unique advantage, we have to leverage. So that generally is our second conversation that we have, of like, where can we do some tests to where we're not doing something that's not on brand, we're not doing something that we have fear of isolating a consumer, but we have the ability to actually get real learnings in a direction that we never ran before. Here's an example, Luca Danni, which is [inaudible 00:32:29]. It's a bangle and accessory company, bracelet.

Brett:

It's called Luke and Danni? Did I hear that right?

Nick:

Yeah. It technically reads Luca Danni, but Luke and Danni is what it is, and they sell bangles, they sell bracelets. Well, in this test, they usually always show the wrist, and it's the wrist of the woman buying it and the various women buying it. And they actually started seeing a little bit of a performance increase on the thicker in which the wrist began to [crosstalk 00:32:59]

Brett:

Interesting.

Nick:

And I'm like, why is this? Then you look at the export of the purchasing behavior of the people buying it. You have the strong representation of the Bible bell, strong representation of the south, strong representation of a little bit of the east coast. But you're like, "Wow, okay. I think some of our demographics are not the assumed thinner audience that we once believe there to be, so how do we mix this up?" So now we have wrists of all shapes and sizes. You hear me?

Brett:

Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're there. I thought I lost you for a minute. Yeah, so wrists of all shapes. This is so important. What's really interesting, I going to key in on something that Ezra Firestone mentioned to me a couple years ago, where they notice, BOOM!, their brand BOOM! and Cindy Joseph, it's really women over the age of 50, skin care, makeup, and really good stuff, but they found... They thought, "Well, what if we went a little bit younger with our models, or a little bit younger with our ambassadors that we have in the videos." And they started getting complaints. People were reaching out saying, "That's not me. This person is younger than me." Right? We sometimes forget that people really are looking for, "Can I see myself in this video? Can I see myself in this product. And is this for me?" And if it's not, then they're likely not going to buy, right? And so fascinating test, that, hey, thicker wrists, bigger wrists lead to better results. Diversifying your models leads to better results. You got to explore and got to test. That totally makes sense.

Nick:

Anybody can do this too. That's probably the biggest thing that I want to drive home, is those testing of using Amazon first and Reddit first because the natural communication, community already being built there within your competitors. It's not rocket... The way you present that information, the way you speak to it really will pull in on the expertise that you have, but this isn't rocket science, man. We have anywhere between 100 to 150 brands at any time. And if anybody's looking for analysis of their creative or performance or angles or whatever they're taking, they go this direction, because they know they can get it, they can get it quick, and they don't need to wait on other people to do it. So it's something I would definitely like to pass that forward.

Brett:

Yeah. Love it. What else? What do you see working on Facebook right now? And I know that this stuff has a tendency to be short lived, but in terms of length of videos, what are you finding that's working, or maybe, maybe there's different links, different angles for cold traffic versus remarketing? What are some of the kind of tips and ideas you're seeing there?

Nick:

Well, I'm going to caveat this [inaudible 00:35:25]. We are using two tools. So we're using North Beam and we're using Triple Whale, because we are making-

Brett:

Both fantastic tools.

Nick:

I completely agree. We have to make sure that we're looking at the correct amount of information or data and it's purely based upon a third party tool that's giving me the direction of, okay, this campaign, this ad set, this purchase path is making the most sense for us, so-

Brett:

Yeah. And just a quick note here, because I know the guys at North Beam and at Triple Whale, great platforms, but I'll talk North Beam for just a second. The way it works, it's basically first party data. So they put a first party pixel on your site, they put DNS record there where now they can have an infinity timeframe-

Nick:

Yes.

Brett:

... click attribution, right? So instead of attribution being only seven days, right? So after click happens, and after seven days, Facebook can no longer track it. With something like North Beam or Triple Whale, you track it forever, right? And you can go back and say, "Hey, this one YouTube click or this one Facebook click led to a customer who bought 20 times." Right? You can see all that data, because then these tools integrate with Facebook, Google-

Nick:

Yes.

Brett:

... Shopify, your email platform. They pull all that stuff together. So anyway, this isn't a commercial for those tools. We don't make anything from those tools, but you need that data to know what's really working and what's not.

Nick:

Well, we never used to have... We always needed this.

Brett:

We both needed it, yeah. And [crosstalk 00:36:42]

Nick:

We can get close without it. And now we can't. So now when I'm looking at campaigns, so I'm looking at what's working. Right now, let's go January 19th, 11:50 AM, Wednesday, 2022. What's working right now is images. I'm now getting images with plain background colors, bold colors. I'm saying yellow blues, pinks and purples, and big bold text. Call outs of the pain points of the consumer. And if I were to be more specific, this is primarily top of funnel, and we're having very minimal branded elements here, because all I'm trying to do is build engagement, build a little bit of direction that I'm trying to go in this place, it's just the right path for me to go down towards, and it is the quickest thing that can be launched. It is the easiest thing that can be made.

Brett:

Yeah.

Nick:

Pain points, value propositions, big, bold colored text, and maybe, if you really want to include it, what does the product look like? Is can just be a product on a white image or somewhere the left or right side of things. We're using this top of funnel aggressively for two reasons. One, if we can get the engagement, and if we can get some sort of understanding of people agreeing with it, or maybe it say other way, not agreeing with it, but that you're usually just seeing the comments, the shares or the engagement overall, I know I'm on the right path. I need to make an image or a more detailed image, shorter video or longer form video to run top of funnel. This is Facebook specifically. So our launching period right now is major callouts with the value propositions or with pain points that we believe for each brand with that color text to kind of pop off page. Second, if that is already being done or something that's already going down that path, we are going with 30 to 45 second videos.

Nick:

I was a huge proponent of sub 30, generally around 15 seconds, but I need this bigger audience for people to pull from, because things on platform, the pools of remarketing are not as quality as they once were because of the drop in reporting. So the more that we can have people engaging or watching the videos longer, I'm running all of our remarketing, or at least our reengagement middle of funnel, off of these audience and pools of creative that we're actually spending more time, that these consumers are spending more time on.

Brett:

Got it. So you're running... So yeah, I remember, and I'm not a Facebook guy, but I remember people talking about, "Hey, shorter creatives are working 15 seconds and things like that," which I'm sure is still the case to a certain degree. But what you're saying, and this totally makes a lot of sense, is 45 seconds, 30 seconds to 45 seconds to your cold traffic audiences, because then you can remarket to people that have watched half of that or all that or whatever the case may be, and now that's a much better audience than maybe the remarketing audiences you would get from someone who engages with a 15 second video. Did I understand that correctly?

Nick:

You did, because we need the... Well, for just a stronger audience. And I don't know what happened. I think the biggest thing that we've seen, if we're talking remarketing, the content, I'm not too sure. I wouldn't feel comfortable speaking about what's working across the board for our brands because it's very [inaudible 00:39:44] and very particular.

Brett:

Yeah, yeah.

Nick:

But one thing that is been a constant is, we need more periods of time. We used to be able to be very segmented, and like, "Cool. One to seven day, you're going to get this message. 8 to 14, you're going to get this message. 15 and on, you're going to get this. It's not working for us. We can't get... I hope it is for others because it was so incredible to push them down a purchase path, but we're going 30 days, 45 days, the largest pull in which we can get from, I think the largest pull is probably around 90, but the biggest pull that we can pull from, I want that to be my remarketing pull, and it's just a mixture of various engagement testimonials of videos of them reinforcing the product or the brand. That's the only thing that I know I can get some consistent benchmarks on, because other than this, there's just no consistency.

Brett:

Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. And as platforms are being more restricted on audiences they can build and how they track and how they report, I think in a lot of cases, we're just going to have to simplify, right? Some of the hyper segmentation of this seven day audience, 14 day audience, 30 day audience, some of that is going away. We're seeing that on Google too, actually, so I think that's probably pretty widespread at this point. Going simpler, going broader makes sense. How are you coming... Because I know, especially on Facebook, Facebook is hungry for new creatives, new concepts. How do you go about refreshing content so regularly and finding winning angles? Any insights there on process that you can share?

Nick:

So I don't have a... Ah, I got some stuff. So I don't have a firm one on this because it really is going to depend on budget. So I'll put a caveat there. The more money you have, the general amount of testing that you can do at higher volume. The only difference between a big budget and a little budget is that a big budget learns quicker, so it's no difference. The process is [crosstalk 00:41:37]

Brett:

You're doing the same things. It's just the speed at which you're doing them is what the budget really dictates.

Nick:

Exactly. Exactly. So I want to put, "Oh that's my brand is not spending 25,000, 50,000, whatever it is." I can't do that. You can, you just can't do as much or as quick. We did start the Konstant Kreative, why we built this is because we believe that there's an internal revision of content. There's an internal revision in planning of strategy for content. And then there's a marketing message. Generally, if it's evergreen, without talking about mother's day, father's day one-off moments, if the general process is happening, we are iterating on a seven day and a ten day window. Let me explain. Our current organization structure is, we operate in a pod system. So we have our copywriter, our senior media buyer, junior media buyer account manager, and channel specific buyers that we need to plug in.

Nick:

But the general makeup is admin, media buyers, strategist. We then started to build a new department, which is our creative strategist. Their core role is to analyze campaign performance on creative specifically. They don't care about the audience. They don't care about interests. Just the performance of the creative. Give that feedback into the client. Give that feedback into our creative director to shoot more content. And their job is to come up with the concepts of, "Here's why here's where I think the angles are going to be going towards." Now, it's various and different for all because the budget's going to be different for all, but it's usually out of two things. The increase of quality of life, that's one core concept, core understanding. Why is this product going to increase the value of my life or make my life better? Then, in the same flip side is, if I don't have this, how terrible or how poor or how unfortunate or how much struggle will my life have?

Nick:

So with those two deciding factors of how much I'm going to increase or how much I'm going to decrease, then we come into the concepts of positioning for each one of these products. So with that frame of mind, we have a seven day sprint to a ten day sprint of analysis, seven days to get the campaign running and live. First two, generally speaking, are not spending a tremendous amount of money, unless something works or unless we have... This is a commitment that the brand or us have [inaudible 00:43:48]. We are spending this money. We got to learn. I say 10 days because there's a little bit of updates attribution. You know, if you're running Facebook, data comes in very sporadically, so we want a little bit more time to run this. It's unfortunate because, at least for our team right now, gone are the days of launch a campaign on one day, slam budget on the second day, turn the campaign off on things that didn't work by the third day. That's more drawn out to a five day, seven day [crosstalk 00:44:14].

Brett:

Yeah. Totally.

Nick:

So if I sat there and go, the analysis that the creative strategy team needs to be doing is on that three day, five day, seven day, ten day window, because that's going to include a full week plus weekends and give you back on that Monday, because you're usually not going to get that launch data on that early, early day. To me, this is an ongoing iteration, it's an ongoing sequence of conversation with the brands, and I'm actually doing a pretty decent case study on what's happening on this. I'm going to unveil it live at Affiliate World, because we're working with Motion app-

Brett:

Nice.

Nick:

... which has some really good data on what's happening, where it's happening, and what insights that are having on their campaign, elements needed in creative. And then we have a large volume of assets on the constant side. So I'm trying to pull all the assets that we've seen perform before and all the assets that we've seen being requested, trying to pull a correlation between the two. And it should be some interesting stuff that we're going to find out, because a lot of this that people don't have, and I hate to hate to call it out, but they don't have a process of feedback loop. They don't have the understanding of when they need to go back and analyze and launch it. They can come up with great ideas, but how long does it take for them to make that test, or how long does it take for them to get information back to the people to create more?

Brett:

Just absolutely fantastic. So unfortunately, we're kind of running out of time, which is a bummer because I would like to continue to geek out or geek up here with you, but I want to kind of go high level for just a minute and just a few questions that I think will help anybody. And I think as people have been listening, hey, we got really technical, we got into some details, so pass this on to your media buyer. If you are a media buyer, I'm sure you're just salivating and loving every second of this. Let's talk high level, Nick. What should people be focusing more on in the coming year? And what should they be focusing less on? Meaning, kind of how are things shifting? What do we need to be really keying in on to get results? And maybe, what are some things that used to be important to pay attention to that now aren't?

Nick:

Great question. Fantastic questions. If you're media buyers or your agencies or your team is coming to you with audience insights or campaign structure insights, I would encourage them to let that go and encourage them to stop spending the time in finding structures and more spending the time on the research of what are these campaigns doing? What are the messages being said in the creative or content? And it has always been content first.

Brett:

All right, Spicy Curry listeners, here's the deal. Nick's audio cut out towards the end. Now, the good news is you heard 99% plus of what Nick had to say, but what you missed is kind of important. You missed how to get a hold of Nick. How can you follow him? How can you learn more about him? How can you get in touch with his agency? And so I'm going to tell you right now. The first thing is you have to follow Nick on Twitter. His Twitter game is an A plus. If you're in the DOC space, e-comm space at all, you got to follow him. And his handle is @iamshackelford. So letter I A-M Shackelford, so check that out. His agency is Structured. So structured.agency, check it out. They cut their teeth on paid social, but they also, Nick and Chase Dimond run an email marketing agency, so check out structured as well.

Brett:

And then one of my favorite events now. I think you should check it out. The events do get a little bit technical and nerdy, but GeekOut that Nick runs with James Van Elswyk, great event. So that's geekoutedu.com. So, check that out. You will not be disappointed. And as always, we want to hear from you. If you found this episode to be helpful, please share it with friends. Also, this is a brand new podcast, so go give it a rating on Apple iTunes, if you don't mind. It will make my day. It will allow other people to find the show. And with that, until next time, thank you for listening.




Crafting Irresistible Offers & Building Acquisition Funnels with Molly Pittman
Episode 4
:
Molly Pittman

Crafting Irresistible Offers & Building Acquisition Funnels with Molly Pittman

Few people understand Facebook Advertising and Direct Response Marketing like Molly Pittman. You’ve probably seen Molly on stage at events like Traffic & Conversion Summit or Social Media Marketing World or you’ve seen her and Ezra Firestone create amazing content through Smart Marketer. In this episode we dive into a subject that is often glossed over - creating great offers and building acquisition funnels. Without a great offer, your ad efforts will fall short. And great offers aren’t just about discounting. 

It’s the perfect subject to help you win in a privacy-first online world. 

Here's what we cover:

  • How Smart Marketer and BOOM are building and launching new acquisition funnels every month.
  • How to test offers via email before investing in ad dollars.
  • What metrics we should pay attention to in a post iOS 14 world.
  • 3 ways to get more testimonials.
  • What is likely to change in the future and what most likely won’t. 


Mentioned in This Episode:

Molly Pittman

   - LinkedIn

   - Instagram


Smart Marketer

Smart Marketer Podcast

Ezra Firestone

Traffic & Conversion Summit

John Grimshaw

BOOM! by Cindy Joseph

“5 Makeup Tips For Older Women”

“The State Of Paid Ads In 2022”

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins

“Turning the Flywheel” by Jim Collins



Transcript:

Brett:

Welcome to the Spicy Curry podcast, where we explore hot takes in e-commerce and digital marketing. We feature some of the brightest minds, some of the spiciest perspectives on how to grow your business online.

Brett:

Season one of this podcast is built on the old business adage that all it takes is three things to grow. One, have something good to say. Two, say it well. And three, say it often. My guest today is Molly Pittman. She's the CEO of Smart Marketer in partnership with Ezra Firestone. We're talking about crafting irresistible offers and building acquisition funnels for e-commerce.

Brett:

So, lean in, buckle up, and enjoy this episode with Molly Pittman.

Brett:

The Spicy Curry podcast is brought to you by OMG Commerce, Attentive, OneClickUpsell, Zipify Pages, and Payability.

Brett:

My guest today really needs no introduction, but I'll give a quick introduction just in case. Today, we're talking about a variety of things. We're going to talk about getting the right offers, and we're going to talk about acquisition funnels. We're going to talk about getting the right mindset as a market, as a media buyer, and as an advertiser.

Brett:

I have the one, the only, Molly Pittman joining me on the show today. Really, if you haven't had the privilege of hearing Molly Pittman, well we're about to fix that, but you've missed out. Molly is a legend, debuted at Trafficking Conversion Summit. It's been years and years ago now, I don't even know how many years. But just blew up and everyone was like, "Man, Molly Pittman is the best," and she is.

Brett:

Now she's partnered with my buddy, Ezra Firestone. Molly is the CEO of Smart Marketer, and I get to observe what she's doing there, what the team is doing there, and they're cranking out amazing content, amazing training that I get to be a part of at some level, which is super fun for me. We're going to dive into what's working now and a variety of other things.

Brett:

Molly Pittman, welcome to the show, and thanks for taking the time.

Molly:

Hey, let's do it. What's up, Brett Curry?

Brett:

What's up? What's up?

Molly:

I'm so happy to be here. I'm so happy to be here. Hello to all of you listers. You're listening to an awesome podcast, huh? When Brett reached out to do this, I was like, "Hey, it's about time." I know you've had podcasts in the past, but excited to hear you more regularly. Yes, love working with you Brett, from the agency side of things, the faculty side of things at Smart Marketer. All of our students love everything you have to share. So, thank you for having me.

Brett:

We get to collaborate on some content. Any time I can go somewhere and hang out with you, John Grimshaw, and Ezra Firestone, I am saying yes to that. Anytime I can make it happen, I'm doing that, because you guys are awesome. [crosstalk 00:03:14].

Molly:

I don't know how much work we get done, but we have a lot of fun.

Brett:

A decent amount of work.

Molly:

I'm kidding.

Brett:

Totally. When we get together, like the last time we all met at Ezra's house, Ezra just cooked some really fancy, simple... He went into full-on chef mode for everybody, and it was pretty amazing.

Molly:

Hey, Ezra is the servant leader. I think we were there-

Brett:

He really is.

Molly:

... hosting a live workshop, and Ezra was like, "Hey, my job right now is to cook and make sure you all are fed." Good example of leadership right there.

Brett:

[crosstalk 00:03:49] make some lattes, or pour some espresso shots. He had this amazing espresso machine-

Molly:

"What do you need? I got it."

Brett:

Yeah. The funny thing is, I'm like, "So Ezra, are you going to drink some espresso?" He was like, "No, I gave that up." He quit. All right, so you're just making for everybody else.

Molly:

That is something that I love about what we're doing at Smart Marketer, is its different from any culture I've ever been a part of, even if it's a day of consulting inside of a business where we really do have fun first. We get our stuff done. We meet our goals. We serve the world. I think that that fun part is what a lot of people are missing out on. It is okay to have fun, and it actually makes the rest of it way more enjoyable and profitable.

Brett:

It's stress relief. It allows you get the right mindset, like fosters creativity when you're having fun and enjoying what you do, and enjoying who you're doing it with. Yeah, you guys do such a good job with that, and Ezra kind of drives that forward where it's like to serve to the world unselfishly and profit that mantra is true. It's not just something that sounds good, or sort of feels good, or looks good on a shirt. It's the way you guys live and the way you guys operate.

Brett:

I think it's part of the reason why we get along so well. We're huge advocates of culture, and putting people first, but also letting people shine and be themselves. You should enjoy working with one another. It makes a difference.

Molly:

Have more fun, y'all.

Brett:

And have more fun.

Molly:

It also allows a lot more longevity in this business. This year, I've been doing this 10 years, which isn't as long as a lot of you, Brett, or people like Ezra, but it's still a decade.

Brett:

Wait a minute. That sounded a veiled "old person" comment there.

Molly:

Well no, I just know your story.

Brett:

It's all good.

Molly:

You have seniority.

Brett:

A little bit. A little bit, yeah. In Internet years, a decade is forever. Yeah, I started like 2004, so I'm definitely the old dude when it comes to all that.

Molly:

Yeah, but you know a lot of my story where I had the opportunity to intern, and then become the VP of Marketing at Digital Marketer, and had an awesome time at that company. But man, I was grinding then. A lot of times, I felt like crap. To be in a situation where I still get to serve the market, still get to teach, still get to be in this business, but feel really good about it, the best part of it is I know I can do it for so much longer now.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah.

Molly:

It's a long game. It's not a short game, y'all.

Brett:

I'm really glad we brought this up. It was not planned. That feel good, have fun, and it will bring out the best part of you when you work as well. You'll be able to produce better when you're doing those things.

Brett:

Let's dive in, Molly Pittman. We've got a lot of ground to cover. We're going to talk mindset. We're going to talk tactics. We're going to talk strategy. I also want to talk about your dog rescue. We'll get to that in a little bit. Let's talk about offers for a minute. Those that have been listening, and hopefully you're listening to every episode in season one of this podcast, we're talking about something good to say, saying it well, saying it often.

Brett:

One of the things you and I were chatting about, and I love this, is that you're really focusing on your offers right now, and what offers are working, and what offers are not working. It really digs into that saying things well, and also saying them often. Talk to me a little bit about... We have two angles we're going to look at. We've got Boom on the e-commerce side, Smart Marketer which is kind of on the info training side, but what offers are working right now?

Molly:

Yeah, great question. First, I want to talk about what an offer is. I realized during our Mastermind call last week that people use this word to describe a lot of different things. That causes confusion in itself. There are a few different ways to talk about an offer. Really, what I'm talking about today are acquisition offers. Essentially, what vehicles are we using to start a conversation with someone who's never heard of our brand before, and turn them into a buyer?

Molly:

A lot of times, that means a lead magnet, or a pre-sale article, or some sort of coupon. It definitely depends on the business and where you are currently. The more, especially post-iOS 14 with all the crazy stuff happening in paid media right now, the more that you can focus on your offers, the better that everything is going to go. I mean that in a few ways. Number one, putting more time into offer creation. I would say in both businesses, other than making sure our products, the things people are buying, are good. Other than that, I would say offer creation is where we spend most of our time, at least at the C level.

Molly:

When it comes to marketing strategy, offer creation is where we spend most of our time. Sometimes, we'll release an offer that John, Ezra and I have maybe spent 15 hours discussing. It looks like an opt-in page that took 30 minutes to write, but so much time and effort went into the psychology of what it is, and the delivery of what it is, and how it sets us up to sell. It's really, really spending time here. As the CEO, I'd be like this is one of my still most important duties every single day.

Molly:

The second part of it is thinking about the way you deliver it. People miss out on this part of offer creation because what we don't realize is that someone might be interested in solving a particular problem, or they might be interested in a particular topic. But they may not be interested in the way you're delivering it. Let's take Boom for example, a pre-sale article that Ezra has been using for over five years, that's the best acquisition offer ever created for that business is five makeup tips for older women. Simple pre-sale article, we optimize for purchases, there are different products on the page. It's an amazing, amazing pre-sale article.

Molly:

Well guess what? It also works really well as a lead magnet. A way we've been able to scale that business is to take that pre-sale article, turn it into a simple PDF, and put it behind an opt-in wall. There are some people that would rather give their email in exchange for an asset, and see that as higher value. There are some people that would rather read an article. So, this isn't just about the creation of new offers, but also the repackaging of assets that you already have to deliver them in a way that's going to reach more of the market that you're trying to reach based off of how they like to consume information.

Molly:

It's why videos and still images are equally as important on a paid traffic platform, because there are some people that like people. There are some people that react images. It's important to keep both of those in mind.

Brett:

I love that. So, what is the offer, and really crafting it and thinking about how do we make this offer irresistible, how do we craft this article so that someone says, "I have to have that. One, that designed just for me. Two, that's solving a real problem or it's meeting a real need. Three, I got to have it right now." [crosstalk 00:11:29] those things. Then also, how you actually deliver it.

Brett:

I want to break that down just a little bit. You had mentioned that sometimes you, John, and Ezra spend 15 hours crafting an offer where it looks like just a simple page, but you're really thinking about this. This goes way beyond the, "Oh, should we do a 10% discount? Or a 15% discount?" That's what I want to talk about here.

Molly:

Yes, but it's also different. What I would see, I would say, in 90% of students, is they spend those 15 hours on the ad, and "Oh, the offer, I'm just going to throw a page up there." It's like, no if you have to choose, it should actually be the other way around.

Brett:

The offer, yeah. Yeah, it totally makes sense. Walk us through a little bit. What is your process as you're thinking about crafting an offer? What questions are you asking? What are you thinking about? What do you want to have in front of you as you're building that irresistible offer?

Molly:

Of course. The first question is, what do we need? What need is there in the business that we are solving with this offer? So, the need might be "It's Q4 and we want to monetize, we need a sale, we need a promotion." Or the need might be, "Hey, we need more of an evergreen acquisition offer-"

Brett:

[crosstalk 00:12:48] need as business [crosstalk 00:12:49].

Molly:

As a business, exactly.

Brett:

Yep.

Molly:

So, is it more promotional? Monetization? Or do we need something more acquisition that's evergreen that's going to continue to bring new customers in? It always starts with what does the business need right now? We try to create one of these in each business once a month we're creating a new offer. A lot of times, we're using other offers that we've created in the past, but we try to create one new offer every single month. It first starts with "What do we need? What does the business need right now?"

Brett:

Awesome. Then what comes next? You understand "This is what we need. We need something evergreen. We need a quick hit in this area. This is what need as a business." What do you look at next?

Molly:

What are we going to sell? What is the true end goal of this offer? Maybe the end goal is for Smart Marketer, we're going to sell our Smart Paid Traffic course, and we want to do that on an evergreen basis. We always work backwards with offers. If you don't, you're going to end up with a funnel that doesn't really make a lot of sense, that might have a really attractive front end offer, but doesn't transition to the sale, which is the opposite of what we're looking for.

Brett:

Yeah, totally, totally makes sense.

Molly:

Then we pick-

Brett:

[crosstalk 00:14:10]. Yeah, please keep going.

Molly:

Oh, sorry. Go ahead. Then we pick the medium, so what medium do we feel is best suited for this particular scenario? That definitely comes down to business type. It comes down to what's already working in our business, what can we do more of, also what can we do that's different from what we've done in the past because maybe we have four or five evergreen acquisition offers running in our ad account. To add another, we either need to go after a different audience or we need to have a very different offer type that isn't going to compete with what we're currently doing.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah, I love that. Let's look at some examples here related to Boom that I think will help people a lot. You guys are working on an acquisition funnel every month, and that acquisition funnel I would assume, starts with an offer. Is that where that begins?

Molly:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Brett:

What does that look like? Can you talk about any examples there for Boom?

Molly:

A great example of this is going back to "Five Makeup Tips for Older Women", the pre-sale article. We know that that works, so we know that this audience wants makeup tips, or they want to have discussions around makeup. What is something similar but different that we could do? Last year, we launched a lead magnet. We switched the delivery. It's not a pre-sale article. It's something you're opting in for. We're collecting the email address, and then going for the sale.

Molly:

So, using what we know works, but changing the conversation a little bit. Instead of five makeup tips, it was, or is, a 10 Minute Makeup Guide. So, still speaking to makeup, but now speaking to women who are less maybe concerned about the tips, but are more interested in the fact, "Holy crap, this only takes 10 minutes." That's an awesome speed and automation hook. That would be a good example of saying-

Brett:

[crosstalk 00:16:16] how to take care of your makeup, or how to do your morning makeup routine in 10 minutes or something like that, that's kind of the angle or the thought?

Molly:

Exactly. That came from a need of we have scaled the current evergreen acquisition offers as much as we can across our paid traffic sources. We need something new to talk about. We need to be able to walk into the party and have a similar, but different, discussion. Okay, let's change the topic and let's change the vehicle in how we deliver it.

Brett:

Yeah, that's awesome. The five makeup tips, and yeah we've had the privilege of running that on YouTube for four years or five years or something, and it still works. The five makeup tips is great. It does appeal to the curiosity. People are like, "Okay, well I would like makeup tips. I'm over 50," and I should not, by the way we were talking old jokes, I'm not over 50, and I'm not a woman either, so you're thinking "I want to know what these tips are," so there's a little bit of curiosity and there's also some benefit there that you want to get, which is cool.

Brett:

But this 10 Minute Makeup Guide, that's speaking to someone who says... It really resonates well with that over 50 powerful women audience that Boom is after, is they're like, "I don't have time for makeup, and I don't want to take the time. 30 minutes getting ready for the day, no way." How did you guys land on that? Was that something that you heard consistent feedback from customers? Is there something you guys started to pick up on, because you know the customer? Where did that come from?

Molly:

In both businesses, these ideas usually come from the customer, or feedback to anything that we're doing from an organic standpoint. In our businesses, that's the benefit of social media. It's not that we're going for all this organic traffic, which is nice, but not always sustainable. We use social media as a way to test different conversations with the audience. Usually, this starts, for Smart Marketer, as a blog post, for example, and Boom, too.

Molly:

Last year, we've released a blog post about our "Love Demo Love Formula" which is a formula we teach to [crosstalk 00:18:23]-

Brett:

Formerly known as "The Testimonial Sandwich", so there was the artist formerly as "Testimonial Sandwich", that "Love Demo Love". Feels better.

Molly:

It's a formula, a template that we teach for ad creatives. We see that that does really well on the blog. The email has high open rates. People are spending a lot of time on that page. They're clicking on whatever call to action is within that blog post. Wow, this is something our audience is interested in. Can we turn this into some sort of acquisition offer? Sometimes, it also comes-

Brett:

Yeah, [crosstalk 00:18:54] clarify, just so people understand because you may be lost like, "What are you talking about? Love Demo Love, and with Testimony? What the heck?" It's Ezra's tried and true ad formula of starting with a testimonial, a real user-generated content testimonial, or maybe a couple, like one to three, product demonstration in the middle, product video demonstration in the middle of the video, and then you close with more testimonials or more love. So, "Love Demo Love", and also what used to be called the "Testimonial Sandwich".

Brett:

So, anyway, I just wanted to clarify for those that are like, "What are you talking about?" All right, go ahead.

Molly:

A lot of times, it comes from conversations with the audience, a response from the audience. Then sometimes, it comes just random inspiration. For Smart Marketer, an offer we're working on right now that's going to happen soon is the "State of Paid Advertising in 2022", which is a free four hour workshop. It will show an analysis we did of over $60 million in ad spend. That just came from a random idea I had in the shower, what would this audience be interested in, how can I help set them up for 2022? It's not always coming from the customer. Sometimes it's just a random idea that comes in when you give it space.

Molly:

Usually, it is coming from something that already exists, or that we see from competition, or other people out in the market.

Brett:

Just an interesting side note, are you an idea in the shower person? Is that where your ideas come from? I'd just be curious to know where do your good ideas come from? What's the space where disproportionately you have good ideas coming from that space?

Molly:

It's really whenever I give it space. That's the key. It's usually, in today's world where things are so busy, forced space, time away from my phone, which is the shower, which is driving in the car, or hiking. If you guys are interested in this topic, read "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's one of my favorite books. I read it in 2015 or '16, but she basically explains how this works, like how does creativity actually work and how can you set yourself up to be more open to cool ideas? The cool ideas are out there. Most of us are just too shut off, too busy, too addicted to what we're doing to allow the ideas to actually come in. So yes, any time you give it-

Brett:

What was the name of that book again?

Molly:

"Big Magic".

Brett:

"Big Magic". Love that. I'm going to check that out. Just a quick note here, because I've always found this fascinating, I have zero good ideas in the shower. I really don't know that I've ever had one positive, useful, meaningful idea from the shower other than "Hey babe, we're out of shampoo." That's all I think about in the shower. However, for me, two places that I get disproportionately high amount of good ideas, one is if in the morning if I get up when it's still quiet, and I have eight kids so it needs to be early in the morning when it's quiet, but if I feel like I'm ahead of the game, if I feel like there's nothing that I have to do right that second and I can just kind of sit in the quiet, good ideas come from there.

Brett:

The other place, and this is an odd one, but on airplanes. I sit on an airplane. They shut that door. I never pay for WiFi, I just don't want to. Some of the ideas that have shaped OMG, that have shaped the agency, came from me sitting on an airplane. I don't know why. That's my shower time. I even said a few times, I'm like I should just go fly somewhere and then fly right back, and I'm going to get great ideas.

Molly:

A lot of people do that. I have a friend who took a flight to Hong Kong and back, and never even stepped into the city just to write a book. The reason for that Brett, those are different forms of meditation. It's the same thing. It's essentially cutting off stimulation that is-

Brett:

Right, there's nothing else.

Molly:

... keeping your brain busy so that your mind and your soul can be quiet, so that these ideas can really formulate. That's the key.

Brett:

I love that. I love the fact that I'm not the only one that loves... I don't even like sitting on airplanes, but I get the best ideas. Anyway, cool. That's awesome. Cool, so thank you for chasing down that rabbit trail. I think that's so useful. Where were we though?

Molly:

We were talking about offers that are working right now, and I was chatting about the 10 Minute Makeup Guide, the workshop we're doing for Smart Marketer, and just saying that lot of the ideas comes from what you guys say, what we see as a need out in the market. A lot of them are random, unique, creative ideas, which are fun too.

Brett:

So, really fostering both, so you kind of need a vehicle or a mechanism to collect that feedback from customers, and then you need to create space for yourself to have these good ideas, and then bring it together with your executive team to get the idea when you're relaxing or whatever, and then you bring it to the rest of the executive team and you hammer that out. It may be 15 hours, but at the end of that time you've got a killer offer that you can really use to grow the business.

Molly:

Yeah, Brett, and some other steps that I didn't mention there, just to sort of round out the actual tactical, how do we get it out the door. Once we have the idea and we feel good about the offer, we feel good about its ability to do what we need it to do in the business, then we go into action mode actually creating this thing. That usually looks like a brainstorm call with our copy team where we discuss what is this, and how is it going to be presented?

Molly:

We talk about the big hooks, what are the big selling points of this offer, what problems does this offer actually solve? Of course, how do we want this to be delivered? Is it a PDF? Is it a pre-sale article? Is it a simple opt-in page where we're giving a coupon, like you said? How will this be delivered. Then they're able to go and make it sound good, not only the page in which we're selling the thing, but also the delivery of the thing. Then of course, that's passed off to design, it's passed off to our ads team and everything starts to get into motion.

Brett:

It's so good to get copy involved early, because that's such an important part of everything else. You have to be able to really strike that cord and make people want it, and copy is such a huge part of that. I love that you do that fairly early on.

Molly:

Yeah, and it's not just writing the copy that is the offer. It's also the selling of the offer. Even if it's a free thing, you're still selling someone on the idea.

Brett:

Totally. Totally, yeah.

Molly:

Every new acquisition funnel is first tested through an email promotion to the list, because we don't want to go out and buy-

Brett:

Okay, so you build the product, you test the email, email to the list first.

Molly:

Yeah. Of course, it's always going to convert better to your list than it will to paid traffic. We want to test it to the list first before we start to buy ads, mainly because we want to see of course, what's the conversion rate on this thing if it's free, and does this actually generate sales? We can create offers all day, but if it's not meeting the need of the business, then it's not going to work. It's first tested to email. That also gets some good traction going on your pixel so that Facebook and Google can start to see what types of people are taking action on this page, get some momentum.

Molly:

Then we stop for a second. We look at heat maps. We look at conversion rate. We look at the performance from a data standpoint. We make any optimizations that we might need to make, and then it's ready to go to you and your team, and hand over to our media buyer for paid ads.

Brett:

I love that. I love that. So, you're testing to the email list first to understand does this convert. And hey, if it doesn't convert to your list, it's not going to convert to cold traffic.

Molly:

Exactly.

Brett:

So, does it convert, and at what level, and kind of understanding that a little bit. Then you're going to run some ads and start getting conversions, trying to pixel, finding out what's what. You pause that. You then look at heat maps, make some tweaks/optimizations to the funnel itself. Then you go ham on the advertising at that point.

Molly:

Then it's hopefully ready for scale. Probably half of these that we create don't work still to this day. That's okay. We say, "Let's put it on hold for a second." It's never that this just doesn't work, and we're not going to use it ever again. It's "Hey, let's put this to the side and try to figure out why it didn't work, and maybe we can use it later." There are a lot of times that we just can't get it to work, and that's okay.

Brett:

Right. Really, you guys are the best. You're the best in the world at some of this stuff. If you've got a 50% success rate, what's everybody else going to have? That's likely to be 50% or maybe less even. What's interesting, we just walked through that four step process you guys go through, most people it's like think for five minutes about an offer, maybe it's more than that, but think about an offer and then "All right cool, let's throw a bunch of media behind it to see how it does," where you guys are testing with your audience or email list, you're running some small tests and ads, you're getting data, you're optimizing and then you're going big. I love that so much.

Brett:

It kind of goes back to one of my favorite business principles that comes from Jim Collins, the author of "Good to Great", and a book called "Turning the Flywheel". He's an awesome... I'm sure everybody's heard of him. He talks about this concept of firing bullets and then cannonballs. He used kind of this old warship analogy. The idea is fire bullets to make sure you got something that works, and then fire a cannonball rather than a lot of people fire a cannonball and they use up all their gunpowder, and all they've got available, and they're like, "Well now I've got nothing."

Brett:

So, test small and then go big.

Molly:

Also, understanding that these offers are not channel-specific. A lot of people create an offer, which they don't spend a lot of time on. They set up a Facebook campaign. They run it for a few days, and then scrap it all. "Oh, this offer doesn't work, and Facebook ads don't work." It's like guys, no it's so much deeper than that.

Brett:

Totally. Totally. Your kind of creating these acquisition funnels then for Boom, and spoiler alert, Boom is going to be releasing new products this year, which is great. Your kind of creating one of these acquisition funnels for each product. That was another thing too with Boom, and Ezra talks about this a lot, that it was just the Boom stick trio, or just the boom stick, that's all that you really use for cold traffic. Now you're building these acquisition funnels for other products, which is huge, and which is going to be a game changer.

Molly:

Look, honestly acquisition funnels are way easier for e-commerce than info or services.

Brett:

They are. They are. No doubt.

Molly:

Info and services takes way more of relationship buildup before someone purchases. It's mainly lead generation through a workshop, or a webinar, or a lead magnet, or a challenge, or a mini series, or whatever the hell people are doing today to try to convert someone into a customer or client. It's a little bit of a different ballgame than e-commerce. A lot of the plays with e-comm can be easier. A lot of the offers that Boom runs are simple. It's direct to a product page for a lip gloss, direct to a product page for a mascara, direct to something that's a direct sale essentially. Where with info, we've got to dance around it a little bit more. The offer creation is even more intensive for that business type.

Brett:

Yeah, it is.

Molly:

Like me. Good lesson, what Ezra has been able to do with Boom I think after working with us at Smart Marketer, is realize that there is a huge hole in the e-commerce space for offer creation that isn't just a giveaway, that isn't just direct to product page, that isn't just a coupon. That is a big reason Boom is able to excel, because we do understand pre-sale articles. We do understand lead magnets.

Molly:

Boom is even doing webinars. They're called "Ladies Night". These principles work for both business types, and there's actually a much bigger opportunity in e-commerce to get more creative with your offers because other e-commerce businesses are simply lazy or don't know how to go about it.

Brett:

You nailed it a little bit ago when you said that in a lot of ways offers for e-commerce, it's simpler. It's more straightforward than it is to do info products. Info products, you really got to get to the core of what this thing, and what is it going to unlock, and what are all the emotions we're trying to tap into here, and uncover here.

Molly:

And give way more value first.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. How do you do that? So kind of blending some of those principles, it's super powerful and it's definitely helped Boom get to where it is today without a doubt. Cool. We've got a few additional things I want to talk about, and not a whole lot of time to do it-

Molly:

Brett, hold on. I want to add one more thing. This is one of the biggest reasons that you might be failing to scale as an e-commerce business. If you are only relying on the people that are clicking from a Facebook ad, and directly converting and buying a product, you're missing out on a huge part of your market that just isn't ready to buy in the moment. If you're able to generate the lead, if you're able to nurture them via email, if you're able to set up a funnel where they get some sort of discount, especially if you add some scarcity, your scalability will increase in a way that you never understood, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your advertising. It's just that you are having a conversation with a different part of the market. That's all it is.

Molly:

So, if you are struggling to scale, it's probably not the ad platform, and B, the e-comm company that is willing to go outside of the box.

Brett:

Yeah, totally agree. It's not just I need to bid differently, I need a slightly different campaign structure in my ads manager or inside of Google Ads. Those things may be true, but often it comes down to offer and having the right funnel. Are we actually getting people to give us their email address and get a direct conversion as well? Do we have a nurture sequence? Do we have a remarketing sequence built in? All of those things really unlock the ability to scale rather than just "How do I bid differently or change my campaign structure?"

Molly:

Brett, I would say that your most successful clients, and the ones that you like working with the most are probably strong in this area. As an agency, that's a dream.

Brett:

No doubt. No doubt.

Molly:

The issue you usually have an agency is that you're great at running ads. You only have a few places to run ads to. There's only so much you can do.

Brett:

Yeah, that's one reason we love working with Boom.

Molly:

Just emphasize.

Brett:

You guys get it, and we're just able to work together and crush it. That's fantastic. Cool. Any quick insights, and I kind of designed this podcast series to have a long shelf life, but let's talk about a few trends. What's working right now, or what are some trends inside of Facebook ads that you're seeing right now?

Molly:

Good news is, as we do each year, we're seeing a huge decrease in ad cost at the beginning of the year. Almost 50% cheaper in most of our ad accounts in the analysis. We did over $60 million in spend than what we were seeing Q4, which is a huge relief with the dumpster fire that Facebook was the last six months of 2021.

Brett:

No doubt.

Molly:

That's a huge sigh of relief. We're also starting to see more accurate reporting, or at least I think we're all getting better as marketers getting our stuff together from a tracking standpoint. So, things are looking up, and we are working on offers, working on creative and copy right now so we can really take advantage of the next few months of cheap traffic, and try to do everything we can to set us up for a big Q4 again this year.

Brett:

I love it. Just one thing to keep in mind, this is going to likely always be the trend. Advertisers panic in fourth quarter because costs are going through the roof. But the costs are going to come back down in Q1, so be planning, and be thinking about that, and what's your acquisition strategy going to be in Q1 and then as you lead into and get ramped up for Q4. So, that's awesome.

Brett:

Any other specific trends you want to talk about now? I also want to dig into a mindset just a little bit, which will be fun.

Molly:

Really quick, I wouldn't say this is necessarily a new trend for right now, but it's something we've been preaching for a few years that I just literally cannot emphasize enough. I was actually just on a training call with some of our students, and one of them sells physical products. He's in the snack and wellness space. His Facebook ad results that I was looking at were incredible, $0.04 clicks, 15% click through rate, $3.00 add to cart, numbers I have not seen in years.

Molly:

Guess what he's doing from an ad perspective? It's native advertising. It's user-generated content. It is simply telling stories about people in their own words the experience that they had not even specifically with your product. This was a weight loss product. So, his best performing ad was a picture of a beach with an arrow to a certain area of the beach. The copy was telling a story from the customer's standpoint of, "Last year I went to this beach and I couldn't even walk up the stairs without getting out of breath. I felt terrible, and my health wasn't great. This year, 12 months later, I've gone back to this beach. I've lost 90 pounds. I was able to run around, and I really enjoyed myself."

Molly:

Those weren't the exact words, but that's how simple it was. It wasn't an ad about the product. It wasn't an ad about how great this product was. Absolutely nothing about features. Really, not even a lot of benefits other than the benefits that were woven into the story. This isn't necessarily new, but it's what people are still missing out on when it comes to Facebook and Instagram. These are true social platforms. People are used to engaging with stories from family and friends. Use imagery and copy that is that. It's really that simple.

Brett:

I love it. I don't really ever see that changing. We spend a lot of on YouTube and running YouTube ads, and we're seeing similar things in that videos, and usually you need slightly longer videos on YouTube than you do on Facebook in most cases, but still that user-generated content, those testimonial videos that you could weave into your YouTube ad works there too. I think it's always going to work. As long as it's an authentic, genuine testimonial that really hits on "Here's how my life has changed. Here's why I love this product. Here's my story," people eat that up. I think people will always eat that up if it rings authentic.

Molly:

Because it's a testimonial, that's not what makes it work. We chat about this and then students submit a testimonial, and the first line is "I love this product so much." It's like, guys that's words of customer, but it sounds like an ad. We need to start with things like, "As a mom of two, I didn't think I would have time to do X, Y, and Z." How much more relatable is that? It doesn't feel like you are being sold to.

Brett:

Yeah, one time we had a prospect, and we ended up not working with him. He submits these videos and you could literally read the people that are supposed to be customers. You could watch their eyes reading from a teleprompter. I'm like, "Guys, this not going to work." You want people to be sharing real emotion and their real story.

Molly:

Yeah, well sharing a life story. It's not about why the product's great. It is sharing their story and how it fit into their lives. So, we ask three important questions to get really good testimonials. If you ask these questions, it will set people up to give you really good answers. What was life like before you bought this product? That has them describe that undesirable before state, starts to tell their story. What is life like afterwards? Now they're talking about the after state, the benefits, how much better they feel. Then if you were to re-commend this to a friend, what exactly would you say? When you say it like that, they take off their "I'm a salesperson for this company" hat, and they put on their "Oh, I'm writing a message, or speaking a message to a friend. I'm going to be real about how this product helped me."

Brett:

Love that so much. Actually, since I'm such a believer in testimonials, but getting authentic ones, I created "The Ultimate Guide", I don't remember what I called it, but how to get authentic customer testimonials. It's on the OMG Commerce website. Check it out. I'm not sure if I have those exact [crosstalk 00:40:34]-

Molly:

That's sounds like a good offer for your agency, Brett.

Brett:

It's a good offer. Yeah. We can do that as an offer too for Smart Marketer. It's so true. The difference between a really good testimonial and then an average testimonial is two different planets, two different universes. Getting a good testimonial is worth it's weight in gold. Having one that's average, is really going to do nothing for you, or one that's weak. Anyway, I love that.

Brett:

What was life like before? What was life like after? What would you say to a friend? I love that so much. It's also good, you want to give someone a little bit of help as they're creating a testimonial. Otherwise, it feels like they're staring at a screen and not knowing what to say, or looking at a blank page or whatever. So, giving them some help is key, for sure. I love that. Love that.

Brett:

Let's take just a couple of minutes, and we're going to be short-changing this topic for sure, but I wanted to take a couple of minutes because this will be fun and I think it's useful. It's been a difficult road the last couple of years for e-commerce, entrepreneurs, media buyers, online advertisers, not rough [crosstalk 00:41:47]. E-commerce has grown tremendously. That's been good. E-commerce has grown, so no complaints there.

Brett:

But it's challenging times. I know you train a lot of people, you train a lot of entrepreneurs and media buyers. What are you teaching people about mindset and how mindset impacts results?

Molly:

Mindset is everything in this game. I don't think any of us are maybe even better marketers than one another. It's your willingness to stay committed, and to continue forward. It's what we talked about earlier with us being okay with half of the work we do not actually being used. Or as a media buyer, it's not even about who can set up the best ads. It's about who can continue to troubleshoot and optimize to make each piece of the campaign better so that they can move forward.

Molly:

This is personal development, a concept that most of you have heard of before, but it's really the difference between having a scarcity mindset, or having an abundance mindset. For me, I choose to be grateful. I choose to not get upset with these paid traffic platforms. I choose to look at things with the glass half full. I think that if there was anything unique about our culture at Smart Marketer, that is it. We have all chosen this mindset.

Molly:

There is going to be trouble in anything you do. I think as a human, the last few years have been hard. It's easy to get down. Of course, I still get frustrated, angry, depressed. All of those things occur. But I try to choose to bring positivity to our business, try to bring it to our employees, to our offers, to the trainings that we provide. It really is a completely different experience when you choose to do that.

Brett:

Yeah, I love it. I'm a really positive person. I'm naturally upbeat. I'm a glass half full kind of guy. But I have my moments. I have moments where I want to curse Tim Cook for the latest iOS update, and why are you killing a good thing, Tim Cook? Or whoever else is making the decisions at Apple. We can get in that mindset. It's okay to be frustrated and complain a little bit, but don't stay there.

Brett:

Get to a better place, because you're right, it's not just who's the smartest, it's not just who has the best campaign structure, but who can show up consistently and do the right thing, and who can be okay with "Okay, I got one, two, three campaigns that I wrote that didn't work, but then I had an offer that hit and then it scaled to the moon." Who could handle that?

Molly:

And who-

Brett:

Yeah, please add to that.

Molly:

[inaudible 00:44:31], and who actually cares? It's why I so believe-

Brett:

Exactly.

Molly:

... in the mission of our business that Ezra initially set out, serve the world unselfishly, and profit. If you truly care about the group of people that your business serves, and you care about the way that you're changing their lives, even if you're selling a toothbrush and you're helping their mouth to be cleaner, it doesn't matter. If you truly care about that, it changes the energy of the business.

Molly:

I can tell you, if you asked me "Molly, what is the difference between students that succeed or don't succeed, or friends that I know in the industry that have done great things, or people that are struggling," it really comes back to mindset, and it comes back to an authentic, genuine, caring for the group of people that you're serving. If you have that, and you stay consistent, there's no way that you can't make this work.

Brett:

Yeah, it's so true. If you can really be passionate about your customer, and I would even say about your team, then that's way more powerful than just being passionate about your product. I think both are important, but being passionate about your customer and about your team, that's really where's it at. One thing I discovered for me, and hey I've got lofty goals, I want my business to succeed and I want to it to grow, I think entrepreneurship, and businesses, and capitalism offer a lot to the world. If it's just about money, I burn out quickly. I get to a point where I'm like, "I don't really care anymore."

Brett:

But if I think about who I'm serving, and I think about that business owner that my agency is helping accelerate growth for, if I think about team members who were helping accelerate their individual growth, and I get to see someone step and lead a call, or mail a presentation, or come up with a strategy.

Molly:

Nothing better.

Brett:

I'm like "Whoa, I never thought of that." That is so fun for me, and so rewarding. Then when you key in on that, then guess what, the profits are better too, and then the business grows better too.

Molly:

Brett, aside from the money, I saw a study last year that rated digital marketing as the most stressful job or career path out there, even above brain surgeons, or people working in the medical field.

Brett:

That's crazy, yeah.

Molly:

I believe that. Think about it, we're basically day traders.

Brett:

[crosstalk 00:46:47] so much out of your control, and that's a scary thing. There's so much out of your control, it's scary. Yeah.

Molly:

Exactly. To be able to sustain that, and the changes, and the stress, and the fact that what we do never really turns off unless you choose for it to do so your mindset and who you are as a person, and how you treat yourself and the people around you, that is will what will sustain you moving forward more than anything else.

Brett:

Love that. So good. So good, Molly Pittman. All right, so people that are listening that are like, "Holy cow, I need more Molly Pittman in my life," where do you suggest people go? Obviously, there's lots of stuff people are going to enjoy at SmartMarketer.com, but where should someone get started, or what are some cool things, what are some offers you got going on right now?

Molly:

Yeah, check out SmartMarketer.com. There are some free resources there, depending on what we have going on at the time. I know this is coming out a bit later, Brett, so we do have that State of Paid Advertising in 2022 workshop coming up. We have lots of free resources on our website. If you want to follow me, I'm most active on Instagram @MollyPittmanDigital. I also read all of my DMs, so if you have questions, thoughts about this, I love hearing from you all and I would love to hear from you on Instagram.

Brett:

Instagram, check it out. What's your handle again?

Molly:

One more quick thing, Brett.

Brett:

What's your handle again on Instagram?

Molly:

@MollyPittmanDigital.

Brett:

@MollyPittmanDigital.

Molly:

Of course, if you like this format, you like podcasts, John, and Ezra, and I do have a podcast, The Smart Marketer Podcast. So, check that out.

Brett:

It is an intact podcast, where you get to be a guest for a couple of episodes. It was tremendously fun. Check out the Smart Marketer podcast. I'll link to all of this in the show notes as well so it's easy for you to access. With that, Molly Pittman, any final words? Any final words of wisdom, re-commendations, or asks of the audience?

Molly:

Keep doing it. Just keep at it. Take care of yourself. Maintain that balance in your life. Don't get sucked into this world so that you lose who you are. Or if you do, quickly bounce back from that. Just enjoy. We're living in a really cool time as humans, and there's a lot of crazy stuff going on. When have we ever had the opportunity to do what we're doing from a business standpoint?

Molly:

It's complicated, but also the world is truly at our fingertips. Find a group of people that you align with, that you're interested in, that you want to help, and figure out how you can serve them, and figure out what you can sell to them. I just always go back to being grateful that we are able to work in this way. It's really, really cool. Hopefully, you guys enjoy it too.

Brett:

I love it. It's a super challenging industry. It's always changing. It's very stressful. But man, it's fun. It can be fun, especially if you have the right community around you. If you can find that balance man, it's an awesome place to be. Check out Smart Marketer. Check out the community. Get to know Molly Pittman. Follow her on Instagram.

Brett:

With that, thank you so much for tuning in. This show would be nothing without you who tune in and listen faithfully. If you haven't rated the show, please do that. Leave a review. It helps other people find the show. If there's somebody that you're listening to this and you're like, "Whoa, this person needs to hear this episode," then share with them. That would mean the world to me, and I know it'd make a difference in somebody else's life as well.

Brett:

With that, until next time, stay spicy.



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Episode 216
:
Allie Bloyd - Marketing Ink

Offers, Audience Building, and List Nurturing - The Ultimate Game Changers

Allie Bloyd is a podcast host, consultant, Facebook Ad pro, and marketing juggernaut!

In this episode, Allie and I talk about several elements many eCommerce brands overlook or simply under-leverage.

To use a golf analogy, many eComm brands are focused on impressive drives when they also need to consider their short game. You know the saying, "Drive for show, putt for dough."

That’s where offers, audience building, and list nurturing come into play. Here’s just a few nuggets you'll learn:

  • How to completely change the math on your cold traffic by creating irresistible offers that don't cheapen your brand.
  • How to utilize tripwires and micro offers as an eComm brand.
  • Audience building and how it can lower ad costs (especially during peak seasons like a holiday).
  • The best book written on remarketing and loyalty (hint: you’ve probably read it to your kids before).

Mentioned In This Episode:

Allie Bloyd

Transcript:

Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the E-Commerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce, and today I have a treat for you. I have a real expert, someone who is engaging and dynamic and smart. She speaks at events, she's got a podcast, she's written books. She's all over the place. And what's interesting and what I love about my guest today, Ali Boyd, is that she's not just the typical e-commerce guru, right? She works with agency owners and marketers and local businesses. And so she's gonna have a fresh perspective, a unique outlook on some really important topics that each of us need to master, or that each of us need to have someone on our team who has mastered. And so we're gonna talk about audience building and content creation. We're gonna talk about list building. We're gonna talk about building great offers and things you don't know about offers.

And this is gonna be a bit of a smorgasboard of marketing goodness that you can take and apply to your business. So before I welcome her on, I'm gonna give a brief bio. Now Allen and I met just recently, we're in San Diego at tnc, and I was talking to Michael Stelzner shout out to Michael Stelzner. What's up, man? Social media examiner, social media marketing world. And so Michael and I are chatting, and then Allie comes up and Michael said, Hey, do you know Allie? And I said, I don't know Allie, but I've seen Allie speak and I've seen her. She's all over the socials. And so we met there, hit it off. We're like, Hey, let's do some podcasts. And so here we are. But Ally is the founder of Valley Boy Media, a marketing agency and consultancy working with locally based businesses, marketing agencies marketers and small businesses. Shelves are clients and students, increased revenue by leveraging paid ads, content marketing, effective sales processes, and automated systems that make you money. She's the host of the Marketing Inc podcast. Spoiler alert, I am on an episode there. So check that out. She's a Facebook and Instagram ad expert, seven figure entrepreneur, ClickFunnels, two Comma Club. Shout out to Russell Brunson. And she's been featured in Forbes, social Media Examiner, digital Marketer, smart Marketer, and more. That's quite a bio alley. Welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on. And how's it going?

Allie:

Thank you so much for having me. Yes, what an introduction. Excited to be here. Like you said, I do not specialize in working with e-commerce companies, but truly what I try and focus on are things that apply to all businesses and that every business out there really needs to know. The question is, how do you implement that for the specific type of business that you have? And I definitely have seen some of these concepts not necessarily be taken advantage of with e-commerce brands specifically. So excited to dive into those with you today.

Brett:

Yeah, I love it. And I do enjoy occasionally bringing on a real expert, a real pro to the show who eCommerce. eCommerce is not their only game. And that's where you live. You plan a lot of different spaces, but good marketing, good marketing principles apply to different businesses. And I think sometimes a great breakthrough or an unlock that you may have in your business often comes from either outside your business or from just taking a unique look or unique angle at things. And so excited to dive in. Let's just dive right in and talk about offers. So what is it, cuz you'd mentioned to me like, Hey, I don't think e-commerce brands are great at creating good offers or even creating offers at all. Yeah. So what advice would you give to the e-com brand out there about creating good offers?

Allie:

So I think probably the biggest misconception that I see across the board with the different types of businesses that I work with, which like you said, small business owners. I do work with some e-commerce businesses marketers, agencies, coaches, consultants. I kind of see a lot of different industries out there, up close and personal. And I have found pretty consistently that offers are one of the most misunderstood or not understood at all concepts in marketing. Yet it is the single most important thing in my opinion, because without a good offer, it doesn't matter how great your ads are, if people don't want what you're selling, if you're not giving them a reason to be interested or to be interested right now, they're not gonna pay attention. And so where a lot of people really fall flat is they spend all this time and energy focusing on the platforms and the technical and the creative and the copy and the funnel, but they don't spend any time on the offer.

And so when things aren't working out, they continue to try and tweak these things that maybe we're actually fine to begin with if they just had a better offer. And so it's this vicious cycle. So at the end of the day, an offer is not your product and service, it's how it's packaged, how it's presented, how it is going to engage that end potential consumer and say, Hey, this is something you should take advantage of now this is not something you should sit and wait on. And I think that's even more important for eCommerce businesses than for most local or small businesses or service based businesses. Because in general, eCommerce companies at least believe they have a shorter buying cycle where somebody's gonna see my ad and maybe I've got seven to 30 days to nurture those people. Whereas I think the mindset is a little bit different in service based businesses where that window of opportunity tends to be larger.

And so you've gotta take advantage of the moment. So I think the biggest issue that I see with e-commerce specifically on offers is they don't focus on gated content or lead magnets. So they're not really focused on building the list. The list. It doesn't matter what kind of business you have, it's one of the most valuable assets that you own because there's only so much you can say to someone in an ad, there's only so much you can share. Maybe it's one product or service that you wanna present on the front end, but maybe you have a whole host of things you could provide to them. Outside of that, they're not gonna get to know those things if they're not on your list. And if you're not actually nurturing that list, which I know we'll probably talk more about as we get into this, but being able to create gated content offers is step number one for just about everyone. And I do think that historically e-commerce businesses feel like this doesn't apply to them as much as a small business. They're like, I don't need leads, I need purchases. Right. Well, and of course that's true for all of us, but a lead can make a purchase. That's the goal.

Brett:

Exactly. Yeah. And so let's unpack this a little bit. So I do think that most eCommerce brands, they focus on headlines, whether it's search or display or now on Facebook, or they focus on the opening of their video ad, whether that's YouTube or social or whatever, and some of the benefits that the product brings. But then the only offer is buy it it now and often buy it a full price, which is not bad. I'm a fan of getting full price whenever you can. But what would be some of your recommendations? And so you talk about gated content, <affirmative>, lead magnets, trip wires, you may not have said trip wires, so that goes with it. But what would some of the offers look like <affirmative>, and why are you structuring these offers that are not just by the product?

Allie:

Yeah, for sure. So your gated content offers or your lead magnets, they serve one purpose. And that is to typically hook somebody that may not be ready to buy or maybe they need more information. It also could be for somebody that's product or problem unaware. If somebody's not aware that they have the problem that your product solves, you will not get them to buy. They have no use for it, at least in their mind. So using a good gated content offer can hook somebody who has the need. They have the problem, they have the interest in this piece of content, you can get them in on the backend and then sell the solution to that problem. So it could be a video tutorial. It again, depends on what you sell, but let's say that you sell handheld massagers. Okay, <affirmative> selling this product, but your product is solving a problem, which is helping people with pain.

So if I'm somebody with pain, what type of information would be relevant to me? Well, it could be a five ways to reduce your pain naturally type of video or PDF or something like that. You're selling a natural pain relief product. I get somebody that has the problem, I get them on my list. I could even send them directly to that product in the funnel itself. I don't have to wait until they're on the list. I just hook 'em on the front, then I present the solution. So that is somebody who's typically gonna be more problem unaware or just not quite there yet in terms of being willing to buy. So you mentioned trip wires. So trip wires are a great example of a loss leader. A loss leader is gonna be that first step in the right direction. Something should be useful. It should not be the hole enchilada though.

So for example, if I'm this massager company, maybe I have a little mini massager, or maybe I have a low cost heating pad or something like that to where it's not my core product that I wanna sell, but it does still solve the problem in some way, but it doesn't give them everything they're ever gonna need. So what I could do is I could have an offer that is a very aggressively priced first step type of product. So you're right, you shouldn't feel like a discount on your core product is the only type of offer. Nobody wants to discount their core products and services. And that's understandable. But you don't have to, you know, can discount something that is not your core product and service. So find a product that you've got really good margins on. That's one option to where you can afford to go really aggressive on the price or something that historically is a first step purchase for your buyers.

What's that thing that gets them in the door and then you sell them more on the back end? Sometimes it might actually be just your core product. Maybe you only have one core product. In that case it could be kind of a teaser or a taste test. So for example, there is a company called Relief Factor that is a natural pain. It's like a vitamin pain reduction type of brand. They have a 21 day quick start kit. Okay, that's their loss leader essentially. So it's a very aggressively priced three week pack because they have shown that three weeks is what it takes for the average person to start feeling the results and the relief, which that's a really important component. You wanna make sure you can actually provide some sort of benefit inside of that window or that product that you're offering so that they'll want more.

But they price this at like 1995. Their month of vitamins though is almost $90. So it's definitely a discount, but it's only for that first month. And it's not a whole month, it's only three weeks. So it's a very specifically packaged offer. They know that people in kind of the pain relief space tend to be skeptical because they probably tried a bunch of things. Maybe they haven't really found relief from anything. And so if they were to just say, buy my subscription based $90 per month vitamin pack, probably gonna be some crickets there, it's just not that exciting. And it's also kind of asking a lot before you have shown any result for that person. So their 19 95, 3 week quick start allows someone to try this product with very little risk. It gives them a window of time with that product that they can see results and then they get you on the monthly recurring subscription. I myself got suckered into this offer. I wouldn't call it suckered in because it's a great product.

Had I not tried it and had I not gotten results from it, I would never have spent $90 a month on this pain relief vitamin. But I have, and I've referred other people to it along the way and now I'm telling you about it. Cause I think it's a great offer. So that's a good example of a product based loss leader. And yes, you are discounting your core product, but if you believe that your product is good and you wanna get it into the hands of people who need it, that can be a great solution. Especially because that specific company, they don't make their money on the first purchase, they make it on the recurring sale. So that's the question you have to ask yourself, are you a one and done type of purchase? If so, that's not gonna be your best type of offer, but are you recurring revenue business? And if you are, that could be a good offer for you there.

Brett:

I love it. I wanna add a couple things to that cause I love that example and I've got a few others that kind of tie into it. So I think that there's a distinct advantage if you sell a consumable, like the pain relief or any kinda supplements, food based things, makeup, that's consumable great client that we worked with for years now live bearded, shout out to the boys Macon Spencer at Live Bearded. But they have a great irresistible offer that's just crushing it right now. It's their 24 top 24. I always wanna say flavors, but it's actually sense. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, not flavors, don't eat your beard products, this is sense. But 24 top cents shipped to you in little sample thingy plus you get a $10 gift card and it's only 10 bucks. Wow. So it's like, hey, you can just try our best stuff, just little samples.

And you get a $10 gift card <affirmative>. And so they're getting a huge take rate, high percentage of conversions there. And then once people get that, now they have an email sequence and follow up sequence to get them to go and spend that $10 they just got in the gift card and to buy more of that, get on subscriptions and things. So yep, I love that. And it is not the core product because you're not just saying, here's my beard product, I'm giving you 50% off. Yep. Here's some samples, try it <affirmative>, just try it before you commit. And then when you go to buy it, you're gonna pay the full price. And I would argue that the supplement is the same. It's not a full, it is three week and it's like the quick start kit. So it's getting the kit for discounted rate. So I love that.

I also heard a long time ago, I think it was made from Jay brand back in the day, that if you sell a service, and this could be in your world, it could be coaching or information, or it could be a service plumber or whatever if you sell a service and you wanna do a freebie or a giveaway giveaway product. But if you are in a product business, then you wanna do a freebie or some kind of deal, give away information or a service because you don't wanna discount or cheapen your core thing. So if I'm selling that massager, by the way, I love the percussive therapy devices like Thera Gun, I don't know, thera Gun on some other stuff. But I could those things. Do you own one of those devices? Is that the kind of handheld massage you're talking about

Allie:

Those And then I also, I pretty much own any type of massaging, heating pad, pain relief device out there, honestly.

Brett:

<laugh>. Yeah. So I like the progressive therapy devices. I tweak my back one time on a trip surfing and I say with same with a buddy of mine, I'm a terrible surfer, but I like to do it. And I thought, I was like, man, I'm done. I threw my back out, I'm done. I didn't throw it out, throw it out. But I thought I was done. And he was like, Hey, try this. Let me use this gun. And my wife was using it on my lower back and I surfed the next day. It was crazy. So it wasn't a major injury, but I felt off. But I think you could take something like that and say, and package up different information bundles for athletes and for leg pain, back pain, shoulder pain, <affirmative>, whatever, stress induced things, you know, start packaging up information or offers on hey, here's how to treat this type of pain and oh hey, and then here's how our device does that. So anyway, wanna throw that out there. But I love where we're going here with offers and I think you had a couple more things you were gonna share there.

Allie:

So another type of offer is the product preview offer. This is really where I sometimes see e-commerce businesses getting it, but honestly there's still a lot more room for improvement. So this is if you are presenting that product to somebody who they know they want it, they want that core thing, but you kind of just wanna get 'em to buy now and you want them to get something that's maybe higher in value or to purchase purchase a little bit more. So a great example of a product preview is a bundle. So a bundle offer, it's not discounting anything. Maybe you give them a percentage off of what it would be if they bought those things individually. But part of the beauty of bundles is removing the confusion, removing the choices that somebody has to think about when it comes to buying that product. Because when there are a lot of choices, people oftentimes they won't buy anything cuz they don't know what's right for them.

So for example, you could do a skincare bundle if you sell skincare products and you could do it for the person with dry skin. Maybe you've got one for somebody with oily skin, maybe you have one for somebody with acne. You know, have these different bundles with different products, but they've already been prepackaged for that person. So you say, oh the dry skin skin skincare regimen bundle. And I get it cheaper than I would if I bought them individually cuz I'm buying 'em together. And maybe you throw in something special like a lofa or a rag or something that goes along with that as a nice little thank you. Well I'm spending more, cause I'm not buying one product from you, I'm buying multiple, but I'm feeling like I got a great value and you made the decision really, really easy for me. It could also be something like a buy one, get one, whatever price.

It could be 50% off or it could be something for free. Or you could do a buy three get one free. So it's anything that is an added value on the back end, but they have to buy the core thing that you want them to buy in order to receive that. So that can be great for holiday stuff because we're talking about people who need to buy gifts for a lot of people in their life. So you can incentivize them to buy all those gifts from you. If you want to make holiday shopping easier, let me just get all the gifts that you need right here. I'm gonna give you a price break for doing all your shopping with me, which you should. And I'm gonna give you a discount on shipping because you are getting everything from me as opposed to multiple places. So I worked with this one e-commerce business that did really, really well.

They did natural like body products, bath products, different things like that. And so they created some cool bundle offers on the front end. So things like the new mom box was one of them. These are products that anybody could have used, but it's specific to an avatar. Somebody who needs to relax, they need a little self care. So it also makes it easy to gift those things because if I see something that says the new mom box, I'm like, oh, I know someone who just had a baby. Let me get them the new mom box. I never would've thought of that if I'd just seen these products stand alone. You would not have ever considered that.

Brett:

You wouldn't have put together a little bundle on your own. Right, exactly. And that's what I love about this. The bundle is really about convenience. <affirmative> where, and you talked about it, you're removing the need for someone to think. And I think people <affirmative> expect bundles to be reduced price and that doesn't cheapen the brand, right? Because we all know book discounts, you get book discounts on tickets or other things like book discounts just apply. So I think you can discount a bundle and people are not worried about it, doesn't cheapen the brand, but yet love this advice. So the new mom box Love it. Yeah.

Allie:

And then they also had a coworker box again, a coworker box. What is that? It's just products to show a coworker that you care, but it makes you want to give that gift that you would not have given otherwise necessarily. And so then on top of that, for their holiday offer, they had a buy three get one free. And this is a higher dollar bundle already. So they could be anywhere from 60 to I think $90. So you were buying a bundle that was already an offer in and of itself, but then if you bought three of those bundles, you're an even more valuable customer to them. But then you were going to be able to get that fourth one free either for somebody else as a gift or for yourself if you wanted to have that little extra holiday gift for just you.

Brett:

I love this so much. And is, I like that we're talking about offers here because a lot of people stop short of getting the deal closed. It's kinda like to use a quick foot football knowledge. Are you a football fan alley? What's your sport of choice?

Allie:

Golf. <laugh> golf. Got

Brett:

It. Yeah. Okay, so this, let's make a golf analogy. So I was about to make a football analogy, but let's make a golf analogy. So I used to play golf in high school. I was on the golf team mainly because the golf coach liked me and mainly because I could crush the golf ball. I could, but my short game was terrible. A lot of

Allie:

Fun

Brett:

<laugh>, like this fun part, you go to the driving range, you try to Happy Gilmore it for those that are too young, actually most people listen this for sure know who Happy Gilmore is. But anyway, doesn't matter if you get on the green in two and then you for put right, which is, I've done that before. So it's like a lot of times we focus on the fun stuff like headlines and audiences and some of these things and those are kind of fun. But the offer, that's what sinks the putt. That's what gets it in the hole. That's what allows you to cross the goal line, to use the football analogy. But a lot of times we stop short, we stop short of that. So getting the offer can really be an unlock a game changer because I love, I'm a traffic guy, so I love Top Funnel YouTube Performance Max, Google ads, Amazon ads. When you have the right offer, the right offer, that can increase conversion rates, it can change the game. It changes the math on your ads. I know you're a big Facebook person. Absolutely. So if you got the right offer, you can really scale your marketing efforts. If you have a math offer, you're gonna be stuck. You're gonna be stuck at a certain spin level. So love that we're doing that. Any final thoughts on, I know we could talk offers all day, but any final thoughts there? Otherwise we'll move on to the next topic.

Allie:

Yeah, just one final little golf analogy. They say you drive for show and you put for dough. It's put for dough. Same concept. Yeah. This is where the real money is made if you can get it right. So great analogy. So

Brett:

I'm just curious if you and I went to Top Golf, who's winning the drive contest, wondering if you might beat me. You seem <laugh>.

Allie:

I, I've got some good drives, but I'll say my short game is pretty strong most of the time. I'm pregnant right now.

Brett:

Definitely be to me if

Allie:

I'm pregnant right now.

Brett:

I've got real golf,

Allie:

I've got this little obstacle in my way when I try and golf right now. So it's a challenge. But yeah, in general I'm pretty good at driving, but my short game is where I try and improve the most.

Brett:

And for those that can't see, cuz you're mainly, obviously you're listening, you can't see, but you, you're pregnant right now. Yeah. And when do you do?

Allie:

January the fifth. So coming right up.

Brett:

So depending on when this comes out, it can be like anytime. Okay, cool. Absolutely. Awesome. Yep, yep. So let's talk a little bit about audience building. Cause it's something you're great at, but I think a lot of eCommerce brands are not. So what are some of your top audience building tips and why is it important?

Allie:

Yeah, I think every business needs to focus on audience building and it does also tend to get pushed on the back burner. Everyone wants to go straight to cold traffic. They want to exist and rely on cold traffic. And while it's true, if you can crack cold traffic, you have endless opportunities <affirmative>. But that is not necessarily going to be the highest value customer, the best and most loyal long term customer. So we find that with the warm audiences, your cost per conversion, your cost per acquisition go down significantly. Your customer acquisition costs are just way better. In general, your conversion rate to that backend sale or that core offer that you wanna sell are much, much better. So this can kind of be your bread and butter. Let's say times are tough for a month or so and you need to cut your ad spin down.

Well, you can cut out your cold traffic and you can rely on your warm traffic if you've got it and still do extremely well. So it's just a more efficient way to spend your budget. But again, most people, they never focus on it. Even those who might have some good audience building elements going on, they never take advantage of it. They're not really running traffic to their warm audience consistently. And this is where you can build a relationship with people online as if they know you. And I don't care if you're a product based business or a service based business. People buy from brands that they like and from leaders that they like. And so you want to do this. So video always the best, easiest way to go because it's cheaper. The platforms, they like video, they know that their consumers like video, and so they will allow video to get out there easier in terms of cost per thousand.

You're just always gonna crush it with video. The problem is most people, if they're just going for a video views type of optimization, you're not really gonna see the conversions there. And that's okay. It's not the point of those ads. So you have to know there are certain ads that are there for audience building. There are certain ads that are there for conversions, but even a couple of dollars a day on your audience building video ads is gonna go a long way in reducing your customer acquisition costs when it comes to those offer focused ads. So videos that again tie into that problem that your end consumer has, taking them from problem unaware to problem aware, from problem aware to solution aware solution aware to your solution aware, and then hitting them with that amazing offer. So everybody's gonna be at kind of a different stage of their levels of awareness, but you kind of wanna have something out there for everyone.

The people who are not yet aware, let's take the Thera gun for example. Maybe there are people that they just don't really know that there are people who live without pain. Maybe they just, they know they have a problem. I think that's a given. Most of those people are gonna be problem aware, but maybe they don't know that there really is any solution that's viable for them. You've gotta start presenting those people with some solution content. The people who are solution focused. So let's say we know that a handheld massager could be a good solution. Well okay, now let's present you with some gun content, the different ways that gun. Exactly. And what types of pain does it help? How does it work? So it could be actual product focused content, but it could just be more of that. Let's go back to what we were talking about with the gated content offers.

It could be more of just that problem solution focused content that's not even specific yet to your product. You can paint yourself as an expert in this space as the go-to brand for content related to these products. So for example, if we wanted to use that business that I mentioned earlier with the natural bath and body products, this could be content focused on harmful chemicals in your makeup and skincare products. So it's not even talking about their products yet. That is a big selling point of their product. So it already is planting the seed in their mind that, hey, wow, I didn't even know there were so many harmful chemicals in some of these products that I've been using. Wow, that's eyeopening. Okay, maybe we drip a little call to action at the end because if somebody wants to learn more, we don't wanna make it hard for them.

But we're starting to already position our product as the best without them even realizing it. But we are also building an audience of people who care about holistic health because at the end of the day, urine consumer for that business is not necessarily just somebody who likes body products. Maybe it could be, but there's so many brands that you could choose from. Their ideal consumer is somebody who wants natural. They do not want these harmful chemicals in there. So if you can hook somebody who has that desire already, whether or not they're looking for body products is irrelevant. They could want body products. And even if they don't want it for themself, they could want it for gift giving to other people. So I just need to identify my avatar through my content and then slowly start introducing them to other solutions, other products that I offer, and then hit them with those retargeting ads if they start to engage more with those pieces of content so that I can make sure that they do not forget about me and really advertise to them till the end of time. It's my motto. Yeah,

Brett:

I love this and I love that you're talking about the different stages of awareness. So we're riffing on the Eugene Schwartz breakthrough advertising five level of awareness, but to kind of stick with the Thera Gun example, cuz it's kind of fun and it's fresh in our minds right now. We actually worked with a good competitor for a while and so we built audiences based on people's search behavior on Google, cuz we have the ability to do that through YouTube and other platforms, <affirmative> or other channels on Google you know, could have people that are searching for things like do percussive therapy devices work? Or what are percussive therapy devices? So they're asking questions that would indicate they've kind of heard about it, but they're like, what is this thing? So I need some education here. So for that, we had this ad that opened with, Hey, have you ever seen devices like this?

And wondered, do they work? And if they actually do work, are they worth 600 bucks or whatever? And then they kinda went into the <inaudible> product. You could then also target people that are saying like Thera Gun versus Hyper Ice, right? <affirmative>. So they're searching for two of the leading brands or gun versus whatever else. So now you're like, okay, they're aware of some of the players, but now they're really evaluating. So it's like, okay, hey, do you really need to pay premium price to get the benefit of these devices or is there another alternative? And then you begin to just think about what are the questions people are asking at the different stages? <affirmative>, I think you create organic content for that and paid content for that. Amplify it and you're so right. People just focus on cold traffic. But if you look at some of the nurturing along the way, that's when things become interesting.

So looking at both organic and paid traffic at different stages of awareness. And then you've got your remarketing that's tied in. And when you think about this, the way you're describing it, it really helps then for when we go through seasons when ad costs are really expensive. So this is coming out as we're approaching actually some lower cost times of advertising of the year. But if you look at say the holidays, that's when ad costs are at their highest. Well, if you've got a good audience building in place, then you can shut off top of funnel for a little bit during peak ad cost seasons if you need to and just focus on that warm audience

Allie:

A hundred percent.

Brett:

And it really is a total game changer. But you gotta have the audiences before you need them.

Allie:

Exactly. Yep. Yeah,

Brett:

Yeah. Awesome. So this kind ties in into list building. This is kind our last topic before we talk about ways people can get in contact with you. But what about list nurturing and list building? Cause that's really related to audience building. What are your thoughts? What are your tips on list building and nurturing?

Allie:

Yeah, so like I mentioned early on, I think it's really important, I do believe that e-commerce brands just, and again everybody, so I don't wanna point my finger, but most people have a really shortsighted view of their customer buying cycle. They think if I don't convert this person when they see my ad, they're not a potential customer. And that is so untrue. I mean, I just want people to think about their own buying behavior. I have seen ads for e-commerce brands over and over and over and over and over again before I buy, but the reason I buy is because I continue to see them or because I get their emails and I finally read that at the right time, or I have that need or maybe the pain is great enough of whatever that problem is at that moment for me to go ahead and make that decision to buy. Or maybe it's a really special offer. So there was a at home manicure kit that I got not too long ago and I had seen the ads for a long time. I'm a marketer, so I save ads that I like, me too, so I'm always able

Brett:

To go back to them. That's a true marketing nerd. When you're building a swipe file, when you're saving ads or screenshotting ads, that's when you're

Allie:

Marketing all the time. And I don't know what it was. I think I just had a moment where I saw the ad and I was like, man, your nails look really bad. You should probably do something about that <laugh>. And I can't stand to go to the nail salon. I don't have the time to sit there for forever and do all that. So whatever, I bought it and they had a great offer for the holiday. It was some sort of holiday at the time, labor Day or Memorial Day or something. I got it. It's loved it. And I've again referred it to multiple people since because it was great. And I bought the upsells. I bought six different nail polishes instead of the one that came with the pack. And so you just have to remember that people are not always gonna buy the first time they see you and you can't give up on them.

And that's where the warm audiences come into play. So you're nurturing them through your ads, but if you can have the right gated content offers or even promo code offers, so even if you don't have gated content, having a promo code that somebody can use at a later date I think is critical, especially with social advertising. It's slightly different with search based because the intent is a little bit higher there. But I talked about this with one of my students who owns five different pizza restaurants. So they're running ads to different videos. They just have this direct link for people to go ahead and order online right there. And I'm like, Hey, I could be seeing this hat at any point of the day or night, not necessarily gonna be ready to order pizza that second <affirmative>, but I could be tomorrow at lunch. So what you wanna do is you wanna take that person who's got the interest and give them a reason to give you their contact info right away.

So a promo code for that same offer that they were talking about doesn't have to be any different, but giving them, Hey, opt in right here will send you the promo code, even if a promo code does not exist, just make it up and send it to 'em. It could be the same one for every single person, and it could be completely irrelevant to them actually needing that code to acquire the offer. Get them on the list. And now hopefully you're gonna start by just reminding them about that thing. If it was more of a direct offer that wasn't a direct offer, you're gonna kind of take them through that same sort of informational sequence we just talked about with potentially the video content and the ads. Those same articles and those questions about the Thera gun. Do these devices really work? What's the difference between this one or that one?

What types of pain does this help? You're gonna start nurturing them with that informational based content, and it could be content that you already have. So blogs sending them to a blog, maybe you give them a snippet in the email, send them to your blog, hopefully on the blog you're tracking their activity that they've been there. And you also have easier opportunities for them to convert right there on that page. Maybe it's sending them to a video. So today I sent out an email, I did a video for YouTube on what is a funnel, what is this and why does somebody need one? I embed these videos into funnels on my website. I have specific content focus funnels. I drive people from my email list to that funnel. So I'm not sending them to YouTube with all the clutter and distraction of these other videos.

I've got 'em right there focusing on me, and then I have an easy opportunity for them to schedule a call right below the video. So you know, can hook them with that content through your emails, and then you can still get that conversion. You can even send those same people who've already opted in other lead magnets. So I had a lead magnet I sent out a couple of weeks ago on a KPI calculator workbook, and the next page after they opt in, it's like, Hey, here's a video on how to use it, but also if you need extra help, schedule a call to see how we can help you. I mean, I got 20 booked calls from that email and the first couple of hours, and it's not a complicated funnel, it's not a complicated anything, it's just having the people on the list first who actually have an interest and have a need and then giving them a reminder, Hey, I'm here.

Hey, I can help you. Hey, I have something that if you're ready for it, I am ready for you because not everybody's ready at the same time. Sometimes it takes people a really long time to even trust a business to give their money to people can be more particular. I have a guy in my mastermind right now, I just launched the mastermind recently. He opted in on a gated content offer two years ago. He had never scheduled a call with us. I had never heard his name before. I wasn't familiar with him in terms of being a lead or anything. And then he converted to my highest level offering because it was the right time. He had the need. He trusted me because of the content I had been nurturing him with for the last two years, and now he's one of my best clients.

And if people really could think about it like that, whether or not you're selling something high ticket, it doesn't matter. For a lot of product-based businesses, like the money's in the long-term relationship and the loyalty and the repeat purchases, your very best buyers may start out as someone who opts in for info and your nurture convinces them that you are the right business to help them and they could become your best customer and your biggest advocate if you would only give them a chance. But I think most e-commerce businesses, the only emails they might ever be sending are about direct offers. So it's always an ask, it's always a take. It's never a give. You gotta balance it out. The give and the take should both be there, but the give is where people see who you are and what you're made of. And again, establish that relationship.

Maybe you've got humor to your brand that insert that. It doesn't have to be about your product all the time. It can be about the culture of your product. It can be about that avatar and just get creative with it and have some fun with it. And I think you'll be surprised at what a little nurture to your existing list. I don't care how big they are, what that can do for your sales. If you give it 30 days of like, I'm gonna consistently email with great content for 30 days, I'm gonna look at my sales and see what happens. And I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Brett:

I love it. Love it so much. I think, yeah, it's one of those things where we just stop short, we stop short or we don't approach this properly. I was actually speaking at an event in LA a couple weeks ago that the gorgeous put on their e-commerce help desk company, but it was about retention based marketing. And so I gave a talk on next level remarketing and a loyalty advertising, right? <affirmative>, because this is something that a lot of people, like, everybody's doing it, everybody's bad at it. We're just not running remarketing campaigns properly. We're not nurturing our list properly, just like you said. Right? And I love the story of the guy who got a trip wire offer two years ago, but he is consuming your content. Finally, the timing's right, the trust is there. We should be looking at how do we build this?

No. And trust where people know us, they like us, they trust us, and they're gonna buy from us. Anyway, I just shared this example when I was talking at this in LA and I said, Hey, the greatest book ever written for remarketing and retention marketing is this. And people are getting ready to write it down. And I'm like, it's Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Ses. Right? <laugh> just a joke, but it's actually kind of real. So if you look at Sam, I am, he's saying, Hey, would you try it with a fox? Okay, okay, got it. But would you try it with a box? What about on a trainer? What about in the rain? What about? And so it's like coming at this from different angles. Would you try it here or there? Would you do? And eventually, and obviously he's a little bit pesky, a little bit too much maybe but eventually the guy's like, fine, I'll try the green eggs and ham, and then he loves it. So that's the story. But that's sort of what we should do, but in a cool way, in a charming way, in a fun way, in a funny way. How do we just approach it from all different angles and remind, remind, remind until someone is like, yeah, the timing is right. I want that and I want it now. And so

Allie:

I know, I think we overestimate a lot of times how much our potential customers are thinking about us. Truthfully, they're not thinking about us that much on their mind that much. You've got to, you have to remind them that you're there. And often because life's busy for everybody, your customers, they have a family, most likely they've got a job, they've got hobbies, they've got things on their mind, and they are not sitting around thinking about you. Even if that problem that you solve is pestering them on a regular basis. People get just comfortable with their problems sometimes. And they're not in that solution seeking mode always until that moment that the pain, physical or emotional or whatever is great enough to make them act. And that's when they search for you or that's when they convert on that ad when they're, they've got an ear ache and they're scrolling at three o'clock in the morning and you've got some sort of solution for it or whatever.

So you just have to stay present and stay consistent and truthfully believe that your customer's worth waiting for. And that if you are asking them to give you their money and their time and their attention, and hopefully create this long relationship with you, you have got to be willing to do whatever it takes to gain their trust and their business. And luckily with ads and automation and all that jazz, it can be pretty easy once you get those things set up. You don't have to be spending your personal time doing it, but the tech will do the work for you if you do it the right way.

Brett:

Absolutely. I think we overestimate the amount of time our customers, even existing customers, think about us. We overestimate the amount of attention that prospects are giving us, <affirmative> and we underestimate the allure and the number of competitors and other direct competitors and indirect competitors that are competing for our customers attention and absolutely interest and action. So yeah, ally, this has been fabulous. We could keep going. I don't really want this conversation in this, it's been super fun but we are running outta time. So as we wrap up, if someone's like, okay, this is great, I need more Ali boy in my life, where can they find you? Can they connect with you on the socials? Any specific offers? What should they do next?

Allie:

Yeah, so you can go to my website, ali boy.com, A L L I E B L O Y d.com. You can see potentially how I could help you on a business level. Other than that, you can connect with me on social media. I'm on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, primarily at Ali Lloyd or at Ali Lloyd Media. And I do have the marketing podcast, which is I think fabulous. So if you wanna hear me in your ear a little bit more, that's a great place to go as well. And ultimately, my offer to you is this, you're not really my customer if you're just a straight e-commerce business, but if you have a local business, if you are an info product seller or coaching consultant, and you wanna say, okay, how can I get that piece of my business really rocking and rolling? Then I have a great 12 mentorship hands on lots of resources and easy buttons provided to you. So if you wanna check that out again, just the website, schedule a quick, quick call and we'll see if it's a good fit. If it's not, we'll let you know. So would love to connect with all of you,

Brett:

Allie Lloyd, ladies and gentlemen. So I will link to everything in the show notes so you can check it out there. But Allie, thank you so much. This has been a blast.

Allie:

Thanks for having me.

Brett:

Really enjoyed it. And as always, thank you for tuning in. We'd love your feedback. Hey, we'd love that review on iTunes if you haven't done it yet. If you've been listening for a while, haven't left the review on iTunes, today is the day. We'd love to see that five star review. If you feel like we've earned it and do check out all's information you will not be disappointed. And with that, until next time, thank you for listening.


Episode 215
:
Justin Sardi - TubeSift

YouTube Misconceptions, Changes, and Competitive Intel

What you don’t know about YouTube is hurting you.

Justin Sardi is the founder of Tube Sift and Video Ad Vault. He is a true YouTube OG.

He’s been running ads and geeking out on YouTube organic growth since 2012.

He’s built two of the leading YouTube research and spying tools on the web - Tube Sift and Ad Vault. The team here at OMG actually uses both regularly. Justin is a sharp dude with a wealth of YouTube knowledge. 

Here’s what we dive into in this episode:

  • Misconceptions about YouTube holding you back from growth.
  • How to capture top-performing YouTube ads to learn from - for FREE!
  • What’s changing on YouTube, including some of our favorite targeting options?
  • Why Google’s first-party data and AI is second to none.
  • Some YouTube SEO tips you probably haven’t thought of. 
  • Do you need a 2nd YouTube channel?
  • Video Discovery ads - what are they and how to make them work for you? 
  • Plus more!

Mentioned In This Episode:

Justin Sardi:

- LinkedIn

- Facebook

TubeSift

TubeSift Bookmarker

Transcript:

Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the E-Commerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of O OMG Commerce, and today we're talking YouTube and YouTube ads. And YouTube organic and YouTube spying. And how to find out what your competitors are up to on YouTube. This is gonna be super fun. I'm talking to an OG in the YouTube space. So Justin Sardi is my guest. We first met through Blue Ribbon Mastermind and Ezra Firestone, our mutual friend, and Justin is just a really smart guy, legend. He is the founder and CEO of Tube Sift and Video Ad Vault. And so one of the leading tools platforms will allow you to find out what other top ads are running on YouTube and allow you to spin on your competitors a little bit. And we'll unpack more of that today cause I think this is a tool you're gonna wanna check out.

But more than that, we're gonna dive into, hey, what are some misconceptions about YouTube and what do you need to know about YouTube to make it work? And then some other formats that you maybe aren't familiar with. And so if you listen to the podcast regular regularly, we talk about YouTube ads. I've got a couple episodes where I dive into YouTube ads. Of course we have a recent episode with Jacque Spitzer from Raindrop where we talk about creative again, a couple of episodes with Andrew Ebl where we talk creatives, but this is gonna be a little bit different. So I'm excited about this with that intro, with that intro. Justin, what's up man? How you doing? And welcome to the show.

Justin:

Thanks for having me, man. It's been a long time. I know we rescheduled a few times and then yeah, just hanging out. But in California just the other day.

Brett:

Exactly. Yeah, just hanging out at Blue Ribbon San Diego a couple weeks ago and one of my favorite spots, one of my favorite events. And so it was always good to see you there. But yeah, this was sick. This podcast specifically has been in the works forever and it just seems like something happens with one of our schedules. We have to punt and reschedule, but we're doing it, man. We're here, we're making it happen. So do this. We're gonna get into some education on YouTube ads and misconceptions and new things you should be trying. Before we do that, what is Tube sift and video ad vault and yeah, just give us kind of the low down.

Justin:

Yeah, so Tube Shift is basically a precision targeting tool for YouTube advertisers. Helps you do placement targeting, basically that was the original function of it. Of course there kind of moving away from content targeting. So thanks Google. But honestly the thing I was bummed about

Brett:

And what is the latest update on that actually? So we're hearing rumors, we're seeing some things in some accounts, but not all accounts. So Google's wanted to move away from content targeting if you're running a conversion based campaign. Right. So what's the latest or what have you heard most recently?

Justin:

Yeah, so I mean that, that's basically it. As of they said they're going to be removing them from accounts basically. So you gotta set up a YouTube ad with a goal just a video campaign for example. Used to be able to choose topics, keywords placements, those three things. And those were content targeting, they called it or, Yeah, and they ended up, they're pulling that. So certain accounts, some accounts that I have still there, no, not even

Brett:

Aware. And we're still doing that in a number of accounts, but yeah, yeah know

Justin:

The's a number. They don't even let you add it anymore. So they said they're going to be doing that by 2023 and it's what, November. So we got two months and they said they're actually going to remove, if you have any existing campaigns, they're not even gonna be grandfathered in. They are getting rid of it.

Brett:

Dang. Just putting the,

Justin:

But you can still set it up without a goal of like you used to have to do back in the day before they had goals. And you would just have to manually go in and see, hey, this placement's working, this one's not. Instead of Google saying, Oh, this is working, we'll shift more of your budget here and them doing some of the optimization, you just have to go in and manually do it. And we've, we've run some side by side tests with a goal and placements and without a goal. They were pretty similar, honestly this is a little more work, which is,

Brett:

Yeah, and that's interesting. I, I'd love to chat with you more about that. We, we've run some tests looking at conversion based campaigns and non-con conversion based campaigns. We can't get the view based or non goal based campaigns to really perform well. Some of the metrics are just fine or even better view rates are better cost reviews, lower on a view based campaign versus conversion based campaign. But we just can't get the CPAs to equal out. So would love to see what you're doing. I love content targeting. And so basically if you're doing keyword targeting, what Google is doing there is they're finding it's contextual. So looking at that keyword and saying, Ah, okay, we're gonna put your ad next to content about that keyword. And that's going away and it's super sad, sad day for sure. The

Justin:

One good thing though is that you can still, with their custom audiences, you can actually go in, you can still do keywords. They just moved them. And actually I just got this idea cause you can actually target people who have visited sites similar to whatever. I'm just gonna try exactly put placements in there and see if that does anything. I don't know.

Brett:

Yeah, so the custom segment where you're giving Google URLs, so basically for those that don't know, you go into Google, you build a segment, you be called now called segments, but custom segment. And so basically you can either give Google search terms, so keywords people have searched for recently on Google or on YouTube. You can also give them keywords. But with an in-market focus, which kind of means people are looking at this stuff online or they've keyed it in a variety of things. Or you can give Google URLs. And basically what Google is doing there is they're building a lookalike audience, like you said, where it's like people that have visited those URLs or people that look like those who have visited those URLs that build an audience there. So I think you can do placements there and I think that's an interesting angle.

Justin:

So we're gonna test that. But back to the original question that that's what Tube sets was originally for. We recently added a custom audience builder as well that'll find all the websites for specific keywords so you can quickly and easily extract all those and create those custom audiences because we saw that working really well and kind of had a feeling they were moving away from placements. So

Brett:

Very cool. So basically then you could go into Tube, type in a keyword as an example. It's gonna show you all the videos that show up for that search and then you can basically scrape those URLs and then use those for targeting.

Justin:

And then video Ad vault is our other piece of software that's basically, I think of it as a massive swipe file of, we have almost a million unique YouTube ads and landing pages with a bunch of historical data. So you can search by advertiser name domain, keywords a number of different things. And you can basically find all the ads running in any niche, see what's working, what's maybe not see all the different hooks, angles you get, all the landing pages, all that good stuff. So

Brett:

Yeah, I love it, I love it. And one of the best ways to learn is by watching successful ads and video ad vault as a way to do that. And you get the landers, you get the whole deal there, which is fantastic. So highly recommend it. My team uses it, we love it. So check that out and we'll talk more about how you can learn more and how you can dig in here in just a minute. But let's talk first, Justin, you've been in the game a long time. What are some misconceptions people have about YouTube and YouTube ads?

Justin:

So I mean the number one thing, and we've talked about this before, was people are like, Oh, I have to have a video. Now I do think that videos work best, you probably should have a video, but with all of these new types of the PAX campaigns, all those things as well they'll actually still serve display ads on YouTube and you can actually set just those display ads up to Target YouTube as well. And you can basically run image ads and just display ads on YouTube also without having to have a video. So that's

Brett:

App. And just to key in on that just a little bit, I love this and we're doing a lot with Performance Max at omg we run discovery campaigns, which that discovery placement does put image ads or carousel ads on YouTube, <affirmative> and what a powerful placement. And likely if you pick up your phone and scroll through the YouTube feed you'll see some image based ads. So you'll see videos, then you'll see if you see a still image, it's most likely an ad. And those are pretty compelling. That's a key placement feels a little more like a Facebook or an Instagram ad but we're seeing a lot of success there, especially with our larger advertisers, both for top funnel targeting but also for remarketing. And so love that placement. That's a way, and hey, getting the YouTube video creatives, it's a little more difficult, but through Discovery or performance Max, you can run those display ads on YouTube, love that call out. And that's probably a traffic source A lot of people are missing

Justin:

For sure. Another thing, a lot of people, this is something I've always heard, like, oh, your video needs to be 30 seconds, that that's the magic number. I think people are getting away from that now. I know Google, they actually recommend that you keep it under three minutes now. And I've actually heard some rumors that they might be not allowing ads longer than three minutes as Instream ads in the future. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I've heard that. We'll see. But yeah, I mean you're paying for that 30 seconds or whatever and that's where that came from. Obviously they're changing. It depends, I think on the campaigns with goals, you're actually paying after 10 seconds now

Brett:

Is especially if there's a conversion. Yeah, yeah. So what's interesting there and yeah, so I think probably where this came from is with TrueView, with YouTube TrueView ads, basically your charged, you're only charged for an actual view. So that view comes at about the 32nd mark. We can kind of use that as a working number. So if someone watches the whole video, if it's less than 30 seconds or 30 seconds, if it's longer, then you pay a cost per view. If they skip at a shorter time period than that, you don't pay for that. But yeah, that's it, right? There's no reason to have a 32nd ad. We, we've found if you wanna run a conversion based ad, so an ad that's driving a click and hopefully then driving a conversion minute and a half to three minutes is kind of the sweet spot. We've seen some as short as like 45 seconds.

It'd really scale at a target CPA at a customer acquisition cost goal. But typically that closer to a minute or a little bit longer. Great example, we actually had had a deodorant client where they had the same video. They had a minute 10 version of this video and a 32nd version of the video, same video, it was just a cutdown. So same actors, same script, basically just one was a minute, 10, one was 30 seconds, so it was cut down the minute 10 version had a 10 x of the number of conversions. And so the CPA was just wildly different. The 32nd version had a better view rate, but the minute version had better clicks, better conversions. So I'm still leaning to that longer area. And then to key what you said, yeah, if you go longer than three minutes, Google has basically said they're going to tax you or they're going to increase your cost.

Perview <affirmative>, we haven't seen that really make a difference if it's a good video. So if you get a three and a half minute video, that's great. Or Ezra Firestone at boom, they've got some five minute video, six minute video, seven minute videos, they're still working, we're still watching the Target CPA and they're, and they're still working. So I'm not too concerned about those longer videos. But I do wonder, we have one client in the automotive space, they're running 15 minute VSLs on YouTube, which not really my recommendation at this point, but it's working. I do wonder when that's gonna maybe be taxed or taxed is the wrong word, but Google's gonna maybe charge more to where it doesn't make sense, but that day is not just yet. But I would be thinking, hey, how do we get a killer video under three minutes? And for most brands that should be easily doable.

Justin:

Oh yeah, I remember we used to upload, I used to upload entire three hour webinars and run them as ads <laugh>. And those did, we actually used to run 'em as video discovery ads back in the day. But those did amazingly well. We used to just sell webinar products like crazy with those and

Brett:

Interesting. I wish that was never done that. So I do wanna talk about video discovery, so let's put a pin in that. Let's come back to that. Cause that's super interesting. You've done way more of that than I have, and so I wanna talk about that for sure. But what are a few other misconceptions or surprises about YouTube ads that you wanna share with folks?

Justin:

I mean, a lot of people are, we have a webinar product, we do some training and a lot of people coming in are coming from the Facebook ads world <affirmative>, and they're always worried, well what if I get banned? I'm like, Dude, it's probably not going to The number one thing I actually do see people getting banned for is suspicious payment activity. And it's because they don't have matching. They'll set up an account and they'll use a different credit card like that. You need to have, make sure your addresses, especially with all the advertiser transparency, that's basically what they're looking for. If you make a mistake and throw up an ad, it gets disapproved. You can literally call Google and they will, I've had Google reps send me screenshots of my landing page with highlights being like, Just do this here, do this here and you'll be good. And then we'd fix that and they fire it right up like nothing. So you can get away with a lot more on Google obviously you need to stay within their terms of service and all that, but they are pretty lenient and they actually, you know, can actually talk with somebody that will even help you get things fixed pretty easily.

Brett:

Yeah, I do. The fact that you can reach out to somebody either through chat or a phone call once you start advertising on Google, getting ahold of customer support is relatively easy. Now I will give a couple of caveats. One, you don't always get a super helpful person. So sometimes we get someone and you're like, Wait, I don't think this person knows what they're talking about. <affirmative> always good to just be polite, hang up, call back, get somebody else. And I'm not a Facebook advertiser, I don't know, but I've heard it's quite a bit easier to get ahold of someone at Google than it is at Facebook. So that's a win. There's still some categories that you just gonna have no luck anywhere. So C, B D type products or if you want to go hemp to get around C, good luck. It can happen.

But Google and Facebook are both pretty strict about that. <affirmative>, we've worked with some supplement companies that like to lean into testosterone claims or things like that, and that's pretty tricky. Anyway, you slice it. So I don't want to give the, I think you are right that the YouTube is probably a little more open or flexible than Facebook in certain cases and in certain verticals but it's not just the wild West. So you're still gonna potentially have issues, but the good news is you can get ahold of somebody and occasionally you can get ahold of someone who's helpful. So yeah, that's nice. So that's awesome. Cool. So any other misconceptions or surprises that you want to key in with YouTube ads?

Justin:

Yeah, I don't know mean, the one thing I will say is they, they've come a very long way over the past

Brett:

Even

Justin:

The past year or so. They have made, when I first started running ads, you had to go to Google ads slash video to even set up a video campaign. And they've made some massive improvements. Some of them I'm like, I wish they didn't do that. But overall they are going in a positive direction. And I think that just the fact that you can connect with somebody on video prior to making other interactions, I think that in itself just makes, especially if you're doing personal coaching, anything like that, just being able to make that connection in the beginning, I feel like it helps build that trust and that follows through the whole funnel. So

Brett:

I love it. And I'll just kind of share a couple of things that I think are unique about YouTube that make it pretty attractive. Two main things that I'll key in on. One is data that YouTube and Google can use. And then two is the number of users and the audience on YouTube. So let's talk data. So Google provides some unique ways to target, you talked about custom segments a minute ago, or custom audiences that allow you to use keywords. And basically Google's saying like, Hey, we're gonna target people that have searched for those keywords or similar keywords on Google, on YouTube. So that's unique information that really no other platform can leverage because Google owns YouTube and Google owns search. So they've got all that search data. Now here's interesting, even a amidst privacy concerns and stuff like that data, that search data is first party data, right?

Google owns that. You're on google.com directly giving the keyword search to Google so they can use that data however they want now their complexities with privacy and we we'll see where things go, but for the most part, Google can still leverage that targeting to try to find users who are likely to convert. Now as things get a little stickier, a little dicier with privacy concerns, I think Google's gonna remove some of the controls from advertisers and make more automated, but they're still gonna be able to find people likely to convert based on that data that they have. So that's one thing. I think the data that Google has is fantastic. I think the smart bit algorithm that Google has built is amazing. I think their AI and machine learning scientists are better than anybody. And so I think there's real improvements there. The other thing on audience or the amount of people using YouTube.

YouTube is just huge. It's the second most visited website on the planet, the number two search engine behind Google on the planet. But here's interesting, if you look at teenagers and younger people, a lot of them are moving away from Facebook. And this is not me reigning on Zuckerberg's Parade or saying that Facebook is dying. I think it's gonna be viable for the foreseeable future anyway. But YouTube is growing and if you talk to teenagers, you talk to older senior citizens, whatever, everybody's using YouTube. I was recently at TNC in San Diego and Ryan Dice pulled like 10,000 marketers and said, Hey, what are the three channels you think are gonna become more effective in the coming year? And the top three were one short form videos like TikTok, Instagram reels, things like that. Two was email, no surprise there, email, everybody thinks email's gonna die. It's not. And then the third was YouTube. So YouTube is is on the uptick. I think you gotta really dig into YouTube, so love it. Really good insights there. Let's talk about this, Justin. Let's talk about video discovery ads because that's something I know you've done a lot of. I'm familiar with them. We have not run a lot of video discovery ads, so what are they? And then how do you recommend utilizing you two video discovery ads?

Justin:

Yeah, so the recently, I think they rechange or they just recently rebranded them as just discovery ads or whatever on YouTube and essentially, or

Brett:

Is it Discovery and not discovery? Yeah,

Justin:

It's not, I forget what they did is they combined Instream and discovery ads. And so basically with those changes it's now more important than ever to have. Previously when you had an Instream ad, nobody was ever gonna see that video unless it was an Instream ad. Now that they are video action campaigns, they're calling them now that they have those, your ad is gonna be shown as a mix of Instream and also discovery ads, which is basically you're scrolling through the feed on your phone or something, even on your YouTube on desktop and you see a thumbnail. So previously I would just have a random, not even a thumbnail, not even worry about it, not put a title on the video, literally call it add one or whatever. Now the way they're showing those, it's more important than ever to number one. I mean your ad title or your video title is a lot like a headline now. So just because that it's

Brett:

Gonna be more visible cuz used to, yeah, you're right, nobody would see it. But now people do

Justin:

And I've seen people doing that with their ads. I'm like, Dude, you titled it this and it's showing it just come on, you're spending money on this. Yeah. So that's one thing. And then it's also very important to have a custom thumbnail now. And the thing we do when we're making those is go search for content on YouTube about whatever topic we are running and running the ad on and then we'll see what the top thumbnails are. Just scroll down the first 10 videos and you'll start to see some things that are, they all have in common.

Brett:

And so then we will start some patterns. Yeah,

Justin:

And a big part of the reason that those are ranking is number one, obviously they have their keywords and a lot of them have big channels, they're getting a lot of views and Google's gonna reward that. But a lot of it does have to do with a catchy thumbnail, a catchy title, things like that. That's the first thing that people see. And a lot of times that thumbnails gonna, that's like your, it's free ad real estate really and you should be taken advantage of that. And something we've done with the discovery ads is actually use them sort banner ads as for retargeting. So when we have a promotion going on, it's we'll start swapping the thumbnail out, two days left, one day left, things like that, <affirmative>, and essentially hitting people, it's almost like a fr because you also don't pay unless they click on it, which

Brett:

Is grow, right, with discovery ads, they've gotta click on it, then they'll start viewing it and that's when you pay. So it's someone choosing to watch it.

Justin:

But if you just want to use that as banner space on YouTube and not pay a CPM or anything like that it's a cool way that you can use those and you can set those up in the campaigns without a goal still and just specifically choose that type of ad.

Brett:

Yeah, I love it. Super interesting. So let's talk as we move into our final section here before we talk specifically about Tube shift, a little bit more YouTube seo, right? So I mentioned YouTube's the number two search engine on the planet, more searches conducted on YouTube than on any other search engine, not named Google. And so what are some of the keys? How do we get our organic videos to rank better on YouTube so that we can drive more volume there? Cause I think that's a traffic source a lot of people are missing. If you can get some videos on YouTube to rank organically, that can be a great source of traffic. So walk us through some tips there.

Justin:

Yeah, so funny actually guys, I've got my silver play button right over there so I actually have a

Brett:

Dude look at you. That's an elite club man.

Justin:

I know we have 110,000 subscribers on one of our YouTube's channels and that was all organic. So I do know a little bit about the organic side of things and I will say that if you can build up an audience and anytime you put out a promotion or anything like that, it is so much more trusted. If it's an organic result, the conversion rate is through the roof on organic videos versus paid ads. People just trust them more. They're like, yeah, no, this is legit. So yeah, I mean a few tips that we had, obviously I was talking about earlier, the thumbnail is extremely important. And then really that initial, obviously you need your keywords, your tags, things like that. Your descriptions an important one. But the number one thing is getting a solid view rate or well really that's what it is, but getting as many views as you can through that video in the first 48 hours or whatever. Because if you can start,

Brett:

It's not view rate Justin, it's view rate plus like time wash, watch

Justin:

Time as well. So keep, and that's really what the algorithm is trying to do. There's actually a really cool podcast called Down the Rabbit Hole. They talk all about the YouTube algorithm. I've just been

Interesting this out, I'll link to it. That's definitely worth to listen. But they have YouTube CEO on there talking about what they're looking for and a lot of it is initial watch time in the first X number of days. And so if you can get that up and you can actually use discovery ads to do that. So what we used to do is boost some of our ads that we were like, or our videos that we were like, Hey, we really want to get some additional views on this and give it a slight boost in the search results. It used to work I haven't done that too much recently. We're more running the Instream ads honestly. But yeah, we were targeting the keywords we wanted to rank for using campaigns without a goal and then basically just going for views cuz that's all we wanted and we're like, hey, we're willing to pay whatever a penny of view. And they would start, they'd show up at the top, people would watch them and hopefully they're compelling enough to get that watch time and that would really boost us in the search results. So

Brett:

Yeah, you gotta be kind of careful there from what I hear, and again, I'm an ad guy, not an organic guy, but if you have a video that gets really good watch time, then it can help. If you accelerate a video through ads and it's got a poor watch time, <affirmative>, you're accelerating, the other way you're gonna prevent it from ranking all depends on creating great content. So

Justin:

We used to split our basically had a clone channel that I would run ads from if I was running the Instream ads because if people are skipping it would actually tank the watch time and hurt that don't.

Brett:

Interesting. So are you still recommending that? So to explain that if people aren't following, so a lot of people, and it sounds like you do this too, I know a couple friends that are big organic YouTube peeps, they'll have a separate channel that they use in for Instream ads because your view rate goes down, your watch time goes way down when you start running Instream ads cuz you're really pushing those things hard. Then they'll have a channel that's organic where they're just trying to rank organically and trying to really build that watch time because Google looks at it not just at the video level but at the channel level that that's at least how it seems. Yes.

Justin:

Yeah, I mean that's what I've seen that I've actually seen when people started running in mats from bigger channels, they're like, Hey, I want to get some additional fuel, whatever, start running those and then slowly their stats started going down and they don't say it's because of that, but we've seen it happen. And so if you do already have a big channel I would recommend running from a different

Brett:

Not worth risking it, maybe it's not 100% confirmed, but I know enough smart organic YouTube people that kind of recommend it that I would be caught. If you've got a huge organic following on YouTube, then maybe be cautious about ads or spin up a new channel for ads. Cuz the interesting thing is when you run an Instream ad, you don't click through that ad to the YouTube channel, you click through that ad to go to whatever lander you specify. So it doesn't matter if that channel is built out or not when you're running Instream ads. So that's an important point of clarification. Cool. Any other YouTube tips or ideas or suggestions before we kind of move into talking about Tube sif a little more?

Justin:

I think that's about it honestly. Mostly I focus on the ad side of things now a lot more. I still have the organic thing that was cool, but it's a lot faster to just run ads, honestly.

Brett:

<laugh>. Yeah. Yeah, I totally agree. Totally agree. So if the way you laid it out in the beginning was awesome, it's a way to build placement lists and the ability to laser target on YouTube, but give us more details. What are you hearing from people that use the platform? What are the best use cases? Kind of walk us through that just a little bit. How should people use Tube sift?

Justin:

Yeah, so I, one of the things, obviously the custom audiences, those are huge. We're seeing Google remove some of that content targeting, which is a bummer. But that being said they're removing that. But their AI is, it's absurd. They really do know how to put your ads in front of the right people at the right time. You were saying it's all that first party data they have. Not to mention Google Analytics, how many websites have Google Analytics that are also feeding, cooking, people, feeding all of that data in there, the amount of data they have is insane and it's cool that we get to tap into that. That being said, I think going forward more than ever it's going to be, I mean obviously your ad creative was always an important thing, but the number one thing since Google's starting to basically be like, Hey, upload these assets, we got it.

We know we can take care of you, it's fine. And I do think that that's the way that they're clearly what they're going for. They, the less inputs they have, the easier it is for people to get or to not make mistakes. I guess the more areas you can break something, you're probably gonna break it. And so I think that's part of the reason that we're moving it, removing all that friction, making it extremely easy. Be like, hey, upload these 10 things and we've got it right. I do think it's a smart move on their part, but that being said, your ad creative is more important than ever. And really just being able to stand out, know what types of things are resonating with your audience and what types of hooks, angles, things like that. And so for example, video ad vault, what I do a lot of times is I'll go find a bunch of ads that have different hooks and a lot of times what you'll see is people are testing three to five

Brett:

Hook. So hook is the, that's thing that if you dial in the hook, that can shift the performance of a creative or a campaign more than anything else. So I love that you call that out. So you're looking for hooks and ideas

Justin:

And I've actually done some case studies on breaking down different ads and things like that. And I've noticed that a lot of these, something that'll separate an ad that maybe gets 40,000 views from one that gets two to 3 million. It's literally the first 15 seconds in pretty much all of these ads. So what these advertisers are doing is they're having one chunk, which is the content, and then they're just bolting on five different hooks leading into it faster there. And a lot of, they're pretty similar, it's just a different delivery. But you can really see, or sometimes they'll go a curiosity hook where they're starting off by asking a question or they'll make a bold statement. They both do the same thing, but they'll be like peeking somebody's curiosity versus being like, Whoa, that's unbelievable. I need to watch more or I do need to continue watching this. And so you'll see that a lot with these bigger advertisers specifically. They're just running a few different hooks with the exact same campaign, same landing pages, and you can tell which ads are doing better cuz they're running millions of use through 'em and it's literally the first 15 seconds.

Brett:

And that interesting sometimes, sometimes the opening can be the difference between something that can get tens of thousands of views profitably versus something that can get millions of views profitably. And that is, I'm sure it's obvious, but that is a game changer.

Justin:

And that's what a lot of my focus has been on recently is just figuring out how to what, what's really working. I enjoy breaking down ads like dissecting what's working, coming up with cool new ideas edits that we can do. And sometimes it is just the edits too. They'll just do the same kind of thing and just make it a little more splicing some B-roll instead of keeping it stale. And really just seeing what the audience likes. Also checking out some of the organic videos that are ranking for people in that audience. It still is, you wanna make your ad seem like it's part of the platform. You don't want to make it seem too much like an ad, obviously it is an ad, but if you can make it, people are on YouTube to consume video content and a lot of YouTubers have a specific style that they're just try and make it fit the platform.

Brett:

Totally love it. So talk about how people can find out more about Tube Sift or give it a try for themselves. And then you also have a free Chrome extension. Talk about that a little bit.

Justin:

Yeah, so the free Chrome extension is the tube shift bookmark. And essentially what that is is lets you bookmark any YouTube ads that you see. So it'll save the last 50 ads and landing pages that you see on your computer. Been, I love that mean, obviously I love studying as a marketer. I love studying what's working up with me too, with new angles, different hooks. Even if it's not in my niche, I'm like, Oh, that's a good, I can slightly tweak that and apply it to what I'm doing. That caught my attention. I wanna remember that. So if you just do a Google search, I can get you the link for it as well if you got show notes or whatever. But basically the tubes of bookmark is what it's called. It's a free Chrome extension and yeah, just lets you bookmark any of the ads and also see all the last 50 ads and landing pages that you've seen. Cause a lot of them, they're unlisted and you stats for nerds and pull with a little code and it's just kind of a pain. This just makes it super easy.

Brett:

And what often, and I love this cuz there have been many times when I'm on YouTube and I'm a YouTube ads guy, so it's maybe a little bit different for me, but I'm sure for other marketers it's the same, right? You're on YouTube for whatever reason, you see an ad, that pre-roll ad and you're like, whoa, this is a good ad, I gotta save this. So you go, well lemme just grab the url, I'll save it. Now you do that, all you're saving is the ad, you're the video you're about to watch, not the ad. So you need something like this extension to help you easily bookmark that video or the ad itself. Yeah, most of those are unlisted. You can't go back and search for them later. So the bookmark makes that possible. And then what if somebody just wants to check out Tube CIF or Video Ad Vault? How can they check you out?

Justin:

Yeah, so tube cif.com or video ad vault.com. Yeah, video ad vault. We're closing in, like I said, a million unique YouTube ads and landing pages. Awesome. It's basically a massive swipe file that you get to tap into that's searchable. So

Brett:

Serious about YouTube ads or serious about getting started on YouTube ads. You gotta check it out. Justin, what about you? If somebody just wants to connect with you, are you on the socials? Are you hanging out on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or somewhere? How can people connect

Justin:

With you? I am on Facebook. I am terrible at posting, but I get on there and I run my groups, so I see messages and friend requests, so shoot me a message and yeah, would be happy to connect and yeah, always meeting cool people.

Brett:

Love it. Love it. Hey man thanks for coming on. Always good to talk to a true YouTube ads og, so thanks for being generous with your time and generous with your tips. Appreciate it. And we'll have to do it again.

Justin:

Yeah, for sure, man. I'll see you. Thanks.

Brett:

Puerto Rico, right? What's that? Oh,

Justin:

I said I'll see you in Puerto Rico next, right?

Brett:

I don't know if I'm gonna get to, I don't think I'm gonna get to go to Puerto Rico, another blue ribbon event. I don't think I can make it cause of the timing. I'm super bummed. But yeah, we'll see. Hey, fingers crossed, maybe I'm not gonna say no for sure, but we'll see. But alright man, well thank you so

Justin:

Much. Thanks for having me.

Brett:

Yep, absolutely. And thank you for tuning in and as always would love to hear from you. Love to hear that feedback. If you feel so inclined, if you feel like, Man, this podcast is making my day better, leave us that review on iTunes or hey, share an episode with someone that you think will benefit from this. So your other marketing nerd friends or your other eCommerce friends or that eCommerce forum you're a part of, Share the podcast. We'd love to just love to help people, love to connect with people, love the community, love making it stronger. And so with that, until next time, thank you for listening.


Episode 214
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Kurt Elster - Ethercycle

Split-Test Everything with Kurt Elster

Kurt is a legend in the eComm space and hosts one of the most popular podcasts in our industry.

His show, The Unofficial Shopify Podcast, just crossed the 2 million downloads milestone.

Kurt and his company are all about one thing - helping Shopify store owners make more money. And the best way to do that is by split-testing everything. 

An important first step of split testing is questioning your assumptions. (We all know what happens when we assume.)

Here are a few recent tests Kurt and company have run. We discuss the results on the show...yes, that's a teaser. Listen to find out what test won! 

  • Does free shipping always result in better performance (and is it even worth testing)?
  • Should I put a slider on my home page? 
  • What about hero images and banners on my category pages?
  • Do add-to-cart buttons on your collections pages help or hurt conversions?
  • What about stuffy old early 2000s breadcrumbs - are they helpful or not?
  • Plus, favorite tools, tips, and tricks that Kurt uses often.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Kurt Elster
- LinkedIn
- Ethercycle
- The Unofficial Shopify Podcast


Jay Leno’s Garage
ShipScout
Intelligence
Google Optimize
Hotjar
Overtone

Transcript:

Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the E-Commerce Evolution podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO O M OMG Commerce, and today I have a longtime friend, a legend, someone that you have undoubtedly heard of. You probably follow this guy on the regular. We were just researching prior to hitting record, we were wondering how long have we actually known each other? And turns out we first met in October of 2016. That's forever ago in internet years for sure. So my guest today is the man himself, Kurt Elster, co-founder of Ether Cycle, and the host of the unofficial Shopify podcast, One of the best podcast on there. Oh, I heard that, I heard that. That was the your, what was that sound effect, Kurt. Let's dial it up one more time. Go ahead.

Kurt:

The air horn.

Brett:

Yeah, man. So I think you, in fact, I'm confident you were the only guest I've ever had on this show that brings their own sound effects. And that's just one of the benefits of being a podcast host yourself.

Kurt:

Yeah, it's a dubious honor. But you got, I have fun with it

Brett:

<laugh>. That is awesome. And so we have a really close mutual friend, Ezra Firestone. And actually we, you and I kind of were able to sync up again, I guess back in when was that? We were in Miami together. We both spoke at Ezra's event in Miami. And I heard your presentation. I was like, Dude, you gotta come back on the podcast. It's been too long. But you've got the best clip, the best sound effect from Ezra Firestone that I hear in a number of your episodes. But dial that up if you would, and then explain to folks what that means.

Kurt:

Tech nasty. That's Ezra <laugh>. Like

Brett:

Te nasty.

Kurt:

Two years ago he would call me Tech nasty. And then two years ago outta nowhere, he writes a freestyle Rap records it. That's what he does, sends it to me, in which he refers to me as tech nasty. And so I was like, well that's great. And I play it on my show. But the one time, but the tech nasty sound bite I took. And now every time I introduce myself, I use that like a sound signature <laugh>. And it, it's a fun thing, was like, I'm your host Kurt Elster Tech Na. And then I just moved past it. I don't address it.

Brett:

People are like, That was cool. I don't know what that was, but that was cool. And I embrace it

Kurt:

By the eighth time. They're like, Yeah, that's tech nasty

Brett:

Te nasty, nasty. So Ezra has that skill set. He will freestyle rap for you. He did that on a podcast episode with me one time. I need to go back and listen to that. But I would love to hear the te nasty freestyle rap sounds, I think sounds amazing.

Kurt:

Skill one, can you freestyle rap? That's hard enough on its own, I'm

Brett:

Sure. Yeah. Can you even do it? You

Kurt:

Could really practice it like fake it once. Step two. Do you have the insane level of confidence required to just start freestyle wrapping as a 40 year old white man? Just

Brett:

Do it. Just do it As you're recording, just lay it out there and lay it out there with some, some bravado. And he does that, which is awesome. So hey man, I'm super excited about this. So we're gonna talk about split testing everything. So assume nothing split test everything. So how do we improve our performance? How do we make more money with our Shopify podcast? But I'm sorry, with our Shopify websites, Shopify podcast, you run one,

Kurt:

You just hit

Brett:

<laugh>. You guys just hit a milestone not too long ago, didn't you? With the shop unofficial Shopify podcast?

Kurt:

We did. We just hit 2 million downloads.

Brett:

2 million downloads. I want to be as good as you one day, Kurt Ster. When I grow up, I would like to be a podcast host. All

Kurt:

Right, here's the trick. You could brute force it by just never stopping. I'm, I'm never stopping. I'm over 400 episodes every week. We never miss one

Brett:

400 episodes, one episode a week. You never miss it. That's awesome. I've been doing this now since 2017, this show. I did another show prior to that, but I haven't been as consistent. I went through a period of time where I was like once or twice a month, you know, kinda lose momentum. So consistency,

Kurt:

The trick is key. Get yourself some sponsors now it's a client deliverable. Yes. And if you miss it, a you gotta send that refund. That hurts.

Brett:

That does hurt. Yeah. Make it like a client where it's like, I can't let a client down. I can let myself down or Right. I can push it to the side if it's just for us, but yeah, for a client. Gotta make it happen. So a couple things. You guys work with some really impressive brands, including gans and a few other automotive brands. And maybe my favorite, most interesting in my point of view, Jay Leno's garage, right? Which is cool. So I want you to talk about that. But before we do, I would like to talk about Kurt Ester's garage because oh, you and I are friends on Facebook, we get to hang out and chat a little bit, but you've got a bit of an eclectic collection of cars. Maybe not to the size or scope of Jay Leno. A few people do, but you's got some cool rides, man. So talk about what is in Kurt ER's garage.

Kurt:

All right, so the daily driver, the crazy one, I got a 2017 model S 100 D, that was the quick one, The big sedan. But it was boring silver. I don't want silver. So

Brett:

This is a Tesla. Those that may not not know the Yeah, it's Tesla. Yeah,

Kurt:

Yeah, yeah. The

Brett:

So zero to 60 in what? What's your zero to 60 time

Kurt:

3.9 on this one.

Brett:

Nice.

Kurt:

Yeah, it's quick and it just goes, it makes jet's noises goes and you're just do it with 60. That's crazy. But we vinyl wrapped it this satin yellow gold color. It's the same as this microphone if you've got the video version, it's like that's the vinyl we used and that is the, I put wheels on it in tense. And that's the coolest thing. I love that car.

Brett:

It's a beauty man. I've seen you got some stylized photos of that thing. It is a beauty. Oh,

Kurt:

I got a client's product photographer to come shoot photos of it. It was really cool. <laugh> awesome. But my wife's the cool one. She has the really cool cars. She always wanted a Volkswagen Beetle. I said I could figure that out. So she bought a 79 Super Beetle the last year they made in the US and it had been repaid as good shape, but it lots of deferred maintenance. So I got that back on the road running strong. I love that car. It's got 60 horsepower, slowest thing in the world. And that is pure driving experience. It's

Brett:

Such a good juxtaposition, right? So it's such the opposite of the Tesla. Yes, it's it's so fun that you go digital then you go analog. Yeah,

Kurt:

They're like, we gave you just enough what you need to not die <laugh>. And then the one that the car she daily drives, she also, she found negotiated, bought and had shipped here and then I discovered it had a ton of problems and we had to pull the motor and 84 Ford Bronco.

Brett:

Dude, that's my favorite. The 80 for all

Kurt:

Original. It's just that's my favorite too. Yeah,

Brett:

Yeah.

Kurt:

Oh we love the thing. Yeah, it's like 10 miles per gallon

Brett:

<laugh>. Which isn't the best right now, but hey, come on again. You balance it with the Tesla ex. Yeah. But yeah, it's so fun. You and I live online, we're always doing digital stuff. We're thinking AI and machine learning and algorithms and all this stuff. And sometimes it's fun to just have something that has no internet connectivity. It's still just that's you smell the exhaust and you hear the sound of the engine as you rev up. But it's a beautiful

Kurt:

Thing. It's like driving a lazyboy recliner. It's great. <laugh>

Brett:

Just comfortable. So that's awesome. Well hey for some of you that was a blast. For others you're like up with, I don't care about what's in your garage. So we get, it will dive into some content. So like I said, we were both speaking at this event in Miami, heard your chat thought, okay, this is brilliant, let's talk about it. So we're gonna dive into split testing everything. And first of all, I wanna ask you, is that a real thing? Should we be split testing everything or what should our mindset or approach be as we look at split testing?

Kurt:

Okay, so the reality and practicality of split testing every single individual element on a website, <laugh> just not realistic. You can't do it. But the phrase split test everything it really mean, you gotta question your assumptions because there's so much info out there where someone just goes so just posts and goes, this is the way to do it. This is the best I have declared it and here's like a screenshot of the 7 million. I made it 25 seconds this morning and it's all bs. You don't know what you're looking at. But that's how a lot of the common sense wisdom in e-commerce, cuz it's such a young industry comes to be. It's just like whoever was the loudest voice with the best presentation in their tweet becomes our best practices. And I, I'm guilty of doing stuff like that too. I think we all are.

Once you have an audience online. And so 2020 I went, I'm gonna really figure out split testing and really question this stuff and figure out, put my money where my mouth is. It gives some legit advice and it took some efforts of playing and I ended up two years later really mastering Google Optimize. I feel very comfortable with it. And so I've amazing the other. So number one, mastery Google optimize to the point where I could figure out, all right, this is a realistic split test to run. We could figure this out and we don't have to guess, well will this perform better? Does X perform better than Y? I don't need to guess anymore. I could just go have Google tell me, just test it. And so that's really freeing. But what also blew my mind was the number of times I was wrong about what the winner would be.

Brett:

Yeah, cuz you've been doing this a long time. I've been doing this a long time. We talk about this with ad copy a lot, right? Pros is we do day in and day out, we're spending tens of millions a month, we know our stuff. But you still gotta test cuz sometimes your gut, we trust it a lot. Sometimes your gut is just wrong. You need to lean on data. That's the better way to go for sure. So one quick note on tools to optimize with, and we'll dive into the first couple points, but you mentioned Google Optimize. What's the quick pitch or quick thought on why that tool versus some of the other optimization tools that are out there or split testing tools?

Kurt:

I really think Google Optimize has become the standard here because it's free and it's already plugged, it's halfway integrated. If you're using GTM Google Analytics, you already have most of your Google Optimize set up done.

Brett:

Great. Makes sense. Which really, essentially all the clients we work with, they've got Google Tag Manager, they're using Google Analytics anyway, so yeah, makes sense at that. That all just plugs it in. Okay, cool. So let's dive in. Let's, let's go through some interesting split tests, which I would say have some kind of surprising results, which I think will be a ton of fun for people to listen to. So first one, this is something you guys recently tested, I want you to talk about and the results you saw, but should price appear on the collection slash grid pages. So first of all, describe what that means. There's always difficult in a podcast setting, but what is that test? And then what did you guys find out?

Kurt:

All right, so you're shopping on a jewelry store and you go to, you're, I wanna shop product by type. I'm looking for tennis bracelets. I don't know who still wears a tennis bracelet these days.

Brett:

I think they're pretty popular.

Kurt:

Yeah, click through to tennis bracelet. You are now in Shopify, this would be a collection page and the rest of e-commerce universe, this is a category page on that page, which is a listing of products. Do you include price which will perform better with price or without? I don't know.

Brett:

Dude, that's a good question, right? Cuz you think, hey, you want people just clicking on stuff they feel comfortable buying that they feel like fits their budget or whatever. So yeah, maybe you think you want price to be visible on that collection page, but what say you, or more importantly, what does the data say?

Kurt:

And the answer is maybe you do, maybe you don't. It depends so much. So you have to test this yourself. But the first time we ran this test, it increased revenue procession. So this revenue procession, good way to combine conversion rate and average order value, increase revenue procession 23.6%. And this was in an apparel store with 97% confidence. So pretty good. This one, this test had a sample size of 10,000 or more really solid results. So we ran it again and we did it on mobile and then we did it on desktop and we did it on new and we did it on returning customer, same result every time. Then we ran it at some other stores. Consistent result. Ran it a few more times and we found it really depends on the category of product. It is either going, this is one I just wouldn't blindly do.

You have to test this yourself, but I suspect what's going on here is when someone is on, this is my hypothesis, I'm on the product page, I see the item with no price, then my brain is going to decide, yeah, the category page, my brain is gonna decide a value for that price. Whether I think about it or not, value subjective, I click through, I'm on the product page, I see the actual price. Is that below or above what I thought it was gonna be? If they're consistently less than what people thought. So you had this really great presentation and your prices are a good value. I think it's going to, I think that's when conversion rate goes up. When it's the other way around, I think that's when it goes down. But in testing it, I think my guess is two thirds of stores fall into the former category where this is a win.

Brett:

Interesting. But I wonder, let's say there's a good value, let's say you, you've got this value in your mind or maybe you don't, but when you view that category page with the price, if it's a good price, if it's a good value, I think they would still have a benefit, right? You're still looking at it, you're thinking, oh that's great. Let me just let dig in a little bit more, right? So someone may have a mental win or get excited, even just seeing it on the collection page, but regardless, interesting, that's what you

Kurt:

Can test.

Brett:

Gotta test it. So worked in most cases, but not all. I like that. So here's a good one, and this is one that I wouldn't have thought to test necessarily, but it makes sense. How important is font size? So the size of the text on your pages, does it matter? Does it not matter? What did you find out and why? Why did you test this by the way?

Kurt:

So I'm a big believer in, I'm a big typography nerd. I like type fonts,

Brett:

Which I notice looking@ethercycle.com, whichever to go check it out just to see. It's a super fun well-designed website. You can tell you typo typography, beautiful and interesting fonts. Yeah,

Kurt:

That one's got this real retro look. But I thought easier to read will perform better, we'll convert better if a site's hard to read, I'm not gonna fight my way through it, I'm just gonna leave. I don't think there's really any dispute there. So I wanted to prove this with data. And so I set out and I started testing different sizes of font. I'm gonna split test my way to determine the exact right font size. Well it turns out you a test with a really subtle small change like that, it's so hard to get to statistical significance. Yeah. And so I couldn't, no matter which way I set it up, no matter how dramatic that change was, I could not get a statistically significant answer out of it. But I knew font size and was important. But really it turns out readability is what's important.

I was looking too granular. The real picture here is readability. So this is one ends up being a trick question you would have to do in different layouts and split test those. And so we didn't do it, but around the same time Bayard Institute came out with a usability study and they do like these, they call them large scale usability studies. And they figured out here is guidelines a starting point for ideal readability on fonts. And if you think about magazines and newspapers, they have those real narrow columns. That's what makes stuff easier to read is you wanna follow print type setting that we have at this point used for centuries ever since the Gutenberg Bible. Yes. It's a line length is 60 to, you want a line length of 60, 80 characters. And so if you go on your website and you put it full screen and the text just goes end to end, all right, we're not optimized here.

Brett:

Not, it's not inviting to it, it feels like it feels work. It feels really difficult to get to the meaning of what you're putting on the page.

Kurt:

I remember at school you used to double space your paper so that you could fill out more. Well

Brett:

It turns out you just promise.

Kurt:

Yeah, 1.5 is an ideal readable line height. And then you can also real mess with paragraph spacing, word spacing, letter spacing. They have those. I tried just putting them blindly into a few websites. It didn't look quite right. So I think it's a starting point. You have to tweak it from there. But if it's, it's really just that how many characters are on a line? You got two sentences, they're not gonna read it. You got five words, perfect. Easy to read. And so I like those narrow product descriptions. I think that performs well.

Brett:

Yeah, I love it. And just to illustrate this point, I don't know if you guys are this way as well, but just to share a little bit of my weirdness the friend of mine got me a leadership book, gave me this leadership book that he raved about and I believed him, I believed him. It was a good leadership book. But when you open up the pages, there are certain pages that are one paragraph. So the entire page is a paragraph and then wall to wall text, right? Is the least inviting page ever. And I'm like, I still just have, I've not read it for that reason, which is silly. There's probably some great content there and I'm not reading it because it's so uninviting to read. So

Kurt:

Yeah, no, so if you format it poorly, no matter how good the content is and you look at it and it's just wall of text, Yeah, it's a turnoff. People aren't gonna bother

Brett:

My back. Use

Kurt:

The inner. You put some line breaks in there, man.

Brett:

Exactly, exactly. Okay, so readability is greater than font size or readability is what really matters. Font size, you could kinda go one way or the other, but the goal,

Kurt:

Yeah, I would say just as a rule of thumb for body font, really 16 is probably the minimum. If it's a really chunky font, maybe 15. But I'd say for most sites it's like 16, 17, 18 pixel.

Brett:

Nice, nice. Okay. Good stuff, good. Easy win there and helps us focus in the right way. Let's talk about one that I know is a real hot button. This is something that, and honestly this may be something that people have a four gone conclusion on. They believe in one way very strongly but that's free shipping, right? Free shipping is a must, right?

Kurt:

Free shipping, oh my gosh. Free shipping is a must have. We've been told forever. Forever that you have to have three

Brett:

Years

Kurt:

That the number one cause of abandoned checkouts is unexpected shipping expense. My god, these monsters charging for shipping <laugh>.

Brett:

That's,

Kurt:

That's a good firm service.

Brett:

What is this? Early two thousands with this website charging for shipping.

Kurt:

Ugh, disgusting. So is this the case? It turns out split testing, free shipping not the easiest thing to do, but at least in the shop in the Shopify universe you could do it with dedicated apps. And there, I'm sure there's several, but the two we use successfully ship scout and intelligence will let you do split test shipping rates. And so we tried this at several stores with, they got different results. But I'll illustrate one here. The effects were always very similar. And so we were able to track checkout conversion rate when we offered no free shipping at all. Everybody just paid 20 free shipping at $25 and free shipping at $75. And what was interesting is the checkout conversion rate for all of those things were within a few points of each other. Our checkout conversion rate, meaning people who get started, the checkout for no free shipping was 72% for free shipping at $25. That was the highest. Or we got the lowest, but it was still under 80%. And then free shipping at $75 right in the middle, right at 70

Brett:

Five's.

Kurt:

Interesting.

Brett:

But 72 was with no free shipping at all.

Kurt:

So I'm really not gaining, I'm gaining very little, it's just marginal gains with these free shipping. And so I think we should reward our whale v i p clients. If your average order value is 50 bucks, then it should be a no brainer that someone who spends $200 should get free shipping. Fine. I'm not gonna dispute that one. But it's more as customer service really. And so I think it gets interesting when you start to consider profit per order, profit per checkout because especially since shipping keeps getting more and more expensive. Totally. And people are, so many people switch to e-commerce more than they ever had before in 2020 that I think as consumers get more sophisticated, they're also more willing to pay for shipping and be understanding about it depending on the item. And so in this particular test, we knew our average fulfillment cost was seven 50 in order and when we ran so we could calculate profit per visitor, our $25 rate was where we performed the best. That had a $12 profit per visitor. But when we didn't offer free shipping at all, which we only lost a little bit of conversion, that had a almost $20 profit per visit.

Crazy. I sacrificed a little bit of conversion, but then I gained considerable profit like 40%. And so that's why it really pays to take a hard look at what does shipping cost us and what's free shipping cost us in profit as a cost center.

Brett:

I love that. And I think, again, this just underscores the need to split test things because a lot of us just believe, hey, because Amazon's been free shipping forever, we have to be free shipping with our products on our stores. And the reality is you need to test it cuz maybe it's not boosting your conversion rates that much and maybe it's just eating in to profits. So you gotta test it. Love

Kurt:

That one. Well, and what I like too is when you're not offering free shipping just all the time as a threshold, then you can use that as a promo instead of having to do the traditional like, oh we discounted our product. Yeah, hey boom, we're offered free shipping this weekend. Only go.

Brett:

Yep, yep. Super easy. Then built in promotions and now it's legitimate. Right now it's real because you don't offer it the rest of the time you are offering now. So built in promos. Love it.

Kurt:

That urgency. Yep.

Brett:

Yep. That's awesome. Cool. So let's go back to collection pages. So you wanted to split test hero images. Do we put hero images on our collection slash category pages? What is that? And explain what is a hero image and then what did you find with that split test?

Kurt:

All right, so I'm shopping on funky t-shirts dot com, I click men's funky t-shirts, boom at the top there's like three dudes and robo cop and a banner image. By

Brett:

The way, do you have a tech nasty t-shirt? Cuz if not, you should probably have one at time.

Kurt:

Nasty. I don't but I gotta work on that. Yeah, <laugh>

Brett:

Funky.

Kurt:

So yeah, men's funky and there's like three dudes of Robocop T-shirts looking funky but it pushes all my products down the page. Uhoh like I've got this big banner at the top, I gotta wait for it to load <affirmative>, but it looks great. So I'm like pro hero image. Cause I think it makes a difference when you've got a really nice well done image.

Brett:

That's the image at the top of the category page kind of frames. What is this category or collection? All that's

Kurt:

That banner. And it's always a lifestyle image almost always. Or an action shot. So this is pretty cool, I love these, but it does this matter. Should we test it? So we did. And this was in a store where they look great, they had put in the effort and it cost us conversions. Having it there, it performed way better without it. Crazy revenue procession up 16%, 92% confidence. Well maybe that's just cuz on desktop it doesn't look right or on mobile it doesn't look right. So we tested that, we ran this one again, same store, mobile versus desktop new versus returning. Every single one of 'em performed better without the darn banner image. And my thinking is it's scrolled it. There's like, I got this banner at the top, but I'm already shopping so all you've done is presented me with a thing I have to load and scroll past just to get to what I wanted to do. If they're at that category page, they're already shopping, stop selling, They've already started shopping.

Brett:

I like that. And I would agree with you too, if you look at a good collection page, good category page, it's got that brilliant here, hero image. You're like, Yeah, I like this. You show me two pages. One with one without the hero image is gonna look better. But you make a very good point. If someone lands on the homepage, they get to the collection or category page, they're already in shopping moat, just show me the freaking products at that point and let me shop. Or if they land, the only time you really land on a collection or category page is if you are doing non-brand search or something like that where it's a very specific search that again is very product focused, otherwise they're gonna be landing on something else first and then getting to a collection page. So yes, this makes a lot of sense. And with a 16% increase in revenue procession yes please, I'll save that load time, pull that hero image and make more money there. So you would, and I love the way you framed this, that this is kind of a great way to look at both conversion rate and AOV at the same time. But talk about revenue procession and how you guys landed on that. Has that always been the key metric for you guys And no, Yeah, you guys land on that?

Kurt:

No, I mean, so as far as my e-commerce KPIs go, if I'm just yanking on levers to scale businesses, average order value is my favorite because you don't have to get new customers, which is the hardest thing. And you don't have to convert more customers, which is tough. You could just sell not even a ton more, just a little bit more a on average to every customer and you make significantly more money. I love AOV as this, but in conversion rate optimization, it's in the title, we would always look at conversion rate as our main kpi, but it's certainly, it's not the only one. It's not perfect if the further your test is away from that checkout where the conversion happens, the more noise that's getting introduced to you,

Brett:

What really raised the conversion right there if it's not there at that checkout. Yeah.

Kurt:

And certainly there is so much statistical noise and questionability in split tests and you just can't post a split test on the internet without a whole bunch of people coming outta the woodwork to be like, here's why you're wrong,

Brett:

Here's why you're

Kurt:

Like, okay, well wrong. We all know it's cuz this disagreed with what you assumed it would be, right

Brett:

<laugh>

Kurt:

But no. So in with another, this always turns into a pitch for Google Optimize. I swear I have no association, it's free.

Brett:

It's a free tool. People, yeah,

Kurt:

In Google Optimize, it'll ask you what's your primary objective and transactions is what they call conversions in. And you could do revenue, which now we're revenue procession and we're combining really conversion in average order value. I like that. But then a whole bunch of others. But you can choose multiple so you don't just have to commit to one. And so when you see consistent results across conversion and revenue procession, that's usually what I'm looking for. But you could also do add to cart, bounce rate page views. Sometimes we'll use those if it's more engagement focused. But no, you don't just have to use one. I'll usually set two or three and then that way I feel more confident when I see that results are fairly consistent across multiple KPIs.

Brett:

I love it, but I love that it's a good blend there because what's the benefit in increasing conversion rate if our AOV goes down, which can happen sometimes. That's where shifting that free shipping threshold can really have an impact. Yes, conversion rate went up but AOV went down. So in the end we made less money. But that's where that revenue procession really kind of helps combine those two and clarify things, which is great. So awesome. Let's move on to the next test. I got a couple more here. These are super fascinating. So should you include recently viewed products on the product detail page? So here we are, we're at the product detail page, we're looking at this funky. Should we also there show, hey remember you also looked at these other funky, is that a distraction or does that actually help with conversions? What did you find?

Kurt:

So alright, as the designer in my heart just wants to get rid of extraneous elements on a site, that's the easy way to conversion rate optimization is just try and keep people captive. Declutter by getting rid of distractions, declutter. And a recently viewed products widget on a cart. Who is this for? I have a history button, a back, I got history, a back button. I

Brett:

Not remember what I looked at five seconds ago.

Kurt:

I'm gonna get emails, browse abandonment, I'm gonna get marketing ads. And so this was the thing I wanna justify really just for a client, I wanna justify getting rid of a recently viewed items widget <laugh>.

And they're like, Yeah, you could do whatever you want as long as you show us the data first. All right, fine, smart challenge accepted. And so I tested this thing and it was net improvement. Let's see. Yeah, it was rev. Everything increased when it was present versus when it was removed. And this annoyed me, I'm like, now I'm getting rid of this thing. So I run the test again, mobile versus desktop, same result. Darn it. Run the test again. New versus returning. This is where it got interesting for returning visitors. It's increasing good version rate by 33%. And we had this thing on the cart page and the product page new visitors, it must have just been weird for them to see it decreased conversion rate by 9%

Brett:

<laugh>. So decreased conversion rates for

Kurt:

Them. It was for,

Brett:

Yeah. Huh.

Kurt:

So in Google Optimize you could deploy, it's called deploy personalization. So when I ran the test that said, hey, hide this for new people and that's a win. I could just have Google optimize do that. So you could use it to run personalization. So if it sees a new visitor, don't it hides that recently viewed item widget and if it returning visitor then it doesn't do anything.

Brett:

But returning visitor increased conversion rate by 33%. That's crazy. But I would tend to agree with you, or at least I could make the case there that yeah, it's just a distraction, why have it there? But your client was wise and said nope, show me with the data and the data said otherwise. So you have the recently viewed products, you keep it on the product detail page at this point. So brilliant test. Love that. What about, now this one's super interesting to me. Add to cart from the collection page, yay or nay. So I'm on that collection page or that category page, there's that quick add button or add to cart right there. Or do you want to view it or do you wanna do quick view or whatever? So what happened there? Do we put the add to cart on the collection page or not?

Kurt:

It depends, but I think the answer is yes.

Brett:

<affirmative>. Okay.

Kurt:

And so we ran this test again, I tried to do, at least for pulling these examples with data, I tried to do apparel stores for everything cuz it's very relatable, it's very general and that's also one of the biggest categories in e-commerce. But in this case, adding it increased revenue per visitor 15% with 85% confidence. So that's right at the minimum for where we're still statistically feeling this is statistically significant. But having the add to cart on a collection or category page aspe is really convenient. Especially if you're on a slower connection, you're making multiple purchases and items. And so I think it's definitely gonna depend on the store's catalog and what the products are. If I'm buying body jewelry, if I'm buying nuts and bolts, if I was just buying buttons for an arcade machine and I was like, I swear I wish this site would let me add to cart cuz I need two 16 buttons in different colors and I have to go back and forth, back and forth. And right away I knew that's the use case. And so if you have these less spec driven, lower price, similar items add to cart for sure. For sure. If it's a MacBook, real high price technical items, I don't need to add five

Brett:

Different, We're always gonna go to the product detail page before you purchase. Right?

Kurt:

Yeah. So certainly some common sense needs to be used here. And Bay Mar Institute, they did a usability study recently. They felt they made a similar argument but they liked quick view where it opens a window with more info. Right, right. That keeps you on the collection page. Yeah, I don't wanna have to go back and forth, which on a phone could be annoying for sure.

Brett:

Yeah. So then you just look at maybe turning that off for the mobile experience and keeping it running for desktop or is that an option?

Kurt:

I think on mobile you do. Oh for sure. I think increasingly we need these mobile specific and desktop specific optimizations. I think they help a lot. But no, I really think it's more product and category dependent. If it 50 bucks and less, definitely consider this. And if it's a lot of similar stuff, definitely consider it.

Brett:

Totally makes sense. But if it's a high ticket item and you're gonna be digging into that product detail page every time we add to cart, then it's less important. Yeah,

Kurt:

You could also do it if you wanna get fancy, do it per category or collection. Yeah, let's say

Brett:

Other, Yeah,

Kurt:

I'm selling drones. All right. I probably don't on the drones page, I don't want it. But then on the accessories I'm buying SD cards

Brett:

And batteries parts, the replacement parts

Kurt:

Page or whatever, then I could use it.

Brett:

Yep. Yeah, that's interesting. So maybe go collection by collection or category by category. Super interesting.

Kurt:

See what

Brett:

The price split test to me. I like it. So last one that we're gonna last split test result. We're gonna dive into them. We got some general tips which are super helpful as we wrap up. So what about breadcrumbs? Do we need the breadcrumbs? And in the early days, in my early e-commerce days, we supported a Magento agency and so we ran all the marketing for Magento agency and all their clients and super fun. But I know breadcrumbs were a big part of Magento, at least back in the day. But so first of all though, yeah,

Kurt:

Magento went hard on really making these gigantic faceted breadcrumbs.

Brett:

They loved the breadcrumbs. So for those that maybe don't know, explain what breadcrumbs are and then what'd you find with the test results?

Kurt:

So a breadcrumb, it's always in, there's a consistency to it. It's always like 14 point font in the upper left and it tells you starting from the homepage where you're at on the site. So really it's like it's a drill down, it's home department product or subcategory then product. And this just seems like a thing in the way I'm on the site, I I'm on the product page, I can just click the back button. So I thought, I'm like, this is just, what am I doing with this? I don't want this thing. And so again, I'm like it's extraneous, I'm gonna remove it. And so I gotta split test it. And it turned out on that when I was wildly wrong on the product page increased revenue per visitor by 53% with 92% confidence. That's insane. Cause what's going

Brett:

On? People love their freaking breadcrumbs. But yeah, why?

Kurt:

This is another one where when you get rid of the breadcrumbs, if I had just by straight conversion, it improves conversions. But at what cost? Because it's like they get to the product page, they go cool, add to cart, and then they leave. Whereas when I had the breadcrumbs, and you could see this in heat maps and screen recordings, they're using it as navigation. So they go back and they shop more. And so when I got rid of the breadcrumbs, all I did was sacrifice people buying multiple items. Nice. Cause I made it a pain.

Brett:

It's crazy. So people were adding to cart and or purchasing. So conversion rate went up. And again, that's why you gotta look at it holistically. Conversion rate isn't the only metric, right? People are buying less, they're spending less. So conversion rate only in this case actually hurts. So yeah, they're adding that item to the cart, but then they've got the breadcrumbs there where they go back to the category or two categories go whatever they can, they now easily continue to shop. So

Kurt:

That's sell more than one item. You probably have to have the bread crumbs. There's like only there'd be a rare handful of scenarios where you didn't want the bread crumbs. And so now I'm like, all right, we gotta make breadcrumbs work, look good, be even better. Gotta optimize my breadcrumbs.

Brett:

Now gotta, So we wanted to get rid of 'em stupid breadcrumbs but they make a difference now we gotta make 'em smarter better. So which by the way, how do you optimize breadcrumbs? Do you have any thoughts or theories there?

Kurt:

So in shop by the breadcrumbs are a little limited. They normally look at like, hey, what's the collection url? They look at the URL to fix it. And so we rewrote it, what it act one where it can use, if it doesn't know how the person, if they just landed on the product page, how do you develop the breadcrumb? And so adding some logic to backfill that in either you can have it check what was the last collection they look at with a cookie and add that in. And then if that's not present, okay, let's look at the products, maybe the vendor or the product type and then use that to try and backfill collection. This. If you, you're really getting deep in the weeds by the time you're doing this one, you're

Brett:

Getting deep. This essentially, I mean this happens. So we run a lot of Google shopping. Traffic's one of our core channels, but a lot of people then parachute in on that product detail page. So if I land,

Kurt:

So in that use case, yeah, this is a win

Brett:

For sure. Having those breadcrumbs there, they're gonna buy more items for sure. Okay, love it. So we have it. There were seven unique, interesting split tests, several of which surprised you and would've surprised me if you hadn't already told me the results. So super interesting there. What about, let's close out, which is some general tips. What tips would you give people as they're going on this journey to increase conversions and AOV and all that good stuff?

Kurt:

So for sure there's some good advice here. I tried to keep it to things that will be generally helpful, but you gotta question everything. And that's like when you see people sharing their wins and the results and their split tests, this is what I did. Okay, that's what they did not, that doesn't mean it's what you should do. And

Brett:

You know how they did it. What if they didn't even get a statistically significant result? What if they just got the result they wanted and they wanna share it?

Kurt:

And even if they did get it statistically significant, it was significant for their audience, their catalog offer, et cetera. It's not the same for you. And so what people are like, oh, they'll like, I'll post something and they'll start questioning the, not often, but they'll question the methodology cuz they're trying to get to, well here's why this is invalid. And to those I'd say like, look, I'm sorry that it disagreed with what you thought, right? Cause that's really what they're saying. Or

Brett:

You don't like the truth, it's okay. Yeah,

Kurt:

Yeah. But also it doesn't matter for you just go, you run that same test on your store and see what happens. And so I think question everything about other so-called experts, there's just being in this space, there's a fire hose of great info. So many. So who do you listen to?

Brett:

So many experts. Yes.

Kurt:

And certainly part of the problem here. And then also question your own assumptions. And so there's all kinds of elements on your homepage, on your website. Why are they there? What are they doing? Until you've split system, you really have no idea if they help or hurt. You're

Brett:

Just, I think I heard you and Paul talking about this on a podcast episode where we all, were in love with the sliders on the homepage, right? We all want sliders at top our homepage. Yeah, because that's what you do. That's what you've done since 2000 or the late nineties or whatever. But what, what have you guys found there? And I know we kind of finished the split test, but you found some interesting stuff there, I believe recently.

Kurt:

So that collection, homepage test or that collection test where it's like, does the hero help her hurt? Yeah, we did the same darn thing on the homepages and same result, it always performed better without the homepage hero image. And the reason real is what's going on is because the second thing is always featured promos and a product grid, a featured collection on a site. And so you're just getting them shopping faster. Again, it's the same premise. That one really blows people away. They're like, but we have to have them. I dunno, have you been to google.com lately? Where's their slider? Right? You don't have to have a slider.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. So other tools you had mentioned, so you mentioned Google Optimize, love it. What other tools would you suggest people check out?

Kurt:

Well, I really like Hot Jar you know, also wanna combine this with a heat map tool screen recording tool. So you can see, get a macro view of how people are using the site and micro views. But then I think ultimately the real deal, number one conversion rate optimization hack is talking to your customers. So few people wanna talk to their customers and that's where you get the really great test ideas is when you talk to people and you go, Oh, you know that because every customer will be like, well they'll speak for everyone. I want this and that and that. Well maybe they're right. And so when you go test those things, that's what we've had the biggest wins is taking a customer suggested idea from a phone interview and put that onto a site and then test it.

Brett:

Super interesting. So you actually, let me get this straight. You're actually calling customers on the phone, talking to them with words, not typing or something like that, but you're getting feedback from the customer and then you're implementing those into split

Kurt:

Tests in rare occurrence. Yes. Yeah, <laugh>, that is the most powerful thing you can do is pick up the phone. No one wants to use phone.app, but that's the one that prints money.

Brett:

But it works, man. It absolutely works that. That's awesome. Any final tips? And then I wanna point people to you so they can check out more of your brilliance as they go. But any final tips? I know we could talk about this for hours and

Kurt:

Hours. I mentioned a few tools. Use the tools you, I don't care what tools you use, so long as you're doing the work, whatever you're comfortable with, that's great. Perfect. You don't have to justify it to anybody. We mentioned it earlier, but I think it's a mistake to just solely and laser in on conversion rate, especially Google Optimize, where you can have secondary goals and I think revenue is a really good one to work with. And then certainly I think the other mistake is lumping everyone together. And so I would do consider segmentation, especially mobile versus desktop and new versus returning

Brett:

Mobile versus desktop to very different experiences and different modes, different mindsets people have. And then, yeah, it's another simple segmentation, new versus returning. Cuz like you showed with several of your tests actually that new visitors behave differently than return visitors. Which makes a lot of sense actually if you think about it. So Kurt, this has been awesome. So go listen, check out the unofficial Shopify podcast, one of my all time favorites. You gotta listen. But if you listen to this and they're like, Dude, I wanna hire Kurt and his team to work for me. Tell us a little bit about Ethercycle. Who do you work with and how can someone reach out to you?

Kurt:

Ethercycle.com, you could find us. And we work exclusively with Shopify store owners. We've been since 2014, I think. And that's awesome. We do really, we're a theme shop. We build a lot of custom themes. We do do store migrations but we also do maintenance programs and conversion rate optimization work.

Brett:

Yeah, and you guys did, did all the work recently for Overtone, which is as a Firestones company. We worked on that together. So you guys did a lot of the build side. We're doing the Google and YouTube and Amazon side. But yeah, what what'd you do for overtone specifically?

Kurt:

Overtone? That one was interesting. They were on Shopify, but it was headless. And so we built an entirely custom theme and that designed to develop to custom theme and then migrated back to Shopify. Got rid of the headless solution entirely, which is simplified it and admin for them made life a lot easier. And some of these split tests

Brett:

We mentioned too, didn't it?

Kurt:

Some of these split tests were run in that store.

Brett:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's done quite well. I think it was an improvement. I know kind of the, there's this rage for headless, which is a topic for a different day and there there's scenarios where it makes sense. But for, in this case, simplify, run some of these tests. It was definitely a win for overtone for sure. So awesome. Kurt Elster, ladies and gentlemen, hit that tech nasty button one more time. <laugh> Tech message. Awesome. Kurt, this has been super fun, man. Thank you so much. And we will have to, It's been too long. I think the last time you were on this show was like four years ago so we will four

Kurt:

Years ago. That is too long.

Brett:

I know. It's no good. So we'll have to just get it on the calendar, get you back as a regular guest. So much appreciated, my man. This was awesome. Please do. Looking for to next time.

Kurt:

Thank you so much.

Brett:

Absolutely. And as always, thank you for tuning in. Could not do this show without you. In fact, it'd be pretty lonely. It'd be pretty pointless to do this show without you. And hey, if you're listening to the show and you think, man, this is enriching my life, this is making me more money, this is improving my e-commerce experience, then share it with somebody else. We would love that. And leave us that review on iTunes if you think it deserves it. And with that, until next time, thank you for listening.

Episode 213
:
John Parkes - ClickFunnels

Rethinking Facebook Ads & ClickFunnels 2.0

John Parkes and I go way back. 

In the early days of OMG, we partnered with Russell Brunson on a project called DotComSecrets Local. John helped oversee the project. It was pre-ClickFunnels in 2010 and an excellent time to work as an online entrepreneur. Having an upfront seat watching Russell and his team was inspiring and educational. 

Fast forward to today, and John is the Chief Traffic Architect for ClickFunnels. Or CTA for short, which is a nerdy and satisfying job title for a media buyer. John is a great media buyer, strategist, and marketer. He’s wicked smart and fun to talk to!

In this episode, we dive into rethinking Facebook Ads. Plus, we talk about the grandfather of direct response marketing - Dan Kennedy. Interestingly, many people (myself included) thought Dan was dead. He’s not, and now he’s part of the ClickFunnels team. 

Here’s a look at what we dive into:

  • The experience of buying Dan Kennedy’s company and brand. Opening up new markets and introducing the current market to The Godfather of direct response marketing.
  • D.W.E.L.L. - audience strategy for focusing.
  • How to build “set it and forget it” remarketing ads.
  • How Google and Facebook Ads work together - this can really unlock growth when you understand it.
  • Is TikTok really a game changer from a marketing and business growth perspective?
  • A sneak peek at ClickFunnels 2.0.

Mentioned in This Episode:

John Parkes

   - LinkedIn

   - Instagram


Click Funnels

Dan Kennedy

Reddit

Google Analytics



Transcript:

Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the E-Commerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of O OMG Commerce. And today I have a legend on the show. Not only is he a legend in the industry, but he is an old friend. We go way back like 10 or 12 years. We'll tell that story in just a minute, but we're gonna be talking about Facebook ads. Are they dead or are they not dead? And, uh, spoiler, They're not dead. We're gonna talk about ways you can maximize. We're also gonna talk about some trends and the interconnectivity. I'm just trying to use big words now. Uh, between Facebook and Google, we're gonna talk about ClickFunnels 2.0 and some other amazing things happening. And so with that, I wanna welcome to the show, um, and longtime friend John Parkes, who is the Chief Traffic Architect, which, if you are paying attention, if you're thinking that acronym is CTA Baby, which totally makes sense for markers. So c uh, Chief Traffic Architect, John Parkes. How you doing, man? Welcome to the show and thanks for taking the

John:

Time. Yeah, awesome. To awesome to be here,

Brett:

Dude, I was so excited. We, uh, well, I, I think you reached out to me on Voxer, right? Which is the old walkie talkie app, which the only reason I ever got on that app was because of you and Russell Brunson back when we were working together. And, uh, and I hadn't, like, I hadn't had it in for years, but a notification popped up. I was like, Whoa, is John Parkes that I, that I suddenly, uh, teleport back to like 2012 or what happened here. But it was present day and I was excited, uh, to get that message from you. But, uh, but yeah, let's, let's actually tell the story of how we met. So you are now celebrating how many years working with Russell Brunson?

John:

I'm in my 15th year now with Russell. I know, it's been a while.

Brett:

It's crazy. And so back in, I think 2009, 2010, I could check. I'm terrible with dates, but I think that's, I think that's right. Uh, I partnered with Russell and, and, and you to, to launch, uh, an old project called.com Secrets Local. Right? It was super fun. It had what, a three or five year run it, it was great. Yeah. And you guys were just, I, I remember, I remember meeting Todd and hanging out with Todd at some events and Boise and you guys were just like kind of noodling on, uh, ClickFunnels. Cause when did, when did ClickFunnels launch?

John:

Uh, yeah, let's see. Can me on a date? I'm gonna say it. We played around in 20, 20 15 ish. There was something Yeah,

Brett:

You guys were like, just kinda

John:

Like, but yeah, like, we're

Brett:

Working on, we're working on something big. I remember you guys, so working on something big and I'm like, cool. I can't wait to see it. And, and something big was an understatement because ClickFunnels has been a monster success. And we, you know, we focus in the e-com space, run an agency, but we use ClickFunnels and a lot of our clients use, like, everybody knows ClickFunnels, right? So, um, uh, I, I wanna do this first. Maybe can you kinda explain like, what, what does a, a chief traffic architect do? What, what does like a day to day look like for you John Parkes?

John:

Yeah, awesome question. Awesome question. So we, uh, it's interesting as we've grown, cuz I mean, you've been with us since we were tiny. There was like three of us in the office and you know, <laugh>, you're like, There you go. There's, I

Brett:

Remember, I remember one, uh, one year I was there for Halloween. Uh, me and Chris Brewer, my business partner were both there. Uh, Brent Co. Peters was there and everybody, everybody wore costumes and sweets, like made stuff up. Yeah. I put a big, uh, mailbox like around my waist and I went as Lumpy mail, if you remember like the, the field three 3D or lumpy mail. <laugh>. Absolutely. Anywho. Yeah. Crazy.

John:

That's hilarious. Um, yeah. So, you know, back in the day, I, I, uh, I'm gonna close this tab here just to make sure we don't get too crazy, so No

Brett:

Problem.

John:

Yeah. Back in the day, like when I was, uh, running just kind of all of the traffic, I mean, I had to produce the ads, write the copy, you know, make sure the sales funnel got made, do the customer service. Like there was, it was everything, right? And that was back in the day where you were on board and uh, um, and, and it was crazy. But when we, as we grew, we started to specialize more and more and more, right? And, and so we had to come up with this, this concept of the chief traffic architect, somebody who's like driving all of the traffic. Like, what are we doing organically? What are we doing paid? What are we doing, You know, when it comes to branding and search and are we doing anything offline, direct mail, all kinds of stuff like that. And it's like, who's this person that does all of that and is slightly different than the person who's, who's, um, coming up with the new ideas for, for offers and landing pages and stuff like that.

Cuz that's a different focus, right? In our company. So we have, we have, uh, a team focused on putting up the new sales page, the new sales funnel, putting up the, you know, or, or even deciding what the Black Friday, Cyber Monday offers gonna be. All of that is in this channel over here. And so a chief traffic architect day to day is, is, um, basically taking the pass from the, um, from the funnel team and, and making it grow, making it, bringing it, you know, making it rain, bringing it in the sales. So it's like that's what we do all day long is we're, uh, we're, uh, iterating on ads that worked, looking at what works in other industries, bringing that back to the table, creating new, you know, images, video, getting copy written, trying it, failing, trying again, 16, you know, that whole model of, it's a, it's a like a whole suite of media buying.

Brett:

Yeah, man, I, I love it. And I really like the way you laid it out there. It's, it's thinking about all the traffic options that are available. Yeah. How do we, how do we optimize, maximize, really get the most out of that? And, and I, I've never really loved the term media buyer. I mean, we use it all the time in our industry. I use it too. It's, it's fine, but I think it's just kinda limiting. It's like a retail buyer. I'm just buying products, right? I'm just buying some media. I mean, right. But, but Chief Traffic architect, come on, man. Like that, that's what what it is, right? We're, we're architecting this traffic, which I love that. So Kudo, kudos to you for a, a great, a great title. Yeah. So I, I wanna, I want to talk, uh, briefly about Dan Kennedy mm-hmm. <affirmative>, before we get into, uh, some specifics on Google and Google and

John:

YouTube together. Yeah.

Brett:

Yes. Yeah. So, uh, and actually, uh, so, so those that don't know, and if you don't know, it's because you're probably just new to the marketing world, but Dan Kennedy, he's like one of the godfathers of, of modern marketing, of direct response marketing. And in fact talked about dotcom Secrets local, where we all worked together. I met Russell at a Dan Kennedy super conference. I, I'd just been reading the newsletter, you know, Russell wasn't as huge, uh, then as he, as he is now. And I was just at this Dan Kennedy event, saw Russell in the lobby, and we started chatting it up and hit it off and, and kind of went from there. Uh, but so Dan Kennedy is what kind of made that, that possible. I, I read his newsletter for years, man, It really formed my, my marketing perspective. But, um, I gotta say, I was surprised.

I think a lot of people were surprised. I thought Dan Kennedy was dead, right? So there was this time, and then you can maybe, uh, fresh me up on, on dates, but, but Dan Kennedy wrote this letter from what he thought was his death bed, saying like, Thank you, it's been a great run, whatever. Like, and, and I remember reading this letter and I was just so sad. I was like, this is like, you know, a guy who was a, a mentor from a distance, but a mentor for me, and he's dying, you know? Yeah. And then, and then not too long ago, I'm on Facebook and I see a picture of Russell with Dan Kennedy, and I'm like, Wait a minute. Was is that, like, is that an old picture? Is that a new, what's going on? And, uh, lo and behold, uh, Dan Kennedy's not dead. And, uh, I just never heard that he pulled through his, his illness. He really was terribly sick, but pulled through that illness. And, and so, uh, you guys now bought that company, Dan Kennedy's company, Magnetic Marketing, the rights of that. So talk about what that experience has been like and, and kind of why'd you do it and what the vision is there. But yeah, just, just tell us about that.

John:

Yeah, yeah. It was fascinating cause we were, we were on the same train as you. Like he was, he was dying. And then the next date we saw people publishing that, that it had happened, he had passed. And so we were all sad in the office. We were like, Oh, I can't believe it happened. This is, you know, and in a way it kind of, kind of revival as, as the legend, you know, moves on to the next phase of his existence and we're reading old Dan Kennedy books and stuff like that, and then all of a sudden it's like, wait, he's not <laugh>, he,

Brett:

I go, That's right. Yeah.

John:

And it was, it was fantastic news. I mean, you can only imagine, you know, it's like, it's like a Hollywood movie, but the, but then, um, I, I wish I knew the exact moment that Russell then kind of reached out and, and they started to mastermind this idea of, um, of combining, you know, of, of, Hey, let me, let me take on your business and help your legacy grow. And it kind of, I kind of stemmed from that moment where we're like, well, now Dan's passed on into legacy status, right? He's, he's, he's the, he's a legacy. Well, well, not really. He's, he's still alive. Well, let's make it a, a legacy anyway, right? So <laugh> <laugh>, of course. So yeah, we, we, we grabbed that brand, We knew that we know sales funnel and we know, you know, online acquisition and stuff like that.

Like, like that's our bread and butter. And so we're like, let's take this Dan Kennedy offline old school marketing genius, and let's publish it to the internet marketing world, um, and, and just, and just grow and scale in a way that, that, that that brand hadn't done. And so we thought it was the perfect match, um, bringing in a new demographic into our world that, that we hadn't reached before, as well as introducing the young bucks to this, to this marketing legend to the past. So, um, yeah, in a, in a really cool way to like reverse mature the brand. We, we acquired an old brand and now we're a part of the legacy, right?

Brett:

Yeah. It's so smart. And, and if you look at, at some of the legends that a lot of people will know, like Frank Kern and Ryan Dice and, and Russell Brunson and Alex or Mosy and, uh, Roan Fraser, some of these, these legends, you know, in our mind, like they all learn from Dan Kennedy in the beginning, right? Like Dan, Dan shaped all of these, uh, current rock stars. And so yeah, you guys are able to track like that, that old following Dan Kennedy audience to ClickFunnels and also take the, the young pups and introduced them to Dan Kennedy, Right? Which is just awesome. So,

John:

And what a neat way to, um, to, to also, um, like garner relationships with some of those old legends. Like you're saying, if, if, uh, if I can entice you to like, Hey, would, will you support a Dan Kennedy offer or Dan Kennedy launch, then heck, you know, all of a sudden it's like, like doors are open, right? And so it's a way to open new doors that, that weren't previously open to.

Brett:

Yeah, it's so cool. Can't, can't wait to see more there. And so, and you guys are using the magnetic marketing brand, right? You guys are, are, are kinda reviving that product or building things around that right

John:

Now? Yeah, we re we relaunched an offer, oh, I'm gonna say not six, maybe nine months ago at this point. Um, no BS letter, The no BS letter that, that Dan Kennedy's used that no BS concept for a long time. And, um, he's had his newsletter going out for a long time, but we, we put a new fresh face design on it, matched it up with our own behind the scenes, you know, Russell Brunson letter. And so now you get a two for one, um, you know, twice a month you get, you get these just dynamite marketing newsletters. And so we, we have been able to revive that brand and that, uh, not, not only the, the brand and revive the people who are already subscribed to the, to the Dan Kennedy world, but, but bring our world into the Dan Kennedy brand, right? Which is kind of a cool thing when you acquire, is how you get a cross sell, especially when you acquire a complimentary thing. You know, you get that cross sell, and so you get kind of a double subscription happening as well as, uh, it's been able, we've been able to attract, you know, other JVs and affiliates who are, they're all about promoting Dan Kennedy, you know, that's, that's a thing that they wanna stand by and stuff.

Brett:

Totally. Yeah. It really, I didn't even think about that, but it totally makes sense. Like, if you're digging into affiliate marketing and joint venture stuff, which you guys have always been great at, at, this opens up a a whole new realm of people to work with, or just a fresh excitement, like of course, Right. I wanna promote Dan Kennedy to my list, that type of thing. So that, that's awesome. Uh, super excited to see where that goes and, and dig in more. And I'm just curious, has, has, like Dan been by the office, has, like, have you guys got to hang out with Dan or, or, or I guess maybe not in a, the covid world or post covid world,

John:

Right? He's, yeah, he <laugh> he's a very, he's a very interesting cat. We have been able to hang out with him when he comes to an event, you know, like behind the scenes at our funnel hacking live event, you know, we can hang out with him. Um, but he, he, he rarely travels here, but Russell does go travel there and hang out with him. Yeah.

Brett:

Yeah. Totally makes sense. That makes sense. Cool. All right, awesome. So let's, let's get technical, let's get strateg, let's get tactical. Yeah. Um, and so let's talk about Facebook. First off, uh, let me ask you this, John Parkes. Yeah. Is Facebook dead? Because, you know, I, I hear people a lot saying I was 14 killed Facebook, Right? Right. I'm mad at Zuck, like, you know, Zucks catching a lot of heat for a lot of things and whatever you'll probably be catching for forever. And the meta versus silly and just all all kinds of stuff, right? So, but from your perspective, how are you viewing Facebook right now? And is it that

John:

Yeah, that's a fantastic question and it, and it's different if you ask a stock investor <laugh>, right? Versus, versus a chief traffic architect, right? Yeah. Is is is the, is the Maita stock grow? Is the growth curve still there? Is it, And, and, and the thing to realize is that it's, it's saturated, right? It's hard to find places for Facebook to grow, but that right there by definition means it's a great place to advertise cuz it means they're omnipresent, right? They're everywhere. So

Brett:

Everybody, everybody is still there, right?

John:

Right. Should you go out and buy Facebook's stock? Well, I'm not a stock investor, not gonna buy you on that, but should you go buy ads on Facebook? Absolutely. Shit, <laugh>, it's a fantastic place. And you and I were chatting, um, earlier and it, the concept that like almost every brand we work with, and a lot of 'em, the ones that you work with, from what you're saying, um, 50% of their spend is in the Google Suite and 50% is in the Facebook suite. And in those two monsters, you've kind of saturated everything.

Brett:

Yeah, totally. It, it's so interesting to me. And, and yeah, there, there are potentially issues with Facebook, right? Like one of them is, hey, young people aren't really on it. Like, I've got some older teens and my oldest is, is 20 now. Like, none of them really wanna be on Facebook, but they're all on Instagram, so, so kudos too Zuckerberg for getting on Instagram. One in the same when it comes to ads. Um, but yeah, it really does still come down to those two giants, Google, which includes YouTube and Meta and, and yeah, we got an advertiser that's spending, you know, six to 8 million a month on ads and it's probably not quite 50 50, but I mean, Google and, and Facebook, those two are, are by far the biggest. And then you got native ads, which are pretty huge chunk for this particular brand.

And I'm, I'm focusing on one brand, but this is true for other big advertisers. And then you also get TikTok and, and Snap and some other things there. But, but one of the things we talked about, and this, this is not, I do not want to, uh, be a downer on TikTok. Cause I think I'm bullish on TikTok. It's, it's a cool platform. It's growing. There's, uh, I mean, it's cool. I don't get on it, uh, for fun, but I think it's creates some good opportunities. But I don't know anybody, big advertisers, I don't know anybody spending more than 10% of their budget on TikTok. Right?

John:

Most

Brett:

It's like six to 8% type of thing, which is fine. Like, I think the way you said it was like, we spend a little bit on, on TikTok and it helps a little bit, right?

John:

Yeah, it's interesting. We, and we do the same with Snapchat and with Pinterest. Those are kind of the three where we've been able to find some, some extra room is, um, well, B too, I mean, we do advertise on Boone.

Brett:

Yeah. Bing is actually a great little add-on to what you're doing it

John:

Maybe

Brett:

10% what you doing Google?

John:

Yeah, Right. Giving us that five, 10% lift over here and there and over there, you know, but Snapchat mostly your targeting. Pinterest, we do some prospecting on Pinterest, and it is, and it is working for, you know, for certain offers that we have. But again, it's, it's a small piece. It's not anywhere near the size of what we spend on the, I guess it's now called maa, right? The Maita Ad State or the, or the Google, Google site. So yeah.

Brett:

Yeah. I'm still, I'm still not used to calling it meta, but, uh, I don't either. It, it'll happen more as we go, but, uh, but yeah. Okay. So let's talk about this for just a minute. And then, and then I want to talk about, uh, your system that you and, and, you know, kind of inspired by Russell developed for Facebook ads. But let's talk a little bit about the, the interconnectivity or the, the, the connection between, uh, Google Ads, including YouTube and Facebook, and how do you see the two working together?

John:

Yeah, I love that. So, um, Nicholas GoIT, I'm sure you're familiar with him. He wrote a book, um, and I read the book on a plane once, you know, and, and this interesting thing he brought up that I hadn't ever seen in this way, he, he likened under a swimming lane, right? And there people who swim fast, medium are slow. And there's the people who the fast swimmers, right? And they just take action. They, they see an ad, they click a buy, right? My wife accuses me of being that <laugh>, and

Brett:

It's like, it's Mark research, babe, I gotta see what this funnels like. I gotta buy the product, write

John:

It off, I'll use her business card. Right? It's no, exactly. It's the people who are just like, it's the type of person that just sees lives, right? And, and those are the ones that can, you know, run a conversion ad on Facebook and you get 'em, that's great, fantastic. You're measuring your CPAs. You want, you know, your, your average car value is higher than your CPAs right there, right then and there kind of a thing. But then there's the medium swimmers who are gonna think about it or need to see the ad a few times, but then there's the slow swimmers, right? Who, who aren't getting any less of a workout, it just takes them longer to do it, right? Kind of kind of concept. And those medium and slow swimmers, um, find themselves elsewhere on the internet interacting with you, right? That's what's really interesting to realize.

So when you run a Facebook ad, or you know, whether you're on Instagram or Facebook or anything, you're running the ad, you know, you immediately tend to focus on, well, how much should I spend and how much should it cost me to get that sale? But the other number that is right next to it in your stats is, how many impressions did it have? How much reach did it have? And it can be in the millions, right? And the millions of video views, depending on how much you're spending and the millions of impressions and stuff like that. Well, those, while nobody's necessarily clicking on those, or maybe they are, maybe you could have hundreds of thousands of clicks too, you know, and only somebody turning into sales. Think about the amount of branding that's happening. Think about the, the, the literal reach that you're having there with those ads.

And if the message is intriguing, and if you, if you've got the right kind of hook story and offer, um, you might not be closing anybody, but the fast swimmers and the slow ones are finding you elsewhere, right? And so that relationship with Google Ad Suite, where then they might go to YouTube and search, Well, tell me about this e-comm, you know, this, this e-comm product, this new thing that I found out saw on Facebook. Or they might go over to Google and, and, uh, and actually search for your brand. Or you might <laugh> gotta gotta throw my wife under the bus on this one because it was really funny looking over the shoulder. I mean, love her to death her, but I was looking over her shoulder, she was using the computer the other day and um, and I was like, Go to this website.

And so she opened up a new tab and the new tab, you know, in Chrome and it just said Google. And there's this big old place down there, right under the word Google. So she typed in the URL right there, and she, and she clicked enter, and then it caused a search to happen. And then <laugh>, luckily the URL she was looking for was the first thing that she clicked about. So like, there are people searching for your brand intentionally, unintentionally. And I'm, I am, after watching that and watching how she uses the internet and how some of my parents use the internet, some of my neighbors use the internet, I'm convinced that that unintentional search is a huge number. You know what I

Brett:

Mean? Is a huge number. And, and we see this too, and I'll, I'll, I'll make it a little correlation here. Cause I think this will help paint the picture. There's a lot of people that wanna buy something on Amazon, uh, but they still start on Google. And so we see this a lot with a lot of our Amazon brands where they're, you know, hundreds of thousands of searches a month on Google of someone typing in this product. And Amazon. And I think it's just for a lot of people, the internet begins on Amazon. I'm sorry, the internet begins on Google, right? So you go to Google, you just to even type in the url, but it triggers a search. It's insanity. It's super interesting. Yeah,

John:

No, it's, it's interesting. And like, even if, even if they know, I mean, so we're like talking things like URL and, and address bar. People don't know what those are. I mean, the, the majority, I'm gonna say the majority, and I'm shooting from the hip here of, of, of consumers don't know what I mean when I'm like url, you know what I mean? Or, uh, you know, kind of a thing. They're just like, I don't know. I just searched for the thing. I searched for the soap and I typed in the word Amazon and then I, it just magically leads me to this place called Amazon where I buy the tho, right? Yeah.

Brett:

I Googled it and then I got there. That's all, that's all I needed to

John:

Know. Yeah, you survey them, that's what they say. And so the fact that you are just throwing out millions of impressions over here on the social media side, and then you're basically retrieving them on the Google side, those things work hand in hand. So with our budgets, we've noticed, um, like we, you know, we'll find this fantastic, you know, cost to get the sales over here on the Google search side, right? And so we're like, well, we're gonna take some of our budget off of Facebook and you mentioned doing this, see my budget off of Facebook cause that's kind of expensive over there. We're gonna put it more on this Google search side. And it doesn't work because it throws the balance off. All of a sudden you have so many fewer people getting introduced to your brand and so therefore less searches.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. We, we notice that, you know, as an agency, we don't run any, any traffic on Facebook, but, but we're big fans of it obviously. And, and we'll notice that too, Like say, Hey, branded search is down this week. Did you guys do something different on Facebook? And and oftentimes the answer is yes. Yeah. And so we immediately see that. Yeah. We've also seen a connection, a correlation between YouTube and Facebook. So as we boost spend on top of funnel, YouTube, uh, Facebook often performs better. If, if someone's going hard on top of funnel, Facebook often top of YouTube works better. Oh, yeah. Uh, but we, we do a lot of measurement on, you know, YouTube brand lift studies. And one, once a once a client or once a brand gets to 30, 50, a hundred thousand a month on, on YouTube, we're usually seeing lifts of like, uh, 20 to 35% on their branded campaigns.

Mm. And, and, and I'm, I'm confident we haven't done the same study, cuz we don't do, we don't run Facebook, but confident the same numbers are true on Facebook, Right? You, you start spending a certain amount, your brand campaigns, your, your lower funnel search campaigns are gonna see a 20 to 40% lift. And so, so yeah. Yeah. You can't just look at what, what are the, and I love that. I love the Swim Lane thing. I, I think I'd maybe heard that, but I've forgotten that. I love that analogy. I'm gonna use that. But you can't just look at, okay, well this campaign only closed so many people because it just got the fast swimmers, right? The medium and slow swimmers are, are being converted through other channels, but wouldn't have happened without your top of funnel efforts. So, Right. That is awesome. Good stuff. Um, so let's talk about your dwell method. D W E L L. And it's an acronym. And you know, as marketers, we love acronyms, right? Right. We love, uh, shortening things. You know, there, there are more. I think there are more acronyms for marketers than any other group of people in the military, right? We got, we got ct, we got cv, we got ecr, which is E-commerce conversion room. We got, we got CPAs, we got cac, we got, we had CTAs, Right? Which now has a new meaning. Thanks. Right?

John:

And we even like to use our acronyms wrong too. I mean,

Brett:

<laugh>. Yeah. So gimme an example. I know, I know that, Oh, you mean, you mean what your acronym?

John:

No, no, no. I just, it's just funny cuz the accountants use C in one way and the marketers use CAC and it doesn't mean the same thing, you know? True,

Brett:

True, true, true. Yep. CPA is not certified public accountant. It's, you know, cost proposition and things like that. Uh, but, but anyway. So explain to us what Dwell is, and maybe also explain why it's kind of got a double meaning. You'll, you'll, you'll talk through the acronym, but it also kind of means something else. So, so walk us through that.

John:

Absolutely. So, so, uh, you know, Russell's written a a variety of books, fantastic books. And, um, in the books, he talks about finding out where your, where your target audience congregates, right? Finding out where they congregate. And it's an interesting concept cuz like, if you think way, way, way back when, you know, you, you brought yourself a literal soap box and you find out where the people are congregated, you'd drop it down, stand on top, say you're one foot taller than everybody else, and you'd start shouting, and hopefully somebody would buy something, right? Or you'd be preaching or whatever it was. But the whole soapbox concept, because you were finding congregations, right? You were finding wherever they were, and they were there because they liked to be in the park, or they were there because they, you know, you'd go to where you'd think your target audience best was.

So in the internet world, you gotta figure out where your people congregate, especially back when this concept was developed. And there was things like forums, right? But at, but they still, they still exist right now. They're in the forms of Reddit, you know, and things like that where people still congregate around topics. Um, Facebook groups or pages likes, interests, right? Uh, YouTube channels and, and all kinds of stuff. They still congregate. So you gotta find where they congregate. And so with that concept of congregating, I needed an acronym to help explain Facebook audiences, right? Because we, we teach a lot in, you know, the ClickFunnels brand. We, we have, we have coaching programs and we teach from stage at our own, at our own presentations and other people's, our events and other people's events and stuff. So I needed a good acronym to teach these concepts that I developed. And so I kept thinking about, you know, so I came up with Dwell, right? D W E L L, whereas where do your people dwell? What do they congregate? So that was a way for me to remember it, and hopefully the audience do.

Brett:

Yeah. I love it. It it, it, it will stick in my brain for sure, and I think for everybody else as well. And so, really the acronym relates to audiences, right? And, and such a huge part of we do as marketers, right? So the right message to the right person at the right time, right? And so it's message market match. Uh, but walk us through that. So the D and Dwell mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what, what kind of audience are we talking about there?

John:

Okay, So this is some, when I teach Facebook advertising to people who, who really don't know it yet, or maybe they just wanna learn this method, um, they, they forget all the different audiences available to them, right? So that's why Dwell makes sense. So the first D in Dwell is your data. What data do you already have? What's your data? Do you, do you already have, Are you a pizza restaurant? And you once put a fishbowl out and people threw their credit or their, their business cards in there to get a free topping or something like that. That's, that's data. You have data, you've collected so many email addresses or phone numbers, right? That data audiences that you can then upload into Facebook as what's called a custom audience. So d helps you think data and it helps you think you, you gotta start just like brainstorming, what data do I have?

Do I have data from a previous launch? Do I have data from five years ago? Do I have data from my fishbowl? Do I have data from my cousin's business, which is a lot similar to my business? And he'll share that list. You know, like, what kind of data can you access so that, um, you know, um, obviously legally and uh, and, uh, ethically what kind of data can I access? So yeah, get, get the data you can, you can get, and then refine it. Make sure that it's, it's good data, you know, it's data that that's gonna work and convert the best you can think through. And then you upload that into Facebook. The fun thing with Facebook is you can give them an email address, first name, last name, all kinds of shipping address. You can give them, you know, male, female, you can give 'em phone numbers. So sometimes you have data and you don't realize you have it like maybe your dentist's office and you have a whole bunch of phone numbers, but you sure that's not available for online marketing? Well, you can, you can upload a list of phone numbers, you know?

Brett:

Yeah. I love this so much. And, and really as we look at where, where is marketing headed in the future? Data's always been important, right? It's always been about, uh, you know, who you're speaking to, right? Is almost more important. I would say it is more important than, than what you say, right? You, you deliver a mediocre message to the perfect audience, it's gonna work, right? You deliver the perfect message to a terrible audience, it's not gonna work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But, you know, with, with privacy changes coming, uh, like the, the people, the businesses, the brands that have the most first party data are gonna be way and are, are likely gonna win. So get more first party data. And actually, I think this is why you see, like, you know, Google's in a really good spot as far as first party data. So all that search data, that's their data, right? You're giving Google that search data on google.com first party data, they can use it, right? If you look at Amazon, all the shopper data and what you've bought and stuff like that, it's all done on Amazon. It's first party data, they can use it. Uh, you've got first party data too, and you've gotta put it to work. And that's the best place to start. So, love that. So D is for data,

John:

D is for data it

Brett:

Audiences, I like it. What's but

John:

The w Yeah. So I'll, I'll give this caveat as we head down. The first L is gonna reference the other three as source audiences. Okay? So as you think about that, D is our first source audience. The w the w is for website, what's happening on your website, right? And the, uh, you know, you've heard the Facebook pixel, the Google Pixel, the tracking things you can put on your site. Um, it's the, it's the website. So what, what's happening on your website are people, you know, all the people who hit your website, all the people who hang out longer on your website, um, people who go to the next page in your sequence. So all that pixel data is, is the second layer of audiences. And again, a source audience for the, for the looklike. We'll talk about when the first L, So the first D is that data. Grab all your data, refine it, upload it into Facebook

Brett:

From purchasers, subscribers, wherever you can get data about your customers. And then website,

John:

Right? And the website, Yeah. Yeah. The people who are hitting the website, cuz they haven't necessarily given you data, but the tools are in place to let you capture it into an audience.

Brett:

Yep.

John:

Love it, Right? Google has tools to do that. Yeah. Facebook too.

Brett:

Cool. So we got D, we got W Next is E

John:

E the E and the, and the dwell. The E in the dwell is cool. It's the engaged audiences. Okay? So you, you've got your, you know, your, your YouTube subscribers and watchers and stuff like that. You've got your Facebook page likers and shares and you know, so you got this, people

Brett:

That have engaged with video ads, like people that have watch a certain percentage of a video ad you can put them into an engaged audience.

John:

There's all this engagement happening. Some of the cool coolest engagement audiences that a lot of people miss are on, on Facebook, on the Facebook and Instagram platforms. You can save a post. Some people are in the habit of doing it, some aren't, but an audience, a lookalike audience based off of people who've saved your post or even interesting who save your post, Save the post that hot, hot market. Yeah. It's a really interesting one that a lot of us just don't think about. It's smaller, but it's almost like a, a very refined buyer's list. It's really cool. Hmm. So think about

Brett:

I know that I've ever done that. Wait, is that, is that just on Instagram? Is that right to say post

John:

Facebook watch you too? Facebook people

Brett:

Never done that on Facebook. I have had

John:

Three dots that list.

Brett:

Okay. Super interesting. So I have done that on Instagram where I'll see like a, like a stoic philosophy quote or so I'm like, Oh man, it's so good. I gotta show that my kids or my team or something. I'll save to collection or whatever mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I've never thought about that. So that, that happens on Facebook too, yet that's a, that's a white hot audience. Uh, so that's an interesting one and that's one that I do not hear people talk about too much. So love that. So yeah, we got, we got lots of ways to measure engagement. Who is, and you know, if you look at like Google with, uh, Google Analytics, they can build, um, oh, I just forgot the name, cu uh, shoot. Um, it's the audience of people that are most likely to convert next.

John:

That's to maintain

Brett:

What, what's that?

John:

Affinity or custom intent?

Brett:

No, it's neither one of those. Those are both brilliant. But there, there's an audience that, like you, you get, it's a smart audience, uh, that you can build inside of Google Analytics. And Google is saying, Hey, this audience is likely to convert next because of what they've been doing. Yeah. But that's really what they're looking at. It's certain levels of engagement. And then Google's saying, Hey, I'm gonna package all those people for you. But what you're able to do here at Facebook is say like, okay, I want, I want these types of engagement, right? Because those people are showing that, hey, they're likely to convert if we just give them a reason to say yes and push them over the edge. So

John:

That's, you know, one thing we do with, one thing we do with engaged audiences is we, we boost them, right? We intentionally grow those engaged audiences and then we, we harvest out of it. So we, uh, we have our organic social team and they'll throw out posts, you know, all the time, a couple times a day, whatever, whatever seems to be working organically to get maximum, you know, maximum engagement. And then they'll notice a certain post has, has legs, right? When the other three didn't that week or whatever on that one, they'll throw another $200 behind it and just grow the engaged audience, right? Five, you know, 5,000 people watched this video. Well, let's make it 50, 50,000 people now watched it and now we have this big audience that we can then throw conversion ads at, right? And so growing intentionally kind of bolstering those engagement audiences, um, has been really helpful for us.

Brett:

That's super smart. Uh, so, so I love that where you're looking at, okay, say three, call it three organic posts a day, whatever the winner is, right? If there's something that's doing pretty well organically, that's a good sign that people like it, it's gonna be good. Throw some money behind it, Build up that engaged, uh, audience, and then now you can Yeah. Harvest it. Super smart.

John:

Right? You know, another crazy thing that we've tried recently on that same note, I'll just throw this in there as a, as a little nugget. Oh, I like this, uh, an organic post that, that performs really well engagement wise. If you, so like, let's say it's a carousel, right? And it, and it can be a fairly standard Instagram carousel where like, sp scroll to the right five times and I'll tell you five book quotes, right? Or whatever it is. Mm-hmm. But as long as it's working engagement wise, if that final part has some kind of call to action that's relevant to the care cell, you can turn it into an ad and it becomes the best performing ad. We had a certain ad

Brett:

Interesting,

John:

We ran it for months and months and it had, I mean, no one who crafts ads would've said, You know what? That's, that's the winning ad right there. That's the one. It was just this really silly Instagram engagement care cell, right? And it, I think it was about Russell and potato guns, right? He loves, we love to rely on that one. So Russell, Russell, yeah. I started this potato gun business first I did this, then I did this, then I did this. Learn more on how to start your own business. Click boom, right? And it was crazy.

Brett:

And it was your best at. And that, that's, that's so cool. So, uh, love that little nugget there. So, you know, organic post, find the winner from, from just organic reach, boost it, you find a real winner. Yeah. Say a carousel ad, just make that closing card, a call to action and voila. Yeah.

John:

Had a winner. Yeah, that was a really fun one. But after we've built up these audiences, these data audiences, and we've scoured around and got our best ones, these website audiences and got our best one, these engagement audiences and get our best ones, the next letter in the dwell acronym is L and that stands for lookalike or in Google it would be, it would be similar audiences that doesn't work from acronym. So, um,

Brett:

D Weel. Yeah.

John:

<laugh>, right? That works. But yeah, the lookalike audience. And so these, these, these audiences then serve as, as sources, right? The, the seed audience for then these algorithms, whether it's the, whether it's the Facebook algorithm or the Google algorithm to, to see who, who the type of audience you're looking for is, and go out and find more of them, right? Anywhere on Facebook, anywhere from 1% of the nation that's similar to you, up to 10% of the nation, that's the most similar. They've got all this data that you don't have. Algorithm has more data than, you know, than we even know. So like they're able to go out there and just juggle away at it.

Brett:

Yeah. It's awesome. So lookalikes and, and that's, yeah. That's the beauty of these two platforms of Facebook. And also Google is yeah, you, you build these profiles, right? Engage, you know, those us your website data and then yeah. Build lookalikes and, and often that those are the audiences you can, you can scale with. So,

John:

Um, I'll give you some, some caveats though on that, on that, on that fourth audience that looked like audience, um, garbage in, garbage out, right? We learned that in elementary school and we had our little typing computer program class. So if, if the audiences that you're giving Facebook, if you're saying, Hey, these are 10,000 people who liked my organic host in the last month, make it look like off of that, that's garbage, right? But if instead your engagement audiences, all the people who've saved my post in the last five days, something that's like really, really tight, tight, then it's gold, right? Gold in gold out. No one ever told me that in elementary school. Yeah,

Brett:

Gold in gold out. I like that better. That's cuz that's way more motivating. That's

John:

Way more motivating. So you gotta make sure you're giving really, really good seed audiences for those similars and lookalikes to work.

Brett:

Totally makes sense. All right, we've gotta, we've got the, the, the first four, uh, of dwell here. Uh, but bring us home. What's the second L

John:

Okay, the second L. And this is the one that you're supposed to ignore until you've paid attention to the first four. That's why it's at the end. And this is the one too many people resort to right outta the gate. And those are the provided interest that Facebook provides. So layering interests, right? And l for layering interests. Um, Facebook has all these demographics and interests and stuff. And you can say, well if they liked Martha Stewart and they like home cooking, then they're probably gonna like this, this new spa I'm selling, right? But, but the thing is, is that you're just guessing at that point. You're taking the algorithm out of it and you're just going like willingly guessing and too many people start there. That's not where you start. You gotta start with the other one.

Brett:

Yeah. You'll find some winners there, right? Like going, going after these broad audiences, right? In in the Google ecosystem. It's in market audiences and, and things like that. And we love, you talked about, uh, custom intent audiences or building audiences around what people are searching for. Um, you know, it's still going beyond your data and your, your customer stuff and, and similar audiences. You'll find some major wins there and some major opportunities to scale, but you also find a lot of stuff that doesn't work and that's okay, that's just part of it. But that, that's why you start with those other areas, those lookalikes. Yeah.

John:

Yeah. You, you lean deep into your, to, into your other audiences before, especially if you're, I mean, I'm talking like you're starting a company, right? You've got 400 bucks a month to spend. You, you're just trying to figure out where to spend it. It's not that last month.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. Totally, totally makes sense. Yeah. Uh, cool. Alright, so we got our, we got our dwell. Uh, let's talk a little bit about, uh, you, you told me about kind of a, a set and forget it. Uh, Yeah.

John:

You, you know about

Brett:

That. Accept versus never refresh. Yeah. So, so tell me about this.

John:

Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, so another way, another way I help beginning advertisers understand ads is that there's, there's a world of prospecting and a world of retargeting. Two different kinds of ads, right? And the prospecting ads, the way you can think about that is that's when you're reaching out to find cold people, people who who don't yet know you, your brand, your attractive character, whatever your leading thing is, you know, your, um, and, and they don't know that yet. And so you're reaching out to maybe problem aware people, but not, or maybe even solution aware, but not product aware, right? When we're using the Eugene sports model Yeah. They're not, not yet familiar

Brett:

With it. Did I just read, I read a big chunk of that book again on an airplane recently. Yeah. It's so good. Like, it, it just, it triggered all kinds of ideas in my mind. It was written in one like 1960 something, 1970. I don't remember Eugene Schwartz. Yeah. Um, uh, uh, what's the book? No, not scientific. That's uh,

John:

That's the other one.

Brett:

That's track cables. Uh, yeah. Breakthrough Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. Yeah. It's, it's a masterpiece for sure. It's

John:

Fantastic. Um, yes, it's breakthrough advertising and it's fantastic. And the, um, the fantastic things, you know, the, the, the layers he taught about the, you know, the problem aware, solution aware, um, even product aware at the top. So when you're prospecting, you're reaching back a couple layers, right? And you, and you've gotta have these ads and, and they, they tend to burn out quickly depending on the audience size. You've got, you've got these, um, you know, these ads, the prospecting ads, and you've got, especially, especially in the Facebook world, I hear this more burn out there, right? For sure. Every, every three weeks you gotta come up with a new ad because this one stopped working, it worked for a while and then didn't, right? And so that there, there's a lot of work there, especially for a new entrepreneur starting up and maybe they don't have a lot of, you know, creative power behind them.

Um, but the cool thing about the separating out the retargeting is that if once you've figured out, you can set it and forget it. And this is why, because you have, if, if you set up the audiences right, and if you test your ads, then you can get this done. So figure out what you wanna say to these, to these retargeting audiences. You know, try it out. Figure, run some creative until you get some that work, right? And then, and then those, and then once you have that, you've got that. And then you gotta make sure your audiences are structured right? So I, I do retargeting audiences off of, off of website action, off of engagement action. And, um, and even off of the data. So it goes like this, if they've engaged with your brand, right? You know, they've, they've watched them YouTube video, they've liked to post, shared it, commented, anything like that, any kind of, um, engagement.

Then I will retarget them for a small period of time, right? Maybe three, five days, right? We're talking for a small period of time. Um, but, but I set up those audiences in Facebook so those people only hop into the audience for five days and after five days they fall off. It's almost like a conveyor belt. So that audience never gets old so they can't burn out on your ad, the ad last nice indefinitely, right? Right. Pop in, they hang out with you in your ad five days, boom, fall off the backside, right? They didn't take action, they're out the next layer. Yeah. The next layer is people who visit, who then click through and visit the website. Well hey, they visited the website, that's a little bit of an action. I can hang out with them a little bit longer. Let's go for 10 days now. You know, But again, you structure that, you structure the audience. And so, so they hop in, they see that ad, you know, they see it in, and I'll tell you how I, how I like mechanically how I structure these in the, in the campaign, um, in the campaign settings. But they hang out for 10 days and then they, they fall off of that audience and they can't in essence, burn out on that ad. They're only there for 10 days. Yeah. So the, this is a set senate, forget it kind of model, you know?

Brett:

Yeah. Love it. Love it. So then you find these winning ads Yeah. For retargeting and then they could maybe run for a year or more. I'm, I'm guessing like it could just run Yeah. Uh, that and I that actually because of that. That's why in YouTube some ads will just run forever because a lot of the audiences like a custom, uh, intent audience is refreshed by Google about every 14 days. Yeah. And so then you, you, it's not, the ad doesn't wear out cuz the audience is refreshed all the time. Yeah. So I love that. That's super, super cool. Um, so any, any thoughts here for those that like to get nerdy on the, the mechanics of, of how you set that up and, and understanding with podcasts? It's hard to visualize things, but in any, uh, specifics you want to add there.

John:

Yeah, definitely. So depending on the depth, the, the, the amount of steps they've taken with you or how refined that audience is, however you wanna kind of think about it. If you've got a very, very refined audience, you don't need Facebook to back you up and double refine that audience. And what I mean by that is you don't need to rely on the algorithm and you don't need to run conversion, um, conversion objective campaigns. Okay? You can run reach campaign, right? True, true of your campaign, right? You can run campaigns that, that are there for saturation more, more so than are there to, to snip out the winners. Cuz I mean, if you only have, let's say you only have, you know, a thousand people who, who clicked through and hit your landing page, you should retarget every single one.

Brett:

You wanna hit all a thousand. Yeah. Right? So go for a, so making an impression based campaign ensures that that Facebook or Google's gonna just hit everybody. Versus if you do smart bidding, the algorithm's gonna be kind of choosy on who they should. Right?

John:

Pull, pull, pull the smart out of this version, right? And I'm saying, I'd say this with a huge caveat of make sure you have a refined audience or you blow your budget. You know, you don't, you don't do this on a cold audience,

Brett:

A few million people or something. Yeah.

John:

See a super refined audience where, where they've taken a ton of actions, you know, that the likelihood that they buy is high, go for a full saturation. Usually what happens, you get cheaper impressions, right? Cuz you're not having, you're not, they don't have to be choosy. They don't have to like, use their algorithm to just like the winners, right? Do you get cheaper impressions often do you get, you get more brand saturation, you get to reach 'em all so you get more conversions.

Brett:

Yeah. Super smart dude. I love this. This is awesome. Uh, well I'm a little bit bummed. Uh, we are, we are completely out of time. Uh, so we do need to wrap up, but, uh, kind of final questions. Uh, tell us a little bit about ClickFunnels 2.0. Huge, uh, sure. Release that depending on when you're listening to this is either about to come out or is barely out or, or whatnot. So talk us a little bit about that and, and what are you excited about, uh, for the future of click

John:

Funnels? We're, we're super excited about ClickFunnels 2.0. So yeah, it's coming out in just a few weeks. Um, we're super excited. You know, ClickFunnels 1.0 will still remain people who are in there and and loving it can still keep using it. And if they've got their pages built there, their sales funnels and they love 'em, by all means stay there. But just like base cam does where we're coming out, ClickFunnels 2.0 and it will, it will, it will also be an an option. ClickFunnels 2.0 has like all the features you always wish base or ClickFunnels had at 1.0. You can build your blog on it, you can build your website on it, you can build your sales funnels in it. You can have brand controls, you know, if your brand's purple and this exact, you know, shade of purple, you can brand the whole thing purple.

You can make, you know, these, these static elements that are always there. You know, branding things, whether it's the website, the blog. So anyway, all of the pieces you always wish you had and get this br It also has a store and it just like Shopify so you can have all your income store listed right there. So that's why we're so excited. It's all under one house. So the ease of use will be fantastic. The, the interactivity between them and the coolest thing that I'm so excited about cuz I'm the, I'm the, you know, the numbers guy is, is the integration of the stats.

Brett:

Mm.

John:

Love it. Like, like since it's all in one system, I'll be able to see the person who hit my shop and then the sales phone, like all of that will be so interconnected and the data will be so clean because it's all under one, one roof.

Brett:

Super, super smart. Awesome. So if people are like, Hey, I wanna learn more from John Parkes, or I just, I wanna check out click funnels, I know most people already know about it, but, or I wanna check out ClickFunnels 2.0. How do, how do they do that?

John:

Yeah, just hit me up on Instagram. I'm, I'm most active on Instagram, um, you know, uh, the handle of John O. Parkes and you'll see me right over there. And yeah, if you wanna find more about click Funnels, click funnels.com. That's where find Oh, right. It'll be up in just a few weeks. If you're listening to this in a few weeks, then it'll already be there. But Click Funnels 2.0. We're super excited for that launch.

Brett:

Awesome. So I'll link to everything in the show notes, but, but John, this has been a blast. Thanks for doing this, man. Super fun. We'll have to do it again.

John:

Hey, for sure. Thanks for having. All

Brett:

Right, brother. Thank you. And as always, thank you for tuning in and we'd love to hear from you if you've not, uh, reviewed us on iTunes yet. I would love that. Love it if you leave us, that five star view on iTunes helps other people find a show, makes our day, uh, and is just super fun. So with that, until next time, thank you for listening.