It’s not about getting clicks, but getting a lot of customers. In this podcast, James and his special guest talk about acquiring traffic and increasing conversions using the right strategies.
In this episode:
01:15 – Specializing in traffic and conversions
02:15 – What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
03:05 – How on-site search box helps
04:04 – The big move to SuperFastBusiness.com
04:35 – What is content native advertising?
06:20 – How do you apply native advertising?
07:50 – “Disguise your advertisement as news”
08:55 – Are you using Twitter’s ad platform?
10:23 – How to track results on different platforms?
14:33 – Common mistakes with advertising
15:48 – How to craft effective ads
19:29 – The inspiration behind video sales letters
21:10 – What is an interactive VSL?
26:47 – Movie recommendation: Her
26:57 – Simplest ways to implement VSLs
29:20 – What is the action step?
What is App Store Optimization? [Click To Tweet].
What is content native advertising? [Click To Tweet].
What’s the best performing ad strategy? [Click To Tweet].
The benefits of native advertising. [Click To Tweet].
Track your results. [Click To Tweet].
How video sales letter helps. [Click To Tweet].
James: James Schramko here, from SuperFastBusiness.com. Today we are joined by a good buddy of mine from the USA, Justin Brooke. How are you, Justin?
Justin: I’m good man. Fire it up.
James: We just caught up recently and it’s always fun having a chat behind the scenes. It’s one of these interesting things where in the online world, some of the best relationships you have the people you actually end up meeting face to face and we bumped into each other a few times now. Certainly, we’ve known of each other for years and years.
Justin: Absolutely. I remember you with the hoodie and the Affiliate Pounce thing.
James: Yeah, and I remember you way back, you were flipping sites. And then, you had a few different iterations as I have done. And it tends to be the way. But the interesting thing is it’s a long game. And both of us have been certainly paying attention to one topic and that’s what we’ll be talking about today.
That is all about traffic and conversions, because these elements are essential for any online business. It’s always going to be important. That’s something you specialize. You run a website called IMScalable.com. Tell me about what you have been up to lately.
Justin: So, yeah. Traffic is kind of the thing that changed my life. Literally, the thing that took me from a job to a business and a successful business. So, it’s been a key focus of mine. Right now, we have an ad agency or have had an ad agency for the last couple of years. We’ve been blessed with some really, really good clients.
The reason I started selling traffic as an agency is I realized the Internet is booming and the thing that everybody needs on the Internet whether you are an app, a blog, a website, whatever, you need traffic.
The Next Big Thing After SEO?
James: I know someone was talking about the next revolution after SEO would be ASO.
Justin: Yup. App Store Optimization. Yeah. Yeah.
James: Yeah. How big do you think that’s going to be?
Justin: I think it’s going to be huge. I almost wonder if the actual words behind SEO will start to take more meaning because for so many years, SEO has stood for how to optimize for Google. But now, if you look in the context of actual search engine optimization, that’s kind of what people want to do with ASO, the App Store Optimization.
But it’s about Amazon. People want to rank number 1 in the Amazon, people want to rank number 1 in YouTube, in iTunes, in the App Store and that’s like true search engine optimization. That’s how I think about it.
James: A lot of platforms have their own search facility. Like you said, YouTube, iTunes. Even – one of the interesting things I have been digging around with on my own site is the on-site search box.
I remember Ezra was talking about when he gets when he gets e-commerce store, someone who is using the search box tends to buy more often. Most of the sales are coming from people who did a search on site because they knew what they are looking for.
It prompted me to always have a very prominent search box on-site and I pay a lot of attention to what people are searching for because it gives clues as to how I can make my site more usable, to help people find what they are looking for faster and they’re also literally delivering me the keywords that are topical for my audience. There’s a lot of cool stuff you can do around that.
Justin: Note, go put a search form back on my website.
James: Well yeah, I recommend you test it out at least. Check out the results. As I’m moving more products and services on to one of my sites, SuperFastBusiness.com is now the house for a membership community, website development, search engine optimization and traffic services as we’re now calling it because I think that’s a broader sense of what we’re doing.
We have publisher packs. Even our marketplaces moved across there. It’s really important that we help people find what they’re looking for in the minimum steps.
I think like all good advertising and conversions, you want to have the same simple conversation from start to finish, like let people have a seamless flow from wherever you find them to wherever you’d like them to get to, whether it’s on-site or off-site, right?
Justin: Yeah. Yeah. Love it.
Content Native Advertising
James: Let’s talk about content native advertising, because that’s something that you’ve been getting pretty popular for talking about, and I think that that is something that our audience really needs to know more about.
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. This is something that I am completely geeking out about lately. This is what’s fun for me. And It’s really cool that it’s becoming so popular this year.
I started doing it probably about a year and half ago when I kind of gave up on Google SEO. So, we do content marketing and everybody, if you have a blog, you want more traffic. That is why we focus so much on SEO and Google, is where we want more traffic.
Well, if I can just get the traffic cheap enough and just drive it myself, I wouldn’t have to care about Google, I wouldn’t have to wait. It’s not that I don’t care about Google but I just wouldn’t have to wait for Google to bless me with their magical powers.
I could just get traffic all day and as much as I wanted. So I started experimenting little by little and now, it’s this whole big thing, and they’re calling it native advertising which really just means that your ads blend in with the content around it.
It’s not like banner ads that are intrusive or that are interruptive. It’s meant to either actually be a piece of content or look like a piece of content. And right now, it’s getting really really high CTRs and getting more likes. You know, it’s a wonderful thing.
James: So, it’s kind of like the can of Coke in a product placement for a movie.
Justin: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. It doesn’t look like it is an advertisement but that spot was paid for.
James: Right. So give us some examples on how we can put this to use.
Justin: So, there’s different levels of it. You’re really, technically, guest posting. A guest blog post on someone else’s blog is kind of native advertising except, you don’t have to pay for it.
There’s actually a form of native advertising now where you can get paid placement. You can have your article on Buzzfeed.com or any of the viral moguls or these other really hot websites out there, Mashable. You can pay the plane now. That’s one form.
And then there’s another form of advertising inside the Facebook news stream. The Facebook users, they know of the ads that are on the right hand side. Not all of the users understand that those suggested posts are actually sponsored posts. So, that’s another form.
When I make a news feed ad, I do everything I can to make it not look like an ad. So many people, they put their products in there, and they put their “discount for the next 24 hours only.” That’s such a giveaway.
You’re in the world’s greatest real estate right now, I believe the newsfeed is, and you’re blowing your cover by making your ad look like an ad instead of a piece of content. And so that’s what I do. I don’t want to get rambly.
James: Well, some of the greatest direct response copywriters always said that you should disguise your advertisement as news. We’ve seen this in print newspapers.
Some of the full page advertisements in the weekend paper here read like a news story especially about markets like weight loss or even collectible toy cars.
You wouldn’t realize that it’s not a newspaper article unless you see that little advertisement disclaimer on top of the ad which I guess is very similar to how Facebook have their little sort of note to explain to someone what this part of the page is.
Justin: Yeah. Any direct response marketer who has ever done magazine advertising knows that an advertorial inside a magazine is usually the best performing ad you can use. It looks like a piece of content inside the magazine.
This stuff’s being done for, I don’t know exactly the time, but probably, almost a hundred years. So, it’s nothing new. It’s just new to the Internet and it’s no surprise that it’s taking off so well.
Where To Do Your Marketing
James: OK, so you’ve mentioned a couple of websites and you’ve also mentioned Facebook. Where else can we use this strategy?
Justin: Actually, in my SuperFastBusiness presentation, I’m going to be talking about a case study on how I’m doing this with Twitter because a lot of people don’t know, but Twitter has an advertising platform that is very competitive to Facebook. I mean with their targeting options, and their geo-targeting options and what you can do.
So, I’ll be talking a lot about how I’m using that right now. That’s kind of the latest thing I’ve been working on is using Twitter with this but I use it a lot with Facebook and a couple of other websites that you can use is Taboola.com. There’s also Outbrain.com. They’re really hard to get into.
You have to have a really good piece of content and they really don’t want to smell any marketing on it. They really just want you paying to advertise content and then hopefully, you will get something out of that. Taboola, they don’t care as much. They care that you’re paying your bill and you are not doing anything illegal or hateful.
And it is a piece of content and it can be pretty aggressive in the marketing. I’m doing it with YouTube ads. I am paying to sponsor my YouTube ads inside of other people’s YouTube.
So, there’s that first 5 seconds when you watch a YouTube ad? Well, you can have your content show up there. You can have it show up in the sidebars or in the newsfeeds. So, there’s a lot of different places to do this.
Tracking Your Results
James: Right. And how do you track the results of this? Just out of curiosity, because I imagine you going to most of these platforms and you’re taking out advertisements. Some of them might give you a tracking pixel. Some of them might not. Do you have a simple process for this?
Justin: Yes. So, I’ll give you the simplest version and probably what I’ve done the most and it’s become the most successful is just from the Facebook newsfeed to a blog post and that blog post has a call to action to something at the end of it.
So, with Facebook, you have conversion codes. You know, built right in to Facebook. That’s just a standard part of Facebook advertising. So, I put my conversion codes on the thank you page. And just to really get specific for me, it’s a blog post about “Are you making these mistakes with your Facebook ads?”
And then it talks about the mistakes, it talks about what you should do and then it has a call to action to “find out more about my coaching program ” which is an application and on the successful completion of the application, it fires that conversion code.
So, what I’m able to do, that’s one thing why I love it so much. It’s such a Swiss army knife of traffic. One, because I’m using my fanpage for the ad, I’m getting likes naturally just because they’re seeing my ads in there and people that have never, that introduced my fanpage or seeing this fanpage, they like the content that I’m sharing so they click like, they want more posts like this.
And then they click on the ad, because they want to read the article. It looks interesting. They want to know if they are making these Facebook mistakes.
So, they click the ad and now they’re introduced to my blog so I’m getting blog subscribers out of it. On my blog, I have options for them to opt-in and become a part of my newsletter and get my free learning course.
So, I’m getting leads off of it and then I’m also getting actual, like the purpose of it, is to get coaching clients. So, I am able to track how many people are filling out my application form for my coaching program and then I can back that data out to find out OK, well, I know right now that every lead I get on there is worth at least $35 while I’m getting those leads between $6 and 8$. So, it’s very profitable for me.
James: Nice. That’s a great way to, obviously, we should always be including a way to track our campaigns. Do you have the same ability to do this on other platforms?
Justin: Yes. I tell you, like I said, Twitter has a very competitive – I really think that they’re trying to take on Facebook. They’ve got conversion codes. Other networks have conversion codes. And if you don’t have, if a network doesn’t have conversion codes, you can always use another service. One that I really like to use is Improvely.
You can use Google Analytics if you really know how to get into that with goals and stuff like that. But Improvely will give you a conversion code and you put that on all of your pages and then you tell it a goal.
Like if somebody reaches this page, then count that as a sale or a lead or whatever. You can attach a value to it and then they give you a tracking link so it watches only people that have clicked this tracking link and have made it to that goal page, and if they do make it to that goal page, then a conversion is tracked and if you added the value of that conversion, it’s tracking the money value for you as well.
So, you can track your earnings, your costs, your clicks, your leads, your conversions, all that good stuff.
James: Wow. Yes. It’s very important to track. That’s a great tool you’ve mentioned. I’ve been using Google Analytics but I’m sure, that this is, this sounds like it does work. Programs like AXROI used to do way back when they were very effective before they stopped working.
Some Common Advertising Mistakes
James: What do you think some of the common mistakes are? You did mention you have a report. It would be interesting, I think, to cover a couple of them.
Justin: Common mistakes with?
James: With advertising in general. Like when you take on a client and you’ve seen some of the things that they’ve been trying to do with the things that you always spot that you think, uh, OK, you’ve got a problem here.
Justin: OK. The biggest thing that I see people doing wrong is they’re just making these crazy ads and I get it because when we first start advertising, we want clicks. We’re like desperate for clicks when we start our first couple of campaigns but we got to remember that it’s not about getting a lot of clicks, it’s about getting a lot of customers.
That’s actually something I was taught by Brad Fallon. He taught me that. And so, putting the red borders on the ads with these crazy pictures that some people are coming up with, like they will get you a lot of attention and clicks.
But it’s usually from somebody who’s just curious about this crazy thing that’s on their fanpage or on their Facebook page and it’s not buyers.
So, what you really want to do is what you think about, you want to put yourself in the viewer’s shoes and you want to create an ad for them. It’s a lot like fishing. You don’t want to just use some kind of shiny bait. You want to use a bait that’s like, the fish is like “oh my gosh, that’s the filet mignon. I want that thing.”
And so, I try to make my ads – the image, for one, is the most important part of the ad on Facebook and with a lot of these platforms. And so, the image needs to be something that they instantly recognize.
For example, in the tennis market, a tennis ball or a tennis racket. In basketball, a basketball. You know, bloggers, they understand that RSS icon. So, what image will they really relate to and that lets them identify with the ad? So that’s a big thing to do.
And the other thing is, you don’t want to make the ads, so, you don’t want to make it blind. Like, curiosity is powerful in getting a click but you also want to have the benefit in there. Because if it’s just curiosity, you are going to get a lot of clicks that are not qualified.
But if you can balance curiosity with benefit, so for example, if you were advertising a muscle building pill. Instead of just saying like, “Here’s a clever way to get, here’s how to look strong, or how this guy got strong.” It’s hard to come up with ad copy on the fly here.
But you would want to, I think one of our lines was “How an average guy gained 15 to 25 of lean hard muscle.” So, that’s curiosity in a story. They want to know, how this average guy, I’m an average guy, and I resonate with this average guy message and then the benefit is 15 to 20 pounds of lean hard muscle.
So that’s what you really need to do with your ads is tell that story, get that curiosity, make it look like content but also have that strong benefit in there so that when they get to the offer page, they actually want it because that’s the reason why they clicked it – the 15 to 20 pound gain – that’s why you want this pill because this pill gives you the 15 to 20 pound gain. Am I making sense here, James?
James: Yup. Absolutely, Basically, you are saying that most people are attracting people with the wrong kind of bait. They’re getting the fish they don’t want.
Justin: Yes. And, you know for a lot of these networks, the more clicks you get, the cheaper your clicks are. You know, it’s because all about this algorithm of CTR and all this geeky science stuff.
But, at the end of the day, it’s not about decreasing your costs – it’s about increasing your earnings. And if you increase your earnings, then the costs will take care of themselves.
James: Gotcha. And really, it’s really just tracking that, can you invest one dollar and get more than a dollar back somewhere in your funnel in a reasonable timeframe?
Justin: Right. And the endgame is being able to spend more money than all of your competitors – not being able to spend less money than your competitors.
James: That’s in the interview, the big take away from Brian Ellis, talking about his eye contact business that he sold for a substantial amount somewhere around $170 million.
He said, he worked out the value of his customers and then was able to spend a good chunk of it. I think around a third of the lifetime value on acquiring that customer. And he was able to scale past his competitors.
The Future Of Video Sales Letters?
James: That’s why guys like you will always be in demand, Justin, with your advertising nouse. Tell me, you’ve got some passion ideas that you’ve been tossing around and one of them was to do with a video sales letter phenom. Tell me about that.
Justin: Yes. I’m always trying to think of, you know they always say like these big billionaires and stuff out there that they thought of something ahead of everybody else. You know, 5 or 10 years ahead.
So, I’m always trying to think of, what is that thing that I can think of, how can I get ahead? What does it look like? And it’s really hard to do, it’s really hard to like try and predict the future and think of… because people will call you crazy.
But I’ve had this idea lately that I really think is, is going to be successful and people have been really resonating with it and liking the idea.
To give a little context to it, you know, we started selling online from these old-fashioned direct mail guys who actually printed out sales letters and sent them out to people and people would buy off of it.
And then the Internet came along and they said, OK, let’s try and just smack one of these things on the Web and see if it still works and so they created those really-long-scroll-for-two-minutes sales letters – long form sales letters online and they worked.
And then a guy John Benson came along and said, let’s turn this long sales letter into a video and we’ll just literally put the words on the screen and we’ll read them out loud. And we’ll gauge them on two different senses and so we had video sales letters and that worked even better than the written sales letters.
And then, webinars. Now, webinars are really hot and it’s working really well so I was thinking, what’s after that? What’s going to be the next evolution of this?
And I believe that it’s going to be interactive VSLs – that’s what I am calling it. Somebody might come up with a cooler name.
But interactive VSLs, and to me what that means is if you think about a face-to-face sales presentation, like how real selling is done, there’s a salesman and there’s a prospect and the prospect is talking and a good salesman is reading the body language and also listening to the feedback that the prospect is saying and in real time, this sales pitch is dynamically changing all the time based on the feedback and the value of your words back and forth, it’s constantly changing.
But when we look at the sales how it is currently online, it’s linear, it’s static. It doesn’t change. Every person has to go through the same pitch.
It’s like a salesman walking up to somebody in the store, grabbing them by the arm, and giving them, like a uniform sales pitch that they’ve given to every single other person and you have to sit through it. That’s no fun.
Well, interactive VSLs – when you leverage the technology that’s out today so that you’d be able to, let’s say for instance, you have a 90-second video that shows up and you’re introducing the topic and then you ask a question.
There’s three options for the question. Based on the answer that they choose, the A, B or C, they will see a different video behind it. And that’s where it really gets crazy. That’s the dynamic. That’s how you customize the pitch to the person’s preferences. And you could get crazy with this.
You could have all kinds of different scenarios and a whole tree of maybe 15, 30 different small videos, all connected. Or, you can make it pretty simple and maybe you just have three different sales letters, or three different videos based on those first three questions. That’s kind of it.
You can have a really simple version or you can get nuts with it or you could do something in the middle. But the point is, it will be interactive, it will be dynamic, it will be customized and that’s kind of what the Internet is really moving to.
It’s really moving to everyone being able to customize their radio stations, customize what books they see, Netflix customizes what movies you see in your queue and I believe that that is the future of online sales
James: Yeah. And just like I believe that John Benson didn’t invent the video sales letter. This is already happening. I have clients who do this right now.
Justin: Oh really?
James: Yeah. For large corporations, they’ve shot a number of videos that might have 10 different videos for the same part of the sequence and they’ll show the right person and the right location for that customer and you can pretty much run it as a choose your own adventure.
You can have a start video and then they can click on the next option that suits them and then it takes them through a different tree, all the way through to a customized experience and they are doing it in large hotel groups. My friend who’s doing this is called Nat, and I believe that I’ve also done this as well with separate paths that people can take.
Not dissimilar to the way that I have a choose your own adventure products page on SuperFastBusiness.com and it comes about when you realize, as you said, that no two people, unless you are really fishing from the same pond with the same bait and you know, if you really just want the same fish over and over again.
If you want to appeal to all the different fish, you’re going to have to present the right path for them to go through the funnel and it totally makes sense. I think it’s being done right now.
And I know for a fact there was video sales letters being done a long time ago in the first format. But I am not sure how people manage to claim the first of many things that have been out there, well and truly before that. I think it relies on ignorance, of people not knowing
Justin: I think he claims the first ugly VSL. It was his claim. I know that me and Jason Moffat, when we did that video, we didn’t know to call it a VSL but we did know we did one in 2008. It was a video pitch for a $5000 dollar program.
James: Well, I know for a fact I was using them in 2006. I’m sure John Reese was using them before that.
Justin: Yeah, right? He was around before anybody.
James: That’s right. And I remember when I was watching Traffic Secrets, he had already been doing it for a long time. So it’s definitely going that way and where I think it will be really interesting is where the screen can detect our facial reactions to a sales pitch and start modifying the video and I’m thinking that it has to go beyond a clunky, the user having to put information.
I think it will transcend that to where it can just adapt. And then we are now sort of talking about artificial intelligence where it can detect based on your tonality or your reactions as to if it’s on object.
Justin: Where your eye gaze is going to…
James: Just like a human salesperson is sensitive to far more than the words. They’re looking at the prospect’s body language. Are they about to depart? Do they sound stressed in their tonality? Are they a bit nervous? These are the subtle things I’ve learned from selling on the floor for a good decade or more.
Justin: I can see, I can just hear the people’s heads exploding right now as you mentioned all that.
James: And I don’t necessarily think that it’s a good thing that we would have to use but I do suggest that people look at the movie “Her” for an indication as to where this stuff can go.
James: I don’t know if you’ve seen that yet. But it’s a…
Justin: I have seen the previews, I haven’t seen the actual movie so I know what you’re talking about.
James: Yeah. It’s very interesting. For now though, I guess the simplest way to implement that is to make multiple versions of each segment of your video and then let people move their way through the adventure that suits them perfectly.
And I think you know, to some extent, people like Mike Geary have been doing a good job with that where they say you know, click here if you’re a man, or click here if you’re a woman sort of segmentation at the very minimum, at the early parts of the funnel to start moving people into the category that’s going to be the most relevant for them.
Justin: Yeah. I definitely think that there are some people kind of touching on this in what I think are like, Jurassic formats of it.
And you’ll assume, when they really understand everything that HTML5 and the CSS3, all this new technology that’s out there, when they really understand, and when files, speed Internet is more popular, it’s really going to get nuts because so much more is going to be possible than just like a form where they click a button, there’s going to be all kinds of interactivities with your mouse and video and time delays and all that stuff.
Summing It Up
James: And at the very minimum, what we can do right now is we can be sure to segment our customer list to make sure that we are adding appropriate tags and labels so that we are only ever presenting information that is highly relevant, that gets the most amount of resonance, that does convert, that gets you a good return on your investment. And for that reason, I think it’s been a wonderful discussion.
We’ve talked about content native advertising. We’ve talked about some of the mistakes people are making in terms of how they are writing their ads and who they are attracting and we’ve talked about where we can see it going and I’m sure this will probably spark some imagination.
But if you are just doing a houselist with a general blast and you are writing ads for no specific character, then you probably can implement a lot from this discussion as a checklist. And also, I think we’ve really reinforced the fact that you have to track and measure, you’ve got to know where your investments are going in terms of outcomes.
Now, Justin, it’s pretty customary on this show to ask for an action step and maybe a big sort of takeaway. If there was one thing you’d really like to impress upon our listeners for this episode, what do you, what would you like to share? What do you think is really important that people totally get and take action on?
Justin: I think the biggest thing for people to really understand is that the future of online marketing is really going to revolve around customization, segmentation. It’s no longer can you just mass blast people with the same message. It’s happening in email marketing. It’s happening on landing pages.
We just talked about it, it’s possibly going to start happening with videos. If you want to get ahead of the curve, if you want to have an advantage over other people, start doing this now because it’s the really, really early spark of when people are doing this and you will be lightyears ahead and you’ll start to see your ROI get bigger, you’ll start to see your conversions get bigger and it will just help you overall and make more people happy because you won’t be giving everyone the same line.
And, that, think about the 98% of people who are leaving your sales page, how do they feel? I think you can really improve upon that.
James: Yeah. And actually that just reminded me why with the advent of remarketing, we don’t have to be slamming people into a squeeze page anymore because of the ability for us to track that individual and be able to follow them up a little bit later on so we can try multiple paths now.
Justin: Yeah. It’s 2014. Lots of things available to us.
James: Thanks so much for coming on, Justin. I’m really glad that you were able to share this stuff. Thanks also for putting that Twitter stuff into your presentation from SuperFastBusiness live, that’s very generous and I look forward to our next opportunity to catch up.
Justin: Absolutely, man. Thanks for having me on.
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