Hawk Mikado and Ryan Deiss Interview
Hawk Mikado Monday, December 10, 2018
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Hawk: Hey, what's going on everybody? This is Hawk Mikado, the publisher of Funnel magazine and the Funnel genius, I am so blessed to be here with Ryan Deiss who is an absolute genius when it comes to funnels, he's built one of the largest, if not the largest digital marketing training and agency focusing on helping entrepreneurs just like you scale their business. He's got the traffic and conversion summit plus content and commerce summit. Both of those are the world's largest summits that help entrepreneurs create massive impacts, learning exactly what they need to learn to scale their business within internet marketing and get connected with people who can actually help them do it. And he is the CEO and founder of digital marketer. Welcome. Thank you for being on.
Ryan: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Hawk: Absolutely. So I'd love to know what got you started in internet marketing? And how did you get started with the digital marketer?
Ryan: Yeah, In 1999, I was a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin wanting to make some extra money. I launched my very first website from my college dorm room, it was actually a website that sold an E-book on how to make your own baby food. And, back then, that was sort of the pinnacle of the first.com boom, right before the bust. I was just looking around at all these people getting rich, you know, on the internet going and working, the Michael Dell who's obviously, founder of Dell computer company, he started Dell computer from, years before I was at UT but at the dorm room across from where I live. So there was just this, entrepreneurial fervor and nobody knew what they were doing at the time. And so there's nobody to tell me that I couldn't do it, which is good because I probably would have believed them if they had. I just started then creating simple little one page website selling, silly little ebooks that I would either license or I would have people write for me, I do the same thing with software, simple little software, kids repackage them, put them on a simple little web page back then it was all about SEO. So if you could rank in the search engines, which by the way, Google was a science fair project. So we didn’t even care about Google. It was about ranking for AltaVista, and, those type of search engines. I remember when pay-per-click came along. And, first getting, started to get good at advertising. But it was just a different world back then. And that's how I got my start. By the time I graduated from college, I have literally hundreds of these little websites making, some of them $10, $20 a day, some of them less some of them more. I never really saw it as being a business. Back then the internet was still people were wondering if it was even going to be around companies were wondering if they should even bother getting a website. This was a billion years ago in a kind of from societal terms. And so when I graduated from college,. I got a job in financial services because even though it's making really good money, especially as a college kid, I didn't know if it was going to last. I worked that job for about six months, realized that I hated it a lot. I was going to give it a go to this whole internet thing because heck if it failed. I would have fun trying. So that's how I got my I got my start. And I've always had a number of different businesses selling a number of different things, the perfect embodiment of my entrepreneurial ADHD. And that's where we are today.
Hawk: That is awesome. Do you guys still license software to this day, and then redo the same thing? I know there's so much stuff in the digital marketer's lab, which I bought years and years ago, and still pay for and there's just so much content in there. Are you guys custom building all of that now? Or are you guys still grabbing stuff? And licensing?
Ryan: Yeah! We've gone a bit more sophisticated. So, back then you can buy the open source movement was brand new, there are people creating, I mean, one of the first pieces of software that I ever sold was a pop up blocker, now that's just in things, at that time that wasn't there, you know, PDF compilers and stuff like that, right? But now computers just do it. So, it's hard to get a bit more sophisticated. The same way, our publishing operation is no longer all about selling, one-off ebooks, it's shifted to more of a subscription model, and more of a membership model, a community model, the software isn't about selling one-off pieces of software that we've licensed. We have a development team now that that is coding SaaS products, and we've got a couple things in there. And even on the physical product space, we're developing or importing our own products. So the funny thing is, the business model itself is remarkably similar, right? You capture attention, eyeballs through digital marketing, bring them to a website, sell them something, right. That's why the whole idea of traffic and conversion summit, that's why we named it that 10 years ago. Because at the end of the day marketing, digital marketing is all about generating traffic, converting that traffic, right, you need those two. And if you're good at both, you win. So the models have gotten a little more sophisticated. You know, the funnels have obviously gotten more sophisticated, the funnel was somebody came to your website, they bought, The End, right? We can't do that anymore and make money, right? So everything's had to get a little bit more sophisticated. But at its core, you know, we're always just trying to sell something for more than it cost us to make.
Hawk: Absolutely. What would you attribute some of your biggest successes in this space?
Ryan: I attribute, a lot of it to luck and good timing. I think anybody who says that they did it all themselves… is lying. Apart from that, you know, if there's one thing that has saved my butt more times than the other, it's copy, it's my ability to craft an offer, it's copywriting. Everything that I was good at, eventually went away or other about substantially better at it. So when I first got started, I was really good at search engine optimization. I mean, that was it. That was my, advantage. It was great. At search engine optimization, I can generate lots and lots of clicks. And then Google released this thing called the Florida update. And it completely obliterated all of my efforts. Everything overnight, everything that I was doing that worked, suddenly didn't work, then I got good at and Google AdWords and then overnight, Google changes the game and said, No, you can no longer drive ads, you know, straight from you can learn to drive traffic straight from an ad, to a page where you're collecting an email address, right, you have to do some content. So they changed everything that we were doing, it was working, then they completely, changed. Facebook has changed the game, about a half a dozen time. So, people who are really good at marketing hacks, I found that they, they come and go, I know a lot of people over my career, I mean, I've been doing this, since 19 years old was I made my first sale online, when I was 19, I'm now much closer to 40, then I am 30. So that gives you an indication I've been doing this for the better part of basically my entire adult life. I've seen a lot of people come and go, I've seen people, enter and make really good money because they, grabbed hold of a tactic, and then it worked. And then it stopped. And they were gone. And that happened so many times. It's cliche, but people that have hung around that have been around for a while, are people who know how to craft an offer. And that comes down to the copy that comes down to the, to the funnel structure to knowing how to pull everything together so that you can maximize the immediate and long-term customer values. Because I still believe that he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins. That is the great equalizer, right? That is the way that we get to win in business today. And so that's the one thing that's again, that's the one thing that saved me. Even when I messed up everything else, I was able to go out there, create an offer, send some emails, drive some clicks, and turned into the cash.
Hawk: So you've been able to scale successfully, pivot, and maneuver how has that impacted your ability to grow your business, and how big is your business at this point?
Ryan: Well, As a digital marketer, I don't get into revenue size, I can tell you we are well into eight figures. We do quite well, Digital Marketer today is I think around 15,000 members. And other businesses that I own, and I might have started but no longer have a day to day active role in they've continued to do well, also through these different cycles. And it's because of the one thing that we focus on time and time again, is the acquisition, right. And that's what a lot of people I've seen, a lot of companies come through who succeeded as a result of the launch model where they succeeded as a result of, you know, Facebook ads being really, really cheap. For this moment in time, they succeeded as a result of a momentary inefficiency in the market. And when those inefficiencies changed when those loopholes were closed. They were done because they didn't know how to acquire customers profitably and predictably, that's something that we've been in. That's what we focus on, number one, across any business that we start, there's three critical questions that we ask before we really get serious about any business we launched. The first is, who do we serve? Right? We got to be really clear on who our market is, and who do we serve, we're going to know who we're talking to, we got to know the bait that we need to be fishing with the things that they're interested in. The second question that we ask has to be answered is, what value do we deliver? What is the specific tangible value that we deliver? How do we change people's lives? How do we transport people from less desirable before states to more desirable after states, we got to know that because we got to know that we have a reason to exist. There have also been people I know who have been really good at selling stuff, but their product was crap. And eventually, because they were such good marketers, and their product was crap, they find out if your product sucks, the better your marketing, the faster you accelerate your demise. We make sure that we're clear on yeah we're good at this. We have a reason to exist, we deliver value. And then the third is how are we going to go about acquiring customers profitably and predictably, there are lots of businesses out there who raise tons of capital, and they get good at acquiring customers predictably, and profitably, and sometimes it works out in the end. But usually, it doesn't, we want to make sure that we can acquire customers both predictably and profitably, and it's that combination and the answer those three questions if we've got that we can answer that question, we could pretty much go into any market and in compete.
Hawk: I love that. You have mastered this and get somebody in to opt in, read a blog, opt-in by a $7 offer, and then scaling to paying you monthly, and then, signing up for certification or the war room or, high-end coaching consulting, can you share a little bit about the funnel? And how do you guys bring somebody from that $7 offer all the way up to that $25,000 offer?
Ryan: Sure, I mean, so in its simplest form, Digital Marketer is going to generate awareness. And we're going to really engage our audience by starting with good content. I'm a big believer in delivering value in advance. And so, we invest heavily in the top of funnel content, so ungated content, and we do that so that we can pixel those audiences and in that allows us to retarget them. First, if we delivered value in advance if they've stumbled across our content, or even if we've advertised such that they found our content, right, we took proactive measures to make sure that somebody found our content, we then pixel them, so they become aware we've engaged with them, that always steps two of the process, and then we pixel them so that we can follow up with them again through retargeting, then what we're trying to do is we're trying to get them to opt-in for something now, if we know that the content that they consumed was related to specific topic areas. So maybe it was, even marketing or Facebook advertising or, something like that, then the type of follow up that we're going to be doing with the advertising is going to be relevant to the previous thing they saw. So we're always going to make sure that we keep that story consistent throughout the journey. And then we're going to try to get them to opt into some gated content, a lead magnet, special report, premium video, something like that. So then that step, step three, which is the subscribe stage. So awareness, engagement, subscribe, this is where a lot of people get stuck, they build a list, and they send emails like, Hey, buy some stuff. And it is especially hard for folks who only have one product to sell. We make sure that after somebody subscribes, we can then say, hey, the fact that you opted in for this report tells us that you're interested in, email marketing. So we actually have this $7 training that normally would be 27 bucks, you can get it right now, though, for only seven bucks. And so they buy that $7 training, that's what we call the Convert stage, right? That's what we're offering what we refer to as a tripwire, right? Or an entry point offer. But for us, it's the first day, it's, Hey, can I buy you a drink, right? It's that kind of thing, hey, let's meet for coffee. It's a low barrier to entry offer, that still changes that relationships where we call it a converted stage, they are becoming convert to our brand. Human beings are amazing creatures, and remarkably predictable, we show commitment in one of two ways, either with our wallets or with our calendars. So we are looking for a commitment of time, or we are looking for a commitment of money for it to rise to the level of a convert. So that's Yeah, that's where that $7 purchase comes in, then it's really simple to say, on the next page, hey, you know, you just got one of our things for seven bucks. And that's great. Did you know that he has 38 friends, just like a more execution plan you can get right now, today when you become a member of lab? Now, I'll tell you what we used to do what we used to say you can get them all today when you become a member of the lab. It's only $38 today, right? So it's only 40 bucks when you join today. And that was that was good that that worked really well. Then we changed it to it's only $1 today and the rest in 14 days, we tested a 14-day trial. where we are today is it's totally free today free for $30, we wanted to free for 30 days, we wanted to remove all friction from the equation. And then after they have taken the trial, then down the road will offer them some profit maximizers. Some Ascension either to our certifications or opportunities to ascend within different levels of labs. So in the lab, we have lab basic, which is now $49 a month, we have lab plus, which is $95 a month where you get access to all of our certifications. And we have lab elite, which is $295 a month. And that's where you get access to all of our content, all of our certifications or communities as well as we do a live workshop at least once a month, usually twice. So it's kind of membership within the memberships. Yeah, it's about sending them through that particular funnel. What's interesting about what we do now is the first 30 days we collect almost no money from our subscribers, we get that first $7 sale, and we collect almost no money that's different. What we used to do say $7 today, hey, if you want to sign up for this, it's $95, hey, if you want to do is to try to realize that it has as much value as quickly as possible, so that we could ROI that acquisition investment, we had to, you know, we had no choice. And now that we've grown, and we've got a little more money in the coffers, we can afford to wait. And that should be the goal of every single marketer, the goal of every single marketer should be to reduce friction to the point where you're taking on more of the risk so that more people are willing to take that first step. And so that's been the biggest change that’s really is how it works today. And people become members, some of them with their agencies, and I'll send up and become certified partners, which is a $ 10,000-year investment. Some of them, if they're a marketing executive, might do kind of a custom training package with us where we're training their marketing team. And that's anywhere from $5000 to $25,000, some of them might join our mastermind group Warner mastermind, which is $25 to $30,000 a year. So it's amazing though, how many people started with a simple $7 purchase. And they literally invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with the brand today. And so it shows just like in real human relationships, right? If you're married, that probably started as a single first interaction, right? Hey, can I meet you with for coffee? And that's how business works, too. If you're willing to be patient, you know, you go all the way.
Hawk: That awesome! I'm really curious you how many upsells Do you guys have now on the back end?
Ryan: It's $7, 30 days free. And then we give them an opportunity to upgrade immediately. So we'll give some type of bonus, whether it's a signed book or a T-shirt or something like that to go ahead and upgrade immediately. So don't wait the 30 days, if you want to get an upgrade immediately will send you this book will send you this T-shirt. And we do get 10 to 20% of the people who take advantage of that immediate upgrade offer. And that helps offset some of our advertising costs. But we're generally negative for the first 60 days right now. It's not until that second rebill that we're getting positive. And we did it just because we want to make sure we know we could put them through a series of upselling and generate more revenue faster. But you got to know every time you do that. Every time you go and say, now I want to get more revenue now. You are risking the brand. I mean, people who say. Oh, it doesn't hurt to ask. Yeah, it does absolutely hurt to ask. Try it. If you're single walk up to somebody at a bar or club. Be like, Hey, nice to meet. You want to go back to my placing and get freaky? Right, you're going to get slapped. And there's no going back. Right? That's what people don't understand. It's not like you'd be like, Oh, just kidding. Can I buy you a drink? Right? No, it's done. Like, you're the creepy weirdo. Alright, if you're the person who puts a customer through this upsell health style funnel, you might be high fiving with your buddies about how your average immediate order value is whatever and how much you've increased it. But what you’ve probably done a shot your lifetime customer volume in the foot. And you're probably obliterating your brand over time. Because while some people yeah, they're going through and they're buying. A lot of people going, that sucks that experience frickin sucked. I will never do business with that brand again. And I will tell everybody I know not to do business with them. Now that doesn't show up in your analytics. But it matters. It absolutely matters. And I think one of the reasons that digital marketer has grown as we've begun to over-index a lot more for the brand and not just ask ourselves, you know what's going to generate the most money today I did that. I ran the company like that. And I remember one time my mom went through one of the funnels that we had. Literally, she was just curious, I want to buy and see what my son is doing, and she's like, what was this and she was reading some of the follow up emails and how it's just club you over the head kind of, you know, buy now, or I'm going to steal your cat and, report you to the Government kind of thing. We didn't actually do that. That's an exaggeration. But you know what I mean? And I'm sure people is watching this. That's what they're doing. And it's because we were just trying to optimize to increase the immediate or 30-day customer value. That was the metric we were looking at. That's what we were optimizing for. And I looked up one day and realized, God, dang, we've achieved the goal but we I have been kind of an asshole, right? I don't like what it has become. And the brand really did suffer. When we took our foot off the gas. We found that, yes, we had to wait, yes, we had a little had to be a little bit more patient, but what we received in terms of brand equity, and what we generated in terms of total lifetime value, what we got in terms of referrals, it dwarfed what we were getting when we were just grasping to get as much as we possibly could.
Hawk: That's really powerful.
Ryan: So yeah, again, remember, I'll just throw this in Amazon is teaching people what good online purchasing experiences are like, all right, yeah, it's one click, and they're showing you some other stuff. But they are not putting you through this. Wait, your order is not complete. I've been there. I've done, and I know that it works. But at some point, you got to make the decision that we're going to do the thing that is the best for the experience. I know that having some like a cheesy pickup line. And, although like a lot of screwball dating tricks and hacks might work as well. But it's probably not how you're going to meet the woman of your dreams. You know, if you're a dude, vice versa, whatever. So you just got to decide what you're doing? Are you trying to optimize for today money? Are you trying to optimize for value total company value? Which means you got to optimize for the value that you're delivering to your customers!
Hawk: You guys have built out last I checked the world like 40 or 50 things in the lab? There's probably way more than that because it's been a while since I logged in. But how did you guys get to a place where you could develop that much stuff? I'd love to be able to offer all this stuff. Because one, each of those things can be sold individually, obviously. And that's a great way to recoup some of that on the back end without looking like an asshole in your funnel. So what would you say to somebody who's got maybe five or 10 things, or maybe even less than that, but they're looking to scale to be able to have that constant tools that they can they can offer?
Ryan: Yeah, to me 10 is the magic number. And, it's arbitrary, but it always works. So when we decided to go really heavy into content marketing, right, we wanted to launch a blog, I said to my to Russ Henneberry, who was running our content team at the time, Russ, I just want 10 amazing pieces of content, give me 10 amazing pieces of content. If we've got 10, I know, one or two of them are going to hit when we launch lab. And I knew that I wanted the lab to have these execution plans, right, these kinds of checklist-style marketing strategies. I wrote out 10 of them. And I said we're not going to launch this until we have 10. And then we're going to commit to doing at least one new one every single month for at least the first year. So I knew by the end of that year, we'd have 22. So that's where it started. And I wasn't going to launch it until we had those 10. And I wasn't going to launch it until I knew what the next 12 months we're going to be. I hadn't created them all. But I had committed to having 10 of them done and two months. So anytime you can launch any subscription, I believe, you know, launch with a good bit of stuff in there, and then have two months already finished in the queue ready to go. So you can really focus on you're 60 days on your go to market strategy and on an acquisition. And we just stuck to that commitment. And we did it for the first two years, then it was appropriate really, to go back and begin updating some of the legacy ones. The funny thing about membership sites and subscription type businesses, you can overwhelm people with content, it's a balance, and you do nothing they'll drop out. But if you're constantly cramming 15 things down their throat, every single month, folks just get fatigued, you're at the gym, that's like calling up every day saying, Hey, we know shouldn't come in today, hey, we know she didn't come in today, Hey, aren't you stupid for not coming in daily, but you're still fat. And now you don't have money, right? I mean, it's like, don't do that. But also don't do nothing. So we made sure that, you know, every month there was at least one or two things getting updated, or added new, but it happened, and it was built over time. But it is that initial front-end commitment, being willing to make sure. And we did the same thing, we launched our certifications, I had 10 in mind eight that were critical. And anytime you do 10, it's amazing. There's always one or two, it's the 80/20 rule, right, there's always going to be one or two that's going to hit. And if you have some type of subscription solution, like we do with lab, and if you were producing something new every single month, what that means is, you're not only delivering something valuable, that is going to keep your people engaged and keep them retained for longer, you're also giving yourself something new to go out and market. So today, you know now where we stand. And the reason it's easier for us to do what we do is not to have an eight-person content team, that they're responsible for producing those materials we have publishing and faculty deals with outside experts. So it's not all you know, only me that's producing stuff. I mean, now, it's kind of a machine, right? We're a publishing company. But that's not where it started. And that's not where anybody needs to start to get there. It started with just, you know, me and Russ sitting down and cranking out 10 amazing pieces of content, whether it was free content, or premium content and building from there.
Hawk: We talked a moment ago about bringing in these outside experts to a team, what have you found in terms of like team versus automation, and not just in obviously, in the membership site by just in running the business overall?
Ryan: My rule all along has been if I don't have to do it, it's automated. I didn't mind it being automated by technology, or by people. And there's a lot of folks who said, I don't want people you know, people are a problem. I don't feel that way. I love people. I mean, I'm an introvert, but I love being a part of the team and watching something grow. I know, it's not for everybody. So I'm not making a values statement when I say that, I've seen technology break and be just as much of a pain in the butt as, as a human being. What I haven't seen technology do is have independent thoughts about how it can improve your process and system. I mean, the technology automation is only ever going to do what you program it to do. A human if they're well trained, if they're thoughtful, if they have empathy, if they give a damn, they're going to do what you tell them to do. And yeah, they're going to make some mistakes, but they're also going to say, hey, what if we tried this and the biggest breakthroughs that we've had a digital marketer, or any of my companies for that matter have come from that. The reason that people stay in digital marketer lab is not the content, people join for the content people stay for the community. That's why they stay because our community is so fantastic that Facebook group you can go there any hour of the day and get I your questions answered, get help get people to review stuff. It's phenomenal! I would never have done that team suggested that we have a community as an aspect of digital marketer lab and the first time they suggested that I said, No, I don't want to do that it's going to turn into just a rat's nest, moderating is going to be terrible. It's gonna be awful. It's a horrible idea. They pressed and pressed and pressed, they believed that it should be there because they believed that it was the right thing for our customers. And finally, I relented, that was the best decision I didn't make. It was the best decision that's been made for the company that I didn't make it. I've never been happier to lose an argument, in my entire life. Now I can't imagine Digital Marketer without, are an engaged community. So technology would n’t haven't done that, so I think it's both. I absolutely think that it's both. I think there's it's going to transition there's going to be things that you know how to do, and only you know how to do, and as quickly as possible, you need to try to shift some of those over to other people. We have a framework that we leverage here at digital marketer, I'll give credit where credit's due. My president and co-founder Richard Lindner kind of coined the phrase and the concept, he calls it the 10-80-10 method. And so what he does is if there's something really, really complicated, right. I remember teaching Mollie Pittman how to do Facebook ads, thinking nobody's ever going to be as good at Facebook advertising as I am. And Richards like 10-80-10 it. And the way 10-80-10 works is you have somebody you spend the first 10% brainstorming and telling them everything that they kind of need to know about the project about what you're trying to do, right. So you distill, and you do a brain dump, then they do the 80%, and then they come back and, tweak it and ultimately approve it. And that's that last 10%. If when you look at that last 10%, if it's no good, then you start a new 10-80-10 cycle. Right now you're going back over. And if along the way you're building processes, then you can get to the point of automating, right. But it's always going to start with the human being doing it. Because you don't want to automate something unless you really know it's working. And you don't really know what's working until you first taught it to another human being. They've successfully executed and have received similar outcome to what to what you did.
Hawk: That is a brilliant way to look at it. It's a great way to you set up perfectly. Do you drive traffic to your Facebook? Google? What do you find is the most in other platforms as well? What do you find is the best way to drive traffic to your free content that then leads into the opt-ins and then getting paid?
Ryan: Yeah, Facebook is still the winner. Google is still second. And YouTube it's still out there as well. I mean, let's be clear, nothing beats email, right? And so, you know, if you have an email list, and you're not emailing your list content, you should be doing it. Not only is it the nice thing to do, but it's also allowing you to pixel people on your list to re-engage them. But Facebook is still it. Facebook's got more difficult, no, it's not had the greatest year news-wise, but they still have every man woman and child on planet Earth. And and if there's a message that you're looking to get out there, Facebook is a great way to do it. Google is going to get you a very different type of secret traffic. People are looking for, you know, people who are more problem aware or more solution awareness of people who are looking for a solution to a particular problem, or people who are aware of the problem. And they're aware of different solutions. And they're doing research. So that can be helpful. But usually, that's going to cap out pretty quickly. In terms of just the volume, there's only so many people looking for that every month. It's good, it's predictable. Facebook is where you're going to get the scale in terms of the people who don't yet know they have a problem, or they don't know that your solution exists. I'm really bullish right now, if you're in the b2b space on LinkedIn, LinkedIn is like Facebook was seven years ago or eight years ago, when you could just go into Facebook type some stuff, and people would see it. Remember, when that was the case? Now it's like less than 1% of your people in your page, see it something crazy like that unless you're advertising to them. LinkedIn is great, especially video on LinkedIn. I'll tell you though, the thing that we're seeing that works better than just anything else is answering hyper-specific questions very quickly in a video, and posting that through the different social channels natively. So again, 10, right, figure out 10 incredibly specific questions that your audience is asking. If you own a community, if you go to trade shows, things like that. You can figure out what they are, and then record a video of you or somebody answering those questions but make it quick, like scripted exactly what you're going to say, Look into the camera, answer it and then post on LinkedIn post on Facebook, post on Twitter, post on YouTube, post on Instagram and and do it all natively. That's one of the few organic strategies that we're still seeing pretty positive effects from even if you don't already have a large following
Hawk: See, go back on going back to the LinkedIn thing. Are you talking about paid advertising on LinkedIn or Organic?
Ryan: Yeah, I'm talking about organic paid advertising on LinkedIn. Still prohibitively expensive in most markets are not recruiting or you aren't selling some type of enterprise solution. There's almost no way to make it work. It's really, really difficult. We do a smidge of, you know, LinkedIn advertising, but yeah, not very much.
Hawk: You're talking about, like organic growth.
Ryan: I'm talking organic. This was Facebook 7 years ago. It's nice. I'm sure it's not gonna be around forever, but it sure is nice right now.
Hawk: Yeah, We just restarted a bunch of LinkedIn campaigns as well, we're seeing the same thing, it's probably not going to last more than another year or two.
Ryan: There are these moments in time where inefficiencies exist. And you want to jump in, on those inefficiencies to expand brand and awareness. But if during those times of inefficiency, you are not building brand equity. Then when the loophole is gone, when the inefficiency becomes efficient, you're done. Look at Airbnb. Right Airbnb exists because they capitalized on an inefficiency where they can basically hack Craigslist to post their listings right they straight up violated Craigslist Terms of Service. That was how they built Airbnb. But you know what, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna make a values-based statement about whether or not that's that's good, or that's bad. What I'm simply going to say is, it only worked because, at the end of the day, the service was good, right? When you're doing these hacks when you're doing these tricks, it's all just amplification, you're just shining a spotlight on yourself. And if your brand is a turd, if your product is a turd, then you're just shining a brighter spotlight on the turd and that's disgusting and people aren't gonna like it when they get it and like I said you're going to the better you are, the faster you're going to accelerate your own demise.
Hawk: Absolutely. You mentioned email and other types of follow up and obviously retargeting. What are some of the most powerful formats of follow up that you are utilizing in your business today?
Ryan: So it's all the same things, right? I mean there's email, and I consider retargeting to be a form of follow up. So the tools are the same. The key is to make sure that they're all aligned. And so that when somebody is on your list, the emails that they're getting are aligned with the ads that they're seeing the retargeting ads, what they're seeing on Facebook and YouTube, you know retargeting, you just need to make sure that there's congruence big brands get this big brands will go, and they'll run a campaign. And so they'll have TV spots, radio spots, billboards, direct mail so that wherever you are, you're engaging with that brand. And there's consistency across, and that's where you get this kind of multiplication of impact. A lot of people don't go right into the email series, and they'll do some retargeting. And they'll have nothing to do with each other. They need to reference one another. The other thing that's working really great from an email follow up perspective right now, depending on where somebody comes in, at, there'll be receiving kind of more formal transactional emails from digital marketer, the company but then those emails are referenced that hey, you're going to be hearing from somebody else at digital marketer. So, keep an eye out for it, from a subject line from this. And in their simultaneously, they start receiving emails from somebody else who might be on our sales team or, market development rep or a partner success manager. So, now they're getting personalized emails. And the funny thing about those emails is, if the prospect response to those emails, they're actually answered by a human, they're actually answered by that person, and I think that that really where even follow up, in general, is headed is it's way more personalized, right, it's driving into, chat, whether you're using a tool like intercom or drift.com, having that communication in real time, yes, we're gonna still send out brand emails from digital marketer and from Ryan Deiss, the newsletter and stuff, but depending on segments that you're in, you're getting highly personalized personal emails from an individual member of the digital marketer team, it's not a template, it looks like real personal email because it is a real person emailing, and that's a game changer. Nobody wants to do it. Because nobody wants to have, actual human beings respond. Everybody wants to automate everything, you know, I'll just put in their automated, I'm going to go sit on the beach, that's fine. Just know if you're competing with me, I'm willing to do it. So I'm going to win. Like, I'm willing to serve our customers better than you are. So they're going to hang out with me instead of you. Because I try harder.
Hawk: I love that. We absolutely see the same thing, I believe 100% hands down in high touch because high touch leads to high-value customers. And also, yeah, big, big paychecks.
Ryan: They demand it. When everything is automated, all we want is humanity. And so the pendulum swings, and it's swinging back to those pesky humans. Again Again.
Hawk: Do you guys use SMS messenger bots, direct mail, voicemail dropping anything like that as well?
Ryan: I don't do as much with voicemail drops, because I just hate it so much as an individual. I know that it works. And again, that's a values-based thing. I know some of the companies that we own that are in our portfolio do use them, and they are effective. Again, it comes down to the brand, right. I don't necessarily want people getting a ton of voicemail drops from Digital Marketer because I don't believe that particular marketing strategy is brand elevating. And it's a look, that's I get it like, that's, that is about as, and they're just you got to make your own judgment call about what is appropriate for your brand to do. So we have some that do it. Most don't I'm not hugely in favor of it. And I believe there's probably going to come a time when it gets outlawed, or at least have some serious regulations around voicemail drops. When it comes to messenger bots, absolutely. We use manychat to do that in a lot of our brands for SMS, we don't do a lot of mass SMS outbound broadcast, we will in some of our markets, we don't do this a lot right now in digital marketer. But we should get another one of our companies, anytime somebody buys something there, if we have their cell phone number, there's just an SMS that goes out saying, hey, thanks so much. If you have any questions or have any issues, here's who I am, feel free to text me back, or,, talk that reduced refunds pretty substantially because a lot of people weren't getting order notices. So we found that to be helpful, and some people were calling in. And then it was a possible upsell opportunity if it was appropriate. And so we're seeing more of that. I do absolutely love messenger. Chat is the next it's kind of the next big new thing. There hasn't been a big new thing in a while. Like, I remember when email became like, and the ability to do follow up email and the large-scale broadcast was a big thing. Pay Per Click Advertising was a big thing, then social was a big thing. Online video was a big thing. I mean, social was a big thing for a long time, and all the new channels coming through, and they're kind of wasn't anything new for a while. From a channel perspective, I think, chat and messenger, when you look at, Facebook Messenger, and the ability to automate that communication through bots, I think that really is kind of the next big thing. I don't think it's going to people say like, Oh, this is going to kill email. It's not, but it's going to be another thing that augments and supplements the communication we're already doing.
Hawk: Absolutely. I don't know if you've seen our funnel, but we have the messenger bot as an active support communication, have you guys seen that work in other companies? Are you guys doing that? Or are you strictly using drift or other platforms like that?
Ryan: We use both. So we use messenger, and we use drift depending on the channels, the degree to which we drive people to those channels, has everything to do with how much capacity is there with our sales team and with our customer care team. So if they're at capacity, then we only want the people going through those channels who really need support now, and they're finding it, they're seeking it out. For everybody else, can go through typical channels where they are even some self-service type channels. So, there are times we're more proactive. It just depends on the scale depends on if we are at an event, are we traveling that week. I know it's more efficient, I know, it generates more upsell revenue when we do it. So given an endless supply of resources, I would drive as much traffic to those channels we possibly could. A lot of people want to try to limit the number of inbound communications from customers like, I wish I can get all these support tickets and all these inbound email requests to go away. Those are people who want to talk to you normally in business, we're spending lots of money to get people to talk to us now we got them coming in wanting to talk to us, and we're not taking advantage of it. So you know we had, and this was the idea of our Director of Sales and monetization, Marcus Murphy anytime we solved a person's problem, so never try to upsell somebody when they still have an issue, right? Don't do that, that's just uncool. Somebody calls in because they know that their log in isn't working, they needed something, they may need to change out their credit card whatever, if something isn't working, fix it and then have one question that month that everybody on your team is asking so as soon as they solve that issue whether it was resolved through chatbot or through messenger or through an email thread go back to say hey great it seems like we got that worked out, just out of curiosity Are you come into traffic and conversion summit? Just out of curiosity Have you seen the webinar that we have coming up in a few days? Just out of curiosity Have you seen that we have a sale running right now on this particular thing? When you have everybody in your entire support team asking that one question now lots of people they never respond to it, They don't acknowledge. Then lots of people go and click on like no I haven't Tell me about it, or oh yeah I've been meaning to pick up my you know TNT tickets then you can go great I can help you with that how many people do you want to bring. I mean you'd be amazed at how you can turn your customer care department your customer support department something that is typically a cost center into a profit center just by being willing to engage and ask just one additional question after you've solved their issue.
Hawk: That is brilliant. I love it.
Ryan: It was not my idea again, I gotta give credit to Marcus Murphy and my guess he heard it from somebody else to.
Hawk: I love the incoming questions like hey let's get this solved and those become raving fans and my experience once we solved the problem.
Ryan: Yes. Absolutely in that order.
Hawk: Yeah. Solve the problem, and then they become raving fans awesome we are pretty much at the end here if you could leave the audience with one thing that they can implement in their business today what that one thing would be?
Ryan: Yeah! Go back to something I said before that's and it is hyper tactical, but it works. Go to quora.com. Type in some keywords related to your market to your audience to you or to your product. And just look at the questions that people are asking. Quora if you don't know is a site where people ask questions, and other people answer it's kind of like social media built around questions and answers. That's real people, your customers asking real live questions sorted based on the ones that have the most engagement and look at the answers that people are having. And then come up with a list of 10 come with, a list of 10 really big important questions that you know you have amazingly great specific answers to those questions in one to two minutes on video. Drip those out and spread them out interlink those across all corners of social on your blog in other places, buy advertising to that content, yes, advertising to the content know you're not going to immediately ROI. But you will build a massive pixel the audience fairly cheaply and inexpensively. Because unlike the advertising you're doing right now, where people go to a website, and they bounce, people will go to this page, and they'll share it. So one click will turn into 2,3,4 is actually a viral coefficient going your pixel. The audience will build. Now, when you go out and do advertising on Facebook, you're gonna be advertising to people who already know, like, and trust you. You've already delivered value in advance, then get them to opt-in, then move them through your funnel. If you will just do that one thing, if you would only be willing to deliver some value in advance, just dedicate some of your spending right now, in advertising dedicate 20% of your ad budget to drive new content first, to build that pixel audience 20%, you probably got 20% of waste right now in your ad budget. Anyway, my guess is you can carve out 20% and not miss a single sale. All right, do it for 60 days. And then watch as your cost per lead begins to go down. Because over time, you have people opting in who didn't click on one of your ads they opted in because somebody told them about it. And watch as your brand awareness, and your profile and people talking about you and how great you are in other places goes up. Watch as your search rankings for these different pieces of content goes up, because they're getting more, traffic and awareness. But I'm telling you, it starts with 10 amazing pieces of content, it's sitting, right at Quora.com, if you go over there, see what questions people are asking, record. Distribute that content. Advertise that content, I don't think you're gonna have to worry about awareness ever again, it is a little bit risky, but worst case scenario, you will just do some really nice things for a lot of people. And I think it's worth the 20% test.
Hawk: You'd mentioned one thing, and I just want to make sure I got that clear, you said to pixel them, and you said to send them to a site that they can share. So you’re sharing, basically a little clip little snippet to send them to a landing page with that video?
Ryan: No, advertise directly to if you're doing Facebook advertising, advertise directly to the Facebook post that has that content in there. But what they'll do is they'll share that content, you don't have to pay for that share, pay for all the clicks that come in, nobody if you're running just like direct response ads, in Facebook right now, nobody is sharing those, they're probably commenting about how they hate you, and how you need to get off their newsfeed. Right. And that's dumb, too, because those people don't realize that they're using the service for free because you're buying that advertising. So Cry me a river, but they're definitely not sharing it, if you, buy Facebook ads to Facebook videos where you're delivering amazingly great content, you can build a pixel audience off of that, and a pixel audience off of all the people who that content is getting shared to by all these people that you're sending there. So it really begins to multiply and do the same thing with YouTube, right, do the same thing. I wouldn't, I wouldn't buy ads in, LinkedIn to drive to native LinkedIn videos, but you might buy some ads in Facebook to drive over to LinkedIn, you might send some you know emails to drive over there, but try content by advertising to content, go value in advance, go first, buy them the drink first. Don't say I'll buy you this drink If you promise to go home with me. That's frickin creepy. And yet most of the people out there most of the marketers that I know do the marketing equivalent of that. Yeah, I'll give you some content. If you'll give me your name and email address. There is a time and place for that, but it's after you've gone first.
Hawk: I love that! I appreciate you so much for sharing. Guys, you have learned some of the most important things that you're going to learn in marketing from Ryan and from all of our all of our covers here at Funnel magazine. Super excited for you guys if you guys want to join funnel magazine and get a lifetime subscription go to funnelmagazine.com/lifetime. I really appreciate you, Ryan, thank you so much for sharing your brilliance and wisdom with the world.
Ryan: Thank you so much for doing this and giving back to this market in this audience that we both love so much.
Hawk: Appreciate it.
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