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Eric Siu is a pay per click marketing expert and the CEO of SingleGrain.com, a successful digital marketing agency. Eric first caught my eye when I read his incredible post on YouTube advertising
In fact, YouTube advertising is one of the only mediums that I haven’t yet tried so I’m eager to have Eric on the show to talk about what’s working and what’s not in the world of advertising. Enjoy the show!
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What You’ll Learn
- How to launch an effective Facebook campaign
- How to launch a high converting YouTube campaign
- How much money you should be willing to invest when launching your first campaigns
- Which types of Facebook ads work the best
- Which types of YouTube ads work the best
- How to create an effective funnel and why funnel based marketing works
- Eric’s take on mobile advertising
- If you need a website logo or website design, make sure you check out 99Designs.com and enjoy $99 in savings by clicking on this link!
Other Resources And Books
Now if you enjoy this podcast please leave me a review on iTunes, and enter my podcast contest where I’m giving away free one on one business consultations every single month. For more information go to www.mywifequitherjob.com/contest. And if you are interested in starting our own online business, be sure to sign up for my free six day mini course where I’ll show you how my wife and I managed to make over 100k in profit in our first year of business. Go to www.mywifequitherjob.com for more information.
Now before I begin, I just want to give a quick shout out to this episode’s sponsor 99designs. Now originally I wasn’t going to take any sponsors at all, but 99designs caught my eye because I suck at design. And in fact when I first started my online store back in 2007, the design for my website was terrible and I had absolutely no idea who to turn to. Now fast forward to today, 99designs is a site where you can provide a description of anything that you want designed whether it be as logo, a web page, a t-shirt, pretty much anything and have dozens of designers compete to deliver you the best design possible. And by best I mean that you get to choose your favorite design among dozens of submissions from a pool of over 315,000 designers. So if you are design challenged like I am, I highly recommend that you go over to 99designs.com/mywifequit.
And if you use that link and tell them that Steve from mywifequitherjob.com referred you, your design listing will be bolded, highlighted, given a prominent back ground, and featured before all regular listings so that your request stands out among all of the designers. And in fact this special offer is worth 99 dollars. So if you need a logo, website, t-shirt, business card or anything designed, go to www.99designs.com/mywifequit. Now on to the show.
Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host Steve Chou.
Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast, today we have Eric Siu on the show. Now, Eric is the CEO of the digital marketing agency singlegrain.com where he helps companies grow their revenues online. He also runs an excellent podcast and blog at growtheverywhere.com which you should definitely check out and prior to Single Grain Eric has consulted with a bunch of fortune 500 companies, and he is known for running the growth team for the online education company Tree house. He also contributes regularly to Fast Company, Entrepreneur magazine, Forbes and other online publications and in fact the only weakness in Eric has as far as I could tell is that he is a big USC football fan, which Stanford has owned these past few seasons. But without further ado welcome to the show Eric, how are you doing man?
Eric: I`m doing great thanks for having me.
Steve: Yeah, so give us the quick back ground story and tell us about SingleGrain.com and how you kind of got there.
Eric: Yeah I`d love to. So you know Single Grain has been around since 2009 as a digital marketing agency and we originally started out as a search engine optimization shop, well known in San Francisco for doing that. I work with companies like Sales Forest, Yahoo, Intuit, and a lot of ecommerce companies as well. And since then we have expanded into doing things like YouTube advertising, Facebook ads, you know typical Google adwords and then we do also conversion rate optimization as well.
I– you know as you mentioned, I worked for Tree House and you know– after my stint there one of my friends reached out to me and said hey maybe you could come and join Single Grain and you know kind of expand what they are doing there. So I joined Single Grain almost three years ago and actually ended up taking over the company less than a year ago. And since then we have expanded our services, we`ve added a lot of new structure and we`ve also added an LA office as well. So that’s kind of the back story of Single Grain.
Steve: Okay and so when you were at Tree House, so first of all why did you leave Tree House to go to Single Grain?
Eric: Yeah, I actually didn’t have any intentions on leaving Tree house in the first place, but you know director of [inaudible 00:04:45] his cousin reached out to me and said, hey there is an opportunity here that– to really do some damage in the marketing space, and you know I used to work for an agency, digital marketing agency and I`m sure a lot of your listeners have been burned by agencies in the past. I`ve been burned as a VP of marketing and I`ve seen it first hand while working for an agency, and it just left a really bad taste in mouth and it seemed like a really interesting challenge to change the perception of how marketing agencies are seen. So that’s how I ended up making the jump over to Single Grain and actually I was like do I really want to do a digital marketing agency? And you know after I thought about it some more I thought the challenge was interesting, so here I am.
Steve: That’s interesting, so what set Single grain apart from some of the other digital marketing agencies that you have encountered.
Eric: Yeah, great question so I think one of the things is that we are super revenue focused. There is not a lot of smoke in the mirrors. When you just go work for a technology start up, it’s just like you know the numbers are there, you are either making it happen, or you are not. When you are with an agency it’s just like, and I`ve seen this first hand it’s like hey but we`ve helped you increase you ranking for X key word that brings no traffic, but you know we are clearly doing our job, but in reality it’s just smoke in mirrors. We are very focused on the bottom line, and what’s so particular in clients or even say hey, we will front the adverting spent and we’ll go all in, you just pay us for sales, so we work on our CPA basis with some of our clients.
Steve: Really, okay.
Eric: Yeah, it’s all performance marketing for some of them if it makes sense for us. So we throw it all out there, it’s like dude if we are as good as we say we are, you know we`ll go out and put our money where our mouth is.
Steve: Okay, yeah that’s actually pretty interesting, so you work on a CPA basis. So how does it work for like SEO work that you do?
Eric: Yeah great question, so I wanted to really emphasis that the CPA stuff it’s– we are really selective about who we work with, it’s not like every client. We do still have people on retainers as well.
Eric: For SEO stuff it’s really– you know we found it in the past to work on a CPA basis is really difficult just because it takes so much time to get going, and there is a lot of investments. It`s not as quick– we`ll just put it this way, it’s not as quickly as running a paid advertising campaign where you see if there is traction or not. With SEO it’s like you might bet a bunch of money and then you are not going to know if it’s working or not for a few months, and that can be really nerve racking. So, but that’s our experience with that.
Steve: Okay and so that’s probably one of the reasons why you kind of transitioned over to new services with CPA because the gratification is more or less. It’s a lot faster certainly, right.
Eric: That’s correct.
Steve: It’s a lot more measurable as well.
Steve: Cool, so I was really excited to have you on the show today because I was hoping that you`d be able to share some insights with the audience from the perspective of a smaller shop. So I know you probably deal with a lot of larger companies but the majority of listeners in my audience actually run businesses that kind of have– make under 5,000,000 dollars in revenue, and so let me set the stage real quick. So let’s say you just started a brand new ecommerce store selling a certain type of widgets, and let’s say you re the one running the store. So what would be you first plan of action with PPC, SEO, you know what not, your entire arsenal?
Eric: Yeah. So great question, so I think my first question to that would be, is this widget something that has never been– you know there is no demand for it right now or is it something that people are actively searching for like red shoes?
Steve: Good question, so let’s take like both scenarios, so first of all let’s say it’s like a new product that might not be well known but it’s a product that people buy, but you have some sort of unique aspect or your own unique spin on this particular widget that you are trying to sell.
Eric: Yeah, so what I would do is I think there is a lot of different channels we can talk about, but I`m going to focus on Facebook advertising for this example you know. I think with Facebook advertising we are talking about demand generation verses Google you know Google search where you are actually fulfilling demand. So, with Facebook ads you have a few different targeting options, some are fairly obvious where you are targeting competitors, then there is also– you can also target people by interest as well, so let’s say if I`m teaching HTML courses or if I`m teaching people how to code and do web design you know, I might target people that interested in HTML, I might target people that are interested in WordPress. That part is fairly obvious, right?
Eric: But I might get a little more complex and say, how do we– what are some websites I can target, you know Smashing Magazine, Web Designer Depot, those some popular ones. And then I can get even further recruitment even more granular than that and say hey maybe we can target people that are uninterested in specific groups as well. You might be you know doing a specific medium group that is very vague, so you do research on that side too. And then you can get a little cuter and say hey let’s say Steve you are teaching people how to do web design and you say “hey I have this list of 100,000 people on my email list,” or let’s just say you have a list of 1000 people on your email list that are very highly qualified, and you said “hey I would really like to find more people like the people on my email list.”
So what you can do on Facebook is you create what they call a look alike audience, and you can upload that email list and what Facebook will do is look for people that have similar interests to the people on your email list, and I’ll create what you call a look alike audience list that can be you know 2,000,000 people or higher, and then that way you have a list of people that are extremely similar. So that’s another thing you could do, it`s called a look alike audience, and then– go ahead you have a question?
Steve: Yeah, I was going to ask typically what would you expect for some sort of adspen [phonetic]– so let’s put an actual product to this, like a physical product. So let’s say you have, let’s say you are trying to sell golf clubs and let’s say you have some sort of brand new type of golf clubs that’s you know guaranteed to improve your drive distance by 100 yards, something like that…
Eric: I`d love that.
Steve: Yes. Okay so how would I get that– so what would be your first plan of action? Let’s say I have a very small email list, maybe only like 1000 people or something like that, and then you are starting your first Facebook campaign. So what is your first goal, like what is the audience size that you are targeting, what would be kind of like your introductory adspen and that sort of thing, so let’s kind of dig deeper into the specifics of what you might do.
Eric: Yeas, so I was saying like typically we recommend to our clients when they are starting out five thousand dollars is a good test amount.
Eric: You probably don’t want to create too many different targeting groups because you are going to be spreading yourself too thin. I might say three or four is a good amount to start with you know obviously your mileage might vary, but three or four is a general good rule of thumb for at least for our clients, and then you know the target groups that I mentioned you can definitely test us out. I think if you are looking for– if you are a little more risk averse, I think starting with the look alike audience would be good to go with because you are targeting people that are immediately very similar, because the other targeting groups you are not sure if they are going to work or not, you are really throwing a Hail Mary out there and see if everyone is going to catch it.
So you know I would start with that first and you can also do something called a website custom audience, and basically what this means is you could pretty much retarget people, like you can through Goggle. I`m sure your audience is familiar with you know the banners that follow you around. You could the same thing with Facebook as well, where we target them on a new speed; we target them through the side bar as well. I think that is a good place to start to see if you start to get some conversion through Facebook. And then once you start see some traction you are hitting like a good CPA number or you are seeing the CPA number decrease fairly quickly, I would say you know it’s time to perhaps shut down the ones that are underperforming first and then kind of go all in on the ones that are working.
Steve: Okay, so just to summarize what you just said. So you recommend taking your email list and then creating a look like audience to start, because that is going to be an audience that is going to be very targeted to what you trying to sell, is that right.
Eric: That’s correct, and I would also say when we start for our clients too we– competitor targeting is fairly easy too. So you want to target people that like your competitors too, I think that one is fairly obvious, just make sure you are– for those we can see the CPAs in to cost preposition number sometimes it can get absurdly high and our clients we know might get a little turned off by that, but over time we tend to see those working out.
Steve: Okay and then do you have any comments about the actual ad in the landing page?
Eric: Yeah, so I think if for the ad itself I mean the rule of Facebook is you can’t have more than 20% text in the ad. So you know I would have something that is enticing you know. You might have someone show like a really nice design and say hey just click here or something like that, or you know a really nice picture of your product, and then you know obviously the copy matters too just like it would in like Google search ad. And then as for the landing page itself, a lot of people like to collect emails I think for ecommerce, I`m not sure if that’s– you know that’s probably isn’t the case, most of the time you send them to like a landing page, just make sure the landing page– and I could try to get an example after this call.
The landing page is usually something that really stands outs to explain the product well, it explains all the features and benefits obviously and that isn’t just like clearly we`ve just been thrown on a typical product page, because that’s a bad experience. I think if you can find a way to capture their email that’s probably the best bet.
Eric: Not everyone operates that way.
Steve: I can kind of share with you some experiences with my ecommerce store. I ran an ad for a couple of weeks where I just sent them straight to a product, not a product page but a listing of products and that converted very poorly. And then I tried sending it straight to a landing page with an email sign up form giving away something, and that actually worked out really well, but then you know there is kind of this long site sales cycle where I`m just selling to the email subscribers, and I think overall it’s been profitable. So can you kind of address the fact about sending someone to a landing page with content as opposed to products, and what’s been your experience with the clients that you work with?
Eric: Yeah, so the clients that have like an email funnel where like I said it’s a longer sales cycle and it can be nerve wrecking, but you know those are the guys that once you start building a funnel and you are really well aware of how much you should be spending to acquire an email, and you know your numbers, the numbers are really down packed in your head, I think that’s when you could really expand on your revenue with like up sales and cross sales through the email funnel. I think every ecommerce site needs to be doing that. I think if you go to digital marketer.com I think you know Ryan Dyce has some good lessons on how you can learn how to create a funnel, it’s something that’s very tedious, it does take a lot of time, but I think overall it’s going to pay off for you in the long run.
Steve: Yeah I mean on the flip side doing that method to sell my online store course has done really well, right. So you’re– exactly what you said, you create a little funnel that kind of gives an intro to what you want to sell, it’s an info product and then later on you sell them on the full blown thing, and that’s actually worked really well. Ecommerce I actually haven’t had as much luck so…
Eric: I have– actually you know what? You actually bring up a really good point. If you go to survival life.com they do an incredible job with their funnel, like that’s the only reason I signed up for their list is because they keep hitting you with emails and it’s always like a different product. So if you have an ecommerce site and I`m assuming you have like a million of skills, that might be something that works out.
Steve: Okay, cool I will have to go and check that out, and I’ll be sure to link it up in the show notes. So what’s your take on showing the ads on mobile as opposed to just desktop?
Eric: You know the only time and this is– I`m just sharing my personal experience here, the only time I ever convert on mobile is when I go through the Amazon app. I don’t think I`ve ever converted through mobile like Facebook, like I will see the ads like yeah, they are getting impressions and all of that, but I don’t think I’ve ever even put in an email though mobile. But you know granted– I`m saying that we do see data that shows that people are actually converting, it’s just it’s not as well as we do see through desktop. I will say obviously if you have a mobile app, it will always do really-really well on Facebook.
Steve: Okay are these when you are looking at mobile, do you see a lot of direct conversions or assisted conversions, like what’s been kind of like the spread.
Eric: Yeah, so I would say I don’t have the numbers off the top of my head, but I would say when it comes to– there are a lot of direct conversions that we are talking about like app installs. There are a lot for conversions when it comes to email. Yeah, so I would say more or less it’s more direct conversions which is a good thing because I don’t like to count assistance too much.
Steve: Right, okay so in general from what you’ve seen it sounds like email sign ups and then app installs have been working really well with mobile.
Eric: That`s correct.
Steve: Okay, and then you mentioned earlier like five minutes ago, you talked about retargeting. So what’s your strategy– so first of all what company do you use for retargeting and what’s kind of your strategy involved?
Eric: My recommendation is that if you can do it, if you can have your PPC manager do it or if you can do it yourself, just do it yourself, because when you go through like another– when you go through another platform like I don’t know like a re-targeter or android, obviously they are the middle man, so they take the chunk of that money as well. And they like to count, they really like to count through conversions, they are like all about that, but you know when it comes down to it you know all I really care about are direct conversions.
You know sometimes when I was at the company Tree House they are saying you know, you are getting a CPA of three dollars, that’s amazing, but it was all view through conversions you know. There is a lot of smoking mirrors there, I would say if you play with it yourself you are going to get a little more ad budget and then the cool thing is you get to learn the ropes as yourself too, and it’s really not that difficult to be able to retarget people through Facebook, you know you could even do Twitter retargeting, You Tube retargeting, it’s really not that difficult and once you get a hang of it, like if you have someone else to manage it and they are clearly mismanaging it, you can call BS on them.
Steve: So can you just for the listeners, can you define a view through conversion verses a direct conversion.
Eric: So view through conversion would be like, if let’s say you see a banner right, but you don’t directly click on it, so you go the impression but later like you go through like search or something and you convert through there. So view through for you looking at that banner they would count that as a view through conversion. But a direct conversion would be if I click on the actual banner itself and I convert, that’s a direct conversion. Does that make sense?
Steve: Okay, yes-yes, so in fact you don’t know for sure that it was because of the ad in a view through conversion as opposed to a direct conversion where there is a click intent.
Eric: That’s correct.
Steve: Okay. And so in terms of retargeting, I know you can run Facebook retargeting by yourself through the Facebook interface, so is there some sort of service that you use to do it?
Eric: Actually with Facebook now they have something called website custom axis and you are actually able to run retargeting by yourself now. That wasn’t the case before maybe a year or two you know you had to go through somebody else like an adroc [phonetic]. But yeah they have rolled that out to people to be able to do that on their own.
Steve: Okay and in terms of targeting your audience, what are some common ways to segment your audience for retargeting?
Eric: Yeah, so I think you can segment people by let’s say for example you have people that have visited a product page, but didn’t convert you know those people are a little further down the funnel, you can target those people. You could target people that just hit the home page, you know typically that is you can run that, but you are probably not going to get the most conversions, maybe you are just trying to do it for branding purposes. And then even further down the funnel people that have visited a shopping cart but abandoned, you can retarget those people too.
And you can get really creative with it too, like let’s say they hit the shopping cart they abandoned, you can hit them with a retargeting ad through You Tube saying hey, why didn’t you buy or something like that, or hey we are running this deal, you can do some creative stuff like that. And you could also even retarget people though email too. You know people that are open to email or people that have opted into a specific list. So you know you can get very creative with it.
Steve: Okay and then so typically for your retargeting ad, do you generally use a different creative than your regular ad? Like how do you structure your retargeting add as opposed to a regular ad.
Eric: Yeah good question. So I think you know what I see with a lot of different people, you know when I’m looking through Facebook. Pretty much it’s, a lot of people just use their regular ads. You can– I mean if you do have more resources available I would say you know, just like test out other possibilities as well you know really hyper targeting people you know. I think that the more granular you get the more specific you get, you are going to get a higher conversion rate. But you know in general what I see is people are just kind of using what they have already.
Steve: Okay, yeah because I haven’t tried this out yet myself, but I’ve heard that dynamic retargeting works really well. So if they were looking at a certain product, then you hit them up with an ad with that exact product, and it’s something I want to try but it sounds like it’s a little more work to set up do…
Eric: Yeah, dynamic retargeting is still fairly new. You know you see it with like the Amazon; you see it with Zapples [phonetic], you know. I would say yeah, those– that’s a perfect example. You know we actually haven’t set up a lot of dynamic retargeting ads for our clients yet because it’s still you know it’s still a fairly new thing. And we are kind of still going all in on what’s working right now, but you know in the near future we are definitely going to be you know testing it pretty thoroughly.
Steve: Okay and then what is your– I just thought I’d get your take on the Google display network versus Facebook ads. What are some of the differences?
Eric: Yeah so you know they are actually– there are some good similarities there. I mean when it comes to Google display network, you are really looking to make a theme of key words. So when I say that– you know a theme would be like you would enter in and we’ll go back to the web design example. Let’s say you want to target people that are interested in HTML right, so you’d say, I want to target people on the Google display network you know websites that are talking about HTML, learn HTML, HTML file, things like that. So what I do is make a list of 10 to 20 keywords that I think are fairly similar, and what Google will do is Google will say, okay I get what the theme is here and then it’s going to start targeting websites based on that theme.
What you need to do there however, is you still need to prune down the ones that aren’t working. You know they’ll put you on; sometimes they’ll put you on a totally irrelevant website and you need to prune them down on that. With Facebook however, you know once you make a targeting group, you know they don’t let you get as granular as you can with Google. From there you just need to figure out like is the campaign working or not? And then you know perhaps you need you know to reset the campaign and change targeting options there.
But when it comes to– for Facebook at least you have to at least– you have to think about you know who are the competitors and things like that. Who are the competitors, what different groups can I target. With Google it’s a little less granular when it comes to targeting; you need to let Google make the decision for you. So Facebook, a little more control when it comes to targeting and Google not so much. You have to kind of let them decide and then you always get the prune down.
Steve: Okay and then so for at least for your e-commerce based customers, have you seen more success with Facebook or have you had success at all with the display network?
Eric: Yeah, so I mean for Google I mean for Google display network we have seen great success with it, same thing with Facebook. I think it really depends though, like you know some of our clients are more– like I said more demand generation and it’s something that people have never seen before, Facebook is perfect for them. But if your e-commerce store, like if you are drop shipping like you are drop shipping or just shipping stuff that you know people are typically searching for already. You know Google display network is probably better bet for you because there’s so many websites out there on the Google display network that are you know talking about things that are relevant to what you are selling.
Steve: Okay, and so do you have any tips on actually improving your conversion rates with the display networks and just some best practices.
Eric: Yeah, so I a mean you know with Google search I mean you know people talk about negative keywords all the time. You know you are going to have to do negative– you are going to have to do negative targeting. You know that’s definitely one of the things. With Google display as well another thing is you can use the– there’s you know there’s a website called similar web or similar sites. You know you can find websites that are similar and you can target those websites as well. So let’s say you find a really good blog that you think you know you think the audience will be very receptive to your product, you can just you know type that site into like similar web, similar sites and see what else pops up. You know they are actually a very well funded company and they are growing very quickly. I think that’s– that would be you know very helpful too.
And then yeah I mean other than that I think– I mean it’s the same optimization game that you are playing with Google search. Though you have to you know, you are constantly monitoring what’s going on every day and then I would recommend, highly recommend actually reading “Advanced adwords’ with Brad Gets. He has a video training course too where you can just watch all the screen cast and he’s just basically going through how adwords or– then the Google display network works. I think he does the best explanation I have ever seen with Google display, because a lot of people think Google display is this really complicated beast. But if you just go through that you know it will take you probably a day or two to really get through it. You now watch it on two XP [phonetic] or whatever. I think you can be in a really good spot and you’ll understand how you know, what to do next.
Steve: And is the creative– when you are generating the creative in the landing page for the display network, is that going to be someone or something you would do with Facebook like send them to a landing page and try to gather an email, or do you send them over to a listing of products. What works better?
Eric: Yeah absolutely. I would definitely recommend sending them to something that you are looking to collect an email instead. I think what is merely missing with a lot of e-commerce firms that we see nowadays is the final thing I was talking about. You know really not just you know sending them promotional deals all the time. But actually you know putting more thought into it and saying hey, maybe we can have like a seven dollar product first and 29 dollar product while we have all this promotions later in between. And really try to add as much value as we can, I think that way you can generate a lot more backing revenue and you have something a lot more focused in terms of numbers.
Steve: Okay that’s good advice. So hey Eric switching gears a little bit. So the reason that I really wanted to talk to you is because I wanted to talk about You Tube advertising and from what I understand you utilize YouTube advertising really well when you were at Tree House, right.
Eric: That’s correct.
Steve: So can we just talk– so I’m sure a lot of people listening don’t even know how to create a You Tube campaign and all and what’s involved. So you can just give a brief intro and then I’ll just start asking you more specific questions.
Eric: Yeah, so YouTube has been really huge, I mean you know I’ll give you kind of a back story. When I was a VP in marketing there I earned a good healthy five figure amount. And you know looked like a total idiot the first month, but we started seeing traction. So I said hey guys just like so my job is pretty much on the line. So second and third month it really started to take off and since then it’s been their number one user acquisition channel. You know grew their annual revenue by you know a few million dollars and it took you know about eight months to do it. And I will say you know– I’ll give you like you know as action as it gets here; with You Tube advertising it’s the in-stream ads that perform the best base on what we have seen.
Steve: So can you define the different types actually for everybody.
Eric: Yeah absolutely. So in-stream would be– in-stream is the five second you know, the five second video that you get to skip initially.
Eric: Those are the ones that convert the best. Then you have in display as well. In-display is– in-display I believe is actually in the– it’s one of the sidebar ads that you see on the side. And then you also have in-search which is just like Google adwords or in You Tube you type something, you see like an ad that pops up. It’s almost as if it was like a search engine result page. So those are the main ones that are out there.
You could also do mid-row ads you know where if you are watching the [Inaudible] [00:27:38] or something you see like an ad pop in the middle of the video. You could also do, you could force a pre-row too where it’s like a you know a 30 day 60 second video where they cannot skip it you know some people do that as well. And then you could also have– there’s also you could have a call to action over lay which is just like if you are running an ad, you could have the little burner that pops up in the middle.
Eric: And then you can also have a companion burner which you know when your ad is running you can have a little box pop up like a 300 by 250 pop up on the right side. So those are kind of the ads that they have available right now.
Steve: Okay, so that’s a lot of choices. Okay so let’s talk about the ones that you recommend. So you mentioned the mid-stream one?
Eric: Yeah, so all I recommend really recommend is the in-stream ads if you are going to start out first. And if you want to– if you have some other budget you know you could try retargeting as well.
Steve: Okay, so let’s talk about what you did at Tree House then, so first of all what type of ad works? I mean in general to create video requires a lot more work than just a regular ad right.
Eric: That’s correct. Yeah so a lot of people– I mean the cool thing is the video is a barrier to entry. You can’t produce crap out there. So you know there are a lot of different video vendors out there that won’t like you know they won’t cost an arm in a lake. And I’ll tell you right now you know what we’ve seen with videos is that we’ve tried the animated videos, we’ve tried the more apple type videos as well. You know we have also tried the “hot girl” type videos. We really tested it out. So what we found is the interview/apple types of videos tend to convert the best where you know you have a white background, you have the guy talking, and it’s just like a motivational video almost. Granted this is not going to work for everyone. I mean if you sell plungers its not– it’s probably not going to work out for you.
You know I think that’s a– what we’ve seen from most of our clients is that the interview ads you know tend to work really well and those don’t cost too much money to make either. So if you do need a list of vendors I’m happy to provide them you know we work with a few video partners ourselves.
Steve: Cool so let’s talk about– since you know you did this for Tree House, so what does Tree House do again? They do online education.
Eric: Yeah so what they do is they teach people how to do coding and web design online. You know there are like a monthly subscription service.
Steve: Okay, and so what were some of the things that you tried and what worked and what didn’t. So you mentioned the interview base, so is that just some dude sitting on a stool answering questions about Tree House or?
Eric: Yeah so the audience can also Google this if they want and they can type in a Tree House video ad, and what you’ll see is, you’ll see the CEO talking about how you know education is changing and you know how you know someone that signed up ended up getting a job, or ended up paying off his mortgage after he made like iPhone app. So it’s things like and yeah, I mean pretty much if they just search for a Tree House video ad, they’re going to see that stuff.
Steve: Okay yeah I’ll definitely link up one of those. So what does it take– so first of all how is the billing work, you mentioned they are quite cheap, so what is inexpensive in your eyes?
Eric: Yeah so you know they– you too would try view per view and what we’ve seen is the views can go as low as two cents all the way up to like 15 cents. You know also if you are targeting international, like in Asia you know you could get super cheap views. And what we’ve seen is even though the, you know overall like your conversions divided by your number of views is terrible, what we see is people actually click through your website and convert you know the CPAs that you are getting are actually you know very acceptable. So I’ll tell you the cost for acquisition numbers that we are getting you know range anywhere from you know all the way down from five dollars and you know can go you know up, and it’s a super skill we’ll channel once you have it working for you and it took about two to three months to get it working for us.
Steve: Okay so what, you were paying five dollars per– is that a low end or is that on a…
Eric: Five dollars is on the low end. We were paying a little higher than that when I was at Tree House.
Steve: Okay and how do you target people on You Tube?
Eric: Yeah, so the good thing is if you understand Google display you are going to understand how to target on You Tube ads as well. The one thing I will point out is that if you– and you probably want to link to Noah Kagan’s article on– the one I wrote about You Tube advertising really pretty much getting started with it.
Eric: It’ll tell you really there’s one thing that was burning a lot of our cash, but once we changed the setting, it pretty much made it easy for us to– a lot easier for us to you know target the people that we wanted to target.
Steve: What was the setting Eric. Don’t make me read the article.
Eric: Yeah so the setting– I mean basically you have, you have to set your bidding for you know you are going to have options for like in-stream, in-display and things like that. What you have to do is you have to set your bidding for like — let’s say I want to target in-stream ads more.
Eric: Then I would set my bidding a little higher for that and then set my bidding a little lower for in display. And you know once I change the setting because I had you know– I’ll just give you an example here. Let’s say I was trying to bid you know 15 cents per view, what happens is Google by default will say hey you’ve to bid 15 cents across the board for all these different ad formats.
Eric: Which is not a good thing, because you want to get more impressions for in-stream because you know that converts well. So you bid you know a little like 15 cents for in-stream, but you bid less for the other add formats like in-display. And that way you could get a lot more impressions for in-stream and that was kind of the game changer for us.
Steve: Okay, and so that implies that you can’t turn off everything else. You have to do all or nothing.
Steve: Okay, great so do you have any e-commerce clients that you run You Tube ads for?
Eric: Yeah so– yeah there has been a few e-commerce clients actually that we have running You Tube ads for.
Steve: And can you just kind of– are you allowed to talk about them at all or?
Eric: Unfortunately they don’t want us to– it’s been working out so well for them so.
Steve: Well, okay so maybe you can talk in more broad terms, so what– has it been a question and answer format as well for the video?
Eric: Yeah so for the– okay in– that’s a really good question and I think for your audience because they are mostly e-commerce. I think– you know what we’ve seen is a lot of the product we are targeting. So let’s say you visited a page and it’s like a high value product you know they actually, you know we actually got one of our clients to make videos for those products and they actually got retargeted and they ended up converting really well. And then a lot of our clients would use general like you know come back to our site or like general just, “hey you know we sell this type of stuff just as– more like a branding thing and you know we’ve seen– because it’s a branding thing we’ve seen a good amount of views through conversions from it. Not allowed direct conversions, but you know they are like hey let’s keep rolling with this. So we are like okay.
Steve: Hey, so let’s talk about that actually real quick. So when it comes to branding what are some ways that you can measure that your branding campaign is actually working?
Eric: What I look at when we are running branding campaigns through Google display network, we are really looking at– we are looking at the clip through rate, we are looking at the engagement rate. You know is this really– are people really resonating with it. Are they really getting interested? and we are also looking at the, obviously you know we are going to get more impression share we have a good clip through right so we are looking at the impression shares as well. Those are kind of the few things that we do look at. And then obviously if we are getting some view through conversions you know great. Direct conversions we don’t really look at as much when it comes to a branding campaign.
Steve: I see, so views through conversions. So what’s ironic about this is you mentioned like the retargeting guys you know look at views through a conversions, but then here for branding purposes you are using that as one of your metrics for success.
Steve: Okay, so let’s go back to that original example where you’re just starting out and we just talked about a bunch of stuff right, we talked about Facebook, GDN; we talked about You Tube advertising how would you start?
Eric: Yes so with You Tube advertising…
Steve: So let’s say you have– you said you need five grand to start right?
Steve: Was that for just one channel or for all of them?
Steve: Like what would be your budget?
Eric: So 5k would be really big for one channel and when it comes to You Tube advertising we recommending at least 10 to 15k to start with you know obviously the more the better. And then if you have video resources great. But typically we can see a video, you know they start anywhere from 3,000 dollars it can range all the way up to 100,000 dollars depending on what you are looking for. Three thousand you are talking more like an animated type of video. And then you know probably the 10,000 dollar range you know you can talk about adding you know having you know professionals come and shoot it for you, have a more professionally done commercial.
So you know there’s that cost you know it’s called a sum cost first, and then after that if we are talking pure ad budget you know still 10 to 15 k to go with, because what is going to happen is you are going to go through a lot of different views and a lot of stuff isn’t going to work. A lot of targeting– a lot of the targeting campaigns that you make that you think are going to work well are probably going to suck. So it’s really about patience and I think a lot of the reasons why other companies aren’t really like jumping on You Tube yet exactly because of this.
There’s– first of all there’s a barrier to entry. There’s not a lot of validation for it yet either. And then it takes a lot of time too. So it’s like when people started investing in SEO in the first place, it’s like God why does this take so long? You know people just can’t wait, it’s human nature. So you know as long as you have a little patience, you know you set aside this budget and you are like I’m okay with loosing this you know I think you are going to find something that works and you can go all in on it.
Steve: Okay so what I’m hearing from you is You Tube is probably not the best thing to try when you are first starting out, right? Because when people are just starting out they want to see kind of instant returns, right.
Eric: Yeah exactly.
Steve: So You Tube is kind of more like a long term play, you invest some money in to it, you try to gradually figure out what’s working and what’s not and once you strike the gold, then you can just go all in on that particular platform.
Eric: Yeah, I think maybe you know perhaps a good place to start is saying hey if you are doing more than 1.5 million a year in revenue and you have some budget to spend, yeah you know let’s give You Tube a shot. I think you put it perfectly it’s not for when you are first starting out for sure, if you are going to burn a lot of money doing it. It’s more like when you have traction.
Steve: Okay, and then in terms of Facebook, that’s definitely still something that you can just start out doing right.
Eric: Yeah, I think if there’s demand already– you know Google search obviously and then also you know Facebook is a great place to start too because it’s not super expensive depending on what CPA you are aiming for.
Steve: Okay I want to talk briefly about Tweeter. Do you have any experience with Tweeter advertising?
Eric: Yeah so what we’ve seen– I mean we’ve had limited testing with Tweeter, I will say that Tweeter cards are actually really interesting if you are trying to collect more emails from it. if you have a good Tweeter following, I would recommend, make a little design for the Tweeter card and then you know just sending out a few tweets saying hey if you guys want a lot more product updates you know or like coupons or whatever, go ahead and tweet it out and you’re actually going to get these email subscribers and you don’t have to spend like money. And if you do see that working out well you know you can start to run a campaign for it.
I will say Tweeter– the options that you have are very similar to Facebook. They have video advertising coming out. They have the targeting, you could target very specific groups of people which is– for me specifically you know if– because I run a blog where you know I’m really targeting tech entrepreneurs and tech people. I can target those people through Tweeter, which is– it’s really good for me because I know a lot of tech people use Tweeter. Yeah so it’s still fairly new. Some people have said– I have talked to some people and they said Tweeter ads are actually working out really well for them in terms of collecting emails. I haven’t heard a lot about the e-commerce side of things yet, so this is more of a testament to hey you know, start thinking about building a funnel.
Steve: Yeah so quick question while on Tweeter. If you go into a little bit depth– now I had just kind of read recently that you could have a Tweeter card and then someone would just tweet out their email and they would be instantly added to their list. Can you kind of talk about how that works?
Eric: Yeah so actually I don’t have direct experience with that part yet, so unfortunately yeah.
Steve: That’s okay. Okay, but your company as a whole has kind of run Tweeter campaigns for certain companies right.
Eric: That’s correct.
Steve: Okay and so in terms of just the whole legion, it sounds like it’s more ideal for some sort of info based product where you have a nice, or anything where you have a nice email funnel. Tweeter advertising seems to be working for your clients.
Steve: Is that kind of accurate? Okay cool man, I feel like I have just been grilling you for the last 40 minutes.
Eric: It’s okay, that’s good.
Steve: I appreciate your patience and your willingness to reveal some of your strategies, so can we just take a little bit of time and talk about growth everywhere and what that’s all about.
Eric: Yeah absolutely so growth everywhere you know coming from the– after I was exposed to the start up world I was like wow, you know and here’s so much that I’ve learned. And there’s so many experiences I want to share with people because you know there’s– the one thing that kills most people and I actually interviewed someone that wrote this book. His book is called Traction. The one thing that kills most companies isn’t like a bad product its traction right. And a lot of people don’t understand how to get traction. So you know we talk a lot about marketing, we talk a lot about personal growth as well, we talk a lot about productivity because all of these things actually kind of go hand in hand.
So you know I brought in a lot of you know a lot of great guests and we just talk about how they’ve grown their businesses, the struggles they faced you know, what advice to give to their 25 year old selves. And you know there’s people that have joined us that have been like you know mossy or run fiction. One guy that sold his company for a billion dollars, there’s another guy that sold Ecko sign to a Dobie for you know a couple of hundred million. So there’s a lot of really qualified people that can provide actionable piece of advice.
There’s actually a former sales force director that pretty much you watch our interview and he’s like hey this is how you start building a sales team. Here’s the logic behind it, you know here’s the cost, here’s what you should be doing. It’s very actionable and I was like hey you know I’m going to give this stuff away for free. You know give back to the– kind of give back to the community and you know it’s been growing ever since. It’s been less than a year actually. It started in November of 2013.
Steve: Hey so you say you’ve interviewed a bunch of successful entrepreneurs as well, so if you could pick out one common trait that you’ve kind of noticed through interviewing all those people, what would that be?
Eric: Yeah I’m sure you are going to hear this all the time, it’s pretty much you know you– one common trait is that they are never going to give up, right. Like they are always going to– you know when you are first starting out especially you know the one question I always ask is like how did you get your first 100 or 1000 customers and they say hey, you know hand to hand combat. You have got to be willing to suck it up you know.
Every– you know I have had seven entrepreneurs on the show recommend this book called, ‘The Hard Thing about Hard Things.’ And it’s by– it’s one of Andreessen Horowitz, founders of Ben Holowitz School. It’s part of NetScape. And you know he talks about this one chapter called the struggle, and I’m sure you face this too where sometimes you don’t know what food tastes like any more, you start to question yourself, you start to question your business. You know are you qualified enough to run this business, it’s just like you know shits really hitting the fan and you don’t know what to do. And every single entrepreneur on the show has experienced that and seven of– you know I always asked them at the end you know, what book do you recommend? Seven of them have recommended that book, and you know I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Steve: Wow, okay I’ll definitely– I haven’t read that one yet, but definitely I’ll have to check that out. So cool Eric. Hey I don’t want to take up too much of your time since we have all ready been talking for 40 minutes. If anyone has any questions for you about PPC or if there’s a company out there that’s looking for services, how can people reach out and contact you.
Eric: Yeah, my email is Eric@singlegrain.com and then our website is Single Grain. And you can also reach me on Tweeter, it’s Eric E-R-I-C ‘O’ as in orange S-I-U.
Steve: Awesome Eric well, thanks a lot for coming on the show. I had a really good time and I learned a lot.
Eric: Thanks so much Steve.
Steve: Alright man thanks. Eric really knows his stuff when it comes to internet advertising. And I’m glad that I have a go to guy to ask for all of my questions. Because there’s just so many nuances to paper click advertising that I have yet to master, and I look forward to giving You Tube ads a try in the near future. For more information about this episode, go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode43. And once again I just wanted to thank 99designs for sponsoring this episode. I know a lot of you listening are waiting on the sidelines and trying to get the courage to start your own online business.
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