Antonio Centeno is someone who I met at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas a few months back and I’m really glad that I did.
Antonio runs the popular site RealMenRealStyle.com which is a site that helps men educate themselves and build a wardrobe that best complements their style.
He also a regular contributor for the awesome blog Art Of Manliness.
Antonio’s blog gets a ton of traffic and he also has a very strong YouTube following of over 250,000 subscribers. Today, he’s going to teach us the secrets to his success. Enjoy!
What You’ll Learn
- Why most people give up when they are about to succeed
- How Antonio created a large following for his YouTube Channel and blog
- The method by which Antonio proliferates his content to different channels
- Antonio’s scalable content strategy
- How Antonio attracts email subscribers
- How Antonio makes money with his business
- Where Antonio gets most of his traffic from
- How Antonio ranks his articles in the search engines
- How Antonio is able to attract sponsors willing to pay $5000 per YouTube video
- How to approach companies to solicit sponsorships
Other Resources And Books
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Now before I begin I just want to give a quick a shout out to this episode’s sponsor Bigcommerce. Now Bigcommerce is a fully hosted shopping cart platform that allows you to set up your own online store in minutes. And as most of you probably know, I teach a class on how to start a profitable online store. And Bigcommerce is actually one of the shopping carts that I highly recommend in my class. Now here is what I like about Bigcommerce. Unlike other competing platforms, Bigcommerce doesn’t really nickel and dime you with every little shopping cart feature. And when you sign up, you immediately have a fully featured and extremely powerful shopping cart at your disposal.
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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.
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast. Today I’m thrilled to have Antonio Centeno on the show. Antonio is someone who I met at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas a couple of months back, and I’m really glad that I did. Now Antonio runs the popular site realmenrealstyle.com, which is a site that helps men educate themselves and build a wardrobe that best compliments their style. And he’s also a regular contributor to the Art of Manliness. Now Antonio’s blog gets a ton of traffic, and he also has a very strong YouTube following of over 250,000 subscribers.
Now it’s funny when Antonio and I first met and he told me about his website and his YouTube channel, I immediately got self conscious about what was I wearing, which I think was an old red t-shirt and jeans at the time. Anyway not only is Antonio well dressed, but he is a very cool guy, easy to talk to, down to earth, and with that welcome to the show Antonio, how are you doing today man?
Antonio: I’m doing good Steve, and if I were to remember the meeting, you actually were dressed — you weren’t dress super — you weren’t wearing a suit. But you definitely went out wearing a redy t-shirt there anyway. You looked sharp and your hair if I remember correctly was perfect, you had it slicked back, you were looking good. So and you actually had nice shoes if I remember correctly.
Steve: Thank you Antonio, I appreciate that. I generally do not actually do too much about my appearance.
Antonio: And a lot of guys they think that, that isn’t the case, but we don’t walk outside naked do we? Or if you do you often times, in California I know you get arrested.
Steve: You know west Californians, yeah.
Antonio: Yeah, but it’s something that I find it’s a door. It’s a way for me to reach men in particular, although 10% to 15% of my audience is women. But I find it this is a great way for me to show them how this one thing when they make a change, can affect their business, can affect their personal relationships, can affect their confidence, and that’s what I get excited about. Honestly Steve, clothing doesn’t mean that much to me, it’s about helping these individuals become what they know they can be. And I get really excited when I get all these success stories, because it starts with the clothing, but it leads to so much more.
That they go up and they speak to that woman they’ve been almost invisible to, but she noticed his shoes and all over sudden he had the courage to talk to her. And a year later they are married, or a guy that wasn’t doing well at work, wasn’t getting recognized, all over sudden he started dressing the part so he can be a customer facing rep. And next you know he is getting promoted twice, in the period of a year, and all of a sudden he is making three times more money than he ever was. And these guys come back; I mean that’s what I get excited about.
Steve: You know Antonio I must say that you stood out in the crowd right away. Not only because you were wearing a suit, but because you kind of held your way in a certain way that I knew that you were important so to speak. And so when you sat down next to me I was like okay, I got to talk to this guy.
Antonio: Yeah, and I think when I saw you I had — and I had seen you multiple times at the conference. I’m like, that guy looks familiar, and as soon as you — I think you said your website, I’m like boom! I know it, when I knew it, because I had found you on the web. And I remember reading your story years ago when you started off. So it was mutual, and I’m very happy that we are able to connect. So for your audience what can I give them?
Steve: Yes, so the reason I wanted you on the show specifically, was because you have such a strong YouTube presence. But before we kind of get into that, probably some of the readers, listeners out there don’t know who you are. And so I was hoping you could give a quick background story, how you got started and how your journey led to Real men, Real style. Because I understand you used to run an e-commerce store as well, or do you still do that?
Antonio: I have pretty much turned that off. But I’ll take a step back, so I grew up in west Texas, I don’t come from a family of style. I grew up in the trailer park, so I guess you can call it a type of style. But no, I was just a kid who grew up in the trailer park, west Texas, we feared tornados, yadi yadi yada, but I did go out to California during the summers. My parents were separated and divorced, and I learned a lot about, wow, there’s a whole world out there, when we would go out to a thousand notes [inaudible 00:07:00]. Now first forward in a Cornell College in Mount Vernon , Iowa, small River [ph] large school, and we take one course at a time. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew I wasn’t going to go to med school.
I had tried to go to med school and very soon I realized well, I do not like the organic chems. I ran to a Marine Corp recruiter, and that’s when my life, I think went down a very different path than I had planned for it. And all of a sudden, I’m in the United States Marine Corp, I’m in OCS training. I went through and next thing I know I’m finding myself in Iraq, and this is before the war. So we were right in there and I was with 3rd battalion first marines. And we went to — walked through [inaudible 00:07:36] and then over in to Bagdad. So I’m able to leave the Marine Corp as an officer of marines, having learned a lot about leadership. And for the first time, I had my first costume suit, and that was my Marine Corp uniform.
I learned what it’s like to actually wear a suit of honor, and feel like wow, I felt great. We would have the Marine Corp birthday, I would go out on the town, and I would feel like a million bucks. I mean when people would look at you and you wearing your medals, you’re wearing your uniform, you know it makes you just look — I mean, I would never get so much attention from women, is when we wore uniforms. And that’s when I think when it dawned on me, the power of presentation.
Now like many — most things we learn in life, you learn about something and then you forget about it, and you move on. So I went to business school, University of Texas, after living in Ukraine for a while. My wife is Ukrainian and I was running a nonprofit over there, right after the Marine Corp, but over at business school in Texas, I started getting excited about entrepreneurship.
I met a number of people who do amazing things. Guys like what was it’s — founder who is — not Herb Kelleher, I’m think the founder of Southwest Airlines. I can’t remember his name, but the guy came in and just I loved his presentation. Because he walks into a building, it’s non-smoking, he is smoking a cigarette, he didn’t care, he is like, I just gave five million to this school, what are you going to do? I’m like, I like this guy, because everyone else want to go down consulting. Everyone else wants to go down investment banking. They are making it sound like this stuff is exciting and I took that– I don’t know — I couldn’t become an excel jockey and get excited about it. So I’m like, I like this entrepreneurship thing.
And I ended up speaking with a guy; I had some custom suits made by a travelling tailor. He explained to me he is from India, had a fourth grade education, he was making a half a million a year, after 35 years of building up his customer base. And he only works six months out of a year. And I’m like you know what, I have more than a fourth grade education and I think to be back to that Roosevelt quote, about you get a college school education you have a high school education, you’ll steal a rail car, if you have a college education, you should be able to steal a whole rail road.
So the idea is okay, I can do this, and I can do it quicker and so I went in into the custom clothing industry as a mercenary. My whole goal was simply to make money; I saw there was a hole in the market, and I knew a little bit about custom clothing, I just felt that there was opportunity there. And that did me pretty well, but what I learned very quickly it’s a hard industry, it took me about five years to figure out that my business model scaling up wasn’t going to work, especially if I wanted to be able to free myself in the business.
So at about that point I started to pivot, I created my own marketing company called Real Men Real Style, so I wanted to get traffic to my website. And that’s when I realized that marketing side in the men’s sphere was a lot more profitable, scalable, and enjoyable, than what I was doing.
So that’s about the time I turned off tailored suits, it still exists as an information portal, gets about 70,000 people a month to it. But Real Men Real Style, we get about, close to a million visitors a month, about 35,000 a day. Our YouTube channel gets that, sometimes more. And then I got a couple of other men style, Q&A websites, and things like that.
So all in all — I don’t know, I have daily audience of about 80,000 men, 90% men. And I leverage that to sell my information products, to sell my kindle books, to sell my courses, affiliate linking, all the various different ways your audience has probably heard, and I learned through the school of hard knocks, how to make money.
Steve: I was just curious, it sounds like a tailored suit, was that like an ecommerce store, or was that a brick and mortar?
Antonio: It was an ecommerce, so I was the middle man; I had a partner over in Bangkok. When I first started my company in 2007, I traveled the world, I went Boron [ph] in London, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and I had tea with about 200 tailors. And I identified about five or six that I could possibly partner with. I had 20 custom suits made, tore them apart, ended up going finding two people I could partner with, and they were my back end. And I had to create sales. And I created a website where you could enter your measurements, you could enter design the suit, and it would be delivered to your door in a few weeks.
And in 2007, that was a great idea, there was only one of the company in the world, two maybe that were like me. First forward 2013, there’s 200 companies like this. It’s a much harder market, everyone else is taking the investment capital, I’m still growing organically. And honestly I wasn’t going to play that game, when I knew my competitors had money to spend and were rebuilding their sites every two months, and could focus on increasing those conversions and use paper click advertising. And I really was at a point where I didn’t truly understand the value of a customer. So I was not sophisticated enough to play in that field.
Steve: I was just curious though, I mean it sounds pretty scalable too though right, your ecommerce store?
Antonio: No, I would say it’s not, because custom like that, it wasn’t scalable, because I didn’t control the back end.
Steve: Got it.
Antonio: So it’s like if I could have orders coming in, and then I would guarantee them that it’s going to be there in three weeks. And then my partner would — because he is got other partners, he would say, “Hey sorry, a machine broke and it’s going to be six weeks till I can get you anything.” And that’s why, when I had that stuff sort of happen to me, and literally I’m having to refund, apologize for things out of my control, I realized I didn’t want to be in that sphere. I didn’t want to be in that area anymore.
Steve: Okay, and so then you decide to start Real Men Real Style and I know you got a ton of friends, I don’t actually see a whole bunch of ads in your site. So is it mainly just your own info products and affiliate offers?
Antonio: That’s true; I don’t allow ads on my google videos. And that brings me — pull me back anywhere from a couple to a few thousand dollars a month. And that’s nice. But my goal is to sell my own products. One thing I learned years ago, I think it was Ryan Dyce or somebody talked about the importance of owning your own products, because even if you promote a great affiliate system, like for me I’d say he has a great affiliate system. I’m proud to be associated with him, but also only get a percentage of what he sells. When I sell my own products, I get 100% of that, and I like that a lot better.
Steve: Okay, and so in terms of your sales, like how does your YouTube property and your blog kind of tie together. Which would you say generates the most sales, or do they just kind of work together. Like which is your more valuable properties is what I’m trying to ask?
Antonio: Oh, my blog of course, because I don’t own– anyone that thinks they own their social like their Facebook page, or YouTube page, or Twitter account, you don’t. Twitter can shut you down, YouTube– every day I go on there, I know that they can turn off my channel. And I saw it happen, you ever seen that six pack short guy?
Antonio: A couple years ago, his channel got shut down for a couple days. And now he is a darling of YouTube. They spend I mean it’s like a $30 million a year business of which like half of that is placement on YouTube ads. But yeah, before that…
Steve: Mike Chang that is his name.
Antonio: Yeah, Mike Chang yeah. He got shut down and he just go – it doesn’t matter how big you are, if YouTube doesn’t think you are playing the game, or if their algorithm — somebody says you are violating things, they can shut you down. So my goal is always to get them off of YouTube, get them off of Facebook, get them off of Pinterest, which Pinterest believe it or not, is my number refer of traffic.
But get them off of that and onto my email list, because I own my email list. And I use Infusionsoft, I started off with AWeber, but Infusionsoft is really where I build my email list now and I own that.
Steve: So did you start out with your blog or your YouTube channel first?
Antonio: I started off with the blog first, and then YouTube was how I differentiated the blog from anything outside there. And if you go back to Michael Porter, do you ever study him, I knew you are…
Steve: I did not know.
Antonio: Yeah, so business guy, really he wrote the book on — we talk about like unique selling positions and stuff like that online, or having an edge. He wrote the book Competitive Advantage back in the — it was the early 80s, late 1970s. So go find that book, Harvard business school press, but what he talks about; three ways to differentiate yourself. And one of them is being unique, the other one is offering an amazing service, the other one is price. I knew I did not want to compete on price, so my thing is to offer amazing service and to offer a unique position. And so to stand out from the crowd, I realized that there was only one other guy doing video, and his name was Erin Merino.
And I looked at his videos, and honestly I was like this guy sucks. I could do better than him, What’s funny now, he is one of my best friends, and he is a business partner. And we started the conference together, but at the time I was jealous. And for two years, I wrote and I created content, but I didn’t put up– maybe it was a year and a half, I didn’t put up video, I kept complaining and my wife, she just said shut up or put up. You need to go out there and if you are going to do it, you do it.
So yeah, I started creating videos, I said I was going to create ten, then I created 100, then I created 200 videos in 200 days. And it’s one of those things you got to give the fair shake. And he wanted — I think Gary Vaynerchuk has said you know he had someone complain on Twitter once that, “Hey, I tried a million ways and I can’t make this work.”
And Gary — I was like are you sure — I mean on tweet spot; it was like really, you tried a million ways? He is like, “No, I didn’t try a million.” He is like well, maybe you tried a 100, he said, no I didn’t try 100. Maybe you tried ten, he’s like I only tried it once yet he is complaining he didn’t try—he went and tried it a million ways.
So the point is if you are going to do anything, you need to give it a fair shake. And that’s what I did with YouTube, and it wasn’t until we put those first — I mean it wasn’t until I put 200 videos, I hit my first million views, now we are closing in like on 20 million.
Antonio: Wow, you know Antonio what you are experiencing with these people is not uncommon. I get people who come to me they say, “Hey, ecommerce is not working.” And then when I dig a little bit deeper, I realize that they’ve only doing it for like a couple of months, right? And that’s just not enough time to establish any sort of business.
Antonio: And they see the best out there, they see guys– and Pat Flynn he is a great guy. I have him– good friend of mine, and when they see John Dumas, and they see these numbers, because they put out their finance reports, they think that this is normal or that this is doable within 18 months, or six months. Understand John it made him a partner of a high speed low drive; this is a former army tank officer. This guy has been through a lot, and he works seven days a week. He is the hardest working man I know, and there’s a reason why he is as successful as he is.
Pat Flynn, I know he’s pulled back on the number of hours he works now, but he used to work crazy hours, and he’s dedicated, and if anyone knows better I mean this is the kind of guy that he really is an amazing person. Those results are achievable, but they are not typical and people need to understand that you can get to that point, but it may take you five years. It may take you ten years. It’s making money online is not simple.
Steve: So it’s funny you mentioned that when you started your blog you wanted to differentiate yourself, but you chose to do that on a property that you didn’t not own. And so I was just kind of curious in the very beginning it takes a lot time to do stuff. So how did you kind of juggle writing actual blog post versus doing videos? And which did you prioritize in terms of content in the beginning?
Antonio: So I think it’s J. Bear who talks about this, like how to create one piece of content, and then create eight more pieces from it. So my strategy now is that, so I start everything with bullet points in a video, and then from that articles will be created, show notes, transcripts, podcasts. So I usually — but I already had hundreds of articles that I had written over at the Art of Manliness at a tailored suit in our style guide section.
So I simply created videos that were based off of those articles, because I already knew that content super well. In addition, in my emails, I always ask the second question I ask which I stole from Derek Hopper over at Social Triggers, is to ask people what’s your biggest problem. And people love to tell you their problems, and they love to complain, and guess what, that is perfect information. You can read off word for word in a video and solve that problem and other people are going to love it.
So right there, you will never run out of ideas, if that’s what you use. But as to what is my priority, initially it was the written content. Now it has become the video, and I stay on YouTube even though I don’t own it, because it is the best platform right now for video, for reaching out. Although Facebook video is blowing me away in terms of engagement, but like YouTube I don’t only– and it’s a little bit– Facebook is always about pay to play, so.
Steve: Let’s talk about that a little bit, so you’ve been dabbling with Facebook video, so you just have one piece of core content, you create a blog post out of it, a podcast, and then videos, right? All around the same theme, and then you post it on all these platforms?
Antonio: That’s what I try to do, and I try to scale as much as possible and I’m actually pulling back on the amount of content I’m putting up, because it’s one of those things I don’t have enough platforms to share it all on, and that’s now becoming– I’ve got — the good problem of I got to find out ways, because we’ve got so much great content and how to better distribute it.
Steve: And in terms of just YouTube, was your growth to 250 000 subscribers, was that kind of organic, or did you do anything special to accelerate that process?
Antonio: There is a lot of things that you want to do in a video, so make sure you’ve got a call to action. I find that when I ask people to like, I ask people to subscribe, I don’t have to do it as much anymore, but I– if you don’t do that in a video, you won’t get them to take action. In addition, you want to have certain incentives for them to do so. But again my goal was always to get them over the Real Men Real Style.
I’ve got a nice little opt in page, and I’ve got a free eBook, which that eBook has been downloaded over 200,000 times. And so you think about that we collected almost over 200,000 email addresses, and we’ve got a great free eBook that I really could sell. But it’s something that I just love giving away that great lead that exists sends an immediate sign of good will, and it’s something that is powerful now that other people passed around.
Steve: Okay, and then just in terms of your income sources, your own products is the primary source from what I’m hearing then?
Antonio: That, I also have premium sponsors. So a lot of people– I’ve got a media kit and whenever somebody comes to advertise with me, I’ll put it out there, but I charge $5,000 for a video, and that turns away a lot of people, but the one– here’s the issues. I used to not have that, I used to– okay, I would even take– you could send me a great $500 pair of shoes, and I’ would– okay I’ll try to do a video for you.
The problem there is those $500 shoes, unless I resell them, I can’t use them to pay my rent, I can’t use them to pay my mortgage and my employees don’t take that as payment. And I’ve got about seven people that work, I’ve recently cut back, but I used to have almost a dozen, but those– and I’m sorry those are contracts, because I’ve got them all over the world.
But it was something that I realized, well I need to have more liquid cash because I’m making commitments and people aren’t always valuing. And so I remember– I’ll never forget, once I flipped that switch, yes I had the say no quite a bit more, but all of a sudden I had companies saying sure, not a problem. And all of a sudden you’re getting paid $5,000 for a video, $4,000 for an article, and it allowed me to do a better job. All of a sudden I’m able to hire an artist, I‘m able to hire a content manager, and I’m able to work less, I bring in better.
So it’s one of the—it’s kind of almost like a catch 22 though because you want to be– how much traffic do you need, how– at what point can you do this, but I would recommend at an early point putting together a professional looking media kit, because that way whenever you– I even say yes to somebody, but I don’t charge them. And I do that occasionally with an non-profit or somebody that like stands out for military virtue, or people that have prostate cancer or things like that. I can show them that, hey this is what I normally charge, so they don’t– they realize what they are getting, and that’s– you’ve got to put value on your services, and what you offer, because no one else will.
Steve: So would you say that this YouTube channel and sponsorships have become a significant source of income outside of the products that you sell?
Antonio: Oh yeah, it’s like 20%.
Steve: Okay, and at what point did you– were you able to solicit these offers, and did they come to you? Like what’s your strategy for getting these offers in the first place?
Antonio: At this point they’d come to me, and it really was a reaction to getting so many people reaching out and wanting to guest post, wanting to advertise, wanting to place things in there. And we feel we’ve taken this to a whole another level, now we have a conference that the goal of the conference is simply to bring in all of our advertisers and other content creators so that they can strike deals together and their super fans are just there just to hang out and have fun.
Steve: Okay, but if you can take us back to just the very beginning when your YouTube channel was just starting to get a little bit popular, did you actually go out and seek this deals or were they still coming to you?
Antonio: No, you know I wasn’t seeking them, I’m in this sphere, and I say it’s specific enough, then we were attractive to them, you have to look at what kind of an audience you’re getting in front of. So I have a friend, his problem is that most of the audience, the people he attracts are 14 to 20 years of age, and they really don’t have much to spend, so he’s got to figure out other ways to monetize.
My audience is usually between the ages of 20 and 45, sometimes even a bit older, and they are mostly men, and they are looking to make purchases. So if you got a shoe company, if you have a neck tie company, if you have a– if you’ve got an app that is going to target men, then we’re a great company to work with. And they can very quickly figure that out, but I just found them because now our traffic numbers are so great, opportunities keep coming to us.
We’re now trying to do a better job of reaching out to other companies, but I’m very careful with that, because if a company doesn’t understand the power of online marketing, it’s going to be a hard sell, so I’m still going for the low hanging fruit, which has been companies coming out and reaching out to me.
Steve: So how did you get your first sponsor? Did they come to you or-?
Antonio: Let me see, my first sponsor– it was a friendship started and it was a bag company called Blue Color Luggage, and they were just getting started and we agreed that they would pay a certain amount per month, and we would create two pieces of content for them. And what’s funny is after a year of doing this more opportunities came may way, and I was always– I’m always trying to get people to come into a long term relationship, because the amount of time that you’ve got to sell a premium sponsorship it’s worth– ideally what you want to have is somebody that can come in a larger company like one of my best was Lee Jeans. And we had them for a year and a half, and that worked out really well because for them, it’s about awareness of their brand.
And Blue Color was a great company, but they always had to see a direct return on investment. So that’s the danger with smaller companies, is that it’s often times performance based versus larger companies, it’s more of like they don’t need to see the direct performance, they just need to build brand awareness.
So and it’s two different types of sales channels in my opinion, but we have found that both of them were coming to us, we’re able to strike a deal and make it work, but I’m always– I always tell people try to get in for a longer term deal, you want repeat customers.
Steve: That’s curious I was– just based on what you said I’m just kind of curious how you convince the smaller customers who want direct response, do you offer any sort of guarantees when you put up one of these videos, or can you suggest certain numbers that they might achieve?
Antonio: I can show them a little bit a back end, or like a link of the quantcast so they can see the numbers. I also show them examples, our media kit has a few testimonials in there, and I can show them some back end stuff. But they can often look at our social media, the numbers that we get there, it is something that I– because we get so many offers now, I haven’t had to pursue those too much. And it really is a –there are no guarantees in life, you get married there is no guarantee, when you have kids there is no guarantee.
So I’m sorry, this is– I can’t guarantee this, but I can show you that this is what we’ve done and this is who we’ve worked with, and it’s a great offer in my opinion, if I can get you that return on investment that you’re looking for.
Steve: Okay, and then earlier you mentioned that in your videos you want to bring people back to your side, so and yet you have a whole bunch of subscribers. So do you have two calls to actions in your videos, or are you just mainly trying to get people to your side, but then they just happen to subscribe anyways?
Antonio: No, I have to admit I experiment with my call to actions, and we probably need to standardize a little bit more. I’ve recently brought on, that’s been six months, I have a video gentleman now who edits all my videos, and has been working on that, so we can now link directly, from the video over to our Real Men Real Style. I usually do try to get them off though, you can look it out we’ve got like well over 250,000 YouTube subscribers. To meet that number is honestly it’s a false number because a lot of those, they’ve been on there so long, they don’t check it. YouTube changes that up too, because it used to be that they would always get an email from me, whenever I put out a new video, YouTube has changed that up a bit. So it used to be you could almost email people through YouTube, you can’t do that anymore.
So, that’s why I like owning my listing, getting them off of there. Now it’s a number that some people get fixated on. I do keep it public because I know certain companies will look for that. But to me the big metric is really whenever I send out an email, how many people can I direct to a website, or get to make a purchase or get to take action, and join a course or a product.
Steve: Okay. So when someone sponsors one of your YouTube videos, you actually send out a complementary email blast as well driving people.
Antonio: No I wrap that in. So I got every thick in my media kit individually priced email, podcast, video, blog article, and if they want then buy a package, then we can wrap it up. I do notice that it’s much more effective if I put together a video with an article, and wrap it with an email blast. And that’s when I usually sell, because I like to wrap those up together. And then I try to wrap it into a three part where we do it in over three months, because you need to warn people up to a company. It’s one of those things that you can’t just expect them without ever seeing this, to just buy. Online people like to get touched where they like to see something multiple times.
So I also I try to work with companies that are smart in doing things like remarketing, because then if someone goes to their website, they can follow them around the web. So I’m also careful about what companies I work with, because if they don’t understand remarketing, or retargeting, or any other ad of Facebook, you know it’s just hard the stuff. Then I really– I don’t think they’ll be able to effectively use our advertising.
Steve: Okay, that makes total sense. And I noticed that too with the info products that I sell. Often times it requires multiple touches. I have people sign up after following me for years actually before finally deciding to sign up. So just curious, once– I just signed up for your email list today to get my seven deadly sins menu. Thankfully I’m not violating too many of those. But I was just curious how you run your email list. Since I haven’t had a chance to go down the entire funnel, how do you kind of structure the emails that you send out, and what frequency do you send them out at?
Antonio: I need to do that better, we’re actually reviewing it right now. But I had, I would say definitely I’m going to get you used to getting emails from me. We send out an email immediately which you received in one day or received one that will ask you what your biggest Style question is. The second email, I’m going to go in and start making offers to you. And then I will run you through a series of emails in which I’m making offers. I’m telling you stories. I’m telling you why this matters, but I’m still sending you to my sales page. My goal is to get you to make a purchase and to get you in there. I’m going to actually lengthen this and add more information, marketing into it.
And now that our product, Dec we are about to launch a new course called “The Personal Image System.” So I’m going to want to integrate that more. And I’m going to double and triple the length of my current drip response. But now I’m moving towards the schedule of– emails from me go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and I’m wanting to make sure that my sequence kind of trains you up for that. I want people to get used to getting more emails from me. People ask, “What’s the best time or how often should you send an email?” It really comes down to what have you conditioned your audience to expect from you, and are you delivering value pretty much every time or are you making an offer?
Steve: You know, Antonio I’m just on you totally– I was just on Pat Flynn’s podcast for this, but I lengthen my out of response sequence from 9 emails to about 30 emails and my conversion rate 3Xed. So I was making 3X the number of sales that I was before. So clearly it works.
Antonio: Yeah, and it’s one of those things we let things hold back, like yeah I use this as an excuse. It’s simply moving over to my new product, but yeah we’ve got so much, because I’ve used broadcasts way too much, and I want to pull back from using broadcasts, they are a lot of work, and people just stop tuning, or they tune out of a broadcast, but it’s about recency. There’s a guy named– do you follow Jermaine Griggs?
Steve: I do not, but I’ve heard of him.
Antonio: Yeah Jermaine Griggs, he brings in the– he talks about recency all the time. And when someone signs up for your email list, that is the best time to engage with them, those first few weeks they are interested. And my problem is I’ve got people on my email list, and I’ve taken off a lot of people that become non-responsive, because after a few months, they’ve moved on. They don’t care about Style anymore. They went through the interview. They got the job. Now they are focused on their job. And you know that’s great for them, but it’s bad for you because you sometimes end up getting a lot of dead wood on your email list, and you need to get those people off.
Steve: Absolutely. One thing I also want to comment, because I went through your site pretty in depth before this interview, and I like how you set up the start here page. I actually went ahead and watched your video, and it told me what your entire site was all about. And I thought that was just an excellent introduction. I like the way you structure that, because then I was introduced to all your products. I got to hear you speak. I got to know what you look like, and so I thought it was just really good the way you had that set up.
Antonio: Thanks. I feel bad I need to update it. It’s one of those things that we get so many things on our plate, and I know that I’m going to update that at the start of like two years. But the cool part about that is any one listening knows and that’s the beauty of an online business; is it does force you to think in systems, and allows you to create something that if you create it in a timeless manner, it can live on. And literally years later, somebody is watching that and they are getting a feel of what everything is about.
Steve: I think it was just key that to actually hear you speak and the way you dressed and the way you hold yourself. I thought that was pretty key especially for a site like yours.
Antonio: I’m trying to– on my video– and that’s why video has been so successful force, because we get out there, we show we are a real person. It really has helped with sales. I think three times an increase– you know this is as an old step, but when I went from having just no video to having video, I found that sales of my e-products increased three times. I’m not going to say that has held up for three years, but it is something that I do believe in the power of video sales.
Steve: Absolutely. Can we talk a little bit about traffic? So where does all your traffic come from? The break down.
Antonio: Mostly Google organic; the vast majority, Google organic. And that is a good thing; it’s also a bad thing. A good thing because it’s free, bad thing, but we could get– if they change the algorithm, things could come crushing down. So I’m always trying to figure out ways of– I would say don’t be afraid of paper click, if you have something to sell and if you can actually figure out what the value of a new customer is, then you can always pay for that, but for us, organic traffic and the area because– that really has been useful force.
One thing we did about a year ago, we started focusing more on infographics, and that has really helped out in a space which not a lot of people were creating new infographics or images. So we went out there and I hired an artist in the Philippines. Now I have an artist in Ukraine. And she’s now helping create amazing infographics and banners and images. And in fact if you spent some time on my website, you saw that it’s very banner heavy. I use a lot of image and there’s not so much wording although once you get to the text and the articles, there’s tons of wording. But my actually home page is mostly made of the banners and just arranged in ways, but I find it, visually, that’s what I wanted.
Steve: I assumed that you’ve done that because of Pinterest. Right is that– some of the larger graphics that you have on some of your posts.
Antonio: You know it wasn’t so much about Pinterest, but we do go back and we pin them and that’s kind of been a where you go– you give and take. And I have noticed that because we were doing well on Pinterest, I wanted to have more images. And once I– when I made the hire for my latest artist, it was about that she could create these type of banners, and she creates 10 to 20 a day. And these are so great for Facebook, for posting. Anytime we post anywhere, we use these banners. And that’s much more attractive than just assuming that Google Plus or Pinterest is going to grab the right image. We actually create that image.
And I try to have some strong copy. The copy is more– I’m an educator. I’m not so much an entertainer. And I guess three ways I feel about getting traffic online, you are an educator or you are an entertainer, or you are basically providing latest and greatest– you are engaging with the latest and news. I’m a bit of an entertainer. I would say not too much, but I’m definitely an educator. And I love that space because what I educate and talk about is timeless. So I can step away– we are talking about I’m going to take a trip to Ukraine, and I can step away from my business for a few months and it will be fine. I could technically place– step away from my business for a few years and it would be okay.
Steve: So just curious, you mentioned that a large portion of your traffic is Google organic. Is there anything that you did to kind of accelerate your search ranking? Or was it just kind of based on content?
Antonio: So you do want to– I focus on creating the best content in the world for a very specific [inaudible] [00:39:39] area. If you have a good way like in– if you put in a question and you find an e-how article, I pick on that one a lot, but I feel because I read those articles, I feel less intelligent after reading that article. I mean it’s like that was so bland and so useless that I don’t even know what you just said.
I get ultra-specific. I talk about how a man over the age of 40 who’s recently divorced, how he can dress better and have more confidence. Now I can tell you that’s not for most men. But if you are a man over the age of 40 and you are looking to dress or dressing [inaudible] [0:40:11] you’re going back on the dating scene, that article is a god-sent. And you are going to share it, you are going to love it, you are going to pay attention to it.
And I try to focus in– each of my articles is probably only written for 5-10%, the most maybe 15% of men and that’s by design. Because I want to be useful and I want to be relevant for the man looking for that particular answer. So that helped a lot. The other one is I gave away some of my best content. I write with The Art of Manliness and I have always given Brad some of my best content.
I started writing with him when he first started off with like 8 articles. And I believed in his mission, and I’ve always given him some of my best content. And that’s perfectly fine because that website gets like half a million visitors a day. It just sends me a good amount of traffic of very high quality traffic. And it is probably one of the portals that people tell me that– how they found my website.
Steve: Okay and so to summarize what you said, it looks like you focus kind of on the long tail of search for your articles. You focus on various specific topics that might not necessarily be as difficult to rank for, put out a great content and then the content just kind of naturally ranks itself, because it’s so specific.
Antonio: Yes, it’s more long-form. So we are getting into one, two, three thousand words and we are very specific with the wording.
Steve: Yeah, I noticed that. And then so was it just kind of luck that you and Brad kind of hooked up early on before his traffic really took off?
Antonio: What do they say about luck? Preparation equals– plus opportunity. He was randomly– I had written fifty summer articles, or not randomly. I had written 50 summer articles over a tailored suit, and he reached out to me via my blog at the tailor suits one day. You seem to know what you are talking about. I have this blog, would you like to come write with me?” Which I like to always think I’m the only guest poster that has ever had Brad reach out to me versus– because he gets tons of requests all the time. I’m like, “Okay. I like your mission. You seem like you are a nice guy, and I’d like to put my stuff somewhere else. So sure, I’ll write for you.”
And we just– yeah, I’m a big believer when you put out quality, people will find you. There’s always a need for people going the extra mile, for people that are putting out amazing content. So if you are specific, you put out an amazing content, and you make sure it’s smart, so that it can be ranked in the search engines and found, you are going to do well.
Steve: And do you guest post for many publications, or is it just primarily Art of Manliness.
Antonio: Primarily on Art of Manliness. I have to be really careful. You know it’s one of those things– I have four young kids and I just– guest posts take up a lot of time. And I’m really not at that point. I will occasionally create a video or conduct an interview with somebody, because that is usually within the one hour time frame, but I’m pretty careful about who I’m going to guest post with. Because often times, there’s also now this expectations that you send traffic to your own guest post. And that’s not always– it’s like, so you’re putting all this work, and then you are sending traffic to a website that doesn’t get any traffic. It really doesn’t make sense when you are getting big numbers.
Steve: Right. That makes sense. And I was just curious, we’ve been chatting for quite a while, but I did want to touch on your conference, and kind of how all that comes into play, because running a conference is a lot of work. And so do you do that just from a community perspective, or is it actually to try and improve your business monetarily.
Antonio: It’s really both. I mean I’m not afraid to make money. I think making money is a great thing, and if anyone else disagrees with that they should go read, what is it– Rabbi Lapin, over here you know, “Thou Shall Prosper.” It’s a great book. And he did a video series on why making money is important. So I never shy away from that. But the conference, the goal was to take what we are doing online, offline and to get people together. If I have had one thing that has really helped accelerate my success and that’s building true friendships.
Any time I’m driving through the state of Oklahoma, I stop and I see Brad. Anytime I’m out in California or I’m driving out, I stop and I make time for people. I had a buddy pop up, hadn’t seen him in 15 years, we served in the Marine Corp together. He’s four hours away from me one way, but I mean gave 24 hours notice, grabbed my– pulled my son out of school, we are taking a day trip to go meet a good marine buddy of mine.
So I think that real– people need to make time for those human relationships. And I didn’t see anyone doing this in my sphere, so I created one for it. I mean there’s fashion blog, or fashion conferences that are about catalogues and stuff like that, but nothing that was geared towards men that are wanting to get practical advice, to bring the retailers, to bring the content creators together, to bring the super fans together, and that was the goal.
Steve: Okay. The reason why I ask is because I have been thinking about starting a conference of my own, but just the shear amount of work is kind of daunting. And so if there is already conferences that kind of cater to what you want to do, is it necessary to start a conference, or should you just be going to more conferences in the first place?
Antonio: Well first you want to go to some conferences and you want to see the difference between a good conference, and a not so good conference. And I’ve been to both and I knew that I wanted– that was the one thing I wanted in my conference, that it would not suck. So that was number one.
I also had a great partner, Aaron Morino over at I am Alpha M, and many people presume to me as my competitor. This guy has been on Shark Tank, amazing PR man. He’s got an amazing business, and he’s now a great friend because he’s the only person in the world I can commiserate with him on what it’s like to get– have people tear apart your style on YouTube.
And we started ten months before the conference and we met every week. Maybe five minutes sometimes, maybe other times an hour. And we would talk about what needs to be done this week and we would do it. And when you have 40 meetings like that, you get a lot done. And I can tell you that I didn’t feel the conference what that much work, partly because I had a great partner and partly because we started it, and preparing for it early and it just happened. And it was great. It was a lot of fun and we are going to do it again.
Steve: Awesome. Also was this the first time you launched it?
Antonio: It was the first time we had it truly as a conference. We had it one time in July, and that was just an impromptu meet up out of actually what was called VidCon. And VidCon is in Anaheim, California. About 25,000 people came out. And we saw the power of that conference, but also that conference sucked from the perspective of if you paid 500 bucks, you really didn’t get much. But what I did get is a perspective on what the power of video, the power of interacting with your super fans, the power of having brands meet with content creators. And that’s what I wanted to create in my industry.
Steve: Okay. Hey Antonio, I want to be respectful of your time. Gosh, I learned a lot about how your business works and everything that you do, all the little details that you kind of think about in order to create a thriving business like Real Men Real Style. So I really appreciate that. For anyone who’s listening and wants to be able to get a hold of you or find you online, where can they find you?
Antonio: Hey Steve, I always recommend my contact form, and the reason being I have a little bit of fun with it. So they can go check that out. Now that email will go right to me.
Steve: Okay. Sounds good, well hey, Antonio thanks a lot for coming on the show, really appreciate your time.
Antonio: Thank you. Bye, bye.
I hope you enjoyed that episode. Antonio is the perfect example of someone who has built a very strong brand on YouTube as well as his own website, and he’s now reaping the rewards. And it just goes to show that you really need to put yourself out there right now, and start creating a following.
For more information about this episode go to www.mywifequitherjob.com/episode76, and if you enjoyed listening to this episode, please got to iTunes and leave me a review, because when you write me a review, it not only makes me feel proud, but it helps keep this podcast up in the ranks, so other people can use this information, find the show more easily and get awesome business advice from my guests. It’s also the best way to support the show. And please tell your friends, because the greatest compliment that you can give me is to provide a referral to someone else either in person or to share it on the web.
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Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit her Job podcast, where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com.