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[E4C43] The Effortless Enrollment System – Ed Forteau, the Success Rainmaker

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In this episode we are going to look at what it takes to create a sales funnel for your information products, using a variety of different strategies to attract leads.

With me today is Ed Forteau is an innovative entrepreneur, a successful business coach and author of three best-selling books on marketing and sales. He founded the Effortless Enrollment System that uses advanced media buying methods that provides a steady flow of clients and new prospects to the media seller consistently. He believes that this client attraction strategy allows the media seller to take the role of a trusted advisor, instead of being the traditional salesperson during the enrollment process. This enrollment system cultivates a lasting relationship between the digital product creators and their clients.

Ed’s mission is to assist entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants to reach the fullest potential of their businesses. In this informative interview, you will learn about:

  • The two rules of thumb in creating an online business from scratch.
  • Which is better to do first, building the product or building the audience?
  • How to build an email list on a bootstrap budget
  • Are Telesummits helpful in building our list?
  • Why business owners who advertise make more money.
  • Different sources of cheap traffic, & how to use them to grow your business.
  • What to do if your high-end digital product launch isn’t successful.
  • And much, much more.

Mentioned in this interview

  • JV Insider Circle
  • Todd Brown, 6 Figure Funnel Formula
  • Christine Kloser, Transformational Author Experience 
  • Casey Zeman, Easy Webinar
  • The Shift Network & Spring of Sustainability Telesummit

Where to Find Ed

  • Ed’s Website


Lorna: Hello there, Ed. I thank you so much for joining me today on this call. I have to say that I’ve been really enjoying very much getting to know you from the Joint Venture Insider Circle. And you’ve been so helpful to me with the knowledge that you have to share about media buying. So, I’d love for you to introduce yourself to our audience. Please tell us who you are, what you do, and how you got started with your business?

Ed: Well, thank you, Lorna. Ed Forteau, and my website is SuccessRainMaker.com. I’ve been in business as a business coach since 1990, so I’ve been doing this for quite a while before the Internet really took hold. So, I’ve been working with small business owners, I work with coaches, consultants. And I kind of involved with media buying. That’s the next question that you wanted me to answer?

Lorna: Yeah, what you do?

Ed: Yeah. What I do is, we do a couple of different things. We do media buying for clients and we do sales coaching. And what ended up happening was, that a lot of my clients needed someone to talk to, they needed a prospect to get in front of. And so that’s how we got involved with media buying.

Lorna: What inspired you to be an entrepreneur? Was there an ‘Aha’ moment that made you realize that you were not employable or was it something else?

Ed: Yeah, it’s the ‘Aha’ moment. I’ve always been entrepreneurial ever since I was a little kid. And I went to school, I have two engineering degrees and I work for two different Fortune 500 corporations. The one as an Engineer and the one as a Marketing Liaison, and I realize I just wasn’t happy working for other people.

My passion really was working with small and medium size business owners and working around marketing and sales. And so, I left the corporate. Literally, I got up one morning, called my boss, and said I’m done, and I just jumped full blown into doing consulting.

Lorna: Ha! That’s awesome! I love it.

Ed: Probably not the best approach to do it but that’s the way.

Lorna: Everyone’s got a different path to entrepreneurship. Some people do a side hassle for a long time. That’s what I did. It was kind of a social life killing choice, but that’s how I transitioned. Other people just go cold and that’s what they need to be able to light the fire under their butt.

So hey, more power to you for taking that leap. I have to say that being an entrepreneur is a whole different ball game than being an employee. I think it’s kind of like we are on an accelerated personal development curve, what do you think?

Ed: I agree with you 100%.

Lorna: Great! I have been so grateful and appreciative of the information that you’ve been sharing with me about the whole world of information products and online courses. And so, I know that for my audience, many of whom are aspiring or early-stage entrepreneurs creating a business that allows them to be able to live life on their own terms to be able to travel the world and become nomadic if they so choose or at least you know work from home and just have flexible hours and more than the standard two weeks of vacation.

And so, a lot of those folks are looking into online business models to be able to achieve that life of flexibility and have a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Of course, one of the many online business models that are out there, creating info products and online courses, is highly compelling to those of us that have a lot of expertise to sell.

So, for an expert who is interested in turning their knowledge or wisdom into a digital product and selling it, how do you recommend that they get started? Let’s say they are starting from scratch. Let’s say the person quit their corporate job cold turkey and decided, “Okay. I’m an expert in” whatever it is I’m expert in, “ I just want to create a course and a digital product suite that takes the best of my knowledge and make it available to people, what do you recommend that they do?

Ed: Well, there’s two rules of thumb or two rules of thought, you can either take something that you’re passionate about, so, some aspect of your experience that you have a passion for and create a course around that. The other approach, which is the one that I would prefer is you’re trying to make it market based. So you find a market that has an interest in that particular topic and make sure that there are enough people out there that have that interest and then create a product around that.

The reason I like that approach versus the passion based approach is because you need to get a win as early on as you can. And if there’s an existing market for a product, it becomes a lot easier to sell and you have a better chance of seeing some success versus it’s a passion product. You’re probably going to be heavily involved or heavily invested in it and not able to decouple yourself from it if it’s not getting any traction.

Lorna: You know t hat’s a really interesting debate because I certainly agree that follow your passion and the money will come. I don’t know it’s a kind of a myth like it’s one of the worst mistakes you can make and especially in the world of online business where you can spend a lot of times spinning your wheels doing a lot of different things and not realize that what you’re trying to create doesn’t actually have a hungry market for it.

So of course, it does make sense to identify an urgent need in the market and address that as well. But there are a lot of people in this odd of urgent needs out there. I personally find that unless I am genuinely interested in that topic area, it feels like a job for me to address solving that. Like, for example, I recently invested in this course called the Six Figure Funnel Formula. And the guy, gosh, I forgot his name. I think it’s like…

Ed: Todd Brown, I think.

Lorna: Yeah. Todd Brown. Yes. So, he walks, he does his look over the shoulder case study where he’s exploring the female body building market and he knows nothing about that market. It’s not something that he does. He’s not female. He’s not a body builder. But he goes to this process of doing the market research finding what these female body builders are really interested in and then creating an online course and a sales funnel.

A pretty sophisticated sales funnel to target this market. I don’t know. I find it hard to tell that like I would just find it so tedious. Let’s take, for example, a passion. Like one thing I see very common with passion areas, and maybe you can help us fine tune this, I see other gurus and subject matter experts that are raking it in like taking [7:22.925] and taking names and generating multiple six figures of going after markets that aren’t very clearly defined like they don’t necessarily have keywords that have a thousand exact match searches related to them.

And one such per son that I spoke to is Christine Kloser. She’s the creator of the Transformational Author Experience. And her target market is transformational authors. So, she did Google searches and couldn’t actually find evidence of her target market and yet, she connected with her audience and is loved. She is the go-to person if you are an aspiring transformational book writer like author.

So, how would you recommend validating your passion?

Ed: That’s a tough one. There’s an audience out there for everything. But that doesn’t mean that the audience is willing to pay for the information. And that’s kind of the tough thing. Sometimes we have a passion that we want to pursue as a business and quite frankly, we get lucky. And people find us who are willing to pay for information to further themselves in that area.

A lot of times though the people are just curious and the amount that they’re willing to pay if they’re willing to pay anything is a hard lesson to learn once you’ve dug in and you’ve invested all of your time and money into a project. Now, that’s the reason why I think, especially early on. If we go back to your first question, especially early on, I think your first project, you really do need to win. You need to win for your confidence more than anything else. And then, what I find is when you have confidence that you can actually market a product, you can create something, get it out there, and this is going to be successful, and keep in mind that 20 years ago, are really successful. They’re actually a brother team, told me that only one in three other projects ever gain any tractions. So, they get one winner out of three. And then another friend of mine who was involved in the investment market and the people that invested in projects, I wish I could, can’t remember the name right now, but they’ll invest in maybe 10 projects. And out of the 10, maybe one will be a winner. And two might make a little profit or breakeven, and the other seven fail. But they make all their money on the one project that works.

And so you have to understand, you’re probably going to fail a lot but early on, you do need to win. So, get a win under your belt, get your confidence going, and then, you move into projects that you have a deep, deep passion for. And you’ll find the way to sell that idea to other people.

Lorna: Okay. That is really good advice because I think that if you are really tied to something you’re passionate about and it’s taking a long time it can certainly really eat away your confidence and make you feel like, maybe you just need to throw in the towel and get a job. Right?

Ed: That happens a lot. It happens a lot. And most of the time, whenever you’re starting a project, you’re going to run into some resistance. You’re going to kind of have these many failures and you have to kind of work through it, get to the next step. And the next step probably isn’t going to work out the way you thought it would either, but it’s kind of like figuring out a puzzle and you keep putting in the puzzle pieces until you complete the entire puzzle. And that’s how it works building a business. It’s a lot of people have this great idea for a better mousetrap and they think everybody will just buy it and they create this thing. They’re all excited about it and nothing happens.

So, some of them will just throw in the towel and say, “Oh, it just didn’t work. Others will just keep plotting away and they’ll see success. And it’s one of those things that you just have to experience, and that’s why if you pick a good first project and you’re able to work through it, you’ll get to the end and see some success and you’ll know that every project works like this.

Lorna: Okay. So, I’m curious to know, what do you think comes first, building the audience or building a product? It’s the chicken or the egg scenario, huh?

Ed: Yeah, I would say you find the audience for the product. So, let’s find an audience first and then see what that audience wants and then build the product.

Lorna: Okay. So, let’s say, you are starting from scratch. You were that person that just quit your job cold turkey and you decided, “Okay. I’m going to start with something that the market wants and see if I can launch my first product successfully.”

So, you pick a subject area that you know that there’s actually a market for. And you have an actual interest in it. So, let’s say it has something to do with snowboarding. Okay. And I’m not a snowboarder so I can’t really speak to that industry. But let’s say, you have an idea to create a course on how to become a better snowboarder, and you would actually even do some video of yourself snowboarding and showing some techniques.

How would you go ahead and find your audience?

Ed: Well, I would go to places where the snowboarders are hanging out maybe Facebook is a good place to look for people find magazines, online magazines, websites where snowboarders are hanging out, like forums where snowboarders are hanging out.

And then, as far as creating a product is concerned, I found that if you first create a webinar series, and if you’re comfortable with the topic, you can do a webinar or a teleseminar and not have to do a lot of preparation and you can kind of create your product as you go.

People come in, you’re getting feedback, you’re providing some value, and then you take that and you can create a physical product around that or online product around that webinar series. And now, you have your product and you’ve gotten a lot of feedback from your audience, from your customers on how to make the product better.

Lorna: Okay. So, let’s say, you create a webinar series. How do you go about getting people to sign up for that webinar series? I don’t know if in the world of snowboarding, there are joint venture marketers and partners that have large list that you can go to and ask if you could JV with them. But suppose there is a thriving market and there are people that do JV marketing around snowboarding, how would you entice that person, like an established JV to allow you to present your webinar to their audience when you are totally unknown person?

Ed: I think what you need to do is have some data that you can bring to them so they can feel comfortable in promoting your webinar or even your product. So, the best way to do that is through some advertising. You don’t have to do a lot. You just have to have enough so that you have some solid members that you can bring to the JV partner and say, “For every thousand people that see the end or see your email,” or we can say, “who have seen my ad,” X number of people have clicked through, X number of people have signed up.

So, when you have that kind of data, it makes the JV partner a lot more comfortable in promoting what you have.

Lorna: Okay. So, you have this webinar, and let’s say, you decide to do some Facebook ads to see how many people will actually sign up for the webinar, and even though if you don’t have anything on the backend to sell. So, you buy some Facebook ads, for example, and so then, you run your ads, and what would you recommend? Do you recommend doing a blend of, say, promoted posts as well as those sidebar ads or do you recommend a certain ad type?

Ed: I would do. And I would do newsstream ads.

Lorna: Newsstream ads. Okay.

Ed: Yup – or newsfeed, I’m sorry. Newsfeed ads.

Lorna: Newsfeed ads.

Ed: Those are getting the highest click-through rate right now. I understand that Facebook is probably the most popular place to go right now, but there are other avenues that are not nearly as crowded, maybe YouTube, if there are a lot of YouTube videos. And in fact, it probably would be a good place to go. I’m guessing there’s a lot of snowboarding videos out there. In advertising, they probably would get you a better traction than Facebook.

Lorna: Okay, that’s really good to know and I’m going to dive into the whole world of online media buying in a bit. Okay, so to finish up this example of the aspiring snowboarding entrepreneur, so buy traffic, drive it to the webinar, and use that as a means to build your list. Now, you’re getting data at this point, what stats are going to be compelling to Joint Venture partners? So, even if you clearly don’t have like sales data, you don’t have EPC or earnings per click data but you can demonstrate clicks and you can demonstrate like opt-ins, industry standard wise, what are some averages to good percentages for each?

Ed: For opt-ins, it’s different. Co-traffic I think most Joint Venture partners are going to realize that co-traffic is not going to convert nearly as well as their traffic is going to convert.

So, they’ll take whatever opt-in numbers that you’re using and then they can multiply that considerably.
And you’ll like to use a rule of thumb of 3% of the number of people who actually have gone to your website and opted in and maybe done something.

So, let’s say, 3% may actually buy something if we work from the number of people that would buy, we go back out to the opt-in rate that have landed on your page. And you may get anywhere from an eight percent opt-in rate all the way up to a 50% opt-in rate depending upon how strong your landing page is. And then, if we move out a little bit farther to a click through rate, you’re looking at click-through rates of as little as 0.25% all the way up to three percent at the peak. There were times where people were getting as high as 10 percent click-through rates on ads.

But it’s becoming a lot more crowded, and those numbers, the people aren’t seeing those types of numbers anymore. So, those are averages. And if you kind of fall within the average and you’re showing to JV partner that there is an audience that’s interested and that falls within the averages of click-through rates, sign-ups, opt-ins, sales, then that would give them some level of comfort that you actually have something worthwhile. And also, the topic, you’re not yet to sell that, too, it’s going to be something that people are going to be interested in and mainly the Joint Venture partners are interested in.

Lorna: Okay. A lot of info product entrepreneurs, Wisdompreneurs in kind of like the more spiritual personal growth oriented demographics like to call themselves, a lot of those folks start building their course first without any idea if their audience will buy. So, I’ve spoken to people that have like spent a long time building their course. One guy I spoke to spent about a year, and another person, half a year.

Obviously, it’s their passion project and they’ve just kind of like gone ahead and done that and went out and build it. Now, they might even have a list. But what do you recommend that they do if the persons built their course and they’ve launched it and no one has bought from their house list, are there any Cover Your Ass strategies that you might recommend for them?

Ed: Well, at that point, probably the best thing to do is see if you can break that course up into something smaller, something that you can sell on the frontend and see whether that will get you some traction. A lot of people try to go from hello to $1,000 – $2,000 course and that is a really heavy lift.

So what I would do is I would look within the course, maybe you have some bonuses that you’re giving away. That would be good enough to sell as a product. And, let’s say, someone might pay $100 just for this bonus, a lot of times people who buy closest solely because of the bonuses.

You look at the bonus. You make a separate product, maybe it’s your lead product, and you sell that. So, now, they become a customer.

After they become a customer, becomes infinitely easier to sell them on something else. The next sale becomes infinitely easier. In fact, I was reading in one publication where they do the study and the people who were customers were 3 to 14 times more likely to buy in a prospect that’s never bought from you before. In my experience, it’s been somewhere between 5 to 10 times more likely to buy.

So there are some ways that you can salvage it. But you also have to be careful not to be too emotionally involved in it where you just hit it down the rabbit hole and just keep trying, trying, and trying. If after you’ve broken the thing up and you sold maybe the pieces separately to see if there’s any bonus or separate component of that product that will get you some traction, and if none that works, then you need to move on.

Lorna: Okay. Let’s say, you break off the bonus for $97, do you recommend having something under your belt as well like a $27 product ready to go to?

Ed: Yeah. I would have. The sequence that we use is, it’s an impulse buy. And I’m not big on free reports, because if you think about a free report, you think in terms of somebody goes to an opt-in. They fill out the form. They get the free report. And now, you have maybe an email sequence after that. And you need to think of that order in which people will open their emails.

And so, the first person whose email you’re going to open is a friend. And then, the next one down the line maybe someone who is either that’s paying you, that the person is a customer of yours or you’re a customer of theirs. And then, the next one might be someone whose advice you’re looking to get, someone who’s an authority in the marketplace.

If you keep going down the sequence, then you have the people that are opted in for some free information. If you think about this, where we put our emails when we have free information, and we typically don’t put them in any specific folder. When those emails come in, they go into the general email box.

But for me, and for most people, when you purchase something, that purchase now goes into the “I’ve bought these things,” so these are the things that “I bought” folder. I mean it doesn’t matter whether it’s a $5 item or a $500 item. They all go in that same I purchased something — I’m a customer of this person folder.

And so, every email after that is looked down a little bit differently. You’ve moved into the second tier, the customer tier of emails that are being opened. And if you’re going to upsell someone from, say, $5 or $97 up to $2,000, you need your emails to be read. And so, you need to be up in the hierarchy of emails that are read. You need to be as close to the friend level as you possibly can. The next level under that is the customer level.

Lorna: That’s really fascinating information that you just shared with me because I noticed that everything that I buy ends up in my primary Gmail box. And stuff that I opt into ends up in the promotion tab. And so, that’s fascinating because even just get that person to buy a $10 item, chances are you’ve made it into their personal Gmail box, and not, you haven’t been exiled to the promotion’s tab, which unfortunately, I don’t even get around to reading like a small fraction of what’s in my promotion’s tab. So, I can imagine probably a lot of my emails are ending up there, too. So, that’s a really good piece of advice to have.

Now, for people that are just starting off, what do you recommend would be some of the best ways to build a list on a bootstrap budget?

Ed: I would say that the best way to start out is to create a product. I would say something that would be worth to someone would actually pay $100 for. Now, people say valued at, and valued at doesn’t mean that somebody would pay for it.

I used to work with a lot of people in the real estate market, and we have a saying that, “your house is only worth with someone’s going to pay for it.” And somebody would have an idea of, “This is how much my house is worth,” and the real estate people would tell them, “No. Your house is worth what someone’s willing to pay for it.”

And so, create a product that someone is willing to and someone will pay $100 for, and then you’re going to take that product and you’re going to go out and find some JV partner. I would go out and find the big authorities in your niche. I would look for bloggers. I would look for people that have the big Twitter following and big Facebook following. I might go on Klout and look for people that have the big Klout score, and then, I would approach them in this way. I’d say, “Look, I’ve created this product, and I like for you to see it. So you give it him, let him look at it, let him go through it and then say, “I would like to give this product to you to sell to your list. And you can make as much money from it as you want and you can price it anyway you want.” All I ask that they go through my opt-in page so that I actually get them on my list.

Now, here’s what it’s done. You now have buyers on your list, people that actually have paid for your information that it’s branded to you. They’re not your customers because they’ve been paying you. But they’re indirectly your customers, and those people that come on that list now infinitely were valuable to you than somebody that’s gotten on your list for some free report or a newsletter. And that’s how I would start.

Lorna: That is brilliant! I love that advice, Ed! And no one has ever shared with me advice remotely like that. I mean I’ve heard of people endorsing giving your product away to JV to sell for the conversion data, but not as a list building strategy. Wow! Cool.

Okay. So, let’s see. I know that in our world, lots of folks are launching telesummits in order to build their lists. And I’ve been through one telesummit launch and let me tell you, it was a buttload of work. And there’s a part of it that I’m just like loathe to have to do it again. But I see these gurus in my space, these internet marketers that are offering similar but different products in what I’ve created who are serving an audience that are my target demographic. And I’ve noticed that they have telesummits once if not twice a year.

Do you have any experience with Telesummits, and what do you know in terms of, whether they’re worthwhile list building strategy and especially when it comes around to doing one that’s successful and profitable, right, but that’s about two months at least of your time?

Ed: Right. And we’ve done a couple of different things. We’ve launched products doing teleseminars. We’ve launched products doing webinars. We’ve kept our customer-based fall by doing ongoing seminars or webinars and we find that those will help you bond with your prospects and your customers much easier than anything else that you can do.

I was talking to one client about doing a regular series every week, doing teleseminar. It’s a bit different than the telesummits, because in telesummits are typically over a specific period of time. But this ongoing process of interacting, talking to your potential customers, your just-in customers, building the relationship makes it a lot easier for you to sell them things down the road. I’ll give you an example of one person whose products that I actually own all of their products, and they do regular teleseminars, actually webinars one a week and you reach this friend level.

And when I talked about the emails and where people fall as far as the hierarchy of emails opened, because he was doing these teleseminars every week or these webinars every week, whenever I receive an email from him, it got opened, and that’s like the hardest thing to do. Open rates are fairly low. They run anywhere from 20% down to as low as 3%.

So if you were getting every single one of your emails open, you’ve accomplished a lot. And because you’re doing this telesummits, you’re doing these teleseminars, you are talking to people on a regular basis, the cost level is much higher, and you’ll end up selling a lot more products to your customers.

Like I said this one person, I think he’s got four products and none of them achieve, but I don’t know all of them. And as soon as he comes out with another one, I just buy it. I’m a guaranteed sale for this guy every time he comes up with anything

Lorna: Wow! Do you mind sharing who this person is? He sounds like he’s very compelling and worth investing in.

Ed: Sure. His name is Casey Zeman, and he has a product called Easy Webinar. He’s got a few other products, too, but that’s his flagship product.

Lorna: Okay, great. I’m excited to check it out. You know, one very interesting telesummit strategy that I’ve recently started to notice is The Shift Network has the Spring of Sustainability. And instead of doing the classic telesummit where the calls are available for free for a week, they do that but their Spring of Sustainability Telesummit is a 9-week long series. So, it’s almost kind of like one week after another after another is like release for free, then taken down and release for free and then taken down. But it seems a lot less crazy making than, say, having the 40 speakers on your telesummit and having it coordinate all of them to mail at the same time and with the window of opportunity being, let’s say, like the two or three weeks around the event.

So, I think if I do a telesummit, I’m going to do maybe like a month long telesummit where it’s just kind of like 20 speakers in one week and then another 20 speakers the next week and not try to do, say, like 40 speakers in one week because I think that ends up being a little, (I don’t know) nutty. [Laughs]

Ed: Yeah, it can be a bit overwhelming. And I can remember, and this was several years back where I was part of something called the 12-week intensive which was like a telesummit that it was a webinar series that went over in 12-week period that actually went longer than that. And every week, there was a new speaker. It was a good method for the people who ran it to build the substantial list because every speaker promoted to their list, they had a product to sell. They were joint venture partners on each product so they made a considerable amount of money each week from the sales would help them make money and help them to establish themselves as leaders in that community.

There are a lot of benefits to doing telesummits. There’s no question about that. But like you said, they are enough a lot of work. But I think that the amount of work is worth the reward.

Lorna: I think you could do it right, yes. I think the key is you need to not only just count on the sale of your upgrade to make the telesummit profitable. You need to carefully select the right speakers and then see that they have each a program or product that you can sell on the backend that makes up, I’d say, a complimentary basket of goods that your collective target demographic will want to buy.

Ed: Right.

Lorna: If it’s like a list building summit, then you have the video person and the telesummit person and the joint venture marketing person. So, every person is the subject matter expert, and their collective basket of offers is not in competition with each other but ultimately interesting to your audience depending on where they are in their entrepreneurial journey.

So let me ask you, it seems like these days, in addition to exploring free ways to build lists, it’s also a good idea that you consider buying traffic too. So, I’d love to ask you, Ed, at what point in the entrepreneurial game should a business owner consider buying traffic? So, if we’re talking about our cold turkey snowboarding entrepreneur, should they seriously consider buying traffic in the beginning? Because I know a lot of folks want to bootstrap as long as possible before they start making money and then they buy traffic. So, what are your thoughts, Ed?

Ed: Right. It’s funny. Having worked with business owners for so long, there are two groups of people. They are the ones that like to advertise and then the ones that try to avoid the advertising. And I can tell you the people that advertise make considerably more money than the ones who don’t.

It’s a skill that you need to learn as early on in the game as possible. I would say it’s one of the first things you should learn even though I understand it and myself included, I’ve been resistant and especially, with the rise of the Internet of spending money on advertising. And part of the problem is you have to learn how to do it so it costs money and time to learn how to do it, and then, you have to spend money in order to succeed.

But I will say this, the ability to make a profit with advertising, and in this case, we’re going to talk about paid traffic, is probably the best skill that anyone can learn. And the reason being is that all of us as business owners, want two things. We want consistent and predictable income. And being able to invest a dollar and make two dollars or make $5 or make $10 allows you to produce consistent and predictable income. It’s measurable. It’s accountable. It’s scalable. And no other method of getting traffic has those qualities, not SEO, not the social media, not joint ventures, not networking because they are aspects of those things that you have no control over. Where when you’re doing media buying, you have the most control over the process than anything else.

Lorna: Yeah, I totally agree with you. And having had a professional career in online advertising, I can certainly see the value of what you’re saying. I do speak to a lot of business owners that for them, the thought of like getting into Google AdWords or Facebook ads is daunting because they don’t really know how to do split testing or conversion optimization. And so I look at accounts all the time where my client has set up an AdWords campaign and it’s totally [laughs] everything, all the keywords are in one ad group in one campaign, right.

Gosh. It almost seems like a business owner can really waste a lot of money. And even waste on money and not get it right, not even get the actionable intelligent data that you can get from online advertising. So, in that case, do you think a business owner should hire somebody else, say, off oDesk to run their Facebook campaigns or Google AdWords campaigns for them?

Ed: I think there is a certain amount of knowledge that an individual has to have. They have to understand how the campaigns constructed, what to expect, and that comes through maybe sitting down with someone who does it and that’s the best way to do it. There are a lot of courses out there. The problem with courses is that, especially with the entry-level platforms like AdWords or Facebook, like many social media platforms, is that their interfaces are constantly changing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Google, which is been around for a while.

This week I noticed a couple of interface changes. In Facebook, their interface changes seemingly every week. Their policies changed every other week.

Lorna: I know.

Ed: And so, the problem with a course is even if a marketer has his successful way of advertising, and there’s one thing to drive traffic to an offer. It’s another thing to make it profitable. The advertising part is easy. The driving traffic to an offer is easy. The converting into a profit, of turning those visitors into customers is something else.

And so you have to learn the entire process, and you have to be careful that, let’s say, and going back to this example, the person has created a course. They found a successful method. They’ve gone and they’ve created a video course, in which it’s probably taken a few weeks to create. They then create the marketing. And then, they get the product out there. And by time you receive it, the interface is changed. So, you’re watching the videos like, yet, when you go in to set up your campaign, not everything but quite a few things were different. Things don’t match up. So now, you have to find some other source that shows like the new interface and it becomes really difficult. As opposed to, I’m extremely frustrating quite frankly, as opposed to, you have someone who knows what they’re doing, and they walk in through the process. And you see how to do things and they do that a couple of times. And then, there’s a much higher level of comfort when you’re doing an advertisement.

Yeah, it’s hard to learn how to buy edge from a course. Course is a really designed for people like myself that are doing these things and you’re looking for an edge, an extra another idea or something that somebody else has done slightly different things what you’re doing that you can layer on to what you’re doing to increase your results a little bit.

Lorna: What are some of the different types of sources for buying traffic? You had touched upon YouTube as being a great place to get cheap traffic. Am I correct on that? Are you talking about free traffic?

Ed: No.

Lorna: Or, can you actually buy? I’ve never done any YouTube ad buying. So, yes. So, why don’t you break down the different sources of traffic? And if you could share with us like which ones are from cheap to expensive, for example?

Ed: Okay. All right. So, I like to call them the Big Seven. You’ve got search engines. You’ve got Google, Bing, Yahoo, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, ad networks where, in that case, you’re going to a network or going to a company that has the ability to place ads on a lot of different sites, both large and small. And they do that media buying for. You just give them money and they take care of everything now, unless they’re expensive.

You’re looking at most likely a $10,000 start for working with them, and that’s for a tests so you can go for that $10,000 in a few days and it may take them 20 or $30,000 before they actually get some traction and find a campaign that will actually work for you. So, you have to have deep pockets if you’re going to let them create the campaign for you. Then, there’s remnant advertising, which is, you’re advertising the same on the same websites, except for, you’re getting the unsold ad impressions that are out there. They’re over 4 trillion ad impressions, 80% of those go unsold. And within the remnant advertising market, you can purchase those on a deep discount.

Then, there’s a real time self-service networks. And those you’re bypassing are representative to do everything for you. You are going to go in and setup your ads. You need to have a little bit of practice and a little knowledge to do that, but it’s a lot less expensive.

Then, there are the content platforms. People have probably seen these without knowing that they’ve seen them. When you go on the bigger sites nearly at the bottom of the page, you’ll say, maybe recommended stories or related stories, something like that. And you click through to those and they go to another website and those were the content platforms, one variation of the content platforms.

And my favorite method is direct buys on smaller sites, then you can do that on big sites or small sites and I like to do direct buys on small independently owned niche blogs.

Lorna: So what do you do? You basically email the blog owner and say, “Hey, I would like to place an ad on your site.” So, would it be a text link ad or would it be a banner ad?

Ed: Well, what you want to do is, first, you do your research to find the right blogs that are out there. And then, you will send them an email telling that you want to advertise on their site. More than likely, you’re going to do a banner ad, banner ads when we get how much higher click-through rate.

You want to find a website that doesn’t have a lot of advertising on it. You want to work with smaller blogs, so you want to do some research and find out how much traffic approximately they have or they’re getting somewhere between 10,000 to 200,000 new visitors. If that’s the size, you’re going to talk to the actual blog owner.

And the nice thing about working with the small independent websites is that you can be creative. You can do banner ads. You can move your banner ads around a bit, and usually placement, is you have the option for placing the ad in a place that you need a higher click-through rate. You can potentially work with them on sponsored social media type promotions, maybe Facebook, Twitter. There are just a lot of things that you can do with the smaller independent bloggers that you can’t do with any other method of advertising.

Lorna: Okay. Let’s say, you find a blog that’s exactly in your niche, and they have a list like 10 to 20,000 uniques a month, what would you expect to be paying per month to place a banner ad with them as well as some supporting social media campaigns?

Ed: Well, what you want to do is you need to establish a relationship with the blogger. So, the way you want to approach them is on an Earnings-Per-Click basis. And I don’t know, so it’s going to be different from different industries. You may want to check around to see what their going rate is.

But I would start out with approaching them with I want to do a small test. I want to test per month. I like to pay you $3 per thousand impressions. And from there, the next step is you want to let them know that you do have a budget and you like to pay them a flat fee per month.

A blogger would be much happier knowing they’re getting $100 – $200 – $300 per month. But you need to establish that the value was there. After you work with them for a month, or maybe six weeks, and you’ve established how many clicks you’re getting, how much traffic is coming your way, how much is it converting. Is it actually paying for itself? Are you making a profit? Then, you want to calculate their flat fee and pay them that. And the reason why we’re going to do that is we’re establishing trust with the blogger.

We’ll go to a flat fee model, so they’re guaranteed money every month. And then, the next step that you want to do is some sort of affiliate or commission type model. Now, if you approach them right away with commissions, you’ll get shut down right away. They’re not going to be interested in that.

But if you can move them to a commission model and they’ll actually make more, than they would make on a flat fee, then, you should move to that level. Now, everybody lends. The blogger is making more money. Actually, your risk is pretty low because if you don’t make any sales, you’re not paying out anything.

Hopefully, you’re still making sales because at that level, you’ve got that much higher level of trust. And now, a lot of other opportunities will open up for you and you can do sponsored Facebook post with them. You could do some Twitter things with them. You might be able to do some solo mailings or newsletter mailings if they do have a newsletter. And if they do some things outside of their website, they may be opened to those things. So, it just opens up a whole wide range of possibilities working with that particular blogger.

Lorna: So rather than paying them for advertising, what if you can get in as a guest blogger, or is that apples and oranges?

Ed: Yeah. The problem with that is they get – and I’m out on a blogger myself – so we get hit with these guest post requests all the time. Now, if it’s a blogger that doesn’t do a lot of post themselves, then they may have an interest in it.

But for the most part, bloggers art. And, because of some of the changes within Google, a lot of bloggers just aren’t accepting guest blogs anymore because the Google has frowned on guest blogging.

So you should approach it in the form of paying them. You’re going to get the most attention when you’re asking them or telling them, “I like to advertise on your site.” That’s going to get opened more than anything else.

Lorna: That’s if you don’t already know them, if you don’t have a relationship.

Ed: Right.

Lorna: Okay. And it sounds like a great way to open up a relationship with the blogger. Cool! So, what do you think is the best traffic to start with, these direct ad buys?

Ed: I do. And there are a lot of reasons for it, not only can you scale. In fact, if you take a blog that has 100,000 unique visitors a month and say, 50,000 of those visitors are unique. So, if you take the standard click-through rate of 0.25%, and so, 0.25% are going to see your banner and I click on it and go to your site, you’re looking at a relatively smaller. But I think – I’m going to have to calculate it off at the top of my head – something like 125. I believe 125 visitors. And if you’re able to convert half of those — I mean that’s a high number — half of those people are opting in. Now, that’s around 62. And of the 62 people that have opted in, you sell 3% of them, and so, now, you’ve made approximately 2 sales.

Let’s say that now you’ve worked with this person for a little while and do some optimization of your banner ad. You’re able to get them to add a plug in that will have your banner ad kind of float down the page. There’s been some studies that have done that if you’re banner ad kind of float style at pages they’re reading. So, as they’re reading, your banner ad kind of goes down the page with them. It can increase click-through rates up to 25 times, which is a tremendous increase. Now, instead of 0.25%, your 6.2% click-through rate and it makes a tremendous difference.

Let’s say, when you’re start working with them, you got a 0.25% click-through rate and you have a $500 product, you end up making 2 sales that’s a $1,000. And if you have worked with them [51:13.112] and now you’re able to optimize, and that’s just one method of optimizing. This floating answer is just one method of optimizing your banner ads. Now, you’ve increased your results by 25 times.

So, now, you rate approximately 1500 instead of 125 opt-ins or visitors, your 1500 visitors, you are converting a little over 700 of those into opt-ins, now, you have 1500 visitors, half of those opt-ins, so you got 700, you’re able to close 3% of those, which should be around 40, somewhere around in there, and you’re selling at $500. Now, you’re at over $20,000 working with the same blogger. You’re just optimizing the process. $20,000 a month from working with one blogger. And you do that five times, you’re pretty much set. You have your seven figure business.

Lorna: Wow! That sounds really compelling. So, are there any resources you recommend? So, in general, around ad buying but also how to find these small independent niche sites like, how would you discover these sites and identify whether or not it’s worth to do a direct ad buy with them?

Ed: There are a couple of ways to do it. You can go to resource sites like Quantcast, Alexa, SEMrush, or even use a Google Ad Planner. They have some idea of how many unique visitors a site is getting and you want to stay within that 10,000-200,000 a month unique visitors. And you also want to make sure that they’re all looking at two to three-page views from up because you don’t want to pay. If you’re paying on an Earnings-Per-Impression basis, you don’t want to pay for five impressions from one visitor. Because, if they haven’t clicked on your banner ad after two or three impressions, now, it’s costing you money to do that. And you can put a stop order in place where you limit the number of impressions as you pay for if it’s an out cost and if their traffic is what they say, you can get out of that.

But once you’ve gone through you’ve kind of looked at Quantcast, Alexa, SEMrush, you now have some idea about how much traffic they’re getting and then, you can approach them. You can also use some of the outsourcing services that are out there by Blog Dash, Linkabee, Buzzstream, or GroupHigh, and we have all the data there. So, you were able to collect all the data in one place.

We also do that for clients to somebody who wants just the data so that they don’t have to do all of the legwork. We can provide them a list of the top influencers in their marketplace and not only the bloggers, but the Facebook influencers or Twitter influencers, the GPlus influencers, and then you can use that data to go out and approach some of these bloggers.

Lorna: Cool. Great. Thank you so much for all of those awesome resources. Now, we are coming to the end of our interview. I’d love to leave you with the last couple of questions.

In your entrepreneurial journey, what was the biggest mistake you’ve made that you would do differently if you had the chance, Ed?

Ed: I would say, and especially over the last few years since the rise of the Internet was my reluctance to embrace media buying, and all that we’ve talked about that this has been the focus. But I understand why people don’t do it. I understand that. It can be complex. It can be overwhelming. And not only paying to learn, how to do it, then you’re paying it as you do it.

But I’ve done a lot of SEO. I’ve done a lot of social media. I’ve done joint ventures. I’ve done networking. And one of the things that I find is that the biggest problem with using those other methods is that there’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s just a lot of uncertainty. And every person that I know, and when I switched over doing media buying, you don’t have to worry where your clients are coming from. That’s the number one worry for an entrepreneur, how do I be a client? And when you’re able to suspend a dollar and make $2 or $5 or $10 or $20 and do it a on a regular basis and do it consistently, you don’t have any more worries about how am I going to get a client. That is now off the table and that’s probably the thing that I wish I would have done right away that I didn’t do.

Lorna: [Laughs] I love that advice. Oh, my God! Could you imagine just vanishing that worry? How am I going to get a client? Where’s my next client coming from? No more having to invest in the sales call formula system and do any of that. Great.

Let me ask you this, Ed. What gets you up in the morning? Do you have something that you would consider to be your single motivating purpose in life?

Ed: Boy, that’s a really big question, too. I think as I have gotten older, the ability to craft a life where I’m able to spend quality time with my family, we homeschool my daughter. My wife works out of the home, too. And so, we have the ability to work whenever we wanted that we probably work longer than we want to. We live on a private lake, which is just gorgeous so that we can do all kinds of water sports and it’s like we live in a resort. So our lifestyle, and we do a lot of traveling, too.

What gets me excited is the ability to do anything I want, anytime I want. And my business career, the thing that I do for a living, I’ve crafted that in such a way to allow me to have the freedom to have the life that I want, if you remember where I worked in the corporate realm for a little over 10 years. And I realize that a lot of people that work for companies, their job is their identity, and that you can’t really separate that two.

Where, for me, this I make a living. I enjoy what I do. It’s not who I am. And that probably gets me more excited about anything else so that I can actually do the things that I want to do. Every day is a different day and an exciting day for me.

Lorna: Wow! That sounds so inspiring and encouraging. So, thank you for sharing that. How can we best stay in touch with you, Ed?

Ed: If you’re interested at all in having a conversation about media buying, you can go to SuccessRainMaker.com/traffic and you can go through our appointment calendar process and we can have a discussion about if and how I can help you.

And there’s also some other information there if you want to read that, but that’s the best way to get in touch with me.

Lorna: All right. Thank you! I would love to wish you a beautiful spring day out in Michigan and have an awesome rest of your week.

Ed: Thank you. You, too, Lorna. It’s been a pleasure.

Lorna: Thank you.


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Lorna Li

Chief Evolutionary Officer at Entrepreneurs for a Change
Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers, and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises & B-Corporations on SEO, SEM & Social Media marketing.
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