Sean Donahoe

Bill: Well, hello, everybody. This is Bill McIntosh and you’re here with me with another interview of somebody who is just crushing it when it comes to Facebook video ads. He’s doing some pretty awesome stuff, told me a little bit about what he’s up to, but actually as I interview him, I’m going to be learning some pretty cool things along with you. So welcome, Sean Donahoe.

Sean: Thank you very much, Bill, great to be here and great to be part of this. Bill: Awesome. Well, let’s just dive right into it. Let’s talk about what you’re doing, what’s been successful for Facebook video ads for you.

Sean: Well, to kind of give a little bit of background first, one of the things that we started off way, way back in the day was obviously Google Adwords, we were even part of, before it became Overture, before it became Yahoo Search Marketing and everything else, so we’ve been doing pay-per-click advertising for a long number of years. There’s a lot of money been spent on this for all the different stuff that we do. I work primarily in the information space, so I want to give a little kind of context for that. Now, we’ve seen a lot of incredible growth in the ability to market through Facebook, specifically with video ads. We’ve done a lot on the traditional kind of dark post ads and everything else and been absolutely killing it there with some great conversions, but with video ads, we have a new level, a new dynamic level of engagement. Specifically for the industry—well, I got my fingers in a lot of pies, as I was just saying to Bill before we went live and I run many, many different businesses and one of the new ventures that we’re diving into right now, we’re hoping to take to seven or eight figures in the next 18 months is our timeframe right now. A lot of the products we’re doing in that space are very, very high ticket. We’re talking $5,000, 10,000, 25,000. I mean, we’re not talking these little kind of ebooks and anything else that are out there. We’re going after very high-end clients and to do that we really need to be right there at the forefront with engagement, so video ads for a start really, really helps us get right in that—one of the big things that we are really deep into is sales psychology, getting that engagement, entrenching ourselves in our potential clients’ mind with what are they needing? What are they demanding? What’s their driving passion? We really want to tap into that with our targeting and make sure that we’re really honing our campaigns on one specific thing and we’re really wanting to align with what we do with their core values. So that video really, really allows us to do that.

Bill: I would bet that you’re using a lot of retargeting, which is video combined with retargeting is some of the things you can do, is just pretty awesome. As I hear you talk about sales psychology and really kind of sticking in the prospect’s mind to get that sale, let’s just dive right into that. What is your typical campaign, I guess.

“I call it the cliffhanger effect…watch your favorite TV show, they want you to watch next week, what do they do? They have a cliffhanger ending. “

Sean: Certainly. Let me dig into one of our campaigns. For example, one of the things we do, we sell a lot, with high-ticket products, one way to do is webinars. Getting people onto a webinar, there’s two real ways. You can do the JV approach or you can do paid traffic. When you’re doing paid traffic, you’ve got a $5,000 product on the end of it, you know that your ad spend is going to be significantly high. We’re looking at the $700-800 for a cost per acquisition. That’s a monster. Now we can get lots of people onto a webinar and we’re using recurring and automated webinars to do this. The problem with that is, obviously that’s a lot of potential leads lost. For the every conversion of one person at $5,000—and again, the lifetime customer value of that lead is incredible. Because again, like I said, we’re going after a much different type of customer. But there’s a great group of people that are not going to be able to do with $5,000. So what we do is we use the video ads to really engage them up from. We have a liquidation offer right after they sign it. Give them a nice little incentive, it could be free download of—I don’t want to go into the specific industry where, it’s in the finance space, I’ll leave it at that—but we’ll give them a nice resource list or a piece of software that will allow them to do X, let’s say that. But with the video ads, we’ve got a new opportunity wherein in that, you can do—I call it the cliffhanger effect. This has proven to be one of our most successful approaches to specifically video ads. It’s a technique I used to use when I was YouTube marketing as well. As you know, with a lot of things, if you watch your favorite TV show, they want you to watch next week, what do they do? They have a cliffhanger ending. But we kind of do that in video ads. What we’ll do is we have a basic formula in that right up front you’ve got three seconds to engage your customer. This is what Facebook, as you’ve probably already covered in your training, counts as a view. You’ve got three seconds before Facebook says, “Yes, that’s it, that was now a qualified view, you pay us now.” Once we’ve got that going, we know that we’ve got three seconds. Our initial thing is we ask a question. Again, when your Facebook ads are rolling, obviously, you use the scrolling down, they can’t hear you, it’s silent. So big, bold text, ask a targeted question. In the finance space, I’ll create a random example, say, “Did you know your 401K is at risk right now?” with a big question mark. Then a little sub line which is, “We’ll show you how to fix it.” What I like to do is address a problem to a targeted audience, ask a question, and then hint to a solution. When I do that within the first three seconds, big, bold, in your face as much as possible, is because we want to really get them hooked immediately. We want to pattern interrupt, we want to say, “Hey, pay attention!” Then when we get that engagement, what we do is we talk about the problem, we show the consequences of the problem, we hint at a solution, and then what happens is to watch part two, we don’t give them the solution until they say, “Okay, learn more.” Go over here, we’ll show you the five critical steps of X. Now that was a fictitious example, but it applies the same core techniques and we tried everything in the video ads, different types of engagement, different types of kind of behind-the-scenes stuff, all the stuff that some of the viral sites use. Honestly, the one that has literally exploded results, ask a question, hint at an answer, explain the problem so that you create that alignment with your potential target market, twist the knife a little, as it’s called in copywriting, which is kind of go into it in a little more detail about talking about the consequences if they don’t address the problem, you kind of tap into a little bit of fear-based emotion, for example, fear of loss. If you’re doing the health market, then could be, okay, if you’re not taking care of your cholesterol, then you’re going to end up with heart problems and everything else, you could die, if you wanted to go really far into it. But again, however far you want to go from the copy standpoint, because you don’t really need a lot of copy skills. Ask a question, what’s the most pressing question for your market? Hint at the solution, the solution you’re providing, be it your product, your service or anything else, and then just lead them through that until you get your okay. In part two, we will now give you the solution. This is called the “Zernick Effect,” [phonetic] and I’m probably saying that wrong, but as humans, we have a compulsion, and this is what the TV companies really, or the TV producers, really focus on, is this innate desire to complete information. We hate incomplete information and we must know the rest to complete the circle. It is an incredibly powerful sales tool, if applied right. The cool thing is, with video on Facebook video ads, it’s the perfect venue to do that. Virtually we’ve seen a 40-50% lift in conversions just by applying that one strategy I gave you.

Bill: I love this strategy. I’m going to just walk through it one time.

Sean: And I’ll go through some of the stuff that happens after they get there in a moment. I thought I’d take a breath and let you speak. [Laughs]

Bill: Yes. [Laughs] The core idea here is, and are you doing this typically like in a head-and-shoulders shot and—

Sean: We’re doing a mix. I like to give stats, numbers talk. I’ll do a head and shoulders big or I’ll do a full body or something like that, but I intertwine it with stats, numbers, screenshots and things like that, depending on what I’m doing, obviously. For what we’re doing in the finance space, people who are in the finance space specifically in the market I’m going into, which actually it’s not uncommon knowledge, I’m in the stock trade and stock market, options trading, futures trading, not Forex, I leave that for the mugs. We’re doing really, really high-end trading in that space, so we have to talk about results, we have to talk about numbers, we have to talk about the economy and stuff like that. It’s a lot of financial-based information. So I could be a talking head, but these people who are really engaged in this and interested, want to see numbers. So I have to show them there are all sorts of kits you can get. One of the resources I talk about every now and then is a place called They have infographic construction kits and what you can do is you get little segments of graphs and then animations to put in your video ads and stuff like that. You just deliver numbers, it’s Adobe after-effects templates and very easy, they have all the instructions on how to use them. Then you can splice that in with a combination with talking head stuff. Again, for me, simple is better. I found that the more complex you go with Facebook ads, you lose them. Be real, be genuine. Talk about what you’re doing, talk about it with passion, know what you’re doing, talk with confidence, and you will get the engagement you need to then create that conversion across to get more information. That’s what we want to do with every video ad and same for everyone out there watching this, is you don’t want them on Facebook. You want to get them off Facebook as quickly as possible, that’s your mission. Your video ad is not—for me, and this is the way I teach a lot of people as well—is you are not selling in your video ad, which sounds completely counterintuitive. What you’re doing is you’re getting them off Facebook where you then can sell. So your first goal should always be sell the click, not the product. If you’re taking notes, write that down because it’s one of the most valuable pieces of information you’ll get in this entire interview. Sell the click, not the product.

Bill: That’s an important thing; I think it’s important that people realize this, and it is something that I have not yet talked about in my previous interviews, is this one point. In every kind of marketing I do on Facebook, whether it’s like some of the big traffic stuff I do or selling direct offers, it’s always, running through all the different strategies, is that one point you just mentioned, is get them out of Facebook as quickly as possible. It’s very interesting, it’s almost as if there is a switch that flips in the prospect’s mind, too, when they’re in Facebook mode versus—it’s really simple, like click, now they’re looking at a new webpage, it is as thought there’s a switch that turned off in their mind and now you’ve got their attention and you can actually go into sales mode. But while they’re in Facebook, they’re in like some weird la-la land where they’re distracted by all sorts of things. So beyond getting the click, it’s also, there is a psychology shift when they move out of there.

Sean: Exactly. What you’re doing is you’re doing a disengagement, which we’re talking about engagement here, but we’re disengaging them from all of the other social distractions that are around. You’ve got Facebook ads next to your video ad. You’ve got the viral post above and below you, which might be catching their eye or they’re catching their eye on someone else’s comment on, for example, when we’re recording this, the Minions movie is out right now, so some story about the Minions movie or something else that’s happening in the news. That’s all around trying to take their attention away from your video ad, which you’re paying good money for to place in front of your prospect. So yeah, we want to take them out of social mode and put them in information or entertainment mode, where you’re getting them over to your next spot where you control everything surrounding them. Now they have focus, no distractions, they’re 100% focused on your message, whatever that message may be, promoting a product, a service, whatever you’re doing and whatever your goals are, you want to get them away from that. It’s the same thing we did with pay-per-click advertising back in the day, YouTube marketing, the same base process, get them where you control everything afterwards.

Bill: Okay. Now I want to go back and walk through your video strategy, as I understand it, and just to consolidate it here. For you, the formula is grab their attention with a burning question, something that is really important to that prospect related to the market you’re selling in. Make sure you put it in text so that when they mouse over the image and the video is playing and there’s no audio, they can see the question. One thing, just a little tip on that, I’m imagining the first couple frames you don’t have it and then it comes in afterwards.

Sean: That’s correct. I do a fade in on most animation because again, motion captures attention. We’ll have a nice splash image that is again, weird enough but dynamic enough to get their attention, to get them to pause as they’re scrolling through so that the auto play can kick in. Then once we’ve got them, we’ve got the engagement, we’re asking the question, we’ve got the connection and alignment, we’re then getting them over to our page and then what we do is again, we deliver—and this is where you don’t actually have to give anything away for free—you can also then do a part two and a part three, where your landing page can get them to sign in or sign up to then go and see the second part, where you give away some gold content. This is one thing I see so many people not doing. They want to put all their best information behind the pay wall.

Bill: Okay, so getting back to the kind of format of your video ad itself, after you’ve asked that question initially, grabbed their attention, you kind of infer that there is a solution but you don’t state what it is and you kind of infer you can solve it. Then you agitate and magnify and explain why it’s such a big problem related to this question. Really get them feeling the pain and confronting that there actually is something here that they probably should solve. Just about the time you get them to the point where they get that in their frame of mind, you then introduce that, okay, we’re going to walk into the solution for this problem in video two and then give them a call to action to click through and go get video two on your website.

Sean: Absolutely. We tell them exactly what they’re going to get, how we’re going to do it and they’ll get that in part two. When they get to part two, what we do is we like to, again, engage them. Now one of the things that you can either do straight away is not put them behind the pay wall or an action wall. One of the things that we want to do is start dropping pixels, first thing we do, we drop our pixels as soon as they hit that landing page. Create a custom audience and then we’ll do that with SiteScout and other retargeting networks all over the place because we want to really make sure that they’re seeing everything, everywhere they go from now on, they see us for this particular market and what we’re doing. What we’ll also do is if you want to get their email address, you can say, “Hey, to get part two, sign up here.” We like to do the two-step opt in or we have experimented with Facebook Connect to get their real current email address, because we know they’re coming in from Facebook, so we know they’re logged in currently. But we found still the email address is still the best conversion. People get funny, it seems, about connecting up through an app. We’ve done so many split tests on this, it always blows me away that the one- button push, they’re still, “Oh, I don’t want this connected to my Facebook account,” because there’s a trust factor there, they don’t know you yet, you haven’t created enough rapport to be trustworthy. We try and minimize any of the barriers to action where possible. So what you can do, you can either do the part one and then call for action to get to part two, or there’s another approach that we take, which is also basically a three-parter. What we do is the second video will be on the landing page and they’ll be nothing on that page, just the video. Where we talk about maybe a little bit of branding, a logo, again, for—again, there’s so much debate about this and I’m going to call BS on it, where people say, “Oh, you can have an ugly page and it will always convert over a pretty page.” If you’re going after a high-end client, ugly is not going to sell. You’ve got to look like you are a million dollar company. If you’re asking someone later on for $5,000, create the expectation that they are going to in alignment with, you’re going to engender trust. If you look like someone on Fiverr or the Warrior Forum, then you’re not going to connect with a higher-end client, you’re going to connect with a Fiverr/Warrior Forum level crowd. That’s not a good place to be if you want to create a million dollar brand or a multi-million dollar brand. Again, nice branding, but clean enough that all the focus is right on the video. So we engage them there and then this is where a lot of people, I think, let themselves down or they cripple themselves with conversions, is give away gold content. Give away your best stuff. Take a section of whatever your end product is and take a really great piece of that and give it to them for free. So for example, in the stock market, maybe I give a great technique on how to look through 2,000 stocks but only pick out 5 really great stocks in under 10 minutes. They’ll have an opportunity today. That’s an incredible, simple technique, but most people don’t know it. So we’ll give them this piece of gold in part two. Then what we’ll say is we’ll give them another piece in part three, but then we build enough trust, rapport, and confidence in what we’re doing and we’re giving them great value, we’re building up that initial reciprocity. We haven’t had to do any weird downloads, no software delivery, no “check your email for this link” or PDF because we know that most of the time when you’re giving away stuff on a landing page, no one watches that stuff, no one opens your PDFs, no one actually does anything with the software. It’s gone out of their heads.

So by engaging them directly with very great content right up front and then you say, “Okay, now let’s take this one step further in part three.” That’s where we’ll ask them for the email. Now what we’ve done is we’ve already dropped a retargeting cookie for part three. I say, “Hey, notice you didn’t see part three, click here.” If they didn’t engage, we bring them right back to that. Then what we’ll do in part three is we’ll actually—using the example I’ve given—okay, here’s a stock selection idea, how to find a really great stock. Now we’ll show them a little piece in part three. This is where the actual sales process starts kicking in and we have what we call a liquidation offer. This is where we start countering the cost of the retargeting of the ads. What we’ll do is in that sign-up, we’re using a technology which we’ll be releasing later this year which allows us to not only get them on an email address, we put them on an automated webinar, and we start them into a whole lead flow, as we call it. Then so part three then shows them an extra piece of software in action that makes this entire process we’ve just described for free, it automates it, great. It’s only $97 or something like that.

This allows us now to get them deeper in, because now they’re hooked. They’ve got this great valuable piece and a lot of the solutions that we’ve been talking about are now starting to flow in, but now we’re getting them deeper in to show them, “Okay, follow us down the rabbit hole and here you go.” So we’ll have all sorts of things going on there, but again, with a $5,000 end product, we know we’re going to be spending a lot of money to get there, so this kind of liquidation offer and everything else allows us with video engagement to mitigate a lot of those initial costs and get lots of other people exposed into other money-making aspects before they get to the $5,000. We’re using this kind of as a pre-sale. We’re using it as a liquidation to actually mitigate the cost of the video ads and we’re doing it as a massive engagement campaign so that when they get to see the $5,000 pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, they’re like, “Just shut up, take my money.” That’s really what we want to do. We really want to get them so engaged by the time that is coming, they’re just, “Give it to me, I don’t care about the cost, here’s my credit card, do it.” And that’s the beauty of Facebook video ads, because right from your first interaction, you’re engaged, you’re maintaining that on a very nice curve all the way up to a crescendo and by doing this part one, part two, part three, it’s just recreating that deeper commitment, that deeper value offer and alignment and if you’re hitting all those nice psychological triggers all the way down the line, they love you. That’s really what this is all about and that’s the beauty of it.

Bill: The other things that’s awesome about the video ad aspect here, and I think that it’s lost, a lot of people don’t necessarily recognize this, is for the first time ever, you can actually weave your front-end advertising into an entire campaign. Like you can literally stitch it through and know when your prospects are at a certain point in that lead flow cycle and hit them with the right video ad at the right time to continue and it actually leads right into your whole sales process. Before it was a lot more blind, like massive amounts of advertising, hoping to get them back and into the flow at the right point. But now, because of the way, what Facebook is doing with the retargeting pixels and the way you can retarget people based on how much of your video ad they’ve watched, you can now just weave it right through that whole process you described and continue to bring them back and through that process.

Sean: Absolutely. The beautiful thing is as well, because we’re in a huge multi- billion-dollar industry, one of the beauties is there’s so many different ways that we can bring people into part two. I could target Forex people, I could target binary options, I could target future marketers, stock traders, frustrated stock traders. I can take all of those and I can create unique part one Facebook video ads that still weave people in to the same part two. So I don’t have to create weird funky funnels for each and every time you market. I can create multiple video ads that just ask a slightly different question. The end goal is the same, here is a solution that will solve all of your problems. All we’re doing is asking again with the laser targeting of where we’re dropping these video ads and who we’re dropping them to, is ask a slightly different angled question that connects with them, but it still leads them to that same solution. You can do that in almost every industry. I was thinking of a guy and doing some consulting with a guy who is in the fitness space. He’s got a great fitness program that works for everyone. The problem is he spent so much money on paid ads trying to engage everyone with the same set of ads. I’m like, no, no, no, no. If you’re going to target moms, for example, with fitness, you come at them from a different angle. You’re targeting 30-something moms who want to get a little bit better shape, fine. Then your target ads should be in, as an example, I’m just using a rough example, women’s colors that they tend to align to, nice pastels, like, airy colors with warm tones, a female speaker, for example. Then your video ads should be showing women who are going from before and after and things like that, because that’s going to align to them. If I show that ad to a man who is like me, a little bit overweight, wants to get a little bit better shape, I’m not going to connect with that. My mind is not in the female fitness space. If you start showing me ads that are too generic, you’re not going to interest me, you’re going to lose that demographic. So make sure your Facebook ads are really—you understand who you demographic is and what triggers them. Look at the competitors out there who are spending, for example, on Adwords or other Facebook ads in your space. Look at the colors they’re using, how they’re doing it, who are the leaders in that space?

Like X99, I think, is a popular workout for guys, for example. This gives really black colors, red, action, steel colors, it’s got metal on there and everything else. They got these ripped guys that look like they could tear a phonebook in half and all that kind of thing. Fantastic! That’s targeting to the guys who want to get in shape. They have a female version of that, same kind of thing, sporty, but again, it’s understand your market and customize your ads directly to that demographic.

Bill: Wow, I love that. I love that you can, like as you’re describing, you’re customizing just an ad. Just a short, little video ad and really leading them all into the same funnel, I think that’s brilliant.

Sean: Yeah. Using that for an example, you talk about dieting, you’ve got the same thing. You got people who are eating to get healthy or people who just want to get fit. That’s too different focuses. The diet, everyone is talking about juicing right now and all this weird green liquid that looks like toxic waste, but apparently people are losing tons of—and I shouldn’t lie, because I want to actually take that diet myself, I need to lose like 40 pounds. But again, if you’re targeting to men, targeting to women, if they want to get in shape, that’s different. If they’re doing it for health, that’s a different focus. Again, so you can start segmenting, men, women, okay. What’s their goals? Health or fitness or weight loss or is it just a lifestyle change. Again, you can start with your target audiences and just customize your ads. You can have the same base ad, the same base stuff and it’s only a few edits to tweak it to those custom audiences and split test everything, obviously, and see what’s working, spend a little bit of money on it, see where your conversions are, get some base numbers, pyramid your ad spend when you start seeing winners, and you can start doing amazing things. I mean, there’s people I know who are spending $100 or 200,000 a day or more on ads. They didn’t start there. They built up, grew slowly and slowly until they’ve got the revenue to support it. But if I can put a dollar in and get ten dollars out, I’m writing blank checks, but only when I have the money to back up the blank checks because I know it’s converting. So yeah, I mean, it’s amazing the amount of things you can do with this if you understand your market, if you want to understand your process and your conversions. When you got all those lined up, you are the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow with the pot of gold.

Bill: Awesome. Hey, specific question for you I want to know. On your liquidation offer, and just to clarify that for everybody here, you’re essentially throwing an offer in after you’ve got the lead and offering them to buy something to help recoup your advertising costs. Even though that’s not your end goal, so your end goal is something much bigger that you want to throw a lower ticket offer in front of the person after they have joined your lead funnel.

Sean: Yeah.

Bill: You threw out a price point of $97, is that the price point you’re always using or have you tried different price points?

Sean: A good question, it depends on what the end product is. I want to set the expectation right up front and here’s the cool thing. You can charge higher, I mean, people call this the trip wire offer. I don’t like that word, I call it a welcome offer because we’re engaging them, we’re bringing them in. We’re saying, “Hey, we’ve got the solutions here.” Because of the markets I’m in, anything less than $97 is considered too cheap. I’m in a very, very hot market for that. You could do less, it depends on what your conversions are, what your end product is, what you’re looking to do. You want to know how much you’re spending up front and what you’re making on the back end. You could go cheaper, I wouldn’t for me personally. Purely because everything in this space is very expensive, which is why I’m in this space. It’s a very, very powerful industry to be in, in a multi-billion industry. People do expect high-ticket stuff, so a piece of software that we’re using and which is, like I say, $97, that’s considered pretty reasonable.

Bill: So another market, let’s say that someone’s ultimate ticket price at the end of their funnel is only $1,000. One could charge less than $97 on the front end.

Sean: Oh, absolutely. I wouldn’t go any less, me personally, and this is something I do a lot in every business I’m in. I am never the cheapest and I don’t want to be. I always have the mind—and this has been one of my mantras in business—is whatever everyone else is doing, don’t do it. If everyone else is giving away something on the front end for $27, double the price, but make it look exponentially more valuable and compare yourself to them. Say, “Hey, there might be X out there that’s cheaper, do you want to be cheap or do you want to be right?” I always set the bar higher and it’s the same as if you saw a Ferrari next to a Ford Mustang and said, “Okay, which one would you like to test drive first?” Which one are they going to pick? Are they going to look at the Ferrari knowing it’s more, it’s a more expensive vehicle, and the automatic thing is when you start charging more for your stuff, people have a higher perception of its value and what the end results are going to be. If you set the expectations up front, then again, later on down the line, you’re going to do better. I am never the cheapest. But even then again, my branding makes it look like we’re a million-dollar company, which well, yeah, we’re a multimillion-dollar company, but I want the branding, the initial first contact to establish and stamp that rather than, like I said, the WSO versus premium. Which would you actually prefer? Again, I set that up front, but I don’t go too far, I wouldn’t charge, say $297 on the front end as a liquidation offer because again, we haven’t established that much rapport. Again, know your market, know what the expectations are and push it just a little bit higher.

Bill: Okay, good advice. I like that. Then when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of assembling the campaign in Facebook, any advice you’ve got there whether it’s regarding targeting or just how they’re going to construct the campaign?

Sean: Very good question. Again, I go outside of Facebook as my first port of call. If I’m going into a new market, say for example, I’m not in this space, this would be my approach, the fitness industry. I would want to know what all the leading products are out there. I would look in Facebook to see what all the leading pages and groups are. I would be a lurker. I would be studying, studying, studying, looking at what people are reacting to, what they’re not. We can use the insights tool from Facebook to quickly find all the top groups and pages, the demographics, what way they’re leaning, what’s not.

I would look on Pinterest, I would look on Twitter. Facebook, while it’s the biggest and easiest way to get into paid traffic, there’s a much bigger audience out there, so I want to know everything about the industry and what’s working. Then I start refining down, I start trying to segment my thoughts, like I mentioned, okay, am I going for men, women? Young or mid-level audience? What’s their goals, what’s their psychology? I got many, many years ago where I actually try and create a— and I’ll write this down on a piece of paper, sadly enough, this is a really old school copywriting exercise, but I will actually start writing down who my perfect person is. Who is my target audience? Say for example, 30 year old, mother of three, hectic lifestyle, and I try and write down what her day is, what challenges she’s going through, and then I tie it into the fitness. What does she want to do? Okay, she doesn’t have much time but she wants to get fit? Okay, how is she going to do that, fit that in? Okay, time is a challenge, there’s so much pressure and stress. So I start looking down at the emotions, what would that person be like? Now from there I can then start musing, okay, I’ve already got my idea of where I’m going to target that person, now I will start targeting my ad toward that very specific demographic. I will do like four or five of those different things and then I’ll do different ads, kind of, write out, okay, if I was approaching and targeting this, who would I do that? I’ll do like two or three different ones for each demographic and specific target market I’ve created with the different angles. Is this person kind of not healthy and got a few health concerns? Okay, that’s a different ad group with a different ad focus.

So I’ll just start testing those little things, little bit of ad spend here, little bit of ad spend there, just to test the waters and see what’s going on. One thing I’ve done before I’ve even built out an entire funnel, is I will run tests to other people’s affiliate offers. This is something a lot of people don’t talk about much, so I’m going to share a little bit of insider secret here. I don’t want to build out an entire funnel, an entire product, that has a massive funnel until I know I can target the market. A lot of people will create the product and then figure out how to market it afterward. It’s completely counterintuitive to common sense to me. What I will do is I will find an affiliate product in my space and I’ll create a micro- funnel with a lead capture thing, so I’ll do kind of an ad then to a lead capture where I can get that information. Then what I do as a thank you for that, I’ll send them to an affiliate offer. My part two in that lead capture area starts creating my custom audiences, so my ad spend is not wasted, I’m already building up a demographic and a customizable audience, but then I like to throw them to that affiliate offer and say, “Okay, is that now converting? Is my ad converting? Are we getting CTR? And am I at least coming anywhere near breaking even by promoting this other thing?”

Let’s face it, a Clickbank offer, for example, gives you about 75% commission. That’s an entire funnel where you’re getting paid on a funnel, 75% of the profits. You haven’t created anything yet. That’s okay. You’re building up your retargeting list, your custom audience, you’re testing your ads, whether the audience is now receptive to that, great. Once I’ve proven that they’re—yeah, I’m not going to break even every time, going to have some losses, but again, putting it to an affiliate offer mitigates some of the cost of that initial ad spend, but it also gives me numbers and I’m a numbers guy. As long as I know my numbers, I can make a campaign successful and I’ll know where the sticking points are. Is my ad sucking? Okay, what’s my other split test say? Oh, this one is actually good, I can tweak this one and then try and improve upon it. Is there a conversion block at my page level? Am I actually getting a return on that? Once I’ve got that information, that’s my experiment into a new market. Now I’m confident I can build out a much better funnel with a product and I can invest that time and resources into doing that. Exploratory wise, it’s good to do little tests to get some base numbers and then you will know you can adapt your funnel based on the numbers, not try and fudge them up based on your funnel that you’ve already created.

Bill: I love that strategy! So you walk into a brand new market you’ve never touched before, have no product, no funnel, no nothing. Do that research exercise you just talked about, find out everything there is about the market. While you’re doing that, find a few really good affiliate offers that are paying high commission, break the market down into its different demographics and start playing with sending traffic to that affiliate offer. I’m imagining maybe you’re doing some list building in front of that?

Sean: Absolutely. Yeah, there’s a lead capture right in front of it. You can’t direct link to the affiliate network, so it’s good to have—I’ll call it a presale video which leads into the actual offer. But yeah, I’ll put a little lead capture on there because again, normally I might build a custom audience, I want the email address as well, right up front so that I can then build up that list and when I do launch my product, I’ve got someone to draw to it straightaway.

Bill: Cool. Now, because you’ve broken the market down into all of the little demographics and you have separate ads for each one, you study those as well and that also, I’m imagining, is going to give you some clues. So you might start to find out that, “Oh, look, when we advertise this offer to females between the age of 30 and 45, we’re getting great click numbers and it’s converting.” Now you know when you launch your product, you’re getting some clues as to who to target that product for as well.

Sean: Absolutely. Let me just throw in one extra thing there. If I, for example, found out that my efforts work five times better for women than it does men and I’m not connecting with men at all, guess what? I’ve now got a female fitness product that I’m going to create because the men are not interested and they’re not converting that way. I know I’m going to get greater success with women, that’s where my product is going to tend to focus on, it’s going to focus on women and fitness. We’re going to exclude the men from that demographic and then they could widen it up to the women and all the different aspects of that. You can literally pre-segment your thought targeting of your offer, as well as the development focus of your actual product itself. Makes all the difference in the world. You’re getting enough information to know what the industry wants and you can start identifying holes and demand before you start spending $50,000 on product or software creation or anything else. You really get a really good feel for what’s in demand and then meet that demand.

Bill: I love that. So then, tactically, as you’re running these ads, you’ll see the ones that are successful and I imagine you could try to duplicate that and increase those campaigns and the ones that are unsuccessful, you either try something different or just start to kill them off until you’re kind of left with the cream of the crop.

Sean: Absolutely. I’m ruthless when it comes to nixing campaigns. One thing we’ll do is we’ll usually have three versions running simultaneously. We’ll rotate through them and then whichever the top one is, I will kill the other two, replicate and try and improve upon the one that was successful, and it’s the same process we used to do in the Adwords days, is literally it’s the, it’s kind of like genetic cropping, if you will. We’ll do three versions, ABC testing, the one that leads and the one that wins, okay, that’s the one that always gets adjusted to see if we can do better, the other two, killed instantly.

Bill: Survival of the fittest.

Sean: Absolutely, pure genetics.

Bill: Okay, cool. Yeah, I think that’s a great model because I bet you that there’s going to be watching this that don’t yet have their own product, or people that have started that very long and expensive process of building out a product and a funnel and they don’t even know if they have a market yet.

Sean: Some of them don’t. Test your market, always test your markets.

Bill: I like the way you think about this, it’s a very similar approach to how I look at a new market. I’ve watched too many people—I’ve seen people waste their life savings on building out something that they thought was awesome, only to find out they couldn’t market it and this is the right way to go about it. Awesome! I think that provides a lot of details. Let’s talk about some results. Hopefully you don’t mind talking about some of your campaigns in terms of spend versus income and return on investment, like you got a campaign in particular you want to talk about and we can get an idea of what kind of results you’re getting with this strategy?

Sean: Yeah. Again, we’ve got so many campaigns going in different areas and again, I’ve got my fingers in so many different pies, but let me use the example that we’ve been talking about here. Like I said, with anything we’re doing, we’ll run anytime—we’re targeting about five different demographics, not right now, but we’ve identified specifically in the stock and finance space that we are going after. Again, ad spend, I wouldn’t like to say exact numbers because it’s like a GDP of a small country. But what we’re looking to do is again, our end all is a $5,000 product, it’s a very, very high ticket that we sell, again, like I said, through a webinar. So what we’ll do is we like to at least get a 5:1 ratio of return on investment. So for every dollar we put in, we want at least $5 back. Most people are happy with a break even because they know that they’ve got a back end that’s going to follow up and do everything else, for $1 in or $1.50 or $2 back, they’re absolutely ecstatic with that, and they should be. If you’re getting more money out consistently than you’re putting in, that’s blank check territory. You want to keep doing that. But for us, again, that’s a lot of money that we’ve got to put in to get that $5,000 client. That’s a lot of filtering. Again, that’s where the liquidation offer really comes into its own to mitigate those costs off the mat. I mean, we’re looking at a CTR, we want a CTR of about 2%, 3%, which is pretty—again, we’re in a difficult, competitive space and again, and similar to any advertising, you’ve got to get past that psychological barrier. We know that once we’ve got them on our videos, the conversions from there are incredible because we’re focusing on value.

If you’re trying to hide all of your products and all of your knowledge behind the wall and they have to take a leap of trust where you haven’t built the trust, your conversions are horrible. We tried that, because again, I wanted to split test that, I split test everything, and I want to say that when we put all the gold up front, we got an immediate 40% boost in conversions. That was insane. It’s because people were really engaged. I mean, video ads compared to static ads were an automatic 20-30% boost in clicks, which for us was insane. It’s obvious because of engagement and that’s really where everything comes down to is engage. So with the ad spend that we do, I mean, we are looking at about, right now, $500-700 in ad spend to get that $5,000. That’s a lot of up-front capital, so you got to make sure that you’re getting paid as quickly as possible. Your liquidation offers will mitigate that overall ad spend, but say if we were averaging $500 and making $5,000, that’s a 10:1 return. If I put $100,000 in, I get a million dollars out. That’s not bad. If I put $10,000 in, I’m getting $100,000 back, that’s not bad. If I’m putting $100 in, I’m getting $1,000 back. If you can still get that 10:1 ratio, that’s not bad at all. You just scale up from there. The cool thing is if you pick the right industry where there’s a lot of what we call the information and customer turnover, there’s new people coming into the market all the time, especially with Facebook. That in itself is awesome, but don’t limit yourself just to Facebook. I mean, one thing that really gave us, again, another 10-20% lift, was retargeting outside of Facebook. SiteScout, putting it on the larger networks, buying up excess ad inventory with other media buys, that really allowed us to do a hell of a lot with that. So yeah, you can do insane amounts of extra retargeting and get people back into every step of your funnel.

Bill: Just to clarify, too, I think a lot of people may not have heard of SiteScout, that’s a great resource. It’s essentially a network where you run banner ads, really, but it taps into a lot of other networks, it’s sort of a clearing house of many, many different ad networks and you can get ads into the Google Display Network from there, you can get ads into—well, actually I won’t get into all the different networks, but you can reach almost every little corner of the internet through SiteScout with banner ads. So what you could do, is they give you a pixel, you put that on your page, and now you can retarget and follow that person around as they leave Facebook and as they’re traveling all over the web. Your graphical banner ads will now show up and follow them around.

Sean: Yeah, it’s an amazing brand perception thing because now they see you everywhere. I actually did this recently for another product launch we did and I had one of my JV partners say, “Sean, I’m on a dating site and I’m seeing your face, it’s really awful.”

Bill: [Laughs]

Sean: [Laughs] You can literally follow them everywhere, to all the major websites, all the major networks, there’s literally hundreds of ad networks that sell off their excess inventory and with the retargeting, they’re buying all this ad inventory, you get it for pennies on the dollar. It’s a great in addition to what you do on Facebook as a leverage point and again, you drop them on your landing page where you’re dropping all these retargeting pixels and then—boom— suddenly they see you everywhere, you look like a million-dollar company, even if you’ve only got a tiny little budget of ad spend. Again, you just get it out there and bring them in, get them into your conversion hub and have some fun with it. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about it.

Bill: So what I’m hearing, at the end of the day, you’re happy with one of your campaigns if you’re spending a dollar and making say $5-10, that seems to be the zone that’s a good campaign for you?

Sean: I’m ecstatic, yes. I’m absolutely ecstatic, yeah. There’s some other avenues and ways to do it, but again, if you’re profitable, keep doing it and optimizing it.

Bill: Does that typically include the liquidation offer in that ROI?

Sean: Absolutely, yes.

Bill: Okay. Do you have a goal or like advice you can give the audience on what they should be striving for with that liquidation offer, should they be trying to recoup all their ad budget off of it or get half of it back or what should be the target there?

Sean: Always, my goal is at least break even. With whatever I do, including my entire funnel, at least break even. The reason being is, if you’re breaking even, you can find ways to optimize your offer, your funnels, your conversions to push you into profit. If you’re not quite breaking even, again, keep tweaking, you’ll get there. But if you can break even, there are always ways that you can tweak your offer, tweak your approach, that will push you over into profitable. Again, initially break even is always the target. After that, it’s all about optimization, tweaking your funnel, tweaking your offer, tweaking your copy on your ads and everything else. Once you’ve got your numbers going, you can start seeing quite quickly where your bottlenecks for conversions are. Initially you’re not going to be profitable. If you hit profit from your first campaigns, then you should also be able to walk on water and flap your arms and fly. The truth is, your first campaigns are going to suck, they’re not going to work, and you’re going to want to give up. First advice I always give is never give up, check your numbers. The numbers will tell you exactly where the problem is and it takes time, it takes money to get into it, but once you do and once you understand your numbers and where the bottlenecks are and fix them, that’s where things will tip over and you’ll start becoming very, very successful with media buying and that goes for not just video ads, but any paying media at all.

Bill: I like your approach, too, of promoting someone else’s offer because that allows you to kind of focus single-mindedly on tweaking your campaigns and improving the performance there, because then you have one real goal, which is to get the opt-in before you send them to the affiliate offer. So you can kind of stay laser focused on improving and tweaking and getting that dialed in and not be so distracted with a whole funnel at the same time.

Sean: Absolutely. It makes it a lot easier, it takes a lot of stress off and if you start seeing sales, it’s also a great psychological boost for yourself that you can do it. For a lot of people, that’s the first hurdle is all this is loosing me money, I’m sucking to conversions, the CTR’s are way off. But when you start getting a couple of sales here and there, you start switching in your head the, “Well, but I did get money, I did sell. Okay, I just need to tweak.” It really is a great psychological boost to you as well.

Bill: Great. What they could do as well is start to look at the investment at the beginning as not a quest for profit, it’s more about a quest for data and learning and refining. Really, that is what your initial ad spend is. When I go into a market, that’s how I look at it. I have a budget of, “Okay, we’re going to throw this much money into ad spend to sort of figure it out.” That’s really just the cost of figuring it out.

Sean: No, that’s exactly it. You’ve got to look at your ads as exploratory money, you’re doing R&D. You’re doing all of that before you start building out big funnels, big products. I mean, the business that we’re running right now, I won’t say how much money is invested in it, but it will buy a very nice house. Before I had to do all the experimentation, all the pre-running before I did all of that, because if I didn’t have that information, I have no idea whether I’ll be successful. By doing all that up front, I know I’m going to be successful, it’s already kind of predetermined. So yeah, doing your homework, being a numbers person, crunching those numbers, understanding where everything is going, it will just literally make success that much more easy.

Bill: Awesome. I think we gave a lot of good information and I really, really appreciate you sharing the knowledge you’ve shared today. I think it’s going to, for especially anybody interested in selling high ticket, this is the model. It’s the same model I would use and I think it’s brilliant.

Sean: Thank you.

Bill: Actually, I’m going to implement a couple of the things that you talked about today myself.

Sean: [Laughs] You never know! Glad I could help and I hope everyone here got some value from it. One thing I will do as well, is some of the stuff we talked about, I actually have a couple of mind maps that I would refer to them just to kind of remind myself of some of the stuff so I never forget one little aspect. I’ll give that to everyone here as well, just as a quick reference material.

Bill: Awesome! If anybody wants to learn more about what you do, I know you also are in the teaching internet marketing, where can they find out more information about you?

Sean: We’ve got a website called You can check it out there and we’re always posting new stuff on there, interesting stuff, go check it out and have some fun.

Bill: Awesome.

Sean: That’s correct, IM – internet marketing – Just Google my name, it’ll be the first result.

Bill: Cool. Again and with that, we’ll wrap up.

Sean: Awesome. Thank you very much, Bill, and great to be here.